Monday, November 24, 2008

Meanwhile, Back at the (Florida) Ranch

It has been nearly three weeks now since the election. Three weeks of basking in the glow of victory and change! Three weeks of analyzing results; discussing various Cabinet and White House staff selections, and just otherwise reveling in the thrill of victory.

However, reality has a really nasty habit of rearing its ugly head. On Friday we learned
The state's barebones budget now has a $2.1 billion hole, state economists said in a Friday forecast that all but guarantees Gov. Charlie Crist will call a special legislative session to manage the deficit and consider what was once a non-starter: tax increases.
Others, such as state CFO Alex Sink and the Florida Education Association have already called for a special session to deal with the projected budget deficit. The smart money had been on a special session in January, but on Friday
Crist laughed and said ''no'' when asked if he'll delay the call for a special session due to his Dec. 12 wedding.
Predictably, Democrats are lining up against more cuts to education and social services. Republicans are eyeing more raids on trust funds and, if they have to, raising "sin" taxes on cigarettes and possibly gambling.

We are in this predicament because the state's economy has severely tanked. We currently have six times the traditional number of unsold homes on the market (300,000 vs. 50,000) and also on Friday we learned that the state's unemployment rate hit a 15 year high of 7%.

Perhaps a special session can provide an opportunity to look at a third alternative to raising taxes or cutting spending to help fill the budget hole. There is another way to raise revenue besides raising taxes, and that is to stimulate economic activity to increase tax revenue. Gov. Crist has already taken a shot at this with his "Accelerate Florida" program,
directing all state agencies to speed up billions of dollars in approved construction and capital outlay projects
Meanwhile, the buzz is getting stronger and stronger that the Obama administration will be pushing for an economic stimulus package as large as $700 billion,
addressing neglected public infrastructure projects like roads and schools, and creating “green jobs” through business incentives for energy alternatives and environmentally friendly technologies.
One project in Florida that fits that description to a "T" is the Central Florida Commuter Rail Project. This project is all teed up and ready to go. It just got hung up in the Legislature last year over that pesky liability problem. Maybe that is something else the legislators could take a look at resolving while they are in special session looking at their budget woes?

Federal stimulus package or no, this is a project that would definitely stimulate the Florida economy. And solving the liability issue now will unlock the commuter rail puzzle for all the other regions of Florida.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Another Republican Official Racist Email - this Time in Florida

The St. Petersburg Times is reporting on an email forwarded by Hillsborough County Republican Party chairman David Storck that
has critics within the party charging racism
What could be so bad that it even has Republicans criticizing one of their party officials?

According to the Times, the email ws written by Republican Party volunteer Ron Whitley and forwarded by Hillsborough County Republican Party Chairman Storck to about 400 party members. The email states, in relevant part:
I see carloads of black Obama supporters coming from the inner city to cast their votes for Obama. This is their chance to get a black president and they seem to care little that he is at minimum, socialist, and probably Marxist in his core beliefs. After all, he is black -- no experience or accomplishments -- but he is black.
Now Hillsborough is of course the largest county in the Tampa Bay area, at the western end of Florida's infamous "I-4 Corridor". The home of the swing voters in Florida. It is the battleground area of the largest battleground state.

Here is how the GOP Chairman prefaced the forwarded email:
This e-mail was sent to me from one of our Volunteers in the Temple Terrace office. If you think it can help us win this election please pass it on. This election is now in our hands everyone can make a difference.
This is putting country first? To me it is just one more desperate Republican engaging in any despicable act - any despicable act, if they felt it would help them win.

Well, there is one way to make sure that not this time. Get out and vote. Get your family out to vote. Get your neighbors out to vote. We can take our country back!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Save Sales Tax for Transportation

I just read a comment on how someone was planning to vote on the Florida Constitutional amendments that are on the ballot this year. The comment suggested to vote No on 2 and yes to the rest. While I'm all for voting No on 2, the so called Gay Marriage ban amendment, yes to the rest gave me some pause.

You see, there is one other amendment that progressives should consider voting no on. As unlikely as that may seem, that one is Amendment 8, the Local Option Community College Funding amendment. While it might seem counter intuitive for progressives to vote against higher education funding, bear with me while I explain my thinking on this.

First, let me say that I am an ardent supporter of expanding higher education opportunities in Florida. I received an AA degree along my educational trail from a community college, so I understand how important they can be.

I am also an ardent supporter of mass transportation, however, and I see Amendment 8 as a possible impediment to the implementation of viable mass transit systems throughout Florida. The reasoning for this is the way that local commuter and light rail systems are typically funded.

Most rail transit systems, and the ones that are being proposed in Florida, are financed by a partnership between local, state and the federal governments. The Central Florida Commuter Rail Project and the nascent TBARTA effort in the Tampa Bay region will both require local funding sources for completion.

Both Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties are considering adding a one cent local option sales tax for mass transit funding. Pinellas already has the Penny for Pinellas local option sales tax as its seventh cent of sales tax. If a community college sales tax penny is added, that would make the transportation penny proposal the NINTH cent of sales tax. I'm very much afraid that would be a penny too far for local voters to swallow.

There are plenty of other options for state of funding community colleges. Local governments are severely limited in their funding sources fortheir portion of mass transit.

If you want to see mass transit in Florida, vote NO on amendment 8.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Bloom Off the Palin Rose in Pinellas

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin made her debut in Florida's all important I-4 Corridor today. Her morning rally was held in Clearwater's Coachman Park. The park is best known as home of the Clearwater Jazz Holiday. Given the Jazz Holiday's long history in the park, it ought to be safe to say that the Clearwater Police Department has a pretty good handle on crowd sizes in the park.

Given all the buzz about the Republican Vice Presidential nominee, it was a little bit shocking to hear that the Clearwater PD estimated today's crowd for Palin at 4,500. Interestingly, the Republican Party continues its pathetic attempt to overstate the size of Palin's crowds:
Clearwater PD estimated 4,500 people attended, though local party says it was more like 10,000.
But those claims are belied by comments like this:
My brother who was at the rally said they moved all the people over to one side so as to make it appear more full so they could take some pictures.

