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, July 31, 2007

"Jeb!" Who?

    "The newly revamped web site of the state Republican Party is an attractive, easily navigable site with lots of features—but one thing it appears to be short on is mentions of George Bush."
    There are also few references to Jeb Bush and no photos we could find. He’s mentioned briefly, for example, in a history of the state party that notes his 1998 election as governor, and in a newspaper editorial the site links to.
    "New State GOP Website Contains Few Mentions Of Bushes".


    "Darryl Rouson, the energetic former St. Petersburg NAACP leader, has picked some tough fights over the years - from City Hall to the peddlers of drug paraphernalia. Now he's looking at another doozy of a challenge: running as a Republican for the overwhelmingly Democratic state House 55 seat to be vacated next year by Frank Peterman. 'I'm 65 percent leaning toward doing it,' said the 52-year-old lawyer who is friends with Gov. Charlie Crist." "State Rep. Darryl Rouson?".

    Hill's Hispanic Angle

    "If sweating the details wins elections, Hillary Clinton stands to be the Democrat who runs away with Florida's crucial Hispanic vote."

    When an obscure Puerto Rican Democrat, Darren Soto, in the spring won an Orlando area state House race, the Democratic presidential front-runner immediately fired off a congratulatory press release.

    When Republican Fred Thompson in South Carolina last month made a clumsy remark about Cuban immigrants, she pounced: "Apparently he doesn't have a lot of experience in Florida or anywhere else, and doesn't know a lot of Cuban-Americans."

    And last week she went after Barack Obama for saying in a televised debate that he would unconditionally meet with leaders of hostile foreign countries like Cuba or Venezuela in his first year as president.
    "Clinton avoids the Hispanic vote's rifts".

    "Florida is lucky to have" Alex Sink

    The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board praises Alex Sink for her work on Kidcare: "Fighting on behalf of children ought not be such an ugly business, but Florida is lucky to have a CFO who is willing to say this negligence can't be tolerated on her watch."

    As discreetly as is politically possible in this town, Florida's chief financial officer, Alex Sink, is gathering up threads of her authority to make Florida KidCare program more effective for children - and less of a needless money-loser for the state - without the help of the Legislature.

    "With the possibility of statutory change not on the horizon," Ms. Sink's office advised late last week, the CFO is trying to make it easier for low-income families to enroll in a low-cost health insurance program for children, a part of KidCare called Healthy Kids, and to do it without requesting changes in the law books.
    Recall how Florida got into this mess:
    Unfortunately, and almost inexplicably, the 2007 Legislature didn't get its act together sufficiently to eliminate some of the unnecessary barriers and lack of accountability that had been put in place - perhaps inadvertently; perhaps not - during previous legislative sessions.

    The CFO's interest in sidestepping the Legislature is that she is responsible for the state's financial services, and when she saw that the state had lost $139.7 million in federal funding in the last decade because it wasn't taking full advantage the federal part of the program, she thought, quite logically, what a waste.
    "KidCare neglect". See also "Panel suggests ways to increase and keep kids in KidCare".

    "Chopped liver"

    "By thumbing their noses at a presidential debate planned for St. Petersburg, Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani are telling Florida voters they're too busy for them."

    Someone should tell these Northeastern candidates that it's a dangerous strategy to treat Florida like chopped liver.

    Not only is Florida the fourth-largest state and a perennial swing state, we've scheduled our presidential primary for January, right after New Hampshire, Iowa and Nevada. We will be the first big state to weigh in.

    If Giuliani and Romney refuse to attend our debate, Floridians should question their judgment and the depth of their commitment to a state that reflects the diversity of America.

    Besides, what's more important than talking to citizens in an unscripted forum? A fundraiser?
    "Snowman Aside, Don't Snub Florida".


    " Photos: Senators tour school built on bomb range".

    Slots Ain't Cutting It

    "Florida schools stand to lose millions of dollars in funding because slot machines in Broward County aren't bringing in as much money as the state expected." "Slots fail to hit jackpot for state schools".


    "The petition drive for a Florida constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage is nearing its required 611,009 signatures, organizers said Monday in a letter to supporters." "Same-Sex Marriage Ban Calling In Signatures".

    Laff Riot

    "Charged with soliciting an undercover male cop for sex, Rep. Bob Allen said in a letter to House members Monday that he is 'vigorously pursuing the plea of Not Guilty.'"

    In his letter, Allen called the charge "an outrageous accusation that I intend to disprove through the judicial system." ...

    "It is my nature never to hide but to straightforwardly answer the obvious general and specific questions about these charges. However, our judicial process requires me to work through my legal counsel and the judicial system," he wrote.

    Allen concluded: "I want each of you to know how much I appreciate the many calls of encouragement and support I've received," Allen told colleagues. "The situation before me is unbelievably troublesome on many levels. My family has grown stronger and is ready to face the challenge of receiving justice."
    "Allen Vows to Fight in Letter to House Members".

    "Rock-star treatment"

    "With U.S. Rep. and Democratic condo king Robert Wexler vouching for his bipartisan bona fides, Republican Gov. Charlie Crist visited a senior community here Monday and received rock-star treatment from the largely Democratic crowd." "Wexler lays praise on governor at town hall". See also "Crist welcomed in Democratic stronghold".

    Tax Debate

    "In Tampa, condo builders will pay for a semester at the University of South Florida. In Pensacola, home sellers offer plasma TVs, golf carts, pools and plane tickets. Florida's real estate slump has led to some extraordinary enticements, which add up to great news for buyers. But these oddities are causing headaches in Tallahassee and a debate over how they may be artificially increasing property taxes at a time when taxes are supposed to be going down. The problem is the value of these incentives is added to the sales price recorded in county records." "Sales incentives add value to property, fuel tax debate".

