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 Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Alex ready to jump

    "Most of the political world in Tallahassee is convinced Charlie Crist will give up his governor's seat to run for the U.S. Senate, so what about Alex Sink?"
    More and more, the Democratic chief financial officer looks like someone gearing up for a major statewide race — say, an open governor's seat — rather than a low-profile re-election campaign with no strong challenger on the horizon.

    Sink has raised her public profile lately on issues ranging from antifraud protection for seniors to chastising potential gubernatorial rival Bill McCollum over publicly funded TV ads featuring the Republican attorney general.

    She has added veteran political hands to her office payroll. And at a time when many state politicians are consumed with the budget crisis in Tallahassee, Sink has been organizing campaign fundraising receptions from Tallahassee to Tampa to Miami.
    "CFO Alex Sink's recent moves make gubernatorial run look likely". See also "Sink running for gov?".

    Session Agenda

    "Today at the Florida Capitol".

    Because the Chamber and the AIF said "No!"

    "A bill to toughen emission standards gathered steam in the Senate, but is going nowhere in the House." "Bill strengthening Florida auto emissions rules unlikely to pass".

    The Economy, Stoopid

    The Miami Herald editorial board: "This year Floridians want lawmakers to keep their focus lasered on fixing the state's faltering economy and finding solutions to the $3 billion deficit that won't throw the poor, elderly and ailing under the train. But these compelling mandates haven't stopped some legislators from wasting their counterparts' time with issues that simply don't resonate with the majority of Floridians. Take Miami Republican Rep. Anitere Flores' revival of a bill requiring pregnant women seeking abortions in their first trimester to submit to an ultrasound." "Stick to the economy".

    You go, girl!

    "The state's chief financial officer has angrily accused state Rep. Pat Patterson of DeLand of bottling up legislation meant to increase the penalties for unscrupulous insurance agents who bilk seniors out of their life savings."

    Sink's office is particularly miffed at Patterson, a Republican and insurance agent who chairs the House's Insurance, Business and Financial Affairs Policy Committee. He has told Sink's staff he doesn't plan to give the bill a hearing in the 60-day legislative session.
    "Sink rips DeLand legislator for stalling on seniors bill".

    "Ballot in the post office as good as one in the hand?"

    The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Is an absentee ballot in the post office as good as one in the hand? Palm Beach mayoral candidate Gerry Goldsmith, in contesting a one-vote loss to Jack McDonald, argues persuasively that it is."

    State law says that to be counted, absentee ballots "must be received by the supervisor by 7 p.m. the day of the election." Someone from Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher's office last checked the post office box at 5 p.m. on March 17, the day of the Palm Beach runoff. Typically, no ballots are placed in the box after 10 a.m., so workers felt that a 5 p.m. check would be enough. It wasn't.
    "Last ballots weren't late".

    Has it come to this?

    "FSU students raise cash to save professors".

    Don't give this state employee a pay cut

    "Justice can be swift in Broward County, as one judge demonstrated Tuesday when he leaped from the bench to come to the aid of a woman whose ex-boyfriend attacked her in court." "Broward County judge vaults bench to restrain attacker". See also "Judge leaps to victim's aid during attack in his courtroom | Video".


    "The Florida Senate proposed a dramatic increase in gambling options for the Seminoles, while a House bill would ban existing blackjack and banked card games. " "Florida Senate, House lay out opposing gambling proposals". See also "Florida Senate bill allows Vegas-style gambling", "Senate, House split over Seminole gambling compact", "Seminoles to get full-fledged casinos?", "Senate's budget plan to include big slug of gambling money" and "Florida Senate looks to gambling, cigarettes to help raise money for budget". Related: "Visiting Indian casinos in Florida could be a gamble".

    Do these people ...

    ... actually read what they write? This is off topic, but makes you wonder what these supposed "journalists" who are self-described "capitalists" did when they were in college, aside form stare at sports on the TV set:

    The owners, he says, are much more financially able to withstand an extended work stoppage than are the players. Stern, Falk predicts, will crush the union if it doesn't agree to concessions.

