Wednesday, May 29, 2013

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

State officials "fiddling" as Florida's rivers and springs die

The Orlando Sentinel editors: "State environmental officials have apparently come up with a new public relations strategy for dealing with the degradation of Central Florida's Wekiva River: downplay it, or deny it."

Leaders in the Florida Legislature have been patting themselves on the back lately for including $10 million to protect and restore springs in the $74 billion state budget that lawmakers passed this month. But the money for springs represents less than 10 percent of the $122 million that the five water districts estimated would be needed for a comprehensive springs plan.

Two Orlando Democrats, Rep. Linda Stewart and Sen. Darren Soto, sponsored a bill this year to require the districts to develop five-year restoration plans for springs in their regions. Neither version even got a hearing before dying in committee.

If environmental treasures like Florida's springs and rivers are to be saved, Gov. Rick Scott and lawmakers will need to embrace actions like those called for in the Stewart-Soto bill.

"State officials fiddling while the Wekiva dies".

Orlando population growing

"Orlando population growth 2nd in state".

Subpoenas quashed

"Nine state legislators who were subpoenaed to testify in the case of a fired Florida Highway Patrol trooper cannot be forced to testify, a hearing officer has ordered." "Subpoenas quashed for legislators in firing".

Class act

"Florida's highest-ranking judge ended a long-standing practice of sending letters of congratulation to Eagle Scouts earlier this year as the Boy Scouts of America agonized publicly over whether to admit gay members. . . . A court spokeswoman said his action was prompted by the possibility that Scout-related litigation could come before the court, not by his personal views on whether the Scouts should admit gay members." "New Eagle Scouts won't get letters from chief justice".

The Week Ahead

"The Week Ahead for May 28 to May 31".

Raw political courage

"Trey Radel Launching His Plan for Lowering Gas and Grocery Bills".

"Here Comes Allen West"

"Tea party favorite former Congressman Allen West floated a trial balloon at the end of last week, making believers out of many that he will set his sights on a political comeback in 2016 -- possibly looking toward the White House this time."

Appearing on the Tammy Bruce radio show Friday, the Florida Republican made it clear that he was open to running for office again despite losing to Democrat Patrick Murphy in November.
"Here Comes Allen West in 2016 -- Though It's Destination Undecided".

Harrison can't give it up

"The last time Shawn Harrison and state Rep. Mark Danish ran against each other was nearly seven months ago."

Harrison, a Republican, was the incumbent, with good name recognition and strong fundraising. But Danish, a middle school science teacher, rode a big Democratic wave and won by 1 percentage point.

Now Harrison has filed papers to run again in state House District 63. If he gets his rematch, the election would take place 17 months from now, and both men would expect the contest to be different. . . .

Last November, Harrison out-raised Danish 15-to-1: $299,000 to $19,500.

"Shawn Harrison looking for rematch with state Rep. Mark Danish".