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241 posts from September 2012

September 26, 2012

UF schedules 'Conversation with Florida Governors' Oct. 12

The Florida Law Review announces its second annual gathering of Florida's living governors with a lecture entitled “Florida’s Future: A Conversation with Florida Governors,” in the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, Oct. 12 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM.

The program will feature Govs. Reubin Askew, Bob Graham, Bob Martinez, Buddy MacKay and Charlie  Crist. Absent will be former Gov. Jeb Bush and former Gov. Wayne Mixson, governor for three days during the transition of Graham from governor to the U.S. Senate. The governors will discuss "critical issues facing Florida,'' according to the press release.

The program is part of the Allen L. Poucher Legal Education Series Poucher Legal Education Series, a forum for prominent legal, political, and business leaders to discuss pressing issues facing our nation and the world today. 

Ben Diamond, former Florida Law Review editor-in-chief, will serve as the moderator.

For additional information or to submit a question to the panel of governors, contact the Florida Law Review at www.FloridaLawReview.com or 352-273-0670.

Q poll: Another day another poll showing Nelson up, Gov. Scott struggling

Here are the numbers in Florida from today's Quinnipiac/New York Times poll on the U.S. Senate race: Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson leads U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, the Republican challenger, 53 – 39 percent.

Florida voters continue their disapproval of the job Gov. Rick Scott is doing: 48 – 38 percent. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio gets a 47 – 27 percent favorability while former Gov. Charlie Crist gets a split 40 – 40 percent favorability.

“If Gov. Charlie Crist is contemplating a political comeback, he is neither in great or terrible shape. Overall voters are split on whether they view him favorably or unfavorably,” said pollster Peter Brown.

Gaetz slams lobbyists and takes aim at AIF for tactics in opposing his candidates

Don GaetzIt is the talk of Tallahassee: Incoming Senate President Don Gaetz arrived in Orlando to accept an award from a business lobbying group and then banned two lobbyists from his office for orchestrating attacks on his candidates in the Republican primary.

Gaetz's scolding of the Associated Industries of Florida also included chastising them for not contributing enough money to his slate of candidates in the primary.

The admonition, in a town where legislative access is currency, hardball politics is routine and presiding officers are as close to royalty as it gets, also sent shivers through the lobbying corps. Few want to talk about it.

Gaetz, an amiable senior senator from the Panhandle town of Niceville, told the Times/Herald he wanted to send a message.

"I don't have a problem with hard-hitting campaigns, but families are off limits,'' Gaetz said in recounting the story this week.

Continue reading "Gaetz slams lobbyists and takes aim at AIF for tactics in opposing his candidates" »

FL Q Poll: Obama 53% – Romney 44%; a 1-month 6-point shift in Dem's favor

Though his 9-point lead looks impressive, President Obama's apparent edge over Republian Mitt Romney has a smaller -- yet more significant figure -- to pay attention to in the latest poll: 6 percentage points.

That's the shift in Obama's favor in a month between two Quinnipiac University polls. Other polls are picking up the same momentum.

Good for Obama. Bad for Romney.

Remember this about polling: It ain''t just the topline, it's the trend.

But the toplines, too, are troubling for Romney. Obama's 9-point lead is well outside the 2.8% error margin for the poll.

From Quinnipiac:

President Barack Obama is over the magic 50 percent mark and tops Gov. Mitt Romney among likely voters by 9 to 12 percentage points in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to a Quinnipiac University/ CBS News/New York Times Swing State Poll released today.

Voters in each state see President Obama as better than Gov. Romney to handle the economy, health care, Medicare, national security, an international crisis and immigration. Romney ties or inches ahead of the president on handling the budget deficit. Matching Obama against Romney in each of these key states – no one has won the White House since 1960 without taking at least two of them – shows:

Florida: Obama leads Romney 53 – 44 percent, compared to 49 – 46 percent August 23;

Ohio: Obama over Romney 53 – 43 percent, compared to 50 – 44 percent August 23;

Pennsylvania: Obama tops Romney 54 – 42 percent, unchanged from 53 – 42 percent

More here

For the wonks:

DRI % breakdown in this poll: 35-27-33. 

DRI % breakdown in 08 exits: 37-34-29.

Republicans will complain the poll undersamples Republicans. That argument, in the face of numerous polls showing no real gains for Romney in quite some time, is getting tougher to make for the Romney camp, which says it has a turnout machine. But so do Dems, who registered more than 200,000 new voters this election season compared to 44,000 registered by the GOP in Florida.

September 25, 2012

Rick Scott's education road show was nice, but advocates want specifics

It will take more than a listening tour to convince education advocates across Florida that Gov. Rick Scott is on their side.

They are wary, skeptical even, of the man they've mostly seen as an adversary for the past two years. Now, they wait to see what kind of policies Scott proposes for the 2013 legislative session and budget and whether his decisions reflect their advice.

"We were actually thrilled when finally he realized that we are the right persons to go to when you're asking about parents," said Eileen Segal, president of the Florida PTA, who met with the governor a couple of weeks ago. "We're hoping that this is only the first of many conversations."

