Showing posts with label elections. Show all posts
Showing posts with label elections. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Scott extends another pre-election olive branch to UF with chancellor pick

Back when Frank Brogan was the chancellor for Florida’s public universities, Rick Scott ran over him like a second-hand doormat. Brogan’s bosses on the Board of Governors, who were just as scared of Scott as he was, joined him in sitting down and shutting up as Scott effectively became the real chancellor of the State University System of Florida (SUS).

Even though it took a little time, the BOG has finally accepted its place under the governor’s thumb.

Earlier this year, Brogan decided to hold on to a few pieces of his dignity by getting the hell out of dodge. He took a $29,500 pay cut to leave Florida and escape to Pennsylvania, where he is now the new public university CEO. But the headlines from last week are full of signs that Scott is still calling the shots at the BOG offices and extending another pre-election olive branch to the University of Florida.

The search committee for the new chancellor unanimously voted to offer the name of Marshall Criser, III, president of AT&T Florida, as its one and only recommendation for Brogan’s replacement.  

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Crist pledges to reverse Scott’s cuts to Florida’s public universities

On Monday, Charlie Crist officially launched his bid to challenge Rick Scott for the Florida governorship. Crist, who served as the 44th Governor of Florida from 2007 until 2011, pledged to fight to reverse Scott’s cuts to the State University System of Florida.

“Today I announce that I am running for governor of Florida, and the reason is to put you back in charge,” Crist told a crowd of supporters.

According to the Tampa Tribune, Crist wants “to restore what he said were billions of dollars in cuts by Gov. Rick Scott to K-12 public schools and higher education, including the Bright Futures college tuition aid program.” The Tribune added that Crist also announced his intention to create a new program that will provide “tuition aid to graduate students in medicine, science, math and technology if they remain in Florida after school.”

FAMU has felt the stark difference in gubernatorial support since Crist left office. Back during his governorship, Crist approved tens millions of dollars of new spending for FAMU’s educational facilities. But Scott has vetoed every construction appropriation line item that the Florida Legislature has tried to give FAMU since he took over in 2011.

Crist was elected to the Florida governorship as a Republican in 2006 but switched to “No Party Affiliation” in 2010. He is now seeking the Democratic nomination for his old job, having joined the party last year.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cory Booker elected to U.S. Senate

From the Associated Press:

Newark (NJ) Mayor Cory Booker won a special election last night to represent New Jersey in the U.S. Senate, giving the rising Democratic star a bigger political stage after a race against conservative Steve Lonegan, a former small-town mayor.

Booker, 44, will become the first black senator from New Jersey and heads to Washington with an unusual political resume. He was raised in suburban Harington Park as the son of two of the first black IBM executives, and graduated from Stanford and law school at Yale with a stint in between as a Rhodes Scholar before moving to one of Newark's toughest neighborhoods with the intent of doing good.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Gillum’s mayoral run could open opportunities for Williams, Alexander

In 2014, Tallahassee citizens will choose their third “leadership mayor” since the passage of the 1996 referendum that mandated the direct election of the city’s top leader. FAMU alumnus Andrew Gillum, who’s served on the city commission since 2003, is now the early frontrunner to succeed outgoing Mayor John Marks. His run might open big opportunities for two fellow FAMU alumni.    

Rep. Alan Williams (D-Tallahassee) is coming close to his eight year term limit in 2016. Even though many of his supporters want him to continue his service as chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus and House Democratic Whip, there are others who want him to throw his hat in the ring for Gillum’s vacant city commission seat.

“As state representative for this area, that’s going to be my main focus right now. As things move along, we’ll continue to look at the opportunity that is there as it relates to the city commission,” Williams told WFSU.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hastings, Brown slam Supreme Court ruling on Voting Rights Act

Yesterday, the two FAMU alumni who represent Florida in the U.S. House of Representatives, Alcee L. Hastings and Corrine Brown, spoke out against a Supreme Court ruling that invalidated Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

“I am extremely disappointed by the Supreme Court’s ruling,” Hastings said. “They have put at risk the right to vote for millions of Americans.  For decades, the Voting Rights Act has stood as an essential safeguard against racial discrimination in our political system.  Unfortunately, voter suppression and discrimination still exist at the polls, and today’s announcement undermines our nation’s efforts to create an open and transparent electoral process for all.”

Section 4 established standards to determine which states must seek federal government approval in order to change their voting procedures. The Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 vote that the standards are unconstitutional. Chief Justice John G. Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel A. Alito made up the majority. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan all dissented.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Crist should take note of Lawson’s clout with Democratic base, GOP lawmakers

Former Gov. Charlie Crist, a new member of the Democratic Party, had a strong showing in the latest Public Policy Polling (PPP) report on Florida. PPP’s January 16th poll found that 70 percent of Democrats in the state view him favorably. He would also beat incumbent Gov. Rick Scott 53 to 39 percent in an election matchup.  

