Posts Tagged ‘Tallahassee’

Report: Andrew Gillum apologizes for political emails

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum’s gubernatorial campaign is already facing criticism, despite being barely a day old.
On Tuesday, Tallahassee Reports posted emails to its website that showed the mayor used email software purchased with city tax dollars to send out “an email blast to invite to a Biden/Clinton campaign event.” The site, which is run by Republican activist Steve Stewart, received the emails through a public records request.
According POLITICO Florida, Gillum’s team had denied charges the mayor used inappropriately used the NGP VAN technology. Instead, POLITICO Florida reported, the mayor’s office said it was used for constituent outreach.
The Tallahassee Democrat reported on three emails Tuesday linked to the Mayor’s Office using the NGP VAN system.
The first was sent after the first Tallahassee Forward Summit, and included the mayor’s campaign logo and campaign post office box. A second email was sent in August by Gillum’s wife that discusses his speech at the Democratic National Convention, and included an “unsubscribe” button that takes them to the NGP website. The third is an invite to an event featuring Vice President Joe Bide in Tallahassee.
The Biden email was also posted to Tallahassee Reports website.
In a statement provided to both POLITICO Florida and the Tallahassee Democrat, Gillum said he plans to reimburse the city for “all expenses related to the NGP email system.”
“It is ultimately my responsibility that an official government email system in my office was used to send messages that were not related to government business,” he said in the statement. “It was inadvertent, but that does not make it okay. I’m sorry, and I plan to reimburse the city of Tallahassee for all expenses related to the NGP email system.”
Gillum told supporters on a conference call Tuesday he planned to run for governor in 2018. He officially launched his campaign Wednesday morning, sending

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Andrew Gillum, Philip Levine talk governor runs, give campaign speeches

Friday, February 24th, 2017

Democratic Tallahassee Mayor  Andrew  Gillum and Miami Beach Mayor  Philip Levine both talked about their interest in running for  governor and gave what  were  essentially campaign speeches in Orlando Friday but both stopped short of  declaring anything.
Gillum and Levine were joined by Florida House Speaker  Richard Corcoran in addressing the Central Florida Urban League’s annual  awards  breakfast in Orlando. While no one declared any formal intentions to run for governor, the two Democratic probable rivals said they were  exploring the prospect for 2018.
“I am strongly considering a run for  governor,” Gillum said. “I  will admit at the very beginning of this that my experience, and my upbringing, certainly do not suggest that I should be thinking about a run or dreaming about a run. But yet we’re here.”
Twenty minutes later, during his turn, Levine did not explicitly say he was  considering  running, but talked about it in a matter of “ifs.”
And speaking to FloridaPolitics.com, Levine said he was considering a run, but was not there yet.
To the Urban League, he spoke of  minimum wages, creating a statewide entrepreneurial atmosphere, and making  college affordable for anyone.
“If I decide to run, something that is going to be a key ingredient, a key focus and a mandate,” Levine said. “Because you can’t create entrepreneurialism, you can’t create a solid state unless you have everyone go to college and get an education.”
The Democrats could be looking at a crowded field. former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham and Orlando lawyer John Morgan both also have said  they are strongly considering runs, and other candidates appear to be positioning themselves.
 
The post Andrew Gillum, Philip Levine talk governor runs, give campaign speeches appeared first on Florida Politics.

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Rick Scott won’t give state workers extra day off for Christmas

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is ending a holiday tradition this year: Giving state workers an extra day off.
A spokeswoman for Scott said Tuesday that the governor will not be closing state offices an additional day around the Christmas holiday.
Scott for five straight years had ordered state offices to be closed an extra day in recognition of the hard work of state employees.
Three times Scott had given state workers Christmas Eve off when it fell on a weekday. Employees had the day after Christmas off in 2014 and in 2011 state employees received Dec. 23 off since Christmas Eve fell on a weekend.
Christmas falls on a Sunday this year, so the observed holiday is Dec. 26.
In the past, state workers who perform essential functions still have to work. But state offices aren’t open.
Republished with permission of the Associated Press.
The post Rick Scott won’t give state workers extra day off for Christmas appeared first on Florida Politics.

