5. If you get close enough to the TV, you can see the union bosses pulling Bill McBride's puppet strings.
4. Start your own debate about Bill McBride's plans: what are they? what taxes will he increase to pay for them?
3. If you miss the debate because you're working late, remember that Bill McBride's tax plan will address that by throwing thousands of Floridians out of work.
2. Start a raffle: if you guess the total number of times Bill McBride says "I'll just roll up my sleeves," or "I'll just get everybody around the table," you win!
1. If you have to go to the bathroom, duck out when Bill McBride is talking about crime, the environment, seniors, economic growth, diversity, child welfare, growth management, or student achievement. It's not like he's going to say anything anyway.
Governor Jeb Bush and Lt. Governor Frank Brogan will join Central Florida supporters following the debate!
6:30 p.m. party begins
8:30 p.m. Governor Bush and Lt. Governor Brogan join supporters
Holiday Inn at UCF
12125 High Tech Avenue
Join other Bush-Brogan supporters for Debate Watching Parties in your area!
Duval County Republican Headquarters
4963 Beach Blvd.
To FL folks, FYI.
Jeb's letter to the editor
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
200 E. Las Olas Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Stephen Goldstein misrepresented my record 24 different ways in his October 16 column. Here are 24 truths to set the record straight.
1. Florida does not have a budget deficit. Revenues next year are projected to be $1.4 billion greater than this year. Since taking office we have increased state budget reserves from $1.3 billion to $3 billion.
2. Tax relief for Floridians is what has allowed Florida to lead the nation in job growth in the past year.
3. As other columnists have noted, a multitude of investors - personal and institutional - held Enron stock. I am leading the effort to hold our pension managers accountable for any wrongdoing. Meanwhile, despite the decline in the stock market, Florida's pension system actually has a 15 percent, $13 billion actuarial surplus.
4. Florida's 5.1 percent unemployment rate is 0.5 percent lower than the national average, and we have the second lowest unemployment rate among the 10 largest states. I suppose our average wages would rank higher if more Floridians were unemployed, as they are in other states.
5. Median household income stats tell the same story. I'd rather have more Floridians working than only the wealthy, especially during uncertain economic times. Personal income growth in Florida is also outpacing that of the nation this year.
6. We are now serving 45,000 more seniors in community-based care than four years ago, thanks to a funding increase of nearly 60 percent. Funds for seniors in nursing homes have increased by 53 percent.
7. Rising health insurance costs are not unique to Florida. This year I signed a bill that will expand heath care options for low-income uninsured Floridians through Health Flex Plans.
8. Our Silver Saver prescription drug plan covers those seniors who need it most, and I signed a bill that provides a prescription drug discount to all Medicare beneficiaries. The only alternative I've heard is to petition Washington to fix the problem. I didn't want our neediest seniors to wait for that.
9. Florida's high school graduation rate is not down, it is up, from 60 percent three years ago to over 63 percent last year.
10. Florida's average SAT verbal scores are higher than those of Georgia, New York, North Carolina and Texas, and are tied with
California's. Our average SAT math scores are better than Geogia's, and tied with those of North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas. More students are now taking the SAT and ACT because through One Florida we are encouraging more minority students to think about college sooner.
11. K-12 education funding in Florida is up $3 billion, a 27 percent increase over four years.
12. Factor in student growth and inflation, and we still have a better funding record than did our predecessor in either of his two terms. Over his eight years, inflation-adjusted per-student K-12 funding actually declined. Under our watch, it has gone up.
13. Even more importantly, student achievement is up in Florida, with rising reading and math scores especially noteworthy among African-American and Hispanic students.
14. Smaller class sizes are helpful, but a hard and fast limit for every class in every grade at every school in Florida would mean busing students across districts in mid-year while leaving no money left to improve teacher quality and compensation.
15. Average teacher salaries are up in Florida, and are now over $40,000 for the first time. Florida teachers also pay no state income tax, and their retirement benefits and liability insurance are provided to them at no cost, unlike in most other states..
16. Tuition and fees at state universities are the third lowest in the nation, and we rank fifth in total students in postsecondary education and first (by a wide margin) in the number of associate degrees awarded per 100,000 population. Any "national study" that gives Florida a D for costs and opportunity to attend college isn't worth the paper it's printed on.
17. I have appointed a diverse group of judges who I'm confident will never be tempted to rule that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional. I have also appointed the first Hispanic, Justice Raoul Cantero, to the Florida Supreme Court.
18. We have doubled child welfare funding in Florida and embraced community-based care for providing child protective services. There's no question we have more work to do, but we are making progress here after decades of neglect.
19. After others "talked the talk" for years about oil drilling off Florida's shores, we finally "walked the walk" and secured agreements to preserve Florida's pristine beaches and other ecological treasures from drilling.
