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, November 29, 2008

"The sun always comes up in Florida first"

    "The freefall in revenues the economists saw Nov. 21 was not as shocking as what caused it:"
    Fewer newcomers were moving to the state for the first time in decades. The state's legendary growth machine had ground to a halt, compounding the troubles brought on by the global recession.

    For years, governors and legislators relied on population growth to create jobs, avoid raising taxes and shield the state from recession. They saw Florida's population swell annually by 2 to 3 percent, enough to add a city the size of Miami or Tampa each year. By marketing itself as a low-tax, low-cost retirement haven, Florida literally bet its future on growth.
    And our "leaders" in Tally? The usual:
    The pessimism of the revenue experts, however, stands in stark contrast to the optimism of Gov. Charlie Crist, who said, after economists completed their latest forecast: ''Florida will probably come out of it first. I mean, the sun always comes up in Florida first."
    "Growth won't pay the bills in Florida".

    Spineless Charlie slithers under a rock

    The Miami Herald editorial board: "When stripped of all its emotional and legal baggage, Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Cindy Lederman's decision Tuesday allowing a North Miami man to adopt two foster children boils down to this: She did what was best for the children."

    It is too bad -- and in this case, a tragic miscalculation -- that the Department of Children & Families doesn't see the issue this way. The DCF, which claims as its mantra to always act in the best interest of children, has unwisely decided to stand against allowing two loving parents to continue caring for two damaged boys whom they have painstakingly nurtured to good health. Instead, the DCF has asked the state attorney general's office to appeal the decision, which challenges Florida's ban on adoption by gays. Instead of standing up for the well-being of children, the DCF embraces Florida's position of state-supported bias against gays.
    "Bias blinds DCF to these parents' good".

    Steve Bousquet notes that "Appealing the ruling under Crist is the Department of Children and Families, led by George Sheldon, a lifelong Democrat from Tampa who supported equal rights for gays and lesbians as a state legislator in the 1980s." "Few have the courage to fight gay adoption ban".

    Sheldon should resign rather than participate in this continuing embarrassment.

    It's great ... to be ... a Florida GOPer

    "A civil lawsuit between the king of Jordan's brother-in-law and a major Republican fundraiser over profits from the transport of oil to troops in Iraq will remain on Florida soil, a judge has ruled."

    Mohammad Anwar Farid Al-Saleh is suing his former business partner, Boca Raton oil executive Harry Sargeant, claiming he was defrauded of at least $15 million and likely much more, Al-Saleh lawyers say. Sargeant is a longtime friend of Gov. Charlie Crist and finance chairman of the Florida Republican Party. A lawyer for Sargeant had asked that the case be dismissed by the Florida court and tried in Jordan instead, claiming most of the issues are grounded in Jordanian law.
    Curious that this war profiteer/RPOFer doesn't want to be tried in his own country:
    Along with Sargeant and IOTC USA, Al-Saleh is suing Mustafa Abu-Naba'a. Al-Saleh, Sargeant and Abu-Naba'a each owned an approximate one-third interest in IOTC Jordan, a company which contracted to supply fuel to American troops in Iraq by shipment across Jordan, according to a court record.

    It's a topic that piqued the interest of U.S. Congressional investigators this year, who concluded that Sargeant inflated profits on contracts to provide fuel, costing taxpayers as much as $180 million.
    It seems, "the Defense Department has paid Sargeant's company $1.4 billion over the past four years, with IOTC winning contracts even though its prices were often higher than those of other bidders."
    "Suit against top Republican fundraiser will remain in Palm Beach County".

    Thinking outside the box

    "Mason's pitch for more nude beaches is especially well timed because Gov. Charlie Crist is looking to make significant cuts in state spending, including from the Division of Recreation and Parks. That division has been asked to come up with a 10 percent cut in its operating costs." "Nude beaches seen as cover for cash gaps". See also "Raise cigarette taxes, allow nude bathing to save budget, residents tell state lawmakers".

    "Ray Sansom [R-Destin] has got his"

    The Palm Beach Post editorial Board: "Don't worry, Florida."

    Yes, education might have to be cut - including higher-education cuts that would hurt even more without the proposed 15 percent tuition increases.

    Yes, health care for Medicaid patients could be further rationed even as the number of poor families qualifying for assistance grows.

    And state attorneys might not have enough prosecutors.

    But Ray Sansom [R-Destin] has got his. ...

    On the day that Rep. Sansom was sworn in as speaker, Northwest Florida State College announced that it had hired him as vice president for development and planning. The newly minted state college isn't the only one lucky enough to get more in a time of less; Rep. Sansom will be paid $110,000, which is $25,000 more than the man he replaces.
    "Sansom's leadership failure".

    Details: "The new speaker of the Florida House was able to get $25.5 million in last year's state budget for a Panhandle college where he is now a vice president, even though the school had only been slated to get $1 million ... . Northwest Florida State College got millions as a result of efforts of Rep. Ray Sansom, who previously headed the House Budget and Policy Council. All told, the money was the most any community college received this year for projects." "Fla. House speaker: $25M for college proper".

    But Charlie said ...

    "Many Florida public agencies flunk simple open records test".

    I can hear the AIF crowd howling already

    The Daytona Beach News-Journal editorial board: "When President Bush signed an unemployment-compensation package last week, he assured jobless Americans in the highest-unemployment states an additional 20 weeks of survival. Luckily -- or unluckily -- Florida is one of those states. The state's October unemployment rate of 7 percent is the highest it's been in 15 years."

