Welcome to The Dean's List -- an Ed Dean-style look at who Florida's political achievers were (and weren't) in the last seven days. What you see here is strictly my opinion, not necessarily the editor's or the rest of the staff at Sunshine State News.
THOSE WHO MADE THE LIST
U.S. Rep. Dan Webster, R-Fla. When it comes to saving taxpayers' dollars by spending less on congressional offices, Webster is at the top of the list. In the past two years, his team spent the least of all the Florida delegation and was the second best congressional office when it came to saving taxpayers. The stats are compiled by the Sunlight Foundation, a Washington watchdog group.
Congressional representatives budgets are set by the U.S. House Administration Committee. Most range from $2.2 million to $2.6 million per term. Webster's expenses came in at $1.72 million, showing the congressman doesn't just talk about fiscal responsibility -- he actually practices what he preaches.
State Rep. George Moraitis, R-Fort Lauderdale. Proponents of reforming the class-size amendment are making progress. Moraitis wants to end penalties for school districts when classes get too big and his bill and the Senate counterpart are gaining some traction.
Moraitis might be able to count on some strange allies supporting his bill: the same people who originally backed the 2002 class-size amendment. They range from several school districts which now struggle annually to meet the caps and even Florida Education Association Vice President Joanne McCall. She said the teachers' union isnt thrilled with the latest proposal, but there are some parts of the bill that make it a little more palatable.
Former Gov. Jeb Bush recently said that the class-size amendment has nothing to do with student learning and was all about politics. Hes spot on there. Billions have been spent to make class sizes smaller and that money could have been used for higher teacher salaries, school improvements and other upgrades.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. The attorney general has high approval ratings, and if she decided to run for the U.S. Senate seat in 2016 would certainly be competitive in a Republican primary. But Bondi shut the door on that possibility this week.
"I don't believe I should be out running for another office instead of running my office, Bondi told the media this week. Well said.
DEANS LIST MISSES
Gov. Rick Scott. From 2011 to 2012, Rick Scott was against Medicaid expansion in Florida. Then he reversed his position and, until last year, he supported it. Its now 2015 and he has reversed his position again.
Scotts doing the right thing in opposing Medicaid expansion and standing with the House instead of the Senate. But this kind of repositioning is what voters expect from a career politician like former Gov. Charlie Crist instead of someone like Scott who spent most of his life in the private sector. While he is understandably somewhat reticent as budget negotiations continue, Scott has years of experience in health-care management and could have weighed in more on this subject than he has so far.
Former Miami-Dade Democratic Party Chairwoman Annette Taddeo. Democrats are targeting U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., for 2016 and recruited Taddeo to take him on. But this has not been a good week for the new candidate.
Taddeo was scheduled to give an interview to US1 Radio in the Florida Keys with "Morning Magazine" host Bill Becker this week. But she ditched the interview saying she was just too tired. Republicans quickly jumped on her, calling her 'obsessed' with running for office and pointing out her losses for Congress, Miami-Dade County Commission and lieutenant governor.
Things get worse for the new candidate. Taddeo is running in a district where she doesn't even live. Republicans have had great sport with Taddeos interview on MSNBC, in which she said she's from the middle class, pointing out her $1.25 million home and almost $6 million net worth. Her campaign kickoff fundraiser had Crist, another political loser, as a special guest. Now Crist has officially endorsed her.
Its been a rough start for Taddeo and there is nothing from her past campaigns that even hints she can turn things around. Democrats might have to start looking for another candidate.
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. Along with other local governments nationwide, Tampa will be going to court to support President Barack Obama's executive action to delay deportation of several million illegal aliens. Buckhorn said the city of Tampa would sign on to a new friend-of-the-court brief in the case of Texas vs. United States, now pending before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
Buckhorns reasons for supporting the Obama administration executive order are aligned with other liberal mayors throughout the country, claiming it would increase local tax revenue, stimulate local economies and improve public safety by strengthening neighborhoods.
But Buckhorn hasnt taken into account the cost of welfare, how it will drain the local tax base and hurt the economy, not to mention the increased costs for public schools. Liberals often play up the emotional side of the illegal immigration issue without stopping to examine the costs. Buckhorn would be wise to look at all sides of the ledger.
Ed Dean, a senior editor with SSN whose talk-show can be heard on radio stations across Florida, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @eddeanradio.