"At a cost to taxpayers of $255,000, Gov. Charlie Crist embarks with staff and dozens of corporate executives Saturday on an 11-day European trade mission in the hope of striking business deals to spark Florida's flagging economy."
The group will travel to London, Paris, Madrid and Russia's St. Petersburg to meet with top government officials and business leaders to talk insurance, alternative energy, and aerospace contracts. Crist is also meeting with Britain's Prince Charles and his brother, Prince Andrew."Asked if he was sending the wrong message by visiting Europe with his fiancée while unemployment has increased in Florida, Crist said this was no vacation."
''Well, I'm trying to get them employed,'' he said. ``That's exactly why I'm going -- to try to generate more business, more investment, more entrepreneurship from these countries that have been very good friends to Florida, particularly in the past and express that gratitude and continue to encourage their investment and employment of our fellow Floridians.''Here's the capper:
The governor's fiancée, Carole Rome, is going as one of the business ''delegates,'' who pay for their own hotel and airfare. The Fisher Island resident is a consultant to her family's Halloween costume business."Crist defends trip as effort to help state".
I hear that Halloween costume business is ripe for international trade.
There's the rub
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "Employers the key to immigration reform".
No brainer ...
... even for Fasano. The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "The two pieces of legislation, sponsored by Sen. Mike Fasano of New Port Richey and signed into law by the governor a few days ago, do two important things: They grant sexual assault victims up to three-days' leave from their jobs, and exempt the names and other identifying personal information of victims who happen to be public workers from public records." "State Comforts Sexual Assault Victims".
The larger question - and what editorials ought to be written about - is what kind of employers need a law to force them to "grant sexual assault victims up to three-days' leave from their jobs"?
What is it with Florida employers?: recently, "a Florida woman was fired by a restaurant owner for laughing". Indeed, "Florida is quite the leader in this area. In one of my favs, a lawsuit by an employee fired for refusing to commit a crime was dismissed". This takes the cake:
"IN ANCIENT GREECE, they used to kill the messenger bearing bad tidings. In modern Florida, she just gets fired . At least, that`s what happened to a Jacksonville woman. Lillian Grant, an accounting clerk, called police the other day when she and some coworkers found dangerous metal staples had been baked into a $2 box of Girl Scout cookies. ... But instead of praising her for reporting such a potentially harmful case of food tampering, her bosses at the StateWide Collection Agency were angered, saying she failed to get permission to call police. So they fired her. (Good Citizen Got Bad Treatment, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, March 17, 1986)"Another Tale from the Long, Wonderful History of American Employment-At-Will".
"You’ll have to guess"
The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "How much does Progress Energy intend to charge you every month for the start-up costs of a new nuclear power plant in Levy County? You’ll have to guess, because the company refuses to say. It wants the Florida Public Service Commission to hold hearings on the rate hike without the public knowing how much it’s asking for." "Throw some light on power rate hike".
Empty suit ...
... and empty chair. Poor Charlie,"after months of speculation, political scholars and veteran players consider Charlie Crist an unlikely running mate for presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain." "Scholars: Crist unlikely VP pick".
"Some of their more conservative neighbors have a hard time fathoming that so many Democrats are numbered among the town's 83 registered voters. There's eight?' says the mayor's wife, Robin Robertson, smiling amiably. 'I thought we had one.'" "Democrats are few, far between in well-heeled Belleair Shore".
Vern for sale
"U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan's re-election campaign said Wednesday that it has topped $3 million in contributions. Donors gave more than $600,000 to the Sarasota Republican's re-election bid in April, May and June, his campaign manager Joe Gruters said. Combined with earlier contributions, Buchanan has raised more than $3 million in his bid for a second term." "Buchanan hits $3 million in campaign funds".
"A good sign"
"[I]t is a good sign that start-ups are competing to find the best technologies to produce ethanol from sources other than corn. Florida, with its abundance of material that could be turned into ethanol, is the perfect state to host that competition. In particular, Florida offers material other than food crops. It makes more sense to produce ethanol from materials that otherwise literally would go to waste. U.S. Rep. Tim Mahoney, D-Palm Beach Gardens, has secured grants for companies in his district that will produce ethanol from food farming byproducts." "Make Florida friendly to 'new' energy firms".
"The Miccosukee Indian Tribe wants a federal judge to restart a huge Everglades restoration project that's now on hold. The tribe filed a motion in Miami federal court Friday. Attorney Dexter Lehtinen says the goal is to continue construction of a giant reservoir in Palm Beach County intended to help cleanse water flowing into the Everglades. Water managers put the project on hold in May because of a separate lawsuit filed by environmental groups." "Tribe asks court to restart Glades project".
Makes it hard to walk them neighborhoods
"Skip Campbell will officially drop out of the race against Republican Senate President-designate Jeff Atwater today, the former senator said Thursday." "Campbell cites hip surgery in dropping bid for Senate". See also "Campbell quits state Senate race".
Maybe a bit different
"Water managers today reaffirmed they want to finish a giant Glades reservoir project now mired in a lawsuit, but said it might not be completed as originally envisioned, depending on the proposed U.S. Sugar agreement." "Water district says Glades reservoir should be completed, but perhaps scaled back".
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Drilling off the state would do little to lower gas costs, at best a few cents per gallon, and would not even be available for seven years or more. It makes no sense to risk Florida's coast for such a puny payoff." "Floridians Should Not Be Panicked Into Sacrificing Their Coast".
"The largest crop in four years"
"Florida is by far the nation's largest supplier of oranges. If these projections hold, this would be the largest crop in four years, since two heavy hurricane seasons damaged trees and spread crop diseases." "Feds inch up Fla. citrus forecast at end of season".
"Call-center operations in nine offices that take consumer complaints around the state will consolidate into two as the Florida Department of Financial Services moves to save $1 million a year. Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced the cost-saving measure Thursday after a Department of Financial Services study recommended it." "DFS announces consolidation of state call centers".
The Miami Herald editorial board: "Many small and not-so-small American towns have suffered hugely when their major employers shut down. So will Clewiston and the surrounding areas in Hendry County when the state buy-out of U. S. Sugar is completed in six years." "Florida's sugar town deserves extra hand".