    Florida's unemployment benefits are among the stingiest in the nation. The maximum benefit is $275 a week, ranking Florida seventh from the bottom. And Florida's eligibility rules are among the harshest ... .
    "Despite a statewide budget crisis, Florida has enough money in its $2.2 billion unemployment trust fund to improve jobless benefits."
    That money can't be used in other parts of state government, but it could help bolster Florida families -- and provide a jolt of economic stimulus to a state that badly needs it. Unemployment compensation checks are usually spent on necessities of life -- food, clothing, rent or mortgage payments. Even as state leaders are helping displaced workers, they could buoy Florida's economy and save other jobs.

    Gov. Charlie Crist and state lawmakers shouldn't hesitate to improve unemployment compensation for Floridians.
    "No time to be stingy".

    Good luck with that.

    And so it goes

    "The fight over Florida's presidential primary has taken a new turn, and a Democratic activist from Tallahassee is back in federal court." "Ausman sues state over primary voting". See also "Class-Action Suit Filed Over Early Primary Election Date".


    The Daytona Beach News-Journal editorial board: "While some environmental groups are hailing the pending state purchase of massive tracts of U.S. Sugar farmland to help restore natural water flow in the Everglades, it is too soon to label this a sweet deal for Florida." "Hopeful in Big Sugar land deal". Background: "Water managers have 3-week deadline to sign $1.34 billion U.S. Sugar deal".

    More from The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Restore The Everglades, But Double-Check Numbers".

    Greedy firefighters receive a whopping 2.76 percent raise

    The alleged journalists at the The Palm Beach Post want you to know ... hold 'yer hat and 'git ready for this ... "Boca Raton firefighters to get raise". You read that right.

    Firefighter showing utter disdain for "anticipated revenue dips"

    The Post finds it worth reporting that, "Despite acknowledging the failing economy and anticipated revenue dips in coming years, the [Boca Raton] city council voted ... to give firefighters, on average, a 2.76 percent annual salary increase over the next three years."

    You see, its them icky public employee unions.

    As guardians of the public trust, the Post wants us all to know, "Firefighters have sweet pay plans, mostly because of politically connected unions." And, of course, the wise thing to do, would be to "cut back on health-insurance benefits" and "replace[] expensive [defined benefit] pensions with 401(k) plans". See generally, "Firefighters' 'outlandish benefits' and 'sweet pay plans'".

    We recall how much the Post luvs its firefighters; this bit 'o wordsmithing from an alleged Post journalist really says it all:
    Sitting at home on the couch, finishing off a six-pack of beer and a pack of cigarettes and having a heart attack? It's considered an on-the-job injury for firefighters ...
    Isn't that a nice visual. Another blow for the working class from Florida's "liberal" media.

    From the "values" crowd

    While Florida's political "leaders" and their newspaper company lapdogs are in a dither about Charlie's upcoming nuptials, annoying stuff like this continues to crop up: "Nearly 19 percent or 797,000 children in Florida do not have health insurance - the second highest percentage in the country - and experts expect the number to rise as more parents are laid off, according to a report released this week." "Florida's number of uninsured children climbs" ("Only Texas had a higher percentage of uninsured children").

    Perhaps when we hit the magic 1M mark this will get a bit more attention.

    Baker won't go away

    St. Pete Mayor Rick Baker leaves office in 2010.

    The question is, what next? The Republican's political prospects will ebb fast once he leaves office and his profile dims, but he has pretty much ruled out running for Congress if C.W. Bill Young retires. Charlie Crist has the Governor's Mansion.

    Which is where Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, a Democrat, fits in. If, as many expect, she runs for the U.S. Senate, or even governor, Baker is a prime candidate to run for the open CFO seat.
    "Mayor Baker's a prime player for Sink's CFO job".

    Might Florida's media pipsqueaks have a bit to do with this?

    "How vulnerable is Sen. Mel Martinez in 2010? A Quinnipiac University poll released last week found that only 36 percent of Florida voters said he deserves another term, while 38 percent said he does not. By comparison, 58 percent said Gov. Crist deserves to be re-elected."

    Still, the would-be Democratic challengers to Martinez, or Crist, are strangers to the vast majority of Florida voters. A whopping 59 percent said they didn't know enough about CFO Sink to have an opinion; 27 percent viewed her favorably and 13 percent unfavorably. More than seven in 10 did not know enough about state Sen. Dan Gelber of Miami, U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek of Miami or U.S. Rep. Allen Boyd of Monticello to have an opinion.
    "Martinez vs. who?"

    He's a judge, after all

    The Palm Beach Post editorial Board: "An appeals court has agreed to fast-track the dispute between Circuit Judge Richard Wennet and his recently-elected replacement, attorney Bill Abramson. Wennet, a 24-year veteran of the bench, is seeking a new vote following his loss to Abramson after multiple problem-fraught recounts. A Tallahassee judge ended up declaring Abramson the winner by 61 votes. " "Appeals court fast-tracks judicial dispute".

    He's back ...

    "Ash Williams is back at his old job overseeing the investment of billions of state dollars, including Florida's public employee pension plan, after a stint with a Wall Street hedge fund." "Pension chief's approach conservative, diversfied".


    "More Are Failing FCAT But Earning A Diploma".

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