It made him mad because there was plenty of room to stretch out on the other side. It was completely empty (Note: The park holds 12,000 people.)
And this:
Dominic Grillo, 76, of Dunedin, saw Obama when he spoke at Knology Park two weeks ago. (Note: Barack Obama drew 11,000 just up the road in Dunedin). Curiosity caused him to ride his bike down the Pinellas Trail to Clearwater. He said he wouldn't wait in line to see Palin, but when there were no lines, he decided to join the throng.
So, what does this all mean besides some fun ticky tack back and forth stuff about crowd sizes? Pinellas is the western most county of Florida's infamous I-4 Corridor, the real swing area of the state. And Pinellas County is the swing county of the swing area of the state. Pinellas is almost evenly split in voter registrations with about 245 thousand Ds, 237 thousand Rs and 154 thousand independents. When Al Gore won Florida in 2000 he carried Pinellas by 15,000 votes. When George Bush won Florida in 2004, he carried Pinellas by the scant margin of 226 votes.

The fact that the "magnetic" Palin could only scare up 4,500 in this crucial swing area of Florida can not be a good sign for the McCain campaign.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

All Aboard

The Democratic National Convention has started. Barack Obama has selected Joe Biden as his running mate. The Republican National Convention follows next week. It would seem that these events would be sucking up all the oxygen available. They mostly are for us political junkies. But for the majority of Floridians, life goes on as usual.

Floridians are going about their daily business. They are engaged in their daily commutes and stuck in their normal traffic jams wishing somebody would do something to ease the traffic congestion. Or offer them a viable alternative to driving their cars. The mass transit situation in Florida is so bad that a commuter rail supporter recently included "all of Florida" among places that were "useless holes of car dependence".

Well, people all over Florida are trying to do something about it. In the Tampa Bay area, the newly created TBARTA is working on a regional transportation plan that has rail transit at its heart. TBARTA was created by the legislature in 2007, but it did not get any direct funding. Nevertheless, through funding provided for the Florida Department of Transportation, they have been engaging the community in their seven county region about the creation of a master transportation plan. With funding provided by the legislature this year, they are moving forward to hire an executive director to help them present their plan to the public early next year.

Even further along are the folks in the Orlando area. Four counties in central Florida have been working for years with the Florida Department of Transportation and the Federal government to implement the Central Florida Commuter Rail project. This plan to advance
a commuter rail transit project to run along a 61-mile stretch of existing rail freight tracks
was in the news quite a bit earlier this year. The "61-mile stretch of existing rail freight tracks" are to be purchased by the state from CSX railroad. The legislature failed to approve the deal after a major misinformation campaign centered around liability sharing arrangements between the state and CSX. This was defeated even though the proposed liability plan is essentially the same one that is currently in effect for the one existing commuter rail system in Florida, the Tri Rail system in South Florida.

Despite failing to receive approval in the Florida legislature this year, the Central Florida Commuter Rail Project is far from dead. The agreement between the Florida Department of Transportation and CSX does not expire until after next year's legislative session. Congressman John Mica, the Minority Leader of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee recently announced the project has been approved by the Federal Transit Authority to enter the Final Design phase. Per Mica:
This announcement brings Central Florida within grasp of a cost-effective alternative to crippling gasoline costs and growing highway congestion along I-4. The Commuter Rail project now joins an elite group of only five other major New Starts transit projects in Final Design around the country... In addition, Final Design means that Commuter Rail will get its own dedicated funding request in the next president’s budget.
At about the same time, the related CSX intermodal logistics facility in Winter Haven received approval from the Central Florida Regional Planning Council of its Development of Regional Impact application.

The commuter rail projects in the Tampa Bay Area and Central Florida are moving forward. If we want to end the days when "all of Florida" is among places that were "useless holes of car dependence", it is time for us to get All Aboard.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Kos Pumping Fundraising for Joe Garcia

The lead story on DailyKos right now is by Kos on a Zogby poll showing Obama with a big lead in South Florida. But it also includes this little gem regarding raising money for Joe Garcia:

"We are almost halfway to our goal of 1,000 contributors to our new ActBlue page. But I'd like a secondary goal as we close out the fundraising quarter -- Garcia is at 160 contributors as of this writing. I'd like to get that to 250 contributors. I know lots of people want to send a message to Bush that raising money for his most loyal lieutenants will cost him. I also know there are more than 90 south Florida readers of this site, and here's your chance to give a boost to one of your locals fighting the good fight for the good of our country.

So let's get Garcia to 250 contributors and help paint South Florida a delicious shade of Blue."

Can't we help Kos and Joe Garcia out?

Full story here:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Good News for Barack Obama in WaPo ABC News Poll

There is some really great news for the Obama campaign in today's Washington Post / ABC News Poll. Yes, even despite the not so very thrilling headline in the WaPo - "Poll Finds Independent Voters Split Between McCain, Obama", the numbers inside the poll itself tell a much different story.

OK, I admit, I'm a bit of a geek. And a Pol. So what does a geek and a Pol do when we can get our hands on a poll? We dig deep to see what the thing really has to say. The horse race among all those polled has Obama up 6 at 48 to 42. Among registered voters, its closer at 49 to 45. Those numbers are certainly better for Obama than McCain, but they aren't really anything to write home about. Particularly as the WaPo notes:

At this point four years ago, Democratic Sen. John F. Kerry held identical leads over President Bush among all adults and among registered voters.

We all remember how that turned out. Polls really are just snapshots in time. And the election is still a relatively long way away.

So what's the really good news for the Obama campaign in this poll? The WaPo / ABC News poll also asked this question:

Would you definitely vote for (CANDIDATE), or is there a chance you could change your mind and vote for someone else?

For Barack Obama, fully 72% of his voters said they were definitely voting for Obama. But 69% of McCain's voters said the same about him. But here it is: Out of the 31% of McCains' voters who could possibly change their minds, 17%, nearly 1 in 5, say there is a GOOD chance of changing their mind. The comparable number for Obama is only 7%, or less than one in 10.

The reason this is such good news is that political operatives are always looking for those voters who are persuadable. That's the real point at which all that advertising money being spent is aimed. Is to find and convince those people who are persuadable to make up their mind in favor of our candidate.

That 10 point spread in persuadables in favor of Obama is a very happy place for a campaign to be.

Monday, June 16, 2008

I've Been

Busy; otherwise occupied; distracted; suffering writers block; disaffected;

All of the above are true. I have been busy. Working on some local issues (it's one of the things I do.) I've also been working on some other things that have statewide impact. I may be doing that again soon.

All of that has kept me somewhat otherwise occupied. I've been distracted by some personal things going on in my life. Some of them are somewhat , but not fully, resolved now. That's all part of life, and we are all distracted by things from time to time.

