Two good things happened yesterday:
• The bill to provide a large public subsidy for the refurbishment of the the Miami Dolphin’s stadium died in Tallahassee. The combination of outrage over the fiasco of the Miami Marlins deal, and the fact that the team’s lead owner is a multi-billionaire seemed to scuttle it.
• Chartwell’s workers (UMiami dining hall workers) voted to unionize.
If all you are interested in is my Coral Gables-related posts, I have a special RSS feed just for you: Discourse.net RSS feed for Coral Gables-related posts only. Of course, I’d rather if you came by and sampled the whole thing, but I understand that some readers are only interested in the (very erratic) local political coverage.
Similarly, if you don’t use an RSS reader, you can bookmark my Coral Gables archive page which, despite the name, will always have the latest Coral Gables-related post at the top.
(Unfortunately for those out of town I don’t know how to make a feed with everything except the local stuff. Sorry about that. The election is soon, so just bear with me.)
For those who came in late, here are the main posts so far
Mosquitoes love me. In a crowd, I’m the one who gets bitten. So imagine my joy when I read about Gallinippers! Monster mosquitoes poised to strike Florida. I added the boldfacing in the quote from the NBC Science report that follows:
One of the most ferocious insects you’ve ever heard of — it’s the size of a quarter and its painful bite has been compared to being knifed — is set to invade Florida this summer.
The Sunshine State, already home to man-eating sinkholes, invading Burmese pythons, swarming sharks, tropical storms and other disasters, can expect to see an explosion of shaggy-haired gallinippers (Psorophora ciliata), a type of giant mosquito, according to entomologist Phil Kaufman of the University of Florida.
And as adults, the voracious pests feed day and night (unlike everyday mosquitoes, which generally feed only at dawn and dusk). Their bodies are strong enough to bite through clothing, and they’re known to go after pets, wild animals and even fish, MyFoxOrlando.com reports.
“It’s about 20 times bigger than the sort of typical, Florida mosquito that you find,” Anthony Pelaez of Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry told Fox Orlando. “And it’s mean, and it goes after people, and it bites, and it hurts.”
Pelaez described the gallinipper’s bite as so painful it “feels like you’re being stabbed.”
Although the article says they can be as big as a quarter, judging from photos Gallinippers are often only the size of a nickel. Even so …
DINOs — Democrats in Name Only — are a resurgent species in Florida. DownWithTyranny!: The Tarnished Brand (Florida Episode) takes a look at their enablers:
Florida has 27 congressional seats. You might think from Nelson’s 55-52% statewide win or Obama’s 50-49% statewide win that the districts are a little over half Democratic and half Republican. But you’d be wrong. Self-serving local Democrats– the state Senator Debbie Wasserman Schultz being the worst ever– made deals with the Republicans to guarantee their own personal impregnable fiefdoms while guaranteeing the GOP the bulk of the state’s seats. Only 10 of the 27 seats are held by Democrats– obviously Wasserman Schultz being one of them– while Republicans hold 17 seats. Democratic districts have been drawn to produce gigantic Democratic wins– 87.6% for Obama in Frederica Wilson’s district, 82.6% in Alcee Hasting’s district, 71.1% in Corrine Brown’s district, 65.1% in Kathy’s Castor’s and Wasserman Schultz’s and 61.9% in Alan Grayson’s. Republican districts are drawn to be reliable– but not overflowing with votes. Republican victories in red districts are almost all in the 50%-60% range, only 3 getting up into the 60’s. That’s how you institutionalize non-accountability. And the state legislature is far worse.
Since we mentioned Wasserman Schultz, it’s worth mentioning that her insistence that no Democratic support go to anyone who challenges her Republican pal Ileana Ros-Lehtinen saw her friend win again this year– with only token opposition– while Obama won Ros-Lehtinen’s district with 53%. Debbie Wasserman Schultz– the GOP’s best friend in Florida, working as chairman of the DNC… again. She was key to handing lifelong Republican Patrick Murphy the Democratic nomination to take on Allen West and she’s the key figure in forcing Democrats in Florida to accept their old nemesis, lifelong Republican closet case Charlie Crist, as their next gubernatorial nominee.
It would be nice if the party would put up a more serious sacrificial candidate against IRL, but given her personal popularity and the size of her treasury, that would be a tactical move to distract and bleed her, not a very realistic hope; it is a pity the Florida Democratic party hasn’t the sense and the fortitude to do it, but that’s not the worst of its sins. On the other hand, the idea that I would be asked to swallow Chain Gang Charlie as the Democratic nominee for Governor is the sort of depressing prospect that takes all the energy out of the base.
The Buzz has the story on
the new Florida License plate. While it’s nice that they asked the public to vote on the four finalists, an online vote is too easily manipulated. In any case it would have been even better if they’d crowdsourced the design choices. Let’s face it, all four choices were pretty boring.
Then again, having the winner be the least bad of lousy choices does make the outcome somewhat better than the average Florida state election.
Eye on Miami has a great letter from a citizen who tried to participate in state electric power rate-setting. Putting FPL on the spot should be required reading for anyone interested in energy law, state administrative law, or more general questions of public participation in government.
Here is just a small taste:
My first stop on my adventure was the public service hearing held in Sarasota on May 31, 2012. Here I first saw the most shocking thing about the public hearing process. In the lobby of the hearing site (Sarasota City Hall) were numerous FPL customer service representatives wearing FPL shirts who are greeting members of the public arriving to speak to the rate increase proposal. And FPL seems to have their own dedicated room. Which made no sense at all. It’s like a court hearing but one of the parties to the case gets to have their own room in the courthouse and a staff to lobby everyone, judges, jurors and the public as they walk by as to why their side is right. FPL also gets to have a table handing out literature. Nobody else gets to have a room or a table or representatives right outside the hearing room. There is no Audubon Society, no Environmental Defense Fund, no Florida Public Interest Research Group in the lobby lobbying (I guess that is where the term comes from!) against the rate increase or against the proposals or actions of FPL.
The importance of this cannot be overstated. I had not yet intervened in the case but when I did subsequently intervene and speak from the stage as a party at the four Miami area public service hearings, I found that FPL gets a special room at every public hearing. They get to intercept members of the public who come to the hearings with complaints, before those members of the public enter the hearing room, and redirect them to the special FPL room and give them whatever it takes to “resolve their complaint”. The evidence indicates they are much more generous in achieving customer satisfaction in the special FPL rooms at the public hearings than they are in the normal course of their business. Essentially they run bribery rooms at every public hearing site with FPSC blessing.