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, October 16, 2007

ACLU takes on Charlie's publicity stunt

    "Saying it is 'fundamental' to freedom to be able to display 'religious symbols,' Gov. Charlie Crist has quietly placed a boxed Jewish scroll on the door leading into his formal Capitol office."
    Crist put up the mezuzah -- a portion of sacred Jewish parchment contained inside a case -- with the help of Rabbi Schneur Oirechman, director of Chabad-Lubavitch of the Panhandle. The mezuzah was a gift from House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, a Delray Beach Republican, who gave it to Crist, who is not Jewish, while he was on a trade mission to Israel last May.

    Crist's action has drawn the ire of the American Civil Liberties Union, which said Monday it is wrong for the governor to put up any religious symbol in such a public place.
    And how "quiet" was Charlie about this private act of rectitude? Notwithstanding the reporter's characterization of Charlie's placing the mezuzah as a "quiet" act, he in fact turned it into a crass political stunt:
    When Crist put up the mezuzah last week, he issued a statement to Jewish media outlets.

    ''Being able to display religious symbols is just as fundamental as being able to practice your religious beliefs,'' the statement said. ``I am honored to display a mezuzah on my door. The freedoms and ideals that make our country great are the same ideals that people all over world seek every day.''
    "A Jewish scroll opens the door to debate".

    Property Tax Mess

    Update: "Divided along party lines and geography, the House Policy & Budget Council is poised to pass a property tax package. But approval aside, the daylong debate underscores problems for a proposal that only a few days ago seemed a sure thing." "Tax legislation on shaky ground".

    "State leaders push for property tax plan". See also "House panel approves ballot question on property tax cut". However, "as the numbers grew clearer Monday, agreement grew shakier over a Republican plan to cut $11 billion in property taxes over the next four years." "Property-tax deal not near". More: "Lawmakers huddle furiously in committee meetings today, preparing for a final vote possibly as early as tomorrow on an $11 billion property tax cutting plan. But Democrats, wary of a nearly $2 billion loss in school tax revenue, are putting on the breaks." "Final vote on budget looms".

    Could it be: "A bipartisan group of lawmakers Monday questioned whether the legislature's new property tax proposal was being rushed". "Lawmakers worry about rush to write property tax measure".

    For example, "a state property appraisers group says the plan targets something that doesn't need fixing. It says that there's nothing to fix and that it affects only the rich." "Officials: Tax plan favors the rich".

    "A well-intentioned plan to give poor seniors a break has state legislators worried that wealthier people could ''game the system'' so they can avoid paying property taxes on their homesteads." "Tax-cut plan for seniors raises fears".

    "School officials were relieved last week as the Legislature's property tax proposal took shape: Cuts to education were largely avoided. But the first specific details were released Monday, and the numbers are far less comforting than many expected." "Deep school cuts in offing". Indeed, this "Revised tax plan would cost schools $2.1 billion". See also "Many lawmakers call proposed tax plan flawed but will vote for it anyway".

    The Sun-Sentinel editors observe that "the state can't get away with cutting and spending rainy-day money forever. Somewhere, somehow, Tallahassee is going to have to find a third way — seeking ways to drum up more revenues." "Tougher budget decisions ahead". Intangibles tax anyone?

    Background: "Property-tax reform summary" and "Taxes by county".

    Sweet deal

    "While South Floridians had to let lawns turn brown and cars grow dusty to save water during the worst of the drought, most farms, golf courses and utilities pumped away without telling how much they used - and without paying fines if they used too much." "From follow the money to ... follow the water".


    "State adds Allstate to probe on collusion".

    Where angels fear to tread

    "The candidates are so terrified of drawing the wrath of Democrats in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, they won't dare kiss a baby, give a speech or talk to a voter anywhere in Florida, except in closed-door, fundraising receptions." "Campaign in Fla.? They don't dare".

    How 'bout a "grace period"?

    "In Florida, forget to check a box on a voter-registration application and you could lose that right -- at least for an election cycle, possibly the cycle that prompted you to register in the first place. The reason? Twenty-nine days before any election, Florida supervisors 'close the books' on the voter rolls. Any voters who aren't registered by then won't be able to vote in the next election." "One less barrier".


    "Attorneys for a Cuban father seeking custody of his 5-year-old daughter have asked a Miami judge to declare unconstitutional a state law that would allow child-welfare administrators to strip him of custody permanently even though he has been found a fit parent." "Cuban dad's lawyers: Law unconstitutional".


    "At the heart of the tax-cut package poised to pass the Legislature as soon as Wednesday is a possible escape hatch for Floridians who feel trapped in their homes by the tax savings they would lose by moving."

    It's called "portability" -- a provision allowing homeowners to carry with them Save Our Homes tax savings accumulated in their old home when they buy a new place.
    "Tax-cut proposal could offer relief to homeowners".

    Class size

    Could it be that the media is recognizing that the moderate improvements in school test scores has little if anything to do with Jebbie's silly school grading system and FCAT follies? Almost, but not quite - Mike Thomas writes that he "recently gave Jeb Bush props for his school reforms that improved test scores. But having fewer students per class sure didn't hurt those scores, even if Jeb wouldn't admit it if you strapped him to a water board." "New challenge: Be smart about class-size rules".

    "Panhandle 'justice'"

    The Palm Beach Post editors yesterday: "Coverup to acquittal, it's Panhandle 'justice'" The Tamp Trib has a different perspective: "Pursue Justice, Not Histrionics".

    Silver lining

    "Central Florida's sagging housing market has turned into a blessing for at least one group: land conservationists." "Land-value drop boosts preservation purchases".

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