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Posted by Ed Candela 
January 20, 2011 11:16AM
1000 Friends’ Pattison concludes, “Not only do these recommendations protect natural lands and streamline planning programs, but they also are in the best interest of the taxpayers of Florida as we all work to achieve the quickest possible economic recovery.”

Huh? Gobbledegook!

While the '1000 Friends' is far from being an environmental steward, the other groups are far from pure also.
Check out [www.counterpunch.org]

From the Wall Street Journal

The Eight States Running Out of Homebuyers

#8 Florida

Vacancy Rate: 21.03% (2nd Worst)
2010 Foreclosures: 5.51% (3rd Worst)
Decrease in Building Permits 2006-2010: -81.37% (3rd Worst)

Unemployment in Florida is 12%, the fourth worst in the country. Approximately 1.1 million residents are out of work. Statistics show that 21.03% of the state's housing units are vacant. Furthermore, 5.51% of homes have been foreclosed upon. Florida was among five states that had the largest real estate booms from 2000 to 2006. Residential prices in some waterfront areas like Miami and Palm Beach rose by much more than double during that period. New home and condominium construction soared. Many of those residences have never been occupied and are still part of the inventory of homes for sale.


1) Vacancy rates for 2010 -- American Community Survey (Census Bureau)
2) Foreclosure rates for 2010 -- RealtyTrac
3) November 2010 unemployment rates -- Bureau of Labor Statistics
4) Change in building permits from 2006 to 2010 -- Census Bureau
5) Change in population from 2005 to 2010 -- Census Bureau
6) Price reduction by cities for 2010 -- Trulia

So let's build some more hi-rise condos, subdivisions and big box stores. That'll work.confused smiley

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/27/2011 03:42PM by Ed Candela.
Rick Scott puts young campaign staffers in high-profile, in-house lobbying jobs
January 25, 2011 11:47AM
By Katie Sanders, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau
In Print: Tuesday, January 25, 2011
(OP: emphasis added)

TALLAHASSEE — One kept track of Gov. Rick Scott's inauguration invitations and donations. Another led his campaign field operations in Orlando. A third was a "tracker" who videotaped opponents for campaign research, about a year after he was fired from the Republican Party of Florida for misconduct.

These and other young foot soldiers in Scott's campaign are being rewarded with high-profile jobs as legislative affairs directors, or in-house lobbyists, in agencies under Scott's control.

Directors traditionally serve as liaisons between the Legislature and the agencies it funds. They are expected to know an agency's inner workings, offer advice on relevant bills and provide timely information to lawmakers.

As a candidate, Scott called it wasteful for the state to employ dozens of lobbyists. On MSNBC in August, Scott said: "That's not what state governments ought to be doing."

But as governor, he's using those positions to reward political supporters. The appointments reflect a desire by Scott to have more involvement in hiring practices at state agencies.

Their mission, Scott said, will be to carry out his agenda. Most are earning thousands less than their predecessors.

"We're bringing in people that believe in what I ran on or what I believe in, and that are hard-working," he said, "and they're going to go try to make sure that what I ran on is the agenda that gets implemented."

Asked if he saw validity to these positions now, he said: "The ones we've hired. … I feel good about the ones we've hired."

Here are some of them, all with experience on campaigns but none with the agency to which they were assigned:

• Jason Evans, 27, Department of Health, at a salary of $60,000. A Marine Corps veteran, Evans briefly ran Scott's northwest Florida field office before doing site advance at campaign events.

• Christopher Chaney, 28, Agency for Health Care Administration, $60,000. The state Republican Party paid Chaney, a former Bill McCollum staffer, $9,000 for voter turnout efforts during the campaign.

• Curt Siegmeister, 22, Agency for Workforce Innovation, $58,122. A recent University of Florida graduate, Siegmeister made $13,000 for contract work for the Republican Party last fall, and coordinated inaugural invitations and payments.

• Michael Manley, 30, Department of Lottery, $60,000. Manley earned $7,900 for leading campaign field operations for Scott.

• Anthony Bonna, 23, Department of State, $48,000. A recent Georgetown University graduate, Bonna banked $3,200 from the Republican Party for mining opposition research on Scott's gubernatorial run.

