The Democrats running for governor are boasting about raising big money for their campaigns.

“Our record-setting quarter is the clearest indication yet that my vision for keeping Florida’s promise is resonating in communities all across Florida,” U.S. Rep. Jim Davis said of the $2.27-million he’d raised through March 31.

Success?

Davis, who outraised his Dem primary opponent state senator Rod Smith, is sucking wind financially compared with Crist, who has raised $8.8-million, and Gallagher, who has raised $6.6-million.

The Democrats are hedging their bets – many are backing both Crist & Smith. Such longtime Democratic money-machine trial lawyers as Gary Pajcic of Jacksonville, John Morgan of Orlando, Fred Levin of Pensacola of Steve Yerrid of Tampa are helping raise money for both.

That’s not to say Democratic donors have written off the state or put away their checkbooks. Far from it. They just like sure winners.

Democratic donors are enthusiastic about other races. Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson from Orlando has proved to be one of the country’s top Senate fundraisers. But in the marquee race for governor, the vast Democratic fundraising community in Florida is not yet convinced Democrats can win.

It’s a big leap to cast Crist as the winner this far out, especially as he has to get through a Republican primary in which Gallagher has millions to tear him down. That Gallagher and Crist are raising such eye-popping sums – more than $15-million combined, compared with $4-million for the Democrats – ironically may be the Democrats’ best weapon.

With little money and two candidates unknown by the vast majority of voters, the Democratic victory plan victory relies on the two well-known Republicans ripping each other’s faces off – and the assumption that once the nominees are chosen in September, national Democrats will pour money into Florida to win the Governor’s Mansion.

National money flooding in to help the Democratic nominee is no sure thing, however. Back in 2002, the teachers unions virtually bankrupted themselves helping Bill McBride get stomped by Jeb Bush. Count them out this time. Likewise, the AFL-CIO has split, and its campaign spending in Florida is uncertain at best. Trial lawyers so far seem most enamored with Smith, but also comfortable with Crist.

  1. It has knownly misrepresented facts to scare residents into voting down the park, and we will expose those misrepresentations every week.
  2. They have attacked the character of the proponents of the Community Maritime Park – the surest sign of a weak position.
  3. They have few hard facts to support their opinions.
  4. They have no real estate appraiser’s report to support their valuation of the land.
  5. They have done no polling of city voters to verify that they have enough support for a referendum – which may cost us $50,000.
  6. They use circular logic to fight the park. For instance, one hand they want nationwide bids on the park, but then they criticise Quint Studer for not living in the City of Pensacola.
  7. Their alternative proposal is a municipal auditorium and public park – the very thing the citizens rejected three years ago.
  8. Their delays are driving up the costs of the project every day as interest rates rise and the cost of materials rise. But they won’t take responsiblity and instead will blame Quint Studer.

“The Trillium site is worth $30,000,000 to $50,000,000 based upon comparable sales of downtown waterfront property…”
—From Save Our City Website.

The maximum net value of the Trillium property is $4,173,000, not $30,000,000 to $50,000,000.

Save Our City bases its “valuation” of the Trillium property on Founder’s Charles Fairchild sale of his downtown office building. There was no independent property appraisal done by the group.

On the corner of Main and Palafox streets, an eight-story condominium, The Floridian, will be built on the site of Fairchild’s old office. The sale price translates to about $2.1 million per acre. Therefore, SOC deciphers that the Trillium land is worth at least $30 million, i.e. 15 developable acres times $2.1 million per acre.

There are few problems with the SOC valuation. First, no one, including SOC, wants the Trillium property covered with eight-story condominiums. Besides it’s not zoned for such an intense use.

Secondly, there are considerable site development costs, such as streets, storm water retention and public plazas, that must be done on the Trillium property that the Floridian developers don’t have to do. In a true property appraisal, the site development, parking and transaction costs are deducted from the gross value of land to determine its net value.

Real estate advisors Abramson & Associates gave the Trillium a maximum net value of $4.173 million after deducting $13.747 million in site development, parking and transaction costs from a gross land value of $17.91 million.

A New New Orleans?

April 16, 2006

The political landscape of New Orleans may change dramatically with their upcoming local elections. For the first time since the 1950s, the majority of the voters may be white.

This will be the most important election in New Orleans’ history. Yet civil rights advocates, legal experts and researchers warn that not nearly enough has been done to protect against the disenfranchisement of New Orleans residents — a majority of them African-American and from poorer neighborhoods ravaged by Katrina.

According to John Logan, a professor of sociology at Brown University, more than twice as many blacks as whites were displaced out of state after Katrina. Logan headed a study released in January that found that New Orleans could lose up to 80 percent of its black population if residents displaced by Katrina were unable to return to their neighborhoods.