    "You don't tug on Superman's cape," Falk said of Stern. "He's relentless and will not give in. He's like Evander Holyfield. His ribs can be broken, his jaw fractured and blood coming from every orifice of his body. And you know what he's going to say, 'Let's go nine more rounds!' The owners are committed to making sweeping changes in the system."

    From a fan's standpoint, nothing could be sweeter than to hear those words. In principle, most of us are probably capitalists who believe workers should earn what the market will bear. But, come on, NBA players have earned too much for too long.

    Is there anything more frustrating to fans than when their team is forced to fork over $30 million buyouts just to make disgruntled players go away (see Steve Francis and Stephon Marbury)? It's as irritating as watching AIG execs getting huge bonuses after driving their company into the graveyard.

    These huge guaranteed contracts mean ticket, concession and parking prices must be raised to help pay off Rashard Lewis' $118 million contract. In a good economy, NBA owners can get away with charging obscene prices to pay the obscene salaries, but in a rotten economy all those high-priced seats, swanky luxury suites and $7 beers will go unsold.
    "Mike Bianchi: The NBA is on the road to financial ruin".

    Sound for now

    "Florida's state pension fund is sound and able to pay its current and future obligations even though its assets have dropped below projections of future payments." "State of Florida: Pension fund sound".

    Florida already spends less per person than any state in the South."

    The Tampa Trib
    editors: "With the state facing at least a $3 billion shortfall, Gov. Charlie Crist and state lawmakers must get serious about generating more revenue. Yes, more budget cuts are inevitable, but Florida already spends less per person than any state in the South."

    The surest way to doom the state's economic prospects is to neglect its education system, infrastructure, resource protection and the social safety net that helps those in need regain self-sufficiency.

    And there is one way to add some desperately needed dollars to Florida's coffers that actually would save thousands of state jobs.

    All the state need do is begin collecting the sales tax on online purchases from out-of-state vendors.
    "Untaxed E-Sales Cost Florida 112,000 Jobs".

    I solemnly lobby ...

    "A House panel on Tuesday approved a measure (HB 1499) that would put lobbyists, and all witnesses, under oath before testifying to legislative committees. Prevaricators would face second- and third-degree felony charges." "Bill would make lying before Florida legislative panel a felony offense".

    On the other hand, if it was a giant cross ...

    "During an economic crisis in which families are struggling to make their mortgage payments, state Sen. Ronda Storms wonders whether it's necessary to spend $50,000 to $100,000 on colorful, giant steel pinwheels clustered around the Florida Department of Transportation's Turkey Lake Turnpike Service Plaza in Orange County." "Storms: Funding Public Art Low Priority In Tough Times".

    While we blather about "secret ballots" in Tally ...

    "Petitions may be harder to fill": "Paid petition gatherers would have to undergo training and background checks, carry ID cards and pay state registration fees under a business-backed bill that would make passing citizen initiatives harder in Florida."

    A regular laff riot

    "Warning, Charlie Crist. Your rose-colored view of the world is now a punch line among fellow Republicans."

    Senate budget chief J.D. Alexander has posted a sign at the entrance to his chamber's appropriations offices: ``BUDGET CHAIRMAN'S WARNING. Please Remove All Standard Issue E.O.G. [Executive Office of the Governor] Rose Colored Glasses Prior to Entering Suite. Failure to do so May Cause Severe Economic Pain to the People of Florida.''

    Fastened to the sign: three pairs of rose-tinted sunglasses.

    Is the sign meant as a thumb in the eye for Crist? ''A little bit,'' admitted Alexander, R-Lake Wales.
    "A 'no rose-colored glasses' zone".

    AG attorneys fees

    "A House panel has approved a bill limiting fees the Florida Attorney General's Office will pay when hiring private lawyers for state cases." "Panel OKs Fee Limits On Lawyers Fla. Hires".

