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 Wednesday, July 23, 2008

"Welcome back, governor. Now let's get back to work"

    The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "Crist might only have been gone for 10 days, but the mood across the Sunshine State grew darker in that time."
    - "First, a jobs report came out last week showing the state leading the country in job losses, and ranked second in the number of home foreclosures."

    - "Two, the tax cutting plan backed by Crist, and which won voter approval in January, has done little to stimulate the economy, and many voters are blaming that measure for cuts in government services."

    - "Three, another economic report said the downturn in Florida could last through 2009."

    - "Four, surveys suggest South Florida's population growth, a key economic driver, continues to slow dramatically."

    - "Need we go on? Unfortunately, we could."
    So far, so good, but the editors relegate themselves to tilting at windmills with this: "One critical need is an overhaul of Florida's tax laws."
    A good deal of our economic woes are self-inflicted via an inequitable, unbalanced tax structure. The state can't simply sit back and wait for an economic rebound to lift us out of the current morass. Florida has to be more proactive, and a tax overhaul is a good start. ...

    Florida's economic woes have proven a lot deeper and more problematic than perhaps the governor anticipated. He needs to refocus, or find that his base isn't as deep as he thought it was.
    "Crist not returning to a happy place".

    The Palm Beach Post editorial Board: "Today, the governor returns from his excellent, $250,000 working adventure. When the subject of his being on the McCain ticket came up, the governor dutifully noted that he's happy with the job he's got. On Thursday, Gov. Crist travels to this area for a birthday party fund-raiser at The Breakers." And, with respect to the stats that Florida has "gone from first in job creation to last", we get this from the "Jeb!"-enablers:
    The unhappy news is helpful for one reason: It bulldozes the myth, crafted by Jeb Bush and perpetuated by Gov. Crist, that Florida added those jobs because the state has cut taxes for much of the past decade. Florida has not raised taxes since Mr. Bush left office 18 months ago. In fact, the Legislature cut taxes once since then; in January, voters did it again. Yet jobs continue to disappear. As a January 2005 Post story had shown, Mr. Bush had a lower job-creation rate after six years than non-tax-cutting governors.
    "Crist back from Europe as Florida needs ideas".

    Emergency shut down

    "The Agency for Health Care Administration filed the emergency motion Monday to block any more admissions and suspend the license of the 52-bed Care Center of Ormond Beach Inc., saying conditions at the home 'present a direct and immediate threat to the health, safety or welfare of the residents.'" "State shuts care facility, details residents' injuries".

    A "gray flannel suit" thing

    "S. Fla. businessmen accused of cheating hospital, IRS".

    "A 'mind-boggling' change in Florida's finance structure"

    "Supporters say the proposal would slash property taxes and boost Florida's economy. Opponents say it would force other tax increases and hurt public schools. But this much is clear: As voters get ready to go to the polls in November, they face a choice that could fundamentally change the state's tax system." Here's the kicker:

    If voters approve the measure, lawmakers would have to take other steps -- such as raising the sales-tax rate, closing tax exemptions or cutting other government spending -- to make up the lost money.
    "Battle brewing over amendment".

    "With a $1 million commitment from Realtors, supporters of a tax-swap amendment began a campaign Tuesday for a 'mind-boggling' change in Florida's finance structure." "Supporters begin Amendment 5 campaign".

    Privatization follies

    "Palm Beach County commissioners this morning opposed a state proposal to privatize Alligator Alley. At the request of Commissioner Karen Marcus, the commission voted 6-0 to formally object to the privatization idea, which Gov. Charlie Crist and other state leaders have been exploring. Commissioner Jeff Koons was not present for the vote. The state's Department of Transportation is considering leasing the toll road to an investor to raise money for the state." "Don't make Alligator Alley private, Palm Beach County urges".

    Are they serious?

    Scott Maxwell: "Is St. Johns River Water Management District even serious about conservation?".

    When the death penalty is not enough ...

    Even the The Tampa Tribune editorial board gets this one:

    It's ironic that Florida's prison system is called the Department of Corrections, since there is very little correcting going on.

    Florida has lacked the political will to provide serious money for rehabilitation, including drug-abuse treatment programs, which might break the cycle and reduce crime in our communities.

    But DOC Secretary Walter McNeil envisions a new future, one that moves the system beyond a singular focus of building massive prisons in rural areas that need jobs.

    McNeil wants Florida to provide treatment programs for inmates close to being released. Even more groundbreaking, he wants to create a state jail system for nonviolent offenders serving sentences of less than 18 months.
    "Florida Prison Chief Offers Good Plan To Stop Cycle of Recidivism".