Logan’s research included the Current Population Survey released by the U.S. Department of Commerce in December, which showed that an estimated 102,000 African-Americans outside Louisiana were eligible to vote, compared with 48,000 whites. The number of blacks scattered within the state drops to an estimated 31,000, compared with 92,000 whites.

To date, there have only been 17000 absentee ballot requests.

Hurricane Katrina and FEMA’s inability to help return victims get back to their neighborhoods may have unfortunately done the social engineering that racist like David Duke have been trying to do for years.

Spiraling out of control

April 15, 2006

It appears the Bush Administration has begun to fall apart. Rove, Chaney and company see the end of their power reign in two years and have decided to cash in. They are leaving Bush out to dry as he stumbles through one disaster to another – declassifying documents, illegal immigrants, etc.

Expect the GOP to suffer thru the 2006 election season.

TruthDig by Robert Scheer
Now Powell Tells Us

The President played the scoundrel–even the best of his minions went along with the lies–and when a former ambassador dared to tell the truth, the White House initiated what Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald calls “a plan to discredit, punish or seek revenge against Mr. Wilson.” That is the important story line.

If not for the whistleblower, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, President Bush’s falsehoods about the Iraq nuclear threat likely would never have been exposed.

On Monday, former Secretary of State Colin Powell told me that he and his department’s top experts never believed that Iraq posed an imminent nuclear threat, but that the President followed the misleading advice of Vice President Dick Cheney and the CIA in making the claim. Now he tells us.

The harsh truth is that this President cherry-picked the intelligence data in making his case for invading Iraq and deliberately kept the public in the dark as to the countervailing analysis at the highest level of the intelligence community. While the President and his top Cabinet officials were fear-mongering with stark images of a “mushroom cloud” over American cities, the leading experts on nuclear weaponry at the Department of Energy (the agency in charge of the US nuclear-weapons program) and the State Department thought the claim of a near-term Iraqi nuclear threat was absurd.

“The activities we have detected do not, however, add up to a compelling case that Iraq is currently pursuing what INR would consider to be an integrated and comprehensive approach to acquire nuclear weapons,” said a dissenting analysis from an assistant secretary of state for intelligence and research (INR) in the now infamous 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, which was cobbled together for the White House before the war. “Iraq may be doing so but INR considers the available evidence inadequate to support such a judgment.”

The specter of the Iraqi nuclear threat was primarily based on an already discredited claim that Iraq had purchased aluminum tubes for the purpose of making nuclear weapons. In fact, at the time, the INR wrote in the National Intelligence Estimate that it “accepts the judgment of technical experts at the US Department of Energy (DOE) who have concluded that the tubes Iraq seeks to acquire are poorly suited for use in gas centrifuges to be used for uranium enrichment and finds unpersuasive the arguments advanced by others to make the case that they are intended for that purpose.”

The other major evidence President Bush gave Americans for a revitalized Iraq nuclear program, of course, was his 2003 State of the Union claim–later found to be based on forged documents–that a deal had been made to obtain uranium from Niger. This deal was exposed within the Administration as bogus before the President’s speech in January by Ambassador Wilson, who traveled to Niger for the CIA. Wilson only went public with his criticisms in an op-ed piece in the New York Times a half year later in response to what he charged were the Administration’s continued distortion of the evidence. In excerpts later made available to the public, it is clear that the Niger claim doesn’t even appear as a key finding in the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate, while the INR dissent in that document dismisses it curtly: “[T]he claims of Iraqi pursuit of natural uranium in Africa are, in INR’s assessment highly dubious.”

I queried Powell at a reception following a talk he gave in Los Angeles on Monday. Pointing out that the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate showed that his State Department had gotten it right on the nonexistent Iraq nuclear threat, I asked why did the President ignore that wisdom in his stated case for the invasion?

“The CIA was pushing the aluminum tube argument heavily and Cheney went with that instead of what our guys wrote,” Powell said. And the Niger reference in Bush’s State of the Union speech? “That was a big mistake,” he said. “It should never have been in the speech. I didn’t need Wilson to tell me that there wasn’t a Niger connection. He didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know. I never believed it.”

When I pressed further as to why the President played up the Iraq nuclear threat, Powell said it wasn’t the President: “That was all Cheney.” A convenient response for a Bush family loyalist, perhaps, but it begs the question of how the President came to be a captive of his Vice President’s fantasies.

More important: Why was this doubt, on the part of the secretary of state and others, about the salient facts justifying the invasion of Iraq kept from the public until we heard the truth from whistleblower Wilson, whose credibility the President then sought to destroy?

In matters of national security, when a President leaks, he lies. By selectively releasing classified information to suit his political purposes, as President Bush did in this case, he is denying that there was a valid basis for keeping the intelligence findings secret in the first place. “We ought to get to the bottom of it, so it can be evaluated by the American people,” said Sen. Arlen Specter, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. I couldn’t have put it any better.

This article can be found on the web at
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060424/scheer0411