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 Monday, November 20, 2006

Crist Wins "Unprecedented Share" of Black Vote

    "Charlie Crist appears to have gained an unprecedented share of Florida's black vote in his successful bid to become governor in the Nov. 7 election."
    According to exit polls, Crist got the support of close to one in five black voters in Florida - 18 percent. The previous high in exit polls for a Republican running for governor or president in Florida was 14 percent, by Jeb Bush in his 1998 race for governor.
    Explanations vary:
    •Crist's name is better known after years as a statewide officeholder.

    •Crist has been behind civil rights initiatives, chiefly the decision to reopen the case of martyred civil rights pioneer Harry T. Moore.

    •Davis was criticized for voting against compensating two black men who were wrongly convicted of murder.

    Opinions differed on whether the results signify a temporary shift in the normally Democratic tendencies of black voters or a long-term trend.
    "Crist's Appeal To Blacks Stirs Debate".

    Another Fine "Idea"?

    Mr. Rubio has another fine "idea" (one which Florida based political consultants and pollsters will no doubt love): "Incoming state House Speaker Marco Rubio, R-Miami, this week is expected to unveil a plan to move Florida's March presidential primary closer to the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary."

    Incoming state House Speaker Marco Rubio, R-Miami, this week is expected to unveil a plan to move Florida's March presidential primary closer to the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary.

    Rubio and others have decried Florida's later primary date, saying it excludes the mega-state from playing a significant role in choosing the Democratic and Republican nominees.

    "Florida voters deserve a greater role in choosing our nation's leaders," Rubio said.

    Florida's last presidential primary occurred in March 2004, six weeks after New Hampshire's. It also came after 28 states and the District of Columbia held caucuses or primaries and the nominations of President Bush and Democrat John Kerry were virtually certain.

    Rubio earlier this year talked of moving Florida's primary to a week after New Hampshire's. He includes the proposal in his book, 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future, expected to be released today at the state Capitol.

    State law in New Hampshire protects its right to have the nation's first presidential primary, scheduled for Jan. 22, 2008.

    Backing Rubio's proposal are two lawmakers already tapped as future speakers, state Reps. Ray Sansom, R-Destin, and Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park. Incoming Democratic leader Dan Gelber of Miami Beach also is on board.
    "State lawmakers tout early presidential primary".

    It is easy enough to joke about whether Floridians are the voting bloc who should be playing a central role in selecting who runs for president and/or whether we are technically proficient enough to conduct an election at all, but the more serious question is whether we want to shut out candidates who are not loaded with cash at the outset; particularly when one considers that "California officials, like those in Florida, have talked of moving up their June 2008 primary to capture more attention and make candidates appeal to a more diverse voting population."

    Now That The Election Is Over

    Now that the election is over we learn that, in a September 14 2006 document

    Projected costs for a state Everglades initiative have exploded to nearly $2.7 billion from $1.5 billion in little more than two years since Gov. Jeb Bush announced it, water managers have estimated in internal documents.

    The jump includes huge cost increases for expanding Everglades filter marshes, restoring coastal wetlands near Miami and creating reservoirs in Broward County. Those estimates have more than doubled since 2004, partly because of the region's escalating construction costs and shortage of skilled labor, according to the South Florida Water Management District's projections.

    The increases also reflect the need to build the district's city-sized reservoirs to withstand hurricanes, plus the addition of more than $500 million in marsh, canal and pump projects that originally weren't part of the initiative.

    The new totals are labeled "projected" in a detailed, 39-page staff presentation dated Sept. 14, which The Palm Beach Post obtained last week. But district Executive Director Carol Wehle said the figures are really "worst-case scenarios" that the staff prepared at her direction, based on "absolutely everything that could possibly go wrong."
    Notwithstanding Wehle's remarks, "Florida taxpayers should expect the price tag to keep rising, district board Chairman Kevin McCarty said."
    "The state of Florida is going to shoulder probably, eventually, all of the burden for Everglades restoration because the federal government is doing nothing," said McCarty, a Delray Beach bond trader. He said he wouldn't be shocked if the larger restoration costs $16 billion to $20 billion.
    "Everglades plan's costs could spike to $2.7 billion".

