Monday, September 01, 2014

Happy Labor Day, Florida Voters! Let the last lap start … by gimleteye

Labor Day is the traditional start to the last leg of the campaign season in election years, and no election year has been as important to Florida voters as this one. 2014 is the year that Florida voters will have a chance to weigh in on the crony capitalism that is the singular feature of the Gov. Rick Scott administration.

To weigh in, voters will first have to wade through a tide of Scott millions slung against the Democratic challenger Charlie Crist. Cartoonist Bill Day put it bluntly:

Big Sugar is a proxy for the crony capitalism that controls Tallahassee today. 

In the Miami Herald, Marc Caputo asks the next question: "Why are Democrats so often their own worst enemies in Florida?" and points out the low voter turnout that propelled Scott past Alex Sink four years ago.

As a campaigner, Sink was a sleep-walker. In contrast, Charlie Crist was born to run. And as a Democratic governor, there is no one more experienced with the extremists that dominate his former party than Crist.

That's why this Labor Day, resolve to ramp up your own effort to get friends and family and friends of friends and their families to understand what is at stake this November.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Miami Beach developer George Lindemann Jr.'s costly effort to upset the county commission in Martin County. along with Big Sugar billionaires … by gimleteye

Miami Beach-based developer George Lindemann Jr. spent a lot of money in Martin County to unseat pro-environmental county commissioners. And lost. "The Lake Point entities,” environmental lawyer Virginia Sherlock said in an email are “operated by George Lindemann Jr.” The Lake Point groups “spent hundreds of thousands of dollars,” she adds, “on the committees, and on the campaigns of Heard’s and Fielding’s opponents."

From the Palm Beach Post:

‘Big money’ PACs lose out in Martin elections, but likely will be back

By Sally Swartz, columnist

Clean water and careful growth trumped big money and “questionable” attack ads in Tuesday’s primary election in Martin County. Sarah Heard, a 12-year incumbent, won another term on the Martin County Commission after surviving one of the dirtiest and most expensive smear campaigns in county history.

Meet Lynda Bell's Campaign Manager Jose Luis Castillo. By Geniusofdespair

Lynda and Mark Bell's campaign Manager for their respective losing campaigns for Commissioner and Mayor:

 Jose Luis Castillo of Greenpoint Group

(Yes that is Lynda Bell behind the shoulder of State Senator Miguel diaz de la Portilla.)

Looks like Castillo's sleazy tactics don't work any more (such as the guys posing as cops at the precincts with black shirts on saying they were Lynda Bell Supporters even though the police officially backed Daniella Levine Cava and the "Blame Marlins Fiasco" on Daniella Levine Cava. Like she made any of the decisions on the Marlin's deal....not.)  

The Absentee ballots were watched pretty closely but he did manage a 500 vote surplus on them.

On Gun Violence and American Exceptionalism: Leonard Pitts nails it … by gimleteye

For The Miami Herald, Leonard Pitts Jr. writes a great OPED about the tragic case of a shooting instructor killed by a 9 year old girl who lost control of her Uzi. I can hear the pro-gun, anti-control activists howling that the instructor was responsible because he didn't have the girl under control. Pitts asks the question, though: in what kind of America does a 9 year old even get the chance to operate a machine gun and then answers this and other questions that gun nuts will shrug off.

Here's the Pitts OPED:

Sometimes you read a sentence and you think to yourself: only here, only us. Here’s one such sentence.

“A 9-year-old girl from New Jersey accidentally shot and killed her instructor with an Uzi submachine gun while he stood to her left side, trying to guide her.”

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Florida Public Service Commission: with November around the corner, a chance to redress indignities for Florida voters … by gimleteye

I was reminded of a Tom Friedman OPED recently, having read about this week's meeting at Miami International Airport Hotel where the nominating committee for the Public Service Commission convened in a room adjacent to a protest by climate change activists including a leading UM scientist, Dr. Harold Wanless, who had met with Gov. Rick Scott only a week earlier to attempt to educate Scott on climate change.

Friedman wrote, "Of the many things being said about climate change lately, none was more eloquent than the point made by Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington State in the Showtime series “Years of Living Dangerously,” when he observed: “We’re the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and the last generation that can do something about it."

While Dr. Wanless spoke to the activists about the urgency of reforming energy policies to drastically reduce carbon emissions, from the next room laughter could be heard from the gathering of those responsible to set the state's energy policies. One meeting participant said, "it sounded like happy hour".

This blog noted the sheer incongruence of former State House Representative Jimmy Patronis (R-Panama City) being nominated to the PSC. Patronis' credentials include his role as anti-environmental leader in the state legislature. In other words, he fits right in with the crowd of insiders who run the shadow government in Tallahassee.

Anyone who doesn't believe this is shocking ought to spend a few minutes with ProPublica's outstanding report on Louisiana sinking, where scientists now say, "… the greatest environmental and economic disasters in the nation’s history is rushing toward a catastrophic conclusion over the next 50 years, so far unabated and largely unnoticed."

Friedman's editorial ended, "Let’s act so the next generation will want to honor us with a Memorial Day, the way we honor the sacrifice of previous generations." From Florida's Public Service Commission, you can hear the tinkle of cocktail glasses and guffaws.

The nation's voters will have a chance to redress these indignities in November.

