Sunburn for 6/15: A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

By on June 15, 2012

A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.

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HOW THE SMART BUSINESSMAN STARTS HIS DAY:“I’ve made reading SUNBURN my early morning ritual to stay informed with the latest important Florida political news.  Keep it up!” – J. Kurt Petersen, President & CEO, Keystone Capital Resources, LLC

GALLUP: STILL MORE AMERICANS BLAME ‘W’ FOR ECONOMIC MESS THAN OBAMA

“The relative economic blame given to Bush versus Obama today is virtually the same as it was last September,” write pollster Frank Newport. “Gallup first asked this ‘blame assessment’ question in July 2009, six months after Obama became president. At that point, 80% of Americans gave Bush a great deal or a moderate amount of blame, compared with 32% who ascribed the same level of blame for the bad economy to Obama. The percentage blaming Bush dropped to about 70% in August 2010, and has stayed roughly in that range since. Meanwhile, about half of Americans have blamed Obama since March 2010, with little substantive change from then to the present.”

A KINDER, GENTLER JEB BUSH

Former Gov. Jeb Bush has been sounding downright squishy lately, decrying partisan backbiting and waxing poetic about compromise, writes National Journal’s Beth Reinhard.

CITIZENS UNITED POLITICAL VICTORY FUND ENDORSED DAVE WELDON, DOGS CONNIE MACK

James Hohmann explains that while Connie Mack is acting like the GOP Senate primary is over, and he’s been rounding up establishment support – including Attorney General Pam Bondi yesterday – conservatives are not coalescing. Citizens United Political Victory Fund will endorse former Congressman Dave Weldon today and announce they are contributing $10,000. “Connie Mack is a puppet of the establishment who does not have the high moral caliber that Dr. Weldon displays every day,” says Citizens United President David Bossie.

MACK’S DEBATE DODGE

Mack has little to gain politically by debating his Republican opponents. Except maybe giving Florida Republicans a chance to hear him defend his positions and see what he’s made of outside of carefully scripted rallies, opines the Orlando Sentinel.

“Mack instead shows contempt for his opponents, treating them like a band of misfits even though the ballot includes former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, former U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon, and retired U.S. Army Col. Mike McCalister. They are, however, unworthy of Connie Mack’s time and effort.”

“Debates aren’t perfect, but they create the possibility that candidates will stray from their talking points long enough to offer voters a moment of candor or clarity.”

RICK SCOTT ONCE WAS DEAD, COLLIER CO. SUPERVISOR OF ELECTION SAYS

The Associated Press’s Gary Fineout reported that Rick Scott said he was forced to cast a provisional ballot in 2006 because election officials thought he was dead.

Collier County election officials confirmed to Fineout that Scott was required to cast a provisional ballot in two elections. Scott was not yet in politics at the time.

How the voter purge is playing in the media: Miami Herald – Voter Purge Brings More Dark Days to the Sunshine StateBradenton Times - Legal voters may have been purged from rolls in Florida’s noncitizen huntPalm Beach Post - Welcome to the Florida Office of Unconstitutional Initiatives

ETHICS COMMISSION TO CONSIDER SCOTT GREETING AT TAMPA AIRPORT

“This is Florida Governor Rick Scott, and I’d like to welcome you to Tampa Bay, a great place to live, work and play.” That’s part of the message passengers arriving at Tampa International Airport could soon hear – but Scott’s office wants to make sure it’s legal first, summarizes the News Service of Florida. The Florida Ethics Commission is expected on Friday to address whether in giving the governor a forum to talk to people the airport might be violating the state’s gift ban for lobbyists. The Tampa airport’s operating organization, the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, has a lobbyist – and the law bans agencies or companies that employ lobbyists from giving things of value to the governor. The governor’s office says it doesn’t think the messages would violate the ban – but they want to make sure.

READ MY TAKE: Poor Janet Zink, airport spokesperson here.

“Of rifts in Jim Greer’s legal camp and sloppy, trashy Tampa TV reporting at WTSP” by Marc Caputo, the Miami Herald

…”(James) Chase and (Jim) Greer have twice leaked information to a Tampa WTSP “investigative” reporter who seems more determined to file tendentious reports to show former Gov. Charlie Crist is gay rather than present facts in a basic, objective manner.”

“(T)he station last week initially and utterly failed to mention that Crist made a witness-tampering complaint to state police after Chase threatened to depose him about his sexuality because Crist refused to change a sworn affidavit concerning the fraud charges against Greer.”

…”The facts bear repeating: The defense wanted a witness to change sworn testimony. Crist refused. They then planned to embarrass him in a deposition. Crist complained this was witness tampering. And that witness-tampering complaint from a former governor was utterly lacking from the first “investigative” report. So the “investigative” reporter had to “update” his report to give the relevant other side. That’s not a minor change or update. That’s a big deal.”

