Last Build Date: Tue, 11 Oct 2016 23:45:27 +0000
Wed, 14 Sep 2016 10:50:00 +0000Political work in advance of the elections will limit the frequency of updates to the the website. Meanwhile, the news feeds at our sister site, FlaPolitics, will be updated multiple times each day.
Expect timely, first hand reports from the field, as the election approaches.
Sun, 04 Sep 2016 14:36:00 +0000Anthony Man: "The presidential campaign has been running at full throttle in Florida for most of the summer. Now, it's about to get turbo-charged."
Both sides covet Florida voters because the prize is so big: the largest state that could go either way in November."Florida is top battleground for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump."
Winners and losers
Rubio's "last shred of dignity"
Carl Hiaasen: "The big question facing top Republicans on the ballot is: Do I really want to be seen in public with Donald Trump?"
It’s an especially queasy decision for two U.S. senators, Marco Rubio of Florida and John McCain of Arizona. Both have been scorned and humiliated by Trump, yet they continue to say they support him."Here’s the dilemma: Rubio and McCain hate Trump’s guts, but they think they need his angry-white-voter base to get re-elected. The result is a self-debasing charade of 'distancing' themselves from the racist real-estate developer without repudiating him."
“Little Marco,” as Trump christened him during the debates, stands by his assessment of Trump as “a con man,” but he says we should put him in the White House anyway."Can Trump fan Rubio hold on to that last shred of dignity?."
That astonishing position reveals more about Rubio’s fitness for office than it does about Trump’s.
Tampa Dem jeopardizing his future
"It was always going to be tough for Kevin Beckner to make amends with Pat Frank and her allies after their divisive Democratic primary battle for Hillsborough County clerk of the Circuit Court. "
But his refusal to endorse her after she handily defeated him in Tuesday's election has also rankled Democratic Party insiders. And that may jeopardize the future of one of the party's most promising local politicians."Once a rising political star, Democrat Kevin Beckner's future in question after bitter Hillsborough clerk's race."
Bill Clinton to visit Orlando
"Former President Bill Clinton is scheduled to visit Orlando on Wednesday, the Hillary Clinton campaign said." "Bill Clinton to campaign in Orlando Wednesday."
"Crist's last shot"
Sat, 03 Sep 2016 15:21:00 +0000"As Florida’s primary election results sank in Wednesday, both parties shifted attention to the main event: the November election, where the dominant factor is Donald Trump."In fights for seats in the state Legislature, one-sided primaries Tuesday sent many new faces to the Capitol, taking those seats off the political chessboard."That shrinks the battleground to fewer places — mostly in Miami, Tampa Bay and along the I-4 corridor. Changing demographics and stronger two-party competition mean either side can win in a high-turnout presidential election — especially with the wildly unpredictable Trump at the top of the Republican ticket." Encouraged by Republican resistance to Trump’s hard-edged message, Democrats like their chances in open Senate seats in Tampa and Gainesville and against a Republican in Miami in an area where Democrats have the advantage in voter registration. What worries establishment Republicans is that Trump’s divisive talk, especially about immigration, will force many South Florida Hispanics to flee the Republican Party."Trump’s tone at the top looms over GOP hopefuls in down-ballot Florida races."Clinton beating Trump in Florida, 51 to 1 "On Aug. 8, the Donald Trump campaign said its first two dozen campaign field offices would open across Florida within two weeks. Since then, not a single new Trump office has opened in America’s biggest battleground state, but Hillary Clinton’s campaign added another 32." "Hillary Clinton beating Donald Trump in Florida, 51 offices to 1."Write-in games "Palm Beach County Commissioner Shelley Vana, who got only 29.7 percent Tuesday in the nonpartisan race for county property appraiser, has left the Democratic Party because local party leaders didn’t weigh in against a write-in candidate whose entrance shifted the date of the election." "Palm Beach County Commissioner Shelley Vana leaves Democratic Party.""What's hot, crazy or shady about politics in the Sunshine State" Marc Caputo: "Hurricane Hermine hits – Trump has more campaign offices in Israel than Florida – Zika menaces Miami Beach – Broward County: lowest in primary voter turnout." "Florida Playbook."Heaven help us "Obama finds an ally in Wal-Mart, whose stores he once shunned." Meanwhile, "Police are called to Walmart more than anywhere else — and you foot the bill."Recount over "Recount over: St. Petersburg’s Darryl Rouson is the victor in Senate District 19 battle."The bitter end "Donald Trump is unqualified for the presidency, Mike Fernandez, a top Jeb Bush and Rick Scott donor, said Thursday, announcing that he’ll be voting across party lines for Hillary Clinton in November." "Top Jeb Bush donor says he's with Clinton."A SoFla thing "In mayoral race, loyal donors asked to give again — to the enemy."Size doesn't matter 640 Floridians who supported Rubio financially "have given to Trump since the primary, a Tampa Bay Times analysis of campaign finance data shows. That illustrates Trump's appeal among dedicated Republicans in the state."By contrast, only 113 donors to former Gov. Jeb Bush have given to Trump since Bush withdrew from presidential contention in February."Marco Rubio's former Florida donors shift financial support to Donald Trump."[...]
Sat, 06 Aug 2016 15:49:00 +0000"From Port of Palm Beach, where an incumbent commissioner recruited her mother as an opponent for the third time, to Naples, where someone filed to run in a legislative race 150 miles from her listed address, the tactics of write-in candidates are turning elections on their heads."In Central Florida, the write-in candidacy of a veteran prosecutor in the Orange-Osceola State Attorney race is stopping more than 500,000 voters from casting a ballot this primary. And two write-ins in northeast Orange County's District 11 Senate race who are not campaigning have blocked Republicans from participating."It's all possible because of an exception to the state's closed primaries that critics say is being abused." Now a new filing with the Florida Supreme Court seeks help ferreting out sham candidates. And it could affect races across the state if justices choose to hear it out. It stems from a controversial State Attorney race in Jacksonville after the campaign manager of Republican incumbent Angela Corey, whose office prosecuted George Zimmerman, "personally delivered" an opponent's qualifying papers in Tallahassee, according to the lawsuit."Write-in candidate lawsuit heads to Florida Supreme Court." More: "Write-in candidates are blocking full voter participation in six state Senate districts and 14 House districts on the Aug. 30 primary ballot, disenfranchising 1.6 million Florida voters." "Secretive write-in candidates lock out Florida voters." The Tampa Bay Times editors: "Florida should close write-in loophole."Trump's Khan Fight Could Cost Florida Veteran Vote "GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump has put himself between veterans after engaging in a heated spat earlier this week with the family of U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, killed in the Iraq war in 2004. And Trump's continued attacks on the family could prove costly in Florida, a state 1.6 million veterans call home." "Trump's Fight with Gold Star Family Could Cost Florida Veteran Vote."Hill to Kissimmee "Hillary Clinton to visit Kissimmee on Monday.""Bitter Democratic primary" William March: "County Commissioner Kevin Beckner is calling Clerk of Court Pat Frank 'part-time Pat' in their bitter Democratic primary for the clerk’s office, saying she doesn’t show up at the office enough to provide leadership there." "Frank camp turns tables on Beckner over work time."What's hot, crazy or shady about politics in the Sunshine State Marc Caputo: "Those times Scott cut mosquito-fighting money – Wasserman Schultz agrees to Canova face-off – Rep. Castor: Tampa will get Cuban consulate." "Florida Playbook."Murphy harnesses Biden's popularity Matt Dixon: "As Joe Biden walked into Olean’s Restaurant, a soul food joint that’s a regular campaign stop for politicians rolling through Florida’s Capitol city, he made clear why he was there." "Murphy hopes to harness Biden's popularity to win Senate race."AHCA wrangling "AHCA, hospitals wrangle over new rates, while HMOs get back payments."And then there's that part "Scott bashes feds over Zika funding, but slashed mosquito control money."Bat mitzvah blues "Former Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz acknowledged on Friday that Vice President Joe Biden had indeed recorded a video for her daughter’s bat mitzvah, a day after saying a POLITICO story on the matter was 'not true.'" "Wasserman Schultz contradicts self on Biden bat mitzvah tape."DWS on defense "After national Democratic turmoil, Wasserman Schultz returns home to defend her seat in Congress."Chamber an arm of the FlaGOP "U.S. Chamber takes aim at Murphy, endorses Rubio."Another DWS fave? "The day after Val Demings was given a prominent speaking role at the Democratic National Convention, two other Democrats vying for Florida's 10th Congressional District cried foul." "Rivals call out Democratic Party after Val Demings speech."The best the FlaGOP can do? "Beruff, who vows to cut taxes if elected, avoided $235,000 in 2015 taxes for his business holding[...]
