Tuesday, May 28, 2013

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

Florida’s moribund gubernatorial race

Jeff Henderson bemoans that, with "Rick Scott up for another term next year, Florida’s gubernatorial race is expected to draw the eyes of the nation -- but so far the race is essentially on hold, especially when compared to 2010." "Gubernatorial Campaign Drama Still on Deck".

As George Bennett points out, all we got is this: "fifteen months before Democrats choose a nominee to challenge Republican Gov. Rick Scott, the Republican Party of Florida has launched attacks on undeclared Democratic frontrunner Charlie Crist."

The “This Date In CRIST-ory” campaign features a Twitter account, Tumblr page and YouTube videos that focus on “failures and flip flops” from Crist’s not-too-distant Republican past.
"The first installment highlights Crist’s 2009 support as a Republican governor for more than $2 billion in tax and fee increases after pledging not to increase taxes." Never mind that
[t]he tax and fee hikes — which included $1 billion from higher driver license and other motor vehicle fees and another $1 billion from a cigarette tax increase — were approved by the Republican-controlled legislature that year.
"Florida GOP launches attacks on Crist".

"McBurney, R-Benedict Arnold"

"Rep. Charles McBurney, R-Jacksonville, certainly is a heavy favorite to win a fourth and final full term in 2014 -- but he faces an uncertain future after that." "Charles McBurney Quiet, Solid Player in the House, but What About Later?".

Daniel Ruth thinks you "might remember the case of Jacksonville state Rep. Charles McBurney, R-The Valachi Papers, who started singing like a bird after [FHP trooper] Swindle stopped him flying down I-10 in November at 87 in a 70 mph zone."

When Swindle realized he had stopped a member of the Florida Legislature he decided to do McBurney a favor and, after checking with his supervisor, issued the lead-footed public official a $10 ticket for not having proof of insurance and a warning to slow down.

Unless you are more naive than Bullwinkle J. Moose, you probably aren't scandalized at the notion that a FHP trooper cut some slack to a member of a legislative body that votes on the FHP budget. Duh-squared.

And that should have been that. But McBurney suddenly discovered his inner Judas in going to Swindle's boss, FHP Col. David Brierton, to whine about the special treatment he had received.

Of course McBurney, R-Benedict Arnold, penned his indigent letter after driving off with just his $10 no proof of insurance fine rather than standing firm and insisting the trooper ticket him for the full extent of his speeding violation.

In short order, Swindle's FHP career came to an end with his firing. On Wednesday, [Swindle's lawyer, Sidney] Matthew will appeal the ex-trooper's dismissal before the Florida Public Employees Relations Commission. And the lawyer is more fired up than Mike Tyson finding himself in the ring opposite Pee Wee Herman.

"Fast and furious along I-10"

"'Tone-deaf' in earning public confidence"

The Orlando Sentinel editors: "Heritage Property and Casualty Insurance will be paid $52 million to take 60,000 policies off Citizens' books. The deal will reduce its possible losses from a once-in-a-century storm by $439 million. Still, Citizens' board passed the deal by just one vote; opponents faulted its rushed timing and lucrative terms."

As for appearances, the deal couldn't get much uglier. In recent months, Heritage gave $110,000 to Gov. Rick Scott's political committee and $30,000 to the state Republican Party. The company also spent at least $50,000 on lobbyists, including former state Insurance Commissioner Tom Gallagher, who once supervised some of the regulators who signed off on the deal with Heritage.

Scott's office indignantly denied playing any part in the deal. But his chief of staff also called Citizens "tone-deaf in earning public confidence." No kidding.

"Dodgy deal shows need to strengthen Citizens".

"Culture of conscientious ignorance"

Nancy Smith writes that, "with its swamps and deep woods and regions of profound isolation, Florida has always been a place where bad things can happen without anybody finding out for years. But there is no excuse for the culture of conscientious ignorance surrounding atrocities at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys over more than 100 years." "For Shame: Judge Heaps More Pain on Dozier Families".