YOUR DAILY WEEKLY READER: Sheldon slams Bondi, Scott ties tongue, weed woes



PAM BONDI'S OPPONENTS ARE WELL AWARE THAT PAM BONDI HAS LOST HER MIND. THAT'S GOOD TO KNOW: “While George Sheldon is new to Florida’s attorney general race, he’s no stranger in state politics. The onetime Democratic representative said Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi has been wasting taxpayer resources on partisan crusades that don’t directly affect Florida policy, he told the Tampa Bay Times editorial board Wednesday. Citing Bondi’s involvement in lawsuits opposing the Affordable Care Act and the Chesapeake Bay cleanup, Sheldon said she had turned a traditionally non-partisan position into a soapbox. Her vocal support of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling on contraception and declaration that recognizing gay marriages performed in other states would “impose significant public harm” in Florida are further proof, he said. “I really think she sees herself as the governor’s lawyer, not the people’s lawyer,” Sheldon said. Her opposition to these issues coincides with an overall shift among states with Republican attorney generals to become more partisan over the last four years or so. But even among that group, Bondi is as “far out” on the right on issues. He further criticized Bondi for one of her political committees accepting a $25,000 contribution from one of Donald Trump’s foundations three days after her office began reviewing allegations by the state of New York about Trump-connected get-rich-quick seminars. Sheldon said the state needs to consider reversing course on some subjects based on how much they truly would help the state, including Medicaid expansion, which he said would save the state money even when federal funding would be reduced in the future. He also would not oppose medical marijuana; Bondi this year had taken a proposed amendment to allow the drug to the state supreme court over ballot language. “Your first duty is to the constitution,” he said, saying subjects like equality and voter rights are more the things attorney generals should be defending.” (via Tampa Bay Times)


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RICK SCOTT'S STRATEGY IS ACTUALLY SOME STRANGE FORM OF INDECIPHERABLE POLITICAL SANSKRIT, OR HE CAN'T BE TRUSTED TO TELL THE TRUTH: "Until Charlie Crist and gay marriage changed the narrative late last week, Gov. Rick Scott was getting a buzz saw of negative publicity about the way he handles questions from the press. As in Scott never directly answers them. Scott's non-answers over his use of on-duty police at a campaign event was seized on first by television stations in the critical Tampa Bay media market and was mocked nationally by Anderson Cooper on CNN. By week's end Scott was also getting hit by stations in voter-rich South Florida. Any chance this will prompt Scott to change his strategy with the press and media? In a word: No. Let's set aside the fact that many politicians, including former Gov. Crist, avoid answering questions directly (with the possible exception of former Gov. Jeb Bush as correctly noted by Aaron Deslatte with the Orlando Sentinel.) Instead let's remember how we got here. Back in 2010 when Scott the "outsider" and a tea party favorite was on the trail the main campaign fear was a non-stop barrage of questions about Scott's record with Columbia/HCA. So he avoided editorial boards, was careful about his interactions with the press, and talked about jobs, jobs, jobs. When he took office, that didn't change initially. The Scott team tried to stay on message and to carry out an ambitious agenda of cutting taxes, spending and regulations. That created a lot of conflict with the press because the Scott folks didn't want to answer questions about issues that didn't have to do with Scott's theme of the day. (Which works during a campaign, but not when you are governor because lots of things happen in a big state that are out of your control.) Then after Scott changed his first chief of staff he tried to communicate in a much less restrained fashion. The problem was that as a person who did not have a lot of political street smarts prior to getting elected Scott and his team quickly realized that a handful of misstatements, gaffes, whatever would start to burn out of control (Anthropology majors, disappearing dogs, interactions with the King of Spain etc. etc.) So with a third chief of staff and a new communications director Scott began sticking to the script again (for the most part). Scott only answers questions when it benefits his tactics and strategy. (via the Fine Print)



HOLD UP, IT'S GONNA BE HARD TO GET RID OF THAT MEDICAL MARIJUANA BIZ IF IT FOLDS, STONER: “As support for Amendment 2 picks up across the state, Floridians are eager to get their hands in the medical weed industry game. But it's become clear recently that the Republican-controlled Legislature might cap the number of dispensaries and limit the number of people who can cash in. Consider California. When medical pot was first legalized there, dispensaries popped up everywhere. Voters decided to limit them, and many closed down, leaving would-be entrepreneurs in the dust. But what happens when a medical marijuana business fails? Four court rulings from Colorado, California, and Oregon suggest it's not pretty. Because medical marijuana still isn't legal on a federal level and bankruptcy cases are handled in federal court, the government won't let anyone involved with pot restructure his debt. To the feds, dealing with weed is still "illegal activity," even if it's perfectly above board to be a warehouse landlord, dispensary owner, or caregiver in your state. Here's how courts have ruled in the past: Oregon, June 9, 2011: A debtor tried to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy. He made his money from Oregon Medical Growers LLC, which leased a warehouse to people who grow pot as well as a tattoo parlor. Because part of the debtor's income was derived from doing business with pot growers, a debt repayment plan was denied by the courts; California, November 29, 2011: Plaintiff Northbay Wellness Group was set up to sell medical weed. Its attorney told the owners not to pay state income taxes, a piece of bad advice that cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars later on. When the company tried to sue, the courts invoked the "clean hands doctrine" that "closes the doors of a court to one who is tainted relative to the matter in which he seeks relief, no matter how improper may have been the behavior of the defendant."; California, October 4, 2012: Mother Earth's Alternative Healing Cooperative Inc. tried to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The court said no, because it was in violation of the Controlled Substances Act; Colorado, December 19, 2012: A landlord tried to file Chapter 11 without knowing that 25 percent of his income came from a tenant who grew pot. This violated a so-called "crack house" statute, which caused the courts to dismiss the case. Bill Simonitsch, a commercial litigator in Miami, says that if people want to set up medical marijuana businesses in Florida, they should be aware of the attendant risks.” (via Broward Palm Beach New Times)


OPERATION SAVE AMERICA EMBARRASSES AMERICA AGAIN. SURPRISE!: "The anti-abortion activist father of a pair wanna-be reality TV stars disrupted the services of a Unitarian church Sunday while the congregation was honoring a member who had died. Members of Flip Benham’s Operation Save America group delivered an impromptu sermon while the congregation at First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans was observing a moment of silence. “Into that sacred silence, a voice began to speak, and it began to speak about ‘abominations,’” said Rev. Deanna Vandiver, adding that the protesters shouted that their church was not a true faith. “Literally in our most tender and vulnerable space, religious terrorism began.” Operation Save America, which grew out of the Operation Rescue movement tied to the assassination of Dr. George Tiller, described the church as a “synagogue of Satan” for its longstanding support of reproductive rights. “During an open ‘meditation’ time, Deanna (Waller) shared the Word of the Lord,” the anti-abortion group said on its website. “When the female ‘pastor’ took issue, Deanna reminded her that, ‘It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones’ (Luke 17:2).” Vandiver invited the protesters to stay, but only if they could do so respectfully, and church leaders escorted out the most vocal protesters. “I think we were an easy target, because we’re literally just a few blocks down the road from where they’re building this (Planned Parenthood) clinic,” Vandiver said. “But we are not interested in being terrorized. Freedom of speech does not trump freedom of religion.” (via Raw Story)


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