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, June 18, 2007

Charlie's Endless Honeymoon

    A question for politicians and analysts in both parties:
    How long does [Charlie's honeymoon] last? Republicans and Democrats are certain Crist won't be able to maintain such lofty ratings.

    "He's getting to that stage where a very successful honeymoon is over and the challenge is, can he sustain that popularity when he has to make tough decisions?" [Nicol Rae, a professor of political science at Florida International University] said.

    Also unknown is whether Crist's centrist approach alienates the more conservative elements of his party. Rae said the governor needs to "keep the support of his Republican base while at the same time continue his up-till-now successful efforts to reach out to the center -- and it's not easy."

    When the 2010 election gets closer, Geller said, the Democrats could benefit if Crist is forced to move to the right to placate the Republican base. "It's easy for us as Democrats to attack these partisan, right-wing Republicans who try to govern through the politics of divisiveness," he said.
    "Crist honeymoon isn't over".

    Franks 'Agin Dean

    "Democrat Franks faces optimistic despite challenging, uphill battle" "Republican Dean touts experience as teacher, Citrus Co. sheriff".

    "A Drop in the Bucket"

    "The Florida National Guard is beginning to get $86 million in replacement equipment for vehicles and supplies left in Iraq and Afghanistan, but a Florida senator said the resupply effort is "a drop in the bucket." Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said the $1 billion Congress recently approved to restore Guard equipment around the nation is a "drop in the bucket, but it's step in the right direction." Nationally, the Guard needs $38 to $50 billion for equipment. Florida needs about $340 million." "Nelson: Fla. Guard replacement equipment 'a drop in the bucket'".

    "The Legislature's Sense of Duty"

    "Republican leaders in the Legislature have promised both the largest tax cut in Florida's history and to not harm schools."

    For insight into the Legislature's sense of duty, consider that the Palm Beach County School District already is looking at a $281 million capital shortfall over the next five years. The Legislature's refusal to pay fully for the class-size amendment, which requires a huge increase in classroom space, is the biggest reason for the shortfall. ...

    Expect complaints that the "best" schools will suffer. In fact, the focus, as voters intended, will be on lowering class size at all schools. The Legislature could mitigate the bad news by doing its duty on class size. But when deciding whether to cut taxes or help schools, Tallahassee's priorities long have been clear.
    "Priority: Class size".

    Pay Gap

    Bill Cotterell: "Pay gap leaves troopers frustrated with politicos".

    Members of "The Club"

    "The new South Florida Water Management District board chairman hopes the district can 'regain public trust.' He will need more than hope to make that happen."

    Eric Buermann seems to be giving it a shot. He asked for an investigation of "the ethical and legal implications" of Executive Director Carol Wehle's chummy living arrangement with an employee and her husband's purchase of vacation homes with the employee and a former board member's son.

    But who investigated the water district club? A member of the Miami lawyers club. Mr. Buermann and the board's vice chairman are in that club. The board's Miami law firm, Tew Cardenas, includes ex-Florida GOP Chairman Al Cardenas. Mr. Buermann, also active in Republican politics, considers Tew Cardenas "highly skilled and competent." The firm found "no credible evidence of corruption." Mr. Buermann said Ms. Wehle is now "sensitized" about appearances.

    The board chairman also asked whether the district's hiring of consultants is creating a "shadow management culture." Excellent question. Ms. Wehle admitted that hiring consultants for jobs district employees once did hurts morale and costs more. Now, Mr. Buermann said, management is alerted and can keep a close eye on consultants "so they don't make management decisions." Trust should soar. ...

    What the board and the district need to earn the public's trust: A few key people who aren't members of the club - any club.
    "Clubs thicker than water".

    The Connie Connection

    "An unexpected $10 million congressional earmark might seem like money from heaven for a fast-growing county needing billions for transportation improvements, but that's not the case with Coconut Road. No local public officials asked for the earmark, which specifically calls for a study on connecting Coconut Road to Interstate 75 in southwest Florida's Lee County. The congressman who represents the area says he didn't ask for it, either. But U.S. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, sent the money anyway and made it clear it could only be used on Coconut Road." "$10M for state road has ties to Alaska lawmaker".

    For some reason, this AP article (or the version of it published in The Orlando Sentinel) overlooks this key part of the story:

    In June 2005, [Rep. Connie] Mack reported about $6,600 in the form of in-kind contributions by members of the Aronoff family, including Daniel Aronoff, who owns about 4,000 acres east of the proposed interchange. More than just a check, in-kind contributions, which could include catering, retails or a trip, suggest at least a close working relationship with the congressman’s staff, said Keith Ashdown, chief investigator for the Taxpayers for Common Sense."
    "A Mack daddy of a controversy; Congressman linked to developer east of I-75".

    "First Step" on Felons

    "Thanks largely to the personal advocacy of Gov. Charlie Crist, whose position on restoring ex-felons' voting rights changed during his gubernatorial campaign, he and the Cabinet, acting as the state clemency board, changed the rules."

    Despite Attorney General Bill McCollum's opposition, ex-felons (with the exception of convicted murderers and sex offenders) who completed their sentences after the rule change went into effect two months ago have had their voting rights automatically reinstated without a hearing.

    Since the new rule took effect April 5, more than 15,500 ex-felons can now register to vote, serve on a jury and even run for office - more than the entire number in the previous 12 months who had those rights restored without a hearing.

    That's an excellent first step, but it shouldn't be the final one.
    "Opened door". See also "Ex-felons get help on civil rights" ("A campaign to inform ex-felons about restoring their civil rights is underway through the end of the month.")

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