"On the day he called for a grand jury to investigate public corruption, Gov. Charlie Crist was mum about his ties to indicted political fundraiser Alan Mendelsohn."
Mendelsohn held fundraisers at his home for Crist's 2006 governor's race and had used secretive political committees to boost Crist and attack at least one rival."Aside from Mendelsohn, two other Crist fundraisers have drawn scrutiny:"
Crist then made Mendelsohn a member of his gubernatorial transition team in 2007. And the governor wrote a personal letter asking the University of Florida's medical school to admit Mendelsohn's son.
• Harry Sergeant III, Crist's college fraternity brother and fundraiser, employed a foreign national who allegedly gave illegal campaign contributions to Crist through an intermediary listed as "H.S.'' in a federal indictment."Crist calls for grand jury on public corruption". See also "Inquiry to focus on S.Fla.", "Crist asks for state corruption grand jury" and "Crist calls for statewide grand jury to probe public corruption".
• Sergio Pino stepped down in 2006 as Crist's campaign finance chairman amid a grand jury probe into whether he raised funds illegally. Pino was never charged.
A thousand words
"Photos: Crist and Gingrich at Florida Chamber forum".
Crist loses another one
"In what has become a familiar ritual at gatherings of Republican activists across Florida, former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio trounced Gov. Charlie Crist in a straw poll of GOP Senate candidates tonight." "Palm Beach County GOP Senate straw poll: Rubio 90, Crist 17" and "Palm Beach straw poll goes to Rubio. Big time.". See also "Rubio crushes Crist in Palm Beach straw poll".
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board:
So much for "one and done," the dismissive tag the GOP presumptuously pinned on Democrat Alan Grayson after he beat Republican Ric Keller last year for Florida's 8th congressional seat. Grayson would serve one term, they declared, then get his hat handed to him."It's not just Grayson".
"Republicans eager to unseat a brash Orlando Democrat who said their party's healthcare plan amounts to hoping people "die quickly'' have so far been unsuccessful in finding a candidate."
But now comes a willing Republican -- all the way from South Florida."S. Fla. Republican to seek Orlando House seat". See also "" and "".
Armando Gutierrez Jr., son of one of Miami's best-known political consultants and a member of local civic boards, voted in the city of Coral Gables as recently as April. ...
Gutierrez, a 28-year-old real estate developer and Republican Party fundraiser, said he has already lined up endorsements from three Central Florida Republicans: U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis and state Reps. Chris Dorworth and Bryan Nelson. ...
Gutierrez is the son of one of Miami's best known political consultants, Armando Gutierrez, and -- like his father -- has planted roots in many parts of the community. ...
He is also a member of the Republican National Committee's Young Eagles, a group of 35-and-under donors. He has raised money for Florida U.S. Reps. Adam Putnam, Vern Buchanan and Tom Rooney, among others.
A spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee said the party is confident it will field a viable candidate to take back the seat Grayson won in 2008, defeating Republican Rep. Ric Keller.
Floridians cooling on Crist, want HCR
"A new poll out Wednesday indicates that Gov. Charlie Crist's statewide popularity has dipped below the halfway mark for the first time. The survey of 523 registered voters by InsiderAdvantage indicated that Crist still has positive numbers across Florida — 48-percent approval, compared to 41-percent disapproval of his overall job performance. But his ratings have been running in the 60- to 70-percent range."
Matt Towery, head of the Atlanta consulting firm InsiderAdvantage, said he "was somewhat taken aback" by the numbers."Poll: Crist approval rating dips below 50".
"It has been conventional wisdom based on prior polling that Gov. Crist was somehow immune to the more tepid approval ratings we have seen for other incumbents in large states facing significant challenges," he said.
Some snippets from the Oct. 13 Insider Advantage poll of
- What is your current political affiliation?(A margin of error of 4%).
- What is your opinion of the job performance of Governor Charlie Crist?
No Opinion/Undecided: 11%
- There are several versions of a new national healthcare bill being considered by the Congress. In general, what is your opinion of the passage of a national healthcare bill by Congress?
Favor passage: 49%
No opinion/Undecided: 4%
Country clubbers luv their Billy
"Chamber poll: Bill McCollum 42, Alex Sink 35". More: "Chamber Poll: Voters ho-hum on health care, governor's race".
"Crist is putting his own ambitions above the state"
"Kendrick Meek's campaign gathered reporters in Washington today to tout an internal poll showing Charlie Crist with a 'soft lead' of 47-31 and suggested other ominous signs for the telegenic governor. One question in the Feldman Group poll found 51 percent of Floridians think Crist is putting his own ambitions above the state." "Meek: Crist loves turtles, but what has he done for Florida?".
"While a new poll from Rep. Kendrick Meek showed the Florida Democrat losing by 16 points to Gov. Charlie Crist (R) in the 2010 Senate race, the survey also provides some insight into how Meek will try to break into that lead over the next year." "Meek’s Campaign Makes Case for Path to Victory With New Poll".
