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305 posts from August 2010

August 26, 2010

Oppenheimer: Pro-Arizona immigration law rhetoric will hurt Republicans

"The Republican Party has done serious damage to itself, and it will have a hard time undoing it, even if it tries to shift to the center between now and November," the Herald columnist writes, citing Rick Scott's championing of the Arizona immigration law among other factors.

Growth management bill ruled unconstitutional

Circuit Judge Charles Francis has ruled SB 360, the controversial growth management bill, unconstitutional. In his ruling, Francis said the bill violates a constituional provision on unfunded mandates.

Jamie Cole, a lawyer who argued against the bill, said it would force 264 cities to amend their comprehensive master plans, at a minimum cost of $15,000 per city. In total, that's about $3.6 million, or twice the limit of a cost deemed an "unfunded mandate."

More soon.

Florida Democrats launch anti-David Rivera site

In case there were any doubts left that the race in the 25th Congressional District was going to quickly get ugly, the Florida Democratic Party launched a website Thursday blasting Republican state Rep. David Rivera, who faces Joe Garcia in November.

The site, therealrivera.com, is subtitled "Floridians can't trust David Rivera." (Another domain name, therealdavidrivera.com, was already taken -- by Paul Crespo, one of two opponents Rivera handily defeated in Tuesday's primary.)

"This website shows that the Democrat Party and Joe Garcia are afraid of facing David Rivera in the general election because they know that oil lobbyist and DC insider Joe Garcia cannot beat David Rivera, a conservative candidate who has cut spending and is not part of the Washington-culture of corruption," Sarah Bascom, a Rivera campaign spokeswoman, said in an e-mail. "Since Joe Garcia is directly linked to the disastrous policies of Obama and Pelosi, he has no choice but to try to divert attention from his record by resorting to these shameful lies and despicable tactics against David Rivera."

Read Bascom's complete statement after the jump.

Continue reading "Florida Democrats launch anti-David Rivera site" »

Where will Jeff Greene's people go?

There weren't that many of them, considering Kendrick Meek's landslide victory in the Democratic Senate primary, but will Jeff Greene's supporters go to Meek or to Gov. Charlie Crist, who is running as an independent?

Diane Glasser, Broward state and national committeewoman, said she's with Meek.

"I'm a loyal Democrat. Kendrick called me yesterday morning, and he was quite collegial, very nice,'' she said. "I'll be there to help him, whatever I can do I will do...I don't think he did much of anything in Broward and maybe he learned his lesson and things will turn around...I hope he reaches out to me again."

 Democratic Rep. Jim Waldman of Coconut Creek, another Greene supporter, said he's not sure whom he'll back in the general election. Both Meek and Crist called yesterday, he said.

"I have not committed to either,'' he said. "My biggest interest in all of this -- and it was the reason I supported Jeff Greene -- was to make sure that Marco Rubio doesn't go to the U.S. Senate. His ultraconservative ideas are not consistent with mine...I'll say this: Charlie has a tremendous amount of support in Wynmoor, which is my largest voting bloc...Kendrick has a lot of work to do to repair his reputation in Broward."

Rubio ready for -- wait for it -- 7 debates

Todd Harris, a top advisor to Marco Rubio, said yesterday that the campaign would push for an "aggressive debate schedule." He wasn't kidding. The campaign says today that Rubio has accepted seven invitations -- from NBC's Meet the Press, WLTV-Univision 23 in Miami, WTVT-FOX 13 in Tampa, ABC News, Leadership Florida in Fort Lauderdale, CNN in Tampa and NBC News in Orlando.

 So far, Crist has accepted the CNN debate. Meek spokesman Adam Sharon said the campaign is likely to accept a bunch of invitations and is reviewing the schedule.

UPDATE: Meek campaign says five of those seven invitations work and it wants to reschedule the other two.

Katy Sorenson to endorse pick to replace her?

Sure sounds like it. Katy Sorenson, a 16-year Miami-Dade County commissioner who is stepping down, is holding a press conference this afternoon about "the District 8 race."

Tellingly, the news release specifically says one of the two candidates in the runoff to replace her -- Palmetto Bay Mayor Eugene Flinn -- will be at the event. So will mayors Cindy Lerner of Pinecrest, Paul Vrooman of Cutler Bay and Otis Wallace of Florida City.

