"Republican Bill McCollum's campaign for governor says Democratic rival Alex Sink is ducking tough issues."
McCollum, too, has sought to moderate his image. He declined last month to take a stand on a proposed constitutional amendment that would define a fetus as a person -- thereby outlawing abortion and possibly birth control -- even though he co-sponsored a similar initiative in Congress."State CFO Alex Sink painted as silent on tough issues".
A campaign spokeswoman said McCollum did not see the 1988 congressional resolution as a contraception ban, but said he would not comment on the proposed amendment unless it makes the ballot.
"Senate skeptics are multiplying"
"After failing once before, proponents of coastal oil drilling will target the state's senate."
The aggressive push for oil drilling off Florida's shores is backed by a coalition of powerful, well-financed business interests who are determined to succeed where they failed before: the Florida Senate."Oil-drilling interests targeting state senate".
But even as proponents insist they will corral the votes they need, Senate skeptics are multiplying -- and they include the chamber's presiding officer and several key Republicans who sound increasingly hostile to the idea.
Senate President Jeff Atwater, who is running for state chief financial officer, is not convinced that Floridians increasingly support drilling. Moreover, he says that it is not a priority in 2010.
"The oil drilling matter is not on the Senate agenda for the coming session,'' Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, said flatly.
Obama coming to a town near you
"Obama's fundraising trip to Miami grows to stops in Jacksonville and Tampa".
"Walt Disney World isn’t taking many chances when it comes to the 2010 elections. The giant resort was generous to both the Republican Party of Florida and the Florida Democratic Party during the third quarter of the year, new state records show. Disney gave the Republicans more money in direct contributions: $90,000 vs. $50,000 for the Democrats. But the Democratic Party got more freebies from the resort: $121,161.60 worth of rooms, food and tickets compared with $47,670.60 for the state GOP." "Disney World spreads the wealth with its campaign cash".
Jim Saunders: "A controversial proposal to build a commuter-rail system in Central Florida could come back to state lawmakers this year. Senate President Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, expressed support Monday for holding a special legislative session in December to consider approving the 61-mile SunRail project, which would connect Volusia and three other counties." "December special session considered for SunRail". See also "Legislature may meet to discuss commuter-rail funding" and "SunRail special session likely set for December". Related: "Florida's high-speed-rail pitch has stiff competition".
"Utility regulators should not delay a vote this year on Florida Power & Light Co.’s proposed $1.3 billion rate hike, Public Service Commission staff recommended today. Gov. Charlie Crist asked the panel to hold off on FPL’s rate case and on Progress Energy Florida’s proposed $500 million rate increase until next year when his new hand-picked commissioners join the panel on Jan. 1." "FPL hearings should go on despite Crist’s objections, PSC staff says".
"In a radio interview last week, Kathleen Ford referred to Princeton professor Cornel West's description of an 'HNIC,' or Head Negro in Charge. Today at City Hall, a diverse group of community leaders gathered to denounce Ford's words. She has her defenders in the black community as well." "Taking sides on Ford's words".
AIF laff riot
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Last week,"
AIF President Barney Bishop demanded an ethics investigation of ... Nancy Argenziano, for using a PIN to communicate with the staff member she fired. Mr. Bishop's odd logic is that if Ms. Argenziano disapproved of secret communications with an FPL employee, she should oppose secret communications with staffers. As The Post reported, Associated Industries ran its news release on Ms. Argenziano past FPL."The real outrage at the PSC".
Ms. Argenziano may be guilty of grandstanding - as we have seen, she's good at it - but she's hardly the worst of the Public Service Commission's problems. The issue is contact between regulated utilities and the people who do the regulating. AIF's selective outrage is just a load of what Ms. Argenziano sent that lobbyist [to wit: "a 25-pound box of manure"].
Deutch closing it out
"As state Sen. Ted Deutch rolls out more than a dozen endorsements for a congressional seat, he appears to be sending a message to potential opponents." "Deutch grabbing endorsements for Wexler's seat".
