Sunday, July 21, 2013

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

"A disgrace to the old Confederacy"

The Miami Herald's Fred Grimm whines, "Don’t boycott us. We’re not that Florida."

We’re Flor-i-da. With a subtle Spanish caress of the tongue across the last two syllables. Don’t boycott us.

We are not Flahhhhda, huffed out like a smoker’s cough, a hint of tobacco juice dribbling down the chin. That’s the place to boycott. Lower Alabama. Greater Georgia. Land of the creepy ass crackers.

"Yet those calling for a national boycott of Florida have failed to make that crucial geographical and cultural distinction. They’re threatening to punish us for the Zimmerman verdict, blaming the state’s Stand Your Ground statute. Last week, launched an online petition, calling for a Florida tourism boycott until SYG is repealed. 'Your state is not a safe place to vacation if your citizens are able to kill anyone they deem suspicious,' the petition proffers."
Martin Luther King III told the NAACP convention in Orlando: “We may have to look at not consuming Florida orange juice.” Of course, the Florida Department of Agriculture pretty well wiped out south Florida’s oranges on its great citrus canker vendetta over a decade ago. Lately, our orange juice concerns hinge mostly on the profitable flow of screwdrivers and mimosas on South Beach.

Stevie Wonder told an audience in Quebec City last week that Florida was no longer the sunshine state of his life and that he would not play another concert hereabouts until we repealed Stand Your Ground.

A California assemblyman from Pasadena and the fire chief from Englewood, N.J., joined the fray last week, saying tourists should stay away until we get rid of the NRA-crafted self-defense law.

They think of the glitz of South Beach and Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale and Wynwood and Key West and Coral Gables and Boca Raton and imagine, somehow, that we might wield some influence on that congregation of wild-eyed yeehaw reactionaries in Tallahassee. They should study Florida’s much gerrymandered map. The location of the capital is not mere geography but a state of mind. Among legislators up that way, their only positive regard for sinful South Florida has to do with the disproportionate amount of revenue they can suck out of this region to fund their local projects. Otherwise, they loathe us as an Obama-voting aberration, a disgrace to the old Confederacy.

The notion that a national tourism boycott might hurt Miami-Dade or Broward or Palm Beach counties — regarded by the good ol’ boys who run this state as a cesspool of foreigners, gays, Jews, Yankees, strange accents, tiny bikinis and liberal inclinations — will only bring joy to their creepy cracker hearts. Those folks abandoned South Florida, most of them, a generation ago. Folded up their Confederate flags, oiled their assault weapons, renewed their NRA membership and skedaddled.

"Boycott aimed at wrong Florida".

"Stand-ground law repeal unlikely"

"Despite an outcry from civil rights groups, a call for close examination by President Barack Obama and even a 1960s-style sit-in at the Florida governor's office, the jury's verdict that George Zimmerman was justified in shooting unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin is unlikely to spur change to any of the nation's stand-your-ground self-defense laws." "Despite outcry, stand-ground law repeals unlikely". See also "U.S. attorney, agencies reviewing Zimmerman case", "Protesters stay put in Fla. Capitol for 5th day", "Does repealing 'stand your ground' stand a chance in Florida?", "Scott calls for statewide 'Day of Prayer'", "Capitol demonstrators determined to make a difference", "John Romano: Let's talk "stand your ground" law and its flaws" and "Hundreds attend Miami 'Justice for Trayvon' rally".

"Latvala has a political stake in the outcome"

The Sun-Sentinel editors: "Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, last week asked Gov. Rick Scott to launch a criminal investigation of Sachs and four other Broward lawmakers — all Democrats — who stand accused of not living in their districts. They are: Rep. Perry Thurston of Fort Lauderdale, Rep. Hazelle Rogers of Lauderdale Lakes, Rep. Joe Gibbons of Hallandale Beach and Rep. Jared Moskowitz of Coral Springs, each of whom says he or she meets the residency requirement."

Latvala has a political stake in the outcome. He strongly backed Sachs' rival — former Republican Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff of Fort Lauderdale — in what became the most watched, most expensive and most competitive state race of 2012. The Sachs-Bogdanoff race was the only contest that pitted two incumbent state senators against one another because of redistricting — the redrawing of political lines that happens every 10 years after the national census.

Had Bogdanoff won, Latvala would have secured the member votes needed to become president of the Florida Senate. And because Sachs must run for re-election next year, there's still a chance that Bogdanoff could run again, win and stand with him. (For the record, [the Sun-Sentinel] endorsed Bogdanoff in last year's race).

"Resolve question on where politicians must sleep".

Scott "missing in action"

The Tampa Bay Times editorial board: "Gov. Rick Scott HAS BEEN missing in action. While the governor spent five days in New York and bounced around the Florida Panhandle and Tampa Bay boasting about bringing new private sector jobs into the state, firestorms were breaking out all over state government. Yet the governor appeared unengaged, uninformed or uninterested in explaining the actions of his administration. Floridians deserve better. Consider the latest developments:"

• House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz unexpectedly called on Florida to back out of a national consortium developing the exams to test for the new Common Core Standards. They want Florida to develop its own assessments for students, even though Floridians have lost confidence in the FCAT tests and the school grading system. . . .

• Secretary of the department of Children and Families David Wilkins abruptly resigned late Thursday amid controversy over the deaths of four young children and battles with private agencies that provide foster care and adoption services. . . .

• After traveling and staying out of public view in the capital for nine days, Scott suddenly showed up Thursday night to spend a half-hour with some of the young protesters outside his office. Even amid the national controversy over the George Zimmerman not guilty verdict and the "stand your ground law,'' Scott still embraced the law and dismissed the protesters' valid concerns.

"Gov. Scott skips out on governing".


"Mike Fasano not confident about Pasco tax collector appointment".

Mosaic pumps water out of aquifer to dilute polluted waste, then dumps it into creeks

"Last year, a state water agency granted the world's largest phosphate mining company a permit to pump up to 70 million gallons of water a day out of the ground for the next 20 years. Some of those millions of gallons of water — no one can say how much — is being used by the phosphate giant known as Mosaic to dilute polluted waste so it can be dumped into creeks without violating state regulations." "Phosphate giant Mosaic pumps from Florida's aquifer to dilute its pollution".

Scott plays job creation calculation game

"Gov. Rick Scott has built his entire first term – and looming re-election bid – on job creation. During his first run for office, he promised to create 700,000 new jobs in seven years. Those jobs, he said during the campaign, would be in addition to new positions added as a part of Florida's natural economic growth. But since taking office, he has dropped any reference to jobs created through natural growth, and focused solely on total jobs created." "Jobless rate in Metro Orlando up to 6.9 percent".

New law allows pols to raise more money per individual donor

"A new law going into effect just in time for the 2014 election will allow politicians in Florida to raise more money per individual donor than they’ve been able to in more than 20 years. Campaign-contribution limits are going from $500 per individual and corporate donor to $1,000 for statehouse, countywide and city offices and $3,000 for governor, other Cabinet offices and Supreme Court justices." "Law raises limits on campaign-finance contributions".

SEC charges Miami with securities fraud

"In the federal complaint, the SEC is seeking to prohibit the city from violating securities laws and to impose financial penalties of potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars on Miami and its former budget director." "SEC charges city of Miami, ex-budget director with civil securities fraud".