Tallahassee Billboard Wars: Succeed or Secede?

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: April 17, 2014 3:55 AM
Secede billboard
On Wednesday, Florida business and higher education leaders highlighted a new billboard in Tallahassee reading “Succeed Florida!” in opposition to a billboard launched by the League of the South earlier this year urging the Sunshine State to secede from the United States. The League of the South’s billboard is scheduled to come down this week. 

The new billboard is being backed by the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida (ICUF). The two groups teamed up on Wednesday to showcase a video on the new billboard.

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“There are some who would like to see Florida fail, and even break away from the rest of the country,”  said Mark Wilson, the president and CEO of the Florida Chamber. “At the Florida Chamber, we share their frustration with Washington, D.C., but seceding is not the answer.

“Instead, we must continue down the path that has opened doors of opportunity for Florida’s families and businesses,” Wilson added. “We are succeeding and we will continue to lead this nation back to prosperity.”

“In spite of what is happening in our nation’s capital, Floridians should be proud of the tremendous growth and accomplishment our state has achieved in recent years,” said Ed Moore, the president of ICUF. “Our country has always been known as the ‘land of opportunity’ and there’s no better place than Florida to pursue and attain your version of the American dream. Washington should take note of what we’re doing in Florida because we’ve got the right formula to prepare our students for successful careers, ensure there are ample employment opportunities to keep them in the state and help our businesses grow and thrive.”

Wilson and Moore pointed toward recent gains as Florida does better than most of the rest of the nation in economic recovery, including the state unemployment rate dropping to 6.1 percent and a growing job market.

The League of the South, which has been urging the South to leave the United States for two decades now, responded on Wednesday.

“It is indeed heartening to see Florida's economic success, especially in this day of widespread economic and financial hardship,” Michael Hill, the president of the League of the South, told Sunshine State News on Wednesday..“The Florida Chamber of Commerce and all those businesses that have made this happen indeed have a right to crow about this achievement. Congratulations!”

But Hill said there was a “bit of cognitive dissonance at work here” as Wilson and Moore celebrated Florida’s gains despite Washington’s interference.

“Why keep the economic millstone of Washington, D.C., around your neck when you could do even better without it?” Hill asked. “Why would Florida want an entity at best ‘stuck in neutral’ (many think it is going hard in reverse) acting as a drag on her already notable achievements, as pointed out by the Florida Chamber of Commerce? Upon reflection, the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s position makes no sense. What good does Washington, D.C., do for you, Mr. and Mrs. Floridian, except to tax you, regulate you, and otherwise punish hard work and initiative by its own wastefulness and ineptitude? We in the league think you can do even better on your own.

“But having said this about the economic issue, let us not forget that money is not everything," Hill added. “There is more to life than money and jobs and economic growth. The League of the South is concerned with all aspects of Southern life, not just the material aspect. Is the Florida Chamber of Commerce concerned about more than the state's ‘bottom line'?

“The League of the South's simple message to Floridians -- 'Secede' -- in this day of bloated, overweaning centralized government makes much more sense than the old ‘business as usual’ position of the Florida Chamber of Commerce,” Hill concluded. “Oftentimes, the future belongs to the bold and those willing to think and act outside the box. We in the League of the South offer this advice to the good people of the sovereign state of Florida: secede to succeed."

The League of the South launched its billboard earlier this year. Back in early March, the League of the South held a rally at the Capitol in Tallahassee, opposing U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., for sponsoring immigration reform at the federal level. The League of the South has drawn fire in its two decades of existence and has been classified as a hate group by the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatetnews.com.

Comments (11)

7:01PM APR 19TH 2014
I'm trying a different approach. Rather than have the United States break up into separate mini-Nations, I'm pushing for the U.S. to invite other countries to join us. Hawaii is a State, so why can't Israel, or Australia, or Mexico be a State of the U.S.? It would be good for our economy. Plus, if we're lucky, we could become the biggest country in the world, overnight.
9:49AM APR 23RD 2014
You're kidding-right? How would adding significantly more debt be a positive move for our already bankrupt nation? I hope that this was "Tongue in Cheek" and assuming that it was
11:26PM APR 17TH 2014
Sometimes, SSN acts like a flame for white supremacist moths (see below) . . . . all that's missing is a weird little man with a funny little moustache . . . .

Pathetic . . . .
Nathan Blevins
7:27PM APR 17TH 2014
Secede to Succeed: it's got a great ring to it, and just think: by the Chamber of Commerce lamely pitching the same tired, old, ineffective, surrendering approach to our mutual problems.....they've helped spawn an even better meme for secession!

Thanks to the CoC for the inspiration! And thanks to Dr. Hill for being quick on his toes in coming up with it!
Paul Jones
5:19PM APR 17TH 2014
Secession is a form of self-determination, and as such is a fundamental human right.

The US government recently pushed for the South Sudan to secede from the North, but denies the same dignity to its own people!
Brad Griffin
4:24PM APR 17TH 2014
I think Jews and Arabs are both the enemies of the White Southern people! I say nuke them both!
2:27PM APR 17TH 2014
Who knows . . . . maybe they were encouraged by Ted Yoho's current declaration that he's not sure the 50-year old Civil Rights Act is constitutional . . . . . . . or other GOP thoughtless comments . . . .

The far right . . . . . frequently clueless over their provided support for continuing racism . . . . and, along with encouraged white supremacists, . . . clearly . . .

Pathetic . . . .
its all about Jeb and Common Core
1:22PM APR 17TH 2014
If Jeb's Common Core is so great why are they running TV ads on Fox pushing Common Core? Why are they using persons who say they are teachers on these ads telling everyone how great CC is and how its designed to enhance the students skills? Why would teacher's promote something that along with Charter School conversions and anti-union movements is designed to put them out of work?

