Checkbook Charlie is hard on the campaign trail: "Business interests [yesterday] hailed Gov. Charlie Crist's signing a bill that will undo a court ruling and restore caps on fees for lawyers who represent workers in compensation appeals for on-the-job injuries." "Crist restores caps on lawyers' fees in worker comp cases".
The Florida Chamber of Commerce is thrilled. "Crist signs workers' comp bill". Campaign checks are on the way.
That's our Charlie, just another Republican.
Audubon lobbyist jumps into AG race
"Eric Draper, a conservationist and lobbyist for Audubon of Florida, joined the 2010 race for state agriculture commissioner Thursday, saying he wants to be Florida's "top environmental steward" in the Cabinet post."
Draper, 55, is Audubon's deputy policy director for Florida and has been involved in Democratic politics for more than two decades. A Tampa native, University of South Florida graduate and third-generation Floridian, he becomes the third Democrat to declare for the post. ..."Audubon lobbyist joins race for Florida agriculture chief". See also "Draper enters race for agriculture commissioner".
Other Democrats who have announced for the position are former Suwannee County Commissioner Randy Hatch of Lake City and Rick Minton of Fort Pierce, a former state legislator. The Republican candidates are state Sen. Carey Baker of Eustis and U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam of Bartow.
Grayson hates the troops, and apple pie
The GOPers reach into the old playbook, and come up with another loser line: "GOP slaps Grayson for "not supporting" the troops".
Meantime, the latest RPOFer slithering out from under a rock to challenge Grayson? Why, it just might be ethically challenged Dick Crotty: "Despite the recent political dings, Crotty still harbors ambitions for a potential congressional run next year against freshman Democrat Alan Grayson. Crotty said he will make up his mind by July 4." "Crotty: "Conservative principles" keep Orange County strong".
Fees and Taxes
"TweedleFee and TweedleTax".
"A bank where Senate president and Republican candidate for state CFO Jeff Atwater worked has been named one of the seven weakest in Florida." "Senate president Jeff Atwater's old bank dubbed one of Fla's weakest".
Charlie trolling for campaign checks
"Crist vetoed a state contracting bill Wednesday evening, claiming the bill would inject 'unnecessary uncertainty' over the process of hiring private vendors through state agencies. The bill, SB 2694, was sponsored by Senate Ways and Means Chairman J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales, a critic of rampant contracting woes that resulting from the state's attempts to privatize various government services, largely under then-Gov. Jeb Bush." "Crist vetoes bill imposing controls on state contracts with private companies".
Charlie's not interested in annoying the pigs who have fed at the public trough during the RPOFer privatization bonanza; Charlie has learned from "Jeb!", who was
an aggressive privatizer, and as The Miami Herald put it after a careful study of state records, "his bold experiment has been a success — at least for him and the Republican Party, records show. The policy has spawned a network of contractors who have given him, other Republican politicians and the Florida G.O.P. millions of dollars in campaign donations.""Victors and Spoils".
What's interesting about this network of contractors isn't just the way that big contributions are linked to big contracts; it's the end of the traditional practice in which businesses hedge their bets by giving to both parties. The big winners in Mr. Bush's Florida are companies that give little or nothing to Democrats. Strange, isn't it? It's as if firms seeking business with the state of Florida are subject to a loyalty test.
So am I saying that we are going back to the days of Boss Tweed and Mark Hanna? Gosh, no — those guys were pikers. One-party control of today's government offers opportunities to reward friends and punish enemies that the old machine politicians never dreamed of.
It seems Charlie misspoke
"When Gov. Charlie Crist proudly announced that he was vetoing a pay cut for 28,000 state workers, there were some salaries he couldn't save from the budget ax: his own, state Cabinet members' and those of about 1,000 judges, prosecutors and public defenders in the state." "Florida officials' salaries to be cut 2 percent". See also "Despite veto, top salaries take a hit".
Charlie breaks phony tax pledge
"Florida Gov. Charlie Crist signs $1-per-pack cigarette tax hike into law".
"Republican Gayle Harrell ready to make a comeback to District 81 state representative seat".
"Water tends to bring local politics to a boil".
