As Jebbie hits the road, he leaves a legacy of failure. Here are two more. First:
Last week, Florida marked another sad milestone in the battle between suburbanization and wildlife: The population of endangered Florida panthers suffered the highest death toll ever, with the discovery of the 11th panther killed this year on the state's roadways. Six deaths were in Collier County; two were in Lee. In all, 19 panthers died from all causes in 2006.Here's another:
Affordable Housing Finance magazine cites the best affordable-housing developments of 2005-06 in a recent special issue."Florida failings".
The issue names 32 projects nationwide that used the federal low-income tax credit program or public-private partnerships to revitalize or build affordable homes.
Unfortunately, none of the developments is in Florida. Can't our state and its communities rectify that?
"Jeb Bush And His Amen Chorus Of Goose-Stepping Legislators"
As the screen door in the Governor's mansion hits Jebbie in the derriere, we are reminded yet again of what has been done to Florida by "Jeb Bush And His Amen Chorus Of Goose-Stepping Legislators" (March 17, 2003 DBN-J editorial no longer online). An editorial in the Orlando Sentinel today:
Before you cheer an agreement between Gov. Jeb Bush and legislative leaders to provide more hospital beds for the mentally ill, let's remember it came only after a judge forced the state to do something about the hundreds of sick inmates languishing in jail."To say Mr. Bush was pushed into a deal is putting it mildly."
The more than 300 mentally ill people denied treatment didn't raise much concern until the head of the Department of Children & Families was fined for contempt."Finally".
Now Mr. Bush, Senate President Ken Pruitt and House Speaker Marco Rubio have agreed to spend $16.6 million for 531 new mental-health beds. ...
What took them so long?
Gone at Last
"With the family cat in tow, Gov. Jeb Bush headed Friday for the next chapter of his life, leaving his Capitol office for a holiday trip to South Florida with no plans to return to the office." "Gov. Bush leaves Capitol for the last time".
Whatever The Polls Say ...
"During his recent campaign for governor, Republican Charlie Crist often trotted out the cliche that the only poll that mattered was the one on Election Day. Ha! This was a candidate who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on polls and listened to them carefully."
The danger in seeking the public's approval, however, is that sometimes the right thing to do isn't necessarily popular. Crist said during the campaign that he supported automatically restoring voting rights to felons after they complete their sentences. In the Quinnipiac poll, 55 percent said that's a bad idea."Crist's moves after election pay off in poll".
Florida is one of only three states left with the Jim Crow-era law banning felons from voting unless they go through a lengthy, complicated process. If Crist, a politician once dubbed ''Chaingang Charlie'' who made a career out of being tough on crime, can withstand public pressure on this issue, he may not make friends. But he could gain respect.
Rubio's "Disappointing Sense of Entitlement"
Rubio's "surge in salaries and personnel hardly sends a signal that Rubio will contain the growth of government. Instead, it reflects a disappointing sense of entitlement." "Disappointing Extravagance".
CD 13 - Pelosi Gives Jennings Hope
"Despite warnings that it could turn the new Congress into a partisan battleground, incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refuses to rule out the possibility that Democrat Christine Jennings could be seated to represent the 13th District when the 110th Congress convenes in 12 days." "Pelosi gives Jennings some hope".
"Fresh from a messy battle over the future of sewage here, officials agree: plans to stop spewing wastewater into the sea and instead shoot it into the ground will send it out of sight but not out of mind." "Plan to pipe sewage down raises concerns".
Code of Ethical Campaign Practices "Misguided?
"Pinellas County Commissioner Karen Seel reflects the frustration of many voters who were disgusted by the distorted, negative attacks that set a new low for local sleaze in the 2006 political campaigns. But the answer is not a government-written pledge that would encourage candidates to play nice."
A proposed county ordinance backed by Seel is well-intended but misguided. It would create a Code of Ethical Campaign Practices, and candidates in Pinellas would be asked to sign it voluntarily. The proposed oath would ask candidates to pledge to reject campaign material that distorts or misrepresents facts. They would agree to avoid making an opponent's race, gender or sexual orientation a campaign issue and speak out against anyone who raises such personal issues. ..."Candidate conduct pledge is misguided".
But policing the tenor of political campaigns, even in a voluntary way, is not government's role. That is best left to independent groups unaffiliated with candidates or the county courthouse. ...
In tone and volume, the 2006 campaigns were often depressingly negative. Yet voters did an admirable job slogging through the muck and rejecting many of those candidates who engaged in the worst name-calling. That should send a stronger signal to future candidates about how to conduct themselves than any voluntary pledge that county government hands out.
"The Democrats' plans to freeze earmark spending will hit lots of local programs, some of them small but close to lawmakers' hearts." "Budget freeze targets pet projects".
"When Florida's infamous punch-card ballots went the way of Al Gore's presidential hopes, many thought the state's voting problems had, too. But six years later, policymakers are learning the system still isn't perfect and more changes may be needed."
Legislative leaders haven't committed to any particular fixes, and proposed legislation is only now starting to be filed — none yet includes any major election overhauls. Some election requirements aren't in the law, but left to the individual counties, where 66 of 67 elections supervisors are chosen by voters."Touch-screen questions may lead lawmakers to look at voting anew".
Perhaps A Constitutional Amendment?
Sad to say, but one suspects that this letter writer's humor would be missed by most Floridians: "The recent botched execution of Angel Diaz brings to light a severe problem in this country, that of capital punishment. In order to reform the system, we should look to the great empires of the past. As our country is quite young compared with, say, the Roman Empire in its prime, it makes sense to learn from our ancestors and model our society after theirs. What I'm getting at is a gladiatorial combat system for prisoners on Death Row." "Bring back the gladiator system".
"A state lawsuit against the ex-wife of former Florida prisons chief James Crosby should be dismissed because she never spent or received any of his retirement money, her lawyer said." "Official's ex-wife: Drop pension suit".
"Why Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty would meet with political hatchet man Doug Guetzloe is mystifying. Mr. Crotty met with his longtime nemesis to talk about -- can you believe this? -- ethics." "A silly summit". Background: "When Crotty met Guetzloe: Mayor sought old foe's advice".
"Family denounces botched Florida execution at funeral in Puerto Rico".
"Opportunistic tax policy is like snake oil. It preys on people's ignorance. It also makes it difficult to tell the difference between tax scammers and tax reformers. Some of both are lobbying their ideas around the state, hoping to soften opinion in their favor on the approach of the next legislative session. A little castor oil might help to sift through the ideas . . . as an emetic for the most indigestible ones, like a governor commission's proposal to eliminate the property tax and double the sales tax instead, or impose an outright cap on tax collection, or let homeowners carry tax savings as they move from one homesteaded property to another." "Property tax fix?".
Now That The Bushco Elections Are Over
"Proposed cuts in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services budget would hit two national wildlife preserves in Florida ... The Bush administration's planned cuts to wildlife services will eliminate 79 full-time positions in the Southeast. Also eliminated would be animal population studies, public education programs, exotic species control and enforcement patrols of sanctuaries." "Taking An Ax To Preserves".
"Crist seeks conservative applicants".