    It would be interesting to know if the Post requested this information before the election and whether production was delayed until after the election.

    More importantly, does Charlie recognize this as a priority and, further, does he have a plan to pay for it?

    Neverending Story

    Darryl Lease laments that, at least in his neighborhood, "The campaign continues".

    Rubio Waffling on Restoration

    "Incoming state House Speaker Marco Rubio predicts Charlie Crist will face 'resistance from some in the Legislature' if he seeks to make it easier for former prison inmates who have completed their sentences to automatically regain their voting rights. But the Republican from Miami declined to take a position himself on the issue, saying that as House speaker he wants to avoid stifling debate." "Rubio gives list of likely hot debates".

    Will media darling Rubio allow the issue to come to a vote, or will he permit (direct) that the issue be killed in committee?

    Low Hispanic Turnout

    Southwest Florida "Hispanic advocates have begun brainstorming why voter turnout remains scant in Spanish-speaking community and what can be done about it before the 2008 presidential election." "Spanish speakers no-shows at polls".

    South Florida Rules

    "The new honchos will be House Speaker Marco Rubio of West Miami, House Democratic Leader Dan Gelber of Miami Beach, Senate President Ken Pruitt of Port St. Lucie and Senate Democratic Leader Steve Geller of Hallandale Beach." "S. Florida legislators picked to lead state Senate and House".

    The Saga Continues

    "A senior executive with U.S. government-run station TV Marti has been indicted for allegedly accepting more than $100,000 in kickbacks from a company doing business with his employer. A federal grand jury indicted Jose M. Miranda on charges that he took bribes from Perfect Image Film and Video Productions, a vendor doing business with the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, prosecutors said." "Government media executive accused of taking kickbacks".

    Dent to be Challenged

    "Although [Sarasota County] Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent still has two years remaining on her current term, both Republicans and Democrats are already scouting for challengers to take on the woman at the center of the 2006 recount controversy.
    " "Dent may face a challenge in 2008".


    "Florida's university presidents were standouts in national salary rankings made public today, including recently retired Lynn University President Donald E. Ross, whose compensation package equaled about $1.3 million." "Higher ed pay soars in Florida".

    Bush League

    "The Florida Board of Governors cheated the University of South Florida last week by slashing funding for a key biotech initiative that will create hundreds of high-paying jobs in Tampa. The cuts were made to appease politically powerful interests at Florida State University." "USF's Biotech Initiative Damaged By Intrastate Rivalry".

    "Unearned Income"

    "Unearned income"; a SW Florida thing:

    In Collier, only about 53 percent of income comes from work. Almost 45 percent comes from dividends, interest and rent. Those percentages are mirrored on a smaller scale in Sebastian-Vero Beach, another of Florida's affluent retirement meccas.

    It's also true — to a lesser degree — in Lee County. There, 27 percent of income comes from "unearned sources" and 61 percent from work.
    "Wealthy, retired, rich: A snapshot of SW Fla. economy".

    Brain Trust

    "Crist meets new and old governors at a retreat" "Ten newly elected governors, including Charlie Crist of Florida, joined 14 incumbents at a biennial gathering in West Virginia to discuss common problems and issues.".

    And On Top Of That ... He's Black

    "After a checkered career that has seen both disgrace and redemption -- impeachment and removal as a federal judge followed by election to Congress seven times -- Rep. Alcee Hastings is poised to claim a position of considerable clout. At 70, the Miramar Democrat may well become the next chairman of the House Intelligence Committee when Democrats take control of the U.S. House in January. But an ever-widening chorus of critics is slamming the possibility that an expelled federal judge with millions of dollars in legal debt could be tapped to lead the committee that oversees U.S. intelligence programs." "Hastings, in line for key House role, faces critics" See also "Black lawmakers' clout will be unprecedented".

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