Saturday, October 31, 2015

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

"Another non-educator with zero understanding of education policy"

"Republican Gov. Rick Scott on Friday appointed a close friend, with little experience in education and a history of questionable personal spending during his time in state government, to fill a vacancy on the State Board of Education."

Tom Grady, a 57-year-old wealthy securities lawyer from Naples and former state lawmaker, is perhaps best known in Florida for his hefty travel spending during his brief tenure in 2012 as interim president of Citizens Property Insurance.
"In less than two months overseeing the state-run provider, he spent nearly $10,000 on expensive hotel rooms, airplane trips, a limo ride and a three-night stay in Bermuda."
Grady defended the spending, saying he was actually “very frugal.” He lost the permanent job to a Maryland insurance executive, amid questions raised by the Tampa Bay Times about his spending habits. He returned to the private sector.

Grady is not known for education issues — a fact which some education advocates lamented after Scott announced the appointment Friday. Scott’s office did not respond to a request seeking comment on why Grady was chosen to fill the state board’s vacancy.

“Just what we needed. Another non-educator to have zero understanding of best education practices and policy,” Opt Out Orlando leader Cindy Hamilton said.

"Gov. Scott appointee to Board of Education has history of questionable spending."

Weekly Roundup

"Weekly Roundup: Family Feuds."

"Loss of clout for Central Florida in Senate"

"Term limits, higher-office ambitions and the ongoing redistricting saga will likely mean Central Floridians will lose influence in the state Senate after next year's elections."

The turnover could make it harder for lawmakers from the region to have major roles in the Capitol on education, the environment, health care, the budget and even key local projects.

That, in turn, can lessen the area's clout. Freshman members are often given less important committee posts and don't usually receive starring roles from leadership in shaping policy on politically sensitive issues.

"Turnover means loss of clout for Central Florida in Senate."

"House map sets up fight"

"House map sets up fight over South Florida Senate districts." See also "House Pitches New Redistricting Senate Map, But Hutson’s District Would Still Shift South" and "House Offers New Map in Senate Redistricting."

"What's hot, crazy or shady about politics in the Sunshine State"

Marc Caputo: "Jeb’s past campaign – Rubio’s exile roots – Grayson’s giving glitch – FL wine outpacing OJ? – Seminole Tribe keeps gambling tables open – Solar wars heat up." "Florida Playbook."

The Villages

"GOP candidate Ben Carson to sign books in The Villages, Kissimmee."

Will Gwen Graham run for governor?

"With Rep. Gwen Graham’s district set to be sliced up by the Florida Supreme Court as the state’s congressional lines get redrawn, speculation has run rampant about the Tallahassee Democrat’s next move." "Graham fuels speculation about possible run for governor."

To quote, Declan Patrick MacManus, "I hope you're happy now"

"More than a quarter of the female bears killed in last weekend's hunt were lactating and about two-thirds of all bears were killed on private land, according to a POLITICO Florida analysis of partial data from the hunt." "Review of bear-kill records suggests at least 28 females could have had cubs."