"Marco Rubio is quickly emerging as a freewheeling big spender of special interest cash even as the U.S. Senate candidate sells himself as a fiscal hawk. The latest disclosure:"
As the young state lawmaker lined up support in 2003 and 2004 to become Florida House speaker, he blew through more than $600,000 stashed in a pair of political committees and never detailed how at least 20 percent of the money was spent. The expenses the Miami Republican did disclose suggest the money frequently went to subsidize his lifestyle or to employ relatives — not to support other House candidates as his donors would have expected."Big-spending Marco Rubio".
With each new revelation about the self-indulgent spending by Rubio and other Republican leaders in recent years, the message could not be clearer.
"The latest humdinger"
The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "No one has been around the Legislature longer than this district's Sen. Al Lawson, so when he says he's never seen anything like it, 'it' must be a humdinger of an idea — one that needs a whale of a lot more thought to deserve serious regard in the Legislature."
The latest humdinger comes from a senator who succeeded in private business, now calls himself simply an "entrepreneur" and has been in the Legislature, well, not quite four years."Dismantling DMS is grandstanding". See also "In Tallahassee today, push to dismantle a state agency".
So, naturally, Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Margate, has an infallible sense of how to run the state of Florida with precision.
By osmosis apparently. Just hanging around Tallahassee for a few months a year, Mr. Ring perceives that it is time to dismantle the Department of Management Services, further cut its employee numbers (about 1,000 in all), spread its duties around to other agencies like seeds cast into the wind and hope for what?
Election year bragging rights, perhaps?
Begging for federal dollars
Don't you love those low tax, states' rights nuts begging the rest of the nation to subsidize Florida's incompetence: "Florida's education team, led by Gov. Charlie Crist, will make its pitch Tuesday in Washington for why the state should get a whopping $1 billion piece of a $4 billion federal grant intended to reward states for pursuing aggressive school reform." "Crist leads lobbying trek to Washington to seek $1 billion for Florida schools".
"One subject that roiled last year's legislative session is largely absent from lawmakers' vocabulary this year: growth management. The reason, according to Department of Community Affairs Secretary Tom Pelham, is that everyone is scared of the subject." "Florida lawmakers avoid debates on growth management".
"The House Budget Committee approved legislation Monday aimed at tweaking the Senate version of the health-care overhaul, despite opposition from Democratic Rep. Allen Boyd." "Boyd opposes student-loan legislation".
Lie down with dogs ...
"DeMint toured South Carolina with a beneficiary of his newfound influence. Florida U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio and DeMint had joint fundraisers in Charleston, Columbia and Greenville. Reporters were not allowed into the events. DeMint talked to reporters outside. Rubio was not made available." "DeMint and Fla. Senate candidate raise money in SC".
Nancy Smith: "learned nine years ago, when he was education commissioner, when he stood in front of a roomful of teachers and promised them they would be making 'six-figure salaries' by the end of the decade, that the man will say or do anything to win the moment."
Well, this time Crist may have used the death of a Lee County commissioner to reel in the last extend-the-sugar-deal vote."Did Crist Dangle Commission Seat to Coax Dauray's Sugar Vote?".
Speaking on condition of anonymity, two sources close to the South Florida Water Management District said the Florida governor promised to appoint district Governing Board Member Charles Dauray to the Lee County Commission seat left vacant when Bob Janes died.
All Dauray had to do was vote to extend the Crist sugar deal.
Which is excactly what the Estero resident did. And, which is a little odd.
Dauray, Southwest Florida's representative on the water management board, hasn't always been a proponent of the governor's expensive plan to buy out sugar land in the name of Everglades restoration. He has even been quoted in newspaper articles as complaining the buyout is the wrong way to go in today's bad economy. He voted against the deal first time around.
But, before last Thursday's vote, Dauray is quoted in The Naples Daily News: "(The land-deal extension) is absolutely critical to the economy of the West Coast of Florida and the health and safety of the million people who live there."
Will the governor reward this once-contentious-opponent-turned-SFMWD-teammate with a seat on the Lee County Commission? After all, his vote did make the extension unanimous, 9-0.
Hard to say what the governor will do.
Reached during his visit to Jacksonville last week, Crist denied he had made Dauray any such offer.
"Florida Senate leaders on Monday began unveiling their long-awaited legislation to create jobs for some of the state's one million unemployed workers, proposing to spend as much as $165 million to boost jobs in aerospace and the film industry." "Senate: $165 million for Jobs".
The Miami Herald editorial board: "Toughen Miami-Dade's ethics laws".
"It's gotten to the point ..."
The Sun-Sentinel editors: "You can tell voter apathy is a problem when a 12.6 percent turnout is the high-water mark for the region."
But that was the turnout in Palm Beach County for last week's municipal elections — an embarrassingly low number, true, but considerably better than Broward County's pathetic 9 percent turnout."Time for cities to move elections to November".
Municipal elections historically have poor turnout. It used to be that one good-sized condo could decide the winner in a local election. But now, it's gotten to the point where one floor in a condo can truly decide who the next city commissioner will be.
Yes, it's sad that voters don't turn out for the elections that affect their day-to-day lives more than many other higher-profile posts. The question is, what to do about it?
The Sun Sentinel Editorial Board has long supported moving municipal elections to the November ballot along with statewide and national races. We still believe that's the smartest way to go.
Mike Thomas: "It's hard to imagine a more disastrous finale to Gov. Charlie Crist's reign as governor than the implosion of a decades-long effort to put the Everglades back together again." "Crist’s big promises, no cash sour Everglades deal".
"Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein helped feds hook reputed mobster". See also "Rothstein went undercover for feds, helped nail reputed Miami Beach mobster".
"Obama's overhaul of the No Child Left Behind education law"
"President Obama's overhaul of the No Child Left Behind education law will focus more on raising the bar for students and teachers -- and less on punishing failing schools. That's something the heads of Florida's two largest school districts said they can get behind. ... But South Florida teachers unions, like their counterparts nationally, criticized the bill for not going far enough to promote reform." "South Florida school officials like Obama's education plan".
"Tax-cut plans could benefit green builders, rural homeowners and others but could cost local governments." "Florida Legislature seeks property tax cuts, incentives".
What's wrong with Hillsborough?
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Dismiss Bean and Lee".
"Who says bipartisanship is dead"?
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "As if he didn't have enough political battles to fight, President Obama blasted off into another one this year when he proposed grounding NASA's shuttle program on schedule later this year and aborting its successor, Constellation. Members of Congress from both parties in Florida and other states tied to the space program hate the idea. Who says bipartisanship is dead in Washington?" "Ramp up space effort".
"Florida's Department of Community Affairs made sweeping changes as the state continues pushing to spend federal housing money." "Florida alters housing program, aims to spend grant funds".
Drill baby, drill?
"Florida's debate over whether to open its narrow strip of waters in the Gulf of Mexico to offshore drilling is really about a much bigger decision, according to a report done for the state Legislature." "Study: Drilling debate over state’s Gulf waters has wider implications". See also "Drilling report's conclusions disappoint both sides". Related: "Offshore Drilling Adrift".
911 bill dead
"With opposition building, House Speaker Larry Cretul is apparently abandoning his effort to make 911 calls confidential. The Ocala Republican said the intent of the legislation became distorted and it distracted from a separate measure that would implement statewide training standards for 911 dispatchers." "Effort to ban release of 911 calls likely dead".