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, June 23, 2008

Never mind

    "Crist stood before hundreds of Realtors in Orlando last summer and predicted fantastic things about the property tax cuts on the January ballot. "Florida's going to have a sonic boom when this happens," he said. Five months after the vote, Florida is still waiting for the sonic boom." "Portability boom a bust".

    "Florida loses ground in science, technology index"

    The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "Last week, a respected economic-development think tank issued a report that should be a stark warning for Florida policymakers — and an incentive for local and regional officials — to accelerate their job-creation efforts."

    The California-based Milken Institute's 2008 State Science and Technology Index, released Thursday, ranks all 50 states according to their ability to leverage their science and technology assets to achieve economic growth.

    For the Sunshine State, the news was fairly gloomy. The institute ranked Florida 37th overall, down from 32nd in 2004 and 29th in 2002.

    Despite efforts to become a center for biotechnology, Florida received mediocre grades in the five measures of economic competitiveness: research and development inputs; risk capital and entrepreneurial infrastructure; human capital investment; technology and science work force; and technology concentration and dynamism.

    Florida's performance is particularly disappointing because of the professed commitment by political leaders to sharpening the state's competitive edge.
    "Fading sunshine".

    "A horribly bleak picture"

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "'Florida 2060: What's At Stake For Wildlife?', which is expected to be completed later this summer, paints a horribly bleak picture:"

    If current development patterns continue, 2.3 million acres of black bear habitat will be lost - an area the size of the state of Vermont. This would cripple the species, which is already being squeezed by development.

    In addition, 2.1 million acres of land where wild turkey roam will be transformed into subdivisions and other development, and 700,000 acres of gopher tortoise habitat would be bulldozed over.

    This possibility raises some alarming questions that the report's researchers and authors want the public and elected officials to think about:

    How will humans' need for more drinking water affect animals and fish? How will state and local workers be able to conduct environmentally important controlled burns of preserved lands surrounded by development?

    And how will wildlife react to encroaching development and the loss of their homes? In one instance, for example, the report predicts that interaction between humans and black bears will increase dramatically - 33,800 complaints by 2060, compared to just 1,334 in 2005.

    Perhaps most important, though is this the way we want Florida to look like in 50 years? The answer should be a resounding no.
    "Troubling Projections Underscore Importance Of Land Preservation".

    Hate groups

    "Hate groups busier after Obama's victory".


    The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board this morning: "Sen. Barack Obama should be careful not to write off the Sunshine State."

    Right now, Floridians are getting a mixed message. Obama recently beefed up his Florida campaign with a volunteer training program held in Tamarac. The event drew more than 3,000 "fellows" from across the country, 400 of them in Florida.

    But the Obama campaign is also considering routes to the White House that don't include Florida and Ohio, two states that were pivotal in the past two elections. If the presidential primary fiasco proved anything, it's that one shouldn't dis Florida.
    "Obama shouldn't rule out Florida".

    Law games

    "Six of Florida's seven Supreme Court justices filed written loyalty oaths last year after conservative activists challenged their authority to sit on the bench."

    One of the ring leaders is a controversial Coral Gables attorney who wears his born-again Christianity on his sleeve ...Jack Thompson is facing a 10-year disbarment for professional misconduct and the Florida Supreme Court is supposed to have the final say.

    But Thompson is arguing that the justices don't have the power to punish him because all of them except Chief Justice Fred Lewis failed to properly file written loyalty oaths when they came to the bench years ago.

    Thompson cites federal mandates and a 1983 Florida law that requires notarized forms — and he is adamant that the oversight is more than a harmless glitch. Years of Supreme Court rulings could hang in the balance, Thompson insists.
    "Florida Supreme Court's authority challenged".

    "New gas powered generating plant in Palm Beach County"?

    "The Public Service Commission today begins weighing Florida Power & Light's request for a new gas powered generating plant in Palm Beach County, a decision that will be watched closely by customers far to the north in Brevard County." "Public Service Commission weighs energy upgrades".

    "Once their debt's paid, restore without wait"

    The Daytona Beach News-Journal editorial board: "Crist's promise to take action alienated some of his hard-line conservative supporters who appreciated the old 'Chain-Gang Charlie' image -- the same people who backed plans pushed by Gov. Jeb Bush and the Republican-dominated Legislature to further restrict the participation of low-income and minority voters."

    Under the Bush administration, elections officials conducted questionable voter-roll "purges" that may have stripped voting rights illegally from thousands.

    That recent history threw Crist's position on civil rights into sharp contrast. Some Floridians wondered whether the candidate's sentiments were anything more than campaign rhetoric.
    "Eighteen months into Crist's first term as governor, his commitment to voting rights has borne significant fruit. Thanks to policy changes enacted soon after he took office, more than 115,000 people have had their civil rights restored, most through an automatic process that processes their requests quickly so long as they have no pending charges, have paid all restitution and completed any term of probation."
    But nearly eight times as many are still waiting. And the wait could get longer, thanks to budget cuts at the Florida Parole Commission, where clemency applications are processed. Those who have committed crimes considered severe must go through more extensive processing, but that is taking more time than it should. An estimated 2,500 await that review.

    Crist agreed to the tiered plan to win approval of his rights-restoration plan from the state Cabinet (which also acts as the state Clemency Board) but it should be clear now to reluctant Cabinet members Attorney General Bill McCollum and Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson that giving former offenders their basic rights poses no threat to Floridian society.

    There's a simple way to eliminate the backlog -- and avoid the other glaring problem with Florida's plan.
    "Felons' rights".

    Just don't LUI

    "A candidate vying to represent a large section of Miami and Miami Beach in Tallahassee was arrested over the weekend on a charge of driving under the influence, according to Miami-Dade County corrections records. Christopher Norwood, 35, an attorney and community activist running for the state House seat in District 109, was booked into the county jail Sunday morning" "State House candidate held on DUI charge".

    Perhaps we should cut staffing levels?

    The Palm Beach Post editorial Board: "DCF didn't do enough, and a toddler is dead".

    Safe haven

    The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "Eight years later, 100 babies ... have been dropped off, no questions asked, at fire stations and hospitals across the state under the 'safe haven' law that Murman and Grant sponsored in 2000." "8 years later, 100 babies saved".

    That's our Bill

    "Attorney General Bill McCollum is taking aim at a proposed constitutional amendment that could force lawmakers to more fairly draw the political boundaries of legislative districts." "Attorney general takes issue with proposed redistricting amendment".

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