Thursday, August 30, 2007

Action Item: Tell Legislature to Get the Job Done Right This Time


When the Florida Legislature convenes the special session scheduled to begin September 18, it will cost taxpayers $40,000 a day. To date, legislative leadership is insisting they will focus solely on making essential budget reductions, despite calls from all sides that they take up two urgent issues they failed to address during the regular session.

1. No-Fault Auto Insurance and PIP Coverage: On October 1st, Florida's no-fault auto insurance laws are scheduled to expire, and there will no longer be any requirement that drivers carry a minimum level of personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. PIP provides an essential health care safety net. Without it, the twenty percent of Floridians who have no health insurance will have no coverage for treatment of injuries sustained in auto accidents, and hospitals say they will be forced to bear the costs of administering emergency treatment to uninsured accident victims. Health insurance companies say they will be forced to increase premiums, and courts will be clogged with lawsuits. To protect Florida's drivers, the Legislature must extend the current law for a year to allow time for reform legislation to be developed.

2. KidCare: More than half a million Florida children are without health insurance of any kind. The KidCare program is designed to provide coverage to children whose parents make too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford private health insurance. However, because Florida has failed to maximize enrollment in the program, we have lost more than $130 million dollars in available federal funding. A package of reforms was proposed in this year's legislative session with wide, bi-partisan support, including the backing of Governor Charlie Crist, CFO Alex Sink, and most legislative leaders. But the legislature ended the regular session without enacting this widely supported reform legislation that would have helped thousands of uninsured Florida children get access to basic medical care.

Sign the Petition


Monday, August 27, 2007

Florida Blogging Roundup

Lots happening in the blogosphere this past week, so lets get on with it.

In the battle between the DNC and the FDP:

Kos, the man behind Daily Kos himself, weighed in with: Florida losing delegates? No way. College Progressive wrote: A Floridian's Advice to the FDP, message to the DNC. SemDem wrote: DNC Play Right into the GOP's Hands in Florida. HiBob wrote: The Florida Primary delegate issue is only a trap. Tally has a similiar idea: Primary Candidate. The Florida College Democrats have posted their stance as well: The FCD's Stance.

And in other news:

Ken Quinnell writes: Shame on Congressman Boyd

jpfdeuce writes: FL-10: Are we even trying?

And kudos to the Putnam Report for getting featured on Think Progress with this: Adam Putnam's Office Edits Its Own Wikipedia Entry ... Scrubs Negative Facts.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Netroots Panels at the State Convention & a Survey

Me and my big fat, um, keyboard! Back in Februrary and March, I wrote a few diaries over at FLA Politics on how the Florida Democratic Party and the Netroots should get together. Specifically, I suggested that they invite the Netroots to do a blogger panel at the state convention. Want to know how the FDP responded?

They said: good idea! Let's do it!

The FDP suggested that we first have a luncheon at the Jefferson-Jackson Weekend in June to begin the initial planning for the state convention. To be honest, I wasn't all that excited about the luncheon thing. It seemed to me that we could include people in the planning without the added burden of travel and a $50 lunch, but what do I know. My goal was to have a panel at the convention and if having a luncheon is what it took, then I'd do my part to help get the ball rolling.

As it turns out, the luncheon was quite a success! The fact that my fellow bloggers got press credentials was an added bonus. The stories coming back from the event about annoyed media types having to share their space with bloggers made it all worthwhile! Also, I'll happily admit that I was wrong. While it's true that planning need not involve travel or other expenses, there's a value in being able to meet people face to face that you can't put a price on.

Now, with the ball firmly rolling along, I rather naively thought I'd completed my role in this process, you know, that I'd done my good deed and could move on. Well, you know that old saying no good deed goes unpunished? Somehow I ended up helping with the planning of the darn thing!

Its my own fault. Nobody twisted my arm. I had the opportunity to be included in something that could at least potentially be a big deal and I took it. I've since asked myself on numerous occassions: what the heck am I doing here?

My punishment exceeds simple planning for a panel or should I say panels. There's going to be three on them! Plus, we may have an opening keynote and closing keynote address.

Anyway, back to good deeds and punishment. I'm going to be on one of the panels. Yeah, I can't believe it either. Here's a tip: keep your expectations low. ;-) Anyone want to take my place? (kidding!) (sort of)

This gets me to why I'm writing this whole schpeale in the first place. I want your feedback on what kind of information you'd like to see presented at the panels. That way I'll be able to share the blame, er, credit for the ideas. It'll also give me a chance to pass along your suggestions for all the panels to the other organizers. After all, while my role in this shindig is larger than I anticipated, its minimal compared to what others are doing.