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Steve Hurm battling cancer, wife Gwen Graham announces

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

Tallahassee lawyer Steve Hurm, general counsel to the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and husband to U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, is battling stage 4 prostate cancer, she announced.
Graham, who has openly discussed her interest in running for Florida governor next year, announced Hurm’s condition at a presidential rally in Tallahassee that featured Vice President Joe Biden campaigning for Democrat Hillary Clinton Monday, and again in a campaign communique she sent to supporters Tuesday morning.
“My husband, Steve, was recently diagnosed with cancer. Our friends, family, and community have been incredibly supportive as he fights back against the disease. We can’t thank everyone enough for their love and support,” Graham stated in an email campaign update that included a picture of a balding Hurm and her getting ready to vote.
Hurm is a former police officer who went back to school and stayed in college all the way through law school, and has practiced law both privately and in various capacities for the state, including as a counsel for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
In both the Biden rally and the email, Graham praised Biden for turning his own family cancer battles into his “Cancer Moonshot” initiative, aimed at making a cancer cure as high a scientific priority for the government as was a manned flight to the moon in the 1960s. Graham also used both occasions to urge people to support the Democrats who back more medical research, such as Cancer Moonshot.
“I had made the decision that I would be very personal talking about this because if we, in our experience, can help anyone, or if we, in our experience, can put a focus on the importance of medical research into a host of illnesses we suffer from,” we should, she said. “The cost associated with research is so insignificant compared with the cost associated

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Need an escape? ‘Friends of Midtown Reader’ have books to survive the election

Saturday, November 5th, 2016

If this election has you stressed out, know this: You are not alone.
A survey by the American Psychological Association found 52 percent of American adults said the 2016 election is significant source of stress. With Election Day almost upon us, just about everyone is experiencing sky high anxiety.
Need an escape from the 24-hour news cycle and polls? A good book might be just the ticket. And Sally Bradshaw has a few up her sleeve.
Bradsahw opened Midtown Reader, her independent bookstore in Tallahassee, on Tuesday. While the shop is considered a general interest bookstore, Bradshaw has stocked the shelves with Florida authors and books about the Sunshine State
And what would a bookstore in the heart of the capital city be without a robust selection of political and historical books? The store opened just one week before Election Day, and Bradshaw made sure to have a display featuring books geared toward the election.
Rather than curate the display herself, she reached out to her vast network of contacts and asked them to recommend a few books to help readers survive the 2016 election. What she got was a mix of serious and fun, and a few cocktail and cookbooks thrown in to be safe.
“Everyone was incredibly generous,” she said. “Books are something that seem to bring everyone together.”
Want to be in the know? Here’s a look at the books recommended by the “Friends of Midtown Reader:”
— “What it Takes,” by Richard Ben Cramer; recommended by Gloria Borger, CNN chief political analyst. Why she recommended it: “A reminder of days gone by …”
— “Tequila Mockingbird,” by Tim Federle; recommended by Brandi Brown, former director of scheduling and events for Jeb Bush for President. Why she recommended it: “Because we’re going to need cocktails….”
— “Presidential Command,” by Peter W. Rodman; recommended by Jeb Bush Jr.

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Airbnb hosts in Tallahassee, Gainesville score during football season

