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 Monday, January 19, 2009

    "He attends few events, holds no press conferences, gives few interviews and advances no vision of Florida's future."
    Ray Sansom continues to be a most unusual House speaker by keeping mostly silent as he faces inquiries into his dealings with his hometown college.
    "Inquiries keep Florida House speaker silent".

    Leadership vacuum

    The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Crist provided little leadership during the special session."

    He'll also have to do more than repeat his wish that lawmakers would ratify a gambling compact with the Seminole Tribe. That deal is worth $130 million a year.

    The governor and legislators in March are going to have to close a budget gap estimated as high as $6 billion. Instead of providing early budget ideas, however, Gov. Crist last week asked permission to miss the Feb. 1 deadline for offering his 2009-10 budget. Until that happens, the real work can't start.

    Legislators already plundered more than $1 billion from trust funds and chopped in excess of another $1 billion primarily from education, environmental programs and health care. In all, they took away $400 million more than necessary, allowing Gov. Crist to line-item-veto some of the cuts in the name of "compassion."

    But that's a temporary cushion. Legislators and Gov. Crist won't get off that easy in March. Collecting sales tax on Internet sales is just one idea they could have pursued earlier and didn't. Now, there's no choice. Expediency during the special session has left the state short on short-term fixes.
    "Start budget work now".

    Hit hard

    "Just under a third of Hispanic homeowners spend at least 38 percent of their income on housing expenses, compared with about a quarter of Asian and black households and nearly 16 percent of white households. In much of the country, the trend is more pronounced."

    "For example, included among those who spent at least 38 percent of their income on housing are:"

    More than 30 percent of Asian borrowers in California and Florida.

    Nearly half of Hispanic homeowners in Rhode Island and at least 40 percent in Alaska, California, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey and New York.

    Many Latino families wound up with expensive subprime mortgages because they often have cash income and no bank account, said Janis Bowdler, associate director for wealth building at National Council of La Raza in Washington.

    It is common for Latino families to have stable incomes, but limited credit histories - and hence lower credit scores, which lenders use to gauge risk. Many have multiple sources of income, some of it in cash.
    "Mortgage Problems Hit Minorities, Single Parents".

    Dear editor

    We usually don't do letters to the editor, but this is an exception:

    As a state employee for the past 12 years, I feel compelled to respond to the Sentinel's editorial on Jan. 9, "State employees shouldn't be exempted from reductions."

    In Tallahassee, where we voted overwhelmingly against Jeb Bush in 1998 and 2002 and George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, we know all too well what their respective policies have wrought.

    In what their father rightfully called "voodoo economics" in 1980, the Bush brothers gave huge tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy, and handed out billions of dollars in government contracts to their cronies, while increasing entitlements and creating the economic disaster of today.

    And let's not forget George W. Bush's Iraq War and Jeb Bush's "big, hairy, audacious goals" that turned out to be big, costly privatization failures.

    Meanwhile, the [Orlando]Sentinel's Editorial Board endorsed Jeb Bush in 1998 and 2002 and George W. Bush in 2000.

    With a daily readership in the hundreds of thousands, it can be argued that your endorsement provided George W. Bush with the slightly more than 500 votes by which he carried Florida and "won" the election. Disaster ensued.

    So, before the Sentinel goes pointing its dirty little fingers at state employees, why doesn't it assign blame to the people who got us into this mess to begin with? Just take a good look in the mirror.
    ". . . to see where the blame lies".


    "South Florida prepares for Obama inauguration".

    State Board of Administration

    "Here's a trivia question: What state agency manages the billions of dollars in Florida employees' pension fund, a property insurance fund, part of the prepaid college tuition plan, research dollars for healthcare programs for children and the elderly?"

    If the name State Board of Administration doesn't immediately leap forth, don't worry. Most Floridians haven't heard of the agency that manages more than $122.6 billion of the state's investments.
    Much more here: "State agency has new oversight provisions".

    Eight years later

    The Maitland housewife doesn't like Dubya much anymore.

    'Ya think?

    State "budget-cutting can deepen a recession, [University of Florida economics professor David] Denslow said."

    He said less government spending means layoffs, fewer state contracts, less consumer spending and fewer tax collections.

    Denslow's rule of thumb is for every $1 billion in budget cuts, the loss to the overall economy is $1.5 billion.

    Raising sales taxes can discourage some consumer spending, Denslow said. But if increased sales taxes can offset state layoffs, there could be a net gain, he said.

    "The empirical evidence on this is not quite clear, but I suspect it's right," he said.
    "Experts fear cutting Florida's budget could worsen economy".


    "The state is racking up millions of dollars in IOUs to its 11 public universities after a decision last year to temporarily halt support of its matching gifts programs." "State owes universities $177 million in matching gifts as endowments fall".

    Hunger strike continuing

    "A pair of Miami-Dade County mothers on a weeklong hunger strike to protest cuts to public education funding have a rally scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday." "Hunger-striking moms schedule rally to protest school cuts".

    This is getting ...

    ... hard to take: "Charlie Crist: King would be proud of nation's progress".


    The Miami Herald: "The state makes out like a bandit in this deal. It got $27 million each year from the marketers, the lawsuit alleged. Drivers will only get a one-time credit of $1 when they register or renew a registration as part of the $10.4 million settlement. The four South Florida motorists who sued will get $3,000 each. The real winners are the five law firms that will split $2.85 million in legal fees for pursuing this action for six years." "Privacy for sale".

    Florida House

    "Floridians Have A 'House' To Visit In Washington".

    Judicial elections

    "Broward judge candidate to run again, under different name".

    As Charlie dances ...

    "The black-and-mint-green cabs with the unique top hat and cane logo take people to work, shop and do laundry. Last year, dispatchers took 200 calls a day. Now it's 50 or 60." "Liberty City cab company feeling economic pinch".

    Immigrant activists

    "More than 10 community organizations of immigrant activists met Sunday at a Homestead church before climbing on a bus headed to Washington, D.C." "Homestead immigration activists headed for inauguration".


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