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425 posts from January 2008

January 30, 2008

Did property tax vote kill elected mayor proposal in Broward?

A plan to change the make-up of the Broward County Commission won't go to voters in November, with some opponents saying Tuesday's property tax vote was a sign voters wouldn't approve any plans that would expand the size of government.

After three hours of debate, the county's Charter Review Commission rejected several proposed changes on Wednesday, included a suggested referendum to create an 11-member commission by adding an at-large mayor and county commissioner. The proposal, which won on initial vote in December, fell well short of the votes it needed to land on the November ballot.

One big question in the debate: What were voters voting for when the approved Tuesday's property tax referendum? Were they voting for less government? Were they voting for more efficient government? Or were they just voting to lower their property taxes?

There didn't seem to be much consensus...on that question or on much else.

Read more here.

Top Edwards money man goes with Obama

Minutes before John Edwards made his departure official on national television, Fort Lauderdale attorney and top Democratic fundraiser Mitchell Berger said, "I am going to be with Barack Obama."

He added: There were two candidates that knew functionally what was wrong in Washington and what needed to be done to address it...With John out you have three choices: Clinton or Obama or stand on the sidelines. I have never been one to stand on the sidelines."

Bense apologizes for Crist comments

Former House Speaker Allan Bense, who earlier this week threw cold water on Gov. Charlie Crist's endorsement of John McCain, today said that he was wrong to make the comments and said he planned to personally apologize to Crist later today.

"My remarks were inappropriate,'' said Bense, who said he violated is own "48 hour rule" about making statements. "It was in the heat of battle."

Bense, a supporter of Mitt Romney, said during a conference call that Crist's endorsement of McCain would help Romney in North Florida because McCain wasn't conservative enough. Bense also said that Panama City residents were unhappy that Crist had agreed to a $5 million settlement with the family of Martin Lee Anderson before the guards accused of manhandling the teen were put on trial. The guards were eventually acquitted.

A day after McCain's victory, however, Bense said that whoever the GOP nominee winds up being he will support them: "Whoever the nominee is, I'm supporting them 100 percent."

Where was Clinton's mug today?

She got a front-page display in The Miami Herald, but her picture was buried in The New York Times and USA Today. She did make the bottom of the front page of The Washington Post.

Looking at the way the national media treated Hillary Clinton's victory in Florida tells you something about the impact of her delegate-free, uncontested victory in Florida.

Some Obama supporters are wondering why Clinton got equal treatment with Republican winner John McCain on the Herald's front page, when the stakes in the races were so uneven. No doubt many Democratic readers would have called to complain had she not been out front.

Weigh in with your comments...

John Edwards is out

For Barack Obama supporters in Florida, it would have been nice to know this yesterday, since it might have lessened the thumping he got from Hillary Clinton.

Here's Obama's come-on-over Edwards-supporters statement: "John Edwards has spent a lifetime fighting to give voice to the voiceless and hope to the struggling, even when it wasn’t popular to do or covered in the news.  At a time when our politics is too focused on who’s up and who’s down, he made a nation focus again on who matters – the New Orleans child without a home, the West Virginia miner without a job, the families who live in that other America that is not seen or heard or talked about by our leaders in Washington. John and Elizabeth Edwards have always believed deeply that we can change this – that two Americans can become one, and that our country can rally around this common purpose.  So while his campaign may end today, the cause of their lives endures for all of us who still believe that we can achieve that dream of one America."

McCain as Eliza Doolittle

John McCain, who's been known to butcher the names of his Cuban-American supporters in Miami-Dade, practiced last night in his hotel suite with Republican lobbyist Ana Navarro.

In an homage to Rex Harrison's role as a phonetics professor in My Fair Lady, Navarro drilled the Arizona senator: U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is Ileeana Ross-LAY-tinen. U.S Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart is Lincoln DEE-az Bahlart. State Rep. Marcelo Llorente is Marcelo YO-rente.

