"The metropolitan Miami/Fort Lauderdale area ranks eleventh on a Forbes magazine list of the nation's 15 most-abandoned cities. Also on the list are Orlando (7th), Jacksonville (9th) and Tampa (13th)."
The Forbes list is a combination of rental and homeowner vacancy rates for the 75 largest metropolitan statistical areas of the country based on fourth-quarter data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Each was based on rental vacancies and housing vacancies with the final list averaging the two, Forbes reported."S. Florida cities on America's 'most abandoned' list".
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "What was news before - Florida's growth rate grinding to a 30-year low; more people leaving the state in a 12-month span than were moving in -- now is becoming a pattern."
They want efficient public-transit systems. And strong schools. But they won't find them in abundance in Florida."Florida no longer can rely on its climate to attract homeowners".
More people will decide to make Florida their next residence once the home-construction and mortgage crisis subsides. But Florida can make itself attractive to considerably more of them if it stops thinking of itself as an inevitable destination, and starts doing more to make itself a worthy one.
See you in Havana next year
"The U.S. policy of shunning communist Cuba by imposing a strict trade embargo has failed to prod the island nation toward democracy and should be re-evaluated, according to the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee." "Sen. Lugar Says US Must Rethink Cuba Embargo".
The Palm Beach Post editorial board:
The national average for annual tuition and required fees at public universities is $6,585. The figure at Florida's public universities tops out at $3,919. That's quite a gap, and it can translate into quite a quality gap. That's why it makes sense for the Legislature to permit universities gradually to raise tuition toward the national average."Why state tuition must rise".
Out of control
Jane Healy: "Why can't Crist control Kottkamp?". See also "Kottkamp has $60,000 road bill on top of $400,000 air tally".
The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "An estimated 22,000 low-income students at Florida's state universities are being shortchanged, leaving huge sums of federal grants on the table by not applying for them. " "Student aid going untapped".
"Losing even harder"
The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board writes today that "Attorneys for the Florida Legislature have been fighting hard to block a pair of proposed constitutional amendments designed to force lawmakers to draw fairer boundaries for legislative and Congressional districts. They've been losing even harder." "Court rules out alarmist math on gerrymandering amendment".
"Slam the door on unlicensed drivers"
The South Florida Sun Sentinel editorial board: "Take away the car. The reckless disregard for suspended and revoked license penalties warrants a much stronger punishment. That's long been clear." "Slam the door on unlicensed drivers — take their car".
The "other half"
"4 jump to flee burning yacht".
"North Miami Mayor Kevin Burns, who recently announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, courted about 80 people at the first gathering of a state gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Democratic group in Southwest Florida." "Senate candidate fights for gay rights".
"'For a Governor you expect at least some level of education.'"
"Crist horrified some guests for botching protocol last night at a dinner for 400 at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. Crist left the dinner at 11.30 p.m., 10 mins before King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, leaving the Queen with an empty seat beside her. Total no-no." "Did Gov. Charlie Crist blow protocol with Spanish royalty?".
Another RPOFer hypocrite
"Allen ends appeals, maintains innocence".
Here's a suggestion ...
... cool it with the confederate flags in the office: "The grand opening of Duval County's black Republican headquarters - said to be the only office like it statewide - is scheduled for Thursday."
Local Republicans say they're trying to shake the stereotypical image that their ranks are made up entirely of white male capitalists, typically middle-aged or geriatric, and too rich to bother with regular people."Black Republicans opening Duval office".
"Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink told dozens of local officials to explore ways to reinvent Florida's economy. The officials quizzed Sink, one of the Democrats' most prominent officeholders in Florida, on how to boost the state's economy and other issues." "Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink shares thoughts on economy in Lake visit".
Robert E. Coker, senior vice president of U.S. Sugar: "U.S. Sugar was just as stunned as the public by Gov. Charlie Crist's bold proposal to acquire our company. We have farmed this land for nearly 80 years, and we have recently invested hundreds of millions of dollars in making our sugar manufacturing operations the most efficient in North America. Our citrus operations already were the best in the world."
"Robert E. Coker: Everglades and U.S. Sugar benefit from deal with state". Related: "U.S. Sugar weighs other bids for land |".
