"Crist and Republican legislative leaders are back at the well, planning to draw $700 million from the Lawton Chiles Endowment over the heated objections of the late governor's heirs." "State eyes Chiles fund again".
Will the rest of the nation ...
... subsidize the political spinelessness of the geniuses in Tally. Charlie sure hopes so.
"If Gov. Charlie Crist's wish comes true, Florida will enjoy a multibillion-dollar rush of federal dollars in the coming year -- staving off slash-and-burn budget cuts that could decimate schools, social services and other programs." "Crist counts on federal relief to rescue Florida".
"Advocates of a blackjack deal with the Seminole Tribe are running into an old adversary of gambling interests: the Florida House."
Despite heavy lobbying from Gov. Charlie Crist, an unusual bipartisan coalition is forming in the House to defy the governor and block the so-called Indian compact, at least in its current form."Legislature fight looms over Seminole gambling deal".
Socially conservative Republicans, loath to see new forms of gambling take root, are locking arms with pro-gambling Democrats who don't want Indian resorts to get a business edge over South Florida's pari-mutuel racetracks.
The result is a political environment that's delaying action on the compact and threatening its completion, much to Crist's chagrin.
... now find an overpass. "Broward public housing full; need may rise".
Sansom death spiral
The The Palm Beach Post's Michael C. Bender has penned one the best pieces we've read so far on the Sansom scandals
He begins: "It was the final days of last year's legislative session and after six weeks of brutal budget cuts, the Florida House was in disarray."
Democrats effectively slammed the brakes on the process by requiring that each word of every bill be read out loud. Republicans retaliated by refusing to put Democratic bills up for a vote."Grand jury to weigh speaker's ethics amid inquiries about ties to college".
Throughout the 15-hour ordeal, at least one lawmaker kept his emotions in check and focused on finding a solution.
"The guy that kept trying to resolve things in an adult manner - not trying to cut a deal and willing to apologize for the conduct of some members of his party - was Ray Sansom," said former Rep. Jack Seiler, D-Wilton Manors, who coordinated the Democratic filibuster. "He's a quality guy."
Today House Speaker Sansom, R-Destin, is in damage control mode once again. This time it's the biggest political challenge of his 20-year career: restoring his image as an honorable public servant.
On one of the potential transgressions, see Lucy Morgan's "Fighting corruption with the 'honest services' doctrine".
A lot of coverage on this yesterday, which we summarized at "'This may be a week of reckoning' for Sansom".
"Even with Florida's 11 public universities laying off staff and limiting enrollment, the state will spend more than $90 million this year to help residents attend private colleges." "Funding private tuition with slim public dollars".
"As teachers worry about their students ..."
"The bad budget news has cast a cloud over many schools as teachers worry about their students and their jobs." The
educators and education advocates are pushing the Florida Legislature to find new sources of money for public schools, and they'll stress that point at upcoming rallies. These advocates don't doubt state revenue has taken a nose dive. But they argue lawmakers could make changes that would give state coffers a boost for years to come -- and their failure to do so will harm the state's public-education system."Amid budget crisis, schools brace for the worst".
Canary in the coal mine
"As the recession deepens, pet owners throughout South Florida are being forced to give up their beloved four-legged family members." "Hard times leave pets homeless".
Tuff jobs "Forecast"
"Forecast: Even more will be out of work in 2009".
Nelson at work
"Recognizing public disgust, lawmakers including Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., have introduced a bill to require greater disclosure of bailout money and make it illegal to use it use for bonuses, lobbying and corporate retreats. Too bad such laws can't be retroactive." "End rewards for failure".
South of the border
"President Evo Morales took a major step toward creating a socialist state that empowers the indigenous majority when 60 percent of Bolivians approved a new constitution on Sunday, according to unofficial results."
As president, Morales has indirectly ''nationalized'' foreign companies by sharply raising their taxes and used the windfall to establish pensions for the elderly and sharply increase state spending on public works."Light-skinned Bolivians have held political and economic power for generations in a country where 60 percent of the population -- nearly all of them indigenous -- live on $2 per day or less."
