Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

Real news for working families.  An online news service

Letters to the editor & Op-Ed
2017 • 2016–2015 • 2014–2009


In Her 80s, Susan Brownmiller Continues to Inspire

Separation of Powers: Keeps Legislators From Running Amok

Can We Just Get 2016 Over With, Please?

FEMA's Craig Fugate Fumes While Florida Sinks in a Sea of Bulls#it

FL Gov LeRoy Collins Balance of Public-Private Speech: A Lesson to be Learned

AARP Fights 'Loneliness Epidemic' With Awareness Campaign

In Post-Truth America, Responsible News More Important Than Ever

Christmas is a-comin', the geese are gettin' hacked

The Red Menace Redux

Meaningless Metrics Mask Troublesome Trends in Florida Higher Education

Family Farms Offer High Quality for Just a Little Capital

Spreading Fake News: A Dangerous Bell That Can't Be Unrung

Reasons for Taxpayers to Join Prisoners and Riot @DOC

The Shame of Florida: Options on the Felon Vote

The Shame of FL: How FL's Felon Vote is Ruining Lives & Costing Taxpayers

Our 'Flawed' Electoral College: Mistrusting the People

Hogan, Ifill, Rushing: Rest in Peace

Is Your Mug Shot in FACES Virtual Lineup?

And Now President-Elect Donald J. Trump: Wow

In Remembrance: Janet Reno

If Babies Could Vote?

Is Trump On His Way to Winning Florida?

Money: A Clean Key Component of American Democracy

Will Trump Bring Rubio Down in Florida?

This Year Resist the Urge to Vote Early

Hillary Clinton Sucking Up the Money: Citizen's United and A Never Ending Thirst for Cash

Funding for Hospitals Serving Low-Income Patients Presents Challenges - Opportunities

Why Would Any Woman Vote for Donald Trump?

Donald Trump Was Right About Marco Rubio

'Never Trump' Politicos Set the Stage for This

Trump's Comments on Women Over the Top. Disqualifying for Politicians or Human Beings

Fixing FL's Environment: No. 1 Issue in 2018 Gov's Race

Time to Stop Fighting School Choice

Now Is No Time For Exalted Idealism

FL Solar Energy: Amdt 1 Raises Red Flags

Open Gov't Office Goes Behind Closed Doors

Zika: Cutting Through the Maze of Political Blame

FL FWC Should Consider Ban on Venomous Snakes as Pets

Marco Rubio's 2016 Slogan: 'Maybe I'll Stay, Maybe I Won't'

Carlos Beruff: Why I Ran for the U.S. Senate

EpiPen Debacle Demonstrates the Need for Price Controls

Trump Feels Presidency a 'Man's Job'

Vote Yes on Amdt 4: Solar Power for Residents of the Sunshine State

Donald Trump and America's 'Moral Bankruptcy'

Donald Trump's America On Trial In Modern Day 'Judgment at Nuremberg'

Nature At War With FL: Thanks, Rick Scott!

After Months of Bad News, A Welcome Distraction

Khizr Kahn Challenges a 'Morally Untethered' Donald Trump

Bernie Sanders Supporters Need to Grow Up

Email Leaks Prove DNC Fix Was In

The 2016 Republican Convention: Yesterday's Weirdness — Tomorrow's Reason Why

Trump: The Beginning of a Movement?

FL Leg's Must Commit to Budget Transparency & Accountability

Bribery, Corruption, Influence Peddling: The Supremes Don't Get It

Rick Scott's Breathtaking Hypocrisy On Water Pollution

FBI May Have Cleared Hillary Clinton: So That's That? Not Exactly

Brexit, Where Belief Trumps Facts and Reality
Just Make Stuff Up

At DCF "The Sun Don't Shine"

Donald Trump in Scotland, Playing the Ugly American

What If My Supervisor Does Not Develop Me?

A European Perspective on Donald Trump "Associate yourself with men of good Quality"

Rick Scott's Higher Education Summit Was Missing One Thing — Educators

What If My Boss Is the Problem?

