"In interview after interview as they filed out of the Orange County Convention Center hall where votes were cast, delegates pointed to his support for a state-based version of the DREAM Act — which provides in-state tuition rates to some illegal immigrants — and his denouncement of those who disagree as lacking 'a heart.' ... Immigration is particularly potent in Florida politics. Florida Gov. Rick Scott won an upset victory in the GOP primary last year after attacking state Attorney General Bill McCollum for his more moderate stances." "Delegates slam Perry on immigration".
"GOP candidates keep piling on Perry in Orlando after his lackluster debate Thursday". Related: "Perry: Mistake by rivals to skip Florida test vote"; at the same time, "Activists question Rick Perry's commitment"..
More: "Supporter of Gov. Perry says no worries".
Meanwhile, it is unclear whether Perry is deseperate enough to want this: "Gov. Scott won't endorse, but clearly likes Perry".
Teabaggers dominate RPOF straw poll
"In a stunning upset, Atlanta businessman [and 'Tea Party pin-up'] Herman Cain won the Florida Presidency 5 straw poll in Orlando after three days of spreading his fiery message about tough decisions for tough times."
Cain, who has never been elected to any office, took 37.4 percent of the vote by Republican delegates gathered at the Orange County Convention Center for the Presidency 5 weekend.What does this mean? The head of Florida's Republican Party explains:
He blew away the field, which included the party's most highly touted candidates. Texas Gov. Rick Perry finished second with 15.4 percent, and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney finished third with 14 percent.
Cain received 986 of the 2,657 votes cast by delegates at the Orlando event. ...
Cain favors throwing out the national tax system and replacing it with three flat taxes of 9 percent on individual income, corporate income and a sales tax. ...
Unlike the July straw poll in Iowa, where anyone could pay to vote at the state fair — which led campaigns to bus in their own voters — Florida's survey was carefully controlled.
The 3,500 delegates were all selected by each county's Republican executive committee or the Republican Party of Florida, based in part on each county's registered Republican voters.
"You know what? It shows you something. Florida is important. The road to the White House is right through Florida," said Florida Gov. Rick Scott. "It pays to be here.""Herman Cain wins Florida GOP presidential straw poll". See also "Cain wins Fla. GOP straw poll, Perry finishes 2nd", "Rick Perry rebuffed as Herman Cain wins Florida straw poll", "In rebuke to Rick Perry, Herman Cain wins Florida Republican straw poll", "Cain Stuns Perry, Romney in Straw Poll", "Cain wins Fla. GOP straw poll, Perry finishes 2nd" and "Cain wins Presidency 5 straw poll".
"University of South Florida political scientist Susan MacManus said the results should be taken seriously as an indicator of the direction of the race."
"It certainly shakes up the field," she said. "I think now it's wide open.""Herman Cain surges past better-known GOP hopefuls in Florida straw poll".
She said the result was a blow to both Perry and Romney, but more to Perry: "He came in here the frontrunner, he spent a lot of money, he was the only one who did a lot of pre-convention appeals to the delegates – it's a major loss."
That could leave an opening for new candidates, including Sarah Palin and New Jersey Gov. Chris Cristie.
Please ... enough with the "Education Governors"
"There are not enough textbooks to go around in Myrna Greenberg’s ninth-grade reading class. She would like to use the electronic Smart Board hanging from her Plantation High School classroom, but it’s not fitted with the proper plug-ins to make it run. She has 37 students in one class - 12 over the state-mandated limit."
Greenberg’s situation is emblematic of the challenges facing teachers and students throughout the Broward County School District, where another year of budget cuts and recent changes to the rules on class size limits (the now only apply to core classes, not electives or Advanced Placement courses) have resulted in more students in some classrooms with fewer resources."Fewer teachers in Broward lead to larger class sizes".
School administrators have had to redistribute students to account for the loss of 1,100 teachers the district could no longer afford to keep on its payroll.
What Adam Smith learned in Orlando
Adam C. Smith claims that "three days of campaigning in Florida by the Republican contenders and Saturday's stunning Presidency 5 straw poll result clarified quite a bit. Here are 10 things we learned about the Republican Party and its field of presidential candidates:"
1. The idea of Rick Perry is a lot stronger than the reality of Rick Perry."10 things we learned in Orlando". Related: "A Wrap on Presidency 5".
2. Conservatives are as hungry as ever for a Romney alternative.
3. Electability matters. Debates matter.
4. Voters demand specifics.
5. It's too late for another viable candidate.
6. Perry made Romney a better candidate.
7. Illegal immigration is toxic among Republican primary voters.
Not so long ago, then-Gov. Jeb Bush supported driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants and then-state Rep. Marco Rubio supported a bill to give tuition assistance to children of illegal immigrants without causing a firestorm. Those days are gone.
8. Michele Bachmann is no longer relevant.
9. Republicans are energized.
10. Florida matters.
Three times the winner of the state party's straw poll has gone on to win the nomination. Cain will likely break that streak, but Florida demonstrated once again what an unpredictable and important political battleground it is. Cain may still be a long shot for the nomination, but the straw poll inflicted major damage to Perry, who campaigned harder than anyone.
