Voters

First Amendment Foundation and others file suit against DeSantis and Cabinet

In an effort to protect the public's right to know what their government is doing, the First Amendment Foundation and several Florida newspapers have filed suit against the Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Cabinet for holding a public meeting in Israel. 

From a First Amendment Foundation release:

Today the First Amendment Foundation, joined by the Miami Herald, the Tampa Bay Times, Gannett, and GateHouse Media have filed a complaint against the Florida Cabinet for violations of the Sunshine Law related to the scheduled Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. In filing the complaint, Foundation President Barbara Petersen said:
 
"The decision to challenge tomorrow¹s meeting of the Florida
Cabinet was not lightly made - it came after long deliberation and many discussions of both public policy and legal issues. Florida¹s constitution requires that meetings of the Cabinet at which public business is to be transacted or discussed be open to the public. We wish the Governor and his Cabinet success on their trade mission. But as our complaint makes clear, there are legitimate concerns regarding the constitutionality of holding a Cabinet meeting that Floridians cannot attend."
- Barbara A. Petersen, President, First Amendment Foundation
 
As we reported before here on Crowley Political Report, and during this week's High Tops and Politics podcast. the notion of conducting a public meeting in a foreign country is an affront to the Florida Constitution and Florida citizens. It is especially troubling that Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is participating in this charade. As Attorney General she is supposed to be a guardian of the Sunshine Law just like every Attorney General before her.
 
In a feeble attempt to dodge the law, DeSantis and the Cabinet are now calling it a "ceremonial" meeting. There is no such thing envisioned in the law and the fact is they intend to discuss public issues concerning the environment and emergency management.
 
Florida citizens have a constitutional right to attend these meetings and to speak at these meeting. Simple watching the meeting on a live stream from 6,000 miles away does not meet either the spirit or intent of the Sunshine Law.
 
Here is a PDF of the complaint filed by the First Amendment Foundation. (Disclosure: I was once served as a Trustee on the Foundation board.)
 

Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet tell citizens to screw themselves

Fallingcocofinc

Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet are saying the Sunshine Law does not matter to them.
 
Sure visiting Israel is fine...but conducting a Cabinet meeting there is wrong and probably illegal. No Cabinet member should attend the meeting if they care about the rights of Florida citizens.
 
Here is the agenda for the meeting. 
 
MEETING OF THE GOVERNOR AND CABINET
May 29, 2019
United States Embassy – Jerusalem, Israel
INVOCATION
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
RESOLUTION – ISRAELI-FLORIDA RELATIONSHIP, Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet
PRESENTATION – VICTIMS OF TERROR
PRESENTATION – WATER QUALITY
PRESENTATION – EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
CLOSING, Governor Ron DeSantis
 
There is a nonsensical note at the bottom of this otherwise useless agenda that is silly and worthless: *This agenda does not involve the composition of any collegial body consisting of the Governor and Cabinet as a board, commission, or otherwise.
 
 
Please, Attorney General Ashley Moody, explain the legal foundation for this meeting. Tell us how it does not violate the Sunshine Law. Please explain what precedent it sets for future meeting not just of this body but of any governmental entity in the state.
 
 
Please, CFO Jimmy Patronis and Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried, explain your justification for attending this meeting that clearly was not the intent of the Sunshine Law.

Continue reading "Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet tell citizens to screw themselves" »


This week co-hosts Brian Crowley and Mary Anna Mancuso chat about:

Who stole the Plastic Cow?

Florida binges.

Florida Legislature plants corn?

Charlie Crist get 15 minutes.

This week's High Tops Award, and much more. 

Thank you for joining us.

 


High Tops and Politics - Mister Geppetto did what?

In Florida politics you can run but you can't hide.

High Tops and Politics chases it all from Tallahassee to Mar-a-Lago as only veteran political journalist Brian Crowley and political strategist Mary Anna Mancuso can do.

Join us for our often amusing run through the Sunshine State.

Episode 6 - A problem with Starbucks and cellphone? Will Florida drones be wearing badges? Are Florida elections safe? Is the GOP undermining local government? This week's High Tops Award, and much more.

 


High Tops and Politics - The Mystery of the Double Knot

In Florida politics you can run but you can't hide.

High Tops and Politics chases it all from Tallahassee to Mar-a-Lago as only veteran political journalist Brian Crowley and political strategist Mary Anna Mancuso can do.

