Friday, November 27, 2015

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

"The Republican-dominated Legislature’s last hurrah"

The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Thanks to the Legislature, it’s hard to keep the doors open when it comes to voting in Florida. Another chunk of the fallout from legislators’ redistricting debacle is the quagmire facing Florida’s elections supervisors who, with myriad elections looming, are stuck in administrative quicksand."

Enough. Rather than continue coddling lawmakers and their obvious politically motivated subterfuge, the courts should protect voters and the integrity of the elections system. Above all, they should not risk another election catastrophe in Florida.
"The recent special session debacle was the Republican-dominated Legislature’s last hurrah. Finally, given one more chance, they had to redraw the congressional and Senate districts as part of the once-in-a-decade redistricting process. And they didn’t."
It was a blatant refusal to respect the anti-gerrymandering “Fair Districts” constitutional amendments passed by 63 percent of Florida voters in 2010. How arrogant that lawmakers trust voters to vote for them but don’t trust voters to specify rules for how to fairly redistrict.

Sure, voters passed some laws, but lawmakers didn’t like them. So they ignored them. They also got caught having partisan political operatives slip gerrymandered district maps into the redistricting process. And they’re really mad that they got caught, and were reprimanded by the Florida Supreme Court. But there’s no evidence that they’ve changed.

After a hearing set for Dec. 14-18, Leon County Circuit Judge George Reynolds will recommend, from proposals by the Senate leaders and nonpartisan groups, a map for Florida’s Senate districts that ultimately would go to the Supreme Court. By all indications there’s likely to be a federal lawsuit over the congressional districts, as well.

Meanwhile the state Association of Supervisors of Elections has indicated to the courts that they need to have both Senate and congressional maps to the supervisors by Tuesday in order get their redistricting work done. That would give them three weeks to get military and overseas ballots ready by Dec. 28 — process that, particularly in large counties such as Palm Beach, usually takes months.

Obviously, a hearing that begins Dec. 14 will already have shot past the date the information is needed by the supervisors who are on the ground dealing with logistics rather than politics. . . .

This all points up the fact that the courts have given lawmakers all the chances they need. How about giving the voters a chance. At some point they should come first. The courts should stop showing concern for lawmakers who repeatedly have shown little concern for voter rights.

"Elections at greater risk after latest redistricting fail."

"Trump widens lead, returns campaign to Florida"

"Despite controversies, Trump widens lead, returns campaign to Florida."

Castro once delivered anti-Batista speech a Tampa union hall

Patrick Manteiga, the third-generation owner of the La Gaceta newspaper, has "a photo of his grandfather and publication founder Victoriano Manteiga sitting with Castro at a Tampa union hall in November 1955 for a fundraiser for the future Cuban president’s revolution." . . .

"Fulgencio Batista, the Cuban president who Castro ultimately overthrew, seized office through a military coup in 1952 and retained power through force that included torture and assassinations."

Castro began by saying that Cuba had historically been governed by corrupt politicians who used their power to enrich themselves while doing nothing to improve the standard of living of others.

He reminded the crowd that Batista took power by force and said force was again needed to free Cuba.

To form the necessary militia, money was needed, he continued. He said his revolution would end political corruption and give the Cuban people the work, education and medical care they deserved.

His closing remark was, “We will be free or martyrs. Long live a free Cuba.”

Rhonda Villamia said her father remembers that Castro received a standing ovation.

"Fidel Castro delivered pivotal speech in Ybor City 60 years ago."

Rubio's attendance record getting worse

"For a moment there, it looked as though U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio had refocused on his day job." "Sadly, Marco Rubio's attendance record is getting worse."

FlaDem Muslim-American outreach

Anthony Man - Sun Sentinel: "Democratic Party outreach to Muslim-Americans aims to register voters."

Don't Bogart that Bill

"There is a verb from the Psychedelic '60s that describes a particular kind of selfish act: bogart. Floridians can slightly adapt the derisive term to describe the behavior of agribusinesses and politicians who are rigging the state's medical marijuana law for the benefit of a few influential people." "Insiders win while patients lose on medical marijuana."