"Saying the state needs 'new blood,' Gov. Charlie Crist pulled all of Jeb Bush's nominees for state boards."
In an act of far-reaching political independence, Gov. Charlie Crist on Wednesday canceled the nominations of 283 people former Gov. Jeb Bush tapped to sit on numerous state boards and commissions that regulate everything from the environment to telephone bills.While the withdrawal of Jebbie's appointments is inconsistent with Charlie's campaign pledge that he was a Jeb-clone, the Miami Herald suggests that Charlie showed "independence" from Jebbie:
Though Crist campaigned to further Bush's programs and legacy, he showed early signs of independence on the campaign trail, when he declined to appear at a public event with the increasingly unpopular President Bush, irking White House advisors."Crist rejects all of Bush's picks". See also "283 appointees blocked", "Crist will start over on board nominees", "Crist makes room for his team", "Crist to replace Public Service board members", "Crist rescinds 283 Bush appointments", "Crist rejects 283 names, wants 'a fresh new start'", "Littlefield Loses Slot On Panel" and "Crist will replace 2 members of Public Service Commission".
No, the following is not from a Crist campaign press release:
Gov. Charlie Crist — who campaigned tirelessly on consumer issues — said Wednesday he will replace two members of the Public Service Commission because they aren’t consumer-friendly enough."Gov. Crist will replace 2 members of Public Service Commission".
Charlie Disses PBA
Although the supposedly "powerful Florida Police Benevolent Association" opposed McDonough, Crist reappointed him "as the head of the state's prisons and parole officers." "Crist reappoints McDonough as corrections department chief". See also "Crist keeps McDonough at DOC".
Early Primary Fast Tracked
"A bill to shift the state's presidential primary from March to as early as Jan. 29 is on the fast track but could cost Florida convention delegates."
There is a potential hitch. Recognizing New Hampshire's tradition of hosting the first primary, the bill says Florida will hold its primary Feb. 5 or one week after New Hampshire -- whichever come first."Florida primary may be moved near front".
New Hampshire is currently scheduled to vote Jan. 22, so under the bill, Florida would vote on Jan. 29. The national parties' rules say that any state that jumps before Feb. 5 forfeits as many as half of its convention seats. Sending delegates to the conventions allows party leaders to reward activists and donors.
But Rivera said his priority is making sure that a state as big and diverse as Florida has a say in a contest in which New Hampshire and Iowa have traditionally played starring roles. ''What's more important: having a role in selecting the next president or having a seat at the convention with balloons falling on you?'' Rivera asked.
Another stumbling block is competition from other states also jockeying to move up their primaries. Earlier primaries in large states favor high-profile candidates who can raise money quickly.
Navarro to Biden
"Florida Democratic Party executive director Luis Navarro is leaving to run Sen. Joe Biden's presidential campaign, the party announced Wednesday." "Florida Dems executive leaves to run Biden campaign". See also "Top director leaves state Democrats" and "Democratic leader Navarro leaving to run Biden campaign".
The Florida Marlins' Governor
"Crist on Wednesday cited the euphoria over the University of Florida's national football championship among the reasons the state should reverse course and help pay for a Florida Marlins baseball stadium." "Governor favors helping build stadium".
"Dozens of Machines Froze Up or Malfunctioned"
"After the polls closed in November's gubernatorial voting, South Florida election officials were relieved at avoiding the major meltdowns that had tainted elections past. Still, there were some glitches. Logs of phone calls from the poll workers to Broward County's technical call center on Election Day reveal that some had trouble starting or operating the electronic voting machines and that dozens of machines froze up or malfunctioned." "Poll glitches: Check plug, try paper clip".
See "Central Florida lawmakers split on whether more U.S. troops will end violence in Iraq" and "S. Florida legislators set for war of words over military escalation in Iraq". See also "What U.S. House members from S. Florida are saying about Bush's Iraq plan".
Now That "Jeb!" Has Left The Building
"Florida lawmakers agreed Wednesday to spend nearly $17 million to move hundreds of mentally ill inmates now languishing in county jails into psychiatric hospital beds."
