"The switch to paper ballots ordered by Gov. Charlie Crist and the Legislature means that most touch screens, only a few years old, must be junked and replaced by 2008." "From $3,150 each to worthless".
Our Good Time Green Guy
"Against the backdrop of Florida's first summit on global warming, Gov. Charlie Crist this week will unleash an aggressive campaign to cut air pollution by joining California and 11 other states in adopting the nation's toughest auto emission standards." "Gov. Crist will order strict measures to combat Florida's air pollution". See also "Governor goes green in a big way" and "Crist picks green over red" ("Republican Gov. Charlie Crist acknowledged Wednesday that his global warming initiative puts him at odds with the White House and some of his party's longtime supporters in the utility and construction industries.")
But of course, in true GOPer fashion, Good-Time Charlie "said environmental gain can be had with little pain." "Initiatives delight and dismay".
The Palm Beach Post editors think otherwise: "Crist sets great goals; now comes hard part".
Christian Coalition Darling Arrested for Soliciting Gay Sex in Public Restroom
Rep. Bob Allen, a Merritt Island Republican, who received a 2006 "A" legislative rating from the Christian Coalition of Florida (.pdf document) "was arrested Wednesday afternoon on charges that he allegedly solicited a male undercover cop inside a restroom at a Brevard County park." "Rep. Allen arrested for allegedly soliciting male undercover cop". More details from Florida Today: "Police: State Rep. Allen solicited officer for sex in Titusville".
"Titusville police were at Veterans Memorial Park on East Broad Street on a burglary detail when they noticed an unshaven man acting suspiciously, going into and out of the restroom three times, Lt. Todd Hutchinson said."
"After he was arrested, he mentioned he was a state legislator," Hutchinson said of Allen."Brevard lawmaker asked officer for sex, police say"
Allen told a television reporter that what happened was a "misunderstanding." But Hutchinson said the lawmaker did not dispute the undercover officer's version of what happened in the park.
Updated Stories: "Allen charged in sex crime" and "Rep. Bob Allen arrested in prostitution case" ("Allen is a former Little League volunteer who also donated time to the Boys and Girls Club, serving on its board of directors. Allen is married and has a teenage daughter.")
Kudos to the blog Kusala for good work on this.
"Michael Moore fans must feel like they have been denied treatment for the pre-existing condition of living in Volusia and Flagler counties." "Michael Moore fans impatient to see 'Sicko'".
"Miami-Dade's elections chief was told to negotiate with three optical-scan vote machine vendors and return to county commissioners with a recommendation." "Dade to shop for vote scanners".
Scott Maxwell: "while a majority of Americans and congressional reps support beefing up federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research, odds are that your [central Florida] representative did not." "Stem cells: Who stands where".
"The sponsor of legislation creating a 'children's cabinet' said Wednesday the panel will focus legislative attention on health, education and development needs of Florida's young people. Rep. Loranne Ausley, D-Tallahassee, said she would like to serve on the 15-member board, which will work with state agencies to present recommendations in future legislative sessions. She said she has spoken with Gov. Charlie Crist about his personal involvement in the project, as well as with Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink and House Speaker Marco Rubio, R-West Miami, who have designees on the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet." "Cabinet to focus on children's needs". See also "Crist touts children's cabinet law".
An Orlando Thing
"Prosecutors on Wednesday dropped perjury charges against political consultant Doug Guetzloe following the death this weekend of the state's main witness in the case." "Charges against Guetzloe dropped".
Can't Blame 'Em
"Port St. Lucie officials terminated the $10/month lease for three first-floor offices occupied by state Rep. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart. City officials said it was in response to state-mandated property tax cuts, which Harrell did support." "Harrell booted from city hall".
"With the presidential campaign heating up in the nation's biggest swing state, the Florida Democratic Party is edging closer to rival Republicans in fundraising, new finance reports show." Here's a disconcerting twist:
Crist's centrist politics also may be helping the Democrats. For instance, Thrasher's Republican-dominated Southern Strategy lobbying group gave its first-ever contribution -- $5,000 -- to the state Democratic Party last month."Democrats pick up steam in fundraising".
The Hillsborough County commissioner’s battle over whether to end local environmental protection of wetlands is now getting the JibJab treatment."County Commissioners Get JibJabbed".
For those unfamiliar with it, JibJab has made a name for itself doing parodies of political figures. Their most famous: An musical cartoon duel between George Bush and John Kerry in 2004 to the tune of "This Land Is Your Land."
Palm Beach "Commissioners raided a $30.8 million reserve fund that County Administrator Bob Weisman had recommended be set aside for a projected budget shortfall in 2008-09. They'll use the money to pay for a series of items scheduled to be cut from next year's spending plan." "County officials to raid reserves".
