"Only eight days after winning election to Congress, David Rivera sold a condominium to his mother's company in an effort to stave off increasing questions about his personal and campaign finances -- and an unfolding criminal investigation."
The Nov. 10 sale was completed around the same time that Rivera says he repaid $132,000 in undisclosed loans he received from Millennium Marketing, a company run by Rivera's mother and godmother. The two-bedroom condo at 8897 Fontainebleau Blvd. in West Miami-Dade had an assessed value last year of $89,000, county records show."New Congressman David Rivera made quick condo sale, repaid debt". See also "" and "".
Rivera's relationship with Millennium is at the heart of a criminal probe of his personal and campaign finances by the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office, the Miami-Dade Police Department and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Nobody "less appropriate"
"Gov. Rick Scott has appointed an executive of one of Florida's largest land development companies to oversee the state department charged with managing growth."
"I can't think of anyone who would be less appropriate for that job," said Linda Young, director of the Clean Water Network of Florida, who has sparred with Buzzett and St. Joe for years. "To put it mildly, it's troubling to know that he's in charge of steering the growth and development of the state. He has been at the heart and soul of some of the most destructive developments that the Florida Panhandle has seen.""Gov. Rick Scott appoints St. Joe executive to lead Florida growth management agency". See also "St. Joe Exec Billy Buzzett Named to Head DCA".
Another fine Jebacy
"It's a ruling straight out of Kafka: If you lose, you should have known you were going to lose, and therefore your case was frivolous when you filed it, and you will be punished."
As for the court in question?"Court ruling punishes citizens for appealing development cases".
That would be the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee, much in the news for snookering the taxpayers for its palatial new "Taj Mahal" courthouse.
As for the two judges who made this ruling, they are Paul Hawkes, the controversial driving force behind the courthouse, and Bradford Thomas. Both are onetime legislative staffers and employees of former Gov. Jeb Bush, who put them on the court under the more political selection process that began during his term.
While the rest of us were settling into bed ...
Firefighters were up to their elbows in blood and gore: "Southbound lanes of Interstate 95 are open following an overnight, multi-car accident that killed two motorists and a dog and injured at least four others. Authorities say the accident happened about 9:50 p.m. Wednesday when an Infinity was rear-ended and dragged 760 feet beneath a tractor-trailer in Palm Bay." "2 dead in a multi-car wreck on I-95 near Palm Bay".
"Acting on his anti-regulatory priority, Gov. Rick Scott's first act in office was to sign a sweeping executive order putting a hold on all pending state government regulations."
But on Day 2 of Scott's administration, no one within his office or outside of it seemed to know how the action would play out in the real world."Scott orders reviews of 53 rules – but doesn't say how they'll occur".
Teabaggers dancing in the streets
"Newly elected Republican Marco Rubio was sworn in as a U.S. Senator on Wednesday while Republican Allen West took the oath as a new member of the House of Representatives serving Palm Beach and Broward counties." "Tea party favorites Rubio, West take oaths of office in Washington". See also "New U.S. lawmakers West and Rubio find their footing inside the Beltway" and "Black caucus swears in first GOP member in years".
Heaven help us
Some folks actually believe Rubio is "vice presidential or even presidential material"? "Miami's Marco Rubio becomes new Florida senator". See also "Rubio Begins With Heart Full of Ambition for America".
Statewide public corruption grand jury
Michael Mayo: "For nearly a year, a Fort Lauderdale-based grand jury has looked into statewide public corruption. So far, the only tangible result is a 124-page "interim report" released during the holiday lull. Reading it is a depressing reminder why few arrests might follow, even if Gov. Rick Scott extends the term for another six months beyond February." "Will corruption grand jury bring charges, change or just hot air?". See also "Scott needs to confront corruption".
Sabato rates Nelson "vulnerable".
"Gov. Rick Scott has appointed Kurt Browning to return as secretary of state." "Browning named secretary of state".
Rhee stays on board
"While Florida continues to adjust to being led by newly inaugurated Gov. Rick Scott, the new exectuive, continues to flesh out his administration. Scott announced that Michelle Rhee, who was on his transition team and served as chancellor of public schools in Washington D.C., will continue as an advisor on education." "Rick Scott Turns to Familiar Faces to Help Lead State".
