Adam Smith: "The chorus of Republican officials calling for the ouster of state GOP Chairman Jim Greer grew louder Thursday as at least 50 party officials signed a letter calling for a secret-ballot vote on rescinding Greer's chairmanship." "Call for ouster of Florida GOP chairman grows louder".
Aaron Deslatte and Josh Hafenbrack: "Even the party's vice chairman, Allen Cox, is calling for Greer's ouster. Earlier this week, Greer booted him off the budget committee, complaining that Cox had leaked private budget material to the media." "Will GOP leaders oust Florida party's embattled chairman?". See also "Fla. GOP seeks Greer’s ouster", "Battle brewing over GOP chairmanship", "Jon Shebel to Jim Greer: Take one for the gipper and resign".
An indicted Republican legislative leader is not enough."Greer may be short on money and support". Related: "The internal accounting report the Florida GOP doesn't want you to see".
Shady expenditures are not enough.
Failing to deliver the state to the party's presidential candidate is not enough.
Congressional losses and eroding, if still large, majorities in the statehouse, are not enough.
Taking sides in contested primaries is not enough.
Leading purity purges to rid the party ranks of Ron Paulogists, Tea Partiers and personal enemies (or the personal enemies of low-on-the-totem-pole staffers) is not enough.
Missing budget and failing in the money race — now that'll get you in the soup with Republican Party of Florida heavyweights.
Dem AG primary
"Gelber gets Buddy McKay backing, Aronberg gets sheriffs".
Ausley for CFO?
"Veteran Democratic lawmaker Loranne Ausley of Tallahassee says she is seriously considering dropping her bid for the Florida Senate and running instead for chief financial officer." "Ausley may ditch Senate bid, run for CFO instead".
How many more?
"Fla. panther killed crossing Interstate 75 in Broward".
"State jobless rate hits 11.5 percent". See also "Jobless rate in Florida hits 11.5% in November; 1.06 million out of work", "Florida's unemployment rate 11.5 percent" and "More than 1 million Floridians out of work, jobless rate still rising".
Crist kow tows to wingnuts
As if Florida wasn't already a wholly owned subsidiary of the AIF, "Crist is floating the idea of eliminating the state's corporate income tax to attract new businesses to Florida and shore up his conservative credentials." "Crist proposes cutting corporate-income tax".
Rothstein and Crist
"Gov. Charlie Crist says he saw no reason to investigate a South Florida lawyer charged with operating a $1 billion Ponzi scheme or refuse his political contributions."
A South Florida Sun Sentinel analysis of campaign contributions shows Rothstein, his legal associates and their families have donated at least $2.8 million to largely Republican political causes since 2006."Crist: no reason to refuse lawyer's contributions".
"For years, James Bain insisted he was home watching TV with his twin sister when a 9-year-old boy was kidnapped and raped."
The victim had picked him out of a lineup, and his repeated pleas for DNA testing were rejected until the Innocence Project of Florida got involved in his case earlier this year."Free after 35 years: DNA clears Florida inmate".
On Thursday, he was finally set free. He made his first-ever cell phone call, to tell his elderly mother he was out of prison after 35 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit.
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Corruption takes many forms".
"Brazil could get its long-awaited U.S. ambassador as Florida Sen. George LeMieux drops his 'hold.'" "Sen. George LeMieux ends stall on Brazil ambassador".
Thank you, Mr. Obama
"Crist: SunRail means 'jobs, jobs, jobs' will roll in".
The Miami Herald editorial board: "Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Frank Adderley was hardly the only person fooled by accused Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein. But the chief's personal friendship with the disgraced lawyer has embarrassed the city and raised questions that can only be answered satisfactorily by an independent investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement."
One question is why the chief showed up at a traffic accident involving Rothstein's friend Moe Sohail. A photograph shows Chief Adderley standing close to Rothstein at the accident scene. Why would the chief of police show up at a routine traffic accident?"Probe link between Scott Rothstein, Frank Adderley". See also "Fort Lauderdale police chief's ties to Scott Rothstein questioned", "Ties between Scott Rothstein, Frank Adderley probed", "High-ranking police officers guarded over Rothstein", "Fla. police chief 'friendly' with Ponzi suspect", "Charlie Crist grilled about Scott Rothstein" and "Prosecutor hints plea deal is possible in Scott Rothstein case".
