Special session on oil ... RPOFers outraged
ordered lawmakers back to the Capitol for a special session to vote on a constitutional amendment that would let voters decide if they want a permanent ban on offshore oil drilling in Florida waters. Although he has not had a reply from House leaders, Crist scheduled the session for July 20-23. "Crist calls lawmakers for vote on oil drill ban". See also "Crist wants to ban offshore drilling".
"The big question: whether the Legislature, dominated by Crist's former Republican Party, will go along."
The early reaction was hostile. Crist's plan, said Senate President-designate Mike Haridipolos, R-Merritt Island, is a "hurried special session that will achieve nothing for Floridians. Florida already bans offshore drilling.""Crist calls special session on offshore-drilling ban, rankling Republicans". See also "Crist calls special session on offshore drilling" and "Reactions to Crist's special session".
Senate President Jeff Atwater, R- North Palm Beach, called the proposal a "political contrivance" that doesn't address the immediate needs of Gulf Coast residents. ...
And major GOP forces are lined up against the proposal. Attorney General Bill McCollum, a Republican gubernatorial candidate, said the ban is unnecessary and doesn't address the immediate needs in responding to the BP spill. The Florida Chamber of Commerce labeled the session a "complete waste of taxpayer dollars."
The Tampa Tribune editorial board:
Florida residents do not want near-shore drilling, but on this issue, their representatives can't be trusted."Draw a clear line in the sand".
The pro-oil lobby is strong in Tallahassee. The existing prohibition against drilling in Florida waters could easily be changed.
That's why Gov. Charlie Crist is right to call a special session to ask the Legislature to give voters a chance in November to put a drilling ban in the state constitution.
Thank you, Mr. LeMieux
"Without bill passage, millions stand to lose jobless benefits". See also "34,000 Floridians lose jobless aid amid political impasse".
Rivera solicits at FIU
"State Rep. David Rivera -- a Miami Republican and budget chief who has steered state funding to Florida International University -- solicited all 4,000 FIU employees to donate to his congressional campaign, prompting the provost to issue a campus-wide warning Thursday about using public resources for political activities."
Rivera, "the Republican front-runner in the district currently represented by Mario Diaz-Balart is expected to face Democrat Joe Garcia in the Nov. 2 general election. "
Garcia is the former chairman of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, presenting voters with a dramatic choice between two high-flying political figures."David Rivera hits up 4,000 FIU employees for campaign cash".
RPOFers take it on the chin
"A judge Thursday struck down the Florida Legislature's proposed constitutional amendment concerning political districts because, he said, it is too confusing for voters to understand."
Amendment 7 was drafted by the Republican-led Legislature in response to two other proposed amendments that a liberal-leaning citizens' group placed on the ballot. Those amendments, 5 and 6, would make it tougher for lawmakers to draw political districts that favor a political party or an incumbent."Judge tosses out Legislature's bid on redistricting". See also "Judge throws out Legislature's redistricting amendment", "Redistricting amendment thrown off ballot", "Judge strikes redistricting ‘poison pill’ from Florida ballots" and "Judge removes redistricting amendment from Florida ballot".
The Legislature's proposal -- which lawmakers said would "clarify'' the amendments of the Fair Districts Florida group -- created far more confusion, Tallahassee Circuit Judge James Shelfer said in a ruling from the bench.
"Meltdown In Florida"
"Greer's scandalous past tenure as state GOP chair -- leading up to his recent arrest -- is having a big effect on the state's highest-profile primary, the gubernatorial fight between former Columbia Health CEO Rick Scott and state Attorney General Bill McCollum. And its pitting party leaders against each other in some uncomfortable infighting."
It's not clear what long-term effect the Greer case will have on the politics of the race. Scott is not beating McCollum because of the Greer scandal -- he's beating him thanks to millions of dollars in primary advertising he dumped on the state while McCollum was napping. But Greer is starting to seepin to the contest as his court battle heats up -- and so far, that appears to be the catalyst for a full-on war of words among Republicans over who is lying more -- Scott, Greer or Greer's former friends. "Meltdown In Florida: Greer Scandal Turns Florida GOP Into One Big Mess".