Join us for our often amusing run through the Sunshine State.

Episode 5 - Should Florida take on Alexa? Donald Trump's favorite Bush. Do Florida voters matter? Roxie gets moxie. The mystery of the Double Knot. This week's High Tops Award, and much more.

 


Ron DeSantis quits, Rick Scott looks shameful

Rscott079

By Brian E. Crowley

Florida Republican nominee for Governor, Ron DeSantis just announced that he is quitting Congress immediately so he can run full time for governor. In fact, his resignation is even more than immediate. He is time warping the effective date to Sept. 1.

As a low rung member of Congress, his impact there was minimal but that is not unusual for members in their first years on the Hill. DeSantis, with enormous help from President Trump and Fox News, easily knocked out Republican establishment favorite Adam Putnam in the GOP primary.

Now, we are in the early stages of what will be a blistering general election between arch-conservative DeSantis, and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum who swings hard left. 

Meanwhile, Governor Rick Scott demonstrated what a soulless state leader is has been in a video of him talking to felons asking for a return of their voting rights.  Florida and Scott in particular were skewered Sunday night on HBO's Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

Oliver is not only funny and merciless, but as he often does, he closely examines an important issue and gives his audience something to think about. In this case, he urged viewers to vote to restore felon voting rights in November.

It is a must watch video. If nothing else, watch Scott, who wants to replace Democrat Bill Nelson in the U.S. Senate, at about the 6:45 mark. No matter how you feel about the issue, every Floridian should be embarrassed by Scott's callousness. His lack of compassion is chilling.

 

 


Miami Herald leaves earth in search of extra-terrestrials

GETTING FIRED
By Brian E. Crowley

No. Someone dear God tell me this is a joke. Have we moved April Fool's Day to August? Has the Miami Herald been sold to Area 51?

Why you might ask am I ranting? Well, let's just say the Herald made a rather unusual endorsement in the Republican Primary for 27th Congressional District - Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera. Unusual because she is Hispanic? Nope? Unusual because she is a woman? Nope.

Unusual because, well judge for yourself:

We realize that Rodriguez Aguilera is an unusual candidate. Last year, she told the Miami Herald — and several Spanish-language media outlets — that she believes in extra-terrestrials. She says when she was 7, she was taken aboard a spaceship and, throughout her life, she has communicated telepathically with the beings, which remind her of the concrete Christ in Brazil. There you have it.

“This is a non-issue,” she told the Board. We agree. Her bona fides as a former elected official, and now a businesswoman who spends time in other countries training women to run for office are solid.

Rodriguez Aguilera is a strong candidate in the race with plausible conservative ideas. 

You think I made that up don't you. Please read it for yourself: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/voters-guide/article216932145.html

So the Herald is trying to convince voters that this is the best the Republican Party has to offer as a candidate to go Washington.

Seriously?

At a time when journalism has more than its share of problems this silliness seems like more like click-bait than a thoughtful look at the candidates.

The Herald should be embarrassed. 


Are Florida Republicans leaderless?

Hatchet135 copy


It is time to stop blaming Big Sugar

It Is Time To Stop Blaming Big Sugar

By Brian E. Crowley

UPDATE:  This was first written in July 2016. Much of it remains true today. Let me add something.  One rarely hears environmentalists complaining about growth. Palm Beach County, to use but one example, has added hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses that creep into the edge of what was once part of the Everglades ecosystem.

Every mile of asphalt and concrete is less ground to absorb rain, filter it, and feed our aquifers. It is no longer as simple as blaming Big Sugar. Still, as we approach another election, with algae blooms, red tide, fish kills, and a level of toxins that threaten human health, maybe we can dream about the day both environmentalists and agriculture interests not only agree on the problem but also the solution.

 

SHAKING MONEY TREE   It is time to stop blaming Big Sugar.

Yes, Big Sugar is winning. It owns the governor’s office, the cabinet, and the Florida Legislature. It has power over much of Florida’s congressional delegation.

Formidable Tallahassee reporter Mary Ellen Klas did a masterful job this week with an in-depth storyin the Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times about the power of Big Sugar.

Between 1994 and 2016, a review of state Division of Elections records by The Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times Tallahassee bureau shows, the sugar industry — led by United States Sugar and Florida Crystals — has steered a whopping $57.8 million in direct and in-kind contributions to state and local political campaigns.

Indeed.

