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248 posts from May 2008

May 28, 2008

Crist vetos Citizens transfer, complaining it leaves insurer vulnerable

Gov. Charlie Crist has vetoed the attempt by the Legislature to divert $250 million from the reserves of Citizens Property Insurance to entice private insurers to write more homeowner's policies by providing them with state-subsidized low-interest loans as back-up capital.

Crist commended the legislation for its "consumer protections" but he warned that by taking $250 million from Citizens' ability to pay claims "will substantially increase the likelihood of assessments for Floridians across the state.'' He said he "would not support risking an additional financial hardship on Floridians." Download property_insurance_2860.pdf

The insurance bill also freezes Citizens Property Insurance rates for another year and doubles fines state regulators can impose.

DNC: Our memo was "intentionally neutral"

The Democratic National Committee just sent out a memo clarifying its earlier memo about seating Florida and Michigan's delegates.

Some have read the memo to say that the party can only seat half the states' delegates. But the party says the 17-page memo, a staff analysis of the Michigan and Florida challenges, was "intentionally neutral; it does not make specific recommendations."

It notes that the staff analysis found that the rules committee "did have proper authority and jurisdiction" in stripping Florida of all of its delegates. And it notes that the document "examines the 50% automatic sanction and how to implement such a sanction:  Under this scenario, one option would be to reduce the total number of delegates by half; the second option for consideration by the RBC would be to reduce the delegation's votes by half, so that each delegate gets a half vote. 

"We look forward to a thorough discussion of these issues at the Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting this Saturday, May 31st in Washington, DC."

Florida Dems: Charlie prefers gallivanting with bigwigs over working

Gov. Charlie Crist's decision to spend last weekend in Arizona with GOP presidential nominee John McCain has inspired some new smack talk from Florida Democrats. (Crist did say on Wednesday that the meeting was entirely social and he spent most of his time eating steak and ribs and other items.)

In an e-mail sent out today, Phillip Perry, director of online communications for the Florida Democratic Party, rips into Crist, and even compares him to President Bush.

"There's been quite a buzz concerning whether McCain will pick Florida's Empty Chair Charlie Crist as his running mate. That speaks to Florida's importance, but Floridians know that things haven't been exactly sunny since Charlie took over. Our Governor clearly prefers gallivanting with bigwigs and celebrities over tackling the real challenges facing the people of our state. Sounds scarily similar to a certain former Governor of Texas, doesn't it?"

Perry's rant also includes a bid to vote a new Bush-McCain bumper sticker.

It probably won't take too long before the Republican Party of Florida returns fire. (Only about five more months of this.)

Obama campaign: We're willing to compromise

Barack Obama's campaign says it'll accept a compromise on seating Florida's delegates -- even if it means Hillary Clinton gets a few more votes.

"Any compromise is clearly going to benefit Senator Clinton, but we're willing to cede in the interest of bringing this to a resolution," said campaign manager David Plouffe.

Clinton campaign: DNC doesn't rule out seating 100 percent of delegates

Hillary Clinton's campaign is refuting AP's take on the DNC memo, saying it's a "pretty neutral document" and does not rule out seating all of Florida's delegates (as Clinton's campaign fervently hopes).

"Our expectation and our belief is that the DNC will vote to seat 100 percent," of both Florida and Michigan, Howard Wolfson said.

Is anyone from Florida not planning on speaking?

The DNC - hoping to avoid chaos at its meeting Saturday to decide what to do with Florida and Michigan - has imposed strict speaking rules that give each player just 15 minutes to present his/her case.

That means 15 minutes for Jon Ausman, the DNC member who filed the appeal with the committee, 15 minutes for the Florida Democratic Party and 15 minutes for each Democratic presidential contender. Ausman says he's trying to have former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez, a DNC member who backs Hillary Clinton; and former HIllsborough County Democratic Chairwoman Janee Murphy, a DNC member who has donated to Barack Obama, speak as well.

Former Florida gov and US Sen. Bob Graham said last week he plans to speak, and today, Sen. Bill Nelson, who took the DNC to court to seat the delegates, is quoted in the Tallahassee Democrat as saying he plans to speak.

"What I'm going to tell them on Saturday is that in Florida, we're pretty sensitive about our right to vote and have that vote counted," Nelson said.

The rank-and-file are unlikely to be able to state their case. The DNC says there won't be an opportunity for public input.

DNC lawyers: Half is as best we can do

Florida Dems have said they hope to seat at least half of Florida's delegation at the nominating convention and that's as far as lawyers for the national party say they can go.

DNC rules require that Florida and Michigan lose at least half of their convention delegates for holding elections too early, the party's legal experts wrote in a 38-page memo, the Associated Press reports.

The memo was sent late Tuesday to the 30 members of the party's rules and bylaws committee, which is to meet Saturday in Washington to figure out what to do with Florida and Michigan.

Read the full memo Download dnc.pdf . And let us know what you think should be done.

Obama to supporters: Stay home

Barack Obama's campaign is urging supporters not to demonstrate at Saturday’s Democratic National Committee meeting that'll take up the status of Florida's renegade delegates.

An internal campaign memo described in The Hill, says "We look forward to the meeting proceeding smoothly — and we’re asking our supporters not to show up to demonstrate, passionately as they feel about this campaign."

That's quite a departure from Hillary Clinton's campaign, which is pushing to recognize all of Florida's delegate and has urged supporters to contact the DNC, "telling them to count the votes and seat Florida and Michigan's delegates." A pro-Clinton group is planning a day-long rally for Saturday.

The Hill says the Obama campaign memo cautions supporters against speculating about what will happen on Saturday, "though it emphasizes that the Illinois senator will campaign vigorously in both states for the general election."

May 27, 2008

Ausman: "Time to let our people go"

Florida's Jon Ausman, who will argue Saturday that Florida's voters should count, says he believes there's a consensus developing among the campaigns and the national Democratic party to give Florida at least a half say.

He argued on CNN that Florida's been punished enough and that it's "time to let our people go."

One of those deciding on Saturday, Donna Brazile, said on CNN that DNC chief Howard Dean has asked that the committee members "respect the rules, respect the voters in Florida and Michigan and to try and come up with some accomodation.

"We don't have a metric yet, but clearly we're going to work very hard...." she said, adding that the committee also needs to acknowledge party rules and the 48 states "that complied with the rules."

DNC meeting Saturday: The hottest ticket in town

Hoping to have your say at Saturday's big DNC rules and bylaws committee meeting when it takes up Florida's delegate debacle? It may be too late.

The Democratic National Committee is reporting that registration for the meeting was closed within minutes of opening this morning. The party had opened registration at 10 a.m. today, saying that "due to space constraints, guests are being asked to pre-register their attendance.

"Yes, it did go online," the DNC notes on its blog. "For about a minute. There was a lot (of) demand and were sorry if you didn't get a spot...they were gone pretty quickly. We'll make sure to have a feed available here on Democrats.org on Saturday so you can see it."

Hard to say how much lucky ticket holders will be able to participate. The DNC has already said there will be no time for public comments and has banned posters, signs and noisemakers.