In the middle of the lesson, McCain's campaign manager Rick Davis delivered the good news: He had won Florida.

Navarro, who's tangled with rival Mitt Romney over his hardline immigration policy, started jumping up and down, exclaiming, "I'm not going to get deported!''

So did McCain nail the pronunciations of those Cuban-American surnames in the end? Watch his victory speech here.

Judges beat up on Rubio argument, Cantero and Pariente beat up on Crist

Oral arguments are underway before the Florida Supreme Court in the case brought by House Speaker Marco Rubio against Gov. Charlie Crist and the state over the gambling compact the governor signed with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The arguments are clearly being drawn over whether Crist overstepped his authority by signing a compact without legislative approval:

Justice Charlie Wells to Rubio's counsel, Jon Mills: "We put the governor out there to negotiate with the Seminoles Indian Tribe, then we run into this time deadline. The Legislature, knowing this is going on, fails to act...Why isn't it the necessary business of the governor to step in when the Secretary of Interior has issued regulations?''

Justice Barbara Pariente to Crist's counsel, Chris Kise: "I think you have an uphill battle on this issue, whether banked card games are authorized" under federal law.

Pariente to the tribe's counsel, Barry Richard: Can the Legislature do anything to invalidate this?

Richard: "There is nothing the Legislature can do to undo what has been done, but they had 16 years...the Legislature has chosen not to speak.''

Cantero: "That seems to me to be a decision not to execute a compact...It's failure to act is irrelevant to me as to whether the Legislature or the governor has the power to execute a compact.''

Clinton: We won Florida big

She didn't pick up any delegates in the state, but that isn't stopping Hillary Clinton's camp from spinning Florida as a major win.

The campaign in an e-mail today points out that Clinton won the "highest turnout Democratic primary in Florida history. More than 1.5 million Democrats voted - more than cast votes in Iowa, Nevada, South Carolina and New Hampshire combined.

It also points out that Clinton got more votes in Florida than GOP winner John McCain. Barack Obama's camp maintains the Florida victory was meaningless because: A) there are no delegates and B) the campaigns suspended operations in the state last fall.

His campaign sent out mocking e-mails as the networks called Florida for Clinton, minutes after the polls closed in the state: ''Obama and Clinton tie for delegates in Florida,'' the e-mail from Obama spokesman Bill Burton said. ``0 for Obama, 0 for Clinton

Read more here

Clash of the Cuban-American Titans

"We have ignition and lift-off in the race in the 21st congressional district," Channel 10 political reporter Michael Putney says in today's Herald. "It should be a heck of a ride between now and November.

"The race pits incumbent Rep. Lincoln Díaz-Balart, 53, against former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez, 58, two guys who neither like nor respect each other. The fight to come will be bare knuckles, a street brawl, down and dirty. In fact, it already is, a throw-down from the get-go."

Read more about the scrapping here

Exit poll numbers show how they won

John McCain won Florida's Republican primary with the help of the state's wildly popular governor, his own war-hero biography and some crafty campaigning.

Hillary Clinton won the Democrats' vote on the strength of her experience, her race and a campaign that oddly wasn't a campaign at all.

The strange race for the presidency -- some late Republican mudslinging, no slinging of anything by Democrats -- has exited the biggest swing state for now, giving the nation a glimpse of the issues and ideas on the minds of voters of all stripes heading into Super Tuesday.

In Florida, both candidates can thank one group above all others for their win: Hispanics.

Hispanics backed Clinton by a 2-to-1 margin over Barack Obama, according to exit polls conducted by Edison/Mitofsky for the National Election Pool. Pollsters say the Hispanic vote reflects a fondness for Bill Clinton's White House years and a long-standing trend of voting against black candidates.

The Hispanic numbers were even more striking for McCain: 51 percent of Hispanics backed him, with 15 percent supporting Mitt Romney, who came in a close second statewide, and 25 percent for Rudy Giuliani.

The numbers and story here