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239 posts from June 2011

June 29, 2011

For Miami-Dade race, a radio post-mortem

The post-mortem on the Miami-Dade mayoral election played out on Wednesday over the Spanish-language radio airwaves.

Mayor-elect Carlos Gimenez appeared on WQBA-AM (1140)'s Prohibido Callarse, a show he had ignored during the campaign. On Wednesday, he didn't explain his absence.

"Let's talk about the future instead of the past," Gimenez said. "This campaign ended yesterday...I'm going to be willing to come before these microphones.

"I'm not going to be a person like the previous mayor, who would hide," he added. By way of explanation for his absence, Gimenez spoke generally about "media" calling him a "Communist" and questioning his Cuban roots. "That's personal," he said.

Then he again mentioned ousted ex-Mayor Carlos Alvarez.

"I'm not going to repeat the errors that Mayor Alvarez made," he said. Then he sought to lower expectations on what's bound to be a challenging term ahead. "Every now and then I'm going to make a mistake, or we're going to have different opinions," he said.

Continue reading "For Miami-Dade race, a radio post-mortem" »

Sen. Don Gaetz's crowning as Senate president is set

Sen. Don Gaetz's ascension to the Senate presidency came one step closer Wednesday when Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, announced that the Republican from Niceville will be offically designated to the post for the 2013-2014 term during ceremonies on Sept. 19. 

"Senator Gaetz is supported by an overwhelming majority of his colleagues in the Republican caucus," Haridopolos said in a prepared statement. "By his accomplishments and his service to others, he has gained the confidence and respect of the Senate and is more than ready for the responsibilities of leading our chamber and our state."
Gaetz serves as chairman of the Senate Reapportionment Committee and head of the Senate’s appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over transportation, trade, tourism and economic development. 
"I am deeply grateful to my fellow senators for the honor of a lifetime and to President Haridopolos for his example of unswerving conservative leadership," Gaetz said in a news release.  "Being Republican Senate President-designate is a privilege which I realize must be earned and re-earned every day."
Designation events will include a prayer breakfast in the Senate chamber in the old Capitol and a 3 p.m. ceremony on the Senate floor in the new Capitol, followed by a public reception.
Don Gaetz was elected in 2006 and re-elected in 2010.  His Northwest Florida district includes Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton and Bay counties.  Immediately prior to his Senate service he was the elected Superintendent of Schools of Okaloosa County.  Gaetz co-founded Florida-based VITAS Healthcare Corporation, the nation’s largest provider of hospice care until he and his partners sold the company in 2004.
Gaetz and his wife, Vicky, live in Niceville and have two adult children:  Erin, an editor and sports journalist in New York City, and Matt, a Fort Walton Beach attorney elected in 2011 as a state representative from Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties.  Don and Matt are the first father/son, senator/representative team serving simultaneously in the state’s history. 

September is Republican month in Florida

Hide, liberals.

September is Republican month in Florida.

On Sept. 12, CNN and the Tea Party Express will host a Republican presidential debate at the State Fairgrounds in Tampa.

On Sept. 22, the Republican Party of Florida hosts its Presidency 5 presidential debate in Orlando

On Sept. 23, the American Conservative Union holds its Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando featuring tea-party wonders Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Allen West.

On Sept. 24, RPOF's Presidency 5 event holds a straw poll for the presidential candidates.


The Dream Act. The troops. And why Bill Nelson is tough to beat

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson has a knack for finding the 50 percent plus 1 formula that seems to guarantee a win. The case of Navy Reserves Petty Officer Elisha Dawkins a perfect example of how Nelson does it.

Dawkins has been in a downtown Miami lockup for more than a month on a felony charge for not disclosing in a 2006 U.S. Passport application that he started to apply for a passport three years earlier. Even the lock-em-up U.S. Attorney's Office is a little nervous about the case. So it has offered a rare chance to settle the case, as the Miami Herald reported.

