Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


UPDATE: Every morning we review and individually digest Florida political news articles, editorials and punditry. Our sister site, FLA Politics was selected by Campaigns & Elections as one of only ten state blogs in the nation
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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 Saturday, August 04, 2007

CD 13Smoking Gun (Well Almost)

    "Federal investigators have found several potential shortcomings in previous state and local reviews of the disputed election results in Sarasota County's November election, keeping them from ruling out the prospect that the touch-screen voting machines were compromised."
    While the investigators from the Government Accountability Office told Congress on Friday that they do not have a "smoking gun" to explain what went wrong, the issues they discovered have spurred the GAO to dig deeper in its inquiry, they said.

    "It is not clear to us yet whether these are items we think will need to be tested, but they are items we have noticed while we are reviewing the previously completed test activities," said Nabajyoti Barkakati, a senior technologist with the GAO.

    The discoveries make it clear that even while Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, and Democrat Christine Jennings prepare for a rematch in 2008, the specter of what happened to almost 18,000 votes in their 2006 race will linger on through the fall.
    "Voting inquiry finds reasons to dig deeper".

    No Straw Ballot

    "So much for state Democrats holding a presidential straw poll at the state convention 10/26-28. Party officials meeting in Orlando today killed the idea with a voice vote." "Democrats reject straw poll".

    "Get Used To It"

    "State legislators had this advice for local governments faced with tighter budgets after this year's Tallahassee-ordered property tax rollback: Get used to it. Now, legislators who will meet next month in special session to cut the state budget can keep some of that advice for themselves. According to new forecasts, the state's economy is worse than thought and recovery will take longer than expected. Consider this first round of budget cuts a test of Tallahassee's budgetary wisdom and ability to balance fiscal pain." "Budget-cutting session is the first test of many".

    Allen Plays The Race Card

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board:

    State Rep. Bob Allen is considered innocent until proven guilty on charges he offered an undercover police officer $20 for sex.

    But no matter how this sad case ends up, Mr. Allen's playing the race card and trying to use his influence as a lawmaker to beat the rap is out of line. ...

    Allen described Titusville Officer Danny Kavanaugh as a "stocky black guy" and said there were other black guys in the park. He said he was intimidated and offered $20 and to perform oral sex on Mr. Kavanaugh because he "didn't want to become a statistic."
    "A sad spectacle".


    "Florida should rewrite laws to give state child protection officials better oversight and control of its community-based care partners and forge universal standards for those private contractors, Department of Children & Families Secretary Bob Butterworth said Friday." "Butterworth: Protect our children".

    To Tell The Truth

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board:

    No one trusts the insurance industry these days, which is why the move to put insurance executives under oath to explain the high cost of homeowners insurance has a lot of appeal.

    Gov. Charlie Crist and others have come just short of accusing the industry of collusion for failing to lower property insurance rates since the special session in January.

    Sen. Steve Geller, the Senate minority leader, issued a statement: "Top insurance company officials need to appear and testify under oath - through subpoenas if necessary - and know that perjury charges will be brought if their answers are not candid and truthful." ...

    Lawmakers should call the insurance executives to Tallahassee, put them under oath and hear what they have to say.

    Geller's call may be political theater, but if it helps reveal whether policyholders are being gouged, then Flordia residents will be grateful for his performance.
    "Put Them Under Oath".

    No Fix

    "But after three years of repeated attempts, is it possible Florida's insurance problems have permanently defied a legislative remedy?" "Insurance: Is reform becoming hopeless?".


    "The Bush administration's hand in removing the Everglades from a United Nations list of endangered sites was denounced Friday by a Florida senator. Democrat Bill Nelson characterized it as improper meddling by Deputy Assistant Interior Secretary Todd Willens at a U.N. meeting in June in New Zealand." "Florida senator chides administration for Everglades decision".


    "Faced with budget cuts, Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Walt McNeil is aiming to change his agency's operations and image with less money and offering reduced services." "McNeil: 'Services will suffer'".

    Killing Them Humanely

    "Florida will train execution teams better and require some members to be medical professionals such as doctors or paramedics to try to avoid repeats of a botched December execution, according to documents made public Friday." "More execution changes on tap". See also "State revises death penalty procedures in response to judge".


    "The Cuba Study Group, a moderate exile organization, plans to raise $300 million to help develop Cuba's post-communism economy by aiding business start-ups." "Exiles announce economic initiative".

    If You Believe That ...

    I've got a bridge to sell you:

    Relax. Florida's bridges are safe. It's highly unlikely the massive collapse that brought down Minnesota's busiest span will repeat itself in the Sunshine State.

    That's what state officials are saying after news that Minnesota's eight-lane highway bridge was deemed "structurally deficient" 17 years before it came down.
    You see, that is precisely
    what Minnesota officials thought of their Interstate 35W span, and why they hadn't scheduled its replacement until 2020, obviously 13 years too late. So, some Floridians, and some tourists who drive our economy, may feel they're on shaky ground until they see proof officials are taking positive action to make sure the Minnesota disaster doesn't happen again.
    "The public deserves assurances on the safety of all bridges". See also "Brevard bridges become 'obsolete'" and "Information on region's bridges tough to get".


    "The commission next must decide whether the state senator broke any laws in confronting a deputy." "Siplin ethics probe continues".

    GOPer Spat

    "U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite and Gov. Charlie Crist butted heads this week about a popular insurance program for low-income children, creating a rare rift between a prominent Republican and the seemingly bullet-proof governor."

    The spat began after Crist, a Republican, wrote an open letter Wednesday to the state's congressional delegation supporting SCHIP, a 10-year-old federal and state partnership that provides insurance to children whose families are not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid.

    Crist's letter did not express specific support for the Democrat-authored bill that passed Wednesday night, although that is how Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, labeled it during her remarks on the House floor.

    Brown-Waite, who said she championed the companion Florida program KidCare while in the state Senate, voted against expanding the $5-billion program because she is concerned that it could hurt the Medicare Advantage program for seniors. In a sharply worded response to Crist, she said the governor is "sadly mistaken" and called on him to clarify his statement. ...

    The exchange represented one of the few times an elected official - Republican or Democrat - has challenged Crist since he took office. Crist has governed from the middle on a number of contentious issues and enjoys an impressive 73 percent approval rating.

    Brown-Waite said she gave no thought to his popularity when firing off the criticism this week. But when asked if she thought Crist was adhering enough to Republican conservative values, she declined to comment.

    "That's not a question I am going to answer because ... I am not going to answer that one," she said.
    "Kids' care spawns spat within GOP".

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