Saturday, September 27, 2014

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

"Splattering the voters while they wrestle in the swamp"

The Miami Herald editors: "Remember the python in the Everglades that tried to swallow a gator? They wound up killing each other. Which brings us to the race for governor of the great state of Florida."

A Census Bureau report released last week found that the poverty level in Florida is 17 percent, and the median income is 40th in the nation, worse than when Mr. Scott took over. The Tampa/St Petersburg and Miami/Fort Lauderdale regions were among the worst metro areas in the country in terms of income.

Also, the report says that 20 percent of Floridians don’t have health insurance, the third worst rate in the nation after Nevada and Texas.

"Have a defense, Mr. Scott? What’s your solution, Mr. Crist?"
And how do they plan to rebuild the trust voters have lost? It’s not a state problem, it’s a nationwide pity. In Florida, Mr. Scott’s Office of Transparency has existed in name only, given his secret hunting trips and hiding the public’s business using personal e-mail accounts. For Mr. Crist’s part, his shift from Republican to independent to true-blue Democrat still looks to many like the politics of expedience rather than a deep and abiding evolution.

These are the real issues that the candidates aren’t addressing. Slinging mud is far easier — and so is, to their shame, splattering the voters while they wrestle in the swamp.

"Holding our noses in race for governor."

"Democrats are facing some monumental problems"

Aaron Deslatte: "Democrats are facing some monumental problems this fall. Turnout in the Aug. 26 primary was abysmal, particularly in the Democratic stronghold of Broward County, where only 10.8 percent of voters showed up — the second-worst voter performance in the state." "Despite reforms, Democrats plagued by low turnout."

The latest Scott Scandal

"Gov. Rick Scott’s top investigator was alerted to allegations of deadly abuse of inmates, but neither she nor the governor nor the corrections department acted."

Yet "another sign that the governor’s chief investigator, her assistant, Dawn Case, and DOC Inspector General Jeffery Beasley knew there was possible wrongdoing in connection with the deaths, yet did nothing."

In March of this year, Miguel refused to give DOC investigators whistle-blower protection after they told her that Beasley was pressuring them not to charge anyone in the Jordan-Aparo case. She also refused to give whistle-blower protection to a DOC probation officer who, in 2011, told her about suspicious aspects of Jordan-Aparo’s death. That officer, Cristina Bullins, was subsequently fired, though the department said that was over taking unapproved leave time.
"Told of prison cover-up, Gov. Scott’s inspector failed to act."

More: "Read the anonymous letter" and "Behind bars, a brutal and unexplained death."

Q Poll

"Poll: Rick Scott edges Charlie Crist, 44-42, but voters dislike both candidates."

Nan Goes After Scott

Kevin Derby: "Despite not being able to debate former Gov. Charlie Crist in their primary contest, former Florida Senate Minority Leader Nan Rich is increasingly becoming an active campaigner for Democrats. In last month’s primary, Crist won with 74 percent of the vote." "Nan Rich Goes After Rick Scott, Ignores Charlie Crist as She Rallies Democrats."

Mica cruising

"Democrat Neuman lying low in congressional race against Mica." See also "Krulick: I'm 'only alternative' to Mica."

FlaBaggers dance over technicality

"Leon County Chief Circuit Judge Charles Francis ruled that the plaintiff in the challenge, teacher Tom Faasse, doesn’t have the legal right to file suit against a law containing the expansion of the voucher program along with several other education provisions. However, the judge gave opponents of the law 15 days to try to amend their complaint and come up with another way to challenge the legislation." "Judge Throws Out Union’s Challenge of School Voucher Expansion, But Only on Technicality."

NRCC raises stakes in SoFla

"The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) announced this week it was raising the stakes in South Florida, with plans to spend $2.6 million in TV ads as the GOP looks to defeat freshman U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla., in November. Facing a major challenge from Miami-Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo, Garcia is one of the most vulnerable congressional Democrats in the nation." "NRCC Targets Joe Garcia With TV Blitz in South Florida."

Public records in the cloud

"Group sues Jacobs, accuses her of violating records law."

"Consultants" at work

"The controversial and at-times muddled search for a new president of Florida State University includes an expected tab of about $160,000 for consultants." "Consultants’ Cost in FSU Presidential Search That Led to Thrasher Anyway: $160,000."

Jeb learns a lesson

"Jeb Bush learned a lesson this week as he continues to kick around running for president in 2016: it’s not his father’s Republican Party anymore and it’s also not his brother’s." "Jeb Finding Common Core, Immigration Reform Tough Sell to Conservatives."

"If TV ads decided the governor’s race, Scott would win in a landslide"

Marc Caputo: "Florida’s governor’s race is now a $50 million-plus commercial spectacle, with more than 71 percent of that spending from Gov. Rick Scott."

During the week that ended Friday, Scott dropped an additional $8 million for current and future ad buys. That’s about a 23 percent increase for the Republican, dwarfing Democrat Charlie Crist’s ad-buy increase of 17 percent, or almost $2.5 million.

If TV ads decided the governor’s race, Scott would win in a landslide.

"With $50 million in TV ad spending, Rick Scott-Charlie Crist race is one big marketing campaign."

Weekly Roundup

Kevin Derby: "Political Bits and Pieces." See also "Arrivals and Departures, Sept. 26, 2014" and "Weekly Roundup: Mercury Drops, but Politics Heat Up."