Saturday, June 07, 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.

Morgan blasts DWS as an "irrelevant" "irritant"

"Major Democratic donor John Morgan blasted the national party’s chair, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, as an 'irritant' who is becoming 'irrelevant' after she voiced concerns about a medical marijuana proposal he helped put on Florida’s ballot this November." "Major Democratic donor bashes DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz."

According to the Tampa Trib's William March, in an interview with the Miami Herald, Morgan claimed Wasserman Schultz is “despised” by national political leaders."

“She is the new Allen West of South Florida. ... She should just become a bridesmaid for Pam Bondi's next wedding.”

West is a conservative political commentator and one-term Florida congressman, and Bondi is Florida's attorney general. Both are Republicans.

Via email, Morgan confirmed to the Tribune the accuracy of the Herald quotes.

“All true,” he wrote. “I will never help her again.”

It continues. That bastion of civil rights, the Florida "state Republican Party seized on the rift, accusing Morgan — and by association, Crist — of sexism for criticizing Wasserman Schultz." "Morgan blasts top Democrat for opposing pot amendment." See also "Medical Marijuana Divides Florida Dem Power Brokers."

SoFla's hospitality and leisure workers earn far lower annual wages

"Even with high levels of education and experience, South Florida's hospitality and leisure workers earn far lower annual wages than the overall population, according to a report released Thursday by Florida International University."

Hospitality workers in the West Palm Beach-Fort Lauderdale-Miami area earned an average wage of $24,752, FIU's Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy reported. In comparison, the average annual wage for all workers is more than $43,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Restaurant and food service workers are the lowest-paid of all hospitality workers, the FIU report said.

"Hospitality workers among worst paid, FIU study finds."

Scott cancels planned fundraiser with felon

"Gov. Rick Scott abruptly called off a South Florida fundraiser planned for Saturday at the Boca Raton home of real estate developer James Batmasian, a convicted felon who did time for federal tax evasion. . . . Though he's a convicted felon, Batmasian, 67, is still a registered voter." "Rick Scott cancels planned fundraiser at felon's Boca Raton home".

FlaGOP climate change denial to be an issue

"As other coastal states and the Obama administration take aggressive measures to battle the effects of global warming, Florida's top Republican politicians are challenging the science and balking at government fixes."

Among the chief skeptics are U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush, both possible presidential candidates in 2016. Gov. Rick Scott, who is running for re-election, has worked with the Republican-controlled Legislature to dismantle Florida's fledgling climate change initiatives. They were put into place by his predecessor and current opponent, Democrat Charlie Crist.

"I'm not a scientist," Scott said, after a federal report pinpointed Florida — and Miami in particular — as among the country's most at-risk areas.

He and other Republicans warn against what they see as alarmist policies that could derail the country's tenuous economic recovery.

Their positions could affect their political fortunes.

Democrats plan to place climate change, and the GOP's skepticism, front and center in a state where the issue is no longer an abstraction.

"Seas rise, Fla. GOP leaders balk at climate change."

Florida AFL-CIO convention

"Two Democratic candidates for Florida governor are seeking union support. Both former Gov. Charlie Crist and former state Sen. Nan Rich are scheduled to speak at the convention of the Florida AFL-CIO on Saturday." "Candidates for Florida gov. seeking union support".

Redistricting ruling expected at end of the month

"After weeks of surprises in the first trial to challenge Florida’s Fair District rules, it ends with a ruling expected by the end of the month." "Redistricting trial ends but conclusion is far from certain."

Bill Nelson's Playbook

"While he never reached the heights of either Lawton Chiles or Bob Graham, Bill Nelson has proven to be the only Florida Democrat to win statewide elections on a consistent basis -- and a rising congressman is taking notes." "Patrick Murphy Follows Bill Nelson's Playbook, Not the Usual Florida Democrat Game Plan".

It might actually take hiring a public employee

"Report: Florida leads U.S. in inmates released without supervision."

"A flabbergasting cocoon of ignorance"

Aaron Deslatte: "Florida's high-stakes redistricting trial may not have exposed a "smoking gun" that Republican legislators intentionally gerrymandered when they redrew the state's political geography two years ago."

But the trial did televise a flabbergasting cocoon of ignorance that lawmakers claimed to have kept themselves in during such a historic process. House speakers and Senate presidents claimed to have no knowledge of how line shifts could help or hurt incumbents.

One Senate staff director who has overseen decades of redistricting, John Guthrie, testified he had no idea that packing more blacks into U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown's Jacksonville-to-Orlando district would make it a safer seat. The same staffer, and the same politicians, staged public workshops with the redistricting software the prior summer for the express purpose of debunking the Fair Districts amendments by showing you couldn't shift lines without helping or hurting someone.

However, this firewall of information asymmetry didn't keep out the political consultants — present at the public meetings, chatting with lawmakers routinely on the sidelines — who worked for the lawmakers, had information on the maps and were busily drawing and sharing minority districts.

"No 'smoking gun,' but baffling map ignorance."

Weekly Roundup

"Political Bits and Pieces." See also "Weekly Roundup" and "Arrivals and Departures, June 6, 2014."