"Crist may be crushing Republican U.S. Senate rival Marco Rubio in money and establishment support, but the governor continues to see ominous signs among grass roots Republican activists." "Trouble with the base". See also "Rubio rides straw poll victory to Panhandle campaign" and "Crist unconcerned with county polls favoring Rubio".
Related: "Rubio brings campaign to Pensacola today".
Charlie goes Jindal, Palin and Sanford on us
"Saying 26,000 teacher jobs have been saved, Gov. Charlie Crist touted the federal stimulus package Wednesday -- but he said he won't support another multibillion-dollar spending plan from Congress." "Gov. Charlie Crist: Stimulus is working, more help not needed".
Meantime, "Federal-stimulus dollars continue to flow into Florida".
"Seeking to cut costs in hard times, the Legislature banned most out-of-state travel by state employees. But the travel restriction doesn't apply to lawmakers themselves, dozens of whom are headed to national conferences this week and next at public expense." "As state workers stay grounded, Florida lawmakers hit the road".
The Brogan "myth"
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: The Palm Beach Post editorial board:"Mr. Brogan's supporters, though, cite his political background and argue that it would help him in Tallahassee. That's a myth. Take FSU. Despite friends in key places and a former House speaker as its president, FSU's budget has been shredded."
Still, if Mr. Brogan got the job and got Mr. Rosenberg's deal [$416,353 in salary and benefits], he would get a nice raise and wouldn't have to worry about all the hard decisions ahead for FAU in these tough times. But the system would be getting a leader who as education commissioner stressed charter schools and vouchers over public schools and said this of creationism: "We understand that evolution is a widely accepted theory. I think there is another belief out there, and it can be taught.''"Shake up the universities".
Florida's university system needs a fundamental change in governance more than a new chancellor. Still, the system's figurehead should not be someone who was complicit in doing the system fundamental harm.
Sentinel editors at it again
The Chamber of Commerce stenographers comprising the Orlando Sentinel editorial board continue to slam state employees, writing today that "it's a good time to be working for the state of Florida."
You wouldn't know it talking to state employees, who fret that they haven't had a pay increase in a couple of years and they're being asked to do more with less. Join the crowd."State workers' benefits not justified in this economy".
What also hasn't increased in the past few years for state workers is the monthly premium they have to pay for health care, which has held steady since 2006 at the laughably low price of $50 a month for individuals and $180 a month for family coverage, or $2,160 per year. It's even better for thousands of state employees who get free health care, as do hundreds of employees in the Legislature, including your part-time lawmakers.
Compare that to the national average for a family's yearly premium last year, which the Kaiser Family Foundation put at $3,354, a nearly 13 percent increase from 2006. Using the negative math of today's economy, state employees came out way ahead.
Related: "The Zell Corporation ... wants you to know: "Tough times? Florida state workers keep perks" (scroll down).
Not hard to guess what the Zell flunkies would think about this: "House bill would make health care a right".
Graham back in action
"Former Florida senator and governor Bob Graham will be one of six Democratic appointees to a commission set up to investigate the causes of the nation’s financial collapse. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced their six appointments to the 10-member Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission today, including former California Treasurer Phil Angelides as chairman." "Bob Graham appointed to financial crisis panel".
Oh no ... an evil "double dipper"!!!
"Elections chief Lennard sworn in, becomes latest 'double dipper'".
"A lot of 'splainin' to do"
"Senator Ricky Ricardo? Coburn evokes Lucy show". Perhaps Florida's hard charging political "journalists" will ask Charlie if he joins Senator Coburn in this sentiment?
Don't hold your breath.
"Scott Maddox files to run for agriculture commissioner".
Sink staffs up
"Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink is filling out her campaign's inner-circle and, unusual for many recent Democratic campaigns in Florida, it's chock full of operatives with Sunshine State campaign experience."
The latest hire, not yet publicly announced by the campaign, is campaign manager Paul Dunn, who most recently ran U.S. Rep. Suzanne Kosmas' successful challenge of Tom Feeney in the Orlando area. Dunn also ran the successful minimum wage ballot initiative in Florida in 2004 and worked on a redistricting effort in 2005."Alex Sink, Bill McCollum fill their campaigns with Florida political veterans".
Dunn joins a team that includes veteran pollster Dave Beattie of Fernandina Beach, whose many Florida clients range from Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio to Sen. Bill Nelson; media consultant Rich Davis, who grew up in Gainesville and worked at the state party in the early 1990s; and general consultant Marc Farinella, a Melbourne resident who worked with the Bill McBride and Rod Smith gubernatorial campaigns.
"Government on the cheap"
Scott Maxwell: "But while we're pointing fingers, let's save one for ourselves."
Because this, my fellow Floridians, is also what you asked for: government on the cheap."We have the third-highest number of uninsured children, the third-highest number of kids in juvenile lockups and the tenth most child-abuse fatalities."
Florida ranks near the bottom third of the United States when it comes to child-welfare spending.
Per child, we spend less than 50 cents for every dollar the top-ranked states spend, according to the most recent statistics from the national advocacy group Every Child Matters.
