"From dawn to midnight, Crist is a money-raising phenom. He has collected more than $8.8 million for his campaign in just nine months. That's $2.1 million more than Tom Gallagher, his rival for the GOP nomination. And Crist has spent half as much, leaving him $8.26 million to Gallagher's $5.75 million. Meaning Crist enters the months leading up to the Sept. 5 primary with a $2.5 million cash lead over Gallagher. Some political strategists, both Republican and Democratic, say the lead is so enormous that Gallagher will have to be more frugal, more tactical and more aggressive if he wants to overcome Crist's cash advantage." "Crist's cash cushion a challenge for Gallagher".
"The legislative session is in the home stretch, drawing to a close May 5. Unlike the frenzy last year over the Terri Schiavo case, nuts-and-bolts issues such as homeowners insurance and tax policy have been lawmakers' focus this year. It's also Gov. Jeb Bush's last legislative session. Bills usually pass committees in the House and Senate, then are approved by the full chambers before being signed into law by the governor. But leaders such as Senate President Tom Lee and House Speaker Allan Bense can allow last-minute amendments, and Bush can veto bills he doesn't like." "Crunch Time In Tallahassee".
Bush Appointee "Disgraced Himself
Another fine appointee:
Tunnell, a Bush appointee, disgraced himself and his agency's reputation by his handling of the Anderson case, which occurred at the very boot camp Tunnell started when he was the Bay County sheriff. There are also allegations that he made disparaging remarks against African-American leaders who protested Anderson's treatment."Juvenile Justice".
"A man on Florida's Death Row for killing a police officer says the state's execution method can cause excruciating pain. The [SCOTUS] will hear arguments Wednesday." "State's execution method disputed". See also "Florida's lethal-injection process" and "What the Supreme Court will consider".
"All-out campaign" By Wexler Against Slosberg
"Bad news for local Democrats hoping for a quick or quiet end to intraparty hostilities between U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler and state Rep. Irving Slosberg: Wexler seems ready to wage the kind of all-out campaign against Slosberg he did two years ago against former elections chief Theresa LePore." "Commentary: Tensions rise as Wexler turns up heat on Slosberg".
Jebbie's "Vanity Legislation" and His "Real Legacy"
"Despite the many necessary housekeeping items, these [education] bills amount to vanity legislation designed to cement the outgoing Gov. Bush's education 'legacy.'"
Bush claims to be for limited government, but when it comes to education, he always thinks Tallahassee knows best. The most sweeping example, in the House bill, would let the governor take over any district deemed to be "in a state of educational emergency." But the governor's real legacy - insufficient budgets, unconstitutional voucher programs, obsessive reliance on high-stakes testing - threaten to turn all of Florida into a state of educational emergency."He majors in tinkering".
The Sun-Sentinel editorial board:
If people of modest means can't afford to serve in the Florida Legislature, that lawmaking body cannot be truly representative of the population it serves. Floridians who prefer a "citizen legislature" to one consisting mostly of wealthy lawyers and businessmen should support a proposal to raise legislative salaries from $30,000 to $50,000 a year."Bill would raise legislative pay".
13th Congressional District
Jan "Schneider said last week that she went to the Supervisor of Elections office and found out it would be pretty simple to dump her Democratic registration after a lifetime of being with the party. ... Schneider is one of seven candidates -- including three Democrats -- running to replace U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris, R-Longboat Key, in the 13th Congressional District. Schneider says the national party seems to lack direction and has been meddling in her primary battle with fellow Democrat Christine Jennings, a retired Sarasota banker. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rahm Emanuel, the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, are among the national leaders who have given money to Jennings for the 2006 campaign. Schneider decided to stay a Democrat".
In the meantime,
Tonight, Schneider is scheduled to be a guest on "The Colbert Report," a late-night comedy show on Comedy Central."Schneider gets air time".
Schneider said she expects to have a laugh about the party's lack of direction in Washington with Stephen Colbert, the snarky host of the 30-minute program that airs at 11:30 p.m.
"Concerned Citizen[s]" or Paranoid Wingnuts?