Mon, 01 Aug 2016 12:09:00 +0000"After national Democratic turmoil, Wasserman Schultz returns home to defend her seat in Congress."
Chamber an arm of the FlaGOP
Another DWS fave?
"The day after Val Demings was given a prominent speaking role at the Democratic National Convention, two other Democrats vying for Florida's 10th Congressional District cried foul." "Rivals call out Democratic Party after Val Demings speech."
The best the FlaGOP can do?
"Beruff, who vows to cut taxes if elected, avoided $235,000 in 2015 taxes for his business holdings by claiming that the 1,884 acres his companies bought to develop in the future are agricultural land because they are leased to cattle companies or have planted pine trees or crops." "How U.S. Senate candidate Carlos Beruff avoided $235,000 in taxes." Meanwhile, "In Sarasota, Rubio ignores GOP opponent in speech, while Beruff slams the incumbent."
Sun, 10 Jul 2016 17:57:00 +0000Carl Hiaasen writes that, "a picture tells a thousand words."If it’s a picture of an algae-covered beach, it can also cancel thousands of hotel reservations. That’s the new dread in Florida, as photos and news videos of gunk-covered shorelines are making headlines all over the world. Why would anyone bring their families to vacation on Playa Guacamole? And do they even make haz-mat suits in children’s sizes?"Gov. Rick Scott has reacted with unwavering impotence, declaring one state of emergency after another while blaming the federal government for failing to upgrade the dike surrounding the lake so that more dirty water can be retained." Cleaning up that dirty water is not a priority for this Republican governor or this Republican-led Legislature. In exchange for a deluge of campaign donations, they have worked steadfastly to gut pollution regulations and put the biggest polluters in control of state water policy. This year their shameless sellout was complete. One of the worst water management bills in Florida history was passed and quickly signed by Scott, basically allowing big agricultural operations to police their own chemical discharges with little or no enforcement by the state. . . . The whole world is now seeing the result of Scott’s execrable stewardship of our priceless natural resources. It’s an ecological nightmare for the state, and a political nightmare for him. He’ll be running for the Senate in two years and desperately wants not to be tagged as Governor Algae. But because he won’t get tough with the special interests that are funding his campaign, there will be no reinstatement of water-quality enforcement measures for those flushing agricultural and urban wastewater into Lake Okeechobee. . . . Scott seems to be synchronizing his strategy with the Florida Chamber of Commerce, which in March announced a “partnership” with Florida Atlantic University to work on “strong, science-based water quality standards.” Specifically the Chamber mentioned its interest in the impact of septic tanks on toxic algae blooms. Ordinarily it would be startling to see an environmental conscience exhibited by the Chamber, one of the most slavishly pro-industry, anti-regulatory groups in the state. However, the rising outcry about the algae outbreaks — and the economic wreckage being caused — compelled [even] the Chamber to try something to redirect the public’s anger."Enjoy your vacation on Playa Guacamole." The Tampa Bay Times editors: "Gov. Rick Scott is once again shifting blame, misidentifying the problem and proposing the wrong solution for the massive algae bloom that is coating beaches and making Florida look like the wrong place to spend a summer vacation. Scott and the Legislature need to get serious before polluted waters take an even heavier toll on public health, tourism and property values." "Real solutions for ending algae blooms." See also: The Sun Sentinel editors: "Here's how Scott should deal with algae crisis." More: "Rick Scott: Boost spending to stop toxic algae."How about a "Blue Pay Increase" bill? Jeremy Wallace: "Florida lawmaker wants 'Blue Lives Matter' law." More: "Flags To Be Held at Half-Staff in Florida for Dallas Police Officers."Brown indicted "U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown of Florida and her chief of staff have been charged with multiple fraud and other federal offenses in a grand jury indictment unsealed Friday after a federal investigation into a fraudulent charity with ties to the congresswoman." "U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown indicted after fraud investigation."A Proud Republican "On second thought, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) will not be attending the GOP convention this month. Rubio had been planning to attend the confab in Cleveland but now joins a long list of Republicans who seem to be calculating it's better politics to stay away." "Marco Rubio joins list of Republicans skipping GOP convention." See also "Rubio Hopes to Avoi[...]
Mon, 04 Jul 2016 17:42:00 +0000Chris Ingram: "Despite claims he would not run for re-election to the U.S. Senate, Marco Rubio is now running for re-election. This should come as no surprise."Last year, the field of Florida GOP "A-listers" (such as Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan of Sarasota, and former Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford) who normally would have jumped at the chance to run for an open U.S. Senate seat all said "no thanks.'' Even perennial losing candidate Bill McCollum, the former state attorney general and member of Congress, took a pass."Why?" Because they knew that Rubio's word is as worthless as a wet firecracker. They won't publicly say that for fear of offending someone they might need something from later. But people who know Rubio privately acknowledge he cannot be trusted."Republicans don't trust Marco Rubio." Gary Stein: "Marco's doing it for America? Please."Fight over public records "911: The Florida fight over which records are public." See also "From DCF to Pam Bondi, Nothing But Contempt for Florida’s Sunshine Law."FlaDem registration advantage "slowly withering away" Steve Bousquet: "In the must-win state of Florida, Democrats are seeing their numerical advantage in voters slowly wither away — a trend that could make a third straight presidential election victory in 2016 more challenging."Florida is seeing a surge of enthusiasm about the upcoming election, and that, too, is helping Republicans more than Democrats, in part because of Trump. In the six months ending May 31, 311,000 voters joined the rolls or changed their party. That total included 184,000 Republicans and 117,000 Democrats. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of voters who were NPAs or Democrats switched to the Republican Party so they could vote in the closed GOP presidential preference primary in March. The state's fluid demographics to a more racially and ethnically diverse population should favor Democrats, especially in the urban centers of Tampa Bay, Orlando and South Florida. But those voters — young, Hispanic, African-American and new to Florida — are also more likely to register with no party affiliation."A lighter shade of blue: Florida Democrats' share of voter base continues to slide.""Inaction and sabotage in Tallahassee" The Miami Herald editors: "Algae blooms on the Treasure Coast are a sign of pollutants — and inaction and sabotage in Tallahassee. Gov. Scott and the Legislature have reversed measures that could help avert such environmental disasters." "Tally fails to rally to protect our water.""Opponents question his Grayson Fund investment" "Bob Poe, a candidate for Florida's 10th congressional district in Orlando, was an investor in U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson's controversial hedge fund, which opponents say contradicts his pitch that he is a progressive political outsider." "Poe opponents question his Grayson Fund investment."Will Florida's Hispanic growth determine the election? "As Florida’s Hispanic population has grown 18 percent in five years, the state has become more diverse. There has also been a surge in the number of people age 65 and older." "Hispanic growth in Florida: Will it determine the election?""Nelson stretches truth" "Bill Nelson exaggerated when he said the House Zika bill limits birth control access in Puerto Rico." "Sen. Bill Nelson stretches truth about Zika bill and birth control."The entrepreneurial spirit "After Hillsborough nonprofit loses millions in state funding, former executive keeps getting paid."[...]
