Category Archives: Florida

Awesome Chart

Florida Rules Again! Slowest Voting at Eye On Miami.

One chart says it all.

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Enabling Florida’s DINOs

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.

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And the Winner Is Boring

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.

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Public Participation in State Rate Setting

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.

Posted in Florida, Law: Administrative Law | Leave a comment

Citizens Insurance Won’t Be Making Sweetheart Loans to Dodgy Insurance Companies After All

Some time ago, I got upset that Citizens Insurance planned to use our premiums to make GIFTS to private insurance companies. Well, it seems the bright boyos at Citizens paid Goldman Sachs a great deal of money to explain how it would work, and they explained that it wouldn’t work as none of the potential participants were solvent enough to be trusted with any money, so the plan is off the table at least for this year. See The Buzz for the details, Citizens to abandon loan program for private companies, floats new ‘clearinghouse’ idea. (How do I know Goldman Sachs was paid a lot of money when the article doesn’t say? Simple: it’s Goldman Sachs.)

This of course has nothing to do with the increasing ethical quicksand gradually engulfing the management at Citizens in which we’ve learned that Citizens fired all four members of its “integrity team” while they were investigating allegations of sexual harassment, indecent drunken behavior in public, questionable payments and falsified documents. Things got so bad that Gov. Rick Scott said he wants Citizens Insurance to have an inspector general — think about it: there’s a state body so corrupt that Rick Scott thinks it needs investigating and cleaning up! That’s a scary concept. But do not fear, the earth still revolves around the sun: the Governor is in no hurry to do anything. So that’s alright then.

Posted in Econ & Money, Florida, Politics: The Party of Sleaze | Leave a comment

Yet Another Florida Voting Disaster

Voting started today for the design of Florida’s new default license plate. We’re supposed to have a choice of four not-very-lovely designs, all optimized to be red-light-camera and toll-camera friendly (oh, joy).

Floridians are invited to vote for the design of our choice at a special site set up by the state Department of Highway and Motor Vehicles: http://www.vote4floridatag.com/.

Voting is scheduled to end Dec. 14.

But once again, Florida is having troubles with early voting: the vote4floridatag.com site is down. Figures.

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Wasted Time in Line for Early Voting Cost Floridians up to $190 Million

The question is: What was the cost to the State of Florida due to the hours and hours spent waiting in line for early voting – delays due to misfeasance or malfeasance by Rick Scott, the Governor of Florida, and the state legislature (proprietor, Republican Party, State of Florida)?

My rough estimates makes it up to $190 million worth of lost time waiting in line — a cost placed on all Floridians because the state government couldn’t (or more likely, consciously chose not to) make decent provisions for early voting. Please check my math — corrections welcomed.

The basic shape of the calculation is pretty easy: we just have to multiply the following three numbers:

Cost = V * N * A

Where
V = Value of an hour of the average Floridian adult’s time
N = Number of early voters
A = Average wait time

Each of these numbers can be estimated with varying degrees of confidence. We won’t require precision – this is back-of-the-envelope stuff, we’re just trying to get the answer right well within an order of magnitude.

Value of an hour of the average Floridian adult’s time

According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean hourly wage in Florida is $19.591

So V=19.592

Number of early voters

There were 4,469,393 early voters of whom 54% voted early in-person making 2,413,472 persons (approx) who had to wait in lines (the rest voted absentee).

So N= 2,413,4723

Average wait time

This is actually the hard one. For the in-person voters, wait times varied enormously by date, time of day, and geography. I know people who voted in an hour; I know people who waited over four hours. When I happened to look, data from Miami-Dade Elections showed various wait time at different polling places ranging from 20 minutes to six hours. Much of the cluster was in the 2-4 hour range though, so I think we should use those as our range. 4

So, A could be anything from 2 to 4; we should calculate the range.

Cost = V * N * A

Cost = 19.59 * 2,413,472 * [2 to 4]

Cost = $94,559,833 – $189,119,665

Rounding, to two significant figures (this is just the back of an envelope, remember) gives us a final cost range of $95 million to $190 million. All because Rick Scott and his gang foisted this giant ballot on us, and instead of making provisions for extra staff and voting times, cut the number of days for early voting.

(Thanks to IP for asking the question.)


  1. You may be thinking that not every hour spent waiting in line came at the expense of work, But in a hypothetical perfect market, workers will value the marginal hour of leisure at the same value as the forgone wages. Hence, for these purposes, we can value an hour of leisure at the same rate as work. []
  2. Yes, but both the leisure hour and the work hour should be valued at the marginal rate. This $19.59 figure is the median rate. The marginal rate is surely different? Well, probably, but we don’t know how – for some folks it’s time and half, for others a low-wage second job, for still others on monthly pay there’s no salary difference at all. I don’t know how to estimate that, or even what the sign is, so I’m going to ignore it. []
  3. What about unemployed people – shouldn’t we value their time (or lost productivity) at zero? Well, yes if we are calculating lost productivity as opposed to the cost to the individuals actually doing the waiting, feel free to knock off 8.7% from the estimate. []
  4. Yes, I’m assuming the rest of the state was the same as here. I’m open to correction if there’s evidence of systematic geographic skew in wait times. []
Posted in 2012 Election, Econ & Money, Florida | Leave a comment