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Gov. Scott: ‘It’s Florida’s day to win the race’

Thursday, August 30th, 2012 by Dara Kam

Gov. Rick Scott made it back to Tampa Bay in time to hear U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney cap off the Republican National Convention Thursday night.

Scott left town earlier this week to attend to Tropical Storm Isaac duties, visiting flood-ravaged Palm Beach County and the Panhandle.

“It’s great,” Scott said of his first GOP convention as he made his way through the mobbed floor of the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

“Marco’s going to give a great talk. Jeb gave a great talk on school choices. It’s a Florida night,” Scott said. “It’s Florida’s day to win the race.”

Clad in his signature dark suit and custom-made cowboy boots, Scott eschewed his VIP governor’s viewing box and instead grabbed a seat on the floor alongside the Florida delegation.

“I want to see,” he said.

after leaving town to attend to Tropical Storm Isaac duties earlier this week.

Spokeswoman for group pushing ‘parent trigger’ going to work for Obama campaign in California

Friday, April 20th, 2012 by Dara Kam

The spokeswoman of the California-based Parent Revolution group that pushed a controversial “parent trigger” bill in Florida is going to work for President Obama’s reelection campaign as the state spokeswoman.

Linda Serrato sent an e-mail saying she’ll start for Obama’s California campaign next week.

Serrato’s going to work for the Democratic incumbent after Florida Democrats – and some moderate Senate Republicans – excoriated the measure, also backed by former Gov. Jeb Bush. The parent trigger measure quickly evolved into a contentious battle over letting parents take over failing schools, with Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich taking the lead in fighting against it.

The measure died on a tie vote on the final day of the legislative session in March (not a single Senate Democrat voted in favor of the measure and just two Dems gave it a thumbs up in the House) but not before fiery messaging from Parent Revolution and opponents of the bill, including a coalition of Florida parent groups, the PTA among them.

“I feel honored to have worked with this dedicated, energetic and scrappy team. I have been proud to be a part of Parent Revolution’s work empowering parents to organize their communities,” Serrato wrote in an e-mail message announcing her departure.

Senators take aim at parent trigger

Thursday, March 8th, 2012 by Dara Kam

The Senate is poised to close out the 2012 legislative session with a fiery debate over a controversial measure that would let parents decide the fate of failing schools after opponents scored several victories with amendments to the “parent trigger” bill late Thursday evening.

The proposal, based on one pushed in California by the “Parent Revolution,” would allow parents to decide on a turnaround option for schools graded “F” for at least three years in a row if more than 50 percent of parents sign petitions.

The petition process received the most attention Thursday night from opponents, a coalition of Democrats and Republicans who say the signature-gathering is rife for shenanigans as experienced in California, which became the first in the nation with its “Parent Empowerment” proposition two years ago.

The parent trigger plan is backed by GOP leaders including Senate President Mike Haridopolos, Senate Rules Chairman John Thrasher and former Gov. Jeb Bush. Several Los Angles-based Parent Revolution lobbyists, in the Capitol for weeks advocating for the proposal, were in the public gallery during a heated debate over the bill (SB 1718) Thursday night.

Opponents include teachers unions and a coalition of Florida parent-led groups including the PTA, also watching the two-hour debate from the gallery. The measure has already flared emotions and procedural maneuvering in the Senate.

Proponents beat down several amendments on 21-19 votes – including one that would have criminalized bribing parents to sign the petitions – indicating Friday’s vote will be close. But opponents, including Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich, said they believe they have enough votes to kill the measure on a 20-20 tie.

The anti-parent trigger group repeatedly tried to make changes to the signature-gathering process that would have put it on a par with petition-gathering requirements included in a controversial election law passed last year and signed by Gov. Rick Scott.

One change would have made it a misdemeanor to take or offer a bribe in exchange for a signature and made it a misdemeanor to falsify signatures. But opponents of that amendment called it overreaching, eliciting outrage from Sen. Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale.

“Are you kidding me? We put this in an election year last year people. We did this. But now it’s overreaching. It’s undemocratic. Are you kidding me?” Smith said. The amendment was defeated on a 21-19 vote.

But Rich scored a win with an amendment requiring that signatures be valid, undoing language in the original bill sponsored by Republican Lizbeth Benacquisto of Fort Myers that would have allowed signatures submitted after the validation period to be accepted.

“If you don’t vote for this amendment, it means you condone fraud,” Rich, D-Weston, said.