Jeff and Lindsay
"Whereas most politicians have to live down photographs with far less photogenic felons -- Jack Abramoff and George W. Bush come to mind -- Florida Senate candidate Jeff Greene will only have to live down several recently-surfaced pictures of him hanging out over New Years with Lindsay Lohan. ... Greene was among the members of Lohan's entourage during her pilgrimage to St. Barth's last New Year's Eve." "Jeff Greene Spotted With Lindsay Lohan In St. Barth".
Your papers please ...
The Orlando Sentinel editors write that "the ruckus over the government's challenge of the law, which compels police to question the immigration status of people held in custody, isn't deterring Sunshine State Republicans, who've taken a shine to the notion and its political benefits." "Don't copycat Arizona". Related: "Sen. Bennett to file immigration bill modeled after Arizona's".
"A federal appeals court has rejected the U.S. government's effort to keep a six-month deepwater drilling moratorium in place. A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled soon after a Thursday afternoon hearing in a lawsuit filed by companies that oppose the drilling ban. The moratorium was previously struck down by a lower court on June 22." "Court rejects moratorium on oil drilling; Crist calls special session on drilling".
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Oil spews; useful info capped: Government and BP stingy with data on harm, claims.".
See also "Transferring oil from broken well an option for BP", "Under the sand, BP oil hidden from easy cleanup", "Seas calming, skimming to resume at Miss, Ala, Fla", "Property Owners in Oil Spill's Path Sue Northwest Florida Appraisers", "Costner's oil skimmer to work in fouled Gulf", "'Disgusting mess,' Naples fire officials call tar balls during Panhandle tour", "U.S. Court To Rule On Offshore Drilling Ban By Early Next Week" and "Forecast for Gulf impacting spill containment plan".
"Florida’s Senate race remains all about Republican-turned-independent Charlie Crist and likely GOP nominee Marco Rubio."
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Florida finds the two candidates neck-and-neck again this month, with Rubio earning 36% support and Crist, the state’s current Republican governor, capturing 34% of the vote. Prospective Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek remains a distant third, picking up 15%. Fourteen percent (14%) of the state’s voters remain undecided."Rubio 36, Crist 34, Meek 15" (via PostonPolitics).
"On the day Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein fled to Morocco last October, his law partner Stuart Rosenfeldt was paid $500,000." "Rothstein law partner was paid $500,000 the day Ponzi schemer fled".
Miss you ...
Bill Cotterell: "we're going to miss Nancy Argenziano. For almost 15 years, she's gone about her various jobs in Tallahassee with a forthright accessibility and openness that sometimes brought more attention than she wanted. She's not afraid of controversy, and sometimes she causes it, but the Argenziano attitude has a redeeming quality."
The PSC nominating commission purged Argenziano and Commissioner Nathan Skop last month, refusing to put them on a list of 18 candidates for interviewing. During the recent legislative session, the Senate denied confirmation of two other Gov. Charlie Crist appointees, Benjamin "Steve" Stevens of Pensacola and David Klement of Bradenton."Her place in legislative lore is marked by two incidents."
In other words, four commissioners who voted against record rate increases sought by Florida Power & Light and Progress Energy have been rejected. Two were turned out by legislators and two got the ax from a nominating panel dominated by legislators — who take campaign money from, among others, big utility companies regulated by the commission.
This sends a message with less subtlety and finesse than that bale of cow manure Argenziano, as a state house member, once sent to a lobbyist. Actually, it was more like the horse head that Hollywood mogul woke up with in "The Godfather."
The message: When FP&L or other big utilities want a rate increase, it's an offer you can't refuse — not if you like your $130,000-a-year seat on the PSC.
