The New York Times: "The generally ho-hum race to succeed Gov. Jeb Bush has turned caustic in the final stretch before the primary election on Tuesday, with each of the leading Republican candidates scrambling to prove himself the most kindred to Mr. Bush and the Democrats trading charges of racism and devotion to special interests." "In Days Before Primary, Hackles Start Rising in Race for Florida Governor".
"On Sunday, the candidates for governor didn't rest. But they did go to church, praying for salvation and votes. The church-storming two days before Tuesday's vote was bipartisan: Democrats Jim Davis and Rod Smith toured predominantly black churches in South Florida, while Republicans Charlie Crist and Tom Gallagher appealed to mostly white congregants farther north." "Rivals toss Sunday punches". See also "Church and State Politics", "Scurrying across state, to events large and small", "On the road, on the lookout for votes", "Gubernatorial candidates make late push", "Get ready, get set -- vote!", "Smith, Davis hit churches in bids for Democrats' support", "As Gov. Bush leaves office, Florida voters must decide state's direction" and "Candidates for governor court voters in churches". In the meantime, a new Chamber of Commerce poll (with a huge 6% MOE) "puts the Democratic primary for governor in the statistical tie range."
Jim Davis 42 percent"Dem Gov Primary Tightening?" ("The poll was done Sept. 1-2 with a sample size of 300 and a 6-point error margin.") See also "Chamber Poll Puts Smith in the Margin".
Rod Smith 38 percent
Other 4 percent
- "Two days before the gubernatorial Democratic primary, candidate Jim Davis finally got mad." "Davis sheds calm on smear ads"
- "Big Sugar hangs over Democrats in gubernatorial primary".
- "Election 2006: Gallagher camp's hopes dim"
- On the Harris front, "Harris Taking Sunday Off".
Jebbie's Outsourcing in Action
"First, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement busts 55 GBM employees working in state buildings. Then, DMS responds like the police captain in Casablanca -'shocked, shocked!' that outsourcing of state jobs might lead to hiring of illegal immigrants." "Immigration case at DMS shocks Argenziano".
"Football games and Labor Day gatherings may be setting the mood for Tuesday's primary election, but it is economic anxiety over pocketbook issues -- and concern over education -- that is shaping voter attitudes, according to a new Miami Herald poll."
Florida voters in both parties share the same concerns this election cycle, although in different order, according to The Miami Herald poll, conducted by Zogby International."Insurance, schools on voters' lips".
In every corner of the state and within every demographic mix, voters want politicians to address education, property insurance for hurricanes, property taxes, immigration, healthcare and crime -- pragmatic concerns that seem to trump partisan differences over long-simmering issues like abortion, same-sex marriage and the war in Iraq.
Yet, as Florida's race for governor comes to its crucial turning point Tuesday, the campaigns have become less about issues and more about mudslinging. Republicans Charlie Crist and Tom Gallagher battle it out on television ads throughout the state over which one is the "liberal" on the conservative issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. Democrats Jim Davis and Rod Smith tar each other with invectives about their voting records.
As usual, the labor day coverage by the corporate media is less than impressive:
- The Tribune company manages to review the history of labor day without mentioning organized labor. "Labor Day". What can you expect from a company run by thugs like this: see "Send in the scabs", "Picking scabs, part two" and "Scab 30" (scroll down).
- "Construction Workers Needed" ("On this Labor Day, with some 13,000 construction jobs open in Florida, no one questions the need for more skilled laborers.") Perhaps the concerted effort to destroy Florida's building and construction trades union movement has something to do with it.
- "For millions of Americans this Labor Day, recent news that household incomes rose faster than inflation last year for the first time since the '90s is nothing to cheer. Their household incomes jumped only because they're having to work multiple jobs. In fact, the U.S. Census numbers show many of their jobs actually are paying them less. That's especially so for those who are working unskilled positions." "Look ahead on jobs".
- The Miami Herald was kind enough to let this slip in: "Irishmen led call for day to honor workers".
And the usual coverage of the crummy lot of working men and women.
- "Wages as a share of the whole economy are at their lowest on record. The median household income has fallen five years in a row (yes, even in 2005). Figures released by the Census Bureau last week show the 2005 median household wage increasing a notch (by 1.1 percent), but the bureau's numbers also show that all the increase is attributable to rising investment and Social Security income for people 65 and over. For households still in the work force, income fell again -- by 0.5 percent, and by 0.6 percent in single mothers' households." "Labor's losses".
- "It's a great U.S. economy for those who are rich".
- "A median hourly wage in the rest of the country is $14.28. In Florida, it's $13.47. Since many Florida workers carry multiple jobs, hourly wage doesn't tell the whole story -- adjusted for inflation, median household income dropped by nearly a percentage point. " "Florida's grim outlook".
