Tuesday, January 22, 2013

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

Rubio and Jeb trail Hillary in Florida

"Even before President Barack Obama took the oath of office to begin his second term, much of the political world was already jumping ahead. And for legions of South Florida voters, there's only one person they'd like to see raise her right hand four years from now to become the nation's 45th president: Hillary Rodham Clinton."

A new Public Policy Polling survey of Florida voters released last week shows Clinton, 65, is the overwhelming favorite of the state's Democrats for 2016. And the poll showed she'd edge out either U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., or former Gov. Jeb Bush in a contest for the Sunshine State's 29 electoral votes.
"Poll: Florida Dems like Hillary Clinton in 2016". See PPP's "Florida Miscellany" ("Clinton bests both of them on their home turf: 50/46 over Marco Rubio and 49/44 over Jeb Bush").

"State Legislature hell-bent on the privatization of education"

"Some Palm Beach County School District officials are incensed at a state proposal to offer once again millions of dollars next year for capital improvements at charter schools — and none at traditional public schools."

That plan, those officials say, has set up a political fight for the legislative session that begins in March. School officials in Palm Beach County have estimated their buildings and grounds have $1.4 billion in capital improvement needs over the next 10 years. . . .

Charter schools are alternatives to traditional public schools. They receive taxpayer funding but are freed from meeting some state requirements — such as in curriculum, hiring and classroom sizes — in exchange for targeting specific classroom results from their students. They often are run by private companies, some of them for-profit.

The state Department of Education last week gave a Florida Senate subcommittee a report on the state Board of Education’s requested budget for next year. The budget includes a request for about $64 million for capital improvements at charter schools. Last year charters received about $55 million for school construction.

If approved, that budget would mark the third straight year the state has given capital outlay money to charter schools but no capital funding to districts to build and maintain traditional public schools, said Vern Pickup-Crawford, the county school district’s state lobbyist.

School board member Frank Barbieri was as upset as Shaw at the proposal and called it proof “the State Legislature is hell-bent on the privatization of education.”

"State plan to help charter schools irks PB County".

Voters dump Rivera, Dorworth; columnists at a loss

Fred Grimm: "Before the voters in Miami’s 26th Congressional District dumped David Rivera, he was Mr. Dependable for a columnist, an unending source of material with his financial chicanery and phantom companies and his convoluted explanations. His life was like performance theater, living satire of a political contribution system gone amok."

In Central Florida, voters — similarly oblivious to the needs of newspaper columnists — ousted another very newsy, less-than-ethical free spender. Rep. Chris Dorworth of Lake Mary, anointed as the next speaker of the House, was both living well, and well beyond his means, thanks to the gaping loopholes in Florida’s political contribution laws.

The would-be speaker had not made a mortgage payment on his $1.6 million house in three years. Along with his daunting debts, he was a scofflaw with unpaid freeway tolls. Yet Dorworth managed a fine lifestyle out of his personal campaign fund, the so-called Citizens for an Enterprising Democracy. Contributions from big corporate donors, via way of the political fund, paid for lavish travel, fancy meals, hefty bar bills, a Super Bowl trip, even Dorworth’s personalized polo shirts.

Life, even in bankruptcy, can be good for a powerful pol with his own “committee of continuing existence” as they call these unregulated slush funds. Us news guys thought Dorworth was a great story. The voters, not so much.

"Without David Rivera, what’s a columnist to do?".

5 things to know

"5 things to know in Florida for Jan. 22".

Sales tax increase proposal

"A Department of Revenue working group will propose replacing the Communications Services Tax with an increase in the state sales tax. The group has held seven meetings since June and will submit a report to the governor and Legislature on Feb. 1." "DOR group to propose communications tax repeal, sales tax increase".

Over the hill

People like Lloyd Brown, a former editorial page editor of the Florida Times-Union and speech writer for Jeb Bush lose any credibility they may have left when they spew things like this: "Liberals seem to prefer that people remain unemployed and on the dole – and of course vote for those doling out other people's money." "An 'F' Word Liberals Hate: Frugality".

Reagan saga

"Reagan, the now famous dog that once belonged to Gov. Rick Scott, was banished from the Governor’s Mansion after biting an employee who moved his water bowl. . . . The report noted that the injury was not serious and required no medical treatment. . . . After the bite report, . . . Scott flew Reagan back to Naples on his private jet and returned the dog to All Pets Grooming and Boarding, a Collier County groomer." "Gov. Rick Scott's ex-dog Reagan bit mansion employee, records show".

Floridians prefer Rubio over Bush by double digits

According to a Public Policy Polling Poll, amongst Florida Republicans, "Rubio has the edge over Bush right now on the Republican side. 62% of GOP voters in the state want Rubio to run in 2016, compared to 49% for Bush. Overall 31% of voters say they'd like Rubio to be their 2016 candidate to 26% for Bush, 11% for Mike Huckabee, 7% for Chris Christie, 5% for Bobby Jindal, Rand Paul, and Paul Ryan, and 2% for Rick Perry and Susana Martinez." "Florida Miscellany".