Category Archives: Democrat

Sleight of Hand: Florida’s Magician Governor Rick Scott

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I love a good magic show and have been fooled by some of the best. When street magician extraordinaire David Blaine made ¾ of a deck of cards disappear in front of my eyes just prior his show here in Miami last year, I was stunned. By any measure, David is an amazing artist and makes his craft look, well, like real magic.

But as wonderful as he is, you know that he’s an expert at deception, at sleight of hand, of making uncomfortable, often impossible things appear normal. Right before your eyes.

Carter The Great

The longer I follow Florida’s Governor Rick Scott the more I become convinced that he’s also a world class necromancer, a magician of sorts (apologies to real magicians). In fact, David Blaine has nothing on our Governor and if you were to wonder why I think this, you need only to consider a few of the tricks he’s pulled on Floridians and our environment in recent years.

Alakazam: Making “Climate Change” Disappear

Houdini

Houdini would blush at how Governor Rick Scott made our climate crisis and phrases like “climate change”, “sea level rise” and “global warming” disappear from state records and reports during his terms in office as was widely reported in the media and press (click here to learn more).

Rather than deal with the issue in a direct, decent way, the Governor has insisted that those who work for him should avoid using these terms and others as if the problem does not exist. You can learn more about his tricks and even see him perform by watching the short video produced by Ahead of the Tide entitled Chapter Three: The Political Climate.

The Amazing Power Plant Vote Vanish

Thurston

Conjurer, I mean Governor, Scott pulled an especially big rabbit out of his hat in Broward County last month by making a long-expected vote in support of a gigantic new power plant disappear. Scott’s largest corporate donor (giving a reported $ 500,000 to his U.S. Senate campaign), Next Era Energy’s Florida Power & Light (FPL) plans to build the new power plant in Dania, a facility it describes as world class. Unfortunately, we’ve also learned that the planned “Dania Beach Clean Energy Center” plant will produce a “net increase from some pollutants”.

The Governor did not, of course, use his magic to require his friends at FPL make the pollution disappear. Doing that would have been rude considering the price they’ve paid ($ 500,000) for tickets to his “show”.

No, what he did was postpone the long-planned September 11th hearing to approve the plant until after the upcoming election, likely deciding it better that news of the plant, its vote, his support and especially the news that it will actually increase pollution disappear until after the polls close. It’s like watching that age-old trick where the magician asks you to find where the ball is hidden under a set of cups, reliant upon the notion that the hand is quicker than the eye.

Florida’s Climate Change Litigation Levitation

Kellar

And that leads me to this week’s long planned legal Hearing in Tallahassee for the climate change lawsuit that seven other Florida children and I have brought against the State, our Governor and others. We filed our case (Reynolds v. State of Florida) in April (you can read about it here).

Late Monday, just three days before the October 4th Hearing and many months after the Judge was assigned the case, Judge Cooper announced that he was recusing himself due to a conflict of interest, turning the case back over to the Chief Justice and, thus, requiring that a new Judge and Hearing date be set. You can read about the Judge’s recent decision in the article from Politico below:

Key hearing in climate change lawsuit delayed after judge steps aside

By Bruce Ritchie

10/01/2018 05:49 PM EDT

A state judge today removed himself from a lawsuit challenging Florida’s inaction on climate change, indefinitely delaying a key hearing that had been scheduled for Thursday.

Circuit Court Judge John C. Cooper, in an order recusing himself from the case, said he had a conflict of interest and asked the chief judge to assign one of his colleagues to the matter.

Cooper provided no details about led to the decision and did not respond to requests for comment. He had scheduled the Thursday hearing to consider the state’s motion to dismiss the case.

The lawsuit, filed in April, alleges state officials ignored a constitutional policy requiring Florida “to conserve and protect its natural resources and scenic beauty.”

Briefs filed in July on behalf of Gov. Rick Scott several state agencies argue the state constitution is not self-executing and that the court is being asked to involve itself in policy decisions and executive branch functions.

The lawsuit was filed by eight Florida residents ranging in age from 10 to 20 and is supported by the Oregon-based nonprofit Our Children’s Trust, which has been involved in similar lawsuits in other states.

A copy of Cooper’s request can be viewed by clicking here.

