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 09, 2008

That is, unless he gets elected to sumthin' in November ...

    "Crist to wed Dec. 12 in St. Petersburg".

    Laff riot

    This remark by Steve Bousquet speaks volumes:

    Charlie's charm offensive isn't working as planned. The Florida media increasingly ignore vapid photo ops and fire questions.
    "Crist dodges questions while on tour".

    If only it were true - particularly the "fire questions" assertion - which truly requires suspension of disbelief. In reality, Florida's newspaper company employees and their employers have given this empty suit a pass since Day One.

    Sorry 'bout the racism and all

    "McCain offers personal apology".

    "An elephant in donkey's clothing"

    "With the District 55 primary less than three weeks away, the last thing state Democratic Rep. Darryl Rouson needed was Republican Gov. Charlie Crist taking his side on a statewide issue that could change public education forever."

    But that's exactly what happened last week when Crist announced his support for Amendment 5, a measure that would repeal most property taxes for schools but would require the Legislature to find $11-billion a year to replace it.

    Rouson, a former Republican who has been trying to prove his devotion to the Democratic Party since he switched parties earlier this year, already had mouths yapping about his support of the controversial measure. Crist's endorsement would only make it easier for his critics to paint him as an elephant in donkey's clothing.
    "Education issues lend intrigue to District 55 Democratic primary".

    Election ploy goes awry

    "The trial of a former [University of South Florida computer professor Sami Al-Arian] once accused of being a leading Palestinian terrorist was postponed Friday after a judge raised new doubts about whether prosecutors have been overzealous." "Ex-professor's terror case put on hold".

    Ginny by default

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board Sam Zell thinks Ginny is just fine, and is not "comfortable endorsing any of the three Democratic candidates."

    Just another disgruntled employee

    "Air Force reservist Richard Wright was just two months into what he said was his 'dream job' as a consultant for a firm marketing Donald Trump's get-rich techniques when he was called up and sent to Afghanistan."

    For six weeks in early 2007, Wright served in Kandahar as a master sergeant with the 920th Rescue Squadron, providing intelligence for helicopter missions.

    But just a week after returning home to Cooper City from the war, Wright, 41, was fired, allegedly for missing work and for contacting clients to let them know he was home.
    "Fired soon after military assignment, reservist sues Boca Raton company".

    "Wright is not the only service member to return from combat duty in Iraq or Afghanistan only to find problems in the workplace. According to the Department of Defense's Status of Forces study released in November 2007, nearly 11,000 reservists and National Guard members were denied prompt re-employment and more than 20,000 lost seniority, pay and other benefits since the two wars began. Almost 20,000 saw their pensions cut, and more than 15,000 didn't receive the training needed to return to their former jobs, the study found. And 23 percent of reservists and National Guard personnel surveyed in 2006 who could not find a job after deployment said they were unemployed because their previous employer did not promptly rehire them as required by law." Id.

    "Renewable energy"

    "Talking about renewable energy is nothing new in the Sunshine State, but the push for cleaner energy could soon become a legal mandate." "Renewable energy may soon be a must".

    "Intentional deception"

    The Palm Beach Post editorial Board: "Should Florida taxpayers pay for vouchers to private, religious schools?"

    Voters won't see that language at the ballot box in November on a proposed constitutional amendment. If they did, Floridians probably would defeat it. But unless a judge's ruling last week is overturned, the issue of giving public money to private, religious schools will be on the ballot. Voters just won't recognize it because it's been broken into two deceptively labeled amendments.

    Voters will be asked, on Amendment 7, if they favor "Religious Freedom." The word vouchers will not appear. Amendment 9 will ask voters if they believe that at least 65''percent of school funding received by school districts be spent on classroom instruction. Again, the word vouchers will not appear.

    The intentional deception was perpetrated by soulmates of former Gov. Jeb Bush. They served on the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission, which met this year and could put amendments directly on the ballot if enough members supported them. Rather than try to help the state cope with its economic problems, the commissioners misused their power and tried to overturn court rulings that struck down Gov. Bush's voucher plan. If voters let them succeed, not only will schools continue to take hits from the economy, the limited public money that is available could be diverted to private religious schools that do not have to meet the same requirements as public schools, such as giving the FCAT. ...

    Amendments usually aren't allowed to deal with more than a single subject, precisely because of the potential for misleading or manipulating voters. That's going on in this case. Jeb's allies are hiding an unpopular issue - vouchers for private religious schools - behind a popular gimmick: the 65 percent rule.
    "Appeal voucher ruling".

    Appeal filed: "The Florida teachers union filed an appeal [Friday] to overturn a judge's ruling allowing two proposed constitutional amendments dealing with schools to be on the November ballot." "Teachers union challenges school amendments".

    How much paper can one person push?

