Wednesday, March 25, 2020

DeSantis’ illegal executive order enables local government malfeasance


Tampa, Fl
From: Tampa Bay Guardian

Edited by: Tom Rask

Posted by TBG2016 on MARCH 24, 2020

When Florida governor Ron DeSantis was a member of Congress, he told the Palm Coast Observer in 2012 that he supports “government that is constitutionally limited to its enumerated functions.”  His recent executive order shows that he must’ve changed his mind on that point, and now favors expansive unenumerated powers for himself.

DeSantis is now using the Covid-19 emergency to invoke powers that the Legislature never granted him, just as St. Peterburg mayor Rick Kriseman last week invoked powers he doesn’t have. The evidence of DeSantis’ wrongdoing can be found in the wording of his own executive orders (EO:s).
Ron DeSantis

Florida governor Ron DeSantis issued EO 20-52  on March 9th, an executive order which gave him the expanded powers he may under chapter 252 of the Florida Statutes during a declared state of emergency. However, those power are enumerated in chapter 252, and thus limited, as he himself told the Palm Coast Observer in 2012.

When DeSantis issued his EO 20-68 on St. Patrick’s Day ordering bars closed at 5 P.M. that day, he cited the specific power he found under chapter 252 for the governor to order the bars closed. That specific power being found under 252.36(5).

Not so for his next executive order. DeSantis’ EO 20-69 dealing with “local government public meetings” suspended the requirement in Florida Statutes 166.041(4) that a quorum be physically present in order to conduct a meeting.  In his EO 20-69, DeSantis simply cited the 26,000 word chapter 252 without specific reference to where in that chapter of Florida Statutes he found the power to do so.


quorum is the minimum number of members, usually a majority, of a governing body that must be physically present at the meeting in order for a governmental body to lawfully transact the people’s business.

In his EO 20-69, DeSantis also referenced a legal opinion from Florida attorney general Ashley Moody. However, DeSantis never asked Moody to answer the question of whether the governor may suspend the requirement that a quorum be physically present, which is what his EO 20-69 does.

The question that DeSantis posed to Moody can be found in the legal opinion, and that question was:
“Whether, and to what extent, local government bodies may utilize teleconferencing and/or other technological means to convene meetings and conduct official business, while still providing public access to those meetings?”
In her opinion, Moody brought up the issue of a quorum being physically present and concluded:
Ashley Moody

“The nature, extent, and potential duration of the current emergency involving COVID-19 present unique circumstances. However, without legislative action, they do not change existing law. It is my opinion that, unless and until legislatively or judicially determined otherwise, if a quorum is required to conduct official business, local government bodies may only conduct meetings by teleconferencing or other technological means if either a statute permits a quorum to be present by means other than in-person, or the in-person requirement for constituting a quorum is lawfully suspended during the state of emergency.”

Notably, Moody did not say in her opinion that the governor has the authority to suspend the quorum requirement. That was a good move, because the governor has no authority under Florida Statutes chapter 252 to do so. The Legislature never granted him that power, not even during a declared state of emergency.

If courts later were to decide that the governor lacked the authority to suspend the quorum requirement, every decision made at such “quorumless” local government meetings will be null and void. Furthermore,  the municipalities would have to pay the legal fees of those bringing the lawsuits should those parties prevail.

The importance of lawfully suspending the quorum requirement is thus of great importance, and presumably why Moody said that the quorum requirement must be “lawfully suspended.”

Media liaisons for both the governor’s office and the attorney general’s office did not respond to our questions for this article by the deadline we provided.
Jane Castor

Some local government seems to approve of DeSantis action in his EO 20-69. Tampa mayor Jane Castor incorporated EO 20-69 by reference in her own EO 2020-03.

Everyone has the right under the Florida Constitution (Art I, sec 24(b)) to attend meetings held by local government bodies, even and especially during a declared state of emergency.  This is because the first declared right in the state constitution is that “all political power is inherent in the people.”

With his EO on quorums at local government meetings, DeSantis is engaging in a 3-step shell game with the goal of carrying out an illegal power grab. The fact that some local government agencies are supporting him for their own bad reasons doesn’t make it any less illegal.

Governor DeSantis, a Harvard Law School graduate, knows better. He just chooses to not govern better. “Doing what is best for the community” or “doing whatever is takes to keep people safe” in violation of the law is just a different form of authoritarianism.

What additional powers will DeSantis next imagine that he has? Perhaps he will allow state and local government to raise armies and conscript residents in to it. After all, there’s an EMERGENCY so how could any reasonable person deny them that power?

