"The new voters who turned Florida's electorate younger and more ethnically diverse in 2008 also turned out in droves for Barack Obama's historic presidential election last year. Census figures released Monday show that of the 579,000 new voters who participated in Florida last year, nearly all were either Hispanic or black. Turnout among young voters increased from 39 percent in 2004 to 49 percent last year." "Florida's young minority voter participation soared in 2008".
Nevertheless: "For all the attention generated by Barack Obama's candidacy, the share of eligible voters who actually cast ballots in November declined for the first time in a dozen years. The reason: Older whites with little interest in backing either Barack Obama or John McCain stayed home." Much more here: "Voting rate dips in 2008 as older whites stay home".
"Kottkamp running for attorney general despite ethics complaint". See also "Kottkamp plans high-tech police approach", "Kottkamp says he wants to fight crime as attorney general", "Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp officially begins run for attorney general" and "Kottkamp running for AG".
The latest from Hillsborough County
"A Hillsborough public policy group whose Christian platform included a push for a state ban on gay marriage has embraced a new attack on an old target: the separation of church and state." "Group fights church, state separation".
"Among the hardest to count"
"When census takers visit Walter Hunter's mostly African-American community in Pompano Beach next year for the big, every-10-years count, he predicts they will encounter a lot of slammed doors."
They are likely to get a similar reception in Delmond Desira's Haitian neighborhood in Delray Beach, where many don't understand how filling out the 10-question form would improve their lives."Florida's uncounted: Many immigrants and poor people are wary of the Census Bureau".
Hunter and Desira live in South Florida enclaves the U.S. Census Bureau ranks among the hardest to count: pockets of Pompano Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Park, Delray Beach and Belle Glade.
In those areas, with heavy concentrations of immigrants who don't speak English, poor people and rental units, almost half the residents did not return mailed surveys for the last big count, in 2000.
Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade are among the 50 counties in the nation with the most people living in hard-to-count areas, according to a report released in April by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a children's advocacy group.
"Employers prepare for four-cent minimum wage raise".
The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board: "Gov. Charlie Crist, who was among the centrist Republican governors supporting the stimulus, says it's working just right, so another stimulus isn't necessary."
But it's the same Crist who predicted in 2007 that Florida's economy was ready for a "sonic boom." ..."Stimulus sound, fury".
[T]here appears to be no connection between restored financial stability in the financial sector, where banks are debating how big employee bonuses should be, and employment elsewhere. Florida's June unemployment rate of 10.4 percent is the worst since 1975, though the comparison understates the severity of the crisis. In 1975, the state's population was a little more than a third of what it is today (18.3 million). Almost 1 million Floridians don't have jobs. Flagler County, where unemployment is 15.5 percent, is the worst hit in the state. Still, the stimulus package included $21 billion to extend unemployment insurance and provide health care for the unemployed, two substantial benefits masked by the size of the unemployment lines.
The stimulus package also provided $50 billion to slow foreclosures. Florida has the nation's second-worst foreclosure rate after California. Federal aid should have helped. Yet Flagler and Volusia counties recorded 2,186 default notices, scheduled auctions and repossessions in June, up 92.6 percent from June 2008, and up 41 percent over the previous month (the monthly average until June had been 1,501 foreclosures).
On the other hand, 26,000 teachers' jobs were saved in Florida ... as the state used $2 billion in federal aid to offset a budget gap that otherwise would have cleaved through education jobs. Florida is scheduled to receive a total of $15.3 billion in federal stimulus aid in three years. Few would argue that the money isn't needed, or that more should be turned down.
"A school for children with severe medical problems might be closed by the state over its failing grades. The Miami-Dade school district is fighting to keep it open. " "Dade school for sick children may be closed over low FCAT scores".
"Don't weaken state's concealed-weapons statute"
The Miami Herald editorial board: " Forty-eight states have laws regulating carrying concealed handguns, and they vary widely. Florida's standards are higher than the federal law and tougher than in many other states. For instance, applicants are required to complete a hunting or firearms safety course. Residents, who are deemed habitual offenders of alcohol under the state's disorderly intoxication laws, are prohibited from getting a permit. Those with a physical infirmity that would make handling a gun unsafe can't get permitted, either."
"But these distinctions would be rendered moot under an amendment to the U.S. Senate defense appropriations bill. " "Reject gun law".
"Gladys Perez, who has worked for Crist as a civil rights and environmental counsel, will join a Treasure Coast real estate agent and manager for the agricultural giant Lykes Brothers as members of a board overseeing a powerful, often controversial, agency that manages the water supply for 16 counties and directs Everglades restoration. ... The governor also named Kevin Powers, 42, a real estate agent from Indiantown, and Joe Collins, 41, of Sebring, an engineering manager with Lykes Brothers." "3 Crist appointees could shape U.S. Sugar deal".
"Flood of foreclosures"
"Central Florida's flood of foreclosures is swamping one of the area's fastest-growing minority groups." "Central Florida Hispanics bare brunt of subprime-loan fiasco". See also "Graphic: Hispanics and subprime loans".
Shhhh ... they're not tax increases
Courtesy of the we'll-never-raise-taxes (on rich people) crowd in Tally: "Residents around the state soon will see vehicle registrations rise by at least 35 percent, along with most every other fee associated with driving." "The higher cost of driving".
"Economic Homeless" in Hillsborough
"A controversial vote on whether to build a tent city for the homeless in Hillsborough County is scheduled to take place this morning. Catholic Charities wants to house up to 500 homeless adults on a vacant lot near East Hillsborough Avenue and Harney Road." "Hillsborough vote on controversial 'tent city' today" ("about 30 percent of new residents are 'economic homeless,' people who recently have lost jobs and homes and have nowhere else to go.")
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Neglect of homeless no gain for county".
Not to mention the "massive" paycheck
"In selecting Brogan, who is the president of Florida Atlantic University, the board praised his connection with students and the local and national perspective that he possesses on higher education in Florida."
"There is massive potential here," he said. "I see it. And I've seen it for years.""Tribune: Higher-ed has 'massive potential'".
Brogan will replace John Delaney, president of the University of North Florida, who has been serving as interim chancellor since Mark Rosenberg resigned in February.
His total compensation for the post has not yet been finalized. The state funds no more than $236,000 for the post, which is supplemented with private foundation money.
"Obama meets astronauts; no promise of moon or Mars".