"Angry about the rapid layoff of 66 probation officers, Senate Democratic Leader Al Lawson of Tallahassee demanded Friday that Gov. Charlie Crist veto $1.2 billion in budget cuts and order lawmakers to try again."
Lawson chided Crist for backing a $10 million economic development package that would provide low-interest loans to medium-sized businesses with between 10 and 99 employees. Crist took heat for the proposal, which was pushed by a company that is bidding on the $1 million contract to manage the program."Senate Democrats call on Gov. Crist to veto the budget, recall the Legislature". See also "Updated: Al Lawson calls on Gov. Crist to veto budget, recall Legislature".
"Rather than lead us away from the land of special interests' protections, he's delivering Florida into the valley of pink slips," Lawson said. "I urge him to rethink his direction, veto this budget and re-summon the Legislature to undo the damage it's done."
McCollum shifts his rather substantial derrierre ...
... and gets moving, at least a little, on the Sansom scandal: "Florida's attorney general is asking for information on possible Sunshine Law violations by House Speaker Ray Sansom." "AG's office seeks information on Sansom activities".
"A Florida man has been indicted on charges of threatening to kill President-elect Barack Obama." "Fla. man indicted in threat to kill Barack Obama" ("Officials in Polk County issued a warrant for his arrest Wednesday for grand theft of a firearm. Wine allegedly stole a shotgun from a Lakeland woman earlier this month.")
Bill Cotterell: "Neither of Florida's political parties will be running its best-known candidate in the 2010 race to succeed U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez." "No big names on tap for 2010 Senate seat".
State Sen. Dan Gelber then signaled on Friday, shortly after Sink’s announcement, that he too will join the contest. “Given this morning’s news, I fully expect to officially enter the race in the coming weeks. The task of preparing for such a race is complex, thus I will be making a more formal announcement soon,” Gelber said in a statement."The lineup of prospective Republican Senate candidates includes"
Gelber said he had delayed his own decision to give Sink “time to reach her judgment.”
“I was prepared to fully support Alex had she chosen this path as her next step in public life,” Gelber said, “and I hope to share a ballot with her in 2010 as we work together as Floridians to bring real change to our state and restore the dream of a time past, when the state that we love was a beacon of a better life for anyone who seeks it.” The nation’s economic downturn, which has hit Florida hard, is expected to be a central issue in next year’s elections in the state.
Additional primary competition may come from a list of possible candidates that includes Democratic Reps. Allen Boyd of the Panhandle-area 2nd District and Ron Klein of the Palm Beach-area 22nd.
former state House Speaker Marco Rubio; U.S. Reps. Vern Buchanan of the Sarasota-area 13th District and Connie Mack of the southwestern 14th District; and state Attorney General Bill McCollum, a former House member who ran unsuccessfully for the Senate in the 2000 general election against Democrat Bill Nelson and in the 2004 Republican primary against Martinez. State Senate President Jeff Atwater and former state House Speaker Allan Bense are also mentioned as potential GOP candidates."Democrat Sink Passes Up 2010 Florida Senate Race". See also AP's "Fla. CFO Sink will pass on open US Senate seat". See also "Sink Likes Being CFO, Won't Run For Senate".
More: "on Friday, U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, said he has been taking 'a serious look at it.'" "S. Fla. Dems lining up to run for U.S. Senate".
The best he could do?
"Fathers who fail to pay child support would do a week-long work detail wearing a shirt, overalls or vest that reads "Deadbeat Dad" in bold letters under a bill being introduced by state Sen. Mike Fasano." "Fasano Bill Would Require 'Deadbeat Dad' Shirts".
"Temple Terrace Race Could Be Altered By Just-Found Ballots".
Buddy Johnson apparently left a poison pill: "In a bizarre post-script to the problem plagued Nov. 4 elections, Hillsborough County election officials said today they have discovered 440 uncounted ballots, more than two months after the official results were submitted to the state for certification."
"Kevin Beckner, Hillsborough County's first openly gay commissioner, is about to reopen the potentially explosive issue of giving health care benefits to the domestic partners of county employees." "Commissioner Wants To Reopen Domestic Benefits Issue".
"The Sons of Confederate Veterans wants its Florida specialty license plate. The group -- composed of descendants of Confederate soldiers -- plans to file a lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court to force the state to approve one designed with Confederate flags." "Confederate plate for Florida? |".
