Triumph For Them Not For Us

In 2012, some politically powerful people in North Florida secured the services of then Senator Don Gaetz to help them control 1.5 billion of funds that BP was expected to pay for the carnage to the Gulf Coast caused by the BP oil spill. The concern of these behind the scenes power brokers was that they did not want our elected officials to have any control over these funds. So Senator Gaetz introduced legislation to set up a corporation that would have all money funneled through it. When he set it up he named five political friends to the board of directors. Three are from his home base of Destin, Florida. One lives in Santa Rosa County and one resides in Bay County. None are from Pensacola or even Escambia County. These five will control 1.5 billion dollars. They will not be accountable to the taxpayers or the voters. Did anyone ever see an application for a position on this board of directors? The answer of course is no. This was done long before most of us had any idea about the feverish effort that was undertaken to get control of the settlement money that would come later.

The Speaker of the Florida House of Representative, Mr. Richard Corcoran, has expressed concern about accountability of the disbursement of this very substantial amount of money. He is right. This money should be awarded to the counties impacted and the municipalities within those counties on a block grant population basis. Doing it on the basis of population with direct payments made to the counties and cities would assure that the money will be spent not based on what a committee of people outside our community want but based on what our elected officials decide is best. But more importantly elected officials are accountable to the voters. The fact that this transformative award of money has been sidetracked through the Gaetz created Triumph Corporation is hardly a triumph for the taxpayers. We will never know the names of the people who got Don Gaetz to do it, but we have a hunch. We do know this was all in process well before the Pam Bondi 1.5 billion dollar settlement was even reached.

Had this board been established to be fairly inclusive and without potential conflicts of interest it would have looked entirely different than it does now. If Mr. Gaetz wanted to assure transparency he could have selected Andy Marlette of the PNJ for the board. If he wanted people who have a history of doing great things for the community he could have added the president of the league of women voters or the president of Impact 100 to his board. If he truly wanted inclusion, he could have selected members from the minority community. There are countless other fine people who would have volunteered to help oversee the proper and fair use of this money.

Mayor Hayward of Pensacola has called for block grants to the cities and counties and he is right to do so. Having a fishing village like Destin controlling a majority of this board is a short tail wagging a big dog. Pensacola is the largest City and Escambia is the largest county of the eight counties and the cities within them. Our communities should receive our fair share of this 1.5 Billion dollars settlement and we need our elected officials to control the money. Our legislative delegation should be demanding this dismantling of this Triumph Corporation before they get their hands on the money. This is once in decade’s infusion of money that may never happen again and it is so important to the future of our communities.

Posted in City of Pensacola, Escambia County, Florida, Florida Legislature, News Articles, Pensacola News Journal, Politics, Republican Party, Tallahassee | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ciclovia: Pensacola Open Streets Event

UPwords - News and Views from the City of Pensacola

Ciclovia: Pensacola Open Streets Event

Ciclovia Pensacola Open Streets

The City of Pensacola is proud to support the inaugural Ciclovia Open Streets Pensacola event, on Saturday March 25th from 9AM to 2PM.

Open Streets Pensacola is a free, safe, and inclusive event that will focus on fitness, recreation, and community programs along five miles of road for people to experience the streets in a new way.

We invite you to bike, walk, run, skate, roll, or dance your way through the scenic and historic route of Downtown Pensacola from Community Maritime Park on Main Street to Gulf Power on Bayfront Parkway and along Palafox from Garden Street to Plaza de Luna! There will be many activities along the route including fitness classes, sports demonstrations, music, dancing, helmet fittings, a bike skills clinic, plus games and fun activities for all ages.

Bring your friends to Ciclovia Open Streets Pensacola for a walkable, vehicle-free, and thrilling adventure!

For more information, visit the Pensacola Open Streets website, or the Facebook event page.

WEEK 2: Street Resurfacing and Natural Gas Infrastructure Upgrades

More than 32,500 square yards of pavement has been milled, and nearly 11,000 tons of new asphalt placed in the first two weeks of the citywide street resurfacing program.

Thus far, work has focused in west Pensacola, but beginning Monday, March 6, crews also started working in downtown areas to repair concrete features such as sidewalks, curbs, and handicap accessibility ramps.

