Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


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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 17, 2006

"Jeb!" Flouts Appointments Law

    Thanks to the Palm Beach Post for the work on this:
    A 2005 law banned legislative lobbyists from serving as university trustees in Florida, but a few have kept their positions on the influential boards with the approval of Gov. Jeb Bush.

    At least five lobbyists registered in 2005, including Al Cardenas, former chairman of the Florida Republican Party and a top lobbyist in Tallahassee and Washington, continued to serve under the governor's interpretation that the law applies only to future appointees.
    There's a small problem, though:
    the law, which amended a statute on standards of conduct for public officers, mentions no grandfather clause for board members and instead states that no trustee "shall have or hold any employment or contractual relationship as a legislative lobbyist."
    Now it gets interesting:
    In Bush's signing letter on the bill, he said a legal analysis by the governor's executive office and the legislature agreed that the language banning lobbyists did not apply to board members at the time.

    A request for the legal analysis from The Palm Beach Post was not filled, and Bush spokesman Russell Schweiss said the decision to grandfather in members was reached based on communications with the House sponsor of the bill, Rep. Dudley Goodlette, R-Naples.

    Goodlette could not be reached. Rep. David Mealor, R-Lake Mary, who cosponsored the House's bill and is chairman of the Colleges and Universities Committee, did not return phone calls.
    "Despite ban, Bush lets lobbyists stay on state universities' boards".

    Imagine That

    "The health-care and insurance industries pumped almost $1.5 million into Florida's Republican Party even as Gov. Jeb Bush and the GOP-controlled Legislature launched dramatic changes to the way the state cares for poor, elderly and disabled patients, campaign finance reports show." "Debate boosts state GOP".

    When At First You Don't Succeed

    Jeremy Wallace: "On Saturday, Harris is holding a second campaign "kickoff" event, five months after her initial campaign kickoff. This time, Harris will be in Orlando and have the leader of the Florida Republican Party, Carol Jean Jordan, publicly endorsing her."

    Ladies Man

    "From a White House Christmas party to this morning's Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast in St. Petersburg, the couple is being spotted more and more: Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist and Katie Pemble, the chief operating officer of the Bank of St. Petersburg." "Florida's Most Eligible Gubernatorial Candidate".

    Proposed "State rebate to cover small business employees"

    "Too few small businesses can afford to buy health insurance for their employees. That puts these companies -- the backbone of Florida's economy -- at a competitive hiring disadvantage. Lack of affordable insurance also leaves hundreds of thousands of working Floridians cut off from the preventive care that can keep them healthy. They end up in hospital emergency rooms, so sick they can't work, incurring huge bills they can't pay." "Healthy idea".


    Troxler: "They haven't given up on fight against Wal-Mart" in Tarpon Springs.

    The Med Mal War

    "In November 2004, Florida voters approved a state constitutional amendment limiting lawyers to no more than 30 percent of the first $250,000 of a payout and no more than 10 percent of anything above that." "New Malpractice Fee Tactic Riles State Medical Group".

    Here's An Idea

    Possible identity theft legislation:

    If Florida lawmakers prohibited homeowners from locking their back doors or installing intrusion alarms, burglars would find it very attractive here. Sound ridiculous? Maybe not. Florida is a hot spot for identity theft and credit card fraud, yet there is little consumers can do to protect themselves.

    Recognizing that shortcoming, the Legislature will consider a bill (HR 37) this year that would allow Florida consumers to lock their credit records and be notified if anyone is trying to gain unlawful access.

    Called a "consumer credit report security freeze," the process would allow Floridians to close their personal credit records to identity thieves. It would work this way: Individual consumers could send a certified letter to credit reporting agencies asking that their file be closed to outside scrutiny. The consumer would be given a unique identification code that would be needed to open the file.
    "Credit protection".

    The "Education Governor" ...

    claims that the

    statistics speak for themselves, said Bush, who is trying to preserve his legacy as Florida's "education governor" during his eighth and final year as the state's chief executive.

    Thousands more African American and Hispanic students are reading at or above grade level than four years ago, he said.

    In the 1998-99 school year, 60,000 African-American students attended an "A" or a "B" school. That number grew to nearly 275,000 in 2005, according to the Florida African American Education Alliance. And the dropout rate among black students has decreased by nearly 50 percent since 1999.

    "We're challenging the status quo and implementing fresh, bold, new ideas in education," Bush said.
    "Bush says A-plus plan on track in aiding minorities".

    This AP piece (or at least the version in the Herald Tribune) contains no Democratic response.

    The Palm Beach Post editorial board takes "Jeb!" to task over his "One Florida" flop:
    With 600 fewer African-American freshmen enrolled in Florida colleges and universities this year because of his One Florida Initiative that banned affirmative action, Gov. Bush last week announced special programs aimed at increasing those numbers. After six years of denial, the governor says he'll push the Legislature for an additional $52 million in need-based financial aid money. His new interest comes better late than never, given the 1.6 percent drop in black student enrollment from last year.
    And, "Jeb!"
    continued to play the symbols by appearing with students from historically black Florida A&M University to announce his executive order to fix his executive order. It speaks well for FAMU that its students demonstrated such grace, since Gov. Bush helped ensure that others could not be present. FAMU students were prominent in the massive 2000 protests in Tallahassee telling him that One Florida would do what it's done to black enrollment. The black freshmen who were enrolling at 17.6 percent statewide at the time of his anti-affirmative action dictate have dropped to 14.1 percent.

    He at least could drop the pretense that he was doing it all for their benefit, but the governor typically refuses to blame One Florida, pointing to the increase in overall admissions and Hispanic student enrollment. That argument ignores the state's growth, its burgeoning Hispanic population and the fact that the black population also has continued to rise.
    "Finally, Jeb reverses Jeb".


    State Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon,

    is the runaway fundraising leader in the race for state chief financial officer, with $936,771 raised. ...

    Alex Sink, of Tampa, so far unchallenged in the Democratic primary, also has fundraising clout as a former high-level banker and longtime fundraiser for Democratic candidates. She pulled in $237,295 in the last quarter of the year, bringing her total to $429,830.

    Sink, meanwhile, has hired Jacksonville lawyer Chris Hand, formerly a spokesman and speechwriter for Sen. Bob Graham, as campaign manager.

    State Rep. Randy Johnson, of Celebration, running in the GOP primary against Lee, trails in the race with $104,325 raised in the last quarter of the year and $370,827 overall.
    "Sen. Tom Lee Has The Fullest CFO War Chest".

    More From The "Values" Crowd

    "'I believe we must always follow the available facts to a more complete picture of guilt or innocence,' [Virginia Gov. John] Warner told The Washington Post." Unfortunately,

    That attitude has been shockingly rare. In Florida, where DNA testing has cleared five inmates and evidentiary reviews have resulted in the release of more than 20 Death Row inmates, the Legislature has tried to restrict DNA testing in old cases and wanted to let law-enforcement agencies destroy DNA samples.
    "Full DNA disclosure".


    "Amid all the other news about The Scripps Research Institute, a significant exchange of letters two weeks ago has reshaped the debate, opened the way for a significant expansion of the site competition and made it as likely as ever that Palm Beach County will lose Scripps." "Scripps: Done deal to done in?"

    "Blunt Support"

    "While some Republican leaders in Congress have been calling on their colleagues to stay quiet about their choice for a new House majority leader, it hasn't stopped either Harris or Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fort Pierce, from declaring their support for U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo." "Blunt support".

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