Florida's media companies never fail to give headlines to the geniuses at "Taxwatch": "Group finds Dade 'turkeys' in Florida budget".
Just who are these self proclaimed "Taxwatchers"; well, here they are:
ChairmanWhy do the employees of Florida's media companies prostrate themselves to this collection of Babbitts as somehow expert in public finance?
David A. Smith, Chairman and CEO, PSS World Medical
President & CEO
Dominic M. Calabro, President & Chief Executive Officer, Florida TaxWatch
Martha Barnett, Partner, Holland & Knight
Marshall Criser, III, President - Florida, AT&T
John Zumwalt III, President & CEO, PBS&J
Immediate Past Chairman
Michael A. Jennings, Vice President Government Relations, Prudential Financial
Mark C. Hollis, Publix Super Markets, Inc.
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBERS AT LARGE
* John Baker, President & CEO, Patriot Transportation Holdings
* Barney Barnett,Vice Chairman, Publix Super Markets, Inc.
* Rober E. Coker, Senior Vice President, U.S. Sugar Corporation
* Steve Evans, IBM retired
* Ed Hannum, President & Chief Operating Officer, AvMed Health Plans
* Martha Korman, President and CEO, National Graphics Imaging
* Ron LaFace, Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig*
* David Mann, Executive Vice President, SunTrust Bank Florida
* Paul Noland, Sr. Vice President, Walt Disney World Resort
* Michelle Robinson, President - Southeast Region, Public Affairs, Policy & Communications, Verizon
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"Black Jack" Abramoff's old firm. "Greenberg Traurig Indicted in Guam".
Times are tuff
"Homeless man skips on bill to get arrested".
But ... I'm a "major GOP donor"
"Developer and major GOP donor Jay Odom was booked into Leon County Jail today and released on his on recognizance following the Wednesday grand jury indictment." "Jay Odom booked and released from jail".
"E-mails shed new light on a construction deal that resulted in the indictment of three people, including former House Speaker Ray Sansom." "E-mails shed new light on Sansom deal". See also "Trail of e-mails detail building plans in Sansom case".
The kewl kidz are at it again
The Tampa Tribune editorial board thinks pay kuts are kewl:
The wage cuts were among the most hotly debated issues of the session. While the nonpartisan Florida TaxWatch* recommended cutting 5 percent of the workforce, lawmakers agreed they would rather see salaries trimmed than jobs lost and critical state programs compromised."The governor's vote-pandering".
At first the House wanted a 4 percent pay cut for state employees earning more than $26,400 and a 5 percent cut for those earning above $80,000. The Senate countered with a 1 percent cut for employees making over $100,000. The chambers compromised with a 2 percent reduction in wages for the 28,000 employees making at least $45,000.
But Crist said he couldn't go along with it during a time of economic distress. Senate Minority Leader Al Lawson called his stance heroic, but it looks like pandering to us.
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*That TaxWatch is technically "nonpartisan" is of course beside the point; it is of more interest in evaluating the legitimacy of any suggestions by TaxWatch that it is run by folks of this ilk: Chairman and CEO, PSS World Medical; Partner, Holland & Knight; President - Florida, AT&T; President & CEO, PBS&J; Vice President Government Relations, Prudential Financial; Vice Chairman, Publix Super Markets, Inc.; Senior Vice President, United States Sugar Corporation; President & Chief Operating Officer, AvMed Health Plans; President and CEO, National Graphics Imaging; Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig; Executive Vice President, SunTrust Bank Florida; Sr. Vice President, Domestic Business Development, Walt Disney World Resort; President - Southeast Region, Public Affairs, Policy & Communications, Verizon.
FlaDems grinning ear-to-ear
"Republicans are now poised to oppose an accomplished Latina federal judge for the Supreme Court, further alienating Hispanic voters the GOP has recently driven away in droves. The main line of Republican criticism is likely to concern affirmative action - which might provoke conservative extremists to predictable extremes and confirm an image of Republicans as the party of the male and pale." "Entering Obama's trap".
Haven't heard a peep from TaxWatch about this
Troxler: "Back during his junta years, then-Gov. Jeb Bush defended the practice of treating the public as three-card monte marks when it came to doling out taxpayer funds for corporate welfare interests."
