"As fundraising numbers for the first quarter of this year start to dribble out, two quick conclusions: Rod Smith kept close to front-runner Jim Davis in the Democratic primary; and Charlie Crist probably outdistanced Tom Gallagher in the GOP primary. 'Probably' because Gallagher didn't announce his numbers - they'll come out this week - and Crist did." "Candidates Weigh Their War Chests".
The Sun Sentinel has "decided to move Buddy [Nevins] off the political beat permanently because ... his independence has been compromised." "Journalistic independence key to credibility". See also "So Long, Buddy Nevins".
Kudos to The Daily Pulp, which has been on to Nevins for months, particularly with "The Party's Over" and "Onward Cristian Soldier". See also "A Kane or a Crutch?" and " What Was He Thinking?"
Despite Katherine Harris' struggles in her bid for a U.S. Senate seat, and despite the eagerness of Republican Party leaders for a different candidate, it's growing less likely as the days pass that a major GOP primary challenger will emerge."Harris Challenge Seems Unlikely". Yesterday, with John McCain visiting Florida, Harris:
emphasized her independence from the "Washington elites" in talks on the campaign trail Saturday and got at best lukewarm support from McCain in return."McCain Says Vote Will Happen". See also "Harris's focus back on issues, not process".
Asked whether he supports her, McCain said, "If she's the nominee of the party, I would support her."
Asked whether she can beat Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson, he said, "I think so, but I'm not an expert on the nuances of Florida Senate race in April."
News Flash: Crist Is "Anti-murder"
"Gubernatorial candidates are using the legislative session to stake out issues that will garner good press for their campaigns. Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist wants the public to know he is 'anti-murder.'" "Hopefuls back bills that yield campaign benefits".
"Windstorm of anger"
"Angered by spiraling windstorm insurance costs, Keys residents are taking their arguments to Tallahassee and Washington." "Insurance-rate hike causes a windstorm of anger and action".
GOoPer Sewage Fight
"Two Republican lawmakers from the coastal county are at loggerheads over a bill that seeks to tighten regulations over the way gambling cruise ships dispose of sewage and wastewater." "Sewage from cruises to nowhere leads to nasty political squabble".
Tourism Storm Clouds
"A lot of hotel rooms are mysteriously empty over in Tourism World. ... Could it be that after years of dramatically increasing prices, the theme parks and hotels are approaching the pain threshold beyond which tourists are hesitant to spend?" "Record tax take masks growing vacancy rates".
"Just as progress is being realized, federal funds could now be in jeopardy. Gov. Jeb Bush, who leaves office early next year, is lobbying to cease federal court oversight that came from a 1992 settlement reached after the federal government sued the state for not abiding by its own clean water standards." "State seeks Everglades project's autonomy".
One Man's "Perspective" on Harris
"In the company of Larry King, Sean Hannity and Katherine Harris, Liza [Minnelli] came across as the most rational person on the screen."
An eerie sight the other night: On Fox News, Katherine Harris was explaining to her personal interviewer, Sean Hannity, how she intended to invigorate her imploding U.S. Senate campaign: "I'm going to put everything on the line. Everything. Not just my future and my reputation. My father's name. I'm going to take his legacy that he gave to me, everything that I have, and I'm going to put it in this race. I'm going to commit my legacy for my father: $10-million." Harris put on a brave show, but even Hannity seemed rattled by her jumpy demeanor. The left side of Harris' face was frozen in a tight grin, while the right side seemed to be twitching to free itself from something tied behind her ear."Making Liza sane".
"Three months after Florida launched a statewide voter registration system, some election supervisors complain of problems that range from temporary shutdowns to a lack of information about dead voters and felons." "Felons, dead haunt new voter database".
"Bribe' charge defined by race, status"
Anyone who still thinks that Palm Beach County Commissioner Addie Greene took a "bribe" for her decisive vote on Scripps hasn't been reading The Post for the past few weeks.See what Schultz is talking about in today's colums, "Bribe' charge defined by race, status".
