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 Tuesday, December 30, 2008

They never learn ...

    If you were wondering about the progress of the RPOFer effort to remake itself after the shellacking it took in November, this ought to give you some comfort:
    State Rep. Dean Cannon, the Winter Park Republican slated to be House speaker in two years, opined over the weekend that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush should jump into the race for the state's open U.S. Senate seat -- adding his name to a growing cadre of Republican officeholders who see solid gold with Jeb atop the 2010 ticket.
    "Cannon: Jeb should run for Senate". Lookin' forward to Mr' Cannon's sack 'o brilliant ideas when he assumes the Speaker's position.

    Even the geniuses at the Washington Times are rallying around the flag pole, writing that Saint Jebbie "has long been viewed as a potential candidate for the White House despite his brother's dismal approval ratings. However, insiders said a Senate bid would be driven first by Mr. Bush's desire to lead Republicans back from the electoral precipice." "Jeb Senate bid a GOP remedy".

    Its irresistible isn't it - who wouldn't want to extend this kind of leadership to the entire nation: "Almost one in 10 Floridians are on food stamps": "In the last two years, the number of Floridians on food stamps has increased more than 40 percent to 1.7 million. That increase is the highest in the nation, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. ... A person living on their own who earns $1,127 or less a month can qualify for food stamps, as can a family of four making $2,297 or less monthly."

    Sansom hubris watch

    "Pressure continues to mount on House Speaker Ray Sansom, who now faces an ethics complaint filed by a Clearwater man." "Ethics complaint filed against Sansom".

    The red wall of silence: "Most House members remain mute about their leader's relationship with the college, as well as his ties to a developer and campaign contributor who also appears to benefit from the college's earmark." "Ethics Complaint Filed Against House Speaker".

    The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board calls for Sansom's resignation (from at least one of his jobs):

    This being a government town, House Speaker Ray Sansom's effrontery in the matter of feathering his own nest isn't entirely original in the annals of legislative power.
    "Mr. Sansom needs to choose one:"
    Resign from the college job as, ironically, head of a new "leadership institute" created for him, apologize and mend his ways; or resign from his two-year job as speaker before he is unceremoniously kicked out.

    But it is distinctive that he started so soon, ensuring his own financial interests ahead of the public's on the day he became speaker — and doing it without a touch of subtlety or cunning.

    Those attributes usually take longer to acquire, but the Okaloosa County Republican must have them in his DNA.

    Nor, apparently does he have the manly attributes* to step up and acknowledge that it looks bad — bad, squared
    "Speaking of subterfuge: Give it up, Mr. Sansom" ("Even former Panhandle GOP Congressman Joe 'Morning Joe' Scarborough, now a national talk-show celebrity, has called for Mr. Sansom's resignation.")

    More: "Sansom's boss feared 'populist' Crist" and "Sansom hires attorney Richard Coates to handle ethics complaint".

    - - - - - - - - - -
    *"Manly attributes"? Heaven help us.


    "When a lead Florida State University researcher needed five faculty members last year to start a landmark center dedicated to studying autism, state budget cuts prevented the school from hiring the additional professors. The Ohio State University, however, had the money, recruited the researcher -- and his more than $1 million in federal grants -- and in a few years could be reaping the benefits of an autism program that may bring $10 million annually to the school." "Schools' research dollars wane".

    Is the funding for Sansom's silly "Leadership Institute" still available?

    "Like lemmings into the privatization cesspool"

    Gina Downs, director of the Citizens Transportation Coalition in Naples: "The public -- whose tax dollars paid for the public asset -- can be led like lemmings into the privatization cesspool, or they can secure their assets now and for future generations. Permanent legislation must be put into place to secure public assets. Florida needs to pass legislation to protect such assets from privatization." "Alligator Alley must remain a public asset".

    Let's chip in for a bigger server

    "House Speaker Ray Sansom's office deletes e-mails about its business dealings every month, in part because lawmakers have fewer restrictions on preserving their records than most of state government."

    Sansom's deleted-items folder has become an issue after reporters made public records requests for some of his correspondence. Reporters wanted e-mails Sansom exchanged with the president of a college that now employs him after he was criticized for steering millions to the school. But nothing turned up in the House search.

    "We just didn't find anything responsive," Jill Chamberlin, spokeswoman for the speaker's office, said Monday.

    She said e-mails are purged every 30 days to free up server space and that the Florida House gives each of its 120 members a right to make decisions on whether to archive routine e-mails.
    "House speaker's office regularly purges e-mails".