Milling and resurfacing of downtown city streets is scheduled to begin in mid-April and continue into the summer months. The multiyear construction program encompasses 1,800 blocks of city streets. The streets have not been resurfaced for a decade or more.

Read more here

Letter of Appreciation: Fire Department Engine Crew 6

Pensacola Fire Department Engine Crew 6

Chief Redding,

On February 28, Captain Vines (and the crew of Engine 6) responded to an Assistance Lifting call. An 81 year old male slid out of bed and his elderly wife was unable to help with his return. Engine 6 assisted their resident back into his bed and Captain Vines had a wellness conversation with his wife regarding her husband’s long-term health status and special needs. Insurance and financial issues had created a delay in the family receiving a wheelchair.

Fearing the potential for injury, due to deteriorating mobility, Reese offered to provide a wheelchair. The next morning, Captain Vines and members of Station 6 delivered a wheelchair to our grateful Wimbledon Drive family.

As you know, this past year has been a challenging one in the Vines family. His recognition of this special need, and swift intervention, is truly an act of exceptional customer service.

– Ginny Cranor, Battalion Chief – C Watch, Pensacola Fire Department 

Relays 4 Life - Masquerade Ball and Silent Auction

Relay for Life Masquerade Ball and Silent Auction

Relay For Life of Pensacola is hosting its very first Masquerade Ball and Silent Auction on March 10th from 7PM to 12AM at the Artel Gallery (223 Palafox Place).

Relay For Life seeks to give everyone, in communities across the globe, the chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease. The theme “Masquerade” was chosen for this Ball in order to symbolize how little is known about the disease that is cancer, but how the organization is searching to find out more.

The goal is to raise $100,000 towards Relay For Life by May 5, 2017. Tickets can be purchased here. For real time updates and additional information, follow the event Facebook page.

McGuire's 5K Prediction Run

McGuire’s 40th Annual 5K Run

McGuire’s Irish Pub is hosting its 40th St. Patrick’s Day Prediction 5K Run on Saturday, March 11th at 9AM.

The race goes on, rain or shine, and will start and finish at McGuire’s Irish Pub (600 E Gregory St). Each runner or walker predicts how long it will take them to complete the 3.1 mile course. Participants who come the closest to the time predicted on their registration form win.

Crossing the finish line is just the beginning. Stay for the after party, where there will be refreshments and entertainment until 12PM. To register for the race, or for more information, visit the event website.

Maritime de Luna Youth Duathon

Maritime de Luna Du Youth Duathon

The Maritime de Luna Du Youth Duathlon is the first of two events in the TriGulfCoast Youth Multisport Series.

The De Luna Du Duathlon will be held March 12, 2017 at Pensacola’s Community Maritime Park at 8:30AM. The race will offer a scenic run-bike-run course for kids ages 6 to 15.

Those who wish to volunteer or participate can sign up on the official race website. For more information, visit the event Facebook page.

Smokin' in the Square 8th Annual Charity BBQ Cookoff

Smokin’ in the Square 8th Annual Charity BBQ Cookoff

The Knights of Columbus will host their 8th annual Smokin’ in the Square event March 17th and 18th in Seville Square.

This barbecue cook off raises funds through activities and food sales, and the proceeds are donated to local charities. What was once a small, backyard-competitor cook off is now a large event with an average of 50 pro teams and 25 backyard teams showing up each year. There will be live entertainment, cooking competitions, and other activities.

Smokin’ in the Square is free to attend, but VIP tickets are also available for those who would like special access to the Lee House, next door to the square, where they can enjoy their barbecue. For tickets and more information, visit the event website.

Jacksonian Guard Colors

Jacksonian Guard Colors Ceremony

The Jacksonian Guard is a Pensacola re-enactment group of soliders from the Jacksonian and Spanish era. The next event will be March 18th at 12 noon in Plaza Ferdinand on Palafox Street.

The ceremony commemorates Pensacola’s 195th Birthday and Florida as a U.S. Territory. It will continue to take place every third Saturday of each month through 2017. Join the guard at the flagpole in the center of Plaza Ferdinand, and see a demonstration of Pensacola’s rich heritage.

The Jacksonian Guard currently consists of mainly students ages 12 to 29. They are young to represent the youthful composition of Andrew Jackson’s army and the great talent that exists among our youth today in Pensacola. Membership is open to any area youth willing to perform in these re-enactments. Inquiries can be sent to info@goretro.us, or for more information, call (850) 466-5220.