    "Just as officials have been professing they're going to "tighten their belts" and curb spending in light of a lagging economy and state property tax reform, City Manager Dennis Beach gave his deputy city manager a $10,000 raise this week."

    Recor's raise comes as [City Manager] Beach announced Monday a proposal to retire early in January instead of in March 2012 and as Recor is poised to become the next city manager.

    Beach, whose year-to-year contract expired July 21, offered to retire if the City Commission agreed to pay him a $203,000 buyout.
    Meanwhile, the idiots dodging bullets and stuff for the City can't get a decent raise:
    Labor negotiations with the Police Benevolent Association broke down in March as the union proposed 3 percent pay raises retroactive to Oct. 1 and an additional 4 percent increase when an officer reaches his or her anniversary date -- the date of hire or the date of promotion. The city's union negotiator said in March that there were few city funds to go around.
    "Fort Pierce deputy city manager gets almost $10,000 raise".

    JQC follies

    The Palm Beach Post editorial Board: "Judge Barnes is a former St. Lucie County commissioner who was elected to the bench in 2004. Though he may have violated rules of judicial conduct by publicly criticizing fellow judges, his actions were aimed at reforming a bad system for deciding who goes to jail and who gets released. It treats the poor unfairly, and for years has been under the tight control of a few powerful individuals who created fiefdoms in St. Lucie County." By contrast,

    In 1990, the JQC recommended a reprimand for a Palm Beach County judge who took money from a private probation company to which he referred probationers. That violation goes more to judicial integrity than Judge Barnes' style-points violation, but the JQC dropped its recommendation after the judge wrote a letter of apology.

    That is one of many deals the JQC has cut in secret. In the case of Judge Barnes, the JQC simply got it wrong. Why should a judge be reprimanded for actions that led to improvements in the courts?
    "No reprimand needed for this St. Lucie judge".


    "Floridians owe the juice that runs their lights, air conditioning and iPods to an increasingly dominant fuel: natural gas. More than 40 percent of Florida's electricity comes from gas-fired power plants, more than double the national average of 20 percent. By 2017, the state plans to add 12,000 megawatts of new natural gas power plants — that's seven times the output of TECO's Big Bend plant. That means natural gas will provide 55 percent of the state's electricity within a decade." "State's new gas pump".

    Charlie and Johnnie sittin' in a tree ...

    ... collecting dirty mon-e-e-e

    "Harry Sargeant III, the Republican Party of Florida finance chairman and part owner of a Boca Raton-based oil trading firm, has been credited with collecting more than $500,000 for McCain. But about $50,000 of those contributions reportedly were solicited by Mustafa Abu Naba'a, Sargeant's Jordanian business partner at International Oil Trading Co."

    Sargeant, of Gulf Stream, is among 53 bundlers McCain has in Florida - more than he has in any state other than New York and California - who have combined to raise at least $9.2 million for the Arizona Republican this year. ...

    Crist's campaign collected at least $5,000 in 2006 from the same group of Californians that McCain's campaign is questioning. The Federal Election Campaign Act that prevents foreign nationals from participating in federal campaigns also applies to state and local candidates.

    George LeMieux, Crist's campaign manager at the time, said he was not planning to review those donations.
    "McCain returning donations collected by Palm Beach County man".

    The Miami Herald is on the case:
    Jihan Nassar, a homemaker in Corona, Calif., is listed as a $500 donor to the campaign of Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. But she insists she never gave a dime.

    ''I can't make any donations, financially,'' Nassar said Friday. ``We never made any donations, sir. I have no idea what you are talking about.''

    Nassar and her husband, Waleed, are among more than three dozen California donors listed as giving to Crist's campaign on June 19, 2006 -- donations bundled by a controversial Delray Beach defense contractor now under scrutiny for contributions to GOP presidential candidate John McCain. ...

    Crist received more than $25,000 in contributions from California, records show, including $500 checks from two stereo stores and two Wienerschnitzel hot-dog restaurants outside Los Angeles.

    Zouhair El Srouji, a 40-year-old accountant in Wildomar, Calif., initially told a Miami Herald reporter on Friday that he had no memory of a $500 donation to the Florida governor.

    After reviewing campaign records, however, he said he recalled that a campaign contribution was requested by his employer -- though he couldn't recall who asked him to give.

    ''It took a lot of convincing, but they said he was a good man and needed our help, and I guess I'm a sucker for helping good people,'' El Srouji said.

    Reached briefly to talk about his just-announced Dec. 12 wedding date with fiancee Carole Rome, Crist said he wasn't familiar with the specifics and referred questions to his former campaign manager, George LeMieux. ''It's all good,'' Crist said.

    Earlier in the week, he called Sargeant ``a great patriot.''
    "Disputed donors linked to Crist race".

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