Tuesday, September 28, 2010

County commission debates on Wednesday

The first of several Bradenton Herald-League of Women Voters-Manatee Education Television candidate forums will air Wednesday on METV.

Manatee County Commission candidates Robin DiSabatino and Roger Galle, vying for the District 4 seat, will participate in the 7 p.m. forum, followed by District 6 at-large candidates Sundae Knight and Carol Whitmore at 7:45 p.m.

Forums be posted on Bradenton.com and will also be replayed on METV, which can be found at Bright House channel 614, Verizon channel 31 or Comcast channel 19.

Monday, September 27, 2010

MoveOn.org endorses Golden for Congress

The liberal political action group MoveOn.org has endorsed Democratic nominee James T. Golden in his challenge of U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, according to a release from Golden's campaign.

“I wish thank the members of MoveOn residing in the 13th Congressional District for recommending the endorsement of my candidacy, and I thank MoveOn.org for accepting the recommendation," Golden said in the statement. "I have already pledged through MoveOn to support campaign finance reform and to oppose cutting Social Security benefits. I am proud of this endorsement, and I will be appreciative of MoveOn.org's continued support and will certainly continue to consider their positions."

Golden, a Bradenton minister and attorney, is a former member of the Bradenton City Council.

Meanwhile, Golden starting today will be holding a series of "community conservations" in the district that he said will "demonstrate his commitment to engaging all of the people."

The schedule is:
• Monday, Sept. 27 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Fruitville Library, 100 Coburn Road, Sarasota.
• Monday, Oct. 4 from 6 to 8 p.m. in conjunction with Manatee County Medical Society's Candidate Forum at the Dolphin Aviation Center in Sarasota.
• Tuesday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. in Arcadia (location TBD).
• Friday, Oct. 8 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Gulf Gate Library, 7112 Curtiss Ave., Sarasota.
• Tuesday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. in conjunction with the Hardee County Builders Association's Candidate Forum in Wachula (location TBD).

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Political journalist to speak in Sarasota on Oct. 4

Just in time for the upcoming elections, veteran political journalist Mark Halperin will be the first speaker in Forum Truth's 2010-2011 lecture season.

Here's the news release from Forum Truth:
Forum Truth is pleased to announce that its first speaker of the 2010-2011 season will be TIME Magazine Editor-at-Large and senior political analyst Mark Halperin. Halperin will appear on Monday, October 4 at 7:30 pm at the Sarasota Hyatt Regency ballroom, 1000 Boulevard of the Arts. Tickets are $25 for Forum Truth members and $30 for non-members. Students 21 and younger are free with reservation.

“We are very excited to announce that Mark Halperin will be joining us on October 4,” remarked Irene Bandy-Hedden, chair of Forum Truth. “With the November elections coming up, there is no one better to present a clear picture of what is happening and where we might be headed.”

The title of Mark Halperin’s talk is “President Obama, the Republicans, the Midterms and Beyond,” all subjects of great concern as we approach the November elections. Some of the questions Halperin will address are:

• What will happen in Florida's critical Senate and gubernatorial races?
• What can President Obama do to try to save the Democratic majorities in Congress?
• What happens to our taxes, health care, and foreign policy if Republicans take over?

As Editor-at-Large and senior political analyst for TIME, Halperin covers politics, elections and government for the magazine and TIME.com. Halperin is also the creator and author of TIME.com’s “The Page,” a news and analysis tip sheet that gathers and edits the latest political stories, campaign ads, TV clips, videos and campaign reactions from every news source, along with Halperin’s own analysis.

Halperin is also a senior political analyst for MSNBC, where he appears regularly on "Morning Joe" and other programs on the cable channel.

Prior to joining TIME in 2007, Halperin’s journalism career covered politics. For 20 years, he worked at ABC News, where he covered five presidential elections and served as political director from November 1997 to April 2007. Additionally, Halperin founded and edited the online publication The Note on abcnews.com, which was characterized as the most influential daily tip sheet in American politics by publications including The New Yorker, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Vanity Fair.

Halperin is also the author of many New York Times best-selling books, including “Game Change” which he published in January of this year with New York Magazine writer John Heilemann. The book uses over 200 resources to report the inside story of the 2008 campaign.

