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, December 13, 2008

"We need to be rescued from Jeb Bush"

    Jac Wilder VerSteeg: "Please, Caroline, don't accept Hillary Clinton's Senate seat if it's offered to you. You'd make an earnest, intelligent senator. But if you want to serve in that exclusive club, think of serving Florida instead of New York. Why? Florida needs you more."
    We need to be rescued from Jeb Bush.
    You see,
    it is becoming clearer by the day that Jeb Bush did not leave Florida in great shape to weather the recession. Public schools and health care already have taken cuts, with more on the way. The situation is worse than it needed to be because Jeb made cutting taxes for Florida's wealthiest residents a priority.
    Wilder VerSteeg writes that
    it would be nice to have someone of global stature to take on Jeb Bush if he decides to run for Senate. Caroline Kennedy, daughter of former President John F. Kennedy and niece of former New York Sen. Robert Kennedy, certainly fills the bill. What about the fact that she isn't a Floridian? Doesn't matter. Hillary Clinton wasn't really a New Yorker when she ran for her Senate seat from there. Besides, Caroline Kennedy has significant ties to Florida.

    Most obviously, for more than 30 years she joined other Kennedys at the family compound on Palm Beach. The family of her husband, Ed Schlossberg, also has owned a home on Palm Beach.
    Here's thhe question, though:"Why should she wait two years and have to run for a Senate seat when she has the chance of being appointed to one now?" Here's the answer:
    So that she can earn it. She should try not to radiate the sense of entitlement so common to, say, Jeb and George W. Bush, both of whom exploited the family name to get political jobs well above their abilities.

    Surely President-elect Obama can find Caroline Kennedy a meaty role to play in his administration. Put her in charge of programs to help individuals avoid foreclosure, for example.

    Jeb probably still feels a sense of entitlement concerning Florida. He must be thinking the Senate seat is his for the asking. Let Caroline Kennedy run in Florida, and - if Jeb isn't afraid to take her on - it would set up a battle between the two best-known political families in the country.
    Read the whole thing here: "Dream matchup: Jeb vs. Caroline". Adam Smith asks: "Should Jeb run or not?", and gives us
    five reasons for him to jump in and five reasons to stay put in the private sector
    Smith is a bit heavy on the into Bushco-Love thing - something Florida's political reportage class has been doing since Jebbie washed up on Florida's shores - but he does make some decent points.

    Ruth's back!

    Daniel Ruth, whose work last appeared in the Tampa Tribune, begins a weekly column to appear on Fridays in the St Pete Times. He starts with this nifty piece about Mel: "Nothing stirs the paternal yearnings of a pol, turning them into something akin to Andy of Mayberry meets Walton Mountain, more than a 36 percent approval rating." "Martinez family, he's all yours".

    Florida's "political reporters" reduced to fighting for wedding cake

    "Crist became the first sitting Florida governor to wed in nearly 42 years, exchanging vows Friday evening with New York socialite Carole Rome in a church ceremony." "Gov. Crist, you may now kiss the bride". See also "Gov. Charlie Crist weds Carole Rome in St. Petersburg" and "Florida's new First Couple".

    "Their guest list — ranging from [brainiac]television commentator Geraldo Rivera to the elite of Tallahassee's lobbying corps — was a mostly well-kept secret."

    "The bride, wearing a floor-length white silk gown [(BTW she's previously married with children)], carried a huge bouquet of white roses and her husband's boutonniere matched it. Dinner opened with butter-poached lobster and caviar from Mote Aquaculture in Sarasota County, followed by Caesar Salad, braised short ribs and macadamia nut-crusted grouper with vegetables." "Crist-Rome wedding a celebrity-filled fete". See also "220 of their closest friends" and "A new life for Gov. Crist".

    We'll let Joy-Ann Reid say what few others have had the courage to say: "Meanwhile: Miss Charlie gets married ... to a woman!" In the meantime, "Gay protesters ask: When can I get married?"

    The lazy bastard probably wants a pay raise this year ...

    "FHP trooper delivers baby girl on the Turnpike".

    "Florida, moderate and centrist"? But I thought Obama was a socialist?

    The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "Crist will soon make his third appointment to the Florida Supreme Court — a choice that could significantly change the ideological balance of the seven-member court. Crist, after choosing two ideological conservatives to succeed like-minded justices, now should ensure the court remains, like Florida, moderate and centrist." "For a centrist court".

    Sugar fight

    "A major competitor of U.S. Sugar filed a complaint alleging its $1.34 billion dollar deal to sell the state land won't advance Everglades restoration and only lines the pockets of U.S. Sugar, a spokesman for Florida Crystals said Friday." "Florida Crystals opposing state deal with US Sugar". See also "Fanjuls file legal attack against U.S. Sugar sale" and "U.S. Sugar deal may be $300 million too expensive, new appraisals say".