Project GreenShores

Project GreenShores Cleanup

Join Ocean Hour Florida for a Project Greenshores and Bartram Park Cleanup on Saturday, March 18.

Project Greenshores is at the Three Mile Bridge on Bayfront Parkway (745 Bayfront Parkway). The second location is Bartram Park (211 Bayfront Parkway, behind The Fish House). Buckets, grabbers, gloves, and trash bags will be supplied. Sign in at 8:45AM and the clean up will be from 9AM to 10AM.

For more information, contact oceanhourfl@gmail.com or call (850) 450-1112.

Pensacola Citizens Academy 2017

This week, we kicked off the 2017 Pensacola Citizens Academy: a free, nine week program for residents to learn more about their local government, community, and how to take that knowledge to better their neighborhoods and be more active participants in their city.

At the first meeting, academy registrants visited City Hall for presentations from the City Administrator, Constituent Services, Finance, and the City Clerk. Thank you to our attendees. We look forward to the next eight weeks!

For a sneak peek of this week’s meeting, click the image below.

Pensacola Citizens Academy 2017

Instagram: Photo of the Week

Instagram: Photo of the Week

Share your photo with us on Instagram. Tag us with #upsideofflorida or
@cityofpensacola. Your image could be featured in the next UPwords newsletter. We’d love to see your photos! Photo credit: @r.eggs

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Posted in City of Pensacola, Escambia County, Florida, News Articles, Pensacola City Council | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Fake News

While all the Trump people are bashing fake news, it might be well to note the benefits. Let me cite a few local examples…

If someone wrote a story saying Outzen apologized for his non-stop trashing of the City of Pensacola we would see three reactions: The vast majority could care less, but of the minority, some would see real hope that he had repented and would return to some form of journalistic honor. The remaining few would know that the news was fake and double down their vocal objection of him killing the community to get trade out ads. Contrast that with a true story that Outzen was continuing his bashing of the City of Pensacola and its Mayor and absolutely no one would even read it.

Another example…

A story is published that the Fish House manager apologized for ruining the ambiance of the historic district and agreed to tear down their garish flashing EAT NOW sign. No one would believe it. The benefit of such a fake news story however would be to highlight the level of offensive conduct the ARB permits for their friends.

Speaking of the ARB and their alternative facts , they recently rejected a night lighting of the new YMCA sign. An unequivocal insult to the generosity of the Bear, Levin and Studer families who gave millions to build the “Y.” Fake News would consist of a story about how each of the ARB members care greatly for the historic district and that the granting of permission for the lighted all night billboard sign was to help illuminate the streets of the historic district ( the need to do it would be an example of an alternative fact ) . The bogus story would go on to explain that since Zaragoza Street has street lights there is no need to have a Fish House type illuminated YMCA sign.

In Pensacola the ARB has just proposed a conflict of interest disclosure requirement that can be waived depending who is asking for what favor at the time. This is of course fake news because they would never pass a conflict of interest code.

Posted in City of Pensacola, Escambia County, Local Business, Republican Party | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Killing New Jobs in Florida

Feb 03, 2017 — When Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus folded its tent last month, 400 Floridians lost their jobs. Now, Florida’s Governor Rick Scott appears determined to turn his state’s drive for jobs into a Cuba policy clown show.

Gov. Scott, on the eve of a “jobs summit” that he is staging, unleashed a twitter storm and released a state budget to pressure port officials and cut off funds for port projects to stop Florida ports and businesses from trading with Cuba.

At a time when the Governors of nine states, between 2015 and 2017, have brought trade delegations to Cuba for the express purpose of doing deals and creating two-way trade with Cuba, Gov. Scott, uniquely, seems determined to kill jobs – or prevent jobs from being created – in his own state. Simply because those jobs would depend on Florida having commercial relations with Cuba.

Whether he is acting out of “principle” or acting out of self-interest, Gov. Scott is “acting out” and most abnormally for a government official.

Except. Wait a minute. Tweeting? Pushing people around? Breaking trade deals? This seems awfully familiar.

