A Bad Reputation Lasts Forever

By David Glenn Cox

The problem with running for President for six months before officially announcing is the anti-climactic nature of the event. Ho-hum, surprise, surprise. Reich’s Fuhrer Ronnies announcement barely made a ripple in the news mash up and was usurped by Disney’s announcement of canceling a billion-dollar project in Florida.

Disney blames the business climate (Ron DeSantis) for the move. A shot across his bow. Money talks and bullshit talks louder in Ron DeSantis Florida. The short stack Governor is punking the state of Florida and using it as a theatrical backdrop for his presidential campaign. Ignoring the genuine problems facing the state for an agenda of make-believe pseudo problems.

The Walt Disney Company was planning to relocate two thousand workers and their paychecks from California to Florida. You have to wonder how the employees themselves felt about that.  The Orlando mayor says, “fine, be that way. It won’t hurt us any.” Then whistling past the graveyard adds it was only future revenue and won’t impact current budgets.

But it will affect the revenue of current construction companies. It will impact the budgets of their workers. I don’t know, maybe a billion dollars in revenue in the form of paychecks and two years of solid work might not be a Biggy for the mayor. But I’d wager the suppliers and construction companies probably have a different point of view on the matter.

In a recent conference call, Disney CEO Bob Iger called the DeSantis policies anti-business. Now the company puts its money where DeSantis’s mouth is.  If you live long enough, you will see history repeat its self.

I was a child of the Civil Rights movement. Birmingham, Alabama, and Atlanta, Georgia, were sister cities. Both with populations of around half a million people. Birmingham turned fire hoses on Civil Rights protesters and bombed churches. Atlanta billed itself as the “The city too busy to hate.”

The Metro Birmingham population in 2023 was 863,000 up less than 1%. The metro Atlanta population  in 2023 was 6,106,000 with nearly double the growth rate. Birmingham is Atlanta’s poor relation now. Racism, White supremacy had a financial cost…go figure. If you owned property inside Atlanta’s perimeter, you’re probably wealthy now. If you owned a construction company in Atlanta, you’re probably wealthy and overworked now!

Reich’s Fuhrer Ronnie’s anti-immigration bill has migrant farmworkers hesitant to come to Florida. His don’t say Gay bill has given Florida schools a black eye. His anti-Transgender bill has parents frightened. And for business interests the warning signs are everywhere. If the state will go after a giant like Disney, do you really want to invest your money there? Do you really want to relocate your company there?

If you decide yes, how many key employees might you lose? During the pandemic, the vertically impaired Ronnie was the champion of parental rights. No one was going to tell school kids to wear a mask in Florida. Now the state dictates what kind of healthcare your children can receive and what books they can read in school.

But don’t take it personal, Ronnie doesn’t mean it. He’s just running for President. And if he turns the state’s economy into a graveyard. It will still be worth it to him, if he can get elected. You would have to have rocks in your head to not believe this won’t have a negative long-term effect on the state’s economy.

In 1990, I was living in Montgomery, Al. when Hollywood came to town. To make the film “The Long Walk Home” with Sissy Spacek and Whoopi Goldberg. The producers rented dozens of cars and hotel rooms. They even rented a closed down shopping center to house their equipment and were spending tens of thousands of dollars every week with local merchants.

But Mungumery had a cigar chewing, gun toting mayor who wasn’t about to kowtow to a bunch of Hollywood Liberals. Police requested to show up and stop traffic failed to appear. The producers vowed they would return to Hollywood and spread the fame and myth of Mungumery Southern hospitality all over the entertainment industry. And they have never once returned.

Several years later, while living in Atlanta. I had a customer with light towers and generators specifically designed for motion pictures. I had another customer who recorded all the gunfire sound effects for “Saving Private Ryan.” From “Smokey and the Bandit” to “Driving Ms. Daisy”, movies are big business in Atlanta. But if you don’t want their money.

Maybe not today and maybe not tomorrow but give it twenty years. And Florida will be the new Birmingham of the South. Degrees from Florida Universities will be stacked up in the “No” column by employers looking for qualified candidates. Those Florida  graduates might be perfectly qualified but, in the employers mind the “ignorant Redneck” sign will be flashing. University professors will be hesitant to teach in such institutions where they might be denied tenure on the whim of a Governor running for higher office.

A Governor who doesn’t care if your company loses money. Or a governor who doesn’t care if your employees have work or not. A Governor who doesn’t care if the insurance crisis drives senior citizens from their homes and out of the state. But the four million dollars the Governor took from the insurance industry has nothing to do with it. Insurance rates are expected to climb 60% this year after climbing as much as 50% last year. But by God, he’s got a handle on drag shows!

Florida Real Estate values will decline in the uninsurable homes. A toxic environment will spread out like a puddle of oil touching all sectors of the Florida economy.

But Ronnie is running for higher office, ain’t that great? Ronnie creates headlines and not jobs. He’s got a job and wants a better one. Reich’s Fuhrer Ronnie plans to kick the dust off this crummy state and off his little white boots and move on to bigger and better vistas. Leaving behind the gators, the skeeters and the economic wreckage. Disney’s disinvestment is the billion you’ll see. There will other billions you won’t ever see.

The retirees who stop coming. The tourists who stop coming. The cars they don’t rent and the hotel rooms they don’t stay in and the restaurants they won’t be eating in. The schools they won’t attend, and the lives of Floridians will be impacted living inside of a degenerating economy.

In 2015, South Carolina was boycotted because of the Confederate Flag. The current state of Florida is far worse, and no organized boycott is necessary. It is self-evident and spreading like wildfire. What do overseas tourists know about Florida today? Bigotry, homophobia xenophobia, book banning and ugliness.

Ron DeSantis is crushing the future of Floridians. Doing damage that will last for generations. Hate bigotry and grandstanding are bad for business. And a bad reputation lasts forever.

“And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed.”  ― John Steinbeck

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