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, February 21, 2009

Charlie's Magic Trick

    Part I: Tax Cuts - "Gov. Crist proposes more Fla. property tax cuts". See also ""Crist wants to increase education spending, cut taxes" and "Crist pushes more tax breaks".

    Part Deux: A Billion Dollars in Spending Increases - "Crist released a proposal [yesterday] afternoon that relies on billions of federal stimulus dollars to boost state spending by $1 billion next fiscal year." "Crist Budget Relies On Stimulus Money To Plug Shortfall". See also "Crist: Let's tap fees, gambling, federal aid".

    Part C: And We Don't Have to Pay for It - "Stimulus The Key In Crist's Budget", "Crist leans heavily on federal stimulus money for proposed $66.5 billion state budget", "Crist's proposed $66.5 billion budget relies on federal stimulus" and "Crist's budget plan relies on stimulus".

    WOO HOO! Ain't Life Grand !!!

    Legislature to "Kill growth management"

    Joel Engelhardt: "In the name of economic stimulus, the Legislature is about to do what it couldn't do under eight years of Gov. Jeb Bush: Kill growth management." "Doing a job on growth controls".

    The Tampa Trib editors: "A proposed roll-back of Florida's growth-management rules wrongly assumes that more houses and apartments are all the state's urban areas need to become better places to live. City residents don't have to worry about how to pay for more roads or transit, according to the Community Renewal Act." "Calling Farms 'Urban Land' Would Be Costly Mistake".

    Yee Haw!

    "Crist optimistic about Florida budget".

    Meantime, "Food stamps in large demand in Florida".

    'Ya gotta problem' wit dat?

    "Private Super Bowl suite for public officials doesn't sit well with legislators".

    Just don't use it to buy riot gear

    "Manny Diaz, other mayors to spend stimulus wisely The nation's mayors -- including Miami's Manny Diaz -- promised transparency and no political pork after meeting Friday with President Barack Obama, who warned he would 'call them out' if they waste the federal stimulus dollars they've eagerly sought." "Obama urges Manny Diaz, other mayors to spend stimulus wisely".

    Score one for the bunny rabbit

    "Fla. man on rabbit hunting trip accidentally shot".

    Why can't Charlie be like the Excorcist

    The wingnuts that soil the RPOF in the wake of 8 years of Bushco ain't pleased with Charlie taking federal stim cash. They want Charlie to be like that excorcist guy, or Haley or Mark and Sarah, and the rest of them ...

    Anthony Man: "Broward County Click here for restaurant inspection reports's state Republican committeeman, Ed Kennedy, isn't at all reticent" about Charlie's failure to toe the Rush Limbaugh line on the stim package:

    "What that was, was an embarrassment to the governor himself, an embarrassment to the state and an embarrassment to the Republican Party. It was terrible," he said.

    Kennedy said there's growing discontent among Republicans, but most aren't willing to speak about it publicly. "There's major grumbling within the party [but] because he is a powerful individual they're reluctant to express it publicly — yet."

    Broward Republican Chairman Chip LaMarca also said he's heard "from numerous people who are very upset."
    "Florida Gov. Charlies Crist upsets Republicans by backing Obama stimulus plan".

    Hillsborough: the gift that never stops giving

    "You would think a public official who got caught using campaign money to buy Italian suits and who is fending off a lawsuit that he sexually harassed a secretary would be dialing down the bad press in his run-up for re-election. But Kevin White is in a league of his own." "He has no room for complaint".

    Letting them off the hook

    Here it comes, courtesy of the The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "Flexibility needed on class size cap".


    "Lawmakers react to budget proposal".

    "Bobby and the Chimps"

    Not exactly "Inherit the Wind": "Intelligent Design Play Causes A Stir At USF".

    $100 million ... who knew?

    Scott Randolph to the Tampa Trib editors: ""

    In response to your Feb. 16 editorial ("State Lawmaker's Bark Aimed At Wrong Tree"), you failed to realize the huge costs that euthanizing dogs and cats have on local governments.

    Each year, cities and counties in Florida euthanize nearly 300,000 dogs and cats at a cost to taxpayers of nearly $100 million.
    "High Euthanasia Costs Must Be Corralled".


    "The high-speed train that was supposed to race through Orlando might be back on track, even though it was stopped nearly five years ago by then-Gov. Jeb Bush." "Orlando might see high-speed rail after all as new idea plows ahead".

    Not so "fierce"

    "Rep. Stearns, fierce foe of stimulus, now fights for Florida dollars".

    "A fine line"

    "Election chiefs in Florida walk a fine line between politics and the oath of office."

    On one hand, the state's supervisors of elections take a constitutional pledge to remain impartial when it comes to running local elections and overseeing voter registration.

    On the other, like county commissioners, tax collectors and property appraisers, they run for the office under a partisan banner, and often depend upon support from major parties to help bankroll their campaigns and gain face and name recognition with the electorate.
    "It's a dichotomy that some state lawmakers want to eliminate."
    Legislation filed by Sen. Charlie Justice, D-St. Petersburg, and working its way to the Senate for a vote would make county election supervisors nonpartisan jobs, prohibiting political parties or groups from endorsing or supporting candidates in their campaigns.
    "Legislation Aims To Take Politics Out Of Elections".

    "Too bad"

    The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Too bad the foreclosure prevention plan of 2009 wasn't the foreclosure prevention plan of 2008."

