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340 posts from March 2010

March 30, 2010

Sansom files new motion to dismiss criminal case

A lawyer for ex-state Rep. Ray Sansom today filed a new motion to dismiss, calling the state's charges that he endeavored or conspired to commit the theft of U.S. currency (aka $6 million for an airport hangar) "impossible as a matter of law."

In short, Sansom points the finger elsewhere, saying it was up to the Florida Department of Education -- not him -- to make sure the building was not misused.

Sansom says that the money went through DOE and was given to Northwest Florida State College, which was to build and operate an emergency operations/training center at Destin Airport.

"The defendants had no access to the monies that were appropriated, given that the Department of Education maintained control over those monies and was obligated to ensure that the monies were lawfully spent," the filing reads.

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Dave Aronberg raises big in Attorney General's race

We're hearing that Dem Sen. Dave Aronberg of Greenacres raised about $260k in just two months during this fundraising quarter in his race for Attorney General. That's about $10k more than he Aronberg raised in the entire quarter before.

Aronberg and his Democratic opponent, Sen. Dan Gelber of Miami Beach, are largely mirrors of each other (sorry guys), so there's a good chance this race to come down to one thing: Money. Waiting on Gelber's numbers......

Crist supporter on 'Hispanic' Rubio and 'black one' Obama

Gov. Charlie Crist proudly announced yesterday that war hero/Swiftboater Bud Day was backing his campaign. It was a sign that Crist could get strong support in the Panhandle.

But in comments to his hometown newspaper, theNorthwest Florida Daily News, Day did what he often does: Make news. Check it out:

“You know, we just got through (electing) a politician who can run his mouth at Mach 1, a black one, and now we have a Hispanic who can run his mouth at Mach 1,” Day said. “You look at their track records and they’re both pretty gritty. Charlie has not got a gritty track record.”

Day confirmed he was speaking of Obama and Rubio.

“You’ve got the black one with the reading thing. He can go as fast as the speed of light and has no idea what he’s saying,” Day said. “I put Rubio in that same category, except I don’t know if he’s using one of those readers.”

The newspaper didn't apparently press Day on why race and ethnicity were necessary descriptors of the pols. But why should they? This is the largely lilly white Panhandle, where stark opinions about race and ethnicity barely boil underneath the surface. Remember the Marianna Middle School teacher who told his kids in 2008 that Obama's "Change" slogan was an acronym that stood for "Come Help A 'N' Get Elected?"

Then there was an awkward moment on the 2004 campaign trail in Valparaiso when then-U.S. Senate candidate Bill McCollum (now AG and Republican gov. frontrunner) was giving a speech about his knowledge of the Muslim world terrorism. It so impressed Okaloosa County Republican Chairman Bob Fischer that he asked "How did you learn to so smoothly pronounce the names of those rag-heads?"

The room of about 50 people peeled with laughter. McCollum froze for a second, but quickly recovered.

Day also has strong opinions about Muslims. Last election, he made comments about how "The Muslims have said either we kneel or they're going to kill us.''

In the raw world of racial politics, bashing Muslims could be a vote-getter in the Panhandle and kvetching about blacks and Hispanics hasn't proved to be so harmful in conservative primaries. But in a state where Hispanics comprise the fastest-growing segment of the electorate, Day's comments come close to putting Crist on shaky political ground.

March 29, 2010

The Florida connection to the RNC's sexy spending scandal

MSNBC: "First Read has verified some of the charges the Republican National Committee approved in its March Monthly report, including almost $2,000 spent at a sex-themed nightclub in West Hollywood, as well as more than $15,000 spent at ritzy Beverly Hills hotels.

"First Read also found more than $1,500 in 'equipment rental' charges from 'Casino Parties' in Tampa, FL."

Florida Republican Party chief Jim Greer was ousted in part over questionable spending, so Florida Democratic Party spokesman Eric Jotkoff is questioning whether new chair John Thrasher, RNC Secretary Sharon Day, or Republican National Committeeman Paul Senft think Steele should resign "Or Do They Condone Using RNC Money At Bondage Club?"

