The Palm Beach Post editorial Board: "In November, Floridians could vote on school vouchers without knowing that they're voting on school vouchers. To avoid that kind of deceptive ballot manipulation, the Leon County Circuit Court should rule favorably on a request by education organizations and civil rights groups to strike proposed Amendments 7 and 9 from the fall ballot." More details here: "Stealth voucher plan doesn't belong on ballot".
Elisa Cramer is concerned: "I want touch-screen voting back. I voted Tuesday on the new system - optical-scan ballots - and I am convinced: Come November, there will be chaos in Palm Beach County. Again." "Dart pierces voter confidence".
"Senate Republicans are backing away from the idea of drilling in the Gulf of Mexico off Florida's coast as Congress prepares to go home for Independence Day and face voters angry over gasoline prices." "Republican senators back away in push for drilling off Florida's Gulf Coast".
Will the Mel lovers on Florida's editorial boards remember this when comes to endorsement time?: "A Republican proposal to lift federal bans on oil drilling would not affect Florida's Gulf coast but could impact its Atlantic Coast, U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez said today." "Martinez: No drilling in the Gulf".
"If American oil companies are allowed to drill in the Gulf of Mexico, when will they be permitted to engage in offshore oil exploration in Cuba?"
That's one of the questions some analysts are asking after Sen. John McCain and Gov. Charlie Crist recently suggested lifting the 26-year-old moratorium on drilling off Florida's coast."Times: U.S. left out of Cuban oil drilling".
American oil companies have long had their eyes on Cuba's offshore potential. The U.S. Geological Survey has estimated that Cuba could have somewhere between 4.6-billion and 9.3-billion barrels of oil as well as even greater quantities of natural gas. That's about half the size of the estimated resources in the Gulf of Mexico.
"It's ironic that the Bush administration won't allow American companies to exploit those reserves — just because it's Cuba," said former U.S. Ambassador Vicki Huddleston, who is leading a project at the Brookings Institution in Washington looking at U.S. policy toward Cuba.
RPOFers working the I-4 corridor
"Orange County Republicans have announced what they're calling 'an unprecedented and groundbreaking new slate of Hispanic Republican candidates' for office this year. The party is touting eight Hispanic candidates ... Democrats, on the other hand, will have only incumbent Darren Soto". "Orange County Republicans put 8 Hispanics on ballot".
"This week, Diaz, who is in the midst of his second term, was named chairman of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, a high-profile national role that allows him to push the agenda of America's cities in Washington. At the top of that agenda: how man-made climate change will affect the country's urban centers." "Miami's mayor goes green, takes on national role".
OK ... now get to work
"In the ornate chambers of the Florida Supreme Court, Peggy Quince today will move to the chief justice's center seat. And history will be made." "New Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Peggy Quince makes history". See also "Chief Justice Quince sworn in as first black woman to head branch of Florida government".
So much for abstinence
"The number of people older than 50 infected with HIV is rising across the state and the nation, say experts who worry seniors think they are not at risk for the virus." "HIV/AIDS cases rise in older people".
As always, toeing the Chamber line
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Don't expect Florida to push the legal limits of gun restrictions."
Tuesday, an unnecessary, pro-gun law takes effect that allows employees who have a state concealed-weapons permit to keep guns in their cars that are parked at work, even if the employer has prohibited guns on the privately owned property."Constitutional Right To Pistols Takes Heat Off Sensible Gun Rules".
Now that gun possession at home is protected, perhaps state lawmakers will find the courage to rethink the wisdom of arming every workplace.
The federal law makes it clear that an ordinary person may keep an ordinary gun, loaded and ready to use, in an ordinary home. Many tougher questions remain about what extraordinary circumstances require additional restrictions on this fundamental constitutional right.
"Antigay signs are free speech".
All hat, no cows
"Hillsborough Elections Supervisor Buddy Johnson has won most of an agricultural 'greenbelt' tax exemption he sought after leasing his property to an exhibitor of cows for $20 a year." "Cows help out elections chief".
