"Lame-duck status looking OK to Bush". And it looks good to us as well.
Schultz slams "Jeb!"
In what ranks as one of Jebbie's most hubristic acts (and mind you there have been many), last week he
vetoed a bill that could have given counties more money for transportation - not just roads but mass transit, for when the roads get crowded, as they always do in this growth state. The money would have come from a $2 daily TAX on rental cars. The bill would not have created the TAX. It simply would have allowed counties to vote on the TAX. But because it might have led to a TAX, the governor said he couldn't go along, because he doesn't like "TAXation without representation."So, "the next time you're stuck in traffic and wonder if the politicians care, note that when Gov. Bush had a chance to help, he went with his ideology - and maybe his political future? - and not with what Floridians wanted."
"Maybe it's because the governor intends to run for president some day and wants to suck up even more to the ideologues who serve at think tanks financed by wealthy Americans who consider any TAX to be un-American, if not criminal."
You see, Gov. Bush doesn't mind if some people pay higher TAXes or fees, shorthand for TAXes. He just doesn't want any TAX traced back to him. ..."Even voting on a new tax not for Jeb".
It's more of the Jeb Bush Hypocrisy when it comes to money matters. The governor criticized the tobacco lawsuit that brought the state $11 billion. As former Gov. Lawton Chiles negotiated it in 1997, the settlement was supposed to help pay state Medicaid costs for tobacco-related illness. Since 1999, however, Gov. Bush has used the money for other things, such as lowering TAXes on wealthy Floridians. Money to try to keep children from smoking has been cut.
Goin' To The Country
"Stung by leaders of her own party and facing a Republican primary battle, Katherine Harris has turned to North Florida and the small towns that dot the state's rural landscape to reinvigorate her campaign for the U.S. Senate." "Harris targeting voters in rural areas".
"Things are looking grim these days for Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Gallagher, who has been lagging rival Charlie Crist in fundraising, beating Crist in negative headlines, and still not running any TV spots while Crist has been up for weeks. A Quinnipiac University poll released last week found Crist beating Gallagher 49-21 percent among registered Republicans, compared to 43-26 in a Quinnipiac poll in late May." "Crist's advantages over Gallagher are showing".
"Jeb, a VP pick? He isn't denying it".
While "Jeb!" Slept
"Jeb!" appears to have been AWOL on the drilling deal:
Prohibitions against offshore drilling that had protected the Florida coast for more than 20 years were tossed aside by the U.S. House Thursday night after a loud, dishonest debate. Yet when the smoke cleared, Florida found itself in a better position than expected. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, a Pinellas County Republican, and two colleagues succeeded in a last-minute effort to push the no-drilling line to 235 miles off west coast beaches."A good drilling deal". Read "How any chance of an oil deal died".
That important partial victory in what could have been a night of unqualified defeat shows why it's important not to give up the fight too early. Gov. Jeb Bush and some of the state's Republican delegation already had capitulated on a bill being pushed by Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., that otherwise allows drilling within 50 miles of the nation's shores. The bill lets state legislatures seek an additional 50-mile exemption, a request that would have to be repeated every five years. That would be no sure thing in Florida, where too many state lawmakers are beholden to special interests and a power-hungry business lobby already is clamoring for more drilling.
Picking up on an argument first advanced by Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., Young and Reps. Jeff Miller, R-Chumuckla, and Allen Boyd, D-Monticello, successfully introduced an amendment extending the drilling ban to the Military Mission Line in the gulf, which runs south starting near Fort Walton Beach in the Panhandle. The amended bill gives permanent protection to any waters east of that line - an area used by the military for practice missions involving airplanes, ships and submarines. That would put drilling no closer than 235 miles to Pinellas County beaches, a much more reasonable distance.
While the gulf coast can breath a sigh of relief, the bill is still a threat to Florida's east coast and other coastal states that opposed it. Typical of their responses was that of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who called the House vote "an alarming development" that will "weaken California's protections from any new oil and gas leasing." That's a tough stand that Floridians should have expected from their own governor.
Adam Putnam's role in all of this: "Lawmaker found Florida delegation tough to unify on oil drilling plan".
"When judges in Florida don't just seal cases but make them disappear, the public should respond with one word - objection." "Expose secret dockets, and make cases public".
