The Tallahassee Democrat newspapers: "Tapping into the Lawton Chiles Tobacco Endowment Fund to help meet the state's projected $2.2 billion revenue shortfall is worse than robbing Peter to pay Paul: It also ensures Peter will be forever poorer as a result." "Taking money from kids is not the answer"..
Another Supreme Court vacancy
"A state panel Monday nominated five judges, including [believe it or not] a woman and a Hispanic man for a Florida Supreme Court opening."
The Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission sent the names to Gov. Charlie Crist. He will appoint a replacement for Justice Harry Lee Anstead, 71, who is retiring in January when his current six-year term ends.Charlie has stacked the court with white right wingers:
The commission met behind closed doors in Tampa to deliberate after interviewing 18 applicants, including 10 judges, for the at-large seat on the seven-member high court. The vacancy is the third for the state's high court in less than a year.
The nominees are 5th District Court of Appeal Judge C. Alan Lawson of Daytona Beach and Circuit Judges Kevin Emas of Miami, Gill Freeman of Miami, Jorge Labarga of West Palm Beach and Waddell Wallace III of Jacksonville.
The governor filled both previous [FSC] vacancies, each the result of a resignation, over the past four months with [suitably right-wing] non-Hispanic white males.On a related note, "Last week, Crist asked a similar commission to reconsider six nominees it had sent him for an opening on the 5th District Court of Appeal because they included no blacks. Not one of the appellate court's 10 full-time judges is black." "Panel nominates 5 judges for Fla. Supreme Court". See also "State Vets 18 Supreme Court Applicants" and "Crist to appoint another Supreme Court justice".
"Florida's judicial selection process needs reform"
The St Pete Times editors: "Two incidents in the past week are stark reminders that Florida's judicial selection process needs reform. First, a list of nominees for a Central Florida appellate seat lacked minorities. Then, a finalist for the Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court bench included an attorney with no jury trial experience but plenty of political connections. In both cases, Gov. Charlie Crist did the right thing. Now he needs to go after the systemic problem and push for an overhaul of the judicial nominating process."
Bush sought to wrest control of the branch in a number of ways, but he was most successful in taking over the judicial nominating commissions. The 2001 Republican-led Legislature gave the governor authority to fill all 234 seats on the state's 26 JNCs — though the governor must fill almost half the seats with attorneys nominated by the Florida Bar."Overhaul judicial nomination system".
The impact of the change is now clear. Too often now, the nominating commissions are putting more emphasis on the correct political persuasion and ideology, and less on the best qualifications. In August, Crist grumbled that the eight finalists for the first of two Supreme Court seats included no women or African-Americans, though he didn't reject the list and ended up appointing two conservative white men. But Crist wisely rejected a similar list recently for an opening on the 5th District Court of Appeal. The court covering 13 Central Florida counties has 10 seats, but only one female judge and no African-Americans. Oddly, the JNC has rejected the governor's request for a new list and forced a showdown.
"Crist expressed support Monday for creating a Central Florida commuter-rail system and said he probably will play a more active role in the debate about the issue." "Crist supports commuter rail".
After all, they're black
"Federal immigration officials say deportations to Haiti have resumed just three months after they stopped returning residents to the storm-ravaged country." "Deportations to storm-crippled Haiti resume".
Florida's new Paparazzi
Jim Ash: "It isn't exactly the go codes for the nation's nukes, but the guest list for Gov. Charlie Crist's wedding to socialite Carole Rome may be one of the best-kept secrets in government. Sources say Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer, Crist's close friend, is helping with the arrangements. However, the veteran political operative remains tight-lipped." "Crist's wedding draws near".
Nice to read that "Greer, Crist's close friend, is helping with the arrangements." Greer has a career as a wedding planner when this is all over?
Threatening to "shave millions"
"Steep and continuing drop-offs in gas- and sales-tax collections, as well as other taxes and fees, threaten to shave millions of dollars from current-year city and county budgets." "Florida city, county budgets drop with falling tax revenues".
