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3 posts from January 26, 2014

January 26, 2014

Election year realities dampen governor, GOP enthusiasm for gambling debate

As Gov. Rick Scott ramps up his re-election bid, he wants his legacy to be the state's declining unemployment rate and jobs, but the next few months could shape his message on a more controversial issue: gambling.

Will the state renew or expand the Seminole Tribe's monopoly on blackjack and other casino-style table games? Should the state allow slot machines in communities, like Palm Beach and Naples, whose voters have approved them at their racetracks? Will casino giants Genting and Las Vegas Sands be allowed to build a resort casino on the shores of Biscayne Bay or in Broward County?

Because it's an election year, most observers believe the governor will avoid finding answers.

The issues don't lend themselves to 30-second campaign spots and pressure is mounting for lawmakers to postpone a decision on the most controversial gambling ideas until next year. Senate Gaming Committee Chairman Garrett Richter, R-Naples, is already lowering expectations.

"If an election year has any influence, it could influence the magnitude of what's undertaken,'' he told the Times/Herald. He suggested that a modest bill that tightens loopholes may get passed with everything else shuttled to another year. Story here.

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Part autobiography and part campaign document, Charlie Crist's new book rewrites some history

@MarcACaputo

Charlie Crist told the people in the crowd to stand up. They did.

“Now please sit down,” he said. They complied again.

“Look how much power I have over you, and I haven’t even won yet,” Crist joked, drawing laughs — and ultimately a landslide of votes — to win his first election as student council president.

Many years and elections later, we see the same old Crist. Friendly, with a knack for winning a crowd.

But nowadays, he’s trying to move the masses in a far more difficult way — as an author explaining his party-switching in his new book The Party’s Over: How the Extreme Right Hijacked the GOP and I Became a Democrat.

Reader beware.

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Miami-Dade schools superintendent says he's not jumping into politics. For now.

@PatriciaMazzei

Alberto Carvalho is not, technically, a politician. 

But as superintendent of the Miami-Dade County public school district, one of the largest in the country, he knows a thing or two about persuading policymakers (school board members) and running campaigns (for a $1.2 billion taxpayer-backed bond program). And few public figures in South Florida are more smooth in their dealings with elected officials and the public than Carvalho, who has been known as Mr. Armani.

Which is why he has long been rumored as a candidate for office -- county mayor, perhaps, or member of Congress.

Carvalho said Sunday that he's not interested. But he wouldn't rule politics out.

Do you have ambitions to run for public office? Miami Herald news partner WFOR-CBS 4 investigative reporter Jim DeFede asked on Facing South Florida.

"Um," Carvalho began.

DeFede cut him off: "That's a yes..."

"I'm constructing a politically correct answer," Carvalho responded with a glint in his eye. "I'm going to say no."

But not never.

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