Then there's Tim Nungesser, the 29-year-old former campaign tracker now in charge of legislative affairs at the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. He made news in November 2009 when the Republican Party of Florida fired him as director of field operations for creating a fake Twitter account that impersonated a critic of the state party. His post comes with a $65,000 salary.

Scott's team hired other campaign staffers for traditionally high-ranking positions in agencies' legislative affairs offices.

Alex Melendez, Scott's inaugural tickets and invitations coordinator and the campaign's field consultant in Tampa Bay, is now a title management analyst at the Department of Corrections, earning a $36,000 salary. Melendez, 20, replaced a person who had worked at the department for 21 years and made $70,000 a year.

Orlando Pryor got a similar position at the Agency for Health Care Administration after providing "site advance" for the inaugural committee and coordinating grass roots efforts in northeast Florida. Pryor, 21, graduated from the University of North Florida in July.

The campaign workers-turned-legislative affairs directors either did not respond to e-mails from Times/Herald reporters or redirected questions to Brian Burgess, the governor's communications director.

Scott has defended the hires, saying, "We interviewed. We found the best people we could."

A few directors that Scott hired do have experience in the field:

• Allen Mortham Jr., the 37-year-old son of former Secretary of State Sandy Mortham, will earn a $75,000 salary at the Department of Corrections. Mortham, a registered lobbyist, has represented the Public Service Commission, Department of Business and Professional Regulation and other clients over the last decade. He was a corrections officer from 1995 to 1997.

• Darrick McGhee, 33, will earn $85,000 at the Department of Education. McGhee previously held that position at the departments of Business and Professional Regulation and Elder Affairs. He was also internships director for former Gov. Jeb Bush.

• William Booher, 29, moves from the Department of Emergency Management's external affairs office to the agency's legislative affairs position with an $85,000 salary. He has worked for the Federal Emergency Management Agency in New Orleans.

Rep. Rick Kriseman, D-St. Petersburg, said he has always found legislative affairs directors to be extremely knowledgeable about the legislative process.

Hiring young outsiders could be problematic, he said.

"I can understand that as a leader, you want people who are going to follow your directions," Kriseman said. "But at the same time, to me, good leaders surround themselves with good people, and people who aren't just 'yes men.' People who know the subject matter for which they've been trained."

"To not have that is certainly, I think, going to be very interesting."
January 27, 2011 03:29PM
An end run around will of the voters

In Print: Thursday, January 27, 2011

Florida voters made their intentions clear when they amended the state Constitution in November to change how legislative and congressional districts are drawn. Yet Gov. Rick Scott — under the guise of reviewing all new regulations — quietly and abruptly halted the state's effort to have the changes blessed under the U.S. Voting Rights Act. Amendments 5 and 6 aren't some rogue agency's misguided rulemaking; they are constitutional amendments approved by nearly 63 percent of voters in November. Scott and Republican lawmakers should respect the will of the people instead of throwing up legal and procedural roadblocks.

For years now, the state's Republican leadership and associated special interests have tried to thwart the citizens petitions put forth by Fair Districts Now. The self-interested reason is obvious. The changes under Amendments 5 and 6 ban legislative leaders from drawing legislative and congressional districts to benefit a political party or candidate. That means a fundamental change when the once-a-decade reapportionment takes place next year. Ambitious lawmakers won't be able to ensure their continued election to the Legislature or promotion to Congress by tailoring districts to benefit themselves.

Now Scott has joined the stalling tactics and invited litigation from Amendment 5 and 6 backers. Three days after taking office, the governor wrote a letter to the U.S. Justice Department withdrawing the state's Dec. 10 application for "preclearance," a requirement under a 1965 federal voting rights law that applies whenever there are voting changes proposed in five Florida counties: Collier, Hardee, Hendry, Hillsborough and Monroe.

Days later Scott named Kurt Browning, who campaigned against Amendments 5 and 6, as secretary of state. And while Scott hasn't ruled out resubmitting the application for preclearance, the delay appears to conflict with federal law that voting changes be submitted "as soon as possible after they become final." That would be Nov. 16, the day the Nov. 2 election was certified.

