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Informed Personalities from Across the State, Across the Spectrum
Bill Cotterell's picture
Cotterell is mainly interested in political campaigns, but also focuses on state government operations.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013 — Bill Cotterell

During the past week to 10 days, House and Senate negotiators have worked on scores of details, big and small, in the $74 billion state budget for the fiscal year starting  July 1.

Some of their meetings have lasted about 90 seconds. Sometimes, the roll call takes longer than the formal exchange of budget offers in what is, legally, a "public" meeting.

It's an odd way to make big, important...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013 — Bill Cotterell

When USA Today did its city-by-city rollout in 1982, Atlanta was second on the list, and Al Neuharth jetted in for a big news conference.

I'm sure the CEO of Gannett Co., who died last week at his Cocoa Beach home at age 89, had several different modes -- big business executive, manager, columnist, flamboyant public figure -- and on that morning, he seemed to revert to his 1960 Miami beat...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 — Bill Cotterell

Gov. Rick Scott ran the numbers on his re-election prospects the other day, and, although he may have been off by a few hundred-thousand voters, the governor made a pretty plausible case that he can win.

What he did not mention at the Republican Party of Florida's quarterly board meeting, though, were some intangibles that you can't put on paper. And those factors are more important than voter...

Tuesday, April 09, 2013 — Bill Cotterell

When Gov. Lawton Chiles decided to let Florida's "Defense Of Marriage Act" become law in 1997, he foresaw what's going on in America today regarding same-sex marriage.

"I believe that, by and large, most Floridians are tolerant and will one day come to view a broader range of domestic partnerships as an acceptable part of life," Chiles said. "But that is not the case today."

It's not the case today, either, but it will be tomorrow. It's probably a distant tomorrow, but the day will dawn when Florida recognizes civil unions among couples who can't, or for some reason won't,...

Tuesday, April 02, 2013 — Bill Cotterell

Why do normally intelligent legislators write reasonable laws on everything except alcohol?

   The easy, obvious answer is money. Liquor, beer and wine lobbyists have spent many years, and millions of dollars, making alcohol taxes and regulatory rules just the way they want them. This means there are always people left out by the rules, so they hire lobbyists and try to get them rewritten so they can get...

Monday, March 25, 2013 — Bill Cotterell

When I was in the service, the camp theater used to show stirring, heroic World War II or Korean War movies once a week. We scoffed at "John Wayne night" but went anyway -- mostly to chuckle at little errors in the films.

   One had a scene with a guy firing a Browning Automatic Rifle for about a full minute (which would be a neat trick) and then holding it on his shoulder by the barrel, like a baseball...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 — Bill Cotterell

 Being lieutenant governor of Florida is like being the best basketball player on that team that loses to the Harlem Globetrotters every night.

   It's nature's way of saying you're an under-achiever -- but a darned good one.

   It's hardly a stepping stone or power base; five of the nine previous...

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 — Bill Cotterell

Happy Sunshine Week.

   It's fitting that the American Society of News Editors decided in 2005 to recognize the public's right to know in March, just as we're shaking off the gray gloom of winter and seeing the first bright rays of spring. But by then, Florida newspapers and broadcasters had already been marking "Sunshine Sunday" for three years, combining a celebration of our open-meeting and public-...

Tuesday, March 05, 2013 — Bill Cotterell

A retired general who calls himself "the luckiest Marine in the whole wide world" is taking a small band of fellow survivors back to Iwo Jima this month for "a reunion of honor" with men they made war with 68 years ago.

Lt. Gen. Larry Snowden, the senior American survivor of the battle that became a proud symbol of the Pacific war, emphasizes that his now-annual trek to the far side of the globe is no...

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 — Bill Cotterell

On the eve of the 2013 legislative session next Monday, just about everybody with an interest in what happens in the Capitol during the ensuing 60 days will gather in the sedate courtyard of Associated Industries of Florida for Tallahassee's biggest party of the year, a welcoming reception that the state's "voice of business" sponsors.

Discretely tucked inside AIF's tri-fold invitation to the big bash is...