"Hyping an upcoming appearance in Miami, a Barack Obama supporter sent out an e-mail last week selling the event as one of the 'last opportunities' to see the Democratic presidential candidate before the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary wrap up next year."
The U.S. senator's campaign quickly said that's not the case, but the e-mail underscored the underwhelming feeling among some Florida Democrats still waiting to be wooed for their primary vote."State's Democrats to candidates: A little more love".
State lawmakers hoped moving Florida's primary up six weeks to Jan. 29 would give voters better access to candidates and provide a boost to the economy from the millions the campaigns would spend.
But it's had almost the opposite effect among Democrats so far.
Unions hate it. Teachers scorn it. Administrators find it a hassle.And catch this bit of wisdom:
The disdain is so complete that some of those who benefit from the extra money -- teachers and administrators -- are asking lawmakers to ax the program when they meet in special session next month to deal with budget shortfalls.
Even if teacher bonuses survive, legislators and school officials expect that school districts from the Panhandle to Miami will opt out of the newest bonus program.
Merit-pay backers point out that top executives get bonuses for improving company performance, and top athletes for scoring more points.And even if "merit" pay made sense,
"Florida took everything that the nation learned over the last 20 years that was bad [about merit pay] and put it into law," said William Slotnik, executive director of the Community Training and Assistance Center, a Boston nonprofit that studies teacher compensation."Teachers slam state merit-pay program".
Some Call it "Flab"
"Next up is state government, which must cut its budget by about $1 billion in September because revenues in the state's sputtering economy are coming up short. Once again, citizens are learning that when forced to do so, government managers can find plenty of fat to cut." Check out what The Tampa Trib editors identify as "flab" produced by the powers that be in Tally: "Budget-Cutting Exercise Shows Florida's Got Flab In Its Budget".
Florida's Financial Outlook Dim
"There isn't much good news to report on Florida's financial outlook."
In the long term, it's difficult to be optimistic that elected leaders will discover the backbone they haven't found yet to begin significant reforms of our antiquated tax system, which is excessively dependent on revenue from sales taxes. ..."'Net loss".
the conundrum that Florida now faces - between an economic downturn and property-tax "reform" that undoubtedly will result in reduced services - may finally convince policymakers that meaningful tax reform is essential to the long-term well-being of the Sunshine State.
"Florida drivers are likely to see momentous changes in less than six weeks, barring last-minute action by the Legislature. For one thing, most of us may no longer have to carry auto insurance." "Floridians may see 'momentous changes' in car insurance in 6 weeks".
Is This "Journalism"?
The first sentence of the Orlando Sentinel's front page article noted above, "Teachers slam state merit-pay program" reads as follows:
As appealing as teacher-bonus pay might sound ...Does the writer of this doggerel - alleged journalist Erika Hobbs - not realize that "merit-pay programs" are not "appealing" to everyone? (Although her corporate masters think they are just wonderful). Many folks, not just teachers, believe that "merit" pay is a bogus system of compensation.
This wordage in an otherwise interesting piece, is just another example of the traditional media injecting their corporate bias into "news" stories, when such sentiments are more appropriate for the editorial pages.
A Story Rush Limbaugh Won't Mention
"While more than 30 other states have taken steps to monitor the legal sale of heavy-duty painkillers such as Oxycontin and Vicodin, Florida has stalled - and that has black market dealers and addicts flocking to the state, authorities say." "Lax oversight has addicts flocking to Florida for painkillers".
"Crist and the Seminole Tribe of Florida are down to the "nitty gritty" issues as they push to have a deal in place this week giving the tribe Las Vegas-style slot machines and potentially other gambling options, according to an attorney for the Seminoles." "Gov. Crist, Seminole Tribe down to 'nitty gritty' on Las Vegas-style slot machine plan".
"In the 7 1/2 months since he took office, Crist has taken all or virtually all of 19 weekdays off in addition to having most weekends off." "Taking off".