RPOFers oil Scott's feet
"With deeper ties to the tea party than the Republican Party, Scott campaigned against the state GOP during his race for governor. But Saturday, Scott asserted himself as de facto head of the Republican Party of Florida with a forceful speech that attempted to rally the troops heading into the 2012 election."
Scott was greeted like a hero in the Orange County Convention Center."Gov. Rick Scott delivers forceful speech at Presidency 5".
"Casinos face tough sledding"
"Battle lines are being drawn over a big-money issue likely to dominate Tallahassee in the coming months: plans to bring Vegas-style casino resorts to Florida. ... But in Florida, where gambling has had a long and contentious history, the move to bring in "destination casinos" faces tough sledding." "Groups rev up to fight gambling expansion in Florida". Related from The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Gambling vs. gaming: A guide to casino double talk".
Hawkes looks to settle JQC case
"Lawyers for 1st District Judge Paul M. Hawkes and the Judicial Qualifications Commission are discussing a settlement that would resolve the pending charges against the judge without a trial. Lawyers for both sides have submitted secret proposals to members of the commission that charged Hawkes with conduct unbecoming a judge." "Hawkes settlement?"
"Scott made heads roll"
Scott Maxwell: "Last week, Gov. Rick Scott made heads roll at Workforce Central Florida. Good for him — because Central Florida leaders weren't doing squat. That seems to be this community's M.O." "Scott Maxwell: Rick Scott made Workforce heads roll — good, because locals didn't act".
Crist would have a "reasonable chance" as a Dem
"While watching the Florida Gators game Sept. 17 from university president Bernie Machen's box, former first lady Carole Crist leaned over to state House Democratic Leader Ron Saunders and asked, 'Do you think Charlie should run as a Democrat for governor?'"
Saunders, who recalled the conversation, replied, "Might as well.""Could Charlie Crist run for governor as Democrat?".
"He's always had a lot of support from Democrats," said Saunders, D-Key West. "I just think if he got a strong primary … of course, at this point Nan Rich is not campaigning. Someone like a Rod Smith might be tough, but I don't know if Rod would even run. So if Charlie switched parties and ran as a Democrat, I think he'd have a reasonable chance.
"Playing nice — for the moment"
Aaron Deslatte: "Florida lawmakers have been wrangling for months over accusations of back-room dealings in the once-a-decade process of re-drawing legislative and congressional districts. But now that the work has started, they're playing nice — for the moment." "All quiet on the redistricting front — for now".
"Legislature Getting Busy"
"Weekly Roundup: Legislature Getting Busy".
Rental housing construction boomlet
"Five years have passed since the collapse of the housing market brought an end to the condo construction craze that swept the region. But developers are set to kick off a new round of housing construction with plans to build more than 4,000 rental apartments." "Wave of apartment construction set to sweep South Florida".
Politically driven effort to undermine protection of environmentally valuable lands?
The Sarasota Herald Tribune editorial board: "The Southwest Florida Water Management District's assessment of its 'surplus lands' could turn out to be an exercise in good management and public stewardship. Or it could become a politically driven effort to undermine the district's longtime, deliberate efforts to protect water sources, environmentally valuable lands and the public interest by purchasing and preserving property." "Protect priceless public lands".
Florida's anti-science, anti-biology, anti-paleontology, anti-archeology, anti-astronomy, anti-geology, anti-genetics, anti-physics, and anti-carbon-dating lieutenant governor
Fred Grimm writes that "a media guy like me, back when the pointy-headed liberal elite was running amuck, might have come to the defense of evolution,"
but that was before the anti-science, anti-biology, anti-paleontology, anti-archeology, anti-astronomy, anti-geology, anti-genetics, anti-physics, anti-carbon-dating crowd included a Florida lieutenant governor and several leading contenders for the Republican presidential nomination."For Republican candidates, politics trump science".
Lately, I’m beginning to sense the error of my ways, now that Republicans have absolute control in Florida and seem confident of a landslide in 2012. I’ve seen the Gallup Poll that found a majority of Republican voters believe world history began less than 10,000 years ago, back when man was trying to keep those damn dinosaurs from trampling through the flower garden.
Carroll, in her fire-and-brimstone speech on Thursday, spoke disparagingly of how "some of our political leaders bow down to scientists and let them have the stage to push their evolution." She made it plenty clear that the coming Republican revolution would no longer allow "the minority to poison the minds of the majority." ...
Not all the Republican candidates are at war with science. Last month, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman tweeted to all the world, "To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy."
Such sentiments have left Huntsman with about one percent support among likely Republican voters, far behind the anti-science candidates.
Clearly, Huntsman’s problem is that he’s not crazy enough.
Them damn federal funds
"North Florida project to install high-speed Internet has federal funds frozen".
"The death penalty's profound shortcomings ..."
