Saturday, November 08, 2014

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

FlaGOP insists Scott's old FlaBagger swagger was for election purposes only

William March: "Since Rick Scott came out of nowhere in 2010 to win the Florida governor’s mansion, Floridians have seen two versions of him."

There was the tea party champion of his first year or two in office, who denounced big government, sought unprecedented education cuts and said bureaucrats and school systems would “have to figure out how to do better with less.”
"Then there was the comparatively moderate, establishment Republican of the last year or two, who said he was “proud to announce” historic increases in education spending and the biggest budget in state history."
It’s fair to ask which Rick Scott Floridians are likely to see in his second term, when he has no need to worry about an upcoming re-election.
"Which Rick Scott will govern now, tea party or moderate?."

Florida's water demand shrinks

"Across the country and in Florida, Americans are only using as much water as almost 45 years ago, even though the population has grown by more than 100 million people, the U.S. Geological Survey reported this week." "As U.S., Florida grow, water demand shrinks."

First Coast now in focus

"With the 2014 general elections now in the rear view mirror, Florida politics will now focus on the First Coast with a number of key elections in Jacksonville and the surrounding area in the months to come." "Florida Political Focus Now Turns to Jacksonville and the First Coast." See also "Which Rick Scott will govern now, tea party or moderate?."

Weekly Roundup

"Weekly Roundup: The Election is Finally Over."

Pafford challenge

"A Volusia County lawmaker said Friday said that he is challenging state Rep. Mark Pafford for the post of House Democratic leader following the defeat of six members of the caucus in Tuesday’s elections." "Local Dem Mark Pafford faces leadership challenge in state House."

What's wrong with Broward?

"Just because Broward's Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes says there were no problems on Election Day, doesn't mean there were no problems on Election Day." "Broward's choice: address or repeat election snafus." See also "Stop preventable errors, delays in Broward elections."

"Epic losing streak"

Beth Kassab: "John Morgan is on one epic losing streak." "Legislature won't do John Morgan any favors."

"The way of the dodo"

"Democrats once again seem to be going the way of the dodo in Florida politics, especially in the Legislature. For the last 15 years, both the governor’s office and the statehouse have been in Republican control."

With Tuesday’s election results, Republicans maintained their control of the state Senate and regained the “supermajority” status they enjoyed in the House during 2011 and 2012. That means the 81 seats they hold in the 120-member chamber is enough to overcome any possible governor’s veto.
"Dwindling in number, Democrats seek new way in Tallahassee."

FlaGOP mandate?

"Election results don't really provide GOP mandate."

That "lack of bargaining power" thing

"The unemployment rate no longer seems to reflect America's mood."

Friday's strong jobs report showed that the jobless rate — the most closely watched gauge of the economy's health — is down to 5.8 percent. A year ago, the rate was 7.2 percent. Five years ago, it was 10 percent.

It's the kind of sustained decline that would normally suggest a satisfied public.

Not so much anymore. After Tuesday's midterm elections, exit polling showed how little falling unemployment has resonated. Most voters said they cast their ballots out of fear for the economy, stripping the Democrats from the Senate majority and implicitly rejecting President Barack Obama.

Many Americans don't feel they've benefited from falling unemployment any more than they have from a sustained rise in the stock market or from solid U.S. economic growth.

"Many economists doubt that wages will rise solely from a falling unemployment rate. Instead, it could take a rising proportion of people working or looking for work. When employers are forced to compete for hires, they're compelled to raise pay, said Patrick O'Keefe, director of economic research at CohnReznick."
"Wages will remain sluggish for some time because of the lack of bargaining power," O'Keefe said.
"Why many aren't celebrating low US unemployment."

Crist didn't repeat "smash success" with minorities

"To win back his old job, former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist needed to repeat President Barack Obama's smash success with the state's black and Latino voters. These Floridians trend Democratic, and together they make up about a quarter of the electorate. They voted overwhelmingly for the president's re-election in 2012, putting him ahead in the nation's most influential swing state even as he trailed with non-Hispanic white voters."

They preferred Crist this year, but they didn't come out in large enough numbers to put him over the edge and Republican Gov. Rick Scott defeated him 48 percent to 47 percent. While it's too soon to fully tally Latino and African-American turnout statewide, in more than a dozen heavily Hispanic Miami-Dade County communities, the turnout rate was even lower this year than in the 2010 midterms — even though Crist's and Scott's running mates were both Latinos. Overall turnout was also down in Democratic-leaning Broward County.
Crist won both counties handily, but he needed a larger voter turnout in those large Democratic strongholds to offset huge deficits in dozens of smaller counties statewide."
Jerry Pena heads Faith in Florida, a statewide organization that works closely with immigrants and minority communities.

He says influential religious leaders didn't trust either candidate. He wonders why Crist didn't highlight issues like how as governor from 2007-11 he pushed for the restoration of voting rights to ex-convicts, which Scott reversed.

"He barely spoke on that. Every time we ran into Crist, he'd say I'm all for rights restoration, but he didn't use it on the trail, even though 70 percent of folks affected are people of color," Pena said.

"Crist misses opportunities with minority voters."

Whatever happens in Tally now, FlaGOP will own it

"Republicans have complete ownership of what happens in Florida." "An emboldened Scott and enlarged GOP majority will get to work in Tally."

Good riddance

"Former U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., a favorite of the tea party movement, was named as the CEO of National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) this week. Based in Dallas, Texas, the NCPA has been a think tank promoting free-market values for more than three decades." "Allen West Leaves Florida, Heads to Texas to Lead Conservative Think Tank."

"Crazy doesn't always translate into unconstitutional"

"Richard Sicking, an attorney for Castellanos, told the Supreme Court that state lawmakers set fee amounts that have "no basis in fact" — and described as "crazy" the fee in the case, which was the equivalent of $1.53 an hour for the work that was done."

"The Legislature has set the fee,'' Sicking said. "That is not a legislative function."

Justices asked pointed questions of Sicking and Raoul Cantero, who represents the Next Door Company and its insurer, Amerisure Insurance Co.

After Sicking's comment about the fee being crazy, Justice Barbara Pariente quickly replied, "Crazy doesn't always translate into unconstitutionality."

"Court ponders attorney fees in worker cases."