Fred Grimm is all over the Rivera scandal; here's a taste: "Flagler Dog Track, desperate for slots money, mistakenly figured they had hired state Rep. Rivera to run the pro slots campaign for Miami-Dade in 2006. The Herald's Scott Hiaasen and Patricia Mazzei perused a $510,000 contract with the dog track that named Rivera both strategic director and 'Top Leader of Chain of Command of All Campaign Consultants And Campaign Activities.'"
In some places, that sounds like "boss.'' Not in David Rivera's Miami."If Rivera was an unpaid helper, that would explain why he reported no income from the slots campaign on financial-disclosure forms he submitted to the state ethics commission in 2006, 2007 and 2008."
During his successful congressional campaign last fall, Rivera insisted that he had only helped out with the gambling referendum. As if his contribution was as modest as a volunteer stamp licker, envelope stuffer, phone bank caller. Just another unpaid helper.
The money, instead, was paid to an entity called Millennium Marketing. An attorney for Flagler (known lately, in all its slotty glory, as Magic City Casino) told Hiaasen and Mazzei that it was Rivera who insisted on running the money through Millennium.Much more here: "Did 'Momma's little helper,' Congressman-elect David Rivera, call the shots on slots campaign?"
Perhaps it is only one of the coincidences peculiar to life in the Magic City that Millennium happens to be run by Rivera's 70-year-old mother and his godmother. ...
Hiaasen and Mazzei stumbled across another confounding oddity in the Rivera-Millennium contract: The track-turned-casino still owes Millennium and Momma's little helper an additional half-million dollars for a "success fee.'' The would-be recipients have never bothered to collect -- another mysterious aspect of the ever-enigmatic Rivera. ...
The Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office, however, has developed a keen interest in the puzzling employment history of David Rivera, along with his obtuse disclosures and meandering explanations.
The best we can do?
"Attorney General-elect Pam Bondi says she wants to help restore balance between the federal government and the states. Today she announced her support of the Repeal Amendment, an amendment to the U.S. Constitution which would allow two-thirds of the states to repeal any law or regulation of Congress." "Florida's Pam Bondi Joins 11 Other States to Support 'Repeal Amendment'".
Poor Ricky getting few takers
"Scott, who ran on a platform of shaking up state government, has yet to announce a single appointment." "Scott keeping on high-level state staff temporarily". See also "Scott asks 400 state staffers to rescind resignations for now". See also "Scott asks more than 400 top-level state officials to stay on the job".
The Palm Beach Post editors write that Rick Scott seems to have "failed his first assignment."
This is the same Rick Scott who said seven weeks ago as he named a transition team: "We're rolling." ..."Scott transition: With many key posts still unfilled, let's not get to work".
Predictably, Mr. Scott's transition chairwoman - the lawyer he hired when his hospital company faced fraud charges - dismisses the delay. ...
Candidate Rick Scott said he would bring that CEO-efficiency mind-set to running the state. So to run the transition he names a person with a strong connection to him but a faint connection to Florida?
"Folks inside Team Scott are starting to refer to Jan. 4 as the 'coronation' instead of the inauguration, which is expected to exceed $3 million in costs." "Rick Scott inaugural haul climbs to $2.5 million".
"Scott's inaugural parade-participant list announced".
"A flashy finish"
"With his tenure in the U.S. Senate coming to a close, less than a year and a half after Gov. Charlie Crist appointed him to the seat vacated by Mel Martinez, Republican U.S. Sen. George LeMieux attempted to walk away from Washington with a flashy finish and hope for a curtain call -- increasing speculation that he intends to take on Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in 2012." "George LeMieux Exits Stage Right".
"Government is not a business"
Bill Cotterell points out that "Government is not a business, no matter how many politicians promise to run it like one." "Scott gets a primer on customer service".
Census data today
"The U.S. Census Bureau is scheduled to announce its statistics from the 2010 Census Tuesday, and as a result, Florida is slated to get at least one -- and possibly two -- extra seats in the House of Representatives." "U.S. Census Data to be Released Tuesday".
Small man, big decisions
"[J]ust as Scott is lining up such major repositories of cash as the Florida Retirement System and state worker health insurance for changes to extract savings, prison health care services are a big-ticket item that could rain dollars if revamped just right. Still, done badly, the initiative could also backfire on the incoming governor." "Roadmap Emerging for Rick Scott's $1 Billion Prisons Cut".
