Sunday, April 03, 2016

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

"What’s wrong with the public-petition method of making law"

Bill Cotterell: "If we don’t adopt Amendment 1 on the November ballot, we won’t be able to … uh, no, that’s not it."

Well, the “Smart Solar” constitutional amendment assures we can put solar panels on our roofs and… umm, no, that’s not it, either. We can already do that.
"OK, now I’ve got it – this is long-awaited constitutional affirmation that Florida is, truly, the 'Sunshine State.' Well, except that we always have been."
Actually, the proposal approved last week by the Florida Supreme Court simply illustrates what’s wrong with the public-petition method of making law. It shows that, if you have enough money, you can put just about anything up for a statewide referendum – and, if you run a good campaign, you can carve your idea into the foundation of our government.
"Do-it-yourself amendments are not grassroots democracy."

"Florida's continuing attempt to restrict a woman's right to legal abortion"

The Sun Sentinel editorial board: "Florida Gov. Rick Scott loves to say we need less government regulation — and less government intrusion — in our lives. That is his mantra. Yet there he was recently, signing a bill into law that imposes dramatic new regulations over abortion clinics and likely will intrude on women's abilities to find a provider." "Anti-regulation governor regulates abortion."

"Lobbying firms are taking stock of their personnel rosters"

Peter Schorsch: "With the 2016 Legislative Session in the rearview mirror, many top lobbying firms are taking stock of their personnel rosters to determine if it’s time to upgrade their talent level." "Who’s who of power players."

"Closed cases let state staffers get away with murder"

The Miami Herald editors: "Families are left in the dark as to how imprisoned relatives died. Questionable autopsies and closed cases let state staffers get away with murder." "State still clams up on prison deaths."

"You can bank on it"

The Tallahassee Democrat editors write that, "the more politicians insist they’re doing something for us, not themselves, you can bank on it: They’re looking out their own political preservation."

So it was that U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown brought three busloads of constituents late last month to hear arguments before a three-judge federal panel in Tallahassee’s U.S. District Court, in her long-running challenge to keep her meandering congressional district. Since 1992, the Jacksonville Democrat has represented an oddly configured tract that runs through Gainesville to Orlando, with little catchments reaching out here and there to embrace pockets of black voters.

Brown’s attorneys argued against a redrawn congressional map, imposed by the Florida Supreme Court, which moves Congressional District 5 from its north-south axis to a horizontal configuration hugging the Georgia border from Jacksonville to Chattahoochee. It splits Leon and Jefferson Counties — more about that in a minute — and reduces the black voting-age population represented by Brown from about 50.1 percent, in her old turf, to about 46 percent in the east-west district.

"Brown could probably get re-elected in either district, although the Jacksonville-Gainesville-Orlando one is safer for her. But the new map could result in four black Congress members from Florida, rather than the current three."
It would be easier to believe Brown is gallantly pursuing justice if the outcome she seeks were not so self-serving. Despite what she called “a perfect storm to get rid of Corrine Brown,” the Legislature and the courts are not conspiring to stop having a minority-access district in North Florida.

This paper opposed splitting Leon and Jefferson Counties between Brown’s district and a new tract that bends from about Panama City to near Ocala. But, as they say around the Capitol, that train has left the station (by the way, isn’t it about time somebody thought up a metaphor that doesn’t make us think of Harry Truman?). The state Supreme Court chose the east-west configuration as more compliant with the 1965 Voting Rights Act and the state Constitution.

"Brown’s arguments self-serving."

"Congressional races will be hot"

"Congressional races will be hot this year."

"The Ivy League school quickly refused"

Michael Mayo: "Gov. Rick Scott made Yale University an offer the Ivy League school quickly refused last week: Ditch more than 300 years of history and move to Florida."

On its face it seemed silly, a craven political stunt in response to Connecticut's possible taxation of the school's large endowment fund. And it appears a bad match since Yale has produced some of the world's top scientists, intellectuals and innovators and Scott refuses to acknowledge, or say the words, 'global warming' or 'climate change.'
"Mayo: No Yale in Florida, but how about Trump to Jupiter (the planet)?."