Sunday, November 03, 2013

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

"Democrats looking for Cabinet candidates"

William March: "For Florida Democrats, winning the 2014 governor’s race is the overriding goal for the 2014 elections and, they believe, the best way they can build the party for the future."

So far, however, with almost exactly a year to go before the Nov. 4, 2014, election, they’re not yet living up to state party Chairman Allison Tant’s promise to compete strongly for the other three statewide elections on the ballot – seats on the Florida Cabinet.
"Democrats have two prominent candidates for attorney general who could end up in a primary battle – former Tampa legislator George Sheldon and state Rep. Perry Thurston of Fort Lauderdale."
Both are known and respected within the party, but neither has ever won a statewide election. One will take on Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Democrats have no well-known challenger, meantime, for either of the other two Republican Cabinet officials, agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater.

"Democrats looking for Cabinet candidates".

Record number of manatees have died this year

Tampa Trib editors: "The record number of Florida manatees that have died this year underscores the importance of continued protections for the seagoing mammal." "Manatee not out of danger".

Lobbyist and former Young staffer will run for CD 13 seat

"Former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker announced Saturday he won't run for the late U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young's congressional seat, depriving Republicans of the candidate some considered their strongest potential competitor for the position. With Baker out, David Jolly, lobbyist and former staffer for Young, said he will run for the District 13 seat in Pinellas County." "Baker won't run for Young seat; Jolly will".

Bogus 'high-crime-area' tax breaks

"Most people probably wouldn't consider downtown Miami's Omni neighborhood an especially dangerous place. Overlooking Biscayne Bay, the area is home to sleek condominium skyscrapers, a $470 million performing-arts center and the historic Miami Women's Club."

Yet when Publix Super Markets opened a store there last year, the Lakeland-based company snagged $79,000 in state tax breaks for creating jobs in an "urban high-crime area."

It's not the only example of a business in an appealing area dipping into the high-crime incentive pool — a practice attracting the scrutiny of state legislators. EverBank Financial Corp. just applied for $690,000 in high-crime tax credits after moving several hundred jobs from suburban locations in Duval County to a 32-story office tower in downtown Jacksonville. Fun Spot, the Orlando amusement-park owner, recently got $13,000 through the program for expanding its park in the International Drive tourist corridor.

"Legislators scrutinize companies' 'high-crime-area' tax breaks".

"Rubio wants the Senate to keep praying"

"Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida wants the Senate to keep praying before lawmakers get down to business. Texas legislators, too, want their daily prayers."

And in an unexpected pew-sharing, the Obama administration has joined conservative state and federal lawmakers in urging the Supreme Court to tolerate prayers during government meetings.
"Does Supreme Court case have a prayer? Stay tuned".

"Nelson focuses on breaks for oil, pharmaceutical industries"

"For the second time in two years, a so-called "supercommittee" of U.S. House and Senate lawmakers — including U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson — has started working on a deal to break the gridlock on Capitol Hill and restore order to the budget process." "Nelson targets tax loopholes as member of new budget panel".