"Florida is just starting to get to know Obama"
Adam C. Smith: "Florida is just starting to get to know Obama, as he and Hillary Clinton avoided campaigning in the state's unsanctioned Jan. 29 primary. But in the 16 contested Democratic primaries with significant black populations, the African-American turnout jumped 115 percent. Overwhelmingly, those votes went to Obama."
"I have no doubt he will significantly increase African-American turnout across the country. It was 60 percent in 2004, and I would expect it to be 72 percent this year,'' said David Bositis of the Joint Center for Political and Economic studies, one of the country's foremost experts on African-American voting trends."That alone can't deliver Florida, but if Obama continues to run strong or competitively among Hispanic and independent voters, African-American turnout could give him a pivotal edge."
"In most cases that's not necessarily enough for him to carry a state, but Florida is one of those places that a big African-American turnout certainly has the potential to put him over the top," said Bositis, putting Virginia and North Carolina in the same category.
About 12 percent of the Florida electorate is black, but African-American turnout is inconsistent. In 2000, when Al Gore barely lost the state and the White House, black voters accounted for 15 percent of the overall vote. In 2004, when John Kerry lost Florida by 5 percentage points, that number was 12 percent.I'm not sure many Dems are quaking in their boots over this:
Despite a massive mobilization effort by political groups working independently of the Kerry-Edwards campaign but in hopes of helping the ticket, African-American turnout in Florida was just 61 percent. Overall turnout was 74 percent.
Republicans aren't writing off Florida's African-American vote and have a potentially strong messenger in Republican Gov. Charlie Crist. Dubbed Florida's first African-American governor, Crist has been lavishly praised by African-American leaders for his accessibility and for embracing some of their top priorities. Much more to read here: "In Jacksonville, African-Americans find inspiration in Obama's promise".
Charlie AWOL yet again on the "Green" thing
"When Gov. Charlie Crist announced a plan last summer to fight global warming, he called for aggressive steps to reduce pollution from power plants, cars and trucks. But nearly a year later, he is preparing to sign an energy bill that takes a more cautious approach to the contentious issue of climate change." "Energy bill stops short of Crist's goals".
While Charlie embarrassed himself on the national stage, a fellow RPOFer was at work:
What Crist will probably not mention at his Climate Change Summit in Miami, however, is that members of his own party quietly sabotaged one of the top three proposals in the Republican governor's energy plan during the final minutes of legislative debate because of pressure from the auto industry."How Crist's big energy goal quietly died". Charlie AWOL yet again.
State Rep. Paige Kreegel, R-Punta Gorda, a self-des- cribed free-market Republican and skeptic of global warming who chairs the House Energy Committee, blocked Crist's proposed new auto efficiency standards.
Executive order needed
"Crist is to be congratulated for helping 115,000 ex-felons get their civil rights restored."
But there is more to be done. Hundreds of thousands of ex-felons are waiting for the return of their basic rights of citizenship, and Crist could provide additional relief just by changing a few executive branch rules. ..."Final fix needed on rights restoration".
Crist could speed this along by issuing an executive order directing state agencies under his control that civil rights restoration should not be a consideration in employment or occupational licensing. He could also urge Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink and Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson to do likewise within the agencies under their supervision.
"Forecast calls for more Gore"
Mike Thomas gives us a good read this morning:
If the sea level rises as much as now predicted, sometime before the end of the century we will have few if any beaches, just waves crashing into dikes. And then in the next century, we really start going under."The sea is coming".
We are on our way to becoming a much bigger and more vulnerable New Orleans.
The process is well under way, and I really don't see any Kyoto-style treaties or Charlie Crist news conferences on global warming saving us.
"Many of the best political minds in Florida"?
"McCain's co-chairs are Crist, somewhere on his list of potential running mates, and U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, a friend and political ally."
"This team consists of many of the best political minds in Florida," said Buzz Jacobs, McCain's southeast regional campaign manager."Go Johnny".
Scott Maxwell has a few "Races Worth Watching":
- "U.S. House District 8: Careful what you promiseRead the whole thing here.
Republican Ric Keller signed a promise to leave Congress after four terms. But politicians in Washington break promises as often as old dogs break wind. Both stink. And so there are a slew of challengers trying to deny Keller his fifth term in this Orlando-centered seat. Republican Todd Long wants to paint Keller as a do-nothing who voted against the surge in Iraq. And Democrats Alexander Fry, Alan Grayson, Mike Smith, Charlie Stuart and Quoc Van are all hoping to capitalize on anti-Republican sentiment. Keller may have his hands full. But he also has incumbency, influential friends and a GOP-leaning district in his favor."
- "U.S. House District 24: Dems salivate over link to scandal
Republican Tom Feeney couldn't have a better district if he drew it himself -- which he kind of did. He was state House speaker the year the Legislature added the new district right around his Oviedo home. Consequently, he has won election with ease three times in a row. But now he has competition from four opponents, including a formidable challenge in former state Rep. Suzanne Kosmas, a Democrat who is hoping to capitalize on the 'change' theme. National Dems are also eyeing this seat, trying to link Feeney to disgraced uber-lobbyist Jack Abramoff. But Feeney hasn't been charged with a thing, is a darling of party leadership and a heck of a campaigner."
