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 Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Family Man Falters

    "Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Gallagher spoke publicly Monday for the first time about his bitter 1979 divorce after being confronted with court documents alleging that he drunkenly tried to break into his then-estranged wife's home, threatened her mother and sought to retrieve his dog." "D-I-V-O-R-C-E".

    "During a telephone interview Monday afternoon with his wife, Laura, present, Gallagher, 62, never directly said whether he had an affair. The Tampa Tribune obtained sections of the 27-year-old divorce file and asked the candidate to address some of the allegations." With Gallagher aware that the Trib had the court records, his campaign went into damage control mode:
    After the Tribune’s interview Monday with Gallagher, his campaign organized a conference call to disclose the information to other state newspapers. The campaign also released copies of the court records the Tribune provided in its interview request.
    And then there's this: "Another time, [Gallagher's ex-wife] Louise said she found cocaine in a drawer in Gallagher’s Tallahassee condominium. She showed it to Gallagher’s father before flushing it down the toilet, she said. 'That’s the first I ever heard of it,' Gallagher said Monday. He denied ever using cocaine but told reporters later that he had used marijuana." Gallagher Touts Family Values, Admits To Adultery
    Tom Gallagher, the Republican state chief financial officer running for governor on a platform of family values, admitted Monday that he had an extramarital affair that led to his 1979 divorce and said he used marijuana before he was elected to public office "many, many" years ago.

    Gallagher, 62, conducted an impromptu news conference with his wife, Laura, after The Tampa Tribune asked him about 26 pages excerpted from his 27-year-old divorce file, expunged from Miami-Dade court files years ago in a routine purging of dated records.

    The revelations come as Gallagher courts religious conservatives, who have embraced him, in part, because he is married and has a 7-year-old son. They see him as more of a committed family man than his GOP primary opponent, Attorney General Charlie Crist, who remains single after a divorce in 1980 following seven months of marriage.
    "Gallagher's family values take hit with revelations". See also "Gubernatorial candidate apologizes for cheating on first wife, using marijuana", "Gallagher Admits Affair And Marijuana Use In '70s", "Gallagher admits he cheated on first wife", "Divorce papers show a wayward Gallagher" and "Gallagher admits to affair, marijuana use".

    Silly Stunt

    "Many state Republican legislators are hitting the road in search of the best 100 ideas to improve Florida." "GOP lawmakers seek new ideas".

    Privatization Follies From the "Values" Crowd

    "The cost per child and the frequency of abuse both have increased as the system has become privatized, a state audit concludes." "Foster care problems continue". See also "Audit points out continuing issues in foster care system" ("The cost of privatizing the state's foster care system has soared in recent years and a higher number of children are being repeatedly abused, according to a state audit released Monday.").

    "Union" Endorses Negron

    " Police union endorses Negron".


    "Report: DCF should have done more to prevent child's death".

    Drilling on "Fast Track"

    "A bill that would allow oil and gas drilling in previously off-limits areas of the Outer Continental Shelf — including portions of the eastern Gulf of Mexico within 100 miles of the Florida coast — was put on a fast track Monday. The announcement was made by U.S. Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., chairman of the House Resources Committee, who struck a deal with four members of his committee who had offered two competing bills to open the entire Outer Continental Shelf to oil and gas drilling and give the states a share of the leasing royalties." "Coastal drilling for oil, gas up for vote".

    Charlie's Priorities

    "Attorney General and Republican governor candidate Charlie Crist couldn't make it to his featured speaking slot at Wednesday night's Palm Beach County Republican Executive Committee meeting, but he did manage to attend a fund-raiser across the state in Sarasota at about the same time. Crist's campaign said Tuesday's Tropical Storm Alberto forced the candidate to stay on the west coast Wednesday to attend to AG business, such as monitoring price-gouging and prepping for a cabinet meeting that Alberto pushed from Tuesday to Thursday. Although Crist's day job prevented him from getting to West Palm Beach, his campaign said, it left him close enough to Sarasota to rake in some campaign bucks." "Politics: Crist misses local event, not Sarasota fund-raiser".

    "A Lot of brass"

    Troxler takes a look at "VoteSmartFlorida.org. It is a front for the Florida Chamber of Commerce and several other business groups", which he calls

    a brilliant stroke. Instead of merely looking like a business lobby, VoteSmart can pose as a source of "objective" information.

    The group especially likes to capitalize on public misconceptions about the amendment process. Watch today for tricks such as:

    - Citing the number of petitions in existence, rather than the number of amendments that actually reach the ballot. Any yahoo in Florida can start a petition - but few finish them. Nonetheless, the chamber likes to use the larger number: "54th Constitutional Initiative Filed," warns one recent headline on its web site.

    - Citing bogus polling results that purport to claim overwhelming public support for cracking down. The last chamber poll I saw on this topic asked people if they thought having 50 amendments on the ballot at one time would be too many. Fifty! We've never been close.

    - Using the label of "special interests" to refer to supporters of a higher wage for working people, clean indoor air, tough rules for hog farming or mass transit. The Florida Chamber of Commerce, the construction industry and their allies in this fight have a lot of brass to be using that to describe the other side.
    "Big Business dons a disguise to fight voter petitions".

    Smith's Team

    "The Rod Smith gubernatorial campaign announced today more than 250-people on its North Florida campaign team, including co-chairs for 37 north Florida counties." " Smith's North Florida Team".


    "Bush signs fuel, nature preserve measures".

    Still More From The "Values" Crowd

    "The Florida Legislature has cut millions of dollars earmarked for students with learning disorders. Congress and the Bush administration have made similar cuts in federal funding." "Education".

    Government Money, Private Businesses

    "Florida's universities will get a $95 million boost in state money this year as lawmakers push the growing partnerships between schools and private research companies such as Scripps. A new law, to be discussed Thursday by the Board of Governors, sets aside $95 million in matching grants for three specific programs that will lure top scientists to Sunshine State schools, develop products that can be sold commercially, such as cancer-fighting drugs and build university laboratories." "State injects $95 million into university-research partnerships".

    Citizens Disaster

    "The state's insurer of last resort soon could be Florida's largest insurer. State insurance regulators released market share numbers Monday that reflect the number of policies held by different insurers at the end of the first quarter. Although those numbers, from March 31, still show State Farm Florida in the lead, they also reflect the presence of two Poe Financial Group companies, which have since been liquidated. As many as 330,862 policies formerly held by Tampa-based Poe's three insurers will slip into Citizens Property Insurance Corp. as of July 1, making it the biggest home insurer in Florida. That means the state-subsidized insurer could be carrying as many as 1.2 million policies at that time. Being the largest is a dubious distinction for a company that was created simply to be a backstop in the market, not a major player." "Citizens likely to become state's largest home insurer".


    "Bush: Ranch deal 'a high point' of term".

    Wetlands Regs

    "A divided Supreme Court ruling on wetlands Monday won't change how they are regulated in Florida, a state Department of Environmental Protection spokesman said." "Court ruling won't affect Florida regulations".

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