"Democrats are continuing to out-register Republicans in Florida, particularly among Hispanics and the young, according to new figures derived from the state Division of Elections and compiled by the Democratic Party." "Dems continue voter registration advantage in Florida". See also "Still more on the Democratic voter edge".
"State Sen. Dave Aronberg wants to be Florida's attorney general, and fellow Democrat Dan Gelber, of Miami Beach, is expected to battle him." "Sen. Dave Aronberg likely to face Dan Gelber in attorney general race". See also "State Sen. Dave Aronberg's bid for attorney general means the Democrats' primary will be expensive", "Aronberg to run for attorney general" and "Aaronberg announces for attorney general; may trigger three-man primary".
Meantime, "Kottkamp 'close' to A.G. announcement".
Courtesy of "the People's Governor"
"An environmental group charges that enforcement actions against polluters by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection have declined. During 2008, for the second year in a row, the number of civil penalties assessed by the department went down, contends Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. The dollar amounts of penalties assessed and collected both declined during 2008 from 2007 levels, the organization said." "Group claims state taking fewer actions against polluters".
Chain Gang Charlie's world
"State Supreme Court justices said they were appalled by the routine handcuffing, shackling and chaining of juveniles in Florida's courts during oral argument Thursday over a proposal to ban the blanket use of such restraints." "AP: Fla. Justices Horrified by Restraints on Juveniles".
"The Democrats' Katherine Harris"?
Scott Maxwell writes that he's not sure he's "heard a more far-fetched political plan recently than U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown's interest in running for the U.S. Senate."
He continues, citing what are sure to become RPOFer talking points:
[s]ome of those most salivating over this idea are Republicans — and the political scribes who would get to cover this train wreck of a race."Sen. Corrine Brown? Don't hold your breath".
She would be the Democrats' Katherine Harris.
The fact that Brown would even float such a plan is more a reflection of her ego than reality.
Sure, she has endeared herself to constituents in her [RPOFer] gerrymandered district. But if she were to try to win votes statewide, she would run headfirst into an opponent who would seize upon the fact that the woman has more baggage than Port Canaveral's newest mega-liner.
Need some examples?
Most notable was the 1998 case in which her daughter received a $50,000 Lexus. The car was the gift from the aide of a West African millionaire who had been jailed in the U.S. and received help from Brown, who lobbied for his release.
There was also Tropical Storm Fay, when Brown called Jacksonville officials and asked them to deliver sandbags to her home — which they did, even though neighbors didn't get the same treatment.
Brown's daughter ultimately sold the car and donated the proceeds to charity. And Brown repaid the city for its storm aid. But it still stank.
What the "small government" mentality breeds
Joel Engelhardt: "Most residents don't care if Palm Beach County cuts two electricians from its budget or four. Most residents don't care if code enforcement is decimated, unless, that is, their neighbor's house is the one breeding rats." "Here's how 'small' government looks".
SD 27 Scramble
"With state Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, running for attorney general, the scramble is on to fill his trans-Florida District 27 Senate seat, which runs from Palm Beach County to Lee County on Florida’s Gulf Coast." "Who’ll replace Aronberg in Senate?".
Tiny steps ...
"Two Florida farms have decided to participate in a deal to boost the wages of the state's tomato pickers, joining an agreement with a farmworker advocacy group and upscale Whole Foods Market, the grocery chain announced Thursday."
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers and Whole Foods said the farms will pass on to pickers a net penny more per pound of tomatoes sold to the Austin, Texas, based company. Whole Foods will foot the bill. ..."The coalition, which claims membership of about 4,000 mostly migrant workers, gained national attention when it reached similar deals in recent years with fast-food chains including McDonald's and Burger King corporations."
If all Florida tomatoes purchasers joined the penny deal, the farmworkers could nearly double their earnings. The idea is that the national restaurant and grocery chains that have the deep pockets pay the extra money, including administrative costs, and the farmers pass it on to the workers when they receive their checks. The deals also permit the coalition to serve as a mediator when labor complaints arise.
But such agreements have existed on paper only since the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange, which represents most of the state's tomato growers, threatened two years ago to levy a $100,000 fine on any member who participated."2 Fla. farms in deal to pay tomato pickers more".
Whole Foods signed the deal with the coalition in 2008 but was unable to find farms willing to pass along the money. Whole Foods said Lady Moon Farms and Alderman Farms, both medium-sized family farms that sell organic produce, have agreed to participate this season.
Charlie sashays with "disgruntled property owners"
"Looking very much like a candidate for U.S. Senate, Gov. Charlie Crist stepped before the TV cameras ... to sign a bill that will make life easier for disgruntled property owners who challenge their tax bills." "Crist signs measure relaxing property appraiser protections".
The revolving door
"Jason Gonzalez, general counsel to Gov. Crist, resigns to spend time with family".
Another fine Jebacy
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board this morning: "Eight years ago, Florida legislators and then-Gov. Jeb Bush took a wrecking ball to 30-year-old reforms intended to reduce political influence in filling judicial vacancies. Now, predictably, the damage is starting to pile up."
Why should Floridians care? Because the independence and integrity of their court system is at stake.The Sentinel commendably digs up a specific example of something rotten in Denmark in: "No place for politics".
Legislators in 2001 junked the system set up in 1971. Back then, the nine-member commissions responsible for nominating judges had three members appointed by the governor, and three appointed by the Florida Bar. Together, those six appointed three more.
That may not have been a perfect system, but it struck a better balance between the governor and the Bar than the one that replaced it. Now the governor picks five members himself, then appoints the other four from a longer list submitted by the Bar.
Which BTW includes you, Ms. Parker
"Kathleen Parker: GOP's problem: It's the messenger".
From the "values" crowd
"The University of Central Florida plans to eliminate five academic programs during the next two years because of state budget cuts, leaving nearly 1,100 students scurrying to complete degrees before their majors disappear. The cuts also mean 51 employees will lose their jobs, including 45 faculty." "UCF students, faculty face program cuts".
"When a nonprofit pregnancy center decided to expand in North Tampa, it found the perfect location: next door to an abortion clinic."
"Both sides of abortion debate peacefully co-exist at complex".
"It was a God thing," says Pat Layton, president and founder of A Women's Place, a faith-based agency that offers a range of support services to pregnant women, from ultrasounds to adoption referrals. "But to be honest, we definitely did it on purpose."
For the last year, the ministry and All Women's Health Center of North Tampa have operated side by side in separate buildings in a professional office complex on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard.
And they've done it with no disruption, despite their polar opposite objectives.
"We've got a great relationship. Things are very peaceful around here," says Heidi Mullis, the clinic's administrator. "I've even sent a few women over there, if they just want a sonogram or if they're still undecided about what to do."
The Miami Herald editorial board: "Door is open, but will Cuba walk through?". See also "Raúl won't face OAS challenge", by Marifeli Pérez-Stable, vice president for democratic governance at the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington, D.C., and a professor at Florida International University.
"Florida's failure to support Tri-Rail hurts road, transit projects".
Orange County laff riot
"Orange County government has weathered hurricanes by relying on healthy cash reserves, and it will emerge from this 'economic tsunami' by leaning on the same 'conservative principles,' County Mayor Rich Crotty will argue Friday in his State of the County Address." "Crotty says 'conservative principles' will guide county out of economic downturn".
Dumping "contaminated" water into Lake O? No problem
"Water managers may pump canal water into Lake Okeechobee even if it's contaminated, an appeals court ruled." "Court rejects Lake Okeechobee backpumping ban". See also "Judges: South Florida water managers did not violate Clean Water Act".