Sunday, June 14, 2015

After reading the hard copy of your hometown newspaper, please consider becoming a site fan on Facebook and following us on Twitter. Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry follows.

"Rubio in the Oval Office is a little scary"

Carl Hiaasen points out that Rubio's "stirring up-by-the-bootstraps tale" conveniently overlooks his "credit-card mix-ups, unpaid mortgage and $80,000 fishing boat."

On the campaign trail, Rubio promises in scolding tones to rein in government spending, yet in his personal life he has displayed absolutely no talent for managing money.

The idea of him sitting in the Oval Office with billions at stake is a little scary.

"To believe that prudence and competence will suddenly bloom when he gets a crack at the federal budget is optimistic in the extreme."
Rubio’s struggles to handle his own checkbook have been well chronicled by [the Miami Herald] and other Florida media. A few years ago he was caught nicking the state Republican Party’s American Express card for more than $16,000 in personal expenses, including travel to a family reunion and a paving job at his home.

Rubio said he accidentally took out the wrong credit to pay for the stone pavers, and that a travel agent mistakenly billed the GOP account for the reunion charges. All the money was repaid after reporters started asking questions.

While in the state Legislature, where he eventually became Speaker of the House, Rubio set up political-action committees. One of them gave him thousands of dollars in reimbursements for auto expenses, gas and phone bills. That PAC was, on paper, run by his wife.

Rubio also jointly bought a house in Tallahassee with his close pal, then-state representative and future U.S. congressman David Rivera, one of the sleaziest slugs to ever attain public office in South Florida.

During one stretch, Rubio and Rivera went five months without making any mortgage payments and were threatened with foreclosure."Two weeks ago, they finally unloaded the house at an $18,000 loss. (Rubio no longer hangs out with Rivera, who is the subject of a federal corruption investigation.)

Much more here: "Would you trust Rubio with nation’s finances?"

Jeb's "Shaky Start"

"Jeb Bush Works to Recover From a Shaky Start."

Meanwhile, "Two Dynasties: How Jeb Bush and Linc Chafee Ended Up On Opposite Sides," "Jeb Bush to announce on Monday, has much to prove in leaderless GOP," "Jeb Bush still with much to prove in leaderless GOP 2016 race" and "Jeb Bush: I'll break away from GOP pack."

Budget blues

"Lawmakers’ proposal could end $2 billion hospital battle," "Lawsuit raises possible budget-busting issue for next year," "Lawmakers Strike Deal on Economic Development" and "Lawmakers try to slip education policies into new budget efforts."

"Will his campaign be worthy of an exclamation point?"

"Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) posted an image to Twitter on Sunday ahead of his 2016 presidential campaign launch." "Jeb Bush Tweets Out 'Jeb!' Logo." More: "Jeb Bush seeks to stir passions no logo can reach as 2016 launch looms."

"Jeb Bush is going with his old standard — “Jeb!” — to harken back to his tenure as Florida governor (and to avoid spelling out “Bush”). But will his campaign be worthy of an exclamation point?" "Jeb Bush prepares to launch candidacy after non-candidate campaign exposed 2016 challenges."

"More money than brains"

Nancy Smith writes that "Some environmental groups have more money than they do brains. Meet the Everglades Trust. They don't learn." "And the Award for the Session's 'Most Botched Lobbying Job' Goes to ... the Everglades Trust."

"Sacrificing the state’s award-winning park system "

The Tampa Trib editors: "Jon Steverson, chief of the state’s Department of Environmental Protection, wants to sacrifice the state’s award-winning park system by expanding logging and cattle grazing in order to generate money. The proposal raises questions about whether Steverson, who was appointed in December by Gov. Rick Scott, understands the value of the park system."

Steverson — and perhaps Scott — either lacks a proper historical perspective or has gotten caught up in the fallacy that the state parks system should be self-sustaining.
"Don’t put state parks out to bid."

"Bacteria to suck up stinky parts in drinking water"

"The musty, dirt-like smell that often comes out of the faucet may soon disappear from Manatee County's water supply." "Florida county brings in bacteria to suck up stinky parts in drinking water."


"At age 23, Rep. Jennifer Sullivan is the youngest member of the Florida Legislature. But the Mount Dora Republican scored a major victory Wednesday, when Gov. Rick Scott signed her bill to require a 24-hour waiting period before women can have abortions." "Five Questions for Rep. Jennifer Sullivan."