"Mentally ill inmates to get help". See also "Commission OKs $16M for DCF" and "State Pays Up To Treat Jailed Mentally Ill".
"Crist rolls out his plan for solving a property insurance crisis this morning while lawmakers in the House and Senate continue to debate their own." "Crist to announce insurance plan". The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "It's early, but the insurance talk in Tallahassee already sounds different from the insurance talk of the past two years. Legislators talk of challenging the industry, and there's new evidence of just how forceful that challenge must be." "Winds shift on insurance".
Concerning the legislative initiatives, the headlines are all over the place:
- "Plans Would Cut Premiums": "Homeowners insurance rates could drop 33 percent to 40 percent starting in July under a plan unveiled by the state Senate on Wednesday."
- "Winds change in Tallahassee -- taxpayers may bear insurance risk": "More of the financial risk of dealing with hurricanes in Florida would shift from insurance companies to you and your state government, under plans taking shape this week in the Capitol.
- "Citizens rate hikes won't stick": "At least one thing seems likely to come out of next week's special legislative session on homeowner's insurance: Citizens Property Insurance policyholders will be spared two big rate hikes that were scheduled for early this year."
- "House's insurance plan would trim Citizens rate hikes": "Florida lawmakers appear poised next week to cut rates for customers of the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. and to try to spur private insurers to reduce rates for other homeowners."
- "Lawmakers' plans for insurance relief come with a big payoff, and a big risk": "The property insurance crisis has caused a startling shift in public policy in the state capital. And the result is likely to be dramatically lower insurance rates for Floridians coupled with the risk that taxpayers could potentially face a huge bill if the state were hit by a mega-hurricane."
- "House insurance bill trumps Senate's": "One-upping the Senate on 'consumer-friendly' insurance reform, House leaders Wednesday set forth a plan that not only rolls back rates and subsidizes hurricane risks, but also takes a stab at industry profits."
- "House plan takes aim at insurance rates": "Florida homeowners could see property insurance rates drop by as much as 25 percent under a bipartisan plan put forth Wednesday by state House leaders."
- "Legislators narrow proposals in hopes of reining in costly home insurance": "Florida lawmakers came closer than ever Wednesday to agreeing on an exit strategy from the state's property insurance crisis: legislation that would deliver potential savings to homeowners, but also force taxpayers to shoulder more risk of massive hurricane losses now assumed by private insurance companies."
- "House, Senate insurance plans boost state load in hurricanes": "Both the Florida House and Senate offered differing plans Wednesday that promised dramatic cuts in rising property insurance rates by allowing the state to pick up more of the multibillion-dollar tab from a major hurricane."
"Given that the courts are not showing 'inquiring minds' regarding ballot and voting dysfunctions in Florida, it's perhaps up to lawmakers such as state Sen. Mike Bennett to tackle the problem of voter doubt mechanically." "Ballot bingo".
"Longtime Republican Palm Beach County Commissioner Warren Newell is now a Democrat. The county elections office confirmed Wednesday that it had received paperwork from Newell changing his registration from the GOP to the Democratic Party." "Newell switches to Democrat to match district".
"The state's House speaker ...,
in preparation for next week's special legislative session to deal with the state's growing insurance crisis, wants information from the companies on their hurricane loss projection models, including any factors and assumptions they use."State House speaker requests storm model data".
The use of these computer models in setting insurance rates is controversial because the four firms that develop them for the insurance and reinsurance industries often use components they claim are proprietary, so the formulas are a secret. Also, the models' projections can vary widely, industry experts say.
Rubio's request went to AIR Worldwide in Boston; Applied Research Associates in Raleigh, N.C.; EQECAT in Oakland, Calif.; and Risk Management Solutions in Newark, Calif. Rubio is asking for responses from the modeling firms by noon Thursday.
