Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


UPDATE: Every morning we review and individually digest Florida political news articles, editorials and punditry. Our sister site, FLA Politics was selected by Campaigns & Elections as one of only ten state blogs in the nation
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Welcome To Florida Politics

Thanks for visiting. On a semi-daily basis we scan Florida's major daily newspapers for significant Florida political news and punditry. We also review the editorial pages and political columnists/pundits for Florida political commentary. The papers we review include: the Miami Herald, Sun-Sentinel, Palm Beach Post, Naples News, Sarasota Herald Tribune, St Pete Times, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Tallahassee Democrat, and, occasionally, the Florida Times Union; we also review the political news blogs associated with these newspapers.

For each story, column, article or editorial we deem significant, we post at least the headline and link to the piece; the linked headline always appears in quotes. We quote the headline for two reasons: first, to allow researchers looking for the cited piece to find it (if the link has expired) by searching for the original title/headline via a commercial research service. Second, quotation of the original headline permits readers to appreciate the spin from the original piece, as opposed to our spin.

Not that we don't provide spin; we do, and plenty of it. Our perspective appears in post headlines, the subtitles within the post (in bold), and the excerpts from the linked stories we select to quote; we also occasionally provide other links and commentary about certain stories. While our bias should be immediately apparent to any reader, we nevertheless attempt to link to every article, column or editorial about Florida politics in every major online Florida newspaper.


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The Blog for Tuesday, January 24, 2006

GOP Can't Get Its Harris Act Together

    "Sen. Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina, a top GOP campaign official, on Monday said Florida's Senate race will be competitive, but she stopped short of outright support for Rep. Katherine Harris of Longboat Key in her bid to unseat Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat." "GOP leader gives Harris high praise, lukewarm support". Indeed,
    She hinted that the NRSC was still open to another GOP candidate in Florida.
    "Dole On The Senate: Updated". See also "Where's Love, Liddy?"

    Dear Governor

    "State Sen. Rod Smith, a Democratic candidate for governor, wrote to Gov. Jeb Bush Monday to ask that the state pay for drugs for residents who have had problems with the shift of their prescription drug coverage from a state program to the federal Medicare program and who have been unable to afford their medicine." "Smith urges aid in drug plan transition".

    Believe It Or Not

    "U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam is hoping to become the next chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee." "Putnam Poised For Leadership Post".

    A "six-year package of leadership"


    Starting in 2007-2008, assuming there is no revolution in Florida that puts the Democrats back in charge, three youthful Republicans are scheduled to preside for two years each as House speaker:

    --Marco Rubio of Coral Gables, 2007-2008 annual sessions.

    --Ray Sansom of Destin, 2009-2010.

    --Dean Cannon of Winter Park, 2011-2012.

    This, by itself, is not news. We already know the House has been lining up its speakers years in advance. Term limits have only speeded up that early selection.

    Here is the news. Rubio, Sansom and Cannon have yoked themselves together. They are presenting themselves as a six-year package of leadership.
    "With 6-year vision ready, trio prepares to lead House".

    "Nelson answers call"

    "Privacy advocates are worried about scam artists selling records of who people call on their cellphones." "Nelson answers call for cellphone guards".

    Good Luck

    "In his first meeting as chairman tonight, the newly elected leader of the Leon County Democratic Party plans to map out campaign plans for the 2006 elections." "New chairman of Democrats leads first meeting today".

    Not Bitter

    "Twenty-four years after he was sent to prison, a St. Petersburg man was set free, becoming the fifth long time convict in Florida exonerated by DNA evidence." "24 years stolen, but 'not bitter'".

    The Tallahassee Democrat argues that "Monday's release of one more state prison inmate - whose guilt even prosecutors acknowledged was highly doubtful - evidence continues to mount for the need to update Florida law." "Legal catch-up".

    When You "Empty" State Buildings, "Jeb!" ...

    this is what you get: "State workers inspect only about 600 of Florida's 40,000-plus farms for pesticide violations each year ... ." "Pesticide Enforcement Too Lax, Lawmakers Say". See also "Legislators find pesticide laws unenforced".

    GOoPer "Payback"

    "The state GOP is still miffed at the St. Petersburg Times for trying to listen to Gov. Jeb Bush's speech at a Republican party luncheon Saturday that was closed to the press." "Payback by State GOP".

    AIF Asleep

    "The group, which was formed last year, says it's coming together to 'speak with one voice' and bring the manufacturing industry into the spotlight. Already it has a number of issues on its agenda, including promoting legislation that would give manufacturers a sales tax break when they purchase machinery and equipment. " "New state group aims to help manufacturing companies".

    Per Diem

    "It's always tempting, but often wrong, to play "connect the dots" with legislative events." "Connect the dots. Food isn't cheap".

    You're Doing A Heckuva Job Dubya

    "FEMA inaction leaves state more vulnerable".

    13th Congressional District

    "Congressional candidate Donna Clarke hasn't attended a candidates' forum, has yet to put up a campaign Web site and has raised almost no money for her 13th Congressional District campaign." "Clarke focused on run for Congress".

    "In Their Own Words"

    "At Polk County's Tiger Bay Club today, Democratic gubernatorial candidates Jim Davis and Rod Smith explained what they would do to deal with skyrocketing insurance rates." "In Their Own Words".

    More on the Bush "Band-Aid"

    As noted yesterday, even Republicans think Bush's approach to Florida's teacher crisis is a mere "band-aid"

    Mark Pudlow, spokesman for Florida Education Association, the state teachers union, pointed out that base teacher salaries and pensions were not addressed in the plan.

    Florida is 29th in the country in average teacher salary at $40,598, which is nearly $6,000 less than the national average, according to figures from 2003-04, the most recent ones available from the American Federation of Teachers.

    Some Democrats criticized the proposal and urged Republicans in the Legislature to consider raising teacher salaries in addition to Bush's plan, which State Rep. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall, D-Miami, called "a short-term fix."

    "It is sad that despite seven years of urging, the governor still fails to see that Florida's teachers' salaries are completely inadequate," said House Democratic Leader Chris Smith of Fort Lauderdale. "One only has to look at the thousands of teachers who leave the profession and our state each year to know that we are not doing enough."
    "Bush Proposes Teacher Incentives". The Orlando Sentinel editorial board:
    when it comes to retaining good teachers, Mr. Bush's plan ignores the reality that Florida's teacher salaries continue to lag other states. The Florida Education Association was quick to point this out as one of Mr. Bush's failures, but the teachers union ought to admit that it shares blame for lagging teacher salaries.

    In the battle over teacher salaries, Mr. Bush has tied the issue first to merit pay and then to the repeal of a voter-approved requirement to reduce class size. The union has fought the idea of merit pay or pay for performance at every turn.

    While the battle has raged on, Florida has fallen further behind. While the state ranks in the top 10 in starting-teacher salaries, Florida's pay falls behind other states as teachers progress through their careers. Florida's average teacher salary of $40,000 is $6,000 less than the national average and $5,000 less than Georgia's -- where many North Florida teachers now commute for jobs.

    This stalemate over salaries has gone on too long. It is time Mr. Bush, lawmakers and union officials sit down across a table and negotiate a deal.
    "Don't stop short".

    "[T]he teachers union ought to admit that it shares blame for lagging teacher salaries"? What in heaven's name are they talking about - teachers unions don't set wages, they can't strike, they do not have binding interest arbitration ... in fact, school boards have the unilateral authority to set wages. Why should the teachers union share blame for the funding decisions of elected officials?

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