Winner and loser of the week
Winner of the week: Charlie Justice. For three years, the Democratic state senator from St. Petersburg has been trying to pass a bill preventing local governments from spending taxpayer dollars to launch political campaigns under the guise of citizen “education” on issues such as sales tax initiatives or charter amendments. His bill passed last week and is awaiting the governor’s signature. “In this rough economic time,” Justice said, “public funds should be spent on services, education and infrastructure not political campaigns. I look forward to Governor Crist’s favorable support.”
Loser of the week: Jeb Bush. The former governor is still widely viewed as an idea-driven savior for an adrift national Republican Party, so it was no surprise he’s joining the likes of Mitt Romney and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal in leading a new group, the National Council for a New America. The group is supposed to generate new ideas for the GOP. But for all the glowing national publicity, back in Florida Jeb's political juice looked strikingly diluted after a top Bush priority – raising high school graduation standards by phasing in algebra II, biology and chemistry – failed to get through the GOP-controlled legislature.