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 Sunday, December 09, 2007

Will there be "'mass confusion and chaos'"?

    "Lift the carpet that Florida is rolling out for this presidential election, and you'll find glitches, errors and bugs that are disconcerting to some of those charged with protecting your right to vote." "State scrambles as election looms; voting system hampered by glitches".

    "A sweeping new elections law passed with great fanfare earlier this year is coming under the scrutiny of the U.S. Department of Justice, which wants to make sure parts of it won't discriminate against minorities."
    Buried in the lengthy 42-page law, which forced counties to switch to optical-can voting machines for the fall 2008 elections, are changes to identification requirements for voters as well as new requirements for groups that register voters.

    Because of past discrimination in five Florida counties -- Monroe, Collier, Hillsborough, Hendry and Hardee -- the federal government must sign off on changes to election law. While the federal government can block the law or parts of it from taking effect only in those five counties, Florida law requires voting standards throughout the state to be uniform. ...

    The Justice Department has also questioned a decision to eliminate a buyers' club card and employee badges as a form of identification and a decision to give voters two days instead of three to prove their identity if they vote by provisional ballot.

    The department has also raised questions about a section that says a person cannot be registered if their voter-registration application information does not match driver's license records or Social Security numbers. This section is already the target of a suit by the Florida NAACP.
    "Feds question fairness of state's new voting law".

    And then there's this: Leon SOE, Ion
    Sancho said his elections staff found that the state database had listed 3749 Club Dr., an apartment complex in Duluth, Ga., as the prior address for 16,646 voters in Tallahassee. One of those is the mother of Janet Olin, the assistant supervisor of elections for Leon County, who lives in Tallahassee and, Sancho said: ``has never set a foot in Duluth, Georgia.''

    ''It calls for investigation,'' Sancho said, warning that if 'incorrect information is being attached to voters' records'' there will be ''mass confusion and chaos'' during the Jan. 29 primary.
    "Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning defended Florida's voter database Saturday,"
    telling a journalists' forum that despite problems with 14,000 newly registered voters, ``There will not be mass confusion and chaos.''

    Browning was responding to complaints from Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho that the state's database system inexplicably inserted incorrect information into his voter registration file, causing 16,646 people to have their previous address listed as an apartment complex in Duluth, Ga.

    Browning ordered his staff to come into the office Saturday to investigate, and he said they found no evidence that the Duluth address was erroneously inserted into voter records.
    "Voter database given OK ahead of primary". See also "State ready, elections official insists" and "Forget the chad: We've got new bugs".

    Hometown Democracy

    The Palm Beach Post's Randy Schultz: "There are good reasons to be skeptical of Hometown Democracy. Voting on every land-use change could require phone book-sized ballots. Developers could be stuck with needless expense between approval of their project and a referendum. And as we saw with Save Our Homes, "fixing" big problems in the constitution can create more problems. Such skepticism may puzzle and annoy readers who believe that Hometown Democracy fits with the paper's support for managed growth." "Truth or dare on Hometown Democracy".

    Water War

    "Northeast Florida has launched a campaign to prevent thirsty Central Florida from pumping water out of the St. Johns River. A growing coalition of Jacksonville-area environmentalists and politicians hopes to shield the north-flowing river from proposals to divert as much as 250 million gallons each day to Orlando-area communities. It's an early salvo in what could become a bruising conflict over a waterway that flows mostly unnoticed east of Orlando but more than 100 miles downstream carves a dramatic riverfront through the heart of Jacksonville." "Whose thirst comes first? Orlando, Jacksonville areas face water war".

    Sea cows

    "If manatees could blow kisses, they'd send about 2,800 whiskery wet smacks to their new champion at the Governor's Mansion, and an equal number to Jimmy Buffett." "Manatees in paradise".


    "Three South Florida communities showcase the tales of struggle and success among South Florida's immigrants." "Immigrant enclaves change face of South Florida".

    Yaaaawnnn ...

    "Mel adds to Charlie chatter -- No. 2 spot?".

    Tax Panel

    The Tampa Trib editors: "The state constitution wisely provides that every 20 years, a panel of experts must review how Florida collects and spends our money. This year the re-evaluation has begun with the state voters eager for fundamental change yet confused by a ballot measure that doesn't get the job done."

    The tax panel is better positioned to offer fixes that make sense.

    Florida's property taxes have become an inequitable way of funding government, and along with increases in insurance, have become an obstacle to economic growth and family security.

    If the tax commission can find a way to build an upright tax structure atop the warped foundation that gives longtime homeowners both lower taxes now and smaller tax increases in the future, it will have done the state a great service.
    "Tax Cuts Without Justice Don't Qualify As Reform".


    The Miami Herald editors: "The federal-court ruling upholding the Democratic Party's decision to ban Florida delegates from the national convention is a disappointment. U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle relied on precedent in deciding that a political party has the right to set and enforce its own rules. Even so, the ruling doesn't justify the party's decision to deny Florida's four million Democratic voters a role in selecting the party's presidential nominee, which is nothing short of an insult." "An insult to Florida's voters".

    "Putting children's education at risk"

    "A new report by the state Senate Education Committee bears out what an Orlando Sentinel investigation unearthed earlier this year -- that Florida's lax regulation of charter schools is putting children's education at risk." "Our position: The regulation of the state's charter schools is way too loose".

    "5 gears in reverse"

    "The Republican presidential candidates sought to embrace Hispanics in a Spanish language debate Sunday, striving to mark common ground with a growing voter bloc while softening the anti-illegal immigration rhetoric that has marked past encounters." "Republican candidates soften anti-illegal immigration rhetoric".

    "'Like vultures hovering over a wounded animal'"

    "But like any good thriller, the tale of the once-$30 billion investment pool's flirtation with disaster is more than just a juicy plot. It also has led to a series of exciting action sequences and some astonishing performances from a cast of characters."

    A swarm of private financial advisers turned the state saga, which would make headlines around the world, into a sales pitch to persuade local officials to move their precious savings out from under state control and into the private money managers' welcoming arms.

    "Over the last two weeks, I've got more interest from financial institutions than I've ever seen," said Fort Pierce Finance Director George Bergalis. "Some of them were never previously interested in bidding on our funds.

    "It's like vultures hovering over a wounded animal."

    Several government finance directors said they received solicitations from JPMorgan Chase & Co., which had sold the state some of the short-term debt that defaulted and contributed to the panic. A JPMorgan spokeswoman declined comment.

    "We're involved in capitalism in its clearest form," said Sharon Bock, Palm Beach County's elected clerk and comptroller.
    "Private advisers lurk in state fund's drama of panic".

    At the trough

    "While lawmakers will dutifully take testimony and hear reports from state agencies on their priorities for 2008, the week really is all about money. A staggering 30 fundraisers are on tap this week as lawmakers race to stockpile cash in advance of next year's elections. They're also making up for time lost to the protracted duel over property taxes and having to cut $1 billion from the state's battered budget." "Lawmakers race to round up dough".


    "Sunshine State absentee voters will be the first to vote in the presidential primary, according to a survey of elections deadlines across the country by Paul Gronke, an elections expert at Reed College in Oregon. Florida's deadline for sending out overseas absentee ballots is Christmas Day, though many supervisors are sending them earlier." "Florida's absentee voters will be first".

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