Charlie Crist calls for Deborah Clark to open an early voting polling station in South St. Pete

A day after St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman called on Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark to open a polling place for early voting in south St. Petersburg, Charlie Crist echoed that call on Saturday.

“As Florida’s Governor, I signed an executive order to expand early voting hours, to ensure as many people can participate in the electoral process as possible,” Crist wrote Clark on Saturday. “It was the right thing to do. I encourage you to do the right thing for the people of Pinellas, and add an additional early voting location in South St. Petersburg.”

Clark’s office reiterated Friday that with such a high level of voting-by-mail in Pinellas County, there is no need to go beyond the locations already planned to hold early voting once it begins later next month.

In last month’s primary election, more than three quarters of all votes cast – 76 percent – came via mail, while only 2 percent occurring during early voting.

On Friday, Kriseman joined the Revs. Manuel Sykes of Bethel Community Baptist Church and Louis Murphy of Mt. Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church in calling for another early polling site in South Pinellas County. Of the five early voting locations scheduled to be in use for early voting, none are in South St. Pete. The closest is at the Court House, 545 First Ave. N.

Although Crist has been accused of flip-flopping on some issues, voting rights is not one of them. The then Republican Governor of Florida alienated his GOP brothers and sisters in 2008 when, at the bequest of Democrats concerned about the lone lines at early voting locations, expanding early voting“I have a responsibility to the voters of our state to ensure that the maximum number of citizens can participate in the electoral process and that every person can exercise the right to vote,” he said at the time, adding that, “this is not a political decision. This is a people decision.”

Here is Crist’s letter to Clark:

September 24, 2016

Deborah Clark
Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections
13001 Starkey Road
Largo, FL 33773

Dear Ms. Clark,

I write this letter strongly urging you to heed the community’s request to add an early voting location in South St. Petersburg.

With extraordinary turnout levels expected for this year’s presidential election, we can assume there will once again be long lines for the people to exercise their constitutional right to vote. While civic participation is a wonderful thing, multi-hour waits can be an undue hardship for many in our community.

While voting by mail is an excellent option, many voters prefer to vote in person at the polls — and voters deserve more choices, not less. At present, many South Pinellas residents would have to travel more than five miles to reach the closest early voting site. For those without reliable transportation or those utilizing public transit, that distance presents an unreasonable barrier to voting early.

And for a community that has been historically disenfranchised, adding an early voting location in South St. Petersburg would ensure equal opportunity to take part in one of our most sacred rights of American democracy.

As Florida’s Governor, I signed an executive order to expand early voting hours, to ensure as many people can participate in the electoral process as possible. It was the right thing to do. I encourage you to do the right thing for the people of Pinellas, and add an additional early voting location in South St. Petersburg.

Thank you and God Bless,

Charlie Crist

Crist will be on the November 8 ballot, as he is attempting to oust Republican David Jolly in the race for Florida’s 13th Congressional District.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

Five takeaways from the Charlie Crist-David Jolly CD 13 debate

TAKE 1: Who won? I would call it a draw. Both candidates got in zingers at the other and both successfully reinforced the message they are trying to sell to voters.

In Jolly’s case, he wants to remind voters he has been a maverick in his two-plus years in the U.S. House of Representatives. That’s especially necessary for this race in a newly redrawn district that would seem to favor Democrats.

Jolly made sure to stray from the Republican Party line when asked if he would support the GOP presidential nominee, Donald Trump.

“Donald Trump does not have my support today,” Jolly said. “I won’t be voting for Secretary (Hillary) Clinton, but I’m not there with Mr. Trump.”

He also showed his independent chops by saying, “I have tried to shatter the mold of modern politics.”

Crist, on the other hand, was reliably (and cautiously) Democratic in his responses, especially answering “absolutely” when asked if Gov. Rick Scott should push for expanded Medicaid protection in Florida.

Crist was his usual affable self, but Jolly managed to make him play defense a little while avoiding the trap of becoming shrill in the one-hour debate at St. Petersburg College on WTSP–Channel 10. That wasn’t easy to do. Breaking even in this tussle might be considered a win for Jolly in a tight race, which has national implications. But Crist didn’t do anything I saw that would damage his chances.

