Sunday, October 15, 2006

FLORIDA DIGEST October 15, 2006

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Education, insurance make Davis the choice
Palm Beach Post Editorial

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist and Democraticcandidate Jim Davis differ most on the two issues that matter most toFloridians: education and property insurance. Mr. Crist would continue thewrongheaded, failed policies of his predecessor. Rep. Davis would transformthem. For the future of Florida's public schools and property owners, ThePost recommends voters elect Jim Davis for governor.

With the state ranking among the lowest in the nation in high schoolgraduation rates and college admission aptitude scores, Florida cannotafford to continue a false accountability based on misused standardizedtesting. Mr. Crist, a former education commissioner who went on the campaigntrail praising but knowing little about the high-stakes FCAT, agrees withGov. Bush's punitive policy of grading schools based on FCAT scores. Hewould expand use of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test to shameschools, then shift resources based on performance.


Davis developed image as 'reasoned persuader' instead of arm breaker
By Andrew Marra

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Jim Davis walks into the backroom of a crowded restaurant, his appearance asordinary as his name. The audience claps politely, but some have troublepicking him out. "He's sterile-looking," whispers a Pensacola grandmother.

His face has a schoolboy glimmer. He is also a congressman who looks thepart: the black suit uniform, the salt-and-pepper hair, those eternallyearnest eyebrows.

Jim Davis
Age: 49, of Tampa

Personal: Born in Tampa. Graduated from Tampa Jesuit High School,1975. Bachelor's degree from Washington and Lee University, 1979. Law degreefrom the University of Florida, 1982. Married for 20 years to Peggy Bessent.

Two children.



Davis still draws blanks from voters
Kennedy & Garcia

October 15, 2006

He's been running for governor for a remarkable 20 months, but Democrat JimDavis still has an identity crisis, a poll released last week shows.

Floridians don't know who he is.

An overwhelming 57 percent of registered voters don't recognize Davis,according to the survey of nearly 1,000 Floridians by Quinnipiac University.

In fact, the same number of people said they had a favorable impression ofRepublican front-runner Charlie Crist -- 42 percent -- as said they had anyimpression at all of Davis.

"That's a humongous number," said Peter Brown, assistant director ofQuinnipiac's polling institute. "We're a month away from the election."


The Miami Herald
Posted on Sun, Oct. 15, 2006

Special interests behind push for Amendment 3


One of the most audacious and cynical attacks on the rights of Floridavoters will appear as ''Amendment 3'' on the Nov. 7 ballot.

A coalition of powerful special interest groups wants to amend the stateConstitution to make it harder to -- of all things -- amend the stateConstitution.

To thwart grass-roots movements that threaten their chokehold on theTallahassee power structure, the promoters of Amendment 3 want the ruleschanged so that all future amendments will require 60 percent of the popularvote, instead of the current simple majority.


The Miami Herald
Posted on Sun, Oct. 15, 2006


Ever since he was appointed secretary of agriculture by Gov. Jeb Bush in2001, Central Florida cattle rancher Charles Bronson has tackled the jobwith energy and dedication. Elected to the post in his own right in 2002, heis running for reelection and deserves another term. The very realchallenges facing Florida's $9-billion agriculture industry require someonewith Mr. Bronson's hands-on experience and qualifications.The job covers a wide range of activities, from consumer protection tosafeguarding our food and produce to making sure that gasoline pumps delivera full gallon of gasoline for every gallon bought. Mr. Bronson has shownthat he is well-versed in all aspects of this demanding position.

Mr. Bronson, a Republican, is being challenged by Democrat Eric Copeland, aMiami-Dade County lawyer and political newcomer who would make consumerprotection a priority. He would ask the Legislature to consolidate all thestate's consumer-protection functions in his office.


The Miami Herald

October 15, 2006


Floridians have a choice of two well-qualified contenders for chieffinancial officer. Republican Tom Lee, the outgoing Senate president, has astrong legislative track record. Democrat Alex Sink, a former bankexecutive, has impressive business credentials. The CFO oversees the state'smoney and sets state policy as a cabinet member.

While both candidates could do the job, our nod goes to Ms. Sink. She has arecord of achievement in the private sector, a proven ability to set policyand has led a large organization in a tough environment. These are the kindof skills needed to monitor Florida's finances and find answers to Florida'sinsurance and property-tax problems.

Mr. Lee, 44, is no slacker. He is finance vice president for his family'shome-building business. He pushed lobbying reforms through the Legislaturedespite opposition from the industry and his own party. Mr. Lee would boostFlorida's role as a reinsurer to bring insurers and competition back to thestate.


The Miami Herald

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Miami Herald recommends


Would you prefer that the next attorney general of Florida be a lobbyist ortrial attorney? There is a lot more that separates the two candidates forthis office -- Bill McCollum and Walter ''Skip'' Campbell -- than theseprofessional titles. But when Mr. McCollum and Mr. Campbell are tossingbrickbats at each other, they use those terms as code to say to voters:''This guy is in the pocket of lobbyists,'' or ``This guy is ruining thejustice system with frivolous lawsuits.''