News of Scott's actions didn't break until this week, after state House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, once again thumbed his nose at voters by joining the self-interested lawsuit filed by two Florida U.S. House members who claim Amendment 6 will undercut minority representation in Florida's congressional delegation. The NAACP and the overwhelming majority of the Florida Conference of Black State Legislators reject that notion.

Cannon was also the mastermind behind the Legislature's earlier scheme to put a poison pill on the November ballot to kill Amendments 5 and 6 even if they were approved. The Florida Supreme Court appropriately removed that amendment because it was unclear, and now Cannon is taking his anger out on the judicial system.

What do Cannon and other Republican legislators fear? Competitive elections. The changes under Amendments 5 and 6 are radical only because voters would finally see more choices on the ballot in more competitive districts. That is what Florida voters overwhelmingly approved in the same election where they more narrowly elected Scott. It's time for the governor to respect all of the election results, not just the ones he likes.

Arrogant state House tries to throw out 'fair districts' rule

By Howard Troxler, Times Columnist
In Print: Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hey, you and I are being sued for the way we voted in November.

Well, in a sense.

Actually the state is being sued for the way that we voted. But of course that's costing us as taxpayers.

And who is taking us to court?

Our own state Legislature, or at least the House half of it.

The House wants a federal judge to throw out one of the "fair districts" amendments passed by Florida voters.

Let's recap.

The Florida House of Representatives.

That we just elected.

Is taking the state of Florida to federal court.

To overturn a constitutional amendment that was just passed by more than 60 percent of Florida voters.

At our expense.


To be precise, the House is trying to join a lawsuit already filed by two of Florida's members of Congress, who say among other things that the state amendment conflicts with the federal Voting Rights Act, which protects the rights of minorities.

There were two "fair districts" amendments passed in November, one for the Legislature, the other for Florida's seats in Congress.

Both declared that districts in Florida can no longer be drawn "to favor or disfavor" one political party or an incumbent politician.

In other words: no more "gerrymandering," the term for rigging a political map.

The state House's legal attack is against only the fair districts rule for Congress. It has not come up with a scheme yet for getting rid of fair districts for itself.

The House's claim is based on a phrase from the U.S. Constitution, which says in Article I, Section 4:

The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof.

Notice that phrase, "the Legislature thereof."

Not the voters of a state. Not the state Constitution. The House's claim is that nobody else in Florida, and certainly not the idiot public, can get in the Legislature's way.

What the heck. Maybe they'll win.

Maybe they'll be able to throw out the will of the voters after all. Maybe they'll have a little party for themselves. Maybe a nice toast.

But I have a question for Dean Cannon, the speaker of the House of Representatives.

Are you proud of doing this?

Same question for every other member of the House, and especially the ones who just got elected.

Are you proud? Really? This is why you ran for office, so you could go to court to throw out what the people just told you to do?

Were the voters geniuses when they elected you, but ignorant fools when they got a little ways down the ballot and voted for fair districts too?

Here is the solution, if the House thinks there is something technically wrong with Amendment 6:

The House should adopt the identical standards for itself of its own volition.

The House should pledge to live up to what the people of Florida overwhelmingly said they wanted.

Instead of taking the people of Florida to court.

Really, you 120 members of the Florida House? This is your proud moment? This is your public service? This is why you ran for office? Really?


OP: Has the word "Dictators" crossed anyone's mind yet?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/27/2011 03:33PM by Ed Candela.
January 29, 2011 09:04PM
"OP: Has the word "Dictators" crossed anyone's mind yet?"

That's the kewl thing about the internet Ed;
They all get to stand before us in town halls and on the campaign trail in a mere 1.5 years,
ASKING FOR OUR VOTES...while getting to explain theirs for this debacle.

FYI, having a little experience in the Federal Court Realm (like YoU as I recall spinning smiley sticking its tongue out ), I'd venture to say this case WON'T Be Resolved before they're all pounding the pavement/pressing the flesh begging for our VOTES again....

and with any luck, there may just be a little hell to pay!

We have 3 tiers in government...ironically, the Judicial Branch is often the Slowest Acting versus Legislative or Executive. Much like charter amendments with municipalities and (most) counties...I agree with the author...the EASY remedy was to simply DO what the voters had Requested.
Simple...never the goverment option; ever.

