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, December 31, 2008

Game On

    "It's official -- the Legislature will meet in special session starting Monday to true up the state's budget and the more than $2 billion shortfall. The Legislature will meet in special session Jan. 5-16 to true up the state's budget and the $2.3 billion gap between revenue and spending." "Florida Legislature officially sets special session to discuss $2.3 billion budget shortfall".
    Crist wants to cut spending, borrow money and shift funds to reduce the shortfall for the remainder of this fiscal year, which ends June 30.
    "Special Session On State Budget Deficit Scheduled". Can't you just feel the pusillanimity?:
    Gambling and cigarette taxes are definitely out. Class-size spending and increased speeding fines are in. ...

    Sen. Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island and in line to be president of the Senate in 2010, said increased user fees for courts are reasonable. ...

    Also on the block for change is the money required by the constitution — approved by voters in an amendment referendum — for minimal school class sizes. Some of the money for construction to meet class-size requirements, as well as state dictates on spending on textbooks and transportation for instance, could be freed up for local districts to decide how to meet expenses.
    More from that triumvirate of Florida GOPer "girlie men", Sansom, Atwater and Crist:
    House Speaker Ray Sansom and Senate President Jeff Atwater on Tuesday officially released their call for the special budget-cutting session set to start next week and it closely mirrors the trust-fund raids and cuts Gov. Charlie Crist recommended.

    Of particular note: It says higher cigarette taxes are off the table, but making "minor adjustments to existing user fees" and higher "fees and fines relating to traffic enforcement and civil and criminal fees, fines and penalties" are in the mix.
    "Leaders, Crist agree on suggested budget cuts".

    Steve Bousquet reports with a straight face that the "Legislature will give the public a fleeting chance to sound off next week before making deep cuts in programs to patch a $2.3-billion budget deficit." "Floridians get four hours to make budget suggestions".

    Sansom hubris watch

    Another nail?: "College trustees meeting with Sansom may have violated Sunshine Law".

    Charlie and his Pearlman

    "Crist and Florida financial regulators are being sued in Hillsborough County by investors claiming they should've been protected from boy-band mogul Lou Pearlman's multimillion-dollar scam. The suit claims Crist, who was attorney general from 2002 to 2006, was slow to investigate Pearlman's investment schemes because the governor received $12,000 in campaign contributions from Pearlman. The state sued Pearlman, 54, in December 2006, but the lawsuit claims Crist and regulators knew of his dealings as early as 2002." "Pearlman investors sue Crist, saying he was slow to investigate scam".

    Laff riot

    "Greer courts RNC members".

    Soon to be in witness protection

    "While U.S. Rep. Tim Mahoney's congressional career is winding down, the FBI is continuing to investigate whether the Democrat broke the law when he put a mistress on his U.S. House payroll in 2007." "Mahoney cooperating with FBI investigation, attorneys say".

    Voucher madness

    The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "The state isn't really saving money if it's shuffling low-income students off to poor quality schools any more than it would save money if it bought cheaper, inferior vehicles for highway patrol officers or built buildings that folded in the first hurricane."

    But the corporate voucher program always has been about ideology, not quality. Former Gov. Jeb Bush was determined that the state would offer vouchers. Low-income students are eligible for the corporate vouchers regardless of how well their designated public school is rated or how well they may have been doing in public school. Students entering first grade or kindergarten are eligible for the vouchers even if they haven't attended public school at all.

    Moreover, the Legislature and former Gov. Bush steadfastly have refused to provide any meaningful point of comparison between public and private schools that accept the vouchers.
    "The role of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test in public schools and the lack of any FCAT role in voucher schools remains particularly hypocritical. In the last decade, the state has made the FCAT the be-all and end-all of public school assessment. Teacher bonuses, promotion and graduation depended on FCAT scores. Principals who couldn't raise FCAT scores were dismissed. Electives disappeared from the curriculum so teachers could focus on FCAT skills."
    But private voucher schools, many of which have a religious curriculum, have not been required to give the FCAT to students using the state-sponsored vouchers. ...

    The new report makes clear that private voucher school operators have no interest in providing more accountability. "None of the private school representatives who participated in our focus groups supported adopting the FCAT ... .
    Read it all here: "Vouchers of dubious quality".

    Not so bright

    "Cost of Bright Futures makes outlook uncertain".

    The Zell Corporation ...

    ... weighs in on the Cuban revolution. This is truly a laff riot: "Cuban Revolution turns 50. Can it revolutionize itself?".

    Ahem ... It's a joke

    "Disappointment may be in store for those hoping that Gov. Charlie Crist’s Cover Florida [sic] health plans will solve the problem of unaffordable health care for the state’s 3.8 million uninsured adults." "Sentinel: Governor's health plan has little incentive for uninsured".

    Meek again' Jebbie?

    "If former Gov. Jeb Bush decides to run for U.S. Senate, he could find himself facing an old foe."

    U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek has been traveling the state meeting with Democratic strategists about the idea of running for the seat Republican Sen. Mel Martinez is giving up in 2010. Bush is also considering a run, and would likely grab the Republican nomination if he does.

    A potential Meek-versus-Bush matchup would come packed with history: As a state senator, Meek staged a sit-in protest in Bush's office complex after the governor stripped affirmative action protections from state contracting and university admissions.

    Meek also led the effort to place class size limits in the state constitution — a campaign Bush vigorously fought as he sought re-election in 2002 and later tried, but failed, to repeal.

    Plainly put: Bush and Meek aren't too fond of each other, a fact that would ratchet up the intensity of a Senate matchup.
    "Meek Considers Senate Run, Could Face Old Foe Bush".


    "Rivera to run for Florida Senate".


    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "A Collision Of Missions Along State's Major Roads".


    "Dania Beach commissioners say their manager wrote his own pink slip when he sent a farewell letter to employees with parting shots directed at public officials. They fired him three days before Christmas. But the manager, Ivan Pato, said his letter was no mean-spirited missive but a general dissertation on the rigors of his job. He got the ax a week before he planned a more natural retirement." "Dania city manager's farewell letter leads to his firing".


    "Demonstrators on both sides of the crisis in the Middle East faced off in Fort Lauderdale, but there was no violence and no one was arrested." "Demonstrators in Fort Lauderdale clash over Gaza Strip crisis".

    "Housing bust" top story

    "Empty condominiums, stalled construction projects and thousands of families forced to leave their homes in a state hit hard by the housing bust was the top story of 2008, according to Florida newspaper editors." "Housing bust voted top Fla. story of 2008".

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