"Expect road closures, traffic detours, crowded restaurants and plenty of security officers if Tampa hosts the Republican National Convention in 2008. Expect to see the Tampa Bay area's sunshine and sand showcased on national television, granting the region enough media exposure to lure more tourists and conventions here for years to come. Expect plenty of protesters, arrests and perhaps vandalism." "Conventional Wisdom For City".
The PBP reports that "FCAT reading scores for 10th-graders in two of three local school districts have not fallen as fast as the rest of the state." "As 10th-grade scores lag, sophomores wail: Reading makes 'em weep".
"Potential that they may profit personally"
"In a state fueled by booming land development, hundreds of public officials from top state leaders to small-town mayors make critical government decisions about roads, schools and growth while also managing their personal land deals and investments -- with the potential that they may profit personally." "Lawmakers as landowners". See also "Weak law, vague forms leave taxpayers in dark" ("State ethics panel is unable to check out officials' assets unless a complaint is filed.")
"AFSCME goes with a joint endorsement of Democratic gubernatorial candidates Jim Davis and Rod Smith." "Joint AFSCME Endorsement".
"Both sides of the gay marriage ban issue have criticized Sen. Bill Nelson for his moderate approach to the issue." "Both sides chide Nelson for his same-sex stance".
"An unhealthy obsession with control"
"Campaigning in staunchly conservative Brevard and Indian River counties Saturday, Davis said Florida voters should loosen the Republican grip on Tallahassee because it has created 'an unhealthy obsession with control.'" "Davis asks voters to divide state's power".
Troxler: "Until now, Florida's teachers have overwhelmingly opposed change. It will be interesting to see, once a sizable chunk of them are getting that extra 5 percent or better, how unified that opposition remains." "Changing the way we pay teachers". See also "While Imperfect, Teacher Pay Plans Get Conversation Started".
Houston Chronicle: "Jeb Bush silent on political future".
"Less than two years after naming him as the nation's first condominium ombudsman, Gov. Jeb Bush has fired Virgil Rizzo and replaced him with a Department of Health attorney with no known condo law experience." "Bush fires condo watchdog who became thorn in the side". See also "Bush names health department attorney as new condo ombudsman".
Charlie Walks Fine Line
"The GOP gubernatorial candidate blames his opponent for the state’s ills, but sidesteps his own role as a Cabinet officer."
His attack, long anticipated, sought to impugn the man sitting to his left, Tom Gallagher, his opponent in the GOP primary and one of Citizens’ creators. Today, Crist continues his critique, saying he would like to "blow up" Citizens in a taped interview for Political Connections that airs at 11 a.m. on Bay News 9."Crist slams state insurer".
"I didn’t create it, my opponent did," Crist said in the interview. "I think, you know, casting blame is difficult to do, but the problem is that Citizens is a disaster. I don’t think there is any question about it."
But as Crist levies his attacks, he breezes past two key points:
Attorney general since 2003, he has been a member of the Cabinet with the same level of responsibility for insurance oversight as Gallagher, the chief financial officer. And his one specific idea for shoring up Florida’s insurance market — requiring companies writing auto policies to offer homeowners — has been rejected as unworkable by politicians and industry leaders alike.
Running Government Like A Business
"As a regional director in Florida's prison system, Richard Dugger lives in a state-owned, 4,498-square-foot home with a vineyard. His rent is $150 a month and he pays another $100 for utilities. Two other regional prison directors and several other high-ranking officials pay similar rent for housing on prison grounds that state law says is reserved for wardens, guards, medical personnel and other employees who must quickly respond in a riot, escape or other emergency." "Prison housing criticized".
"Though it drew no definitive conclusions, a report by North Carolina health officials has strengthened the hypothesis that exposure to pesticides helped to cause severe deformities of three babies born to migrant farmworkers who worked for a Florida-based tomato grower." "Pesticides in the fields, defects in workers' babies".
"As debt rose for Jenne, assets fell by more than $400,000". See also "Sheriff Jenne should step aside".
"On Wednesday, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, meeting in West Palm Beach, will decide whether to "downlist" the Florida manatee from endangered to threatened. The commission decided against this in 2002, after public outcry and statistics showing that the manatee population still is endangered. Nothing has changed about the need for protection. But the boating groups that want free rein to speed on the state's waterways and developers who want to build docks and condos in manatee habitat have become even more powerful." "Manatees still aren't safe". See also "Manatees 'endangered' no more?"
"Jeb!" Will Get Right On It
The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board observes in "Global opportunity" that
The effect of global warming on Floridians - hurricanes and rising sea levels that will devour parts of our state - will be intensely local. But the global economic and leadership opportunities it offers our state are profound.You don't suppose that Jebbie shares his brother's aversion to global warming issues?
The message two noted climate scientists - Peter Webster and Judith Curry of Georgia Tech - shared with Gov. Jeb Bush and gubernatorial candidate and attorney general Charlie Crist last week was simple: Global warming poses a threat to Florida more than to any other state and most nations.
"No ultimate plan exists to close the learning achievement gap because there is no simple explanation for why some children are more likely to score lower on school achievement tests -- and not just the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test." "Bridging the achievement gap".
"Republican U.S. Rep. Ric Keller can't bank on another landslide election victory this year. Times have changed." "District 8 may pose challenge for GOP".
"Davis certainly isn't the first candidate to do this. Gov. Jeb Bush, for instance, used variations such as 'info requested' for more than 1,100 contributions during his 2002 re-election campaign, though he also raised far more money than Davis has so far." "Davis requests contributors' IDs, but that won't suffice".
"GOP Hopeful Not Throwing In The Towel". See also Scott Maxwell's "Offering an alternative".
Scott Grayson, has just jumped into the CD 8 race, "but before Grayson can even get a shot at the favored Keller in this Orlando-centered, Republican-leaning district, he would have to first get through a Democratic primary. And that may be a challenge.""Railing Against The War".
"Florida's attorney general wows GOP voters on his trek across the state." "Crist steps up gubernatorial campaign".
CD 13 Forum
Daryl Lease's observations on the Sarasota Tiger Bay Club CD 13 candidate forum in Moderating a divisive debate", beginning with the Democrats and Christine Jennings' remarks:
, the I'm a politician," she said as she was warming up to the liberal-or-conservative query, "so I've learned to talk out of both sides of my mouth."Read what the GOoPers had to say here. For more on the race see "Unlucky 7 struggle to stand out".
She went on to explain that, "I feel like I am an independent, although I am a registered Democrat. I am a moderate conservative because I'm a fiscal conservative, and I am a moderate liberal because I believe in the social programs that have made America great."
Her Democratic opponent, Jan Schneider, said she doesn't care much for labels, particularly since the reviled tax-and-spend liberals are now pretty much indistinguishable from borrow-and-spend conservatives.
Schneider said she's much more centrist than she was in her run against Harris two years ago -- because of her concern over the national debt. "I'd love to be an Eleanor Roosevelt liberal," she said, "but times have changed."
"Headlining Broward's Lincoln Day dinner, Karl Rove continued to undercut Katherine Harris Friday. 'There's still a primary fight out there,' Rove said, noting three little-known Republican candidates. 'I would like to see Republicans work their will.'" "Rove And Harris".