Thursday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today.
Perception: Lousy public schools
Reality: "When it comes to education progress, Florida is a star performer. Demography need not be destiny. Over the past decade, Florida has succeeded in improving student achievement despite its demographic profile. Florida has managed to realize such gains although the state's per-student funding is below the national average."
— Education Next, "Demography as Destiny?" Matthew Ladner, Summer 2009
NOTE: This is a longer version of the interview that originally appeared in the May 2012 issue of Florida Trend.
[Photo: Brian Smith]
» I dared to go into Costco the other day. I thought, "What the hell," so I walked in. Everything was fine until I was trying to find a little tiny paintbrush and some paints and I turned around and there were eight people staring at me. I was in line to check out and the manager came over and said, "Can I help you get through this?" And I said, "No, no, I'm fine." Suddenly, I'm signing autographs and if you sign one, you have to sign another, and people are getting PO'd because you're stopping the line, so you have to step out of the line, but you can't go back in, so you have to go to the back of the line. Eventually, I said to the manager, "I'll take you up on that offer."
Come August, Michael Almeyda expects to be standing in a hotel lobby and welcoming Republican guests to Tampa. That Almeyda is a registered Democrat is beside the point. Almeyda is one of 10 registered volunteers who are part of the Faces of Tampa Bay, a campaign by the Tampa Bay Host Committee to recruit area residents to volunteer in the days and weeks leading up to the Republican National Convention. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
It was an expression coined long ago, but "beggars can't be choosers" sounds as if it were written yesterday to describe today's workers and those seeking work. Jobs with a full complement of traditional benefits — from employer-paid health care and retirement plans to relocation assistance and help paying off college loans — are becoming as rare as fully loaded luxury cars on the highway, replaced by stripped-down models offering one basic feature: a job. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Florida missed out on $63 million in tobacco-tax revenue from April 2009 to August 2011 because of a loophole in a federal law that went into effect in 2009, according to a report released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The law enabled smokers who roll their own cigarettes to pay less in taxes, because that type of tobacco could be reclassified into a lower tax rate.
[Source: Orlando Sentinel]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› 10 signs of economic relief for Florida and Tampa Bay
We're hardly on Easy Street, but here are 10 fresh signals of real progress as we crawl out of a rough recession.
› Entrepreneurs getting back to business in Southwest Florida
Small-business owners and big-name companies alike have come to Southwest Florida in recent months, betting that consumers are ready once again to pull out their wallets and put money back into the local economy.
› Schools weigh gambling giant Genting's offer for 8 sites
Miami-Dade County School District officials are sitting on an offer by a firm affiliated with Malaysian casino giant Genting to buy a group of properties at the district's downtown administrative complex. Bayfront 2011 Development LLC, a firm affiliated with Genting, had offered to buy all eight properties from the school district for an undetermined price.
› Suit against Darden to be filed state-by-state
A lawsuit filed against Darden Restaurants by a workers-rights group is fanning out to courts across the country, with the plaintiffs saying they will file the claims state-by-state. The bulk of the lawsuit filed on behalf of workers at Capital Grille restaurants alleges wage and hour violations, but it also includes claims that minority workers were assigned less desirable jobs in Darden's high-end steak chain.
Go to page 2 for more stories ...