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169 posts from December 2010

December 21, 2010

Senate prez promises everyone gets a voice in redistricting

Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos on Florida's new congressional seats: "With today’s release of the 2010 census results, Florida’s clout among our country’s 49 other states continues to rise. The population growth in the state allows Floridians to gain two additional voices in the U.S. House of Representatives – meaning our state will be tied for the third largest congressional delegation in the country with 27 members of Congress. Florida has experienced phenomenal growth and in just 40 years, the number of Floridians has nearly tripled to the 18.8 million residents we have today.

"Now the work begins in the Florida Legislature as we draw new congressional districts as well as seats in the Florida House and Senate. This will be a deliberative process and all Floridians will have a voice. I have the utmost confidence in the Senate Reapportionment Committee led by Senator Don Gaetz and look forward to providing an efficient, transparent process to maximize Floridians’ voice in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C."

Tampa R to RPOF: Don't pick Cox-Roush for chair

Ouch. In the race to for state Republican chair, Hillsborough Republican Chair Debbie Cox-Roush just got whacked in an email sent from two fellow Hillsborough GOPers, Tampa precinct committeeman and -woman Pat and Pam McDowell. In the letter sent to the Republican Executive Committee members, the McDowells want anybody but Cox-Roush.

Cox-Roush said she couldn't comment on the letter because she hadn't seen it. But, she noted, she was just re-elected to her county chair post by 162-18, so the negative sentiments the McDowell's portray are in the minority.

"This is a big county," she said. "You can't please everyone."

But Pat McDowell said Cox-Roush has ruled through fear and she has done more to help herself than the party. He also slings the ultimate Republican slur: "She's another Jim Greer," he said, referencing the former and currently indicted RPOF chair. (It's a line Cox-Roush, who opposed Greer, will vehemently disagree with.)

Maybe this is all a sign she's the frontrunner. Maybe it's all true. Maybe it's just the result of a personality clash. Who knows. Anyway, here's the letter:

Continue reading "Tampa R to RPOF: Don't pick Cox-Roush for chair" »

David Rivera, 'Momma's little helper' on slots?

There are places where a title like "strategic director'' would not seem so ambiguous.

In Miami, at least in David Rivera's Miami, "strategic director'' of a $6.7 million gambling referendum translates, vaguely, into "Momma's little helper.''

Flagler Dog Track, desperate for slots money, mistakenly figured they had hired state Rep. Rivera to run the pro slots campaign for Miami-Dade in 2006. The Herald's Scott Hiaasen and Patricia Mazzei perused a $510,000 contract with the dog track that named Rivera both strategic director and "Top Leader of Chain of Command of All Campaign Consultants And Campaign Activities.''

In some places, that sounds like "boss.'' Not in David Rivera's Miami.

During his successful congressional campaign last fall, Rivera insisted that he had only helped out with the gambling referendum. As if his contribution was as modest as a volunteer stamp licker, envelope stuffer, phone bank caller. Just another unpaid helper. Read the rest of Fred Grimm's column here.

Rick Scott chief of staff Mike Prendergast?

The Buzz is that Mike Prendergast will be chief of staff to incoming Gov. Rick Scott.

Here's the bio from his Facebook page:

Continue reading "Rick Scott chief of staff Mike Prendergast?" »

Florida gains 2 new congressional seats in 2010 census, boosting its clout

Florida just picked up 2 new seats in the U.S. House making it the biggest swing prize in the presidential election.

The new seats give Florida equal standing with New York; and only California and Texas will have more electoral college votes -- though neither state is considered up for grabs like Florida.

The boost is expected to help Republicans -- who already control 2/3 of the seats in the state -- but some say privately the party may have a tough time carving out two new seats without jeopardizing incumbents. Early projections had estimated as many as two seats for Florida -- despite a housing slump. The estimates didn't take into account for overseas U.S. military personnel and their families.

The bureau in February will release population and race breakdowns down to the neighborhood level for states to begin redrawing the congressional boundaries.

Scott advisors urge new gov to tackle Medicaid's 'financial storm'

Medicaid reform should be such a top priority of Florida's new governor that he should consolidate all Florida's health care agencies to do it and use his first state of the state address to talk about the dangers of the ''financial storm ahead'' caused by the exploding Medicaid budget.

Those are some, but not all, of the very specific recommendations delivered to Gov.-elect Rick Scott by his health care transition committee on Monday. Scott, who takes office on Jan. 4, is meeting in Fort Lauderdale this week with the leaders of his six transition teams.

By consolidating the health agencies, Scott would reverse the work of Gov. Lawton Chiles 20 years ago, who pushed for the separation of the state's massive Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services into the Agency for Health Care Regulation, the Department of Children and Families and, later, the Department of Elder Affairs, the Department of Health, and the Agency for Persons with Disabilities.

Continue reading "Scott advisors urge new gov to tackle Medicaid's 'financial storm' " »

Rick Scott inaugural haul climbs to $2.5 million

Folks inside Team Scott are starting to refer to Jan. 4 as the "coronation" instead of the inauguration, which is expected to exceed $3 million in costs.

Rick Scott recently broke the $2 million threshold in mostly corporate donations to pay for the party (story here). Now, he's over $2.5 million.

According to contribution reports posted Monday evening, new donors include the Florida Chamber of Commerce's Florida Justice Reform Institute, the Florida Chamber of Commerce's Florida Jobs PAC, Gunster Yoakley & Stewart P.A., Disney, Wal-Mart and Pfizer.

December 20, 2010

Scott advisors recommend consolidating agencies into one, big health dept.

Gov. Rick Scott should reverse the work of Gov. Lawton Chiles 20 years ago, when he pushed for the separation of the state's social service agencies, and get back to a large Department of Health and Human Services, Scott's health care advisory team told him in a 68-page report on Monday.

The goal of the mega-agency would be to better coordinate overlapping functions now handled by the current Departments of Health, Elder Affairs, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities and Agency for Health Care Administration as the state attempts to reform the delivery of Medicaid services.

One proposal, submitted Monday Scott’s health care advisory team headed by Alan Levine, calls for sweeping changes in how the state delivers Medicaid and urges a continuation of many of the programs advanced by Levine when he was advising former Gov. Jeb Bush.

Continue reading "Scott advisors recommend consolidating agencies into one, big health dept." »

Pro-embargo PAC toasts Lincoln Diaz-Balart

The annual luncheon of the pro-embargo U.S. Cuba Democracy PAC brought a parade of elected officials to the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables Monday, mostly to toast the departing Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, and to breathe a collective sigh of relief that a Democratic-controlled Congress did not lift trade and travel restrictions to the communist island.

Sen. Bob Menendez, a Cuban-American Democrat from New Jersey, got choked p when praising Diaz-Balart, whom he called "one of the most extraordinary people I have known in public life."

"When it comes to the topic of Cuba, first comes Cuba and then comes the party," Menendez said.

Continue reading "Pro-embargo PAC toasts Lincoln Diaz-Balart" »

Poll: Bill Nelson in good shape for releection? As long as Jeb doesn't run

From Public Policy Polling, a Dem-leaning North Carolina firm: "Last week we found that Sherrod Brown had a 40/37 approval rating and was in deep trouble for reelection. This week we found that Bill
Nelson has a 36/33 approval rating.

"You would expect with such similar numbers to Brown, Nelson would be in big trouble as well. But the Florida Senate numbers we'll release tomorrow show that Nelson isn't in nearly as much danger as Brown, so long as Jeb Bush doesn't run against him. The difference between Brown's standing and Nelson's is an
example of the fact that not all approval numbers are created equal- even if they are virtually identical."

Read more here.