Sunday, July 10, 2016

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

"Scott has reacted with unwavering impotence"

Carl Hiaasen writes that, "a picture tells a thousand words."

If it’s a picture of an algae-covered beach, it can also cancel thousands of hotel reservations.

That’s the new dread in Florida, as photos and news videos of gunk-covered shorelines are making headlines all over the world. Why would anyone bring their families to vacation on Playa Guacamole?

And do they even make haz-mat suits in children’s sizes?

"Gov. Rick Scott has reacted with unwavering impotence, declaring one state of emergency after another while blaming the federal government for failing to upgrade the dike surrounding the lake so that more dirty water can be retained."
Cleaning up that dirty water is not a priority for this Republican governor or this Republican-led Legislature. In exchange for a deluge of campaign donations, they have worked steadfastly to gut pollution regulations and put the biggest polluters in control of state water policy.

This year their shameless sellout was complete. One of the worst water management bills in Florida history was passed and quickly signed by Scott, basically allowing big agricultural operations to police their own chemical discharges with little or no enforcement by the state. . . .

The whole world is now seeing the result of Scott’s execrable stewardship of our priceless natural resources. It’s an ecological nightmare for the state, and a political nightmare for him.

He’ll be running for the Senate in two years and desperately wants not to be tagged as Governor Algae. But because he won’t get tough with the special interests that are funding his campaign, there will be no reinstatement of water-quality enforcement measures for those flushing agricultural and urban wastewater into Lake Okeechobee. . . .

Scott seems to be synchronizing his strategy with the Florida Chamber of Commerce, which in March announced a “partnership” with Florida Atlantic University to work on “strong, science-based water quality standards.” Specifically the Chamber mentioned its interest in the impact of septic tanks on toxic algae blooms.

Ordinarily it would be startling to see an environmental conscience exhibited by the Chamber, one of the most slavishly pro-industry, anti-regulatory groups in the state. However, the rising outcry about the algae outbreaks — and the economic wreckage being caused — compelled [even] the Chamber to try something to redirect the public’s anger.

"Enjoy your vacation on Playa Guacamole."

The Tampa Bay Times editors: "Gov. Rick Scott is once again shifting blame, misidentifying the problem and proposing the wrong solution for the massive algae bloom that is coating beaches and making Florida look like the wrong place to spend a summer vacation. Scott and the Legislature need to get serious before polluted waters take an even heavier toll on public health, tourism and property values." "Real solutions for ending algae blooms."

See also: The Sun Sentinel editors: "Here's how Scott should deal with algae crisis." More: "Rick Scott: Boost spending to stop toxic algae."

How about a "Blue Pay Increase" bill?

Jeremy Wallace: "Florida lawmaker wants 'Blue Lives Matter' law." More: "Flags To Be Held at Half-Staff in Florida for Dallas Police Officers."

Brown indicted

"U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown of Florida and her chief of staff have been charged with multiple fraud and other federal offenses in a grand jury indictment unsealed Friday after a federal investigation into a fraudulent charity with ties to the congresswoman." "U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown indicted after fraud investigation."

A Proud Republican

"On second thought, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) will not be attending the GOP convention this month. Rubio had been planning to attend the confab in Cleveland but now joins a long list of Republicans who seem to be calculating it's better politics to stay away." "Marco Rubio joins list of Republicans skipping GOP convention." See also "Rubio Hopes to Avoid Trump."

"Democrats tussle"

"Democrats tussle over platform in Orlando."

"The optics are terrible"

"Some of Miami-Dade’s biggest players in transportation policy arrived in Armando Codina’s Coral Gables office last fall for a private session to discuss a new rail line to the western suburbs. . . ." "Raising money for the mayor, and making money from his administration."

Won't back down

"Carlos Beruff says he won't back down to Rubio."

Yawwwnnn . . .

"South Florida school grades: Fewer A's, fewer F's."

How much for those rims in yer front yard?

"A homeowner in West Palm Beach owes the city more than a million dollars in fines that date back more than a decade. In Davie, a property owner owes $415,500 for maintaining an unsecured facility and overgrowth on the property, a lien that was imposed this year." "South Florida cities struggle to collect millions in code enforcement fines."

Have another beer

"Mica's a champion of the people."

Mosque removed as polling site

"Palm Beach County's elections supervisor is moving a polling station from a Boca Raton mosque to a public library. Some have complained about voting in a mosque, but the Islamic center's president says the decision is discriminatory against Muslims." "Elections supervisor removes Boca Raton mosque as polling site."