IT’S GOOD TO BE THE STATE SENATE PRESIDENT’S FRIEND

The Miami Herald reports that Senate President Mike Haridopolos went to bat for good friend Frank Tsamoutales to help his company keep a contract with the Department of Juvenile Justice.

LAWMAKERS COULD OK PRISON HEALTH PRIVATIZATION

With a judge still deciding whether the plan is constitutional, a legislative budget panel this month is expected to consider moving forward with the privatization of prison health services, reports Jim Saunders of the News Service of Florida.

The Department of Corrections has requested that the Legislative Budget Commission, a joint panel of House and Senate members, take up the privatization issue June 26 and allow signing contracts with firms that would manage inmate health care.

The request comes as Leon County Circuit Judge Kevin Carroll gets ready to rule on a challenge to a legislative move last year that directed the department to go through the contracting process. The Florida Nurses Association and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees argue lawmakers violated the state constitution by putting the privatization plan in budget fine print — known as “proviso” language — instead of approving it in a more-typical bill.

LEE COUNTY GROUND-ZERO FOR VOTER PURGE

Of the 96 people purged from Florida voter rolls because they’re in the country illegally, about half were in Lee County in southwest Florida, a fact the county’s supervisor of elections says does not mean she is on a crusade, reports Michael Peltier of the News Service of Florida.

Lee County Supervisor of Elections Sharon Harrington said that the high number of names from the county is the result of an ongoing, cooperative effort between her office and the local clerk of courts that allowed her to more quickly find ineligible voters. She was just being prepared, she said.

“No, I’m not a vulture,” said Harrington, a Republican.

POLICY NOTES

>>>Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam speaks to the breakfast meeting of the Florida Association of Water Quality Control.

>>>The Department of Economic Opportunity reports jobless statistics for May at 10:00 a.m.

>>>The Social Services Estimating Conference will look at caseloads and expenditures in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program and caseloads in the KidCare program.

***A special message about KEVIN CATE COMMUNICATIONS. I’ve called Cate one of the smartest guys in any room, but that was last year. His firm continues to change the way public relations works in Florida. Believe me, you want www.CateComm.com on your side.***

GOOD GET: TOM LEE EARNS PAM BONDI’S BACKING IN SD 24

“During his years of elected service to Florida, Tom Lee has proven his ability to champion and effectively accomplish policy objectives essential to the success of our state with great character, honesty and integrity,” Attorney General Bondi said. “It is critical that the Florida Senate elect strong and conservative leaders like Tom Lee to help ensure that our state continues to create jobs, offer opportunities and provide safety for all Floridians. I am pleased to offer my endorsement and support to not only a respected and
trusted conservative leader and successful businessman, but also my long-time family friend, Tom Lee.”

KEY HILLSBOROUGH LEADERS LEND THEIR SUPPORT TO JOHN LEGG’S SENATE CAMPAIGN

John Legg Announced that several Hillsborough County leaders have endorsed him in his campaign for the newly-drawn Senate District 17 seat.  Representative Dana Young, former Representative Trey Traviesa, local business owner and philanthropist Tom Pepin, and local business owner and education advocate John Kirtley join Speaker Designate Will Weatherford in endorsing Legg.

PREVIEWING RACE FOR HD 120

The Florida Keys is the battleground between a Key Largo legislative aid and a former Key West Mayor, competing for the District 120 seat of the Florida House.

The incumbent, Rep. Ron Saunders, has chosen to run for Florida Senate, while his legislative assistant, Republican Holly Merrill Raschein, is gearing up for a campaign that would place her it that seat. Not so fast — Republican Morgan Mcherson, a two-term Key West Mayor is running for the seat as well.

“I know Holly and Morgan and each of them brings something to the table,” said Southernmost Republican Club President Thomas Mack, when asked his opinion on the GOP choices. “I am happy with these two choices. Holly has experience in her administrative position and Morgan has his local experience.”

Whichever one of them persuades the greatest number of Republican voters on primary day will face off against Democratic candidate Ian Whitney of Key West.

CAMPAIGN MISCELLANY

>>>Rep. Brad Drake endorses Rep. Doug Broxson in House District 3.

>>>Rep. Dorworth announced on Thursday his endorsement for Jeff Brandes for the Florida State Senate.

>>>Mike Hogan, gubernatorial appointee for Rick Scott and former Duval County Tax Collector, former Jacksonville City Councilman and former State Representative for Jacksonville, today endorsed Mike Weinstein for SD4.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to legislative aides Bob Esposito (to Rep. Jeff Brandes) and Jim Taylor and, on Saturday, Sen. Greg Evers.

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