34 year old "Adam Putnam says he will give up his seat in Congress to become a candidate for state agriculture commissioner. Putnam tells The Associated Press he will file paperwork to officially enter the race on Monday. He was the third most powerful Republican in the House until the last election, when he decided not to seek another term as chair of the House Republican Conference." "Fla. Rep. Putnam seeks ag post".
From the "values" crowd
"Florida's jobless rate topped 8 percent in December, the highest level in 16 years. Despite a growing number of people out of work, the state's unemployment trust fund has $1.1 billion in it as of mid-January, and unemployed Floridians' jobless benefits are among the lowest in the nation. By comparison, as unemployment rises nationwide, five states' funds are insolvent, and 13 are at risk." "Florida's meager unemployment benefits squeezing families, state economy".
"Who's in charge over there?"
"The half-step departure Ray Sansom engineered from his role as House Speaker spread unease instead of calm Saturday, leading some top Republicans to consider permanently replacing him."
The development came toward the end of a day of questions about who is running the House, if Sansom's ''recusal'' from his duties is allowed by the rules, and how long his temporary successor, Rep. Larry Cretul of Ocala, can properly hold the position."Sansom's half-step departure rattles Florida House". See also "What might be coming next for Sansom?", "House GOP weighs Sansom's ouster" and "Overcoming 'the Richburg factor'"
''Who's in charge over there? Who's steering the ship? This is strange,'' said Miami Republican Sen. Alex Villalobos, echoing a broad array of legislators.
More: "Democratic Rep. Jim Waldman of Coconut Creek has asked House Rules Chairman Bill Galvano to determine whether Speaker Ray Sansom's resignation Friday should trigger a new election or allow Speaker Pro Tem Larry Cretul, R-Ocala, to run the office indefinitely." "Florida House Speaker Ray Sansom's exit raises issue of succession". The The Palm Beach Post "blog" has "Seven questions for the Florida House".
Charlie "freezing the field"
"Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio faces a tough political task if she decides to run for the U.S. Senate: build a local political base into a statewide campaign in one of the nation's largest states."
So far, her political career has taken place in a single county, with limited fundraising experience and statewide exposure. She'll also have less history of involvement in partisan politics than most of the other candidates."Aspirations Challenge Iorio".
But that apolitical reputation could be an advantage in a general election.
Meantime, according to, Aaron Deslatte, "Crist's coyness on Senate seat freezes field". ""
Here's what Crist said last week when asked -- for at least the 87th time since December -- whether he was giving some thought to seeking the Senate in 2010.A mixed metaphor for sure.
"No. I'm not really thinking about politics. I'm thinking about our budget . . . .
We've got a regular session coming up. That's my focus right now."
That kind of bobbing has become an instant tradition in Tallahassee. And political operatives and fundraisers who would otherwise be organizing for other candidates are, for the moment, treading water.
"He is definitely freezing the field," University of Central Florida political scientist Aubrey Jewett said.
The "Peoples Governor"
"We don't know what he shoots, but Florida's governor is set to hit the tees later this month to raise some coin from prominent Republicans. He is hosting the first-ever "Driving to Victory" Annual Charlie Crist Golf Tournament at the PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens this Saturday. To play, the minimum contribution to the state GOP is $5,000. Lunch is $2,500. The event will be chaired by newly minted Republican Party of Florida finance chairman John Rood, and the host committee includes Tallahassee superlobbyist Brian Ballard, former finance chairman Harry Sargeant and other GOP check-writers and bundlers." "Crist will hit the tees".
"Florida education too poor to get help"
The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "The stimulus bill passed in Congress on Wednesday was just being dissected on Thursday, when the ugly discovery was made that Florida's education system doesn't have a seat at the table."
Language in the bill "will stop Florida from receiving stabilization fund dollars for education," Sen. Evelyn Lynn, R-Daytona Beach, wrote in a letter to presidents of all 11 public universities."Stimulus quandary".
And the reason, in a nutshell, is that the Florida Legislature has reduced all public education budgets so drastically that schools from kindergarten through college can't meet this critical requirement: that only states that can fund schools for the next two years at the levels they had in the 2005-06 school year are eligible.
That would not include Florida's 11 public universities, which FSU President T.K. Wetherell described wearily as "being so underfunded they're giving us up for dead."
"Greer said he backed Steele in hope of moving the party in the same nonideological, pragmatic direction he and Crist have for Florida's GOP." "RNC Race Is Win For Florida GOP Boss".
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Under state law, [County] commissioners and senior staff can accept gifts worth more than $100 if they are not from a lobbyist or developer who has appeared before them in the previous 12 months. But those gifts must be publicly reported. They have not been [by PBC Commissioners]" "And cut off political treats".