I've been somewhat disaffected, which may have contributed something to the idea of writers block. The long protracted primary season did not do a lot to inspire me. This is particularly true because, even though I agree it was right to let it play out, the ultimate outcome had been a foregone conclusion for quite a while. I had written about a year ago admonishing folks "Don't Get Too Attached to Your Candidates". And I could see attitudes hardening on both sides. I still believe, in the end, we will mostly be united behind our nominee. But I did not really want to play in that game in the meanwhile.

Also, the entire flap about seating of the Florida delegation was something I believed would get worked out in the end. And it appears that it has.

With those things settled and the general election campaign now finally upon us, I am ready to get back in the game. There are some issues I am passionate about. You'll see me writing on them from time to time. The idea of electing a Democrat President, and electing more Democrats in Congress and in our state legislature is of utmost importance to me. I'll be writing about that too.

So, I've been, not writing here all that much. But I feel that's about to change.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Dems: Don't Team Up With the Forces of Ego

The budget battle in the Florida Senate gave us some strange bedfellows today. We had the majority of Senate Democrats teaming up with the forces of ego.

From the Orlando Sentinel:
Republican Sens. Alex Villalobos of Miami, Charlie Dean of Inverness, and Paula Dockery of Lakeland are joining with Democrats today to try and steer away millions of dollars intended to buy the 61-mile rail line from CSX Corp. for commuter rail.
I blogged about Sen. Dockery's possible motivation to go after the Central Florida Commuter Rail Project last month:
The state portion of the funding deal was negotiated with CSX while Jeb Bush was still governor. This is the same Jeb Bush who led the charge to get the bullet train proposal repealed from the Florida Constitution. This is where the forces of ego enter. The main proponent of the bullet train initiative was C.C. "Doc" Dockery of Lakeland. Dockery is married to State Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, an opponent of the Orlando commuter rail project and the CSX proposal.
Sens. Alex Villalobos has his own reason enough to take a shot at the deal that Jeb did:
In Florida's meanest and most expensive state Senate race, Miami Sen. Alex Villalobos was reelected Tuesday night, overcoming the millions spent by third-party attack groups and the ire of Gov. Jeb Bush, who helped run a candidate against the moderate Republican.
So while it may be great fun to help the Republicans eat their young, this was not a very good vehicle to ride. The indirect target of the forces of ego was the Central Florida Commuter Rail Project. Opponents have painted the deal as a giant corporate welfare boondoggle - an easy target in this tight budget year.

But the Central Florida Commuter Rail Project in reality is a desperately needed green transportation solution for the folks in Central Florida.

There is a lot of controversy over the Central Florida Commuter Rail Project. However, there should be no controversy whatsoever that commuter rail transit is a progressive idea.

First of all, rail transportation is actually a green industry. Even our going green Governor, Charlie Crist, gets it right on his Florida Performs scorecard when he says:
Florida is also committed to planning for the future and to conserving energy by promoting the use of public transportation.

As much fun as it is to help the Republicans tear themselves apart, it can't really be very good politics to let the Republicans get to the left of the Dems on the environment now, can it?

Rail transportation is 3 times more fuel efficient than motor vehicles. On top of the fuel efficiency advantage, the EPA and the rail transportation industry continue to work together on reducing emissions from trains. Compare this to the auto industry's ongoing efforts to fight the CAFE standards.

Speaking of autos, if we are ever going to get people out of their cars, we are going to have to give them viable public transit options. Commuter rail is just such an option.

Finally, Democrats rightfully criticized the Republicans for raiding the affordable housing and other trust funds in previous years to make up budget shortfalls. Progressives pretty much give up the moral high ground on that front teaming up with the forces of ego to rob the transportation trust fund. That's not a progressive idea.

The good news is that this budget amendment failed. But progressives need to stick to their progressive values. Commuter rail is a progressive idea whose time has long since come for Florida. Let's not blow this chance to get this commuter rail project done. If this doesn't happen, Washington may not fund another like it for a generation.

Friday, April 4, 2008

FL-24 candidate Clint Curtis endorses Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq

As you know, a full-bore effort has commenced in the Florida blogosphere to introduce Democratic politicians and candidates to the Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq. This comprehensive plan was spearheaded by Darcy Burner, Democratic candidate for Washington State's 8th District, and has gained national praise and attention, as well as a large number of additional endorsees.

I'm very pleased to announce that Clint Curtis, Democratic candidate for FL-24, is the first in the district to add his name as an endorsee. Even better, he did it before the Florida bloggers began their campaign! I've known Clint since 2006 when he first challenged Tom Feeney for the FL-24 seat and have supported him ever since. In addition, I've done a little bit of volunteer work for his campaign, primarily writing and commenting about him on blogs and telling everyone I meet why I think he's the best candidate for this seat. A few weeks ago, I emailed Clint about the Responsible Plan and asked him to carefully review it and consider an endorsement. He responded only a few days later to express his support.

Clint is extremely busy with fundraising, attending meetings of local Democratic clubs (including mine, the Five Cities Democratic Club), attending hearings on issues of great importance to the district (such as NASA's proposed new launch pad), and numerous other campaign-related activities. Yet, he's always been extremely quick to respond to my questions and suggestions. He's very much the type of person I'd want to represent me and all the residents of FL-24.

Kudos to Clint for his smart decision! If you are able, please consider a contribution to his campaign.

Clint Curtis for Congress
Clint's blog
Clint's ActBlue page
FL-24 Race Tracker Wiki

This post approved by ClintP, unofficial campaign mascot.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Welcoming Florida Speaks

This is just a very quick post to welcome Florida Speaks to the Florida blogosphere. This is Kenneth Quinell's new blog on national, international and other issues of interest to Florida Progressives.

Kenneth is the President of the Florida Democratic Party Netroots Coalition and the blogfather of the the Florida Progressive Coalition.

Welcome, Florida Speaks.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

FL-24: Clint Curtis' Statement on Proposed NASA Launch Site and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

[Hello! pattyp here, posting on behalf of Clint Curtis, Democratic candidate for the FL-24 district. I hope you will read and comment on Clint's statement on the proposed KSC launch pad and the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Clint will check in to the Daily Kos version of this diary during the day and respond to your comments. The photos in this diary were taken by me on a kayaking excursion at Merritt Island last summer. It's a beautiful place.]

Dear Friends,

As many of you know, one of my core issues is the preservation and empowerment of NASA, which I believe is not only healthy for Florida but the nation and the world. NASA represents everything that's great about the US - the spirit of discovery, the can-do, against-all-odds spirit that put us on the moon and beyond. But I am also concerned with protecting and preserving the incredible beauty of the great state of Florida.

