"Crist was inaugurated governor in 2007 pledging to lower property taxes and insurance rates and proclaiming Florida's 'best days are not behind us, but before us.'"
With a broad ambition to transform Republican politics, he launched an aggressive agenda to cut property taxes and insurance premiums, reduce Florida's greenhouse emissions and enact a host of other reforms."Privately, advisers say, he is frustrated by his inability to enact more of his policies as state revenues collapse."
He enjoyed some early success, thanks to his effervescent personal touch, a compliant Legislature and the fading embers of the state's once white-hot economy.
But Crist's decision to skip a second term and run for the U.S. Senate in 2010 means much of that agenda won't be finished on his watch.
Since he took office, the unemployment rate has tripled, to 9.6 percent. While foreclosures around the nation slow, the 59,000 foreclosures filed in Florida in May were up 50 percent from a year earlier, according to Realty Trac.Read it all here: "Crist will leave behind big unfinished agenda".
But rather than making any dramatic moves this year, Crist and lawmakers largely did nothing.
Daniel Ruth: "It's entirely possible that by the time we reach Election Day in November 2010, to shore up her good ol' girl bona fides, Alex Sink will be traipsing around the state in bib overalls, corn cob pipe stuck in her mouth and sounding more like a Cracker than Lawton Chiles meets Minnie Pearl in her quest to become governor."
And yet since she announced her gubernatorial plans, Republicans have tried to suggest by virtue of Sink's banking background she's responsible for the Great Depression, the Irish potato famine, the collapse of Zimbabwe's currency and the nation's current economic crisis."If the Republicans wanted to hammer Sink's financial due diligence they have a ready-made issue in the CFO's apparent failure to properly monitor the State Board of Administration, which filed a $682 million claim in the Lehman Bros. bankruptcy to recover lost investment monies, unbeknownst to the SBA's board of trustees, which includes Gov. Charlie Crist and Sink."
That is even more disingenuous than blaming the Republican gubernatorial candidate, Attorney General Bill McCollum, for being complicit in the Guantanamo torture memos simply because he was a former judge advocate general lawyer as well as a congressman before he left office in 2001. After all, McCollum did suggest last month at a Suncoast Tiger Bay meeting that he doesn't consider waterboarding to be torture.
But the Republicans have a problem. There's a third trustee as well — McCollum in his role as attorney general. None of the trustees — all now candidates for higher office — were provided with a copy of the SBA legal action against Lehman and none of them ever asked for the paperwork. Oooops. So much for oversight. So much for transparency."Big-time banker in bib overalls".
Neither McCollum nor Sink have been eager to talk about what they didn't know and when they didn't know it in their roles of being more of a rubber stamp over the SBA affairs than North Korea's Kim Jong Il's hairstylist.
With 17 months until the election for governor, perhaps the candidates will find the time between Norman Rockwellesque soliloquies on apple pie and Little League games and hanging Christmas stockings to explain the SBA embarrassment. But don't bank on it.
The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial Board: "State Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, led the fight that killed plans for a Central Florida commuter rail system in the last session of the Legislature. But commuter rail isn't dead, nor should it be." "On board the inevitable".
A "focal point" will be the SBA
Paul Flemming: "With every seat up for grabs in 2010, and two of its members running against each other for governor, the biweekly campaign events (officially, the Cabinet meetings) promise high entertainment value. A focal point of all the races — including Gov. Charlie Crist's run for the U.S. Senate — will be the Florida State Board of Administration. That's the state's money manager, keeping track of and investing $125 billion in assets in the state's pension fund, its Hurricane Catastrophe Fund and other pots of money." "Cabinet catches fiscal responsibility".
Striding the world's stage
"Monaco's Prince Albert to meet with North Lauderdale commissioner".
Never ending story
"The gambling legislation awaiting Gov. Charlie Crist's signature isn't likely to win the Seminole Tribe's cooperation, the tribe's attorney says." "Seminoles balk at Florida's new casino legislation".
