"Republican lawmakers say voters who last year endorsed the anti-gerrymandering Fair Districts constitutional reforms may be in for a rude awakening when the first drafts of congressional and legislative maps are released in the coming weeks."
Something akin to: Meet the new maps, same as the old maps."NAACP redistricting maps have familiar look".
To protect minority groups, the once-a-decade redrawing may not look that different from today —with jagged, oblong, or geometrically challenged districts zigzagging across the landscape, irrespective of municipal and county lines.
"Occupy Miami has wedding, feuds, nightly flicks and staying power".
Same old, same old
"State CFO Jeff Atwater on Monday unveiled his agenda for the 2012 legislative session. Atwater, a Republican who was president of the Florida Senate before being elected to his current post in 2010, said his focus would be on cutting back regulations, fighting fraud and increased transparency and consumer protection." "Jeff Atwater Unveils Agenda for 2012 Legislature". See also "Atwater's Christmas -- err legislative -- list". Related: "Fla. House speaker narrows focus of 2012 session to budget, redistricting".
Smith's claim "Mostly True"
"Republicans have ruled the power centers of state government — the House, Senate and governor's office — since the election of Gov. Jeb Bush in 1998. So what happens when a host of essentially locked-out Democrats comes together for a rally amid the worst recession since the Great Depression?"
A whole lot of blame-tossing against the party in charge."PolitiFact Florida: Rod Smith says 46 percent of Florida mortgages are underwater".
Democratic Party chairman Rod Smith, a former prosecutor who lost his 2006 gubernatorial bid to Charlie Crist, roasted Republicans in his recent speech at the party's state convention as being out of touch with middle-class Americans.
He used the housing crisis as an example. ...
Rod Smith claimed that nearly half, or 46 percent, of Floridians owe more on their mortgages than the value of their homes. The most recent rate of underwater homes in Florida is 45.1 percent, behind only Nevada and Arizona. And that estimate is actually pretty conservative compared with what several metro areas are experiencing. Given the implications for our housing market, we suspect most Floridians are sorry that his claim checks out.
What's not so clear is Smith's suggestion that Florida Republicans are somehow responsible for the ailing housing market. While he doesn't explicitly blame Republicans for causing the housing bust, he does suggest it, and that's enough for us to downgrade his rating.
The housing bubble was a national phenomenon, at the heart of which were national lenders, and other states are feeling our pain. So we rate his claim Mostly True.
Sen. Jim Norman cleared
"After spending more than a year in the glare of a highly publicized federal investigation, state Sen. Jim Norman was officially cleared Monday."
U.S. Attorney Robert O'Neill said federal investigators failed to turn up evidence that Norman violated federal law when his wife, Mearline, accepted $500,000 from deceased conservative activist Ralph Hughes."Federal inquiry clears state Sen. Jim Norman".
Mearline Norman used the money to buy and renovate a lakefront house in Arkansas, but Norman claims he had nothing to do with the loan or the purchase of the home.
Investigators "were looking at the house and the loan from Mr. Hughes," O'Neill said Monday, declining to delve deeper into details of the investigation.
Basically, there was no evidence unearthed by the investigators that there was a federal criminal violation."
FFWCC should take a bow
The Miami Herald editorial board: "The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission should take a bow for living up to the Conservation in its name. Its decision to add four more shark species to the list of sharks under protection in state waters should be instructive for other states and national and international regulators."
Sharks may not be the kind of fuzzy-wuzzy animals that nearly beg for shelter in the public’s arms. Large predators with their potential menace to humans long have posed a thrilling challenge for hunters and fishermen. Sepia photos of early tourist-anglers show just how long Florida’s economy has benefited from the impact of its bountiful large-species marine life."Sharks need saving, too".
But eliminate the large predators, and smaller ones survive in larger numbers to wreak havoc on their prey.
"FPL Projects Cheaper Energy"
"FPL Projects Cheaper Energy for Customers in 2012".
"Job growth concentrated in low-wage industries"
"In Florida, the leisure and hospitality industry, which has played a major role in the state’s 2011 job growth, does not always provide good wages and benefits to workers." "Sentinel: Central Florida job growth concentrated in low-wage industries".
Local term limits
The Sarasota Herald Tribune editorial board: "Sarasota County commissioners were misguided in their attempt to call a referendum that would loosen local term limits. A judge confirmed this Monday in ruling that the proposed ballot language was too faulty to go forward." "Flawed term-limit change". Thomas Tryon: Term limits have consequences
Super committee flop leaves winners and losers in Florida
"A congressional super committee's failure to agree on a debt-reduction plan Monday disappointed sugar growers and alarmed defense contractors in Florida while bringing a sense of relief to proponents of Social Security and Medicare." "As super committee fails to reach deal, here are winners and losers in Florida".
"Not the way to run a branch of government"
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Much like the federal government, Florida's court system has been staggering from one financial crisis to the next."
In April, the system came within days of closing courthouses and furloughing employees before Gov. Rick Scott approved a $19.5 million loan for the courts. Then, last month, the governor OK'd a loan of $45.6 million. And that's only enough to keep the system in the black until March."Judges should carry gavels, not tin cups".
As Florida Chief Justice Charles Canady recently remarked, "This is not the way to run a branch of government."
Especially not the judicial branch, which has a constitutional duty to check abuses of power by the executive and legislative branches. What happens when courts must depend on the governor or Legislature for periodic bailouts?
Jax voters speak
"Jacksonville voters like the job being done by Mayor Alvin Brown far more than they like what Gov. Rick Scott or President Barack Obama is doing, according to a poll released Monday by the University of North Florida." "Poll: Voters approve of Brown; more dour on Scott, Obama".
"The cards are stacked against consumers"
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "The Florida Public Service Commission today should not grant Progress Energy Florida's request to burden consumers with more of the growing expense of its Crystal River nuclear plant debacle."
Asking customers to pay another $140 million in replacement fuel costs in 2012 before the commission has fully investigated the plant's extended shutdown is premature and would amount to a bailout for a utility that has been less than candid with the public about its problems. The PSC should delay Progress Energy's request until at least next year, when the commission is scheduled to determine whether the utility acted prudently when it embarked on what has become an outrageously expensive do-it-yourself repair."PSC should delay Progress Energy’s fuel cost request".
"Home Sales Rise 13 Percent"
"October Home Sales Rise 13 Percent Over 2010".
Gaetz wants more
"While civil rights advocates and policy-makers around the country have spoken out against increasingly strict and targeted voting rules levied by GOP-led legislatures, state Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Shalimar, last week introduced a new bill that would allow poll workers to ask voters for 'additional information' when they present their mandatory photo IDs."
House Bill 4129 would repeal a "provision that prohibits clerk or inspector from asking elector to provide additional information or recite elector’s home address after presenting picture identification that matches elector’s address in supervisor of elections’ records.""New bill would nix prohibition against poll workers asking voters for ‘additional information’".
"To counter voter skepticism"
"The news conference called by the heads of South Florida's horse and dog tracks in October 2004 had one goal in mind: to counter voter skepticism."
After nearly two decades of partly kept promises that the Florida Lottery would benefit education, the industry was struggling to persuade voters that if they supported a constitutional amendment to give the South Florida tracks slot machines, the revenues would go to enhance public schools."Gaming's promises to Florida have often exceed the payoffs". Related: "Bogdanoff warns Palm Beach County Commission against slots for kennel club".