Saturday, October 04, 2014

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

"Too close to call"

"Pollster Jim Kane didn't need a scientific survey to know what was on the minds of virtually all the 170 Broward movers and shakers who gathered Thursday at the Tower Forum: Will Charlie Crist or Rick Scott win the election for governor on Nov. 4?" "Governor's race seen as too close to call."

FDLE Serves Search Warrant on SOE

"FDLE Serves Search Warrant as Supervisor of Elections Weeks Is Now Formally Under Investigation."

"We might have a new year and the same old incrementalism"

Aaron Deslatte writes that "the biggest issue for utilities lies ahead. Whoever survives the Nov. 4 election will have to oversee Florida's moves to comply with new federal Environmental Protection Agency rules for reducing carbon emissions from existing power plants — cutting emissions 30 percent below their 2005 levels by 2030."

GOP policymakers have a recent history of resisting federal initiatives — they fought Obamacare and resisted the EPA's water-quality rules. They could be just as likely to fight carbon-emissions regulations. Though Crist has talked up his intentions to be a green governor, he could inherit a Legislature with enough Republicans to override his decisions — in which case we might have a new year and the same old incrementalism.
"Florida utilities are major players in governor's race."

Crist haters go into overdrive

Nancy Smith: "Mexican-born Raoul Lowery Contreras' latest self-published kindle book is hardly what you would call a three-dimensional, 'fair and balanced' profile of Charlie Crist." "'Chain Gang Charlie' Author Asks, 'Shouldn't Charlie Crist Be in Jail?'."

"Those eagles of enlightenment in the Florida Legislature"

Daniel Ruth "was getting plenty peeved until Hillsborough County school superintendent MaryEllen Elia appeared before the Florida Board of Education to take note that school districts across the state are ill-prepared to administer a rash of state-mandated tests."

Elia cited numerous problems, including students lacking computer skills to write online essays, and noted the new exams designed to replace the dreaded FCAT have never been subjected to field-testing — all reasonable concerns.

Instead Elia was told to buzz off, that there was nothing Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart could do to help. In a classic case of buck-passing, Stewart said she was powerless, helpless and hapless to ease the testing burden since only those eagles of enlightenment in the Florida Legislature could solve the glitches in the new system. Piffle.

What exactly is the point in having a state education commissioner if the occupant of the post has less authority to act than a medieval serf?

"All this outrage has tuckered me out." The Tampa Trib editors warn that the "State should listen to school superintendents’ concerns."

All this . . . and no surprises

"List: What Central Florida cities spend on lobbyists."

Weekly Roundup

"Weekly Roundup: Politics Dominates, But Reality Breaks Through." More: Kevin Derby: "Political Bits and Pieces." See also "Arrivals and Departures, Oct. 3, 2014."