Buddy’s Tallahassee Tidbits




Buddy At The Capitol  (at an event for retirees)


The Running From 400 Miles Away

 Suddenly Democratic state Rep. Evan Jenne of Dania Beach was a TV star this session.

Okay, not on par with Ed O’Neill of “Modern Family”. Or David Caruso of “CSI:Miami”.  Maybe not even on the level of Frank Loconto of “Countyline” on the School Board’s station.

But he did get a lot of airtime on Capitol Report, the statewide broadcast of legislative happenings on public TV.

Last year the Broward House member that seemed to have the most visibility during debate was state Rep. Jim Waldman, D-Coconut Creek.

This year those cameras pointed at Jenne again and again and again.

Did somebody passed to the word to the show that Jenne was running for Broward County Commission and could use the airtime?

No, that’s too cynical even for me.  Or is it?

 Creating New Opportunities

Florida’s Supremes last week ordered two Broward state Senate districts redrawn. Depending on how the new districts will look after a redistricting special session, it could give challengers a better chance against two entrenched Fort Lauderdale incumbents – state Sens. Chris Smith, a D, and Ellyn Bogdanoff, a R.

Bogdanoff’s district should include more Democrats, according to a Tallahassee source who has been through three redistrictings.

Smith’s new district will most likely contain fewer blacks and more whites, the same source said.

 The Amendment of the Session

You gotta love state Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood.

When Republicans pushed a bill unto the Senate floor arguing for a 24-hour waiting period for abortions, Sobel introduced an amendment which would require a waiting period for men seeking vasectomies.

Republicans – who continue to talk about less government except when it comes to controlling women and gays – were not amused.  Sobel withdrew her amendment.

But the spunky senator made her point…which is about all Democrats can do in the Republican-controlled Legislature.

 Failing To Deliver

Sometimes it doesn’t matter who you are. ..even if you are the former Republican President of the Senate.

Jim Scott was Senate President before he was a Broward County Commission.  He left that job six years ago and now he is just a lobbyist.

Scott and his Tripp Scott law firm compadre Ed Pozzuoli were on the losing end of the bill that would have allowed parents of failing public schools to turn them over to for-profit charter companies.

Their client: Charter Schools USA, a Fort Lauderdale charter school management company.

Pozzuoli, former Broward Republican chair and a power in Broward GOP politics, was lobbying the issue particularly hard, according to another lobbyist who was in the audience.


Democratic state Rep. Franklin Sands of Weston was on fire this session, pounding away at Republicans.  He was especially vocal on education issues, which is no surprise since he is running for the Broward County School Board.

But when the key vote of the session took place, Sands was absent.

Sands missed the budget vote.

Not that his vote would have mattered.  It was steamrolled through the House on party lines – 80 to 37.  In addition, a Republican also missed the vote.

However, the budget is the only item that the Legislature must vote on annually.  It’s a strange one to miss…

 Veteran Reporter Retires

I’ve read Bill Cotterell of the Tallahassee Democrat’s work for years. He has historical knowledge of the legislative process, something it takes new reporters decades to learn.

Cotterell was honored in the House earlier this month.  I am reprinting the remarks of state Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee.  They sum up why Cotterell, who I didn’t know, will be missed:

“There have been a lot of goodbyes this session. People facing term limits, running for other offices, or just pursuing new ambitions. But this good-bye is to someone who has been watching the Legislature through 42 sessions. The Tallahassee Democrat’s longtime Capitol reporter, Bill Cotterell, is retiring next month and this marks his last regular session. Bill has covered 10 Florida governors, from Claude Kirk to Rick Scott. He was here when Republicans were a rarity, and he’s here when Republicans are everywhere.

“He’s seen the focus of Florida’s Legislature go from cracking down on livestock wandering on roadways to considering taxing internet services. He’s pounded out stories on manual, portable typewriters and kept readers informed via Twitter. And he’s done it all with a commitment to accuracy, unbiased reporting, and – as he’s shown in his Capital Curmudgeon columns – a deft and penetrating sense of humor.

“Bill grew up in Miami and is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. His first newspaper job was as a copy boy at The Miami Herald. Hired by United Press International in January 1967, Bill first worked for UPI in Columbia, S.C. He came to Tallahassee first in 1969 with UPI. With a few short detours – including an assignment to cover what figured to be the short-lived presidential campaign of Georgia’s governor, a peanut farmer from Plains – Bill continued to make his way back to Tallahassee to cover the legislative session. He returned permanently in 1984 and in 1985, Bill came to work for the Tallahassee Democrat, where he’s been ever since. Bill has covered state government and politics so long his career spans two Florida Capitol buildings and more than four decades of governors and legislative sessions. But this is it. Bill’s son, Chris, served as a House page and now serves our country in the U.S. Navy. Bill is a proud Navy Dad. And later this year he’ll also be a proud grandfather.

“To those who worked beside him, and to those he covered so well with an unflinching, tough eye, his affable presence will be missed.”

9 Responses to “Buddy’s Tallahassee Tidbits”

  1. Good for You! says:

    Great recap. It’s great that 2 seats in south FL will now be i play for both parties!

  2. Ryan says:

    You’re forgetting to mention that Rep. Jenne led the fight on one of the biggest legislative fights this year: the Senate redistricting map. His amendment allowed Dems the 4 hours of debate on the house floor that was crucial to making the case for the courts.

    FROM BUDDY: I saw him debating all types of issues, including redistricting.

  3. ann says:

    I think they’re just confused….they see Jenne’s “Lex Luthor” look and think it’s the governor!

  4. Str8 Talk says:

    *Evan Jenne appears to be a smart guy and he has been very strategic to his credit.
    *Both Ellyn and Chris districts are side-by-side from Palm Beach to Broward…I wonder who would win that race if the countyline was the divider and the Broward portion was in the same seat.
    *Sobel, bless her heart.
    *Scott and Pozzuoli couldn’t deliver in tallahassee and are barely hanging on in Broward.
    *The “ABSENT” vote by Sands could be a major issue in this School Board race. That was crazy, his advisors should be fired.
    *Cotterell is actually a balnced reporter. He will be missed

  5. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    i agree w/ senator Sobel all day long. speaking of vasectomies we should start w/ this pig of a Police Chief Frank adderly- I mean really how many skirits you chase today sir. Agree w/ Senator sobel. give it right back to them maim. Although i oppose abortion and do consider it murder -its totally th e woman’ choice- i just don’t want to pay for it, or hear about. As far as Evan Jenne getting all this press who do you think made sure he got all this press time????.Duh.

  6. Frank White says:

    Bogdanoffis anahole

  7. too easy says:

    Umm Evan is one of the most well respected Legislators, I am sure he is able to get his own press.

  8. Sam the Sham says:

    Who is that old guy at the top of the page? Oh, never mind.

    The real Sam the Sham — Domingo Zamundo, according to Wikipedia — is 75. I’m nowhere close to that. I don’t even collect Social Security. I must admit, however, that I’m no spring chicken.
    Thanks so much Sam for reading and contributing.

  9. Git R Done says:

    It appears that this is all about Republicans VS Democrats, as always.