"Documents signed by Lt. Gov-elect Jennifer Carroll show her consulting firm leasing office space in Jacksonville that another tenant said was leased to him at the same time. Both state and county records show the tenant was there, and Carroll was not." "T-U: Jennifer Carroll used false paperwork to get govt contract" (it was "reported last month that altered documents were in the files of Carroll's company when the city reviewed its eligibility"). See also "Utility records shed doubt on company with ties to Lt. Gov.-elect Carroll" and "More falsified lease documents tied to Carroll's consulting firm".
A state employee engaging in this behavior would of course be fired.
Heros and zeros
Nancy Smith: "Don Gaetz, Hero; Susan Bucher Down in Chad Central, Zero".
"The hype is almost deafening"
"As Marco Rubio arrives in Washington in the coming week for Senate meetings and orientation, the hype is almost deafening." "Marco Rubio rollout aims to manage expectations".
"Florida lawmakers are poised to do something they haven't done in 12 years and that they've accomplished only twice in the last 24 - override a governor's veto."
The Republican-controlled Legislature's agenda for a planned one-day special session Tuesday includes override votes on up to nine bills and one budget item. All were vetoed earlier this year by Gov. Charlie Crist, who quit the GOP to run unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate as an independent."The GOP gained five seats in the House and two in the Senate at the Nov. 2 election. That gives Republicans veto-proof majorities of more than two-thirds in each chamber - 81-39 in the House, and 28-12 in the Senate."
One Senate Democrat, Frederica Wilson, will miss the special session because she was elected to the U.S. House and will be attending a congressional orientation session. A special election will be called to replace her once she resigns from her state position."Rare veto override votes set Tuesday in Fla.". See also "GOP legislature flexes muscle with Tuesday's one-day session", "Lawmakers may revive AC rebates", "Big Week Ahead at the Capitol" and "Capitol teems with new blood" ("When lawmakers convene Tuesday for a special session, there will be lots of new faces in the crowd -- most of them Republicans who will comprise a veto-proof majority.")
The House will welcome 44 new members. They include three former representatives returning after being out of office for at least one term: Reps. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala; Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart, and Irv Sloshberg, D-Boca Raton.
There'll be 11 new senators including two returning after breaks in service: Sens. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, and Gwen Margolis, D-North Miami Beach. This is a second comeback for Margolis, who was Senate president in 1990-92.
"The paperwork equivalent of a tidal wave"
"By the end of June, a towering backlog of foreclosure filings piled up on the court system in Orange and Osceola counties — the legal paperwork equivalent of a tidal wave." "Backlog, questions could slow foreclosures in Florida".
4.1 million Floridians without health insurance
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "The way many Republican politicians in Florida see it, the party's resounding victories in last week's elections amount to a work order from voters to demolish federal health-care reform. Never mind the exit polls that showed voters were far more concerned with reviving the economy."
But in their zeal to scrap the law, few if any Republicans are offering an alternative that would effectively address the overwhelming problem that spurred the effort to reform health care — the tens of millions of Americans without health insurance. ..."Don't abandon health-care reform".
The Census Bureau reported in September that 4.1 million Floridians didn't have health insurance last year, meaning 22.4 percent of them went uncovered — the second-highest share among states.
People without health insurance don't get the regular care they need to stay healthy. They often end up in emergency rooms, raising costs for everyone else. And a serious illness or accident can wipe out their savings.
A repeal bill passed by the GOP-led U.S. House would be a political ploy, not a serious policy effort.
"On Friday, the Tea Party Patriots lived up to just about every stereotype about the movement that its critics have about the tea party insurgency. In a single email, the Patriots acted paranoid, attacked fellow conservatives, alienated Republicans, sounded unhinged, got their facts wrong and had to sheepishly apologize to all involved. They also dished out the personal cell phone numbers of many incoming freshmen -- leading to a bombardment of calls from angry tea partiers." "Tea Party Fail".
RPOFers waste money "settling old scores with Crist"
The Miami Herald editorial board: "State legislators are getting right to work. Not content to wait till their regular meeting in March, they'll hold a special lawmaking session Tuesday in Tallahassee, the same day they swear in their new members."
Voters made it clear on Election Day that the most urgent matter facing the state is the economy. They said in no uncertain terms that Job One should be, well, jobs."Settling old scores?"
But it won't be. That's a mistake.
