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.


Older posts [back to 2002]

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The Blog for Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Voucher Madness

    "School vouchers didn't make it to the 2006 ballot, but that won't stop the state Board of Education from pressing the issue. The seven-member board, all appointees of Gov. Jeb Bush's, told state Education Commissioner John Winn on Tuesday to come up with strategies to protect Florida's remaining voucher programs from legal attack." "Board presses voucher issue".

    GOoPer Complaints

    "The Florida Democratic Party and two affiliated committees illegally raised more than $1 million, complaints filed with the state Elections Commission charge. The complaints, brought by a prominent Miami Republican, claim that two committees formed to raise money in 2004 and 2005 were subject to the same $500 individual donation limit that applies to candidates or political groups supporting individual candidates. The committees received hundreds of donations exceeding the limit, according to complaints filed by Eric Buermann, a GOP lawyer and adviser." "Democratic Party Faces Fundraising Complaints".

    Mr. Buerman is apparently a lawyer at Squires Sanders or Steel Hector (which "represented Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris in the 2000 presidential election challenges and related matters in Florida"), and was "Republican Party of Florida, general counsel, 1998-2003".

    Jeb Watch

    Kathryn Jean Lopez, "the editor of National Review Online" pens this pap this morning: "Should Jeb run to create a Bush presidential dynasty?". The piece argues for a Jebbie run, or at least a VP: "Romney-Bush? Allen-Bush? " closes with the following:

    If Bush's only reason for not running for president in 2008 — or any other year — comes down to his being a Bush, that would be a shame. There's nothing in the Constitution prohibiting people who have too many family members who have been elected to the job. Nor should there be.

    As one Floridian recently e-mailed me, "I'm against these familial dynasties, but in the Bushes' case, they've saved the best for last, and I see no reason to punish ourselves by not electing a capable Jeb, just because his father and brother were mixed successes at best."

    Rate Increases

    "Higher insurance rates are guaranteed, Gov. Jeb Bush said Tuesday as he signed into law a mammoth bill that addresses gaps in Florida's insurance market but offers no quick fix." "Bush: Brace for higher rates". See also "Gov. Bush signs insurance reform package", "Bush OK's reform to aid homeowners" and "Bush signs bill aimed at fixing insurance market".


    "Florida hunters and anglers, who overwhelmingly supported Republican George W. Bush in 2004, are decidedly unhappy with how the president is tackling the nation's energy problems, a new poll shows." "Hunters Hot about Bush, Global Warming". How angry?

    Sixty-three percent of Florida sportsmen, including 55 percent who voted for Bush, say the country is on the wrong track in meetings its energy needs, according to the survey conducted in March and April for the Floirda Wildlife Federation and the National Wildlife Federation.

    Enrollment Funds Cut

    "Florida Atlantic University will have 1,200 fewer spots for new students than hoped for this year because the state approved less enrollment money than the Boca Raton school had requested." "State cuts enrollment funds for FAU".

    "What the state missed"

    "What the state missed, Volusia County's sharp-eyed supervisor of elections caught: The voting machines the state Division of Elections forced Volusia to buy aren't certified." "Watching out for voters".


    "Bush and the Florida Cabinet Tuesday approved a sublease that will allow The Scripps Research Institute to use land in Palm Beach County as its home." "Scripps lease OK'd by Florida Cabinet". See also "Gov. Bush, Cabinet OK Jupiter site for Scripps" and "Finally it's a Scripps!"

    Disclosure Begins

    How Florida politics works:

    Southern Strategy Group, a lobbying firm anchored by former House Speaker John Thrasher, reported annualized billings of up to $11.5 million based on its first quarter earnings report filed with the State Ethics Commission.

    Another of the capital's lobbying giants, Smith & Ballard, did even better, with first quarter receipts between $2.6 and $3.7 million.
    "Lobbyists earnings disclosure statements filed for first time". See also "Influential dollars" ("You won't find a more savvy bunch than lobbyists. But tell those same lobbyists they'll need to disclose how much they're getting paid to influence lawmakers, and they become hysterical.")

    Speaking of Lobbyists

    "The head of the state's motor vehicle agency said Tuesday that his wife will no longer work as a lobbyist for a traffic school that has a deal with his agency to be the only school allowed to advertise in the state's official driver's handbook." "Bush concerned about perception of driving school lobbyist".


    The Tampa Trib argues, "Keep The Rigs Away From Our Coast" ("a Pennsylvania Republican, isn't letting the facts or Florida's economy interfere with his offshore drilling push.") See also "Florida's congressional delegation vows to curb natural gas drilling".