Segal said she is willing to trust Scott but is waiting to see what he does.

"We're watching," she said. "That's all I can say; we're watching."

Read more about how education advocates are responding to Scott's listening tour here.

Sternad talks to FBI: David Rivera called 'The Gangster,' secretly behind campaign

Justin Lamar Sternad, whose failed congressional campaign became the subject of a federal grand-jury investigation, has told the FBI that U.S. Rep. David Rivera was secretly behind his run for office, The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald have learned.

Sternad, 35, also told authorities that his campaign manager, Ana Sol Alliegro, acted as the conduit between the campaign and Rivera, who allegedly steered unreported cash to the Democrat’s campaign, according to sources familiar with the investigation and records shared with The Herald.

Sternad said Alliegro referred to the congressman by his initials, “D.R.,” and called him by the nickname, “The Gangster.”

“We will respond when these so-called ‘sources’ are willing to go on the record,” said attorney Michael R. Band, who represents Rivera. “We are not going to respond to unfounded rumors and innuendo. My client is in the middle of an election and it’s unfair for us to be shadow-boxing with unnamed sources.”

Sternad’s account to federal authorities supports what two campaign vendors told The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald: that the congressman was the driver behind a botched attempt to plant a candidate in the District 26 congressional primary.

More here

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/09/25/3021207/rivera-ran-secret-campaign-sternad.html#storylink=cpy

Consumer confidence: Gov. Scott highlights improving economic indicators

Florida received some good news about the economy Tuesday, and Gov. Rick Scott pointed to signs of growing consumer confidence as "evidence that our state is moving in the right direction."

The University of Florida consumer confidence index ranked Florida at a five-year high on Tuesday, finding that more and more consumers see their finances and the overall economy as headed in the right direction.

The news came on the same day that Case-Shiller found that home prices in South Florida were up 5 percent over last year. 

“While we still have more work to do, we see that our economy continues to improve. Last week, we learned that 28,000 more Floridians found jobs in the private sector in August and are now able to provide for their families,” Scott said in a statement. “The fact that Florida’s consumer confidence is at a five-year high is more good news and evidence that our state is moving in the right direction.”

“While we still have more work to do, we see that our economy continues to improve. Last week, we learned that 28,000 more Floridians found jobs in the private sector in August and are now able to provide for their families,” Scott said in a statement. “The fact that Florida’s consumer confidence is at a five-year high is more good news and evidence that our state is moving in the right direction.”

While the improving sentiment about the economy may help improve Scott's image, it also could help Pres. Obama, who has seen a bump in recent Florida polls specifically on his ability to improve the economy. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has focused much of his Florida messaging on painting the state as a foreclosure-ridden, job-losing, poverty-plagued state on the decline.

As Romney's ads point out, there are still several problems with Florida's economy (e.g., a nation-leading long-term unemployment problem, a high foreclosure rate, etc.), but the rising consumer confidence could signal brighter days ahead for the state.



Duval health director at center of TB outbreak retires

Dr. Bob Harmon, chairman of the Duval County Health Department, announced his retirement today. Harmon and other state Department of Health officials have been criticized in recent weeks for their response to a deadly tuberculosis outbreak among the state's homeless population.

His resignation comes after a series of stories from the Florida Times-Union and Palm Beach Post that criticized the state and Duval County officials for failing to notify the public of the outbreak or respond to inquiries about how it was being handled.

harmon's last day is Wednesday. Volusia County Health Department Director Dr. Bonnie Sorensen will serve as interim health director for Duval County.

Here is the statement from Florida Surgeon General John Armstrong announcing Harmon's retirement:

Continue reading "Duval health director at center of TB outbreak retires" »

Obama plays the 47% card against Romney in new ad

The Obama campaign announced a new ad today that plays up Mitt Romney's caught-on-camera remarks disparaging the 47 percent of people who don't pay income taxes. The ad, which suggests Romney is waging class warfare on cops and the elderly, compares the remarks with Romney's newly released tax records showing he paid 14 percent of his income. "Romney paid just 14 percent in taxes last year," a narrator says. "On over 13 million in income. Almost all from investments."

From the Romney camp: “President Obama’s policies have devastated the middle class. And his tax increases on middle-class families and small businesses will only make things worse. Mitt Romney will help middle-class families by lowering tax rates across the board, spurring growth and investment, creating 12 million jobs, and finally getting this country on the right track again.” – Jeff Bechdel Romney Spokesman

PPP and WaPo polls: Nelson expanding lead over Mack

Two Democrat-leaning polls, Public Policy Polling and the Wasington Post, are out with new polls today showing U.S. Bill Nelson widening the margin against Congressman Connie Mack IV. Just as the Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times poll of last week showed, Mack's odds of unseating the incumbent Democrat are slipping away.

Download PPP_Release_FL_925

From the Washington Post:

Continue reading "PPP and WaPo polls: Nelson expanding lead over Mack " »