Thursday, October 25, 2012

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

"Rubio's discredited war against the Castro regime"

The Saint Petersburg Times editors: "Marco Rubio continues to hurt Cuban-Americans, his own Florida constituents and the push for democracy in Cuba with his discredited war against the communist Castro regime." "Rubio's Cuba stand only hurts Florida".

'Ya gotta problem with that?

"State ethics commission: David Rivera broke 11 ethics laws while serving in Florida Legislature". See also "Ethics Commission Finds 'Probable Cause' Against David Rivera".

Orlando vortex

"President Barack Obama is coming to Orlando on Monday, and he's bringing former President Bill Clinton with him. But Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will beat them to town, with a rally in Kissimmee on Saturday. He'll be bringing Marco Rubio, Florida's Republican U.S. senator." "Obama, Clinton, Romney coming to Central Florida".

"Webster touts his bipartisanship""

"Webster touts his bipartisan abilities in Congress in seeking re-election".

Aronberg blues

"Palm Beach County state attorney candidate Dave Aronberg -- known a year ago as 'Florida's drug czar' -- received almost $14,000 in campaign contributions, directly and indirectly, from a medical and lawyer referral service in February 2012 ... at the same time Aronberg's boss was investigating that service for deceptive and unfair trade practices."

In addition, Sunshine State News has obtained a copy of a letter from the Florida Commission on Ethics, dated Oct. 16, to one Shawn Hanlon, alerting him that an ethics complaint he filed against Aronberg in August “has been found sufficient for investigation and has been forwarded to the Investigative Section of the Commission on Ethics.” This, despite the fact that Aronberg reportedly told the editorial board of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that Hanlon’s complaint has been dismissed.

The revelations are the latest in a series of scandals that have riddled the former state senator’s Democratic campaign for the position of state attorney of the 15th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, which covers Palm Beach County.

"Prosecutor Dave Aronberg Took $14,000 in Donations from Clinics His Office Was Investigating".

Scott suddenly interested in voter suppression

"The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating bogus letters that have been turning up across Florida telling Republican voters they are not eligible to vote. Gov. Rick Scott said Tuesday that the state intends to take a 'zero tolerance' action against the individual or group behind the voter intimidation effort postmarked from Seattle, Wash. -- or any other attempt to keep people from voting." "Florida Seeks Seattle Letter Writer Telling Florida GOP Voters They're Not Citizens".

Right wing lawyers: Florida Supreme Court rulings were not "unprincipled"

"Tough decisions by three Florida Supreme Court whose jobs are on the line in next month's elections may be controversial and unpopular with voters, but they were not 'unprincipled' rulings, a legal analyst said Wednesday. In a 22-page study presented by the [conservative] Federalist Society, Florida International University law professor Elizabeth Price Foley evaluated nine rulings in cases between 2000 and this year." "Federalist Society study says Supreme Court justices followed the law". See also "Report from conservative group: Florida justices have pattern of principled rulings". Even The Tampa Tribune editorial board believes that "no issue on this year's ballot is more important than the retention of three Florida Supreme Court justices. If voters remove Justices R. Fred Lewis, Barbara J. Pariente and Peggy A. Quince based on the partisan advice of the Republican Party and misleading sound bites, you can kiss an independent court goodbye." "Naked politics tries to don robes of Supreme Court".

"Latin Americans are rooting for Obama"

Andres Oppenheimer: "Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s peace-through-strength foreign policy would most likely be a throwback to President George W. Bush’s cowboy diplomacy, but we have to give him credit for one thing: he is focusing on Latin America as a land of opportunities."

Granted, Romney may have raised the Latin America trade issue because he desperately needs to improve his dismal standing among Latino voters, who overwhelmingly resented his anti-immigration rhetoric during the primaries, which bordered on Latino-bashing. According to the latest NBC/Telemundo/Wall Street Journal poll, Obama is beating Romney 70 to 25 percent among Latinos.

And Romney’s claim that he would significantly boost U.S.-Latin American ties may be a pipedream, considering that most Latin Americans are rooting for Obama. In the latest LatinobarĂ³metro poll conducted in 18 Latin American countries, Obama has the highest approval rating of any president in the region.

But the Republican candidate’s mention of the region as a land of opportunities was a welcome addition to Washington’s narrow-minded foreign policy agenda.

"Romney’s one good point: Latin America".

"Sachs-Bogdanoff Senate race is No. 1 priority"

"About the only thing state Sens. Ellyn Bogdanoff and Maria Sachs agree on is that their race is the most expensive and important legislative contest in Florida this year. The newly aligned District 34, including eastern parts of Palm Beach and Broward counties, is the only contest with two incumbents running against each other." "Sachs-Bogdanoff Senate race is No. 1 priority for both parties". The Palm Beach Post editorial board likes "Sachs over Bogdanoff".

Dorworth: A tale of two accounting methods

"Dorworth finances are tale of two accounting methods".

Charter madness

"The principal of a failed Orange County charter school took home a check for more than $500,000 as the school closed down in June and is still being paid thousands of dollars a month to wrap up the school's affairs." "$500K payout to charter principal sparks outrage".

"Don't get 'Romnesia'"

"Obama in Ybor: Don't get 'Romnesia' before casting ballot". See also "President Barack Obama in Tampa: 'We can write the next chapter together'".

"Jewish retirees a large force in Florida"

"Some evidence suggests Florida Jews, typically politically liberal as they are nationwide, may not be as enthusiastic about Obama four years after voting for him by 3-1 margins."

But some experts debate the reliability of that polling data.

For its part, the Obama campaign is shooting back.

White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew, the administration's highest-ranking Jewish official, came to Miami and Orlando this week to speak to Jewish groups and meet supporters — the latest of a string of Jewish outreach surrogates.

"I am finding there are some inaccurate portrayals (of Obama policy) you need to push back on, but there continues to be a confidence in him" among Jewish voters, Lew said.

In their foreign policy debate Monday night, much of what President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney said about Iran, Israel and the Middle East was aimed at those voters.

Nationwide, Jews are a tiny percentage of the population, about 2.1 percent.

But big Jewish retiree communities in southeast Florida make them a larger force in Florida, about 3.4 percent, according to Ira Sheskin, an ethnic geographer at the University of Miami.

Politically, they're even more potent than these numbers suggest.

"Jewish vote likely pivotal in Florida".