Here's what we've got in terms of panels:

Netroots 101 - this would cover basics like what is a blog, what to write about, building your readership and using stuff like MySpace, Facebook and beyond.

Netroots Tools - discuss more advanced online technologies and digital media that one can use in blogging, campaigning, or party building.

Working with the Netroots - discuss how the party and the netroots can work together from the DEC's perspective, a candidate's perspective, state party perspective and the national party perspective.

So, please take this survey! There are only 5 questions and you don't have to answer all of them, just those where you have an opinion.

Update: I should have mentioned that you may recognize some other Florida bloggers on the panels such as Gatordem from Florida Kossacks, Ken Quinnell from the Florida Progressive Coalition, Ray Seaman from Build Florida's DEC's and Eddie Schwieterman from Grassroots Brevard.


Friday, August 24, 2007

Welcome Home

RockRichard, a Florida soldier serving in Afghanistan, is returning home for a two-week respite before returning to duty. Please check out his diary: Tomorrow, I go to America.

Florida has 33 fallen heroes who lost their lives in their service to the war in Afghanistan. They will not be forgotten.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Green Living in the Big Bend of Florida

Remember that old environmental expression: think globally, act locally? Well, some folks in the Big Bend region of Florida are doing just that and they need your help. Allow me to introduce you to a newly formed non-profit organization called Sustainable Big Bend which is designed to be a community resource center for sustainable living.

The goal of Sustainable Big Bend is to develop the ability of individuals living in the big bend region to meet current needs without compromising the needs of future generations.  SBB was formed following the overwhelming success of the recently held Big Bend Green Living and Energy Expo.  The expo brought together hundreds of individuals, businesses and civic organizations interested in learning and promoting ways in which to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

Initial elements of Sustainable Big Bend services to be offered include:

• Green Living Center
• Regional Green Marketplace
• Local Food Network
• Green Living and Energy Expo
• Community Resource Library
• Green Home Certification
• Community Calendar of Green Events
• Trading Post and Service Exchange

The Big Bend region of Florida is made up of Wakulla, Jefferson, Taylor, Dixie, Levy, Franklin, Gadsden, Leon, Liberty and Madison counties.

Big Bend Florida

Now, you're probably thinking, isn't that a really conservative part of the state? Yes and No. There's actually a Democratic stronghold in Leon county that filters out to its neighboring counties. The organization itself is based in Wakulla county where lots of people, regardless of their political ideology, love the outdoors and are supportive of local farmers. The same can be said for other counties throughout the Big Bend. So, there are real opportunities here to expand people's horizons and introduce them to newer ways of thinking about the environment.

That's where you come in. 

Sustainable Big Bend needs your help raising funds so that they can open up a Green Living Center in Tallahassee.

The center will provide a physical presence for businesses and organizations to showcase their green and sustainable services or products in a storefront setting. The center will also provide a distribution point for another SBB initiative - a local food network. The network will provide an opportunity for individuals and families to buy shares of locally and organically grown food while supporting local food producers.

The goal is to open the doors to the Center on October 1, 2007. This new environmental education and business building effort needs to quickly get up and running to capture the energy of this fall season and encourage our community to buy green for the holidays. In order to do that, they need to raise an additional $5,000 by August 30th so they can pay the rent for the new facilities.

Please Donate.

BTW, if you live in the Tallahassee area, The Green Living Center needs volunteers for moving in on Saturday, September 1st at Noon at site of the new facility 1022 North Monroe St, next to Decent Pizza. 

Disclaimer: I am not in any way affiliated with Sustainable Big Bend, but I do live in the area and would love to see this as an addition to my community.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Online Toolbox: Part I

There are lots of online tools out there for political engagement. In this series of diaries, I'll introduce you to some of the many resources out there to help you take advantage of what the Internet has to offer. In the first of this series, I introduce you to a couple of catch-all resources on blogging.

I've found two major resources that can pretty much get you to everything you need to know about blogging from the basic tools to tricks of the trade:

1. is the largest blog on social networking. It contains news and information on the latest tools you can use on virtually any online medium (such as MySpace, Facebook, Wordpress, Blogger, etc.) you choose to publish your material. There's so much cool stuff on Mashable that I could happily spend hours there.

