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, February 04, 2008

That's our Ginny, a "clueless" dumb ass

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Here's today's civics lesson: Puerto Ricans are United States citizens. They were granted American citizenship on March 2, 1917."
    Oh, and Guam residents won citizenship in 1950.

    We hope U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite is taking meticulous notes. Apparently, she could use a little brush-up on American history.
    "Mrs. Brown-Waite understandably rattled Puerto Ricans and residents of Guam on Tuesday when"
    she called them "foreign citizens" in a news release complaining about parts of an economic-stimulus package.

    It's bad enough that an elected official serving in Washington should be so clueless, but Mrs. Brown-Waite then became defiant when she was called out on her historical hiccup.

    A spokesman said her press release was "fine as is."

    No, it isn't. It's embarrassing that a U.S. congresswoman can't get her facts straight on who's a U.S. citizen.
    "Our position: It's amazing that U.S. Rep. Brown-Waite doesn't seem to know islanders' status".

    Good luck

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "More than 100,000 of Florida's poorest and most vulnerable residents could find themselves out of their rental homes the next few years if property owners exercise their right to discontinue providing federally subsidized and other affordable housing once commitment periods end. The Legislature needs to act as quickly as possible when the regular session begins in March to protect this population, which includes more than 25,000 families and nearly 17,000 elderly people throughout the state, including the Tampa Bay area." "Preserve Existing Affordable Housing".


    "As John McCain heads into Super Tuesday with polls showing him edging ahead of Mitt Romney, he carries from his victory in Florida not just momentum as the front-runner, but a strategy born and honed in the last days of the primary in the Sunshine State."

    The blistering -- and misleading -- offensive McCain used in Florida and carried with him into the nationwide primaries -- attacking Romney for something he never quite said -- appeared here first as polls showed the Vietnam War hero deadlocked with the former Massachusetts governor three days before Florida's presidential primary.

    ''If we surrender and wave a white flag, like Sen. [Hillary] Clinton wants to do, and withdraw, as Gov. Romney wanted to do, then there will be chaos, genocide, and the cost of American blood and treasure would be dramatically higher,'' McCain declared at a Jan. 26 town hall meeting in Fort Myers.

    He was stretching the truth about Romney's position -- Romney has never set a timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq -- but the damage was done. Romney, pitching his economic turnaround plan on the front lawn of a Land-o-Lakes home, was knocked off message and onto the defensive.
    "McCain honed tough talk in Florida".

    Cleaning up after "Jeb!"

    Bill Cotterell writes that "the most interesting proposal Crist put forth in his budget is not exactly new."

    It's a form of merit pay — something that's been knocking around state government at least 20 years. That's really something out of the private sector, and Crist approaches it with an agency-by-agency flexibility that makes it even more of a private-sector concept.

    Crist's budget director also said last week that the governor wants to convert a lot of "Other Personal Services" jobs into regular career employment. The state's over-reliance on OPS — no benefits, no job security, pretty much like the worst of the private sector — has been an embarrassment for years.
    Another silly Jebacy looks to be going by the wayside:
    If ex-Gov. Jeb Bush had his way, there would now be about 50 state employees left and they would be crammed into a double-wide out on Blountstown Highway.

    The high-rise Capitol would be leased out to Accenture, Convergys, BearingPoint and a bunch of other privateers whose corporate names and eye-pleasing logos give you no idea what exactly they do.
    "Crist seeks flexibility with merit raise plan".

    How about waterboarding?

    "Insurance executives can expect a marathon grilling today when they appear under oath before the Select Committee on Property Insurance Accountability." "Insurance execs expect grilling from lawmakers".

    "A hope and a prayer"

    The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "Confronted with difficult decisions about cutting spending and raising revenue, Crist takes a pass and gambles on hope and a prayer that the economy improves." "Budget offers gimmicks and smile".

    Amendment 1

    "Amendment 1 and the Federal Reserve's lowering of interest rates has sellers and real estate agents wondering - is the market ready to rebound?"

    Home prices have been declining in many parts of the country for two years, and Tampa and Miami have been among the metro areas to see the steepest drop.

    In September, Tampa had the nation's steepest drop in home values. Miami took over the top spot a month later. Data for the end of the year wasn't any better - prices in Miami dropped 15.1 percent in November from a year earlier, according to Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index. Tampa saw a 12.6 percent decline from November 2006.

    Voters in both areas strongly supported Amendment 1 - a property tax cut measure approved by voters on Tuesday. Hillsborough County voters went 3 to 2 for approval while 71 percent of Miami-Dade County voted for the proposal. It offers average reductions of $240 on tax bills for a homeowner's primary residence and allows them to keep lower rates when they move.
    "Fla. home sellers hope tax, rate cuts spark housing rebound".

    "The fragile, 310-mile St. Johns River"

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "the St. Johns River Water Management District's plan to draw down the fragile, 310-mile St. Johns River ... could raise concentrations of pollutants in the river which, till now, has been the lifeline to an extraordinary array of wildlife." "The St. Johns is in danger because utilities are recklessly draining the aquifer".

    Ah yes ... "The People's Governor"

    "Today and Tuesday, as Crist joins McCain at campaign appearances in several states, [lobbyist Brian] Ballard will be there as well, enjoying unmatched access to Florida's governor. ... Ballard was working toward a law degree at the University of Florida in the mid 1980s when he was a campaign gofer fetching snacks and luggage for Tampa Mayor Bob Martinez, who would become the second Republican governor since Reconstruction. By age 27, he was Martinez's chief of staff. ... The lobbyist with top billing at Smith & Ballard is Ballard's father-in-law, Jim Smith, a former attorney general and secretary of state." "Crist tie powers lobbyist to top".


    "The voting district boundaries for Osceola County's school board are illegal and new ones must be created to avoid a federal lawsuit, the Department of Justice said."

    A letter delivered Thursday to the school board from Grace Chung Becker, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, offered to delay filing a lawsuit for a short time if the school board is willing to negotiate a resolution.

    On Tuesday, 61 percent of Osceola County voters chose to elect school board members from districts rather than electing them countywide. The Justice Department states that the school board must redraw its districts to ensure one of them has a significant Hispanic majority.
    "School board ordered to create new voting districts".

    'Ya reckon?

    The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "County and city officials in Florida have to get over their sticker shock from last week's approval of Amendment 1 and find the most painless ways to cut budgets." "In budget-cutting era, pressure on the locals".

    "Two questions"

    The Miami Herald editorial notes that "the board that oversees Florida's public universities recently took dramatic action to increase tuition -- beginning this fall -- and curb enrollment. Those moves raise two questions". More: "Tough times for Florida's universities".

    "Bad education policy begun under Jeb Bush"

    The Palm Beach Post editorial board: That silly "FCAT grade, because of bad education policy begun under Jeb Bush, drives everything that happens in Florida's public schools. Let the games begin, and never mind that education stops." "FCAT rules, state loses".

    Mahoney's money

    "Freshman Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Mahoney is near the top of most 2008 endangered-incumbent lists by virtue of his weak 2006 winning percentage (49.5 percent) during the Mark Foley shame spiral in a district where Republicans outnumber Democrats. But campaign finance reports filed last week suggest it won't be easy to unseat Mahoney. He's already raised nearly $1.9 million for the 2008 race and had nearly $1.4 million in cash on hand as of Dec. 31. Of the 30 House Dems considered most vulnerable, only Rep. Ron Klein of Boca Raton and New York Rep. Kirsten Gillebrand have out-raised Mahoney." "Big PACs play telling role in Mahoney's loot".

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