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 Thursday, April 05, 2007

Crist vs. McCollum on Restoration

    Scott Maxwell writes that "On felons' civil rights, McCollum's wrong":
    Crist appears to be facing opposition from a fellow Republican -- an Orlando politician who seems as if he has been running for one office or another since before the Civil War began.

    That would be Bill McCollum.

    McCollum's latest job, you see, is serving as Florida's attorney general. Because, after serving in the U.S. House and then feeling called to run for the U.S. Senate (and losing) and then running for the Senate again (and losing), McCollum settled on being the state's top cop.

    And now that he's there, McCollum isn't taking kindly to all this liberal, bleeding-heart talk about second chances and civil rights.
    The civil rights restoration issue will be addressed during "today's Cabinet-clemency board meeting." See also "Crist vs. McCollum, Pt. I", "Fla. clemency board set to debate civil rights restoration plan", "Felon voting rights on the table today".

    The pundits: "Give Florida's ex-felons faster track to society", "McCollum bucks Crist on felon vote", "Once debts are paid, restore felons' rights" and "Sun-Sentinel: Not all felons deserve to lose their civil rights for life".

    Wow, that was fast:
    Even before Gov. Charlie Crist and the three Cabinet members met Thursday to consider loosening the rules for felons seeking to get their civil rights restored, the governor's office had issued a news release declaring victory.

    'The rule was approved by a 3-1 majority," the news release said.
    "A done deal".

    The Session

    "Upcoming at the Capitol" See also "2007 Legislature roundup" and "Tallahassee Ticker". Bill Cotterell writes that "Now, the fun really starts in lawmaking".


    "Giuliani met briefly with Gov. Charlie Crist and said he hoped to have the governor’s support, but Crist has been noncommittal." "Giuliani Woos Crist, Takes on Environment". See also "Giuliani leaves short of one key vote: Crist's", "Giuliani stumps in Tally", "Giuliani takes early swings for president", "Giuliani faults oil reliance in capital visit", "Rudy's Pinellas friends (updated)", "Giuliani wooing voters", "Dueling McCain, Giuliani endorsements", "Giuliani: Expanded Gulf of Mexico oil drilling needs discussion" and "Giuliani travels state for support".

    The wingnuts ain't impressed with Rudy: "Rep. Dennis Baxley, who did show up, called Giuliani 'a great American hero,' but said he's not the right candidate. 'He's just not going to be able to pass the smell test when it comes to the values issue.'"

    In that connection, does Rudy really want to affiliate himself with a person whom the esteemed RNC chair considers

    "the new darling of the homosexual extremists"?
    Apparently so: "McCollum Heads Giuliani Florida Campaign". See also "Bill And Rudy Team Up".

    "World-class Education System"?

    "Florida's high-stakes standardized test -- the centerpiece of an education overhaul under former Gov. Jeb Bush -- would be revised in the next several years under a sweeping proposal now moving in the Florida House."

    The proposal would add social studies, including history, to the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. It would push back the testing dates of the FCAT to at least March for the writing portion, and to April for math, reading, science and, eventually, social studies. The tests are now given in February and March.

    The legislation would also kick-start an effort to replace the Sunshine State Standards -- the material students are supposed to learn and then be tested on -- with a new set of ''world-class'' standards that would have specific goals for each grade.
    "FCAT revisions gain steam". See also "Bill to overhaul school standards advances".


    "House Republicans unveiled a plan Tuesday that could limit the state's power to oversee community growth." "Control of growth at issue".

    Jebbie's Bogus Privatization Rationale

    Recall Jebbie's drive to reduce the size of Florida's (supposedly) bloated government workforce.

    Shrinking state government is key to the Bush legacy, as he made clear at his second inaugural in January 2003.

    "There would be no greater tribute to our maturity as a society than if we can make these buildings around us empty of workers," Bush said.
    Well, it turns out that Florida's public employee workforce workforce wasn't so bloated after all. According to a U.S. Census Bureau report on the number and cost of government employment in all 50 states - in terms of "per-capita ratios of government employees and payroll cost" -
    who do you think was at the bottom? You guessed it.

    The Stephens Media analysis pegged the per-capita government salary cost at $36.32 for Florida, last in the nation. We had 11 employees per 1,000 population - ranking just above Nevada and Illinois, who tied at 10.

    And we're well below the national averages of 14 full-time equivalent positions per 1,000 population and $56.01 payroll cost per resident.
    Here's the rub:
    Florida used to compile this data for itself. The Annual Workforce Report, issued by the Department of Management Services, listed Florida 48th in state employees per resident and last in per-resident payroll costs for 1998, the year that ex-Gov. Jeb Bush was elected.

    Bush knew what to do with any statistics that didn't back up the Republican credo that government is always bloated and overly expensive. He quit gathering them - and happily went about privatizing and downsizing.

    Fortunately, Bush didn't get his older brother to make the Census Bureau quit letting facts get in the way of a good mantra. So we know Florida is far below the national averages in size and cost of government.
    "We're No. 48! We're No. 50!".

    State Song

    The Miami Herald editors:"State Sen. Tony Hill, D-Jacksonville, is right: It's time to retire Old Folks at Home, Florida's state song since 1935." "Find a new state song".