Third Party in the GOP's Future? Trump Has Hijacked the Rep Party from the Rep Party

Conservative Hysteria About Genitals: It's What's Between Your Ears That is Important

Charity Donations, Not Taxes, Should Pay for School Vouchers

Failure Factories – School Inequity in FL

FGC Focusing on the 3E's: Education - Econ Dev - Good Paying Employment

FL Supremes Under Attack by House Speaker & Speaker To Be

Gov's Buddies Want to Kill Bears, Panthers, the Environment

Florida Supremes Bolster Public's Right to Access

Columbia County School District Redistricting: On Hold for Now

A New Day, a New Lake City Humane Society, a New Columbia County Partnership

Rick Scott Doesn't Know When to Shut Up

Amos the Cat Saved by Two Special Women

Governor Scott Should Veto Alimony 'Reform' Bill

Yale to Rick Scott: Thanks, But No Thanks

Suicide: Sometimes the Bad Voice Wins

Employers, Paychecks, Insurance, Birth Control

Cruzing To A Police State?

FL GOP Voters Don't Want to Think – Just Believe

College Grads Enhance Prospects by Learning Additional Skills

Trump – Clinton: We Know Where the Secrets Are; We Don't Know What They Are

12 Reasons to Vote for Bernie Sanders on Tues.

We All Have the Right to Read What We Want

FL's Confederate Gen Out of Capitol Rotunda: The Replacement, How About the "Florida Man?"

Jackson Wrote the Tune, Trump Is Singing Along: Washington Is Broken

FL's Economic Development Incentives: Legislative Sausage Making Worth Watching

FL Legislators Stealing the Money Meant To Protect the Environment

Expansion of Gambling a Bad Bet for Florida

Public Records Exemption Shields Dept of Corrections Abuse

Another Scalia is not in the Cards No Matter Who Appoints the Justice

FL Leg. Gives Women a Swift Kick in the Ovaries

Commercial Logging in State Parks is a Bad Idea

Valentine's Day Advice For Kids Who Won't Listen Anyway

Hillary Clinton Should Acknowledge Her Speaking Fees Are Offensive

Leg. Working Hard to Keep Citizens in the Dark

It's Illegal to Force Students to Recite the Pledge of Allegiance

FL Following El Salvador's Lead on Abortion

FL's GOP: Passing Unconstitutional Laws Then Charging Taxpayers W/Attorney Fees

Work at Abortion Clinic  Sobering – Rewarding

More Questions Than Answers After Court's Death-Penalty Ruling

Florida Legislature's History of Intransigence

Lawmakers Ignored Warnings About Death-Penalty Law

Some Floridians Still Fighting the Civil War

Proposed Public Records Law Change
Harmful & Not Needed

Annoyed Legislators Drafting More Bills to Keep Government Secret

The Chicken Collision:
I don't think the County is doing the right thing

Keep Gun Owners From Killing Themselves

The New Year, Another Chance

U.S. Capitol Rotunda   Who Represents Florida?

Trump: nukes; a beautiful piece of ass; the vajajay

Focus on the Positives: let's continue to smile

It's Morning in America Again: Unless It's WWIII

Praying for Victims and Solutions Going Forward

When God Tells You It's OK to Kill

Another Day in America
Another Day of Gunfire, Panic, and Fear

As Rhetoric Descends, Up Pops Evil

Thanksgiving: Remember, Above All, Your Gratitude

First Thanksgiving: Who Vetted the Guest List?

They Pander the Repulsive to the Bigoted

The Grim Reaper: Not Obliged to Give a Heads-Up That Your Number's Up

They Don't Sell Bear Meat at Whole Foods

Rick Scott Should Stay Out of Hospital's Business

FL Has Never Ceased It's War On Nature: The Latest Front – Bears

Development Runs Rampant Without State Controls

Another FL Special Session: It's Just Like Xmas – Minus the Joy

FL's Black Bears in Hunters' Sights Starting Saturday

NRA Has Gone All the Way Down the Rabbit Hole

Kids Need More Than Pre-K to Overcome Poverty's Obstacles

Jack CoryFL's Greyhound Racing Industry Deserves Protection

¿Jeb? Bush Comes Up Numb & Dumb: Again

Jeb Bush, "Stuff Happens"


I'm Done: Finished With Leaders Desperate to Get Elected

The Season When Conservatives Ramp Up the Crazy

Cruel & Unusual Punishment for One Murder Victim's Family

Homeless on the Rise as Agencies Go Underfunded

Nat. Truck Driver Appreciation Week
"Your Tomorrow Is on a Truck Today"

Rick Scott Runs Up Scorecard of Shame: Flori-duh, indeed

Uncertainty Lives in the Cone of Death

1971: U.S. Supremes Rule In-Favor of Parklands
2015: Port St. Lucie Preserve Under Attack

Tom Brady: Saved By the Union, But Who's Standing Up for the Little Guy?

