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, May 12, 2006

K Day

    Today's the day - will Katherine get a challenger?
    The Republican U.S. Senate primary seemed to dissolve into a welter of confusion Thursday as several potential candidates considered last-minute challenges to the one whom top Republicans don't seem to want: Katherine Harris.

    Several possible opponents were expected to jump in, or were considering jumping in, against Harris by today's noon deadline.

    It appeared the makeup of the primary would be decided this morning in the state Division of Elections offices in Tallahassee, where candidates go to qualify.
    "Rumors Swirl As Deadline To Challenge Harris Nears".

    Rumour mill:

    - "Rep. Dennis Ross of Lakeland, a lawyer and chairman of the House Insurance Committee, tells The Buzz he's thinking about making a longshot bid for the U.S. Senate in the primary against Katherine Harris."

    - Other possibilities "include LeRoy Collins Jr., son of the late governor, and Peter Monroe, former head of the Resolution Trust Corp. oversight board. Neither would be self-funders, which is what some people think is necessary.""Dennis Ross for Senate?"

    - Republican sources were saying "Wealthy Orlando lawyer, William McBride, ... had promised to fund his campaign with $5 million of his own money."

    Chapter 119

    "Public Access Laws Took Hit In Session".

    "Harris Recasts Herself"

    "Slighted by Republican leaders for months, Katherine Harris now hopes to turn the snub into a positive by proclaiming herself an independent-minded candidate who isn't afraid to take on her own party." "Harris recasts herself as loyal but maverick GOP candidate".

    In related news: "Conservative Bloggers Voice Frustration With Harris and Jeb Bush". See also "Harris Hits Campaign Trail".

    Publicity Stunt

    "Crist claims gas price-fixing scheme in suit".

    African-American GOoPers

    The Pulse has "a quick look at who Attorney General Charlie Crist and Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher are touting among African-American backers:". See also "African-Americans for Crist".

    Condemnation Restricted

    "A bill that will immediately limit the ability of local governments to condemn homes and other property for private redevelopment projects became law Thursday with Gov. Jeb Bush’s signature." "Bush signs bill that limits local condemnation power". See also "Protection For Private Property Comes At Taxpayers' Expense".

    Foster Teens

    "More foster teens may get monetary assistance after they turn 18 and foster parents could see more money each month as part of legislative changes approved this session." "New laws to benefit foster children".

    Thanks Diebold

    Volusia keeps trying to do the right thing:

    A funny thing happened when Volusia County elections officials fired up their new touch-screen voting machines -- they discovered the equipment wasn't certified by the state.

    Diebold Election System shipped upgraded models -- 210 of them -- not yet verified by the Florida Division of Elections. The main difference is the upgraded models shipped here include a plug for a printer, when one becomes available.

    While Volusia officials want printers to provide a permanent record of the votes that are cast on the machines, any election held on noncertified machines could prove to be a legal nightmare.
    "Touch-screen voting devices not certified".

    To Replace Harris

    "After months of speculation, Manatee County Republican Party chairman Mark Flanagan announced he will run for Congress."

    Flanagan becomes the fifth Republican to announce intentions to fill the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris, R-Longboat Key.

    Longboat Key businessman Vern Buchanan, State Rep. Donna Clarke, State Rep. Nancy Detert and former Sarasota Republican Party chairman Tramm Hudson also have filed to run for the seat. Three Democrats have filed to run: Christine Jennings, Mike LaFevers and Jan Schneider.
    "Flanagan Jumps in Congressional Race".


    "Insurance reforms no escape from rising premiums".

    Klein Goes National

    "State Sen. Ron Klein has been chosen by Democrats to give the party's national response to President Bush's weekly radio address Saturday. The selection of Klein is another indication of how serious the national party is in the effort to help the Delray Beach Democrat oust incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. E. Clay Shaw." "Sen. Klein to handle Democrats' response to Bush talk".

    "Environment Weathered The Session"

    "As usual, lawmakers this year attempted some end runs around resource protections and they got away with a few. " "Environment Weathered The Session".

    Sales Tax Exemption To Get Boot

    "Taxpayers in eight states without an income tax could soon lose the ability to deduct state sales tax from their federal income tax returns." "New tax law could end sales tax exemption".

