Bye-Bye Ball

Big-money lobbyists and government watchdog groups alike are weighing in on Charlie Crist’s decision to scrap his 100-dollar-a-ticket Inaugural Ball.

The governor-elect sent out a statement over the weekend, saying he didn’t think the pricy bash would send the right message at a time when ordinary Floridians are struggling to pay high insurance bills.

Even deep pockets who were looking forward to the ball say they respect his decision and the message it sends.

Barney Bishop of Associated Industries of Florida says time are changing. “It’s going to be a different playing field for these next four years than it has been for most governors in the past, but again, I think that’s healthy. This town gets a little cynical sometimes and I think people around the state get cynical about the appearance of money and about what the influence is going to be, so starting out an administration this way sort of puts his own sort of independent stamp on the way they’re going to do things.”

Charlie Crist’s inaugural committee had been soliciting donations of up to 500-thousand dollars. The committee is now returning donation checks that have already been sent.

Any new donations will only be accepted up to 10-thousand dollars, which was the previous limit set by Jeb Bush.

Money left over will be sent to the Derrick Brooks Charities, the Jessica Lunsford Foundation and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Check out the schedule of inaugural events at