YOUR DAILY WEEKLY READER: Jim Greer's bluff (redux), Uber vs. cabbies, gunshine!



THE PART WHERE FORMER RPOF CHAIR DOESN’T UNDERSTAND THE ARC OF PUBLIC NOTORIETY: “Now, he's ready to talk. After the judge put down his gavel, the cameras left the room and the power brokers, presumably, convinced him that discretion was in his best interest. Now, Jim Greer is ready to tell all. The former leader of the state Republican Party, finishing the final stretch of an 18-month prison sentence for dipping into the GOP's coffers, has a book ready to hit the shelves. Now, do you care? Fifteen months ago, Greer was the talk of the state. He was threatening to tell every dirty secret from every dark corner of Florida at his trial. He was bragging that the movers ought to be worried and the shakers should be shaking. And then he inexplicably entered a guilty plea before the fun ever began. Greer went to prison, politicians went back to work and accountability went missing. He swore that his guilty plea was meant to spare his family any more heartache, but the cynical — and probably logical — assumption was that Greer was handed a financial incentive by political bigwigs to take his sordid tales with him to prison. So, let's start there. If Greer, 51, wants us to believe his soon-to-be-published stories of shenanigans and betrayals, then he needs to fully explain why he wasn't willing to defend himself in a courtroom. And why he let those supposed scoundrels off the hook in 2013. For a man whose credibility is already worn thin, it is essential that he come clean about any circumstances that caused him to change his tune on the eve of his trial. Otherwise, his claims will be as suspect as his motivations.” (via Tampa Bay Times)



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THE FIGHT FOR BASIC FAIRNESS CONTINUES UNABATED, GATHERING MORE PLAINTIFFS AND MORE CALLS FOR ACTION: “The ACLU of Florida is demanding Florida immediately recognize the marriages of same-sex couples performed in other states or countries. The rights group has filed a motion in federal court asking U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle “to stop enforcement of the constitution and statutory ban on recognizing the marriages of these couples,” ACLU spokesman Baylor Johnson said. “Florida’s marriage recognition bans harm all of the plaintiffs represented in the case by stigmatizing them and their children and by denying them access to state and federal protections,” according to an ACLU news release. In March, eight same-sex couples who married elsewhere in the United States sued Florida to recognize their unions: Sloan Grimsley and Joyce Albu of Palm Beach Gardens; Lindsay Myers and Sarah Humlie of Pensacola; Chuck Hunziger and Bob Collier of Broward; Juan Del Hierro and Thomas Gantt Jr. of Miami; Christian Ulvert and Carlos Andrade of Miami; Richard Milstein and Eric Hankin of Miami; Robert Loupo and John Fitzgerald of Miami; and Denise Hueso and Sandra Jean Newson of Miami. On April 10, the ACLU amended its complaint by adding another plaintiff: Arlene Goldberg of Fort Myers, whose wife, Carol Goldwasser, died March 13. Goldberg and Goldwasser had been partners for 47 years. They moved from the Bronx to Florida in 1989 and married in New York in October 2011.” (via Miami Herald)


THE UBER-CABBIE FIGHT THAT YOUR LEGISLATORS CAN’T GET THEIR GRAY HEADS AROUND: “The battle this year between Uber, an app company that offers rides for users, and traditional cab companies over legislation allowing the San Francisco-based upstart to operate in Tampa is not just one of many “food fights” between interest groups playing out in the Legislature. It’s a flashpoint of a clash between a new, technology-driven “sharing economy” in which new technological devices connect vendors’ goods and services with consumers, and an old, 20th-century economy with rusty regulatory schemes. State lawmakers have been slow to make changes to adapt to the new apps on the block.   “Any time there are new things, any time there are challenging issues, this process is grindingly slow sometimes,” said Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, sponsor of SB 1618 to allow Uber to gain a stronger foothold Tampa. If you need a lift in sprawling Jacksonville right now, you can download the Uber app on your cell phone and get a car to pick you up, swiping your credit card each time you ride. Riders in Tampa, however, must rely on traditional taxicabs, although Uber has just begun to tentatively step into the Tampa market. Cab companies from across the state have helped to block SB 1618 and its House companion, HB 1389, to give Uber a path into the Tampa market, where the Public Transportation Commission in Hillsborough County announced this week it would begin issuing fines to Uber’s drivers, according to the Associated Press. Traditional cab companies say the newcomers like Uber and Lyft, a similar app company that matches drivers with empty seats to those in need of a ride, don’t have the same insurance and safety requirements they face. Cabs must also stop for everyone, and can’t discriminate against users who don’t pay their full fare. Older, less tech-savvy riders, especially in greying Florida, would be hard-pressed to adapt if Uber muscled in.” (via The Florida Current)


COME FOR THE “GUNSHINE” PUN, STAY FOR THE IDIOTIC MARION HAMMER QUOTE: “The Florida House on Monday gave its approval to a bill that would let teachers pack heat at school. The 71-44 vote Monday was largely symbolic. The proposal is a long shot in the more moderate Senate, where it has stalled in committee. Still, the vote made one thing clear: the National Rifle Association is powerful force in the Florida Capitol. "This is the sixth gun-related bill that we’ve done this session," said Rep. Lori Berman, a Lantana Democrat. "Meanwhile, background checks have not been discussed. It's no wonder Florida has the nickname the Gunshine State."The bill (SB 968/HB 753) would let school leaders designate certain employees to carry concealed weapons on campus. In order to be considered, the employees would have to have a concealed weapons license and either military or law enforcement experience. The proposal would also require schools to hold drills to prepare for active-shooter situations. Republican Rep. Greg Steube, of Sarasota, first pitched the idea in early 2013, weeks after a shooter killed 20 students and six staff members at a Connecticut elementary school.  The NRA was an early supporter of the proposal. "The best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," longtime NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer said.” (via Miami Herald)



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