Now, unless you're a bit of a geek like me, I imagine the site is probably a bit overwhelming, so I'll direct you to an article that will be of most use to those of you who want to get started blogging or want to enhance your existing blog: Blogging Toolbox: 120+ Resources for Bloggers.

2. is a blog dedicated to helping other bloggers, particularly with regards to adding income streams so that you can go from blogging as a hobby to blogging as a career.

Again, this site has a lot going on, so I'll direct you a section called Blogging Tips for Beginners.

The above two sites provide a broad overview of what's out there in order to get started or enhance your existing blog. I'll break it down into more manageable parts as we go throughout the series, but I wanted to direct you to some resources that you can explore now so that you can look up just about anything you need to know.

If there's a particular topic on blogging or other online tools that you'd like to learn more about, send me an email and I may feature it in an upcoming article in this series.


Monday, August 20, 2007

Blogging Florida Round Up

Talk of the blogs ...

Sinfonian at Blast Off! writes: Broward County lets students count volunteer hours for political campaigns

Ray at Build Florida's DECs wrote: Let's focus on Republicans in County Commissions

Speaking of County Commissioners, Tampa Bay Blue has this: Ken Hagan, Hillsborough Commissioner, Wins 'Cheap Shot of the Week" for Puttinig Developers Ahead of the People's Business

Tampa Bay Blue also has a lovely "Photo of the Week" featuring Republican Sheri McInvale Indicted in Orlando

Gatordem at Florida Kossacks writes: Leaving Money on the Table and Kids Uninsured

Speaking of SCHIP, Eddie has this on Focus on Feeney: Sorry Tom, Your Excuses Are Bunk

Over at Florida Praxis vrej has an article called: Bright Futures: Florida's Most Popular Welfare Program

Clint Curtis, candidate for Congress in District 24, wrote a piece on Daily Kos called: Let's Kick a Republican to the Curb


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Better Know Chris Chiari - Chat Transcript

Chris Chiari stopped by to chat with us and we discussed things such as the upcoming special session, education, property insurance, and election reform.

