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Florida Democratic Party News Clips - August 8, 2013

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MEMBER OF RICK SCOTT'S TRANSITION TEAM AND LONGTIME SUPPORTER ARRESTED ON BRIBERY CHARGES

Miami Lakes and Sweetwater mayors ‘stung’ by FBI for taking alleged kickbacks [Miami Herald] "FBI agents Tuesday arrested Pizzi, 51, and Maroño, 41, at their Town Hall offices on charges of conspiring to commit extortion in their roles as elected officials between 2011 and 2013. Pizzi also was charged with the same misconduct linked to a purported federal grant for Medley, where he is the town attorney...In 2011, Maroño also played a role on Gov. Rick Scott’s transition team. That year, Maroño and Forte launched a public affairs and business development firm, 7 Strategies. Forte and Maroño, who had known each other since high school, named the company in a reference to Scott’s seven-step plan to create 700,000 jobs in seven years."

 

BIRDS OF A FEATHER: RICK SCOTT HEADLINING KOCH BROTHERS EVENT

Rick Scott will keynote Koch Bros-founded group's Orlando summit [Orlando Sentinel] "Gov. Rick Scott will be the keynote speaker at Americans for Prosperity's "Defending the American Dream Summit" over the Labor Day weekend at the Universal Orlando theme park. AFP is the libertarian 'free market' organization founded and funded by David H. Koch andCharles G. Koch, who head the second-largest private company in the U.S., -- Koch Industries -- and have been major donors to conservative political causes around the country."

 

RICK SCOTT "ASLEEP AT THE SWITCH" AS HIS ADMINISTRATION IS MIRED IN TURMOIL

Has Gov. Rick Scott lost control of his administration? [WTSP] "Gov. Rick Scott's administration has hit a rough stretch with resignations of top leaders and a continuing, vocal protest at the Capitol over state policies. Democrats are trying to take advantage of the turmoil, saying it shows ineffective leadership. They're blasting Scott as 'asleep at the switch' and describing state government as rudderless...Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Allison Tant believes Florida is on a downward spiral. 'An executive is judged on the people that he places around him and he's clearly misstepped on many of the hires that he's made and we can't keep good people in the state because things are a mess.'"

 

WELCOME TO RICK SCOTT'S FLORIDA…

Florida’s disgraceful distinction: corruption [Miami Herald Editorial] "As we noted in a January 2011 editorial when Gov. Rick Scott was sworn into office, the Sunshine State has a dark cloud extending from the Panhandle to the Keys because state ethics laws are too lax and the punishments too lenient...If Gov. Scott and the Legislature don’t toughen ethics laws, it will be up to Florida’s voters to show them the way."

 

DEMOCRATS POISED FOR FUTRE SUCCESS AS DEMOGRAPHICS SHIFT

Changing political demographics bode well for Florida Democrats [Miami Herald] "In Florida, Republicans may be making zero inroads with minority voters, but their red counties are still eating up the most vote share. So a Republican candidate who wants to win, not just look good in the op-ed pages, needs big turnout in the northern, rural and red counties. That doesn’t require votes from Hispanic or black voters, who don’t live there in large enough numbers...So it’s not surprising that Scott, who’s dealing with a Capitol sit-in and losing heads of government departments faster than Solantic can charge state workers for a drug test, is falling back on what he knows — rolling the dice on another minority voter purge, because the last one went so well. Failing that, he could always call for the repeal of Obamacare."

 

CHAN LOWE ON RICK SCOTT'S "STACK THE DECK" STRATEGY FOR PURGING VOTERS

Chan Lowe: Florida voter purge [Sun Sentinel] "Nobody questions that it’s a good idea to safeguard the integrity of the voter rolls. The problem comes when you use that laudable goal as a pretext to tilt the table in your political party’s favor. The last time Florida Republicans tried this gambit, it was just a few weeks before a major election, and it was handled so clumsily that local county election supervisors rebelled — even the ones in Republican counties. The focus was put on minorities, on the tacit assumption that they tend to vote Democratic...If you have to rely on tricks like voter purges, Draconian voter I.D laws, and early-voting curtailment to stack the deck because your governing philosophy doesn’t win voters’ hearts and minds, then maybe you should think about retooling your positions."

 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: "THIS IS A LEADERLESS EDUCATION SYSTEM IN TURMOIL"

Vacuum at the top in Florida education [Tampa Bay Times Editorial] "Chancellor Frank Brogan's announcement Wednesday that he would end 35 years in Florida education and politics to head to a lesser-paying university job in Pennsylvania leaves the state's top two education posts vacant. This is a leaderless education system in turmoil — underperforming, underfunded and under the thumb of partisan politics. Until that changes, good luck finding quality candidates to oversee public schools and universities."

 

GOVERNOR OUTS STATE UNIVERSITY TRUSTEES WHO REFUSED TO BE "MICROMANAGED" BY SCOTT

Governor should not be punishing trustees [Tallahassee Democrat Editorial] "Each state university in Florida has a Board of Trustees with 13 members, six of whom are appointed by the governor. So Gov. Rick Scott certainly can appoint whom he wishes. But should the governor have declined to re-appoint trustees who, more than coincidentally, voted in favor of tuition increases that he strongly opposed? We think not...But the bottom line is that the governor should not be micromanaging university boards of trustees."

 

LEDGER: "FLORIDA'S ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM DESERVES AN F"

Florida Public Education: School Grades A Failure [The Lakeland Ledger] "Had the State Board of Education not intervened earlier in the month and voted 4-3 to not allow any school grade to drop more than one letter, the report card would have been horrific. How horrific? If not for the Board of Education's grade inflation, the state would have had 262 failing schools. Instead, it had 108...An awful lot has come to ride on school grades in Florida since they were first devised during the Jeb Bush years. Yet few in and out of education know for sure what a school grade really means anymore in Florida. Florida's accountability system deserves an F, and it is time the Legislature and Board of Education accept responsibility for this public-policy train wreck and fix it."