Accusations of fraudulent signatures and coercion of parents are plaguing a parent trigger effort at a Mojave Desert school in California, where both sides are accusing each other of wrongdoing and a judge is considering open an investigation.

The Florida proposal would give parents a say in federal turnaround options for failing schools that include conversion into profit or non-profit charter schools or hiring for-profit management company to take them over, which critics say is part of an overall effort to privatize Florida’s public schools.

Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, failed to convince a majority to sign off on her plan requiring the charter schools to pay rent to school districts if they take over a failing school.

But she rallied enough votes to include a provision banning foreign nationals from owning or operating the charter schools.

Before the floor session wrapped up at 10 p.m., Senate Majority Leader Andy Gardiner railed against his colleagues for objecting to giving parents more control over poor-performing schools.

“I know it’s late. And I know everybody’s emotional. But keep in mind what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about parents that are sending their children every day to an F school. Every day to an F school,” Gardiner, R-Orlando, said. “We’ve gotten off track here a little bit…These are F schools. These are just parents. Parents that want an opportunity to have their children go to a better school. We want to put a misdemeanor on them?”

Speaking against the bill, Sen. Larcenia Bullard invoked hanging chads, fraudulent petition-gathering campaigns in which dead people’s names were signed on petitions and other horribles.

“Trigger bill is double-barrel Glock,” Bullard, R-Miami, said.

Jeb Bush foundation using ‘parent trigger’ to trigger donations

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 by Dara Kam

The controversial “Parent Empowerment” proposal isn’t just causing a bipartisan kerfuffle in the Senate where critics say the measure is a cash cow for for-profit charter schools and private management companies.

But the “parent trigger” measure could also make hay for Gov. Jeb Bush’s non-profit Foundation for Florida’s Future. Bush is backing the bill, pushed by Los Angeles-based Parent Revolution and education reformer Michelle Rhee and fiercely opposed by a teachers’ unions and a Florida coalition of parent-led groups, including the PTA.

Patricia Levesque, executive director of Bush’s Foundation, sent out a blast e-mail asking supporters to contact their senators to urge them to vote for the bill. But that wasn’t all.

“Additionally, won’t you help us in our efforts to fight those opposed to parents’ rights? Please consider making a one-time contribution of $500 or $1,000 or a monthly contribution of $50 or $100 to the Foundation for Florida’s Future. With your support, we can ensure that parents have representation and more options as it relates to their child’s education,” Levesque wrote.

Levesque sent out the missive in response to a blast message from left-leaning Progess Florida condemning the bill.

According to the exchange, the forces lining up on either side of the issue range from Koch brothers to the League of Women Voters.

“Anti-public school extremists in the Florida Senate are trying to pull a fast one, and we need your help right now,” the Progress Florida e-mail began. “So, if not parent groups, who is really behind this latest attack on public schools? According to Parents Across America “model legislation based on the Parent Trigger has been written and promoted by ALEC, the shadowy organization backed by the Koch brothers that has a radical right-wing agenda.” And who profits? Not parents and students. No, the ones who profit are unaccountable corporate charter school operators who aren’t held to the same standards as public schools and don’t necessarily have the best interests of students, parents or teachers at heart.

That prompted the e-mail from Levesque:

“Yesterday, the Foundation for Florida’s Future tweeted “Conspiracy theories and outright lies—who knew #edreform would be so exciting?” This was in response to emails, like the one below, that are being sent in opposition to the Parent Empowerment Act. You will not find the vitriol in the below email surprising. Despite incredible successes over the past 10 years, those who seek to protect the status quo are as passionate as ever. This includes the League of Women Voters, AFL-CIO, Florida Education Association and local affiliates such as Fund Education Now and Save our Schools.”

The Senate is set to take up the measure on Thursday and an ugly committee meeting – along with the above exchange – set the stage for what will likely be a heated debate before a vote on Friday.

Parents, Democrats bash ‘parent trigger’ proposal

Monday, March 5th, 2012 by Dara Kam

A coalition of parent-led groups, including the Florida PTA, and Democrats bashed a fast-tracked “parent trigger” proposal that would let parents at failing schools determine their fate.

The bill “has everything with laying the groundwork for the hostile, corporate takeover of public schools throughout Florida, a direct attack on public education,” Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich of Weston said at a press conference this morning.

Before the event began, Los Angeles-based Parent Revolution lobbyists handed out press releases asserting that national Democrats support the controversial measure. The California group called opponents “defenders of the status quo” and accused the Florida Education Association of invoking “new boogeymen” in “an attempt to confuse parents and political observers.” The “parent trigger” is now in place in first-in-the-nation California, Texas and Mississippi.

