"About 150 blacks attended the conference after the party sent out invitations statewide and advertised the event in black newspapers." Not very impressive, but the excuses came fast and furious from
GOP spokesperson" Susan MacManus, a University of South Florida political science professor:
"This is all about incrementalism and peeling off and making small gains and trying to be competitive in what promises to be a very, very competitive election in Florida," MacManus said. "You cannot be in a position where you don't try."Gathering helps GOP reach out to blacks". The reality is that this was the same group of useful idiots that the RPOF trots out at events to create the impression they give a damn about issues affecting Black Floridians:
Crist spoke to about 150 black Floridians, most already Republican activists, at what the state GOP billed as a historic, first-ever Black Republican Conference.And this borders on the pathetic:
Members of a panel called "Why Am I a Republican" spoke to the conference Friday and cited the party's more conservative social positions as a potential attraction for blacks."Governor Charlie Crist tries to woo blacks to Republican Party". But haven't we heard all this before?
The panel included former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Lynn Swann, who lost last year as a Republican candidate for governor in Pennsylvania; FOX News analyst Angela McGlowan; Texas railroad Commissioner Michael L. Williams; and Orlando's Southside Church of Christ Pastor Wesley Leonard.
Many Democrats and even some black Republicans have scoffed at the effort, saying Republicans have tried often before and achieved little more than symbolic successes among black voters. ... In any event, I'm not sure whether this message will pull the JFK/MLK pictures from the walls in Black households:
Of the state's black voters, 66,000 are registered Republicans, outnumbered by the 151,000 no-party registrants and by the 1.01 million black Democrats.
Greer, chosen by Crist this year to lead the state party, said this time, it's different.
"the black Ann Coulter" told the crowd, "Liberals are for killing our babies" . . ."State GOP Again Tries To Court Black Vote". See also "GOP: Minorities a must".
By the way, who is this guy?: "James Harris, a lobbyist who has done black voter outreach for Democratic U.S. senators, worked to get Crist elected last fall, but he says he firmly remains a Democrat." "State GOP hopes to build on Crist's inroads with black voters". A "Democrat"?
"At a time when state education budgets are strapped for dollars, and school districts are facing further budget cuts from Tallahassee and increasing angst from local taxpayers, does it make sense to duplicate services? The correct answer is 'no,' which is why parallel, competing processes for approving local charter school applications is a wasteful mistake." "Charter Schools".
"Once the most powerful man in the county, former sheriff Ken Jenne will spend the next 10 months in federal prison." "Former Broward sheriff jailed a year and a day".
"New York Sen. Hillary Clinton remains comfortably ahead of Democratic challengers in Florida's presidential primary, and Rudy Giuliani appears to be pulling away from the Republican pack, according to a new Orlando Sentinel poll."
Clinton has a nearly 3-1 lead over Illinois Sen. Barack Obama among likely Democratic primary voters, with 42 percent of the vote to Obama's 15 percent. And if the two were matched head-to-head, Clinton would prevail 54 percent to 34 percent, the poll showed."On the Republican side,"
Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards was the only other Democrat in double digits, with 12 percent support.
Giuliani appears to have beaten back a charge by former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson. The former New York mayor is now at 36 percent among likely GOP voters, with ex-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in second at 15 percent, according to the poll by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc."Clinton, Giuliani lead Florida in campaign poll". See also "Poll: Clinton, Giuliani in front".
Thompson, who was nipping at Giuliani's heels two months ago, has plummeted to third, with 12 percent of the vote. That's an 11-point drop since early September.
This headline is a bit off: "AP: State Rep. Allen resigns after oral sex conviction". See also "Allen resigns from House", "Allen resigns House seat" and "Allen resigns from House, vows to appeal sex case". More: "Resignation should have come sooner, residents say".
The Tampa Trib praises this idiocy:
The team found the biggest savings in janitorial services. The city currently contracts with 14 companies to clean city-owned buildings, mostly recreation centers. The contracts pay cleaning companies between $1.35 per square foot and $1.98 per square foot. By contrast, in-house janitors cost the city as much as $3.28 per square foot. By laying off 38 janitors and reducing the contracts to a manageable two or three, the team said the city would save $950,000 a year."Mayor Heeds Tampa Taxpayers In Making Businesslike Cuts".
Similarly, the city employs 50 security guards, but also has contracts with three security companies. The contract guards cost between $11 and $13 per hour, while in-house guards cost between $17 and $27 per hour. The team found that outsourcing all security services would save the city $355,000 a year.
