The Palm Beach Post editors observe that "some voters probably believe that the guy on the ticket is former Sen. Connie Mack, Rep. Mack’s father. Mack the Younger no doubt worries that some voters might catch wise if they saw the debate. But since Mack the Elder has cleared the way for his son up to this point, a debate could show whether Mack the Younger still needs his dad’s help." "Editorial: The fight Mack should not duck".
Some Government Over-regulation Might Have Prevented this
"Roofer dies after falling through skylight in DeLand".
Must be Obama's fault
"While foreclosures fell slightly nationwide, they rose in Florida." "Florida foreclosures jump in May".
"The advantage of wealth when it comes to running for state office"
"Florida lawmakers like to say that they’re just like the rest of us. And that may be true, except according to financial disclosure forms filed with qualifying officers last week, 21 Senate candidates this year have net worths of more than $1 million — with 13 candidates at more than $3 million."
Add candidates for the House, and nearly 70 of the 400 candidates for the Legislature top the $1 million mark, with 124 reporting net worths of at least $500,000. Some of Tallahassee’s biggest names are also the most affluent, led by incoming Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, a health industry entrepreneur worth $24.9 million. St. Augustine Republican Sen. John Thrasher, an attorney, and Clearwater Sen. Jack Latvala, CEO of a printing company, are worth $6.6 million and $5.7 million, respectively."Millionaires vie for legislative seats".
Not all candidates are high-rollers. Many have modest incomes, and some have upside-down mortgages that land them in the negative on net worth, calculated by assets minus debt. But for the ultra-rich, thick wallets can offer a leg up on races, which are the most competitive in years because of redistricting.
The numbers also reveal the advantage of wealth when it comes to running for state office.
"It angered him into staying in"
"Rubio was on the verge of dropping out of the 2010 race for Senate, convinced that then-Gov. Charlie Crist's popularity, power and money would be too much to overcome in a Republican primary. He was also afraid any future political ambitions would be crushed by Crist's supporters, Rubio wrote in his autobiography to be released next week."
Rubio said there was a tremendous amount of pressure to quit when he was far behind in the polls and had little money in the bank. He knew Crist would attack him and wondered how he could respond with few resources. He considered running instead for attorney general."Rubio book says he almost quit Senate race". See also "Rubio book reveals surprises along political journey" ("While growing up as a converted Mormon in Las Vegas, Marco Rubio was briefly inspired by Democratic icon Ted Kennedy until his grandfather persuaded him to follow the conservative path of Ronald Reagan and become a Republican.")
While laying the groundwork to switch races, however, he was asked about a rumor he was dropping out and suspected that Crist's campaign found out about the plans and was pressuring him out before he was ready to make the announcement. It angered him into staying in.
"Public Service Commissioner Lisa Edgar and former Rep. Ken Littlefield are among 21 to apply for Edgar's commission seat before the Thursday deadline." "PSC Commissioner Lisa Edgar among 21 to apply for her seat".
"Gun lobby is trying to extend its web of intimidation"
The Sarasota Herald Tribune editors: "For years, the National Rifle Association's lobbyists in Florida have been content to strong-arm legislators to get what they wanted."
And they've been hugely successful: Florida has some of the most lax gun laws in the nation. The "stand your ground" self-defense law, cited in the Sanford shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, is just the most notorious."NRA's loaded questions".
But, for the lobby, richly backed by gun manufacturers and merchants as well as NRA members, influence over the Legislature is not enough. It also wants to prevent law enforcement officers from challenging its view of Second Amendment rights.
So now the gun lobby is trying to extend its web of intimidation to take in county sheriffs.
This year, for the first time, the NRA and its Tallahassee lobbyist arm, the Unified Sportsmen of Florida, have sent questionnaires to candidates for sheriff.
Not your basic questionnaire
There's nothing wrong with candidate questionnaires. The Herald-Tribune Editorial Board sends them out, as do many private, civic and religious organizations in Florida and throughout the country.
But the NRA/USF questionnaire, signed by USF executive director and longtime NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer, contains a level of intimidation that you won't find in a list of queries from, say, the League of Women Voters.
In bold letters across the front of the NRA form it says, "No endorsement will be provided to any candidate who fails to return the questionnaire."
Across the last page, also in bold, it states, "Questions that are not answered will be graded as a response against Second Amendment rights."
"Forget protecting liberty. How about preserving some dignity?"
Daniel Ruth: "You can tell a candidate will do just about anything to win an election when he is willing to sell his political soul to the biggest fibber."
Is former Pinellas County Sheriff Everett Rice really trying to get his old job back? Or is he running to become the constable in chief of the planet Doo-Wacka-Doo?"Before he went further off the deep end than Thelma & Louise, Rice was a typical Pinellas County Republican — reasonably moderate, rationally pragmatic, fairly sensible. But as he attempts a return to elected office, suddenly the former sheriff has decided to go all Col. Kurtz on everyone."
Rice has aligned himself with a Star Wars barroom scene of the lunatic fringe meets the Oliver Stone Society of Paranoid Conspiracy Theory Lemmings. He apparently isn't interested in wearing a badge again. A tinfoil hat will do just fine."To veer so far right is simply wrong".
The aspiring Andy of Mars is playing footsie-wootsie with the likes of Richard Mack, the leader of something called the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, which is dedicated to teaching law enforcement officials how to defy the federal government. Mack is also the beefcake boy of the black helicopter crowd of birthers, tax protesters and militia supporters. Think of this as a trifecta of Travis Bickles.
Rice has also blown air kisses in the direction of the Oath Keepers, who believe Barack Obama wants to turn the nation into a totalitarian police state. Who knew the Affordable Health Care Act was written by that scamp, Karl Marx?
"Someone who doesn’t tell the truth "?