TAKE 2: The testiest exchange of the night came when Jolly tried to bring up the image of Crist once embraced as “Chain Gang Charlie” in 1996 when, as a member of the state Senate, he embraced Alabama’s practice of shackling prisoners in what was known as a chain gang.

Crist saw it as being tough on crime. Others saw it as hearkening back to the days of slavery, and Jolly went there in this debate.

“When you were in the Florida Senate, you coined yourself as Chain Gang Charlie. You stood on the side of the road over three African-American prisoners in chains on their knees on the side of the road,” he said.

Crist counter-punched hard.

“For you to suggest that it had anything to do with race is appalling, and it’s beneath you, and I’m embarrassed for you that you would say that about your fellow Floridian,” he said.

“The only concern that I had was for the citizens of Florida who were subjected to a violent crime every three minutes and 45 seconds. We were No. 1 in violent crime in America at that time. Some of the measures we took, including the STOP Act requiring 85 percent of sentences (be) served, has made Florida a safer place ever since. And of that, I am very proud.”

Jolly: “You cannot be the candidate today who embraces civil justice reform and did not have a second thought with TV cameras and news photographers taking photos that will live forever, that most viewers have not seen until tonight, that had you standing over African-American prisoners.”

Crist: “In all fairness, as the governor of the state of Florida, I was asked right before the election in ’06, ‘Charlie, if you’re elected, would you support automatic restoration of rights for former felons who are non-violent?’ David, just so you know how I feel, I am compassionate for people who are subjected to crime and I am compassionate to people who deserve to have a second chance. I don’t think the two are inconsistent whatsoever.”

Winner: Jolly. Bringing up Crist’s “Chain Gang” past is fair game, and it would have been nice to hear Crist state flatly that his views have evolved with the changing times. Either way, though, Crist opens himself up to the common charge against him of being a flip-flopper depending on who is listening.

TAKE 3: On the highly partisan question of whether illegal immigrants should have a pathway to citizenship or face, as Trump advocates, deportation with the possibility of returning to the United States through the legal immigration process, there was this exchange:

Crist: “I believe they should get a pathway to citizenship. I think it would be inhumane to take children away from parents and send them to different places. It’s unreasonable to deport 11 million people in the first place.”

Jolly: “I don’t support a pathway to citizenship for people who came here illegally. I do support a pathway to legal status and residency.”

Winner: Crist. The idea of deporting millions of people, as Trump champions, is ridiculous and unworkable. So what is left, especially for those who have been here for years and raised families while paying taxes and so on? Crist made the stronger point.

TAKE 4: On the ongoing problem of a massive sewage spill in St. Petersburg in the aftermath of Hurricane Hermine.

Crist: “What I don’t understand why our member of Congress, our representative of Pinellas County, which is at the epicenter of this problem, is not advocating day, after day, after day, for federal emergency help to get this cleaned up. Our country has done this for Flint (Michigan). Why can’t we do it for Pinellas County?”

Jolly responded: “May I? It is because the mayor who has endorsed you (Rick Kriseman) and oversaw this catastrophe has not asked for it. That’s why.”

Crist: “If you have to be asked when the people of your district are suffering, something is wrong.”

Winner: Crist.

TAKE 5: Line of the night. That goes to Jolly, who got in a great zinger against Crist with this quip: “Charlie, just because you’ve been a member of both parties doesn’t make you bipartisan.”

Winner: Jolly.

FINAL NUGGETS: The question that should never be asked goes to co-moderator Mark Rivera of WTSP–Channel 10, who probed deeply to both candidates, “What are your two favorite restaurants in the district?”

They live here. We get it. They don’t have to prove it.

On medical marijuana, Crist is all for it, as well you would figure since he is great friends with attorney John Morgan, who is a major advocate for marijuana as medicine. Jolly countered, “Only if the FDA approves it. We don’t approve medicines on the ballot. I don’t want my niece taking cold medicine or marijuana because voters approved it on the ballot.” And finally, the laugh of the night came when Crist said of Hillary Clinton, “I believe she is honest.” There was spontaneous laughter from the audience.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

Mitch Perry Report for 9.20.16 — Rick Kriseman works on turning it around

David Jolly seemed to take particular relish in last night’s debate, after Charlie Crist attacked him for being unresponsive to asking for federal help for St. Petersburg’s sewage problems post-Hurricane Hermine.