Why not contract out everything? After all, it is cheaper to farm out public employee work to irresponsible private contractors who do not have (and are not required to have) either health insurance or retirement benefits. Heck, some of those public employees were actually making enough money - get this - to send their kids to college; the arrogance of these people.
"A panel of leaders studying Florida's tax system took two small but significant steps Friday. The group agreed to file bills for more detailed debate and study that would (a) require a systematic review of sales tax exemptions and (b) include Florida among states that have joined forces to support the taxation of goods sold over the Internet at the same rate as similar products sold in stores." "Tax panel wants a cut from the Web". See also "Sales tax and exemptions could be changed", "Commission talks taxes for 20-year meeting" and "Committee proposes revamp of sales taxes".
"Two men who refused to testify before a federal grand jury investigating Cuban militant Luis Posada Carilles pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice charges Friday, the U.S. Department of Justice announced. Osvaldo Mitat and Santiago Alvarez, both Cuban exiles, were initially indicted on charges of criminal contempt of court for refusing to testify before the grand jury even after being granted immunity." "2 who refused to testify against Posada plead guilty".
Thompson in town
"Republican candidate Fred Thompson coming to Palm Beach County". See also "Thompson touts support for military in Panhandle rally".
Asleep at the wheel
"Crist objected Friday to a federal plan to divert water intended for his state's Apalachicola Bay and instead send it to Georgia. Crist spoke with U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne Friday morning to express his concerns about the tri-state water deal being implemented by the Army Corps of Engineers." "Plan allowing Ga. to keep more water upsets Crist". See also "Water deal helps Atlanta, not shellfish".
"Florida regulators have rejected Allstate's request for higher homeowners' premiums, hikes that would have increased rates as high as 43 percent on average statewide." "State rejects Allstate's proposal".
"Tampa Bay area lawmakers got a sporty gift late this week from a major player back home: personalized uniform jerseys with legislators' names on the back." "Legislators get name recognition".
"State agencies must treat citizens with courtesy, respect and professionalism when they ask for public records, according to an Open Bill of Rights signed Thursday by Gov. Charlie Crist." "Crist signs Open Bill of Rights".
"The sales pitch has begun. Worried that a controversial deal that gives the Seminole Tribe of Florida the right to run casino games is going to draw lawsuits, the governor and the tribe have launched a multimedia effort to garner public support for the pact." "PR blitz begins for gambling".
The Palm Beach Post editors: "Open primaries were supposed to let more Floridians have a say in picking politicians. Unfortunately, politicians want voters to have as little say as possible. So, they allow a loophole to undermine a constitutional amendment that voters approved in 1998."
The intent was to let all voters cast ballots in primary races where only candidates of one party were competing. State Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, tried for years to get legislators to eliminate the loophole that requires primaries to be closed if there's any opposition, even if the opponent is a candidate's mother whose name won't appear on the ballot. Legislators refused."Take politics out of loop".
So, a group led by Sen. Aronberg filed a lawsuit to close the loophole. Last month, Lake County Circuit Judge Mark Hill ruled that the loophole stands. "The issue in this case is whether 'no opposition in the general election' means what it says or whether it means something else," Judge Hill wrote. "Any opposing candidate - including a write-in candidate - is opposition."
"Is the Hometown Democracy amendment the answer to Florida's developer-driven growth machine, or is it a veiled attack on private property rights?"
Members of the Tiger Bay Club of Tampa Bay got an earful of both sides of the argument Friday in a sometimes heated debate between Hometown Democracy founder Lesley Blackner and former state House Speaker John Thrasher, a leader in the move to derail the amendment.This deep thinking was par for the course at the event:
The former House speaker's argument resonated with several club members discussing the debate afterwards."Voter-Controlled Growth Amendment Debated".
"It sounds like government control to me," Margaret Plowman said. "I don't want the community to decide on my property. I want to decide on my property."
"Decided by a tiny minority"
The Miami Herald editorial board: "It is a frustrating truism that, without a galvanizing issue, local elections seldom fire up the electorate. Consequently, government decisions that most directly affect people often are made by officials chosen by only a minuscule proportion of voters.The quality of police protection, fire-rescue response, code enforcement and other services are too important to be decided by a tiny minority of a city's population. Yet, that happened again this month in elections in Miami-Dade County's three largest cities -- Miami, Hialeah and Miami Beach -- and a handful of other municipalities." "Change voting dates".