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RPOF Takes Aim at Sink

Posted on 17 September 2009 by admin

Today the Repubublican Party of Florida took aim at Alex Sink in a mass email.  Below is the message and the graphic that they released with it.

RPOF Sink Poster

Tallahassee- It has been nine days since Attorney General Bill McCollum announced his opposition to the government run public-option health care plan being pushed by Nancy Pelosi and members of Congress and challenged Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink to state her position on the issue. While Alex Sink continues to leave Floridians in the dark and waiting for answers, multiple Democrats from around the State of Florida have come out and made their positions known.

“I would like to encourage Alex and let her know that she doesn’t have to be scared anymore and she no longer needs to hide from the health care issue,” said Chairman Greer. “As a matter of fact, she can continue to dodge taking a true leadership position for the people of Florida and she is free to just mimic the position of one of the other Florida democrats who wasn’t too afraid to take a stand.”

“As this seems to be so simple for everyone else, I thought it would be helpful to remind CFO Sink that on this issue, like many other recent issues, she doesn’t need to lead, she can just follow,” continued Greer. “This isn’t the first time Alex Sink has refused to take a position on an issue and I am certain it won’t be the last.”

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What’s the Deal with Jim Greer?

Posted on 12 September 2009 by admin

Jim Greer

Jim Greer

Gov. Charlie Crist‘s handpicked party chief, who once vowed to replace “divisive partisan rhetoric with common-sense solutions” has gone off the grid.

His hard-right turn began when he demanded a “stop to taxpayer-funded abortions,” even though none of the healthcare bills in Congress call for such a thing. Then he invited Carrie Prejean, a dethroned beauty queen best known for standing up to a gay blogger on national television, to headline a party convention.

And for the final flourish that thrust him into Rush Limbaugh‘s arms, Greer said Obama’s first-day-of-school speech this week aimed to “indoctrinate America’s children to his socialist agenda.”

Damn you Jon Stewart and your ill-timed vacation!

In his absence, Greer became a cable-news commando, raising his own profile but delivering questionable benefits to Florida Republicans. He was roundly mocked by editorial boards and even the conservative stewards of the Wall Street Journal, the consensus being that telling kids to do their homework and stay in school was more Bill Cosby than Bill Ayers.

“Isn’t that a joke,” said Al Hoffman, a major Republican fundraiser from Fort Myers. “I think Greer is doing a big disservice to the party whipping up the facts like that. . .There are a lot of Republicans sitting on the sidelines scratching their noodles and saying, `What are we doing with a guy like this leading our party?’ ”

It’s probably not a coincidence that Greer’s pivot comes as Crist is running for the Senate against a conservative insurgent, former House Speaker Marco Rubio. Even Crist had to admit Obama’s speech would have “an acceptable message by anybody’s standards.”

The publicity bender followed his stunt at last month’s convention when he cut up an American Express card to quash an uproar over suspicious charges billed to the party by former House Speaker Ray Sansom. Some donors, including Hoffman, were unmoved.

“It was like saying, `I promise not to waste any more money, at least through American Express,’ ” said Hoffman, who has stopped writing checks to the state party.

Donor dropoff won’t hurt Crist, who is shattering campaign finance records in his bid for federal office. The man with the most at stake is Bill McCollum, whose run for governor depends on party resources. (In 2006, Crist put about $19 million in his gubernatorial account and twice that in the party’s coffers.)

“Ultimately, what is important to me is the governor’s race, and every minute spent talking about the president’s speech is off the target,” said Broward Republican Party Chairman Chip LaMarca. “If donors are turned off, party surrogates have to work twice as hard.”

Between April and June, the Florida Democratic Party outraised the state GOP for the first time during the same fundraising period since 1996. Although Greer has promised more transparency, the party won’t disclose how much its Statesman’s Dinner netted last month, leading to speculation that the GOP will continue to lag behind.

Before Crist made him chairman, Greer was a little known city councilman in Oviedo, an Orlando suburb known for the chickens that roam downtown. Now he can spear media coverage by toying with bids for Congress or national party chairman. (He ruled out both before he had a chance to lose.)

In contrast, Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Karen Thurman has kept a low profile since she clumsily handled the presidential candidates’ boycott of the state’s early primary last year. A party leader who scores ratings doesn’t necessarily win elections.