“Because the mayor who’s endorsed you who oversaw this catastrophe did not ask for it,” Jolly responded, which received a loud cheer from the crowd, which seemed evenly split among Jolly and Crist supporters.

It’s undoubtedly true the recent issues with sewage have become Mayor Rick Kriseman’s biggest challenge to date since he was elected 34 months ago to become the leader of St. Petersburg. Although many of the infrastructure issues preceded him into office, his failure to publicly disclose the fact that 58 million gallons of mostly treated wastewater out of the Northwest sewage plant has been his worse offense. And now he vows to do better.

“While we provided notification, future notification will be more robust without creating unnecessary alarm,” the mayor writes in an op-ed in Tuesday’s Tampa Bay Times.

“Another short-term goal is to give our residents ample opportunity to learn about our system and plans for the future,” Kriseman adds. “In the coming weeks and months, our public works administration will literally and figuratively open their doors. A public information session will be held so that residents are as aware of our infrastructure upgrades as they are about other, more flashy, endeavors. We also intend to welcome the community into our facilities to meet our team members, take a tour, and learn more about our operations. It may be a little smelly, but it’s a fascinating process and, along with public safety, a top priority.”

Kriseman is doing the right thing now. He’s also called for an investigation to determine why he wasn’t shown a consultant’s report warning that closing down the Albert Whitted Water treatment plant was the wrong way to go. Kriseman ordered the investigation immediately after the consultant, Craven Askew, came forward late last week.

There’s no doubt the mayor’s critics have exploited his miscues in handling this crisis, but that’s politics in the big city — especially when it comes to weather events. Or aren’t you familiar with how Ed Koch, Michael Bloomberg, and Bill deBlasio have had to do with how they handled the act of shoveling snow?

No doubt the mayor may be raked over the coals as both the local legislative delegation and the city council address the issue this week, but it need not be a fatal blow. It’s just time for that much-vaunted government term “transparency” to be employed “robustly” at 175 Fifth Street North.

In other news …

As mentioned above, David Jolly and Charlie Crist had at each other in a live, one-hour televised CD 13 debate Monday night at the Palladium Theatre in St. Pete.

Patrick Murphy came to West Tampa Monday, where he hoped to continue to build up his name ID with the Latino vote.

Kathy Castor is taking Dr. Samuel Wright to be her guest at the opening of the  National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. this weekend.

HART board member Kathleen Shanahan is calling for the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission to be abolished.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

David Jolly, Charlie Crist clash in electric debate in St. Petersburg

David Jolly and Charlie Crist went at each other hard for close to an hour in their first debate for Florida’s 13th Congressional District race at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg Monday night.

It was good theater, and for those observing the event that was broadcast live on WTSP-10 News, the differences in the candidate’s positions were relatively stark and distinct.

Although the district is supposedly solidly Democratic after redistricting, Jolly would appear to be in fairly decent shape some seven weeks before Election Day. Although he is being out-fundraised, a St. Pete Polls survey released Monday (which did not include cellphones) had Jolly narrowly leading Crist, 46 percent to 43 percent. Jolly also polled better regarding favorability rankings with a 54/25 percent favorable to unfavorable rating. Crist was listed at 45/45.

The candidates clashed throughout the evening, with some of the fiercest sparks emanating from Crist’s decision to talk about the environmental crisis that has led the city of St. Petersburg to release 151 million gallons of sewage into the streets, as well as Boca Ciega Bay and Tampa Bay.

“What I don’t understand, is why our member of Congress, our representative of Pinellas County, the epicenter of this problem, isn’t advocating day after day after day for federal emergency help to get this cleaned up,” Crist said. “Our country has done this for Flint (Michigan). Why can’t we do it for Pinellas County?”

Jolly responded by getting in a dig in at St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, exciting the GOP partisans in the hall.

“Because the mayor who’s endorsed you who oversaw this catastrophe did not ask for it,” Jolly responded, getting a loud round of applause.

“If you have to be asked for help while the people in your district are suffering, something’s wrong,” Crist replied, getting almost as loud a reaction.

Jolly again blamed Kriseman for not standing up and said he’d be “happy” to work for the county as he has done for other cities in the district.

