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COLUMN

Happytown: A requieum for a Twinkie, more on elections aftermath

Hostess goes out of business and takes 280 Orlando jobs with it, Gov. Rick Scott demands some answers about who made this elections mess, the final tallies on the amendment votes

Photo: , License: N/A

Photo: , License: N/A


At least four amendments were proposed to HB 1355 – one by our own outgoing state Rep. Scott Randolph – that predicted this conundrum rather neatly. None of those amendments were passed. That hasn't stopped others from pressing the issue again for next year's legislative session. In a bill announced on Wednesday, state Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, intends to press for restoring the early voting days back to 14 and allowing non-federal buildings to be utilized for that polling.

"Florida was the laughingstock of the nation again this year when it came to voting," Rouson said at a Nov. 14 press conference also attended by tan, party-hopping machine Charlie Crist. "We ought to be tired of that." We are!

Speaking of shit sandwiches, you may have smelled a lot of mold last week when things came to a head between corporate and union interests involved in some sort of yeast infraction at the local Merita bread plant. Merita, which is a subsidiary of Hostess (Twinkies! Wonder Bread!), employs hundreds at its odorous Orlando warehouse on Division Street, some of whom were taking part in a nationwide strike against Hostess because of the company's apparent disregard for agreed-upon pension and salary agreements. News spread that if said striking employees – members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union, both nationally and locally – did not return to work by 5 p.m. on Nov. 15, the company would have to stomp on a Twinkie and shut down. A bit of David and Goliath followed, with the union basically standing its ground because Hostess has bluffed before, and then it happened: On Nov. 16, Hostess went through with the shut-down plan to can 18,500 employees nationwide.

What may have been lost in the obvious metaphor of an economy in the shitter is the fact that Hostess, a company that had filed for bankruptcy back in January (for the second time!) with assets of nearly $1 billion, was already in the process of restructuring, with Merita most certainly going up for sale. Back in August, the Associated Press reported as much, and according to the union, the rest of the Hostess brands were hotly tipped to follow. So, basically the whole corporate chorus of Papa John's/Denny's woes suited Hostess' inevitable public bow, so the company decided to take one last jab at labor to make itself look duly victimized. Nobody wins! Happy Thanksgiving.

Amendments Results

Despite what seemed like an orchestrated attempt to confuse people into voting for a bunch of things they didn't really want, the state failed to pass eight of the 11 constitutional amendments it put on the ballot this year. People keep asking us what the tallies were on the ballot-amendment votes, and we aim to please, so here's the breakdown in voting percentages. Remember, to pass, an amendment needed to get 60 percent of the vote:

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