    "Off with his head!"

    "Naples police say 43-year-old Laslo Mujzer swiped 42 cents from the Coastland Center Mall in Naples on Monday. Officers arrested Mujzer after a mall customer saw him fishing around in the fountain." "SW Fla. Man arrested for stealing 42 cents".

    "'It's crazy that this should happen'"

    "Nearly 300 poor children in the Tallahassee area were recently rejected for subsidized health insurance at a time when the state is struggling with a transition to a $300 million computer system that manages 2.3 million Medicaid patients. The children, from birth to 18, were recently denied access to the Tallahassee Pediatric Foundation, a network of pediatricians that serves thousands of children on Medicaid in the North Florida area."

    "It's crazy that this should happen," said Tallahassee pediatric cardiologist Dr. Louis St. Petery. "This is what forces so many people into emergency rooms."
    "Nearly 300 Big Bend children rejected for subsidized health insurance".

    Gas tax

    "Orange County voters may get to decide this fall whether to impose a new 1-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax to help pay for Central Florida's financially struggling bus system. Commissioner Linda Stewart on Tuesday proposed putting the penny-at-the-pump plan to voters in a referendum Nov. 4, and a majority of county leaders said they are open to or support the idea. A formal vote could come as early as today." "Is Orange County en route to new gas tax?".

    What exactly is a "reporter"

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Martinez needs to join Nelson in backing Senate's shield law for reporters".

    Every one an expert

    "Are Obama, McCain reaching Hispanic voters?".


    The GOPer whining "at the heavy news coverage of Barack Obama's trip to the Middle East" is becoming hysterical:

    "They're disproportionately fawning over him to some extent," said Darryl Paulson, a University of South Florida political scientist, and a Republican. "When you have two candidates who are relatively equal in the polls, you would think the coverage would be somewhat equal."
    And hypocritical:
    David Colburn, a historian and specialist on the presidency at the University of Florida, noted that prior to the trip, McCain raised repeated questions about Obama's stands on terrorism and security issues and criticized him for not having been to Iraq recently.

    "John McCain baited Obama about his lack of consultation with our military leaders in Afghanistan and Iraq," he said. "So McCain is a bit disingenuous when he now criticizes Obama and the coverage."
    And, well, plain sad:
    Two of Tampa's best-known military names, retired Rear Adm. Leroy Collins Jr. and retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Chip Diehl, former commander of MacDill Air Force Base, spoke up for McCain at Tuesday's Tampa event, where attendees watched McCain blast Obama at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire.
    "Obama Exposure Irritates GOP".


    "House lawmakers agreed to unfreeze $45 million in assistance to Cuba after the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development promised to immediately work to improve the program, the head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee announced Tuesday." "US aid to Cuba unfrozen, State Dep. pledges reform".

    We missed those "sometimes-moderate stands"

    "One of the more unusual campaigns this year has been that of Republican Jim King, 53, who attacked incumbent U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite for her sometimes-moderate stands and had hoped to win the Republican nomination for her 5th Congressional District seat. But he was forced to drop out over questions about his veracity."

    While King is no longer a candidate, his name still will be on the Aug. 26 Republican primary ballot. ... earlier this month, he withdrew from the race after the St. Petersburg Times reported that the long resume about his claim to be a doctor and a veteran appeared to be largely false.
    "Jim King is Out of Race, but Still on Ballot". Back at the ranch, "Brown-Waite Focuses on November Election".


    "Christine Jennings, the Democratic candidate for the 13th Congressional District race, has received the endorsement of Clean Water Action." "Clean Water Action endorses Christine Jennings".


    "Wexler's challenger has accused the six-term congressman of playing a residency shell game, saying Wexler, D-Delray Beach, uses his mother-in-law's address in Delray Beach while flagrantly making his home in a Maryland suburb."

    The geniuses weigh in:

    "Is it not a ruse?" host Bill O'Reilly asked John Fund, author of Stealing Elections: How [Democratic Party] Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy.

    Fund said it is not illegal for Wexler to use his mother-in-law's address, which is in a deed-restricted community for people 55 and over. But that it certainly is not within "the spirit of the law," he said.

    "In the next few months, (Wexler) might want to shop around for a little garden apartment in Delray Beach," Fund said.

    Edward Lynch, a Republican running for Wexler's congressional seat, has been researching Wexler's living arrangements and took his argument to the Fox News program.
    "Wexler's Delray residency disputed by opponent".

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