Tuesday, June 17, 2014

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

Scott raking in tens of millions on "blind trust" investments

Rick "Scott’s net worth rose from $83.8 million in 2012 to $132.7 million last year, an increase of more than a third, according to his financial disclosures."

He did not release his 2013 return because they asked the IRS for a filing extension.

The Scotts reported adjusted gross income of $9.3 million in 2010, $80.3 million in 2011 and $8.7 million in 2012. . . .

Scott co-founded the nation’s largest hospital chain and received a severance package worth more than $300 million when he left Columbia/HCA in 1997. The firm paid a $1.7 billion fine for healthcare fraud. Scott was not personally implicated in wrongdoing.

"Crist’s financial statement, his first in four years, shows that life in the private sector has been profitable."
He listed $296,722 in law firm income; $182,933 in consulting fees from The St. Joe Company, a leading Florida developer; and $125,000 from Foundry Literary and Media. Crist wrote a book, The Party’s Over, about why he bolted from the Republican Party during his unsuccessful 2010 run for U.S. Senate. Crist also reported $194,510 in St. Joe Company stock, $50,000 from the Coastal Construction Group of Miami and a $45,588 state pension after 18 years in public office. A persistent critic of public utilities, Crist reported $90,622 in stock in TECO Energy.
"All three Cabinet members also submitted net worth statements Monday."
Attorney General Pam Bondi’s wealth climbed by nearly 60 percent to $1.24 million. That’s a one-year gain of $457,762 in a job that pays $128,745 a year. Three years into office, Bondi’s net worth is nearly triple the $450,735 she reported when she ran for attorney general in 2010.
"Financial records show Scott, Crist net worth increased." See also "Rick Scott Posts $132.7 Million Net Worth," "Crist, Scott release finances after filing to be on ballot," "After blind trust brouhaha, Scott, Crist disclose finances," "Gov. Scott details finances, releases taxes," and "Financial data released."

Big of them

"Signs switched at Fla school named for KKK leader."

"Scott’s road to reelection got more crowded Monday"

"Gov. Rick Scott’s road to reelection got more crowded Monday as two little-known Republicans paid the filing fees to challenge him on the Aug. 26 primary ballot. Democrats also will have a statewide primary for governor as Charlie Crist, a former Republican governor, filed his candidacy papers, and former Sen. Nan Rich expects to file hers Tuesday."

All three Republican Cabinet members also qualified for the fall ballot Monday: Attorney General Pam Bondi, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.
"Primary challenges for Scott, Crist." See also "Scott, Crist, State Cabinet Officials Qualify for the Ballot" and "Crist files to run, slams Scott on education."

As elections near, executions increase

"Florida and Missouri trail only Texas as the most active death penalty states. Florida has executed five men in 2014 and Missouri four. Texas has carried out seven executions. Combined, the three states have performed 16 of the 20 executions this year." "3 inmates set to die; previous execution botched."

"Marijuana amendment gets green light"

"Medical marijuana amendment gets green light from Supreme Court." Meanwhile, "Scott signs 'Charlotte's Web' medical pot bill."

"Women voters league not ready for Florida brand advocacy"

"Deirdre Macnab was ready to bring her bold version of advocacy to the national League of Women Voters. But the national league wasn't ready for Macnab. Macnab, president of the Florida league since 2009, ran to become the league's national president last week." "National women voters league not ready for Florida brand advocacy."

"'The North Florida way' -- to Congress"

"Jeff Henderson: "As Crist offered the same old, same old, congressional candidate Gwen Graham released her first television commercial. Despite being the daughter of Bob Graham and working as an aide to John Kerry and Howard Dean, Graham’s new ad stresses she’s a political outsider who can bring new perspectives and values -- “the North Florida way” -- to Congress." "Unlike Crist, Graham Shows Dems Importance of Playing to the Center."

Scott stands tall against "foul-tasting water."

"Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill Friday that gives Summertree residents, and other private utility water customers, an escape from outrageous bills and foul-tasting water." "Gov. Scott signs utility water bill"

FlaGOP claims no outsiders "infected the sterile ways of the redistricting suites"

"A Florida judge deciding a landmark trial has been given starkly different views of whether legislators violated the law and drew up new congressional districts in 2012 in a way to help Republicans be more easily elected. . . . Lewis is expected to rule by the end of the month. "

Legislative attorneys, meanwhile, assert that the evidence produced during the trial did not prove that legislators intended to draw districts to help Republicans. They said efforts by GOP consultants “never merged” with legislators and no one outside “infected the sterile ways of the redistricting suites.”

Attorneys for the House and Senate said the case was built on a “pyramid of inferences, a series of mental gymnastics” and that the judge would have to believe that every single witness including the current House Speaker and Senate president “lied under oath” about their activities.

"Florida congressional maps await judge’s decision."