CC began just like ObamaCare! No one on the outside knew what was in it - they had to adopt it to find out what was in it and the got rewarded with Obama's 2009 Stimulus and Race to the Top Grants!

Now we know it is loaded with Pearson Publishing required reading PRENTICE HALL WORLD HISTORY lauds the history of ISLAM while little on Christianity. Now we know CC is programming for America's youth to prepare for the New World Order.

Why did they Copyright COMMON CORE? How can Rick Scott change the name of CC and still use the standards if it is Copyrighted?

When the Florida Chamber of Commerce is involved in something you can believe whatever it is will be corrupted by politicians on the left and right!
Teacher Resigns over Uncommon Common Core
1:48PM APR 17TH 2014
Teacher Pauline Hawkins is resigning from Liberty High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Here’s her resignation letter:

Dear Administrators, Superintendent, et al.:

This is my official resignation letter from my English teaching position.
I’m sad to be leaving a place that has meant so much to me. This was my first teaching job. For eleven years I taught in these classrooms, I walked these halls, and I befriended colleagues, students, and parents alike. This school became part of my family, and I will be forever connected to this community for that reason.
I am grateful for having had the opportunity to serve my community as a teacher. I met the most incredible people here. I am forever changed by my brilliant and compassionate colleagues and the incredible students I’ve had the pleasure of teaching.
I know I have made a difference in the lives of my students, just as they have irrevocably changed mine. Teaching is the most rewarding job I have ever had. That is why I am sad to leave the profession I love.
Even though I am primarily leaving to be closer to my family, if my family were in Colorado, I would not be able to continue teaching here. As a newly single mom, I cannot live in this community on the salary I make as a teacher. With the effects of the pay freeze still lingering and Colorado having one of the lowest yearly teaching salaries in the nation, it has become financially impossible for me to teach in this state.
Along with the salary issue, ethically, I can no longer work in an educational system that is spiraling downwards while it purports to improve the education of our children.
I began my career just as No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was gaining momentum. The difference between my students then and now is unmistakable. Regardless of grades or test scores, my students from five to eleven years ago still had a sense of pride in whom they were and a self-confidence in whom they would become someday. Sadly, that type of student is rare now. Every year I have seen a decline in student morale; every year I have more and more wounded students sitting in my classroom, more and more students participating in self-harm and bullying. These children are lost and in pain.
It is no coincidence that the students I have now coincide with the NCLB movement twelve years ago–and it’s only getting worse with the new legislation around Race to the Top.
I have sweet, incredible, intelligent children sitting in my classroom who are giving up on their lives already. They feel that they only have failure in their futures because they’ve been told they aren’t good enough by a standardized test; they’ve been told that they can’t be successful because they aren’t jumping through the right hoops on their educational paths. I have spent so much time trying to reverse those thoughts, trying to help them see that education is not punitive; education is the only way they can improve their lives. But the truth is, the current educational system is punishing them for their inadequacies, rather than helping them discover their unique talents; our educational system is failing our children because it is not meeting their needs.
I can no longer be a part of a system that continues to do the exact opposite of what I am supposed to do as a teacher–I am supposed to help them think for themselves, help them find solutions to problems, help them become productive members of society. Instead, the emphasis on Common Core Standards and high-stakes testing is creating a teach-to-the-test mentality for our teachers and stress and anxiety for our students. Students have increasingly become hesitant to think for themselves because they have been programmed to believe that there is one right answer that they may or may not have been given yet. That is what school has become: A place where teachers must give students “right” answers, so students can prove (on tests riddled with problems, by the way) that teachers have taught students what the standards have deemed to be a proper education.
As unique as my personal situation might be, I know I am not the only teacher feeling this way. Instead of weeding out the “bad” teachers, this evaluation system will continue to frustrate the teachers who are doing everything they can to ensure their students are graduating with the skills necessary to become civic minded individuals. We feel defeated and helpless: If we speak out, we are reprimanded for not being team players; if we do as we are told, we are supporting a broken system.
Since I’ve worked here, we have always asked the question of every situation: “Is this good for kids?” My answer to this new legislation is, “No. This is absolutely not good for kids.” I cannot stand by and watch this happen to our precious children–our future. The irony is I cannot fight for their rights while I am working in the system. Therefore, I will not apply for another teaching job anywhere in this country while our government continues to ruin public education. Instead, I will do my best to be an advocate for change. I will continue to fight for our children’s rights for a free and proper education because their very lives depend upon it.
My final plea as a district employee is that the principals and superintendent ask themselves the same questions I have asked myself: “Is this good for kids? Is the state money being spent wisely to keep and attract good teachers? Can the district do a better job of advocating for our children and become leaders in this educational system rather than followers?” With my resignation, I hope to inspire change in the district I have come to love. As Benjamin Franklin once said: “All mankind is divided into three classes: Those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move.” I want to be someone who moves and makes things happen. Which one do you want to be?
1:16PM APR 17TH 2014
Im no fan of this League if the South, but secession IS the answer. At least half the country supports socialism. How can you combat that with voting? The founders believed that they had a duty to abolish govt when it became destructive of individual rights. A billboard does nothing.
C Breeze
8:47AM APR 17TH 2014
THAT's ALL "Business & Education" could come up with?!?!?...a poor "play on words"??? A mind is a terrible thing to waste (especially supposedly "highly educated minds"...). Compounded "thinkers" without a comprehensive thought in their collective minds is also terrible thing...

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