"Weston Mayor Eric Hersh's bid to get Florida's highest court to throw out recently enacted property tax reforms was rejected Thursday. But the Florida Supreme Court didn't kill the mayor's lawsuit. Instead, five justices ruled Hersh had to first take his battle through trial court in Leon County, the normal procedure for most civil lawsuits. The case eventually could reach the Supreme Court, but the court's action means it will likely take longer to resolve the case. Hersh, who filed the suit as a taxpayer and not as mayor, asked the high court to take up the case immediately, arguing that cities and counties will be forced in the next few weeks to roll back property taxes." "Mayor's tax-plan challenge rejected". See also "Tax-cut suit sent to lower court".
"Big promises ... widespread disappointment"
"The big promises of statewide property tax and insurance reform quickly gave way this summer to widespread disappointment." "Lawmakers lament light delivery on property tax and insurance reform vows".
"State Rep. Bob Allen emphatically declared his innocence Thursday of charges that he offered to perform a sex act on an undercover police officer. 'I am vigorously going to fight this,' said Allen, R-Merritt Island. 'I am not resigning my office.' In a sometimes-emotional statement delivered at a news conference, Allen added, "This is an ugly and unpleasant situation that has been thrust upon me and my family." Oh, and by the way, Allen "did not directly address what happened." In the meantime,
Reaction among Allen's fellow Republicans was cautious."Allen insists he's innocent, will not quit". See also "Florida lawmaker plans to fight prostitution charge", "Lawmaker proclaims innocence", "Greer, Rubio respond to Allen situation", "Rubio won't take any action against Allen right now" and "Lawmaker accused of soliciting won’t resign House seat".
Rep. Mitch Needelman, R-Melbourne, said the allegations held "severe moral implications."
"For the foreseeable future, Rep. Allen needs to put his political career on hold," Needelman said. "I have concerns for his family."
House Speaker Marco Rubio said in a statement that, "The charge against Rep. Allen is serious." But because it's a misdemeanor, he added, a guilty verdict would not require Allen to resign. Asked in Miami about the arrest, Gov. Charlie Crist said, "It just seems sad and tragic."
Florida Today is all over the story: "Rep. Bob Allen not giving up". Photos: "Lawmaker to fight charge", "Bob Allen released in Sharpes" and "Recent photos of state lawmaker". Video "Statement to news media Thursday" and "State representative out on bond". More: "Location of Titusville park" and "Arrest report".
"It is not your imagination: There really are fewer birds. The National Audubon Society reports that our 'common birds' are losing ground. And, in Florida's case, they're losing it literally." "Common Florida birds in decline".
Let's Just Pave Everything
"Fearing that the proposed Florida Hometown Democracy constitutional amendment would stifle growth, a business-backed group has started a campaign to pass a rival ballot initiative." "Builders offer rival measure to growth-control initiative".
"With Sunday’s second-quarter campaign finance reporting deadline approaching, Democratic U.S. Reps. Ron Klein and Robert Wexler both say they’ll post fat numbers. Two Republicans vying for Klein’s seat aren’t expected to report large money-raising figures." "Big bucks for Klein, Wexler".
Our Green Governor
"Surrounded by foreign officials but no one from the Bush administration, Gov. Charlie Crist warned Thursday that global warming poses such a dire threat to Floridians that the state must take immediate, dramatic and unilateral action. The first phase of that initiative begins today as Crist signs unprecedented orders intended to help reduce pollution, slow global warming and position the state as a national model -- even as the federal government remains on the sidelines." "Crist sets Florida on a green path Post a comment". See also "Gov. Crist unveils state plan to reduce greenhouse gases", "Crist emerges as new Republican leader on climate change", "Crist: Florida is particularly vulnerable to climate change", "Greenhouse pact goes global", "Fla. enters warming deals", "Governor takes cause global and urges change at summit" and "Governor raises stakes on improving environment".
The Miami Herald editors: "Build a culture of water conservation". The St Pete Times editors: "Governor goes green in a big way". The Tallahassee Democrat editors dig up this quote "'Crist Almighty: Florida governor to enact big energy and emission plans.'"
