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
"every political insider should be reading right now."

E-Mail Florida Politics

This is our Main Page
Our Sister Site
On FaceBook
Follow us on Twitter
Our Google+ Page
Contact [E-Mail Florida Politics]
Site Feed
...and other resources


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.


Older posts [back to 2002]

Previous Articles by Derek Newton: Ten Things Fox on Line 1 Stem Cells are Intelligent Design Katrina Spin No Can't Win Perhaps the Most Important Race Senate Outlook The Nelson Thing Deep, Dark Secret Smart Boy Bringing Guns to a Knife Fight Playing to our Strength  

The Blog for Friday, May 26, 2006

"Appropriate to reward his allies"?

    Just like his brother, a divider not a uniter:
    "All I can say is if there was some liberal Democrat in this office, it would have been a hell of a lot worse," Bush said.
    "Jeb signs $71 billion budget then wishes successor 'luck'". In addition to the immature cheap shots, Jebbie dealt some of that infamous Bushco political retaliation (to the detriment of Florda's most needy):
    Critics, including Senate Republicans who voted against the governor's top priority of school vouchers, said they saw payback in his choice of cuts.

    Sen. Alex Villalobos, R-Miami, who late in the session lost his majority-leader post after the failed voucher vote, pointed to the loss of $20 million for Jackson Memorial, the teaching hospital for the University of Miami medical school that he has long championed.

    "I just don't know what to say," Villalobos said. "That money was for indigent care. It was going to benefit the entire community."

    Nancy Argenziano of Crystal River, another of the four Republican senators who voted against vouchers, said she could not understand how Bush could have vetoed $55,000 for volunteer firefighter equipment in Hamilton County or $100,266 for a training program for the blind in Citrus County.

    "I'll be damned if that's a turkey," Argenziano said.
    Jebbie's response?
    Bush, as he has in the past, denied that vetoes of his critics' projects were retribution. He said that getting back at those legislators by hurting their constituents did not make sense. He acknowledged, though, that he thought it appropriate to reward his allies.
    Argenziano said:"Of course he rewards his friends. Let's see: Staubach, Convergys — he always rewards his friends." She referred to large outsourcing contracts that Bush's administration has awarded to Republican donors.

    The senator said that she, in contrast, was trying to help residents in some of the poorest counties in the state. "I guess when you're born with a silver spoon, you just don't recognize that."
    "Lawmakers howl as Bush axes $449 million in 'turkeys'".

    Jebbie said "'This budget represents our conservative approach to government,'" "Bush approves record budget", as he vetoed "$500,000 in state aid for a trauma center start-up program in hospitals that are 100 miles from the nearest trauma center" (id.) and at the same time asserted it was "appropriate to reward his allies" via the budget. Yes, that is "Jeb!"'s so-called "conservative approach" - rewarding his "friends", political allies and contributors (who in turn receive government "contracts"), while at the same time punishing the poor and the elderly.

    See also "Bush Slices Into Budget", "Governor's veto pen leaves heavy mark", "Bush signs $73.9 billion state budget", "Bush signs budget but vetoes record amount" ("Governor says 'it's not about politics'") and "Bush vetoes a record $448M" ("The big losers in the $71 billion budget: Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital, which saw $20 million cut; and nursing homes, which had sought nearly $90 million to continue helping Medicaid's poor elderly.").

    GOP Convention

    Tampa's "Plans For Hosting '08 GOP Released".

    Oil Drilling

    A potential wedge issue with independents?

    With the cost of gasoline hovering near $3 a gallon, a majority of Floridians -- mostly Republicans -- now back a Bush administration proposal that would allow oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico 100 miles off the state's coastline, according to a poll released Thursday.
    "Poll: Views changing". See also "Poll: 51 percent of Floridians OK drilling 100 miles from shore".

    Supressing The Vote

    Of course, this is all about the long term GOoPer objective to surpress voter turnout:

    But the Legislature didn't make a law addressing bad intentions [in voter registration groups]. Instead, the 2005 law painted all independent voter-registration drives with one wide, tarry brush, creating rules so punitive and unworkable that they could shut down voter registration drives by groups as venerable as the League of Women Voters.

