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, December 12, 2006

FlaDems "Making Waves"

    Note To Readers

    Check out this post over at dKos, "How Democrats Blew It With Jeb Bush". Also, take a look at yesterday afternoon's post, "Audit: No Proof Jeb's Outsourcing Saves Money", about this Bill Cotterell story: "Audit: No proof privatization saves money". The updated story has been given a more innocuous headline: "Results of state audit inconclusive". Isn't that curious.

    FlaDems "Making Waves"

    William March writes:
    The Washington Post identifies two Florida Democrats as the "30-Something Working Group," who are "a loose collection of House Democrats in their 30s and 40s who have begun making waves."

    The Post says Reps. Kendrick Meek, from Miami, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston, are the core of the group, along with and Timothy Ryan of Ohio. According to the Post, the 3 gave floor speeches during the special orders session around 10 or 11 p.m. and were recorded by C-SPAN. That apparently had some impact, the Post reports:
    "Wasserman Schultz, Kendrick Meek Seen As Up-and-Comers". See also "In New Congress, Seniority Takes Back Seat to Spirit".

    CD 13 Update

    "Jennings sat down with the St. Petersburg Times on Monday to talk about the race." "Candidate vows not to give up vote fight".

    "MoveOn.org is getting involved in Florida's District 13 election controversy, urging supporters to sign petitions calling on the newly Democratic-controlled Congress to order a re-vote -- instead of seating Republican Vern Buchanan, the apparent winner." "MoveOn Moves Into Sarasota". See also "MoveOn won't move on".

    Q had this the other day:

    Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Delray Beach, and Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, told reporters after the meeting that they were not willing to concede the outcome of the District 13 race to Buchanan.

    "We all have an obligation to ensure a fair and accurate results," Wexler said. "Today, we don’t have any evidence that we have an accurate result. I think we would all be premature to say this is the … outcome."

    Wexler disagreed with Miller that Florida should not begin the 110th Congress one member short if it meant denying Jennings the opportunity to challenge the outcome.

    Unless the courts order a new election, it will be up to the House of Representatives — under Democratic control — to determine whom to seat. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-Miami, warned Democrats not to "poison the well,”"by using their majority status to reject the certified winner.

    But Hastings said relations would be equally poisoned if Jennings was denied a chance to challenge the outcome.
    "Divided on District 13".

    Foundation for Jebbie's Future

    Some people write a check to the phone company every month; Gary Morse writes one [yet another $50,000 contribution for a total of $700,000 overall] to Gov. Jeb Bush (well, to the governor's Foundation for Florida's Future, anyway). ... Other relatively recent donors to the foundation include Miami developer Edward Easton ($25,000); former Bush budget director -- and current $10,000-a-month consultant to Speaker Marco Rubio and the Florida House -- Donna Arduin ($5,000); and the campaign of newly installed Panhandle Sen. Don Gaetz ($500)." "Another Month, Another Check".

    DCF Judge Recusal

    "Circuit judge removes self from case against DCF chief" See also "Judge drops out of DCF case". Courtesy of the Buzz, here's the "court order (PDF)"

    Flat Out Silly

    "From ceramics to international law, Florida's eighth-graders will have 440 majors to choose from for next year." "Eighth-graders have 440 choices for major". See also "High schools to require student majors" ("majors ranging from assistant landscape technician to global leadership").

    It seems just plain silly having eighth graders choose from a list of hundreds of majors, including international law, assistant landscape technician, global leadership and ceramics. See "State-mandated plan not popular with Palm school district leaders".


    "The 2006 election season is barely over, and the 2008 election is already heating up, with Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack bringing his presidential campaign here while Florida's political leaders try to make the state a bigger player in the race." "Iowa governor seeks Floridians' approval". See also "Presidential campaign begins" and "Iowa's Vilsack banks on his record in try for top".

    In the meantime, "Florida aims to boost clout in presidential race".


    "Miami Sen. Alex Villalobos says he just got a call from Senate President Ken Pruitt informing him he'd be chair of the Judiciary Committee. ... One idea he plans to float this year: Putting everyone under oath when they appear before state lawmakers. By doing just that in 2003 during the medical malpractice special sessions, he earned the enmity of some in the insurance industry." "Villalobos to chair judiciary".

    Did She Say It?

    "Director: Ros-Lehtinen clip genuine".

    "Wow", Charlie's So Special

    Charlie is so very special:

    Wow, a future governor who actually admits he's human. He was right that the unfortunate solicitations failed to set the right tone for the new day he promised in Tallahassee.

    Unfortunately, his decision to cancel the $100-a-ticket inaugural ball and limit contributions to the $10,000 range came only after sharp criticism from citizens and newspaper editorial boards, leaving the impression that he reacted not from conscience, but from unflattering critiques.
    "Charlie Sees Error In Ways".


    "No senator ranked Banking and Inurance as their No. 1 choice for committee assignments, but as many as 14 senators ranked a Banking and Insurance assignment within their top 5 committee choices." "Insurance Committee Buzz". See also "What senators really want".

    GOPer Straw Poll?

