A Program Every Floridian Should Watch (But Probably Won't)



That's the opening two minutes of an ambitious documentary premiering tonight on public television station, WPBT-2. It's called Imagining a New Florida, a more elegant title than Paradise Gone to Hell, which may be more appropriate.

Of course, if the expert who says that Floridians are selfish transplants with no stake in community, then I guess there's no chance the local folks will tune in, eh?

In the St. Petersburg Times, urban planner Bruce Stephenson has an essay that dovetails with the program. He bases his future hope on Florida's tradition for being "a laboratory for radical experimentation."

Which sounds suspiciously like the reckless speculation that's put the state behind the 8-ball.

Stephenson conjures optimism from the prospect of high-speed rail that will create "mega-regions" by connecting Tampa Bay with Orlando and ultimately South Florida. But even that ambitious project was hijacked by Charlie Crist cronies like George LeMieux, raising flags that it'll turn out to be a classic Florida boondoggle.

And yet...

You can't count Florida out. The state has so much potential, it's damned hard to screw it up in some irrevocable way. If we can learn from just a few of our culture's many, colossal mistakes, then maybe there's a golden age yet to come.

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