Lying Low & Collecting Money: Absence Makes the Guv Grow Fonder

Our Country's Shameful Legacy of Poverty

The Deep Dark Hole of Generational Poverty: Breaking the Cycle With Boys & Girls Clubs

FL Anti SLAPP Law: Victory for Free Speech

If Hillary's Got to Go, Go Now

Unguarded Remarks: Do They Reveal the Real Jeb Bush?

Jeb Bush Vilifies Unwed Mothers, Ignores Economic Reality

Democracy in Florida Remains Lost In Spite of New Maps

Fox News Says, "Who Needs Journalism?"

Winner-Take-All-Winner Could Be Trump

GOP Takes its Lady-Parts Jihad to Planned Parenthood

We All Grieve in Different Ways on Different Days

FL Organizations Show Support for Planned Parenthood

Pro-life, Pro-choice: Still a Lightening-rod Issue

Gov. Scott Reaps Harvest of Sham from Planned Parenthood Fakery: or did he?

FL Teacher Bonuses Tied to SAT Scores: Their Own

Big Sugar Has Conservatives Chasing Their Tails

Sheer Neglect Threatens Florida's National Parks

FL Supremes Take Command in Redistricting

Free Public Schools Can Help Break the Shackles of Poverty

July 23, 2015  07:05 am | Op-Ed

Looming Narrow Point of Law Could Clear Death Row

If You Are a Sex Criminal, It Pays to be Rich

Florida Should Be a Solar Power Haven

What Is Really "Fair Districting" in Florida?

Map-Drawing Mendacity Nearly Killed Democracy in Florida

Gov. Scott's Job Growth Puffery Masks Florida's Low-Wage Future

There Are Southerners Worth Knowing About Who Bring Pride to Our Region

Most Americans Are Not Virulently Racist – Words and Flags Aside

Supreme Court More Often Goes Astray

Top State Pols Defend Florida's Right to Filthy Water

The Confederate Flag Must Go

Time Is Now to Take It Down: Heritage of Hate

Harvest of Thorns: We Won't Be Rid of Racism Until Elected Leaders Stop Using It

Take It Down Already! It's Toxic

Republicans Fret Supremes May Boot Obamacare

Jeb Cherry-Picks Where to Enforce His Faith

Pols Get Hot As Pope Warms To Climate Change: What's Next?

Beware of Jeb's Education "Revolution"

'Frack You, Florida': Rick Scott's Public Service Commission

We Stand Alone: Universal Health Care Access Must Come To U.S.

FL Health Care Expansion Defeated By Politics of Personal Resentment

Jeb Bush's Apparent Indifference to Real Lives of Most Americans

Police Body Cameras Can Exonerate As Well As Implicate

Ten Reasons Why Students Benefit From Uniforms In School

Lauren's Kids Poll On Sexual Abuse:
Be Shocked – Be Educated

Marco Rubio's Obstruction of Justice: The Wrong Verdict for all Floridians

FL's Presidential Hopefuls Forget Deepwater Horizon, But First FL's 850,000 Uninsured

My Boobs II: The Missing Gene – I Need a Drink

Gov. Rick Scott's Economic Growth Summit: The Politics of Make-Believe – Anything Goes

Florida's Uninsured Health Insurance Mess:
Getting a Handle On It

We Forget the Connection Between Us and Home

If FL Is 'Conservative,' Let's Conserve Something Besides Freedom To Cash In

Proposed Florida Bear Hunt Not Scientific or Humane

Why Do Republicans Favor Death Penalty So Much More Than Democrats?

My Boobs: Should they stay or go now?