Morales, 49, has allied with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and Cuba's Fidel Castro -- all in the name of giving the poor a greater share of the political and economic pie -- while expelling the U.S. ambassador in September and kicking out Drug Enforcement Administration anti-drug agents this week.
The new charter enshrines greater government control of the economy and limits the size of new landholdings in an attempt to redistribute land to peasants."Sunday's results ..."
It gives special rights [sic] to Indians, who would be guaranteed a certain number of seats in Congress and on the Supreme Court and would have to approve exploration of minerals and natural gas on their territories.
scared many descendents of the Spanish who colonized this country nearly 500 years ago."Bolivians back new constitution".
''The new constitution will divide the country by giving special rights [sic] to some people,'' Gerardo Zevallos, a 59-year-old architect, said after voting. ``People like me will become second-class citizens. This is an act of revenge.''
''We're being discriminated against,'' said Aurora de López, another light-skinned voter.
"Although the start of the state Legislature's annual 60-day session is a little more than a month away, it's already clear the tourism industry's agenda will be dominated by issues of money -- both preserving what it already has and fighting for more." "Florida's tourism industry ready to protect its share of tourism tax".
"Some of the proposed reductions ... are foolish"
The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board writes today that "With billions of dollars leaking from the state budget, many of the spending cuts being considered by legislators seem harsh but inevitable. But some of the proposed reductions and trust-fund raids are foolish and deserve protest." "Injustice after rape".
"Governing by anecdote"
Bill Cotterell: "It's easy to place the blame when governing by anecdote".
"Florida's utility regulators have crafted their vision of Florida's green energy future without answering the billion-dollar question: What is green energy? Months of intense lobbying and public hearings on how and when Florida's energy companies should go green ended on Jan. 9 with the state's Public Service Commission deciding not to decide whether nuclear power is green enough to be part of the state's mandate to reduce greenhouse gases." "Agency passes nuclear debate to state".
Energy and Climate Commission
"The Florida Energy and Climate Commission holds its second meeting this morning to discuss, among other things, a carbon cap-and-trade system for Florida." "Commission to discuss carbon cap-and-trade system for Florida".
Off Topic: The rich are different
"What is it in John Thain's psyche that made the former Merrill Lynch chief think it was okay to dole out billions of dollars in bonuses just as his teetering firm was being bailed out through a merger with Bank of America with taxpayer help? " "Wizards of destruction".
The Miami Herald editorial board: "State Rep. Jim Waldman, D-Coconut Creek, withdrew his proposal Thursday to make the Broward sheriff a nonpartisan position but, to borrow a cliché, the cat was already out of the bag. The secret is out. The nonpartisan election of a sheriff is such a sensible idea that last week's rejection should be seen as a temporary setback, not a fatal blow." "No room for politics in sheriff's office".
Beware secret shoppers
"A secret shopper fraud scheme could leave people's finances in ruins, warn South Florida law enforcement agencies. The scheme involves a letter purportedly from a company in search of people who will test out customer service at a money-wiring service, authorities said. The letter could come with a check for as much as $2,900 to be cashed and used in the wiring exercise. But it's a bad check that could wreak finacial havoc." "Officials warn Floridians of secret shopper fraud scheme".
The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker and City Council member Karl Nurse have a capital idea: establish a program that teaches low-income residents financial literacy while helping them open bank accounts." "Bank on a better future".
"At the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Sugarcane Field Station in Canal Point in the heart of western Palm Beach County's sugar cane region, the goal is to develop disease-resistant varieties that produce lots of cane with a high sugar content." "Scientists cultivate disease-resistant sugar cane".
Oscar Espinosa Chepe, "an economist and independent journalist in Cuba" has this today in the The Miami Herald: "Carried by a wave of popular enthusiasm, led mainly by the youth of America, Barack Obama became the 44th president of the United States when he took office on Tuesday. That historic event smashed the prejudices that had existed in that nation for centuries and created great expectations worldwide regarding the colossal challenges facing mankind." "As we Cubans rejoice, let's lead our own change".