    That may have been the Legislature's fatal mistake. "Don't Mess With the League of Women Voters" is one of the unwritten rules of politics. "Don't Mess With the League of Women Voters Without Cleaning Up Your Own Mess First" should probably be stitched into a sampler and hung in the Capitol rotunda. The organization has been helping Florida voters register since 1939, and its reputation for dogged voter advocacy and nonpartisanship is well established. When it levies criticism about voting practices, the barb justly stings.

    The Legislature might not have intended to go after groups like the League. But lawmakers definitely didn't intend to go after the most likely sources of elections fraud -- because they didn't name political parties. Party operatives don't face fines of up to $5,000 per voter registration. Only independent groups do.

    And many of those groups won't be registering voters this year. As the League and several unions pointed out in a lawsuit filed against the state last month, Florida ranks 39th in registration of voting-age residents. Nearly half of all new voters registered in 2004 came from independent groups, the suit says.
    "Voter jam".

    "Mailroom Glitch"

    "Voters whose last names begin with the letters A or B received the ID cards of relatives, neighbors and crosstown residents rather than their own. The cause was a mailroom glitch that resulted in up to 1,000 people receiving the card for the next person alphabetically on Broward's voter registration rolls." "Mailroom glitch shuffles voters' registration cards". See also "Glitch leaves some Broward residents with wrong voting ID card".


    "An estimated 300,000 insurance policy holders will have to take their business elsewhere or transfer to the state's plan because three private insurers couldn't recover from past hurricane losses, state financial officials said. Florida Preferred, the last of three troubled subsidiary companies belonging to the Tampa-based Poe Financial Group, agreed Thursday to let the state take over its business and liquidate the company, state officials said." "Last of three insurance companies agrees to liquidate".

    "Values" Judge Removed

    "A judge will be removed from the bench for defrauding voters by grossly misrepresenting his qualifications while using illegal contributions to pay most of his campaign expenses, the Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday. The justices unanimously agreed Circuit Judge John Renke III of New Port Richey was guilty of campaign violations during his 2002 race in the 6th Circuit, which covers Pinellas and Pasco counties." "Supreme Court removes judge for campaign violations".

    "The high court concluded Renke's father, former Republican state Rep. John Renke II, and his law firm illegally contributed $95,800 of the $105,550 spent by his son's campaign. The legal limit is $500 per person." And, the Court found that "Renke misled voters with advertising and literature that proclaimed him 'a Judge With Our Values,' implying he was an incumbent when he was not, and falsely claiming he was more experienced than his opponent." Id. See also "Judge's removal stands as warning".


    "Last week, Masilotti abruptly quit his third and final commission run just days after Republican Party leadership raised questions about the Martin County transactions — warning that unless Masilotti fully disclosed his involvement, it could mean trouble for him at the ballot box." "Deal that benefitted Masilotti family is subject of probe".

    Harris vs. McBride

    "37 percent of respondents said they favored Harris, compared to 13 percent for Will McBride, 4 percent for LeRoy Collins Jr. and 2 percent for Peter Monroe. Her three opponents all entered the race May 12, which was the last day to get on the Sept. 5 primary ballot. More respondents — 43 percent — didn't choose a candidate. In a head-to-head with Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson, Harris trailed Nelson 58-25." "Support weak for Harris in Senate poll".

    In the general, Nelson beats Harris "58 percent to 25 percent in the Quinnipiac University poll. The survey of 1,086 registered Florida voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points." "Nelson More than Doubling Up Harris".

    [From May 15 - 22, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,086 Florida registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points. The survey includes 424 Republican voters with a margin of error of +/- 4.8 percentage points.]

