"Crist wants state agencies to speed up construction projects in hopes it will give the state's lagging economy a boost."
Crist called agency heads together Wednesday before announcing his "Accelerate Florida" plan to pump more money into the economy. He said pushing up projects like highway and new school construction will create jobs immediately."Florida Gov. Crist wants construction sped up".
After more than two decades of political consensus on offshore oil exploration, $4 gas and two pandering presidential candidates have put Florida's coast in imminent danger. Is more drilling really the solution? "" "Oil drilling frenzy puts Florida at risk".
And the Justice is ...
"Crist now has eight candidates to choose from to fill two spots on Florida's highest court. The Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission forwarded the eight names, dominated by seven lower-court judges, to Crist this morning. The finalists include Vincent Torpy Jr., now an appeals court judge, but once a Brevard County circuit judge and an Indialantic police officer. Two of the finalists are from Tallahassee, 1st District Court of Appeal judges Ricky Polston and Peter Webster." "Crist has eight Supreme Court candidates to choose from" ("none are from Northwest Florida").
As good a reason as any
"It's just a guess, but it's entirely possible Crist's appeal faded out of fears on the part of McCain that given Rome's association with the whoopee cushion/hand buzzer/exploding cigar novelty business, it presented too great a diplomatic risk to have her lurking around that first state dinner with the Queen of England." "Veep Dreams Seem To Turn To Bleep".
Time to cut taxes
"With Florida's economy worsening, economists are likely Friday to forecast a $1.2 billion loss in projected tax revenues, which could lead Gov. Charlie Crist to dip into reserves or propose more budget cuts."
"On his state Senate campaign website Wednesday, Gelber noted the monthly tax-collection shortfalls as well as the following statistics that indicate Florida is in for a tough ride:"
• 78,000 people lost work from June 2007 to June 2008, making the state first in job loss."Florida shortfall may hit $1.2B".
• 40,000 Florida homes were foreclosed in June, the second-highest number in the nation.
• 300,000 homes are unsold, meaning there's a year's worth of inventory sitting empty.
• Existing state properties lost $153 billion in property values, thereby reducing the borrowing power that helped fuel Floridians' spending habits.
"DePuy dismissed the allegations as baseless and accused Slade of dragging the campaign into "the sewer." The PBA has endorsed one of DePuy's opponents, Alma Gonzalez, in the at-large race." "PBA head files ethics complaint against DePuy".
Amendment 5 decision
Update: no surprise: "Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper has ordered Amendment 5, the tax-swap proposal that would eliminate about a quarter of Florida property taxes, off November's ballot.". There will be an appeal, of course: "Judge tosses Amendment 5 from ballot".
"The campaign to wipe out most school property taxes in Florida moved to a courtroom Wednesday, with an openly skeptical state judge raising the possibility the ambitious tax plan could be torpedoed before it ever reaches voters. Backed by battling business and real-estate groups, lawyers argued over whether the Amendment 5 tax plan's title and summary scheduled to be printed on Nov. 4 election ballots in Florida are misleading. Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper said he'd issue a ruling by today on whether to strike the proposed amendment to Florida's constitution from the ballot. Either way, an appeal is certain." "Judge to rule today on controversial tax-cut amendment".
At the trough
"Republicans Line Up To Replace Traviesa In District 56 Race".
" The FBI and other authorities should investigate business and election fraud allegations made against U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan's campaign and some of his businesses, the Florida Democratic Party said Wednesday. 'Based on the seriousness of the charges being made, it is only appropriate that the FBI and other authorities begin investigating these allegations,' said Eric Jotkoff, the party's spokesman."
Some former employees of Buchanan's automobile dealerships contend in civil suits they were pressured into donating to the Sarasota Republican's 2006 campaign, then reimbursed for it. The ex-employees also accuse the dealerships of engaging in fraudulent business practices."Dems call for Buchanan investigation".
"Concerns grow over the deal's economic consequences"
"Five weeks of negotiations have the state's $1.75 billion buyout of U.S. Sugar on track for a September deadline, even as concerns grow over the deal's economic consequences. Gov. Charlie Crist on June 24 announced the landmark deal to put Florida's largest sugar producer out of business and use the company's 187,000 acres to help restore flows of water from Lake Okeechobee to the Everglades." "U.S. Sugar buyout deal on track for September".
"Farmers south of Lake Okeechobee met their state-imposed Everglades cleanup goals this year after stumbling in 2007, South Florida water managers announced this week." "Glades farmers meet cleanup goal".
"The Miccosukee Tribe filed suit, arguing that the U.S. Sugar deal was derailing the long-promised reservoir, violating an agreement to corral and clean up polluted water headed to the Everglades. Moreno expressed sympathy for the Tribe, but decided that the potential long-term benefits of the U.S. Sugar deal were worth delaying the reservoir." "Judge won't force resumption of Palm Beach County reservoir work".
It's a job
"Loranne Ausley, at the end of her career as an advocate for children in the state House, will chair the Florida Healthy Kids program." "Ausley to chair Florida Healthy Kids program".
Brain dead in Hillsborough
The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "In Florida, judicial candidates run in nonpartisan races; it at least gives the courts a veneer of independence. Linda Courtney Clark hasn't mastered the concept in her seven years of practicing law. Consider how Clark handled questions about an e-mail solicitation a supporter sent out on her behalf. Former Republican state Sen. John Grant, a Tampa attorney"
The courts need "people of high moral character," Grant wrote. "Linda has a tough campaign and faces someone who take(s) a far more liberal position on the social and moral issues that you and I care about." The retired senator also hit up recipients to donate to her campaign."Candidate shows poor judgment".
Grant said he doesn't know Campbell — "never met her" — but understands "people running" her campaign are Democrats. "I don't want to say guilt by association," he said last week, "but you certainly can know someone by the company they keep." So here you have Grant pleading innocent to a foul even as he commits one. Worse, Clark refused to disavow Grant's tactic. She said Grant's characterization was not political — then declined to say whether she agreed with Grant's assessment on the grounds she could not comment on political speech. Clark attacked the "journalistic integrity" of the St. Petersburg Times for reporting the story. In a letter, she underscored her commitment to the 'judicial cannons (sic),' threw Grant's name around again and painted herself as a victim.
"If you're a Democrat, here are your choices for Congress this year:"
A candidate known as "Grandma" who crusades against state education testing and calls the United States a "communist country.""Three District 5 Democrats enliven the field".
A candidate so confrontational he was banned for life from Disney for tussling with his own party's officials.
And a candidate who lost six previous long-shot campaigns but wants to run again because he is unemployed.
"Leon County legislative candidates agreed Wednesday that Florida's fiscal crisis requires government to make tough choices about budget priorities and look for new revenue sources." "Candidates say tough budget choices require some creative thinking".
Bell Shoals Baptist Church'
"'What is integrity to you?' church member Fred Mahusay asked supervisor of elections candidate Phyllis Busansky. Without missing a beat, she answered." Read what she said here: "Candidates share beliefs with Brandon congregation".
A PBC thing
The Palm Beach Post editorial Board: "Add early voting to the potential pitfalls awaiting voters this fall. The breakdown of a statewide registration system on Monday, the first day of early voting for the Aug. 26 primary, is the latest warning for Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Arthur Anderson. Once again, the county managed to single itself out. Most supervisors had a plan if the statewide registration database went down. But not Dr. Anderson, who is running for reelection against two opponents." "Vote early? Not often".