    The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board:

    If a proposed $1.34 billion purchase of U.S. Sugar's 182,500 acres goes forward on Monday or Tuesday — and despite the fact that the water district needs just 40,000 to 45,000 of those acres for Everglades restoration — U.S. Sugar would lease the land back for the bargain price of $50 an acre for six of a seven year contract. That's about one-fifth of market rate; hence, not much of a deal in lease payments for taxpayers.

    During those years, systems for converting the farm land into water storage and filtration areas would be completed. And that's the part of the purchase plan that's critically important to environmentalists and the ecosystem south of the Everglades and vital to South Florida.

    Yet given the current economic climate, and not knowing how much this restoration would ultimately cost — given long-term costs of bond financing on top of the $1.34 billion purchase — a decision next week is dubious, rushed and arbitrary. To proceed with this approach, the district will also have to divert funding intended for other Everglades restoration projects.
    "Sweet deal: Everglades cleanup first benefits U.S. Sugar".

    Castor on the move

    "U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor of Tampa will relinquish her seat on two influential House committees to join the panel tasked with shepherding President-elect Obama's health care plan through Congress."

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that Castor, a Democrat, will join the wide-ranging Committee on Energy and Commerce, which oversees energy policy, environmental regulations, consumer protection and health-related programs, including the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health.

    Because of its breadth, Energy and Commerce is a so-called exclusive committee, meaning its members generally cannot serve on other committees. Castor will give up her posts on the Rules Committee, which determines what bills may be debated by the House and under what conditions, and the Armed Services Committee.

    Castor said she requested the transfer to allow her to focus on legislation aimed at making health care more available and affordable.
    "Castor will join health care panel".

    C'mon, Kurtie ... you can do it

    The St. Petersburg Times editorial board writes that Florida Secretary of State Kurt

    Browning said he will ask the Florida Legislature to expand the possible locations for early voting. A 2006 state law restricts sites to elections supervisors' offices and branches, city halls and public libraries — locations that may not always be the most convenient when it comes to parking, as voters in downtown St. Petersburg found. Browning suggested such places as convention centers also would be logical choices, and there should be plenty of others.

    Browning should go a step further and push the Legislature to require each county supervisor to offer a minimum number of early voting sites per capita, particularly in major urban counties like Pinellas. Clark has said she limited the number of sites due to budget constraints. She successfully pushed the use of absentee ballots. But mail-in ballots are more prone to errors, increasing voters' risk of their ballot being thrown out. Pasco and Hillsborough counties provided more early voting sites than Pinellas, and there should not be such imbalances across the state.
    "Improve on early voting successes".

    Been there ...

    "Two outgoing congressmen from Central Florida played hooky this week when they skipped a vote aimed at saving American car companies." "Keller, Weldon no-shows for big vote as time wanes".

    Palm Beach Windstorm Self Insurance Trust

    "Only months after state regulators suspended the Palm Beach Windstorm Self Insurance Trust for questionable financial stability, the trust is again fighting official criticism of its business practices." "Palm Beach Windstorm Self Insurance Trust fights state over suspension".

    Citizens and the SEC

    "The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. on bid placements earlier this year on auction rate securities." "SEC reviewing Citizens business dealings". See also "SEC probes Citizens transactions".

    Encouraging "conservation techniques"

    The News-Journaleditors: "The public should pay close attention to how local governments amend land uses for the designated acreage. Too much is left to interpretation in land development codes, too many phrases in the document 'encourage' conservation techniques but don't require them.". "Concessions for conservation".

    Never mind

    "Florida pulled the plug for a Miami tunnel that's been in the works since the late 1980s. Will the DOT reallocate more than $1.3 billion to other projects? " "Florida pulling plug on Port of Miami tunnel".


    "A property insurance company wants a refund from the state's hurricane catastrophe fund, saying the state charged for backstop insurance it didn't have the reserves to provide." "Insurer wants $14-million refund from state catastrophe fund".

    Homeless people

    The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel made a mistake that cost the city $100,000 and more in public opinion. The mistake was the mayor's vote in 2007 to break a 2-2 commission deadlock and ban the feeding of the homeless outside the city library. The ordinance violated the constitutional rights to freedom of speech and assembly and was needless, since outside groups had offered to work out a solution to complaints from businesses about the feeding." "Frankel's $100,000 mistake".

    That'll be a "no"

    "An administrative law judge on Friday rejected a 47.1 percent average rate increase sought by State Farm Florida, the state's largest privately owned property insurer, providing coverage for hurricanes, fires and other perils." "Administrative law judge rejects insurer". See also "State Farm's plan to raise rates shot down yet again" and "Judge rejects State Farm rate request".

    "Reputed kingpin"

    "The reputed kingpin of a Colombian drug cartel responsible for smuggling $10 billion in cocaine to the U.S. is in Miami to face a 12-count federal indictment." "US extradites reputed Colombian drug chief".

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