(for Friedman's OPED "Memorial Day 2050, click 'read more')

Friday, August 29, 2014

Miami-Dade now offers Tourists a Hot Spring to soak in. By Geniusofdespair

You don't have to go searching around for a hot spring anymore. Just opened: the posh Turkey Point Springs (actually the Turkey Point cooling canals for two nuclear reactors). Forget about all those other hot springs, this one has the added rejuvenating powers of having gone through nuclear reactors. What could be better for your health then a cauldron of...lets face it -- who knows what. It was reported today the cooling canals over there are even hotter, sometimes 102 degrees...too hot to cool the reactors. They are taking water meant for Biscayne Bay to try not to fry the reactors:

“After Oct. 15 is when we don’t have the regular flows and that’s when we get really concerned that you’re going to get salinity rising and problems spiraling,” said Jane Graham, an Everglades policy analyst for Audubon Florida.

The decision to pump the 100 million gallons will be an important test of district rules designed to protect water, Graham said.

So get on over there to Turkey Point for the restorative water, just ask the crocodiles. They love it.

The Florida-For-Sale Governor, Rick Scott and Watson Island … by gimleteye

Gov. Scott's image as "The Florida-For-Sale Governor" raises a question: has crony capitalism ever been so engrained in Tallahassee as it is today? Thanks to the Tampa Bay Times, we have just had news of Scott's complicity in the King Ranch / US Sugar entertainment of top GOP officials in Texas and, this week, of secret emails hidden by the Governor and staff revealing US Sugar again kicking in six figures to another of the Governor's private schemes.

Ace Miami reporter Francisco Alvarado digs up another doozie with
"Miami developer hires governor's pal; Scott, Cabinet green light Watson Island project". The news report was published by the Broward Bulldog yesterday.

In a nutshell: a business crony of Scott's -- Billy Rubin -- is at the heart of a reversal by the state that skipped over a deed restriction on the property. By removing the obstacle last May, in a decision that wasn't even recorded by the Miami press, the developer won a plan to eliminate the prohibition against private development that had been deeded long ago to the city as public property.

Here's a kernel: "In the early 2000s, Rubin and Scott – along with then Broward Sheriff Ken Jenne – served together on the board of Cyberguard, a Deerfield Beach computer security firm in which both men had invested. Securities and Exchange Commission records show that Scott ultimately made more than $60 million from his Cyberguard investment.

The day Scott was elected, Rubin told the Tampa Bay Times that he’d met Scott in 1991 when the governor was building his Columbia/HCA hospital company. “We’ve stayed close ever since. I love him,” Rubin said at the time.

Rubin added that he would not benefit from Scott being in the Governor’s office. “I won’t be. I’ll quickly dispel that perception.”

In fact, Rubin is currently registered to represent 62 clients before the governor and executive branch agencies – including Flagstone and heavyweights like Florida Power & Light, Florida East Coast Railway and HCA Healthcare."

November is coming, and voters will have a chance to express whether they approve or not the crony capitalism that is now the engine of state government.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Help us surge Eye On Miami … by gimleteye

Every election cycle our readership surges. We appreciate your attention and comments. If you like our posts, please click on the social media tabs, like Facebook, to send to your friends. We hope they, like you, will become regular readers too.

Jimmy Patronis, for Public Service Commission? Blustery Water Carrier for the Great Destroyers … by gimleteye

One of the reasons we write this blog is for citizens seeking a place to obtain "context" for 1) news and 2) what stands for governance in Florida. We offer commentary that puts the news in the context of history in a way that isn't reported in other media.

For example, The Miami Herald notes a meeting that is taking place today of the Florida Public Service Commission at Miami International Airport to review board candidates for appointment by Gov. Rick Scott.

The PSC is extraordinarily important: it is the authority that handed FPL, for example, the right to start billing you and me for $20 billion in new nuclear reactors at sea level before the permitting was complete.

So if you want context for the upcoming election for Florida governor, understand what exactly is happening at this important meeting today and who is being considered for appointment to this board that holds the state's energy policies captive to what big utilities want.

In a simple paragraph, the Herald notes, "Also to be interviewed is Rep. Jimmy Patronis, a Republican from Panama City, who runs the popular Captain Anderson's restaurant which is owned by his family. Patronis lists no utility-related experience in his resume but is a favorite for the job because of his political connections. Patronis dropped out of the 2016 state Senate race to replace Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, leaving Gaetz's son, Matt Gaetz, the frontrunner in the race and many expect him to be named by Scott to the utility board in consolation."

Consolation, my ass.

Patronis was the most rabid anti-environmental leader during his term-limited role in the Florida House. It is unconscionable for the Herald to note this fact. Type "Patronis" in the search bar of Eye On Miami for more of execrable detail.

Jimmy Patronis isn't going to be a "consolation appointee" by Gov. Rick Scott to the PSC. This is a politician who delighted in co-sponsoring the harshest anti-environmental legislation in recent sessions, part of the wrecking crew that dismantled decades of bipartisan achievements and leaving in its place a fortress for pro-business interests.

Back in 2013 we nabbed a compelling quote from Frank Matthews, one of the most powerful of Tallahassee lobbyists who walks point on damaging legislation written by and for developers, phosphate miners, power companies and Big Sugar. “I can’t say enough good things about him. He couldn’t be more accommodating. That’s the appealing thing to me.”

Straightforward enough for you?

So this is what the November election for Florida governor is really about: whether voters will permit another term for Gov. Rick Scott to seed important governing boards and entities like the Public Service Commission with cronies like Jimmy Patronis.

The bottom line: Florida cannot afford Rick Scott. (click 'read more', for the full Herald report and press statement concerning today's protest at 11:00AM, Miami International Airport Hotel.)

Incoming Commissioner District 8, Daniella Levine Cava and her family. By Geniusofdespair