Cormorant drying its wings

I recently attended the NASA public hearings concerning the new Commercial Vertical Launch Complex proposal for Kennedy Space Center (KSC.) First and foremost, I want to point out that NASA is not the enemy here. NASA should be commended for its efforts to gain public input and also for its long record of working with community leaders and environmental interests over the years. That relationship has made Florida’s Space Coast what it is today: a truly beautiful place to live and one that adds greatly to our quality of life.

Great Blue Heron

The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and the Canaveral National Seashore (Playalinda Beach) not only provide a significant source of revenue to the community with their ability to attract tourists, they are both premier natural preserves with unparalleled natural beauty. The Wildlife Refuge should not be placed in the debatable plan for apportioned commercial development but should remain intact in its natural state for the enjoyment of successive generations.

Porpoise cutting the surface

Many at the public hearings were community leaders, business owners, and environmentalists who voiced opposition to the site #2 proposal and I want to echo that sentiment. Possible alternatives for the site #2 proposal might be converting abandoned Air Force launch sites or the refurbishing of unused launch sites at KSC. It just makes better sense to use existing facilities and infrastructure, such as roads and rail access, as well as the consideration of costs for this proposed project.

The resolution process for this complex issue should be one where all parties - governmental, environmental, and private - are involved in a collaborative effort to find a solution that fits the needs of all. The resolution of this issue is far too important to those involved to be handled in a routine, arbitrary political manner. With the possible loss of nearly 3,000 jobs due to the shuttle conversion, timing of this proposed project and its outcome is extremely important.

Great White Herons, looking for snacks

I would also like to point out that this is an issue which, I feel, demands the involvement of our elected congressional leaders. I did not see either Congressmen Dave Weldon or Tom Feeney, nor any of their staffers, at this meeting. One should ask them why they were not there. How can this issue not be important enough to merit their time?

Once I am elected to the House of Representatives, I will make issues of this nature a priority to ensure that these decisions are made with the interest of Florida’s Space Coast in mind, not just those in Washington DC.

Clint Curtis

Clint Curtis for Congress
Clint's blog
Clint's ActBlue page
FL-24 2008 Race Tracker Wiki

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

DiMaio v. Democratic National Committee:

The Democratic National Committee is violating the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment by allowing only four states to hold caucuses or primaries before the first Tuesday in February, a Florida attorney argued March 17, 2008 before a federal appeals court.

Attorney Michael Steinberg filed suit in August on behalf of Democratic Party activist Victor DiMaio. The suit came after the DNC said it would not seat Florida delegates at the national convention because the state party defied party rules and scheduled its primary for January 29.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Rail Road Job in Tallahassee - Forces of Ego Fight Commuter Rail

It's the middle of March here in Florida. That means three things are going on: Spring Break, Spring Training Baseball and the Florida Legislature is in session. Spring Training Baseball has a long and honored tradition here. Spring Break, with all its warts, also has been responsible for a lifetime of fond feelings for Florida from people all over the country. Regular sessions of the Florida Legislature, on the other hand, usually make us glad they only meet for 60 days a year. As the old saw goes, when the legislature is in session, make sure you've got your hand on your wallet.

This year is a particularly tough yearfor the Florida Legislature. After failing to actually provide for meaningful property insurance and property tax reform last year, this year they are facing an enormous budget crisis.

So, while talks of budget cuts dominate the agenda, there is another huge battle for Florida's future going on largely in the background. This is a battle over whether Florida will actually move forward with 21st Century smart economic growth initiatives that feature environmentally sound growth management principles, or whether we will continue to follow the old, tired trends that have resulted in the unchecked urban sprawl that has made for fertile ground for the Hometown Democracy initiative. This is a battle that is only lacking the sex angle to put it right up there with Sunshine State as a great candidate for a thought provoking film.

The battle is over whether or not Orlando and Central Florida will finally get a commuter rail project after a 10 year effort. On one side, you have the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), the federal government and local officials in four central Florida counties and the City of Orlando, who have been working together in a model of intergovernmental cooperation. On the other side you have the forces of evil and ego.

The focus of the battle is ostensibly over the $491 million the FDOT has set aside to fund the state portion of the transaction. The deal includes the transfer of 61 miles of rail freight corridor running though east central Florida from CSX Railroad. It also includes CSX building a new Integrated Logistics Center in Winter Haven. The final piece of the deal is the refurbishment of a CSX line further to the west that will pick up the rail freight shifted off the eastern line to allow for the commuter rail project.

The state portion of the funding deal was negotiated with CSX while Jeb Bush was still governor. This is the same Jeb Bush who led the charge to get the bullet train proposal repealed from the Florida Constitution. This is where the forces of ego enter. The main proponent of the bullet train initiative was C.C. "Doc" Dockery of Lakeland. Dockery is married to State Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, an opponent of the Orlando commuter rail project and the CSX proposal.

Sen. Dockery is using the idea that more freight traffic will be moving through downtown Lakeland as a result of Orlando getting commuter rail to try to kill the deal that Jeb made with CSX . In the process, she is putting her small minded ego ahead of the environment, the economy and the future of Florida so she can extract her revenge against Jeb.

The vehicle for this revenge killing of the central Florida commuter rail deal isS1666 This is a bill to codify an arrangement for liability coverage on the CSX line in the event of an accident on the commuter rail. All kinds of hysteria has been worked up about this arrangement. Really, though, this is merely a process issue that the lawyers will eventually figure out.

Waiting in the wings are the forces of evil, um, er, the road builders and their legislative lackeys. There have already been legislative grumblings about the cost of the deal, with suggestions that in this tight budget year, the money would be better spent on roads. If this kind of thinking is successful in killing the central Florida commuter rail project, it will become even more difficult for the Tampa Bay area to move forward with their commuter rail efforts.

And there you have it. The forces of evil and the forces of ego coming together in an attempt to kill commuter rail in central Florida. Because if you are always building roads, you'll never get rail.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

FDP Floating Vote by Mail Plan

The St. Petersburg Times is reporting that the Florida Democratic Party:
proposed a new vote-by-mail primary overseen by an independent commission.
I can't find a lot about the actual plan yet (nothing on the FDP's web site), but here's what I do know...

forethought has this diary with USA Today reporting:
The Florida Democratic Party plans to move forward with a June 3 vote-by-mail primary to restore the state's role in the presidential race
USA Today quotes the Florida Senate Minority Leader, State Senator Steve Geller as saying the plan will be announced Thursday or Friday.

