Sunday, May 25, 2014

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

"Dubious claims by Gaetz and his Tallahassee Tonto"

Daniel Ruth has had it with the poppycock this morning: "By their accounts of how Florida's congressional districts were gerrymandered … oh, sorry, reconfigured, House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz would like you to recall those romanticized images of the Founding Fathers solemnly gathered in Philadelphia with nothing more on their minds than the highest ideals of democracy, freedom and liberty for all."

Cue the laugh track.
"It would be a lot easier to imagine Gaetz and Weatherford getting fitted with their halos if a few less-than-America the Beautiful details hadn't emerged."
Take an email from then-House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Give Me Liberty, Or A Check, to political consultant Marc Reichelderfer, in which he inquired "re the Senate's extra $10 million for redistricting, and the House's secret slush fund." Not quite a Federalist Papers moment.

Reichelderfer popped up again when the lobbyist and Cannon crony testified under oath that he had consulted with Republican legislative staffers and was privy to more than two dozen proposed redistricting maps that were supposed to be super secret, long before the public had a chance to review them. That's a big no-no.

The dubious claims by Gaetz and his Tallahassee Tonto that the redistricting effort was Simon Pure could be substantiated if Republicans and their operatives voluntarily released some 1,833 pages of internal documents relating to the process. That won't happen since the 1st District Court of Appeal illogically concluded the release of the documents would expose proprietary trade secrets. Poppycock.

Adding to the cloud hanging over the redistricting process is the testimony by Gaetz that secret meetings he conducted with Weatherford were entirely proper. Double poppycock.

Much more here: "Crossing the (voting) line." See also the Gainesville Sun's editors' "Extreme districts."

Scott Appointees Implicated In Alleged Expressway Authority Scheme

"A handful of politicians, lobbyists and government officials plotted to take over Orlando's Expressway Authority and use the agency's $300 million budget to their advantage, according to records and testimony released by the State Attorney's Office."

The aim was to put their friends in charge of the agency, further their own careers and direct lucrative contracts to associates, say documents and the sworn statements by eight people associated with the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority.

Among those allegedly involved were agency board member Scott Batterson, an appointee of Gov. Rick Scott indicted on three bribery-related charges last month; former state Rep. Chris Dorworth, Batterson's friend since middle school and now a lobbyist; and state Department of Transportation Secretary Ananth Prasad, also a Scott appointee.

Rick Scott appointed Prasad Secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), a $9-billion agency, on April 18, 2011.
Prasad issued a statement through spokesman Dick Kane, saying, "Secretary Prasad has fully cooperated with State Attorney Jeff Ashton's investigation and has provided all the information requested."
"Statements: Group plotted takeover of Orlando expressway authority."

"Key advisors"

Steve Bousquet: "Key advisers in Florida governor's race play vital roles".

Ricky, Marco and Jebbie may regret climate change remarks

"A California billionaire is going after millionaire Gov. Rick Scott over climate change, hoping to rally passive voters as Scott seeks re-election in November. . . . The effort has larger overtones given Sen. Marco Rubio's own doubts about man's contribution to climate change and Rubio's 2016 presidential aspirations. Former Gov. Jeb Bush, also looking at a 2016 run, has made similar comments." "Super PAC to use climate change issue against Gov. Rick Scott".

What's a FlaBagger to do?

"Record budget awaits Scott’s action."

"The costliest and meanest governor’s race in the nation"

Marc Caputo and Steve Bousquet: "Gov. Rick Scott is rewriting Florida’s campaign playbook by writing massive checks."

Charlie Crist, on his third political affiliation in four years, is doing his own rewrite through political reinvention.

Less than six months from Election Day, the two men are on a collision course in what promises to be the costliest and meanest governor’s race in the nation.

"Florida’s governor’s race: mean and costly." See also "Campaign cash flowing at faster pace."

"Torment and torture and kill? We’re already there"

Fred Grimm writes that, "it's as if we're regressing back to medieval tenets for dealing with the mentally ill. Back to the dark ages when it was acceptable to torment and torture and kill those befuddled souls deemed to be lunatics. But no. We're not regressing. Torment and torture and kill? We’re already there." "Brutality against mentally ill inmates has become the norm."

Jennifer Carroll takes swipe at Scott

Radio talk-show host Seeta Begui "got widespread political buzz for her interview this month with former Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, in which Carroll took aim at her former boss, Gov. Rick Scott."

"It went pretty much viral," Begui said, including on the widely followed Huffington Post politically focused website.

In the interview, Carroll said she did not feel she received the support of the Scott administration and implied that her race and gender may have played a role.

The interview came as Scott is stepping up his re-election campaign. The front-running Democratic candidate for governor is former Gov. Charlie Crist, who was a Republican when he was governor.

"It's bad enough, particularly for a minority, when you are in the good-old-boy system. You're trying to walk that fine line, because, you know, there are little whispers that they give," Carroll said. "You know, if you go off too much, then you're known as a B-I-T-C-H. If you don't do enough, then you're a wimp."

"Carroll swipes at Scott."

Where's Marco?

No secret here: "National immigration reforms stalled again by partisan politics."

But even the Tampa Trib editors recognize that the immigration thing is damaging to their GOPer patrons, and so call upon "Florida’s entire congressional delegation [to] listen to the recent pleas by powerful conservative voices in Florida to end the partisan stalemate over immigration reform." "Editorial: No more delays on immigration reform."