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 Saturday, August 23, 2008

Business as usual

    "The net worth of the Florida Senate's budget chief grew fivefold after the state purchased part of her family's ranch with the help of a program whose funding she oversees."
    Now the deal, which appears to have followed standard protocol and has been reported by local media, has drawn new criticism from the Florida Democratic Party, which questions why Carlton didn't note a conflict of interest with the Senate president.

    The criticism comes as Carlton, who is term limited, is playing an active role in the District 23 Republican primary. Democrats hope to win the seat.

    "As Senate appropriations chair, we trusted Sen. Carlton with our tax dollars, and she turned around to write herself a check for millions of dollars," said Eric Jotkoff, Florida Democratic Party spokesman.

    Carlton, 44, disagrees. ...

    She said she saw the land deal as an extension of a decade long relationship her family's company has had with the district.
    "State's purchase of land from senator's family criticized".

    Woo Hoo

    "Pitted in a heated race, U.S. Rep Mario Diaz-Balart and Democratic challenger Joe Garcia reached out to young voters Friday night." "Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, Democrat Joe Garcia square off in debate".

    CD 23

    "U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, who was first elected to his seat in 1992, is being challenged by former Belle Glade Mayor Ray Torres Sanchez in the Democratic primary in sprawling Congressional District 23." "Ex-mayor challenging U.S. Rep. Hastings for District 23 seat".

    "An old financial skeleton"

    "The battle between two Democratic lawyers fighting for the chance to unseat U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis heated up Thursday, with one hauling an old financial skeleton out of the other's closet."

    Bill Mitchell, a candidate in District 9, coordinated a conference call linking reporters with a New Jersey man who said a 1989 financial seminar led by primary opponent John Dicks enticed him to invest $55,000, which soon was lost.

    The seminar was sponsored by a firm tied to financial adviser Charles J. Givens, author of the 1988 bestseller "Wealth Without Risk," known nationwide in the 1980s and early 1990s for his seminars, infomercials and, eventually, scandals. He died in 1998.

    Dicks' affiliation with Givens' Delta First Financial was raised by political foes in 1996 when the former Plant City mayor ran for the Florida Senate. A recent Mitchell campaign mailing uses snippets of a Tampa Tribune article published that October.
    "Competition Heats Up In District 9 Democratic Primary".

    Yawn ...

    "For two years, their brothers — House Speaker Marco Rubio and Senate President Ken Pruitt — have dominated state politics. Now, they hope to launch their own political careers. Mario Rubio of Jacksonville and Will Pruitt of Lady Lake are both running for the Florida House." "Brothers of political bigwigs Marco Rubio and Ken Pruitt seek office".

    "'Lost votes'"

    "The timing had nothing to do with Florida's upcoming primary and everything to do with a lawsuit a voting-machine manufacturer faces in Ohio, where officials discovered at least 1,000 votes were dropped in nine counties in various elections. The errors were caught and corrected within hours. After Premier Elections Solutions Inc. blamed antivirus software solely for the problem, officials in Ohio's Butler County insisted there was a problem with the machines themselves. The state has sued the company for breach of contract."

    Terms like "programming glitch" and "lost votes" returned this week to haunt Florida voters days before Tuesday's primary.
    "Voting officials aren't worried about glitch".

    Plus ... they're reading books and stuff ...

    "Young conservatives are feeling the squeeze. Just ask David Kowalczyk, a member of the College Republicans, an on-campus student organization at the University of Florida. Kowalczyk said he has seen a steady increase in liberalism among UF students over the past two years." "Sun: UF’s conservatives feel outnumbered".

    Good luck

    "The labor union representing more than 1,000 Florida sugar workers has requested a meeting with Gov. Charlie Crist over the state's plans to purchase U.S. Sugar Corp. The union is in favor of Everglades restoration but would like to see U.S. Sugar's mill and refinery in Clewiston remain in operation, union spokesman Bob Wood said Thursday. 'We think it's important that somebody stands up and tries to preserve those jobs,' Wood said. Sterling Ivey [his real name], the governor's press secretary, said there was not a meeting scheduled with the machinists, but their request would be reviewed in the scheduling office once it is received." "Union seeks meeting with Crist".

