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 Friday, December 21, 2007

Expect Charlie to get another pass

    Remember the extreme, politically charged positions taken by DCF in the recent Elián II case in Miami? The trial judge put it this way:
    DCF's strategy was expensive, costing more than $250,000. And, in the context of child-custody cases, it was unusual.

    ''I've never seen a case like that,'' said Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jeri B. Cohen, a nearly 10-year veteran of child-welfare court. She was referring to DCF's request to strip Izquierdo of custody of his daughter, even though he was declared a fit parent. ``Ever, ever, ever, ever.''
    Well, it turns out that serial-Florida bar-flunker Charlie Crist - ever seeking to please the RPOF Cuban voting bloc - was operating behind the scenes:
    As a child custody case involving a then-4-year-old girl from Cuba was taking shape in early 2006, a spokeswoman for Florida's child-welfare agency sent word to the highest levels of state government: The case had the potential to get ``very public.''

    'I imagine both parties will likely try to involve the `court of public opinion,' '' wrote Flora Beal, a Miami spokeswoman for the Department of Children and Families. ``This could become an Elián-like situation.''

    Her e-mail, among documents in the case obtained by The Miami Herald, referred to Elián Gonzalez, the Cuban boy at the heart of a 2000 custody controversy that ended explosively when federal agents seized him from his relatives' Little Havana home. And the administrations of both former Gov. Jeb Bush and his successor, Charlie Crist, took unusual steps to make sure that didn't happen again, sources told The Herald.

    Crist's general counsel, Paul Huck, directed DCF Chief of Staff Jason Dimitris on how to handle the case, according to sources close to the matter. And highly unusual for a custody case, the governor's office was kept informed of developments, the e-mails show.

    Said one source: ``Nothing is done without first running it through the governor's office.''
    Clearly, Charlie and his minions were playing politics with the welfare of a child:
    Criticisms of the state's legal strategy were abundant in court, where the judge repeatedly chided DCF during the trial to determine the father's fitness.

    Among other criticisms, Cohen noted that DCF asked her to leave the girl with the Cubases under a permanent guardianship -- a custody arrangement virtually unheard of for a young child with a fit parent.

    And she noted that it took DCF about three months to formally notify Izquierdo in Cuba that his daughter was in state care, and that he was at risk of losing custody.

    ''The department had phone numbers and didn't call him,'' Cohen said during the trial's closing arguments.

    ''If the father lived in Alabama, we would not have this situation, because you would have contacted him immediately,'' Cohen told DCF attorney Rebecca Kapusta. ``You would have handled it differently if the parent lived in Switzerland.''
    "Governors' office kept tabs on Cuban girl's case". Don't hold your breath waiting for the traditional media to give Charlie the criticism he deserves for this inexcusable conduct. We wouldn't want to interfere with Charlie's VP chances; after all, Florida's ink stained wretches are salivating at the opportunity to follow Charlie around in a national campaign - imagine the fun.

    Note to headline writer: try "Democratic

    "Times: Fasano gets new Democrat challenger".

    Late to the game

    "The second most popular Republican presidential candidate in Florida has yet to open a single state campaign office." "Lack of a Florida staff could hurt Huckabee".

    The "merit" pay system

    The dopes behind all this are getting bonuses: "SBA investment managers received bonuses totaling $50,000". Believe it or not, "Investment managers at the State Board of Administration have been awarded performance bonuses even though their decisions caused the state's investment pool for local governments to flounder this year."

    Former Executive Director Coleman Stipanovich received $14,000 in bonus pay, almost 8 percent of his $177,000 salary, according to an executive-compensation study the SBA commissioned.

    Stipanovich resigned two weeks ago after local governments yanked $14 billion from the local-government pool, prompting a freeze on withdrawals. The balance had been as high as $27 billion before word got out that money managers had sunk money into shaky mortgage-backed investments. ...

    The 25 SBA investment managers drew $193,000 in incentive bonuses in the fiscal year that ended in July.
    To make matters worse, "by comparison, state career-service employees received a 3 percent pay raise in 2006 and no raise for the current fiscal year. Instead, they got a $1,000 bonus that equaled about $690 after taxes."

    On a related note, give the Tampa Trib headline writer credit for this one: "Florida Unethical To Shout Last Ones Out Of Risk-Pool Lose" ("It's obvious mistakes were made with the state's purchase of risky mortgage-backed investments. Heads have rolled. But now that the dust is settling, it's unfair and probably illegal to punish counties such as Hillsborough that didn't rush to withdraw all their money.")

    A suppression thing

    "Florida plans to seek a stay while it appeals a federal judge's ruling against a state voter-registration law challenged by civil-rights groups, a spokesman for Secretary of State Kurt Browning said Thursday." "State appeals voter-registration ruling".

    This is a laugher of an excuse: "Florida's election chief warned Thursday there could be 'confusion' among voters unless a federal court reconsiders a decision to block enforcement of a 2-year-old voter registration law." "Elections boss warns about confusion".

    Water war

    "The best way to conserve a commodity is to use less of it. We don't know if that idea came up at the Monday summit on water between Gov. Charlie Crist and the governors of Alabama and Georgia. But more conservation measures will surely have to be part of the solution to an 18-year, ongoing battle over water sharing between the three states." "Try conservation in three-state scrum".


    "Attorney General Bill McCollum sued the federal government Thursday to prevent approval of Gov. Charlie Crist's controversial casino compact with the Seminole Tribe until the Florida Supreme Court rules on the governor's authority to make the deal." McCollum sues to halt casino compact"".

    FCAT follies

    "Ask the Governor: Let's examine the FCAT".

    "If Florida could follow New Jersey's lead . . ."

    The News-Journal editors: "Practicality. Justice. Morality. These three forces combined this week in New Jersey, when Gov. Jon Corzine signed that state's historic ban on the death penalty. It is the first state in the nation to legislatively abandon the death penalty as an antiquated, arbitrary and illogical penalty. It should not stand alone. Unlike Florida, New Jersey hasn't conducted an execution since 1963 and seemed unlikely to do so any time soon. Yet the state -- like Florida -- has spent millions in death-penalty litigation, sending families of murder victims on a seemingly never-ending emotional roller coaster." "Toward justice".

    Off topic

    "The rhetoric of the 2008 presidential campaign is tough for historians to stomach." "Politicians fail History 101".

    Our green Charlie

    "Crist joined colleagues across the nation Thursday in condemning a decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to block states from imposing tougher auto emission rules than the EPA requires." "Crist blasts EPA's ruling". See also "EPA ruling threatens Florida Gov. Charlie Crist's plan to cut pollution".

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