Richard Corcoran

League of Women Voters to Board of Education: Just say no!

rubber-stamp-file-photo-public-domainThe man who castigated troubled schools as “failure factories” is poised to become the state’s next education commissioner, as Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis made clear he wants former House Speaker Richard Corcoran to take over the post.

While the Board of Education technically has the final say-so on the matter, there’s little doubt the panel will grant DeSantis’ wish.

Not so fast, the League of Women Voters of Florida said in a missive issued Friday afternoon.

In a letter to Board of Education Chairwoman Marva Johnson and the rest of the board, the League urged the panel to conduct a national search to find the replacement for Linda Stewart, a veteran educator whose resignation will go into effect next month.

The state Constitution makes it clear “that it is the Board of Education – not the Governor – that has the responsibility to appoint a Commissioner of Education,” the letter reads.

“At a minimum, Floridians expect you to carry out a due diligence process aimed at ensuring Florida’s students that an individual of the highest possible caliber oversees public education. We urge you to take this important duty seriously and not simply ‘rubber stamp’ a politically motivated choice,” LWV Florida president Patricia Brigham wrote in the letter.

Here’s the full letter:

Dear Chairwoman and State Board Members,
With the impending departure of Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart, the League of Women Voters of Florida reminds you that as members of the State Board of Education you not only have the opportunity, but a constitutional responsibility, to conduct a national search to find the person who is best suited to oversee Florida’s system of public education.
Article IX, Section 2 of the Constitution of Florida was overwhelmingly adopted by the people of Florida in 1998. That provision created the Board of Education, consisting of seven members serving staggered terms to oversee Florida’s system of free public schools.
By enacting that provision, the people of Florida made it clear in the Constitution that it is the Board of Education — not the Governor — that has the responsibility to appoint a Commissioner of Education. Further, the Board of Education members’ terms of office were purposely staggered to ensure that as governors change, the Florida education system would be insulated from the disruption caused by political patronage appointments of a Commissioner of Education.
At a minimum, Floridians expect you to carry out a due diligence process aimed at ensuring Florida’s students that an individual of the highest possible caliber oversees public education. We urge you to take this important duty seriously and not simply “rubber stamp” a politically motivated choice.
Under our state’s current constitution, the Governor retains input to the process by filling vacancies which occur as Board Members terms expire, however, the Board must carry out its constitutional duty and make appointments based upon merit, not political patronage. While members of the Board may ultimately concur with the recommendation of the incoming Governor regarding who to appoint, the Board of Education should decline to opt for an expedient political patronage selection.
In sum, the Board should be guided by the constitutional statement that imposes upon the State a “paramount duty” to make “adequate provision for the education of all children residing within its borders.” Included in such a paramount duty is the selection of the best person possible to lead the effort. Finding such a person mandates that the Board conduct a national search and not just grant perfunctory approval to a political patronage appointment.
Florida’s children deserve nothing less.
Patricia Brigham
President

John Morgan: “If I was Bill Nelson, I’d be worried”

IMG_0124Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan held court with reporters moments before a hearing in a lawsuit he initiated kicked off Wednesday morning.

Morgan is a political rainmaker who largely bankrolled the constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana in Florida and was overwhelmingly approved by voters nearly two years ago.

Morgan, who had toyed with the notion of running for governor, spoke about his decision to stay out of the governor’s race.

“I’ll tell you. To run for governor, you’ve got to be done making money. And I’m not done making money. Or you have to be a professional politician. And I’m not a professional politician,” he said.

Morgan said he spoke yesterday with Philip Levine, the former Miami Beach Miami who is a contender in the Democratic primary for governor.

“I told him he’s lucky I’m not in ‘cause I would win in a landslide,” Morgan said, adding that he didn’t know which Democrat would capture the nomination.

“All I know is I’ve never known any governor that’s ever done anything for any of us. Ever. So it’s not a job that I really think I’d be good at every day. I’m better at this,” he said, standing outside the courtroom.

Morgan also said he supported House Speaker Richard Corcoran’s decision to stay on the sidelines in the governor’s race.

Morgan said Corcoran visited him a few weeks ago.

“I said, look, here’s the deal. It’s all about money. And if you don’t got the money, you can’t run. I said at the end of the day, questions answer themselves. And I think the question was answered for Richard Corcoran when the money froze up,” Morgan said.

While Corcoran is a friend and someone he would have helped, Morgan said the Land O’ Lakes Republican made the right choice.

“I think he made the right decision because I think he would have gotten beat and I think he knew he was going to get beat. And if I’m going to get beat, I don’t like to go to my own ass-kicking,” Morgan said.

Morgan also had what appeared to be a dim view of incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson’s odds against challenger Rick Scott, who’s finishing his last year as governor.

