Monday, July 14, 2014

Rick Scott's Contempt for the Public

The next category in my list is Contempt for the Public, and it's a long one. And why isn't that a surprise? Scott's supporters happily allow Scott to crap in their face, and then praise him for doing it.

Rick Scott believes that he can divert attention away from his failed policies and performance by using a variety of shallow and controlling distraction tactics, some at taxpayer expense. He also considers himself above the law and above public scrutiny, and has done all he can to control damaging information being released to the public.
95) Rick Scott has avoided the Florida Sunshine Law.
The Sunshine Law requires transparency in Florida’s government. Scott and his team have avoided using email precisely in order to avoid there being a public record open to inspection, and have even illegally deleted emails. In the latter case, FDLE found no intent of wrongdoing in an investigation, but even if the emails were simply lost, that is an incredibly careless management of a substantial amount of state material that is in the public trust.
96)  Rick Scott spent state funds using shallow tactics to improve his image and “likeability” rather than addressing the real problems that caused his unpopularity.
Scott has tried several techniques to improve his image with angry Florida voters, ranging from using social media, to “workdays,” to casual dress. This shows great disrespect to voters, whom he apparently expects to forget all about the harm he has caused, simply because e.g., he stopped wearing a necktie. None of these efforts worked, and were abandoned. There is also hypocrisy here, since Scott has also said that he doesn’t pay attention to polls.
The trend has now continued with Scott using taxpayer dollars to send out “congratulatory” messages to people like lottery winners and schoolchildren as a way to campaign under the radar.
97) Rick Scott has used all of these shallow tactics in spite of saying he does not care about his favorability ratings.
The glaring hypocrisy speaks for itself.
98) Rick Scott sponsored an “alligator hunt” fundraiser in which he ignored permit restrictions.
The event was cancelled under pressure, and Scott deflected questions about his responsibility.
99) Rick Scott has failed to fulfill a promise of transparency through his “Project Sunburst”.
Scott and his leading staff members continue to evade transparency by not using emails to communicate. This effectively means that Project Sunburst was nothing more than a ruse to make it seem as though transparency was being offered.
100) Rick Scott has intruded upon voters with annoying “robocalls” – and not during the campaign season.
While a lot of candidates use these, and we’ve come to expect them during election season, Rick Scott has excelled in tackiness and intrusion by using robocalls to self-promote during his term. 
101) Rick Scott in 2011 declared a public ceremony to be “private” and his staff had law-abiding protestors thrown out.
Not only was it unprecedented for a budget signing to be designated as “private,” this event reveals the sort of dictatorial attitude Scott brings to his administration.
102) Rick Scott asked his supporters to send pre-written letters to the editor to support him.
This tactic says a great deal about Scott, because it suggests again that he demands unqualified and unthinking obedience rather than careful consideration of his policies
103) Rick Scott has imposed extra rules on the media, including trying to cherry-pick which reporters can attend events.
This is clearly done to limit access to information flow. Scott’s controlling nature in this regard has exceeded that of past governors.
104) Rick Scott dragged his feet on re-examining the “Stand Your Ground” law.
No matter how you feel about this law, or about the Martin-Zimmerman issue, Scott’s lackadaisical approach to the matter was appalling. In a society of representative democracy like ours, it is appropriate to re-examine legislation at times of serious controversy.
105) Rick Scott has handed out an abundance of “Great Floridian” awards.
It’s not so much that he hands out the awards as that he’s done so as a way to distract from his failures. Scott has far exceeded past governors in handing out these brownie buttons.
151) Rick Scott is clueless about the need to raise the minimum wage.
Regardless of how you feel about this issue, Scott’s response to it shows how little he understands everyday economics. He said: "When I hear a politician say that we have to raise the minimum wage so working families can make ends meet, I cringe, because I know that statement is a lie…Even if we did raise the minimum wage, working families will still not be able to make ends meet on those jobs. We need good jobs that lead to good careers for our families and that's what I am focused on."