The Sugar industry has been masterful. No matter what successes the environmental community has had – passage of the 1994 Everglades Forever Act, the 1996 Polluter Pays Amendment to the Florida Constitution, the 2000 Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (sign by President Bill Clinton with then Gov. Jeb Bush by his side), or the 2014 Water and Land Conservation Act – the Sugar industry has been able to either slow down implementation or thwart the intent.

How?

By owning a stable of elected officials. By hiring top teams of lobbyists. By having connections in critical government agencies.

And, nothing they do is illegal. Sugar simply plays the game of politics better than their opponents.

As Klas reported:

“I can tell you, first hand, that the industry is directly involved with every decision this Legislature makes,” said Eric Eikenberg, CEO of the Everglades Foundation which for decades has fought the sugar industry over the causes and solutions of the Everglades and was a chief of staff to former Gov. Charlie Crist. (Note: I previously was a media consultant for the Foundation.)

Eikenberg works hard to make sure the Foundation’s voice is heard in Tallahassee but it is an often frustrating experience.

Eikenberg was part of the Crist team that put together the deal to buy U.S. Sugar land. At the time, the company applauded the deal and was eager to get out of the sugar business. But when U.S. Sugar wanted out of the contract it fought hard. And they found a willing ally in the newly elected governor, Rick Scott (to whom they contributed handsomely) who said hell no about buying the land.

No matter the setback, the sugar industry always comes out ahead.

But it is time to stop blaming them. Perhaps it is time to blame the environmentalists.

No dear God – not the “good” guys!

Yup.

The sugar industry is united. Its goal is simple – keep farming, no government intrusion, protect profits.

Environmentalists often are not united. While they may all talk about stopping algae blooms, saving America’s Everglades, rivers and springs, there is a tendency to go their separate regional ways. Each part of the state has its own environmental concerns. Each fights to get money from the same state pot of dough. Each jealously guards its own circle of influence.

It is the kind of division that an opponent loves.

Money from sugar goes to candidates who will support them.

While there are billionaires and millionaires in the environmental community who give generously, there is rarely an effort to identify environmentally friendly candidates and support them. Perhaps even more important, there is little effort to make a concerted effort to defeat incumbents who opposed the environmental agenda.

There is no price for most incumbents who defy the environmentalists. There is a huge price in opposing sugar. Nothing illustrates that better than passage of the Water and Land Conservation Act. Seventy-five percent of Florida voters supported the Amendment.

75 percent.

This may have annoyed the sugar industry but it is used to it. So Sugar did what it does best – it worked with the Legislature to ensure that the amendment would do them little harm.

Look there is nothing wrong with that. It is politics. And the environmental community could learn a great deal from how the sugar industry operates in Tallahassee.

Until environmentalists win legislative races with candidates who strongly support them and, put those who oppose them in fear of losing – or at the very least force costly, tough races, Sugar will continue to win. Because that’s what they do.

It is time to stop blaming Sugar.


A rare Florida Political record album

Graham Album Cover

By Brian E. Crowley

One finds the oddest things when looking through old boxes. Here a record album from 1986. The album speaks for itself. And for those of you who followed Bob Graham, let's hear you sing: "We have a friend in Bob Graham." 

Not sure if daughter Gwen has come up with a similar ditty for her campaign for governor.

And here's the flipside:

 

Graham Album Flipside


Jimmy Buffett seen singing with Bob Graham

Skits graham and buffett

By Brian E. Crowley

Sometime during the early 1980s. then Gov. Bob Graham, always a bit of a ham, decided he would pretend being Jimmy Buffett during the annual Tallahassee press corps skits. As Graham warbled away, the real Buffett came on stage dressed as if he was Florida's governor.

Now, Buffett is campaigning for Graham's daughter Gwen who is a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor. She is the third Graham to take a shot at the governor's mansion. Her father won two terms, plus three in the U.S. Senate. Her grandfather l0st his bid to be governor in 1944.

Whether Buffett can bring any votes to Gwen Graham is doubtful....but for his fans, it is certainly entertaining.

 


Will tonight's Florida Democratic Debate make any difference?

REPUBLICAN DEMOCRAT
By Brian E. Crowley

Her voice on the phone sounds quite serious. She is a Democrat. She will vote in the primary for governor. She is confused, not sure for whom to vote.

One of the best things about Florida's Democratic primary is that there are five interesting candidates for governor. One of the worst things about Florida's Democratic primary is that there are five interesting candidates for governor.

