"After six months as governor, Rick Scott remains a national punch line." "Can Florida Gov. Rick Scott become more than a punch line?".
Republicans trade decent treatment of elderly for partisan gain
The Saint Petersburg Times editors: "To score political points against President Barack Obama's health care reforms, Florida's Republican legislative leaders have rejected millions of federal dollars to help the frail elderly stay in their homes."
It is unconscionable and suggests Tallahassee's leadership is ready to trade commonsense and decent treatment of Florida's elders for purely partisan gain."Elderly pay price for political ploy".
The five-year, $35.7 million grant left on the table by the state Legislative Budget Committee last month means Florida won't participate in a compassionate federal program launched in 2005 under Republican President George W. Bush. It pays for seniors and the disabled to be cared for at home or at an assisted living facility rather than be consigned to a nursing home.
Dem in Medicaid mess
"Months after Florida lawmaker Daphne Campbell [a Democrat whose House district covers northeast Miami-Dade] promised to crack down on Medicaid fraud, state agents are now carrying out her pledge by focusing on an unexpected target: Campbell’s own health-care business." "Medicaid fraud probe focuses on state lawmaker".
Ricky's bad week
"Weekly Roundup: Big and Mostly Bad for Gov. Rick Scott". See also "The Week in Review for June 27-July 1".
SunRail approved, Teabaggers on fire
"Branded the Great Divider by Florida's mainstream media, Gov. Rick Scott is now the Great Uniter. Everyone is mad at him. Red-meat conservatives feel furiously betrayed after he approved SunRail, a multibillion-dollar train project they dismiss as a boondoggle. Lefties -- who have been quiet on the issue, or passively supportive -- call him a hypocrite for killing high-speed rail (read: Obamarail) and green-lighting SunRail, which was backed by GOP leaders." "On SunRail, Rick Scott Takes Train to Middle of Nowhere".
"In an affront to his tea party base and to backers of a Florida bullet train he killed earlier this year, Gov. Rick Scott on Friday gave the green light to SunRail, a controversial Orlando-area commuter rail project on hold since he took office."
Critics characterized the move as hypocritical in light of Scott's high-speed rail decision and stated principle of limited government spending, but he defended it by saying SunRail was in the works before he became governor and was so far along he had no choice but to approve it. ..."Gov. Scott approves SunRail". See also "Rick Scott OKs SunRail; Critics See Train Wreck Ahead", "Pulled between business and tea party types, Scott says SunRail decision came down to law". More: "Rick Scott criticized for funding Orlando's SunRail" ("Scott's approval Friday of an Orlando-area commuter rail project drew blistering rebukes from both his tea party base and supporters of the high-speed rail project Scott scuttled earlier this year.")
Detractors, though, accused Scott of putting politics before principles.
"He is an insider now. He can no longer say that he is an outsider," said state Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, referring to Scott's pitch on the campaign trail that he was not part of the Florida political establishment.
Joyner was one of two state senators to unsuccessfully sue Scott in the Florida Supreme Court after he rejected $2.4 billion in federal funding for a high-speed rail line connecting Tampa to Orlando, citing concerns about potential costs to Florida taxpayers.
Although the federal government was prepared to pay for nearly all of the bullet train's construction, Scott continued to fret about possible state expenses.
The line was part of President Barack Obama's vision for a nationwide high-speed rail system.
"It was all anti-Obama," Joyner said. "It's clear the high-speed rail project was rejected purely for political reasons."
Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, a champion of high-speed rail and critic of SunRail, decried Scott's decision, calling out the deal's payment to CSX, a Jacksonville-based freight operator.
"It is unclear if when making the decision the governor had a change of heart, if he simply succumbed to the desires of the big money special interests, or if he has a severe case of amnesia and thought that he was supposed to be representing CSX instead of Florida's taxpayers," she said. "When the SunRail/CSX commuter project is viewed from a purely business vantage point, the project falls so far below what a savvy business owner would accept that it is somewhat baffling." ...
Everett Wilkinson, chairman of the South Florida Tea Party, said that Scott's decision was "influenced by big-money lobbyists" and that the governor "failed to deliver on his promises."
"I really thought he was going to fight more for the taxpayers and wouldn't give up," Wilkinson said. "Tea party members are shaking their heads wondering why Scott did this. In the coming weeks, I am sure Gov. Scott will face disappointed and angry tea party members across Florida."
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Rick Scott made the right call in approving SunRail".
Seemingly incurable disease spreads in Florida
"Wal-Mart to add new stores, upgrade others in S. Fla.".