The governor argued it was important to maintain confidentiality (read: mind your own beeswax) when it came to economic development (read: cronyism) in order to protect sensitive corporate information (read: planes, perks and private clubs) that could adversely affect profitability, share prices and "employee morale" (read: if the serfs ever found out about these handouts, we're toast). "Picking the public's pocket, legally".
"Decrying an attempt to 'muzzle' local leaders, city and county officials are mounting a lobbying effort urging Gov. Charlie Crist to veto a bill that would prevent them from waging PR campaigns on ballot issues." "Local officials seek veto of bill to "muzzle" them".
A reality show in the making
"Those pesky pythons breeding, eating and booming in the Everglades could become targets of bounty hunters, if a preliminary proposal is implemented. " "State wants bounty hunters to control pythons in Everglades".
"Ramos collects enough petition cards to qualify for special election ballot for state Senate District 28 seat".
In the event of a hurricane ...
"Here is a breakdown from the state Board of Administration of Florida's ability to pay claims after a major hurricane - plus a look at how the system was created." "State has a limit on hurricane payouts: $22.8 billion". See also "Floridians will pay more later if big hurricane hits".
"Fishing for federal dollars"
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "The dust hasn't settled over the political derailment of Florida's only commuter rail line, Tri-Rail. Yet, talk persists - thanks largely to an $8 billion pot of federal stimulus money - that the state has a good shot at renewing its quest for high-speed rail. Come again?! The state won't set a reliable funding source for an established commuter line, but it will go fishing for federal dollars to build high-speed rail?" "The ISSUE: Florida vies for federal high-speed rail funding".
Well, ... if unions don't like it ...
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Legislation that would make it easier for doctors and other health-care providers in Florida to get direct payment from insurance companies worries consumer advocates, unions and a major health insurer. They want Gov. Crist to veto the bill." "Let state's doctors get paid".
"Enterprise Florida*, the state's business and economic development agency, is calling on business, education, government and community leaders for ideas to update the state's strategic plan for economic growth. The board of Enterprise Florida develops the plan and submits it to the governor and legislative leaders. Every three years, the 'Roadmap to Florida's Future' is updated following analysis and feedback." "State seeks input on economic future".
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One doubts that this collection of dunderheads, who are "funded, in part, by the State of Florida", - and brags that Florida "is also one of only a few right-to-work states in the U.S." - has invited any of the elected representatives of organized labor to its meeting of "business, education, government and community leaders for ideas to update the state's strategic plan for economic growth".
"Half of Florida's hospitals didn't find a single doctor problem during a 17-year stretch. Experts say that indicates lax reporting." "Florida hospitals not eager to report bad doctors, study says".
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge locks down Cuban vote
"A judge on Friday awarded more than $1 billion in damages against the Cuban government for the 1959 suicide of the father of a Cuban-American man involved in the CIA-backed capture and killing of revolutionary Ernesto 'Che' Guevara. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Peter Adrien said he wanted to send a signal to Cuba's government with the huge damage award, which likely will prove difficult to collect." "Miami Judge Awards $1 Billion in Lawsuit Against Cuba".
The latest from the Zell Corporation
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board:
Pressure has been building ahead of next week's meeting of the Organization of American States to invite Cuba back into the group, almost 50 years after it was kicked out. The Obama administration isn't ruling out letting the island eventually rejoin, but it wisely isn't rolling out the welcome wagon just yet."What we think: Expect more from Cuba". The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "U.S. seeks talks with Cuba".
"A group of politically connected businessmen"
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "If there is a good reason for Hillsborough County to sell its Cone Ranch water preserve to a group of politically connected businessmen, it has not surfaced in the brief time since this fishy proposal emerged from the shadows." "A dubious deal for preserve".
"Crist this week signed bills that boost property insurance rates on customers of Citizens Property Insurance Corp. and make the zero-tolerance policies adopted by many Florida schools more tolerant." "Citizens insurance rates, school tolerance to rise".
Drugging our foster children
"A state database of foster-care records badly underreported the number of foster children on powerful psychiatric drugs, child-welfare bosses revealed." "More Florida foster kids than thought are given mental-health drugs".