Tuesday, January 29, 2008

FDP Netroots Coalition

The Netroots in Florida have an official caucus within the Florida Democratic Party and it has now launched its own website: FDP Netroots Coaltion.

So what is the organization about?

The Netroots Coalition was created to help bring together bloggers and Netroots activists who support the Democratic Party. The mission of the organization 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.

That's a tall order! You can help by becoming a member or simply giving a donation.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Blogging Florida

So, what's up on the "internets" lately:


I just had to include this quote from an article written by Ernie Padgett for the Ocala Star-Banner titled Tax Amendment diverts attention from real issues:

So what do our state leaders do? They draw attention away from their failures to address numerous important state issues. Homeowners insurance is just one example.

Tens of thousands of our citizens have either had their property insurance canceled or they had to drop their coverage because of sky-high premiums. The governor and Legislature should have stayed focused on the insurance crises instead of manufacturing another crises as a diversion.

We are now told that the state knows best when it comes to running city and county governments and local school districts.

Actually, the governor and Legislature are not qualified to run local governments. They are out of their league when it comes to being responsible for the day-to-day delivery of vital local services and for educating our children. Local officials elected by and working with local citizens are the best qualified for these challenges.

Here is the crux of these state-created crises: They say local governments spend too much money resulting in high property taxes. Hello? Almost without exception, each year the Florida Legislature imposes unfunded mandates on local governments and school districts. Now, they have the nerve to say these same local governments must be fiscally controlled by the state.

He captures the frustration with the current situation quite well. I mentioned the issue of unfunded mandates in an earlier posting, but sometimes its best to hear it from someone who's been there. Ernie Padgett served as a Jackson County commissioner from 1980 to 1984 and as county administrator in Jackson, Santa Rosa and Manatee counties from 1987 to 2007.

kansasr at Daily Kos writes about Florida's OTHER election on Jan 29

Florida is in a financial mess at the moment. The state is facing severe cuts because of sales tax revenues are not meeting projections because of what is truly a recession down here. Property sales are almost non-existant.

But in true Republican fashion, rather than try and come up with a bi-partisan, comprehensive long term solution, they seem to be throwing fuel on the fire, while cutting funding the the fire departments that will be needed to deal with the inferno. It's been estimated that the average savings from this initiative will be around $300 (sounds like the Bush tax rebate of a few years ago!). But the long term ramifications are far more severe. And even at $300 per household, local governments are bracing for an additional round of belt tightening, even more severe than what was required from last years mandated rate reductions.

The figure I heard was $240 per household or basically $20 a month in savings which could potentially be offset by other rate hikes. The gist of it is, you won't really save much if any money and passing the Amendment will make the existing inequities even worse.

The Florida Progressive Coalition has a couple good round-ups of articles about the Property Tax Amendment as well as the Gay-bashing Amendment: Update on the Crazy Conservative Amendments and Update on the Horrible Conservative Amendment Movement in Florida.

I wonder if their next update is going to be called "Update on the Batshit Crazy Amendments" because that's really what they are.

In other news ...

Blast Off - Bill McCollum hates the Constitution

Florida Kossacks - Nine Florida candidates among DFA's Grassroots All-Stars

Alison Morano - Statement on January 29th - Democrats Vote

Talk To Me - Time Capsuled ... a must read in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Democrats: Vote in the Florida Primary

Seriously, your vote matters, despite what you may have been told to the contrary. We will have an important role in choosing the Democratic Nominee for President and our delegates, ultimately, will be seated.

In a previous diary, I provided quotes from Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, former DNC Chair Don Fowler and Senator Carl Levin all essentially saying that Florida's delegates will be seated by the Democratic Nominee at the Convention.

To add to the list of people who've said our votes matter and our delegates will be seated, I give you Senator Bill Nelson:

"By virtue that it's basically a two-person race on the Democratic side and a four-person race on the Republican side, Florida now becomes critical," Nelson said. "Florida is the first big state primary prior to Super Tuesday, a week later, when 22 states are going to vote."
Nelson noted Florida is a more demographically diverse test for the candidates than Iowa and New Hampshire, which should impact financial contributions and some voters' opinions going into Super Tuesday.

He also expected Clinton and Obama to storm the state in the two days before the primary, even though they and other Democratic presidential candidates were told by Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean to avoid the state until after the South Carolina primary for Democrats on Jan. 26. The Republican primary in South Carolina is Jan. 19.