Sun, 26 Jun 2016 15:40:00 +0000Steve Bousquet writes thatFlorida is poised for a volatile political season as a large crop of candidates met Friday's deadline to get on the ballot for the 2016 elections."The unpredictable force of Donald Trump, a court-ordered redesign of districts and rampant turnover in the state's congressional delegation have combined to unleash a flood of ambition and give voters a wide range of choices:" • Eight of Florida's 27 members of Congress are leaving and all 27 seats are being contested for the first time. • As more voters reject both major parties and have no party affiliation, no-party candidates will offer a third alternative in two dozen races for U.S. Senate, Congress and the Legislature in a state where nearly three in 10 voters are not members of either major party. • Eight legislative seats will have primaries open to all voters because only one party fielded candidates. In those rare cases, candidates will be forced to appeal to a wider pool of voters than just the hard-right and hard-left who often dominate primaries. • Fifteen of 40 state Senate seats are open, and the redrawn districts give outnumbered Democrats hope of making gains."In year of political turmoil, Florida candidates stampede to ballot." See also "State Senate races a South Florida free-for-all."Marco wants a mulligan "Weekly Roundup: Can I Get a Mulligan?.""His day job remains unclear" "Now running for the Florida House, the ex-congressman from Miami reported a net worth of $1.5 million, even as his day job remains unclear." "David Rivera, millionaire? His financial form says so.""What's hot, crazy or shady about politics in the Sunshine State" Marc Caputo: "Murphy’s tough week – Scott’s Zika leadership – GMO-mosquito vote delayed in Keys – Editorial: stop ‘reefer madness’ -- candidate sought for questions in hit-and-run death." "Florida Playbook."Senate candidate accused of bribe "Miami Democratic state Senate candidate Andrew Korge is accused of trying to bribe state Sen. Dwight Bullard into moving districts and trying to persuade another Democratic primary opponent, Ana Rivas Logan, to swap races with him." "Miami-Dade senator: My opponent offered me $25,000 to get out of his way."Beats working "Rubio's book royalties up $70K in 2015."Brown and Lawson will face off "Rep. Corrine Brown and former state Sen. Al Lawson will face off in the Democratic primary for the 5th Congressional District, a seat that has been the subject of huge doses of speculation and intrigue after a redistricting legal challenge."Lawson, a Tallahassee Democrat, filed to run for the seat in February, so his challenge to Brown is no surprise. But there have been persistent rumors that other candidates would pile into the race for a seat that was redrawn to stretch from Jacksonville to the Tallahassee region. That speculation ramped up when news broke that Brown is the subject of an ongoing Department of Justice investigation into whether she conspired to commit “fraudulent activities,” improperly solicited charitable donations or misused campaign funds. Since the investigation was made public in March, no other information has been made available. But as the noon Friday deadline for candidates to qualify passed, none of the rumors of additional candidates came to fruition, and a regional battle now pits a longtime Tallahassee politico against a 12-term incumbent Jacksonville congresswoman."Despite intrigue, Brown, Lawson are only prominent Democrats in CD5 race."Bangin' Murphy "on Wednesday evening, CBS4 Miami aired the first of its two part “The Making of Patrick Murphy” reports that questioned the congressman’s portrayal of his business record. The first report is here: http://cbsloc.al/28OCy61. The Murphy campaign responded with a 'setting the record straight' post: http://bit.ly/28QTaJ0. That afternoon, a new Rubio super PAC then featured th[...]
Sun, 19 Jun 2016 16:47:00 +0000"A somber cloud hung over the Florida Democratic Party’s annual fundraising dinner Saturday, as much of the event focused on a mass shooting that left 50 dead at a gay Orlando nightclub last Sunday."Speeches geared toward building party unity heading into the general election were laced with calls for gun control and legal changes to help the LGBT community, which was targeted as part of the attack."Orlando shooting dominates Florida Democrats' annual dinner."Subsidizing Walmart "When it comes to calling the cops, Walmart is such an outlier compared with its competitors that experts criticized the corporate giant for shifting too much of its security burden onto taxpayers." "Police are called to Walmart more than anywhere else — and you foot the bill."ASA suspended for wild social media posts "An Orlando-area assistant state attorney has been suspended for social media posts he made in the aftermath of the Orlando shooting saying that""the entire city should be leveled. . . ." “All Orlando nightclubs should be permanently closed. With or without random gunmen they are zoos; utter cesspools of debauchery.” He also posted Sunday morning that “the entire city [of Orlando] should be leveled. It is a melting pot of 3rd world miscreants and ghetto thugs… Disney may be the happiest place on earth but Orlando is a national embarrassment. If this is an act of a domestic terrorist it is so very important that we don’t publish the religion, name, or motive of the terrorist as not to offend anyone.”"State prosecutor suspended over Facebook posts about Orlando.""What's hot, crazy or shady about politics in the Sunshine State Marc Caputo: "Beruff ready to wreck Rubio – Clinton launches $3.5m Florida air war – Trial of Chilean dictator’s lieutenant plays out in… Orlando – Cashman Canova -- Commemorating ‘Cheeto Jesus’." "Florida Playbook."Killing Florida black bears "A bear hunt this fall would be broken into three four-day periods, with hunters applying on a first-come, first-served basis for permits that would be specific to dates and areas, under a staff recommendation that will go before the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on Wednesday." "Bear-hunt proposal ready for commission." Back at the ranch, Nancy Smith explains why she "Favors the Bear Hunt."Another fine Jebacy "Insane, invisible and in danger: Florida cut $100M from its mental hospitals; chaos quickly followed."Rubio called "homophobic," FlaGOP wants him anyway "Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy lashed out at Marco Rubio on Saturday, saying he agrees with calls he has been getting from people who have labeled Rubio 'one of the most homophobic senators in this country.'" "Murphy assails Rubio as 'homophobic'." Meanwhile, "Florida Republicans Want Rubio to Run Again." A pathway for Rubio is opening up: "Rep. Jolly drops Senate bid, to run for reelection."DWS fails to get the required 2/3 votes to secure Fla AFL-CIO endorsement "For the first time in 24 years, Debbie Wasserman Schultz will not get the endorsement of the AFL-CIO. . . . Wasserman Schultz failed to get the required 2/3 votes to secure the endorsement." "AFL-CIO Says 'No' To Debbie Wasserman Schultz." This, over the efforts of SoFla labor: "South Florida unions come to defense of Wasserman Schultz." More: "AFL-CIO Snub Aside, DWS Collects a Cartload of S. Florida Union Endorsements" and "Wasserman Schultz and Canova spar over labor endorsements."And then there's that privatization thing "‘Clerical error’ on Orlando killer’s psychological eval named wrong doctor.""Key facts got lost along the way" "In the waning hours of their 2016 session, Florida lawmakers approved a bill expanding families' school options across county lines."Education choice advocates trumpeted the move as a bold step to let students attend any public schoo[...]
Sun, 05 Jun 2016 16:11:00 +0000"Hillary Clinton hasn't clinched her party’s presidential nominee, but her campaign is acting like it in Florida, where it has a dozen senior staffers and about 100 paid organizers who are canvassing neighborhoods and starting to register voters for the general election."Clinton’s Florida team includes a mix of national Democratic operatives and veterans of President Barack Obama’s campaigns, which won the state twice … Florida Democrats have nervously watched as the number of active registered Republican voters started growing faster than that of Democrats since the last general election — a sign Trump’s campaign might be better organized than it gets credit for."Headquartered in Tampa, Clinton’s big Florida presence underscores the importance of the nation’s biggest swing state, the part-time home of Donald Trump. He probably can’t afford to lose here and expect to win the White House. Recent Florida polls show the two are essentially tied." "Eyes on general election, Clinton showcases big Florida team.""Here comes the slime" "Ribbons of goop arrive early this year as discharges from Lake Okeechobee foul Florida’s east and west coasts. It’s an environmental disaster." "It’s summer, and here comes the slime.""It could cost him a circuit judgeship" "Gun rights groups are unleashing their wrath at a Jacksonville Republican who didn’t support a measure to shift the Burden of Proof in Stand Your Ground in the Florida Legislature this year, and it could cost him a circuit judgeship." "Florida Pro-Gun Groups Add on to Derail McBurney's Judgeship Ambitions.""Sanders vs. Wasserman Schultz tiff" The Sun Sentinel editors: "Bernie Sanders' supporters say Debbie Wasserman Schultz is abrasive and divisive. And Sanders is a collegial unifier? To be fair, Wasserman Schultz also faces criticism from outside the Sanders camp." "Little upside in Sanders vs. Wasserman Schultz tiff.""Sharp increase in murders, rapes" "Florida's crime rate drops despite sharp increase in murders, rapes.""What's hot, crazy or shady about politics in the Sunshine State" Marc Caputo: "Hillary’s big Florida team – FL poll: Gary Johnson might hurt Trump -- Planned Parenthood sues Florida -- Ros-Lehtinen challenger: Vote for me; here’s my arrest record." "Florida Playbook."Sorry, Rick "Election, not Gov. Scott, to fill judicial seat in Palm Beach County, Supreme Court rules.""Wildly unethical for [Bondi] to accept this money" Scott Maxwell: "New York's attorney general says the evidence is compelling that Trump's get-rich seminars — promoted in both Florida and New York — were merely a "bait and switch scheme" where people paid thousands of dollars for promised training and insight they never received."Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, however, decided not to act on similar complaints filed by Floridians. She, however, did take money from Trump — while her office said it was "reviewing" the complaints against him. Three days after the Orlando Sentinel wrote a story in 2013 about Floridians who felt scammed by a Trump affiliate, Trump's charitable foundation gave $25,000 to one of Bondi's campaign committees. It was wildly unethical for her to accept this money. No self-respecting prosecutor would take money from a potential target. Bondi's office always claimed there wasn't enough evidence to make a case. But I wondered how hard her staff worked to actually find any. So I asked to see her office's investigative reports for myself. Her office took about four weeks to respond and then finally did so with a massive document dump — thousands of pages, many of which were exchanges with the press about why they weren't investigating now and stressing they never had. A copy of an email I sent back in 2013 was included 39 different times. All told, they provided 8,491 pages of record[...]