In those states, Democrats including Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, have favored the plan. The at-time unctuous, election-year parent trigger debate is pitting teachers’ unions and parent groups against charter schools and for-profit management companies throughout the nation.

At least 20 states, including Florida, are now considering “Parent Empowerment” legislation. The business-backed, conservative American Legislative Exchange Council has crafted model bills similar to the one (SB 1718, HB 1191) now on its way to the Senate floor in Florida; the House approved an identical measure last week along partisan lines. The Florida proposal is being pushed by former Gov. Jeb Bush and his education foundation, Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, and other GOP leaders.

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‘Parent trigger’ bill triggers passion, procedural maneuvering

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012 by Dara Kam

A controversial “parent trigger” bill backed by powerful GOP leaders and education reform icon Jeb Bush is headed to the Senate floor for a vote in the final week of the legislative session over the objections of the measure’s critics over the way it is being handled.

The Senate Budget Committee signed off on the bill (SB 1718), already passed by the Florida House, largely along partisan lines with a single Republican – Sen. Evelyn Lynn of Ormond Beach – joining Democrats in opposition.

Lynn and Democrats on the committee complained that GOP leaders were railroading the bill after Democrats and a cadre of Republicans led by Jack Latvala blocked the it from being yanked from the committee and sped to the Senate floor. Read about the Latvala-Thrasher leadership struggle – leaving its imprint on the final days of the legislative session – here, here and here.

Senate Rules Chairman John Thrasher, R-St.Augustine, set two hours for the rare Saturday morning meeting to hear the bill. No one objected then, but that was before another measure was added to the agenda, eating up nearly 45 minutes this morning.

After Thrasher ordered a 9:59 “time certain” vote on the bill, the grumbling began.

Sen. Gwen Margolis, a former Senate president, asked that the time be extended to hear from audience members. The “Parent Empowerment” legislation is being pushed in 20 states by the Los Angeles-based “Parent Revolution” organization but is opposed in Florida by a coalition of parent-led groups including the PTA.

Thrasher said that was impossible because Senate rules prevented the meeting from being extended except on the Senate floor.

The irascible Lynn piped up, reminding Thrasher, a former House speaker close to Bush, of a questionable 4-3 committee vote she intended to challenge because she believed the vote came after another “time certain” vote by the Senate Education Committee this week. She did not fight the vote, and Thrasher ruled that it was legit.

This morning’s vote came after heated debate and after less than five minutes of public testimony during which a parent from Gainesville voiced her opposition.

After the votes were cast and he adjourned the meeting, Senate budget chief JD Alexander, R-Lake Wales, allowed members of the audience to continue the dialogue.

Shirley Ford, a Los Angeles parent and one of the founders of Parent Revolution who still works for the group, told the panel why Florida needs the process, approved in California by voters two years ago.

Lynn didn’t buy it. She pointed out that Florida has a variety of measures to help turn around failing schools, including vouchers that allow students to attend any school their parents choose. And, she said, Florida just last year launched a sweeping education reform that among other things did away with teacher tenure. It’s too early to know what the impact of those changes will have on low-performing schools, she argued.

In addition, the state Board of Education this week approved a new school grading system that will nearly triple the number of failing schools.

“For somebody from California to come here and tell us what we should be doing is a laugh and a half,” Lynn said after the meeting.

Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich and her caucus will hold a press conference Monday morning before the floor session begins to voice their objections to the proposal, also opposed by the state teachers’ union.

Scott taps ‘Place of Hope’ executive director to faith-based board

Friday, February 17th, 2012 by Dara Kam

Gov. Rick Scott has Palm Beach Gardens-based “Place of Hope” executive director Charles L. Bender to the Florida Faith-Based and Community-Based Advisory Council.

Bender is one of eight new appointees Scott placed on the 11-member panel tasked with enlisting the aid of volunteer organizations to provide social services to Floridians. The council also makes recommendations to the governor and legislature about expanding the use of faith-based groups in government.

Place of Hope, financed in part by Christ Fellowship Church, opened more than a decade ago in Palm Beach Gardens and includes six “cottages” for foster families. Some of the state’s neediest children living in the gated community take horseback riding lessons and boating trips on the weekends.

