April 15, 2014

Rick Scott: Charlie Crist's debate challenge is "laughable"

@MarcACaputo

“Give me Scott.”

Democrat Charlie Crist issued that implicit debate challenge to Gov. Rick Scott during an impromptu caught-on-video meeting with Lieutenant Governor Carlos-Lopez Cantera.

But Scott said Tuesday that he’s not ready to take up the challenge, noting that Crist has refused to debate his fellow Democrat, former Sen. Nan Rich.

“That’s laughable. Think about it. He has a primary,” Scott said.

“I’m sure it’s going to be enjoyable watching his debates with Nan Rich,” he said.

Continue reading "Rick Scott: Charlie Crist's debate challenge is "laughable"" »

SurveyUSA poll: Crist leads by 5% as Scott spends $5 million on TV ads

@MarcACaputo

A new SurveyUSA poll shows Democrat Charlie Crist leading Gov. Rick Scott by about 5 percentage points --and despite $5.2 million in ad buys from the Republican.

The likely voter poll, conducted for Tampa's WFLA station, jibes with about a dozen other recent public surveys except two:

1) An early April poll by Voter Survey Service, which often works for Republicans and was hired by conservative Sunshine State News. It showed Scott with an inside-the-error margin lead of 45-44 percent over Crist, the only survey showing Scott out front.

2) A mid-March poll by University of North Florida (which until the Voter Survey Service was the outlier) that showed Crist with the narrowest of inside-the-error-margin leads, 34-33 percent.  No recent survey has found both candidates pulling less than 40 percent of the vote.

In between those two surveys, St. Leo University released a poll in late March that Crist led Scott 43-39 percent.

And the day after the Voter Survey poll, liberal-leaning Public Policy Polling released its own numbers showing Crist ahead of Scott 49-42 percent.

Considering all those polls, SurveyUSA's numbers of Crist leading Scott 46-41 percent is no shocker.

Bottom line: Crist probably leads by 3-5 percentage points.

Continue reading "SurveyUSA poll: Crist leads by 5% as Scott spends $5 million on TV ads" »

Judge signs off on $1.6 billion Miami-Dade sewer-repairs mandate

@PatriciaMazzei

Years in the making, a legal agreement is finally in place requiring Miami-Dade County to make $1.6 billion in repairs over the next 15 years to its decaying sewer system.

A Miami federal judge has signed the consent decree between the county, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which was in the works for more than two years, though federal and state complaints date further back. The regulators accused Miami-Dade of violating pollution laws, including the Clean Water Act, by letting untreated sewage spill from its rupturing pipes and crumbling pump stations.

As part of the agreement, the county will be required to meet deadlines for a slew of capital-improvement projects — some of which have already begun construction — or face fines.

For now, U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno, who entered the decree into the record last Wednesday, did not appoint a special master to oversee the agreement, as he had suggested and environmental activists who challenged the agreement had hoped.

More here.

Scott calls out Senate for low-balling child protection but defends gaps in his plan

Scott opa lockaGov. Rick Scott visited a Department of Children and Families service center in Opa-locka on Tuesday to tout additional funding and staffing for the troubled agency’s child protection system.

Surrounding by child abuse investigators and supervisors, Scott pledged again — as he did earlier this year — to commit about $39 million in new dollars to hire more staff and lower caseloads. He then chastised the Florida Senate for not including the money in its budget but defended gaps in his own child welfare proposal that advocates say leaves holes in the state's safety net.

“I am asking the Senate to do right by our children,” Scott said, after praising the work of local investigators.

The Senate has allocated $33.5 million in new money for child welfare programming but has not identified where the money will be used. The House has set aside more than the governor -- $44.5 million, enough to hire additional child protection investigators and provide $4.5 million in new money for support services. Both sides will meet next week to work out their differences. 

The budget increases have come in the wake of a Miami Herald investigation, Innocents Lost, that chronicled the deaths of 477 children over six years whose families had a history with DCF. The Herald review of the state budget over that six-year period also found that as the state budget grew by $10 billion, the resources devoted to child welfare dropped by $80 million.

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Charlie Crist is 'behind the eight ball," says Rick Scott's internal ground-game memo

@MarcACaputo

Remember yesterday's column about how Democrats' voter-registration edge isn't all it's cracked up to be? Well, neither is the party's ground game, according to the following memo from Gov. Rick Scott's Deputy Campaign Manager Tim Saler. Here it is:

FROM: Tim Saler, Deputy Campaign Manager
TO: Interested Parties
SUBJECT: First Stages of the 2014 Ground Game

As you may have seen, Charlie Crist’s campaign announced that they will be opening their Broward County office this week. While the details seem to change by the minute – a third personal residence for Crist in Fort Lauderdale became a field office opening Tuesday, which then turned into a South Florida headquarters opening Saturday – I thought this would be a good opportunity to update you on the early stages of our campaign’s ground game activities.

Continue reading "Charlie Crist is 'behind the eight ball," says Rick Scott's internal ground-game memo" »

Scott, Jindal and Perry pen letter to Obama on Medicare Advantage 'cuts'

@MarcACaputo

The Obama Administration's announced last week that it was reversing Medicare Advantage cuts used to help fund Obamacare, but three Republican governors say the privately run alternative to traditional Medicare is still getting dinged.

Is it true?

We've asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and gotten no response. Until then, we've put "cuts" in quotes.

Democrat Charlie Crist has weighed in with a statement trashing one of the signatories, Republican Gov. Rick Scott: "Rick Scott writing a letter asking the President to take action on Medicare Advantage after he already took action on Medicare Advantage is like him declaring that the Gators will win the National Championship in basketball. As much as I wanted it to be the truth, it's not."

