Tuesday, September 25, 2012

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

"What might we call this? Scam-a-lot?"

The Tampa Bay Times's Daniel Ruth: "If this pandering had gone on much longer, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan would have been volunteering to head to the Bay of Pigs to do the job right."

It is an unwritten rule in Florida politics that you can never go wrong decrying the Castro brothers' grip on Cuba, even if your own voting record would normally get you tarred and feathered in Little Havana. But that's part of the shameless charm of a presidential campaign: Tell the people what they want to hear and hope no one reads the Congressional Record.

What might we call this? Scam-a-lot?

During his visit to Miami's Versailles Restaurant, Ryan engaged in his own P90X workout on revisionist history, railing about the evildoing Castros and how he and Mitt Romney would make it the first order of business to get Dallas Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban to change his name if he knows what's good for him.

Oddly enough, while Ryan was claiming he and Romney would short-sheet Fidel's bed, send him unwanted pizzas and regularly call the presidential palace asking if they have pop in the bottle, the Wisconsin congressman conveniently neglected to say he had voted at least three times against maintaining the Cuban embargo.

He probably just forgot.

"Ryan sips Cuban coffee with a shot of pandering".

Chamber leader and GOP Rep. Horner ends re-election bid after named as a prostitution client

"State Rep. Mike Horner of Kissimmee, a leading Osceola County Republican and a rising star in state GOP circles, abruptly ended his re-election campaign Monday after he was named as a client in a prostitution and racketeering case." "State Rep. Mike Horner ends campaign after being named in racketeering, prostitution case". See also "State Rep. Mike Horner resigns after being linked to brothel in Orange County", "State lawmaker drops out of race after link to arrest" and "Mike Horner: ‘I Deeply Regret Decisions I Made’".

EV challenges tossed

"In a federal case, a judge refused to stop Florida's plan to cut the number of early-voting days. In another challenge, one brought by state Sen. Arthenia L. Joyner, a judge ruled the petition lacked merit after the federal Justice Department accepted the state's plan." "2 early-voting court challenges are dismissed".

The Week Ahead

"The Week Ahead for Sept. 24 to Sept. 28".

"Frontal assault on the judicial branch"

The Tampa Bay Times editorial board: "It's understandable why Gov. Rick Scott and his Republican allies have no love for the courts. After all, their batting average is pretty low in trying to overturn laws they don't like and defending their own extreme lawmaking."

But the state Republican Party's unprecedented call for voters to remove three Florida Supreme Court justices is a frontal assault on the judicial branch for no reason other than political intimidation. Reasonable Republicans ought to speak out against this attack on the courts and support the nonpartisan merit retention process, and all Florida voters should stand up for an independent judiciary.
"Blatant bid to politicize the courts".

"Lobbyists handed envelopes"

"A luncheon at the exclusive Governor's Club seemed like a typical fundraiser any candidate would crave in a tight race."

Lobbyists handed envelopes to nine state House campaigns, the amounts and interests behind them a mystery until campaign finance reports are filed.

Discretion is expected at these affairs, and the Sept. 18 fundraiser hosted by incoming House Speaker Will Weatherford was no different. Frank Terraferma, director of House campaigns for the Republican Party of Florida, told a Times/Herald reporter to leave because his presence was making guests "uncomfortable."

Yet most of the politicos collecting money that day hardly need it to win in November. Two face write-in candidates. Three others face token opposition from candidates who are Independents or who have no party affiliation. Just four of the Republicans listed on the invite face Democratic opponents.

In all, the nine House candidates had raised more than $1 million before the fundraiser, while their opponents in the general election have mustered a combined $33,057.

"Races locked up, but fundraising continues".

Rivera’s pal has checkered past

"Ana Alliegro, who has had previous run-ins with the law, isn’t cooperating with the FBI or a federal grand jury investigating the campaign finances of Justin Lamar Sternad and the possible ties to Rep. David Rivera." "From a shooting to shoplifting, David Rivera’s pal in FBI probe has checkered past".

"Test of state growth management laws"

"HB 7207 reduced the state's role in overseeing local government growth management but also required "protecting the functions of important state resources and facilities." Planners and environmentalists were left to wonder what resources will be protected, and a Brevard County proposal is one of the first to provide a glimpse of how state agencies will define those areas." "Brevard County wetlands proposal offers test of revised state growth management laws".

Independent judiciary under threat

"As the secretive campaign against the three Florida Supreme Court justices up for merit retention took shape Monday, one of the targeted justices warned that the future of the state's independent judiciary was under threat." "Fla. justice criticizes GOP attack". See also "GOP campaign against Florida justices draws fire from inside and outside the party". Meanwhile, "RPOF: Money Available for Justice Retention Fight".

"Former state senator Alex Villalobos warned the move could impact the Florida Supreme Court's independence. ... Related Research: Republican Party of Florida statement on the retention vote for three Supreme Court Justices. " "Former GOP lawmaker hits out at RPOF opposition of Supreme Court justices".

Meanwhile, the "chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, said Monday that GOP Gov. Rick Scott had nothing to do with the party's drive to oust three justices from the state Supreme Court."

On Friday, the RPOF's executive board called for voters to fight against keeping Justices R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince on the high court, calling them "liberals" and accusing them of "judicial activism."

If voters remove the justices during the November election, Scott will appoint their replacements.

A spokeswoman for Scott said Monday the governor had been unaware of his party's vote last week, and Curry agreed, saying Scott was "not a part of the decision at all."

"Rick Scott and RPOF: Governor Not Involved in Merit-Retention Decision".

Supreme Court sides with PSC

"The court did not rule on the merits in the case filed by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and instead agreed with the PSC that the group lacked standing to file the challenge. The group had argued in its challenge that the PSC had ignored 2008 law changes in approving conservation plans for Florida Power & Light and Progress Energy." "Florida Supreme Court sides with PSC, dismisses group's challenge to approval of conservation plans".

Frankel attacks Hasner’s support of Ryan budget plan

"Lois Frankel attacked opponent Adam Hasner’s support of the Ryan budget plan at the congressional candidates’ first joint appearance on Monday, saying the budget plan would cut services for 'children of autism, and 90-year-old grannies in the nursing homes.'" "Frankel attacks Hasner on support of Ryan’s budget plan".

Florida has a rich presidential history

"Sitting and retired American presidents have hosted heads of state in Florida, sailed in the Atlantic, even had a secret bunker here." "The Sunshine State has a rich presidential history".

No one seems willing to defend Amendment 3

"Of the 11 amendments placed on the November 2012 ballot by the Sunshine State’s Republican-dominated Legislature, perhaps the strangest is the third: Almost no one seems willing to go on the record to defend it."

The Florida State Revenue Limitation Amendment (Amendment 3), if approved by 60 percent of the voters, would change the way the state calculates limitations on the amount of revenue it can raise each year.
"Supporters Having Second Thoughts About Florida State Revenue Limitation Amendment?".

"Email in-box not for the timid"

"Gov. Rick Scott doesn't have time to read all the email he gets, and it's probably just as well. His in-box overflows with raw emotion on all sides."

Sunburst is a Scott innovation where you get to peek into his in-box (www.flgov.com/sunburst).
"Scott's email in-box not for the timid".