First, after a long and losing day of debate in the House, she impulsively stopped at a farm supply store and sent a bundle of cow manure to a lobbyist whose attitude she disliked. Later, when the lawmakers wanted to forgo their pay raise in a symbolic gesture, Argenziano futilely argued against it — bluntly telling her colleagues they had spouses and outside jobs to support them, but "I don't want to be a bag lady."She moved to the Senate in 2002, again beating an incumbent Democrat. There, she earned a reputation as a dogged, nonpartisan critic of ex-Gov. Jeb Bush's privatization efforts — especially the People First personnel deal with Convergys, when she chaired the Senate Governmental Oversight Committee."We'll miss Argenziano".
"The paradigm has officially shifted"
"The paradigm has officially shifted. Meet Florida State Rep. Mike Weinstein (R)."
The ad in question features a lethal combination of elements: terrible dancing, dubious production value, endearingly earnest participants and a relentless and catchy hook. "Mike, Mike, Mike... Weinstein." One listen and you'll never forget the name again."FL State Rep Sets New Bar For So-Bad-It's-Good Campaign Ads".
Daniel Ruth on Rick Scott: "What the rookie pol has learned — or perhaps not — is that running for office is more than simply dropping gobs of money on television commercials, running around blah-blah-blahing about illegal immigrants in Arizona and telling people they need to get to work (if only they could actually find employment), when the candidate doesn't seem so inclined himself."
Indeed, Scott has even quipped that he hoped by the end of his campaign he might someday know the names of Florida's 67 counties. Why, the man is a pillar of ambition. Imagine how comforting that is to someone living in, say, Escambia County, to have a candidate for the highest office in the state who in all likelihood has no clue where you live asking you to vote for him."Scott's ignorance not bliss for Florida".
At least he probably knows three counties — Collier, Sarasota and Palm Beach.
Rick Scott doesn't need to get to work. He needs to get a tutor. It is not an unreasonable expectation that anyone who wants to be governor ought to know something about the job or the state they claim they want to lead.
If Scott can even find it, sitting up in Tallahassee (which is in Leon County by the way) involves more than mouthing tea party bromides about Mexican tomato pickers. It involves actually caring about the people of the state, who are more than simply nearly 19 million potential Medicare billing statements.
Let's get back to … school?
On the road
"GOP candidate for governor, Rick Scott, stumps in Palm Beach".
"Energy Forum Seeks Green Power Boost from Legislature". Related: "Renewable Energy Finds Political Will at 2010 Florida Energy Summit".
"Thousands of public employees across Florida have flocked to a lucrative retirement program in advance of a new law making it harder for employees to draw pensions while still working."
The Florida Legislature passed a law intended to curb the practice of "double-dipping,'' where employees collect retirement checks while working full-time after a 30-day hiatus. The new provision, effective July 1, requires people to leave their jobs for six months before returning."Bill boosted retirement plan".
But the recent surge in popularity of the Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP) by teachers, police officers, health clinic workers and others could be prompted by another piece of legislation that didn't make it into law thanks to Gov. Charlie Crist's veto pen.
As the spring legislative session ended, lawmakers voted to cut the interest rate applied to retirement benefits in the program to 3 percent from 6.5 percent. The bill also would have taken effect July 1, but Crist vetoed it. The interest rate cut could have saved the state $85 million this year, but many workers would have lost a chunk of the benefits they were promised.
"Scott wants to buy the Governor’s Mansion"
"Rick Scott, millionaire Republican candidate for governor, is asking a federal court to strike down part of Florida's campaign finance law that could allow his primary opponent, Bill McCollum, to keep up with Scott's heavy campaign spending." "Rick Scott sues state over campaign finance law". See also "Scott sues over public campaign money, puts McCollum on the defensive".
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Rick Scott wants to buy the Governor’s Mansion rather than campaign for it. He has asked a federal court to overturn the state’s public campaign financing law so he can spend whatever he wants from his personal fortune on television ads and keep Bill McCollum from receiving public matching money. It is a cynical attempt to drown out his opponent that the courts should reject." "Scott's bid to drown out speech".