 

 

The immediate reaction by many was to ask whether the Governor and politics have played a role in this surprise news just days before the Hearing. Lawyers tell me this type of decision this close to a planned Hearing is unusual but not unprecedented. And, of course, there is supposed to be a separation between our Executive and Judicial branches of government but the recent Supreme Court deliberations in Washington illustrate that that politics and the courts interact in strange and mysterious ways.

Whether the Governor performed some sort of sleight of hand to not face our concerns (and us) just before the election, I can’t say, but as a well-known climate change denier and someone who has spent two terms avoiding the topic he’s likely not unhappy with the news. Having to publicly answer tough questions about his total lack of action on an issue impacting millions of Floridians, one that local communities are already spending hundreds of millions of dollars on to mitigate could and should hurt his chances on November 6th, so the postponement could be seen as welcome news the same way delaying the polluting power plant vote might help.

Political hocus pocus?

Perhaps.

But you can rest assured that our Hearing will be rescheduled and that we will have our day, likely many days, in Court. My young friends and I are resilient, we will NEVER give up until we solve the climate crisis and our society shifts to sustainable energy solutions. Doing that will not require magic but hard work and perseverance to break through established politics and special interests.

Until then, please keep in mind that the real magic this Fall takes place in the voting booth where the Governor can be made to vanish from office and, I hope, disappear from politics all together faster than you can say Sim Sala Bim. The magic wand to make that happen is in your hands and appears on November 6th. I sure hope you use it wisely. Florida’s future depends on it.

You’re 18 Years Old… You’re A Little Young & Naive

Today is the last day that you can register to vote if you want to vote in the upcoming August 28th Florida Primary, and the good news is that registration is super quick and easy. I know this from experience because I registered to vote yesterday online, and on an iPad, while traveling. It took less than 5 minutes so if you’ve not yet registered please do so today. You can register online at http://dos.myflorida.com/elections/for-voters/voter-registration/register-to-vote-or-update-your-information/ and, again, the deadline is today, July 30th, so if you plan to vote in the August 28th Florida Primary it’s now or never to register.

Florida has nearly 13 million registered voters of which 37% are Democrats, 35% Republicans and 28% have no party affiliation. Florida’s primary election allows either registered Republicans or Democrats to vote (those with no affiliation or a minority party affiliation can go online to the same link above, change your affiliation, vote in the primary and then go back online and change it to whatever you want for the general election).

“You’re 18 Years Old…You’re A Little Young & Naive

Scott Wagner

If you are unhappy with our political landscape and political leaders then now is the time to step up and do something to help change things. But if you need extra motivation (although I can’t imagine nearly anyone needs any given the assault being waged on decency and our environment in places like Tallahassee and Washington) then I would like to introduce you to Scott Wagner, a Republican candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania, and his ever so ignorant and rude attack of 18 year old Rose Strauss who recently had the audacity to ask the candidate about our global climate change crisis.

Rose, you see, pointed out that two third’s of Pennsylvania voters believe that climate change is an issue that needs to be addressed by the government, but the esteemed Mr. Wagner shared his view that climate change is caused (as writer Dave Barry would say…”I am not making this up”) by people’s body heat and that if elected he does not plan to do anything to address climate concerns. Rose went on to ask Mr. Wagner whether his position has anything to do with his having taken $200,000 in donations from the fossil fuel industry (you go girl) and his answer illustrates most everything that we need to change about political leadership all over America:

“You’re 18 Years Old…You’re A Little Young & Naive

And what does the audience of, I would guess, mainly Scott Wagner supporters do to Rose after hearing his answer?

They laugh.

And what does Mr. Wagner do next?

He tries to change the topic, of course, by saying let’s talk about something else.”

That is until someone shouts out answer the question!”

Mr. Wagner then asks to no one in particular, Are we here to elect a governor, or are we here to elect a scientist?” (that’s similar to fellow Republican and Florida Governor Rick Scott’s “I am not a scientist” answer about climate change). Last March this same “non-scientist” addressed the natural gas industry and explained that the climate change crisis was, in his view, caused by the earth moving closer to the sun every year (science long ago proved that the sun has nothing to do with causing climate change).

