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322 posts from May 2009

May 26, 2009

Jeb Bush associates on Sotomayor

Here's what former Florida Supreme Court justice Raoul Cantero, former Gov. Jeb Bush's pick for the Florida Supreme Court says of Obama's SCOTUS selection:

"President Barack Obama has nominated Second Circuit Judge Sonia Sotomayor to replace Justice David Souter on the United States Supreme Court. In announcing her nomination, President Obama expressed three factors that he believe make a good judge. First, he said, was intellectual rigor—the qualifications of a judge. I’m sure everyone agrees. The second was recognition of the limits of the judicial role and commitment to impartial justice. This is a refreshing statement and perhaps reflects his legal background. The third repeated his prior statements about 'heart' and 'empathy.' The problem will soon arise, as it inevitably does for any judge in a court of last resort, of what happens in a particular case when the second factor of limited judicial role impartiality conflicts with empathy? When push comes to shove, will a Justice Sotomayor favor individuals over institutions, employees over corporations, the poor over the rich? My hope is that she will recognize that a judge is supposed to be objective, impartial, free from bias.When it comes to judging, impartiality must trump empathy.”

And from Raquel Rodriguez, who served as Bush's general counsel for four years, and participated in the governor’s appointment of nearly 300 judges throughout Florida’s court system:

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Sitting guv, would-be guv reach out to seniors

As the sitting Republican Governor hosted a group of senior citizens at the Governor's Mansion this morning and got briefed about recent floods in Volusia County, the would-be Democratic governor announced a new partnership with AARP to help the state's senior citizens better prepare for the upcoming hurricane season and other natural disasters.

Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink joined AARP Florida State Director Lori Parham and other elderly advocates to announce Operation Hurricane Prepare, which is aimed at promoting volunteerism to help Florida's oldest residents plan for -- and recover from -- storms.

"Neighbor to neighbor assistance is the backbone of our nation," said Sink, who is running against Republican Bill McCollum for governor.

Continue reading "Sitting guv, would-be guv reach out to seniors" »

Florida senators backed Sotomayor in 1998

Former senators Bob Graham, a Democrat, and Connie Mack, a Republican, voted in favor of the 1998 nomination of President Barack Obama's SCOTUS pick when she was up for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals.

News reports show a hold was placed on Sonia Sotomayor's nomination, but she was eventually confirmed with a 67 to 29 vote. Mack was one of 25 GOP'ers to back her -- 29 Republicans voted against her.

Everglades expert says growth bill will weaken protections

Richard Grosso, the director and general counsel of the Everglades Law Center is the latest to weigh in and urge the governor to veto the growth management bill, SB 360, which is sitting on this desk. Read story here.

"In short, the 'economic stimulous claims' don't pass the straight face test given the huge over-supply problems and the fact that most development in florida costs the state more money than it brings in.'' said Grosso, who has been working on growth management since its inception in Florida.

In a letter to the governor, urging a veto, he writes: "This bill would result in more burdens to taxpayers, and would also result in weakened growth management controls, undermining the very important climate change goals you have so strongly advocated.  It would clearly lead to more sprawl and less infill in already developed areas.  

"Governor, I have worked with this law virtually every day of my career since 1989.  This Bill is bad. While some have claimed that is will be good for the economy and promote infill development, the details of the Bill do just the opposite.   As someone who has admired and been grateful for your strong leadership and understanding of growth management and environmental protection, I urge you in the strongest terms I can muster to understand how this bill does violence to both of those objectives, and ask you to prevent it from becoming law." Download ELC VETO LETTER

Supreme Court nominee's mom now a Floridian

The woman whom Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor calls her mentor and inspiration, Celina Sotomayor, lives in Margate in a condo she bought in 2001, acccording to property records.

The White House notes in a bio of Sotomayor, that she talks to her mother, "who now lives in Florida, every day." Said Sotomayor after President Barack Obama introduced her: "I stand on the shoulders of countless people, yet there is one extraordinary person who is my life aspiration. That person is my mother, Celina Sotomayor. My mother has devoted her life to my brother and me. And as the president mentioned, she worked often two jobs to help support us after dad died. I have often said that I am all I am because of her, and I am only half the woman she is."

Noted Obama during the ceremony in the East Room at the White House, "Sonia’s mom has been a little choked up."

Dockery is considering a run for governor

State Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland: "Two weeks ago the thought of running for Governor wasn't on my radar screen. It was my intention to examine a run for Putnam's Congressional seat. I was waiting until the session was over and the CSX issue was settled to discuss with Doc.

"Since then I have been surprised and flattered by numerous emails, phone calls and letters encouraging me to run. It's become very apparent that many Republicans want another choice in the Governor's race by the interesting inquiries that I've been getting from people I respect in the process and more importantly from voters along the I-4 corridor who were following the legislative session many of whom I don't know.

"I am considering the Governor's race as well as the Congressional race."

--Lucy Morgan

The politics of Obama's SC pick

President Barack Obama's decision to nominate Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court -- she would be the first Hispanic member -- could boost Democratic efforts to lock down one of the most important swing votes in the country.

Look for the reaction in the booming Puerto Rican community in central Florida, which has supported both Republican and Democratic candidates in the past but favored Obama in 2008. Sotomayor was born in New York to parents from Puerto Rico. Sotomayor boasts the classic, up-from-the-bootstraps American success story -- raised by a single mother in a Bronx housing project, she went on to graduate with honors from Princeton University and Yale Law School.

Her nomination also puts the Republican party, which lost ground with Hispanics during the battle over immigration reform, in the potentially awkward position of opposing a historic nomination. How will South Florida's Hispanic members of Congress and other prominent Hispanic Republicans in Florida react?

New York Che statue draws Miami protest

Miami Republicans Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart are among 10 GOP'ers demanding the immediate removal of a statue of Che Guevara’s likeness at an entrance to New York’s Central Park.

According to Bloomberg News, the bronze sculpture of the Marxist revolutionary has been at the Fifth Avenue and 60th Street entrance since November and is scheduled to come down May 27.

A letter by the 10 describes Guevara as "an outspoken enemy of the United States" who embraced "the totalitarian, repressive policies of the Soviet Union" and once threatened to fire nuclear weapons on New York.

Says a spokeswoman for Public Art Fund, which sponsored the artwork, "The purpose of public art is to create dialog."

For lobbyists, tough times are good for business

In the midst of a $6 billion state budget deficit and widespread private-sector layoffs, one Florida industry looks recession-proof: lobbying state lawmakers.

The Capitol lobbying corps earned up to $45 million from January through March to influence the Legislature. That's essentially the same amount that all 2,000 state lobbyists made in the same period in 2008, when Florida wasn't in a financial crisis. But lobbyists didn't earn all that money despite the dire financial times — they say they earned it because of the terrible economy.

"Sure, it's ironic," lobbyist Ron Book said. "But the bottom line is people and businesses get nervous in a down economy. And they need the help. In a bad economy, you need a seat at the table. You can't walk away." (story here)

May 25, 2009

Sansom grand jury going back to work

The grand jury that indicted Rep. Ray Sansom and the former president of Northwest Florida State College will reconvene Wednesday to review new evidence.

"We've just gotten a few more documents. Probably the ones they didn't want you to see," State Attorney Willie Meggs told the Times/Herald. "I just want them to understand and see some things that we've learned."

Story here.