    'Ya Think?

    "Offering $185,000 a year to fill a county government job is a bold proposition at any time. But in the midst of a tax revolt, with Palm Beach County officials talking layoffs and just nine months removed from an employee theft that left the agency's bank account plundered of $1.6 million, the county Convention and Visitors Bureau's offer to a CEO candidate smacks as downright excessive." "CVB takes a big risk with CEO pay offer".

    Jebbites Ain't Happy

    "Crist and the Republican-controlled Legislature's overhaul of Florida's property-tax system is getting poor marks from a top economic advisor to former Gov. Jeb Bush. In an analysis for Florida TaxWatch, J. Antonio Villamil derides the state-ordered rollbacks of tax collections for local governments as 'Tallahassee mandates' that undermine the fiscal flexibility of cities and counties, while threatening their ability to provide services." "Former Jeb Advisor Derides Tax Cuts".

    More: "The most surprising criticism of all, however, is that Villamil picks up the same theme originally proposed by Hank Fishkind in an economic analysis done for the Florida Association of Counties when the debate over property tax first started in February: that prices paid by local governments to produce goods and services is higher than accounted for by the rise in personal income. By tying the cap on revenues to the increase in personal income, the result, Villamil says, is that real cuts to local government will be much deeper than what occurs just with the drop in property tax collections." "Jeb's economist warns of troubles with prop tax reform".


    "Last month, the U.N. World Heritage Committee made headlines when it took Everglades National Park off its list of endangered sites -- even though a report released a week later showed a billion-dollar restoration project already had fallen years behind schedule." "Imperiled Glades cut from watch list".

    Mad Charlie

    "Despite a mandate to lower insurance costs, many insurers are instead asking for rate increases, including The Hartford, Metropolitan Property and Casualty, Cincinnati Insurance Cos., Auto Insurers and Amex Assurance Co." "Proposals to boost homeowner insurance rates anger Crist".

    Water Summit

    "Summit puts participants in water managers' shoes".

    Poor Vern ...

    It ain't easy representing the drooling, anti-tax mouth breathers GOPers in Southwest Florida:

    For the second time this year, Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, is having to defend himself against charges he violated his campaign promise not to raise taxes.

    But it’s not Democrats, but Republicans who are going after him on the topic.
    On Friday, Buchanan was one of just 19 Republicans to vote with Democrats on the Farm Bill. According to the conservative National Review Online, the bill contained a tax increase of somewhere between $6 billion and $7.8 billion on the U.S. subsidiaries of foreign corporations. ...

    Americans for Taxpayer Reform, the group headed by Grover Norquist, warned Buchanan and other Republicans that voting for the bill would constitute breaking the no-tax pledge they made before the 2006 elections.

    During his campaign for Congress, Buchanan highlighted the fact that he had signed the no-tax-increase pledge put out by ATR.

    It’s the second time he’s gone against the pledge, according to ATR. Earlier this year Buchanan voted to repeal tax breaks for gas and oil companies, even though ATR had warned him then it would be considered a tax increase. Buchanan was one of just 36 Republicans to vote for the repeal.
    "Critics say Buchanan breaks tax pledge".


    The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Perhaps more disappointing than the lack of change on the island is the intransigence of U.S. policy toward it. The Bush administration was wedded permanently to embargo politics when the hard-line exile vote helped to give the president Florida, and the Oval Office, in the disputed 2000 election. The policy of economic sanctions, which for more than four decades has failed to shift the balance of power in Cuba, is less important to the administration than maintaining the GOP's balance of power in Florida. Making life even harder on the Cuban people, and their relatives in Florida, has become the acceptable price of catering to political bases." "Base a new Cuba policy on reality, not belief".

    Nice Work ...

    "The disgraced former head of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will receive about $250,000 more in retirement money because he is now working in another state job." "Ex-FDLE head to get more cash for retirement thanks to new job".


    "Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama, who recently made headlines when he said he would be willing to meet with inflammatory Latin American leaders such as Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, is coming to the proverbial lion's den -- Hispanic-rich Miami -- on Aug. 25." "Obama coming to Miami".


    "The head of the National Republican Congressional Committee says freshman Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Mahoney is one of the national GOP’s top four or five congressional targets for 2008. But he conceded that Republican efforts to unseat Democratic freshman U.S. Rep. Ron Klein are on 'a slower course' so far." "Good news, bad news for GOP in S. Fla.".

    Love for Sale

    From the Miami Herald the other day: "It sounds like a South Florida dream vacation: a yacht cruise, salsa dancing lessons, dinner at the famed former Versace mansion in Miami Beach, and even a personal concierge who will 'be available 24 hours a day to ensure your comfort.'"

    But this isn't being offered by a travel agent. It's a Republican party fundraiser, a lavish three-day affair that Florida's GOP leaders in the state House are holding this weekend in Coral Gables and Miami Beach. Some attendees are expected to kick in as much as $100,000 toward the party's 2008 election efforts; the event is expected to raise a record amount of money.

    The event, where donors can wine and dine with leaders such as House Speaker Marco Rubio, coincides with a flurry of fundraising activity. Earlier this month, Gov. Charlie Crist and Republicans held a fundraiser with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that netted a record $1.6 million. Last week, House Republicans invited donors to watch the Blue Angels flight team in Pensacola, and on Aug. 4, House and Senate Republican leaders will hold a fundraiser in New York City.

    The push to raise money comes just weeks before a September special session where legislators will likely cut the state budget by as much as $1 billion.
    And this is a particularly nice touch:
    Platinum sponsors who fork out $100,000 will get ... three different private meetings with House leaders over dessert and breakfast.
    "GOP uncorks lavish bash".

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