Florida needs better candidates

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has released another of their most Corrupt Candidates list – three of our Senate candidates are on the list.

Kendrick Meek-D, Charlie Crist-I and Marco Rubio-R

The full list:
* Roy Blunt (R) U.S. Senate, MO
* Charlie Crist (I) U.S. Senate, FL
* Jeff Denham (R) U.S. House, CA
* Alvin Greene (D) U.S. Senate, SC
* Timothy Griffin (R) U.S. House, AR
* J.D. Hayworth (R) U.S. Senate, AZ
* Ed Martin (R) U.S. House, MO
* Kendrick Meek (D) U.S. Senate, FL
* Dino Rossi (R) U.S. Senate, WA
* Marco Rubio (R) U.S. Senate, FL
* Allen West (R) U.S. House, FL

Now I’ll add another to the list, although not for being corrupt but for ignoring environmental causes.

St Petersburg Times, July 23 2010

On a Tuesday morning five years ago, Summerwind, a three-story, 145-foot luxury yacht, maneuvered above the celebrated barrier reef that lines the coast of Belize.

There it dropped anchor — and plunged into controversy over severe damage to a coral reef system officially recognized by the United Nations as one of the world’s most magnificent and irreplaceable treasures.

The owner of that yacht? Billionaire Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Greene.

The real estate mogul from Palm Beach was not aboard the boat at the time. And, oddly, Greene today says the incident never happened, despite extensive publicity about it at the time (including statements from his representatives), eyewitness accounts, scientific surveys of the damage and an extensive case file at the country’s Department of Environment.

“Jeff Greene doesn’t take a penny of special interest money, so career politicians are attacking him with ridiculous stories about something that didn’t even happen five years ago on a boat he wasn’t even on,” said campaign spokesman Luis Vizcaino.

Asked how he could say it never happened when Greene’s own employees at the time acknowledged a problem on the reef with Summerwind, Vizcaino declined further comment: “That’s our position. That’s our quote.”

There are a few possible errors in the story but basically it does appear that Mr Greene feels the laws in other countries don’t apply to him. One potential error would be the “50 gallons per hour” fuel consumption of the vessel, a vessel of that size running two diesels plus at least one large generator is probably burning closer to 500 gallons per hour.

What can we do to get better candidates when so much money is required to run an effective campaign? The Citizens United case decision is just going to make the situation worse for all of America. If you ain’t got beaucoo bucks, you ain’t gonna be able to run for office unless it comes from someone else. Large corporations and billionaires are the sources of funds – so if they pay for a campaign, you don’t think they won’t demand you take care of their interests before those of the hoi polloi.

Here in Florida, we have two candidates who have become serious contenders solely on the basis of having sufficient personal funds that they could overwhelm the ordinary candidates – who also have money issues, see Rubio, Crist and Meek.

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