However, the governor was serious, and our board members agreed to listen. Twenty years of fractious history of Everglades disputes may have prodded their interest. Over the many months of discussions and negotiations, our company committed to a major shift.
Gov. Crist's vision that U.S. Sugar's land could provide a lasting benefit for Everglades restoration and revitalize the landscape of South Florida appealed to our long-term interests in this area.
"Gorging at the public trough"
Scott Maxwell: "Charlie Crist and Co. racked up a $430,000 bill hopscotching their way around Europe. His second banana, Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp, spent the same amount jetting around Florida. And Orange County recently dispatched an entourage of political and nonprofit leaders on a high-class, high-cost trip to Dubai -- something billed as a trade mission, even though Dubai is on the verge of an economic collapse." "Scott Maxwell: No more gorging at the public trough".
Charlie's already in enough trouble with the RPOF "no" crowd
"Crist has emerged as one of the biggest Republican champions of President Barack Obama's economic-stimulus package, but he said Sunday he's not yet signed on to the administration's bid to rescue struggling homeowners. Making his debut on Meet the Press, Crist said he's looking at the details of the $75 billion plan that would include easier refinancing for people who owe more than their homes are worth." "Crist reserves judgment on Obama's plan for homeowners".
Run Charlie, run!
Poor Charlie; headlines like this won't help his national aspirations much: "Crist backs Obama but rejects 'Obama Republican' tag".
Charlie blathers that he's
"a Florida Republican," Crist said on NBC's Meet The Press after moderator David Gregory proffered the "Obama Republican" label. "In the Florida way, we work together in a bipartisan fashion to do what's right for the people."Since when in RPOF-world do "we work together in a bipartisan fashion to do what's right for the people"? Musta missed that part.
Meantime, "when asked about a potential run next year for the Senate seat being vacated by Mel Martinez, Crist didn't entirely rule it out. But he attempted to deflect speculation by saying he's focusing solely on Florida." "Crist doesn't rule out Senate run". See also "Crist doesn't rule out Senate run".
William March: "Crist has pursued his political career through five offices in 17 years, and now is looking at a sixth, the U.S. Senate. For months, political analysts and Crist's friends have said it's unlikely he'd leave the governor's office after only one term to run for the Senate. But now the soothsaying is swinging the other way. Experts think a Senate run could help ignite the national political career he's known to aspire to - even though it seems a strange move to make for a number of reasons:"
•Several prominent Republicans are leaving Washington, including Sen. Mel Martinez and Rep. Adam Putnam, after finding themselves in a comparatively powerless minority. Why would Crist head north against the traffic?Much more here: "Will Crist Make Run For Senate?".
•Crist has yet to deliver campaign promises on property taxes and insurance. Wouldn't it look bad to leave office with promises unfulfilled?
•For those with presidential ambitions, conventional wisdom is that it's better to be a governor, especially in a large state, than a senator.
•In Florida, Crist is "The Man," the decider. Why give that up to become a minority freshman among 100 senators?
Adam Smith: "Crist has taken criticism from fellow Republicans for embracing the Democrats' $789 billion stimulus bill, including from Jeb Bush's son on Saturday." "Gov. Charlie Crist losing some support in GOP".
Related: "Looking to 2012, GOP governors step into spotlight", "Crist Vs. Jindal Over The Stimulus: Neither Side Backs Down", "Gov. Charlie Crist defends backing of stimulus on 'Meet the Press'" and "Crist, Jindal Represent Divergence For GOP".
Indeed, Charlie seems entirely out of touch with his own political party, with remarks like these: "Governor Says Give Obama a Chance".
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Legislators can't continue to dawdle on red-light-camera bill".
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "McCarty resigned in January and soon will go to prison on corruption charges. To finish her term, which expires in November 2010, Gov. Crist reduced a field of 39 applicants to four. He interviewed them last week." "Three anti-Mary McCartys".
"The Turtle Hospital wants Keys boaters to keep an eye out for floating turtles after admitting 20 injured ones in the past two weeks." "Florida Keys drop in temperature is making turtles sick".
"Blackjack addiction on rise in Florida".