Just a lil "bacterial contamination from feces"
The Sun Sentinel editorial board: "Without a doubt, Florida's most precious resource, and one of its heftiest economic drivers, is its pristine beaches, considered some of the best in the world. And key to being pristine, of course, is the quality of a beach's water."
So state officials made quite a splash recently when they announced they were slashing funding for the Florida Healthy Beaches program roughly in half, ending weekly testing for bacteria at 55 beaches across the state.
But the the editors can live with that.
But the cuts, even if they won't make a huge dent in the state's ongoing budget shortfall, present no real reason for concern — yet.
The Florida Department of Health is cutting $525,000 from Healthy Beaches, leaving $539,000 expected in federal grant money to pay for the statewide program [Thank you, President Obama].
To accommodate the funding drop, health officials are eliminating bacterial tests at 55 of the least problematic beaches.
Bacterial contamination from human or animal feces is a serious concern long recognized by the Healthy Beaches program, and it's a significant public health threat that deserves vigilant monitoring. Carving out the cleanest, less populated beaches from the testing program is a relatively innocuous hit considering the level of funding cuts state services have been shouldering.
"Keep stressed beaches under testing watch". Background: "State plans to drop beach water-quality testing at 5 spots in region".
But any plans to put the rest of the program on the chopping block in future years would seriously threaten Florida's reputation for putting a premium on pristine beaches.
Much of Scott road-building binge to be paid for with toll-taxes
Mike Thomas: "Scott wants to embark on a road-building binge and pay for much of it with tolls. It's a win-win. No new taxes. And all those liberal-arts majors turning the SLOW and STOP signs at construction sites will count toward his 700,000 new jobs."
Thomas then stops to inject some his firefighter-cop union hating, whining - without any basis for saying so - that
dwindling local taxes are pledged to public-safety-union pensions.After that bit of trollery*, Thomas continues:
The American Society of Civil Engineers recently reported that America's crumbling transportation infrastructure will cost the country $3.1 trillion in lost GDP growth by the end of this decade.
"Hate tax hikes? Then get ready for toll roads".
Meanwhile, Congress plans to cut $2.5 trillion out of the budget by the end of this decade. Rick Scott wants to cut more taxes. A property-tax amendment headed for the Florida ballot would cost local governments billions.
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*What's Thomas''s point? Should we cut fire and cop pensions? That bit of derriere kissing will surely make Thomas' employer happy, and will no doubt get him an invitation for drinks with the Chamber swells.
Hasner, LeMieux straw poll set for Sept. 22-24
"The Florida GOP's "Presidency 5" powwow set for Sept. 22-24 hasn't generated a lot of buzz, and last week in Iowa with the national political press corps it was hard to find reporters more than vaguely aware of the event."
But it looks more and more like a big deal.
"Held in conjunction with the American Conservative Union's first regional Conservative Political Action Committee conference, the event certainly will give thousands of GOP activists in Florida an up-close look at the Republican presidential field."
P5 will be the first major cattle call with Texas Gov. Rick Perry in the race, and some of the also-rans at Ames, Iowa, may be culled from the field.
Last week, the conservative group announced another key event: a straw poll vote on the major candidates for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination — Adam Hasner, George LeMieux, Mike McCalister and Craig Miller."Florida GOP's Presidency 5 worthy of attention".
"If it weren’t so tragic, you’d almost have to laugh"
The Miami Herald's Carl Hiaasen: "Anyone who’s been following this newspaper’s investigation of the wretched conditions in some of Florida’s assisted living facilities ["ALF"] might wonder how the state could have cruelly turned its back on so many sick and helpless people."
The answer is as simple as it is sickening: Money.
"Garcia said he wasn’t aware of language in his own proposal that would have stripped regulators of the authority to revoke the licenses of ALFs with multiple critical violations. People are dying under the most miserable conditions, and this guy conveniently can’t remember pimping a law that would have made things even worse."
