Thursday, June 06, 2013

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

Florida claims DOL is biased

"A state agency Wednesday accused the U.S. Labor Department of political bias and "investigative misconduct" in an April report that found Florida had violated the rights of some laid-off workers who are disabled or not fluent in English."

The Department of Economic Opportunity, which manages the state's unemployment system, requested a congressional inquiry and an inspector general's probe of what it called the "politicalization" of the Labor Department.
"The state's unusually aggressive push-back follows an April report in which the Labor Department said Florida was violating the civil rights of some laid-off workers." "Politics fueled jobless-claims report, state says".

Scott's "partisan gamesmanship"

"Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez says Gov. Rick Scott lacks the courage to stand up to extreme elements in the GOP. Scott notes the measure is unnecessary because Florida already allows immigrants legally allowed to work in the U.S. to get a driver license." "Democrats upset by governor's Dream Act driving bill veto". See also "Soto, Bracy lead condemnation of Gov. Scott for vetoing Dream Act driver bill" and "Orlando Democrats blast Scott over 'dreamer' veto". Background: "Driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants’ kids vetoed by Gov. Rick Scott".

The Tampa Bay Times editors: "Once again, Gov. Rick Scott has refused to accept public policy established by the Obama administration that benefits Florida. And once again, the state will suffer because of his partisan gamesmanship. The Republican governor's veto of legislation that would have allowed undocumented immigrants with a new temporary status to obtain a driver's license ignores reality and common sense. Now tens of thousands of younger undocumented immigrants who live in our neighborhoods and attend our schools are just more collateral damage in Scott's war with Washington." "A partisan Scott veto on licenses".

The rich are different

What better way to prep for the campaign than buyin' a brand new jet plane: "Everywhere [Rick] Scott goes, he does it on his own aircraft at his own expense, and after nearly two-and-a-half years in office, he has decided he needs an upgrade. Scott is selling his eight-passenger Hawker 400XP, made by Raytheon in 2004, for $1.495 million. An ad for the jet on the website says the jet is in Bonita Springs and notes: 'Price reduction! Sale pending.' Scott’s new chariot is a 2008 Cessna Citation Excel, a 12-passenger twin-engine jet with a dropped aisle that offers enough headroom for Scott to stand tall in the cabin." "Gov. Scott trades up on new plane".

Rubio runnin' hard

"About those 'secret' email accounts".

Wells explains

Bill Cotterell: "If Gilbert and Sullivan sat down with Monty Python, and maybe Mel Brooks, they might come up with a more far-fetched farce than the political-judicial spectacle Florida treated the world to a little more than a dozen years ago. Now, Charley Wells has made sense of it in 136 scholarly pages of his new book, 'Inside Bush v. Gore.'" "Wells' book looks at Bush v. Gore".


"Fired Florida trooper fighting to win back his job".

Rubio to choose Teabaggers over Dreamers

"While he may have been the point man on the immigration reform bill, Marco Rubio is now saying he could vote against it -- an action that could come back to haunt him if, as is widely expected, he runs for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016." "Marco Rubio Treads Lightly on Immigration Bill".

"Hidden money. A shadowy candidate"

"Hidden money. A shadowy candidate. Missing campaign-finance reports."

That’s not just a description of Justin Lamar Sternad’s congressional campaign in 2012, which led to his conviction in federal court.

It also describes the campaign of Jose Rolando “Roly” Arrojo, who like Sternad ran against U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia — but in 2010.

Unlike Sternad, Arrojo has ties to Garcia’s former top adviser, Jeffrey Garcia, who resigned Friday amid an unrelated criminal investigation into fraudulent absentee-ballot requests for the Aug. 14, 2012, Democratic primary.

Like Sternad, Arrojo failed to properly account for more than $10,000 worth of campaign expenditures and at least one mailer.

But Sternad is facing prison time. Arrojo just received a stern letter from the Federal Election Commission for his violations.

Sternad’s lawyer is asking the FBI to investigate — especially now that Garcia’s own campaign is at the center of an elections scandal.

“If my client is going to go through the wringer, let’s apply the law equally,” said Sternad’s lawyer, Enrique “Rick” Yabor, who wrote to the FBI on Monday.

“Why does Arrojo get a pass, while my client faces possible prison time?” Yabor asked. “Who’s getting preferential treatment?"

"Lawyer of convicted Garcia rival wants FBI investigation of mystery 2010 candidate".

Fred Grimm: "Surprise! Both parties cheated in Joe Garcia’s district". The Miami Herald editors "Joe Garcia’s ballot scandal".

Scott laff riot

"Scott praises state workers' efficiency, hard work".

Rich quest

"Nan Rich's gubernatorial quest is more visible this spring, thanks to GOP attention and a hard swing to the left. But the former Florida senator still has a way to go to make her name a household word in Florida." "Nan Rich: I'm Still Here, Guys".

Teabaggers swoon

"[I]t sounds like Scott is ramping up his rhetoric against the Affordable Care Act." "Gov. Scott calls federal health law a disaster".

Rouson coup?

"Rep. Darryl Rouson failed to pay taxes on Tallahassee townhouse". Meanwhile, "House Dems plan rules change, insist there's no coup to overthrow Rouson".

"The lucrative influence business"

"A steady number of former Florida lawmakers are finding jobs in the lucrative influence business, adding to nearly 340 members of Congress who have breezed through the revolving door in the past 15 years." "Florida lawmakers-turned-lobbyists fuel revolving door of politics".

Rubio strides national stage

"Marco Rubio Lends Conservative Power in Race for John Kerry's Seat".

RPOF blames Sink for Dubya's recession in Florida

"In a news release, the party suggests that Sink, as state chief financial officer from 2007 through 2010, was responsible for the effects of the national economic crash on Florida - along with Charlie Crist, who was then a Republican and governor."

The news release refers to Crist and Sink as "the captain and his first mate," even though at the time, with Crist then a Republican, the two were political opponents and clashed several times over state budget issues.

"The Crist-Sink Team Lost 832,000 Jobs From January 2007 To January 2011," contends the GOP news release, blaming them for the recession that resulted from the national financial crisis and economic collapse of 2007-08. "Does Alex Sink want one more bite at the apple?"

Sink is considering running for governor, but says she hasn't decided. If she does, it's likely Crist will be her opponent in a Democratic primary, although he hasn't announced either.

"GOP launches pre-emptive attack on Sink".

Rubio goes after Beyoncé

"Jay-Z and Beyoncé's controversial trip to Cuba four weeks ago has stoked public interest in traveling to the forbidden island, prompting more Americans to seek similar 'people-to-people' culture tours."

The rapper/singer celebrity couple popularized a small but growing travel phenomenon that taps a pent-up demand to visit Cuba, an exotic time-locked land still off-limits to U.S. tourists. Their highly publicized adventure — while sharply criticized by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and other Cuban-American leaders — also reinforced attempts by many members of Congress to make it easier for almost any American to legally visit Cuba.
"Jay-Z and Beyoncé tour stokes desire to visit Cuba".