    Immigration Bill Passes

    "The Senate voted 62-36 to pass the bill. Florida Sens. Mel Martinez, a Republican, and Bill Nelson, a Democrat, both voted for it." "Senate vote gives hope to undocumented immigrants in South Florida". "Senate passage of its immigration bill by a 62-36 vote on Thursday sets up a confrontation with the House, where many lawmakers equate the citizenship offer with amnesty.". "Senate passes landmark immigration bill". See also "Senate approves border reform" and "".


    "A day after Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty was cleared of criminal wrongdoing in his business dealings with a prominent developer, the mayor Thursday refused to answer questions about it, saying it was 'time to move on.'" "Crotty: 'Time to move on'". See also "Cautionary tale" ("Instead, he had deluded himself into thinking he was offered the deal because he and Mr. Carter were in a Bible study group together. Florida can't afford its elected officials to be so naive. Do politicians really think people are cozying up to them because of their sparkling personalities?")


    "State Rep. Irving Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, should leave the Palm Beach County Commission out of his politically charged dispute with the county Health Care District over its finances, County Administrator Bob Weisman told Slosberg in a letter this week. Slosberg, a county commission-appointed member of the Health Care District board, has accused the district of "hoarding" taxpayer dollars because it had an average cash balance of $180 million on its books last year." "Slosberg not on record, county says".

    Gallagher Support

    "State Sen. Bill Posey of Rockledge and Ralph Poppell of Vero Beach each endorsed Gallagher, who faces faces Attorney General Charlie Crist in the Republican primary race to succeed Gov. Jeb Bush. Also signing on with Gallagher was Cocoa Beach Mayor Leon Beeler, the campaign said." "A Few More Central Florida Pols for Gallagher".

    Bill in Orlando

    "The former president is set to headline a lunchtime fundraiser for the Florida Democratic Party at the Orlando Marriott Downtown on June 12. Party officials didn't have more details yet." "Clinton is Coming to Town". See also "Clinton's On The Way".

    FCAT Follies

    After taking office in 1999, Gov. Bush mutated the FCAT - which was in the works long before his tenure and, by coincidence, was coming into use just as he became governor - from an assessment tool into a branding iron. F grades and vouchers, he insisted, would shame poorly performing schools into doing better. That approach motivated school districts to put struggling students in smaller classes with specially trained reading teachers - a welcome development, even if a more skillful governor might have accomplished the same thing through encouragement and incentives, not threats.

    Districts also have gotten better at teaching to the test. That may not be a bad thing when the test measures basic reading skills in elementary schools. For the writing portion of the FCAT, however, it's gotten ridiculous. Many kids who barely can read, according to one portion of the FCAT, are skillful writers according to another. Why? Teachers have learned how to teach especially well to the writing test.

    Since 2001, the percentage of third-graders who can read at grade level has risen from 57 to 75. That's an FCAT success, and Gov. Bush shares in it. But high school scores suggest that teaching to the test does not lead to long-term learning. Somehow, reading improvements in lower grades vanish in the 10th grade. In 2001, 37 percent of 10th-graders could read on grade level. This year, it was 32 percent.

    Moreover, when this year's 10th-graders took the FCAT as fifth-graders in 2001, 52 percent of them were reading on grade level. It's encouraging if Florida's elementary and middle school students are reading better. But the FCAT numbers show that they aren't making the transition to the more challenging reading skills required by high school.
    "Solve FCAT mystery of 10th-graders' scores".

    "The Ultimate Insider"

    "Rod Smith's campaign for governor this afternoon named Chris Korge, a South Florida lawyer and national Democratic Party fundraiser, its general campaign chair."

    Korge, who was already raising money for Smith, is a national player in Democratic politics. Most recently, he was one of the folks in charge of fundraising for the 2004 Kerry-Edwards presidential campaign.

    He's also close enough to Bill and Hillary Clinton ... .
    "The Ultimate Insider".

    "The NYT magazine earlier this year described Korge thusly: 'If you harbor serious thoughts of running for the presidency, the first thing you do — long before you commission any polls or make any ads, years before you charter planes to take you back and forth between Iowa and New Hampshire — is to sit down with guys like Chris Korge.'" "Korge And Smith".

<< Home