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Khavari: Stop Florida’s ‘Gang of Three’ and end the $50 Billion cover-up

Posted on 09 September 2009 by admin

khavari1bMiami, FL (MMD Newswire) September 9, 2009 – - Noted economist Farid A. Khavari, a Democratic candidate in the 2010 Florida gubernatorial race, today labeled Florida’s Governor Charlie Crist, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink and Attorney General Bill McCollum “a dangerous Gang of Three.”

Citing the recently-reported $266 million lost in just one more bad deal by Florida’s State Board of Administration (SBA), Khavari said, “This is just a tiny part of $50 billion in SBA losses that we know of. The Gang of Three are the SBA’s three trustees. Now two of them are candidates for Governor and our Governor has appointed a crony to keep a U.S. Senate seat warm for him until 2010. We can and we must stop them in the 2010 primaries, if not sooner by impeachment.”

CFO Sink, Democrat, and Attorney General McCollum, Republican, are candidates for Governor. Governor Crist, Republican, is running for the U.S. Senate. Their current positions make them the three trustees of the SBA. “Two years ago the SBA had $138 billion. In March, 2009 they had about $83 billion. They didn’t lose this money in blue-chip stocks. They blew it in phony derivatives and so-called investments that no normal person would even consider, earning tens or hundreds of millions for Wall Street thieves,” Khavari said. “Now they want us to believe that these so-called securities, most of which have no market, have rebounded by $26 billion in the past five months? How stupid do they think the people are?”

Khavari blasted the media. “Instead of doing their jobs, the Gang of Three were out collecting millions in campaign contributions from lobbyists and special interests while the SBA lost over $50 billion, a million Floridians lost their jobs, and a million Floridians lost their homes. The media are dazzled by the millions in contributions, charmed by Sink taking away Blackberries from state employees, and have all but declared the Gang of Three the only candidates for these offices. Not one of them has even hinted at a plan to clean up the mess. The media continue to cover-up $50 billion in losses and print whatever lies they tell about the SBA funds.

“Negligence, stupidity, or corruption? I don’t know,” said Khavari, “but the results are the same. We need to get the Gang of Three out of public office if we are ever going to revive Florida’s economy, put a million people back to work, and slash interest, insurance and energy costs for the governments and people of Florida without higher taxes. The Gang of Three has got to go.”

Khavari continued, “Now these geniuses, fresh from losing $266 million in just one shaky real estate deal, want to invest in Florida real estate for profit. Until we fix the economy, who could ever buy these properties from the state?”

Khavari’s economic plan for Florida, including a publicly-owned bank, has gained national attention since it was released in July.

Khavari praised as an exception a series of articles by four-time Pulitzer winner Sydney P. Freedberg published in the St. Petersburg Times and archived online at www.tampabay.com/writers/sydney-p-freedberg.

Farid A. Khavari, Ph. D., is the author of nine books, including Environomics. His latest book, Toward a Zero-Cost Economy, is available in stores or for free download atwww.khavariforgovernor.com, where details of his economic plan can be found

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Greer Softens Tone on Obama Address

Posted on 09 September 2009 by admin

Jim Greer

Jim Greer

TAMPA – Last week, Florida Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer was creating a national sensation by criticizing President Barack Obama’s plan to speak to the nation’s schoolchildren.

Tuesday, after the speech, prominent Florida Republicans seemed reluctant to talk about the speech or Greer’s sharp criticism.

Greer seemed to back off from his contention that Obama changed the speech after Greer’s comments.

“I don’t know that to be factually when asked by CFP on Tuesday night about that contention, which he made on national television.

Among those who wouldn’t discuss the situation, or gave limited comments, were Gov. Charlie Crist, Greer’s political patron; Crist’s opponent in the U.S. Senate primary, Marco Rubio; and Attorney General Bill McCollum, who’s running for governor.

Among GOP activists who did comment, some panned Greer’s role in the controversy and some praised it.

“Pandering” was the reaction of Dee Williams, president of the Sun City Center Republican Club. She said Greer is attempting to heal the rift between Crist and conservatives in the party.

“To tell you the truth, I’m not surprised at anything that comes out of his mouth,” she said of Greer.

But Republican National Committee member Paul Senft of Haines City said he believes Greer’s stance was justified “to a certain extent.”

“Sending lesson plans has never been the function of the federal Department of Education,” Senft said, referring to lesson plans made available to schools in advance of Obama’s speech. “They left themselves open to question about why they were doing that.”

