Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Democratic Message

Florida Dems have a "platform".

"FDP Says: 'Democrats United'"."
Democrats plan to tour the state this week, promoting a party message on issues like education and insurance that they hope will garner votes in November's elections. ... Democrats will head to Fort Lauderdale, Miami Gardens, Jacksonville and Tampa to bring their message to those cities. At a Tallahassee press conference, they focused mainly on class size and hurricane insurance." "State Democrats plan tour".

Floridians know that security begins at home. Democrats provide better security in 2006.
Click here to download our detailed "Putting Floridians First” agenda in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.
We put Floridians first because both you and I know that security begins at home. Democrats will ensure that Florida has a government that is both effective and efficient and that works for everyone at all levels. People know government should respond to the needs of the citizens first, and that’s the way Democrats plan to lead.
The people of Florida have made it crystal clear that they want government to secure them today and for the future. But it’s not just about the wars overseas, though it is important that we are successful there, too. Real security begins at home, and the people of Florida know that.
That’s why they want the leaders they elect to ensure:
stronger neighborhood schools;
an economy that works for everyone;
quality healthcare they can afford; and
real and effective homeland security.
The bottom line: Democrats put Floridians first because security begins at home.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

'Storming Mad' Democrats

Democratic legislators launched an election-year attack Wednesday against the Republican-sponsored insurance bill that Gov. Jeb Bush just signed into law, setting in motion another round of double-digit rate increases. With the start of the 2006 hurricane season a week away, Democrats demanded a special session on insurance, which of course Republicans will reject.

Democrats also rolled out a piece of standard equipment for times like this: a web site, (paid for by the Florida Democratic Party). The site shows the Democrats' insurance alternative, which includes a phase-out of the state-backed Citizens insurance company and a new hurricane catastrophe fund modeled after the National Flood Insurance Program. The site also clearly seeks to fan the flames of consumer outrage over insurance rates by urging homeowners to forward copies of their latest assessments to Senate President Tom Lee and House Speaker Allan Bense in Tallahassee.

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Political Talk For And By Political Junkies

Complaints Against Pruitt, Bogdanoff

A Broward County Democratic activist has filed ethics complaints against incoming state Senate President Ken Pruitt and a House member from Fort Lauderdale, alleging various offenses, including misuse of charitable donations intended for educational scholarships. Pruitt, through his lawyer, and state Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff dismissed the complaints to the state Ethics Commission as "pure politics." Both are Republicans.

More here.

Jeb’s “Dirty Little Secret”

Jeb’s “Dirty Little Secret”
By Brian E. Crowley
From The Post’s Dara Kam in Tallahassee:

Lobbyists close to Jeb Bush make millions. Tallahassee-based Southern Strategy Group reported annual earnings of between $4.7 million and $11.5 million. Southern Strategy’s lobbyists include former House Speaker John Thrasher, former Bush policy advisor Paul Bradshaw, Bush’s former deputy chief of staff David Rancourt, and former Florida Department of Law Enforcement commissioner Tim Moore, also appointed by Bush.
Bush thinks there’s a cheaper way to get his attention.
“I don’t think people should pay lobbyists that much, myself. They can e-mail me at and get the same answer that I’d give to lobbyists that they’d hire.
But that’s a dirty little secret I shouldn’t probably expose.”

Posted at the Q

Monday, May 15, 2006

President Bush's Approval Rating Down

President Bush's Approval Rating Down in Florida
and Georgia

JACKSONVILLE, FL -- President Bush's approval rating continues to drop. Mister Bush's top adviser, Karl Rove, blames the War in Iraq for the declining numbers. According to a CNN poll, 58 percent of Americans disapprove of the way the president is handling his job.A new survey is showing residents in Florida and Georgia do not approval of President Bush's job performance.
The numbers from our exclusive Survey USA poll is listed below.

36% Approve
61% Disapprove
3% Not Sure

41% Approve
58% Disapprove
2% Not Sure

Friday, May 12, 2006

Republican Senate Race Packed Already they do not need Bense

United States Senator
Barker , Daniel (CPF)
Chapman , Richard U. (DEM)
Collins Jr., LeRoy (REP)
Frazier , Floyd Ray (NPA)
Harris , Katherine (REP)
Knepper , Howard W. (REP)
McBride , William "Will" (REP)
Monroe , Peter (REP)
Moore , Brian (NPA)
Nelson , Bill (DEM)
Noah , Belinda (NPA)
Padilla , Patrick T. (REP)
Scott , Lawrence Sidney (WRI)
Senter , Bernard (WRI)
Tanner , Roy (NPA)
Wells , Tom (FVP)

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NOTICE: Due to Presidential Executive Orders, the National Security Agency may have read this email without warning, warrant, or notice. They may do this without any judicial or legislative oversight. You have no recourse nor protection save to call for the impeachment of the current President.

Public Access Laws Took Hit In Session

Florida's Legislature cut back on public access to information such as
concealed weapons permits and bid proposals.

