"Florida's Republicans made it official Tuesday, telling party leaders they will hold their presidential primary Jan. 29, even if it means losing half their delegates to the nominating convention. Democrats, meanwhile, are fighting bitterly over the national party's vote last month to take away Florida's 210 convention delegates because of the early primary -- followed by a decision by the top Democratic candidates not to campaign in Florida or any state that has an unauthorized early primary." "Making sense of primary madness". See also "Two Possible—But Not Likely—Ways Out For Florida Dems".
In the meantime, "An influential Florida member of the Democratic National Committee wants state legislative Democrats to block any action on bills in the special session until lawmakers address problems caused by the Jan. 29 presidential primary date. But Republican Gov. Charlie Crist and the Senate minority leader said today that's not going to happen." "Presidential primary solutions shot down" ("Jon Ausman of Tallahassee suggested that Democrats in the House and Senate block action on state budget amendments, insurance or other issues in the special legislative session starting Sept. 18 until legislators move the primary date.").
"Florida Democratic leaders will meet Friday in Tampa to salvage a compromise that would allow presidential candidates to break an embargo on campaigning in the state."
The boycott was thrust onto the Democratic field by four smaller states determined to protect their exclusive rights to hold presidential primaries in January. Florida pushed its way to the front of the calendar anyway, bumping up its primary from mid-March to Jan. 29."Florida Democrats work to save primary vote".
The repercussions could be steep: The Democratic National Committee won't count Florida votes at the 2008 convention unless the state party schedules an alternative election. Worse, virtually all of the Democratic candidates said they would skip campaigning in Florida and any other states that break party rules.
Michigan's governor signed a law Tuesday leapfrogging its primary to Jan. 15, subjecting the state to the same party backlash.
The tanned one shares his wisdom: "Crist Says State Should Keep Primary Date", "Early primary is 'right thing' for Florida, Crist avows" and "Crist says he'll veto any change in presidential primary date".
In the meantime, the Orlando Sentinel editorial board slams the Dems:"Let's make sure we have this straight."
National Democratic Party leaders are so upset that Florida moved its primary to January that they are demanding all its presidential candidates not campaign here. But Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards et al. can keep raising money in the Sunshine State."Doubletalk". More from the Palm Beach Post editors: "Dems ready to jilt state". The Washington Post: "Furor over early primary may keep presidential candidates from Florida".
So the party isn't interested in Floridians' votes, just their money. Sadly, that's just the kind of integrity Americans have come to expect from the major parties.
Don't take this pledge too seriously."Pledge can't stop top Dem hopefuls".
Three days after signing a pledge not to campaign for Florida's presidential primary, the leading Democratic candidates are moving forward with their campaigns here.
Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama are scheduled in Miami this weekend. Then, Clinton has five events in Florida next Monday. Obama's campaign has fundraising stops scheduled for Tampa and St. Petersburg later this month.
But how is this possible? Didn't the candidates pledge to honor a national Democratic edict to punish Florida for moving its primary to Jan. 29?
"Democratic legislative leaders said Tuesday that state and national party leaders sniping over Florida's Jan. 29 presidential primary is helping Republicans." "Fight over state's primary helps GOP, Dems say". 'Ya think?
The Daily Naugle
"A group of Christian clergymen flocked to the side of Mayor Jim Naugle on Tuesday, saying the depth of sexual sin in Broward County necessitates an old-fashioned spiritual revival. The church representatives said the gay community misunderstands Naugle's stance toward them. He is here to help, they said." "Clergy back Fort Lauderdale mayor, say sinful Broward needs religious revival" ("We love the homosexual people," said' the Rev. O'Neal Dozier, of Pompano Beach. 'We find them to be precious people. We want them saved.'" You remember Dozier.).
Charlie Shows His Colors
"Looking to plug a $1.1 billion hole in the state budget, Gov. Charlie Crist said Tuesday that he is considering lots of options -- including turning the state lottery over to private vendors. The Republican governor also said the state might draw more money into the treasury by allowing private companies to build, service and maintain some Florida roads in exchange for a share of toll revenue." "Crist suggests taking lottery, roads private". See also "Crist open to possible sale of Florida Lottery".
"Republicans, who control both legislative chambers, have been more willing than Democrats in the past to privatize public services including prisons and the state's personnel operation." "Crist says selling lottery, roads may be money source". Selling off Florida's infrastructure; another fine GOPer idea.
The Dem response is less than impressive: "'I give the governor credit for outside-of-the-box thinking,' Geller said. 'This could be the largest contract in state history.' Geller is considered the Legislature's leading expert on gaming laws. Lottery privatization was discussed earlier this summer at a meeting of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States, Geller said." "Crist says privatization of lottery worth considering"."
"After months of uncertainty, Broward Sheriff Ken Jenne has stepped down after admitting that he abused his public trust, accepted tens of thousands of dollars from BSO contractors and lied on his federal tax returns." "U.S. Attorney: Jenne lost sight of his duty to public". See also "Broward sheriff Jenne resigns, to take plea in corruption probe", "Broward sheriff quits, plans plea deal" and "Sheriff's resignation is 'end of an era in Broward politics'".