While president, George W. Bush praised Bender for his work with foster children, calling Place of Hope a model for charitable church-state partnerships. Bender, who earned more than $213,000 as the head of the non-profit in 2010, served on a similar board under Gov. Jeb Bush a decade ago.

Bender’s group drew fire from critics of Jeb Bush’s faith-based initiatives after its link to the Department of Children and Families because the child welfare organization is so directly linked to Christianity. Place of Hope and its affiliates provide a variety of services for foster children, including transitional housing for former foster children who have aged out of the program, as well as adoption services and intervention for troubled families.

Latest pension overhaul shows how political wind has turned against unions

Sunday, April 10th, 2011 by John Kennedy

The municipal pension rewrite now advancing in the House — and headed to the Senate Budget Committee next week — has a history rooted in Republican politics, having emerged as a payback to unions that supported Gov. Jeb Bush in 1998.

But the political wind in Tallahassee has shifted sharply this spring.

And for Florida’s police and fire unions, one-time allies are now enemies, with the pension overhaul the latest in a series of what labor sees as union-busting moves by the GOP leadership.

“Did we go too far? Yeah, maybe we did,” said Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, who as House Speaker in 1999 led the legislation sought by Bush. “But we were pretty flush back then. We can’t afford this now.”

As for Bush, he’s apparently changed, too. In January he and presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich co-authored an op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times. In it, the pair urge that states consider declaring bankruptcy to reorganize their troubled finances.

Why do they need to take such a drastic step?

To get out from under sweetheart pension deals for greedy unions, the former deal-maker turned reformer now writes.

Top Scott advisor joins lobbying firm

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011 by Dara Kam

Lanny Wiles – Gov. Rick Scott’s right-hand-man on the campaign trail – is joining The Advocacy Group at Cardenas Partners lobbying firm headed by former Republican Party of Florida chairman Al Cardenas.

Wiles, who is married to Scott’s campaign manager Susie Wiles, will be “senior counsel” at the lobbying firm, which has offices in Tallahassee, Miami and Washington.

Wiles was a constant presence on Scott’s campaign and in the transition, often whispering into an earpiece to coordinate with Scott’s advance team.

Wiles has a long history of working closely with Republican politicians, beginning with President Reagan’s 1976 presidential bid.
a full range of governmental advocacy services and has built a strong foundation of core budgeting and legislative processing skills that allows successful navigation of issues of interest to their clients.

Wiles will join the firm’s other Tallahassee lobbyists, Slater Bayliss and Stephen Shiver. Bayliss, one of Gov. Jeb Bush’s aides, served as a special advisor on Scott’s inaugural committee. Shiver is a long-time GOP operative with close ties to the Florida legislature.

Bush star power with Scott and GOP Cabinet slate in Orlando

Saturday, October 30th, 2010 by Dara Kam

ORLANDO _ Florida GOP political icon Jeb Bush pumped up support for the Republican statewide candidates at a rally in Orlando this morning.

About 150 supporters crowded into a hangar at a private airport in Orlando to cheer on gubernatorial candidate, who made the Orlando event his first on the fifth day of his week-long statewide bus tour.

“There’s a cloud on our state. I think there’s a lot of pessimism in our state right now. I think we need a can-do leader that lifts the cloud,” Bush said in his introduction of Rick Scott. “I want a tax cutting, budget cutting, job creating governor and Rick Scott is the one.”

The rally was the first event on the fifth day of Scott’s week-long statewide sweep leading up to Election Day.

Bush and his lieutenant governor pumped up the crowd for the GOP Cabinet slate, who also joined Scott on the platform with Bush and his former lieutenant governor Toni Jennins.

Scott kept to his jobs, jobs, jobs theme in a brief speech before heading to a Tea Party rally in Jacksonville.

“All of us up here know we create jobs by getting government out of your life…and an attitude that business people are the lifeblood of the country,” he said.

Bush praised Scott to reporters after the brief event.

“I think he’s the right guy for the right time,” he said.

Bush said he was disappointed in Gov. Charlie Crist, who abandoned the GOP to run as an independent in the U.S. Senate race against Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Kendrick Meek.

“He responds to heat and light” rather than being true to his core convictions, Bush said.

Scott’s Democratic opponent Alex Sink is slated to be in Orlando later this morning.

Democratic Governors’ Assoc. gives cash infusion to Fla Dems for Sink race

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010 by Dara Kam

The Democratic Governors Association gave Florida Democrats a $2 million cash infusion to aid Alex Sink in her race against Rick Scott, Politico is reporting this morning.

