Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry.

Ballot is longer than ever

"Brace yourselves, Florida voters: The election ballot you’ll see this fall is longer than ever. It’s so long that voters will have to fill out multiple sheets with races on both sides, then feed those multiple pages through ballot scanners, one page at a time." "Voters will have long ballots to fill out on Election Day".

Obama has his vote

"The 46-year-old, six-foot-three Republican gave Obama a bear hug, raising him off the ground as Obama marveled at the man's strength - and enthusiasm. . . . He said Obama had his vote." "Obama gets a rise out of a Fla. supporter".

Battle for Jewish vote in Florida

"Last week’s Democratic platform flap over Jerusalem touched on big issues of religion, international diplomacy and ancient land disputes. But it was also about perhaps 100,000 or fewer Jewish voters in South Florida, the Cleveland area, suburban Philadelphia and a handful of other targeted spots in presidential battleground states. Roughly three out of four Jewish voters backed Barack Obama in 2008, continuing a trend of overwhelming Jewish support for Democratic candidates in presidential and congressional elections." "Democratic platform flap on Jerusalem signals battle for sliver of Jewish vote in Florida".

Can't get enuf Rubio

Kingsley Guy: "Depending on the outcome of the upcoming election, Rubio's ascendency to the national ticket is either four or eight years away. When the GOP convention rolls around in 2016 or 2020, expect Rubio at the very least to be the Republicans' vice-presidential choice." "Rubio's star could be rising to top".

"A target closer to home"

"Even as Florida Democrats gathered in Charlotte, N.C., to nominate President Barack Obama for re-election, they were still mindful of a target closer to home: Republican Gov. Rick Scott."

Party officials and activists are clearly animated by the prospect of defeating Scott, who emerged from one of the closest elections in Florida's history to become one of the most unpopular governors in recent memory. And while Scott's numbers have improved recently, Democrats are still hopeful that 2014 will bring their first victory in the race for governor in 20 years.

A question still hovers over the race, though: who will their candidate be?

Former Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink lost to Scott in 2010; most of the mayors thought to be interested in the office, as well as Sen. Nan Rich of Weston, have never run a statewide race; Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith was Sink's running mate and is currently focused in part on his 25-year-old son's battle with a rare form of cancer. Former Sen. Dan Gelber was defeated soundly in the 2010 attorney general's race.

"Dems, and Maybe Crist, Approaching Governor's Race Gingerly".

"Obama a clear advantage among Hispanic voters in Florida"

"The explosive issue of immigration reform has given President Barack Obama a clear advantage among Hispanic voters in Florida while giving many conservatives one more reason to rally behind Republican challenger Mitt Romney." "Obama, Romney immigration clash gives voters distinctive options".

"Firing good teachers for no reason"

"The union representing Palm Beach County public school teachers wants some sort of job security that would prevent the school district from 'firing good teachers for no reason' once the merit pay system passed by the state Legislature takes effect." "Teachers union, district spar over ‘job security’ issue that stems from new merit-pay system".

Selling water

"Although West Palm Beach water officials say they don’t need help from outsiders to buttress their supply, two rock-mining companies want the city to buy into their plans to build reservoirs and then sell the water to the city." "Private companies lobby to dig reservoirs and sell water to West Palm".

Corporate welfare

Nancy Smith: "Digital Domain Media Group's collapse last week made victims of all Florida taxpayers. To the tune of $20 million. But few of those taxpayers will feel the pinch quite as directly as the long-suffering citizens of Port St. Lucie. " "Digital Domain Victim Port St. Lucie Plenty Used to Taking a Sucker Punch".


"So goes life in a swing state."

