In St. Augustine Record on April 24, 2023, with headline of "DeSantis takes Floridans for a ride"
Cerabino: DeSantis outfoxed by Disney World fine print clause | Opinion
It’s dizzying trying to keep up with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ efforts to financially maim one of the state’s biggest companies for failing to endorse a state law that codifies anti-LGBTQ bigotry in state schools.
Disney World, which employs about 77,000 Floridians and draws 58 million visitors a year, dared to disagree with a law that DeSantis had made central to his presidential ambitions. And since then, he has been hellbent on making the private company pay for its insolence in not playing along with the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law passed last year.
Governor wages war against state's biggest tourism company
The revenge game has not gone well so far for the little guy. In his first attempt at exacting vengeance, DeSantis announced that the state would step in and create an oversight board that would dissolve Disney’s autonomous tax district, one it has had for the past 55 years. The plan was to put a hand-picked board in place to cripple Disney’s control over its own business.
But due to some Mickey Mouse lawyering, a clause got stuck in the fine print that sidelined the transfer for about 100 years.
In what must surely be one of the most amusing examples of screw-you legal writing, the revenge-play by DeSantis was delayed “until 21 years after the death of the last survivor of the descendants of King Charles III, King of England.” So if you do the math, little Prince Louis, the youngest child of Prince William, Charles’ heir, will turn 5 years old this month.
If the little shaver lives to say, 80 years old, DeSantis’ won’t be able to unleash his oversight board’s reign of terror over Disney until the year 2119.
Omitted from Record's reprint is this sentence: DeSantis would be 140 years old by then, pending dramatic life-prolonging medical breakthroughs and miracle-strength anger-management medication.
Is it a crime to outfox the governor in Florida?
That’s a long time to wait for revenge. DeSantis didn’t take the news well.
He blustered some empty threats about bringing unspecified criminal charges against Disney World as if he were a booster-seat Banana Republic general wearing a colorful sash and chest full of self-bestowed military medals.
And then to talk about it, he scurried to Hillsdale College, a small backwards-thinking Christian redoubt that's 950 miles from Tallahassee -- which is an awful long way to go in search of a dictator-friendly audience.
We're going to look at things like taxes on the hotels,” he said. “We're going to look at things like tolls on the roads," he promised.
Governor Tolls' Wild Ride? That sounds like legislative murder-suicide.
For when Disney visitors pay a new toll to get in the park or an additional tax on their Disney hotel bill just because a soon-to-be former governor didn’t get complete acquiescence from a private company on a piece of legislation, they’re not going to blame Disney.
The real aim of "Don't Say Gay" law becoming more clear
The Parental Rights in Education bill was deceptively sold as protecting students from kindergarten to third-grade from being indoctrinated with “homosexuality and gender identity” being “injected” in the curriculum.
But there’s no sex education in elementary school, and parents have the ability to have their kids opt out of sex education in the other grades.
And now, the Florida Department of Education is adopting a rule to expand the “Don’t Say Gay” law by curtailing lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity in grades 4 through 12.
DeSantis keeps talking about the imaginary “grooming” of kindergarteners, rather than admitting the purpose of the law is to drive teenage LGBTQ students deeper in the closet by making their sexual orientation and gender identity shameful and unspoken.
Disney’s transgression is refusing to be DeSantis’s cheerleader in promoting state-sponsored bigotry.
"Do they have a, quote, First Amendment right to be advocating for gender ideology in kindergarten? Yeah, I guess," DeSantis said. "But what I can tell you is, under no circumstances should the state of Florida be subsidizing woke activism by allowing them to have their own government.
“So, we took it away."
Yes, you did. As soon as King Charles’ grandchildren die of old age, and an additional 21 years pass by, it’s all yours.