"Four school superintendents told a Senate committee Wednesday that lawmakers were too hasty last year in passing a statewide performance pay plan for teachers and urged them to take more time to get it right. " "Superintendents pan state’s teacher performance pay plan". See also "Performance pay plan for teachers under fire".
"The number of manatees killed in Florida waters last year was the highest since 1996, when state records listed 415 manatee deaths. Floridians should take note, however, that the carnage in 2006 occurred in the same year the state downgraded the marine mammal's protected status to "threatened" from 'endangered.'" "Wildlife". See also "Record manatee deaths, but state plans less protection".
"A few dozen tents erected near downtown St. Petersburg have focused public attention on the plight of the homeless. Not only does this makeshift tent city mark the community's failure to adequately address an admittedly complex problem, but also the situation threatens to erupt into unnecessary conflict. Mayor Rick Baker says the tents are illegal and must be down by Friday, while some homeless advocates say they will resist that order." "Tent city points up larger problems".
Wasserman Schultz a Cardinal
"U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz will lead a House Appropriations subcommittee which oversees funding for the entire legislative branch. That makes her one of 12 'cardinals' on the House Appropriations Committee. (Members recommended to head a subcommittee are referred to as cardinals.)" "Wasserman Schultz named subcommittee chairwoman". See also "Wasserman Schultz tapped for powerful post".
Steinberg for Gelber?
"Miami Beach City Commissioner Richard Steinberg is eager for a promotion. He has announced - 21 months before the election - that he is running for the Florida House seat currently represented by Dan Gelber. Gelber, the House Democratic Leader, cannot run for another term in 2008." "Permalink">Gelber's seat up for grabs in 2008".
How Nice For Him
"Mike Murtha, the long-time aide to former state Sen. Rod Smith and the late George Kilpatrick, will be seen a lot at the Capitol this coming year. That's because Murtha has been hired as the new legislative affairs director for the Agency for Health Care Administration, which is led by Dr. Andrew Agwunobi. Murtha, a Republican, helped out Governor Charlie Crist during the campaign after Smith was defeated in the Democratic primary for governor by Tampa Congressman Jim Davis." "Former Smith aide takes job at AHCA".
"State Rep. John Quinones, R-Kissimmee, told the Buzz [yesterday] that he has not decided whether he'll leave the House to run for Osceola County Commission." "Quinones undecided, for now, about future".
Jac Versteeg writes that
well before No Child Left Behind came into existence, teachers regularly identified students who were having trouble reading or doing math and enrolled them in special programs that often worked."No Misconception Left Behind".
It simply is not the case that, before No Child Left Behind and FCAT, "We invested billions of dollars and basically just hoped for the best." Before the FCAT and No Child Left Behind, most public schools tried their best to teach students to read and do math. Much of the time, they succeeded.
Still, there's this notion that schools just "hoped for the best." The claim that public schools just were winging it helped to sell the public on greater federal and state involvement. It justified taking decisions out of local hands. But the idea that public schools didn't work because they didn't try has turned out to be a big problem for No Child Left Behind and the A+ Plan. It created a false expectation that bringing order to the mess and improving the outcome would be a relatively easy thing.
All we have to do, reformers said, is give some tests, flunk some schools, put on the pressure, and schools will shape up.
In fact, that works only to a point. There is some low-hanging fruit. Intensive, small classes will work with some kids. So will tutors. And if FCAT grades and No Child Left Behind analyses got those things for more children who needed it, great. But it turns out that setting up a system to exhaustively identify and report all those who need help is not the same thing as actually helping all those who need it. That's why so many high school kids still can't pass the FCAT and graduate. That's why so many schools aren't meeting No Child Left Behind standards.
"Former Gov. Bob Martinez of Tampa is moving from Carlton Fields to Holland and Knight. He tells us he's excited about the move and expects about two thirds of his time will be spent lobbying on Florida issues and the remainder on Washington and international matters." "Gov. Martinez moves to H&K".
"Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff wants to change how departing commissioners hand out staff bonuses, but the proposal may require altering the city's charter." "Sarnoff seeks new rules on bonuses".