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Should someone who doesn’t tell the truth be Palm Beach County’s next state attorney? That is the question for voters, and especially for supporters of Democrat Dave Aronberg, after Sunday’s story in The Palm Beach Post torpedoed his claim to have had no role in the sleazy threats that forced what could have been Mr. Aronberg’s toughest opponent out of the race." "Editorial: Aronberg’s credibility hits new low".
"Disagreement between African-American civic leaders"
The Tampa Bay Times editors: "A disagreement between two prominent African-American civic leaders in St. Petersburg over the future of the city's annual Martin Luther King Jr. parade is not in keeping with the late civil rights leader's embrace of peaceful discussion." "Find common ground to mark MLK Day".
DJJ issues intent to fire IG over report claiming friend top official misspent funds
"The state’s top juvenile justice investigator, who wrote a scathing report last year accusing one of the agency head’s closest friends of financial wrongdoing, is out of a job after a 25-year career in state government."
Last week, Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Wansley Walters informed Gov. Rick Scott that she intends to fire her agency’s top watchdog. Inspector General Mary Roe Eubanks had held the job since 2004, and was a nearly 25-year state employee, with 10 years in state agency investigations. Eubanks was placed on administrative leave, with pay, while the termination was being approved."DJJ watchdog ousted after criticizing boss’ friend".
On Wednesday afternoon, Eubanks ended the suspense: She wrote Walters a short note announcing her resignation, citing her desire to “have more time to spend time with my family.” Walters accepted the resignation, said an agency spokesman.
In a June 4 memo to Eubanks, Walters said the inspector general was being terminated “due to a pending investigation.” She did not elaborate on the nature of the probe. ...
Eubanks’ ouster from the department comes on the heels of one of the agency’s most controversial recent disputes: As DJJ’s top investigator, Eubanks reported that a private company headed by Vicki Lopez Lukis, one of Walters’ closest friends, had misspent more than $111,000 in taxpayer dollars intended for services to delinquent girls in agency lockups. Lopez Lukis strongly objected to the report’s findings, and complained to Gov. Scott that she had not received a copy of it before it was completed.
Under state law, the subjects of such probes are supposed to be given a copy of the agency’s findings in order to respond before the report is finalized.
In November, acting upon Lopez Lukis’ concerns, Scott ordered the DJJ Inspector General investigation withdrawn, calling it a “draft” instead of a final report. Scott’s chief inspector general, Melinda Miguel, has been reinvestigating the entire matter ever since.
Lane Wright, a spokesman for the governor, did not reply to requests from The Herald about the status of that investigation.
Entrepreneurs in action
"Time-share mogul David Siegel resurrects mansion with film release".
How long before they start paying people to "like"?
Bill Cotterell: "As Gov. Rick Scott began a statewide campaign blitz this week to explain the purge of Florida voter rolls in the face of a federal lawsuit and sagging poll numbers, a large red rectangle popped up on Facebook pages with the message 'I stand with Gov. Scott, stop voter fraud.' Within a few hours, the image got more than 700 'shares' and 247 'likes' on the vast social network." "Social media scoring big as campaign tool".
Teabaggers in a dither
Where does it say anything about spending money on transportation projects? Inquiring Teabaggers want to know: "Scott spotlighted the state's committment to spending hundreds of millions of dollars on transportation projects with a ceremonial bill signing at the Port of Miami on Thursday. The package totals more than $450 million and enables the bonding of another $450 million. About $60 million will directly go to improve Florida ports, with another $10 million devoted to strategic transportation planning and most of the rest going to road building, which will help get goods to and from the seaports." "Ports, roads are focus of transportation spending"
Young Republican millionaires form "Brat PAC"
John Ramsey, a
senior at Stephen F. Austin University is the founder of a team of college-age Republicans - liberals have dubbed it the "Brat PAC" - that helped propel one congressional candidate to victory and intends to get involved in other House races."Officials scrambling to preserve statewide email contract".
Ramsey is just the latest wealthy individual to try to influence federal elections in the wake of a series of federal court decisions that deregulated the campaign finance system and dramatically changed the country's political landscape.
It's not just his age - he's 21 - that sets him apart. There's his source of means: He turned $1 million of his inheritance into the Liberty For All Political Action Committee.
Florida to receive $4.9M from the feds in lieu of property taxes
"Florida counties will receive nearly $4.9 million in payments from the federal government in lieu of property taxes on federal lands, U.S. Interior Ken Salazar announced Thursday. ... Environmentalists sometimes point to the payment in lieu of taxes program in response to critics of conservation land-buying who complain that it takes property off the tax rolls." "Feds announce record payments to counties in lieu of paying property taxes".
Mini-Mack endorsed by Bondi
"On Wednesday, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi became the latest high-profile Republican to endorse Mack’s Senate bid." "Connie Mack Reels in the Support of Pam Bondi".
The Saint Petersburg Times editors: "The Everglades cleanup plan that state and federal officials agreed to this week is far from perfect. But Gov. Rick Scott has signed on, and now he has the responsibility to carry it out." "Finally, an Everglades cleanup plan".
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Everglades progress".
The Koch-connected "political group, Americans for Prosperity, has jumped into the rate case on behalf of consumers." "Americans for Prosperity Rips FPL's $690 Million Rate Request". Related: "FPL's rate hike request panned at hearing".
'Ya gotta draw the line somwhere
"RNC threatens opening of high school football season".
"He didn’t mind"
"Once upon a time, when he was a private citizen, Rick Scott was mistaken for a dead man and got hassled when he tried to cast a ballot. He didn’t mind." "Rick Scott gets a shock at the polls when he’s told: You’re dead". See also "Rick 'Lazarus' Scott Once Arose From the Grave, Voted Provisionally -- and It Counted".