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 Friday, March 17, 2006

"Harris' Money Muddies Waters"

    promise to put $10 million into her Senate race seems likely to deter other Republicans from challenging her for the party's nomination.

    But after she made that vow on a TV talk show Wednesday night, her campaign continued to show signs of confusion and indecision. Harris first delayed and then canceled a news conference scheduled for today in Tampa, where she would have faced tough questions raised by her announcement.

    Some political experts called the pledge an admirable sign of her commitment to the race; others called it a sign of desperation, noting that self-funding candidates more often lose than win.

    Whichever is true, if either, her emotional promise to spend her father's financial legacy on her campaign raised questions about her personal finances.
    "Harris' Money Muddies Waters".

    The Tampa Trib really wants Harris gone; in addition to the above piece, we get this today: "Some Harris Statements, Facts Don't Jibe". And this editorial: "Harris Shows Money, Not Support".

    It turns out that
    Harris' chief political strategist said Thursday that he suggested she abandon her bid for the U.S. Senate because it would be a "tough row to hoe" given the numerous setbacks the campaign had suffered.

    But Harris refused. Instead, she decided to spend $10 million of her own money on the race and took her case directly to voters, using Fox News' Hannity & Colmes talk show Wednesday night as her platform.
    "Harris advisers urged her to quit".

    See also "GOP: Money gives Harris a shot", "$10 million gamble may not pay off for Harris" and "Can't buy credibility".

    More trouble: "Harris loses another staffer".

    Senate Budget

    "Senate President Tom Lee said Thursday that Florida should not "do public education on the cheap" in his defense of a budget that does not include Gov. Jeb Bush's proposed property tax cut and instead spends an extra $550 million on schools. Word of the Senate's plan, unveiled at a committee meeting Wednesday, prompted support from Democrats and many Senate Republicans but skepticism from Bush and his allies." "Senate president defends education budget". See also "Senate's Budget Plan Increases Spending", "Florida Senate opposes Gov. Bush, demands $1.8 billion boost for schools" and "Gov. Bush's tax-savings plan stalled" ("One of Gov. Jeb Bush's tax-cutting ideas suffered a setback Thursday when a Senate committee declined to include his proposal to trim school property taxes by $570 million in its education budget.")

    That Open Meeting Thing

    "Tallahassee Democrat, AP protest closed elections meeting".

    Session Developments

    - Today's events: "Upcoming".

    - "Legislature 2006: Developments from Thursday, March 16". See also "Thursday's Capitol Roundup".

    - "A measure to curb lawsuits against businesses sails through the House and receives a cautionary welcome in the Senate." "Tort reform bill passes House". See also "House backs lawsuit shield for businesses", "House votes to limit liability suits" and "House OKs top business priority".

    - "House Panel Approves Citizens Rate Boost". See also "Bill raises premium limit on insuring second homes", "House plan would charge some homeowners more for insurance". See also "We pay to keep insurers in Florida".

    - "A Broward lawmaker wants slot-machine venues to pay an annual fee to nearby cities to offset expected increases in crime and traffic." "Bill tacks on new slots fee".

    - "Environmental groups unhappy with provisions for development of wetlands" "Grumbles over conservation bill".


    "Levine greatly angered Republican senators in 2003 when it was discovered he was plotting to find GOP challengers to run against GOP senators who were blocking the governor's proposal to overhaul the state's medical malpractice system." "Looks like you're forgiven, Alan".

    "Black caucus wants arrests"

    "While black lawmakers demanded sanctions and arrests in the death of a teenager at a boot camp, the author of a controversial autopsy defended his work." "Black caucus wants arrests". See also "Some lawmakers call for arrests of guards, others".

    Wingnut Malaise

    "Hundreds of Christian activists gathering in Fort Lauderdale to rally for their conservative agenda faced waning momentum."

    But the momentum that brought record numbers of believers to the polls in 2004 has waned. In a year of large-scale natural disasters, Christian charitable dollars have been redirected from political causes to relief efforts. And -- perhaps most damaging of all -- scandals involving former House Majority leader Tom DeLay and lobbyist Jack Abramoff have discouraged some Christians.

