Wednesday, September 02, 2015

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

So much for that "joyful" campaign

Kevin Derby: "It’s easy to dismiss the Bushes as patrician, prep school kids but the nice guy images serve to hide the fact that all of them are political brawlers with a killer instinct. That’s something to keep in mind as Jeb Bush gets ready to turn up the heat on Trump in the weeks to come."

Jeb Bush has followed the family legacy. In 1994, he showed no problem in throwing inside on Lawton Chiles and, in 2002, had no problem dismantling Bill McBride. When he threw his hat in the ring, the former Florida governor said he hoped for a “joyful” campaign. But now, way behind Trump in the polls at the national level and in key states, Bush is planning to go on the attack.
"Following Family Tradition, Jeb Bush Gets Ready to Go All Out Against Donald Trump."

More: "Jeb Bush escalates war of words with GOP front-runner Donald Trump."

"Hot, crazy or shady"

Marc Caputo: "Scott’s admin scrubbed press release clearing Planned Parenthood; high-energy Jeb v. Trump; Biden’s mini-Miami tour; Murphy gives back fraudsters contribs." "Florida Playbook." See also "Grayson calls on Murphy to return contributions from fraudsters." More: "Alan Grayson Calls on Patrick Murphy to Return Contributions."

Medical MJ

"Petitions are hitting the streets soon for a new proposed constitutional amendment that would fully legalize marijuana use, possession and cultivation by adults in Florida." "Group seeks to legalize marijuana in Florida."

"Environmental fight looms"

"Scott, cabinet update land buy list as environmental fight looms."

Scott’s scrubbed PP press release

"Regulators found ‘no evidence of the mishandling of fetal remains’" "Scott’s office scrubbed release that cleared Planned Parenthood."

"Another meager year for state employees"

The Orlando Sentinel editors: "It's another meager year for state employees in Florida. The average full-timer represented by AFSCME in the state earns less than $35,000 a year, according to the union. Yet state legislators failed to include an across-the-board raise for state employees in the 2015-16 budget, despite having a surplus of more than $1 billion to work with."

For a lucky few employees at a pair of public-private agencies, however, it's another bountiful year. In recent weeks, boards overseeing Enterprise Florida and Space Florida, two economic-development organizations, green-lighted bonuses for their executives and other staff members.

Under any notion of fairness, those bonuses are difficult to defend. Why single out a couple of agencies and ignore the rest?

"State agencies' bonuses defy fairness, rationale."

Dunn agin' Graham

Kevin Derby: "Former Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford announced on Wednesday he was backing Dr. Neal Dunn to run against U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, D-Fla." "Will Weatherford Backs Neal Dunn to Take on Gwen Graham."

"Like vultures on road kill"

Nancy Smith: "If just-announced state Senate candidate Lauren Book was anybody but the daughter of one of the most influential lobbyists in Tallahassee, the media would be over her like vultures on road kill." "Senator Lauren Book: How Will She Serve in Daddy's Shadow?."

"Cynthia did a good job"

"Gov. Rick Scott ignored questions Tuesday about Florida Lottery Secretary Cynthia O’Connell, who is resigning after reports about missed work and excessive travel bills. 'Cynthia did a good job,' Scott said after a Cabinet meeting in St. Augustine." "Scott: Resigning lottery secretary did a ‘good job’."

Top brass must reapply for jobs

"The move is part of an effort to realign the agency and may result in layoffs." "Prison chief makes top brass reapply for jobs."

"Emasculating" Jeb

"Donald Trump is "emasculating" former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush with his attacks and his performance in state and national polling, prominent Republican strategist Steve Schmidt said Monday." "Steve Schmidt: Donald Trump 'emasculating' Jeb Bush."

"Not gonna happen"

Michael Putney: "The two times Rick Scott ran for governor he made one key promise: To put people to work and run the state like a business. "

He's had more success with the former — although he takes more credit than he deserves — than the latter. And he’s had no success at all at making himself a beloved or even likeable figure in Florida politics. To do that, Scott would have to take some risks, stand firm on some tough issues and explain why. As Bush 41 would say, not gonna happen.
"Rick Scott, man of mystery."