When it comes to Cuba, Florida – to put it kindly – has always been a paradox unable to come to terms with itself. No state in the union has worked harder to impose sanctions on Cuba, and no state has benefited more from trade and travel with the island.

center-for-democracy-americasSince 1959, it has been the center of resistance to the existence of the Cuban system. Now, majorities in the diaspora community and across Florida support an open policy. Florida’s airports, slowly then dramatically, have filled with hundreds of thousands of Cubans and Cuban Americans flying back and forth between the U.S. and Cuba. After the passage of a revised trade sanctions law in 2000, the state’s ports saw off the ships sailing to Havana, and then to Mariel, with containers of food and the other limited but legally traded items U.S. businesses could sell to the island.

Until January, as the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council points out, it was the state’s policy under Governor Scott to make normal trade with Cuba a priority for Florida’s seaports. “Due to the proximity of the state to Cuba and the cultural ties, expanded trade opportunities could be dramatic.” Some business leaders believed Sunshine State trade with Cuba could one day create 20,000 local jobs.

Yes, trade with Cuba does build profits for U.S. businesses and create U.S. jobs. Not just for Florida. Since these opportunities are also open to ports up and down the Atlantic coast, and along the southeast states on the Gulf, Florida has competition; to preserve and expand employment, it has to keep up its investments in trade with Cuba.

Enter the ringmaster. While others wait for the Trump Administration to review Cuba policy (Reuters says that’s happening now), Rick Scott leapt into the ring.

As officials at Port Everglades and the Port of Palm Beach prepared to welcome Cuban counterparts from Cuba’s National Port Administration and sign Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) to build cooperation between their ports and Cuba, Gov. Scott made it clear he didn’t want Florida ports to make deals with Cuba.

Scott tweeted in English and Spanish, as the Miami Herald reported, “We cannot condone Raul Castro’s oppressive behavior,” and added that he’d ask “state legislators to cut off funding for any Florida ports that ‘enter into any agreement with [the] Cuban dictatorship.’” This caused the knees of Port Everglades and Palm Beach to buckle; there, officials agreed to meet the Cuban delegation but not to sign the MOUs. And, as we report below, it had the same effect on the Port of Tampa, with a spokesperson even denying it ever planned to sign an MOU with Cuba to a reporter who filed a story with a copy of the agreement in his hands.

Yes, the Scott saga even comes with an alternative set of facts. As Paul Guzzo wrote, “The truth is, according to an internal document obtained by the Tampa Bay Times, Port Tampa Bay had already drawn up a memorandum, gotten approval from the federal office, circulated the word in maritime circles and garnered congratulations for its efforts.”

Deciding, apparently, to enlarge rather than quell the problem, Scott put language in his budget, as the Miami Herald reported, that says no money can be “allocated to infrastructure projects that result in the expansion of trade with the Cuban dictatorship because of their continued human rights abuses.”

The Bradenton Herald slammed the governor for his “inconsistency” for supporting trade with China, and added that “Scott’s threat puts Florida at a competitive disadvantage to ports along the Gulf Coast, East Coast, Caribbean islands and Central America [which are] signing agreements with Cuba.”

We asked Dr. Michael Bustamante, a scholar at Florida International University, to interpret the Governor’s behavior. “It’s clear Governor Scott is returning to an old playbook, one in which U.S.-Cuba policy – or in this case Florida-Cuba policy – is a function of domestic politics, not national or state interests.”

The day Gov. Scott released his budget and doubled down on his investment in stopping bilateral trade with Cuba, the Miami Herald observed, “the first legal maritime shipment from Cuba to the U.S. in more than 50 years” had made its way to Miami-Dade County, after reaching Port Everglades the week before. It was two containers of “artisanal” Cuban charcoal. And more may be coming to a pizza oven near you, even if Governor Scott succeeds in sanctioning businesses in his own state, in the name of shutting down trade with Cuba.

What a circus.