The Miami Herald editorial board: " The Florida Legislature passed a 'just in case' bill that its author, Sen. Victor Crist, R-Tampa, calls a 'passive safety net,' not a mandate. But the philosophy behind SB 1722, which becomes law July 1, is based on regressive thinking. It would allow the corrections department to ship inmates to other states in case prison overcrowding forces early releases here." "Tackle prison overcrowding from the other end".
Same-sex or opposite-sex partner benefits
The Miami Herald editorial board: "With a 5-0 vote, Miami city commissioners on Thursday brought fairness to its employee benefits policy by approving a domestic-partnership ordinance. It gives city employees with same-sex or opposite-sex partners the same rights and benefits as married couples." "Benefits expanded".
Bill Cotterell: "It's a term that we'll hear a lot in the next 18 months, so just what is wrong with being a 'professional politician'?" "With cars and politics, it helps to turn to a pro".
Get a move on
"The Florida Supreme Court has agreed to expedite a decision in a case affecting a petition drive for a ballot proposal that would give voters a say in the development of their communities." "Fla. justices agree to expedite initiative ruling".
"The state agency that regulates hospitals will monitor Miami Children's Hospital, where two premature infants died in March after exposure to a dangerous bacteria." "Miami Children's Hospital water supply under scrutiny".
"Being one of Congress’ richest members didn’t insulate Rep. Vern Buchanan from last year’s economic collapse, according to recently released financial disclosure reports." "Recession hits Buchanan in the wallet".
"Money, policies are obstacles for migrant students in Florida’s education system".
Scott Maxwell writes that Republican legislator Steve Precourt "says he's contemplating jumping into the congressional race against Democratic incumbent Alan Grayson. Precourt said he feels obligated to run because he's not convinced conservatives have a viable candidate."
Um, but Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty has talked about running, and he's a Republican."Crotty's face not 'fresh'?"
"Yes," Precourt responded. "Rich would be Grayson's favorite opponent."
Basically, Precourt contends that Republicans "need some fresh faces — not the same old ones.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "Give the proponents of offshore drilling credit. They are as equally persistent as their policy goals are potentially detrimental to the Sunshine State. Plus, Florida would not benefit from an amendment to a major Senate energy bill, the latest twist in misguided efforts to allow drilling as close as 10 miles from shore." "Oil drilling a lose-lose situation for Florida".
"Mayor Pam Iorio has decided to halt proclamations of an annual day in Tampa for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an organization that says it seeks to defend the civil rights of Muslims in the United States but has been accused of terrorist links." "Tribute to Islamic agency ends".
Charlie trolling for campaign bucks
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Not long ago there would have been little doubt that Gov. Charlie Crist would veto legislation that limits public involvement in water-use decisions. After all, he has been a proponent of both open government and environmental stewardship."
But he has also been a proponent of growth management, and that didn't stop him from signing legislation last week sabotaging growth controls and making it easier for developers to build sprawling projects without concern for road costs. In all likelihood, taxpayers at large will get stuck with the tab."Crist should block bad water bill". The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Reject power grab on water".
Crist would gain further favor with the special interests that pushed the growth management bill if he signs legislation that minimizes public participation in water-permit decisions.
A tuff one for Chain Gang Charlie
"Crist delays decision on Florida 'Romeo-Juliet' case".
"Tops in their species"
"The Division of Forestry is taking nominations for The Florida Champion Trees List, a collection of more than 260 trees deemed tops in their species." "State aims to make short list of Florida's tall trees".
"Crist is set to appoint an interim superintendent in Monroe County, where the schools chief was arrested Thursday in a spending scandal." "Keys school superintendent indicted".
"Scientists from the South Florida Water Management District are releasing 3,000 Florida apple snails into a marsh north of Lake Okeechobee to help the endangered snail kite." "Scientists stock Lake Okeechobee with apple snails".