Today's Florida political news and punditry.
"In the gubernatorial bidding war over property tax relief, the difference between Democrat Jim Davis and Republican Charlie Crist is that the former would lower taxes while the latter would redistribute them."
This is an odd turn of events in a general election race that so far has been driven by Crist's partisan strategy of portraying his opponent as a dastardly "Washington liberal." But Crist is promising a statewide vote to give a larger exemption to the property owners who need it least, and Davis says he would actually reduce by $1-billion the amount of property taxes the state seeks next year to pay for schools."Pandering on tax cuts".
Who's the liberal and who's the conservative? ...
With Halloween approaching, both candidates are trying to toss candy to voters. But Davis' plan does respond to complaints about high property taxes by actually lowering the amount the state demands from local authorities for schools. Crist, meanwhile, calls for future exemptions that may or may not lower the overall tax burden and would, in either event, pass along most of the bill to cities and counties. To that extent, Crist is more trick and Davis more treat.
Charlie, The Utility Funded "Consumer Warrior"
"Republican Charlie Crist is running hard as a consumer advocate in his bid for governor, but that hasn't stopped him and the GOP from accepting almost $1.8 million in campaign contributions from the same powerful utilities that he has fought." "Utilities generous to Crist, GOP".
Head In Sand
"Gov. Bush continues to insist that Florida has 'more a hurricane problem than an insurance problem.'" "On insurance, will state get fooled again?"
It All Started With a Kiss
Curious that the AP wire stories on Jebbie cowering in a closet fail to mention that the whole thing was actually started by Jebbie: "Protesters said Gov. Bush blew them a kiss, acknowledging the crowd of about 30 chanting pickets that was made up of United Steelworkers and members of Uprise Counter Recruitment, a tour traveling through 22 cities to support anti-war efforts." "Jeb Bush gets rude welcome".
Big Ain't Necessarily Better
"Where are the big, hairy goals now?".
What exactly has "Ric [sic]" done in the past 6 years?
In their first face-to-face debate, Republican Congressman Ric Keller and his Democrat challenger Charlie Stuart give a snapshot of what voters will likely see in the weeks leading up to the Nov. 7 election."Keller, Stuart debate issues".
Stuart, 54, questions just what Keller has done during the past six years in Congress to make America safer and better for the average family.
"Ric says often, 'We're gonna, we're gonna, we're gonna,' " Stuart said. "He's had six years. Five years since 9-11." ...
And the furor over former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fort Pierce, continued with calls for investigations and the resignation of House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., or anyone who knew about Foley's sexually explicit e-mails to teenage congressional pages.
Keller said what Foley did was wrong and said he supports a criminal investigation of Foley and an ethics investigation of anyone in Congress who knew about his e-mails. Hastert and other top House leaders had heard last year of one e-mail exchange in which Foley asked a 16-year-old boy to send him a picture, but did nothing beyond warning Foley to sever communication with the teen.
As for not acting more forcefully a year ago, Keller said, "All I can tell you is that the St. Pete Times and The Miami Herald had that e-mail. They didn't think it was newsworthy."
Stuart also endorsed criminal and ethics investigations. But as for what other Republicans knew, he said, "What it looks like is that someone did know and someone did nothing."
Standing By Your Man
"Don't count Republican Senate candidate Katherine Harris among those second-guessing House Speaker Dennis Hastert's handling of the Mark Foley scandal. Hastert may have been aware of "creepy" e-mails from Foley to a 16-year-old page, but in a Political Connections interview airing today on Bay News 9, Harris noted those e-mails were not explicit and stressed that the St. Petersburg Times saw the same ones." "Harris stands firm behind speaker in the unfolding of Foley scandal".
"Some say the senator should aid others with his cash, popularity"
But with national sentiments shifting against the GOP, Nelson's play-it-safe strategy and the size of his campaign coffers -- Congress' third-largest at $12 million -- are not lost on Florida Democrats, some of whom say he should do more to help gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis and the party's three state Cabinet hopefuls, all of whom trail in polls and fundraising."Nelson decides to play it safe".
"Senator Nelson has a big war chest, and I basically think he needs to spread that money around the party and to other candidates," said Daisy Black, president of the Florida Democratic Black Caucus. "He's the father figure of the party, and I wish he would look out for other people. ... I don't think he has. I get the impression that he feels he's not a part of the rest of group."
"Negron on rapid tour of district".
"Former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno will make her first appearance in the governor's race tomorrow in Miami." "Reno, Davis and Jones".
"It was more than just votes Crist was hoping to drum up this close to the election. Sarasota's value to Crist was clear by the nature of his stop -- a $500-per-person fundraiser at the Ritz-Carlton." "Crist fires up GOP, raises money".
Bailing on Negron?
The NYTimes via The Buzz: "Republicans in Florida do not plan to spend any money to defend the seat once held by Mr. Foley, effectively conceding it to the Democratic challenger, Tim Mahoney, who, not taking any chances, is running advertisements in which he pledges to return 'moral values' to Congress." "Negron's money".
Our Green Governor
"Fortunately for Florida, Gov. Bush has given up his attempt to end court oversight of the state's $1.1 billion Everglades cleanup." "Jeb gives (in); 'Glades gets".
Mel's Bad Enough
"To support Bill Nelson's reelection bid, you don't have to be a Democrat seeking political revenge for 2000. You just have to be a Floridian who wants a competent, sensible, productive United States senator, not the embarrassment that Katherine Harris would be for the state. ... her candidacy has been one long-running freak show. She has revealed terrorism plots that didn't exist, run through staff members the way Marie Antoinette ran through dresses and declared that electing anyone but Christians like her would allow sin to overrun America. Then there's the federal investigation of her link to a corrupt defense contractor. Rep. Harris will draw votes from blindly loyal Republicans." "Keep state's credibility; return Nelson to Senate".
"For Mark Foley, ambitions, private demons battled". See also "Associates fooled by Foley's attention-seeking public persona", "Democratic congressional candidate criticizes GOP on Foley matter" and "One certainty in ethics probe: no punishment for Foley".
"Florida Elections Commission investigators want to know whether a political action committee led by Adrien Helm, wife of Pinellas Democratic Party chairman Ed Helm, violated campaign laws in advance of the September primaries." "PAC under investigation in HD 53".
"Democrat gains money edge?".
Overcoming RPOF Election Obstacles
"The League of Women Voters came [Saturday] to ground zero for the 2000 presidential recount, fresh on the heels of a recent court victory in their fight against a tough new voter-registration law." "Voter group decries election obstacles".
"It may be difficult to beat any Republican in District 10, but Stephen Gorham isn't a typical Democrat." "Oh, yeah, the guy running against Ronda".