Another issue is why the City Commission last April made a controversial decision allowing top city police supervisors, undercover officers and the police spokesman to guard Rothstein's home around the clock while off duty.
"Everything from disgraced lawyer Scott Rothstein's offices will be auctioned next month in a public bankruptcy proceeding designed to raise money for his victims." "Herald: Scott Rothstein's office items to be auctioned".
"'fair and square'"
"State Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda and her television-newsman husband Thursday said renewal of a $3.7 million Florida Lottery contract with his company was 'fair and square.'" "Vasilinda: Deal 'fair and square'".
Here come the campaign contributions
"Five law firms land plum state pension fund work".
Race to the bottom
"Florida's largest teachers union Thursday called efforts to win federal grant money by overhauling teacher pay plans 'fatally flawed' and urged local unions not to take part in the state's bid to win as much as $700 million."
The Florida Education Association's announcement could make it more difficult for Florida to win Race to the Top money because a lack of union support could weaken the state's application in the eyes of the judges. ...This from the anti-union fringe:
Andy Ford, president of the state association, explained the union's views in an "open letter" to Education Commissioner Eric Smith, published Thursday as an advertisement in the Tallahassee Democrat.
In the letter, Ford wrote that the federal Race to the Top grant program was meant to "reshape the public school landscape, but it won't happen here, based on what I see in your proposal."
Ford said it was "agonizing" to recommend local unions not sign on to the plans, which could net even small districts millions of dollars. "While the proposal appears to include some 'bold innovations' and substantive reforms, the proposed implementation is fatally flawed," he wrote.
The letter did not address merit pay specifically, though that is an area where the union has raised objections before. Instead, it focused on what it viewed as the department's heavy-handed approach, calling it "prescriptive" and "top-down" and an effort to "impose reforms unilaterally."
The foundation run by former Gov. Jeb Bush, who pushed unsuccessfully for other merit pay plans, called the association's stance "union politics at the expense of students and teachers.""Florida teachers union blasts federal grants' merit-pay rule". See also "Florida may miss out on school money".
The Foundation for Florida's Future said, "It is baffling that anyone would oppose their proposal to use $700 million in federal funds to identify and reward great teachers."
Brace yourselves for the inevitable slew of "unions are bad" editorials.
The Tampa Tribune editors: "Here's some advice for the Tampa Bay Workforce Alliance brass: Brown-bag it."
The agency, charged with finding work for the unemployed, exercised miserable judgment in spending more than $20,000, at least some of which was taxpayers' money, on catered meals and restaurants in the last 13 months."Agency out to lunch on lavish food tab".
"Crist signs rail bill in Tallahassee, Tampa" Meantime, "'Wafflegate' casts shadow on rail bill signing".
More from Joel Engelhardt: "It's easy to get excited about "Wafflegate," the Tallahassee scandal involving e-mails disguised as tasty breakfast foods. After all, Alex Sink, the state's chief financial officer and a Democratic candidate for governor next year, is so stirred up that she wants Gov. Crist to fire the secretary of transportation. Even though the fire is in his own kitchen, Gov. Crist has ordered up a review by the state's inspector general. Boiling hot Tea Party activists are demanding a grand jury investigation." "The meaty rail scandal".
"Straining at the leash"
Bill Cotterell: "The Florida Commission on Ethics is ... straining at the leash a little, growling and pawing the ground, panting at the prospect of being given permission to take a bite out of political crime next year." "Ethics Commission could use more bite".
"State Farm drops plan to withdraw from Florida".
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "State Farm bluffed, the insurance commissioner caved and Florida is still better off. The deal announced this week granting State Farm a 14.8 percent rate increase and permission to drop about 125,000 policies will be painful to many homeowners, but it is a reasonable trade-off to keep the state's largest private insurer here. While it doesn't solve the property insurance mess, it buys some time to work on broader answers. " "From bad to less bad".