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 Sunday, June 11, 2006

Getting Ion

    God forbid a Supervisor of Elections, like, say ... Ion Sancho, might do his or her job:
    Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho has become something of a national hero among advocates of voting integrity for his leadership role after the state's embarrassing 2000 general election, and subsequently his drive to ensure the most foolproof voting equipment possible.

    This has not, as we have noted before, caused Mr. Sancho to be looked upon with pride and joy by Florida's Division of Elections, which has been embarrassed and put on the spot for decisions and systems that it has endorsed, and which Mr. Sancho openly and frankly questioned.

    The division is now considering implementation of a new agency rule that would play "gotcha" with Mr. Sancho.

    It would, if approved by Secretary of State Sue Cobb, stop any county elections supervisor from running a test of voting equipment that his or her county is using, or considering purchasing, without first getting clearance from the state.
    "Test and verify". See also "Sancho says he will fight rule changes".

    Imagine That

    "Many hired to grade FCAT lack credentials, review finds": "Temporary workers hired to grade Florida's standardized test for public school students are as likely to be doctors and lawyers as they are video-store clerks, janitors, homemakers or even individuals with degrees from foreign universities.".

    When Politicans Count Votes

    It doesn't hurt to be reminded that

    double-punching cost Al Gore a net increase of nearly 7,000 votes in Palm Beach County. There might have been even more Gore over-votes in Duval. He lost Florida by 537 votes.

    With touch screens, you can't over-vote. They also reduce under-voting. You you can review the ballot to make sure that you have voted in every race.

    Some conspiracy theorists, though, wonder whether the machine records what the voter sees. Touch screens aren't computers that one can hack into through a modem. But printers would provide a backup paper record. Touch-screen companies can't sell the printers until the secretary of state certifies them. That hasn't happened. Is it because Democrats want the printers and the governor, who appoints the secretary of state, is a Republican?
    "Don't leave elections to politicians".

    "Crist seeks spotlight"

    "Sashaying and dancing across the floor of the Jose Mas Canosa Youth Center as a salsa band played, a beaming Attorney General Charlie Crist wrapped up a whirlwind three-day campaign tour Saturday in Sweetwater with an endorsement from Miami Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart." "Crist seeks spotlight, but shies away from mike". See also "Crist courts Cuban-Americans at Miami-Dade barbecue" ("Crist wound up his first intensive campaign swing around the state Saturday, announcing the endorsement of a Cuban-American Republican congressman with a barbecue rally in GOP voter-rich Miami-Dade County.")

    "Elitist Shrew"

    "If Ann Coulter wrote about herself the way she writes about others, she might be an "elitist shrew who is ignoring state election law to save her own skin." Or worse."

    Instead, the self-appointed defender of American democracy and values is fighting allegations, which The Post's Jose Lambiet first exposed in February, that rather than correct her address, she voted in the wrong precinct during the Feb. 7 Palm Beach election. Rather than admit her error, correct her registration and move on, Ms. Coulter has hired former U.S. Attorney Marco Jimenez to defend her from the indignity of having to follow the law. ...

    During her Tuesday spewfest on Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Ms. Coulter made clear that she doesn't want her home address to grace a public record, even if it is required for voting. "Do you need my Social Security number?". "Should we get my stalkers on the line with my address and apartment number?" Then she blamed The Post. "When you go to the bush-league newspapers," she said, "you get all the venom of The New York Times, but they're all retarded."

    But what did happen? Did someone who just looked like Ann Coulter try to vote using the home address of Ann Coulter's real estate agent? When the imposter was told that she was in the right place but had to fill out a change-of-address form, why did she leave and vote in the wrong place? It must have been an imposter, because surely the Ann Coulter who was a stickler for the law during the 2000 election recount - labeling the Florida Supreme Court a "kangaroo court" because she disagreed with its rulings - never would knowingly violate the law, then lash out at those who try to enforce it. Would she?
    "Speak of Coulter? We must".

    Where's The Disaster Governor?

    "Work to shore up the dike has begun but may take decades. Meanwhile, the Army Corps of Engineers, which is in charge of the dike, has downplayed reports about its dire condition. That's reassuring coming from an agency that just admitted it was largely responsible for the Hurricane Katrina disaster because it didn't heed warnings about weaknesses in the New Orleans dikes. This has emergency officials scrambling to come up with evacuation plans. It is the classic Florida fallback position: Run for your life!" "Okeechobee disaster plan: Run real fast". See also "So, if the dike breaks, where will people go?"

    Hispanic Caucus

    "In Ybor, Hispanic Caucus Sets Goals".

