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 Monday, December 31, 2007

Another Jebacy "explodes"

    More lies from "Jeb Bush And His Amen Chorus Of Goose-Stepping Legislators" exposed in the latest DMS Annual Workforce Report - it seems state employees aren't a bunch of lazy whiners best replaced by non-union private sector workers without health insurance or pensions.

    "The state's year-end Annual Workforce Report explodes two widely held beliefs of the Republican-run Legislature -- that state government is a bloated bureaucracy and that its operating costs are disproportionately burdensome for Florida taxpayers." Could it be that
    Crist's administration quietly reinstated two measurements that Bush had deleted from the annual personnel report, ranking Florida third from the bottom in its ratio of state employees, per capita, and last in cost of personnel per taxpayer.

    Besides slumping salaries, the state also short-changes its staff on training, said Linda South, head of the Department of Management Services. DMS is required to compile the annual compendium of facts and figures on state personnel.

    "To me, that is a credible threat to the ongoing operation of state government," she said. "If we are not competitive in our salaries, we won't be able to attract and retain the kind of people we need."
    "Number of state workers expands". Isn't that a fine mess - Bushco's attack on public employees (we're sure it had nothing to do with them being unionized) has created a "threat to the ongoing operation of state government".

    That ought to disappoint the editorial boards throughout the state that routinely slam public employees. See e.g., "Who Writes this Garbage?"

    Freshman year

    Steve Bousquet: "Crist's first-year successes included a crackdown on probation violators, a streamlined system for felons to regain civil rights and a switch from touch screen voting to paper ballots. His record at the end of his first year, however, often doesn't match his soaring rhetoric." "Crist earns mixed marks". More: "PDF: Crist's report card".

    Just another day in GOPer-world

    On the heels of many South Carolina Republicans receiving "a bogus Christmas card citing controversial passages from the Book of Mormon", some Florida Republicans are getting this delightful piece in their mail boxes:

    "Help me sound the alarm that one day the Mormon Church plans to replace the Constitution with a Mormon theocracy. Mitt Romney's political success indicates this may be sooner than most have thought," reads part of the 11-page letter that reached a Plant City Romney supporter Saturday.

    "Do you really want a president who believes he will someday become a god? Is that who you want occupying the most powerful position in the world . . . the United States presidency?"

    The letter, also inviting people to buy anti-Mormon DVDs, was signed by John Boyd of Freedom Defense Advocates, which calls itself a Virginia-based political action committee. No record of such a group was found Sunday on the Federal Election Commission and Internal Revenue Service Web sites.
    Romney campaign cries foul over attack on faith; An anti-Mormon mailer in Hillsborough is 'sad and unfortunate,' a spokeswoman says". "Sad and unfortunate" is a polite understatement - rather, it is another example of the depths to which GOPer operatives will stoop.

    Making "it harder, not easier, to vote"

    The Miami Herald editors are happy to criticize Florida's newest roadblocks (pun intended) to voting, but can't bring themselves to call it what it is: RPOF sponsored voter suppression, which is part of a larger, nationwide GOP effort to restrict access to the ballot box in the guise of preventing nonexistent "voter fraud".

    "When it comes to elections, the first principle in a democracy should be to encourage, not discourage, voting. This basic rule sometimes seems to elude Florida lawmakers [Republican controlled Legislature] and [Republican state] elections officials. The principle was certainly missing last spring when the Legislature approved a handful of new election rules under review by the U.S. Justice Department. If Justice follows the spirit of the law, it will reject these provisions on the grounds that they make it harder, not easier, to vote here."

    • Why does the state want to eliminate two of the nine forms of photo identification -- a buyers' club card and employee badges -- that voters can use when voting?

    • Why reduce to two days from three the time that voters have to prove their identity if they vote by provisional ballot?

    • What would be the impact of imposing fines on groups that hold voter-registration drives?

    • What are the merits of Florida's ''no match'' law that requires information on a voter-registration application to match either a driver's license or Social Security numbers kept by the state and federal governments. ... The ''no match'' law overlooks clerical errors -- a common mistake in government bureaucracies -- that create discrepancies in ID numbers.
    "First, always make it easier to vote".

    Good luck

    "A step remains to be taken, and most civilized countries have taken it. As the New Jersey commission said, "There is increasing evidence that the death penalty is inconsistent with evolving standards of decency." Next year would be a good time for Florida to get out of the revenge business." "Getting out of the revenge business".


    Recall this story? "The House Transportation chairman in 2005, Alaska Republican Don Young, slipped $10 million into the highway bill to widen Interstate 75 in Collier and Lee counties. That's odd enough; members normally steer projects to their own districts."

    Mr. Young whose campaign collected $40,000 from a 2005 fund-raiser organized by a developer who owned land on Coconut Road.
    The Orlando Sentinel editors rightly credit Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma "for insisting on an investigation, even though he risks antagonizing members of his party, including the powerful congressman linked to the project." "An Oklahoma senator is right to question how a Florida interchange got funding".


    "Florida lawmakers and Gov. Charlie Crist started the year off promising property owners big breaks on their insurance rates. Those discounts never materialized for many, despite the Legislature's decision to pledge billions of dollars' worth of reinsurance to back companies against major losses in the event of a big storm."

    And now Crist -- exhibiting once again the finely tuned sense of populism that keeps his likability ratings high -- says he's ready to get tough. He's consulting a "dream team" of trial attorneys in preparation for filing a class-action lawsuit against the insurers.

    The governor's frustration is understandable. The new law allowed companies to buy state-backed coverage for about one-fourth of the cost they'd spend buying reinsurance in the private market -- putting taxpayers on the hook for $12 billion more in losses in a major storm. Because Floridians were bearing the risk, the law required that they reap the benefits in the form of reasonable savings on property-insurance premiums. Yet most companies refused to provide significant discounts, and several large insurers defiantly filed requests for massive rate increases.
    "Insurance payback".

    Running government like a business

    "Hillsboro Beach will use state tax dollars to restore the north end of its private beach ... The 3.2-mile-long barrier island is an exclusive enclave with no public parking, lifeguards, restrooms or walkways that would enable day-trippers to enjoy its ocean access." "Tax dollars to help rebuild Hillsboro Beach's private shore".

    You might say that this is another example of what GOPers call "running government like a business". See, e.g. "Scandalous $10 Million Bat Mitzvah" ("Brooks is accused of getting his company to pay for his ex-wife's facelift, a $200,000 Bentley, and even a $100,000 belt buckle.")


    "Miami-Dade slots proponents will try again in 2008, telling voters to consider Broward County's example." "Decision nears on Dade slots".

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