"In a move designed to shift Florida's gambling focus, two legislators filed bills Wednesday that would award exclusive full-casino licenses to three massive 'destination resorts' and leave the struggling parimutuel industry to wither." "Gambling plan has high stakes". See also "Gambling bill could bring casinos". More: "Florida Casino Bill Would Grow Gaming and Government", "South Florida Republicans file bill to allow casino gambling resorts".
Another fine Florida export
"Terry Jones, the Gainesville pastor who created a stir by publicly burning the Quran, is running for president, according to the International Business Times." "Florida pastor who burned the Quran running for president".
"LeMieux, Greer clash"
"The U.S. Senate candidate says he earned the money for consulting services with the state GOP. But the group’s former chairman says there were no such services." "LeMieux, Greer clash on party payments".
"U.S. Rep. Connie Mack unexpectedly signaled late Wednesday that he will enter the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, apparently convinced other candidates cannot defeat Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson." "Shakeup alert: Rep. Connie Mack to enter Florida’s Senate race". See also "Connie Mack IV will shake up Florida Senate race" and "Analysis: Why Connie Mack's Senate candidacy may be game-changer, not game-ender".
Meanwhile, "GOP Senate Hopeful Craig Miller Hits the First Coast".
"Sen. Marco Rubio and Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce officials chose not to rekindle a fight over new flights to Cuba."
But during a visit here Thursday, the Miami Republican bristled at a reporter's suggestion that he tried block flights from Tampa to protect Miami travel businesses."Rubio defends his stand against more Cuba flights".
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "We are more troubled about stands Rubio has taken that are harmful to our region's citizens and economic prospects. Rubio fiercely opposed allowing direct flights to Cuba from Tampa, which President Obama approved this year." "The Cuba matter that Rubio should revisit".
Awake and Occupy
"Awake the State will join Occupy Orlando Nov. 1".
Romney's Florida Team
"Romney, who placed second in the 2008 presidential primary, announced that three Florida Republican congressmen -- Ander Crenshaw, Connie Mack and Tom Rooney -- would co-chair his efforts in the Sunshine State. Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who endorsed Romney earlier in the month, will serve as the state chairman, while Florida CFO Jeff Atwater will be the state finance chairman." "Romney Draws Big Names to Lead Efforts in Florida".
Final trial court decision in FRS lawsuit pending
"The decision to cut state and local government workers pay 3 percent and shift the money to the state's pension fund broke the state's contract with employees, a Leon County circuit judge told lawyers for Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature on Wednesday."
But was the move illegal? That's the question Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford left undecided as she ended the day-long hearing on the lawsuit brought by the Florida Education Association and other state and local government unions."Florida judge: Cuts to state employees' pay violated contract". See also "Teachers' Union, State Battle in Court over Legislature's Pension-Plan Changes".
"Floridians wind up with Dorworth, R-Tin Cup"
Daniel Ruth: "If things go according to plan (insert wry smile here), by the end of 2014 the Florida House will be ruled by a chap who until recently was in worse financial shape than a fruit peddler."
Based on his prior business savvy, you wouldn't trust Speaker-Designate-Designate Chris Dorworth, R-Alms, who will be one of the most powerful politicians in the state, to manage sweeping up a parking lot."A recovery plan only legislators could love".
But because of the Florida House's dippy rite of succession, which makes Britain's royal family look downright whimsically spontaneous, untested lawmakers who couldn't find their keisters with the help of NASA are tapped to ascend to leadership positions while they are still teething.
As a result, Floridians wind up with the likes of Dorworth, R-Tin Cup, who a mere two years ago was living off his $2,600-a-month legislative salary and had fewer assets than a monk. But that was then.
Perry Staffs Up
"With Florida looming large as the fourth state lined up to decide the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas announced on Thursday his campaign team for the southeastern part of the Sunshine State."
Perry turned to four well-established Republican leaders to build his campaign in Miami-Dade County. Miami-Dade County Commissioner Esteban Bovo, who also served in the Florida House and on the Hialeah City Council, will lead the Perry team in the county. Bovo will be aided by three county co-chairs: Miami-Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo, who advised John McCain’s presidential campaign on Hispanic outreach; Roly Marante, who was the county executive director of Jeb Bush’s 1998 gubernatorial campaign; and Jorge Luis Lopez, a member of the Republican National Committee's Council of 100 and long-time supporter of both George W. Bush and Jeb Bush. "Rick Perry Staffs Up in Southeast Florida".
In Palm Beach County, Perry tapped Beth Kigel to lead his campaign. Kigel served in the same role for both McCain and Rick Scott’s gubernatorial campaign in 2010. Kigel also was a regional co-chair of then-Attorney General Bill McCollum’s bid to defeat Scott for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Kigel will be helped by GOP activists Linda Gore, Ira Sabin and Michael Barnett and former Young Republican leader Jackie Fay, who also helped Pam Bondi’s successful attorney general campaign in 2010.
County Commissioner Chip LaMarca, a former chairman of the Broward Republican Executive Committee, will be leading the Perry team in Broward County. LaMarca will be aided by former Broward County Commissioner Kevin Tynan, Coral Springs City Commissioner Vince Boccard, Republican activist Joe Eikenberg, Gregg Sjoquist, and Greg Aguirre who was the executive director for small business at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and part of Marco Rubio’s team in 2010.
