Thursday, February 05, 2015

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

"Scott won’t get the Jerry Bailey treatment"

"For all of the professed shock and outrage in the past three weeks, it’s unlikely that Cabinet members will publicly criticize Scott."

CFO Jeff Atwater, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam have all criticized Scott’s handling of Bailey, who reported to them as well as to the governor. Bailey was axed after Scott’s aides cryptically told their aides that he wanted “new leadership.”
"Typical of Scott’s CEO style, Bailey became a non-entity in a bloodless coup. No notice, no job evaluation, not even a handshake. FDLE agents could have dusted for prints and they wouldn’t have found Scott’s."
Cabinet members talk a lot about transparency and accountability, and Thursday is their best shot to back it up with decisive action. But politics is in the way. . . .

No, Scott won’t get the Jerry Bailey treatment.

Instead, expect a wonkish discussion of process and procedure and job evaluations as they tiptoe around the elephant in the room: Bailey.

"What not to expect from Scott, Cabinet meeting on Thursday." See also "" and "".

Floridians flock to Obamacare

"Despite political opposition from the state’s Republican leaders to President Obama’s signature legislation, Florida enrolled more people — 1.3 million as of Jan. 30 — than any of the 36 other states in the marketplace." "Florida leads nation in health coverage sign-ups."

"Dumb luck"

Beth Kassab: "The Sunshine State doesn't have a single case of measles tied to an outbreak of 100 cases in 14 other states. Sadly, this feat is the result of dumb luck, not a more vigorous public-health policy or moral superiority." "Florida should look to Mississippi on vaccines."

Scott "accused of politicizing two public-safety agencies"

The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "For the past couple of weeks, Gov. Rick Scott and his staff have been denying allegations from Gerald Bailey, the ousted Florida Department of Law Enforcement commissioner, that the governor's office made politically motivated demands on him and his agency."

How ironic that Scott, a former businessman who touted the fact in his campaigns that he wasn't a career politician, stands accused of politicizing these two public-safety agencies.

The explosive allegations from [former Corrections Secretary Michael] Crews, who retired in November, should overcome whatever hesitation lawmakers might have had to act on steps to take the politics out of Florida's prison system.

Those steps were recommended in November by a bipartisan task force associated with Florida State University. One would unlink the corrections secretary's term from the governor's. Another would give the other three Cabinet members a say in hiring the secretary along with the governor. And a third would create an independent commission to help oversee the system and the secretary.

"Crews' allegations, if true, highlight the hazards of putting politics ahead of public safety in the prison system. He told the Miami Herald that the governor's office asked him to fire employees who didn't deserve it, fabricate quotes in news releases and stage news conferences — all to divert attention from a severe funding and staff shortage in the state's prisons that put inmates, correctional officers and ultimately the public at risk."
Florida's prisons hold some 101,000 inmates; yet funding for the system today is lower than it was in 2008, when there were about 3,000 fewer inmates. Turnover is high among correctional officers, who haven't received a pay raise in seven years. So are reports of staff misconduct. Inmate deaths hit a record high in 2014.

Crews told the Herald that "a catastrophe" — perhaps the killing of a correctional officer or even a riot — looms if prisons aren't adequately funded.

" "Get politics out of prisons with oversight."

"Public official is padding his campaign pockets"

"Yet another public official is padding his campaign pockets with money from those associated with his public job. This week, we have Dean Asher, who is running for the state Senate while serving as a member of Orlando International Airport's governing board ... and taking gobs of campaign dollars from airport contractors." "Airport leader's campaign benefits from airport contractors."

Bush Clan Clowns

"John Ellis Previously Embroiled In Controversy Surrounding 2000 Election Coverage For Fox News." "Jeb Bush's Cousin Is A Fox Business Executive."

New dimension to Bailey scandal

"The lawsuit, along with a statewide open government group’s call Wednesday for a special prosecutor, adds new dimensions to the controversy over Gov. Rick Scott’s decision to force Gerald Bailey to resign as commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement." "Lawsuit alleges Gov. Rick Scott and Florida Cabinet violated Sunshine Law." More: "FAF to Pam Bondi: Call Outside Investigator in FDLE Controversy."

Low information Floridians

Q poll: "By a 43-to-39 percent margin, Florida voters say Obama’s policies have helped the economy. But by a 35-to-23 percent margin, the survey respondents say Obama’s policies have hurt their own finances, with 42 percent saying the president has made no difference."

Fifty percent of Florida voters are opposed to the Affordable Care Act, while 45 percent say they support it. Fifteen percent favor keeping the law and another 32 percent say minor changes should be made to it. Another 24 percent favor major changes to the law and 27 percent favor complete repeal.
"Florida voters want to ‘change direction’ from Obama — but not too much."

Jeb's market solutions

"Appearing before the Detroit Economic Club, Jeb Bush offered an economic argument that would contrast the problems of the poor under President Barack Obama and his pro-government approach with the promise of a market-driven agenda." "Jeb Bush: Big government doesn’t help the poor."

Appeals court won’t touch gay marriage case

"A federal appeals court in Atlanta said Wednesday it will not move forward with Florida’s gay marriage case until after the U.S. Supreme Court decides the issue nationally, probably in June." "U.S. appeals court won’t touch Florida gay marriage case until after Supreme Court ruling."