Florida Five: Crist gets weaker, Miami World Center’s first phase

Five of today’s top Florida political stories at your fingertips:

Charlie Crist comes crashing back down to earth: Charlie Crist starts off the second half of 2014 in a far weaker position than he did the start of the year. Crist’s double-digit lead in the polls has long since vanished. Some polls even show Rick Scott ahead of his rival. Crist backers often shrug the polls off, saying their candidate simply hasn’t started running ads yet. But even the most die-hard Crist supporters concede that Scott and the Republicans have more cash than the Democrats and will be able to blanket the state with ads whenever they want. Read more.

AFP logoKoch brothers’ group assists Scott campaign: Gov. Rick Scott is getting help from Americans for Prosperity, which has begun phone banking and canvassing across Florida.”We’re going to use that field effort, like we’re already doing, to educate folks on his record. And it’s a pretty good one,” AFP president Tim Phillips said in an interview near the group’s headquarters in Arlington, Va.AFP, which gets funding from the Koch brothers, has 10 field offices across Florida. Read more

Cancer Treatment Centers hiring: Cancer Treatment Centers of America, which is moving its headquarters to Boca Raton from suburban Chicago, has leased temporary offices and is hiring.The for-profit operator of cancer treatment hospitals will employ 225, with some moving from Schaumburg, Ill., and others hired locally, according to economic officials.About 50 employees will be hired in the first phase, said Pamela Browner White, vice president of public affairs.Cancer Treatment Centers has leased 6,000 square feet at 6000 Broken Sound Parkway NW for about 27 employees. But between October and January, the company plans to move to its new permanent location at 5900 Broken Sound Parkway NW, which also houses the headquarters of SBA Communications. Read more.

Taxpayer-funded job facility empty since 2011 continues to get money; destroys records: A taxpayer-funded educational facility  in Miami-Dade County intended to teach at-risk teens job skills is sitting vacant and unused, which has been the case since 2011. The building, in Cutler Bay, fails to benefit the public despite ample initial funding, according to a county inspector general’s audit. It’s also doubtful a single student has benefitted from the project as designed. Read more.

miami-2Plans submitted for Miami World Center’s first phase:After eight years of delays, detailed plans for the giant redevelopment project have been submitted for approval. The projects still faces questions and opposition. After eight years of planning and delays, developers of the Miami World Center mega-development submitted detailed plans Monday for a massive shopping complex and three towers covering several city blocks for approval by planners. The plan maps the first 10-acre phase of what would eventually be a 27-acre mixed-use urban redevelopment project, one of the largest in the country, in the long-forlorn Park West district just north of the downtown core. The project is valued at around $1.5 billion. Read more.

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