Nelson took to the Senate floor, highlighted the outrage and said it underscored the need for a path-to-citizenship law like the so-called Dream Act. Politically speaking, this is at least a two-fer for Nelson; he can stand up for the troops and support an immigration reform that won't outrage Hispanics, one of the fastest-growing electoral demographics in the state:

A federal indictment says the serviceman failed to acknowledge he'd once applied for a passport when filling out a new application - something prosceutors call passport fraud; something his public defender calls an innocent oversight.

Mr. Dawkins now faces up to 10 years in prison, if he's convicted.

All John Dillinger served in prison was 8 ½ years on a conviction for assault and battery with intent to rob and conspiracy to commit a felony.

According to his lawyer, he came to this country from the Bahamas when he was just a kid.  His mother brought him here.  And he’s still not a U.S. citizen....

Mr. President, some have wonder whether passage of the Dream Act might have prevented something like this from happening in the first place.  That legislation would grant legal status to some undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children and who join the military.   Let’s finally pass it.

In closing, let me read from a letter to the Miami Herald editor from Sandra Wallace, of Coconut Grove, Florida.

“Elisha Dawkins … served seven years in the military in both Iraq and Guantánamo, where he … was awarded medals for his behavior, yet he’s being held in federal lockup awaiting deportation to the Bahamas.  This man thought he was a U.S. citizen because his relatives told him he was when he came here as a young child.   Our military was certainly glad to consider him a citizen.

“Mr. President, the Dream Act would allow the U.S. government to consider as a citizen someone who – like Mr. Dawkins – was brought here as a child and wants to serve in the military.  I yield the floor."

Putnam: No plans (now) to run for governor

Despite Gov. Rick Scott's rock-bottom poll numbers, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam says he has no plans to challenge Scott for the Republican nomination for governor in 2014. Putnam, a former member of Congress who is viewed as a rising star in state politics, told reporters he is "not giving consideration" to a run for governor (of course, a lot can change between now and then).

"I'm very happy as Florida's commissioner of agriculture, and looking forward to continue to serve as Florida's commissioner of agriculture if the people will have me," Putnam said. Pressed to give a yes-or-no answer, he added: "No, I'm not giving consideration to running for governor."

-- Steve Bousquet

Is the $30 million stockpile for redistricting fact or fiction?

The Orlando Sentinel has written multiple times about $30 million available in the house that can be used for redistricting.

But at a recent public hearing about redistricting, State Rep. Will Weatherford denied such a stockpile of money exists.

"There is no $30 million pot of money. That doesn't exist. ... Your tax dollars are not being spent on anything like that. There is no large pot of money out there that is fighting anything."

Does the pot of money exist? Read PolitiFact to find out.





PPPoll: Bill Nelson's just "mediocre" enough to win

From Public Policy Polling, a firm that typically surveys for Democrats and liberal groups

Different month, same story when it comes to Bill Nelson's poll numbers: his approval rating is mediocre but he has a double digit lead over all of his Republican opponents.

38% of voters approve of the job Nelson's doing to 31% who disapprove. The most striking number continues to be those with no opinion- even after more than a decade in the Senate 31% don't feel strongly enough to rate Nelson one way or another.

Nelson continues to have solid numbers with independents (43/29) and 27% of the Republicans who have an opinion about him approve of the job he's doing, well ahead of the curve for your average Democratic Senator. What holds down his overall numbers is a lack of enthusiasm for him from his own party base- just 53% of Democrats give him good marks to 19% who disapprove. You're usually going to see a Senator more in the 70-80% approval range within his own party.

Democrats may not be in love with Nelson- but they're still pretty strongly committed to voting for him- and that combined with a persistent lead with independents gives him a double digit advantage over his potential Republican foes. He's up 11 points on George LeMieux at 46-35 and has identical 12 point leads over Mike Haridopolos and Adam Hasner at 47-35. Nelson pulls in 13-14% of the GOP vote in each of those match ups while losing only 7-8% of the Democrats. He also leads independents by a small margin over LeMieux (3 points) and a wider one over Haridopolos and Hasner (15 points.)