Tue, 31 May 2016 12:03:00 +0000"The race to succeed Rep. Alan Grayson in the U.S. House has drawn five Democrats looking to capture what some analysts consider a safe seat for their party."
But not everyone thinks that the district is as securely Democratic as it once was. New boundaries were drawn after redistricting, adding 25,000 new Republican voters at the expense of independents and Democrats."Democrats running to succeed Grayson, who is running for U.S. Senate, include a state senator, Darren Soto; Grayson's former district manager, Susannah Randolph; a former Osceola Democratic chair, Valleri Crabtree; technology consultant Jason Borders; and a biochemist, Dena Minning, who is Grayson's fiancée."
Two candidates have entered the race on the Republican side, including businessman Wayne Liebnitzky and Kissimmee Vice Mayor Wanda Rentas."Crowded field looks to succeed Grayson in House."
They're all battling to represent a district that changed less dramatically than others after the state Supreme Court ordered new boundaries late last year. But there were a few significant changes nonetheless.
FlaGOP afraid of Jebbie
"State Sen. Don Gaetz sees his legislation allowing school districts to replace state exams with national alternatives like the SAT or ACT as the salvation of the education accountability policies crafted by former Gov. Jeb Bush." "Citing Bush, Gaetz offers alternative-testing post-mortem."
"What's hot, crazy or shady about politics in the Sunshine State"
Marc Caputo: "Run, Marco! (for Senate) – Canova: close to $2m raised against Wasserman Schultz – State police raid DeBary City Hall – Libertarian conference." "Florida Playbook."
The Other Grayson
"One of Dena Minning’s biggest assets in her congressional bid was her boyfriend: incumbent Alan Grayson, who’s leaving the U.S. House to run for U.S. Senate."
Now, after Grayson has helped raise her profile and run for his U.S. House seat, he married her over the Memorial Day Weekend and gave her his last name, according to her Monday social-media posts and The Orlando Political Observer."Alan Grayson marries candidate who wants to replace him."
Dena Minning promptly became Dena Grayson on Twitter and Facebook. The largely unknown outsider in the Orlando-area district now has a potent tool in running under the name of the incumbent in a crowded Democratic primary. . . .
The Grayson wedding adds more drama to the 9th Congressional District race, in which Grayson’s former aide and political hand, Susannah Randolph, had been laying the groundwork for the seat. But then she learned last year that her boss’s girlfriend wanted to run and that he would back her.
Sat, 28 May 2016 12:35:00 +0000"The Florida senator leaves the door a crack to reversing his planned retirement from the Senate after one term." "Rubio: 'Unlikely' I'll run for reelection." Adam C Smith: "A second Senate term for Marco Rubio?" "Marco Rubio: I'd 'maybe' run for re-election if my friend wasn't." See also "GOP Leadership Urges Rubio Run Again for Senate" and "". Meanwhile, "Trump Wants Rubio to Stay in the Senate."No Fun "The contentious campaigning in the 2016 election has laid waste to durable traditions as Florida and the nation show that allegiance to political parties may be over." "There’s no fun these days in Florida’s political parties.""What's hot, crazy or shady about politics in the Sunshine State" "Canova: close to $2m raised against Wasserman Schultz – State police raid DeBary City Hall – Libertarian conference kicks off in Orlando." However, "Crossroads' President and CEO Steven Law had this to say about the organization's rare decision to endorse in a contested primary: 'Congresswoman and DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has played a critical role over the past several years in the massive Republican gains we have achieved at the state level, in the U.S. House of Representatives and in the U.S. Senate.'" "American Crossroads Endorses Debbie Wasserman Schultz.""A little more real" "Raquel Regalado on Friday submitted her resignation from the Miami-Dade school board, paving the way for her run for county mayor." "Race for Miami-Dade mayor gets a little more real: Regalado resigns school board seat.""Democrats eyeing big gains in the Florida House" "Democrats have been an afterthought in the Florida House in the recent past as Republicans' numbers have grown to supermajority status in the 120-member chamber."But along with presidential election cycles comes hope for Democrats looking to boost their numbers at all levels of government. The party’s voters historically have not turned out in large numbers in non-presidential years. In 2014, for instance, Democratic strongholds of Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties had voter turnout of just 44.8 percent, which helped sink Democrat Charlie Crist's gubernatorial campaign. In 2012, those counties had a collective average turnout of 68 percent. Those higher numbers, and the fact that Republicans are raising money at a slower clip than past years, have Democrats eyeing big gains in the Florida House, while the GOP will play defense in many hotly contested races"Democrats eye House pickups across the state."Judge orders partisan races for constitutional officers "Orange County candidates for sheriff, tax collector and the four other constitutional offices would be identified on this year's ballot as Democrat, Republican or another party affiliation if a judge's ruling holds." "Judge's ruling nixes nonpartisan elections."Lopez-Cantera on the dole "The lieutenant governor, who has a nearly $125,000 annual salary, is given no formal responsibilities in the state constitution — which has always left the post as one of the more obscure in state government once campaign season is over." "Lopez-Cantera's official state calendar shrinks as campaign's grows."[...]
Thu, 26 May 2016 12:31:00 +0000"Local control is a bedrock principle of conservative thought. But it’s become apparent that when local decision-making is inconvenient for them, Republican state officials do not hesitate to squash it."It’s ironic at best, hypocritical at worst. "Take Florida, where state politicians have been ignoring the will of the people to help workers for more than a decade."After cities across Florida raised wages for city contractors, the Legislature in 2003 passed a law that prevented local jurisdictions from passing their own minimum wage laws for private-sector workers. The next year, an overwhelming majority of voters approved a constitutional amendment that reserved cities’ rights to raise private-sector minimum wages. Politicians in Tallahassee responded by amending the 2003 law to make it even harder for cities to take care of their own. Undeterred, local elected officials all over the state have attempted to help their residents. Several counties have issued wage-theft ordinances, and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman has expanded access to paid leave and raised the minimum wage for city employees. In Miami Beach, Mayor Philip Levine has proposed to extend the living wage ordinance that already applies to city contractors to all private-sector employees. It’s a simple measure that would help low-wage workers share in the prosperity of the tourism industry that thrives because of their work. It remains to be seen whether state lawmakers will continue to stymie cities’ efforts to make life easier for working families by defending a law that on its face conflicts with the state Constitution."Labor Secretary: Florida is bigfooting local efforts to raise minimum wage."Will Jeb get "burst of energy"? "Trump: Jeb will get 'burst of energy' and endorse me." See also "Trump: Jeb Bush Will Come Around.""A full day of Florida Weird" "Why Trump fired aide after Florida clash – Democrats’ Debbie drama -- Protestor uses ‘fart machine’ at scandal-plagued Broward Health – A full day of Florida Weird." "Florida Playbook.""Florida Supreme Court will be the best show in town" "For legal junkies, the Florida Supreme Court will be the best show in town during a three-day period in June. Justices are poised to hear arguments on a series of high-profile issues, including gambling, the death penalty, guns and medical malpractice, according to a schedule released Wednesday." "Supreme Court Ready to Wade into Major Cases."Planned Parenthood alleges harassment "Attorneys for Planned Parenthood this week switched gears in their push to have the state pick up the costs of legal fees that accrued while defending abortion clinics against allegations that they provided illegal second trimester abortions."Instead of arguing that Planned Parenthood is entitled to attorney's fees because it was the prevailing party in the legal dispute and that the complaints weren't legally sufficient, attorneys now are arguing that the state participated in the proceedings for an improper purpose, including harassment."Planned Parenthood switches legal gears as it seeks attorney’s fees.""Florida elections may be a bloodbath" "Florida elections may be a bloodbath. Hallelujah!"Money for nuthin' . . . "Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush left his education foundation behind when he decided to run for president, but now that his 2016 presidential ambitions are behind him, he’s stepped back into his role as chairman for the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExelinEd)." "Jeb Bush Returns to Education Foundation."[...]
