by Benjamin J. Kirby
Evidently, former Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer, currently awaiting trial on fraud charges, is calling some current leaders of the party "whack-a-do, right-wing crazies."
This would be a bigger deal if... we didn't already know it. He also apparently has claimed "some GOP leaders were looking for ways to suppress black votes."
Really. You don't freakin' say.
Thanks a lot, hospital grifter.
As for you, Jim Greer, I realize it probably feels good to try and torpedo state Republicans just a few weeks before the big Convention here in the Tampa Bay area. But I'll tell you this: Whack-a-do right wing crazies? Suppressing the black vote? Dude, you're a day late and a dollar short.
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Also in the day-late-dollar-short category is this item from the Miami Herald's Naked Politics blog: Report claims Florida lawmakers do bidding of corporate-funded ALEC
Some of the most controversial bills introduced recently in the Florida Legislature were thought up by out-of-state corporate interests with financial motives, according to a report released Thursday by a two national watchdog groups and Progress Florida. The report says the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, is a shadowy force exerting an uncanny amount of power over Florida’s lawmaking process.
ALEC advances so-called “model bills” on items like public education, immigration, labor issues, healthcare, gun rights and voter rights. Replicas of those business-friendly bills often end up in legislation sponsored by Florida lawmakers who are ALEC members, the report found.
In late January, State Representative Rachel “Love Outlaw” Burgin (now a candidate for the State Senate, naturally) introduced a bill in the Florida Legislature which managed to retain the ALEC mission statement at the top.
Look, I appreciate the report on the sinister influence of ALEC in our state legislature as much as the next guy -- I really do. (You can download the report here, PDF.) It came from a lot of good people, like Progress Florida, Florida Watch, People For the American Way, Center For Media & Democracy, and Common Cause.
But our legislators are literally cutting-and-pasting legislation drafted by people at ALEC. Rachel Burgin did it last session.
I already know the legislation in my state is influenced by the crooks at ALEC. Tell us how we stop it.
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I strongly encourage you to read the latest in the Gulfport Gabber on crime and 49th Street. What you'll see are some growing fissures between the City of St. Petersburg, to our east, and my City of Gulfport.
In a response to a resident’s concerns that the city of St. Petersburg too quickly pointed fingers at Gulfport police officers in a recent pursuit, St. Petersburg Councilman Wengay Newton called Gulfport residents “customers” in the drug trade on 49th Street.
“Speaking of crime along 49th Street and Child's Park Neighborhood,” Vice Chair Newton wrote, “Gulfportians are customers not victims [...] Supply and demand.”
“He’s likely referring to the position that law enforcement should target demand rather than supply. It’s probably true that the demand comes from somewhere other than that neighborhood, but to say that it comes from Gulfport? I haven’t seen any evidence of that,” Gulfport Chief of Police Rob Vincent said.
With due respect to Councilman Newton, I not only disagree, but I submit to you that this is absolutely not the way to address the problem of crime and drugs on 49th Street, the long eastern boundary between St. Petersburg and Gulfport. One city leader blaming another city for crime? This is ridiculous notion for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that I can promise you, Councilman Newton and just about everyone else that the folks perpetrating crimes on 49th Street don't care if they're on the Gulfport side or the St. Petersburg side of the street.
Mostly I find this approach -- finger-wagging, really -- unconstructive and uncreative. And 49th Street is a problem that requires constructive dialogue and not a little bit of creativity -- and yes, resources.
On her must-read blog, Cathy Salustri -- who works at the Gabber, wrote that piece above, and which is more the journalism piece and less the opinion stuff -- calls out Councilman Newton, and it is really quite something (keep in mind, the whole thing is a bit tongue-in-cheek, which is part of what makes it so great):
I really am relieved that you spoke up about this whole crime on 49th Street thing. I’ll be honest, in my more ignorant days (before you told it like it is), I didn’t much care for the man in charge of St. Petersburg’s community enrichment, Goliath Davis. He seemed to be a gatekeeper, a black man who said he stood for what was going to help the black community but instead kept them oppressed and distanced from government. Maybe I was wrong, but I’m glad to see you’ve stepped in to take care of the poor black communities that – last I heard – were crying for help. I’m glad you’re there and instead of talking about getting better role models in front of fatherless black children or helping single moms in Childs Park find safe places for their children to congregate, you’re talking about how it’s Gulfport’s fault. I’m especially grateful you’re not supporting any initiatives that would give stiffer penalties to landlords who rent to convicted drug dealers, and I’m so damn happy that you aren’t looking at using some of that extra tax money to create programs for young black kids to break the cycle that makes them feel like dealing is the only option.
I thought for so long the problem belonged to St. Petersburg. But now I see the error of my ways: Gulfport is clearly to blame for the poor choices St. Petersburg makes. It’s obvious to me, too, that you’re going to stand behind your residents. The people on your side of 49th Street need you. I’m so happy you can be there for them.
Just damn thrilled.
Kick ass, Cathy. Keep up the great work.
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When they're standing in each other's way
You're tripping back now to places you've been to
You wonder what you're gonna find
You know you've been wrong but it won't be long
Before you leave 'em all far behind
It's almost Friday.