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178 posts from November 2008

November 21, 2008

Are blacks to blame for Amendment 2?

Exit polls show black voters supported Florida's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage by the greatest margin -- 71 to 29 percent -- when compared to whites and Hispanics.

But an analysis of the election results done for Equality Florida, a gay rights group, suggests black voters were less supportive of Amendment 2.

When pro-amendment votes in Florida's 21 largest counties were plotted against the percentage of blacks in each precinct, the trendline showed an insignificant increase in precincts with more black voters. And a run of the top 100 large precincts voting for the amendment found only 15 percent were predominantly black.

Read more about why Amendment 2 passed and its potential repercussions here.

Budget deficit: $2.1 billion

Amy Baker, the Legislature's chief economist, just made it official: The current year budget deficit is $2.14b. And the future budget gap next year is at least $5.8b.

Clinton is in

In a decision likely to excite many of Hillary Clinton's supporters in Florida, she has decided to accept former rival Barack Obama's offer and become secretary of state, according to The New York Times.

It's an extraordinary turn of events, considering how Clinton pounded Obama during the Democratic primary for saying he would be willing to meet with hostile foreign leaders in Cuba, Iran and Venezuela.

Story here.

For prez in 2012? Crist ranks 9th, behind Jeb

When Gallop polls asked GOP faithful who they would like to see run in 2012 for president, Gov. Charlie Crist ranked 9th out of 10 and former Gov. Jeb Bush ranked 8, according to the poll of 799 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents released today.  More here.

Guess who tops the list? Predictably it's Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee -- in that order. Huckabee was followed by David Patraeus, Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich and Bobby Jindal. Lindsey Graham came in last at # 10.

Here's what pollsters concluded about Florida's favorite sons:

"Republicans are decidedly unenthusiastic about possible White House bids from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, current Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. Bush's prospects are obviously hurt by the dissatisfaction with his older brother's White House term and perhaps a lack of enthusiasm for a third member of the Bush family as president.

"Crist and Graham were key McCain supporters early in the primaries, and helped him to critical primary wins in their home states. But the GOP rank-and-file apparently does not want these McCain loyalists to become presidential candidates themselves. It is unclear whether this has anything to do with their affiliation with McCain, although it should be pointed out that Republicans still regarded McCain quite positively after his election defeat."

John Kerry to speak at Ferrell's funeral today

Spotted today at Miami International Airport sans entourage: Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, who's in town to attend the funeral of his friend and major fundraiser for his 2004 presidential campaign, Milton Ferrell. Click here to read the obituary that ran in The MIami Herald.

Florida's unemployment inches up to 7 percent

Florida's unemployment lines are growing. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for October was just released and the number has grown to 7 percent, the highest since December 1993. It means that of the 9.6 million in the state's workforce, 655,000 are out of work. The rate is higher than the September rate of 6.6 percent and the national rate of 6.1 percent and it's 2.7 percentage points higher than a year ago.

This bad news comes as Florida's revenue estimators meet to agree on another forecast, and nearly all expect virtually no to little job growth in the year ahead. Their initial projections: Florida's revenues are $2.3 billion below the 2008-09 budget, more money than the state has left to tap from its reserve accounts. That undoubtedly means two words in Tallahassee: special session. Download october_unemployment_release.pdf

Nelson calls for the Big 3 to bow out

Bill Nelson says the auto chiefs begging for a $25 billion loan should step down -- after telling Congress how they'd structure a bailout.

"We want to see a plan that doesn't say that it's pouring it down a rat hole, that the people are going to lose their taxpayer money," Nelson said this morning on MSNBC. "We want to see a plan that has those executives leaving their positions. They're the ones that got us in the first place. Where are the Lee Iacoccas today? I voted on that Chrysler bailout decades ago, but that's when Chrysler had a real leader. Where are the leaders? So they ought to go."

"Mr. Wagoner, Mr. Mulally?" the interviewer asked. "Absolutely," Nelson replied, adding he also wants the car makers to pledge to develop cars that get 50 miles per gallon by 2020.

Budget deficit grows by up to $1.5b max. Max deficit: $2.3b.

Florida's Revenue Estimating conference is about to kick off and the numbers look expectedly bleak: lower-than-expected tax collections of between $1.5 billion (according to the Legislature's analysts) and $1.2b (according to the governor's).

The different sides (including the tax department which has noncomparable numbers) will now decide what number is right.

Those shortfall numbers are just for the current budget year, which already has a deficit of about $800m. Max deficit: $2.3billion - precipitating the need for a special session.

Add in Gov. Charlie Crist's agency holdbacks, and the deficit before the Friday estimate could be about $500m to $1b. Add those numbers to the lower-than-expected revenues predicted today, and this year's total deficit could be about $1.3b to $2b. Even if Crist can sweep $700m from trust funds, the deficit would range between $600m to $1.3b.

Full story here

November 20, 2008

Manny: The rumors are just that, rumors

Miami Mayor Manny Diaz says the talk about his prospects for a job in an Obama adminstration are just "rumors and speculation.

"I have not received any formal communications from President-Elect Barack Obama's team regarding a position in his administration," he said in a statement to the Miami Herald. "The rumors are just that, rumors and speculation.

"I remain focused on being Mayor of the City of Miami and completing the projects I started seven years ago. My main concerns are taking care of the needs of Miami's residents and continue to build a city we are all proud of."

Diaz has been mentioned as a potential HUD secretary. Some Hispanic groups have expressed angst that no Hispanics have yet been named to power positions.

Florida oranges still bitter over the Rays loss

Mel Martinez and Bill Nelson have made good on their World Series bet to Penn senators Arlen Specter and Bob Casey -- with a delivery of Florida goods, but for the oranges which they jokingly said were "still a little bitter over the Rays' loss." Actually, Florida citrus will be at its peak ripeness in a few weeks and Martinez and Nelson will make the delivery after Thanksgiving.

They would have done the delivery in person, but an unnamed overnight delivery service failed to deliver the pastries from Opa Locka's own Latin Flavors on time.

Ws