"The hype will be hard to live up to"
"Seven years ago, Bill McBride stunned his wife, Alex Sink, by saying he wanted to challenge Jeb Bush for re-election."
"It was kind of, 'do you know what you're getting yourself into,' " recalled Sink, who wound up throwing herself into that campaign only to see her husband lose handily."Alex Sink, Florida's chief financial officer, knows what she's in for as she runs for governor".
Now it's Sink running for governor, and the odds look considerably better for her than her husband in 2002: There's no bruising Democratic primary, no popular incumbent to unseat, a revitalized Democratic Party and a likely rival, Attorney General Bill McCollum, with a serious charisma deficit.
The Buzz reports that the RPOF web site "contains plenty of news about Crist's campaign and endorsements but nada that we can see about Marco Rubio." "RPOF site ignores Rubio".
"Florida schools were thrilled to learn the federal government would be sending $4 billion to prevent a complete budget catastrophe during the next two years. What they didn't know until recently, though, was this:"
While scores of teachers statewide are being laid off, a big chunk of the federal stimulus money can't be used to save their jobs or to pay salaries for the vast majority of education employees."The Florida Department of Education will get several pots of money in its stimulus-fund package."
And as school districts whittle spending on sports, the arts and college preparation, federal restrictions are forcing educators to funnel hundreds of millions of dollars into programs for poor and disabled children that might not be needed.
The largest pot — $2.7 billion during two years — will, in fact, save lots of jobs and cover day-to-day expenses such as paychecks, pencils and electricity."Education stimulus money comes with strings attached".
But the two other largest pots, about $1 billion combined during two years, are earmarked specifically for programs for poor kids and special education.
"Friday would have marked a milestone in the history of Alligator Alley, but because no one submitted a bid to lease the storied highway its fate remains uncertain. " "With no lease bids, Alligator Alley in limbo". See also "State lease plan for Alligator Alley hits bump".
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: ""
"Save My Safe Florida Home".
Here come 'da (campaign) checks
"Business interests hailed Gov. Charlie Crist's signing Friday of 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." "Businesses hail workers'-comp legal fee cap".
Note the The Miami Herald's insistence on letting, in the headline no less, us know where the FlaDems held their convention, to wit: "at Fontainebleau Hotel": "Florida Democrats -- at Fontainebleau Hotel-- get behind Alex Sink".
Obviously, the employees who work for the media conglomerate doing business as The Miami Herald want you to think that the Democrats are wealthy hypocrites who hang out at ritzy South Beach hotels. To be sure, there are plenty of Dems who are wealthy hypocrites (witness the Dems, including many Friends-of-Obama, fighting the Employee Free Choice Act tooth-and-nail), but there is something else going on here: the Dems have a practice, if not a rule, of holding their events at places where the employees have selected representation by a labor organization, in this case Unite Here, Local 355; the employees who work at the hotel actually have crazy things like health insurance and job security (all rolled up in a - get this - collective bargaining agreement). Some of these unionized bellmen, housemen, housekeepers, and banquet servers at the Fontainebleau even earn enough money to send their kids - get this - to college! The arrogance of some people.
"Groups lurk in the shadows"
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "If you thought last year's election was ugly, look out."
The 2010 elections might make 2008 look like a garden party, thanks to a gutless state Legislature and one of the worst court rulings to come along in years."Opening Pandora's box".
A federal judge last week laid waste to entire sections of state law that were supposed to provide some transparency to so-called electioneering communication organizations.
These groups lurk in the shadows, sometimes operating more like money-laundering enterprises than legitimate political organizations. They go by wholesome, patriotic names but launch despicable political attacks.
"A diplomatic tug-of-war over Cuba's outcast status in the Organization of American States takes center stage at the group's meeting this week in Honduras, testing U.S. efforts to engage the communist nation." "US committed to new approach for the hemisphere".
"Back into the wild"
"A black bear that was spotted in a South Florida community last week has been released back into the wild." "Elusive black bear released in Collier Co.".
The pay factor
Bill Cotterell: "Crist vetoed the state income tax on state employees making more than $45,000 a year."
If you want to look at it coldly, cynically, with the assumption that everything a statewide candidate does in a pre-election year is politically motivated (which is almost always true), the pay-cut veto wasn't the best strategic move. Crist is running for the U.S. Senate against former House Speaker Marco Rubio, R-West Miami, who is angling for the right wing of a right-wing party. ..."Crist still has another legislative session ahead of his primary date with Rubio. If state revenues stay down (and that's a safe use of the word "if"), Crist may have to swallow a pay cut next session. And perhaps agencies now will have to make greater layoffs than they would have, had the pay cut remained." "Crist veto on pay cuts will matter now and later".
Politically, you can make a case that Crist helped himself, but not a lot.
In the 2006 Republican primary for governor, running against then-CFO Tom Gallagher, Crist carried Leon County by an almost 2-1 margin, a cushion of more than 5,000 votes. But he won the GOP nomination by more than 300,000 votes statewide, so the area with the heaviest concentration of state workers was not really the keystone of his plan.
And in the general election, Crist lost Leon to Jim Davis by more than 12,000 votes. Toss in Jefferson, Taylor, Wakulla and Gadsden Counties, and the Democratic nominee finished 16,402 votes ahead of Crist for the region.
But Crist won statewide by 341,556 votes. So the Big Bend didn't really help Davis, did it? And the distant prospect of reducing that loss ratio isn't likely to make Crist veto a $30 million budget savings, is it?
Vetoing the pay cut will probably hurt him a little in the primary, against the more conservative Rubio. But that damage can be offset by mollifying the 30,000 gun owners who wrote to Crist, urging him not to allow the weapon-permitting pot to be drained.
A Panhandle thing
"FloriDUH: Religious protest at public high school graduation".
The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "Tom Pelham, the Department of Community Affairs' straight-talking secretary, has a balancing act ahead of him, as do all local governments, if Gov. Charlie Crist allows a well-meaning but not well enough thought out growth bill to move forward."
Senate Bill 360 is a revision of Florida's 25-year-old growth laws and it's well-intended. But its the unintended consequences that will cost taxpayers more than they gain in the long run."Not quite right: Growth law revisions miss the mark". Related: "Crist faces tough choice on growth management".
The measure will inadvertently [sic] allow costly sprawl in counties such as Leon because it allows residential development without the concurrency rules that mean roads will be expanded to avoid traffic congestion.
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "States are competing hard for a part of $8 billion in federal money to build high-speed rail lines, and if decisions are merit-based as promised, Florida is well positioned to win a big share." "Florida perfect for high-speed rail".
Entrepreneurial spirit "on the rise"
"Scam alert: Investment fraud on the rise in Florida".
"A monarch over a kingdom that's not hers to rule"
The Miami Herald editorial board: " Miami Dade College students may have to delay graduation before heading to a four-year university. ... The Legislature used federal stimulus money and other funds to help offset some of the pain, but another option -- a local vote that would have helped MDC raise millions of dollars within a year or two with a half-penny sales tax -- was blocked by one legislator."
That's all it took: one legislator from outside Miami-Dade acting like a monarch over a kingdom that's not hers to rule."Democracy denied".
State Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff [Republican]of Fort Lauderdale never allowed a hearing on the bill in the House Finance and Tax Council that she heads. Even though the bill would have let local voters decide, Rep. Bogdanoff stubbornly viewed a democratic election as a tax increase from Tallahassee.