"Though some Florida Democrats are predicting their primary debacle could cost the party the White House in November, one of the state's most respected Democratic strategists isn't buying it."
"I just don't see that happening," veteran Democratic consultant Dave Beattie said. Even if Florida Democrats never have their 210 delegates restored, Beattie said Democrats will vote for the Democratic candidate in November."Democrat loyalty predicted".
Recession? ... what recession?
"There's a flurry of activity in Palm Beach's stratospheric mansion market. " "Palm Beach mansion market remains hot".
"Florida Democrats today likely will put an end to the idea of a mail-in presidential primary as party leaders struggle to find a fair way to seat delegates at the August convention. The campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama stuck to their positions Sunday on the issue. The Clinton camp continued to push for another traditional statewide primary vote, or counting the results of Florida's unsanctioned Jan. 29 vote. And Obama aides said they are willing to hear ideas for a solution but not if it's honoring the Jan. 29 vote." "Florida Dems set to nix mail-in vote; now what?".
Stop the presses - Bill Nelson in a controversy? "Amid intense national attention over Florida's Democratic National Convention delegates, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson has become the face of the state's Democratic Party. But his appearances in the press, particularly on cable television, have rubbed some Democrats the wrong way."
Throughout the controversy, Nelson has maintained adamantly that his stand is not motivated by his support for Clinton, who won Florida's uncontested primary, but out of his desire to make sure that Florida's voice is heard at the convention."Nelson's stamp on mail-in vote riles colleagues".
But members of the delegation have been frustrated with Nelson's out-front posturing in numerous interviews.
The exchanges "spoke volumes about Sen. Nelson," said a Democratic congressional staffer who asked not to be identified. "He engaged in free-wheeling, self-dealing behavior and got caught with his pants down. He told the press that he had a done deal on a new Florida vote without even talking to any members of the Florida delegation, and in fact, the entire Florida delegation was opposed to him.
"He tried to do something on his own, and it blew up in his face," the staffer said. "I think right now there is significant resentment against him by the other Florida Democrats on the Hill."
Nelson's recent behavior "validated his reputation as not being a team player," the staffer said. "He's never been inclusive or seemed to reach out to other members to work on Florida-specific issues. He always flies solo. It's not a warm relationship between the House Democrats and Senator Nelson."
As Florida's deficit explodes ...
... the talk of tax cuts is unceasing: "Florida's best chance of voting on another property-tax revision this year happens Monday, when the state tax panel that has the ability to put constitutional amendments directly on the November ballot votes on three proposals."
If the 25-member Taxation and Budget Reform Commission approves any of the three ideas and voters agree, it would become the largest tax change in Florida history since legislators passed the failed services tax 20 years ago."But fierce opposition is mounting against the idea of replacing property taxes with a sales-tax hike. TaxWatch, the independent tax watchdog group financed by some of the state's largest businesses, is urging the panel to reject it."
Each of the plans would reduce property taxes by at least a third for all property owners, and save taxpayers statewide between $7 billion to $8 billion a year. The lost revenue would be replaced with either a half-cent or one-cent increase in the sales tax and a requirement that the Legislature make major budget cuts to accommodate the tax relief or find new taxes to make up the difference.
''Florida's economic foundation and its economy for the foreseeable future is facing its strongest challenge in over 50 years,'' TaxWatch warned in an analysis released late Friday. Instead, TaxWatch said the panel should encourage the gradual phase-out of school property taxes because doing it all at once -- with no guarantee that the Legislature would come up with replacement money -- could threaten the state economy and put school funding at risk. TaxWatch called the idea "a dangerous proposition.''"Panel considers property tax plans". See also "Panel to discuss property tax reform today" and "Legislative panel to consider two plans for major property tax relief".
"Rubio still considering mayor's race".
"Hispanic leaders and Broward County elections officials have started a campaign designed to increase the number of Latino voters. It will be gearing up later this month." "Campaign aims to increase Broward County's Latino vote".
"A monorail ride would link a gambling and entertainment hub to Palm Beach International Airport under a venture floated by top county officials and the Rooney family, owners of the Palm Beach Kennel Club. But it will happen only if the Florida Legislature expands gambling at the dog track. The politically connected Rooney family, owners of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Yonkers Raceway casino and harness track in New York, has missed several opportunities to expand its Palm Beach County gambling franchise. But in a year when property tax cuts and a poor economy have emaciated the state treasury, the dice may be loaded in gambling's favor." "Slot machines getting boost in Palm Beach".
"President Bush will be in Palm Beach County for about three hours to attend a Republican National Committee reception in the town of Palm Beach. Air Force One is expected to land at Palm Beach International Airport in the late afternoon and leave in the early evening. For security reasons, the White House and law enforcement agencies do not publicize specific schedules or motorcade routes." "Bush to make stopover in Palm Beach".
"Development in exchange for cash"- is that something new?
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Mr. Pelham suggests a system built on "a glorified impact fee" that would require developers to pay for public transit as well as roads. But allowing development in exchange for cash has huge implications, which Mr. Pelham acknowledges. Rather than force the issue this session, he is calling for a year to study what could be the most significant growth management change since the Growth Management Act of 1985." "A better way to give growth power to citizens".
The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "lawmakers want voters to rescind an amendment that reduced the size of our elected Cabinet system and another that changed the way State University System is governed. This retro legislation is being advanced by Sen. Lisa Carlton, a Sarasota-area cattle and citrus grower who apparently believes she was also elected to ride herd over the university system." "Upending BOG".
"Responding to growing concerns about dog attacks, a Florida lawmaker wants to give local governments more authority to target dangerous breeds with tighter controls and bans." "Legislation would allow local governments to ban pit bulls".
"President Bush clueless about the economy".
"Florida's budget crisis has taken center stage this legislative session. A potential $2 billion budget deficit has pushed the property insurance issue off the radar screen. Still, at least some issues surrounding property insurance are expected to get a hearing. Sens. Jeff Atwater, R-Palm Beach Gardens, and Steve Geller, D-Hallandale Beach, who co-chaired the Select Committee on Property Insurance Accountability, recommended Thursday to Senate President Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie, that a number of issues be considered. Almost all amount to a continued get-tough approach with insurers." "Lawmakers want to keep up get-tough approach on insurance".
Sentinel editors mad as a wet hen
... about those greedy public employees: "A proposal to stop elected officials from milking the system doesn't go far enough." "An Orange County political appointee is now going to triple dip".
Do the editors have any idea at all as to how a DROP plan works?
"Never say Rick Sisser holds a grudge. The longtime Miami-Dade lobbyist is on the host committee for a fundraiser this month for State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle -- who was already the top prosecutor when Sisser was arrested on cocaine possession charges in 2003. The charges were dropped when he completed Miami-Dade's Drug Court in 2004, a monitored rehabilitation program, though he spent four nights in jail that December when he flunked a drug test and missed a court appearance." "Once-troubled lobbyist to host fundraiser".
"General elections come down to a handful of swing states, which are highlighted with their electoral votes below, but those states might fall differently in November. One result: Democrats might not need to win Florida. ... Crist on the ticket could take it out of play. But Democrats are looking stronger than they have in years, having picked up a Cabinet seat, two congressional seats and nine state House seats since 2004." "The new swing states".