"Tax amendment hits bedroom communities hardest" "Florida's bedroom communities, such as Winter Springs and Deltona, likely will feel more pressure than cities such as Orlando to cut services or raise taxes if voters approve property-tax reforms in January." "Smaller Orlando-area cities face biggest hit from property-tax cut on ballot". One wonders if folks in these traditionally Republican strongholds will put two-and-two together?
"Crist needed a reminder that he's governor of Florida"
Charlie apparetly has too much on his mind .. like being the VP nominee and all that. The Palm Beach Post editors think "Charlie Crist needed a reminder that he's governor of Florida"
"Crist won't go with flow".Running government like
After he agreed to a three-state deal to let Georgia keep more water for metro Atlanta residents, the governor changed his mind. He now opposes federal plans to cut the amount of water flowing from Georgia's Lake Lanier to Florida. The lake feeds the Apalachicola River and Apalachicola Bay, home of the Panhandle seafood industry.
His aides say Gov. Crist never went along with the idea of cutting Florida's share, only to holding more meetings to work out a plan for Florida, Georgia and Alabama to share Lake Lanier's water. That wasn't the understanding others had at the tri-state meeting, brokered by Bush administration officials to whom Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue had appealed.
Walmart a business
"The Florida Department of Children & Families illegally denied overtime to 126 Palm Beach County abuse investigators between August 2004 and September 2005, according to a federal investigation. The probe by the U.S. Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division found the DCF investigators were intimidated into working overtime without pay, The Palm Beach Post reported Tuesday. DCF employees said their supervisors used fear and coercion to convince them to work overtime without reporting it, according to the federal investigation. ... The case is now closed because the state agreed to pay $166,516.51 in back wages." "DCF accused [sic] of coercing employees to work overtime without pay".
It's GOPer fealty to developer interests (and campaign contributions), stupid
"Angry over what they see as years of uncontrolled growth, the neighborhood activists have stormed city halls in Sarasota and Venice in elections held over the last eight months. In the process, they have unseated five incumbents, all Republicans, while still maintaining a mantle of bipartisan support."
What irks the GOP chairman is the claim that these elections have nothing to do with political affiliation and everything to do with incumbents and their stands on growth issues.And listen to the whining:
The Sarasota and Venice elections resulted in Republicans losing control of and Democrats taking over the two city commissions.
Robinson says the group's impact is anything but nonpartisan.
"The casualties are all Republicans," he said.
"It's all about intimidation and trying to get their agenda in front and they'll use whatever means including trying to paint a guy trying to do a job as being a bad person if he doesn't agree," [Sarasota County Commissioner Paul] Mercier said."Slow-growth faction resets its sights".
Profiles in journalism
Little things like this are important for journalists to get right: Gary Fineout writes that Jebbie "once demanded that reporters be removed from the office of Lt. Gov. Frank Brogan after then Sen. Kendrick Meek and Rep. Tony Hill staged a sit-in to protest Bush's end of affirmative action. Bush was caught on camera saying 'kick their a---- out.'"
Surely Fineout knows that, by saying Jebbie's order to "kick their a---- out" referred to "reporters" is merely recycling Bushco spin. Here's what really happened when "Jeb!" was faced with
an impromptu sit-in by two African-American state legislators, state Sen. Kendrick Meek and Rep. Tony Hill, who in 2000 were protesting the implementation of Bush's One Florida plan repealing affirmative action in state contracting and higher education. Irritated by the legislators' refusal to leave his offices following a failed attempt at renegotiating the plan, Bush admonished staff -- within earshot of a television reporter -- to "throw their asses out." Bush's staff later tried to "convince" the reporter not to air the remarks, but they were splashed across the airwaves anyway, forcing the governor to backpedal into a cover story that he was actually referring to the media's asses, not the lawmakers'."When Jeb Bush speaks, people cringe". Too bad Fineout was one of the reporters "convince[d]", or rather fell for, by Jebbie's spin.
Funny how Al Gore got slammed with falsehoods (see Vanity Fair's "Going after Gore"), while journalists soft pedal the truth when it comes to Jebbie's many - to put it nicely - actual "faults". We wouldn't want to do anything to dim his political aspirations now would we.
Saint Marco gets a twofer
In a golden opportunity to shift attention away from his gross incompetence in the special sessions, Rubio has seized the opportunity to remind everybody that the RPOF, while having no problem with drunks and DUI convicts, simply will not put up with fellow GOPers soliciting gay sex.
"Since he was convicted last week of misdemeanor sex solicitation in connection with a public men’s room arrest, the Merritt Island lawmaker has been under intense pressure from House Speaker Marco Rubio to resign."
Allen maintains his innocence and has vowed to appeal."Rubio is expected to announce the formation of a select committee that would look into Allen’s conviction before recommending a suitable punishment, widely expected to be expulsion."
But the Florida House is a different world and operates under far different rules than the criminal justice system.
"If he doesn’t do the right thing and resign immediately, we’re prepared to begin the process to remove him from office," said House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, R-Delray Beach."Rubio to Allen: Resign or be ousted". For background on the hypocrisy see "You go, Bob!" and "He Musta Fit, They Didn't Acquit", as well as this Orlando Sentinel editorial: "Be consistent".