"Dozens of Wellington residents urged the village council Tuesday night not to lower their taxes to the reduced levels Crist and the legislature mandated. Those residents, mainly through comment cards, told their elected leaders they did not want to do without Wellington's exceptional parks and recreation programs, which, along with the equestrian industry, have become the marquees of this village." "Some in Wellington lobby against tax cuts".
Just want to make sure I grasp this."Tax rule: Heads, we win; tails, you lose".
When your home's market value goes up, the government raises its taxable value, too.
True, the government can't raise that taxable value by more than 3 percent a year, under Florida's "Save Our Homes" cap.
But that's still an increase.
On the other hand, it turns out that even when your home's value goes down ...
The government still raises your taxable value each year.
The market goes up - your taxable value goes up.
The market goes down -your taxable value goes up anyway.
"A constituent called"
"Rep. Janet Long already was wavering over a Boston conference. Then a constituent called." "Legislator decides not to travel at state expense".
Cuban-American political leaders from Florida -- a state with the third-largest number of registered Latino voters -- were among the staunchest defenders of the failed Senate immigration bill that would have tightened border security and restructured visa laws. At the forefront were Republican Sen. Mel Martinez and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, whose families left Cuba when they were children."Cuban-Americans torn over immigration, GOP".
Cuban-Americans would not have been affected by the bill because they are protected under the Cuban Adjustment Act -- the law allows those who have fled the island nation to stay in the United States even if they entered illegally.
Still, with a history of escaping Fidel Castro's regime, the Cuban-American political and business elite expressed strong support for other immigrants who have separated from families in search of better lives. ...
And as Martinez fought for passage of the Senate bill, an InsiderAdvantage poll in Florida showed his job approval rating at 23 percent, while 47 percent disapproved. Hispanics voiced disapproval by a 2-1 ratio.
Now That Jebbie's Gone ...
The Daytona Beach - News Journal editorial board: "In bold moves Tuesday, the Florida Board of Governors sent a clear message that it intends to live up to its mission: to fully govern the state's 11 public universities. Until now, the board has acquiesced to what the Legislature said it should be -- not living up to the executive powers assigned to it when voters passed the constitutional amendment in 2002."
In an ideal world, legislators and the Board of Governors could work this out. But this is Florida. We have a long history of legislative meddling that has hurt the universities rather than helped. It is time to set the parameters for governing the university system so that students get the quality they deserve."Governors' gauntlet".
The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "It is a move that's absolutely, positively overdue. The BOG has been in place since 2002, empowered by a constitutional amendment that makes it autonomous from the whims, and also the wisdom, of the Florida Legislature. But it has remained timid about challenging lawmakers who do - to acknowledge BOG's strongest point - authorize the bulk of funding for universities." "At long last".
Giuliani Staffs Up
"In a press release, Giuliani announced that his Florida field director will be Kathryn Staczek, who has worked in field and media operations for campaigns including Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 2006 re-election as California governor. Giuliani also announced hiring half a dozen regional field representatives, including Jeremy Collins, a veteran of the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign, in central Florida." "Giuliani Expands Florida Staff".
"Sen. Gwen Margolis, a Democrat who spent more than two decades in the Florida Senate and served as the chamber's first female president, announced Wednesday she will not seek reelection next year so that term-limited Rep. Dan Gelber can run for her Miami Beach seat." "Margolis to retire so Gelber can seek her Senate seat".
All In The Family
"The older brother of House Speaker Marco Rubio has filed to run for a Jacksonville-based state House seat. Mario Rubio filed paperwork this week to run for the state House seat held by Rep. Stan Jordan, R-Jacksonville, who can't seek re-election because of term limits." And this is a nice touch:
Mario Rubio is a registered lobbyist for Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Florida, based in Jacksonville."Older brother of House Speaker Rubio to seek House seat".
"Naugle's mouth is at it again"
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "Jim Naugle likes to express his opinions to anyone who will listen, so here is one for the Fort Lauderdale mayor to chew on: Mr. Mayor, your remarks are a total embarrassment."
In the past, Naugle has blessed us with such gems as middle class folks who complain about high home prices are lazy, beer drinking "schlocks." He's not even original, since he loves to steal catch phrases from his idol, Rush Limbaugh, such as "environmental wacko.""Fort Lauderdale".
You could laugh off Naugle as a loose cannon or rightfully ignore him as an attention-craver who likes to see his name in the newspaper, but it's harder to do when he turns mean-spirited and hurtful — to say nothing of homophobic and just plain ignorant.
In a city with a huge gay population that has added much to the fabric of the community, Naugle recently told South Florida Sun-Sentinel reporter Brittany Wallman the proposed $250,000 toilet on Fort Lauderdale beach could help prevent "homosexual activity" because it won't allow enough time for "illegal" sex.