- "State Senate District 19: Rocky year, safe district
Democratic state Sen. Gary Siplin (above) had a rocky couple of years. He has had trouble getting many significant bills passed and spent much of the past year fighting charges that one of his Senate staffers improperly worked on his political campaign. But he was ultimately vindicated of wrongdoing by the courts. And many of his constituents stood behind him. He's still ripe for opposition and has plenty of it, including respected Republican Belinda Ortiz [?]. But this district is so Dem-stacked, Mother Teresa would have a tough time if her name were on the ballot with an 'R' next to it."
The New York Times asks this about Chain Gang Charlie: "Is He the Ticket?" (via Naked Politics).
You might call it "pusillanimity"
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "No one knows exactly how many oil and natural-gas deposits lie off Florida's coastline. But calls by President George W. Bush, Sen. John McCain and Gov. Charlie Crist to allow more drilling have turned up a lot of jellyfish. Out with the calls for more drilling went the backbones of Florida's formerly drilling-averse Republican congressional delegation." "Orlando's delegation isn't showing backbone on drilling".
"Crist is clearly gambling"
"Although some polls show that $4-a-gallon gas may be softening Floridians' opposition to oil exploration off the state's shoreline, Crist is clearly gambling by endorsing McCain's position."
"It's a puzzle to me that he took a chance on this," said Kevin Wagner, a Florida Atlantic University political scientist. "It makes you think he's playing for the No. 2 chair [as McCain's running mate] even though there's a lot of evidence that suggests he won't get it.""Is Crist's oil-drilling stance risky business?" See also "GOP leaders push offshore drilling as economy woes dominate voters' minds" and "Bush, McCain, Crist reopen debate on drilling in Florida".
McCain's call for more oil-drilling -- echoed by Crist with a "Floridians are hurting" populist shading -- comes soon after a Florida visit by the Arizona senator. During the campaign swing, McCain was forced to explain his vote against Everglades restoration and opposition to forming a national catastrophic fund for hurricane recovery -- both of which Crist supports.
They like me ...
"Barack Obama was warmly welcomed by the nation's mayors in a packed Miami ballroom as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee vowed Saturday to have the federal government help rebuild cities he said have been neglected during the Bush administration." "Obama gets warm welcome at mayors conference".
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Pasco County Clerk of the Circuit Court Jed Pittman is ending a long, distinguished career on a very sour note over the most basic job responsibility: showing up for work." "Clerk Lets Down Residents, Tarnishes His Reputation".
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "Seems like there is still a $2.5 million funding gap to close by July 1, or else the very valuable Road Rangers program will be forced to cut night and weekend patrols". "Somebody, please help us keep Road Rangers".
Union volunteering to take pay cut should "dial back the rhetoric"?
The Palm Beach Post editors have been in lockstep with their newspaper company brethren in bashing public employees, particularly. Indeed, the Post editors have been leading the way in attacking firefighters, who they have variously described as laying back "on the couch, finishing off a six-pack of beer and a pack of cigarettes and having a heart attack" all on the public's dime. Them lefty editors want you to know these "Firefighters have sweet pay plans [and 'outlandish benefits'], mostly because of politically connected unions".
So you know it was tuff for them to concede this:
Last week, Martin County firefighters made a grand gesture: They will give up cost-of-living increases that are part of their contract to save the county more than $1.5 million. It was a good and generous thing to do.By contrast, when was the last time you saw these folks take an equivalent hit in income.
Newspaper companies being what they are, the editors could not leave it with the "grand gesture" compliment; they continue with the obligatory union bashing:
But then the president of the Professional Firefighters and Paramedics of Martin County followed up with harsh criticism of County Administrator Duncan Ballantyne and demands that no staff be cut from the fire-rescue department."A generous concession from Martin firefighters".
In these tough financial times, firefighters would do better to dial back the rhetoric as they try to find solutions that keep them employed. ...
Martin's fire-rescue department paid more for overtime per firefighter last year than either Palm Beach or St. Lucie counties - a whopping $2.3 million. County officials complain that the huge overtime payments, particularly for higher-ranking fire and rescue officers, are increasing retirement costs and fear the constant overtime could lead to employee burnout.
Should these union members be chastened by newspaper company employees for giving up a wage increase to (as a reporter for the same newspaper earlier wrote):
to avoid longer response times to fires and medical emergencies. ... [and] to hire enough workers to safely staff emergency vehicles and reduce the amount of overtime they are forced to put in. they are forced to put in."Martin County firefighters to give up cost of living raises".
When firefighter unions volunteer pay cuts to solve the very problem the editors are whining about - "huge overtime payments" - they are given this editorial garbage in return?:
firefighters would do better to dial back the rhetoric as they try to find solutions that keep them employed.So nice to see The Palm Beach Post editorial Board simultaneously urinating on firefighters and carrying the water for management on this issue - that is, threatening termination.
After all, why not just terminate some of the firefighters to save a buck.
Aren't all employees fungible anyway (except "editors")? Why not save money by firing a few of them, isn't that what the editors are suggesting.
The cost to the community? Longer response times, and all that that entails.
The cost to the firefighters. Who cares ... they volunteered.