Tue, 17 May 2016 11:57:00 +0000John Romano: "When it comes to national elections, America is obsessed with Florida's demographics, intrigued with Florida's potential fundraising and desperate for Florida's voters."As for our actual politicians, America will pass. "Again." The former governor who was supposed to be the front-runner and had an abundance of cash, if not charm, dropped out of the presidential race months ago. The handsome, young senator who was supposed to be the future face of the Republican Party couldn't even outlast the smarmy Texan the rest of the Senate hates. And now it's looking like our senior senator is probably not on the short list of VP candidates because the Democrats can't risk losing a Senate seat. Or so they say. And our current governor has no chance no matter how much he stalks Donald Trump. So, if you're scoring at home, that would make Florida 0-for-171 years. Since becoming a bona fide state, Florida has yet to put one of its elected politicians in the White House as either a president or vice president. Despite our best efforts to keep our crazy close to the vest, it appears America is on to us."Romano: Vice President Scott? Vice President Crist? Thanks for nothing, America."Lie down with dogs "Jolly on backing Trump: ‘I don’t know if I will get there by November’."."Green cards for sale "Foreigners who invest in soccer stadium could get green cards."Lie down with dogs (Part 2) Marc Caputo: "U.S. Senate candidate Carlos Beruff referred to President Obama as an 'animal' during a recent Florida Republican meeting, prompting opponents from both parties to call on him to apologize." "Rivals condemn Senate candidate for calling Obama an ‘animal’.""Congressional Races Look Competitive" "The Florida congressional district is set to radically change after the November elections. Between redistricting, some unexpected retirements and four representatives running for the U.S. Senate, almost half of the Sunshine State’s 27 congressional seats are in play in the primaries or the general election. With that many seats up for grabs, Florida can expect some differences in how it's represented starting in 2017." "Florida Congressional Races Look Competitive After Redistricting, Retirements."Corporate giant shifts its security burden onto taxpayers "When it comes to calling the cops, Walmart is such an outlier compared with its competitors that experts criticized the corporate giant for shifting too much of its security burden onto taxpayers. Several local law enforcement officers also emphasized that all the hours spent at Walmart cut into how often they can patrol other neighborhoods and prevent other crimes." "Police are called to Walmart more than anywhere else; you foot the bill.""What's hot, crazy or shady about politics in the Sunshine State" Marc Caputo: "Rubio’s media-mocking tweetstorm – Trump’s new pollster – Cuban immigrant wave increases – Florida reports tourism record -- Will Racist McShootface return?" "Florida Playbook." More Caputo: "Grayson says NYT ‘full of [expletive] but errs himself – Beruff calls Obama an ‘animal’ – Venezuela in crisis – State passes up $250m for foreclosure help – Florida wildlife gone wild." "Florida Playbook." "Grayson’s own campaign corrects him on claim that Times is ‘full of shit’."Establishment goes after Grayson "For the second time in a week, Alan Grayson got into a heated public argument about the ethics investigation into his hedge fund and other activities." "Grayson gets into heated TV interview about ethics investigation."Cream rises . . . "Don Gaetz floated for University of West Florida presidency."[...]
Sat, 14 May 2016 17:26:00 +0000"Palm Beachers and other locals say they have long recognized the two Donald Trump personas that presidential campaign watchers expect more of the country to soon get to meet." "Two Donald Trump personas emerge in Palm Beach."Picketers to hit Disney Sunday Morning "The Reedy Creek Fire Fighters Association Local 2117, which represents emergency workers serving Walt Disney World, plans to picket Sunday morning in and around the Springs' parking garages."It will be the first time in decades the union has demonstrated on Disney property."Contract negotiations have stalled with Reedy Creek, the Disney-controlled government agency that employs firefighters and paramedics serving the resort. The two sides reached an impasse in negotiations last year. Firefighters and paramedics have been working without a contract for almost a year and a half. The two sides disagree about pay and insurance.""Here we are asking for peanuts, and Reedy Creek spent millions of millions of dollars on these parking garages, and they won't even work with me on a contract," [Union president Tim Stromsnes said]"Firefighters' union plans demonstration at Disney.""What's hot, crazy or shady about politics in the Sunshine State" Marc Caputo: "SPECIAL SATURDAY EDITION -- John Miller for veep? — The Sunshine State of play — B’DAY: Howard Wolfson, Tom Donilon." "Florida Playbook."That Killing Thing The Tampa Bay Times editors: "Florida Supreme Court should change death sentences to life in prison.""Big Bucks in April" "Florida Senate hopefuls were busy raising big bucks for their campaigns during the month of April. Sunshine State News took a look at what the candidates in some of the state’s most hotly-contested Senate seats raised last month." "Florida Senate Contenders Raise Big Bucks in April."GOP Latino leader steps in it "Rosario Marin, a GOP Latino leader who was the 41st U.S. treasurer, unloaded on Donald Trump Friday by repeatedly telling an Orlando TV station that her fellow Republican is a 'little orange man' she and other Hispanics can’t vote for." "GOP Latino leader blasts Trump as ‘little orange man’."The lucky sperm club: "Son of Miami lobbyist gets break" "Son of Miami lobbyist gets break, is sentenced to only 30 months in prison for Molly dealing.""A remarkable rise" "Patrick Murphy burst from obscurity in 2012 by winning a bitter showdown with tea party Rep. Allen West. Now 33, the South Florida resident is strongly positioned to jump to the Senate, a remarkable rise that has national Democrats optimistic of regaining a majority."Behind him stands one major asset. His father. Thomas P. Murphy Jr. has built homes for Oprah Winfrey and Dan Marino, dozens of hotels and resorts, and he has constructed a path for his son in the most fundamental way: money. The elder Murphy has given more than $1 million to super PACs supporting his son's campaigns and used donations to help create allies in Florida and Washington. His Coastal Construction Group has been the source for more than $180,000 given directly to the candidate's House and Senate campaigns. "But the family advantage has provoked criticism from Democrats and Republicans who cast him as a rich kid and a hypocrite because he laments the influence of money in politics while benefiting from his father's largess." A Republican, Tom Murphy has long been politically active and has given money to Charlie Crist, Alex Sink, George W. Bush and Mitt Romney. (Patrick Murphy also donated to Romney and was a registered Republican until shortly before launching his first campaign.) . . . Democratic rival Alan Grayson, an outspoken liberal congressman from Orlando, has mocked Murphy for relying on "Daddy's PAC.[...]
Mon, 09 May 2016 13:04:00 +0000"Florida Gov. Rick Scott is not on board with the minimum wage increase in the sunny, oceanside state — of California."As Scott toured the West Coast for the second time attempting to attract businesses, Enterprise Florida (the state's public-private economic development arm) ran radio ads in San Francisco and Los Angeles attacking California's $15 wage and trumpeting Florida's superior job prospects. "The ad is comparing California's projected employment with Florida's past performance — an apples-to-oranges comparison."It also distorts what the 700,000 jobs-lost figure actually refers to. Even with the wage hike, California is expected to gain more jobs than Florida over the next decade, albeit not as many as without it. Furthermore, all the economists we spoke with cautioned against pinning a figure to the minimum wage hike's impact on employment in California.PolitiFact Florida: Florida agency's misleading attack on California's minimum wage hike." Carl Hiaasen: "Florida’s governor, leader of a low-wage, low-skill state, tried to poach corporations in California. Once they stopped snickering, they gave Scott an earful, telling him, not so politely, to go home." "Gov. Scott went to California, dreaming."Marco's "political rehabilitation" "What does a former presidential candidate do after a crushing home-state loss?" "The political rehabilitation of Marco Rubio."Jeb! huffs "Jeb Bush won’t vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.""What's hot, crazy or shady about politics in the Sunshine State" Marc Caputo: "Rubio-Cruz spat’s 2020 feel – Forget pledge, Jeb’s ‘Never Trump’ – Orange County’s terrible ‘teacher appreciation week’ – Oil prospecting near the Glades? – Gator hunter gets hunted by gator." "Florida Playbook.""Trump loses Florida, he loses the election" "Political campaigns tend to be about hope, fear, self-interest, frustration and, occasionally, inspiration. Ultimately, though, campaigns are about math, and the presidential electoral math has been consistent for decades: If the Republican nominee loses Florida, he loses the election." "Can Donald Trump win Florida? Yes, but he probably won't." Meanwhile, "Dennis Ross Takes Trump's Side Over Paul Ryan."Minimum wage increase would prompt legal fight "Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine wants to increase minimum wage citywide. This could prompt a legal fight. The state of Florida sets the wage level and prohibits municipalities from doing so." "A fight to give Beach workers a raise."Contracting-out-blues "The information was mistakenly included in a file sent to an outside contractor." "Palm Beach County teachers' Social Security numbers accidentally shared."Say, who? "GOP candidates for Florida’s open U.S. Senate seat chase name recognition.""Buckhorn's gubernatorial chances aren't great" "Florida Insider Poll numbers on Bob Buckhorn's gubernatorial chances aren't great."[...]
