Sunday, February 09, 2014

After reading the hard copy of your hometown newspaper, please consider "liking" us on Facebook and following us on Twitter. Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry follows.

"Bondi and Scott are complete tools"

Carl Hiaasen writes that Pammy "Bondi and Gov. Rick Scott are complete tools":

The state of Florida has joined a lawsuit aimed at blocking a massive cleanup plan for Chesapeake Bay.

The Chesapeake Bay.

And, no, you can’t make this stuff up. . . .

Why would the state of Florida try to obstruct the cleanup of public waters hundreds of miles away from our own? Because Bondi and Gov. Rick Scott are complete tools.

They aren’t suing on behalf of the citizens of Florida; they’re suing on behalf of big agricultural and development interests that don’t want the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency enforcing clean-water laws anywhere.

"Here in Florida, Bondi and Scott didn’t hold a press conference to announce they were joining the Chesapeake litigation. In fact, they’d be much happier if nobody knew about it except the special interests for whom they’re pimping."
Imagine the widespread anger down here if the state of Maryland or Pennsylvania sued to halt Everglades restoration. That’s how people up there feel about what we’re doing to them.
"There’s a perverse irony in the fact that the Scott administration is spending public dollars to defend polluters up North while our own most precious waterways are being poisoned."
Fertilizer runoff from lawns and other pollution has killed thousands of acres of sea grass in the Indian River Lagoon, and it’s the prime suspect in a steep rise in deaths of manatees and bottle-nosed dolphins. . . .

Instead of suing the Corps to halt the dumping, Scott and Bondi are wasting Florida’s legal budget fighting faraway projects like the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint, which is actually a model of sensible cooperation between the states and the feds.

Scott and Bondi don’t care. Both are up for re-election this year, and are banking on hefty donations from developers and Big Agriculture. That’s the only reason they stuck their noses into this lawsuit.

"Muddying the waters far from home".

"Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, beware"

"Florida favorite sons Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, beware. Recent polling shows Hillary Clinton would defeat any of the potential Republican presidential candidates, including former Gov. Bush and U.S. Sen. Rubio. The latest Quinnipiac University Poll shows Clinton has support among almost all voting blocs in Florida, regardless of age, income or race. Six in 10 Florida voters think she'd make a good president and seven in 10 believe she has strong leadership qualities." "Hillary Clinton would beat any Republican challenger in Florida in 2016, poll shows".

FlaGOP to resume attack on healthy Florida Retirement System

"The Florida Retirement System is far from broke — actuaries consider it quite healthy — but Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leaders are determined to fix what they see as its potential financial pitfalls. The debate will play out against a backdrop of election-year politics and the specter of fiscal failures that have other governments scrambling to patch holes in their pension pots." "Lawmakers eye changes to Florida Retirement System".

Hill a "dream come true" for SoFla Dems

"Hillary Clinton campaign, presidency would be dream come true for South Florida Democrats in Congress".

CD 13 Endorsements

The Tampa Bay Times Times recommends Alex Sink for U.S. House, writing that "candidate for House District 13, Alex Sink reflects the mainstream values of Pinellas County voters and has a record of the bipartisanship that Washington needs to start working again." The Tampa Trib predictably endorses David Jolly, shuddering that "Sink is campaigning as a consensus builder who can fight the gridlock in Washington. We respect her ability, but she would be under the direction of Nancy Pelosi, who is far to the left of District 13’s constituents."

Meanwhile, "Sink, Jolly ads in District 13 race full of half-truths, distortion".

"A complete reversal"

"Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist said he supports ending the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, a complete reversal from his position as the state’s former Republican governor and as an independent Senate candidate in 2010." "Charlie Crist flip-flops on U.S. embargo against Cuba".

"Botched launch of Florida’s new unemployment benefits website"

"A week before the botched launch of Florida’s new unemployment benefits website, state senators grilled an agency chief and heard no warning about the chaos to come. The CONNECT project was well managed and extensive testing showed system failure was unlikely, said Tom Clendenning, director of the Department of Economic Opportunity’s workforce services." "Florida’s unemployment benefits website was not ready for launch and state can’t explain why".

Run, "Jeb!", run

Former Miami Herald reporter Beth Reinhard can't get enough Jebbie, writing that "All of a sudden, Jeb Bush is in the sweet spot."

That was not the case one year ago, when it was the ex-Florida governor's protégé, Sen. Marco Rubio, who was declared "the savior of the Republican Party" by Time magazine. Bush, in contrast, looked dated and squishy while promoting a book that backed off his past support for citizenship for illegal immigrants.

Now, Bush's more cautious approach to immigration reform is right in line with the principles that House Republicans recently adopted. The yearlong immigration debate has bruised Rubio, while scandal has handicapped another potential 2016 rival, Chris Christie. With the New Jersey governor's future looking uncertain and public opinion of Capitol Hill worse than ever, old-school Republicans and business elites are casting about for another can-do executive from outside Washington.

Bush is an obvious prospect. Despite the baggage his name carries in some circles, the reservoir of goodwill among Republicans for Bush is deep, and his popularity with the suit-and-tie crowd is high. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce turned to him just this week to star in a television ad for Republican David Jolly, who is running in Florida's 13th Congressional District.

But can Bush be pressed into service?

"Will Jeb Bush Fill the GOP's Governor-Shaped 2016 Hole?"