Scott is just plain clueless here. Let's say we get a bunch of "good jobs" as he says.
That still doesn't give the vast majority of people without training, the training needed to take those jobs. By the very nature of this society, the vast majority of jobs aren't what he calls "good". There just isn't any need for that many engineers, biologists, etc. The vast majority of jobs will always be "bad" ones (using his own term, in reverse parody). KMart will still need cashiers no matter what, so what's he think is going to happen? Does he expect there to be no KMarts?


153) Rick Scott has an extended record of dodging critical questions from the media.
This article lists multiple incidents: Scott has avoided answering questions about how well his staff checked out former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, who was forced to resign last year over ties to a questionable veterans' charity; whether Florida Power & Light should be allowed to raise rates on consumers; whether it was right for Attorney General Pam Bondi to ask that he delay an execution because it conflicted with her campaign fundraiser; whether the state should sell flood insurance to homeowners; and whether he agreed with Republicans in Congress who were willing to risk a federal government shutdown last fall to end funding of Obamacare.
In Clearwater in November, Scott attended a groundbreaking for a storage company's expansion. When WFLA's Mark Douglas asked Scott how a registered sex offender got a state license as a massage therapist, Scott replied by saying how "exciting" it is that Florida's crime rate keeps dropping.
But Ferre wanted a yes-or-no answer on whether Scott favors the Common Core standards for students, and his reply deftly avoided one: "My goal is, have high standards. Measure everything. Reward success."
Ferre wanted to know what Scott thinks of Charlie Crist as a 2014 gubernatorial opponent, and he answered by saying how much he wants his three grandchildren to get jobs.
After the U.S. Supreme Court's same-sex marriage rulings last June, Capitol reporters asked Scott how he would feel about a petition drive in Florida that would legalize the practice.
"Oh, gosh," Scott replied. "I'm focused on making sure everybody in our state can get a job."
Is this leadership?
155) Rick Scott has failed to fill over 250 appointed state positions.
These range from oncologists for a state cancer advisory board to clerks of court. Not filling these positions causes delays in services to everyday citizens. Typically, Scott dodged answering when asked when he planned to fill these positions. 
165) Rick Scott wants President Obama to act on flood insurance rate hikes, but in the past, cut off Florida’s ability to negotiate for lower health insurance rates.
Regardless of where you stand on either issue, the hypocrisy is glaring.
166) Rick Scott is pandering to Florida voters by asking Obama to act on these flood insurance rates.
As one of the articles above notes, there is already a bill moving through Congress, and expected to pass, taking care of this issue. 
167) Rick Scott hypocritically is calling for Obama to take action on flood insurance now, while he has sat on his hands doing nothing to encourage the Florida Legislature to approve the Medicaid expansion.
In the article above:

"There's a lot of talk in Washington, there's not enough action," Scott told reporters. "They've been talking about this for months. They haven't passed anything."

Scott's call for Obama to use executive action comes as Republicans have blistered the president for acting alone in other areas and injects fresh partisanship into an issue that has gotten bipartisan support on Capitol Hill.

The point is not where you stand on either flood insurance or Medicaid, but that Scott is calling for Obama to perform the very sort of action that he refuses to do when it comes to the Medicaid expansion. He is obviously grandstanding for the election year.

168) Rick Scott has claimed President Obama “raided” Medicare, even as he has admitted that it was his responsibility that his company, HCA, defrauded Medicare.

We can debate the virtues of health care budgeting back and forth.  But regardless about how you feel about that, this is a glaring hypocrisy by Scott.

169) Rick Scott’s chief labor negotiator is denying firefighters adequate protection.
Among the more ridiculous claims is that national standards don’t apply to forestry firefighters.
170) Rick Scott travels via his own private plane on state business in order to evade accountability.
Scott claims this is for security reasons, but if that is true, then he is evidently far more paranoid than most state governors, who don’t see a need to do this. He is also more paranoid than Florida’s past governors, and even himself, since he formerly did not do this. It is also belief by the fact that he hides so much of his schedule.
171) Rick Scott is purposely avoiding big issues for the 2014 campaign.
In a cynical ploy to avoid controversy that would route him the 2014 election, Scott (with help from Republican legislators) is avoiding big-ticket issues, leaving important work undone. 
173) Rick Scott has dodged questions about mis-spent money by Enterprise Florida.
From the article below:
CBS 12 demanded 20 months worth of spending from Enterprise Florida, Florida’s public-private economic development machine.