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

Airbnb scored a touchdown in Florida college towns this football season.
A new report from the home-sharing company showed the hundreds of Airbnb listings in Tallahassee and Gainesville “substantially increased the cities’ lodging capacity for football games,” allowing both communities to host more visitors during home games.
And a boost in lodging options means football travelers are more likely to stay for the whole weekend, driving up spending on foods, beverages and shopping.
According to the Airbnb report, Gainesville’s host community earned $362,000 in supplemental income when the Gators played at home. About 53 percent of the host community in Gator country rents out an extra room in their home.
The biggest weekend for Gainesville hosts? Homecoming weekend when the Gators hosted the University of Missouri. Gainesville hosts made $102,898 during the weekend. And, in case you were wondering, the Gators beat Mizzou, 40-14.
About 45 percent of the Tallahassee Airbnb host community rents out an extra room in their home. The Tallahassee host community has earned $211,000 in supplemental income when the Seminoles play at home.
The best weekend for Tallahassee hosts was the weekend the Seminoles hosted Clemson. Tallahassee host made $78,467, which likely helped soften the blow of a Clemson win.
“We like to provide our Seminole boosters the best game day experience possible,” said Caroline Conway, the director of communications for Seminole Boosters. “From tailgating to tickets to lodging it’s important for our members to have options that (suit) their needs, and Airbnb has done just that. They have added lodging options for our Booster members in Tallahassee and on the Road.”
In July, the Tallahassee City Commission voted to repeal the city-wide business license tax. That decision, according to the report, removed a barrier for residents interested in sharing their homes through the home-sharing app.
Airbnb is working to secure tax agreements with 36

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Super Tuesday: Sally Bradshaw opens Midtown Reader in Tallahassee

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Sally Bradshaw has the perfect distraction for this crazy election cycle: Books.
For the past few months, she has been neck deep in bestsellers, up to her eyeballs in thrillers and focused on Florida favorites. She’s asked everyone she knows for a recommendation, and has been fixated on creating the perfect spot for literary lovers in the capital city.
All of that work will pay off Tuesday, when Bradshaw opens Midtown Reader, her independent bookstore in the heart of Tallahassee’s midtown neighborhood.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” said Bradshaw, a longtime advisor to former Gov. Jeb Bush.
The Havana resident announced her plans to open the store earlier this year. In the months since, she’s traveled the country meeting with booksellers and shop owners to get a feel for the industry. When she wasn’t in meetings, she was at the shop, making sure every detail was just right.
The result? A cozy, 1,500-square-foot store filled to the brim with books. An estimated 10,000 books will fill the shelves when the doors open this week, and Bradshaw said she hopes the “eclectic mix” will attract readers from throughout Tallahassee.
“Tallahassee is a well-read town,” she said. “Regardless of who you speak to, everyone is reading something different.”
She’s hoping the bookstore will become a destination for book lovers across the region, a place where readers can stop by, browse the shelves and chat about their favorite piece of prose.
“There’s a lot of advantages to the social media world we live, but the experience that’s missing on the Internet is it’s very difficult to browse,” she said. “There’s value in being able to go into an independent bookstore and being able to browse. We’re really attentive to building a community of readers.”
That means spending a full day spent writing the staff recommendations that line the shelves, building a team “that

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Super Tuesday: Sally Bradshaw opens Midtown Reader in Tallahassee

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Sally Bradshaw has the perfect distraction for this crazy election cycle: Books.
For the past few months, she has been neck deep in bestsellers, up to her eyeballs in thrillers and focused on Florida favorites. She’s asked everyone she knows for a recommendation, and has been fixated on creating the perfect spot for literary lovers in the capital city.
All of that work will pay off Tuesday, when Bradshaw opens Midtown Reader, her independent bookstore in the heart of Tallahassee’s midtown neighborhood.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” said Bradshaw, a longtime advisor to former Gov. Jeb Bush.
The Havana resident announced her plans to open the store earlier this year. In the months since, she’s traveled the country meeting with booksellers and shop owners to get a feel for the industry. When she wasn’t in meetings, she was at the shop, making sure every detail was just right.
The result? A cozy, 1,500-square-foot store filled to the brim with books. An estimated 10,000 books will fill the shelves when the doors open this week, and Bradshaw said she hopes the “eclectic mix” will attract readers from throughout Tallahassee.
“Tallahassee is a well-read town,” she said. “Regardless of who you speak to, everyone is reading something different.”
She’s hoping the bookstore will become a destination for book lovers across the region, a place where readers can stop by, browse the shelves and chat about their favorite piece of prose.
“There’s a lot of advantages to the social media world we live, but the experience that’s missing on the Internet is it’s very difficult to browse,” she said. “There’s value in being able to go into an independent bookstore and being able to browse. We’re really attentive to building a community of readers.”
That means spending a full day spent writing the staff recommendations that line the shelves, building a team “that