Charlie doesn't want us to sacrifice much, though; heck, he doesn't even want to "inconvenience" us: "Gov. Crist says vehicle inspections won't return because they're too inconvenient".
"State Sen. Daniel Webster did a little preaching to the choir Thursday, telling a luncheon audience at Victory Baptist Church in South Tampa that they have a duty as conservative Christians to 'push back' against government regulations that limit or contradict their Bible-based morality." "Sen. Webster: God and Governing Go Together".
"Authorities say a law introduced last year making it a felony for captains to ignore federal officials' orders to stop a boat in U.S. waters is aiding their efforts to combat human smuggling across the Florida Straits." "Law helps authorities combat human smugglers off Florida coast".
The Daytona Beach - News Journal editorial board argues that, with nukes, there are "'Green' benefits, yes, but there's also waste, safety, cost to weigh". "Going nuclear to energize Florida".
Courage and the Car Dealer
"Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, today signed on as a co-sponsor of legislation requiring that U.S. troops start withdrawing from Iraq within 120 days of the bill’s passage. The bill also requires the president to update and justify to Congress national security reasons for keeping even minimum force levels in Iraq beyond April 1, 2008 Castor is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, whose chairman, Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo, is the bill’s main sponsor." "Castor Signs on to Troop Withdrawal Bill". And then there is our favorite car dealer: "Buchanan opposes troop withdrawal bill".
It was a mistake, they say.""
"Buried inside the 69-page tax reform bill the Legislature passed last month is a paragraph that exempts dozens of city governments from the harshest state-mandated budget cuts. They were the cities, mostly small and poor, that could not easily endure the deep tax cuts that would face their larger, more prosperous counterparts, legislators said. But one city on the list of more than 100 is neither small nor poor." "Legislators helped poor cities ... and Miami".
The Ocala Star Banner editors:
Today, things are looking up for Democrats. Last fall their candidates ousted two GOP congressmen and came within 400 votes of capturing a third congressional seat held by the Republicans. Also in 2006, voters elected a Democrat to the state Cabinet for the first time in nearly a decade as well as easily re-electing Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson; over the past two election cycles, the party has taken back a handful of seats in the Florida House."Thurman's critics are overreacting" (via Naked Politics).
Much of that success could be attributed to the unpopularity of President Bush and to Republican fatigue among voters in general. But surely, the efforts of Democratic Party chief Karen Thurman, a former congresswoman from Dunnellon, must have played a part.
Thurman, however, came under fire recently from some Democratic loyalists when it was revealed she also worked for the law firm of Al Cardenas, former head of the state Republican Party. In addition to earning $100,000 a year as the top Democratic strategist, Thurman makes $42,000 annually from Cardenas to lobby Democratic powerbrokers in Congress on behalf of Miami-Dade County. ...
What doesn't make sense is for Florida's Democrats to be so upset. Despite the hyperpartisan huffing and puffing we've grown accustomed to from both sides, politics is ultimately about personal relationships. Cardenas is smartly taking advantage of one such relationship in leaning on Thurman.
Meanwhile, the Democrats' fortunes apparently aren't suffering because Thurman is involved with Cardenas. Besides last year's electoral wins, the Democrats raised $23.6 million between July 1, 2006, and June 30, state election reports show. While their total for that time was dwarfed by the GOP's $52 million, it was the Democrats best year financially since they garnered $30 million in the July-through-June period surrounding the 2000 election.
The Daytona Beach - News Journal editors: "In the Florida Legislature, that anecdote-based debate sends the official child-protection philosophy swinging wildly from one extreme to another. Some years, lawmakers want to punish any child-protection workers who remove children from their homes 'unnecessarily.' A few years later, they talk about the need to put more children into foster care." "When home's no haven".
Some blunt words from Bill Cotterell yesterday:
Florida is about to see the biggest tax story of our time - bigger, even, than the services-tax flap of 20 years ago or the sputtering attempts Gov. Lawton Chiles made at getting new revenue sources from a Legislature that was going Republican 12 to 15 years ago. Read the whole column: "Taxing times »".