The incoming leaders of Florida's veto-proof, Republican-controlled Legislature, as their first action, plan to take up a series of bills that now lame-duck Gov. Charlie Crist vetoed. Many of the bills are benign. Some might even pump money into the economy. Some may deserve an override, the first in Florida since 1997.
But in a state staggering under an 11.9 percent unemployment rate, after an election that swept Republicans into office to cut government and create jobs, lawmakers should have no question about their top agenda item: jobs.
Not tidying up previous business. Not settling old scores with Gov. Crist, who enraged the Republican Party with his failed independent bid for a U.S. Senate seat.
Expect the worst
"Of all the issues Gov.-elect Rick Scott addressed during his campaign - abortion, immigration, health care, taxes, offshore drilling, school vouchers, gay marriage, limits on lawsuits, and the $1.7 billion in Medicare fraud fines paid by his former company, the environment received almost no play." "Scott's conservation policies a mystery". Here's a hint: "Rick Scott, others, seeking delay in EPA water rules" ("Politicians and agriculture and business interests say they will be too costly and set back Florida's economic recovery.")
Mortician may need help
"Political observers in both parties say Southerland is safe unless two things happen — a strong Democratic candidate arises in the Big Bend and the Republicans fail to deliver in Washington. But congressional redistricting in 2012 is in GOP hands in Tallahassee and, despite a new constitutional mandate forbidding incumbent protection or partisan gerrymandering, the Legislature could lop off some Democratic population pockets and pad Southerland's district with more Republicans in the western Panhandle — if he needed it." "Southerland ready for shift to office-holder".
Did "Sink deemphasize the Hispanic vote"?
Fernand R. Amandi: "Democrats squandered a genuine chance of recapturing the governor's office, a seat they haven't held for 12 years. This would have been a critical pick up, particularly with redistricting on the horizon and the 2012 campaign approaching."
How did this happen? One important factor: An early strategic decision by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink to deemphasize the Hispanic vote, ignoring a crucial element of the winning roadmap laid out by the Obama campaign in 2008.Much more: "Hispanic voters really matter now".
For the past 10 years, our firm and others have heralded the increasing importance of the Hispanic constituency in statewide elections in Florida and elsewhere. Exhibit A: In 2004, George Bush won 56 percent of the Hispanic vote in Florida, but just four years later, Barack Obama won 57 percent of that vote, a swing large enough to turn Florida blue and help propel him into the White House.
Now, just two years after that, the Sink campaign received only 48 percent of this crucial vote and as a result lost the election by a single percentage point. Contrary to all the righteous indignation about the president and his agenda as an excuse for Sink's failure, it was this critical tactical error that cost her the election.
Have Hispanics become more conservative in the past two years? No. Have Hispanics abandoned the president or overwhelmingly disagree with his policies? No.
Rather, here is a more simple explanation of what happened: Hispanic turnout among conservative Cuban voters in Miami was up as a result of having Senate candidate Marco Rubio, a conservative Cuban, on the ballot, while turnout among progressive Hispanics, who actually form a majority of Hispanics statewide, was down because there was virtually no Democratic campaign to reach out to them.
Turnout was particularly low in non-Cuban Hispanic precincts in Miami-Dade, Broward and Osceola counties, three counties with majority Democratic voter registrations and sizable non-Cuban Hispanic populations.
Ricky don't like rules
"Gov.-elect Scott, staff get course in Sunshine Law".
Rail bidders holocaust role
"France's state-run railroad has for the first time expressed 'sorrow and regret' for its role in the deportation of Jews during World War II. But the mea culpa is confined to its English language Web site and part of a bid to secure a lucrative U.S. rail contract. The railroad, known as the SNCF, won an appeal in 2007 of a French lawsuit over its role in the Nazi deportation, and now is trying to convince Floridians of its good faith." "French Railroad Apologizes For Holocaust Role Amid Florida Bid".
Republican Party of Florida chairman race
"In the run for Republican Party of Florida chairman, Joe Gruters, the young party leader from Sarasota County, may have the inside track. Though GOP veterans Sid Dinerstein, Deborah Cox Roush and Sharon Day are angling for the position being vacated by state Sen. John Thrasher, incoming Gov. Rick Scott has said Gruters would be his choice." "Road to RPOF Chairmanship Runs Through Sarasota".
"Incoming class contains 37 rookies and three old hands". "A Look at the 40 New Faces in the Florida House".
"Fla. dealership offers free AK-47 for truck buyers".