Crist flunky Greer elected to RNC position
"State Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer won the coveted position of the national party’s rules chairman on Thursday, but he immediately dismissed the possibility that he would sway the calendar to benefit Florida voters or a possible presidential run by Gov. Charlie Crist." "Florida Republican Party chairman wins national GOP post".
"Two weeks ago we reported that Florida Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, was calling shenanigans on two contracts within the state Department of Transportation that included raises for private contractors. State employees have not had raises for three consecutive years." "Florida Transportation Department puts brakes on raises for private contractors".
"The Department of Transportation said Thursday that it will not allow private contractors to receive automatic pay hikes this budget year -- a savings of at least $10 million -- after a state senator called attention to the practice in a public records request."
The decision by DOT Secretary Stephanie Kopelousos came in a letter to Sen. Dave Aronberg, a Greenacres Democrat who publicly asked for the list of road builders, maintenance crews and other contractors entitled to the salary ``escalation clause'' earlier this month."Road contractors lose automatic pay raises". More: "Aronberg is now calling for Gov. Charlie Crist to order other state agencies take similar steps".
Aronberg, who is running for attorney general, argued that because of the state's deep budget woes, awarding automatic pay hikes to private contractors ``was unfair to state workers and unfair to taxpayers.'' ...
Aronberg said Senate Democratic Leader Al Lawson raised the issue late in last spring's legislative session and asked Senate President Jeff Atwater to order a review of contracts. But Atwater didn't respond, prompting Aronberg to follow up with a public records request for the pay hike information.
Aronberg has also asked the Department of Environmental Protection to do a similar review, since many of its private contracts also allow for automatic salary hikes. He said he expects other agencies to be forced to make changes to other private contracts.
"We're cutting police and cutting teachers. We're demanding more from state employees during these critical budget times and, at the same time, giving automatic raises to private contractors,'' Aronberg said. ``There seems to be a double standard for private workers and state workers.''
Not so fast
"Here's a switch: Florida property values didn't fall as far as state economists had forecast. But the predictions weren't off by much, and the economy still has a long way to go before it recovers, according to a new estimate the economists released Thursday." "Florida property values not as low as was predicted".
See also: "Property decline in Southwest Florida is slowing". But see "Fla. Property Values Will Drop".
Disney: Republican to the bone
Disney gave $75,000 to the Republican Party of Florida during the first six months of the year, according to state campaign-finance records. It also gave the GOP, which controls both the Governor's Office and the Florida Legislature, another $3,801.25 worth of free tickets, food and drinks for use in party fundraising."No sign of cost cuts in Disney's campaign contributions".
By comparison, during the same period of last year, Disney gave the party $50,000 in direct contributions, although it gave more in free goodies -- $82,187.47 worth, to be exact. During the first six months of 2007 (which, like this year, was a non-election year), Disney gave $55,000 in checks and no freebies.
On the other hand, Disney gave just $5,000 to the Florida Democratic Party through the first half of this year. That's down from $30,000 plus $5,167.18 in freebies during the same period last year and $10,000 two years ago.
That librul media ...
The Palm Beach Post editorial board endorses a colossal do nuthin', even though they "strongly disagree with his belief that raising new revenue isn't a priority for Florida." "Return Negron to Capitol".
"The higher he aspires ... the lower he grovels"
Stephen L. Goldstein: "Charlie Crist has sold his soul to the devil so many times, he's proof of reincarnation. But he's unfit for public office, let alone the seat in the rarefied air of the U.S. Senate that he now covets. "
The higher he aspires on the political ladder, the lower he grovels."Florida governor's opposition to Sotomayor is crass political calculation".
Recently, in a strategic suck-up to radical Republicans, the guv publicly opposed the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court. He alleges that she "would not strictly and objectively construe the Constitution and lacks respect for the fundamental right to keep and bear arms." Even U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, whose seat Crist wants, has said he'll vote for Sotomayor.
Crist's position is a crass political calculation for the consumption of certain Florida voters. What his buzzwords really mean is: Right-wingers, don't support my opponent Marco Rubio. I'll do your bidding ...
This time the guv stooped so low to conquer, he may have dug his political grave by alienating moderate voters. He's running out of time — and souls — to redeem himself.
Off Topic: Peltier
"Leonard Peltier's first parole hearing of the Obama Era -- on Tuesday, July 28 -- inspired hope of an intensity that will have a major impact on the new presidency. A decision must come from the Federal Parole Commission within three weeks. His attorney is calling for a surge of public support that would create an irresistible political climate for Leonard's release." "How Leonard Peltier Could Leave Prison by August 18". Read more about "Leonard Peltier" and what you can do.
