The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Floridians deserve straight talk from the governor. Even the most optimistic among us cannot pretend our schools will be better off next year, and Crist should not suggest otherwise."
Most disappointing is that the governor promised to hold education harmless when he campaigned in January for Amendment 1, the state constitutional amendment that allows homeowners to take their property-tax cap with them when they move. Critics said the amendment's passage would hurt public education, but Crist promised education would be held harmless."At the same time, the state plans to spend nearly $300 million to build new prisons"
Harmless. That was his word.
Harmless. Tell that to the teachers in Pinellas County who face pay cuts and the closure of seven to 10 schools.
Harmless. Tell that to Hillsborough students who will likely see fewer librarians and school nurses, as well as overcrowding in elective classes not covered by the class-size amendment.
Harmless. Tell that to Broward and Miami-Dade schools, which will take about a third of the $900-million cut and expect to have to lay off social workers and guidance counselors.
Harmless. Tell that to the schools cutting summer school programs, school security, and art and music classes. ...
None of this sounds very harmless at all.
and, incredibly, another $86 million to operate a private prison."Florida Back To The Future: Build Prisons, Cut Schools".
Florida's prison population is expected to soar from about 96,000 inmates today, to 120,000 inmates by 2012.
"The University of Florida, the state's highest-rated institution of higher education, announced layoffs, reductions in degree programs and a steep cut in undergraduate enrollment as part of a plan to cope with severe budget cuts from the state." "University of Florida cuts 400 jobs, undergrad enrollment".
"Gaining admission to the University of Florida will become even harder as it slashes undergraduate enrollment by 4,000 students, lays off 138 faculty and staff members, and eliminates some courses and degree programs to make up for the loss of $47 million in state money." "UF will cut jobs, slash enrollment".
Budgeting "$86 million to operate a private prison", while at the same time "slash[ing] undergraduate enrollment by 4,000 students, lays off 138 faculty and staff members, and eliminates some courses and degree programs to make up for the loss of $47 million in state money".
This is what Charlie calls the "Legislature's 'Golden Age'"?
The ever vigilant Daytona Beach News-Journal editorial board: "Amid the clamor of Florida's 2008 legislative session, a bill slipped through nearly unnoticed -- yet within the next 18 months, every person who registers a vehicle in this state will know about it."
At least, they'll know enough to wonder "What's 'Family First?'""Family First bill deserves veto".
That's because, starting in October if Gov. Charlie Crist doesn't veto the bill, everyone who registers a car or renews its registration in Florida will be asked whether you want to donate a dollar to the Tampa-based organization -- though you won't be told what the organization does, or what the money will be used for.
The bill doesn't go into much detail either, referring to Family First merely as "a nonprofit corporation." In reality, the group is a conservative-leaning organization, also known as the Florida Family Council, that says it's "dedicated to strengthening the family," through radio spots, e-mails and Web sites. While not overtly sectarian, the group approaches the issue of family preservation with a clear religious bent. And while it's not to be confused with the more openly political, Orlando-based Florida Family Policy Council, Family First has weighed in on political issues in its time, including drafting a letter in 1998 chastising the Disney Corporation for offering benefits to gay and lesbian partners of its employees.
Feds to "investigate"?
"State investments downgraded during the subprime mortgage meltdown have been targeted in a federal probe. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has asked the State Board of Administration to hand over hundreds of pages of documents related to the buying and selling of at least 10 different securities, according to a letter dated Feb. 22." "Feds investigate state investment pool".
Lehman Brothers "employee" Jebbie is in the middle of all this - will he be investigated by Dubya's keystone kops? More: "Saint Jebbie gets another pass".
"Most workers won't see raises or one-time bonuses, but the biggest bill affecting them includes a plan for equity [sic] layoffs." "Florida legislative session not kind to state workers". By contrast, you will be shocked to learn that
The business lobby said the legislative session was surprisingly good ..."Business did well during session".
A "values" crowd budget
"Broward to cut $100 million: parks, libraries, police on list" and "Florida legislators' low expectations met in session". Background: "Necessity, not politics, ruled '08 session".
"Bullard demands respect from Senate head".
Who can blame him
"The top federal prosecutor in north Florida, who was previously named in a public list of several U.S. attorneys targeted for firing, announced his resignation on Monday to take a job with a private law firm." "Federal prosecutor resigns to become partner in law firm".
Out here in the fields
"Burger King Corp. says it is conducting an internal investigation into blog postings that criticize a Florida farmworker group, allegedly made by a top official using his young daughter's screen name."
A newspaper said last week on that the blog postings were reportedly made by Stephen Grover, the No. 2 burger chain's vice president for food safety, quality assurance and regulatory compliance. He has been a key part in the company's feud with the farmworker group, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, over improving work and wage conditions for tomato pickers.Not to worry, the Company is going after some poor Commie who had the audacity to
e-mail criticized the company and expressed sympathy for Florida farmworkers.The story includes this passage, which makes one wonder how BK defines "worker exploitation":
Burger King has said it has a strong vendor code of conduct that mandates zero tolerance for worker exploitation and abuse and is open to responsible suggestions for improvement. But it says it is not ready to join the deals signed by its competitors. Last year, Grover raised several objections in interviews, including that the company sees no legal way to pay workers in a completely separate industry."Burger King investigates e-mails slamming farmworker group".
Florida's booming economy
"Orlando-area home values keep sinking".
Howard Troxler gets snarky with "The good ideas they passed — no, really".
Lifestyles of rich and fat old GOPers
"Book's critique of The Villages lifestyle fires up debate".
The lawyers at the Trib weigh in
The Tampa Tribune editorial board:
Yes, some states have a history of developing tactics to skirt the 15th Amendment, which prohibits states from denying citizens the right to vote based on race. But requiring proper identification is hardly the modern-day equivalent of 19th-century poll taxes, which discouraged blacks from voting in the South, as some activists claim."Photo IDs Are Not Barriers To Voting".
Ain't dead yet
"Central Florida commuter-rail supporters are preparing to spend as much as $52 million in the next year to keep their plan on track, despite the Legislature's rejection of the deal last week." "Commuter rail far from dead, Mica and Dyer vow". The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Our position: It falls to Crist and lawmakers to fight and save commuter rail".
"An agency notorious for cronyism"
"The Department of Corrections, an agency notorious for cronyism, has a number of double-dippers at its highest levels. Those who have been allowed to 'retire' and return to work drawing a salary and a monthly retirement check include at least six prison wardens and two deputy secretaries of the department." "Six wardens among double-dippers at Florida Department of Corrections".
- "Hispanic evangelicals hold potent votes, experts say".
- "Crist says he'll OK tuition increase".
- "Things tough all over Florida".