"Crist "betrayed" needy Floridians by borrowing $700 million from a tobacco-funded endowment set up for health and education needs, the son of Gov. Lawton Chiles said Monday."
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson joined Lawton "Bud" Chiles III to protest the "raid" on the Lawton Chiles Endowment Fund, created and maintained with proceeds from the state's tobacco-company lawsuit settlement. Chiles backed off an earlier threat to sue over the fund transfer, saying an obscure late-night action by the Legislature made it legal. ..."Chiles protests 'raiding' of trusts".
But Chiles said his new organization, "Worst To First," will run a grassroots movement to rally 1 million people opposing budget policies of Crist and the Republican-run Legislature. He said it is not intended to hurt the governor's campaign for the U.S. Senate, but that Crist is not staying around for a second term to be held accountable for budget decisions made now.
However, "the son of the late former Gov. Lawton Chiles has decided against suing state officials for draining $700 million from a public fund that bears his father's name."
Bud Chiles slammed Gov. Charlie Crist and lawmakers Monday for emptying the $1.26 billion Lawton Chiles Endowment fund of more than half its assets - calling it "sleight of hand leadership" that takes the public "trust" out of trust funds. But after threatening legal action for months, the younger Chiles said he no longer thinks he could prevail in a lawsuit"Chiles' son backs off suit".
The fund supports health and education services for children and the elderly. Lawmakers and Crist decided in January to take $700 million from the fund this month to stave off a deficit this fiscal year.
"It probably is legal," Chiles said. "It certainly doesn't make it right."
Can Rubio pull it off? ...On the Rubio-Charlie primary race, that Kos feller is "calling this one early for Rubio, even though the task ahead for him will be long and grueling."
... It all depends on whether the basest elements of the RPOFer base will stand for this:
It's a closed primary, so independents and Dems, who seem to love Crist, won't have a say in the matter."DeMint backs insurgent Rubio".
The Club for Growth will undoubtedly throw its considerable fundraising heft behind Rubio, and the conservative grassroots and teabagging crowd already see Rubio as one of their own. Crist, for his part, is a constant target of Florida (and even national) wingnut radio. True blood conservatives either hate him already, or WILL hate him before long.
That leaves Crist with ill-respected national GOP leaders as his "base", and they can be used as a foil to further attack him as a creature of DC entrenched interests. Really, that's not a good place to be in this political environment. More and more conservative politicians looking to curry favor with their shrinking but influential base will cast their lot with Rubio. Don't be surprised if some 2012 presidential hopefulls also roll the dice on Rubio. It would provide instant Conservative cred. I'd certainly do it if I was Palin, Sanford, Gingrich, or Romney.
"Nelson vowed Monday to tie his chamber in knots"
"U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson vowed Monday to tie his chamber in knots to stop a federal energy bill that would allow drilling as close as 10 miles from western Panhandle beaches, including Pensacola Beach, Perdido Key and Destin." "Sen. Nelson hints at filibuster over bill on offshore drilling". Background: "Nelson speaks out against Gulf drilling". See also "Nelson's anti-drilling fight goes today to Florida Panhandle".
"Though the Obama administration has pledged a record amount for Everglades work, a difference with the state has the money on hold." "Federal, state dispute holds up Everglades money".
Your friendly HBA at work
"The Florida Home Builders Association is asking the federal government to upgrade the status of an endangered bird [the wood stork] its attorney calls an 'albatross' for the state's economy. The association wants the wood stork listed as threatened, not endangered. Habitat loss has forced the white wading bird to expand its foraging grounds from the Everglades into more developed parts of South Florida." "Fla. builders want endangered bird reclassified".
Meek on the move
"U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek snagged the endorsements of two fellow Florida Democrats this morning when U.S. Reps. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Ron Klein publicly backed his campaign for U.S. Senate." "Kendrick Meek endorsed by two South Florida members of Congress".
Respecting a picket line ...
.... is a "dangerous mistake"? "Diaz says Obama made 'terrible mistake'". Sorry, Manny ... but your parents obviously brought you up wrong - you do not cross a picket line; period.
Related: "Hundreds of firefighters picket Orlando City Hall".
Another fine Florida export
The Tampa Tribune editorial board:
If an inmate from Florida has to be shipped to another state to serve out a term, so be it. That's the price an inmate may have to pay for breaking the law. The law would mainly target inmates who don't have community ties or relatives in Florida, which makes sense. It requires DOC to weigh the proximity of the prisoner's family to the out-of-state facility."New law gives prisons sensible out".
