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 Thursday, December 06, 2007

What's a knuckle-dragger to do?

    "Florida's socially conservative voters continue to scatter their support among several Republican candidates less than two months before the state's presidential primary."
    Quinnipiac University, which regularly polls Florida voters, estimates that more than one-third of state GOP primary voters are "white, born-again evangelicals." ...

    The latest Quinnipiac poll, released Wednesday, shows Giuliani topping the Florida GOP race, with 30 percent support to 12 percent for Romney, 11 percent for Huckabee, 10 percent for Fred Thompson and 9 percent for Sen. John McCain.

    Among the 35 percent of Florida Republicans who identify themselves as evangelicals, the same poll shows 22 percent favoring Giuliani, down from 30 percent in July, while Huckabee is second at 15 percent, up from 1 percent in July.
    "GOP choices leave social conservatives fragmented". For the "values" crowd, it is all about hate; they absolutely hate Hillary Clinton: "Many Republicans -- especially hard-core Republicans -- dislike her so much they're willing to overlook Giuliani's record on social issues if they think he can win." "Florida 'values voters' face difficult choices".

    "Thousands of ex-felons to the polls"

    "People For the American Way Foundation is launching a massive effort to get thousands of ex-felons to the polls."

    The group, founded by civil rights activist and former television producer Norman Lear, wants to take advantage of a decision earlier this year by Gov. Charlie Crist to automatically restore the civil rights of non-violent felons.

    In a written statement, the group says it has identified 250,000 ex-felons who have had their rights restored, a population the state has been struggling to reach in the wake of Crist’s decision.

    The issue is a critical one in a presidential election year and a swing state that in 2000 handed President George W. Bush the White House with an official 537-vote margin after the U.S. Supreme Court halted a recount and a 36-day legal batle.
    The announcement comes a day after Chief District Judge Robert Hinkle dismissed a voting rights suit by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and other congressional Democrats.
    "Movement hopes to register thousands of ex-felons to vote".

    Trib editors go off the deep end

    After yesterday's embarrassing display of big business media hackery (see "Union bashing, take 22891"), we get a second dose from the brain trust on the Tampa Tribune editorial board; consider this:

    The union has not brought up the need for additional staffing during negotiations. Its concerns have been winning bigger raises for deputies at the top of the pay scale, having two full-time deputy positions devoted to representing the union and easing disciplinary standards.
    Excuse me? Has the editorial board been at the bargaining table (other than in a figurative sense, where the editors benevolently sit at the right hand of every company negotiator)? Moreover, is there something inherently wrong about "winning bigger raises"? After all, that is kinda what unions do for the folks they represent. And isn't it kinda, sorta Milton Milton Friedmanesque (a philosophy the editors worship when it suits their ends) to pay higher wages to attract employees (and conversely not lose incumbent employees) viz. higher paying departments (like, say ... the City of Tampa Police Department).

    Recognizing that the City of Tampa treats its law enforcement workers more decently than the County does (thus making it more difficult for other employers to depress the wages of their employees), the editors have an easy explanation:
    Alas, the city of Tampa has helped create unrealistic expectations by continually giving in to police union demands. Tampa now has one of the highest-paid forces in the Southeast, which is going to be increasingly difficult to maintain as the city is faced with major funding cutbacks. Yet the West Central Florida Police Benevolent Association, which represents both the Tampa police and Hillsborough deputies, continues to demand ever more generous raises.
    There's the rub: the City of Tampa made a policy decision to pay law enforcement officers decently, in an effort to attract and keep top notch cops, and to recognize the critical nature of the job (not to mention the risks), has - in the eyes of the mouth breathers on the Trib editorial board - somehow been bamboozled by, and caved in to, those icky "union" thugs. If you can stomach it, the rest of the editorial is here: "Union's Attack On Sheriff Conceals Financial Motive".

    Perhaps the cocktail swilling swells on the Trib's editorial board should take a gander at this letter to the editor today (in another newspaper of course); "In response to Tuesday's 'My Word column' by Allen Kupetz", the letter writer opines that he is
    surprised that an executive-in-residence at a graduate business school would hold such a simplistic view of the labor market and the minimum wage.

    His assertion that McDonald's would still have to pay a living wage, in the absence of a minimum-wage law, to retain a sufficient work force is naive at best. It assumes that unskilled jobs are more numerous than unskilled workers, which is clearly not true. ...

    Businessmen such as Kupetz seem to long for an America where 95 percent of the population lives in abject squalor, permanently cut off from the capital that would afford them any hope of economic advancement, while only the rich would have the means to get richer. I challenge him and those like him to try living on the minimum wage for a year or two. Then see if they still think they would be better off at the mercy of a "free" labor market, which can only drive wages lower.
    "Work for as little as $1 an hour?" Now there's an idea.

    "Looks like 'payback,'" imagine that

    "A government watchdog is questioning the appointment of former Gov. Jeb Bush to the board of an Orlando banking company because a related company benefited from tax breaks pushed by Bush's administration." "Jeb Bush's board seat looks like 'payback,' critic says".