Last week, Greer sent out a news release accusing Obama of using the speech “to indoctrinate America’s children to his socialist agenda.”

Late last week, the U.S. Department of Education revised a few details in the lesson plans that appeared to focus on Obama’s image rather than the intended message.

Greer has been on a media tour since, appearing on at least 10 national news shows. Monday, he said in a CNN interview that he saw nothing wrong with the speech itself but seemed to contend that it was changed along with the lesson plans.

“It’s an upbeat speech, but is it the one the president was always going to give?” he said in the CNN interview.

“Clearly, last week there was a plan with the Department of Education … leading the students in an effort to push the president’s agenda,” he said.

Asked whether he had evidence the speech had been changed, he said, “No, I don’t, but I would anticipate, based on this president being so aggressive and so vocal, … I believe the speech he was going to give, based on the lesson plans, was different.”

Tuesday night, he sounded different.

“I don’t know that to be factually true,” he said. Asked whether he had made that claim on CNN, he responded, “I think I said we don’t know. I think there’s potential. I have no evidence of it.”

Crist, who backed Greer for chairman of the state party, appeared to defend Greer in comments to reporters Friday, according to news reports.

Tuesday, his campaign’s only response was a staff member’s e-mail saying Crist “is pleased that the speech now focuses on staying in school, studying hard and striving to achieve your dreams.”

There was no response as to whether that means Crist also believes the White House changed the speech.

Rubio, who often has accused Crist of refusing to take a stand on issues in his Senate campaign, had no comment on the speech or Greer, a campaign staff member said.

But Rubio couldn’t stop himself from tweeting about it.

“I have no problem with President giving political speech to kids……..if his name is REAGAN,” he said in one Twitter message.

McCollum, asked about the speech during a news conference Tuesday, said he saw nothing wrong with the Obama addressing schoolchildren.

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McCollum Bashes Public Option

Posted on 08 September 2009 by admin

Bill McCollum

Bill McCollum

Attorney General Bill McCollum bashed the “public option” included in President Barack Obama’s and Congressional Democrats’ proposed health care reforms, saying it would ration health care.

McCollum, the presumptive GOP candidate for governor, held a campaign event this morning in which he trashed the government-backed option to health insurance and challenged his presumptive Democratic opponent Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink to do the same.

McCollum, who served in Congress for more than two decades, announced the creation of a health care advisory board and dragged out a six-year-old report issued by businesses and the insurance industry as a guideline for health care fixes in Florida.

The best way to fix health care maladies in the Sunshine State, according to McCollum: more tort reform.

Medical malpractice premiums are the main cause for the state’s escalating health care costs, he said.

He asked Sink to join him in opposing the health care reforms now being considered by Congress if the plan includes:
- the public option or any government-run insurance;
- a $500 billion reduction in Medicare that would be passed on to the states;
- any expansion of Medicaid.
McCollum also asked her to reject the plan if it does not include significant tort reform.

McCollum showed more tolerance towards Obama’s speech to schoolchildren, which Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer has publicly pounded on national television.

“I have no problem with the president addressing schoolchildren,” he said when asked about it. McCollum also said he would allow his own children to watch it if they were school-age.

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Sink Axing BlackBerries

Posted on 03 September 2009 by admin

Alex Sink

Alex Sink

These days, Florida’s chief financial officer is cutting corners wherever she can.

Alex Sink, who is hoping to win the seat now held by Gov. Charlie Crist, said her department has instituted cost-cutting measures that will result in savings of some $210,000 a year in wireless costs — a 37 percent reduction, according to a media release issued by her office.

Some of those cuts are coming as a result of disconnecting 116 BlackBerrys, 56 cell phones and 40 air cards that Sink’s office determined did not meet newly established criteria. The rest is coming from lowering monthly costs for services and reducing unused services.

“We are always looking for more efficient and cost-effective ways to do business and figuring out ways to cut cell phone and BlackBerry spending just made sense,” Sink said in a release.

Less than a year ago, Sink, who is running a campaign on a platform of fiscal responsibility, announced plans to consolidate her department’s 11 consumer call centers into two call centers. The consolidation, which took effect Feb. 1, has saved nearly $727,000, with $2.25 million projected in annual recurring savings, according to the release.

In June, Sink and Attorney General Bill McCollum, who also is running for governor, defended themselves against allegations they were racking up flights on state planes at taxpayer expense. She said she reimbursed the state for any flights taken by her family.