Sat, 30 Apr 2016 17:18:00 +0000"Broward Republican leader says when Trump debates Clinton 'she's going to go down like Monica Lewinsky'."Bondi's latest excuse "Democrats have scolded Bondi for not doing more to help the case against Trump University, since she has joined lawsuits brought by other states, including actions against the Affordable Care Act and a ruling allowing the Environmental Protection Agency to enforce a cleanup plan for Chesapeake Bay.""Florida's Attorney General has not hesitated to join losing, transparently partisan lawsuits around the country because she felt it was the best way to score political points,'' said Florida Democratic Party spokesman Max Steele on Friday. "But when Donald Trump defrauded Floridians with his sham Trump University, Bondi shrugged off the complaints and did nothing except collect a $25,000 check from none other than the Donald Trump Foundation.""Trump campaign aides said the political donation made by his charity — an apparent violation of tax laws governing nonprofits — was a mistake, according to the Washington Post." When asked whether Bondi planned to give back the $25,000 donation or give it to charity, Ray referred a reporter to Bondi campaign aides, who did not return an email."Bondi: Trump U. complaints came before I took office."Jeb! struggles for relevancy "Jeb Bush says Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz made a “smart move” in choosing Carly Fiorina as his running mate. Bush, a former contender for the GOP nomination, said Thursday that front-runner Donald Trump is 'not a serious person,' especially on foreign policy matters."Reshaping Florida’s congressional delegation "Redistricting, retirements and runs for higher office will reshape Florida’s congressional delegation in a big way in 2016 – sapping some of its Capitol clout and possibly sending more Democrats from the state to Washington." "Florida congressional turnover highest in U.S.; GOP still to dominate."Scott sends "shock wave through legal circles" "In a move that critics claim smacks of an attempt to pack the court, Florida Gov. Rick Scott this week announced plans to appoint someone to replace a judge leaving the Palm Beach County bench even though the county’s elections supervisor said state law calls for the replacement to be elected by voters."Attorney Gregg Lerman, who had already announced plans to run for the seat, vowed to file a lawsuit if Scott won’t back down from his plans to appoint a judge to replace longtime County Court Judge Laura Johnson, who is resigning to seek a seat on the circuit court bench. “I think the governor is trying to steal the electoral process from the voters of Palm Beach County,” Lerman said. “He would like a more conservative bench than currently exists.” . . . The disagreement is rooted in different interpretations of the provision of the Florida Constitution that gives the governor the power to fill judicial vacancies and the state’s resign-to-run law. Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher said the resign-to-run law is clear. Because Johnson’s term isn’t scheduled to end until January 2021, she had to submit a letter of resignation to the governor before she would be allowed to formally file papers to run for circuit judge. Under the law, her letter had to be sent 10 days before the start of the weeklong qualifying period for judicial elections, which is Monday. And she had to resign by the date she would take office if she’s elected as circuit judge, Jan. 3. Once Johnson resigned, Bucher said, the county court post was an open seat. Lerman, longtime county Magistrate Thomas Baker and attorney Lisa Grossman then announced [...]
Sun, 24 Apr 2016 18:24:00 +0000Gary Fineout reminds us that, "right before she was elected to a second term into office, a series of stories by the New York Times detailed the practice of law firms who were skilled at developing contacts and relationships with the top lawyers of various states - including Attorney General Pam Bondi."
"These firms helped out corporate clients whose businesses had been targeted by some states, but not others."
One of the stories also pointed out that Bondi allowed a lawyer from one of the firms to recuperate from surgery at Bondi's house"Now 16 months later the matter has come to a quiet close - at least as it concerns Florida's ethics laws."
The Florida Commission on Ethics voted last week there was no probable cause to conclude that the now-defunct law firm Dickstein Shapiro - or one the lawyers who used to work at the firm, Bernard Nash - had broken the state's ethics laws.Fineout describes "several interesting highlights" from the investigation here: "Bondi's silence amid questions about lobbying, the gift ban and free trips."
"Developers target panther land"
"Any hope that South Florida's endangered panthers will eventually spread hundreds of miles north to as far as the Orlando area and beyond may hinge on a proposal for immense development near Naples."
A growth plan by nine Collier County landowners encompasses 152,124 acres, an area that spans important panther territory and is nearly as big as some counties in the state. . . ."South Florida developers target panther land."
The land belongs to prominent sugar, citrus and cattle enterprises, including a ranch owned by Aliese Priddy. In 2012, Gov. Rick Scott appointed her as a member of the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
DWS "wrong on payday loans"
"Florida's congressional delegation is in rare bipartisan support on an issue. Unfortunately, it's the wrong issue. The issue is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's plan to regulate payday loans." "Wasserman Schultz wrong on payday loans."
"Indian River Lagoon failures"
Sat, 23 Apr 2016 16:41:00 +0000"Donald Trump's controversial views on immigration have taken their toll on Latino support for the Republican Party in Florida and could have a profound impact on down-ballot candidates this fall, according to a poll of 400 registered Latino voters released on Friday by Latino Decisions, a public opinion research group." "Poll: Trump a big turn off for Florida Latino voters, including Cubans." More: "Immigration Is Top Issue for President and Congress, Say Florida Latinos."Weekly Roundup "Ever since the departure of the Pork Chop Gang --- a cadre of North Florida lawmakers who ruled state government through the middle part of the 20th Century --- the northern reaches of the state have sometimes seemed like second-tier parts of Florida." "Weekly Roundup: The North Rises Again."Don't do us any favors, Mr. Rubio "Rubio says he’s not interested in being vice president."Airbnb's tax games "The Florida Department of Revenue and tax collectors in Pinellas and four other counties have signed agreements with online home-booking agency Airbnb to collect and remit potentially millions of dollars in tourist-tax revenue that until four months ago went unpaid."Those agreements mean that people seeking a break through Airbnb on the rising cost of hotel and motel rooms will be paying more per night because state and local tourist taxes will be tacked onto their bills. But on the other side of the ledger, how much the online home-booking agency will be collecting and turning in each month remains an open question because of Airbnb’s insistence that the names of people renting out property on its platform be kept secret. Airbnb even insists that its agreements with government agencies remain secret. And it wants the state and counties to forfeit any potential taxes owed prior to executing the agreements. - See more at: http://www.tbo.com/news/politics/airbnb-starts-paying-florida-taxes-but-still-plays-by-different-rules-20160422/#sthash.rls4kKGy.dpuf"Airbnb starts paying Florida taxes but still plays by different rules.."Learn Tampa-Cuba history "A trail through Tampa-Cuba history.""work isn’t over for presidential hopefuls in the Sunshine State" "Donald Trump may have won the Florida primary, but the work isn’t over for presidential hopefuls in the Sunshine State." "Florida GOP Heads to Final Stretch of Delegate Selection."PBC School Board member resigns "Palm Beach County School Board member Mike Murgio resigned Friday following a federal indictment accusing him of bribery."His departure creates a vacancy on the seven-person board. His District 1 seat was up for re-election and before his arrest, Murgio planned to run as an incumbent. Instead, in a letter sent to school board chairman Chuck Shaw, Murgio wrote he was stepping down because his "personal situation" may create a distraction for the board and the school district."Indicted Palm Beach school board member Mike Murgio steps down."Opt out "slow to grow" in Miami-Dade "While thousands across the country boycott standardized tests in schools, the Opt Out movement has struggled to gain traction in Miami-Dade." "Movement to ‘opt out’ of standardized testing slow to grow in Miami-Dade schools."[...]
