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, July 03, 2008

Rumor has it ...

    "Florida Gov. Crist engaged".

    Are these the Straight Talk Express ...

    bus drivers?: "The president of the Transport Workers Union Local 291, who last week told The Miami Herald that the union had 'absolutely not' endorsed Diaz-Balart, said Wednesday his union has backed Diaz-Balart all along." "Herald: Union now says it backs Diaz-Balart".

    Ahem ... Charlie?

    The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "Governor signs tough anti-gang bill, but money to make it work sorely lacking." "Anti-gang law nice, but where's the money?".

    Miami vice

    "The Pentagon is distancing itself from a Miami Beach arms dealer indicted for fraud in connection with its contract to supply ammunition to Afghanistan's security forces."

    But nobody in charge at the time seemed to care about the red flags that surrounded the business practices of AEY Inc., or the abilities of its 20-something-year-old managers. The Army needs to explain how AEY got the contract, and the State Department needs to answer the question of whether it tried to conceal what could be illegal arms trafficking.
    "The 22-year-old president of AEY and three other people were charged this month with fraud and conspiracy after allegedly concealing the Chinese origin of ammunition they sold to Afghan security forces."
    Authorities claim the dealers tried to circumvent U.S. law and provisions in the $298-million Army contract that ban trading in Chinese arms. They say the dealers shipped aged cartridges from Albania to Afghanistan that were actually manufactured in China. A lawyer for the company president has disputed the claims.

    The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee revealed this week that by the time the Army awarded AEY the bid in January 2007, State and Defense officials had flagged at least six earlier contracts for poor quality or performance. Investigators say the firm mishandled some contracts while others may have been unnecessary. The Pentagon did not check AEY officials against the State Department's "watch list" of suspected illegal dealers, and a senior Army contracting official overruled a team of subordinates who raised concerns about awarding AEY work.
    "Answers needed on arms dealer".

    Funny games

    "The man challenging County Commission Chairman Ken Hagan has filed a formal complaint with the Hillsborough's elections chief over a write-in candidate whose eleventh-hour filing will effectively disenfranchise nearly 110,000 Democrats and other voters in the August primary."

    Keystone Civic Association president Tom Aderhold has written the Supervisor of Elections Office asking it to investigate "all circumstances that impact this person's eligibility to vote in Hillsborough County, and more importantly, to run for an elected position," and to postpone the vote until the general election if the investigation is still going on during the primary.

    He's also hired a private investigator to dig into the past of the write-in candidate, Harold Fredrick "Bud" Gleason.

    He said he also plans to file a formal complaint with the state Division of Elections, and is talking with lawyers in Tallahassee about suing Supervisor of Elections Buddy Johnson and Gleason.

    For more than eight months, Aderhold and Hagan, both Republicans, were the only ones vying for north Hillsborough's District 2 seat. If no one filed to run against them before the close of the qualifying period on June 20, all of the area's voters would have been allowed to vote in the primary.

    Then on June 17, three days before the deadline, Gleason, a 33-year-old Carrollwood Village man with no party affiliation and a checkered past, qualified as a write-in candidate.
    "Late filing prompts election complaint in Hillsborough".

    "'It's not a place for politics"'

    "Florida's search for a new chief investment manager is closing in on a familiar name: Ashbel Williams, who had the job for the first half of the 1990s before leaving for a more lucrative career on Wall Street."

    Williams, 53, a Jacksonville native, earned his master's of business administration at Florida State University. He began his career in state government while still at FSU. From a legislative analyst job he rose to serve as chief of staff to House Speaker Hyatt Brown of Daytona Beach, deputy chief of staff to Gov. Bob Graham, deputy comptroller under Comptroller Gerald Lewis and eventually the board of administration's executive director.

    As SBA chief from 1991 to 1996, Williams answered to both Democrats and Republicans on trustee boards and said it makes no difference in how to manage investing the state's money.

    "It's not a place for politics," he said.
    "New pension fund director could be familiar face".

    Stoopid is ...

    ... as stoopid does - The Tampa Tribune editorial board:

    Florida's state and local governments have given away more than $1 billion in incentives to lure biotechnology firms to the state, but a startling new report raises serious doubts about the state's deep-pocket strategy. The grim fact is Florida is losing ground in the biotech race.

    The Milken Institute's 2008 State Science and Technology Index ought to serve as a wake-up call to politicians who think offering tax incentives to biotech industry is sufficient. The report takes inventory of states' ability to build and sustain high-tech economies, evaluating 77 indicators in areas such as workforce development, education, technology infrastructure and research funding.

    The Milken Institute index shows Florida ranks 37th among the states - that's down from 32nd in 2004 and 29th in 2002.

    Why is Florida losing ground? While it's eager to throw money at biotech firms, it isn't investing enough in developing a workforce that has the technology and science skills required by those companies.

    None of this should come as any surprise to those who have watched Florida lawmakers' stingy treatment of the state university system, even as they preached the need for a new, high-tech based economy.
    "Florida Falls Behind In Tech Race With Short-Sighted Investment".

    Never mind

    "To keep insurance rates lower, Florida's elected officials last year voted to shift much of the state's hurricane risk to the government. Now some are having buyer's remorse — at a cost of nearly a quarter-billion dollars." "State to pay $224M for access to bonds if big storm hits". See also "State will pay Warren Buffet $224M to assure help in hurricane season". See also "Disney claims to be exempts from new state gun law".

    Raw political courage

    "Lucky you! Powerball hits Florida".

    I'll listen to this ...

    ... when government vendors are required to renegotiate their deals mid-contract. The Miami Herald editorial board:

    It's agreed: Miami-Dade County District Schools' teachers deserve salary increases and raises at rates agreed upon by United Teachers of Dade and the School Board during the last round of contract negotiations. But that was before the state's economy tanked, before the real-estate recession hit South Florida, before legislative- and voter-mandated property-tax cuts that reduced school districts' budgets.
    "School district, UTD should compromise".

    "Wholly owned subsidiary"

    Daniel Ruth: "the Florida Legislature, a wholly owned subsidiary of the National Rifle Association". "Gun Law Gives New Meaning To 'Laid Off'".


    Bill Maxwell: "Florida cities need option to ban pit bulls".

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