Beth Reinhard and Mary Ellen Klas: "Party leaders typically stay out of primaries, allowing voters to annoint the strongest nominee."
Not this year."'I thought the idea is for real Republicans to vote on primary day, not for so-called party leaders to tell people who to vote for,' said Sid Dinerstein, chairman of the Palm Beach Republican Party, one of several local clubs asking the state party to stay out of primaries."
Faster than a voter can say 2010, Florida's party elders are throwing protocol out the window and pulling out the stops on behalf of their front-running candidates.
State GOP chairman Jim Greer publicly blessed Attorney General Bill McCollum's brand-new campaign for governor on Monday -- even though another Republican officeholder, Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson, is considering a bid. Bronson acknowledged that Greer is "putting him on the spot.''
Last week, Greer and national Republican leaders sought to close ranks around Gov. Charlie Crist's fledgling campaign for the U.S. Senate and squeeze out former House Speaker Marco Rubio, who has been running for the Senate for months
Democratic leaders are also plotting ways to avoid divisive primary elections, which can sap donors and bloody candidates before the general election. But some Republicans say their party's unusually aggressive moves to clear the field could backfire by alienating supporters of the less-favored candidates"Florida political parties push candidates in primaries".
Howard Troxler wants a fight: "[P]arty chairman Jim Greer makes no secrecy of his loyalty to Crist. There was even kooky talk of invoking something called "Rule 11," automatically putting the party officially on Crist's side."
When you add all this up, it's too much. It's not democratic, small "d.""Don't let GOP bosses crown Crist".
In the first place, Crist is the heavy favorite anyway. Why such heavy-handed tactics to get the result you're probably going to get regardless? All you do is create resentment among the folks being bullied.
In the second place, if Rubio somehow knocked off Crist, he would be a strong nominee. We're not talking about some fringe long-shot, but a legitimate spokesman for an important point of view inside the Republican Party.
And in the third place, this is 2009, not 1909. We made the decision to put rank-and-file party members in charge of candidates a long time ago, and it's a little late to be regretting the choice.
Fortunately, enough state and local Republican leaders have objected to slow down the Crist-by-fiat stampede. There will be no modern version of the smoke-filled room. (The BlackBerry-filled room?) Let the party's nominee be decided in the modern, democratic-small-d fashion — with the most votes.
Which editorial board wrote this?
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Memo to the state's top elected officeholders: Don't forget your day jobs. The last thing the state needs amid its ongoing budget woes and lingering issues, like property insurance and health-care coverage, is a Florida Cabinet that's shifted into campaign mode when the state needs its top elected officials to govern." "Put Cabinet jobs first".
Ironic how the The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board happened to come up with essentially the same editorial. See "State's top elected officials need to pay attention to their day jobs, not their campaigns".
"Florida's county governments and environmental groups are pushing Gov. Charlie Crist to veto a bill they say would encourage urban sprawl, worsen traffic congestion and eliminate important safeguards that normally apply to development proposals." "Bill awaiting Crist's signature would gut Florida's controls on development, opponents say".
Dems dancing in the streets
"Attorney General Bill McCollum immediately became the Republican frontrunner for governor in 2010 when he officially launched his campaign Monday in Orlando with the support of his party's establishment." "AG McCollum announces run for Florida governor". See also "Florida attorney general announces run for governor" and, "McCollum enters race for governor" "Attorney General Bill McCollum enters governor's race".
This is a bit hard to take from one of ole Billy: "Bill McCollum jumped into the governor's race Monday, sounding less like the hard-edged conservative of old campaigns and more like Mr. Bi-partisan. ... he sounded like a Charlie Crist moderate, talking about protecting the environment and seeking out diversity of opinion." This is enough to make Floridians familiar with his words and deeds retch.
After all, McCollum has soiled himself "in the most partisan fights in Congress, from Iran-Contra to the impeachment of Bill Clinton." "McCollum opens race for Florida governor with a bipartisan tone".
"Bill doesn't provide enough patient protection"
The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial Board: "with little fanfare, lawmakers approved a bill this session that could undermine preferred-provider networks, also known as PPOs, without providing patients with any assurance that bills for doctors' visits will be limited."