"Gus Barreiro, a crusader for kids and former Miami-Dade lawmaker who helped bring down a fellow legislator in a high-profile race case, has been unexpectedly fired from the Department of Juvenile Justice."Know your history:
The former Miami Beach lawmaker, a Republican, is no stranger to controversy. In 2006, he filed a complaint against fellow Miami-Dade lawmaker Ralph Arza for using racial slurs to describe former Miami-Dade schools chief Rudy Crew. Arza and a cousin then left threatening messages on Barreiro's cell phone. Arza was charged with witness tampering and agreed to resign his office."Dade's Barreiro fired from juvenile justice post". See also "DJJ fires Barreiro. Why?".
As Arza's standing in the black community sank, Barreiro's rose -- in part because he repeatedly clashed with the DJJ bureaucracy over the unrelated deaths of two black teenagers at DJJ facilities, Martin Lee Anderson in 2006 and Omar Paisley in 2003.
Aided by Miami Beach Democratic Rep. Dan Gelber, Barreiro led the charge to investigate Martin's death after the youth was beaten at a Panama City boot camp. The case divided the Panhandle along racial lines.
In the fallout, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement chief resigned over insensitive statements he made and the boot camp guards and a nurse stood trial for Martin's death. They were found not guilty.
For his work in the Martin Lee Anderson case, Barreiro was presented with a Children's Champion Award on the floor of the Florida House. Among those honoring Barreiro: Rep. Frank Peterman a St. Petersburg Democrat who eventually became his boss at DJJ.
After Gov. Charlie Crist's election in 2006, Barreiro campaigned for the job Peterman ultimately won.
Another fine Jebacy bites the dust
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "The Florida Constitution has blocked yet another attempt by former Gov. Jeb Bush to undermine public education."
In 2006, Gov. Bush and the Legislature decided, with little evidence, that local school boards had been too tough on groups seeking to start charter schools. The Legislature passed and Gov. Bush signed a bill creating the Florida Schools of Excellence Commission, which would allow charter school applicants to go around county school boards. ..."Excellent education ruling".
Charter schools, which use public money but have private boards and can offer specialized classes, have a mixed record. Many encounter financial problems. Local control is appropriate because if a charter school closes the students go back into traditional public schools. And it wasn't as though counties were hostile to charter schools. More than 350 operate in the state. ...
In a signal that times have changed, state Education Commissioner Eric Smith decided not to appeal the charter school ruling. The "Florida Schools of Excellence Commission" ceased to exist on Thursday. Executive Director Frank Attkisson - who got the job after supporting creation of the commission as a legislator - said that, in part because of the pending lawsuits, the commission never approved a charter school that later began operating.
Like much that happened with education under Mr. Bush, the "Excellence Commission" was a distraction. As it dies, the state can get back to the real work of improving public schools.
Big of him
"Sen. Martinez gives key support to Obama's AG pick".
As Charlie cowers in anti-tax pusillanimity
"The economic recovery bill proposed on Thursday by U.S. House Democrats would pump billions of dollars into public education -- and could spell relief for struggling local school districts. For the Miami-Dade school district alone, the plan could mean an infusion of more than $100 million each year for the next two years, Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said." "U.S. House bill would pump millions into S. Fla. schools".
At least do it for the innocent inmates
"Florida is poised to spend about $100,000 in tax money to upgrade 1,500 prison televisions so they'll work Feb. 17, when the nation switches from analog to digital broadcasts. The expenditure -- a fraction of the Florida Department of Corrections' nearly $2.3 billion budget -- comes as education, social and health programs are being squeezed because of Florida's budget woes. But corrections officials said the six-figure upgrade is justifiable because TV keeps inmates busy and helps ensure the safety of officers and guards."
"The department has so few tools available at their disposal to control inmates. Our inmate populations are bulging at the seams. With the cuts in personnel, the ratios are high," said state Sen. Victor Crist, R- Tampa, chairman of the committee that oversees prison budgets."Prison-TV upgrade greeted with static".
"With ridership booming, Tri-Rail is hoping again to persuade Florida's legislators to back a $2-a-day fee on car rentals that would provide commuter rail systems in the state with a steady income stream." "Tri-Rail tries again for sustainable tax aid".
"An unusually soft-spoken Michael Griffin told NASA employees Friday that he would not remain as administrator when Barack Obama becomes president next week, ending almost four years as head of an agency he had hoped to lead back to the moon." "NASA chief Michael Griffin won't return, says his goodbyes".
"Fidel Castro is working, writing and staying on top of world affairs, his friend Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Friday amid speculation about the former Cuban leader's health." "Venezuela's Chavez says Castro still working".