"Few things come easy in the Glades"
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Few things come easy in the Glades, not even drinking water. As if nearly 40 percent unemployment and the imminent closing of the nearby prison weren't enough, the three cities in western Palm Beach County are facing yet another survival threat: leaky pipes and a money-losing water utility." "Bigger county role inevitable".
"Scott wouldn’t know because he doesn’t read newspapers"
The Miami Herald editorial board: "Gov. Scott’s automated calls started in May, in an attempt to drum up support for the nationally unpopular governor. In the first call, he cheerily dissed a number of hometown projects as 'special-interest waste.' That only ticked off Republican lawmakers, who had crafted the state budget and whose projects, some that would have improved residents’ quality of life, went nowhere."
In the second call, he touted getting tough on welfare recipients — a perennially favorite group to smear — and cracking down on Florida’s pill mills. (Of course, it took a while for it to dawn on the governor that these were a problem worth tackling.) In the third call, last week, he talked of lowering property taxes and whacking water management districts. ... "Vexed in Florida".
Gov. Scott may have missed that, coincidentally, residents in Miami-Dade were dodging the shrapnel of a bruising campaign for county mayor, and robocalls were a big part of each campaign’s strategy.
Of course, Gov. Scott wouldn’t know because he says he doesn’t read Florida newspapers. Too bad he didn’t get a clue. The robocalls aren’t necessarily lifting his dismal poll numbers. The good news is that we taxpayers aren’t funding this cheerleading campaign — the state Republican Party is. The bad news is, those calls are annoying the heck out of people.
Not so long ago ...
"Fort Lauderdale marks 50th anniversary of fight to desegregate beach".
"Scott has started to take crisis seriously"
The Miami Herald editors: "After years of lackadaisical oversight of the state’s 2,850 private assisted-living facilities, Florida regulators are starting to crack down. Hallelujah! ... Rick Scott has started to take this crisis seriously, as he should. We’ve said it before: His commitment must be long term and transparent, giving Floridians all the information they should have to evaluate such facilities." "Scott steps it up on regulating ALFs".
Many homes worth less than the homestead exemption
"[M]ore than 18,800 homeowners in Broward County and 16,700 in Palm Beach County--[are] living in houses, condos or coops-- ... are not required to pay property taxes because the value of their units is less than their $25,000 homestead exemption." "Many property owners paying no taxes".
Blame the workers
"Gimenez takes oath, then requests union pay cuts".
Florida continues to "embarrass" itself
The Sun Sentinel editorial board: "Legalized gay marriage continues to be a national trend. Unfortunately, don't expect that trend to come to Florida any time in the near future."
The nation seems much more aware that same-sex marriage is a matter of equality for all. Just don't expect that awareness to reach Florida soon."Florida not close to backing gay marriage".
Florida was, embarrassingly, the last state to stop banning gay adoptions, and that didn't happen until last year and not until after numerous court battles and legislative attempts. It will be even harder to get same-sex marriage legalized in Florida, since state voters approved the Marriage Protection Amendment to the state constitution in 2008.
Florida for sale
"Despite strong criticism from members of his own party, Republican Gov. Rick Scott on Friday defended his administration's push to add new campgrounds with spaces for recreational vehicles in more than 50 state parks, including Dunedin's popular Honeymoon Island State Park." "Gov. Rick Scott defends plan to expand camping in state parks".
What's the problem?
"Broward, Palm Beach schools stay A-rated" and "Palm Beach County schools maintain A rating".
Kingsley Guy has "Some advice for Republicans wanting to challenge Obama": "Stick close to Jeb Bush. The former governor's support and advice will be important to winning Florida, and as Florida goes, so goes the nation."
"Chilling effect of scrutiny on state government"
"Scott, whose relationship with the media has been a little rocky since he took office in January, spoke at the annual Florida Press Association/Florida Society of News Editors convention and was twice asked about his policies on public records."
St. Petersburg Times Editor Paul Tash told Scott told that one of his reporters obtained thousands of pages of public records at a cost of about $150 to investigate a story on the exorbitant cost of a courthouse, but under Scott's policy it would have cost her thousands of dollars to get the same records."Gov. Scott: Media should pay for public records". See also "Gov. Rick Scott goes 'into lion's den' to address newspaper editors".
"Governor, is the extra revenue to the state worth the tradeoff of the chilling effect of scrutiny on state government?" Tash asked.
Scott defended his policy.
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Scott shows contempt for open government".