I have seen an email from Florida DNC member Jon M. Ausman to FDP Chair Karen Thurman that starts out:

Thank you very much for the Vote-by-Mail (VBM) proposal submitted by the Florida Democratic Party (FDP) on 12 March 2008.
So apparently something is up.

I have been reading some of the comments in forethoughts' diary. Those comments are really what prompted me to write this diary. Because one thing is very clear to me. Most people commenting on this have never even laid eyes on the 2008 DNC Delegate Selection Rules. So before anybody else says something about the Rules, maybe you ought to read them first.

First, make no mistake. Florida broke the rules. The Florida Democratic Party submitted a Delegate Selection Plan under Rule 1 D. However, that plan did not comply with Rule 11 A which precluded Florida from holding its "first determining stage in the presidential nomination process" before February 5th, 2008. The FDP Delegate Selection Plan was rejected by the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee. However, the FDP has an open invitation to submit a plan that does comply with the Rules. That is what the FDP is attempting to do here. In the eyes of the DNC, this is not legally a "do over". That is because, per the DNC, Florida has not held a legal (that is within the DNC Rules) "first determining stage in the presidential nomination process".

Second, let's talk about state election laws. Or rather, let's not. Remember what we are doing here. We are not actually electing anyone to a State or Federal office. We are talking about a Party process. Remember, the St. Petersburg Times is reporting that the FDP
proposed a new vote-by-mail primary overseen by an independent commission.
So we are talking about a party process overseen by someone other than the State of Florida. Hard to see how state election laws apply here.

Full disclosure time. I support Senator Barack Obama. But I think his campaign is taking the wrong tack here. Talk of somebody sitting down and deciding how Florida's delegates should be divided is totally dismissive of the voices of Florida's Democratic voters. It is more than OK to be concerned about the details of how this plan will be executed. And the Devil is always in the details. But to say that some back room deal should be cooked up to seat Florida and Michigan delegations is like sitting in a room figuring out who to send invitations to a party to. It is not about enfranchising the voters of Florida.

To Senator Obama I say, come on down here and campaign. Bring that great get out the vote machine with you. Let Florida's Democrats really get to know you. You'll do fine. You might even win. And you will win in the long run by supporting the right of Florida's Democratic voters to have an actual say in who the party's nominee is going to be.

It will pay off for you in the fall when you are our Party's nominee.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Truth Nipped in the Bud

There is a diary by nailbender up on DailyKos right now purporting to
dispel a talking point ... that the FL Democratic Party was bound by the decision of the GOP-controlled FL legislature and Governor to a January 29th date for the selection of Democratic Delegates.
This diary is being hailed as a
Great Diary with facts and info
Well, it's not a great diary. It does have some facts and info. But it does not have all the facts and it does not have all the info.

So, let's nip this in the bud....

Here is a document I am sure most of you have never seen. This document is the DNC Delegate Selection Rules for the 2008 Democratic National Convention. It is 27 pages long. And it is augmented by this document, which is the 36 page long Regulations of the Rules and By Laws Committee for the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Now in the DNC Delegate Selection Rules, Rule 3A states the following:
All official Party meetings and events related to the national convention delegate selection process, including caucuses, conventions, committee meetings, filing dates, and Party enrollment periods, shall be scheduled for dates, times and public places which would be most likely to encourage the participation of all Democrats, and must begin and end at reasonable hours.
Rule 11A states, in relevant part:
No meetings, caucuses, conventions or primaries which constitute the first determining stage in the presidential nomination process (the date of the primary in primary states, and the date of the first tier caucus in caucus states) may be held prior to the first Tuesday in February or after the second Tuesday in June in the calendar year of the national convention.
It goes on to provide the exemptions for the four "early states" of Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

But here we are at the heart of the problem, at least here in Florida. We had two different rules of the DNC Delegate Selection Rules brought into direct conflict with each other by the actions of the Republican controlled state legislature. Those are the facts. There is nothing to be nipped in the bud here.

The Florida Legislature is dominated by the GOP. It also has absolute authority to set the dates for presidential preference primary elections here in Florida. And the GOP has the votes in the Legislature to do exactly that - with or without the support of the votes of our Democratic legislators. And our legislature set the date for the Presidential Preference Primary as January 29th, in advance of the dates allowed by both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.

Now, the Florida Democratic Party did not have to elect to use the January 29th Presidential Primary as the
first determining stage in the presidential nomination process
This is true. However, if it wanted to comply with Rule 3A it did. Because no other method available to it was seen as likely to achieve the "particpation of all Democratic voters" as a primary election would. And here is Florida, Democratic leaders were determined to encourage the "participation of all Democratic voters."

The DNC Rules and By Laws Committee, however, was obviously more concerned with compliance with Rule 11A which protects the right of Iowa and New Hampshire voters to go first than it was with encouraging the "participation of all Democratic voters" in Florida.

Now that's the truth of the matter.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Let's Get Ready to Rumble - Er, Caucus

One week after nearly 1.75 million Florida Democrats went to the polls to voice their Presidential preference, the question of whether Florida Democrats will have an actual voice in the selection of our Party's nominee remains unsettled. Don't get me wrong here. I have said, and I firmly believe that Florida Dems' voices were heard loud and clear on January 29th. The Florida results are in and they are also into the psyche of the Tsunami Tuesday voters today. Florida's voice was heard by all those voters.

What really didn't get heard in Florida was the candidates voices. Due to that idiotic no campaign pledge foisted upon the candidates by the Democratic Party chars in the four early states, no candidate actually got to have their voices heard by Florida's Democratic voters.

But maybe there is a way to have our cake and eat it too, Florida. Follow along and I'll explain...

I don't want to spend too much time rehashing how we got into this mess, but laying a little of the groundwork here is instructive. The Republican dominated Florida Legislature has the sole power to set election dates in Florida. The Legislature chose January 29th, knowing it was in clear violation of the delegate selection rules laid out by both parties. The parties, in turn, are in charge of their actual delegate selection process. The Florida Democratic Party looked at their options and decided to stay with the plan to select their delegates according to the early primary results. The main reason for this decision was that a primary is the method that garners the most participation from voters. Very Democratic of us, no?

This plan was the one that was rejected by the Democratic National Committee, which stripped Florida of all of its delegates to the Democratic National Convention. That's what began the mess that we currently find ourselves in. OK, that was bad enough. But, even with no delegates at stake, the candidates could not possibly ignore the largest swing state in the country, could they?

This is where it really got ugly for Florida Democrats. The Democratic Party chairs of the four early states (Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina) blackmailed the candidates into signing a pledge not to campaign in any state that violated Party rules by beginning its delegate selection process before the appointed date of February 5th. The candidates, fearing a backlash in these early states which they needed to garner momentum, all complied.

