Hot Air Still Blowing in Florida Governor's Race

Sizzling summer temperatures are moderating across Florida these days but the heat in Florida's governor's race continues to stay hot as the Nov. 4 mid-term elections approach three days from today.
Hot air continues to blow from the two candidates, Gov. Rick Scott and ex-governor Charley Crist.  Here's an abbreviated rundown on where they stand on a hill of issues:
Medical Marijuana: Crist, a lawyer and former quarterback at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC, is jubilant over prospects for Amendment 2 garnering 60 percent of the vote Nov. 4 and becoming law. He has to support that measure because his boss is John Morgan, founder-owner of the Orlando law firm that bears his name.
Morgan says he has spent about $5 million of his own money to date trying to convince Florida voters medical marijuana will be beneficial to every resident at one time or another.
A total of 23 states and the District of Columbia already have voted to approve the use of marijuana for medical purposes prescribed by licensed doctors.
Scott is vehemently against medical marijuana. He was the co-founder and CEO of the former Columbia Hospital Corp. in Louisville, KY in 1987. The feds fined the hospital $600 million in 1997 for Medicare billing fraud - but Scott was not named in the indictment.
Abortion:  Scott is for the measure but is insisting on a host of restrictions before the woman would be permitted to go through with the operation. Crist has flip-flopped, as usual, on this issue during his former term as governor from 2007 to 2011. Now he says he is for abortion.
Same-sex marriage:  Scott is against it.  Crist is for it.
Minimum wage:  Scott, a millionaire twice over, is against raising it.  Crist, also a millionaire, backs President Barack Obama's version to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 from the current $7.50 per hour.
Health care:  Scott, once strongly against Obama's plan to create a federally-funded $50 billion expansion of Medicaid, now says he is for the measure. So is Crist.
High-speed train concept between Orlando and Tampa:  Crist says he'll back it.  Scott says he'll scrap it.
Commuter train concept connecting Orlando to Miami: Scott is for it. Crist hedges, as usual, and says he is still thinking about it.
Economy:  Crist is taking credit for any progress made to date.  Scott says he's the one who should be given the credit because he also has a $1 billion tax-cutting plan in the works after he is elected.  His Republican fat-cats can hardly wait on that pledge.
Environment:  Scott fairly drools on what he is going to do for the state over the next four years, things he hadn't quite got around to doing in his last four years in office. They include:
Stepping up restoration efforts in the Everglades; creating an Indian River lagoon plan; throwing more dollars at cleaning up wastewater in the Keys; increasing fines for oil and gas company wastewater violators.
That one is a hoot, chortles Crist. Scott is going to fine his own poker-playing buddies? Not on this planet.
Still on water, Scott promises to spend $1 billion of taxpayer money over the next 10 years to protect Florida's water. That sum includes $50 million on existent springs.
Crist, meanwhile, also promises to crack down on Everglades polluters, especially some of Scott's big sugar company supporters. They'll ride Crist out on a rail, if he ever tries that.
Education:  Scott claims he has already restored the $1.3 billion he cut in his first year in office and promises to raise funding even higher after he is elected. Crist says he'll do even better. But the numbers? Still working them out, he says.
On school vouchers allowing students in poor neighborhoods to transfer to district with better school rankings, Scott says he's all for that.  Not me, says Crist, even though he has a plan to improve Florida's low national ranking in reading, math, science and technology by 2010.
Scott laughs at that one and says Crist won't even be around after Nov. 4.
There you have it.  Many important issues for the state of Florida to resolve but only a lot of air surrounding them.
This corner's pick:
  Reluctantly, still sticking with Scott - even though Michelle Obama, the President's wife, is backing Crist.

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