Cheney Puts On A Happy Face
"Just as the race was about to start, Cheney took to the stage in front of a large U.S. flag and the drivers and delivered a patriotic message to more than 100,000 fans." "From diamond to oval, Cheney emerges from behind the scenes". See also "Cheney brings Independence Day message to fans" and "Cheney makes grand entrance at NASCAR race".
"Bloggers proclaim their role in spreading news".
Save Our Homes
"It's the political reality behind Save Our Homes, a fantastically popular constitutional amendment passed in 1995 to protect Florida residents from big tax increases. Popular with residents, that is. The explosion in property values has made it possible for local governments to collect more tax revenues even while lowering rates enough to cut tax bills for many full-time residents."
That leaves those without the exemption -- part-time residents, apartment owners and businesses -- paying more and more of the tax bill. This year, that unprotected group paid 61 percent of local property taxes in Sarasota County, compared with 59 percent in 2005."Two-tiered tax system not saving all homes".
That's because the 3 percent cap on the growth of a home's assessment has led to the typical full-time resident's house being valued at an ever-lower percentage of its market value.
GOoPers apparently are required to adhere to the "ultra-conservative agenda" to get through a primary. Consider the case of party-switcher extraorinaire Sandy Murman:
Republican state Senate candidate Sandy Murman says she has proved in Tallahassee she can advance an "ultra-conservative agenda.""Party switch may cling to Murman".
But as the former state representative faces a tough Republican primary in the race to succeed state Sen. Tom Lee, she has to explain her words during her first political campaign: "My platform is the Democratic agenda."
That's how Murman, a longtime children's advocate, in 1996 explained why she switched from Republican to Democrat to run for the state House. She subsequently switched back to Republican, and in a Political Connections interview airing today said her problem with Democrats boiled down mainly to abortion.
"That's no way to run a top-tier university system"
"Higher education budget requests are supposed to flow from Florida's 11 public universities to the state Board of Governors to the Legislature. But the universities also have used lobbyists to get an edge." "Let all universities win".
"About 1,100 Mexicans living in Florida may help define the future for a people who pray for a prosperous, democratic nation. A new law, part of Mexico's continuing election reforms, allows citizens who live outside the country to vote -- giving many hope that electing the right leader will enable them to return home to their families and jobs that pay far more than Mexico's $5-per-day minimum wage -- when enforced." "Election reforms keep hope alive".
"Lobbyists hit deadline for earnings disclosure".
"More than 500 high-poverty Florida schools could be forced under the federal No Child Left Behind law to privatize, become charters, replace most of their staffs or make other major changes -- even though some have repeatedly received A or B grades from the state." "Federal standards put schools in quandary".
Harris Comes "Out Swinging"
"On Saturday, she came out swinging, castigating Nelson as a far-left liberal while saying she wants increased border security, a tightly monitored guest-worker program and continued tax cuts to bolster the economy. She shrugged off poll numbers that have shown Nelson with a commanding lead in a head-to-head race." "Katherine Harris stumps in Volusia".
"A high school principal and three other administrators prevented dozens of special-diploma students from taking the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test so their low scores would not affect the school’s grade, a district spokeswoman said." "Cocoa High School administrators disciplined in FCAT probe".
The Price of "Fame"
"But just as Rubio and his innovative ideas were gaining momentum on the national stage, troubles began to brew for him at home."
Miami Rep. Gus Barreiro broke his silence last week and acknowledged at a press conference that one of Rubio's close advisors, Hialeah Rep. Ralph Arza, had left him a patronizing phone message that referred to Miami-Dade schools Superintendent Rudy Crew, who is black, with a racial slur."Allegations cloud success of 'Idearaisers'".
For months, Barreiro had said nothing about the incident. He talked about it publicly for the first time at a political event: a press conference to announce his endorsement of Miami Sen. Alex Villalobos for reelection.
Arza's denial on the floor of the state House that he had used a racial epithet was a troubling lie, Barriero said, leaving him ''with no choice'' but to file an ethics complaint against Arza.
At the same press conference, Miami Reps. J.C. Planas, Julio Robaina and Marcelo Llorente deplored what they alleged were divisive moves by Arza and Rubio's longtime friend and advisor, Rep. David Rivera.
They claimed Arza and Rivera had either personally recruited, or asked others to recruit, challengers in the reelection races of Robaina and Llorente. They suggested that Rubio should find out if the allegations were true and, if so, put a stop to Arza and Rivera.
And so the internal dispute -- the kind usually kept contained within Miami-Dade's concentric political circles -- erupted into the open.