"Sansom's move, made only reluctantly on the urgent advice of colleagues, failed to quell anxiety in a chamber that has seen its own standing damaged amid allegations that Sansom abused his office to help friends and himself." The recusal
did little to settle nerves."State House is in chaos as Sansom steps aside".
"It would make a lot of the members feel a little bit more comfortable if they had the ability to conference," said Rep. Sandy Adams, R-Oviedo. "Don't get me wrong. Larry Cretul is a good man. I trust him. But I still believe there's a need for a conference.
"This has all just come out," Adams said. "People are looking at the (House) rules and saying, 'Where does this put us?'"
Blood in the water
The Palm Beach Post editorial board argues that "Sansom not gone enough"
The St. Petersburg Times editorial board:
Florida will be better off with someone other than Ray Sansom as House speaker, someone who can devote their full attention to the state’s pressing issues. But the Destin Republican’s announcement on Friday that he is temporarily giving up one of the state’s most powerful political offices as he faces a state grand jury investigation does not go far enough. Now Republicans must move quickly to select a permanent replacement to ensure that the House has clear leadership and that Sansom cannot pull any strings."Choose a new House speaker". The Orlando Sentinel editorial board argues that "Speaker Ray Sansom should give up his leadership post for good".
"An unassuming real estate agent "
"A conservative who serves as a deacon in his Baptist church, Cretul is expected to continue the House's right-of-center approach to issues such as gambling and fiscal policy. He has kept a such a low-profile that many members say they know little about him." "New speaker a quiet conservative". See also "Sansom's departure thrusts House Speaker Larry Cretul into spotlight", "Speaker pro tem takes the reins with a 'steady hand'" and "Who's in charge of the House?".
"Nest-feathering was finally called to account"
Scott Maxwell writes that, "in a state where political profiteering had become so commonplace that it almost seemed acceptable, Ray Sansom reminded us there are lines you cannot cross." Maxwell continues, asserting that
no matter what else Sansom said in his own defense, the facts showed two things: 1) He helped funnel millions of dollars to a small college; and 2) The college then offered him a $110,000-a-year paycheck."Sansom noise grew too loud"
That's why he had to give up his speakership -- and why he needs to give up any delusions of returning to the post.
Because it doesn't matter what else a grand jury or ethics commission find. Those two facts will remain the same. And Sansom will remain too tainted to serve as leader of the Florida House.
It's worth taking a moment to look back at how we got here.
The Tampa Trib editors: "It's no surprise that Ray Sansom stepped down as Florida speaker of the House. Under criminal and ethical investigations, Sansom had become a liability to his Republican colleagues, who wanted him out of the limelight pronto. What's surprising is that Tallahassee nest-feathering was finally called to account." They point out that,
in recent years some of the financial arrangements have been brazen."Sansom Finally Steps Down".
Sen. Mike Haridopolos, a Merritt Island Republican slated to become Senate president, earned $38,000 a year from Brevard Community, where he did not have to teach but only produce a book on the Legislature.
He has since got himself a nifty $75,000-a-year job at the University of Florida as a part-time lecturer.
Former House Speaker Marco Rubio of West Miami took a part-time job at Florida International University for $69,000.
And Sen. Evelyn Lynn of Ormond Beach helped create a reading center at Florida State University, and then took a $120,000-a-year job overseeing it, which she gave up once her employment hit the newspapers.
More: "For Sansom, a fast fall for a man in full".
"The online tourism-tax debate"
"Counties and cities all over Florida are waging a war against online hotel-booking companies like Priceline and Expedia, alleging the companies are bilking them out of millions in tax dollars. In January, Broward County became the latest Florida government embroiled in a legal battle over whether online hotel-booking companies owe tourism taxes. As much as $200 million could be at stake statewide, according to Broward's attorney in the case." "Florida counties battle online companies over bed taxes".
"Academy High in Coral Springs claimed the right to taxpayer money for students with disabilities who had already graduated or withdrawn, the state said." "Coral Springs school accused of fraud over vouchers".
"A diverse group of four nominees was chosen from eight applicants interviewed Friday for a fourth Florida Supreme Court vacancy in less than a year. The panel recommended Circuit Judges James Perry and Debra Steinberg Nelson of Sanford, Judge Alan Lawson with the 5th District Court of Appeals in Daytona Beach and Dan Gerber, an Orlando attorney, to Gov. Charlie Crist, who is seeking a replacement for Justice Charles Wells, who is retiring in March." "Panel chooses 4 applicants for Fla. Supreme Court".
The St. Petersburg Times Dan DeWitt: "generally, too much money seems to be going to existing government programs Democrats have long backed, and not enough to building the foundation for a new economy, which I thought this bill was supposed to be all about. It was almost as disappointing as seeing Republicans sideline themselves with their intractable demands for lower taxes — and watching Brown-Waite join them." "Brown-Waite makes good points against the bailout".
Nah ... only real estate agents need apply
"Can a teacher be a mayor?".
"Proteacher, promilitary and proenvironment"
Steve Bousquet wants you to know that Charlie is a "deft" fellow:
Crist now leaves behind a state budget document that has one number written all over it. The number is 2010, when Crist would be up for re-election as governor as the guy who "saved" teacher bonus pay, body armor for Florida National Guard troops, and the Florida Forever land-preservation program."Crist deftly makes the best of bad financial times".
By erasing just those three cuts, Crist can clearly be seen as building a political foundation to lay claim to being proteacher, promilitary and proenvironment.
"It's easy to go out and demagogue these issues and pander to folks. But the Senate and House are constitutionally required to make this work," said Sen. J.D. Alexander, the Lake Wales Republican and chief budget writer in the Senate.
Alexander considers himself and fellow senators as friends of the environment. They decided a one-year moratorium on Florida Forever purchases was prudent in a recession and felt they had a deal with Crist's staff.
"We don't do deals," Crist said.
Florida's political reporters - always in search of that seat on the big bus with the real reporters - can now forever brand Charlie, the next Floridian who would be president, as "proteacher, promilitary and proenvironment".
"Miami Commissioner Spence-Jones announces reelection run".
"A local accountant who collected tens of millions of dollars from friends, colleagues and fellow church members and invested it with Bernie Madoff tried explaining what went wrong Friday afternoon. " "How to waste $1 million".
"Not in the public interest"
The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "Florida has a proud history of strong open-government laws. But they haven't always kept pace with progress. Consider, for example, the city council members who text or e-mail each other during meetings to skirt open communication. That's not in the public interest." "Digital age Sunshine".
"Three Miami-Dade schools labor unions are voicing opposition to a bill that would require Florida school districts to pay teachers first. Their qualm: The proposed legislation ignores 'essential' school-district employees, including bus drivers, maintenance workers, police officers, accountants and technical staff." "Dade schools works outraged over 'Pay Teachers First' bill".
"State Farm's threat would hurt 800 agents".