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Buddy Dyer, Phillip Levine, Bob Buckhorn, others on Mayors for Hillary bus tour

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

What a party bus this will be. A Democratic Party bus, filled with mayors from Florida including Orlando’s Buddy Dyer, Miami Beach’s Phillip Levine, Tampa’s Bob Buckhorn, and St. Petersburg’s Rick Kriseman, has begun a cross-state tour to campaign for Hillary Clinton.
Hillary for America announced Thursday that those four and 19 other mayors and former mayors — some from out-of-state cities like Detroit, Philadelphia and Dallas — are participating in the tour with at least four stops to promote Clinton’s economic plan and urge people to vote early.
The activity actually began Wednesday night with a kick-off debate watch party in Miami, and will roll Friday to Orlando and Gainesville, and Saturday to Tallahassee, with other stops yet to be scheduled or announced.
In addition to Levine — widely discussed as a 2018 gubernatorial candidate — Dyer, Buckhorn and Kriseman, the Florida mayors include Wayne Messam of Miramar, Oliver Gilbert of Miami Gardens, Lauren Poe of Gainesville; Andrew Gillum of Tallahassee, Thomas Masters of Riviera Beach, and former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown.
From out of state, Florida will meet William Bell of Birmingham, Alabama, Jacqueline Goodall of Forest Heights, Maryland, Sly James of Kansas City, Lovely Warren of Rochester New York, Malcolm Clark of Mt. Vernon, New York, Steve Benjamin of Columbia, South Carolina, Bill Bell of Durham, North Carolina, and former mayors Michael Nutter of Philadelphia, Mark Mallory of Cincinnati, Mike Coleman of Columbus, Ohio, Wellington Webb of Denver, Dennis Archer of Detroit, and Ron Kirk of Dallas.
The post Buddy Dyer, Phillip Levine, Bob Buckhorn, others on Mayors for Hillary bus tour appeared first on Florida Politics.

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Joe Henderson: Issue 1 in 2018 Gov’s race, fixing Florida’s environment

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

I think we have one of our first major campaign issues for the 2018 race to succeed Rick Scott as Florida’s governor. Any serious candidate who doesn’t come out strongly in favor of seriously beefing up the state Department of Environmental Protection will miss a great opportunity.
In just the last couple of months alone, an understaffed and likely overwhelmed DEP has had to deal with the algae bloom that threatened to trash summer tourism in Stuart and surrounding areas.
Recriminations are still flying back and forth in the sewage overflow in St. Petersburg and the surrounding area in the aftermath of Hurricane Hermine. DEP was called in to investigate.
There is the ongoing disaster in Polk County, where hundreds of millions of gallons of contaminated water is falling through a massive sinkhole and mixing with the aquifer that provides drinking water for the state.
And let’s not forget that millions of honeybees died in South Florida after being sprayed with a pesticide that was supposed to attack Zika-carrying mosquitoes.
Environmental Cassandras have warned for a while now to expect a season like this. They point to Scott’s obsession at creating private-sector jobs as a big part of the problem. Strict environmental standards can be bad for business because they can increase costs. Since Scott took office in 2011, critics continually argue his business-friendly policies led to lax environmental oversight.
The irony, of course, is that the environmental problems this year are demonstrably bad for the state’s business. We can’t do anything to stop a hurricane, but the algae bloom is said to be a direct result of chemical runoff into Lake Okeechobee.
Weather.com referred to it as a “guacamole-like blue-green sludge” that had the added impact of smelling really bad. That message went out all over the country.
Scott declared a state of emergency, although a better

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Bill Clinton bus tour through North Florida commences Friday

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

In another signal that North Florida matters to the Hillary Clinton campaign, former President Bill Clinton begins a bus tour through the region Friday.
The Clinton campaign released a brief message announcing the trip Sunday morning.
“On Friday, September 30, former President Bill Clinton will launch a “Stronger Together” bus tour across North Florida. The tour will continue on Saturday, October 1.
“At public events in Panama City, Tallahassee, and Jacksonville, with additional stops along the way, President Clinton will talk to Floridians about Hillary Clinton’s plans to build an economy that works for all, not just those at the top,” the campaign stated.
The former president was last in Jacksonville in July, when he spoke at the opening of a campaign headquarters for Mrs. Clinton on Jacksonville’s Southside.
He also had appeared in a Jacksonville church before the primary in March.
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Florida primaries eyed: Representation of few, or the many?

