"Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon says the Republican Party of Florida should have paid ousted party chairman Jim Greer the $123,000 severance deal it signed then trashed." "Cannon: Florida GOP should have paid Jim Greer his $123,000 severance". See also "Republican Party of Florida officials' depositions add insight in case against ex-chairman Jim Greer".
"A planning travesty"
"The former head of Florida's growth-management agency testified Tuesday that the proposed city of Farmton would be 'a planning travesty' if allowed to move forward because it would bring as many as 23,000 homes to a remote, environmentally sensitive area."
Tom Pelham, former secretary of the state Department of Community Affairs, told an administrative law judge that he rejected Farmton plans approved by Volusia County because they would have allowed excessive development on a massive expanse of wetlands and forests. ..."Farmton a 'planning travesty,' former state growth chief says in hearing".
Farmton, which could one day have 50,000 residents, is proposed for 59,000 acres west of Interstate 95 in Brevard and Volusia counties. The acreage, one of the largest undeveloped tracts in Central Florida, is now a tree farm that's home to black bears and other wildlife.
"Florida has 3rd highest rate of uninsured residents"
"Florida, the state which led the challenge to the health care overhaul law, had the nation's third highest rate of residents without health insurance during the past three years, according to Census data released Tuesday." "Census: Florida has 3rd highest rate of uninsured residents".
"In Florida, 3.8 million people — more than one in five — were without health insurance last year. Nationwide, the number of uninsured was closer to one in six." "Numbers of poor, uninsured increase, census figures show".
See you in Havana
"Island Travel & Tours will offer a flight from the Washington area and become the third company to offer Cuba service from Tampa." "New charter flights from U.S. to Cuba announced".
The Sarasota connection
The Sarasota Herald Tribune editorial board: "A statement by FBI Miami — discounting new reports of a possible 9/11 link to a Saudi family that once lived in Sarasota — is wholly unsatisfying."
It points to a need to release information long withheld by the U.S. government."Explore Saudi-Sarasota link".
The FBI statement is at odds with a counterterrorism agent's revelation that the family had received phone calls from numbers linked to the 9/11 hijackers — some of whom took flight training in Venice.
The FBI statement also conflicts with reports that the family was visited by people using a car licensed to Mohamed Atta — who crashed the first plane into the World Trade Center that terrible September morning in 2001.
Last week's bombshell report about the former Sarasota family — heretofore undisclosed despite intense media coverage of the 9/11 investigation and the attacks' al-Qaida perpetrators — was written by independent reporters Anthony Summers and Dan Christensen. It was widely published and led to further reporting by the Herald-Tribune, which detailed the Saudi family's sudden abandonment of their home in the Prestancia subdivision less than two weeks before the 9/11 tragedy.
Crazy train heads back to Orlando
"While most eyes will be focused next week on the presidential candidates speaking at the Republican Party of Florida’s Presidency 5 summit and the American Conservative Union’s Conservative Political Action Conference meeting in Orlando, the field of Republicans aiming to replace Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in 2012 will also be on stage." "With Straw Poll at CPAC Looming, GOP Senate Hopefuls Build Support".
Higher Education Coordinating Council
"Higher Ed Council Prepares Goals for Legislature".
Perry not crazy enough for Florida GOP primary voters?
"A darling of the tea party, Rick Perry could lose some Republican support for his positions on an Arizona-style immigration law, tuition help for some illegal immigrants and his opposition to a border fence." "Will Rick Perry’s political stock plunge over his immigration stance?" Related: "Perry assailed by GOP rivals, defends his record".
"First impressions are discouraging"
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Floridians are getting an unusually close look at the Republican candidates for president with Monday night’s debate in Tampa and next week’s debate in Orlando. Halfway through the doubleheader, the first impressions are discouraging." "Many voices, few answers".
At the zoo
"Newt Gingrich seeks out crowd at Tampa zoo event".
What's a winger to do?
"Florida, you may recall, wrestled with the vaccines in 2007. Three Republicans pushed a proposal to make the vaccine mandatory for 11- and 12-year-olds. But the plan, pushed by drugmaker Merck, came under opposition from religious conservatives who said it was akin to promoting early sex." "Gov. Rick Perry's vaccine quandary familiar to Florida Republicans".
"Clash of the silk suit titans"
Fred Grimm: "The capital seems peaceful enough, even a little sleepy in the muggy September heat. But down in the nether regions of Tallahassee, out of public view, terrible mercenaries prepare for the coming battle. Call it the clash of the silk suit titans."
Gambling interests, from South Florida, from Las Vegas, from around the globe, are hiring fearsome armies of lobbyists to shape or thwart gaming legislation percolating in the Legislature. Particularly, the twin bills sponsored by Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff of Fort Lauderdale and Rep. Erik Fresen of Miami that would permit three giant “destination casinos” in South Florida."Casino battle is great news for lobbyists".
Rubio can't make house payments, lectures Obama on foreign affairs
This borders on the absurd: the man who could not keep up with his mortgage payments as criticizes President Obama as "so slow and hesitant that we have missed some significant opportunities to alter the strategic landscape in America’s favor." "Marco Rubio: American Global Leadership 'Missing'". See also "Rubio: Obama missed chances in Iran, Syria".
Background: "Senate candidate Marco Rubio in foreclosure tangle over Tallahassee property" ("Marco Rubio is again answering questions about troubles with his personal finances after a bank sought to foreclose on a Tallahassee home he owns with another Miami lawmaker. Rubio and David Rivera, the House budget chairman who is running for Congress in Miami, failed to make payments for five months").
Citizens lash out against Citizens
"Homeowners trying to stay afloat lash out against increases in sinkhole insurance rates from state-run Citizens Property Insurance." "Citizens policyholders jeer rate hikes". See also "Citizens Blast Citizens' Rate Hike Proposal".