“Mark Halperin is watching and reporting on every notable election coming up in November,” continued Bandy-Hedden. “Our timing for this presentation and discussion could not have been better planned. All of our forums include an open microphone following the talk where audience members can ask questions of our knowledgeable speakers. It is always an interesting interchange with lots to learn. October 4th will surely be a fascinating evening for all who attend.”

Forum Truth is a voluntary, not-for-profit organization that provides public forums on important issues without the influence of special interest groups. The meetings presented by the group provide reliable, in-depth and easily accessible information on issues of national importance. All presentations are open to Forum members and non-members alike. Since its inception in 2003, the membership group has brought over 75 nationally acclaimed, professional speakers to the Sarasota/Manatee area. To order tickets, become a member or for more information on Forum Truth, visit the website, www.forumtruth.org or call 941-349-8350.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Roll Call names Buchanan 8th richest member of Congress

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan in 2009 was the eighth wealthiest member of Congress, with his net worth rising by 11 percent, according to Roll Call.

The magazine listed Buchanan's net worth at $55.47 million, although Roll Call acknowledged that may not be entirely accurate because senators and representatives only have to list on disclosure forms their assets and liabilities in broad ranges. The figure was calculated by adding the lower end of each range for assets and then subtracting it by the lower end of the range for liabilities.

This is what Roll Call wrote about Buchanan:
Buchanan boosted his minimum net worth by more than 11 percent in 2009 after reducing his debt by $3.75 million.

The Florida lawmaker, whose empire includes auto dealerships, real estate and investment accounts, reported paying off mortgages and lines of credit valued at a minimum of $4.25 million. He also dropped a $500,000 second mortgage on a Florida investment property and a $1 million loan tied to Suncoast Ford dealership from his annual report.

But Buchanan added a $1 million debt for the purchase of an Embraer Phenom aircraft and increased the debt tied to one of his auto dealerships by $500,000 to a minimum loan of $1 million.

Buchanan also reported transactions in his GenSpring Family Offices investment account that increased the fund’s value to more than $16 million in 2009 from about $13 million the previous year
 The richest member of Congress, according to Roll Call, is Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., with a net worth of $188.37 million, according to Roll Call.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Citizens group endorses Knight, Galle for Manatee commission seats

A local citizens group formed earlier this year to support candidates for the Manatee County commissioner who would be more responsive to "neighborhood interests than to special interests in the development community," has endorsed two Democratic candidates in the Nov. 2 general election.

In the District 6 at-large race, the Manatee Coalition for Responsible Government has endorsed Sundae Knight in her bid to unseat incumbent GOP commissioner Carol Whitmore.

Whitmore, said MCRG in a news release, is "an entrenched incumbent heavily financed by developer funds."

"Sundae's professional experience as an engineer and problem-solver across a wide range of issues would be of considerable benefit to the citizens of Manatee County," the news release states.

And in District 4, the MCRG is backing Roger Galle, who is running against Republican candidate Robin DiSabatino. The MCRG had endorsed Norm Luppino in the Aug. 24 primary.

"Roger's opponent has taken substantial contributions from developer and related business interests," the news release states. In contrast, Roger is committed to act on behalf of the citizens of Manatee County and has declared that District 4 is not for sale."

The MCRG-backed candidates trail far behind their respective opponents in fund-raising.

As of Aug. 19, Knight had raised less than $2,400; compared to more than $75,000 raised by Whitmore, according to reports filed with the Manatee County elections office.

In District 4, Galle had raised more than $3,300; compared to more than $117,000 raised by DiSabatino.

Earlier this year, the MCRG had endorsed Michael Gallen, who ousted incumbent Commissioner Gwen Brown in the Aug. 24 Democratic primary. Gallen is unopposed in the general election.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Kendrick Meek has a new ad, too

U.S. Senate candidate Kendrick Meek today released a new television ad:

Crist plays word game in first campaign ad

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist today released the first television ad for his general election campaign for the U.S. Senate.

In the ad, Crist visually rejects both the Republicans and the Democrats to reveal who he vows he will represent if elected.