Car salesman blues
"In a case filed Friday in Florida’s Middle District, the Federal Election Commission alleges a pattern of questionable contributions made to the 2006 and 2008 campaigns of Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota. Though Buchanan himself isn’t named as a defendant in the lawsuit, a company he owned and a business partner are being accused of offering reimbursements for money donated to his campaign, and of violating excessive contribution laws." "Federal Election Commission files suit over Buchanan campaign contributions". See also "Buchanan's former partner named in election lawsuit".
"Monument to self-entitlement"
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Public records show asphalt wasn't good enough for the scheming appellate judges who orchestrated the conspiracy to build themselves a palatial $48 million courthouse in Tallahassee. Their drive into a parking garage at the new 1st District Court of Appeal required concrete — even though all other parking lots could be asphalt. Their private bathrooms would need soundproofing; their spacious chambers, individual thermostats; and the courthouse's rotunda columns, a treatment to look like marble."
But then-Chief Judge Paul Hawkes wanted to be sure everyone kept in mind the big picture in early 2009 after he drove by the "Taj Mahal" construction site. He wrote an e-mail to his colleagues evoking President Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg: "Our efforts will not be long remembered, but they are of great note.""A monumental abuse of power".
Instead, the ostentatious courthouse that opened Monday is a monument to self-entitlement, insider dealing and the abuse of power — all at taxpayer expense.
Teabaggers pushing RPOFers around
"The Sunshine State is leading a lawsuit that hopes to strike down two of its main provisions, penalties for those who choose not to buy insurance and requirements that states accept more Medicaid recipients. State legislators are also trying to get a constitutional amendment placed on the 2012 ballot that would allow Floridians to opt out of the requirement to obtain health insurance. Tea party groups across the state, however, also want the Florida Legislature to pass a substantive law similar to one enacted by Virginia, that prohibits the 'individual mandate' penalizing those who do not obtain health insurance." "Tea Party Groups Want State Health-Care Opt-Out Law".
Bilirakis slams ACORN
"U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis will chair the Emergency Communications, Preparedness and Response Subcommittee of the Homeland Security Committee -- giving the Florida Republican leadership the job of overseeing FEMA and emergency responses."
From his new perch, Bilirakis will also have a large role in preparedness funds -- a familiar topic for the Florida Republican and bad news for the controversial group Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). Bilirakis has asked more than a few pointed questions about ACORN receiving federal funds through FEMA."Gus Bilirakis to Chair Major Disaster Preparedness Subcommittee".
Earlier in the month, Bilirakis launched his latest salvo at ACORN when he announced that he had sent a letter last week to W. Craig Fugate of FEMA demanding to know why the group was sending money to ACORN through a grant program.
Bilirakis pointed to a report from the Department of Homeland Security office of inspector general that showed ACORN was awarded more than $450,000 through a fire prevention and safety grant by FEMA back in FY 2007. Bilirakis maintained that ACORN had no such expertise.
"ACORN has demonstrated it is not worthy of the public’s trust and as I have repeatedly stated, the Department of Homeland Security should not have provided funding to this corrupt enterprise," said Bilirakis. "Scarce Homeland Security resources should only be provided to reputable organizations that will strengthen our nation’s preparedness, not wasted on those that won’t."
Wingnuts running wild in Tally
"Governor-elect Rick Scott was urged on Monday to make a startling overhaul of state government, as he was called on to merge state agencies, change the type of health care services the poor receive, and revamp the way the state keeps tab on its growth."
A total of seven state agencies which control more than half of Florida’s budget were being recommended to be shrunk into just two agencies. One would be a merger of all health and human service agencies into one new agency, while another agency would bring together the Department of Transportation with the agencies responsible for environmental regulations and reviewing growth rules.Much more here: "Scott urged on to make massive changes to state government and state laws".
Scott was urged to make wholesale changes to how the state regulates growth, eliminating what were called duplicate state rules for environmental permitting, eliminating state oversight of comprehensive planning and getting rid of the requirement that roads must be able to handle growth at the time a development is built.
Scott urged to create giant bureaucracy
"Gov. Rick Scott should reverse the work of Gov. Lawton Chiles 20 years ago, when he pushed for the separation of the state's social service agencies, and get back to a large Department of Health and Human Services, Scott's health care advisory team told him in a 68-page report on Monday." "Scott urged to merge health agencies".