"Since Sept. 22, Foley, a Republican, has done recorded three shows for Seaview, with topics ranging from national health care and the economy to David Letterman’s sex scandal to a brief comment on his own downfall. ... Foley, who resigned after sending lurid electronic messages to teenaged boys working on Capitol Hill, represented large portions of Martin and St. Lucie counties from 1995 to 2006," "Ex-Congressman Mark Foley to take his radio show live".
Rolling in utility cash
"A pair of energy giants, Florida Power & Light and Tampa-based TECO Energy, were the largest donors to political parties and candidates in the latest reporting period that ended Sept. 30. Their six-figure donations led a lengthy parade of deep-pocket contributors and come as state policymakers are engaged in a debate over how to promote alternative energy sources while balancing the cost to utilities and their customers. "
FPL gave $329,000 in political contributions in the July-to-September quarter, including $181,000 to the Republican Party of Florida and $130,000 to the Florida Democratic Party."Utility firms give to both parties".
Meanwhile, TECO made $213,000 in political contributions, with $145,000 going to the Florida GOP.
The donations by FPL and TECO helped the Republican Party of Florida fatten its bank account by $3.9 million in the quarter, while the Florida Democratic Party fortified its coffers by $2.5 million, according to reports filed with the state Division of Elections.
"St. Lucie County Commissioner Craft lags behind U.S. Rep. Rooney in campaign contributions".
"Florida should spend more money and change tax, environmental and other laws to help grow, attract and retain biotechnology industries, according to a report issued Monday." "Fla. biotech report urges funding, law changes".
"State works to disparity in minority youth arrests".
But they do, Mr. Thomas. They do ...
Mike Thomas this morning:
Imagine the howling if the Florida Chamber of Commerce used tactics like this against a Democrat."Saga of racist flier makes lawyers look even worse".
"Jobs are the only ammo that can slay it"
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "As states such as Florida that have been slow to spend transportation stimulus dollars start approving projects, the promised jobs finally should start showing up in greater numbers. That's essential, because while loan modifications and government purchase or guarantee of mortgage-backed securities can ease the foreclosure crisis, jobs are the only ammo that can slay it." "To save homes, create jobs".
"The Scrooges in the Legislature"
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Floridians long have complained about the sorry state of education in the Sunshine State. Voters struck back in 2002, passing a constitutional amendment that created the Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten Program, a move to provide an educational springboard for every Florida 4-year-old who enrolled. Now, just when the state has stumbled on something that's making inroads at a developmentally critical time in children's lives, the Scrooges in the Legislature are shortchanging the program." "Give kids an early chance".
"Florida's new senator, George LeMieux, is working hard to avoid being seen as a figurehead who is keeping a Senate seat warm for former boss Gov. Charlie Crist." "Florida's new senator battles 'placeholder' stigma".
"How to combine health care and responsible revenue"
The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board:
To smokers, July's $1 increase in Florida's tax on a pack of cigarettes (from 27 cents) may seem unfair. But the cigarette tax isn't primarily about fairness. It's about responsibly raising revenue for useful public uses from sources that can bear the burden. Smoking isn't a necessity. It's indisputably harmful. It costs society billions in losses from illness, early death and broken families, bane to a healthy economy. People have every right to smoke. But taxing smokers is more responsible than not taxing them. It defrays the public health costs of smoking, discourages young smokers from picking up a $5-a-pack habit ($8 in Rhode Island), and encourages others to quit."Sodas' tax-worthy pop".
The same principle should apply to soda. There's no question anymore, according to the Centers for Disease Control, that the country's obesity epidemic is due to a combination of more sedentary habits and an overly rich and copious diet. Close to 10 percent of the country's caloric intake is from carbonated drinks. Restaurant portions could use some downsizing, to be sure. But so could carbonated and juiced-up drinking habits. Thirst-busting drink containers from convenient stores are beginning to resemble semi trucks' fuel tanks.