Fri, 22 Apr 2016 12:35:00 +0000"Redrawn congressional lines that plunked U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham’s seat into Republican territory prompted the congresswoman to announce she won’t seek re-election this year and instead will gear up for a possible run for governor in 2018."Graham, a Democrat from Tallahassee who unseated two-term Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Panama City, in 2014, announced her potential gubernatorial bid Thursday morning in a slick YouTube video emailed to supporters."While not entirely a surprise, her announcement promised to shake up a potential field of Governor’s Mansion hopefuls including Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, a Republican, and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, a Democrat."“Our state government is just dysfunctional,” she said. “And this causes me to rethink how I can best serve the people of North Florida and our state. Floridians are hungry for new leadership, and I’m so excited to tell your first that I’m seriously considering running for governor in 2018.” Graham, a pragmatist who has upset some in her party for siding with the GOP on issues from the Keystone XL pipeline to President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, touted her accomplishments in Congress."Gwen Graham might run for governor." See also "Another Graham for Florida governor? U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham announces potential run," "Another Graham for governor? U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham announces potential run" and "Florida Rep. Gwen Graham announces possible run for governor."RPOF wigs out "Cruise giant Carnival Corp. on Friday said it had been cleared by the Cuban government to bring Cuban-born travelers to the country, ending a controversy that threatened to upend its plans to launch the first USA to Cuba voyages in more than 50 years." "Cuban-born travelers cleared to cruise to Cuba." See also "Cuba will allow Cuban-born to arrive on Carnival cruise ship."All about Trump "It’s all about Donald Trump at GOP meeting, even without him there.""What's hot, crazy or shady about politics in the Sunshine State" Marc Caputo: "The RNC’s Florida takeaway – Wasserman Schultz goes after Canova – DCCC’s marital-rape attack v. Rep. Mica – Feds indict South Florida school board member." "Florida Playbook.""Something a little off at GOP gala" Tom Jackson: "By all outward signs, the annual Pasco Republican Reagan Day dinner was business as usual: Every ticket (all 450) was sold, filling Spartan Manor’s main ballroom; the opening ceremonies were reverently observed; the prime rib entree and carrot cake chaser were enthusiastically received; the live auction (involving mostly firearms) was ardently contested; and the whole thing wrapped up in time to get the attendees home in time for Hannity."There was, nonetheless, something ... off. Something unsettling. Something atmospheric. Something just beyond the grasp."Something a little off at GOP gala."Can't stop . . . "U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw’s campaign was raising large sums of money and paying political consultants until just before he decided to retire after eight terms in Congress." "Crenshaw continued raising funds until retirement announcement."Soto gets support "The Florida Senate Democratic Caucus endorsed their colleague Darren Soto for Congress Thursday. State Sen. Soto, D-Kissimmee, received the backing of 11 of his 13 fellow state Senate Democrats in his race for the party nomination in the 9th U.S. congressional district including including former Senate President Gwen Margolis, Minority Leader Arthenia Joyner and Minority Leader-elect Oscar Braynon." "Democratic state Senate cauc[...]
Wed, 20 Apr 2016 13:35:00 +0000"'Jeb! An American Disappointment! Please Clap', the musical's full title, opens with a song called 'Jeb! Bush, Exclamation Point.'" "http://bit.ly/1qDjKL7" "‘Jeb! The Musical’ parody of ‘Hamilton’ mocks the Bush campaign, by The Orlando Sentinel's Steven Lemongello: ''Jeb! The Musical' is available online for anyone’s enjoyment, with two acts and 46 songs parodying both the failed presidential campaign of the former Florida governor and the musical about founding father Alexander Hamilton." "http://bit.ly/1qDjKL7"Florida election gives rise to Twitter regulation dispute "A 2014 complaint filed by a [Florida] congressional write-in candidate who received fewer than 10 votes sparked a more than two year review of how much — if any — federal regulation should be placed on political speech through social media outlets like Twitter."The issue split the Federal Election Commission, which in February deadlocked on a 3-3 vote before deciding to close the case. The commission needs a majority vote to take any action."Three Republican members of the commission said further regulation by the FEC over the messages would “hamper free communication.” The panel’s two Democrats and one independent member said greater transparency should be put in place."The complaint was filed in January 2014 by Raymond Schamis, a write-in candidate from Delray Beach who was challenging West Palm Beach Democrat Lois Frankel in the 22nd Congressional District. In the complaint, Schamis said Frankel, Republican challenger Paul Spain and the Democratic and Republican national committees violated election law because Twitter accounts they used for their campaigns didn't include disclaimers saying who paid for the accounts and the individual tweets."Write-in candidate prompts FEC split over regulating Twitter messages."Even the Miami Herald It's over: "Miami Herald Calls for Repeal of Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966."Will Brown do Orlando? "Florida’s redistricting saga continued Monday when a group of federal judges rejected a lawsuit to throw out the current congressional boundaries from U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville." "Court Rejects Corrine Brown Lawsuit to Throw Out New Congressional Districts." Here's the [...]
Sat, 16 Apr 2016 15:10:00 +0000Update: Nancy Smith: "Democratic National Committee Chairwoman DWS tries to block voters' access to Sanders by limiting primary presidential debates; Sanders lends his formula for fundraising success and campaign charisma to Tim Canova, DWS' CD 23 challenger." "For Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Payback's a Witch." Update 2: "Support for Tim Canova's congressional campaign is coming from the same frothing section of the populace that's pulling for Bernie Sanders. In March, two major unions — the Communication Workers of America and National Nurses United — both endorsed Canova after also throwing their support behind Sanders. (Nurses United has even been driving 'Bernie Buses' around, canvassing on foot for the frozen warlock of a presidential candidate.) Veterans for Bernie Sanders too has thrown its support behind Canova ... Today, Canova picked up yet another big endorsement, this time from the Transportation Workers United 538, which represents the 2,500 Miami International Airport employees." "Miami Airport Workers' Union Endorses Tim Canova." "If the Bernie Sanders movement is trying to take down the Democratic political establishment, there’s probably no better place to start than Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee."Even before Wasserman Schultz was accused of trying to rig the primary process for Hillary Clinton, her perch atop the party apparatus and failure to meet some liberal purity tests made her a target of some on the left."Now, Wasserman Schultz is facing her first real primary fight since she was elected to Congress from Florida in 2004. Her challenger is Tim Canova, a progressive law professor fueled by the Sanders movement." "It’s a longshot, but Canova has some key actors from the Sanders coalition behind him." Wasserman Schultz has found herself on the wrong side the left on a range of fronts, from her alleged softness on the payday lending industry, to her opposition of medical marijuana, to her perceived reluctance to back President Obama’s Iran deal, to her support for so-called fast-track trade authority opposed by critics of the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal."The Bernie Sanders proxy war in Florida." "Actress Rosario Dawson spoke out against Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz Tuesday before introducing Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally in San Diego, California." "Rosario Dawson Bashes DNC's Wasserman Schultz at Sanders' Rally." DWS strikes back, claiming that "that Bernie Sanders’ supporters tactics of getting the attention of superdelegates 'border on harassment and feel like stalking.'" "Wasserman Schultz: Sanders Supporters’ Tactics ‘Border On Harassment’""What's hot, crazy or shady about politics in the Sunshine State" Marc Caputo: "Patrick Murphy’s SEVEN political committees – Tim Tebow for Congress? – Wasserman Schultz and Bernie Bros’ ‘borderline harassment." "Florida Playbook."Just ask Marco Democratic Rep. Reggie Fullwood "from Jacksonville has been indicted on charges he used more than $65,000 in campaign contributions on personal expenses like liquor, jewelry, flowers and groceries, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Jacksonville announced Friday." "Florida lawmaker faces fraud charges over campaign cash." Little Marco skated on similar behavior: "New questions raised about Marco Rubio’s GOP credit card expenses" ("Rubio made the most of the ample leeway and little oversight party leaders gave employees and lawmakers[...]