"Florida's foreclosure rate slows — but still 4th-worst in U.S.".
"The criminal trial of state Rep. Ray Sansom has been put on hold while legal issues surrounding an appeal of a judge’s dismissal of most of the charges are sorted out. State Attorney Willie Meggs said Tuesday that he has asked the 1st District Court of Appeal to reverse the dismissal of an official misconduct charge against Sansom, the Associated Press reported." "State attorney appeals dismissal of charges against Sansom".
Prohibiting throwaway plastic and paper bags
"Florida environmental officials want to make the state the first in the nation to prohibit throwaway plastic and paper bags. The proposed ban would follow a five-year phaseout during which escalating fees, starting at a nickel a bag, would be imposed whenever such bags were used. Such a statewide fee -- which would also be a national first -- is already drawing criticism as a hidden tax." "Environmental officials want to make the Florida should ban throwaway grocery bags, environmental officials say".
See you in Havana ...
The Miami Herald editorial board: "In Havana a 50-year dictatorship considers dropping the ration book that has defined its control over a citizenry that has come to depend on its meager allotment of staples like rice, beans and coffee. In Washington a free society debates whether to allow American tourists into Cuba even if the Castro brothers' government has yet to take a baby step to reciprocate President Barack Obama's initial opening for more travel and remittances by Cuban Americans to the communist island. The backdrop for these two seemingly disparate moves? A global recession that has Cuba's regime scrambling for cash, and a change in U.S. leadership that has travel providers hoping to cash in on Cuba. " "Why now?".
"Battle of the Wexler proteges?".
Crist gives us "the lowest rate in the nation"
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Crist, who has one government-paid job and is angling for another one in Washington... and the Republican-led Legislature get dismal marks for actually spending the [stimulus] money available. As The Post reported on Saturday, in September only 4 percent of Florida's transportation projects had been given the go-ahead, the lowest rate in the nation." "Crist less than stimulating".
We'll go with "shut up"
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "The Florida Chamber of Commerce talks a good game:"
Invest in education, restore infrastructure, improve transportation, attract high-paying jobs, protect the state's quality of life. But don't be hoodwinked by the feel-good message chamber leaders espoused this week at their conference at the Disney Yacht Club Resort. "Chamber should put up or shut up".
Actions speak louder than words, and for years the chamber has touted the same lofty goals only to undercut them with their lobbying efforts during the annual legislative session. It's time for the chamber to act like a leader for Florida's future, not just talk about it. ...
The chamber, through its political activities, has been one of the major stumbling blocks in Tallahassee to overhauling the state's outdated tax structure so it can help spawn a new economy. By staying silent or by direct assault, it has pushed repeatedly to narrow Florida's tax base, prohibiting any sustained quality investment in education. Its annual awards are showered on legislators doing the chamber's short-term, special interest bidding — such as weakening workers' compensation laws — rather than on those who strive to alter the state's economic landscape.
"ABC Coalition, a citizens group that says the Rays need a new stadium, is accused of wrongfully meddling with Tropicana Field's status as baseball's home in St. Petersburg." "Is baseball committee going too far?".
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "It is arguable whether Rifqa Bary has a valid reason to be in Florida. Her legal case certainly does not. The state needs to send the teenage runaway back to Ohio and allow authorities there to resolve her dependency status."
Bary, 17, ran away in July from her family's apartment in Ohio. She was found in August in the Orlando home of Christian evangelical pastors Blake and Beverly Lorenz. Bary said she fled because her Muslim family threatened to kill her over her conversion to Christianity. She also accused her father of past physical abuse. Authorities in both states found no evidence of abuse or of any plot to kill her. Officials said several other allegations made by the teen have not held up."This case doesn't belong in Florida".
"Michelle Obama honors Fla students, teachers".
Hot night in St. Pete
"Former City Council member Bill Foster attempted to portray opponent Kathleen Ford as intolerant of his Christian conservative beliefs during a heated mayoral forum Wednesday."
"Foster has been dogged by questions over his assertions that the world was literally created in six days and that dinosaurs roamed the Earth alongside humans despite a large body of scientific evidence that suggests otherwise. His letter to the Pinellas County School Board last year that linked Charles Darwin to Adolf Hitler also has haunted his campaign. His response? Shift the heat to Ford, whom he claims mocked his faith by passing out toy dinosaurs at a candidate forum Monday." "Ford, Foster spar over fundamentalism and science".
Troxler: "Enough with the dinosaurs".
"School eclipses University of Florida, and is now among the largest in the nation by enrollment." "UCF now largest university in Florida".
"What more could Charlie ask for?"
Mike Thomas: "The drilling rigs are coming. Cannon will push through the required legislation in the House. And his counterpart in the Senate will do likewise. Gov. Charlie Crist is on board. It burnishes his conservative credentials. And diverting some of the royalties to renewable energy gives him some political cover. Green drilling. What more could Charlie ask for?" "Solar energy, natural gas: Florida's new power couple".