“I think Sen Nelson is in for a dog fight. I think he’s got to get busy. You cannot underestimate this Rick Scott. He is a methodical, Eveready bunny, a bald-headed Eveready bunny who just never stops. He’s focused, and he’s got the money, and he’s got the message, and if I was Bill Nelson, I’d be worried,” he said.

 

Adam “Florida First” Putnam launches first campaign ad

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is releasing his first ad as the GOP primary battle to replace Gov. Rick Scott heats up.

The one-minute ad — an expensive buy, compared to the typical 30-second spot — started airing this week, according to a press release from Putnam’s campaign.

“For me, it’s always been Florida first,” Putnam, a fifth-generation Floridian whose family made a fortune in the cattle and citrus industry.

The week-long buy — on broadcast, cable and satellite — totaled about $630,000, according to advertising monitoring companies, and will run just about everywhere in Florida except the Miami market.

The ad features Putnam praying with his family, working on his ranch and appearing at a rally when he announced his bid for governor.

Putnam’s facing off against Congressman Ron DeSantis, a conservative darling who’s got the love of President Donald Trump and who appears to have taken a second job working for Fox News, where the Palm Coast Republican is making nearly daily appearances.

In the ad, Putnam takes a swipe at “liberal elites,” and talks about his “faith, responsibility, perseverance and hard work.”

“Today, those values are missing. Even looked down on by liberal elites. I’ve spent my life fighting back. And as your Governor, I won’t back down,” he says. “Together, we will put Florida First and make Florida the launch pad for the American Dream.”

House Speaker Richard Corcoran is reportedly mulling whether to enter the race.

Corcoran cozies up to Trump over welfare

IMG_2734House Speaker Richard Corcoran performed some colossal cozying up to President Donald Trump in a letter genuflecting to the president for his efforts to overhaul welfare programs.

Trump this week ordered federal agencies to strengthen work requirements in federal assistance programs. The move could affect recipients of food stamps, cash assistance and housing aid.

“Your comprehensive plan to move struggling Americans off government assistance and into the ranks of the working class is proof you’re doing the job that the American people elected you to do,” Corcoran, a Land O’ Lakes Republican who is purportedly mulling a bid for governor, wrote in a two-page letter to Trump dated yesterday.

Corcoran used Trump’s proposed welfare reforms as an opportunity to trash former President Barack Obama, without naming him.

“Unlike your predecessor, you recognize the dignity and self-respect derived from a hard and honest day’s work,” Corcoran wrote, accusing “the previous administration” of fostering “a culture of government dependency.”

In contrast, according to the speaker, Trump has “reinvigorated the pioneering spirit with your ‘can-do’ attitude.”

Corcoran’s love note came the same day excerpts from a new tell-all memoir by FBI director James Comey, whom Trump fired, were released.

Not surprisingly, Comey, the political version of a bitter ex-wife, paints a very different picture of the president than Corcoran, likening Trump’s handling of the White House to that of a mob boss.

“We are experiencing a dangerous time in our country, with a political environment where basic facts are disputed, fundamental truth is questioned, lying is normalized and unethical behavior is ignored, excused or rewarded,” he wrote in “A Higher Loyalty,” due out next week.

 

 

 

NRA targets “anti-gun” CRC members, shames Corcoran on school-safety bill

gun-pistolFlorida NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer took aim at the Constitution Revision Commission and House Speaker Richard Corcoran today, in separate “alerts” issued regarding past and proposed gun-related measures.
This morning, Hammer called out Corcoran for praising the new law that raised the age from 18 to 21 and imposed a three-day waiting period for the purchase of long guns, such as the AR-15-style weapon used by Nikolas Cruz to shoot dead 14 students and three staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day. The new law also bans bump stocks.
And the new law allows some teachers and other school personnel, who are specially trained and deputized by local sheriffs, to bring guns to school, a provision some pro-gun proponents like Corcoran are cheering because it does away with more than 4,000 “gun-free zones” — a.k.a. “schools.”
But Hammer, who sent out an email with the subject line “ALERT: We Were Born at Night But It Wasn’t Last Night, Mr. Speaker,” isn’t buying it.
She’s accusing the Land O’ Lakes Republican of “adding insult to injury” with his remarks.
“Corcoran tried to justify his treachery by ignoring the damaging gun control he supported and then claimed the effort to arm school employees makes it ‘one of the greatest Second Amendment victories we’ve ever had’ because it ends “gun free zones on school campuses.”  That is complete nonsense,” Hammer wrote in an email today.
Later in the day, Hammer set her sights on the CRC, the once-every-20-years panel that can place constitutional amendments directly on the ballot. In the aftermath of the Feb. 14 mass shooting in Parkland, several commissioners have proposed gun-related measures, ranging from a ban on assault weapons to codifying the changes in the new state law in the state Constitution.
That drew this missive from Hammer:
ALERT: Anti-gun CRC Members Want Gun Bans in the Florida Constitution


Some of the members of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) are very anti-gun and they are proposing and pushing gun ban and gun control amendments to put in the Florida Constitution.