“Then why haven’t you done it?” Crist interrupted, keeping his foot on the gas. “Do you need an invitation to serve?” which generated the loudest cheer in the exchange. Crist said if he were in Congress, he’d at least be talking about the issue.

There were several other sharp conflicts throughout the evening, which actually began on the second question when co-moderator Mark Rivera asked the candidates were OK with permitting a woman infected with the Zika virus obtain an abortion.

Jolly, who is pro-life, said that he did believe in exceptions for abortion when it came to a woman’s health situation. After Crist had said he was proudly pro-choice, Jolly pounced.

“You were pro-choice, then you were pro-life, then you were pro-choice,” the Indian Shores Republican said. “As a Republican, when you had a chance to serve when you were in office you told the AP in 2009 that you would have supported an abortion ban in the state of Florida. It was only after you switched parties that you switched your position. This was not a matter of conviction for you; it was for political convenience.”

Both candidates came in well prepared.

Crist was more vulnerable, having switched political parties beginning in 2010, when he left the GOP to become an independent while running for the U.S. Senate seat, before making the complete switch to the Democratic Party in late 2012. But he took the offensive in explanation his ideological wanderlust, saying, “it’s not a sin.”

“If the values of the party at the time don’t comport with how you were raised by your family, I think you have a duty to yourself and your God, to do what you think is right, and represent the principals and values that you share, those of decency, doing unto others, doing what’s right for the people that you want to serve, and that’s why I’m a Democrat today and I’m proud of it,” Crist said, eliciting a hearty cheer from the audience.

Crist inadvertently provided the biggest laughs of the evening when he engaged with Jolly about how each candidate found themselves running in the CD 13 contest. Jolly painted his move as noble, and not political.

“Mr. Crist got into this race because the lines have changed,” he said. “I got into this race despite the fact that the lines had changed.”

Crist said he got into the contest only after the lines had changed because the new district included where he lived in downtown St. Pete.

Jolly fired back, “You bought a house in the district in St. Pete Beach that you later sold.”

Not true, Crist insisted. “My wife bought that house,” he said, which while factually accurate, didn’t pass the smell test with the crowd.

When it came for the time for the candidates to ask each other a question, Crist attempted to play the statesman, declining to offer a gotcha question to his Republican rival.

Jolly wasn’t about to let the opportunity go to waste.

Citing a Sarasota-Herald Tribune story, Jolly referred to Crist’s former life when he was known as being tough on crime “Chain-Gang Charlie” of the mid-1990s, when being tough on crime was de rigueur for conservative lawmakers. Jolly went into extensive detail about a Crist visit to Alabama, where he stood over black prisoners to say such a program would be good for Florida.

Crist appeared mortified by the story and chastised Jolly for getting racial.

“I’m embarrassed you’d say that about a fellow Floridian,” Crist said.

When each candidate was asked where they differed from their political party, Crist mentioned the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which does place him opposite Barack Obama and the platform of the Democratic National Committee, but safely with the growing mainstream of Democrats who oppose it, like Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Jolly went a little loftier, saying that much of his political persona is a challenge to party leadership on issues like marriage equality, climate science, and his STOP Act, which would ban federal officeholders from personally soliciting campaign contributions.

“Look, in three years I’ve tried to change politics at great political risk,” he said. “And I think I continue to put Pinellas over Washington politics.”

Crist said at one point that Jolly lobbied for the privatization of Social Security, a charge the former D.C. lobbyist denied. “Well, you registered to lobby for it,” Crist said. Jolly did say Crist had endorsed his legislation to end taxation of Social Security.

Jolly showed off his preparation when he attempted to bust Crist regarding his support for raising the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour. He said Crist opposed the proposal when he served as a board member of Enterprise Florida in 2004 (that’s when Floridians voted to raise the minimum wage as a constitutional amendment).

To his credit, co-moderator Adam Smith took 45 minutes before asking whether Jolly had finally “gotten there” yet on whether or not he’ll support his party’s standard-bearer in November, Donald Trump.

“I’m not there with Mr. Trump,” Jolly said, his stock answer when asked the question.

After Smith had challenged him, Jolly said he wasn’t sure he ever would get there in November.

Crist had no such moral compunction when speaking affirmatively for Hillary Clinton, though he did elicit giggles when he said, “I believe that she is steady. I believe that she is strong. I believe that she is honest.”