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McCollum: Indian Gaming Agreement Illegal

Posted on 01 September 2009 by admin

Bill McCollum

Bill McCollum

Attorney General Bill McCollum says he has some concerns about the gaming compact that Gov. Charlie Crist signed with the Seminole Indian Tribe on Monday.

But he says the ultimate decision as to whether to accept the deal is up to the state Legislature.

McCollum still insists that until an agreement is approved by lawmakers, the Seminoles are operating cards games at their casinos in violation of state law.

The tribe has continued offering banked card games and class III slot machines even though the Florida Supreme Court threw out the original compact with the state that permitted them to operate those games.

The justices ruled Gov. Charlie Crist lacked authority to enter that agreement without legislative approval.

Meanwhile, Crist says he’s more concerned about what happens if the Legislature doesn’t approve the new deal which would provide the state with a minimum of $150 million a year for 20 years.

Nearly all the money would be used for public schools, state and community colleges, and state universities.

“My concern if we don’t, the Legislature doesn’t, is that the federal government will allow them to do it anyway and then we won’t get a dime of the money,” said Crist.

“Right now the Seminole Indians in my judgment and I think anybody else who looks at it from a law stand point, are committing a crime in the state of Florida but we have no way to enforce that. It can only be enforced by the federal government. However, if the get a compact, whatever terms the compact are, if the Legislature approves it and it goes through and so forth of course then it’ll be the law of the state,” said McCollum.

The agreement signed Monday by Gov. Crist and the tribe would allow blackjack and other banked card games at all seven Seminole Indian casinos -including Broward County locations- not just the four that the Legislature authorized when setting parameters on the deal last spring.

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Noted Economist Declares Candidacy For Florida Governor

Posted on 31 August 2009 by admin

khavari1bMiami, FL (MMD Newswire) August 31, 2009 – - Noted economist Farid A. Khavari announced that he is a Democratic candidate in the 2010 Florida gubernatorial race. “I have published a complete plan to revive Florida’s economy and make Florida recession-proof,” said Khavari. “We can put 700,000 Floridians back to work. The state can earn billions providing 2% mortgages and 6% credit cards. We can cut insurance costs by 30% across the board, and reduce energy costs. All together, an average Florida family will own their home 15 years sooner and save $200,000 in interest, insurance and energy costs with this plan. State and local governments will save billions per year. We can do this without higher taxes.” Khavari’s proposal for a publicly-owned bank has attracted national attention since it was announced in July.

“What other candidate even has a plan?” asked Khavari. “All we read in the papers is how much money they have raised, not a word about any plans except to get elected.”

Khavari cited Alex Sink and Bill McCollum as examples. “Alex Sink is Chief Financial Officer of Florida. She is one of three trustees of the State Board of Administration. In the past two years this fund has lost over $50 billion, about 40% of its value. This is outrageous but it is being covered up.”

When asked how a $50 billion loss could be covered up, Khavari replied, “That’s easy. The other two trustees of the SBA are the Attorney General and the Governor.” CFO Sink is now a Democratic candidate for Governor, Attorney General McCollum is a Republican candidate for Governor, and Gov. Charlie Crist is running for the U.S. Senate.

The State Board of Administration is custodian of funds from about 1,000 state and local government entities in Florida including pension funds for state and municipal workers. “Whether this is negligence, stupidity or corruption, I cannot say,” said Khavari, “but they didn’t lose this money buying blue chip stocks. They lost it playing in high-risk derivatives and other trades that no sane person would consider.

“My plan will earn $50 billion for the state, and much more, without higher taxes. Who else has a plan? The media are dazzled by which candidate has raised the most money. Do you think those millions came from ordinary people? The media made a big scandal over $50,000 worth of rides in state airplanes, but this $50 billion loss is a million times bigger and the media are helping to cover it up.”

Khavari noted as an exception a series of articles by four-time Pulitzer winner Sydney P. Freedberg published in the St. Petersburg Times and archived online atwww.tampabay.com/writers/sydney-p-freedberg.

Farid A. Khavari, Ph. D., is the author of nine books, including Environomics. His latest book, Toward a Zero-Cost Economy, is available in stores or for free download atwww.khavariforgovernor.com.

