Thursday, August 21, 2014

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

Scott unreceptive to climate change "teaching moment"

Update: The Tampa Trib editors: "Scott has heard the science, now he should act."

"After months of dodging questions about climate change, Gov. Rick Scott met today with a panel of climate scientists who have been trying to brief him on the human influence on global warming."

Then he quickly left the office without answering any questions. The scientists were Jeffrey Chanton of Florida State University, David Hastings of Eckerd College, and Ben Kirtman, John Van Leer and Harold Wanless of the University of Miami. . . .

Scott listened for half an hour with a throng of reporters watching, then excused himself without answering questions.

"Scott briefly sits with climate scientists." "Scientists arrived hoping for a ‘leadership’ moment from the governor on climate change but left concerned that his silence means he wants to continue to do nothing." "Gov. Rick Scott meets with scientists but remains silent on climate change." See also Scientists fear Scott avoids climate change."

League of Women Voters want new congressional maps

"A coalition of plaintiffs has asked a Tallahassee judge to redraw the state’s congressional maps and implement them for the 2014 midterm election. That request came from the plaintiffs, led by the League of Women Voters of Florida, who successfully challenged the state’s congressional maps in court." "Judge urged to redraw redistricting maps." See also "Black voters become focus in redistricting fight" and "Legislative lawyers ask court to consider role of Democratic operatives in redistricting case."

Another fine education Jebacy

"Florida at Back of the Pack in ACT Scores."

Failing Charters

"For children at two charter schools,"

the first day of school brought unwelcome news. The state Board of Education on Monday denied appeals from two failing charters to remain open after they earned consecutive failing grades.
"A bad couple days for Florida’s Charter Schools." See also "Want to see the list of Florida's 250 failed charter schools?"

CD 8

"In a congressional race that might otherwise be an uneventful re-election stroll for incumbent U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, R-Rockledge, Democratic nominee Gabriel Rothblatt is drawing attention for family connections that are fueling his run with money. Congressional District 8, which covers Indian River and Brevard counties and part of eastern Orange County to Bithlo, has a solid Republican-leaning voter base and a long history of backing Republicans." "Congressional candidate has faith in technology."

Scott promises to boost school funding

"Florida Gov. Rick Scott is promising to boost school funding in Florida to its highest levels if he is re-elected. . . . The state cut $1.3 billion from schools in 2011." "Gov. Scott promises to raise school funding again."

Crist focuses on Scott

"Charlie Crist focuses on Rick Scott, ignores primary foe."

FlaGOP "scrambling" to protect incumbents

"The Republican Party of Florida, which declined to discuss its strategy, spent $40,357 the first week of August in four of the five Senate contests in which sitting members have drawn GOP opponents." "Florida Republicans ‘scrambling’ to protect state Senate incumbents."

"Redistricting Redux"

"The authors and critics of Florida's re-drawn congressional map were back in a courtroom Wednesday haggling over the same seat that sparked their two year legal fight: the African-American-leaning district of Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville." "Redistricting Redux in the courtroom." See also "Black voters become focus in redistricting fight as both side claim to offer better protections," "Soto: Hispanics might lose clout" and "Black voters become focus in redistricting fight."

"Whoda thunk"

Adam C. Smith: "Whoda thunk you'd see Democratic consultant Steve Schale pounding the pavement in Pinellas County on behalf of Republican state House candidate Chris Latvala?"

Schale, after all, is one of the brightest lights in Florida Democratic political circles, having helped Obama win Florida twice and now helping Charlie Crist, try to unseat Gov. Rick Scott. And House District 67 at least on paper should be one of the more competitive districts in Florida, one in which some credible Democrats are running.
"Who's that big shot Dem campaigning for GOP Fla House candidate?."

Taddeo has never before held a public office

"Should anything happen to the state's top executive, this is the person who will assume responsibility for running Florida. And in the case of Taddeo, that means one of the largest states in the union could possibly be led by someone who has never before held a public office. In fact, someone who has lost the only two elections she's previously entered." "Crist's lieutenant governor choice would cause outrage, if anyone cared."

Good luck asking Rick Scott about King Ranch

On YouTube: "Ask Rick Scott on King Ranch Trip (08-19-2014)."

Shaping the region's politics

"Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has been one of the leading figures in South Florida politics for three decades now and she continues to shape the region's politics by throwing her support to Republican allies." "Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Works to Shape S. Florida's Elections Next Week."

Funny how that works

"The group was founded and is funded by United Auto Insurance, which appears frequently in court cases against personal injury lawyers." "Auto insurance political committee flexes muscle in Miami judicial races."

Latvala wades in

"Influential Republican State Sen. Jack Latvala is not endorsing any of the seven Republicans running for the Pinellas County Commission District 4 seat being vacated by his former wife, Susan Latvala, who is retiring from office. But he isn’t being shy about saying whom he does not want elected." "Sen. Latvala pans Pinellas GOP candidate."

"In the convoluted, money laundering world of Florida politics . . ."

Steve Bousquet: "Those recent robocalls to Democratic voters featuring the voice and the conservative views of former Republican Charlie Crist have prompted Democrats to file a formal complaint with the Florida Elections Commission. Their target is Republican Sen. Tom Lee of Brandon."

Lee engineered what he said were about two million robocalls to voters, using the same calls Crist used in his successful 2006 Republican campaign for governor, in which he called himself a pro-life, Ronald Reagan Republican who opposed same sex marriage and supported public display of the 10 Commandments -- views now starkly at odds with Crist the Democrat. Lee has taken responsibility for the robocalls and used a long-dormant electioneering communications organization (ECO) called Conservatives, which also created a web site featuring all of Crist's audio clips at . . .

Conservatives is headed by Stafford Jones, a Republican activist from Gainesville and a behind-the-scenes player in state politics. Conservatives' largest donor ($7,500) was Innovate Florida, a political committee run by Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton. In the convoluted, money laundering world of Florida politics, Conservatives also got $5,000 from a committee that calls itself Jobs for Florida, which got a $2,500 check from the Florida Police Benevolent Association, a group that supports Crist's candidacy for governor.

The complaint was filed by Allison Tant, chairwoman of the Florida Democratic Party. It cites a state law, Ch. 106.147(1)(c), which states that "No telephone call shall state or imply that the caller represents any person or organization unless the person of organization so represented has given specific approval in writing to make such representation."

"Tom Lee's robo-rewind on Crist prompts complaint by Democrats."

Putnam still won’t answer questions

"Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam still won’t answer key questions about his trips to King Ranch, where he and other top Florida Republican elected officials have visited." "Gov. Rick Scott and Adam Putnam disclose a few more details on King Ranch trips."

Federal prosecutor names Rivera as co-conspirator

"A federal prosecutor identified former congressman David Rivera as a co-conspirator in a campaign-finance scheme to prop up a little-known candidate in the 2012 Democratic primary." "David Rivera named co-conspirator as friend pleads guilty in campaign-finance case."

Crist votes early

"The man campaigning to be governor again came home to St. Petersburg on Monday to vote early in the Florida primary." "Crist casts early ballot."