"It would be nice if he focused on governing here in Florida and not spending all day, every day taking discredited pot shots at President Obama."

Here's the April 15 letter:

Continue reading "Scott, Jindal and Perry pen letter to Obama on Medicare Advantage 'cuts'" »

RGA features Rick Scott in "American Comeback" web spot

From an email:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Republican Governors Association today launched the next video of the American Comeback project, a national advertising effort designed to tell the success stories and accomplishments of Republican governors.

The newest video of the American Comeback project features Florida Governor Rick Scott. As governor, Scott readily calls upon the struggles his family experienced throughout his childhood as a driving force behind his resolve to create more jobs, more opportunity and more prosperity for the people of Florida.

View Governor Scott’s video here: http://www.rga.org/americancomeback/rick-scott/

“I don’t know my natural father. My mom got remarried a year or so after I was born. My adoptive father had a sixth-grade education. They struggled for money. I grew up in public housing,” said Governor Scott. “But I lived in America, and I had every opportunity there was.”

“I want our state to be number one:  the number one place for your family to get a job, the number one place for your children to get a great education,” added Governor Scott. “We’re going to have the jobs. We’re going to have the most growth.

“My mom and my dad wanted something better for me, and I want people to have the same shot I had,” said Governor Scott. “Republican governors are driving America’s comeback.”

The American Comeback project will grow to include more videos focused on individual Republican governors, their personal journeys and the progress they’ve made toward bringing prosperity to their states.

You can view previously released American Comeback videos featuring Republican governors here:  http://www.rga.org/americancomeback/the-american-comeback/.

"Give me Scott," Crist says after awkward handshake with Lopez-Cantera

@MarcACaputo

CristCLCCharlie Crist can’t resist small talk, a few cameras and a campaign stunt.

His one-time ally and current opponent, Lieutenant Governor Lopez-Cantera, found that out that hard way on Monday when he was assigned to shadow Crist at a Palm Beach County event and give Gov. Rick Scott’s response.

Crist stepped all over Lopez-Cantera’s message, however, as made plain in a 30-second Palm Beach Post video of an awkward exchange between the two. The Democrat interrupted the lieutenant governor’s press gaggle, shook his hand and then basically declared Lopez-Cantera not good enough to debate.

“Give me Scott,” Crist said as he walked away.

Basically, Crist disrupted the disruptor.

Here’s the breakdown, from the beginning:

Continue reading ""Give me Scott," Crist says after awkward handshake with Lopez-Cantera" »

April 14, 2014

WCTV: We take 'full responsibility,' apologize to Crist, Morgan for ad error that led to RPOF complaint

@MarcACaputo

A Tallahassee CBS affiliate issued a public apology to Democrat Charlie Crist and his employer, Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan, for mistakenly running an ad that led to a Republican Party complaint because the spot violated campaign rules.

"WCTV wants to apologize to both Mr. Morgan and Mr. Crist for inadvertently airing a commercial that we were not instructed to air," the station said in an unsigned letter issued by General Manager Heather Peeples.

"The station receives many commercials from Morgan & Morgan and accidently typed in the wrong commercial code, causing the error," the letter said. "WCTV accepts full responsibility for this human error. Per the request of Morgan & Morgan, all commercials have been removed from WCTV’s air until further notice."

Barring any further evidence, then, it appears the RPOF complaint is moot. And a previous complaint about Morgan & Morgan's billboard ads appears to be going nowhere as well.

Miami Dade College board backs Padron

@NewsbySmiley

The Miami Dade College District Board of Trustees on Monday made clear their "unequivocal support" of college president Eduardo Padron following his public, personal spat with several powerful local lawmakers.

Padron set off a firestorm last week when he criticized four Republican politicians he said were trying to kill a bill that would infuse the college's starved coffers with as much as $1 billion. The bill would allow Miami-Dade voters to cast ballots on a half-cent sales tax over five years, which would mostly fund college construction projects.

Padron said four Republican lawmakers, including Rep. Jose Oliva, were actively fighting a bill that would help their hometown. He labeled them "bullies"and "ideologues" and at one point ripped Oliva - slated to become House Speaker in four years - as a college dropout.

In response, 11 members of the Miami-dade delegation penned a letter demanding an apology and condemning Padron's "uncivilized discourse."They said Padron had done more damage than good for the college's funding hopes.

Padron followed with his own letter, in which he apologized for getting too personal with his comments, though not to any one lawmaker. Rep. Eddy Gonzalez, the Hialeah Republican who chairs the Miami-Dade delegation, said the apology didn't go far enough and should have been addressed to individuals.

On Monday, Miami Dade College's seven-member board of trustees took a vote and reaffirmed their unanimous support of Padron, and of the bill the college is pushing for a sales tax referendum.

"The Board fully supports the College's efforts to ensure that MDC secures the necessary resources to effectively serve the students and the larger community of Miami-Dade County,"the board's members said in their statement. "In addition, the Board reaffirmed unequivocal support for MDC President Dr. Eduardo J. Padron and his leadership of the institution."

Board chairwoman Helen Aguirre Ferre said late Monday that the board regretted Padron's comments and wanted to move past the trouble they'd caused. But she said his standing with the board of trustees was never in jeopardy.

"That's never been the case," she said. "I've not heard one board member even suggest that."

Rather, she said the board remains focused on finding more money to support the college and its 175,000 students, and trustees wanted to show that Padron remains a "strong leader."

"The board just wants to make that clear," she said, "in case there was any doubt."

This post was updated with Ferre's comments.