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Sen. Gaetz trashes Crist at Cabinet meeting on oil leak response

by Dara Kam | May 25th, 2010

GOP Senate leader Don Gaetz blasted Gov. Charlie Crist at this morning’s Cabinet meeting for failing to adequately respond to a possible economic crisis in the Panhandle caused by the thousands of barrels of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico each day.

“It’s in days like this that I miss Jeb Bush,” Gaetz, R-Destin, told reporters after criticizing the governor during an impromptu Cabinet appearance.

Gaetz demanded that Crist do something with the $25 million British Petroleum gave the state to advertise that the state’s beaches are clean and the fishing season is in full swing.

“I’ve been getting confusing answers out of the governor’s office for days. There’s been no response to President Atwater’s letters asking for specificity. Where’s this money? How’s it being deployed?
We’ve not seen a timely response. We’ve not seen an effective response. And jobs are being lost as a consequence,” a frustrated Gaetz said.

Gaetz said that informal reports show that hotel bookings at Panhandle resorts dropped from 80 percent last year to between 20 and 30 percent.

“That’s substantial,” he said.

Gaetz criticized Visit Florida’s $2 million emergency ad campaign launched this weekend.

“It’s day 35. We have not had an effective, timely response yet to deploy resources that the state has now…Instead we have two poorly crafted ads that were thrown together it seemed to me at the last minute in somebody’s basement,” Gaetz said.

Gaetz also bashed the newly independent Crist, renowned for his adept use of the media, for failing to use his bully pulpit to draw tourists to the state still unaffected by the oil spill.

“The governor of Florida is a national media figure by virtue of his position. And Charlie Crist is a national media figure by virtue of the way that he’s used the media and his political positions. My question would be, if I was a reporter, show me the number of requests that Gov. Crist has made to be on national media to talk about the fact that Florida is open for business. I think the bully pulpit ought to be used. It’s in days like this that I miss Jeb Bush,” Gaetz said.

Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Mike Sole, in charge of the state’s preparation for the disaster, will give an update on the Deepwater Horizon situation shortly, as will Visit Florida President Chris Thompson.

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13 Responses to “Sen. Gaetz trashes Crist at Cabinet meeting on oil leak response”

  1. melody Says:

    We don’t have basements in South Florida, Gaetz, but we do have plenty of high insurance, high social service costs, excessive illegal aliens, and poorly educated public school children as a result of that ‘fortunate son’ clan you alone and none of us miss!

  2. tom7001 Says:

    Did Gaetz sleep through the special session?

  3. Outlaws Says:

    The only people who think Jeb did a good job at all is either insane or a crook period.

  4. problems Says:

    Really? Political posturing even during a disaster. The GOP knows no crisis it can’t exploit for its own gain.

  5. Haroldhrbrt Says:

    Gaetz can get in front of a parade with a dancer’s skills whether its a celebration or a crucifixition–what matters is that he is in front of the parade. Its all about Don!

  6. I miss Jeb, too Says:

    There may never be a leader in this state again like Jeb Bush. Like his policies or not, the man was superb at running the State. We now have a buffoon, hell bent on getting elected to yet one more political office, and no one serving to lead during this fiscal and environmental crisis.

    Wish Jeb were still Governor!

  7. stuntmanmike Says:

    Bernie Gaetz?

  8. david Pleat Says:

    I find it amazing the Sen. Gaetz, our coastal senator who refused to firmly and unequivocally oppose near shore drilling and who opposes a costitutional amendment to ban oil drilling in State waters, now has the nerve to criticize the Governor.

  9. JT Says:

    Yes, I am sure old Jeb baby would be out there on the front lines with a shovel and pail trying to figure out a way to profit from the disaster.

  10. Randy Coleman Says:

    I think it is time that the public lets BP know that we expect more than they are delivering. Sir Winston Churchill said, “It is not enough to say that we are doing our best, we must succeed at doing what is necessary.

    What is necessary is to stop the oil flow.

    I propose that all Americans immediately boycott BP gas stations in America until the oil flow has stopped and that all BP credit card holders cut their cards and send them in to BP in protest. If they stopped selling gas even for a day or two, they might realize it is “necessary” to get some results.

    Randy Coleman

  11. manley fuller Says:

    I wonder if the Senator knows that in June 2005 Governor Bush and the Cabinet with Attorney General Crist bringing the motion forward bought out and eliminated the last oil and gas leases of Coastal Petroleum in Florida waters ,recognizing that they were a bad idea for Florida ?We need to send a strong message from Florida that we dont want drilling in Florida Waters and the place for that is in the State Constitution! The Senator could demonstate his concern by supporting this in special session as Governor Crist and CFO Sink support .Our environment and economy deserve nothing less and any ocean drilling and future production in the Federal waters needs to be kept away from Florida as Senator Nelson has been saying for years and those in the central and western Gulf held to the highest and stringently enforced standards .The lax regulations and cozy relationships with the industry and the mineral management service must end , the Graham Reilly Committee needs to look at this disaster as well as the disaster off western Australia this past fall of 2009 and propose a new needed level of regulation and liability for the industry .America needs to move to a cleaner more efficient energy future starting now .This disaster is a wake up call for all of us .Manley Fuller President Florida Wildlife Federation

  12. melody Says:

    This is not Obama’s Katrina this is Big Petroleum’s (all of you) Chernobyl! That industry attitudes alone are responsible! Don’t any of you listen to any past and present petroleum ‘executives’ that this incident is the fault of any coastal community having concerns over near shore or onshore extraction of oil OR CLIMATE! This was not a producing well our nation needed! This was a well BP wanted and the corporate arrogance of that industry should not sway the energy choices rights of any state!

  13. Muckraker Says:

    My Take:

    http://www.bloggybayou.com/2010/05/politics-of-oil-and-failed-energy.html

    Cheers

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