Thus Florida got to hold the strangest election I have ever seen. Florida gave an election party and nobody came - no candidates that is. The Democratic Party chairs in those four early states, jealous of their non god given prerogatives to be heard before anybody else, deprived Florida's voters of the opportunity to have the candidates come to them and make their case. That was fundamentally unfair to Florida's 3 million Democrats. But here is where it starts to get really interesting.

Senator Hillary Clinton, who won the largely name recognition contest that Florida's primary became, is now calling for the Florida delegates to be seated at the convention. Smart on her part. She would get the lions share of the delegates. Senator Barack Obama, not surprisingly, takes the opposite view. Smart on his part.

In today's St. Petersburg Times, Adam Smith is reporting:
Two prominent civil rights figures, former U.S. Civil Rights Commission chairwoman Mary Frances Berry and former Justice Department official Roger Wilkins, are calling on the DNC to straighten out the matter.

"We are suggesting that the decision be made before the convention in an effort to avoid a floor fight," they wrote in a letter released Monday. "Public floor fights have served the party badly in the past. They left deep-seated ill will and preceded Democratic Party defeats in 1968 and 1972, for example. Resolution of this issue is a matter of fairness, justice and practicality."

So let's be fair to everybody - both the voters and the candidates. Let's figure out a way to allow the candidates to come here and make their pitch to Florida's voters for the right to claim Florida's convention delegates.

Let's amend our delegate selection plan to allocate our delegates based on a caucus to be held in early April. There are no Democratic delegate selection contests scheduled between Mississippi on March 11th and Pennsylvania on April 22nd. This would allow the candidates to come here and campaign for Florida's votes and delegates. It would give Florida's voters a chance to hear the candidates for themselves and to make up their mind after getting a real chance to fully evaluate the candidates in a fair and open contest.

And as it is looking more and more likely that this campaign is going down to the wire, it would make Florida the center of the political universe - again.

Who says you can't have your cake and eat it too. Florida, let's get ready to rumble - er, caucus!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Florida Democratic Primary - Early Exit Poll

Well, sort of. I went down to the polling place closest to my abode when the polls opened this morning. I went equipped with my CNN=Politics reporters' notebook (a bit of swag from the GOP YouTube debate here in St. Pete last November) and stationed myself in the nicely marked exit polling area. I was wearing my FDP State Convention T-shirt and when the precinct deputy came to shoo me back to the "free speech zone" away from the poll, I told her that I was there to do exit polling for the Florida Democratic Party. Believe it or not, it worked.

My polling place is a church in an old residential area adjacent to downtown St. Pete. D's outnumber R's in this precinct by 45 to 27%. Other registrations actually beat out Rs in this precinct at 28%. In the hour or so that I was in the exit polling area this morning, the turnout was D's-58%, Rs-37, Others-5%. Who says D's won't show up to vote becasue their votes won't count?

For some strange reason, I didn't feel comfortable exit polling folks on their Presidential Preference. Instead, I focused on Amendment 1 and the Democrats most important issue in making their Presidential Preference choice.

If it were up to this precinct's early morning voters, Amendment 1 would be going down to defeat in flames. The folks I interviewed were voting NO at a rate of 59 to 41%. Sorry Charlie.

What really surprised me was the range of issues that were imprtant to the Democrats in making their choice for our nominee. Of the 10 voters I talked to in any length, I only got one repeat most important issue - The economy. That got mentioned twice. Only one Democrat indicated they were "bummed out their vote wouldn't count." And yet she came to vote anyway. The other voters I spoke to listed these as their most important determining issue:
  • Who's not married to a former President
  • Iraq
  • Leadership
  • Women's Issues
  • Experience
  • Change
  • Integrity
I did ask the person who stated integrity who they had voted for. Their response - Senator Obama. One person first said economy, but quickly followed up with "and the war". I asked her who she voted for and her answer was Hillary.

So, this is certainly not an attempt at a complete exit poll. But I just wanted to get a feel for the mood of the voters. I went back by that polling place earlier this afternoon. Some very stalwart Dem friends of mine were still there getting candidate petitions signed. They indicated that the turnout in our precinct had been steady and strong. That really heartens me for the mood of our Democratic voters. We just have to keep that buzz going through November's elections.

Monday, January 28, 2008

FDP Netroots Coalition: The Website!

Announcing the newest website in the progressive arsenal - The Florida Democratic Party Netroots Coalition . This is:
the official web site of the Florida Democratic Party Netroots Coalition. We're trying to bring together the Democratic Party and the progressive Netroots in Florida.

We're here to assist you. If you need assistance with any online activity, contact us and we'll see what we can do help out.

We're here to support DECs, clubs, candidates, and activists who are interested in helping promote the Democratic Party agenda. Of course, we need your help as well, so if you can, help us out by joining us or donating to our cause, so we can afford to promote the online Democratic community and train people in the use of online resources.
The Florida Democratic Party Netroots Coalition, was officially born at the Florida Democratic Party State Convention last October. The mission of the FDP Netroots Coalition is:
to contribute to the growth and influence of the Democratic Party, to establish and maintain a Democratic online community, and to promote the party and all party candidates for Democratic leadership throughout the state and nation. We also seek to assist and encourage Florida Democrats, including clubs, county, and grassroots organizations to get online and establish a communication network and promote online participation among Democrats.
The FDP Netroots Coalition is ably led by our President, Kenneth Quinell.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ted Deutch Campaigning to Get Dem Candidates Here

Yesterday, I reported on State Senator Ted Deutch's letter to the four early state Democratic Party Chairs asking them to release our candidates from the Pledge not to campaign in Florida once the South Carolina Primary is over on Saturday.

Today there is word of a grassroots campaign by Senator Deutch to persuade the four early state chairs to release the candidates from the Pledge after South Carolina. This is from an email sent from Senator Deutch:
My Fellow Democrats -

Each one of you already knows how important it is for Florida Democrats to cast their votes on January 29th. The eyes of the world will be on Florida, and the national media will report that a strong Democratic turnout bodes well for our Democratic nominee here in November. But wouldn't a two-day burst of campaigning help generate even more excitement before this important primary election?...

