Saturday, August 08, 2015

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

Bondi flops, pays $700K "to avoid litigation costs"

"Florida Gov. Rick Scott and the state of Florida this week agreed to pay $700,000 to settle several lawsuits that contended that the Republican governor and other state officials flouted the state's public records law."

It is believed to be one of the larger payments ever approved in an open government case in Florida history, but the settlement means that Scott can avoid having a judge rule that his administration broke the law. The agreement also ends a related lawsuit against Attorney General Pam Bondi.
Whitney Ray, a spokesman for Bondi,
said the attorney general agreed to settle their lawsuit "to avoid litigation costs." . . .

The settlement amount, however, doesn't cover all the costs surrounding the litigation. State records show that the governor's office has also spent nearly $100,000 to hire outside lawyers to defend the governor and former top aides.

"Florida to spend $700,000 to settle public records lawsuits."

Really? More than $700,000 in "litigation costs," that's some pretty expensive lawyering.

"Rubio racks up worst missed-vote record"

"His eye on the White House, Marco Rubio racks up the worst missed-vote record in the U.S. Senate."

Crist has chance to grab Jolly's seat

"A map for the state’s new congressional districts could increase the chance former Gov. Charlie Crist will run for Congress. . . . In the new map, the city would be folded into Republican U.S. Rep. David Jolly’s district, increasing the chances for a Crist win." "New congressional district map favors Crist win."

"Florida Voter Registration System a sloppy, insecure mess"

The Orlando Sentinel editors write that "an audit of the Florida Voter Registration System found that the Division of Elections, under Secretary of State Ken Detzner, had devolved into a sloppy, insecure mess." "Audit shows flaws haunt Florida election system."

Jeb Fact Checked

Seems Jeb! makes things up as he goes:

JEB BUSH, on his goal of 4 percent economic growth: "We can do this."

THE FACTS: Most economists say the U.S. under any president is unlikely to grow consistently at even close to 4 percent, largely due to the difficulty of overcoming decades-long trends.

Current forecasts put growth averaging half the rate of Bush's goal. To grow the economy faster, the country must either add more workers or increase their efficiency so their time on the job generates more income. The retirement of the baby boom generation will shrink the number of workers in the economy, making a huge increase of new employees unlikely.

Only four of the 16 presidential terms since World War II have experienced annual economic growth averaging more than 4 percent after inflation, according to research published last year by Princeton University economists Alan Blinder and Mark Watson.

BUSH: "You get rid of Obamacare and replace it with something that doesn't suppress wages and kill jobs."

THE FACTS: According to the Labor Department, the unemployment rate was 9.9 percent in March 2010, when Obama signed the Affordable Care Act. In June of this year, it had fallen to 5.3 percent. The economy has added more than 12 million jobs since March 2010.

"Fact check: How candidates' claims stack up."

Oh noes, another Bushco "rising star"

"Rising GOP star George P. Bush hopes he can help propel father Jeb to the White House." "Can George P. make Jeb the 3rd Bush to win the White House?."

And don't forget the "yellow dog contracts"

Good to read that "Jai alai backers aim to bring sport back to Tampa." The story unfortunately oversimplifies a tragic event in sports history, by blithely noting that "jai alai players went on strike for 20 months."

That courageous strike was one of the most significant labor struggles in recent labor history, involving

eight different employers in three different states, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), two other federal agencies, three state agencies, federal courts, state courts, immigration restrictions and threatened deportations, state licensing procedures, yellow dog contracts, a secondary boycott by employers in Spain, Basque machismo, the governor of Florida, and the United Automobile Workers. . . . Over 150 unfair labor practice charges [were] filed. More than 15 lawsuits or administrative actions [were] been instituted.
"The Longest Strike in U.S. Professional Sports History: Jai Alai -- Part I (?)"

More: "What happened to Jai Alai?"

Special session begins Monday

"The Florida Legislature will use the draft version released Wednesday as a starting point when it meets in a special session beginning Monday to make court-ordered revisions." "First draft of congressional map shakes up some districts."

"Bush Walks Shaky Ground"

"Jeb Bush Walks Shaky Ground Over Common Core with GOP Competitors."

Wingnuts run wild

"Violations found at four Florida Planned Parenthood sites, including St. Pete."

"Growing disunity within the FlaGOP ranks"

Jeremy Wallace: "This should be a time for the Republican Party of Florida to rake in the dollars."

Instead, the state party is in the middle of its worst fundraising stretch in six years amid growing disunity within the GOP ranks and donors forsaking the party to instead put their money into the political action committees of favored candidates.

Between April and June, the RPOF raised just $1.9 million — marking the lowest fundraising quarter for the state’s dominant party since 2009 when the GOP was reeling from President Barack Obama’s winning the presidency. Back then, the party was led by Jim Greer, who resigned later that year and eventually pleaded guilty to theft and money laundering of party donations.

Since January when new chairman Blaise Ingoglia took over, the party has raised just $7.2 million. While well ahead of the Florida Democratic Party’s $4.3 million year-to-date, the numbers are more than a million dollars shy of party fundraising heading into the 2012 presidential election cycle. Most years, the RPOF has raised at least $8.4 million by July.

"Florida Republican Party battles slump in fundraising."

"We won't run against each other"

"U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch and Lois Frankel, Democrats who are placed in the same district under a preliminary redrawing of Florida's congressional map, said Friday they won't run against each other in a primary." "We won't run against each other, say Ted Deutch and Lois Frankel."

Jeb! Florida's Dan Quale

There are many reasons Jeb! has "earned himself gleeful comparisons to Dan Quayle," here are a some of the most recent:

The presidential hopeful made an unforced campaign error on Tuesday when told an audience of 13,000 pastors at the Southern Baptist Forum in Nashville, Tennessee, that "women's health issues," rather than Planned Parenthood and abortion providers specifically, are being over-funded.

"You could take dollar for dollar -- although I'm not sure we need a half-billion dollars for women's health issues -- but if you took dollar for dollar, there are many extraordinary fine community health organizations that exist to provide quality care for women on a wide variety of health issues," Bush said. "But abortion should not be funded by the government."

The Hyde Amendment, which has been in place for decades, already prohibits federal funding for abortions, except in cases of incest, rape or life endangerment.

The presidential hopeful later clarified his remarks in a statement. He said he wants to redirect Planned Parenthood funds to community health centers, as Senate Republicans tried to do on Monday, rather than widely slash money for women's health.

"With regards to women’s health funding broadly, I misspoke, as there are countless community health centers, rural clinics, and other women’s health organizations that need to be fully funded," he said. "They provide critical services to all, but particularly low-income women who don’t have the access they need."

"Jeb Bush says he 'misspoke' on Tuesday."