If Rubio is forced to appoint a committee to investigate Allen, tradition suggests the resolution could come quickly.
"Eisenmenger also said prosecutors never should have said that Allen was at the park to solicit sex, implying that soliciting sex is a criminal act." "Bob Allen attorney accuses prosecutors of misleading jury in solicitation-for-prostitution trial". More: "Rep. Bob Allen's attorney files misconduct motions".
"Charlie Crist on Tuesday signed into law a bill that would implement property tax cuts if voters approve a proposed state constitutional amendment that's on the Jan. 29 presidential primary ballot." "Crist signs property tax-cut implementing bill". See also "" and "".
"Ex-Broward sheriff's wife begs for leniency in his sentencing".
Not gonna happen
Curt Kiser argues that the "State needs tax reform, not relief".
Count 'em all
The News-Journal editors: "For votes to count, they must be counted, and accurately. Americans expect tallies to be quick, as well."
It doesn't always work that way. Ongoing problems with electronic vote-counting machines have eroded voter confidence and raised anxiety about the potential for tampering. In an era when voter-participation levels are already low, it's a problem local, state and federal leaders should confront. . . ."Count the ways to restore confidence in elections".
Fortunately, Florida is moving toward a mandate that puts every vote cast on a paper ballot -- creating a permanent record that can't be altered by machine glitches or memory failures. Paper ballots can be counted quickly, using optical-scan machines that read the marks voters use to indicate their choices -- but they can also be easily audited, even counted by hand if necessary.
Other states should follow suit, pushing for the accuracy and accountability of paper ballots, as well as open disclosure of any voting-equipment problems. Voters deserve to know their votes will be counted. These measures are common-sense steps to provide that assurance.
"Despite the state’s dire financial straits, a judge who heads a Supreme Court project aimed at getting mentally ill offenders out of Florida jails expressed optimism Tuesday that the Legislature will decide that treatment is cheaper and more effective in the long run." "Adviser: Don’t jail mentally ill".
"Judge rejects attempts to stop execution by lawyers for child-killer Mark Schwab".
"Their discovery underscores the feel-good story of the eagle's rebound, and it proves environmental efforts are gaining ground in the battle to remove nonnative trees from the refuge's natural habitat. Thanks, too, to the persistence in cleaning polluted storm water from the area, the eagles found a new food source in the nearby Stormwater Treatment Area's expansive swath of standing water." "Eagles' appearance in local preserve good news for environment".
It is refreshing to read about someone other than the usual logrolling swells receiving recognition: "The National Safety Council at a convention last month in Chicago recognized [Volusia County school bus driver Louise] Fink with the Joseph M. Kaplan Award for Florida. She was the only school bus driver to get the title in the commercial driver category." "Volusia school bus driver receives national award".
"Gov. Charlie Crist is expected to announce a deal Wednesday with the Seminole Tribe of Florida allowing Las Vegas-style slot machines and card games at its Hard Rock casino in Hollywood and six other sites, in exchange for $100 million or more in annual cash. ... Under the pact, revenue sharing by the Seminoles with the state would grow each year, depending on the success of the games, but the tribe would guarantee a minimum of $100 million each year." "Seminole slots deal expected". See also "Governor needs time to do state's business".
Not if he wants the NRA vote ... when he runs for Gov
"If Attorney General Bill McCollum wants to develop a successful statewide anti-gang strategy, he should include Palm Beach County's successful anti-gun strategy." "To get at state's gangs, start getting their guns".
"Inmates jump the line"
"In the past year, two lawyers and two prison consultants shared nearly $1.2-million in fees for helping 371 inmates jump the line and get improper transfers, the investigation shows." "Inmate's call spawned transfer probe".
"The parents of Martin Lee Anderson, the teen who died in a North Florida boot camp, flew to Washington on Tuesday for meetings with U.S. representatives and to meet with Justice Department officials who are conducting a civil rights investigation of the death." "Boot camp parents head to Congress".
Meanwhile, "Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum ... said his office will take no further civil or criminal action in the death of Martin Lee Anderson, but will help Anderson's family seek "the justice they deserve." "No state charges in Anderson case". See also "McCollum wants to help Anderson family".
"Tom Tancredo, the Colorado politician who once compared Miami to 'a Third World country,' is the only Republican presidential candidate who will be absent from the Univisión Spanish-language debate in Coral Gables next month." "Outspoken congressman to miss debate in Spanish". More Tancredo: "Tancredo campaign ad sets off bomb".
"Man killed by alligator attack while fleeing police".
Florida's booming economy
"With the state government facing a $2 billion shortfall in next year's budget, many analysts point to the state's slumping housing market as the primary reason for the economic decline and the drop-off in state tax collections. ... Randall Holcombe, a Florida State University economics professor, said a drop in the economy was almost inevitable following the combination of a national real estate boom and the dramatic retail bump following hurricanes in 2004 and 2005." And get this: "Oddly enough, hurricanes are pretty good for the fiscal health of the state,' [Holcombe] said. We had a lot of construction in the state.'" "Economists Unsure of Forida's Path".