Sat, 16 Apr 2016 15:09:00 +0000Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry.Wasserman Schultz, Sanders fight heating up Update: Nancy Smith: "Democratic National Committee Chairwoman DWS tries to block voters' access to Sanders by limiting primary presidential debates; Sanders lends his formula for fundraising success and campaign charisma to Tim Canova, DWS' CD 23 challenger." "For Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Payback's a Witch." Update 2: "Support for Tim Canova's congressional campaign is coming from the same frothing section of the populace that's pulling for Bernie Sanders. In March, two major unions — the Communication Workers of America and National Nurses United — both endorsed Canova after also throwing their support behind Sanders. (Nurses United has even been driving 'Bernie Buses' around, canvassing on foot for the frozen warlock of a presidential candidate.) Veterans for Bernie Sanders too has thrown its support behind Canova ... Today, Canova picked up yet another big endorsement, this time from the Transportation Workers United 538, which represents the 2,500 Miami International Airport employees." "Miami Airport Workers' Union Endorses Tim Canova." "If the Bernie Sanders movement is trying to take down the Democratic political establishment, there’s probably no better place to start than Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee."Even before Wasserman Schultz was accused of trying to rig the primary process for Hillary Clinton, her perch atop the party apparatus and failure to meet some liberal purity tests made her a target of some on the left."Now, Wasserman Schultz is facing her first real primary fight since she was elected to Congress from Florida in 2004. Her challenger is Tim Canova, a progressive law professor fueled by the Sanders movement." "It’s a longshot, but Canova has some key actors from the Sanders coalition behind him." Wasserman Schultz has found herself on the wrong side the left on a range of fronts, from her alleged softness on the payday lending industry, to her opposition of medical marijuana, to her perceived reluctance to back President Obama’s Iran deal, to her support for so-called fast-track trade authority opposed by critics of the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal."The Bernie Sanders proxy war in Florida." "Actress Rosario Dawson spoke out against Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz Tuesday before introducing Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally in San Diego, California." "Rosario Dawson Bashes DNC's Wasserman Schultz at Sanders' Rally." DWS strikes back, claiming that "that Bernie Sanders’ supporters tactics of getting the attention of superdelegates 'border on harassment and feel like stalking.'" "Wasserman Schultz: Sanders Supporters’ Tactics ‘Border On Harassment’""What's hot, crazy or shady about politics in the Sunshine State" Marc Caputo: "Patrick Murphy’s SEVEN political committees – Tim Tebow for Congress? – Wasserman Schultz and Bernie Bros’ ‘borderline harassment." "Florida Playbook."Just ask Marco Democratic Rep. Reggie Fullwood "from Jacksonville has been indicted on charges he used more than $65,000 in campaign contributions on personal expenses like liquor, jewelry, flowers and groceries, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Jacksonville announced Friday." "Florida lawmaker faces fraud charges over campaign cash." Little Marco skated on similar behavior: "New questions raised about[...]
Sun, 10 Apr 2016 15:23:00 +0000John Romano: "It's interesting to note that when legislators talk enthusiastically about providing parents with choices, the back-door beneficiaries are often charter and private schools run by businesses. And when legislators deny parents a choice about the [Florida Standards Assessment], the backdoor beneficiary is a testing corporation with a six-year, $220 million contract."In other words, it might be less about "choice'' and more about commerce. So the next time you hear a lawmaker say parents know best, you might consider the possibility that you're listening to a shameless hypocrite."The state has become a slave to a testing company with no local oversight or accountability."It has allowed the education system to be swallowed by a single assessment. It has ignored parents and forsaken flexibility. The problem isn't that Florida children are failing tests. It's that Florida is failing children by obsessing over a test."Florida scores high on hypocrisy and low on integrity in school tests."Nelson remaining above the Senate primary fray "The race between Alan Grayson and Patrick Murphy for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination got even more heated this week, but their would-be colleague Bill Nelson is remaining above the fray." "Nelson remains neutral in U.S. Senate race."Florida, merely "a low-tax, low-wage state" The Tallahassee Democrat editors: "Shelling out millions in public money to private corporations was never a novel, responsible or sustainable strategy for creating jobs in the Sunshine State. That's why the Florida Legislature's decision not to spend any money over the next year on a job incentive program has forced a healthy and overdue debate. This is an opportunity for Florida to assess its strengths and weaknesses, better target quality jobs and industries and draw a clear line between promoting economic growth and corporate welfare."The loss of walking around money should force the governor to recast Florida as more than a low-tax, low-wage state. It is easy enough to sell the state for its year-round good weather, competitive wages and relaxed regulatory environment. Major employers, though, especially those in emerging technology industries, are looking for talent, proximity to industrial hubs and quality transportation, schools and other amenities. In his letter to the Enterprise Florida board, the governor still doesn't seem to get it, calling for new ways to promote Florida on the cheap. "Rethinking Florida's job recruitment efforts.""DCF Backs Off Protecting LGBT Children" "The Florida Department of Children and Families is under fire for backing off of part a proposal that would protect LGBT kids who live in group homes from discrimination — including so-called 'conversion therapy' aimed at changing their sexual orientation." "Bowing to Baptist and Catholic Pressure, DCF Backs Off Protecting LGBT Children from Discrimination.""Unfair — and, frankly, cold-hearted" The Palm Beach Post editors: "This month, about 300,000 Floridians who qualify for food stamps began facing the consequences of new rules requiring that they go to work. It’s a reasonable policy change, on paper. But for many who can’t find or hold a job, it means facing emptier pantries."Gov. Rick Scott’s administration justifies the action by saying the economy is improving and jobs are easier to find. And yes, Florida’s jobless rate has fallen to an eight-year low of 4.9 percent. More than 1 million j[...]
Sat, 09 Apr 2016 16:13:00 +0000"New details are emerging on the embattled Broward Health board's political ties to contractors and its involvement in doctors' contracts, as one former commissioner's constitutional power struggle with one-time ally Gov. Rick Scott spills into a Broward County courtroom Friday."A judge is scheduled to hold a hearing on the governor’s executive order last month to suspend two of his hand-picked Broward Health commissioners after Scott’s inspector general alleged that the commissioners, David Di Pietro and Darryl Wright, were interfering with an ongoing state probe into a number of recently approved contracts." Di Pietro, a rising star in Broward County Republican circles and husband of County Judge Nina Weatherly Di Pietro, immediately challenged Scott’s move, calling into question the governor’s legal authority to remove him from board, which oversees five hospitals, three outpatient centers and three urgent care facilities."This is just the latest chapter in a mushrooming scandal that has included the January suicide of the Broward Health CEO, questionable contracts and a deepening investigation by authorities that Di Pietro in the court filings said now includes the FBI."Court fight over Broward Health board highlights contracts, campaign cash."Scott denies he's corrupt "Scott’s political committee hits back after Starbucks confrontation."Kansas, Georgia and Alabama get blessing to to make motor voter registration harder "The federal Election Assistance Commission was formed after the disputed 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore and given an innocuous name and a seemingly inoffensive mission: to help state election officials make it easier to vote."In this ideologically riven election season, it turns out, that is not easy at all. The election commission is in federal court this month, essentially accused of trying to suppress voter turnout in this November’s election. The Justice Department, its nominal legal counsel, has declined to defend it. Its case instead is being pleaded by one of the nation’s leading advocates of voting restrictions. The agency’s chairman has disavowed its actions. "The quarrel exemplifies how the mere act of voting has become enmeshed in volatile partisan politics. Seventeen states will impose new voting restrictions for November’s presidential election. Many are the object of disputes between those who say they are rooting out voter fraud and those who say the real goal is to keep Democratic-leaning voters from casting ballots."The lawsuit’s origin is straightforward. The agency’s executive director, Brian D. Newby, had been in his job less than three months in January when he unilaterally reversed a policy that the body’s commissioners, two Democrats and two Republicans, had endorsed since the agency’s creation in 2002: that people registering to vote need offer no proof, beyond swearing an oath, that they are American citizens. That decision gave Kansas, Georgia and Alabama officials a blessing to alter the federal voter registration applications handed out in motor vehicle offices and many other state agencies, replacing the oath with something stiffer: a demand for proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate."The Voter Support Agency Accused of Suppressing Votes."Hispanic voter registration drive in Florida "The nation's largest Hispanic civil rights organization has launched a major voter-registrat[...]