If only we could say three strikes and you're out to Rick Scott, he would have been gone soon after inauguration. Another bad week keeps getting worse for the guy who's playing badly. For those of you keeping score:
Scott Takes A Swing At Crist, Hits His Own Party And Lt. Governor
His latest reelection bone is to cut auto tag fees, which will net some Floridians up to a whopping $25 (don't spend it all in one place kids!) if they renew their vehicle registration after Sept. 1 when the law goes into effect.
As always, Scott made a big production out of signing the new law, but he also used it as a campaign event as he keeps doing over and over again. The ethical line between official state business and campaigning doesn't seem to matter to him and no one has done anything much about it, so this was just more of the same. He tried to pin the blame for the previous fees on Charlie Crist. Unfortunately when he tries to take a swing at Crist, he also hits his own party who controlled the state when Crist was governor and this time was no exception. As a bonus, he also managed to hit his latest Lt. Gov.
"We're here because in 2009, Charlie Crist raised this tax," Scott said. "We are going to right the wrong of the 2009 tax increase that Charlie Crist enacted."
Capitol bill signings traditionally celebrate bipartisan teamwork. By repeatedly calling out Crist by name, Scott linked the event directly to his re-election prospects, and legislative leaders picked up the theme...
...What Scott didn't say was that Weatherford, Senate President Don Gaetz and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera voted for the higher fees, as did virtually every other Republican legislator.
Lopez-Cantera was House majority whip, responsible for rounding up the 77 Republican votes to approve the higher fees.
But he said Wednesday he was following Crist's lead.
"When you're getting a strong message from the governor's office and only given one option, it makes it more difficult," Lopez-Cantera said.
Funny. That certainly didn't happen when Rick Scott said he was suddenly in favor of expanding Medicaid for a nanosecond. The subject hasn't even come up this session.
Scott, incidentally, was never interested in cutting tag fees either until it was time for reelection.
Another Republican Leaves The Field To Join Crist's Team
Former Gov. Charlie Crist appeared at Tampa's Straz Center for the Performing Arts Tuesday to announce an endorsement from banking magnate and philanthropist David Straz, who shared his thoughts on Scott:
“I believe that it is the responsibility of each of us to give back to our communities,” he said. “Unfortunately, some outsiders come to Florida and just take.”
He said Scott “took from Floridians as a CEO,” an apparent reference to Scott's career as head of a hospital chain, which included an investigation and $1.7 billion fine for Medicare fraud.
“He took away high-speed transportation and jobs from the city of Tampa. He wanted to take away $4.8 billion from education and he took away access to affordable health care for 1.1 million Floridians.”
Yes, David Straz is a Republican. Unless the Florida GOP has run him out of the party already for hugging Crist as I was writing this.
A Foul Invitation?
Tonight a fundraiser is being held in Tampa for Rick Scott by Mel Sembler, the founder of a notorious substance abuse rehab program that folded after allegations of extreme abuse were lodged against several of its facilities.
Crist also got an invitation to the Scott event, he said Thursday. He couldn't explain why.
A History Of Misses
Before he became governor, Scott co-founded a chain of walk-in health care clinics called Solantic. One former Solantic employee – Dr. David Yarian – accused Scott of discriminatory hiring practices when it came to Latinos. Yarian claimed Scott encouraged “mainstream” hires when faced with a Latino job candidate, and that Scott said “no” to hiring an otherwise qualified candidate based on his “slight accent.”
In addition to Yarian, Solantic came under fire from multiple other employees with similar claims. Between 2003 and 2005, five Solantic supervisors and two employees claimed the company prevented hiring based on race, age or weight. These seven employees filed a combined lawsuit in 2006, and Solantic settled for an undisclosed sum in 2007.
Not Helping: His Team Members
Finally, those who run the Florida GOP Twitter feed and Anti-Crist meme patrol (and apparently 12-year olds) have been busy today attacking Charlie Crist for his "lavish lifestyle." Because they can't even sneeze without being hypocritical. Last time I checked, Rick Scott was the one spending millions to purchase the governor's office, and dare I suggest, the state of Florida, in his mind judging by how he attempts to run it.