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 Thursday, April 13, 2006

Polling For Bense in U.S. Senate Race

    Bense may jump in against Harris:
    A national Republican polling firm did a survey in Florida last week testing how state House Speaker Allan Bense would fare against Bill Nelson in the U.S. Senate race.

    The outcome of the poll isn't known publicly.

    The fact that it was done suggests Bense may be considering entering the race, or that an interest group with money to spend wants to find out how he would do.
    "Poll Tests The Waters For Bense Senate Run".

    Budget "Windfall"

    "Cash Crush":

    Florida lawmakers were handed a nearly $1 billion windfall Wednesday by state economists, boosting the prospects of big election-year tax breaks and help for homeowners staggered by rising insurance costs.

    The state’s Revenue Estimating Conference upgraded Florida’s expected cash flow by $960 million, crediting the gain to rising tax receipts from a still potent housing market.
    See also "State reaps another big windfall". "Jeb!" will no doubt take credit for this "windfall".

    More: "Various Priorities Compete For $1 Billion Tax Windfall", "An extra $1-billion may bail Citizens", "Budget gets $1 billion boost", "Budget Math", "Florida's revenue estimates up $1 billion" and "$960 million windfall becomes available".

    Session News

    - "Legislature 2006: Developments from day 37, April 12".

    - "DNA dads"

    - "Legislation would give housing aid to government workers such as teachers, police".

    - "Proposal would save 'Holy Land' theme park $300,000 in property taxes".


    Fundraising in Rep. Sheri McInvale's bid for re-election:

    In her first quarter as a member of the GOP, McInvale raised a little over $31,000, a haul that included checks from prominent Republicans such as Orlando lawyer and pundit Tico Perez, Orange County GOP Chairman Lew Oliver and state Rep. Adam Hasner of Delray Beach. It's hardly an overwhelming amount for McInvale, who has raised about $62,000 overall, but then again, the state GOP also spent more than $6,000 of its own money last month to send out pro-McInvale mailers.

    On the Democratic side, environmental lawyer Scott Randolph added another $24,000 to his account, helped in part by donations from a number of labor unions. And while the $44,000 he has raised overall isn't as much as McInvale's, his campaign was quick to point out that he now has nearly same amount in the bank as the incumbent.

    Randolph, though, still has to get through a Democratic primary, where a new entry to the race, Eben Self, raised $20,000 in a just over one month of fundraising. An attorney in Maitland, Self raised more than half of his money from lawyers and law firms -- which comes after McInvale had a highly publicized run-in with the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers over her support for lawsuit restrictions.

    A third Democrat in the race, Alex Rodriguez-Heuer, hasn't raised any money so far.
    "Hot Races Brewing in Orange County".

    Crist Threatened With Sanctions As "Non-party Interloper""

    When politics and law mix, the results can be ugly:

    A judge has threatened to sanction Attorney General Charlie Crist for getting involved in a politically charged case about a government whistle-blower and a troubled privatization venture.

    Circuit Judge Thomas Bateman III's strongly worded order came after Crist got an emergency hearing on a Saturday before another judge and had the whistle-blower's sealed lawsuit opened for the first time. ...

    Bateman's Tuesday order called the attorney general a "non-party interloper" in the case, and he gave Crist's office one week to explain why he should not impose sanctions against Crist's office.

    The attorney general's office "is impeding the court's ability to control the case by filing unauthorized papers" and by seeking hearings to which it is not entitled, Bateman wrote.
    "Judge: Crist meddled in case". See also "Judge questions Crist in privatization probe". That's not all:
    Bateman's sharply worded three-page order issued Tuesday effectively bars Crist's office from the case and rebukes his agency for failing to properly investigate a whistleblower complaint filed in January concerning Convergys' $380 million contract to handle the state's payroll and benefits system.
    "Judge removes Crist's office from whistleblower case" ("Five days before Attorney General Charlie Crist said he would go after Convergys Inc. on allegations of falsely billing the state, a Leon County circuit judge ordered Crist's office off of the case for mismanaging it so far.") Apparently, and this would explain Crist's mishandling of the matter,
    a Crist campaign adviser is a Convergys lobbyist and the company is a major donor to the Republican Party.
    "Judge: Crist an 'interloper' in Convergys case".

    What A Dope

    Nobody has ever accused "Bush's Mr. Cellophane" of being particularly smart, but Daniel Ruth exposes our Mel as quite the dope for his recent remarks on "Hardball". According to Ruth, "the problem with this country, as the very junior Florida Sen. Mel Martinez so astutely noted the other evening on MSNBC's 'Hardball'" is that

    [t]here are just too many good-for-nothing, lazy, slob Americans sitting around eating bon-bons and refusing to get off their tushes to do an honest day's labor.
    So there was Martinez last week chatting it up with Chris Matthews on the illegal immigration kerfuffle when the boychick senator related this tale of woe.