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

It took just 14,496 votes to win his closed Democratic primary for one of Florida’s 27 congressional seats. Now Darren Soto is virtually assured of going to Capitol Hill, unlikely to face a strong Republican challenge this November in his safely Democratic district.
The state senator snared the votes of just 2 percent of the Orlando area district’s 750,000 residents, beating three other candidates in last month’s closed-party, winner-takes-all primary. Only registered Democrats could cast ballots in Soto’s race and the small percentage of them likely decided the contest before the general election.
It’s a scenario repeated regularly in Florida’s state and congressional races in districts firmly controlled by one or the other of the two major parties. Now such outcomes are prompting calls to reform Florida’s primary system so more voters have a say in who represents them.
“That’s a question that comes up often,” said Pamela Goodman, president of the Florida League of Women Voters. Her group is studying the primary system and will make recommendations next year to lawmakers on broadening the electoral process.
Florida is one of only nine states with a strict closed primary system, which prevents independent and minor party voters from casting primary ballots. Proponents say political parties should have the sole say in who they nominate, but critics say closed primaries exclude a large swath of voters, particularly as the number of independent voters grows.
Until 16 years ago, Florida primaries weren’t even over until a candidate won a ballot majority. If no primary candidate received at least 50 percent plus one vote, the top two met in a runoff to decide who reached the general election.
But then-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush eliminated the runoff in 2002, a year he was seeking re-election and two years after his brother George W. Bush carried the perennial swing state by

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Orlando trails only Vegas in list of America’s most fun cities, but Cincy is 6th?

Monday, September 19th, 2016

Las Vegas and Orlando. Orlando and Vegas. If you live in one, you know the rivalry and the snarkish back-and-forth putdowns. But when you set aside the casinos, theme parks and Asian buffet restaurants there still seems to be enough there to rank both among the nation’s most fun cities, according to a new list.
A site called Wallethub.com has ranked Las Vegas and Orlando 1st and 2nd among “The Most Fun Cities in America,” followed by Miami and New Orleans.
And then, as if to demonstrate you don’t need a wealth of casinos and theme parks, WalletHub ranks Salt Lake City and Cincinnati 5th and 6th.
“Everyone likes to have fun. But we all prefer our personal brand of a good time. Some of us like going to bars and clubs, trying new restaurants, watching movies or playing outdoor sports. Others enjoy riding roller coasters, gambling, or catching and training Pokémon,” Richie Bernado writes to explain the website’s latest listicle.
Fort Lauderdale grabs 7th; Tampa, 11th; St. Petersburg, 39th; Tallahassee, 53rd; and Jacksonville, 87th, just behind Des Moines,in the ranking of 150 cities.
Yes, the site included casinos, theme parks and beaches. But it also put some emphasis on such things as nightlife, beer, movie theaters per capita, community festivals, playgrounds and even fitness centers. And costs of entertainment also are factored in.
So, while some other touristy cities such as Portland, San Francisco and Honolulu all make the top 20, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Boston don’t make the top 50. Oddly, seven of the 10 bottom are small California cities including Ontario, Oxnard and Freemont.
Who knew Buffalo, Boise and Birmingham were all more fun than St. Petersburg?
“With such different preferences, what makes a fun city? At WalletHub, we define such a place as one that packs a little bit of everything for

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Tallahassee/Leon County to hold Hurricane Hermine community meetings