    "Gov.-elect Charlie Crist, who initially didn’t take a stand on the Republican Party’s plans to hold a presidential straw vote at its state convention in October 2007, seems increasingly willing to come out against the idea. Crist has spoken positively about moving Florida’s mid-March primary to an earlier date, probably early February, to give the state more influence on the selection of presidential nominees. " "Crist Leaning Against Straw Poll".

    Party On

    "Governor-elect Charlie Crist may have canceled his inaugural ball, but Chief Financial Officer-elect Alex Sink still plans to hold a inauguration night shindig at the University Club on the campus of Florida State University." "Here's one party that's still on".

    Levy County to Go Nuke

    "Progress Energy, which operates the Crystal River nuclear power plant, has been talking for a couple of years about building another nuke plant. Word in Washington—background sources—is that they’ll make it official Tuesday [and Levy County is the site]." "Progress Energy Announcing Nuke Plans".

    Fiction or Non-Fiction?

    "Harris said she already has several chapters written in a book that apparently will talk about her unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. Senate, but wouldn’t say much about what it will be about. The Washington Post reported in October that Harris is planning a book that will talk about how her political aspirations were undermined by various forces including Republican Party leaders who didn’t back her and the press, which she frequently says is biassed against her." "Harris: Book In The Works, But Not “Immediately”".

    Paper Trail

    "It may be too late for frustrated voters in Sarasota County, but Democratic leaders said they intend to change election rules next year to require that all voting machines produce a verifiable paper record. If the federal proposal becomes law, Florida would have to abandon all its touch-screen-voting machines unless state election officials decide to certify a touch-screen model with a verifiable paper trail. So far, that has not happened." "Democrats vow votes will have paper trail".

    Ahead of the curve: "Broward County to explore paper trail for touch-screen voting machines".

    The Best We Could Do?

    The St. Pete Times thinks so: "Despite objections from some Democrats and environmentalists, the Senate bill passed both chambers as the lame-duck session ended Saturday and will become law with President Bush's signature. " "A good deal on oil drilling".

    The Sarasota Herald Tribune sees it as a "Missed opportunity", and complains that "Bill Nelson's first major opportunity for leadership since his re-election last month resulted in a major disappointment."

    See also "Manatee's feelings mixed over drilling" ("Manatee's feelings mixed over drilling: Some argue tourism will suffer, others say it could've been worse")

    Developers Rule

    If amendments to the

    Bradenton comprehensive plan are passed, developers would be free to build larger, higher-density projects in areas already vulnerable to storm surge and hurricane-force winds.

    Critics, including a state agency and a local environmental group, say the amendments would give developers free rein to build on some of the most fragile habitat on the Manatee River, Palma Sola Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
    "Critics blast Bradenton coastal land plan".

    Polk Poverty

    William March on Polk Poverty: "Polk comes into play in this because Lakeland suburbs have the 10th highest rate of poverty in the country, according to [new Brookings Institution study]". "A Curious Bit Of Bad News About Polk Poverty".

    The Future

    "What should Florida look like 50 years from now? Will its current population of 18 million swell to 36 million people, as projected in a study commissioned by the land-use group, 1,000 Friends of Florida? Since the Sunshine State is one of the country's fastest growing, this projection is not unreasonable." "Sobering view of Florida in 50 years".


    "Will Crist tap current and former legislators?" See who is in the mix here.


    "It's outrageous that no one was punished over page scandal." "Foley whitewash".

    Valuing Land

    "Changing the way property appraisers value land across the state should be one of the state's top priorities during next year's legislative session, Palm Beach County commissioners told state lawmakers from the area on Monday." "County officials urge Fla. lawmakers to tackle appraisals hiking tax bills".


    "A federal judge ruled Monday that Florida water managers violated the federal Clean Water Act by pumping contaminated water from farmland into Lake Okeechobee and ordered further proceedings to determine what to do about it."

    The 107-page order from U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga, following a trial that began in January, concluded that the South Florida Water Management District failed to obtain the necessary Clean Water Act permits.

    The decision was a victory for Friends of the Everglades, the Florida Wildlife Federation and other environmental and conservation groups as well as the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians, which considers the lake and Everglades part of its ancestral home.
    "Judge rules Okeechobee pumping is illegal". See also "Water district violated federal law, judge rules".


    "Nelson appointed to intelligence committee". See also "Nelson named to Intelligence Committee", "Nelson Gets Intel Seat", "Nelson lands spot on Intelligence Committee" and "Nelson to intelligence".


    "Lt. Gov-elect Jeff Kottkamp picked his best friend and fellow lawyer as his chief of staff today." "Next LG Names Top Aide". See also "Lt. Gov.-elect Kottkamp names his chief of staff", "Kottkamp names chief of staff".

    Tax Break

    "Florida is among states that had a tax break restored by Congress, but the IRS still needs to update its tax forms" "Tax break aids Floridians, but it's not on IRS forms".

    Mahoney on Ethics

    "The man who's taken the seat of disgraced Florida U.S. Rep. Mark Foley called today for ethics reform in Congress. Read Tim Mahoney's news release". "Foley's successor wants ethics changes". See also "Mahoney joins push to create ethics office", "Mahoney calls for ethics office" ("Mahoney also wants to ban members from accepting gifts, meals, and trips from lobbyists.")

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