[ChrisChiari] The clock strikes 7:30 ask away
[ChrisChiari] This is really a round about way of testing my spelling and grammar skills.
[JonBlumberg] lol
[Jennifer] Well, first of all I want to thank you for being here!
[ChrisChiari] your welcome and thank you for inviting me
[JonBlumberg] what do you think the most important news was today
[ChrisChiari] I would say that it is the news that Countrywide is struggling
[ChrisChiari] we are facing a crisis in realestate
[ChrisChiari] my background is in Finance and Economics
[JonBlumberg] i didnt read about that
[ChrisChiari] The trouble we are facing statewide in the reduction in collected state revenue is all related to the slowdown in home sales and decreasing values
[ChrisChiari] the story broke after the markets closed
[JonBlumberg] should i vote for the constitutional amendment in january?
[ChrisChiari] No
[Jennifer] In September, the Florida Legislature is having another special session with a focus on cutting the budget - what do you think got us into this situation. As a follow-up, it looks like they are going to let PIP expire ... so I'd like you're thoughts on that as well.
[ChrisChiari] It is hard to ask someone to vote against their own self interest
[ChrisChiari] but the fact remains that the madated cuts are not be thought through
[ChrisChiari] The Republican leadership is shooting from the hip
[ChrisChiari] we need common sense in our leadership
[JonBlumberg] what would you do differently
[ChrisChiari] I think that the number were starting to come in during the regular session
[ChrisChiari] weakness revenue collection should not be a suprise to any elected official in Tallahassee
[ChrisChiari] as you can see I think faster then I can type
[JonBlumberg] what would you do differently
[ChrisChiari] I am going to slow down and type a longer answer so please be patient
[JonBlumberg] as far as the cuts
[JonBlumberg] ok
[ChrisChiari] We are in this current situation because of a lack of vision in leadership. Speaker Rubio wants to run our state his way. Keep in mind that most of the former Gov.'s senior staff went on to work for Speaker Rubio.
[ChrisChiari] They are the brains in charge of the state.
[ChrisChiari] It is a continuation of the policy of leading for large Corp. interests over the needs of Floridians.
[ChrisChiari] Pip is a perfect example
[ChrisChiari] Letting PIP sunset will do more for the bottom line on the largest Insurance Co's but will leave working Floridians with out access to rehabilitative care and lost wage coverage.
[Tom] What are we looking at if PIP sunsets ?
[ChrisChiari] There is a misconception that mandatory insurance goes away once PIP sunsets
[JonBlumberg] its going to take you a long time to write legislation next year...
[Jennifer] So, Rubio's staff is made up of several people from the former administration, do you see a continued push by them to privatize government services? From what I've seen that actually costs Floridians more money.
<-- ChrisChiari has left #flaprogressivesnet
[BrianFranklin] uh oh!
[Jennifer] was is something I said?
--> ChrisChiari has joined #flaprogressivesnet
[Jennifermeowmissy] ;-)
[ChrisChiari] sorry I was bumped off
[BrianFranklin] there he is.
[ChrisChiari] yes at the pace that I type it will take years for me to write my first bill
[JonBlumberg] not like joe lieberman
[ChrisChiari] the truth is industry writes most of the laws in our state
[ChrisChiari] bought and paid for
[BrianFranklin] Jennifer, you might want to repeat the last question - i don't think he was online
[Jennifer] So, Rubio's staff is made up of several people from the former administration, do you see a continued push by them to privatize government services? From what I've seen that actually cost Floridians more money.
[Jennifer] thx Brian
[ChrisChiari] Yes
[JonBlumberg] can you elaborate
[ChrisChiari] the power center in Florida simply shifted from the Gov.'s office to the house speaker
[JonBlumberg] so if the speaker is so powerful, how do you feel you will be more effective
[ChrisChiari] Well for one Rubio terms out after this session.
[ChrisChiari] Second Democrats in Tallahassee are growing in numbers
[JonBlumberg] i mean to keep from privitization
[JonBlumberg] sorry
[ChrisChiari] as a party we have an agenda that reflects in interests and needs of a larger cross section of our State
[ChrisChiari] Look at the Gov's priorities
[ChrisChiari] in his state of the state speech he listed five initiatives
[ChrisChiari] in the Democratic response by Sen Geller he thanked the gov and went of to list which one of the democratic members was the sponsor of each initiative
[ChrisChiari] the state of Florida is shifting
[ChrisChiari] My district is gerrymandered to be a safe R seat
[ChrisChiari] so they say
[ChrisChiari] the truth is that with D's and Ind's we out number R's
[JonBlumberg] what were the initiatives
[JonBlumberg] that you support
[ChrisChiari] but even more important registered R's are looking for people who want to work on their interests
[Tom] How can we capture more of the I's this time around ?
[ChrisChiari] the job of an elected official comes down to looking out for the end users of policy decisions
[ChrisChiari] By focusing on issues they seperate us from the other party
[ChrisChiari] Global Warming
[ChrisChiari] Stem Cell Research
[ChrisChiari] Protecting Education
[ChrisChiari] Where did the lottery money
[ChrisChiari] go
[ChrisChiari] it was suppost to fund education
[ChrisChiari] instead it was used to offset
[ChrisChiari] Now with the propossed cuts in the Jan 29th amendment we are asked to trust the same people that gave away 20 billion dollars in reoccuring tax cuts that they have our childrens interests in mind
[ChrisChiari] were are 48th in the nation in ACT scores
[ChrisChiari] there is a piece of news that came out today
[BrianFranklin] What is your least favorite part of campaigning?
[BrianFranklin] :)
[ChrisChiari] other than typing
[BrianFranklin] yes, other than typing.
[ChrisChiari] Some times consultants try to push to hard
[ChrisChiari] they all want their cut but don't always come through in doing the work
[BrianFranklin] haha...
[JonBlumberg] so what is your first bill?
[JonBlumberg] short i assume
[JonBlumberg] :)
[ChrisChiari] I spoke to Rep Randolph from the Orlando area about a solar initiative
