Monday, September 08, 2014

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

Scott "the most-scripted and least-forthcoming statewide candidate in years"

Marc Caputo: "Reporters are already used to Scott being the most-scripted and least-forthcoming statewide candidate in years." "Rick Scott won't go off-message to go on-message."

"An awful lot like the old Florida"

Ron Cunningham, in a guest story in the Gainesville Sun: "New Florida is starting to look an awful lot like the old Florida."

Medical Pot may have backfired as a GOTV srategy

"With the primaries over, Florida voters will be focusing on the November ballot and political action committees will be spending millions of dollars on advertising to help sway them." "Medical pot supporters low on funds." Background: "Medical marijuana's political sway."

That right to vote thing

The audacity of the ACLU reminding us that those folks who can't afford to bond out and are in jail

awaiting trial or serving time for a misdemeanor can request absentee ballots, including for local judges.
"ACLU wants inmates to know their voting rights."

From the value's crowd

"Florida's legal aid societies, where the poor seek help fighting eviction, collecting government benefits and battling foreclosure, are in crisis, according to advocates who say the state's last line of civil legal defense is crumbling. Years of funding cuts from local governments, the state and the Florida Bar Foundation have diminished legal aid groups to the point where some may soon be forced to close their doors." "Florida's legal aid services for the poor imperiled by budget cuts."

Scott is straddling common core as best he can

"To win on Nov. 4, Scott must rally an active and vocal part of his base: tea party members who want to eviscerate the new standards. But he's also vying for votes from moderate Republicans who support the Common Core standards. And he's keenly aware that former Gov. Jeb Bush has been a powerful driving force behind the standards' success."

Democratic candidate Charlie Crist has embraced the Common Core but is less likely to face pushback for his position. Although some Democrats believe the benchmarks will stifle creativity in the classroom, most support the concept.

"Gov. Scott is straddling this issue as best he can," said University of Florida political science professor Daniel Smith, adding that Common Core could make a difference in a close race. . . .

There was little dissent in 2010 when Florida approved the benchmarks. But last year, conservative parents and tea party groups began raising concerns about federal intrusion into public education, even though the federal government was not involved in the development of the standards.

The opposition in Florida grew so strong that Scott ordered the state to pull out of a consortium of states developing Common Core tests. He also called for a series of public hearings that prompted state education officials to tweak the benchmarks and rename them the Florida Standards.

Critics derided the changes as cosmetic. (The Common Core State Standards Initiative website continues to list Florida as a state that has adopted the standards.) But they backed off of their attacks on Scott in the spring and early summer.

"Common Core creates political balancing act for Gov. Rick Scott."

Desperate Scott pushes tax cuts and Obama hatin'

"Back to Basics for Rick Scott: Tax Cuts and Opposing Obama."

Matt Reed says "beware of any state politician who promises to cut taxes in Tallahassee by cutting local levies, on which our schools, firefighters and road departments depend." Leave this tax idea off the bus."