Commissioners will be voting on these amendment soon. Links to these amendments are listed at the bottom.

Among these amendments are:

*An “assault weapons” ban which bans the distribution, sale, transfer, and possession of so-called assault weapons and any detachable magazine that has a capacity of more than 9 rounds.  (Makes possession illegal with no compensation provided for those already possessed that must be surrendered)

*A ban on any semi-automatic rifle that is able to accept a detachable magazine or has a fixed magazine capable of holding more than10 rounds. (that means almost all semi-automatic rifles)

*A ban on the sale and transfer of “assault weapons” and defines “transfer” as the conveyance “from a person or entity to another person or entity WITHOUT any conveyance of money or other valuable consideration.”  (Note: to “convey” between persons without compensation could mean the simple act of handing the firearm to another person while hunting, on the range, or anywhere)

*A 10 day waiting period (excluding weekends and legal holidays) on all firearms to facilitate a background check.

*A ban on the purchase of any firearm by a person under 21 years of age.

*A ban on the sale, transfer and possession of bump stocks and other devises, tools, kits, etc.

Please email CRC Commissioners and tell them to OPPOSE gun control amendments!

PLEASE DO IT NOW !!! They could be voting on these amendments at anytime

IN THE SUBJECT LINE PUT:  VOTE AGAINST GUN CONTROL AMENDMENTS

School safety measure in House’s hands

All eyes are now on the House, after a sweeping school safety measure squeaked out of the Senate on a 20-18 vote Monday evening.

But could a tweak that may have kept the bill from going down in the upper chamber result in its demise across the rotunda?

Sen. Rene Garcia, a Hialeah Republican, sponsored an amendment that would exclude individuals who “exclusively” provide classroom instruction from participating in the school marshal program, rebranded by the Senate on Monday as the “Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program.” The controversial program would allow specially trained teachers or other school personnel to bring guns to class.

With the clock ticking down until the session ends Friday, there’s no guarantee that the House, slated to take up the bill (SB 7026) tomorrow, will pass it as is, Senate leaders acknowledged.

“It’s been a very dynamic process. There were even amendments on third reading, which is unusual for a bill of this stature,” Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, told reporters late Monday evening.

“There’s some general consensus, but I wouldn’t be surprised if both the House and the Senate had some additional input into the process. But I think on some of the fundamental areas, there’s agreement,” he said.

The Senate plan also includes a provision that requires both school districts and sheriffs to sign off on the plan, while the House’s version would only require the blessing of the school boards.

Gov. Rick Scott has opposed arming teachers, and it’s unclear whether he would support the revised bill.

Sen. Bill Galvano, who’s negotiated with Speaker-Designate Jose Oliva and Scott on the proposal, said that the measure passed by the Senate Monday night “was not a deal with the House,” but was generated from “the discussion” during Saturday’s floor debate.

Garcia was a no vote, Galvano pointed out.

(Translation: If Garcia had joined the opposition on Monday, the bill would have died on a 19-19 tie.)

 

 

Bondi: ‘I would have gone in’ without a gun

Attorney General Pam Bondi claimed she would have entered the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School — even without a gun — during the Feb. 14 school shooting that left 17 people dead.

Bondi’s comments Monday come as investigations into the actions of first responders. A Broward County deputy, Scot Peterson, who was the school’s resource officer resigned after it was revealed that he remained inside his car as the slaughter went down.

“Let me put it this way, when you have a school full of students, and your duty is to protect those students, even if I didn’t have a firearm I would have gone into that scene. That’s what you do. That’s what the coach did who was a true hero,” Bondi said during an appearance Monday on FOX News show Fox & Friends.

Bondi also said that not everyone has been honest about the response from the Broward Sheriff’s office, but she did not elaborate.

“It’s all going to come out in the investigation,” Bondi said.

Gov. Rick Scott has directed the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to review the events leading up to 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz’s killing spree as well as law enforcement’s response on the day 14 students and three faculty members were killed.

The Florida House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee is set to discuss an investigation into local agency actions relating to the shooting later today.

Bondi favored Scott’s approach over demands that Broward Sheriff Scott Israel resign from politicians like House Speaker Richard Corcoran and most of House Republican caucus.

In addition to Peterson, three other deputies remained outside of the school during the mass shooting, according to media reports.

Bondi suggested that statements she’s received from some at the sheriff’s office “weren’t honest with me, nor were they honest with the governor.”

By Jim Turner.