"E-mail landed Truth Project on Pentagon's 'credible' threat list":
With the zap of a single e-mail, a group of graying peaceniks known as The Truth Project was catapulted into the clutches of the mightiest military power on earth."The Pentagon has since apologized — but why The Truth Project's two dozen or so middle-age members were considered a credible threat has remained a mystery. Unlike other, more visible protest groups, they worked within government channels — politely requesting Palm Beach County school system permission to spread their message on campus. The military now says The Truth Project was brought to the Pentagon's attention by a 'concerned citizen' who dispatched an e-mail on Nov. 13, 2004.".
The group and its activities — mostly handing out leaflets at local high schools and meeting at Lake Worth's Quaker Meeting House — were branded a "credible" potential threat by the Pentagon, its existence posted in a secret electronic gallery of suspected terrorists.
"Leadership training needs funds".
"Lawmakers singing from wrong hymnal"
"Somewhere along the line, the road to Tallahassee got confused with the road to Damascus. That's the only way to explain the strange forgetfulness that drifts over some lawmakers once the campaign signs have come down and the next legislative session is in sight. Was it voters who put them into office, or something more . . . divine?" "The (un)anointed".
In "Governor: We need cash for rainy day", we are reminded that "much of the new cash swelling state coffers stems from Florida's hot housing market and rebuilding from the eight hurricanes that slapped the state during the past two years."
"Housing crisis? Legislative leaders don't think so"
"Judging by events of the past week, legislative leaders are unmoved by arguments to scrap a monetary cap on a state trust fund that helps working Floridians become homeowners." "Housing crisis?"
Private School Grants
"Lawmakers, public colleges split on private school grants".
"Count House Speaker Allan Bense among those conservative Republicans who see wisdom in giving voters a chance to help themselves out of the state's transportation morass by adding just $2 to the daily cost of renting a car." "A needed option".
"Florida lawmakers may resist a bailout of Citizens Property Insurance Corp., but it's the right thing to do. Otherwise, homeowners socked by skyrocketing insurance premiums will be forced to pay even more to resolve the deficit facing the state's insurer of last resort." "Use Hurricane Windfall To Fix State-Run Insurance Pool".
"Florida lawmakers are running short on time to patch a hole in the First Amendment created by some misguided state-court rulings. Their failure to act could pinch the flow of information vital to a vibrant democracy." "Let the truth be told".
Conservation Spending Stagnant
Despite all Jebbie's blather,
The state has not increased funding for land acquisition since it launched its land-buying program - now called Florida Forever - in 1990. It issues $300 million a year in bonds, which are paid back from documentary stamp taxes on the sales of stocks, bonds and real estate."Invest More In Saving Natural Florida".
Class Size Money Diverted With State's Approval
From yesterday's Orlando Sentinel: "State officials complain that Florida can't afford the cost of reducing class sizes in public schools, but hundreds of millions of dollars designated for that purpose during the past three years has been diverted to other education expenses." Hundreds of millions were diverted from class size reduction, "even as Gov. Jeb Bush and other opponents of class-size limits approved by voters were warning that the process was getting too expensive." This diversion occured, "all with the state's blessing" letting "Jeb!" and his cronies create the false impression that hundreds of millions have been spent to reduce class size, supporting the (specious) argument that reducing class size is just too expensive. "Money to cut size of classes is diverted" ("The DOE report indicates officials knew that not all of the money allocated for new teachers was going for its stated purpose of making classes smaller.")
In the meantime,
[a]s lawmakers consider how to allocate funds to implement the class-size amendment, they should remember this: The overwhelming support for the initiative was a primal scream from voters calling for public schools to improve. If small classes are good for private schools -- they are, in fact, a primary selling point -- then they can be good for public schools, too. The amendment may, indeed, be a blunt, rigid instrument by which to achieve the goal of smaller classes. But residents are interested in the result -- better public schools. This is what lawmakers have to deliver."Revisiting class-size, flush with money".
And, as the Orlando Sentinel piece makes clear, the Legislature might want to ensure that the class size money actually goes to class size reduction.