Please ... reach out to the party officials at the addresses below to remind them that after South Carolina , the pledge should end. Their OK will give us two days of campaigning, two days to drive voter turnout in the largest and most diverse swing state, and two days to remind all Floridians how important it is to elect a Democrat in November.
Senator Deutch goes on to give the email addresses of the parties of the four early primary states. As a public service, here they are:

New Hampshire Democratic Party

Nevada Democratic Party

Iowa Democratic Party

South Carolina Democratic Party

Senator Deutch closes his letter as follows:
Please help make this effort a grassroots success.
Your leadership in asking others to help is vital to bringing us the campaign rallies which will generate the record turnout that this election should produce!

Many thanks,

Ted Deutch

30th District
15340 Jog Road, Suite 201
Delray Beach, Florida 33446-2170

So there you have it. This is your chance to let the Democratic parties in the four early states know how you feel about the no campaign pledge. And if you want to drop Senator Ted Deutch a line to thank him for his efforts on our behalf, you can do so here:


Monday, January 21, 2008

Will the Florida No Campaign Pledge Be Lifted (or Broken)?

cn1044 has a diary up on DailyKos titled Florida might be getting interesting detailing how Senator Barack Obama has purchased national cable ads that are now running in Florida. Senator Hillary Clinton's campaign calls this
a clear and blatant violation of the early state pledge that Sen. Obama and the other leading Democratic candidates signed last year.
Meanwhile, Florida State Senator Ted Deutch has written a letter to the four early state Democratic Party Chairs asking them to release the leading Democratic candidates from their pledge not to campaign in Florida.

Could Florida become more relevant all of a sudden? And what can all this mean?

On Thursday, Florida State Senator Ted Deutch sent a letter to the Democratic Party Chairs of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. The letter asks the Chairs of the four early states to release the Democratic candidates from their pledge not to campaign in Florida before February 5th. Florida's primary is scheduled for January 29th, 3 days after the last of the four early primaries in South Carolina on the 26th. Senator Deutch's letter states
On January 26th when the polls close in South Carolina, the goals you established in September when you asked the candidates to sign the Pledge will have been fully satisfied, and there will be no compelling reason for you to ask the candidates to continue to abide by the Pledge.

For five months, the candidates will have concentrated their attention on your four states. Allow Florida to have two days.
No word yet if Senator Deutch has received any responses from the four state party chairs.

Today, the St. Petersburg Times Buzz Blog is reporting here that the Clinton campaign is criticizing the Obama campaign because
CNN viewers in Florida today are seeing a Barack Obama campaign ad, which is part of a national cable TV buy.
The Clinton campaign is quoted as saying
Sen. Obama’s flagrant disregard for the pledge that he signed is disturbing and calls the integrity of the pledge into question.
Obama's campaign tell the Times:
We asked the cable channels if we could prevent the ad from airing in Florida and we were told that would be impossible.
Meanwhile,'s Ben Smith is reporting this:
“Both national cable networks told us it would be impossible for us to run advertising nationally that excluded only Florida. For that reason we consulted with the South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Carol Fowler who told us unequivocally she did not consider this to be in violation of pledge made to the early states,” said Obama spokesman Bill Burton.
So, is this a sign that the early states might look favorably upon Senator Deutch's request to release the candidates from the pledge after South Carolina's primary? Will the Clinton campaign consider the pledge broken and launch their own national cable ads that will air in Florida?

Stay tuned.


Politico is now reporting this form Clinton campaign spokesperson Mo Elleithee:
“We have honored the pledge in every way possible,” Elleithee said. “Now … we’re going to review all the options that are available to us moving forward.”

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I'm Voting Today

Early voting for the Florida Presidential Primary started yesterday. I am going to do what has become my tradition. I am going to vote today, on the second day of early voting. I know my friend Alonewolf would want me to change this tradition and vote by mail, and he is more than probably right. But there is just something for me about going to a polling place to cast my ballot.

And of course, here in Florida there has been all this talk back and forth about whether or not my vote will even count. Well, it counts enough for me to get myself to the Supervisor of Elections office in downtown St. Petersburg to cast my ballot for...

John Edwards, because he speaks directly to me on the kind of things our next President will need to do to take back our country and to begin to repair all the damage that has been done by Bush & Co. I want somebody who is going to fight for me. I want someone who understands that when Republicans talk about compromise and bipartisanship, what they are really talking about is you having to give in to them. These people never compromise their positions. They always expect you to compromise yours. John Edwards understands that. He speaks directly to my values and has earned my vote.

So that's me. What about you? Are you going to let some talking head pundit tell you that your vote doesn't count, so don't bother? Please do not listen to that bull. We are having an election in Florida. The results will be tallied. The winners and losers will be known. And all of this is going to happen one week before Tsunami Tuesday when all those other states vote. The Florida results will undoubtedly have an influence on the outcomes in those states. That's what going early is really all about. It is not about delegates. The candidates did not spend all those millions in New Hampshire to get 9 delegates, the number that both Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama received there. They did it because New Hampshire goes early and its results influence the outcome in all the other states that follow. It will be the same for Florida, only more so.

And what about our independent friends? Florida does have a closed primary system, so they will not be able to vote in our Presidential Preference Primaries. However, we do have a very important state constitutional amendment on the ballot this election on which independents can vote. The so called property tax reform, Amendment 1, is a very weak attempt at reform of our property tax system. In fact, this is not so much reform as it is pandering to homestead property owners.

Homestead property owners have been very well protected by the wildly successful Save Our Homes amendment which caps increases in taxable values of homesteads at 3% per year. This has protected homesteaders from the tax impact of the rampant run up in property values in recent years. Yet almost all of the benefits of this "reform" are directed at them. Small business owners and renters do not have this protection, yet they are getting basically none of the "relief" in this amendment. And this "relief" only amounts to $240 per year for the average Florida homeowner. This amount, while small individually, is large in the aggregate and will have very damaging impacts on the ability of local governments and school boards to deliver to us the services that we want. For these reasons, I am voting No on 1. Sorry, Charlie (Crist, our Republican Governor and a big backer of Amendment 1).

Strangely enough with a property tax cutting amendment on the statewide ballot, we are asking the voters in Pinellas County to keep a tax increase on themselves. Four years ago, voters in my county approved a small increase in their school property taxes. This tax was pledged to go mainly to increased teacher salaries, to keeping arts programs in the schools and to adding technology for our students. The proposal passed overwhelmingly four years ago with well over 60% of the vote. However, our Republican legislature will only allow us to choose to tax ourselves for four years at a time. Thus the measure is back on the ballot for renewal.

This program has been wildly successful. There is an independent citizen oversight committee that ensures that this money is, in fact, going where it is supposed to go. And it is. Our teacher salaries have been able to be increased to the point that we have a regionally competitive advantage in recruiting. We have more arts and music programs than we had four years ago. And we now have computer labs in every high school in the County. I am going to vote to keep this program going. (This is also another measure on the ballot that independents can vote for.)