"Dennis Ross was sworn in as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday, becoming the ninth person to represent Florida’s 12th Congressional District. And looking at the veteran staff he's recruited, he begins with considerable style." "New Congressman Dennis Ross Brings in Experienced Staff".
Are buses are out of the question?
"As promised, Gov. Rick Scott has ordered the sale of the last two state executive aircraft." "Scott orders state's 2 remaining planes sold".
Meanwhile, make that 700,010 jobs Ricky owes us. See "Gov. Scott puts state planes on auction block" (Scott laid off the 10 employees who keep them flying).
55,000 Haitians with approved visas on hold
The Miami Herald editorial board writes that "only the Obama administration can help Haitians help themselves by allowing the 55,000 Haitians who have approved U.S. visas from before the quake to join their families here. Incredibly, the Department of Homeland Security hasn't bothered to do right by those 55,000 Haitians." "Open the door, Mr. President". The Palm Beach Post editors: "Let Haitian immigrants come earlier, but reverse policy if influx starts to overwhelm Florida".
Florida "the drug supplier for the rest of the country"
"Calling Florida 'the drug supplier for the rest of the country,' former state Sen. Dave Aronberg is leading Attorney General Pam Bondi's fight against "pill mills."" "Bondi, Aronberg Aim to Shut Down 'Pill Mills'".
Jebbite Mike Thomas is attempting to make a point in this sloppy column, he just doesn't know what it is: "Rick Scott's stance on vouchers scares teachers".
Buchanan publicity stunt
"Buchanan proposes balanced budget amendment".
"When Florida’s legislators gather in March for the 2011 legislative session, tackling the state’s $3.5 billion deficit will be one of their most difficult tasks." "State Revenues Down More Than $1 Trillion in 2009".
Heavier tax burden for reduced services
The latest from the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy: "Florida’s new governor and legislative leaders have indicated that they will rely solely on spending cuts to balance the state budget in the legislative session beginning in March. Once again Florida faces a gap – this one estimated at $3.5 billion – between anticipated revenue and the costs of continuing current state services."
Since 2007, the legislature has taken a series of actions to balance the budget in response to the recession. Included are cuts to services depended upon by Floridians and imposing new fees and taxes that hit middle- and low-income Floridians disproportionately."Paying More for Less: Budget Cuts Will Hurt Floridians As Tax System Remains Inadequate".
The result is that these Florida residents are being asked to pay a heavier tax burden for a reduced level of public services.
"One of Rick Scott’s first acts as governor was to sign an executive order requiring all state agencies (and perhaps more importantly, companies that contract with state agencies) to screen employees using the Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify system, which allows employers to ensure that people they hire are eligible to work in the United States." "Scott orders immigration screening for state employees".
"Jobs a priority for Congress".
Scott in a rail bind
"The Florida Tampa-to-Orlando high-speed line is still in doubt as Gov. Rick Scott ponders the project's cost and financial impact. His verdict is due in February but, with Florida's budget deficit at $3.5 billion, the governor says all state agencies, including the Department of Transportation and its Florida Rail Enterprise, will have to justify every penny they want to spend." "The Uncertain Future of the High-Speed Rail Program".
"Deep South state whose past is obscured"
"Carroll has become second-in-command in a Deep South state whose past is obscured by its sunny reputation."
Between 1882 and 1930, there were 212 black victims of white lynch mobs in Florida, according to research from the University of Illinois. The 1923 Rosewood massacre, when a rampaging mob murdered residents of a black Levy County community and burned it to the ground, was just one of numerous incidents of racially motivated violence."As Jennifer Carroll takes office, Florida's grim past recedes a little further".
In Tallahassee, a Confederate flag went up outside the entrance to the state Capitol in 1978 and stayed there until 2001.
New kids on the block
"In Congress, the new kids from Florida are in town". See also "Adams takes her seat in Congress", "New House members' austerity extends to receptions" and "Eight Freshmen From Florida Enter Congress".
Bald man's deregulation
"Anyone with a pair of scissors and blow dryer may be able to hang a shingle and go to work on customers without training or professional oversight." "Fla. beauticians fear Scott's rule-cutting plans".