According to Politico, the DGA wired the cash into the Florida Democratic Party’s account and will be spent on television ads.

Democrats nationally are eying the Florida race with the hope that Chief Financial Officer Sink can score a coup for Democrats, who’ve been out of the governor’s mansion since former Lt. Gov. Buddy McKay lost to Jeb Bush in 1998. Sink’s husband Bill McBride made a losing against Bush four years later.

Scott spent more than $50 million of his own money – much of it on advertising – to defeat Attorney General Bill McCollum in the GOP primary last month.

Jeb! backs Atwater

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Former Gov. Jeb Bush is supporting Senate President Jeff Atwater in his statewide run for chief financial officer, even though Atwater has a Republican opponent in the primary.

Atwater’s campaign released the announcement Wednesday, along with a link to a YouTube video in which Bush, still influential in GOP politics in Florida, says of Atwater, “It’s his life experience of being a committed family person, of being a successful businessman and also having served in positions of increasing responsibility in the Florida Legislature that have made Jeff uniquely qualified to handle this job.”

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Who’s afraid of Paula Dockery?

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009 by Dara Kam

The day after she officially joined the governor’s race, Sen. Paula Dockery lobbed a shot at the state GOP political machine that seems to be doing its best to ignore one of its own.

The front page of the Republican Party of Florida’s website has no mention of Dockery, a lifelong Republican from Lakeland, but does prominently feature a press release from her GOP opponent Attorney General Bill McCollum touting Jeb Bush’s support for him.

After Dockery announced she was running for governor, the Republican Party of Florida issued a release on behalf of McCollum’s campaign highlighting his GOP endorsements.

That earned this jab at RPOF Chairman Jim Greer from Dockery today.

“Just today, the controversial and embattled head of Florida’s Republican Party told the Orlando Sentinel that the state party would spend no money to help my opponent in the gubernatorial primary.

“Hours later, he used the party’s resources to send out an email of support for my opponent, Attorney General Bill McCollum.

“This is exactly the kind of double-speak that, under Greer’s leadership, has disenfranchised grassroots Republicans from the state party.

“Party bosses shouldn’t tell the people what to do. That didn’t work for the Politburo and it won’t work for the Republican Party of Florida,” Dockery said in a press release entitled “What are they afraid of?”

RPOF spokeswoman Katie Gordon said McCollum’s campaign was using a service that’s also available to Dockery.

“The RPOF has a long-standing policy of distributing campaign press releases to our subscribers thru the RPOF blast e-mail system at the request of any of the statewide candidates. At this point, Sen. Dockery has not requested that RPOF resources be utilized to distribute her press releases to our subscribers,” Gordon said.

Diaz-Balart out; Crist to meet with to meet with possible Martinez replacement Martinez

Monday, August 17th, 2009 by Dara Kam

From left to right: Diaz-Balart, Martinez, Smith

From left to right: Diaz-Balart, Martinez, Smith

Gov. Charlie Crist will meet with Bobby Martinez, not the former governor, tomorrow afternoon at the Miami airport.

Martinez is on Crist’s short list to replace outgoing U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, who is stepping down 15 months before his term ends in November.

Martinez (Bobby) is a former U.S. prosecutor who sits on the state Board of Education and was a chief transition aide to both Crist and Jeb Bush when they took over as governor.

Last week, Crist asked Martinez (Bobby), U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart and former Attorney General and Secretary of State Jim Smith, now a top-tier Tallahassee lobbyist, to apply as Martinez’ fill-in for the next 15 months.

Crist is leaving office next year after just one term to run for the post himself.

Bobby Martinez is considered by some GOP operatives to be the likeliest candidate to replace Mel Martinez, and not because they share the same surname.

Sources close to Diaz-Balart say that he today withdrew his name from consideration for the post.

And Smith’s lobbying career could make him vulnerable to criticism, although he’s considering retiring. Quitting his lobbying job may not quell objections, however. His partner Brian Ballard, one of Crist’s closest advisers, is also his son-in-law.

Moveon.org has Negron on the move

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009 by Dara Kam

Negron (R): "This community is hurting."GOP Senate candidate Joe Negron is ramping up efforts to secure an Aug. 4 special election win in response to Moveon.org’s entry into the race to replace retiring Sen. Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie.

Negron sent an e-mail appeal to supporters today asking for cash to fight back against the organization which he said “has sent operatives” into District 28 to help turn out the vote for his Democratic opponent Bill Ramos.