But Crist might face opposition in the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial primary. Some members of the state party are attempting to recruit former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz to challenge Crist for the nomination.

If Crist wins a divisive primary contest, he will need a running mate who can energize the Democratic base. He will also need someone who can work across party lines in order to push legislation through the Republican-controlled legislature.

FAMU alumnus Alfred “Al” Lawson could rally swing voters in the majority white Florida Senate district he represented from 2000 to 2010. A Crist-Lawson ticket would also excite African American voters. Crist won 20 percent of black votes when he ran for the governorship back in 2006.

Lawson can get things done at the Florida Capitol. A recent news article published by the Florida Current shows that Lawson still has tremendous clout with his former colleagues in the Republican-dominated Florida Senate.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Scott reconciles with angry Gators, asks Machen to stay after $41K search process

Back in late 2012, Rattlers succeeded in fighting off certain Rick Scott cronies on the FAMU Board of Trustees who tried to stop then-Provost Larry Robinson from becoming the interim president. Many Gators are now celebrating a big victory in their war against the governor’s attempted interference in their university.

Just four days before it was expected to hire a new leader, the University of Florida suspended a presidential search that is estimated to cost no less than $41,000. Bernie Machen will stay put as the head of Gator Country.

Scott led the way in pleading for Machen to rescind his resignation and remain in charge. A university press release said that Scott has promised to support Machen’s goal of raising UF to a top 10-ranked national institution.

The move represents a new political strategy for a governor who is plagued by rock-bottom poll numbers as he heads into his reelection campaign. Quinnipiac University’s latest Florida poll found that most voters disapprove of Scott’s job performance and don’t believe that he deserves another term. The poll also showed that 53 percent of Republicans want a candidate to challenge him for the party’s 2014 gubernatorial nomination.

Scott’s hat-in-hand appeal for Machen to remain in office came after numerous UF supporters accused him of interfering in the university’s affairs for political purposes. There was speculation that Machen announced his retirement in June 2012 under pressure from the Scott.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Crist should consider Lawson, Meek as potential running mates

Ever since 2011, many Florida Democrats have worked to recruit Charlie Crist to join the party and challenge Rick Scott for the governorship in 2014.

Crist took another step toward the upcoming gubernatorial race on Dec. 13 by officially registering as a Democrat.

Now that it seems likely Crist will seek the Democratic nomination for his former job, he has a big decision to make. He’ll need to select a running mate who will excite Florida Democrats, appeal to swing voters, and help him govern.

Alfred “Al” Lawson and Kendrick Meek, two FAMU alumni, could easily fit that bill.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Rattler students help Obama win Florida despite Scott’s voter suppression initiatives

FAMU students celebrate Obama's reelection in the Tookes Recreation Center during election night.

Gov. Rick Scott attempted to suppress voter turnout in the 2012 presidential election by signing legislation to shorten the early voting period from 14 days to eight days and using a questionable purge list. He also authorized new restrictions on third-party registration groups which were blocked by the federal courts.

But despite the efforts of a governor who used dirty tricks to try and keep Democratic voters away from the polls, U.S. President Barack Obama picked up Florida’s 29 Electoral College votes in the 2012 election. Obama received 4,235,270 votes in the Sunshine State to Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s 4,162,081.

FAMU’s Grand Ballroom precinct, in which most registered voters are students in on-campus housing, cast 2,107 votes for Obama. Romney received 31 votes at the Grand Ballroom. All in all, 75 percent of the precinct’s voters turned out.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

America votes to continue fight for change; reelects Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama emerged victorious from a hard-fought reelection campaign to win a second term in office.

“Our economy is recovering.  A decade of war is ending.  A long campaign is now over,” the triumphant president said before a roaring crowd of thousands of supporters in Chicago.

Former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, the Republican challenger, formally conceded the race and extended his best wishes to the First Family.

“His supporters and his campaign also deserve congratulations,” Romney said. “I wish all of them well, but particularly the president, the first lady and their daughters.”

Obama reaffirmed his commitment to working across party lines to solve the nation’s problems. He also repeated the message of hope that energized tens of millions of Americans to throw their support behind him in 2008 and, once again, in 2012.

“I have never been more hopeful about America.  And I ask you to sustain that hope,” Obama said.

Lawson concedes hard-fought race to Southerland

The underdog Congressional campaign of FAMU alumnus Alfred “Al” Lawson fell short in its quest to unseat incumbent Rep. Steve Southerland.  Lawson received 47 percent of the vote to Southerland’s 53 percent.

“I recognize the fact the people have spoken and while it didn’t go the way we wanted it to go, it is my sincere hope that Congressman Southerland will serve North Florida in the 113th Session of United States Congress with honor and dignity,” Lawson said in a quote published by the Tallahassee Democrat.