Friday, September 16th, 2016

After Hurricane Hermine hit the Big Bend, the City of Tallahassee and Leon County will hold a series of community meetings to gather feedback on storm preparedness and recovery.
The meetings, which all begin at 6 p.m., will take place:
— Monday, Sept. 19 at Bethel AME Church, 501 W. Orange Ave.
— Wednesday, Sept. 21 at Woodville Community Center, 8000 Old Woodville Rd.
— Thursday, Sept. 22 at Eastside Branch Library, 1583 Pedrick Rd.
— Monday, Sept. 26 at Fire Station #4, 2899 W. Pensacola St.
— Tuesday, Sept. 27 at St. Peter’s Anglican Church, 4784 Thomasville Rd.
“Staff will give a 30-minute presentation to provide an overview of the disaster,” a press release said. “Following the presentation, the floor will be given to attendees. Feedback from residents will be used to enhance future response efforts.”
Hermine, a Category 1 hurricane at landfall, knocked out electric service overnight on Sept. 1 and 2 to hundreds of thousands across north Florida, including nearly 68,000 customers in Tallahassee alone.
City officials were criticized as neighborhoods and businesses went days without power after the storm, while the city held off on accepting offers of help from other utilities.
The announcement of the official meetings comes after Citizens for Responsible Spending, a gadfly group often critical of city government, said it would convene its own task force to look into how Florida communities can better bounce back after a big storm.
For those unable to go to any of the “community dialogue sessions,” comments also can be sent to .
The post Tallahassee/Leon County to hold Hurricane Hermine community meetings appeared first on Florida Politics.

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Teresa Barber: Solving the puzzle in the storm: A look at the community schools model

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

Growing up in Pensacola, I enjoyed the suspense of many hurricane days as a kid. My family would typically have to evacuate to a spot further inland from the coast, usually to my grandparents’ house. We would have books, radios, games, and puzzles splayed out to keep us all occupied while we waited out the storm.
Puzzles were my favorite pastime during those storms, especially those with lots of pieces. The best part of assembling a large puzzle was the moment when I shifted my focus from the detail of a small section to the full image that was forming: perspective.
It’s easy to get lost on details, to not see the forest for the trees.
While we humans are great at building systems or solutions that focus on highly specific problems or tasks, we sometimes struggle as communities or teams to connect those systems or pieces together in a holistic manner.
Some Florida communities are connecting the dots as they step up to promote community schools. A series of community schools have been established in Central Florida, and most recently Tallahassee has built tremendous momentum to launch a pilot at a site in South City.
Community schools aim to improve outcomes for kids and their communities by integrating partnerships and resources. They are built around a strategic concept: It isn’t just a facility or place, but a hub of partnerships that sees and treats the end-user as a whole. It’s a bold shift from the traditional binary focus of schools and programming to which we are accustomed, where multiple challenges or needs of one client are addressed with numerous distinct programs and interventions in separate silos, often without coordination.
I like to think of it this way: The phone I would have used as a kid during one of my hurricane stays had one main

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Martin Dyckman: Legislators should consider the Iowa example

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

In the far from perfect world of politics, there’s a place that in one respect is as near to perfection as anyone could expect.
The state legislature redistricts itself, yet both parties accept the outcomes as fair, the resulting elections are unusually competitive and the courts don’t have to get involved. Gerrymandering is for the history books, not the current events pages
That’s obviously the extreme opposite of what happens in Tallahassee, Florida’s capital of confusion, chaos and conspiracy.
The model state is Iowa, home of the world’s most overrated political caucuses and the most respected redistricting system.
Like every other state, Iowa is required to remap its congressional and legislative districts after every decennial federal census so as to keep the populations as equal, or nearly equal, as possible.
In states such as Florida, this is done under the control of the majority party, which uses its power to strengthen itself at the minority’s expense. That’s if they don’t get caught slyly but shamelessly gerrymandering like the Florida Senate did.
California, New Jersey, Arizona, Montana, Idaho, Hawaii and Washington have independent commissions to carry out both their congressional and legislative redistricting process. There are mixed opinions as to how truly independent these commissions are.
Six other states let their legislatures redistrict Congress but have independent commissions to keep the lawmakers from rigging their state constituencies.
Iowa is unlike any of the others. The Legislature and governor have the last word on both sets of plans, but – this is important – they do not have the first word.
There, the map-drawing is the job of highly skilled and highly professional people, demographers and cartographers usually, who work for the state’s Legislative Services Agency. There are strict standards against gerrymandering for the sake of a party, an incumbent, or a potential candidate.
A bipartisan commission is appointed every 10 years