Well, I say, there's Gwen Graham, Andrew Gillum, Chris King, Phil Levine and Jeff Greene. Who? she says. I go over the list again.

She ponders each of them, asking questions. I give neutral answers. She eliminates a couple of them and says she is going to do more research. The primary is August 28. She has time.

This is not an unusual moment. Many of the folks who will vote in the Democratic primary are clueless or confused or both about the candidates. Few have the fervor of a Trump Republican. These voters may loathe Trump, and they are certain to loathe Congressman Ron DeSantis (the increasingly likely GOP nominee) but they lack a deep connection to anyone in the Democratic field.

Tonight, the five Democratic candidates will participate in a statewide debate being aired from the studios of WPBF-25 in West Palm Beach. It will be broadcast by other stations around the state. Is this the moment that will make a difference? Is this the moment when Florida Democrats, after months of being indifferent, find the leader of their party? 

No.

Many Democrats will remain indifferent. Many will not bother to vote in the primary. Many will continue to complain about Republicans in general and Trump-lovers in particular. Many will accept the eventual Democratic nominee grudgingly.

And that is the mistake Democrats have too often made during the past 20-years of GOP dominance in the state.

 

 

 


Florida newspapers facing more changes

Penhead

By Brian E. Crowley

During the last decade, Florida newspapers have suffered from declining revenues resulting in dramatic staff cuts, changes in ownership and uncertainty for reporters and editors doing their best to provide readers with local and state news. More changes are on the way in the coming weeks with new owners for the Palm Beach Post likely to be announced next month, and the possible sale of Tronc, owner of the Orlando Sentinel and Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel.

Ken Doctor, who has been uncannily accurate about the future of newspapers, is reporting that Gatehouse is expected to announce next month that it has purchased the Palm Beach Post and Palm Beach Daily News  from Cox Enterprises. Doctor also suggests that Tronc will be selling its remaining newspapers, most likely individually, in the coming months with Gannett once again a possible buyer.

As we enter the serious stage of the 2018 election, when Floridians will be deciding on a new governor, cabinet officers, a U.S. Senate seat, congressional races, legislative seats, constitutional amendments, and more....it is a critical time for voters to have the best information available. 

While some may relish the demise of journalism, it is a foolish notion. 

Please see Ken Doctor's well reported story  here.

 

 


Should Publix be selling these gun magazines

Publix magazines

 

By Brian E. Crowley

Wandering down the magazine aisle of the neighborhood Publix, I noticed that someone had placed quite a few Men's Journal magazines in rows along the display. This seemed odd. A closer look revealed that each one was hiding a magazine about guns. A sample of what someone tried to keep from view is in the photo above.

Let's just say that these gun magazines offer a very aggressive view of gun ownership. A magazine dedicated to the AR-15. Another for the AK-47. There are many other gun magazines not in the photo on display at Publix. Clearly as one customer believes, Publix should not be selling these magazines.

Some AR-15 proponents are outraged at the possibility that Publix, or other stores, might start banning these magazines. An AR-15 forum  and the 1911 forum have many folks weighing in - complete with speculation that Publix has or will ban these magazines. There is even chatter about some silly ways to get even if Publix dares to ban their magazines - like leaving full carts of frozen food in the aisle and then departing. 

Some sample comments:

My wife was looking forward to the new Publix opening in our area. I'll add Publix to the "Banned List", along with Starbucks, Wendy's, Levis, Delta, etc.

It's interesting how so many corporations are glad to sell guns and gun related products when there is no PC pressure and how quickly they turn on us when there is.

I just stopped by my local Publix. The manager didn't know anything about it. I told him that if they did this. It would effect where I bought my groceries.

The same people who erased our southern heritage, tore down statues and labeled a flag a racist banner are now still in the warpath against our gun rights. Why do you sound so surprised? 

Meanwhile, a Parkland student tweeted this:

This is the gun magazine section at our local @Publix less than a mile from my school where my classmates were murdered. Weapons of murder shouldn't be a hobby for people. This is about more than the right to bear arms; our country is obsessed with guns.

Some hours later came this tweet:

My mom went to publix today and they were gone!!! Wild!!! thank you

What should Publix, or any other business that is not selling guns, do with these magazines? Sell them? Ban them? 

Should the Florida Legislature get involved? 

