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, December 08, 2007

Not much for "the little people of Florida"

    The Palm Beach Post gives Charlie a well deserved tweaking: "Crist supports the property-tax amendment because it will help the little people of Florida."
    To campaign for the amendment, he's taking money from that well-known little person, Donald Trump.

    According to estimates from the Legislature, the average savings statewide if the amendment passes will be $240. When the governor toured the state for the formal signing to put the amendment on the Jan. 29 ballot, he visited a Port St. Lucie home that is assessed at about $100,000. The savings at Mar-a-Lago on Palm Beach, where Mr. Trump hangs out, will be a bit more than average. The Donald's annual tax bill is about $1 million, which adds to a lot of little people.

    In visiting New York to beg money from Mr. Trump, Gov. Crist is going back to a familiar well. Early in 2006, Mr. Trump held a fund-raiser that took in about $1 million for then-candidate Crist. Just before the election, Mr. Trump held another fund-raiser at Mar-a-Lago. To get a picture with the host, guests had to donate $10,000 to Mr. Crist.

    But maybe this relationship will work out for the state after all. If the amendment passes, the state is expected to lose nearly $3 billion for education over five years. In that case, Gov. Crist can ask Mr. Trump to hold fund-raisers to make up the difference. There wouldn't be any personal gain for Mr. Trump, but the little people who teach at the schools would appreciate it.
    "Trump's noblesse oblige". Florida's "little people" will be getting even less than promised because
    the gloomy housing market already is cutting deeply into projected savings of the plan.

    State economists on Friday downgraded the five-year savings by $3.2-billion, or 25 percent.
    "The diminished size of the overall tax cut could spell further trouble for Gov. Charlie Crist and other backers of the plan, already straining to raise money to sell voters on the Jan. 29 referendum."
    Crist went to New York on Thursday for a $1,000-a-person fundraiser with Donald Trump. A Crist spokeswoman did not return messages seeking comment Friday evening.

    The plan already was under assault from critics who said it offered meager savings - about $240 a year - to those who had no intention of moving while taking billions from local governments and schools.
    "Housing woes drain tax plan's savings". See also "Tax savings predictions lowered" and "Projected savings on Florida property-tax-cut plan to be less, economists say".

    Here come the knuckle-draggers

    "Board chairman T. Willard Fair, who heads the Urban League of Greater Miami, said he's never received more correspondence on a single issue, but he declined to discuss his views*. 'I'm keeping a fairly open mind,' said board member Donna Callaway, a retired Tallahassee middle school principal. She has a Southern Baptist background and her correspondence has been overwhelming against the evolution standards, but Callaway said she believes it [evolution?] should be taught in some manner." "Debate over teaching evolution moves to Florida".

    - - - - - - - - - -

    *Willard was probably too busy luvin' the Jeb! - recall his pronouncement that "'there is no greater person on this Earth than you (Jeb) ... I love you (Jeb)'".

    Trib: "Ingenuous" farmworkers picking on Burger King

    In their third anti-worker editorial in four days, the Chamber of Commerce shills Tampa Trib editors take a shot at Florida's "ingenious" farmworkers advocates:

    Burger King has refused to bargain with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), an alliance of farmworkers, and the company is today paying the price in bad publicity.

    The coalition has the emotional advantage. Over a span of years it has ingeniously pitted the plight of poor laborers - mostly migrant workers, many here illegally - against the growers who supply the grocers and against fast-food companies that buy their produce. The CIW has the support of unions, churches, social justice advocates and former President Jimmy Carter. ...

    We suspect most patrons of Burger King wouldn't mind paying an extra penny for the food they buy if the knew it would increase the wages of tomato pickers. No one denies the work is back-breaking and tough.

    But is it fair to employ an anti-branding campaign in order to squeeze Burger King and force wage-rate negotiations with workers the company does not even employ? The strategy sounds a lot like extortion.

    CIW is playing hard ball, saying this is a step-by-step process in a long-term struggle to raise wages and improve working conditions. Not coincidentally, the coalition's long-term survival necessarily depends on continued conflict.

    The history is this. The coalition tried to convince growers to increase workers' wages, but when that failed, it went over the growers' heads and targeted the fast-food companies. ...

    Burger King chose to draw the proverbial line in the sand - at least for now - aligning itself with the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange, which represents 90 percent of the state's tomato growers. The exchange has threatened its members with $100,000 fines if they participate in the penny-per-pound deal.

