Charlie is being asked to "follow through" on his campaign flip-flop, and actually take action to restore felons' voting rights
The intergovernmental, recreational and cultural affairs committee of the Miami-Dade County Commission passed a resolution today urging the incoming governor to sign an executive order restoring felons' civil rights. The American Civil Liberties Union is also trying to set up a meeting with Crist to discuss the issue.The response from Charlie's flack is less than encouraging:
"We're exploring our options on how to achieve this," said Crist spokeswoman Erin Isaac."Crist asked to let ex-felons vote".
"The top Democrat in the Florida House was sharply critical Wednesday of the Republicans who were picked to lead talks on how to solve the state's property insurance crisis."
"The guys writing the last insurance bill will be writing the next insurance bill," said Rep. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach. "And the last insurance bill was obscene. It was nearly venal."This is encouraging, because Gelber has kept his powder dry until this point with respect to Rubio:
Gelber identified the two "guys" as Reps. Don Brown, R-De Funiak Springs, and Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland. Brown is an independent insurance agent and Ross is a partner in a law firm whose clients include Publix and State Farm.
It is the first time Gelber has taken aim at Rubio, whom he considers a friend. The normally garrulous Democrat kept mostly quiet when it was recently revealed that Rubio was hiring staffers, including his press secretary, at six-figure salaries. Gelber said he would reserve criticism for policy."Leaders in insurance talks are criticized".
"After just four months in the top spot, Ed Helm was ousted Wednesday night as head of the Pinellas Democratic Party."
"He alienates people, and he alienates good people," Molinaro said of Helm in an interview before the vote. "And I actually have a working relationship with elected Democrats in this county."However,
That was evident in the unprecedented number of Democratic office holders who turned up at the meeting. Many elected Democrats have shunned the local party, viewing Helm as an obstacle rather than an ally.
State Sen. Charlie Justice, state Rep. Bill Heller, county School Board member Linda Lerner, and county Commissioners Calvin Harris and Ken Welch, all Democrats, turned out as Molinaro boosters.
Helm, a self-described progressive, has the strong support of party members who see him as a bright, committed Democrat unwilling to compromise with the local Republican establishment. ... Before the vote, Adrien Helm said her husband and his supporters would stay active in the party, even if he should lose. "Democrats oust Helm as leader".
Rubio's "Fiscal Discipline"
"For six years, Mr. Rubio and Florida's GOP leaders have been preaching fiscal discipline and smaller government. They have underfunded education, Medicaid, the Department of Children & Families and other social services. Now, while Floridians struggle to pay their homeowners' insurance and property taxes, Mr. Rubio is handing out six-digit salaries to grow government. Shame on you, Mr. Rubio, for not practicing what you preach." "What happened to smaller government?".
And remember, one of Rubio's hires is the wingnut Donna Arduin, will get $10,000 a month, to spout garbage. See "Political stunts aren't tax reform".
"Senators Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, and Mike Haridopolos, R-Indialantic, will be taking Florida's housing crisis to a national audience, when they appear on a Thursday special edition of 'Lou Dobbs Tonight. ... Haridopolos will talk about property taxes and Fasano will talk about property insurance.'" "Senators To Chat With Lou Dobbs".
"Another Florida Democratic Congress member has scored a coup with the Democratic takeover of the House—Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston has landed a seat on the presitigious Appropriations Committee" "Wasserman Schultz Gets Appropriations Post".
"Polk Republicans Pick Their Leaders".
From Breakup ...
to makeup? "Nearly four months after their bitter primary for the GOP nomination in the 13th Congressional District race, Hudson and Buchanan had their first cordial exchange in public this week." "Will Buchanan, Hudson make up?".
It Really Is A "Joke"
"This is not a joke. The Florida Legislature passed a bill this year that requires high-school freshmen to choose a major course of study, just as do college students. If you are the parent of a 14-year-old, you know that children this age seldom know what they want to do tomorrow, much less what to chose as a career track. You may also conclude that state lawmakers have taken leave of their senses. ... In fact, the state hasn't allocated additional funds for teachers, resources, curriculum or support for the majors program." "Next year, junior must declare a major".
No "Renaissance of Intellectual Firepower"
Daniel Ruth believes that "if Crist thinks the Florida Legislature is going to turn into a renaissance of intellectual firepower when it comes to solving the insurance debacle, perhaps on second thought he might want to consider getting completely trashed on inaugural day." "Homeowners Are Getting Restless".