President Barack Obama — buoyed by higher poll numbers after his Democratic Party's convention — journeyed to Florida for a two-day swing, bouncing from Tampa Bay to Central Florida on Saturday, and then the Space Coast and West Palm Beach on Sunday. In his wake, former President Bill Clinton will stump Tuesday in Miami and then in Orlando on Wednesday, the same day that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's wife, Ann, heads to the Tampa Bay area.
"Crowds and post-DNC poll numbers buoy Obama in Florida". "The president comes to Florida with higher poll numbers after his convention and is met by friendly crowds. Missed him this trip? He'll be back." "Obama gets a lift in Florida". "‘Go forward with me,’ President Obama urges supporters in West Palm Beach, Melbourne". See also "Obama drops in on Cocoa cafe for breakfast on way to Melbourne" and "Obama: If we win Palm Beach County, we'll win Florida and win the election". "Former president Bill Clinton to speak at FIU on Tuesday, but you’ll need a ticket". Carl Hiaasen: "Why they call Bill Clinton ‘Big Dog’"

Nelson has not been tested in a while

Jeremy Wallace: "While U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat, has the power of incumbency, he has not been tested in a while, said Jennifer Duffy, an analyst with the Cook Political Report based in Washington, D.C. Nelson easily won his re-election in 2006 against former U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris. Six years before that he defeated former U.S. Rep. Bill McCollum comfortably." "Florida Senate race tough to assess".

Palm Beach FlaDem Apocalypse

"Palm Beach County Democratic Party Chairman Mark Alan Siegel resigned Friday, two days after he told an interviewer at the Democratic National Convention that pro-Israel Christians want to see Jews 'slaughtered.'"

Siegel’s on-camera remarks to the conservative Patriot Update website quickly ricocheted through the conservative blogosphere and led Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith and other elected officials to demand Siegel’s resignation. Siegel apologized Thursday but initially resisted calls for his resignation, saying he would take an indefinite leave of absence. By Friday afternoon, however, Siegel submitted his resignation.
"Siegel resigns as Palm Beach Democratic chair after Christians vs. Jews remark".

Expect the 9/11 hypocrites to be out in force

No doubt the firefighter pension haters will be out in full force, boo hooing and waving flags: "Here are some commemorations scheduled for Tuesday to remember 9/11".

The outlandish notion that the welfare of kids ought to trump business interests

Fred Grimm: "The feds just don’t understand how we do business down here in Florida."

The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division fired off a letter to the state attorney general’s office last week, threatening to sue the state for sticking medically fragile kids in geriatric warehouses.

Apparently the feds regard these individual as mere children. In Florida, they’re considered the very cogs that keep the state’s faltering nursing home industry humming along. They’ve been privatized.

The letter from Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas E. Perez charged that the state was failing to provide the appropriate community-based services required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“Hundreds of children are currently segregated in nursing facilities throughout Florida,” Perez wrote. “They are growing up apart from their families in hospital-like settings, among elderly nursing facility residents and other individuals with disabilities. They live segregated lives — having few opportunities to interact with children and young adults without disabilities or to experience many of the social, educational and recreational activities that are critical to child development.”

If the feds come down to Florida with some outlandish notion that the welfare of young Medicaid recipients ought to trump business interests, then, sure, the situation will sound like a Dickensonian nightmare. Perhaps Perez didn’t realize it, but the reason we consign kids to old folks’ homes was explained right there on Page 6 of his 22-page letter.

"Florida’s way: Nursing home profits trump ...".

A vision that reflects today’s South Florida

The Miami Herald editorial board: "President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney offer two contrasting visions for America. The diversity of people and faces to be found in the delegates at the convention in Charlotte suggest that Mr. Obama’s version holds greater promise for the kind of country that America is becoming, one that reflects today’s South Florida." "The challenge of a second term".

Same old Bob

"Former state lawmaker Bob Brooks has reintroduced himself in campaign ads for the House District 47 race, telling Orlando voters he's a teacher, doctor and father and casting himself as a political outsider despite the years he spent in Tallahassee. " "Ex-Rep. Brooks casts himself as Tallahassee outsider".

And he probably expected a pension

"A motorcycle police officer escorting President Barack Obama's motorcade has died after being hit by a pickup truck. Palm Beach County Sheriff's spokeswoman Teri Barbera says the Jupiter police officer was on Interstate 95 Sunday afternoon preparing to shut the roadway down when he was struck by a Ford F-150." "Motorcycle cop in Obama motorcade struck, killed by pickup".