In February, finding herself as the swing vote on where Scripps would go, Commissioner Greene asked all the competitors what they could do for her minority constituents. The group backing the Jupiter site offered the most - $8 million to spread the Scripps-related benefits. None of that money will go to Commissioner Greene, who made no secret of asking for the contribution.
Two weeks ago, however, Post reporters S.V. DÃ¡te and Jennifer Sorentrue revealed what looks very much like a payback to state Sen. Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie, in return for a favor. Last Sunday, Tom Dubocq exposed what looks very much like an insider land deal that benefited Palm Beach County Commission Chairman Tony Masilotti's family. Unlike Commissioner Greene, the two men did not disclose any of this to the public. In fact, Commissioner Masilotti did all that he could to keep his family's deal secret. It came out only because of his divorce.
Yet of the three, only Commissioner Greene is facing an ethics complaint, most likely in the unrealistic hope of invalidating her Scripps vote and moving the site. Not only is she innocent, there's nothing the public doesn't know about what she did. But there is much the public doesn't know about what Sen. Pruitt and Commissioner Masilotti did.
Making "an unfair system worse"
The Tampa Trib editorial board:
The Florida Legislature will make an unfair system worse if it rushes ahead with short-sighted proposals to change how property is taxed."Right State Tax Policy Will Decrease Inequities".
Senate President Tom Lee should put the brakes on attempts to send any constitutional amendment on taxes to voters. Instead, he should appoint a panel of experts, taxpayer advocates and lawmakers who can compromise on thoughtful reforms that protect all homeowners, not just those who stay put.
The most dangerous change lawmakers are considering would allow homeowners to transfer existing tax shelters to newly purchased properties. Other proposals would double the homestead exemption, dictate tax rates to cities and counties, and apply a tax cap to all properties.
News Flash: Gallagher Is Married
"The man leading an effort to prevent gays from getting married made it clear he wants the next governor to be married." "Gallagher woos social conservatives".
This probably was the unintended consequence of attempting to be politically cutesie-wootsie."Nice Try, Guys, But In The End, It Was Just Gas".
In response to a column this week suggesting her U.S. Senate campaign had turned into the "Weekend at Bernie's" of the body politic, apparatchiks in the service of Rep. Katherine Harris, R-Crash Cart, sent over a red and blue balloon bouquet to this space at the Ministry of Truth on Tuesday afternoon.
Frankly, this space would have been more impressed had the Harris crowd sent a case of Dewar's, but it's understandable the campaign workers would want to horde all the booze they can during the coming months.
They're gonna need it a lot more than the scribbling class.
Accompanying the balloons was a brief note suggesting they represented a rebirth of the Harris campaign, said to be rising ever higher, along with the candidate's poll numbers, in her quest to unseat incumbent goody-two-shoes Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Makes Mother Teresa Look Like a Wanton Hussy.
"The Florida Department of Children and Families has been called many things over the years. Add a new adjective to describe this troubled bureaucracy: conniving. With very little fanfare, and no genuine public vetting, the department reached an agreement with the federal Administration for Children and Families to change the way the state handles child-welfare services for abused and neglected children." "State lawmakers should scuttle this backroom deal".
"Pick Tampa For GOP Convention".
"That's got to hurt"
"She's got guts and what she wants is to be a Florida senator. She made that known in 2004, when Bob Graham retired. But her party told the former Jeb Bush protégé to let Mel Martinez run. She did, and he won. They say she was promised next time around, in 2006, she could run against Bill Nelson."Feminists for Katherine Harris".
"This week, Governor Bush is hinting she should pull out of the race, although the woman paid her dues big time. Now, if she can't trust her party to keep its word, she's got to feel she's being discriminated against, and she doesn't deserve it. That's got to hurt."
You Don't Think
"McCain says 2006 in Florida is important for 2008 election".