"So what was [former Hialeah Mayor Raul ] Martinez doing in Washington, anyway? "Meeting with friends," he said. Sources describe these friends as Democratic party officials mulling his potential campaign against Ros-Lehtinen's colleague, U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart. That would be a monster of a race ... " "Raul meet Ileana, Ileana meet Raul".
"House intrigue: Rivera sought blogger mole".
Allen Documents Released
"State Rep. Bob Allen told police he was just playing along when a undercover officer suggested in a public restroom that the legislator give him oral sex and $20 because he was intimidated, according to a taped statement and other documents released Thursday."
Allen has already denied any wrongdoing, but the recordings and documents offered new details about what he and police say happened on July 11 inside the men's room at Veterans Memorial Park."Allen explains sex case: Fear made me play along". "The details released in discovery Thursday include:"
"I certainly wasn't there to have sex with anybody and certainly wasn't there to exchange money for it," said Allen, R-Merritt Island, who was arrested on charges of soliciting prostitution.
"This was a pretty stocky black guy, and there was nothing but other black guys around in the park," Allen, who is white, told police in a taped statement after his arrest. Allen said he feared he "was about to be a statistic" and would have said anything just to get away.
# Officer Daniel Kavanaugh, the Titusville police officer Allen is accused of soliciting, first brought up money, asking the lawmaker to give him $20."Allen attorney: Officer initiated sex offer". Here are some of the discovery documents in .pdf form.
As the two were walking to Allen's car, Kavanaugh asked what he had to do for the money, offering to give the lawmaker oral sex. Allen replied: "I was thinking you would want one."
# At one point, Allen asked Kavanaugh: "You're not a cop, are you?" Kavanaugh replied, "Nah. If I was a cop, why would I be hanging around here?"
# Cpl. Erich Barrett wrote in his supplemental police report that Allen asked if his position as a state lawmaker would "help."
As he was getting into Barrett's marked cruiser, Allen allegedly asked, "I don't suppose it would help if I said I was a State Legislator, would it?" Barrett said, "No."
Eisenmenger, who with Phillip Lupo is representing Allen in the criminal case, denied the lawmaker tried to use his position to get himself out of the charge.
# Allen told Titusville Assistant Chief John Lau he felt intimidated by the undercover officer in the restroom and was trying to get away from him because he feared the officer would rob him.
Eisenmenger said the documents show that police initiated the alleged solicitation.
"It took almost two years and a change in Florida's administration, but finally the hacking vulnerability of Diebold Election Systems' touch-screen voting machines is being tackled. Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning has given Diebold until Aug. 17 to make the touch-screens hack-proof. What took Florida so long?" "Ensure integrity of touch-screen voting".
The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "At the beginning of a century that promises to be the most challenging Florida has ever faced, our outdated revenue system is overdue for an overhaul." "Revenue reform".
"the endorsement of Luis Fortuno, Puerto Rico's representative in Congress. Fortuno, whose title is resident commissioner of Puerto Rico, is also a candidate to become the island's governor. During the homestretch of the 2006 Florida governor's race, Fortuno campaigned regularly for Republican Charlie Crist in select neighborhoods of Orange and Osceola counties." "Giuliani Seeking To Pump Up Puerto Rican Supporters".
"Crist got the insurance industry's attention. It's a start. That's what happens when a governor calls an entire industry 'greedy' and threatens to file a lawsuit and issue subpoenas." "Prepare state for fight over insurance numbers".
That's Our Mel
"Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., may be the least senior member of the Senate Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee, but he's leapfrogging his colleagues. Thursday he was named the 'ranking member' - top Republican - on the panel. The panel oversees Marine Corps and Navy policy and weapons." "New post for Martinez".
In the Hole
"A slowdown in the Florida housing market has left a $1.5 billion hole in the state budget that lawmakers will have to fix in a special session next month." "Lawmakers face $1.5 billion hole in budget".
"U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson plans to convene federal hearings into why Everglades National Park was taken off a United Nations environmental "danger" list at a time when restoration of the River of Grass has faltered. He also wants the Bush administration official who pushed for the Everglades' removal from the list to be fired for going against the recommendations of scientists." "Nelson to Bush official: You're fired".
He said it (well almost): "Ross: Insurance law is for commies".
"Lakeland Rep. Dennis Ross, who once headed the House Insurance Committee, has sent a letter to Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty critical of the regulator's recent editorial that challenged the industry for failing to reduce insurance rates." "Former House Insurance Chair Goes to Bat For Industry".
We're Number 2!
"Group's Web-based study puts Florida 2nd in drive-by shootings".
Politico has a substantial piece on Keller's woes: "Rep. Ric Keller (R-Fla.) is being hit from all sides as he prepares to run for reelection." "Florida Rep. beset by challengers" (via Central Florida's Political Pulse's, "Keller says he's not concerned about challengers".
"The demise of no-fault automobile insurance in Florida is inevitable unless Gov. Charlie Crist or legislative leaders expand the purpose of the year's third special session called next month to deal with the state's projected $1.5 billion budget shortfall." "Shift No-Fault Discussion To Drivers' Responsibilities".
"Senate Minority Leader Steve Geller said Thursday that he wants to hold special Senate hearings on the state's still-high insurance rates during next month's special session on budget-cutting." "Geller Wants Insurers To Testify Under Oath".
Deep Thinker at Work
"Florida Gov. Charlie Christ: We can do a better job with border security".
"Explosive growth expected in Florida's state-run insurance company has failed to materialize, leaving officials to wonder where those homeowners are getting hurricane protection." "Citizens concerned by dearth of policies".
Running Government Like A Business
"Florida's health insurance program for low-income children misspent at least $18.7 million in federal money during the first half of 2005, federal auditors estimated in a report released Thursday." "Audit Faults KidCare Spending".
But For The Minnesota Tragedy? ...
"Florida bridge inspections will not be affected by planned budget cuts, a state highway official said Thursday, a day after a collapse in Minnesota brought the issue of bridge safety to the attention of officials nationwide." "Florida's bridge inspectors won't be target of budget cuts".
He Said It
"On a day when many Americans are thinking about bridges, Gov. Charlie Crist said one of his long-range ideas for transportation improvements in the Tampa Bay area is another bridge over the Bay." "Crist: Tampa Bay Needs Another Bridge".
"Back-to-school tax holiday begins Saturday".
"Democratic leaders in the Florida Legislature asked top lawmakers Thursday to convene a series of oversight hearings into recent scandals at the state's long-troubled child welfare agency, including the recent rape of a Miami foster girl." "Hearings on DCF urged". See also "Weston lawmaker requests state foster-care committee".