These and other differences give voters a distinctive choice in this race.Mr. McCollum, 62, is a conservative Republican with some moderatetendencies. Mr. Campbell, 57, is a moderate Democrat with some conservativeleanings. Mr. McCollum served in the U.S. House from 1981 to 2001 and,notably, was one of the managers in the impeachment of former President BillClinton. Since 2000, he has lost two statewide races to Florida's currentU.S. senators. Now, Mr. McCollum is a Washington, D.C., lobbyist.


Posted on Sun, Oct. 15, 2006

Jim Davis had a political 'itch'


TAMPA - Shortly before her wedding in 1986, Peggy Bessent had questions forher fiancé, a young Tampa attorney named Jim Davis.

``What are you going to do when you grow up? Are you always going to be alawyer?''

His answer -- ''I may go into politics'' -- barely registered, and Peggysays she ``kind of forgot about it.''

Jim Davis didn't.

He was making good money at Carlton Fields, a prestigious corporate firm,but he wasn't trying cases, which was unsatisfying for ``a lot of peoplelike me who grew up with this vision of Perry Mason. . . . I got the itch todo something else.''



Poll finds undecided voters may be key to Foley congressional seat

Democrat in front, but 11 percent still not sure

By Josh Hafenbrack
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

October 15, 2006

Democrat Tim Mahoney leads Republican Joe Negron by 7 percentage points in acritical congressional election to replace disgraced U.S. Rep. Mark Foley,but the Foley page scandal is not influencing how most people plan to vote,according to a South Florida Sun-Sentinel/Scripps Treasure Coast Newspaperspoll.

With partisan control of the U.S. House of Representatives hanging on a fewclosely fought races, a Democratic gain in Florida's 16th CongressionalDistrict -- typically Republican territory -- could be a decisive factor,national experts said.


Charlie Crist's official campaign biography begins with a description...


ST. PETERSBURG - Charlie Crist's official campaign biography begins with adescription of his grandfather, a struggling Greek immigrant who turned aPennsylvania shoe-shine business into a classic story of Americanprosperity.

But Crist's own story lacks that kind of personal drama. His path wascharmed from the start -- a youth spent water-skiing and serving on thehomecoming court. His polite, easy manner made him eminently electable sincethe day in 1968 when seventh-graders chose him as homeroom representative.

It was as if political handlers vetted every step of his upbringing,charting a solid path with only the mildest hint of adversity: He threw somepasses for the high school football team (but shared quarterback time withanother player); he smoked pot ''once, maybe twice,'' in college (butregrets it); he finished law school (although he didn't practice much law);he lost his first election but sentflowers to the victor, and he landed in statewide politics by writing awell-timed letter that caught someone's eye.


Scott, Keechl election battle splits political establishment

By Scott Wyman
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

October 15, 2006

Once one of the most powerful politicians in the state Capitol, Jim Scott islocked a tough and expensive re-election battle to keep his seat on theBroward County Commission.

Ken Keechl, a Wilton Manors lawyer who is active in Democratic politics andthe area's gay community, is attempting to tap public discontent over risingproperty taxes to oust Scott, the sole Republican on the board. Keechl alsois questioning Scott's ethics for his role in redeveloping Fort Lauderdale'slast public golf course.

Scott, though, hopes voters see him as fighting for tax reform and lessgovernment spending. He is touting a 30-year track record in public office,particularly recent roles in blocking mega-development along the ocean,building parks, winning state aid for beach restoration and helping citiesfix drainage problems and improve blighted areas.


Learning curve: Most high school grads not ready for college classes

By Scott Travis
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

October 15, 2006

Davie -- Most students entering South Florida's community colleges lack thebasic skills they need to take college-level classes, forcing schools tospend millions for remedial work, statistics show.

Eighty percent of incoming freshmen at Broward Community College andMiami-Dade College had to take at least one remedial class last year. AtPalm Beach Community College it was 72 percent.

"Where we ought to be heading is if students pass the FCAT, they are readyfor college," said David Armstrong, community colleges chancellor for theFlorida Department of Education. "Right now, that's not the case. There isstill a gap."



Ken Keechl and Commissioner Jim Scott participated in the Kid's Voting Candidate Forum joint appearance, which will begin airing TONIGHT and repeat until Election Day. Watch and judge for yourself:

Who was more prepared to answer questions about Broward County 's budget and
our out-of-control property taxes? (KEN!)

Who ducked responsibility for the mess the County government is in? (JIM SCOTT!)
Who had a clear and concise plan for lowering taxes, preserving our green spaces, and creating affordable housing opportunities? (KEN!)

Who couldn't clearly answer questions about the County budget he's been voting on for six years? (JIM SCOTT!)

Check it out and see why KEN KEECHL is going to be the next Broward County Commissioner in District 4!The Kid's Voting Forum airs in two parts on WPPB-TV, Channel 19 on Comcast Cable throughout Broward County , except for those areas in Davie and Pembroke Pines covered by BellSouth Entertainment, which runs on Channel 70.

The District 4 Commission race is featured in Part One.

Here's when it will air:

Saturday, October 14 at 6pm
Tuesday, October 17 at 10pm
Sunday, October 22 at 6pm
Wednesday, October 25 at 8pm
Saturday, October 28 at 6pm
Sunday, November 5 at 6pm
Monday, November 6 at 6pm