UPDATE: Just returned from Publix. Store now has opaque plastic covers over gun magazine section. You can still see the magazines. This is an effort that is bound to please neither side.


Schools Superintendent Resigns

Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent Robert Avossa has resigned effective June 12. In a letter to the school board, Avossa said he will become Senior Vice President and Publisher of LRP publications based in Palm Beach Gardens.

In recent years, Palm Beach County rarely keeps a superintendent for very long. If the past is any indication, the selection of Avossa successor will be difficult.

From the LRP website:

LRP Publications, founded in 1977 by Kenneth Kahn, is a broad-based media company serving business and education professionals. Specializing in the fields of education administration, education law, education technology, federal employment, human resources, workers' compensation and disability, and ergonomics, the company publishes hundreds of books, pamphlets, newsletters, videos and online resources.


Charlie Crist needs a nap

 

 

 

Poor Charlie Crist. The Florida Congressman couldn't sleep a wink last night.  Of course Crist's reason for not sleeping was a tad different than Frank Sinatra's song would suggest. Sinatra didn't have to worry about "Trumpcare."

So here's what Democrat Crist is sending out in an email:

I was up all night thinking about the score of Trumpcare 2.0, friend.

850%. That's the estimate of how much insurance premiums would rise for elderly, poor people over the next decade. That's shameful. I’m incredibly disheartened that my colleagues in the House put politics over people -- and I’m going to do everything I can to stop it.

 Will you help me show my colleagues how many of us are against this horrendous bill? Sign my petition right now.

 Trumpcare 2.0 is un-American. We need to look out for each other -- not rip away health care from 23 million people.

Thank you,
Charlie

 Sent from my iPhone
 
 

Continue reading "Charlie Crist needs a nap" »


WSJ reports Florida GOP operative got help from alleged Russian hacker Guccifer 2.0

Birdlo
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Guccifer 2.0, an alleged Russian hacker, helped Florida Republican operative Aaron Nevins during the 2016 campaign.  

Nevins told WSJ that he is not convinced the Russians are involved but even if they were, it doesn’t matter to him because the agenda of the hackers seemed to match his own. “If your interests align,” he said, “never shut any doors in politics.”

Newly elected Republican Congressman Brian Mast also gets a mention in WSJ story.

The hacking spree that upended the presidential election wasn’t limited to Democratic National Committee memos and Clinton-aide emails posted on websites. The hacker also privately sent Democratic voter-turnout analyses to a Republican political operative in Florida named Aaron Nevins.

Learning that hacker “Guccifer 2.0” had tapped into a Democratic committee that helps House candidates, Mr. Nevins wrote to the hacker to say: “Feel free to send any Florida based information.”

Ten days later, Mr. Nevins received 2.5 gigabytes of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee documents, some of which he posted on a blog called HelloFLA.com that he ran using a pseudonym.

Soon after, the hacker sent a link to the blog article to Roger Stone, a longtime informal adviser to then-candidate Donald Trump, along with Mr. Nevins’ analysis of the hacked data.

Mr. Nevins confirmed his exchanges after The Wall Street Journal identified him first as the operator of the HelloFLA blog and then as the recipient of the stolen DCCC data. The Journal also reviewed copies of exchanges between the hacker and Mr. Nevins. That the obscure blog had received hacked Democratic documents was previously known, but not the extent of the trove or the blogger’s identity.

“I just threw an arrow in the dark,” Mr. Nevins said in an interview, adding he set up a Dropbox account so whoever was using the Guccifer 2.0 name could send large amounts of material. Later, going through what the hacker sent as someone who “actually knows what some of these documents mean,” the GOP consultant said he “realized it was a lot more than even Guccifer knew that he had.”

A must read


Floridians should be ashamed at what happened in the state Senate today

GETTING FIRED
Senate President Joe Negron failed. The Florida Senate failed. Florida Republicans failed. With a silly slap on the wrist, they are simply tolerating a member of the senate using the harshest of racist words - nigger.  

Republican Senator Frank Artiles stood on the Senate floor Wednesday and read a scripted apology. Negron removed him as committee chairman and considers that punishment enough.

Artiles blew it by not resigning.

Negron blew it by not moving to expel him.

Now, Artiles should not resign. He should face the humiliation of being tossed out of the Senate. 

Here is what happened according to the Miami Herald's Patricia Mazzei:

Miami Republican Sen. Frank Artiles dropped the n-word to a pair of African-American colleagues in private conversation Monday night — after calling one of them a "f------ a------," a "b----" and a "girl," the two senators said.

