"The secret plot among a handful of Republicans to blow up their own party's primary for governor just before election day was born out of frustration." And it was hatched by, believe it or not, a fellow Republican who Charlie Crist narrowly defeated for FSU "homecoming king" (this is not a joke):
Clifton C. Curry Jr. of Brandon ... is not what you would expect of a political dirt peddler. He's a lawyer, a Little League coach, 2004 Bush-Cheney regional campaign chairman, chairman of the Judicial Nominating Commission.And what did the plot involve? Well,
They have known each other since their days at FSU, where Crist narrowly defeated Curry for homecoming king.
the story begins with a woman named Rebecca O'Dell Townsend. At 48, she's an amiable and respected appellate lawyer in St. Petersburg and frequent lecturer on constitutional law to conservative groups [like the Christian Coalition]. A past president of the Suncoast Women's Republican Club and founding member of the Downtown Women's Republican Club in Tampa, she was appointed by Gov. Bush to the Florida Film & Arts Advisory Council. The state Supreme Court put her on its Committee on Arts in the Courtroom.You can guess what happened next. But there's much, much more to the sordid story of GOP love lost, and dirty underwear: see "For GOP mantle, dirt flew furiously".
In 1988, she was an active Young Republican and a staunch social conservative. Crist was an up-and-coming politico, who had lost in his first run for political office, a state Senate seat.
As Townsend tells it, she and Crist connected at a Feather Sound nightclub. After dancing, they went back to his St. Petersburg apartment early on Oct. 1, 1988.
Will Dems Seize The Tax Issue?
Is the local tax issue something the Dems - particularly Davis - can exploit the issue?
"The tax revolt of 2006 may be playing out in city halls and county courthouses, but Gov. Jeb Bush ought to be careful about pointing his finger. He and state lawmakers have made their own sizeable contribution to the skewed condition of Florida's property taxes."
signed a state budget in June that increased property taxes by 17.3 percent. The hike came through what education budget analysts call "required local effort," and school districts were mandated to keep their property tax rate exactly the same. No rollback."A taxing problem". See also "Taxes: OK or out of control?".
The shell game with school taxes is a relatively new phenomenon, as lawmakers in recent years have quietly shifted the burden from the state to the counties. Bush has bragged about increasing school spending by $7.7-billion since becoming governor, but nearly half has come from property taxpayers. In the past five years alone, state-mandated property taxes jumped 68 percent.
GOP controlled Tallahassee has shifted the burden from the state to local government in other areas as well, thus fueling the tax outrage - and Davis ought to call the Jebbites on it. The St. Pete Times warns, however, that the "tax uprising cannot be ignored, but neither can it be oversimplified. It has many roots, and those who point fingers are likely to get poked in the eye.".
Needs To Leave
Will someone please ask (the frequently embarassing) John Morgan to leave the party:
Though he's one of the biggest Democratic fundraisers in Florida, John Morgan says he, too, is backing Crist -- not Democratic nominee Jim Davis -- in the November election to succeed Republican Gov. Jeb Bush."Trial lawyers, GOP bond more than usual this time".
"I'm a Crist guy -- Democrats for Crist," said Morgan, who's best known for his "For the people" television commercials, radio ads and billboards.
Remember the Chain Gangs
As blithe "Voters gush over charming Charlie", an editorial today warns that folks "shouldn't make too much of this slight Republican shift to the center. ... just remember - Charlie Crist is a solid conservative even if he has some differences with the Bush brothers. We should be under no illusions about that." "After Bush, a breath".
ATU Legislative Conference
"Promising an emphasis on the state's mass transit system and scrutiny of privatization of government services, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis spoke to union members gathered Saturday morning for a legislative conference in Gainesville." "Davis addresses union during Gainesville stop".
"Nothing says I'm sorry like a big, fat check"
Gallagher financiers to kiss Crist's ring:
President Bush is expected to come through town this week to raise money for Charlie Crist and other Florida Republicans. And the most optimistic of Republicans are hoping he'll raise several million dollars in this single stop."Bush visit part of GOP bouquet for Crist".