Now if you still need motivation you can watch the entire exchange in a short video here: https://www.facebook.com/NowThisPolitics/videos/2177218115643000/.

Whether you are young like Rose and me (we are both 18 and 2018 will be our first time voting) or a seasoned veteran of many elections, now is the time that we can start to change things for the better. No matter if your concerns relate to immigration, global affairs, equality, our environment or something else, NOW is when we can start to elect the type of leaders that are dedicated to beginning to fix what is horrifically broken.

I hope that you will join Rose and me and other “young and naive” people all over America who believe that the “American Dream” includes every American, who believe that protecting our environment is a patriotic endeavor and who are certain that transitioning our economy from fossil fuels to sustainable energy will lead to American invention and innovation unlike anything in the history of our great country.

Yes, if you want to make things better then please be sure to register and then go out and vote in the Primary (08/28) and General Election (11/06). Rose and I are counting on you to help us defeat people like Scott Wagner and Rick Scott so that our generation can start to work on fixing what’s wrong.

9½ Minutes

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Want to quickly learn about climate change politics? All you needed to do was watch last week’s Presidential debates from Miami and consider a few numbers:

Two

That’s the number of Presidential debates held in Miami this week. One for the Democrats at Miami Dade College and one for the Republicans at the University of Miami.

Four

The total number of hours the candidates debated here in Miami, two hours at each debate for each party.

Six

The number of candidates still running for President and participating in the debates. Within this number, here’s another; Four, that’s the number of candidates that actually addressed climate change and sea level rise (meaning two, Trump and Cruz were never asked about, nor mentioned the topic).

Two

The total number of questions the media had for the candidates between the two nights on climate change and sea level rise. One each night.

10:30 PM

The approximate time at which the moderators brought up climate change and sea rise and within that number, here’s another; 1½ hours, that’s how far into a two hour debate it took before the candidates were asked about this topic each night.

9½

Nine and half minutes.

That is the total amount of time that the candidates and mass media devoted to this critical topic during both debates while here in Miami. Nine and a half minutes on an issue that will define my generation’s time on the planet.

At 10:27 PM the Democrats were asked about climate change and discussed it until 10:32, for five minutes. Senator Rubio was asked about the topic in the Republican debate around 10:30 PM and he and Govenor Kasich spent four and a half minutes sharing their views.

Since the debates, some have expressed being pleased that the moderators even asked about the topic and that some of the candidates talked about it. I don’t see it that way, I feel as if the moderators, Univision and CNN, let our community and country down by not asking more, by not pressing each candidate into sharing their views and discussing the topics in more depth.

The topic also deserved far more time, especially given where the debates were located. We know, and knew, that both Democrats support change, Sanders being very aggressive about what must happen; Clinton seeming more moderate in her views.

I learned that Kasich is open minded and wants, he said, to embrace alternatives including solar power. Rubio was, once again, a terrible disapointment. A total Fail as my friends and I would say. I could write an entire blog about how disapointed I was over his scripted answers and lack of leadership and, although I can’t yet vote, I can say that he will never, ever, receive a vote from me in the future and that the sooner we replace the man as our Senator with someone of substance, the better.

Whoever each party nominates, the candidates and media will be back in Florida before the election in November. And when that happens we must demand that the media and each candidate deeply discuss their views on global warming, climate change and sea level rise.

If we have any doubt that rising seas are a problem in our community, click here to see an article from today’s Miami Herald about the emergency measures that the City of Miami Beach is making because of this growing problem. And if you have any doubts that this is a global problem, click here to read an article about how Alaskan kayak tour outfitters are worried that the glaciers that they guide visitors to see will be gone within just a couple of years.

Now, allow me to end with a few more numbers…

2015

The hottest year on record in 136 years of data.

2045

The year in which it is predicted that seas may have risen by as much as 2 to 3 feet.

2100

The year in which it is predicted that seas could rise anywhere between 6 and 10 feet, if not higher.

It’s time to get started solving the problem and the next American President needs to help us (please) lead the way. Spending more than a few minutes on the topic in coming debates and months would be a good way to start. We and our planet deserve more than the 9½ minutes they collectively spent on it this week. Our country deserves nothing less and our planet, as well as my generation, demand it.

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