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Source: From the director of the Center for Democracy in the Americas — The Center for Democracy in the Americas promotes a U.S. policy toward Cuba based on engagement and recognition of Cuba’s sovereignty. democracyinamericas.org

Posted in Florida, Florida Legislature, News Articles, Politics, Republican Party, Tallahassee | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Simple Solution to Address Systemic Corruption

In a recent exposé, journalists from Reveal at The Center for Investigative Reporting exposed an accountability gap that has allowed the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to pour over $130 million of development assistance into projects run by Planet Aid. USDA continues to invest in Planet Aid even after being presented with evidence that their projects are tied to a corrupt and abusive cult. While many aspects of this report yield troubling lessons for U.S. taxpayers who are footing the bill, the one that struck a chord here at Accountability Counsel was the final conclusion – there is no policy framework at USDA preventing harm and abuse, and no accountability system committed to uncovering, investigating, and remedying harm to victims of USDA-funded projects.

blog-on-huffpo-04-20-2016The Reveal investigation demonstrates harm from lack of oversight and accountability with just one aid recipient, at one institution. As lawyers for communities around the world harmed by internationally-financed development projects, we know that this Planet Aid scheme is the proverbial tip of the iceberg. This conclusion applies not just to USDA, but to the more than 20 U.S. federal agencies that invest in development abroad, representing at least $65 billion a year in aid and financing. Until U.S. agencies adopt both a strong policy framework and a robust accountability system that can deliver remedy, we have no way to ensure that U.S. investment is reaching its intended beneficiaries and is doing more good than harm.

To date, only one U.S. federal agency – the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) – has gotten even part way there. While OPIC has created policies designed to avoid harm and abuse tied to an accountability framework, it still lacks the critical remedy piece. Our case supporting Liberian communities to use OPIC’s Office of Accountability shows why this missing remedy piece of the framework matters.

In Liberia, OPIC’s failed investment into Buchanan Renewables’ biomass project drove farmers into poverty, contaminated water, and involved sexual abuse of local women, among other catastrophes. As a result of a community-led complaint, an OPIC Office of Accountability investigation affirmed many of the community’s allegations. Whereas USDA has made no acknowledgement of wrongdoing in the Planet Aid situation and has failed to investigate, the OPIC findings were an important public acknowledgement that OPIC failed. The OPIC investigation also uncovered a more systemic failure to ensure that human rights and environmental risks of OPIC’s investments were dealt with appropriately. As a result, OPIC has recently increased its due diligence staff and is undergoing a full, public review of its human rights and environmental policies. These positive fixes are critical to OPIC avoiding a repeat of the harm that resulted from the Buchanan Renewables investment. They show progress toward a good policy and accountability framework from which USDA could learn.

However, even after all of the positive systemic impact from their complaint, the communities in Liberia are still suffering. They are worse off than they were before OPIC made its investment. To be truly accountable for its failure, OPIC must deliver remedy for people harmed by its investments. If OPIC gets this right, all federal agencies – including USDA – can benefit from the model it creates.

What would U.S. agencies getting it right look like? Accountability structures must ensure that confirmed allegations of abuse tied to projects or investments result in the power to correct mistakes, so that people’s rights and dignity and the environment are respected where aid and investment hit the ground. OPIC has the chance to lead by example through creation of, for example, a remedy fund tied to its accountability framework. This fund could be paid into through insurance or bonds and could then deliver compensation to victims and make good on the promise the United States has made to its taxpayers – that OPIC’s investments help “solve critical development challenges.”

For OPIC, USDA, and all of the U.S. agencies involved in development aid and finance, we can’t make progress on closing these accountability gaps soon enough. Our own clients in Liberia, victims of Planet Aid schemes, and millions of others harmed by U.S. development spending each year, are still waiting for remedy from a system not designed to deliver it. Our country’s tremendous resources can do tremendous good – or harm – and it’s up to all of us to get it right.

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CREDIT: This article first appeared in The Huffington Post, The Blog, April 20, 2016, under the title of “Dysfunction in Development Aid Runs Deep” authored by Kindra Mohr, Policy Director at Accountability Counsel and Co-authored by Natalie Bridgeman Fields, Founder and Executive Director of Accountability Counsel

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New Publix Prison Nears Completion

Publix WallInmates are scheduled to arrive in January. The new prison on Cervantes street is a horizontal expansion from the food sales division of Publix. Economies of scale will result from bag boys serving time while carrying out groceries. One early criticism of the stark no window building was recently addressed by adding faux windows. Most of the people driving by will believe the prison has real windows. Publix will voluntarily post “Do Not Pick Up Hitchhikers” signs up and down the street. There is real neighborhood excitement over the extra lighting being installed in the parking lot adjacent to residences. The Publix commitment to building architecturally compatible neighborhood building structures is a core value of the company.

