DeSantis Marches On

Governor Ron DeSantis had a busy day yesterday. He followed through on last year’s legislation that ended the Disney Corporation’s unique self-governing status through the Reedy Creek Improvement District. The Orlando Sentinel reports:

A notice published on Osceola County’s website on Friday states that lawmakers will take up legislation “increasing state oversight, accountability, and transparency” of the district, which gives Disney quasi-government control over its theme park properties in Florida.
“The corporate kingdom has come to an end,” said Taryn Fenske, a DeSantis spokeswoman. “Under the proposed legislation, Disney will no longer control its own government, will live under the same laws as everyone else, will be responsible for their outstanding debts, and will pay their fair share of taxes. Imposing a state-controlled board will also ensure that Orange County cannot use this issue as a pretext to raise taxes on Orange County residents.”

Disney’s arrangement with Florida was unusual, to say the least. But DeSantis’s and the Florida legislature’s actions also reflect growing concern over questionable ties between government and big business.

More interesting still was DeSantis’s move to remake the New College of Florida. The New College is part of the Florida state system; it is designated as an “honors” college but has a tiny enrollment of a little over 800 undergraduates. DeSantis wants to shake things up:

Gov. Ron DeSantis has appointed conservative activist Christopher Rufo and five others to the New College of Florida Board of Trustees in his continuing move to eliminate “political ideology” from public higher education.

Putting Rufo on the board is sheer genius.

In a statement Friday, DeSantis Communications Director Taryn Fenske said New College has been “completely captured by a political ideology that puts trendy, truth-relative concepts above learning.”

“Starting today, the ship is turning around,” DeSantis Press Secretary Bryan Griffin continued. “New College of Florida, under the Governor’s new appointees, will be refocused on its founding mission of providing a world-class quality education with an exceptional focus on the classics.”

In addition to Rufo, DeSantis appointed Emory professor Mark Bauerlein, our friend Charles Kesler of Claremont-McKenna, Florida lawyer Debra Jenks, Jason “Eddie” Speir, co-founder of Inspiration Academy, and Matthew Spalding, dean of Hillsdale College’s Graduate School of Government.

This is great:

“It is our hope that New College of Florida will become Florida’s classical college, more along the lines of a Hillsdale of the South,” DeSantis Chief of Staff James Uthmeier said in a statement.

Of course, New College is public and Hillsdale is a private college that accepts no government money, so you can only push the analogy so far. But we get the drift.

And all of this came only a couple of days after DeSantis directed Florida’s state colleges and universities to compile lists of programs and activities relating to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Critical Race Theory in advance of the 2023 Legislative Session. Which prompted much wailing and gnashing of teeth on the Left.

When events in Washington get too depressing, turning our attention to Florida always cheers us up.

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