"Angering conservationists and siding with developers, Gov. Charlie Crist on Tuesday signed a controversial bill that would give water management district staff working behind closed doors more power to grant lucrative water rights." "Crist signs water-management bill".
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board:
Crist's sellout to developers is now complete. He signed into law Tuesday a bill that neuters the governing boards of the state's five water management districts, which grant permits for large-scale water pumping and wetlands destruction. Now that authority will rest solely in the hands of the districts' executive directors. Developers and big industry will be able to more easily drain Florida and pave over what's left."Crist bows to developers again".
Piece by piece, this governor has systematically dismantled what little protections there are for Floridians fed up with traffic and overdevelopment. First, Crist gutted growth management efforts by signing a law that enables developers to avoid paying for roads to accommodate the traffic their projects generate. Now he has made it easier to destroy wetlands and pump huge quantities of water in a state that faces a drinking water shortage. And Floridians with the gumption to fight will have little recourse.
"Attorney General Bill McCollum and Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, Republican and Democratic rivals respectively in the 2010 race for governor, are now the targets of ethics complaints charging that they used state airplanes for personal travel."
Kenneth Quinnell, a member of the Leon County Democratic Executive Committee, filed a complaint Wednesday against McCollum charging that some of his flights on state aircraft in the past few years were a, "misuse of his public position.""Updated: McCollum, Sink both face ethics complaints over use of state planes".
The complaint mirrors one filed June 29 against Sink by Jose Blas Lorenzo, an attorney for the state Department of Education.
Lorenzo, a Republican who has received prominent appointments from former Gov. Jeb Bush and Gov. Charlie Crist, accused Sink of, "abusive, unauthorized use of state aircraft."
Working on that FRS pension
"The Republican race for Chief Financial Officer is beginning to shape up -- and even the most avid GOP partisans could be excused for yawning. The early favorite has to be Senate President Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, on the strength of his ability to pry contributions from interests seeking the blessing of one of the Legislature's two presiding officers. But Atwater is hardly a rhetorical ball of fire. Now Rep. Pat Patterson, R-DeLand, has jumped into the race." "Patterson makes it official: He's running for CFO".
Not a "tax increase"?
"Florida drivers, brace for impact on your wallets".
Rubio likes that idea
"Liberal blogger Markos 'Kos' Moulitsas of DailyKos.com isn’t usually cited by conservatives. But the campaign of Republican Senate hopeful Marco Rubio is noting a recent DailyKos posting in which Kos wonders whether a grassroots conservative surge for Rubio might persuade the more moderate Gov. Charlie Crist, the current GOP Senate frontrunner, to bolt the party." "Liberal blogger wonders: Will Crist pull a Specter? A Lieberman?"
Currently, the polls show that Crist's greater name recognition gives him a fairly dominant lead. But the primary is 14 months away, and grassroots conservatives are moving over to Rubio en masse. He will have enough money to compete (Club for Growth, among others, are behind him), he's got big names like Mike Huckabee gathering behind him, and the right-wing noise machine loves him -- and not just Florida wingnut radio, but national outlets like Fox News and the Wall Street Journal editorial board...."Another potential Republican defection"
It won't take 14 months for that alliance to drag Crist through the mud and trash his name with Republicans in a state with a closed primary. All those Dems and Independents who love Crist won't have a say in the matter in the Republican contest. And I predict that by the end of the year (or end of Q1 2010 at the latest), the polls in that Republican primary will be tied.
So the question will then be -- at what point will Crist realize that he's in deep shit? It took collapsing poll numbers for Specter to hit the "panic!" button and switch parties. That's probably what it'll take for Crist to realize his problems, and when he does, he'll have a tough call to make: go down with his party, or pull a Specter and ditch it for better electoral prospects on a different line. That could mean a switch to the Democratic Party where he'd likely be no worse than the other senator from Florida, Bill Nelson -- a marginally good Democrat, a step up from Landrieu, Nebraska's Nelson, and the Wal Mart Twins (and no better). Or it could mean an independent run, where he might be able to pull a Lieberman (complete with a Joementum fundraising campaign visit) and work to attract independents, mainstream Republicans, and Democrats disaffected by their poor field and try to win a split three-way field.
Adam Smith doesn't think so: "Charlie Crist switching to Democrat?".
"152 new laws take effect today in Florida".
He's gotta go
The Palm Beach Post editorial board:
Set aside for now the issue of whether former Florida House Speaker Ray Sansom is guilty of any crimes. He's been indicted, and if his case goes to trial he will face a jury of his peers. But there's another jury that fits better than usual the definition of "peers" - the Florida House, which could be called on to decide whether to expel Rep. Sansom."Resignation or expulsion".