Darryl E. Owens writes that "state legislators should embrace a proposed bill that would substitute Florida's death penalty with a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Justice — if not vengeance — would be served. And the switch not only would save the state money prosecuting lengthy appeals, it could potentially save innocent lives." "We ought to be sure before taking a life with death penalty".
The Sarasota Herald Tribune editors: "The death penalty's profound shortcomings came to a head Wednesday night when the state of Georgia executed Troy Davis. We don't know whether Davis was innocent, as he insisted, or guilty, as the state and a jury concluded. But that's the problem. Without certainty of guilt, how does an execution serve the cause of justice?" "Death penalty's fatal flaws".
Florida is piggy bank for campaign cash
Frank Cerabino: "South Florida is one big outdoor piggy bank for campaign cash." "Biden breakfast brings local commuters to a halt".
"The three-day Presidency 5 was a mini-reunion for much of Gov. Scott's campaign team. Former policy chief Mary Anne Carter was one of his guests at the debate, and transition chief Enu Mainigi watched Scott's keynote speech Saturday. Pollster Tony Fabrizio watched the debate with the governor's guests as did political consultant Nelson Warfield." "Team reunion".
"A new study shows that a community that has a high rate of uninsured members affects the health care access and quality of those who actually have insurance."
One of the key findings of the study was that “working-age adults with private insurance residing in areas with a high rate of uninsurance were less likely than their peer in areas with a low rate of uninsurance to have a usual source of care, an office-based visit, and any medical care expenditures.”"Study: High uninsured rates affect health care of those with insurance".
Argenziano continues no-holds-barred criticism of RPOF
"Former state senator and former Public Service Commissioner Nancy Argenziano spoke to a full crowd at the Capital Tiger Bay on Friday, reviving her war stories of the Legislature and continuing her no-holds-barred criticism of her former party, the GOP." "Argenziano is back".
"Another thick-headed scheme that’s backfiring on Florida taxpayers"
Carl Hiaasen: "Scott’s crusade to drug-test cash welfare applicants is turning out to be another thick-headed scheme that’s backfiring on Florida taxpayers."
The biggest beneficiaries are the testing companies that collect $10 to $25 for urine, blood or hair screening, a fee being paid by the state (you and me) whenever the applicant tests clean — currently about 97 percent of the cases."Taxpayers are also paying the governor’s legal fees to defend a predictable (and winnable) lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the blanket drug-testing requirement."
The law, which easily passed the Legislature this year, was based on the misinformed and condescending premise that welfare recipients are more prone to use illegal drugs than people who are fortunate enough to have jobs.
Statistically, the opposite is true, despite the claims of Scott and Republican legislators who cheered this unnecessary and intrusive law.
The Department of Children and Families reports that since July, when the drug-testing program started, only 2.5 percent of welfare applicants have failed.
By contrast, about 8.9 percent of the general population illegally uses some kind of drug, according to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. ...
Of the nearly 8,800 applicants who got screened for drugs, fewer than 4 percent tested positive. That little exercise in class-bashing cost taxpayers about $2.7 million.
Either the governor didn’t know about the earlier study, couldn’t handle the math or just didn’t want to be bothered with the facts.
Here in Florida, Rick Scott’s campaign promise of mass job creation is at least coming true for professional urine samplers. However, in addition to being sued over drug-testing welfare parents, Scott also faces a court fight for ordering random substance screening on thousands of state workers.Much more here: "An offer legislators can’t refuse — or can they?"
Interestingly, the governor’s pee-in-the-cup mandate doesn’t apply to the one bunch that whizzes away more tax dollars than anyone else – the legislators who pass such useless laws.
I say line up all 160 of ‘em for a patriotic whiz-fest at the Capitol clinic. You think more than 2.5 percent might test positive? Let’s find out.
Haridopolos won't go away
"Senate President Mike Haridopolos, who dropped out of the Republican U.S. Senate race, has about $2 million still in his campaign account. So what's he going to do with it? ... There's speculation he'll run for Congress in a couple of years, the Space Coast seat now held by Republican Bill Posey, though Haridopolos said he has no specific plans yet." "Haridopolos redux".
"Cutting courts out of foreclosure process could be costly"
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board warns that "as Gov. Rick Scott, House Speaker Dean Cannon and Senate President Mike Haridopolos echo support for moving at least some foreclosures out of the court system to speed up the process, they should not erode borrowers' rights or encourage banks to cut even more corners. And they will have to address the fiscal impact on the courts, which rely heavily on foreclosure fees to keep the doors open." "Effort to cut courts out of foreclosure process could be costly to all Floridians".
Rubio looks North
"At the state GOP's Presidency 5 conference, two words automatically drew cheers: Marco Rubio."
Rubio insists he has no interest in vice president, but his latest staff hire may fuel the vice presidential speculation. Joining his office as press secretary is Alex Conant, who had been working on Tim Pawlenty's 2012 presidential campaign. Nice to have someone on board with national campaign experience."Hot for Rubio".