Republican activist Shanna Jones will lead the Perry campaign in St. Lucie County while Sal Rizzotti, who is active with the county GOP, will take the reins in Martin County.
Herman Cain's Florida bandwagon
"Fundraisers, among others, have joined the Herman Cain bandwagon, saying he has the heart of GOP voters." "Prominent Florida Republicans helping Cain".
"Next week’s Florida Tea Party convention is slated to feature some big names in Florida politics, as well as the opportunity for state tea party members to discuss some of their favorite topics — including Agenda 21 and Islam."
According to the current convention agenda, speakers will include Gov. Rick Scott, former Christian Coalition director Ralph Reed, and anti-Islam blogger Pam Geller. "Florida Tea Party Convention agenda adds Pamela Geller, Agenda 21 talk (Update: No Rubio)".
and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. Update: Rubio’s office tells the Independent the senator will in fact not be attending the event.
Attorney General Pat Bondi was mulling over an appearance, but her name does not appear on the updated convention agenda. In September, Scott’s office told the Independent his appearance had not been confirmed.
The convention will also feature G. Edward Griffin, an anti-Federal Reserve, anti-United Nations and anti-communist conspiracy theorist who describes himself as a “life member” of the John Birch Society — a historically infamous anti-communist group.
Anti-Islam blogger Pam Geller is also on the agenda for next week. Geller is best known for her blog Atlas Shrugs, described by The New York Times as a “site that attacks Islam with a rhetoric venomous enough that PayPal at one point branded it a hate site.”
Commission on Ethics rejects Teamsters’ charge against Scott
"The state Commission on Ethics on Wednesday rejected the International Brotherhood of Teamsters’ charge that political contributions spurred Gov. Rick Scott to push for prison privatization. The commission ruled the Teamsters’ allegations failed to 'constitute a legally sufficient complaint' or 'indicate, in a substantive, factual manner, a possible violation.'" "Teamsters Fail in Ethics Claim Against Rick Scott; 'Pay-to-Play' Rejected".
West's wing man
"Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld appeared today at a Washington, D.C. breakfast fundraiser for Rep. Allen West, R-Fort Lauderdale, with suggested contributions from $500 to $2,500. West, a former lieutenant colonel, resigned from the Army in 2003 after “it was disclosed that he fired a pistol near [an Iraqi] detainee during an interrogation, apparently in an effort to frighten the man into disclosing information about impending attacks.” Rumsfeld was secretary of defense at the time." "Rumsfeld a special guest at Allen West fundraising breakfast".
Whining never ends
"Florida Chamber of Commerce says it ‘will fight’ unemployment taxes".
Environmentalists argue nutrient criteria aren’t stringent enough
"The federally mandated 'numeric nutrient criteria,' a set of standards to govern water pollution in the state of Florida, have been harshly criticized by industry, agriculture and even lawmakers — who argue the criteria are too stringent and would result in job losses and stymie business growth. But now a new set of critics have emerged: environmentalists, who feel the criteria aren’t quite stringent enough to make any real impact." "Conservationists criticize changes to new Florida water regulations".
One of their own
"A coalition of Republican officials from three Central Florida counties have demanded a public apology from state Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, for comments he recently made about Hispanics. If he doesn't apologize, the group asked that Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Melbourne, remove Hays from that body's redistricting committee. The demands are spelled out in a letter the group signed and sent to Haridopolos after a press conference Thursday in Kissimmee." "Central Florida Republicans demand apology from Sen. Alan Hays for comment about Hispanics".
Sorry Ricky: it ain't gonna happen
Eric Ernst writes that our "governor seems to invite the public to rise up in indignation" about college professor salaries. Ernst thinks "that isn't happening for several reasons."
First, presidents, medical school profs, deans and coaches dominate the highest-paid list. No surprises there."Rick Scott's veiled threat to university professors".
Second, if one digs a little below the surface, as reporter Zac Anderson did in a Herald-Tribune article published Wednesday, it turns out that the average salary of Florida professors is about $6,000 less than the average of $86,653 at research universities nationwide. ...
Third, even if professors at major universities get paid more than most of us, so what? Education of the young is the hallmark of civilized society. Those who engage in it deserve high status and pay to go with it. University professors represent the epitome of that system. They should be paid accordingly.
And fourth, the public has numbers other than professors' salaries to lament when it comes to disparities in pay.
In 1965, CEOs in major U.S. companies earned about 25 times more than the average worker. Now the ratio is anywhere from 275 to 1 or 350 to 1, depending on whose figures you believe.
New Rubio discrepancies
"U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has come under fire for incorrectly linking his parents to the Cubans who fled Fidel Castro beginning in 1959. He insists they are exiles nonetheless, and angrily denounced the suggestion he misled for political gain." "New discrepancies arise in Rubio story".
Fresen didn’t violate conflict laws
"A Miami state representative didn’t violate voting conflict laws, a state commission found." "Fresen cleared on ethics complaint".
Michelle Obama in Tampa
"St. Petersburg's Sexton Elementary kids greet Michelle Obama in Tampa". See also "Michelle Obama lands in Tampa for fundraising".