[ChrisChiari] To make new energy work we need to involve centralized power producers
[ChrisChiari] we will never get to 1,000,000 solar homes in Florida if we expect each home to go it alone
[JonBlumberg] What do you feel about Florida's marijuana laws?
[ChrisChiari] Ask me on April 20th
[Jennifer] What are the key differences that distinguish you from the Incumbent?
[ChrisChiari] it is a touchy issue
[JonBlumberg] would you vote yes?
[JonBlumberg] to legalize
[Tom] lets get to the differences...
[ChrisChiari] For cancer and aids patients
[Tom] please
[ChrisChiari] for those who science is proving could benefit
[ChrisChiari] then yes
[ChrisChiari] I support allow medical use in Florida
[Tom] I am with you on that
[ChrisChiari] My oppontant will always sit down at the table with insurance
[JonBlumberg] you know my position
[ChrisChiari] she sits right next to them as they write the laws that effect our lives
[ChrisChiari] I will sit at the table with insurance but I will only sit across from them
[ChrisChiari] as I said before the job is to act to protect consumers
[JonBlumberg] how will you bring our hurriance insurance rates down
[georgi] what is your plan for windstorm insurance?
[Tom] Yeah the legislature did absolutely nothing for us
[ChrisChiari] a lot of hot air
[ChrisChiari] there is no notion of long term planning coming out of leadership
[ChrisChiari] they have bandaid solutions that prove very quickly that they do not work
[ChrisChiari] to solve insurance we need to
[ChrisChiari] one) outlaw pup compnaies, ie: florida only subsidiaries
[ChrisChiari] two)strengthen building codes
[ChrisChiari] for all the talk about how stron our building codes are we still allow for all wood homes to be built in the center of our state
[ChrisChiari] I live in south Florida east of 95
[ChrisChiari] Congressman Klein at a town hall yesterday
[ChrisChiari] talked about the imaginary mountain range known as I 95
[ChrisChiari] we are told that rates need to be highter on the east of 95 as if the risk drops ten feet west of the highway
[ChrisChiari] Look TS Dean is on the way
[ChrisChiari] I really should be putting up my shutters now
[ChrisChiari] if I read into all the hype coming from the news
[Jennifer] What is the biggest challenge facing Florida's public schools?
[ChrisChiari] underfunding
[ChrisChiari] poor retention of teachers
[ChrisChiari] a lack of investing for the long term in regards to school construction
[ChrisChiari] the focus on the test not on learning
[ChrisChiari] we are failing but the leadership says stay the course
[ChrisChiari] stay the couse doesn't work in Washington and i doesn't work in Tallahassee either
[JonBlumberg] how would you solve the funding issue
[Tom] Are there ways we can pay our teachers more without taxing too much ?
[ChrisChiari] taxing who
[ChrisChiari] Jeb gave 20 billion in tax cuts how much did you get?
[Jennifer] $0
[ChrisChiari] me too
[Tom] not sure but we need to find a balance because they are definatly underpaid
[JonBlumberg] so where do we get the money
[Tom] 0
[ChrisChiari] before we give another tax cut to a major corp who brings in a few hundred jobs
[ChrisChiari] we need to invest itn the next generation and encourage them to start new businesses
[ChrisChiari] small business is the economic engine that we need to foster
[ChrisChiari] not the same old plan that jeb operated under for 8 year
[georgi] you mean the state can actualy move forward?
[ChrisChiari] not with the same people in the house
[Tom] yeah Governor Crist is a breath of fresh air
[ChrisChiari] we have a chance to do things different during the last two years of Crist's term
[Jennifer] for an R ... he's not too shabby
[Tom] The R's seem pretty upset with him from what i see ?
[ChrisChiari] by adding to the Dem's in the house we can increase the odds that fresh ideas will win out over the status quo
[ChrisChiari] there is a war brewing in the republican party of Florida
[ChrisChiari] I was actually almost run over by Tom Gallagher today
[JonBlumberg] how will you work with republicans like the governor to reverse Jeb Bush's policies
[BrianFranklin] I'm reserving judgement on Crist until I see how much my property insurance and taxes drop. If they drop like a rock... then, maybe
[Tom] NO way
[ChrisChiari] I saw him in a parking garage in Fort Lauderdale
[ChrisChiari] His biggest booster in south Fl was Ellyn
[ChrisChiari] the R party of Broward endorced Crist
[ChrisChiari] this set off a war that has never gone away
[ChrisChiari] Ellyn has hired Brett Dostert to do her consulting
[ChrisChiari] he was tom's campaign manager
[Tom] great
[ChrisChiari] he is the field operative of the religious right of our state
[ChrisChiari] he has worked to criminalize stem cell research
[ChrisChiari] he has been implicated in caging operations in Jacksonville
[ChrisChiari] Tom it will only deepen the devide between moderate and fincacially savy R's and her leadership priorities
[JonBlumberg] how can we help
[Tom] i was kidding...
[Tom] come on guys
[Tom] "lol"
[Jennifer] Speaking of caging, I think more needs to be done to ensure fair and secure elections in Florida. What will you do to help make sure voters have their votes count?
[ChrisChiari] fight until we have a fully tranparent system
[ChrisChiari] the new optical scan machines may turn out to be no better then what we have now
[ChrisChiari] I believe that we have an obligation to design a sytem that works even if it measn my party can't win. I want to know the day after the election that it was fair and square
[ChrisChiari] We need to start making decisions based on what is right, not just on what keeps me in the seat
[ChrisChiari] sitting in a chair does nothing, taking a stand is what people expect and are looking for
[ChrisChiari] We need a voters bill of rights
[ChrisChiari] anyone who acts against the interest of free and fair elections should face jail
[ChrisChiari] lets get tough on crime especially when the crime is stealing elections
[ChrisChiari] I am tired of wondering if my vote counted and I am not alone
[Jennifer] We're coming up on a hour here in chat ... is there anything else you want to let the voters know about you?
[ChrisChiari] that nothing is more important than paying attention and in holding elected officials accountable
[ChrisChiari] the stakes are just too high for anything else