As for the national parties excluding convention delegates from Florida and Michigan, which also moved up its primary date to the displeasure of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, Nelson expects that issue will be resolved before the weeklong events go live on TV.

"They want to win in November," Nelson said. "Can you imagine them not seating two big states?"

No, I can't! That's why many of us in the netroots have been saying over and over again that our votes matter and that our delegates will be seated.

Even the media is starting to change their tune somewhat. Ken Quinnell at the Florida Progressive Coalition wrote The Latest on the Florida Democratic Primary which provides a good round-down of articles from the Florida press illustrating the importance of our state's primary. Yes, even for us Democrats!

I've found a few more:

The Orlando Sentinel: Presidential primaries: Moment of truth waits in Florida:

Florida's primary on Jan. 29 should result in a big turnout. It will be the first primary state to have absentee ballots (with voters submitting same as early as Christmas Day), as well as early voting, which means that ballots can be cast at certain polling places beginning on Jan. 14 so as to prevent long lines on the regular voting day. Most of all, the instigator to vote early on Jan. 29 may be the fact that the state's property-tax-reform measure is on the ballot, and, for many municipalities, there are local offices to be filled.

To be sure, the national Democratic and Republican higher-ups aren't happy with Florida moving this year's primary to a date before Super Tuesday (Feb. 5) and have imposed sanctions in terms of cutting the number of convention delegates. But the truth is that any candidate getting a solid vote in Florida -- where the population mirrors the nation -- will have a leg up on Super Tuesday and the national convention.

TC Palm - State Democratic primary vote means more than ever

What makes this election even more interesting is the fact that the Democratic Party candidates agreed not to campaign in Florida prior to the primary due to Florida’s non-compliance with the bipartisan agreement on primaries. It was suggested that states such as Florida and Michigan, which violated the agreement, not be allowed to rally at the Democratic National Convention, but this is not likely to happen.

The candidate(s) will be in control of the late August convention and will want to have their delegates seated. As opposed to the delegate conventions of the 1960s, today’s conventions serve more as rallying functions than playing key roles in determining election results. To not seat Florida’s Democratic delegation would show disunity in the party and the Democratic candidates cannot afford such an episode.

News 4 Jax - 3 Weeks from Florida's Primary, Some Ask: Why Vote?

Local party officials said they are still hopeful Florida's delegates will have a voice at the conventions, and the result of this month's primary will determine how those delegates vote.

"I assure you the delegates will be seated," Duval County Democratic Chairman Travis Bridges told Channel 4's Jim Piggott. "When the nominee is selected the nominee has the choice of seating or not seating delegates. There is no nominee that is going to exclude Florida."

First Coast News - Florida's Primary: Will Everyone's Votes Count?

But during a voting machine testing session Tuesday, Duval Elections Supervisor Jerry Holland said the decisions Florida's voters make on the 29th will still carry huge unofficial weight.

"We get that question a lot: 'Will our vote count?'" Holland said. "And I tell people, I say, 'The world will know who Florida selects for their two candidates.'"

Ballots will still be cast in three weeks and results will still be published. Voters across America will still know how Florida feels, even if that big "Florida" sign is missing from the convention floor this fall.

Holland believes both parties' delegates will eventually be allowed to take part in the big conventions. Neither party wants to risk angering voters in America's fourth most populous state.

You have the opportunity to influence who will become the next Democratic nominee for President. In previous years, by the time we voted, the Democratic nominee was already known. Don't give up your voice in this election.

Tell the world who you want as the Democratic Nominee - VOTE JANUARY 29TH!


Friday, January 4, 2008

Blogging Florida

Florida Primary

Florida Progressive Coalition - Like We Said, Our Votes Will Count on 1/29.

See also: The Media Still Can't Get the Story Straight. and Florida: "You're Welcome"

Florida Legislature

Progressive Florida - State House Numbers, State Senate Numbers Part I and Florida State Senate Part II

Voting Rights

Project Vote - Federal Judge Find FLa. Violated Voting Rights


mentelibre - Jeb's Economic Time Bomb Ready to Blow

Smashed Frog - As the Jeb-acy Turns

Tampabay Democrat - Jeb Bush and the Subprime Mortgage Crisis

Pensacola Beach Blog - Annals of Privatization - Chapter XXVIII


FlaBlog - Magical design in Pinellas

Blast Off - Republicans hate education