Among those seen in the crowd were former St. Pete Mayor Rick Baker, SD 19 Democratic candidate Augie Ribeiro, and St. Petersburg City Councilman Karl Nurse.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

With first debate looming, David Jolly leads Charlie Crist 46%-43% in CD 13

A new poll shows David Jolly holding a three-point lead over Charlie Crist in the race for Florida’s 13th Congressional District.

The survey, conducted by St. Pete Polls for Florida Politics, has Jolly at 46 percent and Crist at 43 percent.

The Indian Shores Republican is ahead of the former governor despite the district breaking for Democrat Hillary Clinton over Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, 47 to 40 percent.

Buoying Jolly’s numbers is a strong favorable-to-unfavorable ratio of 54 to 25 percent. Crist’s favorability numbers are evenly split at 45 percent.

Even though Crist trails Jolly, there is room for improvement, according to the poll.

First of all, 11 percent of voters are undecided — a large amount considering how well-known both candidates are in the district.

Also, Crist is holding only 67 percent of the Democratic base, with Jolly earning 20 percent. Crist should be able to claw back some of that vote.

An internal poll for Jolly released Monday finds a tied race, with Crist and Jolly both at 46 percent.

Jolly and Crist square off Monday evening in what likely will be the only televised debate of the campaign.

St. Pete Polls’ survey had a sample size of 739 and has a 3.6 percent margin of error.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

Anticipation is high for tonight’s David Jolly – Charlie Crist CD 13 debate

While the nation eagerly looks forward to next Monday night’s first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the Tampa Bay area has its own Great Debate taking place Monday night at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg. That’s where David Jolly and Charlie Crist will hold their first debate in the Florida 13th Congressional District race.

The event is sold out, but will be broadcast live at 7 p.m. on WTSP-10 News, moderated by the Tampa Bay Times political editor Adam C. Smith, and WTSP news anchor/reporter Mark Rivera.

“We want people that are watching to really know what the difference is between these two candidates,” Rivera told SPB Monday morning. “We are looking forward to substantive answers from the candidates on the issues that matter to the district, Tampa Bay, the state, and the nation.”

The Times has produced many local political debates over the years, and tonight’s is the most anticipated since Smith and Bay News 9’s Al Reuschel hosted a Tampa Mayoral forum back in February 2011 at Blake High School. That’s the event where then-presumptive front-runner Dick Greco made his biggest gaffe of the campaign, calling a Tampa race riot in 1967 to a “panty raid-type thing.” It was a costly mistake that took 48 hours for him to apologize for, and he ultimately lost by just 348 votes to eventual winner Bob Buckhorn in getting into the runoff election.

The rancor between the two camps has been strong since the general election campaign began to take shape, beginning on the night of the primary election late last month. “This Republican primary season has been pretty frightening,” Crist said in a statement issued shortly after Jolly had officially won the GOP nomination for CD 13.

“It saddens me to think that anyone who supports Donald Trump’s agenda could ever represent Pinellas County,” it said. “And I look forward to sharing our vision for seniors, veterans, women, students, and our environment in the weeks ahead.”

Team Jolly immediately denounced the statement, saying the GOP incumbent hadn’t endorsed Trump. Team Crist responded back by saying that they didn’t say he had endorsed Trump, but had simply indicated that he supports “Trump’s agenda.”

The level of discourse has pretty much stayed at that level ever since. After Crist tweeted out a photo of a list of campaign contributors last week, the Jolly camp responded with a fundraising request labeled “disgusting,” comparing Crist posting campaign donors on an office wall in a negative light, saying that when Jolly enters his office, he sees photos of portraits of Pinellas military veterans.

And while the campaign might remain at that level over the next 50 days, there are a number of serious issues the candidates need to talk about, especially under the glare of the klieg lights, where presumably talking points won’t be sufficient in explaining their views.

“We want tonight to help voters navigate the District 13 congressional race and inform their ultimate decision,” Rivera says.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

Charlie Crist endorsed by Florida Professional Firefighters and Fraternal Order of Police

The Charlie Crist campaign announced late Friday afternoon that the Democrat fighting to win Florida’s 13th Congressional District this November has been endorsed by the Florida Professional Firefighters and the Florida State Fraternal Order of Police.