Lawson faced an uphill battle against the deep pockets of the wealthy Tea Party interests and big businesses that flooded money into the reelection fund of his opponent. He raised $499,000 while Southerland raked in about three times more with $1.5M.

FAMUans cross finish line of 2012 election season

Numerous FAMU alumni were among the public office hopefuls who eagerly awaited yesterday evening’s election results. Here’s how they fared:

Alcee Hastings won reelection to the Twenty-Third Congressional District of Florida.

Corrine Brown won reelection to the Third Congressional District of Florida.

Al Lawson lost his bid for the Second Congressional District of Florida  seat.

State Rep. Dwight Bullard (pictured) won the state Senate District 39 race, claiming the seat formerly held by his mother.

Bobby Powell officially sealed his victory in the race for state House District 88.

Torey Alston lost his runoff for the Broward County School Board District 5 seat.

Keon Hardemon lost his bid for the Miami-Dade County Commision District 3 seat.

Back during its coverage of the August contests, Rattler Nation omitted the victory of Oliver G. Gilbert, III, the new mayor of Miami Gardens.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Attack on Florida Supreme Court threatens to take state back to pay-for-play

Gayle Andrews circa 1979.
By Gayle Andrews
Special to Rattler Nation

I began my career as a television news reporter in the capitol in 1974.  It was a historic time.  Huge changes were being made to the Florida government because of scandals that had threatened to paralyze state government and the judiciary.

Here’s how it went. Three cabinet members, the comptroller, the insurance and education commissioners - all statewide elected officials - were indicted for serious wrongdoing. Next to desegregation, this was easily one of the most chaotic times in our state’s history.   

Remarkably, the Supreme Court scandal involving three justices erupted at the same time. It was an “oh no” moment. There was a rationale for the Cabinet meltdown, but to watch the high court sinking into the political corruption abyss, honestly, was just too much.

We reporters were pretty obnoxious with our TV cameras and microphones pointed in officials’ faces. Our lights blinded the cabinet officers as we trapped them in elevators. And finally, we watched them teary eyed in the courtroom being sentenced while begging for forgiveness and leniency.  But the Supreme Court impeachment hearings took us to a different place.  It made us realize that political influence and money had permeated a realm that, up until this point, was no place for politics.

Two justices were accused of using opinions written by utility lawyers.  The third was accused of the same but he claimed he flushed the document down the toilet.  For that justice, a psychiatric examination was ordered.  He returned to the House committee with his Certificate of Sanity. That episode only added to the rapid deterioration of the court’s once revered status.  I was a very young reporter at the time, but I realized that this was very serious.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Clinton endorses Lawson's Congressional campaign

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton brought FAMU alumnus Alfred “Al” Lawson a big gift on Friday, Nov. 2nd: his endorsement.

Clinton announced his formal support for Lawson’s Congressional bid after Lawson introduced him at a Florida State University rally. The former president was in Tallahassee to stump for the reelection campaign of U.S. President Barack Obama.

At the rally, Clinton told the audience that Democrats like Obama and Lawson advocate “an economic policy that says we build the country from the bottom up and the middle out, not by trickle down.”

Friday, November 02, 2012

Last stop for GOP power grab: The Florida Supreme Court

By Gayle Andrews
Special to Rattler Nation

Many of my friends complain that the Democrats are constantly out maneuvered by the Republicans because they’re so organized.  They’re so strategic. That’s true often times. But let’s be frank.  The Republicans are just ruthless.  

This election cycle the R’s are very nervous because their numbers have dwindled badly and getting-out-the-vote alone will not help them stay in power. Of course a black man occupies the White House, and that is particularly annoying to them. So, they have a three point plan of attack and here’s why.

The U.S. Census tells us that people of color make up over 36 percent of the population (13.1 percent African American, 5.0 percent Asian, 16.7 percent Hispanic, 1.2 percent American Indian and Alaska Native Persons).

Guess what? The vast majority of those people are Democrats. That was confirmed by the Republican National Convention.

What do the Republicans do? Simple. 

First: Suppress Democratic voters

They are shameless. These laws negatively impact all minorities, the elderly, and college students by limiting early voting and placing new ID restrictions on these voters.  It’s gotten so bad that a new Wisconsin law prohibits Native Americans from using their tribal IDs to vote.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Torey’s run-off opponent livid about political mail calling her a “prostitute”

Broward County School Board hopeful Torey Alston is denying that he had anything to do with a political mailing that described a female candidate in the race as a “prostitute.” But a report by the black-owned Westside Gazette newspaper uncovered information that suggests the attack piece might be linked to one of Torey’s supporters.

The mailing reached voters shortly before the August 14 primary. It called the frontrunner in the race, local minister Rosalind Osgood, a “prostitute.” It also had a picture of her that was digitally altered to make it look as if she standing behind prison bars.

 “I received calls from many people, from over 20 pastors to Congressman Alcee Hastings upset that someone would stoop to  this level,” Osgood said.