Week in review: Most Americans still against health care "reform", Dems continue to self-destruct, and plenty of reasons to support Florida Hometown Democracy

7. Mike Merrill, the new interim County Administrator, who is taking over for Pat Bean intends to restore confidence according to this article. Recall Merrill was a recipient of Bean's ill-fated raises and became a target when citizens and panel members questioned his motives and accuracy regarding Cone Ranch. Putting one of Bean's minions in her post certainly has done, well, nothing to restore faith in activist circles but I bet Commissioner Norman is breathing easy.

8. I thought Governor Crist got spanked by Rubio in this debate. Crist came off as a whiny and ineffective and admitted he would compromise to get a consensus. This fed right into Rubio's accusations that Crist would not stand up to Obama if he was sent to Washington. Rubio won this one by an easy ten lengths but still the only thing missing in this sandbox fight was hair pulling and insults about each other's mothers. Meanwhile, the Florida GOP is imploding as Mitch Perry reports and the Democratic candidate Kendrick Meeks was busy gathering signatures to get on the ballot instead of paying the fee. You gotta love his effort.

9. This article shows Obama's 5 billion program initiated to install windows is turning out to be another clunker as it was expected to create 87,000 jobs but so far they are only claiming 8,500 jobs. The article poses a good question:

As the Obama administration promotes a second home energy-savings program — a $6 billion rebate plan — some experts are asking whether that will pay off for homeowners or for the planet.

The article also cited bureaucratic delays. No wonder the majority of Americans don't want government running their health care. Hopefully this thing doesn't turn out like the government implemented Australian energy saving disaster that just had to be scrapped. Watching our local circus makes me shudder to think what goes on at a national level regardless of party affiliation.

10. Speaking of our local circus, just because there wasn't a BOCC meeting this week didn't mean they couldn't do any damage.  The Pimpin Commish is spending your tax dollars again. This time advertising in two local papers about his accomplishments as a Commissioner................ and in an election year too. I didn't see him advertising that his fellow board members voted to sue him this year in an effort to get him to repay some of the $500,000 of taxpayer money used to foot his sexual harassment suit. Maybe he could call that accomplishment- Successfully avoided financial responsibility by shifting the burden to taxpayers.  According to the article the campaign piece informative advertisement isn't illegal.

Elections officials and their lawyers have responded that elected officials may use government resources to inform residents about issues as long as they're not asking for votes.

It would seem fair that  if they wanted to use tax dollars they should have to tout what they have done as a group (like entertain an offer to sell off our natural resources, vote to sue a fellow Commissioner, and send an ethically challenged Administrator on paid leave) and it would seem appropriate to get approval of the whole board before spending money on what certainly appears as nothing more than a campaign advertisement to me.

11. RNC Chairman Michael Steele is taking some heat for party staffers billing the committee $1946 for a night at a sex-themed club (some politicians might bill that as economic development for adult entertainers) How refreshing to see that Steele did not  respond to the criticism by painting the  attacks on him as racism. And if the RNC wants adult entertainment then Tampa should have a good chance of getting that convention thanks to the civic minded Joe Redner! Redner is a fierce supporter of FHD, by the way, and this article tells a great story about Redner at a recent Tiger Bay event.

12. Just in case you missed the trio of backbiters from County Center this week, don't despair, the only one left on active duty, County Performance Auditor Jim Barnes, is again wreaking substandard havoc. This time his target is Clerk of the Circuit Court Pat Frank's office. Recall that due to Barnes' bad or complete lack of performance as ahem, Performance Auditor, the County Commission stripped him of most of his duties giving them to Frank's office instead. This left him time to completely bring the county to its knees recently. Now that the shots are being taken at a well respected Frank, my guess is that he just put himself out of substandard work but then again I thought they would fire Pat Bean and instead she got a paid leave. According to this article by Bill Varian over at The St. Petersburg Times, Barnes will be evaluated next week. Maybe he can do one better than Bean and Lee and get a taxpayer funded trip to Disney along with a paid leave? Oh wait, I think he prefers taxpayer funded trips to Vegas.

13. And if all of that wasn't bad enough, one Congressman is concerned that Guam might capsize. This is who gets to vote on your health care!

What to do to take your mind off the local, state, and national nightmare of politics? Go see Cavalia at the Tampa Fairgrounds, it is being held over and David Warner's review of this fantastic show was spot on!

Photo credit: ingridtaylar @Flickr.com

1. Just in case you were not one of the many Americans upset over Obama's health care takeover, he is now proposing offshore drilling in Florida. How's that sitting with ya? According to this article Marco Rubio supports the President's proposal. Great, one of the few things there is bipartisanship on is destruction of the environment? Any chance McCollum can tack this issue on to the health care lawsuit (like lawmakers tacked on student loans to health care).

2. A new poll shows most Floridians  are indeed opposed to the health care legislation. Of the registered voters polled 87% of Republicans were opposed, 62% of Independents were opposed and 22% of Democrats were opposed. And it isn't just Floridians who don't like the legislation. According to this national poll some 55% favor repealing the legislation. There is also more disturbing news showing that a poll of physicians found that almost half will leave or be forced out because of the new legislation.

46.3% of primary care physicians (family medicine and internal medicine) feel that the passing of health reform will either force them out of medicine or make them want to leave medicine.

(how is that going to help cover more people?) And does it bother anybody else that lawmakers carved themselves right out of this legislation? Yep, those lawmakers promoting the legislation are exempt from the new "law of the land".

3. In case cutting their own throats by passing an unpopular health care bill or launching an attack on our oceans normally reserved for Republicans wasn't enough, Democrats in Congress are now calling on private sector companies that have come out against the legislation to come and testify before Congress. Government bullying of the opposition? Are we still in the United States? Did any of these large private employers need a government handout from the stimulus to stay afloat? If not then I hope Congress takes copious notes! Maybe they also should have read the letter from 130 economists telling them that the bill would kill jobs. In defense of liberals, the bill does create more government jobs (on your dime) 16,000 new IRS jobs according to this Ways and Means report.

4. According to this recent article in the Tribune it looks like health care premiums for young people are going to go up. Really? Now they tell us. Obama says it is too early to judge the new health care law according to this article. Yeah, check back with him in 2014 well after the next Presidential election. Uh-huh.

5. Vacancies or Section 8 housing? This article outlines the fallout of a flooded housing market (thanks in part to some of the clowns over on The Hillsborough BOCC). Before they were handing out paid vacations to ethically challenged Administrators some of them were pretty skilled at approving sprawl. This brought down home values, tax revenues, and evidently it is now bringing down the neighborhood. In related news, Tampa scored among the country's very worst regarding plummeting home prices second only to Las Vegas. This again making the case for Florida Hometown Democracy (FHD) which would give citizens the last word on growth instead of elected officials having the last word.

6. Our own Mariella Smith exposed TBARTA on possibly breaking the law regarding Florida Hometown Democracy. The state funded agency thought it was appropriate to take a stand against the grassroots effort to rein in growth. They want you to vote to tax yourself for a new train but they sure don't want you to vote on the surrounding land use called transit oriented development (TOD). One of the dirty little secrets about rail is that it gives officials the green light to pile more growth in the area surrounding the lines than our Comprehensive Plan calls for. This is good for a rural NIMBY like me who doesn't want more suburban sprawl encroaching into the rural area but for someone living inside the Urban Service Line that means more rooftops. Shouldn't everybody have a say on the future of their communities? I think so. Why continue to beg politicians to do the right thing when you can veto them?

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