The Tampa Trib points to a recent article by "Orlando lawyer and religious conservative political activist John Stemberger [who] has taken another shot at Crist in the Republican primary for governor. In an article on the Web site of conservative weekly Human Events, Stemberger, a supporter of Tom Gallagher, implies a bleak future if Crist is elected. Crist, Stemberger contends, is 'a conservative impostor' whose 'principles arise out of political expediency.'" See "Florida Is at a Moral Crossroads".
"Speed up getting it right"
"Forgive Floridians, however, if they don't immediately embrace the new Division of Elections under Secretary of State Sue Cobb. Ms. Roberts, who works for Ms. Cobb, is overseeing the state's takeover - under federal rules - of voter registration lists. Previously, the 67 county election supervisors handled their own lists. That made it hard to track people who moved from county to county. Now, a Floridian can register in the Panhandle to vote in South Florida, and vice versa."
Election supervisors are worried that the new voter rolls remain untested entering this fall's elections for governor and U.S. Senate. An audit found that 80,000 names were duplicated, which Ms. Cobb pledges to update."Speed up getting it right".
Still, county supervisors are uneasy with the state's growing role. In the past, people who registered at driver license bureaus complained that their registrations were lost. Now, bureau clerks have direct access to the statewide registration database, and supervisors worry about data-entry errors.
Statewide control, too, has a bad name in Florida. It dates to former Secretary of State Harris' rigid adherence to the deadlines that favored George W. Bush during the contested 2000 election. It includes the felons list that in 2000 identified matches that weren't matches and in 2004 purged legal African-American voters but not Hispanics.
"Quickly raising cash to help fuel his campaign, former Ormond Beach Mayor Dave Hood is gearing up to try to unseat state Rep. Joyce Cusack -- the last local Democrat in the Florida House. Hood, who entered the House District 27 race in late March, raised $112,000 during the past three months, giving him a huge fund-raising edge over Cusack, according to records filed with the state. The Republican, who has received backing from some prominent Volusia County businesspeople, is trying to topple Cusack in a heavily Democratic district that stretches from DeLand to Daytona Beach." "Former Ormond mayor raises ante for District 27".
"State Education Commissioner John Winn's frustration with the continuing low performance of four Miami-Dade high schools is understandable. But Mr. Winn's criticism of Superintendent Rudy Crew's efforts to improve Edison, Central, Jackson and Northwestern senior highs is premature, as is his plan to start monthly state monitoring of the four schools this fall. At the least, the commissioner should shelve monitoring until after the 2007 Florida Comprehensive Aptitude Test." "Premature call to monitor schools".
"The Sunshine State lags behind other states in converting sunlight into energy." "Free electricity? State grants aim to point the way".
"The Net Generation"
"The Net Generation. Millennials. Gen Y. Whatever you call them, young Floridians -- many with an affinity for gadgets and a skeptical attitude about campaigns and candidates -- are making their presence felt in the 2006 race for governor and other statewide elections." "Florida political candidates take note of growing, tech-savvy youth vote".
"When voters go to the polls in November, they could be voting on how to vote in Sarasota County. A Sarasota group has collected enough signatures to put a referendum on the ballot that, if passed, would require a voter-verified paper trail for all computerized voting machines." "Voting paper trail could be on ballot".
Is Charlie Crist embarassed of his Sierra Club endorsement?
the Sierra Club on Friday endorsed Davis in the Democratic primary and Charlie Crist in the Republican primary."Endorsements Given, Then Taken Away".
Davis put out a news release; Crist didn't.
Could that be because Republican voters might be less impressed than Democrats about an endorsement from an environmental group?
Neck and Neck
See "Davis' Latest Take: $650K" and "And $560K for Smith". See also "Democratic gubernatorial candidates say money reveals growing support" and "Gubernatorial Candidates Davis, Smith Both Claim Fundraising Success".
"You may not be running out to enlist, but the recruiters are coming to you. This summer, a growing list of stealthy soft-money slush funds with lofty names such as those above, and millions of dollars from wealthy donors and your mailing addresses are jumping into Florida's gubernatorial contest. For now, their glossy mailers are heaping praises on GOP candidates Charlie Crist and Tom Gallagher, but it's only a matter of time before they start using their big bucks to bash the candidates they don't want you to vote for. And once that starts, you might have a hard time discerning hard fact from subterfuge." "Soft money playing hardball".
An AP piece yesterday hi-lighted a few examples of the ethically challenged "Jeb!" administration:
Crosby however isn't the first of Bush's appointments to face questions on ethics, but rather the latest addition to a list of agency heads who haven't made the best choices."Bush hiring fumbles".