January 30, 2011 11:33AM
Earlier in this thread Mr. Peters said:

"Hopefully we'll get Amendment 4 passed; hopefully Mr. Scott will reconsider once he's noticed that
Florida is the home of "home town corruption" (regarding developers & development) that no other state can rival;

Whatever you had against Ms. Sink pales in comparison to the damage this administration and legislature are gonna do to everything that's decent. For example, here's a case where a governor's veto could save the day (don't count on Scott):

New state law would halt tough local fertilizer statutes

By Virginia Chamlee | 01.27.11 | 11:44 am
A new piece of legislation filed Tuesday by state Rep. Clay Ingram, R-Pensacola, aims to amend current fertilizer management statues in Florida, a move that environmenalists say is yet another effort at environmental deregulation, and a hypocritical one at that.

f enacted, House Bill 457 would disallow certain counties and municipalities from adopting fertilizer management practices “more stringent than standards of specified model ordinance.” Essentially, local ordinances would not be allowed to be more stringent than state law. Current rules allow local governments to enact more stringent fertilizer regulations, so long as they can effectively demonstrate the need in a specific area.
In a statement released earlier today, the Florida Retail Federation (which endorsed Ingram’s bid for state representative) came out in support of Ingram’s efforts:

Presently, in some areas of our state, consumers and retailers face a complicated patchwork of local fertilizer ordinances that vary from county to county, and in some cases, city to city. Continuing down this path of inconsistent regulations would be potentially very costly to retailers and this legislation, filed today by Rep. Clay Ingram (R-Pensacola), would work to remedy this flawed process. #

But Jimmy Orth, executive director of the St. Johns Riverkeeper, says the legislation is a move backward for a state already plagued by the effects of pollution. #
“Considering the poor condition of so many of our waterways and the extensiveness of the nutrient pollution problem, I am really surprised that legislators would be so shortsighted and so unresponsive to the significant problems we are facing,” Orth writes via email. ”Fertilizer ordinances can be an extremely cost-effective way to reduce nutrient loading. I would argue that an effective fertilizer ordinance will save taxpayers and benefit our economy much more than a bill favoring special interests and a relatively small segment of our business community. ”

Orth says the fertilizer bill is not only a major danger to the Florida ecology, but that the logic behind it is rife with hypocrisy.
“I would suspect that many of the legislators supporting this bill probably criticized the numeric nutrient standards for not being site-specific and allowing flexibility based on the unique characteristics of a body of water,” he writes.

Many who oppose the EPA’s numeric nutrient criteria argue that a one-size-fits-all approach can’t work within environmental legislation, and that site-specific criteria are necessary in a state where nutrient pollution varies from waterbody to waterbody.

One group that has used this reasoning in its opposition to the EPA’s nutrient criteria is Associated Industries of Florida, a business lobbying firm. Associated Industries has come out hard against the criteria in recent months, citing “bad science” and high costs as reasons they should be abandoned.

In a July 2010 press release, Associated Industries President Barney Bishop announced his group’s endorsement of Ingram, saying his vision of lowering taxes and “cutting government red tape” will help speed up an economic recovery.
When asked about his stance on the EPA’s nutrient criteria, Ingram says he finds them arbitrary: “Our side, the conservative side, is concerned with the science behind it. The bottom line is, it’s not fair for Florida.”

Rep. Ingram says his decision to file the fertilizer bill came from a dissatisfaction with the science behind current fertilizer mandates. “Very simply, a model ordinance plan was put in place using science from the [Florida Department of Environmental Protection] and other … well-known, established agencies,” he says. “But now individual counties are making their own rules. Pinellas County, where they are limiting the sale of fertilizer, was the eye of the storm for me.”

Ingram anticipates the bill passing in the House, but says there may be more of a fight in the Senate.

Though saddened by politicians’ continued reluctance to side with the environment, Orth says the bill is nothing new: “Unfortunately, it seems like our dismal economic situation is once again being used as a way to justify legislation that will actually create more pollution problems and cost us more money in the long run.”

End of thread for me, post all you want as you enjoy your new guv.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/30/2011 04:44PM by Ed Candela.
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