That Florida may have to rely on out-of-state prison does raise the question of whether the state sentencing policies need review. ...
[T]oday's sentencing polices may put drug and other nonviolent offenders in the slammer for many years.
The issue for both taxpayers and lawmakers is: Should more money be allocated to build yet more prisons to house the burgeoning inmate population, which could reach nearly 105,000 by next summer? Or should more resources be spent on drug rehabilitation programs and other services that could reduce the prison population and recidivism rates?
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Crist received the 'State Farm' bill Friday and has until June 27 to sign it, veto it or let it become law."
Crist's rhetoric suggests he is wary of giving any insurance company more free rein, but we urge him to sign the legislation. It's voluntary, offers property owners the chance to keep the insurance company they want and the state an opportunity to rebuild its property insurance marketplace."Florida needs private property insurance industry". Mike Thomas: "None of us wins in State Farm vs. Charlie Crist".
The State Farm bill, so named because it may persuade the largest private homeowners' insurer to reconsider its decision to stop selling property insurance here, would give a property owner the chance to select more expensive coverage, free from regulation, from a well-capitalized company that could actually pay claims in the aftermath of a major hurricane. ...
The state needs more private insurance companies and the private capital they bring. This is a good deal for consumers and the marketplace. Crist should sign it
Fees not taxes (?)
"State park fees on the rise".
Luv 4 sale
"Former state House Rep. Joe Negron continues to show he can quickly raise money in a short campaign." "Negron front-runner in raising cash for senate race".
Atwater gets a challenger
"State Rep. Pat Patterson, R-DeLand, has filed papers to run for chief financial officer of Florida next year, creating a likely primary fight against Senate President Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, according to the Florida Division of Elections Web site." "Patterson intends to enter state Cabinet race".
Bill Cotterell: "Government spends, everyone watches".
"Crist visited Hialeah Park and praised the horse track's planned reopening -- but the still-pending Seminole gambling compact is essential to the track's future. " "Gov. Crist praises Hialeah Park revival plans". See also "Crist backs gambling deal; now it's up to Seminole Tribe" and "Gov. Crist sign bill giving Seminole Tribe exclusive rights; steps still to be taken".
"Bantam rooster of a bygone era"
"The bantam rooster of a bygone era in Florida politics and a Pensacola political patron of enormous influence will fly the coop this week, but his legal fight goes on." "Childers' prison time up this week".
Editorial board experts ...
... share their brilliance with the rest of us. The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Avoid another classroom 'firestorm'".
T.K. the candidate?
"Florida State University president T.K. Wetherell expected to step down". See also "FSU President T.K. Wetherell to resign".
On the campaign trail
"Crist visited a VA medical center in Miami on Monday to promote a bill to help disabled veterans but didn't talk - until pressed - about contaminated colonoscopy equipment there that led to blood tests for more than 2,000 area veterans." "Governor visits Miami VA hospital".
Friend 'o Charlie's
"Crist threw his considerable political influence into his hometown's mayoral contest Monday, endorsing businessman Deveron Gibbons for mayor." "Gov. Charlie Crist endorses Deveron Gibbons for St. Petersburg mayor".
"The dismissal reeks"
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Pasco County School Superintendent Heather Fiorentino seems to have forgotten the painful lesson most residents learned during those years when county commissioners let subdivisions pop up all over the countryside without important checks."
Rising rooftops means more schools are needed. So planning and growth management are critical to a successful school system."Managed growth faces big loss".
Yet Fiorentino has canned Assistant Superintendent Ray Gadd, a 28-year employee who for the last five years put his heart into relieving school overcrowding and bringing sanity to a county that too often has let developers have their way.
Last week, Fiorentino informed Gadd she wasn't renewing his contract, which former Superintendent John Long extended before he retired in 2004. The dismissal reeks.
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Raising the bar for our schools".
The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "For a long time, students in Florida's public universities were getting a lot for a little, paying very low tuition for a top-notch education. That's changing." "Education's dilemma". The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "Tuition increase justified, but not at this pace".
Imma gettin' me one of those
The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial Board: "If Oak Hill approves a citizen's request -- as it should -- it will become the third town in Volusia and Flagler counties to accommodate golf carts as a legitimate mode of transportation." "Greener cities".
Decisions ... decisions
"State Rep. Marcelo Llorente is pulling out of a three-way Republican primary for the state Senate in 2010 and setting his sights on the Miami-Dade County mayor's office in 2012." "State Rep. Marcelo Llorente drops bid for state Senate seat".