Speaking for those of us among the Florida Netroots, I want to thank Chris Chiari for stopping by to talk with us. I hope we get a chance to talk again and I look forward to speaking to other Democratic activists, candidates and elected officials.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Better Know...Susan S

Susan S, of Daily Kos, GusWatch, DFA and just about everywhere else, joined us on the radio show today. The show was the second in our series of shows profiling members of the Democratic/progressive/liberal activist/blogger/Netroots/party community. Listen to the show at BlogTalkRadio to learn more about Susan. She did a great job on the show and always does a great job elsewhere...

You can also check her out at Kos and GusWatch.


Friday, August 10, 2007

Better Know Chris Chiari - Live Chat

On Wednesday August 15th at 7:30 PM, Florida Netroots will be holding a live chat with Chris Chiari, candidate for State Representive in District 91.

District 91 compromises of parts of Broward and Palm Beach Counties running from Palmetto Park Road in Southeast Boca to Dania Beach Blvd. in Broward County, and includes the following cities: Boca Raton, Hillsborough Beach, Deerfield Beach, Lighthouse Point, Pompano Beach, Sea Ranch Lakes, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Oakland Park, Fort Lauderdale and includes both Port Everglades and Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport.

Chris Chiari will be facing incumbent Republican Ellyn Bogdanoff, who also has a challenger in the primary by the name of Darin Lentner.

Mrs. Bogdanoff has a degree in Insurance/Risk Management, ran an independent insurance agency, was a columnist for a national insurance magazine, and then obtained a law degree and worked for a law firm that has several insurance companies as clients. She's one of the lead negotiators on legislation to replace PIP. If it isn't already obvious, one of the criticisms of the incumbent is that she's in the pocket of the insurance industry.

I'm going to assume Mr. Lentner's campaign website is still under construction (psst, fix the errors in the meta tags) given the lack of any information and that he just filed for the office in July. A further search reveals that he's a trial lawyer from Fort Lauderdale who specializes in personal injury protection (PIP) cases. I take it he doesn't agree with Bogdanoff's position on PIP.

The no-fault law, which requires Florida drivers to carry $10,000 worth of personal injury protection or "PIP" in their insurance coverage, expires Oct. 1. The legislature is convening a special session beginning September 18. Whether PIP will be addressed or not is up in the air.

It's certainly an issue that has gotten some interesting attention at places like the Miami Herald's Naked Politics and the Orlando Sentinel recently.

Chris Chiari has his own point of view on PIP, namely, that the legislature should preserve and protect the integrity of medical coverage and current treatment options for those injured in accidents and institute new reforms to protect against fraudulent claims. Feel free to listen to his podcast on the end of No Fault and PIP.

Of course, it isn't the only reason Chiari is running against Bogdanoff, as his site lists several reasons why We're Better Off Without Bogdanoff You can also learn more about the candidate by listening to his July 29th appearance on Florida Progressive Radio.

If you live in district 91 or you're just concerned about the issues, please stop by on Wednesday August 15th at 7:30 PM - there will be a link posted where you can access the live chat.