That sounds like a lot. But there are two reasons they may get there: guilt and fear.
So many of the big-money Republicans backed Tom Gallagher in the gubernatorial primary that they are looking to make nice with Crist.
"There'll be a whole lot of people making amends," said Lew Oliver, the head of Orange County's Republican Party:
And nothing says I'm sorry like a big, fat check.
"Florida just fumbled one of the biggest deals in biotech - without ever getting in the game."
t is a significant failure - a huge black eye - for the governor to have let this enormous catalyst for a targeted industry slip by with hardly a shot. ..."Gov. Bush Botches Opportunity To Land Federal Biotech Lab".
On three occasions, staffers in the governor's office said someone would get back with us, but no one ever did. A request to interview the governor's economic development chief also went wanting. ...
When spending millions to bring private biotech facilities to Florida, Bush promised the expenditures would benefit the entire state. The national biotech lab could have made that payday come sooner.
Instead, the governor's administration squandered an enormous opportunity.
"Which health plans made the grade in Florida?"
"If history is any indication, U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris can count on the Republican-friendly Northeast Florida to help her unseat U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson. But this isn't a typical campaign and that could make the fight for Northeast Florida votes particularly interesting." "No guaranteed win for Harris in this region".
The GOP shamefully continues to stab Harris in the back: See "With friends like this ...", "What's the GOP saying about Harris?" and "Mehlman Still Ambivalent On Harris". See also "RNC Chairman High on Upcoming Election".
"Choosing a running mate in Florida probably takes less real thought for a candidate than picking out the ideal necktie to wear on the televised debates." "Running mates".
Smith on Jones
"Jim Davis’s campaign sent out this reaction from Rod Smtih to Daryl Jones selection as the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor." "Rod Smith on Daryl Jones".
"Within 100 miles of Tampa Bay"
"Late last month, the U.S. Interior Department unveiled an aggressive five-year plan for offshore oil and natural gas drilling from Prudhoe Bay to within 100 miles of Tampa Bay. The draft anticipates drilling within millions of additional acres of lease-holdings in the Gulf of Mexico. It is the business of energy as usual for the oilmen running the federal administration." "Deep-sea drilling". See also "Gulf oil discovery adds pressure to offshore drilling debate".
Palm Beach County
"Palm Beach elections office reaches out to minority voters".
GOP Rewards M.D. Contributors
"the Florida Medical Association asked the Legislature to make it harder for out-of-state doctors to testify in malpractice trials against doctors practicing in Florida. Two doctors on the Board of Medicine are former presidents of the lobbying group, which represents about 50,000 physicians. This summer, the board, which does not include any doctors from Palm Beach, Martin or St. Lucie counties, lowered the fine from $10,000 to $1,000 for doctors who operate on the wrong person or the wrong body part. ... Rep. Gayle Harrell, R-Port St. Lucie, should ask those questions. She told The Post, 'The system is working.' The patients and families still awaiting resolution of 164 complaints filed in 2002 or earlier would disagree." "".
"Davis seeks his own kind of a pardon".
"Despite what the Legislature might think, judges in Florida deserve some discretion when it comes to sentencing. They deserve no such discretion when it comes to making cases secret." "No more secret dockets".
Save Our Homes
"Save Florida from any more Save Our Homes".
"The report criticized the state for: the number of innocent inmates sent to await execution; a racial disparity that shows those convicted of killing a white victim are far more likely to get a death sentence; the lack of oversight and funding for attorneys who handle Death Row appeals; and a death sentencing process that requires majority, not unanimous, jury agreement."
"Florida has released more people from Death Row than any other state, which suggests the system has serious problems," said Christopher Slobogin, a University of Florida law professor who was chairman of the eight-member group."Florida's death penalty problems include racial disparity". See also "Bar study harsh on Fla. death penalty", "Lawyers' group recommends death-penalty changes and "Study calls for reform of death penalty".
"It is small comfort that no one recently executed in Florida has been proven innocent, since some of them were not able to present all the proof they had and efforts at exoneration usually end once the person is dead."
