"Florida Republicans announced Tuesday that second-term Rep. Chris Dorworth, R-Lake Mary, had been tapped by his fellow GOP House members as leader of the Republican Conference for the 2014-16 term, which all but assures him the speakership during that period." "Central Florida's Christ Dorworth wins House speakership - in 2014".
Scott Maxwell: "State Rep. Chris Dorworth's life has been a bit of a mess lately."
His house is facing foreclosure."Chris Dorworth as House speaker: What a joke".
His multimillion-dollar business venture failed.
He was successfully sued, leaving him struggling to pay the $2.7 million judgment.
And just last week, we learned that the Lake Mary Republican's drivers license was suspended for insurance problems, while the Department of Transportation was breathing down his neck for not paying tolls.
So how did Dorworth's legislative peers respond?
By electing him speaker of the House!
It's a three-way RPOFer entrepreneur-fest
Lew Oliver, an investor in the deal and then-Republican Party chairman in Orange County, filed the suit to recover the $1.7 million invested by his company, TG&O Holdings."Future Florida House speaker struggling financially". See also "GOP choice for House speaker in 2014 faces personal financial troubles".
Dorworth and partner Jim Stelling, then-former Seminole County GOP boss, never repaid the money, so Oliver went back to court. In June 2009, the judge ordered them to pay $2.7 million, court records show.
Stelling declared bankruptcy, so Dorworth owes the bulk of the judgment. As part of the deal, Oliver took control of Dorworth's company, state incorporation records show.
Crist gets nasty
"Republican Charlie Crist’s campaign sent out its second missive in two days trying to saddle primary opponent Marco Rubio to the mess left by former Speaker Ray Sansom’s resignation."
Sansom was Rubio’s hand-picked budget chairman while Sansom was tucking controversial deals for a local college into the budget. And while its fair to question about how much Rubio knew about what was going on, Crist’s tactics ignore that the governor had final say on line items in the budget and did not veto the project."Crist attempts to tie Rubio to Sansom controversy".
Crist has demanded Rubio "release all emails and documents between Rep. Sansom, yourself, and your respective staff." ...
[Yesterday], Crist’s campaign [took] a different approach, implying that Rubio not only should have known about Sansom’s budget dealings, but similarly may have used his influence to feather his own nest as speaker.
"On Tuesday, the Republican Governors Association — the gubernatorial campaign arm of the national GOP — fired a shot at Alex Sink, the Democratic candidate for governor of Florida. The RGA, which is backing Republican Bill McCollum, took aim at Sink's career as a top executive at Bank of America and its predecessor in Florida, NationsBank." "Republican Governors Association blasts Sink's record, compensation as bank executive".
"The television ad war in the governor's race kicked off with two attack ads, one criticizing Democrat Alex Sink's banking career and the other saying Republican Bill McCollum voted four times to raise his own salary while the national debt soared." "TV war starts in governor's race with 2 attack ads".
Scientology vs. the St. Pete Times
"After decades of digging into the Church of Scientology, reporters and editors at the St. Petersburg Times are accustomed to being denounced by its leaders."
But they find it unsettling that three veteran journalists — a Pulitzer Prize winner, a former 60 Minutes producer and the former executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors — are taking the church's money to examine the paper's conduct."Church pays reporters to dig into Times".
While the journalists have promised an independent review, the Times has refused to cooperate, saying their work will be used to fuel the church's ongoing campaign against the Florida paper.
The Sansom story
The Miami Herald editors: "Former Florida House Speaker Ray Sansom finally resigned his seat in the Legislature, more than a year after he should have stepped down."
The ex-lawmaker had been in trouble from the day he was sworn in as speaker in November 2008, when it was learned that he was taking an unadvertised $110,000 job with Northwest Florida State College. Then it was reported that while serving as chairman of the House budget committee, he had quietly steered tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to the school."End secret deals with taxpayers' money".