And the starting salary for caseworkers in this state is woefully low.
Not everything is quite so dire. We rank as high as middle-of-the-pack for things like children living in poverty.."What's a kid worth to you? Tell our state's leaders".
But overall, Florida's low rankings are about what you'd expect from its spending.
Not everything can be fixed with money. But when we have workers handling the cases of 50 children — when the recommended maximum is 15 — it's obvious we're understaffed.
So let's get back to the caseworkers.
The average starting salary is about $31,000.
Think about that for a moment.
Whenever a politician is asked about some quarter-million-dollar salary of a government or nonprofit CEO, we usually hear: "Well, we have to pay people what they're worth."
So is that what our abandoned children are worth?
Thirty-one grand a year? For someone with a college degree? Many of whom sleep with beepers?
"So is that what our abandoned children are worth?" Scott, your editorial board apparently thinks they're overcompensated. See: "State workers' benefits not justified in this economy".
"During his re-election campaign, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan rebutted allegations of business and campaign improprieties made against him in nearly a dozen lawsuits and said he would be vindicated in court. He may yet be, but more than a year later, the cases filed against the Longboat Key Republican by former workers and a business partner, and the four countersuits filed by Buchanan's companies are active and threaten to linger into 2010, when Buchanan will likely seek a third term." "Lawsuits against Buchanan may linger into 2010".
Stickin' with Obama
"Broward’s Democratic members of Congress are almost perfect – in their support of President Barack Obama’s agenda and in support of their party unity. A CQ analysis shows they almost never depart from the party line. The county’s lone Republican in Congress, Lincoln Diaz-Balart, is far less devoted to his party’s position when it’s time for him to vote. And he supports Obama’s position on issues fairly often." "Broward's Democratic congressmen stick with their party and the president".
Another RPOFer billionaire
"A Deerfield Beach man has mystified state and federal officials by forming 160 political action committees in the past year -- groups with names like the Florida Billionaires Political Committee and United States Former Vice Presidents Federal PAC. Josue Larose is a political unknown, as of now, anyway. He is running as a write in for state Senate District 28 against former state Rep. Joe Negron and two-time state House candidate Bill Ramos in a special election on Aug. 4 to replace state Sen. Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie." "Man behind Florida Billionaires Political Committee running in 3 races, formed 160 PACs".
"The race for the seat of former State Rep. Priscilla Taylor is taking shape with three candidates vying for Taylor's unexpired term in House District 84. Riviera Beach Councilman Cedrick Thomas, Delray Beach City Commissioner Mackenson 'Mack' Bernard and West Palm Beach business consultant James Henry 'Hank' Harper Jr., all Democrats, have qualified to run in the special election and will have six weeks to campaign before the Aug. 25 primary." "Another candidate jumps into race for House District 84 seat".
"Three Republican state Senate leaders, including the future Senate president, have taken sides with Hillsborough County Commissioner Jim Norman over state Rep. Kevin Ambler in the Republican primary for a Tampa Senate seat. Norman and Ambler are both running for the District 12 seat now held by Victor Crist, R-Tampa, who faces a term limit next year. Norman got the endorsements of Sens. Mike Haridopolos of Merritt Island, who will be Senate president after the 2010 election; J.D. Alexander of Lake Wales, a key member of the Senate leadership team; and Don Gaetz of Niceville." "Senate leaders pick Norman over Ambler in District 12 race".
"GOP activist files Sink ethics complaint".
"Water managers may offer Everglades restoration land, other tracts as collateral to finance U.S. Sugar deal". See also "Sides argue pros and cons of U.S. Sugar deal to judge".
"State Has New Plan to Buy CSX Line in Orlando".
Sotomayor's Margate connection
"When Sonia Sotomayor visits her mom, which is often, it usually doesn't take long before they end up at Floresther Rios' condo. 'She goes right to the kitchen, and goes right for the Cuban coffee,' Rios said Wednesday. ... This is where the woman poised to become the next U.S. Supreme Court justice comes to keep it real: with her mother, Celina, and her mom's tight circle of friends in the Palm Springs III senior community." "Michael Mayo: Supreme Court nominee keeps it real with South Florida family, friends".
The Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "Move to protect sharks, panthers in South Florida".
"Rubio on Tuesday picked up the endorsement of former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey Tuesday."
Meanwhile, Crist has tapped into Rubio's Miami turf, picking up endorsements from U.S. Reps. Mario and Lincoln Diaz-Balart and from Miami Mayor Carlos Alvarez."Dueling endorsements".
"West Palm Jews visit to aid brethren in Cuba".
"A bill to tax and regulate marijuana in California like alcohol would generate nearly $1.4 billion in revenue for the cash-strapped state, according to an official analysis released Wednesday by tax officials. The State Board of Equalization report estimates marijuana retail sales would bring $990 million from a $50-per-ounce fee and $392 million in sales taxes." "Report says California pot tax would raise $1.4 billion".
"State authorizes python hunting in South Fla.".