Brown has challenger
"U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns apparently proved to be too big a target for one challenger. So, Michael Yost, a political newcomer whose 2010 congressional bid is partly based on ousting long-term incumbents, has moved the bull's-eye on his map one district over. Now, instead of challenging the Ocala Republican for the 6th Congressional District seat that includes much of Alachua County, Yost said he will take on Democratic Rep. Corrine Brown." "Mechanic shifts sights from Stearns to Brown".
"State Sen. Paula Dockery ended speculation about a possible bid for a congressional seat by announcing Tuesday her backing of former state Rep. Dennis Ross of Lakeland to fill the post of U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam, who wants to be Florida's commissioner of agriculture." "State Sen. Dockery Backs Ross for U.S. House".
Scott Maxwell: "Alan Grayson is everywhere nowadays."
He's all over the Internet. He's making news from Orlando to Washington. And he's unabashedly playing hardball with everyone from Rush Limbaugh to Nancy Pelosi."Grayson gains limelight, but to what end?".
The National Republican Congressional Committee is obsessed with the liberal freshman U.S. representative, sending out as many as three press releases a day, bashing him.
Yet some of the hard-core conservatives and libertarians that make up the Tea Party movement are so enchanted with Grayson that they invited him to speak at one of their events.
In short, Grayson has done things everyone can love — including trying to wake Washington from its comatose complacency when it comes to watching public money.
But he's also made questionable moves — including a controversial earmark request and going after his own personal pork while decrying the waste of others.
That Grayson is shaking up the system is undisputed.
To what end is the question.
Stop the madness
The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board: "Some of the first eerie signs of a potential health catastrophe came as bizarre deformities in water animals, often in their sexual organs. Frogs, salamanders and other amphibians began to sprout extra legs. In heavily polluted Lake Apopka, one of the largest lakes in Florida, male alligators developed stunted genitals." "More than deformed gators lurking in Lake Apopka?".
"A 12-foot pet Burmese python broke out of an aquarium and strangled a 2-year-old girl in her bedroom Wednesday at a central Florida home, authorities said." "Officials: Escaped pet python strangled Fla. child".
"Anti-tax tea parties planned for July 2".
At the trough
"Adam Putnam banks another 250k".
The best health care system in the world?
"The percentage of Americans with private health insurance has hit its lowest mark in 50 years, according to two new government reports." "CDC: Private health care coverage at 50-year-low".
"Quality of health care in Florida is rated 'weak' or 'very weak' on five of a dozen measures in a new federal report, with the worst scores going to diabetes and respiratory care." "FL quality rated below average".
"Here's how to transform education".
"A federal appellate court has upheld a Florida law banning petition gathering within 100 feet of polling places." "Appeal court upholds Fla. polling place law".
"Many of the new companies in Florida are unregulated".
A red state thing
"Mississippi's still fattest but Alabama closing in".
"Florida smokers will pay an additional $1 tax on a pack of cigarettes under one of 65 new state laws going into effect Wednesday." "Get 'em if ya smoke 'em".
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Florida's highly politicized experiment with private school vouchers has always been couched as an effort to give poor children a better educational option. For its supporters, that goal trumped all other concerns, including diverting tax money from public schools, failing to properly regulate private schools receiving student vouchers and the flouting of the Florida Constitution."
Now a new study by a Northwestern University economics professor suggests vouchers don't deliver on that primary objective. Without evidence that vouchers give poor children a better education, there is no reason to continue this experiment. Vouchers do not appear to be providing a better education. They are stripping resources from public schools, and they violate the state Constitution. "School vouchers flunk test". See also "Study Finds School Vouchers Don't Make Difference".
And then we have the Bushco apologists on The Tampa Tribune editorial board:
Teachers' union representatives and others are chortling over the first academic assessment of Florida's voucher program. Students receiving the Florida Corporate Tax Credit Scholarships so they can attend private school are doing no better than similar students in public schools."Vouchers providing options to the needy".
She needs a break
"Mrs. Sanford seeking refuge in Hobe Sound".
"State Sen. Victor Crist and state Rep. Bob Henriquez are both seeking the appointment as Hillsborough County elections supervisor. Henriquez is one of seven people who have filed applications so far seeking the appointment to be made by Gov. Charlie Crist. Victor Crist - no relation to the governor - said Tuesday he will file an application soon. Also applying, as expected, is Craig Latimer, hired by the late Supervisor Phyllis Busansky as her chief of staff." "8 now seek elections job".
"Federal stimulus money will go to help restore coral reefs." "U.S. money going for reefs".