    "I was talking to a fellow who said they had 250 openings of which 900 people applied," Martinez told Matthews. "Not one was an American citizen, so it just goes to show you there's a demand for a work force that is not being met."
    Now if Matthews was truly playing "Hardball," he would have turned to the newbie senator and said something like, "Excuse me, but are you insane? How do you know all these 900 applicants weren't American citizens? Who was this fellow offering the jobs? What kind of jobs were these?"

    But alas, Matthews was expressing less curiosity than Paris Hilton wondering what Dick Cheney looks like naked as Martinez pressed on.

    "If you create a legal work force, then it's more likely that the salaries will rise, but the example I was using about this guy in Florida needing 250 workers, they were $9- to $14-an-hour jobs and he could not get Americans to apply for them."
    Ruth was confused; where were all these $14 an hour jobs, and
    did Florida's cub senator really mean an unemployed American would rather luxuriate in poverty than accept work which now goes to a more industrious illegal alien who will shamelessly take those $30,000-a-year-jobs?

    Alas - how to put this gently - Florida's novitiate senator's office was unresponsive to a request for the name and contact information for the chap who supposedly had all those jobs that were being blown off by those Kato Kaelin-like Americans.
    "Icky! A Job? $14 An Hour? Fuhgetaboutit!"

    Jebbie Dumps Schiavo Issue

    "Unable to reopen the legislative debate over Terri Schiavo, Gov. Jeb Bush is giving up on his effort to change Florida law to allow patients to reject or withdraw a feeding tube only if they put that wish in writing." "Bush drops end-of-life push".

    Congressional District 9

    "Republican state Rep. Gus Bilirakis reports he raised $230,000 this quarter, and Democratic former Hillsborough County Commissioner Phyllis Busansky reports raising $208,000 (including a check from former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner)." "Another $208K for Phyllis, $230K For Gus".

    "'A Bunch of Garbage'"


    company hired to grade Florida's high stakes assessment test refuses to release the identities and background of the people who score the essay portion of the exams.

    CTB/McGraw-Hill, under contract with the Florida Department of Education, considers the names a "trade secret" and exempt from the state's public records law.

    Senate Democrats had requested information on the $10-an-hour temporary workers hired to grade the FCAT, which is used to grade schools and decide whether students are promoted or can graduate. The exam results may soon also be used to calculate teacher salaries.

    "I think it's a bunch of garbage," said Sen. Skip Campbell, D-Fort Lauderdale, who requested the information along with Senate Democratic Leader Les Miller. "These people are paid by the state. They're advertised as being qualified. I think we're going to find out the state has no clue who is grading these papers."
    "FCAT graders a 'trade secret'".


    "When it comes to toxic relationships, Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee are amateurs compared to the deadly love-lock between the Florida Legislature and the National Rifle Association." "Kiss kiss bang bang".

    Central Florida Mug Shots

    Scott Maxwell: "Are they ready for their close-ups? Not all mug shots make the grade".

    Break Time

    "The 2006 legislative recess — a five-day break for House members and a 10-day one for senators — is in full swing, giving lawmakers an opportunity to go back to their day jobs, hit the campaign trail, hobnob with constituents, hang out with family or just mellow out before the session's hectic finale." "Lee: Midterm legislative break a capital idea".

    A PBC Dem Thing

    Q: "Perman launched his campaign against state Rep. Richard Machek, D-Delray Beach, on Wednesday with Slosberg at his side and a consulting team that includes former Slosberg aide Desiree Morel and former Slosberg consultant Barry Epstein."

    "Eight may not be enough"

    "Eight may not be enough. That's what the Florida Legislature said last year when it approved a plan to extend eight-year term limits to 12 years. Unfortunately, state Sens. Bill Posey, R-Rockledge, and Mike Haridopolos, R-Melbourne, tried to ram through a new resolution last week that would rescind last year's vote, which puts the question before voters on the November ballot. The good news is that the attempt failed in Posey's own committee, the Senate Committee on Ethics and Elections." "Second thoughts

    on 'Eight Is Enough.'


    "The Hidden Power Of Black Republicans In Florida".

    More From The "Values" Crowd

    Remember this?

    Faced with criticism that poor people and seniors would be hurt, Florida lawmakers and telecommunications lobbyists included a sweetener in a massive 2003 law that led to higher local phone rates.

    They promised to expand the number of people who would be eligible for a program, known as Lifeline, that offers discounted phone service to low-income people. Gov. Jeb Bush even cited the Lifeline expansion as he signed the controversial measure into law. ...

    But nearly three years later, a new University of Florida study and another state report show that only about 12 percent of the people eligible for Lifeline get the discounted service -- less than before the 2003 law. As a result, tens of thousands of poor Floridians might not have phones in their homes or are paying more than necessary each month.
    "Service no Lifeline for low-income customers".

    GLBT Endorsement

    "The president of the Florida GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender) Democratic Caucus endorsed Jim Davis in his bid for governor, Davis' campaign announced today. ... Albetta's personal endorsement isn't the same as the GLBT Caucus' formal backing. But it's probably a safe bet that Davis, a congressman from Tampa, is now better positioned than his opponent in the Democratic primary, state Sen. Rod Smith of Alachua, to win that endorsement, too." "GLBT Chief Endorses Davis".

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