So, as the Florida Democratic Party has asked, I am going out today to "Make it Count!" I can't wait to put that "I Voted" sticker on. I hope all my fellow Floridians will do the same on or before January 29th. You'll be glad you did.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Nine Florida candidates among DFA's Grassroots All-Stars

Democracy for America's 2008 Grassroots All-Stars vote is underway, and I was thrilled to find nine candidates from Florida in the running, including my personal favorite, Clint Curtis! You may already know Clint as the election integrity advocate who challenged Tom Feeney (R-Abramoff) for the FL-24 seat in 2006. And there's great news - Clint just received the endorsement of the local Progressive Democrats of America (PDA). Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) regularly honors Mr. Feeney as one of the 22 most corrupt members of Congress.

Clint is taking on Feeney again this year, and in addition, must defeat two other Democratic challengers in the primary: Suzanne Kosmas, a former Florida state representative and realtor in New Smyrna Beach, and Gaurav Bhola, a business development specialist with no public service experience.

Make no mistake - Clint is the true grassroots candidate, and his success in the DFA All-Star competition will provide a tremendous boost to his campaign and help him kick "Teflon Tom" Feeney to the curb.

Therefore, I humbly ask that you vote for Clint as one of DFA's 2008 All-Stars. And I'll totally be your best friend and everything!

Our friend Christine Jennings (FL-13) is also in the running. Ms. Jennings hardly needs an introduction here, as it's impossible to forget the debacle that was the 2006 FL-13 election, in which 18,000 votes went mysteriously unregistered. Ms. Jennings is not giving up, though, and she has been endorsed by EMILY'S List. FL-13 is currently held by Vern Buchanan, who was seated by the Florida legislature despite the lack of resolution on the vote irregularity issue.

As I reviewed the other Florida candidates, I was especially pleased that two of them put the environment high up on their priorities lists. Stephen Blythe (FL-15), is a lifelong environmentalist and Sierra Club member. Florida's natural bounties are increasingly under threat from overdevelopment, poor land use planning, and climate change, and we need representatives in Congress who will fight to protect them and all of America's environmental treasures. Dr. Blythe is also a physician, and must know firsthand the struggles uninsured patients contend with; he supports a national health care plan. Dr. Blythe is challenging Republican incumbent Dave Weldon.

Next up is Corbett Kroehler for FL-08, currently held by Ric Keller. Mr. Kroehler is a member of his local Nature Conservancy chapter, as well the local Sierra Club chapter, for which he serves as Chairman of Energy Issues on the Executive Committee. He's studied climate change thoroughly and understands the dangers faced by everyone on Earth if we don't act quickly to curb it. Mr. Kroehler has also been endorsed by the Greater Orlando PDA.

Other Florida DFA All-Star candidates include:
Although I didn't elaborate on some of the candidates, this in no way means I don't think they're worthy. I just wanted to focus on the particular ones who matter most to me: Clint Curtis, because I live in FL-24; Christine Jennings, because of Kossacks' outrage over the FL-13 voting problem; Dr. Blythe and Mr. Kroehler due to their strong environmental focus, which is also my top concern. I trust all of you to research the other potential All-Stars and decide which three are most deserving.

As long as you make one of them Clint Curtis! ;-)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Why Vote: To Take Our Country Back

I just got done reading this diary and comments on DailyKos titled Admirers of Constitution Booted for Wearing Impeach T-shirts in DC. This diary chronicles something that happened today, something I would have thought impossible in the United States of America:
With the original First Amendment "Freedom of Speech" looking on, admirers of the U.S. Constitution in the Washington D.C. National Archives Building today were ordered to leave for wearing tee-shirts reading "Impeach Bush and Cheney."
The only thing I could think of to add to the comments was this:
This is just another reminder of why it is so important to elect a Democrat President this year. We have GOT to take our country back from those people.
But then I got to thinking, this is why we need to vote in the Florida Presidential Primary on January 29th. We do have to take our country back. Some folks being told they have to leave the National Archives building because their T-shirts bothered the rent a cops seems like a rather trivial thing. But something like this should never happen in our country.

However, many things that should never have happened in this country have happened in the past seven years. The current administration has:
  • Ignored the threat from Osama bin Laden and then was surprised when 9/11 happened.
  • Failed to finish the job against bin Laden in Afghanistan, thus allowing him to regroup and remain dangerous today.
  • Lied us into a war in Iraq for their own political purposes.
  • Wiretapped us without warrants.
  • Employed torture against captured enemies.
  • Thrown away habeas corpus.
  • Allowed political hacks to over rule scientists.
  • Robbed our national treasury with no bid contracts to their corporate cronies that are then fraught with fraud.
  • Allowed the creation of private armies (a la Blackwater)
  • All but broken our military with this endless war in Iraq.
And I'm sure you all can add many, many more items to this list.

None of the current crop of viable Republican candidates repudiates any of this. In fact, most of them fully embrace all of this list. And in a few short days, most of them will be running around all over our state spouting their own brand of nonsense. Meanwhile, our Democratic candidates will not be here. Well, maybe not until January 27th, anyway (the day after the South Carolina Democratic primary).

So we Dems have had a little intra party squabble about moving the primary up. What is that in comparison to the importance of putting an end to the atrocities listed above? We all need to get out and vote for the primary candidate of our choice. We need to show the Republicans, and more importantly, the independents in this state, that we Democrats are going to be fighting hard here in Florida.

So get out and vote, Democrats. Let's show that we are going to fight hard here in Florida to take our country back!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Mole's Focus on Florida

Mole's Progressive Democrat has a Florida Focus today. Actually, it is a pretty impressive list of upcoming Democratic events in Florida. Not bad for a New Yorker.

Thanks, Mole.

Busansky Considering Supervisor Race

TBO's March on Politics is reporting that Phyllis Busansky, former Hillsborough Commissioner and recent Congressional candidate is considering a run for Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections. Windy March quotes Phyllis
“The issue is competence and integrity,” she said. “Our elections office makes me fearful. People need to have faith in our votes.”
Buddy Johnson has made misstep after misstep in that job. It is important for Hillsborough Democrats to field as strong a candidate as possible for this very important position.Having just run for Congress last cycle, Phyllis certainly has the name recognition. And her long experience in civic affairs gives her the credibility to make her a very strong candidate indeed.

This is good news for Hillsborough Dems.