Saturday, October 12, 2013

Please consider purchasing online newspaper subscriptions and/or buying hard copy subscriptions for delivery to your workplace or as gifts; and, whenever you visit a newspaper site online, please click on one or more of the advertisements and make an effort to patronize newspaper advertisers. Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry follows.


Sink considering race for Congress

"Alex Sink of Tampa, who just decided against running for governor of Florida, is now seriously considering entering the race for the St. Petersburg congressional seat of Rep. C.W. Bill Young."

Sink said in an interview Friday she is “seriously considering” the possibility and that her timeline for announcing a decision will be “weeks, not days,” but wouldn’t be more specific than that.
"Sink surfaces as possible Young successor in D.C.".


Only 7 of Florida's 27 congressmen represent a remotely competitive district

"Florida lawmakers used to be a fairly independent lot, and for good reason."

With most House members representing swing districts where support from both Democrats and Republicans was needed to win, it wasn’t uncommon to see lawmakers crossing party lines on Capitol Hill. Moderate Democrats voted with the GOP about a third of the time 15 years ago, while Republicans often sided with Democrats on about 10 percent of votes.

Not anymore.

Only seven of the state’s 27 congressmen represent a district that’s remotely up for grabs on Election Day, evidence that lawmakers’ incentive to behave independently has withered, analysts say. Just a decade ago, 13 of the 25 seats in Florida were competitive. The state added two seats last year due to population gains.

"Partisan districts could explain political gridlock".


"An election season whodunit"

"It’s an election season whodunit: Who is paying for the campaign mailers cluttering Miami Beach mailboxes? . . . Attack ads are nothing new when it comes to politics. More and more, the groups that pay for these ads are not the candidates themselves, but third-party entities such as electioneering communication organizations, or ECOs. . . . [A]ccording to state laws regulating ECOs, 'an expenditure made for, or in furtherance of, an electioneering communication is not considered a contribution to or on behalf of any candidate.'" "Miami Beach mayoral candidates under attack from mystery groups".


Common Core controversy

"Public hearings on Common Core State Standards are set to begin Tuesday in Tampa, but they are already setting off a wave of controversy even before they've begun."

Gov. Rick Scott ordered the hearings last month after his office encountered a barrage of backlash over the standards and their assessments from members of the public and legislators across the state.
"Public Hearings on Common Core Already Bringing Backlash".


"Freedom"

What a Flabagger would claim is the "freedom" to swim in filthy water, unimpeded by government regulation: "31 in Fla. infected by bacteria in salt water".


But not Florida

"Some states pay to reopen national parks". But not Florida: "Gov. Rick Scott orders agencies not to keep federal programs afloat".


Raw political courage

"House panel keeps options open on tax cuts".


"A few scant rays of hope poking through the clouds for Florida Democrats"

"Even as Republicans continue to flex their fundraising muscles and hammer away at President Barack Obama ahead of the 2014 midterm elections, there are a few scant rays of hope poking through the clouds for Florida Democrats." "Weekly Roundup: Dems Look to Chip Away at GOP Dominance".


Weekly Roundup

"Week in Review for Oct. 11, 2013". See also "Weekly Roundup" and "Arrivals and Departures for Oct. 11, 2013".


Democrats will surely remind the FlaGOP who passed the fee increases in the first place

"Scott has yet to lay out specifics of how he would like to meet the $500 million tax cut goal. But if the vehicle registration and license fees are passed and signed into law by Scott, the issue could play a role in his re-election campaign. The fee increases were signed into law by then-Gov. Charlie Crist, the ex-Republican who could be Scott’s fiercest general election opponent now that he’s become a Democrat. Democrats, however, will be keen to remind the GOP who passed the fee increases in the first place – the Republican-controlled Legislature." "Fee-hike history could haunt hopefuls' campaigns".


"Down the Republican rabbit hole" with Marco Rubio

Poor Fabiola Santiago "tumbled down the rabbit hole of Twitter by clicking on a retweet by a Miami Republican — and landed in one of those 'anything is possible' corners of our political Wonderland."

The Republican National Committee celebrated center stage on its webpage Hispanic Heritage Month with mucho boasting of a line-up of “first” Hispanic elected officials who are Republican — but not a word about immigration reform. Not a word, despite the bipartisan bill waiting on House action, or the new bill filed by Miami’s Rep. Joe Garcia and fellow Democrats.
"But nothing, as I followed the yellow brick road, would achieve the level of fantasy as the video of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio calling God into the fray."
He spoke Friday to the Values Voter Summit — which, if like Alice, you have learned to read the upside down clues in Wonderland, you know is another ultra-conservative forum.

Rubio didn’t mention immigration reform — his own work on the bill passed by the Senate or anyone else’s — and he didn’t spice his talk with a word of Spanish. Not even “ hola,” having learned from the experience of na├»ve Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, who got heckled last June — “learn to speak English!” — when he attempted to add an offensive dash of bilingual color to his talk before another tea party audience.

No, Rubio is too smart for that. He talked about God — and His role in shaping things up in Washington.

“I believe Jesus Christ is God,” Rubio said.

And Alice thought: The evangelical leaders hoping, praying — and waging an unprecedented campaign in Florida on behalf of comprehensive immigration reform — believe this, too.

But while God may not have abandoned immigrants, it looks like Rubio and his fellow Republicans have, all too afraid to antagonize the right-wing faction of the Republican Party that has brought the country to its knees.

Read it all: "Down the Republican rabbit hole".


Never mind that "meritocracy" thing the GOPers like to parrot

"The son also rises? Another political dynasty could be forming in Florida as Bill Young II ponders running for his father’s congressional seat."

Young has thrown his name in the mix to replace his father who is retiring from Congress where he’s served since 1971. Since the congressman announced he would not run for re-election next year, his son has taken to Twitter, retweeting articles hinting he could try to claim his father’s seat.
"Bill Young II Could Follow in his Father's Footsteps to Congress".


"The power of incumbency"

"The power of incumbency continues to drive money into candidates’ coffers, even when there are no challengers." "Campaign contributions pile up in Bay area coffers".


Local residents fight off Walmart blight

"Wal-Mart has abandoned its effort to build a grocery store on long-vacant Dale Mabry Highway acreage, a proposal that rallied Carrollwood opponents to organize, wave placards at rush-hour traffic, erect yard signs and circulate petitions."

The grass-roots group that formed to fight the planned 41,180-square-foot Walmart Neighborhood Market at the northwest corner of Dale Mabry and Floyd Road overcame long odds when Hillsborough County commissioners in January voted 6-0 to deny a rezoning request.

The victory for Carrollwood residents was dampened a month later when Brightworks Acquisitions, the contract buyer of the 10.5-acre former plant nursery, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court. The 90-page suit maintains the commission’s vote was politically motivated, not based on evidence or criteria, and countered recommendations for approval by the county’s planning experts and a land-use hearing officer.

Now county attorneys have suggested the commission approve a proposed settlement of the lawsuit and schedule a public hearing for its Nov. 12 land-use meeting to consider a scaled-down commercial development — without a Walmart Neighborhood Market.

"Walmart drops Carrollwood store proposal".


Water wars

"Water Will Have the Edge at 2013 Florida Energy Summit". See also: "Water issues take center stage for lawmakers".