The Miami Herald editors: "Whether you love him or hate him -- and there are plenty of people in each camp -- Sheriff Ken Jenne's resignation and admission that he abused public trust yesterday brought a sad and sorrowful end to an extraordinary career. During his 34 years in public office, Jenne was an unusually innovative, forceful and powerful leader. This is why his guilty plea to mail fraud and income-tax evasion charges is such a great personal tragedy for him and his family -- and a loss to the community. Nevertheless, Jenne has only himself to blame." "Ken Jenne's exit in Broward County".
"Florida may be losing about $60 million in property-tax revenue a year to people who claim a homestead exemption even though they may not live in the state, according to an analysis by the Orlando Sentinel. The review of property-tax records found that owners of more than 30,000 homes and condos across the state received the lucrative tax break for residents despite having out-of-state mailing addresses." "Nonresidents enjoy tax break that may cost state millions".
"Several university student leaders Tuesday told Gov. Charlie Crist they could accept a tuition increase if it's used for such purposes as reducing class size and offering more need-based financial aid, but the governor remained cool to the idea." "Crist still cool to tuition hike". See also "Students tell governor tuition hikes are OK -- if the money is spent wisely".
"Just as Fred Thompson is about to enter the presidential race, Rudy Giuliani is trying to take some of the wind out of his sails in the Tampa Bay area, recruiting Al Austin of Tampa, one of Florida’s top Republican fundraisers, for the Giuliani campaign." "Austin, Sargeant Join Giuliani Campaign". See also "Tampa Bay fundraiser backs Giuliani".
"A state panel has cleared the Florida Home Builders and a Republican consultant of breaking elections laws when they attacked fellow Republican Rep. Paige Kreegel in his 2004 primary. The Florida Elections Commission found 'no probable cause' last month that the Home Builders, longtime lobbyist Richard Gentry, or GOP political consultant Randy Nielsen violated elections law when they blanketed Kreegel's Charlotte County district with mailers in 2004 accusing him of being 'arrested' for disorderly conduct. The mailer also accused Kreegel, a primary care physician, of being sued multiple times for malpractice and by an exotic dancer who claimed he got her pregnant. Kreegel sued the same cast of figures for defamation in 2005, and filed the elections complaints last year." "Home Builders, consultant, cleared of elections charge".
That isn't the end of it: the defamation suit continues. Lucy Morgan has more: "State agency rejects 2004 elections complaint".
What Were They Thinking?
"Last month, the Legislature’s HR office wanted to post a link on its internal Web site for lawmakers and their staffs to buy discounted Universal theme park tickets.
The deal teased 'Save Big on Universal Orlando Resort Tickets,' -- $48 tickets for adult state workers, instead of the gate rate of $71.36. 'Employees can purchase tickets online and print them at their desks,' the resort’s brochure states. Only problem: it’s prohibited by the gift-ban." "That pesky gift ban strikes again".
The Orlando Sentinel editors: "Start fretting. The commission's management plan calls for reducing manatee mortality rates by minimizing threats, including those attributed to watercraft. But if the commission significantly lowers its patrols of the manatees' waters, it will be increasing the threat to them. If it can't enforce the plan, it should put off adopting it -- until the day that it can." "Not part of the bargain".
"Many electric bills to be slightly lower next year".
"This is hardly a Whopper of a gesture"
"Florida farmworkers have won agreements with McDonald's and Taco Bell to ensure that tomato pickers get a fair wage. Now, Burger King should follow its rivals. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers, which has led the effort to pressure fast-food restaurants on the issue of pickers' earnings, has scheduled demonstrations at Burger King's corporate headquarters in Miami from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2. The company announced in February that it would not agree to the penny-per-pound program that Taco Bell and McDonald's have approved. Under the deal, the restaurants pay the extra penny for tomatoes and for suppliers to pass it on to the pickers. The extra cent is enough to give them a living wage." "Have this one their way".
"Jane Johnson, who took over in April as director of the state Agency for Persons with Disabilities, told lawmakers the program is "fundamentally flawed." Johnson said the state has little control over the costs of the program, with many spending decisions being made by private contractors." "State's disabled citizens facing care crisis".
"A CQ Today vote analysis shows President Bush's legislative success rate declining in the Democratic-controlled House and Senate, but it shows two Florida Republicans are among his staunchest supporters. According to the story, Rep. Tom Feeney, R-Oviedo, was one of the top 10 Republicans "most frequently voting with Bush" on legislation in which the administration took a firm position. Feeney's rate: he voted with Bush 95.9 percent of the time. In the Senate, Florida Sen Mel Martinez - who heads up the GOP's national party - placed 10th in the list of Republicans most frequently siding with Bush. His rating was 90.4 percent" "Feeney and Martinez, sticking with the president".