"Dark clouds loom over Florida, at least in the minds of residents whose responses to the new Sunshine State Poll offer fair warning to Gov.-elect Charlie Crist, the Cabinet and the Florida Legislature."
Nearly four in 10 Floridians think the state will be a less desirable place to live in the next five years. Fifty-two percent said local government is not doing a good job at managing growth. And the insurance crisis ranks just behind quality education as a top concern."Murky Feelings On Fate Of Sunshine State".
"Executive Office of the Governor appointments announced this morning include:"
- "George LeMieux, Chief of Staff: Mr. LeMieux has been the Chief of Staff for the Crist-Kottkamp Campaign and currently serves as Transition Executive Director.He served as the Chief of Staff and Deputy Attorney General for the State of Florida from 2003 through 2006.""Crist Names Top Officials -LeMieux Is Chief of Staff". See also "Crist Names Nine Top Staffers".
- "Arlene DiBenigno, Deputy Chief of Staff: Ms. DiBenigno has been the Political Director for the Crist-Kottkamp Campaign and currently serves as Transition Appointments Director. She formerly served in two senior-level positions in the Office of Governor Jeb Bush. From 2000 through 2002, Ms. DiBenigno was External Affairs Director where she managed the scheduling, community and outreach operations for Governor Bush. From 1999 to 2000, she was the Appointments Director ... ."
- "Eric Eikenberg, Deputy Chief of Staff: Mr. Eikenberg currently serves as chief of staff to U.S. Representative E. Clay Shaw, Jr. of Florida."
- "Jim Rimes, Deputy Chief of Staff: Mr. Rimes most recently served as Director of Operations for the Crist-Kottkamp Campaign and currently serves as Transition Operations Coordinator."
- "Lori Sellers Rowe, Deputy Chief of Staff: Ms. Rowe served in the Office of the Attorney General in the roles of Director of Multi-State Litigation, Assistant Deputy Attorney General and Executive Deputy Attorney General from 2003-2006."
- "Paul Huck, General Counsel: Mr. Huck joined the Office of the Attorney General in 2003, serving as the Regional Deputy for South Florida and later as Deputy Attorney General."
- "Kamilah Prince, Director of External Affairs: Ms. Prince most recently served as the Community Outreach Director for the Crist-Kottkamp Campaign and currently serves as Transition Deputy Appointments Director. She served several years under the Bush administration in a number of positions."
Now That The Election Is Over
"Parents should not put too much stock in the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test as a diagnostic tool, Education Commissioner John Winn said Monday as the state released another batch of FCAT questions and answers." "Leader: FCAT's value is limited".
CD 13 - Game On
"A few hours after the state officially declared that a Republican newcomer won a Sarasota area congressional seat, the Democratic challenger went to court seeking a new election."
The lawsuit kicks off what promises to be a lengthy legal challenge, which could continue past January when the new Congress convenes."Democrat sues for new vote". Here's the gist of it:
the undervote rate in Sarasota of nearly 14 percent dwarfed the undervote rate in the other four counties comprising Congressional District 13, where it ranged from 2.2 to 5.3 percent. Sarasota was the only county Jennings won.The case
will likely end up before the state Supreme Court soon, could become a national test case on the validity of ATM-style voting machines. Unlike the disputed 2000 elections in which state election laws were under scrutiny, the Election Systems & Software iVotronics are on trial. Miami-Dade and Broward counties also use the iVotronics."GOP candidate certified for Congress; loser sues". This case may ultimately be resolved in Washington, but not necessarily by the United States Supreme Court:
U.S. Rep. Allen Boyd, D-Monticello, who appeared with [Jennings Lawyer] Coffey, said the "U.S. House will be watching" because ultimately the House has the authority to decide "who it seats to represent a particular district.""Sarasota vote results spur suit".William March notes this morning that
Jennings’ motion for discovery in the case could contain a bombshell: It requests access to the iVotronic touch-screen machines at issue in Sarasota, and a full copy of all software source code from Electronic Systems & Software Inc., the manufacturer. ESS and other manufacturers have zealously guarded such code, citing competitive issues."Jennings Contests Election Results". See also "State certifies recount", "Buchanan declared 13th District winner; Jennings challenges loss", "State panel says Republican won House race; rival sues" and "Buchanan declared winner; rival Jennings sues".