Jeb tells Crist: sign property insurance deregulation bill

Jeb Bush waded into the property insurance debate today in an interview with the Associated Press. The former governor endorsed a measure to allow property insurance companies to offer unregulated rates, subject to annual caps on average increases.

Bush told AP that the renewed effort -- after Gov. Charlie Crist vetoed a similar bill last year -- is necessary to help companies better capitalize in the event of a major hurricane and hopes the governor signs it. Since his successor took office, Bush has been critical of Crist's property insurance mindset.

He suggested Crist should give the law a good look because lawmakers addressed most of his concerns from last year.

Crist appeared before a Senate committee last week to tell lawmakers not to pass the legislation, sponsored by Sen. Mike Bennett and Rep. Bill Proctor.

Swiftboater for Charlie Crist

Gov. Charlie Crist announced an endorsement today from Colonel Bud Day, a Medal of Honor recipient, a Swift Boat Veteran for Truth and a sometime-fearer of Muslims.

In a statement issued by Crist's Senate campaign, Day said: “Charlie Crist is a proven leader, a strong conservative, and a true man of character.. He understands what it means to be a true public servant, and he is the only candidate in this race that will put the people of Florida above his own personal interests. Charlie Crist is someone that Florida voters can trust, and the Republican Party will be well served to have him in the United States Senate.”

House Democrats give GOP straight F's

House Democratic lawmakers issued a mid-session report card for the Republican leadership. And like you probably guessed: straight F's.

The subjects: restoring public trust, improving education, helping small businesses and the middle class and putting the people's priorities first. In the area of job creation, the GOP received a charitable "incomplete."

Standing next to a report card poster, Reps. Keith Fitzgerald and Ron Saunders lamented (or possibly whined) that the House GOP isn't hearing any Democratic ideas or legislation. Instead, they are pushing tax cuts for corporations, keeping the budget process secret and waging an attack on public employees, specifically teachers. 

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Cato snipes at Crist's use of kudos without context

The fiscal conservative think tank, the Cato Institute, isn't happy that a politician is taking their report card out of context. We have no idea if they've trained their ire on other politicians when it has been done, but they sure are mad this time at Gov. Charlie Crist.

Seems as if the governor continues to cited the Cato’s 2008 Governors’ Report Card as evidence of his fiscal conservative credentials without mentioning that he didn't get the same kudos in 2009, when he supported tax increases. Crist has used this selective reasoning in radio ads, and did it again in his Fox News Sunday debate against Marco Rubio.

Cato blogger Chris Moody writes:

"Trouble is, the report card’s author, Chris Edwards, has gone on the record again and again explaining how Crist has fallen hard off the fiscal responsibility wagon since the report was released two years ago.

The Florida media has publicized Edwards’ correction of the record numerous times since Crist began citing the Cato rating in his political ads. It is difficult to believe that Crist can be unaware of that."

Sink memo: McCollum did skirt law to file legal challenge

Alex Sink's campaign has produced a legal analysis that, it says, shows Bill McCollum skirted state law when he filed his anti-ObamaCare lawsuit. More on the background here.

The new memo from election-law lawyer Ron Meyer (who primarily represents Democrats and the teacher union) is here: Download Healthcare Lawsuit Letter.

First the back wax, now the pedi

Gathering signatures to get his name on the Senate ballot may be hard work -- at least on the feet.

Roll Call's Heard on the Hill says it "applauds a man who’s man enough to indulge in some springtime grooming. Kudos then, to Rep. Kendrick Meek, who got a pedicure at the Capitol Nails salon Thursday night. The Florida Democrat didn’t seem embarrassed at all about his need to get his feet tended to, arriving at the popular salon in a suit with two staffers in tow. He sat in a pedicure station near a window overlooking Massachusetts Avenue, where the passersby included plenty of Hill aides, says an HOH spy who witnessed the exfoliation session firsthand. Meek, who’s running for Senate, asked one of the fellows with him whether he had ever had a pedi. When the staffer answered in the negative, Meek joked, 'You never forget your first time.' "

Asked on a conference call about the pedicure, Meek laughed and said it was a relaxing Thursday, "especially after such a long petition effort. It was a good deal. And I paid for it."

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