"The first Democrat has entered the race for state House District 57, which covers Westchase, Town 'N Country and South Tampa."
Tampa attorney Clifford L. Somers, 68, filed candidacy papers with the Florida Division of Elections on July 16, bringing to three the number of people vying for state Rep. Faye Culp's term-limited seat."Democrat Clifford L. Somers joins race for House District 57 seat".
Republicans Todd Marks and A.J. Matthews tossed their names into the contest earlier this year. Matthews helped Culp and her predecessor get elected.
Somers is perhaps best known for representing Dr. Ernest Palmer, a Hardee County doctor once accused of orchestrating a December 1978 baby swap that made national headlines and was the subject of a 1991 made-for-TV movie called Switched at Birth.
"Debate offers pros and cons of Hometown Democracy"
"City and county governments have treated growth-management plan changes"
"like Halloween candy" for developers and voters need a "veto," the head of a controversial constitutional-amendment campaign said Thursday."Opposition squares off on growth amendment".
But the leader of an opposition organization said Amendment 4 would needlessly delay economic growth and make it easy for "no-growth" voters to scuttle even the best changes in growth plans.
Time to give corrections officers a pay cut ...
... and why not eliminate those excessive disability benefits while we're at it: "Swine flu confirmed at Pinellas County Jail".
"'Adopt an Elected Official'"
"The folks at the Central Florida Hotel and Lodging Association have come up with an interesting new program they call 'Adopt an Elected Official.'"
It goes beyond love and a few bundles of campaign cash."So you think you're ready to adopt a politician?".
Take adopting a Charlie Crist, for example.
Sure, Charlies are doe-eyed little guys who jump up and down every time you come home from work, bring you your slippers and tell you they love you.
But Charlies, you'll quickly learn, do this to everyone. And just when you're getting attached to the little scamp, you'll find him making plans to move up and out to a more powerful family. (A warning sign: If your Charlie brings home a cute date who looks good in front of cameras, he is probably planning a move.)
Dean Cannons also can be deceiving.
Admittedly, these guys look clean-cut and strait-laced. But just when you think your little Dean is old enough for, say, some innocent fun at the beach, you'll turn your back for one minute and find the little fella trying to plop oil derricks all over the beachfront while his new best friends, the oil execs, egg him on.
"South Florida Water Giveaway District"
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Call it the South Florida Water Giveaway District. That's because any pretense on the water management district's part that it's carefully watching over its 16-county water supply is now gone."
It's truly astonishing what the South Florida Water Management District is now planning to do with its share of the state's limited water supply. For all intents and purposes, it's giving those with an insatiable thirst all they could possibly want.Much more: "Water conservation's the loser".
It apparently doesn't matter to the district that the aquifer no longer can accommodate Florida's runaway growth. Come 2013, new developments won't be able to tap the underground water supply.
It apparently doesn't matter that even the St. Johns River Water Management District, notorious for letting the thirstiest developer and utility dip their snouts in nearly any water source they desire, has imposed twice-weekly irrigation limits. So did the Southwest Florida Water Management District.
"U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, the Melbourne-area lawmaker who introduced the bill requiring presidential candidates to submit their birth certificates, is catching heat."
A constituent e-mailed him wanting to know why he voted for a resolution Monday celebrating the 50th anniversary of Hawaiian statehood, which also recognized it as Obama's birthplace."'Birthers' making noise, causing headaches in rebirth of issue of President Obama's birth certificate".
"I replied that this is not about Obama and it's not about me. It's about the Constitution," Posey said of his legislation, which has made him a hero to some and the butt of jokes on late-night TV.
Posey said the intent has been misunderstood and overblown. He said questions have been raised over the years about the birth credentials of several candidates and he merely wanted to settle the controversies.
When asked if he personally had any disbelief that Obama was born in Hawaii, he said, "I'm just not getting into the weeds. My point is, it doesn't matter. I just voted for a resolution yesterday."
"A leadership vacuum"
"St. Petersburg faces a leadership vacuum, and it's underscored by the looming retirements of Carl Kuttler at St. Petersburg College and the lackadaisical, wide-open mayor's race under way." "St. Petersburg needs new leaders to emerge".
The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "Poverty law".
"Orlando's housing starts, once a bellwether of success, have been cut by more than half during the past year, according to a real-estate analysis released Thursday. The good news: Buyers are a little busier than builders, shrinking the pool of unsold new homes in the metro area by more than a third from this time last year." "Have housing starts hit bottom?".