    FCAT Follies

    "Two state senators and the state Department of Education have settled a lawsuit over the disclosure of information about workers hired temporarily to grade the FCAT." "Temporary FCAT workers' records will be disclosed" See also "FCAT suit settled on workers' credentials". See also "Dems settle in FCAT lawsuit", "FCAT grader to release scorers' credentials" and "State to disclose data on FCAT graders".

    FEA Endorsement Today

    "Jim Davis and Rod Smith, are anxiously awaiting Friday's expected announcement of an endorsement by the Florida Education Association, which represents 129,000 teachers and school personnel." "School Grades". See also "FEA Machinations".


    This Bense love fest is getting a bit tiresome (e.g., today's "Citizen Bense" ("Speaker has priorities right")). Bense would have jumped in if there was any reasonable chance of overtaking Harris; there wasn't, and he made a cold calculated political decision.

    "You've come a long way from whiskey and cocaine"

    "Principal won't permit student's anti-Bush song".

    Where's Me?

    In "No leverage" today, the Orlando Sentinel editorial board bemoans current policy toward Cuba:

    With all the battles that Florida's members of Congress have waged to protect the state's economy and environment from the dangers of offshore drilling, it is both disturbing and ironic that Cuba is planning to invite rigs into its own waters just 45 miles from Key West.

    But the United States' 43-year-old economic embargo of Cuba -- which has failed to dislodge dictator Fidel Castro -- leaves Washington with almost no leverage to persuade Havana not to drill. ...

    If it had economic ties with Cuba, the United States would be in a position to negotiate protections for Florida. Ultimately, such ties might encourage the oppressed Cuban people to overthrow their dictator and his failed system.
    Of course, had the editors not spun un their heads to push the election of "Karl Rove's Florida Frankenstein", they would be better positioned to make that point.

    "FCAT servants"

    "A governor who is more out of touch with reality than Jack Nicholson in 'The Shining.'"

    Indeed, Bush's quest for relevance comes from a governor who presides over a state where the public education system traditionally has placed somewhere between Freedonia and the Joad Chair of Dust Studies at the University of Dogpatch.

    Jeb Bush, alumni of the snooty-poo-poo Phillips Andover Academy, wants to require 17-year-olds who can't even figure out what direction the brim of a baseball cap is supposed to face to select a "major" course of study.

    How rich is this?

    Perhaps a Florida high school education might be ... useful if students weren't subjected to crowded classrooms being taught by undervalued teachers.

    Maybe, just maybe, the state's youth might actually discover some educational relevance if teachers were simply permitted to - here's a heretical thought - teach, instead of being little more than FCAT servants.

    You could make an argument that Bush's preoccupation with insisting teenagers whose idea of fashion is walking around with their underwear hanging out over their jeans now hunker down in selecting a potentially life-affecting field of academic pursuit reveals a governor who is more out of touch with reality than Jack Nicholson in "The Shining."
    "Majoring In Xbox Studies Doesn't Count".


    "Republic has admitted hiring former City Commissioner Ray Liberti and, without disclosing it, paying him between $5,000 and $8,000 a month since November 2004 to promote the company's business. The arrangement was in place while West Palm Beach had a contract with Republic to oversee the biggest construction project in its history: the $120 million City Center, a library/city hall complex on the downtown D&D site at Clematis Street and Dixie Highway. Republic stood to earn about $4 million as the project manager. Mr. Liberti voted to hire Republic and regularly praised its performance." "For West Palm, firing Republic is just a start".

    FCAT Follies

    "From a May 2 Palm Beach Post article: 'As many as 1,200 Palm Beach County high school seniors may not graduate this month because they have not passed the reading or math portions of the 10th-grade Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.' That's a whole high school full of kids, folks. Some of them won't get diplomas even though they've passed all the courses required to graduate."

    That's an insane policy. On what basis does the state decide that the FCAT is a better measure of achievement than four years of classes and grades? How does it help any kid to take away his or her diploma?

    There's an easy fix. Just give Florida's public school students the same kind of breaks the state gives to voucher students who attend private schools.
    "No FCAT, no diploma? No way."

    Armed and Dangerous

    "After getting death threats as secretary of state in the 2000 election, she got a concealed weapons permit." "Harris aims to renew permit".

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