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Bob Sparks: Gwen Graham will soon reveal her 2016 intentions

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Down deep, U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham may already know whether she will run for re-election next year. With the Florida House and Senate in agreement on the new look of her District 2 and Corrine Brown’s District 5, the writing (or map) appears to be on the wall.
Graham is doing the right thing by waiting until the court makes it official. Barring something totally unforeseen, a good chunk of her Democratic support in Tallahassee, Leon County and all of Gadsden County will be erased from District 2.
In the meantime, Graham is saying the right things by talking about seeking re-election. She told the Tampa Bay Times that at the right time she would “evaluate where I can best serve.”
“Where” could also include jumping into the race for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Marco Rubio. Perhaps she is considering a run for governor in 2018. Neither would be an unknown endeavor for her family.
If Graham wishes to try to remain in the U.S. House of Representatives, she will have an important decision to make by September. In addition to evaluating her re-election plans, Graham must decide how she will vote on an issue of major concern to her constituents.
Next month the House will take up a resolution against the Iran nuclear deal that was negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry. The resolution is likely to pass, but not all members have made their intentions known. Graham has not revealed her position.
Her vote on the highly unpopular deal is likely to signal her intentions for 2016. A vote to join her Democratic colleagues in support of the Obama Administration’s agreement should be considered a decision to forego a return to the House.
Like Obamacare in 2010, the issue is likely to determine winners and losers in swing districts. Several

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Martin Dyckman: A good friend, an inspiring teacher passes on

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

Florida lost one of its oldest and best citizens when Elston Edward “Steve” Roady, a professor emeritus of political science at Florida State University, died at Tallahassee last week, four months into his 96th year. He was one of my favorite professors there, long ago, and a good friend.
He did more than inspire two generations of future politicians and journalists. His research and advice also influenced Florida election law to a great extent.
His credits include the “who gave it who got it” legislation of 1951 that imposed strict limits on individual campaign contributions and required that they be disclosed to the public.
It was inspired by a scandal. Three wealthy men had each secretly contributed $150,000 to elect Fuller Warren governor in 1948. Those were huge sums then. One owned five race tracks and had the attention of congressional crime-busters, another was a Jacksonville financier later imprisoned for securities violations, and the third was a major citrus grower. Warren rewarded them with almost total control of his patronage.
For a long time, Florida’s resulting campaign reform was a model for the nation. Steve became an adviser on campaign finance and voting procedures to the national League of Women Voters, 14 other states, and the governments of Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and the former West Germany.
Sad to say, his core principles — strictly limited contributions and full disclosure of them — have been obliterated by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Buckley decision in 1976 and the Citizens United atrocity five years ago.
As a result, the presidential election has become a marketplace for billionaires, campaign cash at every level is laundered through slush funds, and shadowy committees called Superpacs have become appendages for nearly every federal candidate not named Bernie Sanders.
Those decisions dismayed Steve deeply but he never lost hope. The answer, he said.

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Diane Roberts: Democracy in Florida remains lost in spite of new maps

Monday, August 17th, 2015

OCCUPIED TALLAHASSEE – They stamp their feet, they scream till they’re sick, and hold their breath till they’re blue. They act like 5-year-olds caught with their grotty little paws in the cookie jar, their faces covered in crumbs, as they swear they didn’t do anything wrong.
The Special – or Remedial – Session.
While all the other political kids get to have fun lying and money-grubbing, these poor little legislators they have to stay in and do the homework they refused to do earlier: drawing congressional districts that sorta-maybe-almost fairly represent the people of Florida.
Sen. Tom Lee pouted that the court maybe violated his First Amendment rights and muttered darkly about hiring a personal lawyer. Sen. Joe Negron whined that the court had made him feel like some kind of a “suspect” unfairly hauled down to the station house, because the court had directed legislators keep emails and even record conversations with aides – if it’s to do with redistricting. “I  believe at my core that the Florida Supreme Court has grossly overstepped its boundaries,” said Rep. Dana Young, looking pious, while Richard Corcoran, heir apparent to the House speakership, huffed, “We are under direction by a court that continues over and over again to exceed their constitutional authority.”
Do y’all ever listen to yourselves?
I guess not: Mike Hill, a state representative from Pensacola, decided he’d try to pass the old map, the one the court threw out. Then he demanded that the justices be hauled before the House to explain themselves.
Right. Remember why the court threw out the Legislature’s map? It was drawn by Republican political consultants and flacks who lied about it, created fake emails and colluded with GOP legislators to keep things favorable to their side.
Registered Democrats in Florida still outnumber registered Republicans by 400,000, yet Republicans hold 17 seats

