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Chan Lowe: Another specialty car tag

tag.gifThe only bill that the Florida Legislature is required by law to pass every session is the state budget. That august body, however, never fails to produce a few self-generated doozies on the side.

Figuring that 114 specialty car tags were already enough, the legislature had actually placed a moratorium on future plates in a past session, but this one was special: It celebrated Hispanic heritage in an election year.

We’re talking about millions of potential voters here, so we might as well just toss the rules in the basura.

I have nothing against “Hispanic Achievers,” as the legend on the new tag reads. Lord knows Florida has plenty of them. But I fear it unintentionally creates a whole class of newly aggrieved minorities, to wit: Polish Achievers, Micronesian Achievers and Achievers from the Maldives, to cite but a few.

They did show enough sense to water down the original slogan from "Hispanics Discovered Florida," to "Since 1513 helping communities prosper.” The original wording implied that all the Indians living here before Ponce de Leon came along were just sitting around, waiting to be legitimized by white Europeans.

And then there’s the illustration of the sailing vessel, which looks suspiciously like the Santa Maria. Unless I’m mistaken, she was captained by an Italian Achiever.

At least they left the Maltese Cross emblems off the sails. Their inclusion would, no doubt, have engendered a round of lawsuits from the ACLU.

Knowing the leanings of this legislature, it was probably an oversight.

Categories: Culture Wars (199), Florida Issues (258)
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Gov Crist,

I am writing this letter to express my vehement opposition to the Hispanic Achievers license plate.

Every ethnic group in the US has contributed greatly to its success. Why one ethnicity has been able to catapult themselves to the top of the list through nothing other than legislative fiat is beyond me.

Do the proponents of this really expect us to believe that it's only being done because of Ponce de Leon stumbling upon St Augustine in 1513? Please, that's just an excuse.

It is way past time that the various ethnic groups in this country stopped being pandered to. The continued pandering to and singling out of one group over the others is contributing to a nasty divide in this country. The country is a melting pot, not a salad bowl.

This license plate is obnoxious and smacks of ethnic chauvanism and superiority. I am hoping that you will show some leadership a la Gov Brewer and veto the bill approving this plate. If you're having trouble making a decision, just ask yourself what would happen if a bill with a license plate that says "European Achievers" or "White Achievers" would have made it this far? You'd veto it in a heartbeat; I would expect nothing less of you in this case.


No wonder the government is a mess, all this over a license plate. I say go back to the basic one for the states, all states!, and be done with all this waste!

I rarely agree with other blogs anywhere, but you, "Florida Native", have hit the nail on the head.

Stop the madness. Eliminate all "cause" plates. One state, one plate.

If we are going to create antihero license plate, let's make sure that is something that we call all get behind: teachers,universities, manatees.

Creating a plate for one ethnic group is bound to cause problems. This is pandering to the highest degree. As the article states, especially in an election year. Politicians prove again that they don't care about anyone but themselves.

hold on a second, this is brilliant. Let the Hispanics have this Hispanic Achievement plate and wait till Florida passes an Arizona bill and they get stopped frequently to have their papers checked.

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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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