    Oh yeah ... throw in the term limit thing

    "A plan to help disabled veterans created controversy Tuesday when a Senate committee combined it with one to expand term limits for state lawmakers. ... The Senate Community Affairs Committee embraced the plan, but the bill lost several votes after Chairman Mike Bennett combined it with his proposal to ask voters to expand legislative term limits from eight years to twelve." "Term-Limits Plan Attached To Veterans Bill".

    "Republican Party [Flying] Reptile"

    "In his two years in office, Crist has flown to events on planes belonging to Harry Sargeant, a Boca Raton businessman whose contracts to send fuel to troops in Iraq have been questioned by Congress; Dick Mandt of Tampa, a former publisher of shopper newspapers, and Daytona Beach home builder Mori Hosseini, among others. All are Republican Party fundraisers." "Crist: No misuse of corporate jets". See also "Investigation update:" and "Florida Gov. Charlie Crist says he pays for trips on private jets".

    Related: "Gov. Crist's flights: Does the public have the right to know who pays?".

    The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "Crist insisted once again Tuesday that he follows the letter of the law in determining whether the cost of his airplane flights are paid by the state, the Republican Party or out of his own pocket. That's good. But a governor who prides himself on transparency and public openness should go further and disclose the names of the wealthy donors and special interests who own the private jets he relies upon for political travel." "Clear the air on Crist's jet flights".

    Health insurance mandate?

    "Florida higher education officials may require health insurance for all students".

    It never ends

    "Defense lawyers on Monday accused a Broward County judge of injecting his "personal, political and religious views" into an illegal abortion case and asked an appeals court to reduce the bail of a woman charged with aborting her teenage daughter's pregnancy."

    Public defender Howard Finkelstein said Judge John Hurley overreached when he set Tonuya Rainey's bail at $185,000.

    The appeal the public defender filed Monday with the 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach asks that the bail be reduced to $14,000, the amount set before Hurley raised it.

    "Judges don't sit as moral judges," Finkelstein said. "They sit as legal judges. When the police did not believe this was a case tantamount to murder, and when the State Attorney's Office didn't bring a case of murder, the fact that the judge went there because of emotional reasons is wrong."

    Hurley on Friday said that the allegations against Rainey were "tantamount to murder" and that he was setting a higher bail with that in mind.
    "Abortion ruling brought wrath of Broward County judge's religious views, attorneys say".

    State Farm

    "Florida denies State Farm's request for hearing".

    Not a happy sing-a-long

    "Parents sue school district over religious song".

    Another gimmick

    "Urging Floridians to help the state economy by shopping locally, Gov. Charlie Crist today unveiled the Florida Backyard Card discount Web site." "Gov. Crist Plugs Discount Card".

    Flamingo Lodge

    The Miami Herald editorial board: "This prized location doesn't deserve to sit forlorn and unused. The plan to replace Flamingo Lodge needs staunch champions in Florida's congressional delegation." "Replace Glades lodge".

    "Dating violence"

    "Dating violence: Law may keep teens safer".

    Legislation neutered

    "Originally written to require mandatory sterilization of most cats and dogs, a proposal by Rep. Scott Randolph scheduled for a vote by the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday will be amended to strike the mandatory provision that has left pet owners and some veterinarians upset. Panelists are expected instead to vote on an amended version of the bill that merely gives local officials the option of diverting a $5 surcharge already being tacked on to animal-control citations to help local governments pay to spay or neuter household pets. " "Animal neuter bill faces hurdles in Florida House".

    Good luck

    "Broward County teachers to protest before vote on raises today". See also "No guaranteed raises for Broward teachers".

    What Sun-Sentinel idiot posed the question this way? "Today's Buzz: Should teachers get a raise when you're facing a layoff?".

    Still afloat

    "Bargain pricing and other measures helped Carnival maintain strong bookings that helped fuel a rise in earnings." "Carnival profit rises 10 percent".

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