Sunday, September 01, 2013

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

Senate President Gaetz’ top aide earns in excess of $400,000 as political consultant

And so it goes: "Senate President Don Gaetz’s right-hand man has been running his own political consulting firm, allowing him indirectly to rake in more than $400,000 from the some of the same special interests that have a stake in influencing legislation."

For three years ending in 2012, Chris Clark, 41, took a leave of absence from his state job after the legislative session ended in May and went to work as Gaetz’s campaign manager. Clark formed the company in 2009.
"The lucrative arrangement Clark has carved out for himself underscores the web of financial ties special interests have with the Florida Legislature as staff often cycle in and out of government and the private sector,"
developing relationships with the very lobbyists who have a financial stake in influencing them.
"Senate President Don Gaetz’ top aide earned more than $400,000 as political consultant".

"The customary city hall press conference veered wildly off script"

Fred Grimm: "You know the scenario. A South Florida politician gets pinched in a corruption probe. Next day, his fellow pols troop down to city hall and strike mournful poses for the TV cameras. They feign shock and regret, and confidence that their esteemed colleague will soon clear up this terrible misunderstanding and return to public service."

Except in Homestead. After the less-than-esteemed Mayor Steve Bateman was busted last week, the customary city hall press conference veered wildly off script. They might as well have popped champagne corks and broken into song.
"Colleagues happy Bateman got busted". Related: "Mayor’s arrest upends a bizarre political ecosystem".

The Miami Herald editors: "Culture of corruption".

"Scott possesses the retail political skills of a mullet net"

Daniel Ruth: "It's a hint that the exalted post of lieutenant governor is as vital as a state swamp ape inspector that Gov. Rick Scott has spent so much time pondering how to fill the cricket-filled vacant office down the hall."

Whatever other shortcomings Scott has, he deserves credit for engaging in a form of do-nothing governance one can actually applaud.

Still it is somewhat curious that the College of Cardinals can settle on a pope in a few short days while Scott is taking months to find someone whose sole function is to call the Governor's Mansion every morning to make sure the governor answers the phone. . . .

Democrats have voiced the faux fear that if — insert the heaven forbid template — something happened that made Scott unfit to govern there would be no successor in the wings. Ahem, a cynic might well suggest that Scott has more than met that standard over the past three-plus years with or without a vice governor pacing the reception area.

Far more probable is the notion that Scott's gold standard for picking a lieutenant governor has less to do with managing the affairs of state than it does in getting him re-elected. This isn't as if the governor is wrestling over a Florida Supreme Court nominee — you know, someone up for a real job.

Since Scott possesses the retail political skills of a mullet net, he needs a lieutenant governor and running mate to assure the public their incumbent governor has a pulse. No small stump challenge.

"Florida Gov. Rick Scott has been without a lieutenant governor since Jennifer Carroll's resignation in March".

Dreams of fraud

Michael Van Sickler: "The looming potential for fraud in the 2012 Presidential Election was how Republicans justified strict measures in Florida that made it tougher to register voters."

So nine months after the ballots have been counted, where exactly are the culprits of voter registration fraud?

Keep looking because the the Florida Department of Law Enforcement hasn’t found them yet.

"Fraud? What fraud? Another FDLE investigation comes up empty.".

'Baggers at Orlando rally call for "uprising to stop the federal health care law"

"U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz electrified a crowd of conservative activists [in Orlando] Saturday, calling for a public uprising to stop the federal health care law as he sounded and acted very much like a presidential candidate." "Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas the toast of conservative activists in Orlando".

I'm shocked, shocked

"Florida Department Of Environmental Protection Cases Decrease Under Scott Appointee".

Rubio unsure whether mass murder of children warrants response

Alex Leary: "Members of Florida's congressional delegation Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas the toast of conservative activists in OrlandoSaturday after President Barack Obama said he would seek congressional approval for military strikes against Syria." "What Florida's congressional delegation is saying about President Barack Obama's Syria plan".

While Bill Nelson calls for action, Marco Rubio has his finger in the wind, apparently calling on Flabagger world to pull his strings.

Meanwhile, the Miami Herald editorial board writes that "the case for a direct and meaningful U.S. response is compelling. The colossal contempt for world opinion shown by Syria’s Bashar Assad cannot be ignored. The regime’s atrocities represent a direct challenge to U.S. leadership and credibility. This country’s vital national interests are at stake. The humanitarian dimension of this crisis should be self-evident. To stand idly by while a despotic regime commits mass murder with the most lethal weapons against its own people would constitute a rejection of everything the United States claims to stand for." "Punish Syria for crossing ‘red line’".

Casino companies working behind closed doors

"When The Genting Group swept into Florida in May 2011, snapping up bayfront property in Miami, it promised a $3 billion mega-resort casino, thousands of jobs and company-subsidized flights from Asia to Miami. But now, as the Legislature prepares to begin hearings later this month on the future of gambling, the Malaysian-based company is waiting before saying anything more. 'We're not going to say what options we want to pursue, because we want to pursue what the Legislature thinks makes sense,' said Brian Ballard, a lobbyist for Genting." "Big casino companies quiet as gambling debate set to begin".