 Full analysis here

Charlie Crist, the once and (future?) governor

Interesting post by blogger Peter Schorsch on the new mood of Crist-o-philia:

“Hey, Governor, please, PLEASE, run again,” said the hundredth or so person to shake hands with Charlie Crist last Saturday at the ‘Hands Across the Sand’ event in St. Pete Beach.

“It’s just Charlie,” replies the once-and-future Governor, who, although he won’t say it, appears to have gained a much-needed five pounds on his decidedly thin frame.

If Charlie Crist is one thing right now, it’s a happily married man.  The former state Senator, Commissioner of Education, Attorney General and Governor was a bachelor for much of his time in public life, but for the last three years, Charlie Crist has been a husband and step-father.  And, just as it is for most any man, the wonders of family life have matured Crist for the better.

So, whether it be because he is out of office or because of the joys of marriage or just because he is closer to sunset than sunrise, Charlie Crist is a very different man than he was only a few years ago.

Full blog here

One rebuttal: The piece links to a propaganda blog that falsely sets up a straw man to knock it down. Consider this: "mainstreamers' stories continue to suggest the real job creation started not with Rick Scott's forays to California or Panama or Canada in his own plane, but as a natural turn in the economy and as a result of Governor Charlie's initiatives."


There's a reason there's no link to these "stories" (plural) that "continue" (a pattern). The "stories" plural don't seem to exist. So we Googled "Charlie Crist economy" and this headline "Charlie Crist fudging economy numbers. Again," caught our eye. It's from a from a certain mainstream blog, which chronicled Crist's troubles handling the economy.

Note the last blog link. In it, the Republican Party of Florida and an anonymous conservative blogger suggest the economy's turning around. So the narrative of things getting better under Crist started with the GOP and conservatives. Difference is: We in the mainstream media didn't buy it.

Jon Huntsman doin' some 'splainin' on blog,Twitter

From Republican Jon Huntsman's presidential campaign

Today, Jon Huntsman for President launches 2012RealityRoom.com and @RealityRoom on Twitter. The reality room is a searchable database that will outline Gov. Huntsman's record and position on issues and provide "reality checks" debunking false information being spread about Gov. Huntsman. Led by rapid response director Matt Connelly, the @RealityRoom Twitter feed will be a first of its kind real-time, national rapid responder setting the record straight with tweeters large and small on issues of the day. Jon Huntsman is running for President on his record of historic tax cuts, balancing budgets, signing free-market health care, and creating jobs. The Reality Room will cut through the spin and educate voters on Gov. Huntsman's strong record.


The strange p.r. strategy of Rick Scott

Rick Scott is the governor who doesn't care about poll numbers. But he still has a top-notch pollster (Tony Fabrizio) on his payroll.

Scott doesn't care about newspaper editorial boards. But his staff has solicited citizens to mail in pre-fab support letters to the editor.

Scott is the outsider. But he frequently attends D.C. beltway events and hired the ultimate Tallahassee insider (Steve MacNamara) to be his new staff chief.

Scott brushes off criticism. But his staff at the Republican Party of Florida is still robo-calling citizens to tout his accomplishments.

Politicians who act in a more nuanced fashion than they speak is nothing new, but the post-election robo-calls are a first. And, coupled with the letters-to-the-editor ploy that earned him a mocking spot on The Colbert Report, the strategy appears to be backfiring. A new poll shows he remains the nation's least-popular governor who would be handily beaten by his predecessor, Gov. Charlie Crist, or his previous opponent, Alex Sink. Of course, it's easier to do well in a poll. It's far tougher to best Scott at the polls. Just ask Sink.

Still, something odd is afoot. Here's today's story on the robo-calls.