To: Florida reporters, bloggers and editors
From: Mark Ferrulo, Progress Florida
Subject: Bondi’s bogus rationale
Attorney General Pam Bondi’s attempt to explain away the firestorm of criticism around her claim that recognizing same-sex couples would “impose significant public harm” doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Not even close.
In explaining her actions, Bondi claimed to be “defending the voters” who passed the 2008 constitutional amendment defining marriage in Florida as between a man and a woman. Bondi stated that “anything less than the best defense of our voters’ policy preferences would disenfranchise the electorate, undermine the judicial process, and cast aside the professional responsibility that guides me every day as Attorney General.” Sounds very noble until you take even a cursory look at her record.
- Why isn’t Bondi “defending the voters” who passed the 1976 Sunshine Amendment and expect open and transparent state government? Gov. Rick Scott’s administration has a terrible track record when it comes to open records laws and respecting government in the sunshine, but Bondi has been silent. In fact, her own office has been sued for open records violations. At least twice. Moreover, Bondi sought to shut down a legal challenge to Gov. Scott’s blind trust arrangement due to possible violations of the Sunshine Amendment – wouldn’t that constitute “less than the best defense of our voters’ policy preferences”?
- Article IX of Florida’s constitution was amended by voters in 1998 to make it a “paramount duty” of the state to require a “uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools“, so why hasn't Bondi "defended voters" there? Florida ranked 48th in state funding for our public schools as of 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. State lawmakers attempt to siphon tax dollars away from public schools and move them to for-profit private schools year after year, yet Bondi has said nothing. Then again, voucher proponents helped her win office.
- Where is Bondi on the Polluter Pays amendment passed by voters in 1996? she has been silent on making polluters pay for the damage they do to the Everglades. In fact, rather than holding polluters accountable here in Florida, Bondi has sided with large corporate polluters in legal opposition to a cleanup plan for Chesapeake Bay.
- Why hasn’t Bondi “defended the voters” who passed the 2002 class size amendment and want to see it implemented and fully funded? Where was Bondi when lawmakers attempted to water down the class size amendment in 2011 by changing the definition of “core” classes? Did she ride to the rescue in 2013 when HB 189 was added to HB 7009 to allow class sizes to be calculated using school wide averages?
- On top of all of this, Bondi has remained silent for the past two weeks as a redistricting trial has uncovered overwhelming evidence that state leaders violated the voter enacted Fair Districts constitutional amendments and conspired to draw maps that would allow them to cling to power by picking the voters instead of allowing the voters to pick their elected representatives.
Bondi’s rationale that she’s an impartial public servant “defending the voters” is ludicrous.
Attorney General Pam Bondi owes Floridians real answers for her opposition to equality for all Floridians and blatant political use of her office and for ignoring the harm done to our open records laws, our public schools, our Everglades and fair elections – all on her watch.
For more information, please contact Damien Filer at 850-212-1858 or Damien@ProgressFlorida.org.