Wednesday, July 08, 2015

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

Convening the Circular Firing Squad

"While he remains uncommitted as a candidate for the U.S. Senate, Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando came under increasing attack from fellow Democrats on Tuesday, including one who filed an ethics complaint against him." "Grayson draws ethics complaints, attacks from fellow Democrats."

Marion County restores Confederate flag

"The Marion County Commission on Tuesday unanimously agreed to restore the Confederate flag that had been removed from the McPherson Governmental Complex two weeks ago." "County Commission restores Confederate flag."here.

"Officials vote unanimously to return Confederate flag to Ocala complex."

Scott faces "Pastor Protection Act"

"More than 11,000 people have signed on to a Clermont pastor's petition pressing Florida Gov. Rick Scott to back a bill that would shield clergy who refuse to marry same-sex couples." "Petition seeks 'Pastor Protection Act' in wake of gay-marriage ruling."

"Taking the fox out of the henhouse"

Scott Maxwell: "Arizona and Florida have a lot in common."

Both are run by politicians with long, proud traditions of hosing their residents.

Specifically, legislators in both states have rigged their political districts — drawing twisted, deformed boundaries to keep themselves and their buddies in office.

It's called gerrymandering. And for more than a decade, citizens in both states have tried without success to make their politicians behave.

"So Arizona took the politicians out of the equation."
By creating a commission with equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans, it forces those who draw districts to work together ... something Florida legislators rarely do.

No system is perfect. Maybe Arizona's could be tweaked for Florida. But the idea of taking the fox out of the henhouse is way overdue.

"The Supreme Court decision is a major victory for citizens of Florida," said Pamela Goodman, president of Florida's League of Women Voters, which has fought the frustrating battle for Fair Districts. "It means that the redistricting process can once and for all be taken out of the hands of legislators."

It also means citizens can still make a difference when they take their issues directly to the polls.

And why politicians and other vested interests are so darn nervous.

"Supreme Court clears way for Florida to end gerrymandering."

Castro drives a hard bargain

Never mind wingnut superhero, dictator Fulgencio Batista's corrupt and repressive regime, and his relationships with mobsters, a Miami Herald columnist instead whines that Castro has the tenacity to drive a hard bargain: "On the Cuban side, talks are all take and no give."