Florida is a fabulous place to live, and it's getting better.
Here are ten reasons why people should be thankful they call the Sunshine State home.
1. Panhandle politics. The conservative traditions of North Florida serve as a vital counterweight to those of the People's Democratic Republics of Broward and South Palm Beach Counties, making Florida a centrist state.
2. South Florida politics. Ditto to No. 1, but in reverse.
3. A growing population.
Sure, lots of residents gripe about too much traffic, but people provide the critical mass for some really good things. World class medical care, improving higher education, superb entertainment, and a selection of restaurants second to none are all the result of an expanding population.
4.If it's going to happen, it's going to happen here.
Take, for example, the Elian Gonzalez saga, the 2000 botched election and the Miriam Oliphant tragicomedy. Stories like these keep life interesting in Florida, and particularly South Florida. If aliens were to arrive from outer space, they no doubt would land on Fort Lauderdale Beach.
5. Low taxes, and in particular, no personal income tax. People are justifiably angry at the rapid rise in property taxes. But they need to look beyond their annual TRIM notices. Overall, Florida ranks 38th out of the 50 states in taxation, which is one reason its economy is resilient.
6. The rainy season.
The fall colors in the North are magnificent to look at, but so are the incredible cloud formations during Florida's summer. Of course there's a hurricane threat. That comes with living in the tropics.
But judging from the last two hurricane seasons, the prognosticators who predicted Florida would be blown off the map are beginning to look like Chicken Little.
7. A laid-back attitude, at least for most Floridians. They've learned not to take life too seriously, which is why the state tends not to produce political maniacs like Howard Dean.
8. Reasonably honest government. Florida isn't Louisiana.
9. The Florida Marlins. Despite their current woes, they've given South Florida two World Series.
10. Year-round golf. Need I say more?Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times