Posted in City of Pensacola, Escambia County, Florida, Food, Local Business | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Keep Partisan Revenge Out of State Constitution

Keep partisan revenge out of state constitution —An Editorial

Sun Sentinel Editorial Board

Floridians need to stay informed on judiciary amendment

Florida voters had to be aware of a sneaky constitutional amendment this year. They may have to be even more informed and focused in 2018.

The 2016 subterfuge was an amendment related to solar energy that advertised itself as consumer-friendly. In fact, Florida’s investor-owned utilities financed the amendment with $26 million in hopes of securing a monopoly on solar power. Voters, however, wised up. The amendment fell far short of the 60 percent needed for approval.

For 2018, the looming danger is amendments that seek to undermine Florida’s independent judiciary. This issue may not sound as sexy as energy from the sun, but it’s far more important.

Florida is the only state in which an appointed body — the Constitution Revision Commission — can put amendments on the ballot without court review. The 37-member commission meets every 20 years, and the next iteration starts in 2017 to decide which amendments — if any — go on the 2018 ballot.

The governor gets 15 appointments, including the chairman. The House speaker and Senate president get nine, the chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court gets three and the attorney general is automatically a member. When Florida created the commission in 1965, the intent was to provide regular review of the new state constitution — approved in 1968 — to propose bipartisan updates. For House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’ Lakes, however, his priority is partisan revenge.

Two weeks ago, Corcoran addressed the business group Associated Industries of Florida. Corcoran told AIF that his appointees to the Constitution Revision Commission must favor term limits for Florida Supreme Court justices, who now can serve until age 70, like all of Florida’s jurists. In addition, Corcoran said his “litmus test” is that commission members be “conservative.”

Though he claims that conservatives “get the separation of powers,” Corcoran is not acting like such a conservative. He wants to make the Florida Supreme Court subservient to the Legislature because he opposes the court’s rulings on, to name a few, school vouchers, workers compensation insurance and, especially, redistricting.

In 2010, voters approved constitutional amendments that prohibited the Legislature from drawing gerrymandered congressional and legislative districts to favor parties and incumbents. Last year, the groups that sponsored the amendments successfully challenged the congressional and state Senate maps the Republican-controlled Legislature drew in 2012.

Both amendments got nearly 63 percent of the vote. Evidence showed that, despite promises of transparency, Republican leaders had worked in secret with party operatives to draw maps that favored the GOP. The legal challenge ensured that the amendments would work as voters intended.

Corcoran now wants the Constitutional Revision Commission to go after “bad decisions” — translation: his side lost — by the Florida Supreme Court. He wants proposals to neuter the Fair Districts Amendments and impose 12-year-term limits on Supreme Court justices.

Republicans earlier targeted the justices after the court in 2010 struck some misleading amendments from the ballot. In 2011, the House proposed an amendment that would have split the seven-member Supreme Court into a pair of five-member divisions — criminal and civilian.

Conveniently, the Democratic-appointed justices would have gone into the criminal division. Judges whom the GOP liked would have gone into the civil division, which would have reviewed constitutional amendments. Gov. Rick Scott would have appointed three new justices. It was court-packing. Fortunately, the Senate blocked it.

Even a weakened version of the amendment got less than 40 percent the next year. Also in 2012, Corcoran tried to finance a campaign to defeat three justices who were up for merit retention. He called them “the enemy of the free markets.” All kept their jobs. One is Jorge Labarga, the current chief justice who will make those three appointments to the Constitution Revision Commission.

Corcoran alone would be dangerous enough, but Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, also wants the commission to review the Fair Districts Amendments. Scott’s statements show that he prefers the judiciary to be a wholly-owned subsidiary of the executive and judicial branches — if Republicans control them.

In 1998, the Constitution Revision Commission property focused its work on changes intended to make state government work better. The most important amendment shrunk the Florida Cabinet by making the education and insurance commissioners appointed, not elected. In 1978, voters rejected all eight of the commission’s amendments, but most — such as the right to privacy — became law later.

It takes 22 votes to get an amendment on the ballot. We don’t know what the commission will produce. Based on the early comments, however, we know that there’s reason for Floridians to start worrying and stay informed.

(Sun Sentinel editorial originally appeared here.)

Posted in Florida, Florida Legislature, Florida Supreme Court, News Articles, Politics, Republican Party, Tallahassee | Leave a comment