Saturday, February 22, 2014

Please consider giving hard copy newspaper subscriptions as gift and/or buying one or more subscriptions for delivery to your workplace. Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry follows.

"Consider Bondi's deeds, instead of her words"

The Orlando Sentinel editors: "Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi told a crowd at the University of Florida last week that 'no one wants dirty water.'"

Consider Bondi's deeds, instead of her words. This month Florida's chief legal officer joined 20 of her counterparts — all but three of them Republicans — who signed a legal brief in support of a lawsuit against an agreement to restore the Chesapeake Bay. That agreement was reached by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the District of Columbia and six states within the bay's drainage basin.

The Chesapeake Bay, the nation's largest estuary, has been in decline for decades. Pollution has devastated its marine life, and the fishing and recreation that depend on it.

So why would states as far away as Florida and Alaska get behind a lawsuit against a federal and state agreement to clean up a mid-Atlantic waterway? Bondi told the university crowd it was because of "EPA overreach."

"Imagine if distant states took it upon themselves to back a lawsuit against Florida's agreement with the EPA to restore the Everglades. Talk about overreach."
By signing the brief, Bondi has cast Florida's lot with the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Fertilizer Institute, the National Pork Producers Council and other groups fighting the agreement. . . .

With so much at stake, Bondi's efforts and attention would be far better directed at strengthening water protection in her own state, instead of weakening it somewhere else.

"Backing polluters, Bondi weakens clean-up efforts: Editorial".

ALEC pulling FlaGOP strings

"Groups including Greenpeace and Natural Resources Defense Council say bills dealing with oil and gas hydraulic fracturing and federal pollution rules come from American Legislative Exchange Council." "Environmental groups say ALEC is behind Florida bills".

"Bits and Pieces"

Kevin Derby: "Political Bits and Pieces".

"Session to be a mix of priorities"

"Tax cuts, stiffer sex offender laws, expanding school vouchers and the state budget will be among the issues lawmakers will consider over the 60-day session that begins March 4." "Fla. Legislative session to be a mix of priorities".

One trick pony

"Allen West: 'Every Time Obamacare Draws Headlines, the News Gets Worse'".


Fabiola Santiago writes: "Way to go, Florida Legislature."

You’ve got nothing better to do than to raise your voices — and protect the rights of kids to bear imaginary arms. Stand your ground in the schoolyard.

Bravo, couldn’t expect any less from you.

It may be difficult to pass meaningful legislation in the Sunshine State when it comes to adults who get away with murder, but watch this little baby — the “Pop-Tart” bill! — fly faster than Superman on a rescue through rounds of committee hearings with bipartisan support.

That’s right. You read correctly: A bill named after the sugary pastry that lazy parents give their children for breakfast has earned that rare commodity — bipartisan support.


"Legislature’s support of ‘Pop Tart’ bill is no way to get kids help" (subscription).

The Panuccio Principle

"Panuccio became DEO director in January 2013 after leaving his spot as Scott’s top attorney. He heads a large agency with 1,621 employees and an $872.7 million budget for a salary of $141,000 per year." "After unemployment system fiasco, jobs agency director faces long road to confirmation".

Sink race to be a test of Obamacare as election issue

"The candidates are Alex Sink, Democrat, and David Jolly, Republican, but Obamacare is on the ballot in a big way in a competitive House race in Florida that offers a preview of the nationwide campaign for Congress this fall."

Republicans and their allies wouldn't have it any other way as they test the issue's potency, even though their candidate may muddle the message, and other issues like Social Security may command a bigger role in deciding the winner.

"Seniors are losing their doctors because of Obamacare... but Alex Sink still supports Obamacare," read one Republican Party mailer in a congressional district where voters over age 60 may cast more than half the ballots.

Because of the health care law "300,000 Floridians will lose their current health plans, $700 billion (was) cut from Medicare for seniors and now nonpartisan government analysts say Obamacare will cost our economy up to 2.5 million jobs," says an ad paid for by the National Republican Congressional Committee. "Yet Alex Sink still supports it."

Sitting in a sparsely furnished room in her campaign office, Sink says of Republicans, "I guess they believe" it will work. "That's their signature issue in this election cycle."

Republicans don't quarrel with that assertion, which makes Sink something of a campaign pioneer — the Democratic candidate in the first race of 2014 to test her party's recommended response to Republican assaults on the health care overhaul that President Barack Obama and Democrats pushed through Congress four years ago.

"Early House race tests Obamacare as election issue".

"If you see any hiccups, let me know"

"The $200 million that Gov. Rick Scott pledged this week to put toward a train depot at Orlando’s busy international airport also will benefit a company that previously employed the governor’s chief of staff."

Adam Hollingsworth worked for companies connected to the company behind All Aboard Florida, a private passenger line that would link central and South Florida. All Aboard Florida stands to get a significant boost from the airport depot.

Text messages obtained by The Associated Press show Hollingsworth discussed the rail project with a top aide in the Scott administration while he was still working for Flagler Development Group and Parallel Infrastructure. . . .

Florida East Coast Industries announced in March 2012 that it would spend $1 billion to build the All Aboard Florida line by combining 200 miles of existing tracks and 40 miles of new track between Miami and Orlando.

At the time, Hollingsworth worked as CEO of Parallel Infrastructure, a subsidiary of Florida East Coast Industries. On his application with the state, Hollingsworth said he was responsible for helping with sales, marketing and “growing the business into new markets.”

Hollingsworth stepped in as chief of staff after Steve MacNamara abruptly resigned following a series of news stories detailing his job performance and handling of contracts. Hollingsworth, who spent time as chief of staff for then-Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton, had ties to Scott’s campaign manager and had worked previously for the railroad company CSX.

Hollingsworth, who worked on Scott’s transition team in late 2010, exchanged several text messages with Scott’s deputy chief of staff shortly before the All Aboard Florida project was publicly announced.

Hours before the release came out he texted Carrie O’Rourke and told her she would get a copy of it in advance. “If you see any hiccups, let me know,” Hollingsworth texted. “Thanks for all your help.”

"Gov. Scott backs rail project tied to top aide".

"Senate Incumbents Sitting Pretty"

"Florida Senate Incumbents Sitting Pretty".

"Another major player in the 2014 Florida gubernatorial race"

Nancy Smith: "Enter, another major player in the 2014 Florida gubernatorial race -- California hedge-fund billionaire Tom Steyer, committed soldier in the political war against climate change and apparently Rick Scott."

Steyer, from his San Francisco office earlier this week, lifted the phone and summoned an impressive string of national reporters for a conference call. Just like that he had the nation's top journalists at his fingertips. Main purpose? Apparently to deliver a message to Scott:
You've got $100 million, I've got $100 million. I'm going to get you in November.
"Anti-Koch Billionaire Tom Steyer Wants Rick Scott Out".

TeaBagger superstar Ted Cruz wows FlaGOP

"The draw of tea party superstar Ted Cruz and the chance to check out Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago netted the Palm Beach County Republican Party an estimated $90,000 or more Friday night." "Palm Beach County GOP may net $90,000 from fundraising dinner featuring U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz".

"Pulling back the veil"

"The state corrections official who stands beside condemned inmates as they take their last breaths in Florida’s death chamber recently pulled back the veil on what has largely been a very secretive execution process." "Testimony gives rare details of Florida executions".