The GOP leaning editorial boards simply can't understand all the fuss: "Jennings Wants To Count Until She Wins".
In the meantime, "Buchanan moves ahead as he looks over his shoulder".
Resources: The Sarasota-Herald Tribune has conveniently collected the court documents here, including the "Jennings' Nov. 20 court filing: Complaint to contest election". See generally "Special section: District 13 recount".
What Special Session?
"The state Legislature may delay a planned special session to deal with skyrocketing homeowners insurance." "Leaders defer special session till '07". Meanwhile, "Democrats call for special session".
See also "No insurance session in '06", "Citizens hits customers, with Legislature's help" and "Special Session Needed To Rein In Citizens' Latest Rate Increase" and "Florida's bargain" ("When it comes to the insurance industry, the Legislature has given and given. It's time to demand a little back.")
Earlier Florida Primary?
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board asserts that it "would be counterproductive to make presidential primaries any earlier." "Don't start stampede". For background see yesterday's "State lawmakers tout early presidential primary".
And So It Begins
"New Legislature convenes today, with insurance top of '07 agenda". See also "Next wave takes reins in state House, Senate".
More From The "Values" Crowd
"Stop rationing state's social services".
The Senate is considering a proposed rule, one "requiring that chamber wrap up business by 6 p.m. each day, instead of the current 7 p.m. The rule change also gives Senate President-designate Ken Pruitt direct control over the Senate's floor calendar for the day, instead of a rules committee." "State Senate to vote on shortening their workday".
"New House speaker is a rising star in state GOP". See also "State House leaders Rubio, Gelber are friendly rivals" and "New House speaker aims to be a uniter".
"The Scripps Research Institute won't ask county officials for any more money to build its campus at Florida Atlantic University in Jupiter." "Scripps to OK price of $186.7 million". See also "Palm Beach County's price tag for Scripps start-up: $340 million".
Isn't This Obvious?
"If Florida -- or other states -- intend to take peoples' lives, they should do everything within their power to ensure a fair trial and adequate representation. " "If the state must kill".
"Projected costs for a state Everglades cleanup initiative may have nearly doubled to $2.7 billion in the approximately two years since Gov. Jeb Bush announced it, according to a report." "Everglades project may cost double projected $1.5 billion".
"After making a dramatic decision not to award a $707 million contract for prison health care, the Florida Department of Corrections spent its first day Monday managing the job itself." "DOC begins managing health care".
"State Rep. Kendrick switches to GOP". See also "House Republicans gain one seat back" and "Another Democratic Lawmaker Joins the GOP".
"Byrd the bully needs to back off".
"Randy Johnson, the former Central Florida state lawmaker who lost a Republican primary contest for chief financial officer, will be helping Gov.-elect Charlie Crist's transition team by overseeing the state's Office of Insurance Regulation." "Johnson Back on Insurance".
"Well, it may be only temporary, but State Sens. Alex Diaz de la Portilla and Alex Villalobos will be sitting side by side when the Florida Senate holds its reorganization session on Tuesday morning. Diaz de la Portilla, a Miami Republican, was one of the key senators who helped orchestrate the battle to push aside Villalobos for the 2008 Senate presidency and replace him with Sen. Jeff Atwater. " "DLP and Alex side by side?"
"The line between friendly, off-color banter and offensive speech might depend on who's talking and who's listening -- but two Miami-area legislators aren't taking any chances.After their former colleague [Republican] Ralph Arza crashed and burned for leaving crude messages on another legislator's voice mail, state Reps. [Republican] Juan Zapata and [Republican] Julio Robaina say they're minding their verbal p's and q's." "Political beat".
Last time I looked, using the "n" word is a bit more than "friendly, off-color banter" and/or a mere "crude message"
"Chief Financial Officer-elect Alex Sink, the first Democrat to win a Cabinet seat in eight years, has tapped a long-time friend to be the volunteer chairman of her inauguration. Sink's choice is Jeff Sharkey, a lobbyist who helped organize former Gov. Lawton Chiles' two inauguration celebrations." "Sink Taps Sharkey".