    Wet GOoPers

    "In trying to lure the Republican National Convention to Tampa during the height of the 2008 hurricane season, officials are rolling the dice that a storm won't hit while 50,000 delegates, journalists and visitors are in town." "GOP's Fete Could Be Crashed". See also "To: Ken Mehlman, RNC Chairman Re: Tampa's GOP Convention Bid". And Daniel Ruth has this column on "Paperwork? Quick, Avert Your Eyes!!!"

    Sink's Siamese History

    "Twins' great-granddaughter seeks a different kind of fame".


    "A judicial candidate's guided tour and chat at the Hillsborough court clerk's office may have violated a Florida election law." "Candidate's Office Tour Raises Flag".

    FCAT Follies

    Standardized testing puts students with learning disabilities under increased pressure"".


    "Almost as quickly as it appeared on the political radar screen, a nebulous group helping Democratic candidate for governor Rod Smith is about to vanish." "Rod Smith backer closes fundraising group, but may return".

    Ombudsman Ousted

    "Virgil Rizzo has been fired after two years as the state's, and nation's, first condominium ombudsman. Perhaps the most amazing thing about Rizzo's tenure is that it lasted so long." "Condominiums".

    Raw Political Courage

    Charlie takes another courageous stand: "Crist proposes tough penalties for molesters as bus tour ends".

    Tracking Prescription Drugs

    "Bush acknowledges his top remaining decision as he considers which bills to sign into law and which to veto involves legislation that would weaken Florida's landmark effort to closely track prescription drugs from the manufacturer to the neighborhood store. That's a good sign, because the lobbying by big drug distributors who don't want to be bothered with better ensuring the safety of their product is intense and politically well-connected. But there is only one reasonable path for Bush if he intends to better protect consumers from counterfeit drugs: Veto HB 371." "Track prescription drugs".

    Thanks "Jeb!"

    "Voucher change strands students".

    More Crist Silliness

    Yeah, Charlie ain't in it for himself: " Crist and his Message".

    Yesterday we noted another silly aspect of Charlie's campaign ("Charlie Gets Silly").

    Half Right

    "The state wildlife commission did right by the long brutalized gopher tortoise. Elevating the lumbering Florida native to threatened status should go a long way toward halting the barbaric practice of allowing builders to crush them to death or bury them alive to pave the way for development. That's the good news today. The bad news is the manatee got bumped down a key notch." "Wildlife". See also "Federal laws won’t protect manatees, advocates say".

    Scripps Saga

    Scripps requests more time on payment plan"".


    Judge "Hoeveler is now considering what to do about the invalid permits [issued for mining on 5,400 acres], sparking a major lobbying campaign by the miners, the state of Florida and business groups to keep the mines open. The environmental groups who won the lawsuit, including the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council, want an immediate halt to any new wetlands dredging -- but not an immediate end to all mining." "State, business groups: rock mining case threatens road projects".

    "All but one of the people shot were unarmed"

    "13 people in Central Florida ... pulled the trigger this year under a new law that loosens restrictions on the use of deadly force in self-defense. They killed six men and wounded four more. All but one of the people shot were unarmed. So far, three of the shooters have been charged. Five have been cleared; the other cases are under review." "Gun law triggers at least 13 shootings".


    "The latest blow to this multibillion dollar industry was struck by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Citing the canker scare, it indefinitely banned shipment of fresh Florida citrus to six producing states, including California and Texas, and five territories. Unless the federal government changes its mind, growers and shippers will be left holding 1-million boxes of fruit." "Stabilize slipping citrus industry".

    A Tallahassee Story

    "A bill that quietly died in the Legislature resurfaced after a lobbyist bragged about how lawmakers helped him kill it." "Lobbyist: Two helped doom a race-dog bill".

    "Jeb!" Watch

    "Curse of big brother stalks Jeb Bush".

    Troxler on Byrd

    "To review ancient history, during 2003 and 2004 one of the most powerful people in this state was Johnnie B. Byrd Jr., then speaker of the Florida House. Byrd was (and is) a lawyer from Plant City in Hillsborough County. It is fair to say that Byrd's two-year tenure as speaker was not, shall we say, universally praised." "Byrd center shouldn't be targeted for payback".

    "Bending it like Bennett"

    "Senator and other legislators stretch ethics laws to the limit":

    Not surprisingly, state Sen. Mike Bennett doesn't see anything wrong with his leasing office space to state agencies. As he often points out, he's a "citizen legislator" entitled to make a living.

    No one begrudges him the right to make a living. But it's time -- far past time, actually -- for Bennett and his colleagues in the Legislature to acknowledge another reality.

    The reality is this: The state's laid-back ethics laws -- and the willingness of some legislators to stretch those laws to the limit --don't protect the interests of taxpayers, and they risk eroding the public's already strained confidence in elected officials.
    "Bending it like Bennett".

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