"Finding a solution for a property tax system that appears to be riddled with inequities won't be an easy task, lawmakers and other tax experts say." "Officials search for property tax fixes".
"Florida's teachers union challenged another key plank of Gov. Jeb Bush's education program Wednesday, asking Leon Circuit Court to order a performance pay plan removed from state law. ... Union lawyers contend that the Legislature overstepped authority by creating and funding the plan in an appropriations bill." "Void performance pay law, teachers union asks court". See also "Union sues to block teacher performance pay program" and "Teachers union sues over bonus-pay plan".
"Crist's first inaugural event 'for the people'". See also "Gov.-elect Crist kicks off inaugural festivities", "Crist begins thrifty debut", "Crist kicks off inaugural events by sticking to themes", "Crist launches inaugural festivities", "The people's breakfast" and "Crist kickoff to inaugural blends power, inclusiveness".
Morales Out in Dade
"Less than two years after he was recruited amid high hopes to lead the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, Chairman Jimmy Morales is stepping down. His resignation did not come as a surprise. After the former county commissioner lost a bruising mayoral race, he took the party post as a steppingstone to become state chairman but dropped out of the running at the last minute. Then Morales appeared to position himself as a running mate for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis, but was passed over." "Morales resigns as head of Dade Democratic Party".
Media Laps It Up ...
like good little lapdogs (see yesterday's post, "It Is So Easy To Suck Up To The Media"):
Crist makes the right move ... the governor-elect said the office would help ensure compliance with the state's Sunshine Law and provide training to agencies on "transparency and accountability." The two appointments that were also announced suggest that Mr. Crist does not intend for this office to be political window dressing."More Sunshine". See also Scott Maxwell, who notes today: "Holly berries for Charlie Crist, who decided to set up an Open Government office. By putting one of the state's top public-records experts in the new position, the governor-elect has put government officials throughout the state on notice that the business they're doing is the people's -- and should therefore be done in public."
"Josh Earnest, the communications director for Democrat Jim Davis' gubernatorial bid, will play a similar role for Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack's presidential campaign, starting tomorrow." "Earnest Goes to Vilsack" "Earnest Goes to Vilsack".
The "People's Governor" Likes The People's Cash
"Crist took the most -- $3.3 million in taxpayer money -- even though he had already sucked up more special-interest contributions than anyone else in the state and made history with his $20 million campaign." "Public campaign cash there for the taking -- and they do".
"Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo was slated to speak about immigration at the Rotary Club of Miami's weekly meeting at the Rusty Pelican on Virginia Key today, but restaurant and club representatives abruptly canceled his appearance on Wednesday after his controversial comments ignited local outrage -- including criticism from Gov. Jeb Bush." "Tancredo speech not worth the risk, Miami club decides". See also "Tancredo cancels Miami trip, speech on 'assimilation'".
The Orlando Seninel editorial board: "this is just plain bizarre: Mr. Siplin was named vice chairman of the Senate's Education Pre-K-12 Appropriations Committee. Yes, that's right, Senate President Ken Pruitt and Democrat Leader Steve Geller think it is perfectly proper for a man who was convicted of misappropriating state funds to help lead a key appropriations committee." "Where's the outrage?".
Nelson Bucks Dubya
"Against Bush's wishes, Nelson travels to Syria".
"State House committee assignments set". The Palm Beach Post observes that "Choices for panels' leadership to increase influence of region". Jeremy Wallace writes, "House makes committee assignments". The Orlando Sentinel blog: "The Rest of Rubio's Appointments".
Another One Bites The Dust
"Head of agency for disabled to leave" For more, see our post yesterday: "Another APD Casualty; Charlie Skates" (scroll down).
Bayh in South Florida
"He's not yet officially a presidential candidate, but U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., wrapped up 48 hours in South Florida on Wednesday, introducing himself to people who can donate money and tap into networks of other political contributors. ... At Wednesday's gathering of the Democratic Professionals Forum, a group largely composed of business professionals and lawyers, Bayh's pitch was mostly biographical. He offered more general themes than specific policies." "Bayh makes local pitch".
"Al Cardenas, the former chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, is weighing in on House Speaker Marco Rubio's proposal to move up Florida's presidential primary in 2008." "Ex- GOP chief supports earlier Florida primary".