    Money men

    "After contributing what he says was "lots" to Obama's presidential campaign, Raul Pedraza, a Miami business owner, has pledged $50,000 to defray the costs of producing an inauguration expected to draw two million people to the Capitol. For his contribution, Pedraza will have access to all the festivities. ... Among Obama's Florida bundlers: Democratic fundraisers Chris Korge of Miami and Mitchell Berger of Fort Lauderdale and Kirk Wagar, who served as Obama's Florida finance chairman." "".

    More of that ...

    ... stinkin' government regulation that RPOFers love to hate: "DCF Found Same Problems At Tampa Bay Academy in 2005".

    Florida luvs that government tit

    "Are military rockets the solution for NASA?".

    Internet Tax

    The St. Petersburg Times editorial board points out that

    Florida collects sales tax on goods when they are purchased from retailers in the state. Buy those same items online, and the sales tax often goes uncollected. That's not fair to Florida businesses or their customers, and it has cost the state billions of dollars in tax revenue. Here's another example.
    They give a specific example of how this all works here: "Same filter, different tax".


    "News account mentions of the father-and-son business team are rare and photographs remain scarce. Until recently, interviews with the media were shunned. But the Lawrence footprint is all over Florida. Lawrence Sr.'s Premier Citrus LLC, based in Vero Beach, is the largest citrus fruit grower for the fresh market on Florida's east coast."

    "Now the biggest land deal of all has thrust the farming family into an unaccustomed spotlight: The Lawrence Group has launched what amounts to a hostile takeover bid for U.S. Sugar, just as the state is sealing a deal to buy 181,000 acres from the company to help restore the Everglades." "Shy, rich farmers thrust in spotlight as players in U.S. Sugar deal".

    Remember, it ain't a tax ...

    "Toll express lanes ease traffic on urban highways".

    Everything's kewl, except for ...

    ... you know, me and my family: "Based on its survey of 427 people, the University of Florida said"

    negative perceptions persisted about the state of personal finances compared with a year ago. In that category, confidence dropped 1 point to 39, the lowest level since the index started in the 1980s. The university expects the recession to last "well into 2009" and predicts confidence will decline to reflect that reality.
    "Florida consumers more confident, except on personal finances".

    Yippee ... raise!

    With Florida's minimum wage rising to a whopping. The RPOFers are of course all in a tizzy about this transgression upon the free market:

    In Tallahassee, state Sen. Don Gaetz is involved with the Senate Select Committee on the Florida Economy.

    "There could be a disadvantage instead of an advantage, especially at a time when many businesses are making daily decisions on whether they can afford the employees they have," Gaetz said.

    "It could be a problem with youth employment," he added. "With graduate and undergraduate degrees being forced to work at minimum wage jobs ... that could have the effect of pushing new workers (which means young workers) out the bottom of the economy. ... And if a business has only a fixed amount of money for wages ... then hours can wind up being cut."
    You read that right - Gaetz is worried about our college graduates (including those with graduate degrees) losing their minimum wage jobs.

    BTW, "Florida's jobless rate for November was 7.3 percent, 2.9 higher than the 4.4 percent of November 2007." "Minimum wage will rise Thursday".

    "Small-time gambling houses"

    "Small-time gambling houses, where patrons buy a phone card or Internet time to play video sweepstakes games, are popping up across Southwest Florida after similar establishments were shut down a few years back. In 2006, Sarasota and Manatee authorities cracked down on the parlors where people played penny slots for gift cards or coupons, citing a state law that prohibits gambling outside of tribal casinos or the state-run lottery. The Internet cafe operators say their businesses are legal, and some courts have agreed. Earlier this year, a North Carolina county judge stopped law enforcement from raiding similar cafes." "Local gambling houses take a chance".

    "Florida, home to more than 600,000 released felons"

    "Florida, home to more than 600,000 released felons, should follow the lead of other states that offer employers tax incentives to hire them, state Sen. Gary Siplin said. And it needs to revisit a bill that stalled in the Florida Senate to make it easier for released felons to have their criminal records expunged, he said. Such a move would allow them to legally say on an application form that they have not been convicted of a felony." "Recession adds to ex-felons' job-hunt woes".

    50 Herbert Hoovers

    Paul Krugman: "No modern American president would repeat the fiscal mistake of 1932, in which the federal government tried to balance its budget in the face of a severe recession."

    But even as Washington tries to rescue the economy, the nation will be reeling from the actions of 50 Herbert Hoovers — state governors who are slashing spending in a time of recession, often at the expense both of their most vulnerable constituents and of the nation's economic future.
    Krugman continues:
    Now, state governors aren't stupid (not all of them, anyway). They're cutting back because they have to — because they're caught in a fiscal trap. But let's step back for a moment and contemplate just how crazy it is, from a national point of view, to be cutting public services and public investment right now.
    "A nation of 50 Herbert Hoovers".


    "State spares residents from costly sprinkler add-ons".

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