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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Telling all

Governor elect Charlie Crist hasn't taken office yet, but changes are already in the works. From today's Ft. Myers News-Press

TALLAHASSEE — If you've ever been accused of sexual harassment or busted for drunken driving, you will have explaining to do when seeking a patronage post in Gov.-elect Charlie Crist's administration.

And the new bosses of state government probably will have to certify, on penalty of perjury, they have nothing to hide. Just signing a notarized statement won't do it any more, under recommendations drawn up by a Florida Senate committee staff.

Major appointees who are subject to Senate confirmation, including heads of departments, will be asked in a standard questionnaire if they have ever been arrested for drunken driving. They also will have to tell if a coworker has ever filed a complaint of "workplace misconduct" — including sexual harassment or job discrimination against gays — as well as status of any civil suits filed by or against them.

It's not necessarily a deal-breaker; appointees still will get to tell their side to the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee. But with a new crew coming to town, the committee wants to take a closer look at the top brass in scores of state agencies, boards and regulatory commissions that are subject to Senate confirmation.

Four new questions and one greatly expanded inquiry have been added to the standard questionnaire the committee plans to make Crist appointees complete. The new nosiness grew from an interim study assigned to the committee staff after the last session, with support from Gov. Jeb Bush's office, and the whole endeavor is subject to approval by Senate President-designate Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie, when he formally takes office late this month.

The new questions are:

• "Have you ever been the subject of a complaint or investigation that included allegations that you discriminated against or harassed someone in the workplace, including but not limited to: sexual harassment or discrimination based on color, race, national origin, gender, age, religion, disability, family status, marital status or sexual orientation?"

The state recently agreed to a $100,000 settlement in a sexual-harassment case filed by a former Department of Elder Affairs employee against ex-Secretary Terry White, who was fired by Bush last year. White and the state denied her allegations.

• "Have you ever been a defendant, counter-defendant, cross-defendant, respondent or third-party defendant in any non-criminal court proceedings?"

• "Have you ever been a plaintiff or petitioner in a non-criminal court proceeding of any kind?"

• "Has a court ever entered a judgment against you, monetary or otherwise, regardless of whether it has been satisfied or is in the process of being appealed?"
Asking these questions is a good idea. Its enforcing them that is more important. For as can be seen in this instance. A now sitting judge lied on her judicial application. Eileen O'Connor is still on the bench and looks as if she won't be removed either even though O'Connor lied. So what good is it if we have these questions but nothing is done if the person lies?

Then let me remind TFM's readers that Crist has some potential questions to answer also.

A young rising star in the Republican Party has boasted to witnesses of his sexual relationship with Charlie Crist, the frontrunner in the Florida governor's race who has repeatedly denied that he is gay.

The GOP staffer, 21-year-old Jason Wetherington, told friends at separate social functions in August that he had sex with Crist, according to two credible and independent sources who heard Wetherington make the claim first-hand.

Wetherington, who recently worked as a field director for U.S. Senate candidate Katherine Harris and currently works for state representative Ellyn Bodganoff's reelection campaign, also named a man whom he said is Crist's long-term partner, a convicted thief named Bruce Carlton Jordan who also recently worked for Harris in her long-shot Senate bid. The author of this article is Bob Norman who also blogs at The Daily Pulp. He is also the author of this 2003 article on Mark Foley. I met Bob in person at this event a week ago.

While there is no proof that what Wetherington has said is true, it's clear that he said it. I first learned about his claims after receiving an anonymous e-mail on October 6. The e-mail was linked to a 2003 story of mine reporting that now-disgraced congressman Mark Foley was gay.

I know this doesn't fit any of the four questions being proposed for those seeking patronage jobs. However Gov. Crist's sexual orientation if he's gay could be used for political blackmail. I think its time Crist came clean also and I voted for him last Tuesday. Some people are talking about Crist for National office. One way or the other the truth is liable to come out.

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