    Reggie Brown, executive vice president of the exchange, acknowledges the difficult conditions pickers endure but insists they are not mistreated. He points out that growers under the gun from foreign competition have had no trouble finding workers to harvest their fields. Not once has the coalition been able to execute a work stoppage. ...

    The focus on the penny per pound - which does not seem an unreasonable request but would do little to improve the status of field workers - is misdirected.

    If the two sides devoted as much energy to addressing the need for better housing, health care and education for workers, they might come up with with solutions that would have a far greater and lasting impact on the people who help put food on our tables.
    "Squabbling Over Pennies Won't Help Tomato Pickers". The farmworkers are engaged in "extortion"? Goodness gracious, what are they supposed to do - beg for an offering of noblesse oblige from their masters?

    And, can you imagine a greater insult than this to the farmworkers and their advocates - the Trib editors spew the following sewage: "Not coincidentally, the coalition's long-term survival necessarily depends on continued conflict." To suggest that it is the goal of the farmworkers coalition - supported by evil "unions, churches, social justice advocates and former President Jimmy Carter" - to "survive" by keeping the "conflict" alive, as opposed to sincerely trying to improve the lot of farmworkers, is something we would expect from idiots like Rush Limbaugh; the Trib editors have proven themselves no better. And this from the delightful folks at theFlorida Tomato Growers Exchange is simply nutty: "Tomato growers pay pickers well, do not exploit them".

    For more on the Trib editors' recent forays into workers' rights issues, check out "Union bashing, take 22891" and "Trib editors go off the deep end".

    Kool Kidz

    "Florida teen is documenting the 2008 elections".

    Allen update

    "Seven people, including a chiropractor, a real-estate investor and a former Cocoa Beach city commissioner, qualified Friday to run for the District 32 House seat that embattled state Rep. Bob Allen will vacate early next year." "7 candidates want Allen's seat".

    "Early voting begins Jan. 14, and the special election primary will be Jan. 29, the same day as Florida's presidential primary. Once candidates are set, a general election to replace Allen will follow on Feb. 26. Regular session for the Legislature convenes March 4, six days after the vote." "7 dive into fast, 'dirty' scuffle for Allen seat".

    Adult supervision needed

    "Governor's new top aide an old hand at 31".


    "To win a lawsuit and overturn an election, a city councilman has turned his opponent's private life into a public spectacle."

    A two-day trial finished Friday afternoon, and a judge did not immediately rule on the lawsuit that could strip the winner, Harold Byrd Jr., of a seat on the Bradenton City Council. ...

    The lawsuit is about money; specifically, whether Byrd could afford to pay a candidate qualifying fee.

    Councilman James Golden's camp says Byrd could afford the $285 but chose not to pay it. Byrd's side says he could not pay the fee because his campaign -- backed largely by friends and family in traditionally poor neighborhoods -- had not raised it.

    So Byrd used a little-known exemption to stave off the payment until after the election. Known as the "undue burden" exemption, candidates can hold off on the fee if they say it will hurt their chances to buy signs, pay for ads or hold campaign events.

    But to prove that Byrd had the money, Golden's camp ordered him to unveil nearly all of his personal finances, including pay stubs, tax forms and checking accounts.
    "Election lawsuit remains in limbo". See also "" and "".

    Not enough

    The Palm Beach Post editors: "Since Florida doesn't need another dump of houses onto the market, President Bush's foreclosure prevention plan may do a little bit of good for the state. But at this point, Mr. Bush's plan won't end the real-estate slump, and may do little to make the next two years any easier." "Like so many payments, mortgage plan comes late".

    Privatization follies

    "The state is investigating the director of a live-in drug rehabilitation facility for alleged sexual misconduct with a female offender, prison officials said Friday." "Drug rehab chief suspended pending sex investigation" ("The company operates similar facilities for the department in Pensacola, Panama City and Ocala.")

    Gray Friday

    "Local governments withdrew about $560 million of their money from Florida's state-run investment pool Friday, but the beleaguered fund's managers were pleased that figure was about half the amount from a day before." "Managers say calm returns to state fund".

    Battle of the empty suits

    "State Sen. Burt Saunders announced Friday that he would challenge U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV in 2008 for his seat in Congress -- but with a twist. Saunders said he will have no party affiliation in his run against fellow Republican Mack. That means he will not have to beat Mack in the Republican primary to get a spot on the general election ballot in November. Saunders, a Naples attorney, said he will remain a registered Republican and, if elected, will caucus with the Republican Party and will support the Republican leadership in Congress." "Sen. Saunders is running for congressional seat held by Mack".

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