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Better Know...Alison Berke Morano

Everybody's favorite DEC chair, Alison Berke Morano, joined us on the radio show today. The show was the first in our series of shows profiling members of the Democratic/progressive/liberal activist/blogger/Netroots/party community. Listen to the show at BlogTalkRadio to learn more about Alison. She did a great job and we've invited her to be a regular co-host on the show, she'll be on the Wednesday and Sunday shows.

You can also check out her thorough review of Yearly Kos on the FDP website.


Better Know...Florida Republicans

Inspired by GusWatch and The Putnam Report and my recent adventures at YearlyKos, we're now announcing the launch of a new network of WatchBlogs for the Republicans who are attempting to destroy Florida's future. GusWatch and The Putnam Report have agreed to be part of the network. We have created blogs for each of the other congressional Republicans from Florida, the cabinet, the Florida House and the Florida Senate. What we really need to make this work is volunteers. If you live in the district of one of these people, send me an e-mail at and I'll add you as a blogger to the relevant site. If you are outside a particular district, but are an interested party, you can also join up. Note that these sites are designed to watch the Republicans from a progressive viewpoint, so, if you aren't a progressive, then don't ask.

For now, each of these sites is a simple blogger site using blogger templates. If someone is interested in making them more than that (even just one of them), help is appreciated. Also, the names aren't set in stone at this point, they're open to be changed, as long as the change comes in the next week or so. Once the sites have been established for a while, then changes to the names would be counterproductive.

The purpose of these sites is to help get these people out of office and to replace them with more progressive candidates. These sites are all independent of any political campaigns and independent of any party. For now, they are all under the umbrella of FPC, but we wouldn't mind having them spin off to become independent blogs if the right people are involved. Okay, that's enough for now, here's the list:

US1 - The Jeff Miller Chronicle

US4 - Ander Alert

US5 - GinnyWire

US6 - The Case Against Cliff

US7 - MicaNotes

US8 - Kick Out Keller

US10 - The Bill Young Dispatch

US13 - The Buchanan Record

US14 - Mack Must Go

US15 - Watching Weldon

US18 - Eye on Ileana

US21 - The Lincoln Observer

US24 - Focus on Feeney

US25 - Say No to Mario

Senate - The Mel Martinez Bulletin

Florida Cabinet Watch

Florida House Watch

Florida Senate Watch


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Survey Says ...

In an attempt to Better Know Florida, this blog is going to include a series of diaries profiling state and local elected officials or candidates. Last week, a survey was posted asking readers for their recommendations on who to profile. So, who is the elected official or candidate for office at the state or local level that readers thought the public ought to know more about?

There were 17 responses. The survey asked who to profile and why.

State Senator Dave Aronberg garnered a nomination with the comment: "Dave will undoubtedly be a candidate for higher office (US Senate, Governor, AG) in 2010, we should start getting some exposure for him now. This is particularly true for the netroots in terms of exposure." I agree, in fact, I wrote a piece about him on Daily Kos and cross-posted on FLA Politics months ago. I even got a thank-you from the Senator as it was his first mention on the Daily Kos site.

Congresswoman Kathy Castor also garnered a nomination stating that "She's one of our best progressive elected officials in Florida." She represents Florida's 11th Congressional District which is made up of parts of Hillsborough, Manatee and Pinellas counties. At this time, the site is focusing on state and local offices or candidates to profile, not federal.

State Representative Keith Fitzgerald was also nominated. He currently represents District 69 which is made up of parts of Sarasota and Manatee counties. His supporter wrote: "Rising star in the state house; freshman democrat, deputy policy chair; won hard fought campaign for a traditionally republican seat in Sarasota." Beating a Republican in a conservative district is certainly a mark in his favor.

Another nomination came in for Representative Dan Gelber. He is the House Minority Leader and representative for District 106 comprising of part of Miami-Dade County. His supporter wrote: "He is the Democratic Leader of the Florida House and one of his party's rising stars. He did not get enough credit for the party's success in 2006, when his leadership helped the state party gain seven seats in the state house and helped the FDP set new fundraising records. He is also a former Chief Counsel to Senator Sam Nunn where he worked on some of the earliest counter terrorism legislation and when he was hired was the youngest federal prosecutor in America."

