Politics

First Coast Republicans, Tea Partiers Weigh in on GOP Debate

First Coast Republicans, Tea Partiers Weigh in on GOP Debate

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --  As seven of the Republican candidates for President of the United States squared off in the New Hampshire debate, dozens of First Coast Republicans and Tea Partiers looked on.

"I haven't quite made my mind up yet. I want to see what else is out there. I wanna hear what's going on," said Chuck Berlinghoff, a member of the First Coast Tea Party.

He has been looking forward to the Republican presidental debates and waiting for a candidate to earn his vote.

"I know what we've got now is wrong, and I just don't trust a lot of the ones running," he said.

Berlinghoff said he's been disappointed in his party's candidates lately, both nationally and here in Jacksonville.

"I don't think we had really good choices for the mayoral run we had here," he said.

So who would he be happy with?

Residents, Lawmakers Sound Off About Bill Requiring Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients

Residents, Lawmakers Sound Off About Bill Requiring Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --  Governor Rick Scott signed a bill Tuesday that will require people who receive government assistance to take a drug test in order to receive benefits.

"The goal of this is to make sure the taxpayers aren't paying for someone to take illegal drugs," Scott said.

The law requires every person who applies for the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program to pay for the drug test. If the test comes back negative, then the state will pick up the cost. If it's positive, the person loses benefits for one year.

"In some ways I think it's a good thing," agreed 36-year-old Jacksonville resident Casandra Greene.

Greene depends on public assistance to feed her eight children. She said she understands some people abuse the system and she hopes the law will make them think twice.

But Greene thinks it's too bad those people have to hurt parents like her who are trying to do right by their kids.

Scott Approval Rate Hits New Low

Scott Approval Rate Hits New Low

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida Gov. Rick Scott's approval rating has dropped to a new low, although he's been on the job for less than five months.

A poll released Wednesday shows Florida voters disapproved of the way Scott's been doing that job by a 57 percent to 29 percent margin.

The Quinnipiac University poll, though, shows the Republican governor has plenty of company. Voters rated the GOP-controlled Florida Legislature about the same. They disapproved of lawmakers' work 56 percent to 27 percent.

Scott and the Legislature each are down from 35 percent approval ratings they got in a similar poll released April 6. Pollsters called 1,196 registered voters on cell and land lines May 17 through 23. The poll has an error rate of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.

DPL Communications Joins Clay County Chamber of Commerce

Diane Provasi Lewis, ABC of DPL Communications has joined the Clay County Chamber of Commerce as an entrepeneur specializing in  public relations and marketing.  Diane has owned and operated her home-based business since 1987. A graduate of Orange Park High School (1983), Florida Junior College - Kent Campus (1985) and the University of Florida - Gainesville (1987), Diane is perhaps most proud of her college internship with Susan First of First Place Marketing in Gainesville.

State Takes Action Against Companies Soliciting Fake Energy Audits

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam announced today the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has filed suit against Unlimited Energy Solutions, Inc., and nine individuals for violation of the Florida Telephone Solicitation Statute. The lawsuit was filed as a result of an investigation of numerous complaints received by the Department in regard to potentially illegal sales calls.

Teachers React to Merit Pay Law with Frustration

Teachers React to Merit Pay Law with Frustration

ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- Two days a week, kindergarten teacher Liz Crane is in the classroom, and the rest of the week she's in the Clay County Education Association office as president of the teachers union.

"I'm concerned with this bill, you will have high turnover," said Crane.

Crane, reacting to the passage of Florida Senate Bill 736 which was passed Wednesday, said that while Clay does not have a merit pay plan, all teachers now must pass a performance evaluation process.

"Are we assessing them? Are we doing all those things? Yes, we are. Do we have something in place to say the child gains so many points on the FCAT or the FAIR test, you're going to get an increase? No," she said.

Congresswoman Corrine Brown Sued for Unpaid Services

Congresswoman Corrine Brown Sued for Unpaid Services

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Congresswoman Corrine Brown raised more than $1 million for her 2010 re-election campaign but one agency says she short-changed them.

"Corinne Brown and her campaign committees owe our clients, who raised over half a million dollars for her, approximately $44 thousand," said Martin Lobel, the attorney representing Berger Hirschberg Strategies, a major Democratic fundraising firm.

Both parties agree, the fundraising firm began working for Brown when she was thinking of running for Senate in 2009.

They entered into a contract in July 2009.

Corrine Brown, her Chief of Staff, and Friends of Corrine Brown are now being told to pay up for underpaid and unpaid fees to the tune of $44,495.

"Congresswoman Brown is not obligated to the defendants as they claim," said Brown's attorney, Frederick Cooke, Jr.