Our Waste Watch investigation showed Enterprise Florida, which is 97% publicly funded, spent tens-of-thousands of your tax dollars on luxury sky boxes, upscale steakhouses, and at posh hotels, but created less than half of the 200,000 jobs initially promised.

"These abuses of taxpayer money are just excessive and need to be reined in," Dan Krasner of watchdog group Integrity Florida said.

Wednesday night, the Governor's office responded to our report with a statement, "Governor Scott is laser focused on creating job opportunities so that every family can pursue their dreams in the sunshine state."

Enterprise Florida continues to defend its spending habits, releasing a statement less than 24 hours after our report aired. It said in part, "Stadium expenditures were for site selection consultant events, key to building relationships with corporate decision makers while promoting Florida as a premier state for business."

Really? You need a luxury skybox to build a relationship with some  people?
174) Rick Scott deflected questions on his stance on Arizona’s law concerning religious belief and homosexuality.
It took Crist calling Scott down for him to finally take a stance.
179) Rick Scott evaded explaining why Crist should be blamed for the 2008 recession’s effects in Florida.
In the State of the State speech, Scott said:
Some say these statistics were all because of a global recession. They say it doesn’t matter who was running our state – that anyone would have been just a victim of the times. 

I disagree.

As Americans, our freedom and our optimism make us anything but victims – even in the worst circumstances and the toughest times.

Our leaders especially – and every person in our state – are not simply bystanders in the arena of life where the hard battles are fought and history is made.

He goes on like this for a while, but the one thing he doesn’t do it explain what, exactly, Crist (or any state governor) was supposed to do about a worldwide recession. Optimism won’t pay your mortgage. Scott goes on about fighting battles and not being a victim, but he never gets around to explaining what, exactly, ought to have been done – because he can’t. The reality is that if he had been governor in 2008, he would have been standing around with his jaw dropping the same as so many other politicians.

180) Rick Scott relied on a questionable report to claim that Florida’s teachers were second most effective in the nation.
181) Rick Scott misled voters when claiming Florida’s 4th graders ranked second in the world in reading.
Actually, they ranked second in a study which sampled fourth graders from around the world. This was not a ranking of all students worldwide, but of selected groups from select locations.
182) Rick Scott overstated the range and impact of his “$10,000 degree” program.
Scott incorrectly says that it is available is “all” Florida community colleges. It is only in 23 as of this date. He also fails to add necessary caveats, such as accessory expenses of going to college (books, lodging, etc.)

183) Rick Scott lied about the causes of the recession in Florida, in his State of the State speech.
He blamed “taxing and borrowing” for the recession in Florida, but the real cause was the real estate crisis, plus the nationwide recession.
184) Rick Scott misled voters by claiming he cut taxes 24 times (update: 40 times).
Some of the cuts were temporary. Some are not cuts, but credits. Others are tax holidays, which he counted more than once if they happened every year, even though they are the same cut. Finally, he is also counted tax incentives and breaks that only apply to a handful of businesses. In fact most of the “cuts” have been for businesses. 
185) Rick Scott lied about “record funding” for environmental concerns in his State of the State address.
This one requires a lot of caveats, but the sum of the matter is, Scott portrayed record funding on one sub-issue (springs restoration) as though it were funding for all environmental concerns.
186) Rick Scott has proposed a $74 billion budget for 2014, after calling the 2011 budget of $70 billion “bloated.”
It seems both bloating and hypocrisy are in the eyes of the beholder.