"EPA intervention welcome to rescue Florida waters "
The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board: "Let the bureaucrats spin this any way they want, the truth is, Florida's performance in preventing nutrient pollution of its surface waters is so bad that even the Bush administration -- no champion of environmental protection -- could no longer let it slide. Citing the state's failure to meet Clean Water Act requirements and the likelihood that pollution will worsen without federal intervention, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Jan. 14 announced that it will establish water-quality standards for all lakes, rivers and estuaries in Florida during the next two years.". "Nutrient overload".
They said it
The Tampa Trib editors:
The New York Times is not just a company, but an institution. It is a major player in American democracy. It should not fall into the hands of a capitalist with loyalties to a foreign state."The Times' Sugar Daddy?".
Randy Schultz asks: "Does Florida intend to let private property insurers cripple this state?" "Like a bad neighbor ...".
"Report: Michael Phelps photographed smoking pot?".
No tax cap
"The Florida Supreme Court has knocked a proposal for a property tax cap off the 2010 ballot. The proposal is a citizen initiative that would cap property taxes at 1.35 percent of the highest taxable value of a home, business or other real estate, although voters could approve exceptions. ... In an opinion posted Friday, five justices said the proposal was exempt from the single-subject requirement, but its ballot summary was misleading." "Fla. Supreme Court knocks tax cap from 2010 ballot".
"Fort Lauderdale mayor's gay comments haunt new campaign".
Tristam on Updike: "Metaphors fusty, still Updike kept writing". Maxwell: "Updike brutally honest on race".
"Lawmakers may help shield health insurance data".
"Fidel Castro on Thursday threw his first punch at President Barack Obama after several weeks of praise for the new leader, demanding the U.S. return Guantanamo Bay military base to Cuba and criticizing the U.S. defense of Israel. " "Ailing Castro throws first punch at Obama".
"A vote by Stacy Ritter and her colleagues left the Panthers arena underinsured and benefited a firm that paid her husband at least $50,000 in fees." "Broward mayor's vote aided lobbyist husband's client".
Sounds of silence
"For a place that once pulsed with music, Overtown is eerily quiet. There are more vacant lots than buildings on the stretch of Northwest Second Avenue that gleamed with lights and life when it was Miami's Little Broadway 50 years ago. Now, if you stand in the cavernous tunnels under the highways that devastated the neighborhood, the only sound is the whoosh of cars overhead." "Bygone musical days: The sweet sound of Miami's Overtown".
Off the attack?
"A recurring theme at a conference of campaign professionals, political scientists and journalists Friday was how ineffective many attack ads proved in Florida and elsewhere in 2008." "Expert says attack ads are losing traction".
"What would Jeb say?" (scroll down).
"Jeb Bush hobnobs at dinner with Obama, Palin".
"Winning the campaign to represent Florida's 24th congressional district marked only the beginning. Suzanne Kosmas -- the first Volusia County resident to be elected to Congress in nearly two decades -- went to Washington amid the pomp of the inauguration of the first black president in the nation's history and the controversy over how to combat the worst economy since the Great Depression." "Kosmas 'honored, humbled' by Congress challenge".
"A tubby, slow-moving airship ascended over South Florida to track tubby, slow-moving marine mammals as state biologists rode the Goodyear blimp to count manatees." "S. Fla. power plant upgrades could endanger manatees".
Michael Mayo: "Time to cure Fla.'s sick property insurance system".
Marlins new home in jeopardy
"Miami-Dade counts on future boom tourism years to pay for a $609 million stadium. Declining hotel-tax revenue will test that optimism." "Tax revenue for Florida Marlins stadium falling short?".
"Scott Maxwell: Is Progress Energy's rate hike justified? Face it: Power company wins, you lose". But see this, from the Maitland Housewife: "Pay a little now - or pay big-time later".
Florida being "bilked"?
"Counties and cities all over Florida are waging a war against online hotel-booking companies like Priceline and Expedia, alleging the companies are bilking them out of millions in tax dollars. In January, Broward County became the latest Florida government embroiled in a legal battle over whether online hotel-booking companies owe tourism taxes. As much as $200 million could be at stake statewide, according to Broward's attorney in the case." "Florida counties battle online companies over bed taxes".
"Budget cuts means less substitute teachers".
Can't get their acts straight
"Florida Gov. Charlie Crist worked the phones last week with members of his state's congressional delegation, including House Republicans. Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas, the Republican vice chairman of the National Governors Association, planned to be in Washington on Monday to urge the Senate to approve the plan." "GOP governors press Congress to pass stimulus bill".