As always….the Guardian reports and our readers decide. Like our Facebook page to find out when we publish articles.

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Sunday, March 22, 2020

The Brady Bunch - Will the Bucs Win?















Tampa Bay, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author:  In Search of Robin  So You Want to Blog.
The long awaited much hyped move of Tom Brady to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is finally a reality.
You got to admit the news was somewhat anticlimactic in face of all we are going through right now.

Since all the locals and most of the national sports casters are living in a sports news vacuum, there was a lot of hype and circumstance about the last few hectic hours of the Brady deal.
If you follow this Blog, you know I am not much of a sports fan, but the Brady deal does fascinate me.
If Brady, Arians and the rest of the Bucs coaching staff don’t end up in a running reality show fit for any TV network I will be surprised.
Adding up all the egos, hype, expectations and overzealous reporting it is hard to imagine anything short of a soap opera on and off the field. If things start going bad, the real show may not be on the field.
Brady is good on the field, but he has not had a lot of experience moving from locker room to locker room, so there are bound to be some issues.
According to Rick Stroud of The Tampa Bay Times, Brady had just one request for Tampa Bay after signing on to be their new quarterback.
“Brady never asked for control of the offense. He knew that [Bruce] Arians, offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen and special assistant Tom Moore would collaborate with him on game plans. He didn’t ask for any specific players to join him. He didn’t even ask to wear No. 12, which for the moment belongs to [Chris] Godwin.
In fact, there was only one request Brady had after he had signed: He wanted the phone numbers of all his new Bucs teammates.”
There is no doubt that Brady is a class act, but he has benefited greatly from 20 years or so of consistent coaching and front office consistency. Something the Bucs do not have to offer.
The Glazers will benefit from the butts in seats and the exploding TV ratings. The fans will get a good show, and all of this should break about the time COVID-19 is fading away. Just what we will need.
I am a little worried for Tom. Oh, he will be more than all right financially, but it would be a shame to see a brilliant career go up in a puff of cannon smoke.
E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER @DOC ON THE BAY.
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Friday, March 20, 2020

Why Bernie Sanders Should Stay in The Race

Tampa Bay, Fl 
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin
So You Want to Blog.

The chorus of voices calling for Bernie Sanders to withdraw from the presidential race continues to grow. Most of these voices are urging the Senator to withdraw and support Joe Biden and the Party.

The question at this point is whose interests are they are all these voices really speaking for?

Should Bernie withdraw from the race?

Alternatively, should Sanders remain in the race and provide direction for the group of loyal followers whom he has developed.

Part of the issue is this. Sanders has consistently poled out about 25%.

Well, his band of supporters may be small but their fearless loyalty and willingness to contribute, have the Sanders campaign looking like nothing we’ve seen in the past.

So, question becomes does Sanders abruptly withdraw from the race leaving a well established group of loyal supporters with no leadership and no direction?

As I’ve stated before, this is Sanders's last gasp. There will be no additional opportunity to run for the presidency, no new nationwide platform to promote his socialistic agenda from.

Sanders is essentially done with politics the minute he withdraws from this race.

There will be the typical political platitudes and thank-yous, but Bernie will fade from the political scene faster than a rose lying in the hot sun.

Where are Sanders followers likely to go? Who might emerge as their new leader?

Will they vote in the next election or will they abandon the party and vote for Donald Trump or just not vote at all much as they did in the previous election when they walked away from Hillary?

    
I think it would be dangerous for Sanders to abandon his group of followers with no leadership in place.

It would seem this would be a ripe opportunity for someone to reach out to this group with perhaps a more aggressive form of socialism and attempt to take control of what is now a reasonably moderate wing of the Democratic Party.

That revolution could be devastating for all of us.
  
I think a much better approach would be for Sanders to select a vice-presidential  running mate, not so much in expectancy of winning the White House but select a person who could step into the leadership role of the group that Bernie has spent so much time and effort establishing.

Sanders has a responsibility to this group. They have followed him loyally for several election cycles now. They are well seasoned; they understand their mission, and to leave them without direction would be a serious disaster.

This is not about Joe Biden or the Presidency as much as it is about protecting the values of democratic socialism.

Stay in the race Bernie stick with your supporters. Educate a new leader and leave a legacy.

Don’t worry about Joe Biden, he will be just fine. In fact, I think he will be a better candidate to face Trump if he earns the nomination as opposed to having the Party establishment leverage his nomination.   

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.
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Bay Post Photos.  
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