As it turned out, this sweetheart deal was just the tip of the iceberg. Mr. Sansom had also used his power to funnel some $6 million to the college for an airport building that a private developer -- who happened to be a Sansom friend and major Republican donor -- wanted to use for his corporate-jet business.
Mr. Sansom was indicted for the airport deal and still faces grand-theft charges. Under public pressure, he stepped down as speaker last year but held onto his job as a legislator until Sunday, on the eve of public hearings by a legislative panel that would have aired all this dirty laundry.
His resignation makes those hearings moot, but it doesn't let lawmakers off the hook. This scandal is about much more than abuse of power by one individual.
See "Jeb: Crist's stimulus endorsement "unforgivable"" and "Crist responds to Jeb's 'unforgivable' remarks".
"Democrat Janet Cruz cruises to victory in state house election".
Food or medicine?
The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board: "In Florida the costs of health care have far outpaced workers' wages, jeopardized the survival of businesses, and led more people to lose their insurance."
According to a recent Families, USA state-by-state analysis, if we don't pass health reform soon: 632,000 Floridians will lose health insurance by 2019, 4,265,000 will be uninsured; the average family insurance premium will increase by $8,549 at a time when the five biggest for-profit health insurers saw a combined $12.2 billion in profits in 2009; and 565,000 Medicare beneficiaries in Florida will continue to hit the "doughnut hole" or gap in Medicare Part D drug coverage -- forcing them to choose between food or medicine."Health system failing U.S., especially the middle class".
The Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "Proposal to ease class-size requirements makes lots of sense".
The incompetent who left Florida in a financial and social disaster claims that President Obama's economic policies are "not American", that Obama is "imperil[ing] our future" and has surrounded himself with "political hacks". "Jeb Bush: Obama Charts 'Dangerous Course,' His Policies 'Not American'"
RPOFer doublespeak: "not a permanent promise"
"Two House members announced plans Tuesday to make all state employees, including legislators, pay for health insurance."
The proposal could save the state about $56 million a year. Nearly 35,000 employees in upper and middle management, legislative and other payroll classifications now receive paid-up coverage as a job benefit."Proposal has state workers pay for insurance".
The bill by Reps. Marlene O'Toole, R-Lady Lake, and Debbie Mayfield, R-Vero Beach, would rescind the state-paid coverage of about 17,000 state employees who were forcibly removed from a premium-paying job category eight years ago. But O'Toole said the tradeoff made at the time — losing job security in return for no-cost health coverage — was not a permanent promise.
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel apparently believes that the city won't be able to live without her. She wants voters to change the rules so she can run for an unlimited number of terms." "No Mayor-for-Life Frankel: She's rigging system to get around term limits".
"Regulatory hearings on Florida Power & Light's proposed $1.4 billion rate hike were a bust not only for the utility, but also could mean tougher rules for state regulators and their staff." "Regulating the regulators? Tougher PSC rules pushed".
From the "values" crowd
The Orlando Sentinel editors write that, "with lawmakers looking for ways to fill a $3 billion budget hole, [Guardian ad Litem programs] faces a potential double-digit cut even though the thrifty program serves about 23,000 kids using 14 trained volunteers for every paid staffer. Legislators would be foolish to again gut such a cost-effective and badly needed program. Doing so would rob thousands more disenfranchised kids of an adult voice to speak up for them." "".
Absolutely, 100% not guilty
"The Tampa Bay Workforce Alliance has denied that it misspent about $81,000 called into question by a state inspector general." "Workforce agency denies money was misspent".
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Given the state's budget crunch, it will be tempting for lawmakers to slash the Florida Resident Access Grant, which helps Floridians attend private universities and colleges. The program is viewed by some as a diversion of funds from state universities. The reality is FRAG eases the burden on public universities at a bargain price for taxpayers." "Keep college access".
"Boogeyman in Florida politics"
"The brutal killing of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford five years ago today fueled the creation of a boogeyman in Florida politics: the sex offender." "Florida's tougher sex-offender laws revisited".