And then there's Fla ... duh
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board writes that "almost half the states are now telling the Bush administration to keep their grant money that goes to abstinence programs for teens. Florida is among the top participants, still, in the $50 million federal program (Florida has received $1.9 million in federal grants this year)."
Unlike Florida, "many states are smartly saying forget it, partly because they have realistic doubts about the effectiveness of abstinence education, and partly because they have to put in some state money to get federal grants for a program that, in truth, has failed." "States getting realistic about abstinence; time for feds to do the same".
"John M. Taylor's name will not be on the ballot, but his fingerprints are on John Nicolette's campaign to unseat County Commissioner Ted Schrader."
Taylor, a recently minted Republican who has supported Nicolette, qualified Friday as a write-in candidate for east Pasco's District 1, a move that will allow only Republicans to vote in the highly contested race between Schrader and Nicolette."Write-in candidacy blocks Democrats' vote".
That means the 170,000 Democrats and other voters will have virtually no role in deciding the next commissioner. The winner of the Aug. 26 primary will appear on the November ballot next to a space for the write-in candidate. No Democrat is in the running.
"I just think that Republicans should vote for Republicans," Taylor said Friday.
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Business should get out front on alternative energy sources".
Pinellas County pass
"When the Jim Smith land deal exploded into view last summer, conventional wisdom was that the scandal would overshadow Pinellas County's 2008 elections."
But on Friday, as qualification for the ballot closed, just two candidates linked to the controversy remain: County Commissioner Karen Seel and property appraiser candidate Pam Dubov, who worked for Smith."Jim Smith land deal clouds county election".
But don't mess with Columbus Day
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board write that "was really discovered by the native tribes that lived here before Juan Ponce de Leon showed up in 1513." "Who discovered Florida license plate inappropriate, historically incorrect".
"$1.75 billion" just sounded ... you know ... better
"The $1.75 billion deal for taxpayers to buy out U.S. Sugar Corp. and clear the way for Everglades restoration could come with a long-term price tag that is twice as high." "Cost of U.S. Sugar deal could reach $3.5 billion over 30 years". See also "Water district confident it can handle debt of U.S. Sugar deal".
"Crist announces 'green' aviation effort at climate conference".
GOPers can't get their
pandering stories straight
"Lifting a ban on offshore drilling will not bring down gas prices or solve the nation's addiction to oil, Republican California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Thursday, rebuking a proposal supported by his party's presidential nominee as well as his host, Gov. Charlie Crist."
Politicians have been throwing out all kinds of ideas in response to skyrocketing fuel prices, from rethinking nuclear power to allowing offshore drilling, Schwarzenegger said at a climate change summit hosted by Crist."And while Crist and Schwarzenegger have worked together on addressing climate change,"
"But anyone who tells you that [offshore drilling] will bring down our gas prices immediately or anytime soon is blowing smoke. America is so addicted to oil that it will take years to wean ourselves from it. Finding new ways to feed our addiction is not the answer," he said.
The comments highlight the distance between Schwarzenegger and Republican nominee John McCain on energy policy. The governor spoke at an energy panel with McCain in California on Tuesday, but he didn't mention drilling.
Crist recently changed his mind [(called a "flip-flop when a Dem does it)] to support offshore drilling. The Florida governor has been mentioned as a possible running mate for McCain but says his change on the issue comes out of concern for Floridians' pocketbooks."Schwarzenegger in Miami: Keep offshore drilling ban".
"Seven percent of Florida patients hospitalized for certain conditions get readmitted within 15 days — a problem that shows institutions should do better at preventing tens of thousands of complications, including infections, health officials said Thursday." "Too many ailing Floridians have to return to hospitals, officials say".
"U.S. Sugar Vice President Malcolm "Bubba" Wade Jr. resigned Tuesday from the South Florida water management board poised to vote on a $1.75 billion land deal with his company." "U.S. Sugar VP quits water district post".