Florida doesn’t spend enough of it enforcing the laws and regulations governing ALFs, while the industry spends a fortune buying off key state lawmakers with campaign donations.
One of them is Sen. Rene Garcia, a Republican from Hialeah who chairs the Health Regulation Committee. Remember this character’s name, in case he ever dreams of running for statewide office.
Garcia’s district includes more than 100 assisted living facilities, including some of the worst and most heavily fined in Miami-Dade. Thanks to Garcia and others, it’s not easy for one of these joints to get in trouble, no matter what horrors are taking place inside.
He’s not the only one who’s foggy these days. Sen. Don Gaetz, a Destin Republican, said he couldn’t recall language in one of his own co-sponsored bills that stopped the state from bringing medical teams to ALFs to decide whether sick residents should be removed from the homes for their own safety.
Much more here: "ALF’s foxes guarding the henhouses".
“I just don’t remember,” Gaetz said.
The legislation passed in 2009. Now the ALF operators, not doctors, decide when an ailing resident should be moved. No big deal, unless it happens to be your grandmother or grandfather who’s in trouble.
To further deter nosy inspectors, lawmakers have kept on a shoestring budget the agency charged with overseeing ALFs. Over the last decade, investigations of serious incidents involving residents have declined radically even as the toll of deaths and abuse cases has risen.
Only seven homes were closed during a two-year-period in which the state could have shut down 70, based on repeated violations that endangered residents, fatally in some cases. ...
In the fall, a group of state senators will convene to draw up new legislation that supposedly would increase inspections of ALFs and hike penalties for repeat offenders. ...
But Senate President Mike Haridopolos made sure that the ALF owners will have little to worry about this autumn. ... he appointed none other than Rene Garcia.
If it weren’t so tragic, you’d almost have to laugh.
Second amendment stoopid
"Cities and counties [are] scour[ing] their ordinances to get rid of gun regulations by Oct. 1. That's when a tough new state law, backed by the National Rifle Association, will forbid city and county governments from enacting or enforcing local gun-control regulations." "Florida cities, counties must take local gun laws off books".
Villages idiots pouring into central Florida
"While home construction remains anemic in most of Central Florida, hundreds of houses are rising each month in this mammoth retirement community as seniors continue to flock to the area." "Housing boom continues in The Villages retiree haven".
"Defending the indefensible"
"Kurt Browning on Bay News 9's Political Connections today gives a forceful defense of Florida's controversial new election law changing rules for voter registration and early voting. The old Gov. Scott kept Browning hidden behind press handlers. The new one lets him speak out." "The muzzles come off". Background "It's now tougher to vote".
As The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board recently put it:
Secretary of State Kurt Browning, the former Pasco elections supervisor once known for his integrity and independence, is sacrificing his own reputation to defend the indefensible for his new boss."Assault on democracy".
Rubio, a man of influence
"Sen. Marco Rubio has formed a political action committee he said will be used to help elect other conservatives." "Rubio forms a PAC".
That crazy Marbury v. Madison thing
"Two Miami-Dade judges have rejected an Orlando federal court’s ruling that the state’s drug statute is unconstitutional."
One judge courageously "'decline[d] the defendant’s invitation to ignore the very law that this court has been sworn to uphold.'" "Legal drama flares in Florida drug-law case".
Hmmm ... with that perspective, a judge would never declare an act of the Legislature unconstitutional which ... 'ya know ... is part of that crazy separation of powers ... nutty Marbury v. Madison thing.
If judges are going to uphold the constitutionality of statutes, please do us the favor of doing so because a given statute is - after deep thinking and all that - found to be constitutional, and not merely because the judge "has been sworn to uphold" statutes (without regard to their constitutionality).
"LeMieux has reintroduced immigration into Florida's GOP U.S. Senate primary, saying he supports an Arizona-style law for Florida. ... The candidate's views toward Arizona were once quite different. As an interim U.S. senator, he said Arizona went 'too far, too quick.'" "Changing his stance".