Not on the apparent guest list: former Homestead Mayor Lynda Bell, who will face Flinn in the runoff.

There's another runoff on the ballot in November: Commissioner Dorrin Rolle faces a challenge from former North Miami Commissioner Jean Monestime.

FPL manager: We edited the 'independent' investigative report

New questions have arisen over the Florida Power & Light's report commissioned by the company into allegations from a whistleblower that FPL provided inaccurate and out-of-date information to the Public Service Commission on its nuclear plant development project.

FPL spokesman Mark Bubriski pointed us to this section of the report, written by Concentric Energy: "Certain information provided by FPL in the 2009 NCRC was out-of-date and did not represent the best information available at that time; FPL is currently taking steps that Concentric believes will address this concern for the future."

And he pointed to this section: "Concentric views the response to Staff 5-53 as being accurate, reliable, and responsive, even though the document referred to was out-of-date." 

Bubriski said FPL disagrees with the finding that the information provided to the PSC was out-of-date and argues that there was no attempt to mislead the PSC.

A source within the company contacted the Miami Herald, however, to raise questions about Bubriski's statements. What Bubriski didn't say, one FPL manager told us, is that "Concentric provided us drafts of their proposed report so that we could make edits. Through our attorneys and, as directed by management, we were able to edit their so-called independent final report."

PSC Commissioner Nathan Skop has requested that FPL CEO Armando Olivera be required to appear before the commission to answer questions about the company's internal investigation and the Concentric report. The majority of the newly-revamped commission, however, don't seem to want to do that.

Noted the FPL manager: "If Mr. Olivera were to testify under oath and [is} asked if Concentric provided us a draft of its report for us to review and edit, and [asked} did we in fact edit it, he would have to answer yes to both."

We are awaiting FPL's response.

RPOF, Atwater respond to Ausley's video

The Republican Party of Florida hit back on Loranne Ausley's attack of Jeff Atwater -- by changing the subject to Alex Sink. The party notes that the Democratic nominee for governor has a long history in banking, too, and oversaw a big merger where many jobs got cut. Of course, Sink's bank didn't get shut down by the FDIC.

Atwater's campaign also decried the fact that Ausley is immediately going negative in the CFO race: "Liberal Loranne Ausley has launched a mudslinging attack on the Web that lies about Jeff Atwater's professional experience."

Full quotes from RPOF and Atwater spokesman Brian Hughes below.

Continue reading "RPOF, Atwater respond to Ausley's video" »

South Floridians to join Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin at DC tea party rally

About 25 Floridians -- and Marcos Sendon -- who runs the South Florida Conservative, will be among the thousands expected in DC this weekend for a rally headlined by Fox News's Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin.

More would have made the trip, Sendon said, but hotels in the DC area are jammed.

"It's a multi-faceted kind of thing, all kinds of things are bringing people together," Sendon said. "Every day you see more and more in the news that keeps feeding this."

The event is already controversial before it begins: Beck will speak on the anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech -- from the spot where King delivered his remarks. Civil rights leaders are planning counter protests.

But Sendon sees it differently: "He's proclaiming and celebrating the life of Martin Luther King, it's a great thing," Sendon said of Beck, who has accused President Barack Obama of being racist. "It should not be taken as offensive, it's something to be glad about and rejoice."

Bud Chiles calls for stricter campaign finance laws

On a leafy side street in a nice neighborhood in Tampa, independent candidate for governor Lawton "Bud" Chiles railed against Florida's campaign finance system while standing in front of an accounting office associated with dozens of political committees.

“This building behind me is ground zero for what’s wrong with FL politics," Chiles said. "What’s being hidden from Florida voters?

Chiles held his press conference outside Robert Watkins and Co, with the famous address (in political circles) of 610 South Boulevard. State records show that Nancy Watkins, is associated with 32 active political committees that raised just less than $12 million last year. Most of the committees are associated with Republican candidates or issues.

Watkins defended the committees: "I do believe in the public’s right and need to know. They report every penny in and out." Watkins said her one gripe is that some apparent campaign finance violations go unreported to the Florida Elections Commission.

-- Steve Bousquet