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Diane Roberts: Democracy in Florida remains lost in spite of new maps

Monday, August 17th, 2015

OCCUPIED TALLAHASSEE – They stamp their feet, they scream till they’re sick, and hold their breath till they’re blue. They act like 5-year-olds caught with their grotty little paws in the cookie jar, their faces covered in crumbs, as they swear they didn’t do anything wrong.
The Special – or Remedial – Session.
While all the other political kids get to have fun lying and money-grubbing, these poor little legislators they have to stay in and do the homework they refused to do earlier: drawing congressional districts that sorta-maybe-almost fairly represent the people of Florida.
Sen. Tom Lee pouted that the court maybe violated his First Amendment rights and muttered darkly about hiring a personal lawyer. Sen. Joe Negron whined that the court had made him feel like some kind of a “suspect” unfairly hauled down to the station house, because the court had directed legislators keep emails and even record conversations with aides – if it’s to do with redistricting. “I  believe at my core that the Florida Supreme Court has grossly overstepped its boundaries,” said Rep. Dana Young, looking pious, while Richard Corcoran, heir apparent to the House speakership, huffed, “We are under direction by a court that continues over and over again to exceed their constitutional authority.”
Do y’all ever listen to yourselves?
I guess not: Mike Hill, a state representative from Pensacola, decided he’d try to pass the old map, the one the court threw out. Then he demanded that the justices be hauled before the House to explain themselves.
Right. Remember why the court threw out the Legislature’s map? It was drawn by Republican political consultants and flacks who lied about it, created fake emails and colluded with GOP legislators to keep things favorable to their side.
Registered Democrats in Florida still outnumber registered Republicans by 400,000, yet Republicans hold 17 seats

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Bob Sparks: Despite court requirements, new congressional maps will put few incumbents at risk

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

The dartboard known as the draft Florida congressional district maps is receiving the kind of comments and attacks one might expect. Some are happy, but others fall into the range of sad and outraged. In the end, few new faces are likely to join the Congressional Club in 2017.
U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, for one, is content. The proposed map reflects no changes to his Western Panhandle district.
Miller’s Republican colleague, U.S. Rep. Dan Webster, sees the writing on the wall in what he describes as an “uncompetitive” district for a Republican.
“This new plan not only disfavors an incumbent, but it appears to be an attempt to eliminate an incumbent,” Webster said.
That is a pretty strong indictment against the map drawers from within his own party. Webster certainly has reason to at least scratch his head.
The hoopla surrounding the Florida Supreme Court’s July 9 decision focused a great deal on its reversal of Judge Terry Lewis, who approved the redrawn District 2, held by Democratic U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown. Unlike Brown’s district, Webster’s revised District 10 actually met constitutional muster as interpreted by the Supreme Court.
You can’t blame Webster for feeling a bit disrespected. Where’s the love from Republicans for the guy in a Supreme Court-approved district who also did Central Florida a favor by ousting U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson in 2010?
Falling into the category of “outraged” is Brown. The court wants her current “serpentine” district originating in Jacksonville and running north to south replaced by a district running from Jacksonville to the west that includes Gadsden County.
Brown is fighting the state’s highest court in the only way possible. On Wednesday, she filed suit in federal court alleging legislators will violate federal voting laws if they comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling. To avoid this suit, the Legislature merely needs to ignore

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