[T]here's a hidden barb for many patients who decide to seek out-of-network care (and at times, it even stings those who believe they're seeing in-network physicians.) If the PPO doesn't agree to the doctor's charges, doctors can "balance bill" the patients for the portion of the bill that insurance won't pay -- an unwelcome surprise to patients who thought their obligation was over when they paid their deductibles and co-payments."Unmanaging care".
Many states have banned the practice of balance-billing, and Florida should follow suit. The legislation approved this session takes a step in that direction, by putting a cap on the amount that most doctors can bill. ...
It's understandable that the Florida Medical Association wants this legislation. But the bill that passed the Legislature was too lopsided in doctors' favor, and doesn't do enough to protect patients from surprise bills. Floridians who depend on PPOs for their medical care deserve more certainty, and Crist can push lawmakers for a fairer bill by saying no to this one.
Courtesy of Denise Grimsley, R-Lake Placid
"An amendment quietly tacked onto a bill during the last days of the legislative session would strip water managers' authority to control permits, seriously altering 37 years of the state's efforts to control one of its most precious resources." "Bill aims to weaken water managers' say on permits".
Big of 'em
"New Florida law offers rebates on energy-saving appliances".
RPOFers do the NRA dance
"As more people in Florida seek concealed weapons permits, Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson wants Gov. Charlie Crist to veto a $6-million raid on a fund that pays for the program."
Bronson's request presents a timely opportunity for Crist to score political points with gun owners just as he's embarking on a race for the U.S. Senate [and Bronson considers jumping into the Governor's race]."Crist urged to veto budget raid on state's gun funds".
Mike Thomas: "We now are in the third remake of a plan to save the nation's most imperiled swamp. It's a smaller version of a smaller version of a grandiose plan announced by Charlie Crist last June." "Everglades restoration plan is sweet and sour".
Whose next, Derek Black for Gov?*
"Jim Greer may be trying to avoid divisive primaries, but the GOP race for attorney general could get Will Mcbride plenty crowded: Galvano, Grady, LeMieux, Kottkamp and - the latest name - Orlando attorney and '06 US Senate candidate Will McBride. McBride, who came in second to Katherine Harris with 30 percent of the primary vote, has been calling donors and strategists about getting in." "Will McBride looking at AG race".
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*Background "David Duke helps son of ex-Klan leader in fight for Palm Beach County Republican seat".
Only a "fee"
"Going up: Florida's teacher certification fees".
Floridians win one ... if only by default
The privatization wingnuts are scratching their heads: "The Florida Department of Transportation did not receive any formal bids for leasing, operating and collecting tolls on Alligator Alley."
The project has been controversial because it essentially privatizes a state-owned and -operated asset."State fails to get bidders for Alligator Alley". Related: "Some Broward cities consider privatizing services to save money".
During the recently-ended session of the Florida Legislature in Tallahassee, a plan aimed at slowing the privatization of state toll roads, including Alligator Alley, died in the House.
The measure offered by Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, and Rep. Scott Randolph, D-Orlando, would have required certain toll road privatization bids to be reviewed by the state's Council on Efficient Government.
"Stung by legislative critics who threatened to halve its budget and wounded by a reputation for inertia, the governing board of Space Florida chose a new trajectory on Monday, naming industry insider Frank DiBello as interim executive director." "Space Florida looks to blue skies; names interim executive director".
"An anticipated state Senate District 28 Republican primary between former state representatives Joe Negron of Stuart and Art Argenio of Fort Pierce has been set for June 30."
Sounds like more of the same:
Negron and Argenio, who split bitter contests for the state House a decade ago, had already announced to run for Pruitt's seat when it was scheduled to be open in 2010. They both said they have accelerated their planned campaigns. ..."Election for Sen. Pruitt's successor set for June 30".
Negron, who quickly received endorsements from Pruitt, former Gov. Jeb Bush and the National Rifle Association, is equally confident that his "strong conservative track record" will give him the edge.
"The Legislature cut enough out of the state budget to make up for the $6.1 billion shortfall in revenue predicted for this year, but it could have cut more if the state had a system to monitor the spending of its departments and agencies, Sen. J.D. Alexander said." "Alexander: Monitor Fla.'s Spending Better".