"You might not expect a race between the uber-boring Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum and the uber-rich former hospital exec Rick Scott to be a barn-burner. But the Florida Republican gubernatorial primary -- a race no one really expected to happen in the first place -- is making a strong claim for the title of nastiest primary race of the year." "The Nastiest Primary? GOP FL-GOV Race Takes It To The Next Level".
The RPOF tapes
Aaron Deslatte on the secret Greer-Johnson recordings: "Greer – whose personal financial problems are detailed throughout evidence released by the state – repeatedly returns to the subject of the $123,000 in severance he maintains he was owed for leaving the party chairmanship."
House Speaker-designate Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, Senate President-designate Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, Thrasher and McCollum – the "four horsemen" as they are called in the recording -- all claimed the contract was never "executed.""Greer-Johnson phone call is intriguing piece of Tallahassee theater". Related: "Greer wants to delay civil suit; Republicans say no way". Related: "RPOF dismissing Greer's civil suit".
"What do you think they're going to do about this agreement, just hope that I never bring it up?" Greer says, referring to the severance deal.
Greer tells Johnson, "I'm kind of at the point now if they'd just shut up and stop attacking you and I, I'd forget about the money …. Just go away."
Greer did not go away. After the RPOF announced in April it had forwarded the case to state investigators, Greer filed a civil suit over the $123,000 in severance, accusing RPOF leaders of signing the severance deal and then pretending they didn't. His suit is on hold while the criminal case is proceeding.
Greer then asks Johnson if they should "bring everyone down… I can't believe they did this to us," he said.
RPOF an "ugly, sexist place to work"
"Police documents released this week in the Jim Greer alleged fraud case make the Republican Party of Florida out to be a fairly ugly, sexist place to work." "FL GOP Sexism Allegations: Party Chair Talked 'Orgasms' To Female Fundraiser".
Rivera-Cancio pissing match
"A congressional rival of state Rep. David Rivera accused him Friday of lying about his ties to a businessman who facilitates trade with Cuba and called on him to resign as chairman of the Miami-Dade Republican Party."
Mariana "Marili'' Cancio publicized a video Friday on Rivera's website showing businessman Ariel Pereda standing behind him at his campaign announcement in February."Rivera: Pereda remarks taken 'out of context'".
However, Rivera, a hard-line proponent of the Cuban embargo, said on Spanish-language station WQBA-1140 AM Thursday that he had not seen Pereda since 2006.
The interview followed a Miami Herald story detailing Rivera and Pereda's close friendship and political ties. Public records show Pereda chaired a fundraising committee for Rivera.
McCollum's conflict of interest
"Evidence in the state's criminal case against the state Republican Party's former chairman has Attorney General Bill McCollum's political opponents arguing that he has a conflict of interest. Florida Democrats and Rick Scott, McCollum's opponent in the GOP gubernatorial primary, are calling for an independent investigation of former GOP Chairman Jim Greer." "Independent probe sought in Greer case".
But we do think "Jeb!" was a great Guv
"Poll: 26% Of U.S. Clueless On Who We Declared Independence From".
"Likely impossible to know Scott's true wealth"
"Rick Scott reported an eye-popping net worth of more than $218 million last month in forms filed with the state Division of Elections."
But the Republican candidate for governor also has tens of millions of dollars tucked in a trust under his wife's name and in a family limited partnership. He has amassed a complicated network of investments, holdings and companies designed to shield against legal and tax liabilities, according to a St. Petersburg Times review of his financial holdings."Scott's wealth a vast web of complex assets".
In fact, it's likely impossible to know Scott's true wealth. ...
Campaign spokesman Jen Baker said Scott followed the state's instructions in filling out the disclosure, noting that Democrat Alex Sink did not detail husband Bill McBride's income or stock portfolio. But, unlike McBride, Scott's spouse has been a principal contributor to her husband's campaign, funneling $2 million from her trust fund toward a 527 group promoting his candidacy.
"You can blame the Legislature"
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "What little credibility the Public Service Commission had is now gone. You can blame the Legislature for depleting it."
The Legislature, you see, dominates a nominating council that sends along the names of people it wishes to serve on the PSC to the governor. And the utilities regulated by the PSC dominate the Legislature."PSC credibility in shambles". Scott Maxwell: "Tell your state senators what's 'disagreeable' about PSC members' removal".
This week, they conspired to purge two of the remaining three PSC commissioners who had rejected the biggest electricity-rate increases in Florida's history. Weeks earlier, the two other PSC members who'd rejected the rate hike were sent packing.
Now, the nominating council's busily narrowing its list of PSC finalists, which it contends are the best qualified to regulate the utilities. But the list doesn't include the proven pair — Nancy Argenziano, who chaired the PSC, and Commissioner Nathan Skop, who would have succeeded her as chair. Both avoided scandal, aggressively pressed the utilities to make their case and, when the utilities didn't, stood up for consumers by bouncing the unjustifiable rate hikes.
"A lawyer for four voters challenging a proposed state constitutional amendment on health care called it a 'bait-and-switch' today."