    Even Gary Cass, executive director of Coral Ridge Ministry's Center for Reclaiming America for Christ and a self-described soldier in the culture war, said he senses a ''general malaise'' among conservatives.
    "Christian activism lags as S. Fla. rally opens".

    "Distorted property-tax structure"

    "The real estate bubble has made some property owners rich. It's also making property owners -- not just homeowners -- angry. As property values skyrocketed, so did property taxes for all but homesteaded houses. As a result, the Legislature is considering several proposals that would ostensibly lighten the tax burden on property owners and buyers -- but worsen an already distorted property-tax structure." "How to make an unfair property tax even worse".


    Our Green Governor in action:

    Growing concern in Congress that Florida is failing to sufficiently clean up water pollution has jeopardized federal funding for a massive Everglades restoration project.
    "Congress threatens to cut funding for Everglades cleanup".

    Privatization Follies

    "The state warned employees Thursday that computer operators in India may have had access to their personnel records, and an angry legislator demanded that Convergys produce all records showing when it learned of the illicit "offshoring" of sensitive data." "State advises workers of security concern".

    Good Luck

    "There is a glimmer of hope that, this year, the Legislature will approve a bill that would ask voters statewide if persons who have served their time for committing a crime should have their civil rights restored automatically. This proposed amendment to Florida's Constitution isn't the most efficient or quickest method of restoring rights to at least 500,000 persons, but the approach has the best chance of succeeding." "Restore their rights".

    We Can Hope

    "Florida Republicans could be in deep trouble this cycle." " For GOP, Perilous Polling" ("Pollster Matt Towery, a former Newt Gingrich aide, thinks the shift toward Democrats could make the Florida governor's race a lot more competitive for Democrats.")

    "Personnel purge"

    "The personnel purge at the Department of Corrections continued Thursday with the forced resignation of deputy assistant secretary Greg Drake, who was in charge of security operations at DOC’s 128 penal facilities across the state." "Assistant secretary resigns under pressure".

    Not Enough

    "Contract workers at UM will get higher wages and affordable healthcare, but faculty, students and union leaders who advocated for their cause say the fight is not over." "Striking workers at UM to get raise". See also "University of Miami to raise minimum wages of contract workers".

    All "Jeb!" All The Time

    For the "Jeb!" cultists out there, "Online, Jeb PR machine never off".

    Tobacco Ballot Proposal

    "A proposal requiring the state to spend $57 million annually on an antismoking campaign was approved for the Nov. 7 ballot." "Supreme Court OK's tobacco ballot question".

    Thanks "Jeb!"

    Remember this little gift from the GOoPers

    With the blessing of Gov. Jeb Bush and the Legislature, phone companies successfully petitioned the Public Service Commission for higher local rates, claiming the result would be a more competitive market. They said long-distance rates would decrease, rendering the local increase “revenue-neutral.”

    But the companies never articulated that equation in plain dollars-and-cents terms. And once the hikes are phased in over four years, BellSouth, Sprint and Verizon could raise their local rates up to 20 percent a year - without PSC approval. The Attorney General's Office found the legislation so objectionable that it tried, unsuccessfully, to appeal the PSC's decision.
    "Fighting back".


    "In opposing the court-ordered investigation, DJJ has shown disregard for the boys and girls being detained and for the judges charged with ensuring not just their proper treatment but the public's safety. The agency's opposition — and, especially, quick placement of J.C. and three other teens after the probe was ordered — prove the need for the investigation to continue." "Make DJJ do its job".

    FCAT Foolishness

    "Think about that. In some cases, the state puts more faith in the one-shot FCAT than in the day-in-day-out observations and work of full-time teachers. And since the state is using temps to evaluate written portions of the FCAT — which are the most subjective parts of the test — the state is putting more faith in temporary workers than in its full-time teachers." "Low-account grading for high-stakes tests".

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