    "Property Tax Mess"

    The Daytona Beach News-Journal editors: "If people trust the Florida Legislature to make decisions for their cities on how many police officers, street repairs or parks they can afford, then the Florida House Republican plan to eliminate local residential property tax and increase sales tax is the right formula. But take a closer look at what this plan could bring." "State's property tax mess requires broad reform". See also "With half the session gone, legislators have done little on property tax reform".

    You Go, Bill

    "Florida attorney general orders Lauderdale condo to allow Jewish mezuzahs on doors".

    "Stealth Lobbying"

    "State Sen. Victor Crist, who's seeking to replace the board of the troubled Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority, complains that companies that do business with the authority are lobbying behind the scenes to stop him" "Victor Crist complains of stealth lobbying".

    Gift Ban

    Aaron Deslatte: "Gift ban kills the mood again" ("More than a year after lawmakers passed a ban on all gifts from lobbyists, there is still a fog around what is and isn't allowed.")


    "State Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff of Fort Lauderdale is backing GOP presidential candidate John McCain." "Bogdanoff Signs With McCain".

    <Voucher Madness

    "Legislation that passed a House council Wednesday would amend two voucher programs." "The Voucher Bills". See also "Foster kids, delinquents may get vouchers".

    Optical Scanners

    The Miami Herald editorial board: "Optical scanners would give Florida a chance, for the first time, to have a uniform voting system that voters can trust. That's an idea worthy of lawmakers." "Florida needs a uniform voting system".

    Tax Breaks

    "A plan to give a total of $540 million in new tax incentives to Florida's professional sports franchises, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Devil Rays and Lightning, passed a House councilon Wednesday. The proposal would give each franchise an extra $2 million a year for the next 30 years." "Tax Breaks Pushed For Pro Teams". See also "Lightning tax rebate clears house panel".

    License Plate Wars

    "Rep. Alan Hays just learned the awesome power of a troop surge." "Supporting our troops".

    "Shocked, Shocked"

    Daniel Ruth:

    Shocked, shocked is what the buffet line of pols in Tallahassee was to discover that auto insurance companies engage in discriminatory class warfare, profiling in setting premium rates.

    Nooooo! An insurance company preying upon consumers? Really? Incredible!

    Alas, a study conducted by the state Office of Insurance Regulation found that there are auto insurers in Florida who actually charge lower premiums for educated, white collar and/or professional workers while charging draconian higher fees to blue collar workers on identical vehicles.

    You know, most of us slugs understand that the beautiful people may get the better table in a chichi restaurant or perhaps gain admission well ahead of the great unwashed at some tony saloon - because, well, they are so beautiful.

    But really now, how does it compute that simply because someone went to Harvard, or is an orthodontist, they somehow can handle a car better than a minimum wage bus boy with a General Educational Development diploma?
    "If Insurers Prey, Others Should Pay".


    "U.S. Cities' Growth Spurred By Immigrants".


    "Freshman Democratic U.S. Rep. Ron Klein raised nearly $600,000 during the first quarter of 2007 and has about $500,000 in cash on hand for his 2008 reelection bid, top aide Brian Smoot estimated [yesterday]." "Klein Kash".

    Still Waiting

    "In 1982, Crotzer was sentenced to 130 years in prison on rape, robbery and kidnapping charges after three men broke into a Tampa home. He maintained his innocence but was convicted. DNA evidence irrefutably exonerated him, and he was released in January 2006." "Freed Prisoner Still Seeking Justice". See also "Finally free, but seeking compensation".

    Hurricane Ratings

    "Floridians buying a home have something new to ask: What is the hurricane rating?" "Office approves structure ratings".

    Poor Henry

    "A pastor who spent more than four years in prison for stealing millions of dollars from a national organization of black Baptist churches he headed lost his bid Wednesday to head the group's state chapter. The Rev. Henry Lyons was wildly popular before his conviction and still is highly regarded by many, but his support was not enough to fend off the Rev. James Sampson of Jacksonville, who was announced the new head of the Florida General Baptist Convention, a chapter of the National Baptist Convention USA, which claims to represent 7.5 million members of black churches nationwide." "Black Baptist group rejects former leader". See also "Lyons loses bid for old job".


    "Flanked by leaders of agencies involved in mental health and fighting crime, Chief Justice R. Fred Lewis announced an effort to help people with psychiatric and drug problems avoid winding up behind bars." "State aims to help mentally ill inmates".


    Jeremy Wallace: "Sarasota’s place in voting infamy is going global now." "How do you say iVotronic en francais?".

    Sand Tubes

    "Working against approaching deadlines, the House's chief environmental committee powered through bills Wednesday to allow more beach armoring and reduce gambling-ship sewage." "Sand tubes approved in House bill".

    DJJ, DCF Changes Promised

    "Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Walt McNeil, along with Gov. Charlie Crist, Wednesday outlined how the department is changing its direction to offer better services to Florida's youth." "McNeil promises changes to Fla. Dept. of Juvenile Justice". See also "DCF pledges more care, less cover-up".


    "Attorney cites presidental recount decision in murder defense".


    "A House panel voted to recommend a vaccine for human papillomavirus to parents of adolescent girls but stopped short of requiring them to decide for or against inoculation before their daughters enter seventh grade." "House Panel Supports HPV Vaccine Campaign". See also "Bill won't require teen cervical cancer vaccine", "Bill approved to recommend, not require, cervical cancer vaccine" and "Panel recommends vaccine".


    "A measure vetoed by former Gov. Jeb Bush that would have required booster seats for young children stands a chance to pass -- and get signed." "New child-restraint bill gets boost".

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