Technology, though, is creating new secrecy pitfalls, with loopholes that
experts say can be used to keep government actions secret.

In Tallahassee "it was a stinky, stinky session," said Adria
Harper, director of the First Amendment Foundation in Tallahassee.

There were 10 new exemptions cut out of laws that are supposed to guarantee
residents the right to see what government officials are doing. Twenty-six
other bills renewed exemptions or limited access in other ways.

One example is that you'll no longer be able to find out the names of
people who have applied for or received concealed weapons permits. Another
bill cut back the amount of time that nursing home inspection reports must be
available to consumers. And the exemption for autopsy photos that was passed
after the death of race car driver Dale Earnhardt was extended.

Technology is adding a whole new dimension to such legal issues, said
Alasdair Roberts, an associate professor at the Maxwell School of Citizenship
and Public Affairs at Syracuse University and author of the recently published
book "Blacked Out: Government Secrecy in the Information Age."

Owners of BlackBerry wireless communication devices can send each other
messages directly, without using the email servers that government agencies
use as a central monitoring point, Roberts said.

Employees may also send messages concerning public business via private
e-mail accounts, again leaving no official trace. And personal cell phones can

be used to get around official phone logs and records of land lines.

But there's another side to the battle over public records, Roberts said.
"It's very often true that even people inside the [government] building
can't find the documents they want," Roberts said.

E-mail Can Be Used For Good

Despite rollbacks to public records laws and resistance from some
government officials, the move toward e-mail is one bright spot on public
access, Roberts said. Many policy discussions now take place via e-mail,
producing a digital record that the public can see, at least in theory.

In Florida, each government agency manages its own information technology
needs, said Tiffany Koenigkramer, a spokeswoman for the Department of
Management Services. But because some government work has been outsourced, it
creates another potential layer of questions about how records are handled and

Technology and public access issues may be more complex, but some worry
that the Legislature is laughing it off. "I'm finding the attitude of
some of the members sort of disturbing. It's like sort of a big joke, or
something," said Barbara Petersen, president of the First Amendment
Foundation. "It's a lack of respect."

Citizens Oblivious

That doesn't surprise Charles Davis, Executive Director of the National
Freedom of Information Coalition at the University of Missouri. There is no
outcry from average citizens over the weakening of public records laws, which
is happening nationwide, Davis said. "Every new exemption cedes new power
to the government," Davis said. "A lot of damage is being

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Bense Announces Decision

Florida House Speaker Allan Bense has decided not to run for the U.S. Senate. Here is his statement:
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – “I have been extremely honored and humbled by the strong support and encouragement I have received from my family, my friends and from people across Florida who I admire greatly,” said Florida House Speaker Allan Bense. “However, I have decided not to run for the United States Senate. “While the challenge of running a successful campaign over the next several months was exciting, and while I am confident we would have been successful, ultimately my decision came down to the fundamental question of whether I was willing to spend the next six, 12 or possibly 18 years of my life away from my family and my home serving Florida in the U.S. Senate. After much thought and prayer, I realized the answer to that question is ‘no.’ “The last eight years has been an incredibly rewarding experience, and I am proud of the successes I have enjoyed as a state representative and finally as Speaker of the Florida House. I hope I will be remembered as a Speaker who set aside any partisan or personal agenda and worked hard to make decisions based upon what was in the best interest of the people of Florida. “Now, I look forward to spending time with my wife, Tonie, seeing our daughter, Courtney, get married this summer, helping our son, Jason, begin his career and sending our youngest son, Taylor, off to college. I am also eager to get back to the business interests I have neglected while serving the public and to pursuing whatever new opportunities may arise.”

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NOTICE: Due to Presidential Executive Orders, the National Security Agency may have read this email without warning, warrant, or notice. They may do this without any judicial or legislative oversight. You have no recourse nor protection save to call for the impeachment of the current President.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Katherine Harris' first ad cites Marriage Amendment support


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NOTICE: Due to Presidential Executive Orders, the National Security Agency may have read this email without warning, warrant, or notice. They may do this without any judicial or legislative oversight. You have no recourse nor protection save to call for the impeachment of the current President.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Jeb Bush Failed

Gov. Jeb Bush’s latest and likely his last attempt to undo the class size amendment failed Friday, with six Republican senators joining with 14 Democrats to block a ballot question to water down the current strict limits.
Heavy lobbying by Senate President Tom Lee and his slated successor Sen. Ken Pruitt failed to win over the 24 votes needed to put the issue back before voters this November - a side effect of an ongoing leadership battle in the Senate.
Some Republicans accused those who voted against Pruitt’s proposal of disloyalty to their party. But the Republican dissenters, led by Majority Leader Alex Villalobos, R-Miami, said they are loyal - to their constituents and to the 70 percent of Floridians who, according to recent polls, support the existing class size standards.
Let’s keep the HEAT On Visit