Monday, March 30, 2015

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

Scott, Nelson Senate Clash?

Jeff Henderson: "Rick Scott and Bill Nelson didn’t square off last year in the gubernatorial election, but signs are starting to point to a fight between the two Florida politicians down the road." "Stay Alert for Colossal Rick Scott, Bill Nelson 2018 Senate Clash."

Jeb hoodwinked by smooth-talking CEO sent to prison

Out-of-state political chatterers are starting to take a close look at Jeb Bush's failures. For example, "There were plenty of red flags surrounding the company Jeb Bush was planning to join: lawsuits, bad headlines, even previously convicted drug dealers in top positions."

But somehow Bush seemed to miss them all in 2007 as he prepared to join InnoVida as a $15,000-a month-consultant -- a position that would lead to board membership and stock options.
"Just months out of the Florida governor's mansion, the consulting gig with InnoVida would help Bush replenish his bank account after eight years in public service. It was also a chance for him to lend the credibility that comes with being the son of a former president and the brother of a sitting one to a home state start-up making what promised to be a revolutionary new building material."
But in reality, Bush was getting caught up with a smooth-talking CEO who would ultimately be sent to prison for more than a decade for running a $40 million investment fraud. Bush's ties to InnoVida and chief executive Claudio Osorio are resurfacing as the former governor considers a White House run.
"Jeb Bush missed red flags in Florida business scandal."

So much for Jeb's business acumen.

See also "Jeb Bush fundraising is a family affair."

"looking a gift horse in the mouth"

The Miami Herald editors: "Talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth: In an all-too-rare but refreshing show of harmony, the U.S. House of Representatives last week approved a bipartisan compromise bill that fixes a serious, long-festering problem with Medicare payments and sent it to the Senate...where it awaits an uncertain future." "A Medicare fix."

Gerrymandering blues

"U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham hadn’t even been sworn in yet when Democratic Party leaders began talking about her potentially running for governor in 2018." "Florida Democrats look for a way to end election woes."

"The lament of the not quite rich enough"

"Bundlers who used to carry platinum status have been downgraded, forced to temporarily watch the money race from the sidelines. They’ve been eclipsed by the uber-wealthy, who can dash off a seven-figure check to a super PAC without blinking." "In 2016 campaign, the lament of the not quite rich enough."

"Legislative consensus elusive on nearly every major issue"

"Nearly halfway through Florida's legislative session, consensus remains elusive on nearly every major issue: health care, conservation, school testing, the budget and tax cuts."

The only substantive bill that has been passed so far moves the presidential-primary date in 2016 to March 15.

It's not unusual for the Legislature to leave most of the large issues until late in the session, but with the House and Senate sharply divided on major bills and the uncertainty surrounding the budget, little else has been accomplished so far this year either.

Lawmakers are constitutionally required to pass a balanced budget, but because of stark differences on health-care spending, the House and Senate are more than $4 billion apart in their spending plans. That's a much larger difference than in recent years and has led some to speculate the session could extend beyond the regular 60 days.

"Halfway through session, lawmakers resolve next to nothing." See also "" and "".

"Dubious 'surplus' lands program"

The Tampa Trib editors: "The core mission of the Southwest Florida Water Management district, created by the Legislature in 1961, is to protect water resources in Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and 13 other counties in West-Central Florida. This has been a challenge due to governments’ poor growth management, overpumping of groundwater and chronic drinking water shortages caused by drought."

We shudder to envision what this area — and its natural resources — would look like without the district’s land conservation program. The district’s inventory, through outright ownership, the purchase of conservation easements, and partnerships, totals nearly 450,000 acres, district handouts show. Of that, the district solely owns about 300,000 acres of conservation land.

These lands not only guard aquifer recharge areas, wetlands, rivers and springs, among other water sources, but also serve as an essential buffer to protect water resources and the fragile environment in general. In addition, these natural lands’ water storage capacity help avert flooding.

But now, we fear, a dubious “surplus” lands program could eventually reverse this legacy.

"‘Surplus’ lands program a threat to water district’s legacy."

Where the nation's richest and poorest people live less than 20 miles apart

Nancy Smith bemoans the lack of "loyalty" in Florida, using as an example "Martin County, where some of the richest and poorest people in America live less than 20 miles from each other. In Jupiter Island, residents would bequeath vast sums -- often their whole fortune, hundreds of millions of dollars sometimes -- to build a park or a school or equip a hospital back in the New York or Massachusetts or Pennsylvania town they'd come from. Meanwhile, in rural Indiantown to the west, site of one of the state's largest and neediest migrant camps, residents were having bake sales to buy playground equipment." "Loyalty Takes Longer in Florida"

Is Jeb "pulling a Reverse Bush?"

The Weekly Standard: "Reading up on Bush’s record and talking about it with the (worshipful) people who helped make it happen, you might start to wonder:"

Is he pulling a Reverse Bush? For years conservative Republicans accused his father and brother of being closet moderates who only talked like conservatives for the sake of politics; the charge was generally accurate.

Maybe Jeb is reversing the trick: a self-conscious, deep-dyed conservative who for the moment feels the need to look like a moderate, especially before an admiring press and in the company of the wealthy Republicans who these days are his constant companions and marks.

"The Education of Jeb Bush."

"Latinos lean Democratic for many reasons"

"Latinos lean Democratic for many reasons."

First of all, Latinos are, on average, much younger than non-Latino white people. Young Americans—including young Latinos—tend to be progressive on many issues from supporting same sex marriage to believing in an active government.

Secondly, political cultures in nations from Mexico to South America have tended to support a much more active role for government. Most Latin American nations have at least one popular political party that is further to the left than the Democratic Party, and many of their right-leaning parties are much more progressive, at least on certain issues, than Republicans in the U.S. When people steeped in these political traditions move to the United States and become citizens, they are highly unlikely to join the GOP. And remember, political values are often passed down in families from one generation to the next.

And of course, immigration is a major reason for Latino’s Democratic tilt.

"2016 Isn't The GOP’s Last Chance At The Latino Vote. It’s 2017."

Musical chairs

"With term limits forcing Palm Beach County Mayor Shelley Vana to leave office next year, state Rep. Dave Kerner, D-Lake Worth, is strongly considering a run for Vana’s District 3 county commission seat." "State Rep. Kerner, Commissioner Vana could run for each other’s seats in 2016."

Yee haw!

"Panama City shooting puts spotlight on out-of-control spring break."

Cuba and "cattle city"

"Before Tampa became 'Cigar City,' it was a cattle city, sustained by the profits local businessmen earned selling to Cuba when the island nation’s herds fell into decline." "Tampa could prosper from restoring cattle trade with Cuba."