Big Shug & Rick Scott's Minions Poison Land Deal & Amendment 1

Gov. Scott Puts KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) Principle to Work in Healthcare Debate

Tougher Ozone Standards Needed to Help Floridians Breathe Easier

Gov. & FL Republicans: Winning "War on the Poor"

FL Presidential Hopefuls: A Bumper Crop of Crazy

The Unavoidable Subject of Stupid

FL Rep. Matt Gaetz Tweet: Racist Content Impossible to Miss

Slackers in the FL House Leave 800,000 Exposed

Gov. Scott's Contempt of Court Must Be Stopped

Tainted FBI Evidence Puts FL Convictions in Doubt

Ignore Fracking Charge: Support Common Sense Oil & Gas Regs

Medical Marijuana Amendment Could Sway 2016 Presidential Election

Florida's Legislative Leaders Don't Trust Women

Rick Scott's FL: If the Flooding Doesn't Get You, Lack of Health Insurance Will

Rick Scott: Street-Walkin’ His Way to Washington

Rick Scott Has Lost His Conscience – If He Ever Had One

Politicians Respond to Racist Dog Whistles

Education Reform Bill: Dishonest and Politically Cowardly

Campus Sexual Assault Exposed: "The Hunting Ground"

FL Legislature Doesn't Care What You Think

FL Senate: Will It Realize Every Child Has the Right to be Loved?

Religious Freedom: Not a License to Discriminate

Amendment 1: At Session Midpoint, Disappointment Replaces Promise

Practical Ways Everyone Can Advocate for Children

Concealed Weapons On Campus – Tragedy In the Making

FL Guns on Campus Debate: Logic - Courage - Passion

FL Legislature Subverting Our Will on Amdt 1

To Rick Scott Open Gov't is a Closed Book

Legislators: Ignore the Death Mermaid At Your Own Peril

The State of the State Floridians Should Hear

Assisted Suicide: Death With Dignity

FL Leg in the Sticky Embrace of Big Shug

Gov. Scott: Give Kids a Break From Computer Plagued Tests

Gov Scott Owes George Orwell a Debt of Gratitude for Primer on  Doublespeak

Welcome to Tallahassee’s Festival of Bad Ideas

FL Men Can't Let Legislature Overpower Women

Everglades Supporters Break the Peace With the Sugar Industry

Ain't No Sunshine: Team Scott’s Business-As-Usual BS

What's Really Going On With Jobs

The Unrealistic Demands of Monogamy

Florida DCF's Orwellian Response to Child Thrown From Bridge

FL Capital Punishment: Death by Judicial Whim

Reject Bigotry and Evil Perpetrated In the Name of Religion

Fracking Reso's & Ordinances Don't Belong In Front of the County Commission

Posted February 6, 2015  04:30 am | Op-Ed

Our water resources must be protected and conserved. This includes protecting sources of water from degradation and contamination. A request has been made to the county to oppose fracking. This topic boils down to a question of appropriate priorities for the county to pursue. With other pressing issues needing the County Commission's time and the taxpayer's money, consideration of these blanket ordinances or resolutions is an inappropriate use of each.

Vaccines Can Stop the Deadly Effects of Meningitis

Anti-Immunization Insanity Endangers Kids

FL High Stakes Testing: The Nitty Gritty

FL School Superintendents: Appointed or Elected the Public Must Demand Better

Worthless? Florida's Cabinet: Bondi, Atwater, Putnam

Hey Parents, Let Your Kids Work It Out

FSU’s John Thrasher: Brave Enough to Thwart Campus Guns?

The 5: Making Laws, Spending Our Money , Towing a Line on Things We Know Nothing About

Marriage Equality Underscores Vital Role of Our Courts

Hitler's Dachau: Bearing Witness Even When It Seems Too Much To Bear

The Mandate is Clear: Don’t Slap Amendment 1 Voters in the Face

Lousy Education Policy Blurs Line Between Public – Private

Florida's Code of Judicial Conduct
Will the Supremes Listen?

10 Things You Can Do Besides Visit the Circus

Jeb & Hillary: Please Stay Home

Special to the Observer


A Hesitant Adventurer’s Search for Wonder in the Natural World

Grandma Gatewood’s Walk

The inspiring story of the woman who saved the Appalachian Trail

1969 and Then Some
A Memoir of Romance, Motorcycles, and Lingering Flashbacks of a Golden Age

Whistleblower's Handbook:
A Step-by-Step Guide to Doing What's Right and Protecting Yourself

An Unreasonable Woman:
A True Story of Shrimpers, Politicos, Polluters and the Fight for Seadrift, Texas

Bogus Allegations
The Injustice of Guilty until Proven Innocent