“Thanks to your hard work and support, my campaign is doing very well and I am confident that we will win the race on August 4. However, I am not taking anything for granted, particularly in a special election with an expected low turn-out. I take MoveOn.org seriously because I saw first hand how effective they were in helping President Obama win Florida in the 2008 Election,” Negron wrote.

Negron, a former House member from Stuart, is going to spend about $50,000 to collect the absentee ballots “from my supporters” and includes a letter from former Gov. Jeb Bush along with door-to-door canvassing and phone banks, according to the e-mail.

Negron’s collected nearly $387,000 so far and spent about $236,000.

Ramos, who made the ballot by collecting signatures instead of paying the qualifying fee, collected just over $24,000 and spent nearly $19,000 thus far.

Ramos

Ramos

The Jensen Beach mortgage broker today volunteered information about a 1989 guilty plea for theft when he was a young postal worker.

Update: Sink ethics complaint filed by Crist, Jeb! appointee

Monday, June 29th, 2009 by Dara Kam

Jose Lorenzo, a Department of Education lawyer who filed an ethics complaint today against Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink for her use of the state plane, is an appointee of Republicans Gov. Charlie Crist and his predecessor Jeb Bush.

Bush appointed Lorenzo to the 2nd judicial circuit nomination commission in 2004. Crist reappointed him for another four-year term in September. Lorenzo is the chairman of the commission, which make recommendations for judicial appointments.

Lorenzo also contributed $550 in total to Bush and Crist since 2001, according to state elections records. His most recent contribution was a $50 check to Crist’s gubernatorial campaign in 2006.

Sink, a Democrat, is running for governor in 2010. Attorney General Bill McCollum, a Republican, is also in the race for the post.

Neither Crist nor Bush have officially endorsed McCollum – yet. But Bush is highlighting a fundraiser for McCollum at the Biltmore Hotel in Miami tomorrow night.

Just in time – Jeb Bush endorses McCain

Monday, February 11th, 2008 by Palm Beach Post Staff

Jeb Bush, who turns 55 today, decided to give John McCain a gift – his endorsement.

Golly. . .when was the Florida primary?

The Q bets Mike Huckabee is really steamed – there goes the election.

In a statement from the McCain campaign both men say the other is really swell.

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Jeb Bush takes on Crist

Friday, September 21st, 2007 by Palm Beach Post Staff

The Wall Street Journal’s opinion page sharply criticized Gov. Crist today with a little help from former Gov. Jeb Bush.

The Journal is unhappy with Florida taking on much of the insurance risk in the event of a major hurricane.

Using the headline – Hurricane Jeb

From the Journal: Mr. Bush criticizing states that are crafting disaster insurance plans “that are as bad as the natural disasters themselves.” Which states? “My beloved state of Florida has taken steps along that path.” Ouch.

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End Of The Bush Era

Friday, September 8th, 2006 by Palm Beach Post Staff

HIALEAH — Florida Republicans saw the close of the Jeb Bush era in a small Cuban restaurant Thursday just an hour before lunch.

Few noticed.

But the moment was clear. Gov. Bush, who for 12 years has dominated the Florida Republican Party, stood before the packed crowd in Chico’s and, after a few brief remarks, said, “I would like to introduce my friend, the next governor of the state of Florida, Charlie Crist.”

Then as Bush moved to the back of the stage, the crowd began chanting, “Charlie! Charlie! Charlie!” Some in the largely Cuban-American crowd used the Spanish “Carlito!”

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Foundation For Jeb’s Future?

Thursday, June 29th, 2006 by Palm Beach Post Staff

Gov. Jeb Bush has used his recently revived nonprofit foundation to pay a former campaign finance director and two former campaign aides.

Although Bush has said his Foundation for Florida’s Future is not a way of keeping his political machine intact after he leaves office early next year, recent disclosures on the foundation’s Web site show that it paid:

• Nearly $99,000 to Ann Herberger, Bush’s campaign finance director during two campaign and a longtime political fund-raiser for his family.

• Nearly $70,000 to Neil Newhouse of Washington-based GOP Public Opinion Strategies group for polling last October.

• $48,000 for “management services” to a lobbying and public-affairs firm whose staff includes Mandy Clark and Mandy Fletcher. Both worked on Bush’s reelection campaign and on his brother’s presidential reelection campaign.

• $23,500 for “legal services” from the Washington law and lobbying firm Patton Boggs.

• $20,000 in February to GOP political strategist Adam Goodman’s The Victory Group Inc.

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