- A survey by "the Pew Research Center of more than 2,000 people said an overwhelming majority of workers had less job security and faced more on-the-job stress than 20 or 30 years ago. One of the other surveys found that a majority of those questioned thought the next generation would be even worse off economically than they were." "Arduous Times Hit Workers On Labor Day".
This headline is truly amazing: "Size, scope hinder Florida's bid for full health coverage". With all due respect, "Florida" had never given a damn about "full health coverage"; aside from some half-hearted efforts to expand coverage for poor kids, there has never been a "bid" "for full health coverage" in Florida
"A few snags fail to detract from ease of early voting". See also "Early voting concludes on quiet note in Broward County" and "Only 10,000 cast early ballots in Palm Beach County before weekend".
The Daytona Beach News Journal nails it:
Close to 20 percent of Florida's residents lacked health coverage -- giving the state the second-worst record in the nation. Florida workers also lack significant safety nets. Among Florida's working-age population, the rate of workers earning pensions is the worst in the nation. Florida's unemployment compensation laws are so restrictive that less than 30 percent of unemployed collect benefits. Temporary disability benefits are restricted to 104 weeks -- only three other states impose such a harsh deadline.As to this latter fact, the 2.7% tax rate on the top one percent has of course been reduced further with the elimination of the intangibles tax.
Florida's reputation as a low-tax state doesn't extend to the low-income echelons. State tax laws favor those who can own homes, operate businesses and invest -- activities out of reach for the average low-wage worker. A study by the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy found that in 2002, the lowest-earning 20 percent of Florida households paid more than 14 percent of their annual income in state and local taxes -- compared to 2.7 percent for the top 1 percent.
The Palm Beach Post points out that in "Florida, many households are keeping inflation at bay only because more family members are working longer hours or holding second jobs. Last year, salaries for full-time working men and women declined. Again.".
The St. Pete Times points out that "The University of Florida reports that confidence in the economy is at its lowest level in 13 years. Rising mortgage interest rates, soaring homeowners insurance premiums and an unfair property tax system are all contributing to a slumping housing market." And, Florida, the "fourth-largest state's median household income ranks 37th highest in the country - just ahead of North Dakota. Meanwhile, more than one in every five Floridians don't have health insurance, and those who do have coverage struggle to pay the premiums." Bottom line:
The Sunshine State has morphed from a low-cost, low-wage state to a high-cost, low-wage state."Too many work hard but lose ground".
"The problem with responding to Katherine Harris' addle-brained ramblings is that you run the risk of treating her as a serious politician. The trouble with ignoring them is that they are so stunningly addle-brained, and Rep. Harris regards herself as a serious politician." "The tried and true Harris".
Sarasota County Paper Trail
"A citizens group pushing for mandatory paper trails for all voting machines in Sarasota County elections will take its case to court Wednesday." "Paper trail court fight".
Turnout Expected to be Low
"Primary turnout is likely to be low".
"The campaign said the documents appear to be accurate. They showed that in 1989 he was identified as a child's father by a woman whom Crist said he never had sex with and only vaguely knew socially. Crist said he signed the consent form waiving all parental rights to avoid delaying or blocking the child's adoption. People familiar with adoption cases say courts will seek consent forms from a man the mother identifies as a child's father to avoid future claims." "Crist: Release of 1989 documents 'scurrilous'". See "Crist confronts paternity claim" and "Crist: Release of 1989 documents 'scurrilous'".
"Early voting is a good start, but Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Bob Sweat hopes the state isn't going to stop there when it comes to improving voter turnout. Sweat said he will push state elections officials and legislators to look for more creative ways to get people to vote. His big idea: vote by mail." "Is voting by mail coming?"
"Diaz-Balart predicts reforms ahead".
"Republican gubernatorial candidates Charlie Crist and Tom Gallagher will be on opposite sides one last time Monday night when both attend the Miami-Florida State game to cheer for their respective alma maters - and chase some last-minute voter support." "Candidates catching game on election eve".
"Michael Peltier: South Florida voters to play crucial role in primaries".
"In the Republican primary for District 50, Ed Hooper and Nancy Riley take issue with each other's mailers." "Making their cases by mailbox".
"Congressional foes Tim Mahoney and Mark Foley are wasting no time getting under each other's skin." "16th District ad sparring".
No More Free Ride
"South Florida's sun and fun are no longer enough to keep or attract employees. Better pay and benefits are being forced on South Florida employers, many spoiled by years of almost effortless recruiting." "Rising costs of living putting strain on South Florida's job market".
"In the Republican primary for U.S. House District 9, David Langheier, a chiropractor, launches negative TV ads. Gus Bilirakis, his opponent, seems to be holding his fire." "Newcomer takes on Bilirakis legacy".
"Online public records are a blessing -- and a curse. Floridians save time and money by having easy access to deeds, death certificates and other official documents -- instead of having to go to the courthouse for the data." "The good and bad of online public records".