"Angst over the economy and jobs"
"A majority of 1,200 Florida adults polled cited 'economy and jobs' as the No. 1 or No. 2 issue in the latest Sunshine State Survey conducted on behalf of Leadership Florida, a statewide networking program run by the Florida Chamber of Commerce."
Initial details unveiled Monday caught even survey pollsters Mason-Dixon Polling & Research off-guard."What's on Floridians' minds? Jobs and economy". See also "Poll: Floridians most concerned about jobs, struggling economy".
Fifty-six percent polled said "economy and jobs" was the most important issue, and 11 percent more cited it as the No. 2 issue. Combined, that's 67 percent of Floridians calling the economy and jobs one of the top two issues confronting the state.
Such a spike in angst over the economy and jobs in one year may be unprecedented.
"This is the first time I have seen something move this high this fast in 25 years of polling at the state level," said Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker.
The Maitland Housewife's speaks
Mike Thomas: "We probably won't get what we need to fix Florida's economy".
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "After last Tuesday's seven-hour hearing on the South Florida Water Management District's proposed $1.34 billion purchase of U.S. Sugar's land, the district held no new negotiations with the company. New negotiations must take place before next week's scheduled vote on the contract by the water district board." "Improve U.S. Sugar deal".
More: "U.S. Sugar board OK's $1.34 billion land deal with the state", "U.S. Sugar, Florida reach $1.3B deal", "U.S. Sugar approves selling land for Everglades restoration", "US Sugar Board approves sale farmland to Florida" and "".
Kick him out
Scott Maxwell: "Enough of this pussyfooting around. House Speaker Ray Sansom should resign. And if he won't go voluntarily, he should be thrown out." "It's time for Ray Sansom to leave the House — or be thrown out".
"House Speaker Ray Sansom will announce his committee appointments today, including the creation of a committee to negotiate a gambling agreement with the Seminole Tribe of Florida that could send revenue to the state. Sources close to Sansom confirmed Monday that the select committee would be headed by Rep. Larry Cretul, R-Ocala, and that Rep. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, would be one of the committee's chief negotiators."
Crist reached an agreement with the Seminoles a year ago that allowed them to operate Las Vegas-style slot machines, as permitted under federal law, and to conduct high-stakes card games such as blackjack and baccarat."New panel will negotiate gambling deal with tribe".
But the state Supreme Court ruled in July that Crist overreached his authority by changing state law because those card games are illegal elsewhere in Florida. That meant lawmakers had to sign off on the deal or craft a new one.
So long as he didn't negotiate anything
"Florida man posing as U.S. diplomatic officer arrested".
"Without a hearing or comment, the 5th District Court of Appeal denied an appeal by former Florida Rep. Bob Allen." "Court dismisses Allen appeal". See also "" and "".
"Chiles won't say"
"When Bud Chiles and his family publicly threatened to sue lawmakers last week over the possible depletion of the Lawton Chiles Endowment Fund, it elevated the real-estate investor and son of the former governor to a rarity in the Capitol: A challenger to Gov. Charlie Crist's do-the-right-thing persona. But could that turn into an actual challenge to Crist at the ballot box in 2010? Chiles won't say." "Herald: Chiles won't say whether he'll challenge Crist in 2010".
"Former Florida State and NFL football star Peter Boulware, who lost in a a razor-close contest for the state House of Representatives last month, is the newest member of the State Board of Education. Gov. Charlie Crist named the 33-year-old Boulware of Tallahassee to the seven-member panel Monday. He succeeds longtime Tallahassee middle school principal Donna Callaway, who resigned in June. Boulware, a Republican, was defeated by a scant 440 votes in his first bid for political office by Democrat Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda in a heavily Democratic district." "Fla. gov names Boulware to education board".
"Officials don't know who - or what - lies beneath"
"A dirt road near a state-run reform school where children were abused in the 1950s and '60s ends at a makeshift cemetery - more than 30 white metal crosses neatly lined in four rows. But state officials don't know who - or what - lies beneath. There are no names, dates or other details on the simple markers." "Fla. gov.: State should probe reform school graves".