    Poor Vern

    "U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan is one of the richest men in Congress thanks in part to his car dealerships."

    But those businesses have also made the Sarasota Republican the target of lawsuits in his own county. Ex-employees allege that his dealerships fabricated tax returns, falsified incomes to get loan applications approved and "powerbooked" — faked options to pump up the sales price.

    Now those same allegations have been made against Buchanan's dealership in Pasco County: Suncoast Ford Mitsubishi* on U.S. 19 in Port Richey.

    The congressman's dealership bilked customers, employees and even Ford Motor Co.
    "Lawsuit accuses U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan of shenanigans at Pasco car lot".

    - - - - - - - - - -
    *As an aside, this is the same Mitsubishi company that built and sold the infamous "Mitsubishi Zero" fighter plane to the Imperial Japanese war machine, which used the planes to attack Pearl Harbor, and kill Americans. "Mitsubishi Zeros" were used by the Imperial Japanese forces throughout the war (at least 1,550 American aircraft were shot down by "Mitsubishi Zeros") and in kamikaze attacks at the end of the war.

    Mitsubishi "made use of slave labor from Allied POWs and the Japanese captured territories, like Korea and China. With poor working conditions, many people died during this period."

    You think they would have the courtesy to at least change the name of the company.

    It rained hard ... so we need federal assistance

    Please spare us politicians and their photo ops, followed by begging for money:

    Getting a break from a daily drumbeat of grim economic news, Gov. Charlie Crist assumed a new role this week: leading pitchman for storm safety, as slow-moving Tropical Storm Fay made a wobbly, watery trek around the state.

    In his first turn as Florida's chief executive in a storm, Crist jettisoned his suit and tie for short-sleeve shirts bearing the state's emergency-management logo, and repeatedly urged Floridians not to take Fay lightly. ...

    At one briefing, Crist said he'd been up at 4:30 a.m. reading online reports about the storm.
    "Charlie Crist takes active role in Fay disaster". See also "Crist news conference".

    Hey Charlie! - why not spend some time figuring out how to avoid the state's infrastructure collapsing every time it rains?

    Instead, "Crist asked the president this afternoon to declare a major disaster for Florida to get federal aid to restore public facilities affected by Tropical Storm Fay." "Crist seeks major disaster aid for Fay".

    Believe it or not, some states (typically those that receive "snow") plan ahead for mother nature's assault on their infrastructure (e.g., roads, utilities, etc.) Some of them actually have a tax structure sufficient to to this - and they even hire people (state employees no less) to plow snow, maintain utility lines, maintain roads, things like that ... and they actually do it throughout the entire year.

    One has to wonder how a these folks in other States feel when no tax states like Florida demand federal assistance every time it rains. One might be tempted to say things like: hey, if you let people build houses in flood plains (or don't maintain trees around utility poles) ... well, that's your problem ... don't ask us to help. Conversely, where do we get off think the rest of the Country ought to ride to the rescue because we don't have the political courage to act like a real State?

    Mike Thomas has some background on "Florida's flood-plain follies".

    Laff riot

    We agree with the headline to this The Orlando Sentinel editorial board piece this morning: "We think: Special interests have too much influence at the political conventions"

    At the Democratic convention, Visa and US Bank are throwing a bash for the party's freshman class in the House. The Human Rights Campaign, a gay and lesbian advocacy group, is hosting an affair for black, Hispanic and Asian-American lawmakers. AT&T is feting the Republican Main Street Partnership, a group of moderates, at the GOP convention.
    "Visa and US Bank", and "AT&T" are obvious "special interests" (just like the "Tribune" companies are special interests), but to equate them with "a gay and lesbian advocacy group"?

    "The headwaters of the Kissimmee River"

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Orange County's decision this week to abandon its reckless legal fight to siphon water from the headwaters of the Kissimmee River amounts to a reprieve." "Conservation should follow in water fight's wake".

    Broward Sheriff's race

    "Less than a week before Tuesday's elections, two front-runners in the Broward Sheriff's race are accusing each other's supporters of making inaccurate statements, with fliers and words that are the most biting since the campaigns began." "Broward Sheriff's race heats up as unknown group sends e-mails".

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