This column is a vehicle for a number of items in a bits-and-pieces, strictly opinion, sometimes irreverent format. Look for "Just Sayin'" to run once a week in this spot.
Was Friday Pam Bondi's Date with Destiny?
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi might have made the not-so-short list to serve as Donald Trump's attorney general. Or not. Certainly she's been conspicuous by her absence in Tallahassee during the past week. And she walked into Trump Tower at 12:49 p.m. Friday, avoiding press questions all the way, with a confirmed appointment with the president-elect.
Personally, I'm inclined to believe she's under consideration all right, but for a lesser something within the new administration than U.S. AG -- definitely a position designed to turn her head.
Trump's office released this Friday appointment list for the president-elect: Sen. David Perdue, (Retired Admiral) Jay Cohen, Robert Gates, Pam Bondi, John Bolton, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and David Malpass. No hint who was interviewing for what.
Long before it was politically wise to support Trump, Tampa’s Bondi was backing the New York businessman. She was a fixture at all of his campaign events in the Sunshine State, like the warm-up act at a big-time rock concert.
Bondi allegedly was the beneficiary of a legally questionable gift from the Trump Foundation at a time when she was looking into potential charges against Trump University. It's a story that won't go away. And though her early support for Trump’s candidacy earned her a position on his transition team, the question is, will the billionaire president really want to appoint her AG, which would guarantee that questions about his relationship with her never go away?
— Ramon Taylor (@ramonctaylor) December 2, 2016
Guru Jason Gonzalez and SSN Nailed Supreme Court Picks in September
About those three Supreme Court finalists the Judicial Nominating Commission selected last Monday ... I don't usually boast, but shucks, piece of cake: Sunshine State News had the story nearly three months before it happened.
Ah, but let me fess up. The only thing we can (and do) take credit for is going to the right source. As soon as Justice James E.C. Perry's mandatory retirement hit the news, SSN tapped The Guru. That's right ...
That was our genius: calling on Jason Gonzalez to do the hard work.
Jason is managing partner of the Tallahassee office of Shutts & Bowen LLP. Before Shutts, he served as general counsel to the governor and as gubernatorial appointee to the Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission. Jason was also the chief advisor to the governor on the appointment of 64 Florida judges and the chief advisor to former Gov. Charlie Crist on four of the seven justices currently serving on the Florida Supreme Court.
I knew I'd hit the jackpot as soon as he said of possible justice candidates, "It's not such a wide field. Justice Perry is the only member of the Supreme Court from the Fifth District, so the appointment will be limited to applicants from that district." He treated my question like child's play.
I didn't have to wait. Jason rattled the names off as if they were household words: Fifth District Court of Appeal Chief Judge C. Alan Lawson, appellate Judge Wendy Berger and Orlando lawyer Dan Gerber.
It wasn't until after Jason put the names out there that other attorneys picked up on the story and whispered the same names.
Obama Legacy: Add the Crushing Weight of Regulatory Burden
If Donald Trump doesn't rip the Environmental Protection Agency to shreds as one of his first orders of business, I'll be amazed.
Just out is a new analysis from American Action Forum showing how much of an impact EPA rules have had on heavy trucks. That alone has boosted the 10-year regulatory burden on America past $1 trillion.
To bring the pain home, regulatory costs amount to a one-time charge of $3,080 per person for every man, woman and child in America.
Oh, yes, and some 75 percent of it has been imposed by the Obama administration.
"In other words, each year every person, regardless of age, in the nation is responsible for paying roughly $540 in regulatory costs. These burdens might take the form of higher prices, fewer jobs, or reduced wages," said AAF's Sam Batkins, director of regulatory policy at the watchdog group.
Batkins said the new high in regulatory costs came after new fuel standards for trucks were implemented.
Expect those costs to rise during the 50 days Obama has left in office. The president has already broken records for new regulations and added red tape this year. He is scrambling to lock in several environmental regulations before his Oval Office days are done.
Even before he heard this latest news, Trump promised to kill two current regulations for every new one he adds.
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