187) Rick Scott lied about the impact of Obamacare on businesses with under 20 people.
You may or may not like Obamacare, but again, correct information is required to make a decision. Scott falsely claimed that a small business with 20 or less employees could go out of business because of the ACA. But businesses with under 50 employees aren’t even required to provide coverage.
191) Rick Scott deceptively bragged about Florida’s voluntary pre-K program.
While he correctly asserted that Florida’s access to VPK is the best in the nation, he ignored the low per-pupil spending and the resulting poor quality of Florida’s programs.
192) Rick Scott hypocritically cancelled a money-saving move of a Pensacola parole office.
Scott, in the past, was on a rampage cutting Corrections costs, including handing the jobs of state workers over the a private company. But when faced with protestors, Scott cancelled a move that would have saved $33,000 a year. What happened to his principles?

193) Rick Scott lied about Obamacare driving 2.5 million people from the workforce.
This relies on a widespread misuse of a CBO report. The same ad also doesn’t tell the whole story about 300,000 people losing insurance policies.
194) Rick Scott has released an election ad promoting himself for funding cancer research.
This is clearly an election year stunt, since he cut cancer research money earlier in his term.
195) Rick Scott cancelled a talk by a professor critical of his policies.
Of course, the decision was probably made by his staff, but it speaks to the climate he engenders. The decision was later reversed under pressure.
198) Rick Scott created a campaign web ad featuring a convicted felon.
Scott is shown associating with Corey Alston, who was convicted of several white collar crimes. Does Scott even check his own ads?
199) Rick Scott had a fundraiser hosted by a drug clinic owner whose company abused patients.
200) Rick Scott is leading a charge to deceptively repackage Common Core.
Whether you love or hate Common Core, this is obviously a dishonest way to deal with it.
201) Rick Scott engaged in discriminatory hiring practices at Solantic.
202) Rick Scott misleads voters about Crist’s record on tuition increases.
203) Rick Scott refuses to withdraw or correct a false campaign ad about effects of Obamacare on insurance.
Typically, Scott simply made an assertion that the ad was correct, and refused to say more. This is in spite of the fact that even insurance companies agree that the ad is incorrect.

204) Rick Scott waited years to start standing behind the suspension of corrupt notaries.

205) Rick Scott has lied about cuts to Medicare Advantage.

206) Rick Scott is making showy “inspections” to VA hospitals as a campaign ploy.

215) Rick Scott has a stake in an oil company drilling in South Florida.

216) Rick Scott evaded the question when asked about this.

Gov. Rick Scott's six-figure stake in a French energy company is angering environmentalists because the firm is involved in oil drilling in Collier County, near the Everglades.

Scott and the Cabinet oversee the Department of Environmental Protection, which regulates oil drilling in Florida, and Scott has invested in businesses that could be regulated by DEP and other state agencies.

Asked if he supports drilling in a county where he owns a $9.2 million home, Scott did not directly answer. He said: "You'll have to talk to DEP."

218) Rick Scott refused to be interviewed by a news program unless he was allowed to set the agenda. 

219) Rick Scott has hypocritically demanded that Charlie Crist's wife release her tax returns, while not disclosing his own wife's net worth.

Scott also hypocritically references Crist as a "millionaire" -- which he is, just barely -- while having a net worth of $133 million. 

220) Rick Scott is stingy in charitable giving.

In spite of his enormous net worth, according to his tax returns, from 2010-2012 Scott has given only roughly $1 million to charity. A good chunk of that ($96,000) was in the form of an art collection.

221) Rick Scott encouraged a climate of scandal at the DEO.

222) Rick Scott lied about teacher layoffs under Crist.

223) Rick Scott has failed to recover jobs for FL at a rate comparable to that of other states.

Scott touts raw numbers, but as of this date (July 2014) FL has about 200K fewer jobs that it did before the recession. This places it in the bottom fifth (rank: #40) of states in terms of job recovery.

224) Rick Scott's adviser used his position to benefit his employer.

225) Rick Scott tricked uniformed police officers into showing up for a campaign event. 

226) Rick Scott has a net worth of $132 million, but hypocritically refers to Charlie Crist as a "millionaire" who wears a Rolex.

While Crist is just barely a millionaire, it is the height of hypocrisy for Scott to refer to such things derisively with respect to his opponent. That he does not see the obvious hypocrisy is even more horrifying.

1 comment :

  1. Progress Florida picked this up as "best of the blogs" last week!