“Every day, our firefighters put their lives on the line for the communities they love and serve,” said Jim Tolley, president of Florida Professional Firefighters, a state affiliate of the International Association of Fire Fighters. “Charlie Crist understands that sacrifice and has fought time and again to ensure our public safety professionals have the resources they need to keep Florida’s families safe. Our dedicated, life-saving members couldn’t have a better friend in Congress than Charlie.”

“When our law enforcement officers go to work defending the people they’ve promised to protect and serve, all they ask in return is a living wage and the tools to do the job. Charlie Crist has been there for us every step of the way” said Robert Jenkins, president of the Florida State Fraternal Order of Police. “We have supported him both as a Republican and as a Democrat, because he puts the people first, instead of party. FOP is proud to stand with Charlie as someone both law enforcement and the people can trust.”

“That support means so much to me,” said Crist in a statement. “Our first responders are our neighbors, our brothers and sisters, and our everyday heroes. They keep us safe. And they have our hearts. So if you see a first responder today, please tell them ‘thank you.'”

Crist is attempting to defeat Republican incumbent David Jolly in the CD 13 contest. The two will debate Monday night at the Palladium Theatre in St. Petersburg. It will be broadcast on 10News WTSP and air live from 7-8 p.m.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

Charlie Crist says Jordan Park residents need help now

Former Gov. Charlie Crist toured the troubled Jordan Park Apartments in July.

Afterward, he called the conditions “deplorable.”

On Thursday, Crist returned to Jordan Park to say not much has changed, and he’s urging for something be done now to improve living conditions for the residents.

“This is an issue of simple human decency,” Crist said.

At least one Jordan Park resident agreed not much has changed since July. Resident Heidi Hampton said she contacted the office about 3 p.m. Tuesday to say she could smell electrical wires burning in the ceiling.

Rather than sending someone out to check on things, she said, “they picked up [then] kept slamming the phone down on me.”

A maintenance worker showed up around 4:45 p.m. she said. And an electrician didn’t show up until Thursday.

“This is absurd,” Hampton said. “I am very dissatisfied with the living conditions.”

And it’s not just electrical problems, she said. The response to her complaint about mold was only to spray paint over the affected area.

Crist’s July visit to Jordan Park came after news reports of living conditions in the apartments that included complaints of rats, roaches, mold, and mildew.

Crist wrote a letter to the St. Petersburg Housing Authority Commission in late August, just days after the board voted to buy back Jordan Park. In the letter, he referred to things he had observed while touring the apartments — leaky pipes, mold, improper and potentially unsafe repairs, rusting appliances and evidence of rat infestation.

“It is my understanding that, despite these problems, residents have had difficulty getting proper resolution of these issues,” Crist wrote. “It is also my understanding that, since my visit last month, many of these matters continue unabated, such as termite damage, residents without air conditioning and ongoing mold and rodent issues.

“These issues represent more than simple property management or residential dispute matters. They have become a matter of respect and dignity for Jordan Park residents, as well as a public health issue.”

Crist called on housing commissioners to help the residents as quickly as possible.

He renewed that call Thursday, saying residents should not have to wait until the sale is final and the Housing Authority takes over to see improvements.

The sale is expected to be final at the end of this month with the Housing Authority assuming control Oct. 1.

Crist, a Democrat, is running against Republican incumbent David Jolly for the Congressional District 13 seat. The election is Nov. 8.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

Mitch Perry Report for 9.13.16 — The Florida Supreme Court is about to get a little more conservative

During the 2014 gubernatorial race, selecting Supreme Court justices was a campaign issue between Rick Scott and Charlie Crist.

Though Florida’s executive and legislative branches have been fiercely conservative for going on nearly two decades now, the judiciary has not, though that slowly could be changing.

On Monday, Justice James E.C. Perry, the fourth black ever named to Florida’s high court, announced he will be retire from the bench at the end of this year as required by law, giving Scott his first opportunity to appoint a justice.

The liberal bent of the court won’t be felt immediately, as the liberals’ current 5-2 majority will shift to a 4-3 split.

However, three other justices — Barbara Pariente, Fred Lewis, and Peggy Quince, all must retire due to the state law requiring justices to retire by the age of 70 (or at the end of their six-year term if they’re halfway through the term).