Funding for the study came from the ABA and the European Union. Members of the team included a circuit judge, a state attorney, a former Florida Supreme Court justice and a former public defender, some of them death penalty supporters.
Meanwhile, "Hill up for execution again Wednesday".
"The Leon County Democratic Party is sponsoring a TV political ad contest that will be judged by Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee; Karen Thurman, Florida Democratic Party chairwoman; and local leaders. The contest is called 'Leon Dems in 30 Seconds.'" "Howard Dean to judge local TV ad contest".
Crossing Their Fingers
"Republican officials said they think their prospects in the November elections are looking better." "GOP hopeful of keeping power in Congress".
"The arrests are just a small part of Wilkinson's outsized public profile. In much the same way that Ronda Storms has captured Hillsborough County's political imagination - among foes and supporters alike - Wilkinson has dominated county commission water cooler talk since his election in 1998. He has not dominated policy." "Arrest May Boost Polk's GOP Rebel".
GOP Nominates Con Man?
Now we know: GOP CD 13 standard bearer Vern Buchanan is an empty suit blow hard, if not an outright con man:
The details of one of the biggest development deals in Sarasota's history -- and the allegations of misconduct hurled among those involved in bringing it here -- have been kept secret since 2001, thanks to a rarely employed judicial order that sealed the squabble from public view."Unsealed Ritz suit: Deal with Buchanan went sour".
After a month of courtroom jostling, Buchanan agreed last week to unseal the lawsuit. The 11-volume file includes financial statements and court records compiled to bolster claims by Buford and Daves that Buchanan wasn't the big-money businessman he had made himself out to be.
Though he initially said he couldn't remember who asked the judge to seal the case, the seal order shows it was Buchanan who was worried the details might tarnish his reputation as a titan of Sarasota's business community.
"The Biggest Loser"
"The biggest loser in Pinellas County's Sept. 5 primary didn't appear on the ballot. It was Ed Helm, chairman of the Pinellas Democratic Party"
Helm's handpicked slate of candidates lost big, and his tactics hurt the party. Rather than using his resources to back Democrats against Republicans in the general election, Helm sought to defeat his own party's strongest candidates in the primary. He recruited Norm Roche to challenge incumbent County Commissioner Calvin Harris (who drew no Republican opposition). He backed Charlie Gerdes in the District 53 state House race against St. Petersburg City Council member Rick Kriseman. He sided with Liz McCallum over Bill Heller in the state House 52 Democratic primary."Helm drives Democrats into a ditch".
The result: Helm's candidates were crushed. Roche managed only 27 percent of the vote even though he was able to close the primary to all but Democratic voters by getting his brother to file as a write-in candidate. Gerdes did little better against Kriseman, who called Helm's support for a candidate "the kiss of death."
Helm's tactic of labeling his slate as the only "real Democrats" proved to be a fraud. McCallum showed how real a Democrat she was by signing on with Reform Party gubernatorial candidate Max Linn immediately after her primary defeat. Especially bizarre was her explanation that she and Linn "agree on most issues," yet Linn would "take more votes from (Republican) Charlie Crist than (Democrat) Jim Davis." Sounds as though McCallum is closer to being a real Republican.
"Jim Davis raised more money than Republican Charlie Crist following the Sept. 5 primary, but Crist and the Republican Party are expected to raise millions in their quest to hold onto the governor's mansion." "Davis fattens campaign chest".
We read earlier this week that "Ethics panel clears Pruitt of complaints", even though, among other things, "Pruitt began receiving $2,000 a month from Royal Palm Beach home builder Wally Sanger in 2003, the same year Pruitt started making payments on a discounted house Sanger built for him in Port St. Lucie". Today we read that "Once again an administrative law judge has ruled that there is no legal basis for the state Elections Commission's attempt to fine Miriam Oliphant $10,000 in connection with the botched 2002 primary election in Broward County. ... The 2002 problems led to charges of neglect by the Elections Commission, which tried to fine her $55,000. After the judge ruled that was too harsh and recommended $2,000, the panel imposed a $10,000 fine, which seemed vindictive." "Elections".