    DNC lawsuit tossed

    "A federal judge rejected U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson's lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee on Wednesday, ending what was probably Florida Democrats' last hope of having the Jan. 29 presidential primary count toward selecting delegates."

    "Florida has to comply with the same rules and procedures as everybody else, and does not get to have its own way," said U.S. District Court Judge Robert Hinkle after an hourlong hearing.

    Nelson's attorney, Kendall Coffey, said he was "disappointed" by the ruling but doubted Nelson would appeal.

    "It is a Republicans-only primary on Jan. 29, and that's a crying shame," Coffey said, in reference to the fact that Republicans continue to campaign in Florida while Democrats do not because of pressure from the party and early primary states.

    Nelson had hoped Hinkle would force the national party to count all of Florida's 210 delegates in next summer's nominating convention or, in the alternative, make the penalty a 50 percent loss of delegates, as the Republicans have done, rather than 100 percent.
    "Judge throws out suit against DNC". See also "Primary date suit dismissed", "Judge won't force DNC to seat delegates", "Florida Dems lose election lawsuit", "Judge tosses suit over primary" and "Florida Democrats Lose On Primary".

    Good luck

    "Florida lawmakers want Bush to pursue diplomacy with Iran".

    Sea cows

    "Sacred cow: Manatee keeps its status".


    "Florida university system chancellor Mark Rosenberg has struck the right balance with his plan to govern individual universities through compacts. The compacts would allow campuses their operational freedom while providing the necessary state oversight to set goals and limit costly duplication." "Smart plan for universities".

    Open for business

    "Florida's state-run investment pool for local governments reopened Thursday morning after being shut down last week amid a run in which nearly $10 billion was withdrawn." "State reopens frozen investment pool to local governments". The Tallahassee Democrat editors: "Trust factor: Unfreezing SBA fund just step one". Troxler: "On three, everybody panic!"


    "An innocent internal memo from the Division of Emergency Management on Tuesday flooded the inboxes of thousands around the state with scores of unwanted, and in some cases offensive, e-mails." "Thousands of state workers buried by unwanted, offensive e-mails".

    Political pool

    "Every investor knows that higher yields are good, right? Except that higher yields come from higher risk. Case in point: the Local Government Investment Pool."

    Properly, the pool has new management - the private firm BlackRock Inc. Coleman Stipanovich, whom Ms. Sink accused of "stonewalling" about the problem, resigned as the director overseeing about $190''billion in investments for the board of administration, including the state's $136''billion pension fund. Mr. Stipanovich, the brother of Republican lobbyist and consultant J.M. "Mac" Stipanovich, got the job in 2002. His predecessor, Tom Herndon, had been Gov. Chiles' chief of staff. Mr. Herndon was forced out because of a scandal involving state investments in Enron.

    The state-run investment pool acts as an interest-bearing checking account for governments, so investment risk must remain low. Using politics to determine who runs the pool poses an unacceptable risk to the public's money.
    "Politics out of the pool".

    What will people think?

    Bill Cotterell wonders what people will think when they look back at present day Florida:

    What, for instance, will our far-distant descendants think of a society with an increasingly service-driven economy that bases its revenue on a rigid, regressive sales tax? Why would we cling to a constitutional ban on a state income tax enacted 80 years ago, when Florida was trying to get people to move here? ...

    Back to the present, since computers make it possible to tabulate the sales tax for online shopping, and since some states already collect it, why do we continue to pass up a couple-billion dollars of revenue? That's money that's already owed, not a tax increase. ...

    The tax and budget folks face a conundrum.

    If they play safe, go for short yardage, they don't meet the needs of a state with about 1,000 new people moving in every day and a never-whetted appetite for smaller classrooms, bigger prisons and better environmental protection. But if the commission goes long, tries to really accomplish something, it'll never get 60 percent of the voters to approve.

    That's another thing that will vex future scholars. ...

    History will note that anybody who proposed unpleasant solutions got savaged in the next campaign, and we can blame only ourselves for electing the candidate or party with the best attack ads.

    So legislators cut a couple-billion dollars out of state spending because of slumping revenue forecasts. They periodically come up with gimmicks, responding with short-term patches when the public gets angry about homeowner insurance or property taxes.

    Maybe we could sell some bridges and highways, make them toll roads. How about an Indian gaming compact?

    A quick fix, even one that falls far short of the mark, is always safer than looking even five or 10 years ahead and advocating permanent, stable sources of revenue and reasonable spending restraint.
    "Unless we make hard choices, future looks grim".


    "Sen. Al Lawson is asking that a $1 million task force investigating operational and financial issues at Florida A&M University be dissolved, citing recent successes by the school's new president to address problems." "Dissolving FAMU task force urged".


    "LeMieux was born and raised in Broward County and was twice elected the county's Republican Party chairman. He will practice law in Tallahassee. "I want to be close to help out," he said, adding that he will continue to advise Crist as needed [no lobbying for paying clients of course]. ... He will be replaced by Eric Eikenberg, who currently serves as Crist's deputy chief of staff. Eikenberg previously served as chief of staff to former U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw and has been a deputy executive director for the Republican Party of Florida." "Gov. Crist's chief of staff to step down to practice law".

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