Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Gov. Ron DeSantis clears a way to revoke Disney’s special district in Florida. (NY Times)

My late friend, Larry Tucker, was the first person who ever told me about the Reedy Creek Improvement District. Larry was a wise former Tallahassee lobbyist for rural health care and Farm Bureau, formerly a youthful UPI journalist in North Carolina and LBH's White House, former Florida newspaper publisher, retired Democratic political consultant, talented photographer and great storyteller.

No one ever challenged the Reedy Creek Improvement District, until Disney opposed oppression by the RONALD DION DeSANTIS GANG.

The Reedy Creek Improvement District was left alone for six decades. 

Then Disney dared stand up for LGBTQ rights against the demonic demagogic anti-democratic Governor RONALD DION DeSANTIS, whose confession of retaliatory motives will likely lead federal courts to conclude he went too far.

Rather than Disney "crossing a line" -- one of the insecure, insincere, whiny  tBoy Governor's own creation --- I predict the federal courts will hold that DeSANTIS crossed a line. 

Corporations are jural persons, clothed with First Amendment rights. 

DeSANTIS and his  Flori-DUH legislature are fixing to get a legal education, one that obviously escaped this hobbledehoy in our employ when he was at Harvard Law Schoo.

From The New York Times:

Gov. Ron DeSantis clears a way to revoke Disney’s special district in Florida.

Having criticized the company’s stand on a law restricting classroom discussion of sexual identity, he expanded a special session of the Legislature to target Disney World’s self-governing privileges.

A district approved in 1967 allows Disney World to control its 25,000 acres near Orlando, Fla., like a municipal government.
Credit...Eve Edelheit for The New York Times
A district approved in 1967 allows Disney World to control its 25,000 acres near Orlando, Fla., like a municipal government.

In a move widely seen as retaliation, Gov. Ron DeSantis asked Florida lawmakers on Tuesday to consider the “termination” of self-governing privileges that Disney World has held in the Orlando area for 55 years. He acted after Disney, the state’s largest private employer, paused political donations in Florida and condemned a new state education law that opponents call “Don’t Say Gay.”

The Florida Legislature had already been scheduled to convenethis week for a special session on congressional redistricting. On Tuesday, Mr. DeSantis, a Republican, issued a proclamation allowing the Republican-controlled body to also take up bills that would eliminate special tax districts that were created before 1968.

Florida has hundreds of such districts, but almost all were set up after that date — with one of the exceptions covering Disney World. It was put together in 1967 and essentially allows the megaresort, which employs roughly 80,000 people, to function as its own municipal government.

Disney’s special zone is called the Reedy Creek Improvement District and gives the company considerable control over the planning and permitting process for construction on its 25,000-acre property, including road building. Reedy Creek also levies taxes on Disney to pay for the resort’s own fire and medical response battalions, among other services. Disney World even generates some of its own electricity through Reedy Creek.

Mr. DeSantis and Disney began to publicly spar last month after the company condemned the Parental Rights in Education law, which among many things restricts discussion about sexual orientation and gender identity in Florida classrooms.

“Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the Legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that,” Disney said on March 28, when Mr. DeSantis signed the legislation into law. (Disney had initially tried not to take a side on the measure, at least publicly, which prompted an employee revolt.)

In response, Mr. DeSantis took aim at Disney, chiding it as “woke” and sending a fund-raising email to supporters saying it had “lost any moral authority to tell you what to do.” A couple of Florida legislators then began threatening to revoke Disney World’s special tax district.

Disney declined to comment on Tuesday’s development.

Brooks Barnes is a media and entertainment reporter, covering all things Hollywood. He joined The Times in 2007 as a business reporter focused primarily on the Walt Disney Company. He previously worked for The Wall Street Journal.

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