    It's not as if the need for help was a secret. In 2008, Florida had more than 360,000 foreclosure filings, a 130 percent increase over 2007. The country as a whole had an 82 percent increase, to more than 3 million. So the plan President Obama announced Wednesday will help the country crawl out of a foreclosure hole that's deeper than it needed to be.

    Mr. Obama's plan is both generous and tough. Through incentives and rule changes, it can lower the principal owed as well as interest rates, saving thousands in mortgage payments each year. That's the generous part. The tough - and necessary - part is that the mortgage adjustments have to result in a reasonable chance that the family can make its payments. So people who have been laid off and can't find a job won't benefit. The plan isn't for speculators.

    Florida has more than its share of speculators, so that could slow the help here. Snowbirds won't get help on a second home. If Florida wants to help them, the state could further reform Save Our Homes to reduce the snowbird tax penalty. Still, as The Post reported Thursday, in the past eight weeks there have been 6,630 foreclosure filings in Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties representing properties worth $708 million. So all help will be appreciated.
    Read the entire thing here: "Foreclosure plan can help, even in overbuilt Florida".

    "A handful of gimme and a mouthful of much obliged"

    "Crist released a proposal [yesterday] afternoon that relies on billions of federal stimulus dollars to boost state spending by $1 billion next fiscal year." "Crist Budget Relies On Stimulus Money To Plug Shortfall". See also "Crist: Let's tap fees, gambling, federal aid", "Stimulus The Key In Crist's Budget", "Crist's proposed $66.5 billion budget relies on federal stimulus", "Crist leans heavily on federal stimulus money for proposed $66.5 billion state budget" and "Crist's budget plan relies on stimulus".

    While relying on a federal subsidy to paper over Florida's irresponsible system of public finance, Crist, at the same time "threw his support behind four more tax relief proposals Friday to follow up on measures passed in 2007 and 2008."

    Those two pieces of legislation - a law and a state constitutional amendment - helped reduce property taxes an average of 3 percent annually after a steady stream of increases averaging 10 percent. Falling property values also contributed to those drops.
    There are a few voices in the wilderness:
    Florida Association of Counties spokeswoman Cragin Mosteller said putting spending caps on local governments could make the recession in Florida worse.

    "When it comes to caps, we've seen in other states, particularly Colorado, where that has just failed miserably and totally devastated their economy," she said.

    Mosteller said it would result in more layoffs and less spending on economic stimulus projects such as road building and other public works.
    But this really says it all
    Wayne Blanton, executive director of the Florida School Boards Association, said it's hypocritical to cut property taxes while accepting federal stimulus money.
    "Gov. Crist proposes more Fla. property tax cuts". See also ""Crist wants to increase education spending, cut taxes" and "Crist pushes more tax breaks".

    Florida already receives more from the feds than it pays: for every tax dollar the federal government takes from the people of Florida, more than a dollar comes back in federal spending in the state. And now we want more, while at the same time cutting taxes? Stop the madness.

    RJ Eskow puts it this way:
    Southern states have been benefiting from Northern taxes for years. If they start another War Between the States, the Federal gravy train might suddenly stop at the Mason-Dixon line.

    Studies by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation have consistently shown that these Senators' states receive far more from the Federal government than they pay back in taxes. That's an irony that could lead to some Blue State bitterness: They love to preach about fiscal responsibility and lower taxes, but they keep dipping their beak into the Federal trough.

    I believe the applicable Southern phrase is "a handful of gimme and a mouthful of much obliged."
    "Do Southern Senators Really Want to Start a New War Between the States?" (links omitted).


    "Open most any urban newspaper to the foreclosure notices, and you'll find the list heavy with Hispanic names. Times are tough for Americans of every demographic, but for Latinos they are grimmer still." "Helping Hispanics keep their homes".

    The "journalists" at the Zell Corporation ...

    ... share the latest Chamber of Commerce press release with us in the form of an "editroial": "Union elections without secret ballots are bad for workers and management".

    The editors would argue that this editorial was no mere "knee-jerk opinion"; they Sentinel's past editorial page editor grandly describes how editorial decisions are arrived it:

    The Sentinel's editorials are decided by the newspaper's 12-member editorial board. Their backgrounds, detailed above, are diverse, as are their opinions. The newspaper's editor and publisher are on the board, too, but usually participate only in broad, philosophical discussions.

    The board meets each weekday to thrash out the issues of the day. Generally, an editorial writer proposes a stand, which should reflect thorough research and weighing of the facts.

    The board then debates the issue before nailing down a position. After hearing all sides of the issue, the board always should be asking itself: "What is in the community's best interest?" ...

    The daily discussions also reflect broad, philosophical positions that we have arrived at in earlier discussions. For instance, we don't debate anew each day whether we want to protect the Everglades or raise the standards in our schools.
    If you believe that, "I have prime swampland to sell you".

    Editorials like these are the product of a business, hiding behind the skirts of lady journalism, that makes no bones about its hatred of organized labor. During a strike involving a Tribune Company newspaper a few years back, "guess where Tribune's finding its [reporter and editor] scabs? 'Florida is supplying them with a lot,' says one Sentinel source". Indeed, "potential scabs are offered Sun pay on top of their normal salary -- more than double their pay, for scabs coming from regional papers like the Sentinel -- plus per-diem expenses and even security to deal with the hecklers." "Send in the scabs".

    Previously: "Orlando Sentinel embarrasses itself" and "The Orlando Sentinel editors are at it again".

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