20. I'm proud of my environmental appointees as well. It took many leaders, including environmental activists and business people, to secure a visionary agreement to restore America's Everglades, the largest ecological restoration project ever.
21. For the first time in our state, school boards and county
commissions will work together to make sure development doesn't outpace the infrastructure needed to support it.
22. Florida's crime rate is the lowest it has been since 1972.
23. Florida's prisoners are now serving over 80 percent of their sentences, up from less than 50 percent in 1994.
24. Violent gun crime is down 24 percent over the past three years.
We have a long way to go on a lot of fronts in Florida, but at least we have made progress or offered solutions on every single one of these points, along with many others Mr. Goldstein failed to mention -- such as serving the developmentally disabled or meeting the post-9/11 domestic security challenges-- because our record there is unassailable.
Mr. Goldstein, like so many others in public life, offers only
criticism, with no responsible alternatives or solutions.
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
By Stephen L. Goldstein
Bushwhacked-Floridians are worse off than we were four years ago. Thanks to Jeb Bush's voodoo economics, smoke-and-mirrors education reforms, environmental poison pills and right-wing pandering, the state is in shambles. Florida needs regime change. Here are 24 reasons to vote the governor out of office on Nov. 5.
1. Jeb has turned the $3 billion surplus he inherited from Lawton Chiles into a deficit of between $1.4 billion and $4 billion.
2. The governor has engineered multibillion-dollar tax giveaways for corporations and the wealthiest Floridians.
3. Florida's pension fund lost $355 million on its Enron
investments, buying shares in the company when everyone was selling.
4. The average wage in Florida has dropped to just 87 percent of the national norm.
5. Florida is one of only 12 states in which median household income declined in 2001.
6. The governor promised to eliminate the backlog of 11,000 seniors on the waiting list for services through the Department of Elder Affairs. Today, the list has swelled to over 14,000.
7. Health insurance costs are spiraling out-of-control.
8. Jeb's prescription drug plan covers only 68,000 seniors, barely 2.5 percent of the state's older population.
9. In spite of Bushian buzzwords about improving education (FCAT, A+ Plan, vouchers and charter schools), Florida's high-school graduation rate has slipped from 44th to the worst in America.
10. SAT scores have dropped from 40th to 47th; ACT scores, from 35th to 38th.
11. Pre-Jeb, Florida was 29th nationally in spending per pupil; in 2001, it fell to 40th.
12. The governor's alleged $3 billion increase in education funding is a figment of his imagination. Factor in inflation and student growth, and the money allocated per student has risen less than one-quarter of one percent.
13. Class size in Florida schools, among the worst in the nation, dropped from 42nd in 1998 to 44th in 2001.
14. Research cited by the U.S. Department of Education concludes that reducing class size to below 20 students leads to higher achievement, but the governor says he has "devious plans" to flout the constitutional amendment reducing class size if it passes Nov. 5 and he is re-elected.
15. Florida's teacher salaries have dropped from 28th to 31st in the nation.
16. A national study of higher education gave Florida a D- because of relatively high college costs and a D+ because comparatively few state residents go to college.
17. The governor has grabbed the power to appoint everyone on the state's 26 judicial nominating commissions, so he can stack the courts with right-wing judges opposed to abortion and likely to push a conservative agenda.
18. Candidate Bush promised to fix Florida's foster-care system in six months; Gov. Bush let the Department of Children & Families become a national scandal.
19. On the environment, Jeb talks the conservation talk, but doesn't walk the walk. In public, he says the right things; behind the scenes, he pushes developers' agendas.
20. The governor has appointed anti-environmentalists to water management districts, the Environmental Regulatory Commission and judgeships.
21. Ignoring the objections of more than 100 environmental and citizens' groups, Jeb signed a law which funds the state's portion of Everglades restoration, but includes a "poison pill" that restricts Floridians' ability to challenge developers who submit anti-environmental permit requests.
22. Violent crime in the state increased at six times the national average from 2001 to 2002.
23. For the first time since 1996, overall crime incidence in Florida increased.
24. The governor claims his 10-20-Life law has led to a decrease in gun crime, but the firearm crime rate was on the decline before 10-20-Life and actually increased in 2001 -- for the first time since 1997.
In 1998, candidate Jeb asked you to give him four years, so he could create a better Florida. Many of you kept your end of the bargain; he didn't. "Fool me once; shame on you. Fool me twice; shame on me." -- the truth of the adage should not be lost on voters.
Stop the bushwhacking: Whack Bush out of office on Nov. 5.
Stephen L. Goldstein's commentaries are broadcast on "South Florida Today" on WXEL-Ch. 42. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is there any truth to the rumor that McMumbles is just going to send a tape which calls for "Lower class size"?
Jeb is one sharp cookie, he is probably the smartest of the family.
Thanks for the heads-up, summer. I'll be here! I hope Russert doesn't try to help McMumble too much. I don't trust him.