Over drinks after 10 p.m. at the members-only Governors Club just steps from the state Capitol, Artiles told Sens. Audrey Gibson of Jacksonville and Perry Thurston of Fort Lauderdale that Senate President Joe Negron of Stuart had risen to his powerful GOP leadership role because "six n-----rs" in the Republican caucus had elected him.

Artiles later told Gibson and Thurston that he'd used the word "n----as," suggesting the slang term was not meant to be insulting, Gibson and Thurston said. It's unclear whom Artiles was referring to, since the only black senators in the state Senate are all Democrats — and none of them backed Negron's bid to lead the chamber.

Artiles apologized to Gibson late Tuesday afternoon, after he'd been reported to Republican leaders and reporters started asking questions.

It is important to note that Artiles did not attempt to apologize until he was caught.

He even told the Herald he has no intention of resigning and plans to run for reelection in 2018.

Basically, Artiles was offering a FU to the Senate and his constituents.

The members of the Black Caucus are calling for Artiles to be ousted.

Negron should move quickly to do so.

This is not the first time that Artiles has acted like a bully. This is not the first time that he has harmed the reputation of the Senate. This is not first time that he has insulted others.

Peter Schorsch - in a must read column about Artiles - reports:

A lobbyist, who shall remain unnamed, said it was reported to him after he left the Governors Club that same night that Artiles called him and another person who works in the Capitol “faggots.”

That’s according to two friends of the lobbyist, who told him of the exchange later in the evening. The lobbyist then told me.

This issue is no longer about Artiles. This issues falls squarely in the lap of the Senate President and the entire Senate. 

And frankly, perhaps it is time for Gov. Rick Scott to stand up and speak out. 

Florida is better than this.

Or are we?

 


Florida utilities think voters are suckers

GETTING FIRED
By Brian E. Crowley

A dear friend called recently to go over her sample ballot. She wanted me to explain some of the candidates and issues with which she is least familiar. As we worked her way down the ballot she said she was going to vote for Amendment One. 

I asked her what she thought it was all about. She said it appeared to be a pro-solar amendment that would help the environment. I gently explained to her that Amendment One is actually backed by Florida utilities with FPL being one of the biggest backers. There was a pause. 

Really?

Yup, really.

Her initial reaction to Amendment One is a common. The utilities were brilliant in their soulless effort to deceive voters. The deceit starts with the name of the group pushing passage of Amendment One - Consumers for Smart Solar. 

Well I suppose in one very broad sense FPL and the other big utilities are "consumers" and the very fact that they were able to get this amendment on the ballot suggests they are smart - but this amendment has little to do with protecting citizen rights to solar energy and everything to do with protecting utility monopolies.

There is no question that there are some complicated issues involved with broadening the availability of solar energy for homeowners and businesses. But those issues do not require a constitutional amendment. It is, as former Florida Governor Bob Graham noted today, the job of the Legislature and regulators to, well, regulate the industry.

Even if one agreed with the position being taken by the utilities - Amendment One must fail because the industry deliberately deceived voters.

Last month, the Miami Herald's formidable Mary Ellen Klas obtained an interesting audio tape:

The policy director of a think tank supported by Florida’s largest electric utilities admitted at a conference this month what opponents have claimed for months: The industry attempted to deceive voters into supporting restrictions on the expansion of solar by shrouding Amendment 1 as a pro-solar amendment.

Sal Nuzzo, a vice president at the James Madison Institute in Tallahassee, detailed the strategy used by the state’s largest utilities to create and finance Amendment 1 at the State Energy/Environment Leadership Summit in Nashville on Oct. 2.

Nuzzo called the amendment, which has received more than $21 million in utility industry financing, “an incredibly savvy maneuver” that “would completely negate anything they (pro-solar interests) would try to do either legislatively or constitutionally down the road,” according to an audio recording of the event supplied to the Herald/Times.

You can read the Herald story and hear the audio here. You will also find disclaimers from supporters of Amendment One.

Spending at least $25 million, with much of the money coming from FPL, Consumers for Smart Solar are running television ads that make it appear that these folks are just trying to Make Florida Great Again.

They are not. Instead, they clearly think Florida voters are suckers who are easily misled.

For that reason alone, Amendment One should fail.

My friend is now voting no.