Perry was named to the bench in 2009 by Charlie Crist, which goes to show you what type of governor Crist was, and why he infuriated Republicans.

Crist had the opportunity to name four judges to the court: Ricky Polston, Charles Canady, Jorge Labarga, and Perry. The first two were white men, the latter were Cuban and black, respectively. Perry and Labarga have also been considered more moderate-to-liberal — showing that he wanted all parts of the state represented.

That’s different than what we expect from most in his position — and the selection of moderate-to-liberal justices enraged conservatives.

Meanwhile, it’s still not known for certain whether Scott will have the legal ability to replace Pariente, Lewis, and Quince when they step down on inauguration day of 2019. But that’s a discussion for another day.

In other news …

With a big vote on controversial new regulations promulgated by the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission scheduled for tomorrow, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and others in the business community told them on Monday to Just Say No.

Andrew Warren is making another charge that Hillsborough County State Attorney Mark Ober has made insensitive remarks about teenage victims of rape.

Do you know who Jeff Zampitella is? He’s a Democrat running against GOP incumbent Sandy Murman in the Hillsborough County Commission District 1 race, but he’s vying for attention of any sort, eight weeks before Election Day.

Following his boss, Joe Biden is also now backing Charlie Crist publicly in his congressional bid against Republican David Jolly this November.

And Patrick Murphy and Marco Rubio have agreed to participate in at least two debates and one candidate forum in advance of the Nov. 8 U.S. Senate election.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

Gov. Scott to get first state Supreme Court pick

Florida Supreme Court Justice James Perry announced Monday he is stepping down Dec. 30, which will give Gov. Rick Scott his first opportunity to begin reshaping a court that has frustrated Republicans on issues ranging from political maps to protecting doctors from lawsuits.

Perry, 72, is forced to leave the court because he’s reached the mandatory retirement age. Scott will almost certainly appoint a more conservative justice to replace him, though he didn’t give details about what he will look for in a justice.

“What I do is try to find the candidate that I believe will uphold the law and be humble in the process,” said Scott, who repeated several times that he wants a justice to “uphold our existing laws.”

Republicans have seen the current court throw out several priorities in recent years, including caps on medical malpractice lawsuit awards, caps on lawyer fees in worker’s compensation cases, an effort to protect developers from lawsuits, and congressional and state Senate political maps approved by the GOP-dominated Legislature.

The court also told Scott he overstepped his boundaries by ordering state agencies to freeze rulemaking and submit planned regulations to his office for review and approval, and earlier this year it put a 24-hour waiting period for abortions on hold while it reviews the law.

“I’m pleased that a conservative governor is in a position to be able to move the court more toward the right,” said Republican Sen. Rob Bradley of Fleming Island. “We’ve seen some activist decisions over the past three years that are very concerning to many of us in the Legislature.”

Perry was appointed by then-Gov. Charlie Crist to the state Supreme Court in 2009. He was the fourth black justice appointed to the court.

Florida law requires that justices retire once they turn 70, although they can serve out their term if that birthday falls in the last three years of their six-year term.

Scott must choose an appointee from a list provided to him by the Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission, but Scott appoints a majority of the nine-member commission and has stocked it with conservatives, including a former Republican Party of Florida lawyer, a woman who is a veteran of several Republican political campaigns, two lobbyists with strong GOP ties and Jesse Panuccio, who served as Scott’s general counsel and ran the Department of Economic Opportunity as Scott’s appointee.

Incoming Senate Democratic Leader Oscar Braynon said he will take a wait and see approach to Scott’s pick and hope for the best.

“Even if something is not good for me, the law is the law is the law is the law. He has the right to do that,” Braynon said. “We’ve seen his appointments before. We probably know what kind of appointment he’s going to go for.”

Republicans have made it clear they’re not happy with the court. Four years ago, the state Republican Party actively tried to get three justices voted off the bench, calling them “extreme” and “too liberal.”

And two years ago, Republican lawmakers asked voters to pass a constitutional amendment that would have given Scott the right to appoint three justices who will retire on the same day Scott’s successor is sworn in, rather than allow the incoming governor appointment their replacements. The measure failed.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us
Show Buttons
Hide Buttons