    "Political Consequences"

    "By his own admission, Miami City Commissioner Johnny Winton embarrassed himself and the city as a result of an altercation with Miami-Dade police officers Monday night at Miami International Airport. That much is beyond dispute. But behind that terse admission and the tight police version of events spelled out in the arrest report is a story with political consequences, including the possible suspension of Mr. Winton." "Commissioner's arrest".

    On Jebbie's Desk

    "Gov. Bush may veto drug, car insurance bills". See also "Co-teaching rules may soon be eased" ("the A-plus-plus education reform (HB 7087) recently passed by the legislature and now before the governor would allow [using 'co-teaching,' or placing two or more teachers in a classroom], making it easier for districts to meet the demands of the class-size amendment that voters approved four years ago."), "Bill changing child support law awaits Bush's signature" and "Veto the 'enclave bill'" ("Gov. Bush's belief in letting local communities make decisions on growth again faces a test from the Legislature, which passed a bill that would encourage the conversion of farmland into subdivisions. Unless the governor's belief has changed, he should veto House Bill 1015.")

    GOoPers Don't Like Sunshine

    "Government secrecy rarely benefits the public. Bush should refuse to affix his signature to any legislation that takes transparency from government and power from the people." "Lawmakers Mug Public's Right To Know".

    Privatization Follies

    "Convergys sued over identity theft".

    "Jeb!" Hearts Lee

    "The governor wouldn't say Tuesday, but he did make it clear he's contemplating weighing in on the hotly contested GOP primary for chief financial officer." " Bush for Tom Lee?"

    Gulf Power Surcharges

    "The surcharges are part of a settlement the company has reached with consumer groups in a request it brought to state regulators to recoup storm costs." "Settlement extends Gulf Power surcharges three more years".

    No Comment

    Charlie and Representative B "used to date in their pre-elected office years. 'He's the nicest guy. I loooove his mom and dad,' Harris told [The Buzz] before taping a 'Politial Connections' interview that will air Sunday on Bay News 9 in Tampa Bay." "Pre-Power Couple: Katherine And Charlie".

    A Start

    "Bush and the Cabinet voted Tuesday to pay $10.8 million to start creating 'a protected greenway from Tallahassee to the Gulf of Mexico.'" "State land purchase to create greenway to the Gulf". See also "5,100 acres soon to be yours" ("A Central Florida ranch could have become 800 homes. Instead, state officials decided Tuesday to buy it for $54-million and create a park.")

    Failing Schools

    "Florida Education Commissioner John Winn pledged 'zero tolerance' for the state's failing schools and promised to force struggling school districts to improve test scores within two years." "Florida education chief promises to fix schools that have failed repeatedly".

    Fighting Dems

    Yesterday, Scott Maxwell wrote "Veterans band together for Dems":

    The way Bob Bowman sees it, he has earned the right to have strong feelings about the war in Iraq. Bowman, after all, is a veteran himself, having flown more than 100 combat missions in Vietnam.

    And so this year, he's taking his resume and viewpoints to the voters -- asking them to put him in office so he can bring back the troops.

    "This is a war for big-money interests, not for the security of the United States," Bowman said. "That's why we need to bring our troops home, while they're still alive."

    Bowman's message is clear -- and shared by dozens of others running for Congress this year. In fact, the 71-year-old Melbourne resident is just one of about 50 members of the "Band of Brothers," a group of Democratic veterans who are trying to unseat Republicans in Congress and using the prolonged war in Iraq as part of their rallying cry.

    You can expect to hear more about them this year. They're already starting to make national news. And Bowman, who is trying to unseat Indialantic Republican (and fellow veteran) Dave Weldon, is just one of several in Florida. Democrat Rick Penberthy is a member as well, trying to unseat Republican Ginny Brown-Waite of Crystal River. ...

    Some of what gives the Republicans confidence are the uphill battles many of the Band of Brothers face. Weldon's Republican-heavy district, for instance, has rarely been viewed as competitive.

    But with Republicans' poll numbers sagging, Bowman and fellow Democratic veterans have new hope. Plus, what Bowman believes they also have is the credibility to talk candidly about what's happening on the front lines, since they've been on the lines themselves.
    And what do the GOoPers have to say about these veterans, including Bowman (the man with "more than 100 combat missions in Vietnam")?
    "What they are," said National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Ed Patru, "is a band of over-hyped, under-performing candidates."
    "Overhyped", "underperforming"; compared to Weldon and Brown-Waite?

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