Speaker Rubio's "100 IDEAS"

To Kill The Future of Homeowners!

An Opinion By Jan Bergemann 
President, Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc. 

Published March 26, 2007


Only 64 votes stand between consumer-friendly legislation and a Speaker who has his own agenda and his own innovative "100 Ideas"! 64 votes was the difference between now "Speaker" Marco Rubio and his opponent in a Special Run-Off Election on January 11, 2000. And 3,152 votes actually got him into office in a Special General Election for House Representative District 111 on January 25, 2000. Don't forget, Charlie Crist earned 2,519,845 votes to be our Governor!


But as the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, Marco Rubio has nearly as much power as our governor.  Rubio can stop bills from being heard altogether, or order representatives to change their filed bills -- otherwise they will not be heard!  Rubio has the power to veto a bill and thus prevent its being voted upon!  Rubio is the absolute dictator in the House -- and in the moment it looks like he is abusing his power!


House Representatives filed many good bills that would have helped consumers all over Florida , not only with property insurance (H 1267 + H 1307), but with the many costly issues homeowners in associations (H 1373) have to deal with. But I guess the Speaker's former employer, the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff, wasn't so fond of regulation of homeowners' associations.  B & P surely would have a lot to lose if homeowners were better protected by Florida laws!  A belated Thank-You from the "Speaker" for being hired?


Instead of adding finishing touches to the insurance bill the legislature passed during the special session, Rubio allows a bill to move forward that would remove consumer protection just created during that special session (PCB JEC 07-04). A bill that not only excludes condominium residents and small business owners from consumer provisions, but removes a requirement that insurers pay property claims within 90 days of being notified -- on request of the insurance industry -- and eases the penalty for an insurer who misses those deadlines.


Controversial opinions by Rubio? Where do you want to start? Paying outrageous salaries to his staff members from taxpayers' money, but being afraid of the "fiscal impact" of a regulatory agency for homeowners' associations, financed by the homeowners themselves. But Rubio has absolutely no problem when he favors spending $60 million of taxpayers' money for a new Marlins stadium. Maybe he thinks that will pave the way to fulfill his dream: Being Baseball Commissioner? All at taxpayers' expense?


I guess we consumers desperately need the Governor and the Senate to play babysitter for a Speaker, who obviously lacks the experience to deal with these issues. What happened to his "100 IDEAS", promoted at great expense? It's pretty obvious -- the ideas requested by the constituents are being ignored!


Normally a young leader relies on a good team of advisors. His great supporters in Miami obviously don't fit the bill. Ralph Arza was forced to resign even before the election (racial slurs) and David Rivera is definitely not the most liked Republican in Miami , considering that he was one of the group that tried to oust Senator Alex Villalobos, a well-known consumer advocate! Most of the members of this "leadership team" backed as well Tom Gallagher for Governor -- definitely not the choice of us consumers, as election results clearly showed. That may be the reason for the serious difficulties that face Governor Charlie Crist's as he attempts to steer the House in a move to place Florida 's economy back on track! 


Consumer organizations all over the state are pleading for help from the legislature to fix the financial problems caused by high insurance premiums, outrageous property taxes and uncontrolled association spending. So far the House leadership has totally failed to even address these issues – except for some irate ideas voiced by our esteemed Speaker of the House.


While Governor Crist and the Senate President Ken Pruitt are seriously trying to find feasible solutions to ease the financial burden for Florida 's citizens, House Speaker Marco Rubio is using his office as his private toy box, playing with the financial welfare of his constituents. Let's just face it: Elected officials like Marco Rubio are the reason why the Republican Party suffered serious defeats during the last election. Rubio's performance surely doesn't help the cause, even if Governor Crist works hard to regain the constituents' trust in our government!


What does it tell you if consumer groups are trying to find legal ways to remove Rubio from office, because they think that Florida 's citizens can't afford another 18 months of his so-called "leadership”?

Considering that 64 votes made the difference between whether he won or lost the election – does the whole State of Florida have to suffer from the vote of 3,152 voters who at that time definitely didn't know where this would lead?


For the moment Florida 's citizens have to trust the judgment of Governor Crist and the Florida Senate, because there is absolutely nothing good forthcoming from House Speaker Marco Rubio!


Marco Rubio and his so-called "leadership team" have been blocking consumer-friendly legislation left and right!


Does the entire State of Florida have to suffer from the poor judgment of 64 voters in the year 2000?

What happened to the most important part of the Gettysburg Address: "…government of the people, by the people, for the people…"?  What we have in Florida is "Government of special interest, by special interest, for special interest" -- or in short: THE BEST GOVERNMENT MONEY CAN BUY!

The way it looks our new "Speaker" will do more damage to our consumers' interest than we could ever have imagined. So, when you receive your new property insurance premium, have problems with your association or get sick and tired about listening to irate proposals trying to fix the property tax problem -- just contact him or his office and vent your anger! It may not help your cause, because Rubio seems deaf to consumer requests, but it might make you feel better!

Representative Marco Rubio

E-Mail:  marco.rubio@myfloridahouse.gov

District 111 (Republican)    Miami-Dade

Suite 200  

1000 SW 57th Avenue  

Miami , FL 33144-5120

Phone: (305) 442-6939

Legislative Assistants:

Gisette Bolt and Viviana Bovo, 

E-Mail: VIVIANA.BOVO@myfloridahouse.gov

Representative Marco Rubio

E-Mail:  marco.rubio@myfloridahouse.gov

420 The Capitol 

402 South Monroe Street

Tallahassee , FL 32399-1300

Phone:  (850) 488-1450

Legislative Assistants:

Gisette Bolt and Viviana Bovo