At the local level, we got a nomination to profile Jack Killingsworth who is running for Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections. In case you're wondering, I wasn't the one who submitted the nomination, it came from an IP address registered with a Tampa Bay area ISP. His supporter wrote: "I think that we should profile this candidate, the Supervisor of Elections (SOE) office, and all other Democratic candidates who run for the office as important 'Gate Keepers of Democracy'. The SOE has enough discretionary power to ensure that there are not long lines in working class neighborhood precincts during the time that most of them vote, between 4:00PM and 7:00PM and 7:00AM and 9:00AM." I started researching the SOE's for the 15 counties that had the touchscreen voting machines, but I need to collect much more information before I'm ready to publish anything. I can tell you that the majority of them are Republican and three of them were appointed by Jeb! If you're a DFA member, Jack has a DFA Campaign Page where you can voice your support.

A nomination that I'm unsure about due to a lack of information is for Lawrence Powell. His supporter wrote: "This is a young, energetic, and well-qualified candidate that should be included in your profile." I did a google search and was unable to locate a campaign website. I traced the IP address of the supporter to a public library in Okaloosa, but didn't see any candidates by that name listed on that county's SOE site. The one thing I did find was a Lawrence Powell who serves as the President of the Escambia County Chapter of the Democratic Black Caucus of Florida. So, I checked Escambia's SOE and while I didn't find out anything about Mr. Powell, I did find the SOE site to have an amazing lack of up-to-date and accurate information about the 2008 candidates. If you have more information about Lawrence Powell, please contact me.

Mark LaFontaine, candidate for Florida State House District 92 in Broward County, garnered two nominations. His supporters wrote: "Mark is running for State Representative, District 92 and is seeking to become the first openly gay member of the Florida legislature" and "Mark LaFontaine’s story reads like that of the All-American Boy: raised in Broward County, he was an altar boy at St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Deerfield Beach. Mark joined the Boy Scouts and rose through the ranks to become an Eagle Scout. Upon graduation from Deerfield Beach High School he received a Congressional appointment to the Merchant Marine Academy and later served in the US Coast Guard. He graduated from college with honors, received an advanced degree, and today runs his own small accounting practice. Mark LaFontaine has lived the American Dream."

All of the remaining 8 nominations went to:

Sean Shaw, candidate for Florida House District 8, which is currently held by term-limited Curtis B. Richardon and is made up of most of Gadsen and parts of Leon County. I must admit that I was a little surprised that such a large percentage of the nominations went to one person. However, when you consider that this is a going to be a highly contested seat with 5 people currently vying for the office, perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that the campaigns are already mobilizing.

Here are the comments from those nominating Mr. Shaw:

"He is a breath of fresh air, he is running for office for all the right reasons. This is something that is rare in politicians today."

"He is an up and coming political thinker with great ideas and great charisma."

"He has great ambition and seems to really care about those of us who live in the non-popular counties (Gadsden). He has been to churches and helped organize a health fair for the uninsured."

"He appears to have a lot of fresh ideas that are relevant to the community and he seems very sincere about his desire to help the community and I am curious to know more about this individual running for office."

"It's always a good idea to get younger, fresher faces in politics. Encouraging greater youth participation is a good thing."

"He is an up-and-coming superstar on the political scene."

"This person is a young and inspiring political leader of the future. His goals are to help the state employees, better the education system in the state, and help our the non-insured get the health care they need."

"He's running for HD8. He has a long history of service in the communnity and would make a great representative."

"Because he's better than he may seem."

It would be a pleasure to profile Sean Shaw.


Monday, August 6, 2007

Blogging Florida Roundup

I'm back from Yearly Kos and slowly recuperating from a lack of sleep. I saw some Floridians while I was there like Ken Quinnell of the Florida Progressive Coalition, Larry from Miami-Dade Dems blog, Susan S and a cohort of her friends from the Tampa area, candidates Michael Calderin and Clint Curtis, and Tallahassee City Commissioner Andrew Gillum.

So, what's been going on here in Florida?

Speaking of Florida candidates, Michael Calderin was the special guest on Florida Progressive Radio yesterday.

Grassroots Brevard - Bob Allen: Fear of Black People Made Me Do It

Smashed Frog points out that the court records are public - Bob Allen Court Records Public

In case you thought Bob Allen is the only one who's getting all the attention, check out this post at the FPC: Watching the Right in Florida

Praxis has a couple posts on the Property Insurance debacle: Property Insurance and Insurance Rhetoric

And Finally, Talk to Me would like to introduce you to Mr. Gerry Mander

One final thought, Yearly Kos is changing the name of its convention to Netroots Nation. I'd like to see an even larger contingent from the Florida Netroots there in 2008.