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McCollum Speech at Stateman’s Dinner

Posted on 27 August 2009 by admin

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Sink Feels Confident That She Can Lead Resurgence

Posted on 19 August 2009 by admin

Alex Sink

Alex Sink

TALLAHASSEE – Just a few years ago, Alex Sink couldn’t have envisioned her position today: Atop the Florida Democratic Party, hoping to lead a resurgence after it has been out of power in state politics for more than a decade.

In an eventful summer, the first-term chief financial officer has toiled behind the scenes to pick up Democratic endorsements and campaign cash — and worked to craft an image that has eluded Democrats in recent years, that of a budget-hawk conservative.

A career banker who had never run for office until the CFO job opened up in 2006, Sink, 61, said her swift rise in Democratic circles was “totally unintentional.”

“I think she represents the new face of the Democratic Party, as to fiscal responsibility,” said House Democratic Leader Franklin Sands, D-Weston. “We’ve been tagged as being bleeding heart liberals, and that’s not really accurate. Now it’s time for us to define ourselves, and she is the definition of the Democratic Party.”

With the 2010 election still 15 months away, Adelaide “Alex” Sink faces significant obstacles. Two polls this week show her trailing her likely Republican rival, Attorney General Bill McCollum. And many voters don’t know who she is.

In an interview, Sink said she plans to weave a personal narrative through her campaign. She grew up on a farm in Mount Airy, N.C., the town that inspired Andy Griffith‘s Mayberry. The future math major was put in charge of the family checkbook as soon as she learned to write in cursive, at 10 years old. She even made her own clothes, she said, becoming “quite the seamstress.”

“I think it’s important for Floridians to know a lot more about me on a personal level,” said Sink, who still speaks with a Southern lilt. Indeed, Sink’s first campaign-style video emphasizes her farm-girl roots, “where hard work and self-reliance were a way of life,” an announcer says.

In Tallahassee, Sink has spent two-plus years as CFO forging an image not as a partisan flamethrower, but more of a measured policy wonk.

Sink calls her job a perfect fit for a self-described “math nerd.” When she came into office in 2007, she put jars of beans around her office, a reminder of a 2006 campaign attack dismissing her as a mere “bean counter.”

As CFO, Sink combined 11 consumer hotline call centers into two, saving millions in overhead. And she pulled the plug on Project Aspire, a program to standardize the state’s accounting system that had drained $89 million with little to show for it.

Republicans, though, say her two-plus years in office have been light on accomplishments. “I think Alex Sink, from a public service standpoint, is going to have a hard time promoting specific decisions she’s made that have benefited Floridians,” said Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer.

Even if Sink has focused on money-saving moves that are small in light of Florida’s $65 billion budget, she says they indicate how she’ll govern: with an eye on items that don’t usually grab headlines, like contracting and operational efficiency.

As she told the fiscally conservative Florida TaxWatch last week, “I’m full with enormous ideas about waste. We can run government more efficiently. There are still, I believe, hundreds of millions of dollars out there. Let’s go after that.”

Sink said that’s why she wants to be governor — to apply her business experience to ferret out waste in the dozens of agencies run by the governor. Her campaign also will have a broader theme, one that is so far lacking specifics: creating a new economy for Florida. She notes the state seems stuck in a boom-bust cycle, built on growth and real estate.

“It always bursts. And then we get left behind,” said Sink.

Still, Sink — and her CFO office — remain something of a mystery to most voters. Functioning similar to a state treasurer, the CFO oversees 13 agencies and about 3,000 employees. She is also the state’s fire marshal, reflecting the hodgepodge of duties combined to create the office in 2002.

Another part of Sink’s background is more politically complicated: Her quarter-century as a banker, culminating as Florida chief for Bank of America from 1998-2000, when she retired. In an era of bailouts and bonuses, the public seems fed up with big banks.

Allies, though, say Sink has the kind of story and experience that will appeal to voters. “She’s had a career outside of politics. It’s a background voters are looking for,” said Sink pollster David Beattie.

Sink and her husband, 2002 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill McBride, have two kids. Bert McBride is a senior at Stanford University and an offensive lineman on the football team. Her daughter, Lexi, is entering her junior year at Sink’s alma mater, Wake Forest University.

Sink, a millionaire from her banking career, lives in Thonotosassa, near Tampa.

“I had my own perspective, I have the perspective of a business woman, a farm girl, a working mom, a PTA mom,” said Sink. “I want to bring my business experience in here and look at the way government is run. And it’s not run very efficiently.”

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