The ballot summary for Amendment 9 promises things not even mentioned in the amendment itself, Mark Herron said in an interview."4 voters challenge state health care amendment".
He filed the Circuit Court lawsuit in Tallahassee a week earlier. It seeks to remove the amendment from the Nov. 2 ballot.
The Republican-controlled Legislature passed the proposal in reaction to passage of Democratic President Barack Obama's national health care overhaul.
The amendment would block Obama's plan in Florida if it could, but legal experts and even one of its sponsors have said it can't do that because federal law is supreme over state law.
Instead, the amendment would prevent the state from passing a similar law by prohibiting Floridians from being forced to obtain insurance coverage or be penalized if they don't.
Teabaggers whine about "ticky-tack technicalities"
"The Florida TEA Party claims that two of its candidates who were bounced from the fall ballot were victims of "ticky-tack technicalities" at the state Division of Elections." "TEA Party Claims Double Standard at Division of Elections".
Rubio on the trail
"The campaign trail took former House Speaker Marco Rubio, the leading Republican candidate in the battle for the U.S. Senate seat, to Daytona on Saturday. Rubio campaigned at the Coke Zero 400 NASCAR race before heading to St." "Political Bits and Pieces".
Greene's APPCO saga
"[J]ust as the polls show him gaining on longtime Democratic front-runner Kendrick Meek, one of Greene's investments is generating some embarrassing headlines."
The APPCO saga provides voters with a mere glimpse of Greene's empire, as he has refused to release his tax returns, unlike the other candidates in the Senate race, and delayed disclosing other information about his personal finances."Firm Greene bought files for bankruptcy".
"Mr. Greene's background is a mystery,'' Meek said in a recent debate in West Palm Beach. "One of the businesses that he owned went into Chapter 11 . . . jobs are being risked. . . He talks about these jobs that he creates, and that's the reason why his candidacy in this race is a big question mark.''
In recent weeks, rent, utilities and taxes went unpaid at the stores. Managers say they ran out of gas, cigarettes and beer. Repairs and landscaping were ignored.
Dozens of people are out of work while the bankruptcy filing is sorted out.
"A new computer model shows oil from the massive Gulf of Mexico spill has as high as an 80 percent chance of reaching the Florida Keys and Miami. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released the forecast Friday. It shows a 61 to 80 percent chance of sheen, tar balls or other oil remnants coming within 20 miles of Florida's eastern coast, from the Keys north to the Fort Lauderdale area, by the 120th day of the spill on August 18." "Computer model shows high chance of oil hitting South Florida by mid-August".
See also "Florida already uses $50 million from BP; gets promise of $2.7 million more", "Holiday brings little to celebrate on Gulf Coast" and "Florida Seafood Safe, Plentiful, Say Commercials, Grocery Stores".
"The characters, the drama, the gaffes"
Steve Bousquet: "The Fourth of July isn't just for fireworks and flying the flag. This holiday weekend traditionally ushers in the fall campaign season in even-numbered years. That makes it a good time to reflect and reminisce about elections past — the color, the characters, the drama, the gaffes." "There's no road trip quite like a political campaign, and the fun's about to begin".
"Property values plunge"
"Property values in Broward County plunged 11.7 percent last year — the third yearly drop in a row — marking one of the worst declines in history. As a result, residents face tax increases and service cuts as local leaders confront budget deficits." "Broward County property values plunge".
St. Johns river
"The St. Johns River has been surrounded by its fair share of controversy as of late, and a recently begun Seminole County construction project is only adding to it. Though many initially disapproved of the Water Management District’s approval of a permit that allowed for the removal of 5.5 million gallons of water a day from the St. Johns, the project’s latest steps have gone largely unnoticed in the local media. Much to the dismay of the St. Johns Riverkeeper, the project has been steadily moving along." "New project draws water from the St. Johns, could worsen algal bloom".
Politics giving way to reality
"As the BP oil blowout saturates Northwest Florida's already fragile economy with despair, a special legislative session in the coming weeks is becoming increasingly likely."
Republican legislators had been unwilling to agree to a special session because they felt it would give erstwhile GOP Gov. Charlie Crist a high-profile platform from which to seek a constitutional ban on oil drilling while he's running for the U.S. Senate. But it now appears election year politics are giving way to economic reality."Crist, legislators maneuver over oil spill special session".
Thank you, Mr. Obama
"Florida to get $170.2 million to improve schools".
"Newly installed Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady hit the ground running on Friday, only the second day of his administration, by announcing the creation of a much anticipated Florida Innocence Commission." "Canady creates panel on innocence".
"They lurk, cameras at the ready, during every meeting of the Cabinet, three statewide candidates in their crosshairs. When Congressional hopeful Al Lawson of Tallahassee gives a speech, they're usually poised for a bone-headed remark. Even longshot gubernatorial candidate Bud Chiles drew one recently as he hunted for elusive supporters in Ybor City." "Political candidates tracked for slip-ups on video".