- In 1999, Department of Business and Professional Regulations Secretary Cynthia Henderson said "I didn't use my best judgment" after taking an Outback Steakhouse corporate jet to the Kentucky Derby. She was in charge of regulating restaurants, among other businesses.
- In 2001, The head of the State Technology Office, Roy Cales, resigned after he was arrested and charged with grand theft. Authorities said he forged a letter to secure a $36,600 bank loan on which he later defaulted. The original document, however, was missing and a jury acquitted Cales.
- In 2003, investigators found former Lottery Secretary David Griffin broke ethics codes by accepting gifts of food from companies doing business with the department. Griffin had already left the position before the investigation began.
- In 2004, Department of Children & Families Secretary Jerry Regier resigned after an investigation showed he took favors from contractors.
- In 2005, Bush fired Elder Affairs Secretary Terry White after a sexual harassment allegations were made against him.
- In April, Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Guy Tunnell resigned after accusations that he mishandled the investigation into a death at a juvenile boot camp he created when he served as Bay County sheriff. He was criticized for e-mails he exchanged with the current sheriff about the investigation.
And while not illegal, two former department heads raised eyebrows when they resigned to take jobs with companies they contracted with or regulated.
Former State Technology Office head Kim Bahrami went to work for BearingPoint, a company she awarded a controversial $126 million contract. Former Department of Environmental Protection Secretary David Struhs took a job with International Paper Co. As the department head, Struhs put together a government-financed project designed largely to help bring the company's Pensacola area mill into compliance with pollution standards it had been violating for years.
Rock The Vote
"The most intriguing statement so far about how the 2008 elections are shaping up has come from the Department of Homeland Security, of all places."
According to the department's statisticians, about 12.4 million legal immigrants are eligible to become citizens and then become voters two years from now. This includes holders of green cards and immigrant children who gained citizenship by birth in the United States."Will legal immigrants rock the vote?".
According to research by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, there are 16 states where the number of eligible immigrant voters totals more than the vote differential between George Bush and John Kerry. This number includes Florida and 10 other swing states, among them Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Michigan and Ohio, which the president carried by about 120,000 votes. Had Sen. Kerry won Ohio, he would be president.
"Florida court records should be available to the public on the Internet. With sensible restrictions, access rights and privacy can be balanced." "Information, please".
"An unknown Miami attorney and businessman is hoping to unseat Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson, a fifth-generation Florida farmer, by making citrus canker the central issue in their race. Democrat Eric Copeland is trying to persuade voters the Republican incumbent should be held accountable to the state's aborted effort to eliminate citrus canker -- an effort he describes as "a grotesque failure." Both are unopposed for their parties' nomination, so the ag race won't get much attention until after the Sept. 5 primary." "State agriculture candidate targets citrus canker in bid to unseat Bronson".
Hint: Raise Wages
"Industry officials cited the talk of immigration crackdowns for their inability to find Hispanic workers." "Citrus growers short on laborers".
"Randy Johnson might be an ideal candidate for Republicans this campaign season. Or he could wind up his party's worst nightmare."
"We've had eight years of Republican leadership, and I think it's something to be proud of," state Rep. Johnson said in a taped Political Connections interview airing today on Bay News 9. "But as Republicans we have also been in charge during this insurance issue, and we have some explaining to do. And guess what? We'd better face the issue head-on in the primary because we're certainly going to have to face it in the general election.""Republican CFO hopeful hits own party for insurance crisis".
"Jeb!"'s Value System
"The single bill Bush has yet to take action on is the one that will do away with the intangibles tax, a 50-cent-per-$1,000 levy on stocks, bonds, mutual funds and other assets that has been on the books, in one form or another, since 1931."
Not that he and other bill backers are worried. Though critics deride the intangibles-tax cut as little more than a favor for rich folks -- the average payer is a millionaire, and retirement funds such as savings accounts and 401(k) plans are already exempt from the levy -- Bush has made his feelings about the tax plenty clear over the years."Bush saving favored bill for last?"
"It's a stupid tax. It's an insidious tax. It's an evil tax. It's a bad tax," he said last spring.
See "Tom Gallagher: GOP candidates run the financial spectrum" and "Charlie Crist: GOP candidates run the financial spectrum". See also "Davis lives moderately" and "Smith almost a millionaire".
"The two Democrats who want to succeed Gov. Jeb Bush earned opposite rankings from the National Rifle Association and an environmental group." "Democrats diverge on guns, green".