"Democratic state Rep. Susan Bucher's challenge of Democratic incumbent Arthur Anderson for the nonpartisan elections supervisor's job creates a dilemma for Dems." Meanwhile, Dopey Dinerstein weighs in:
County Republican boss Sid Dinerstein, meanwhile, took delight in Democrats opposing each other and played up the fact that Anderson is black and blacks are a key Democratic constituency."Democrats less than warm to Bucher's bid".
"Arthur Anderson is, one, an incumbent Democrat and, two, the single highest elected minority in Palm Beach County, and I think (Bucher) and the Democratic Party should have thought twice before going after him," Dinerstein said.
Dinerstein didn't know whether any Republicans would run for the seat.
"If I had a qualified, viable Republican, I'd certainly want to run that person," Dinerstein said. "On the other hand, if (Anderson) were a registered Republican, we'd be protecting him."
And Then There Were Five
"Add another Democrat to the list of 2008 candidates looking to challenge U.S. Rep. Ric Keller, R-Orlando. Attorney Alan Grayson said in a phone interview Wednesday that he is "probably going to do that" and promised a result unlike his 2006 campaign." "And now there are 5 Democrats to challenge Keller".
"Society needs strong laws and severe punishments for sex offenders whose crimes against young and vulnerable victims do devastating damage. But unless lawmakers are mindful of unintended consequences, the laws they write can make problems worse by punishing the wrong people in the wrong way." "Fix sex offender law to focus on the adults".
"Greer, who heads Florida's Republican Party, recommended last week that the state send its entire delegation to the party's national convention next year in Minneapolis. The state's GOP executive committee went along, even though the national Republican Party has warned Florida it may lose half of its delegates after the state bumped up its 2008 presidential primary to Jan. 29." "Sticking up for Sunshine State voters.".
A Hillsborough Thing
"In June, four commissioners voted to do away with the county Environmental Protection Commission's oversight of wetlands, saying it duplicated similar monitoring programs by state and regional agencies. Since then, letters, e-mail messages and calls have poured into commissioners' offices, with many of those blasting the vote and urging commissioners to retain some or all of the EPC's wetlands responsibilities." "Wetlands Issue May Ripple At Polls".
More from Hillsborough County: "A Snide Remark And Deserved Rebuke".
The Daytona Beach News-Journal editors: "At one point, leaders with the Department of Children & Family Services envisioned a communications network that would keep tabs on every child through every stage of progress through the foster-care system. But after 13 years and $190 million, the state finally pulled the plug this month on HomeSafeNet, the 'fiasco' of a computer system that never worked as planned. HomeSafeNet is being replaced with the Florida Safe Families Network, using roughly $42 million in machinery from the old system." "Keeping track".
"When man and nature collide"
The Orlando Sentinel editors:
As development continues to encroach on the habitat of bears and other creatures, people need to learn to coexist with wildlife -- and officers need to know what to do when man and nature collide."Learn from bear's death".
Something went wrong last week in Tivoli Woods, a southeast Orlando subdivision. Police officers who responded to a call about a nuisance bear ended up using a Taser on the animal. In the end, the bear was killed.
The bear didn't have to die.
Scott Maxwell yesterday:
There still seem to be more questions than answers surrounding last week's indictment of former state Rep. Sheri McInvale. What we know is that the arrests involve accusations that she misused public money in connection with mailings -- though if prosecutors are going to start getting zealous about that, there should be a whole mess of local politicians sweating their shorts. So the jury's still out on that one. Still, one noteworthy observation about this case is that neither political party jumped into the fray with indignant accusations about the other."And there's a good reason for that. Because, in their case, prosecutors have cited alleged incidents in 2005, when McInvale was a Democrat, as well as 2006, the year she switched parties to become a Republican."
From the "Values" Crowd
"There are at least 500,000 children in Florida without health insurance. Sadly, they are lost in a bureaucratic maze of inefficiency called KidCare."
It was embarrassing that lawmakers refused to address these issues last session, and they refuse to deal with them in next month's special session. Thankfully, Florida's Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink has taken the lead. A task force she appointed found that some problems aren't so tough to fix. But she's not going to wait for the Legislature; she wants to start making changes in the next 60 days."Fix KidCare".