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 11, 2009

Homeless kids

    Another fine Jebacy:
    Florida has one of the highest rates of homeless children in the nation, with as many as 50,000 kids living in shelters, motels, cars or doubled up with another family.

    A detailed report released Tuesday by the National Center on Family Homelessness found Florida ranked 46th out of 50 — 50 being the worst — for its sheer number of homeless children.
    "Florida among worst in U.S. for homeless kids".

    Hasner's a hack, plain and simple

    "The organizer of a day that brought nearly 200 Florida Muslims to the state Capitol to lobby politicians Tuesday was called a "known terrorist sympathizer" by a head lawmaker and others, a label the leader emphatically rejected." "House GOP Boss Blasts Florida Muslims' Leader".

    "Last month, in an e-mail that was forwarded to Jewish lobbyists, [House Majority Leader Adam] Hasner asked about starting 'an information campaign in opposition to' Florida Muslim Capitol Day, sponsored by the Tampa-based non-profit United Voices for America." "Florida Muslims visit Tallahassee to meet lawmakers".

    Session Agenda

    Courtesy of the The Tallahassee Democrat: "Today at the Florida Capitol". See also "Supreme Court appointment tops busy day in Tallahassee".

    "Florida hasn't earned a waiver"

    "Crist, the Legislature and the U.S. Department of Education are performing a song and dance to show that Florida has earned a waiver that will allow the state to receive $2.4 billion in education stimulus money over the next few budget years."

    But let's face it. Florida hasn't earned a waiver. A waiver would be a gift. Rather than continue the awkward dance, it would be more honest if Education Secretary Arne Duncan called Gov. Crist and said: "You don't deserve a break, and neither does the Legislature. But Florida is getting a waiver because your school kids don't deserve another swat."
    "Under the federal stimulus law, states that spend less on education this year than they did in 2005-2006 aren't eligible to receive money."
    Florida, California and Nevada are the only states that failed that test. But thanks to an amendment pushed by Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., and no doubt approved by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., the secretary of education can develop guidelines for granting waivers.

    The Post reported Sunday that state officials have been told that Florida can get a waiver if, in lowering the schools budget, the state didn't cut education by a bigger percentage than it cut the overall budget. Although Florida cut $1''billion from education in the current budget year that ends June 30, education was 27.6 percent of the budget, compared with 27.1 percent the previous year. The state is hoping that will be good enough.

    But the percentages don't tell the whole story. Florida has no state income tax, so it pays for education through sales tax collections and property taxes. ...

    A waiver based on the Legislature's school-tax sleight-of-hand would condone what lawmakers, Gov. Crist and Gov. Jeb Bush before him have done. That's why the federal government should grant the waiver explicitly based on what Florida's students deserve rather than what state officials have earned.
    "Give state students a break".

    Perhaps the feds should go all in, and just say "tuff" to Florida for its history of irresponsible education funding.

    Black Dem has inside track for Court Appointment

    "Crist will fill the last of four open seats on the Florida Supreme Court at a morning news conference Wednesday, while the debate in the Legislature turns to open records, property taxes and dismantling growth management laws. Crist is expected to announce his selection of Circuit Judge James Perry of Sanford, well-placed sources say, to replace retiring Justice Charlies Wells."

    Perry, the first black judge in Central Florida's 18th Circuit, is the pick of civil rights leaders and trial lawyers who admired his rise out of the Jim Crow South. But he is not the favorite of the NRA and tort reform advocates and social conservatives, who had hoped for a more conservative-leaning judge who has a record on the criminal bench.
    "Gov. Crist to fill Supreme Court post".

    Finger in the wind

    "Crist expanded on his opposition to lawmakers' borrowing from this program even though he has supported 'sweeping' cash reserves of several other trust funds." "Gov. Charlie Crist opposes raid on Florida prepaid tuition assets". See also "Crist, Sink Say College Money Safe".

    The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "Hands off prepaid college tuitions".

    Will the Seventy Percenters take to their pitch forks?

    "Florida lawmakers are pushing legislation that would make having sex with animals a felony." "Florida lawmakers consider ban on bestiality". See also "Senators move to make bestiality illegal in Florida".

    Recall that the last time the Legislature tried to prohibit sex with animals, there was a "backlash" from that certain part of the state that Dubya won with more than 70% of the vote. Just sayin'. See "Can't we at least agree on this?" (scroll down).

    Sounds like a plan

    "Rick Minton for Ag Commissioner".

    "Political Courage" free zone

    "Even though both state and local governments are facing big revenue shortfalls this year, Gov. Charlie Crist and lawmakers are pushing to make it tougher for governments to raise money in the future." "Crist's 'Taxpayer Bill of Rights' caps state and local spending". But see "Florida lawmakers' ardor for property tax relief cools" and "Legislators unlikely to approve property tax bills this session".

    Bad Bill

    "Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum is starring in a long-running television ad promoting awareness about Internet predators that Democrats are calling a thinly disguised campaign commercial using state funds." "State official blasted for TV message"

    And then there's this, from Mr. Clean: the contract went to

    his campaign consultant [and it was] a no-bid contract ... .
    "Florida AG McCollum's adman snags no-bid state contract". See also "" and "".

    Wishful thinking

    "We cannot continue to ignore farmworkers".

    We don' need no stinkin' gov'ment insurance 'ere in Seminole

    News from the Republican bastion of Seminole County: "Faced with staggering increases in employee health-insurance premiums, Seminole school officials are wrestling with cutting benefits or shifting [yet more] expenses to workers." "Soaring health insurance costs stun Seminole schools".

    Never mind the constitution

    State Rep Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, writes in the Tampa Trib that "Resolution Preserves Classroom Flexibility".

    32,000 real jobs on the block

    "Shuttle Discovery is set to launch from Kennedy Space Center at about 9:20 tonight, leaving only eight more scheduled missions before NASA retires the fleet in 2010 — and devastates the Space Coast economy." "Retiring shuttle may doom 38,200 Space Coast jobs".

    "Developers running amuck in Tally

    The Tampa Trib editors: "The Florida House of Representatives is cynically using the economic downturn to justify an effort to gut measures that protect neighborhoods, taxpayers and natural resources." "House Launches Attack On Local Safeguards".

    The St. Petersburg Times editors: "A House committee, under the guise of economic development, is considering a bill today that would eliminate the agency and eviscerate the state's ability to manage growth."

    It would shift what's left to the Department of State, an agency that already has its hands full with elections, corporation records, the state archives and cultural affairs. Similar efforts are under way in the Senate. Gov. Charlie Crist and more enlightened legislators have to stand up to the business interests, developers and lawmakers behind this assault on growth management.

    The bill sponsors contend the Department of Community Affairs has been an arbitrary impediment to development in Florida and is responsible for helping plunge this state into the economic recession. That is a spurious argument. Their real intent is to dismantle what few constraints Florida puts on growth by handing more responsibility to local governments, which are far less likely to say no to developers.
    "Developer dream, Florida nightmare".


    "A regional project that could pipe desalted ocean water into faucets throughout Central Florida got a $9.8 million boost from the St. Johns River Water Management District." "St. Johns boosts funding to desalt ocean water for drinking".


    "Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer has told administrators to get ready for a double-digit spending cut, a directive that will almost certainly mean deep cuts in city services and layoffs from the city work force." "Orlando faces 12 percent budget cut".

    Hurricane proofing

    "The property insurance merry-go-round continues as Florida's leaders struggle to balance the cost of homeownership against financial pressures on the state. With hurricane season only a few months off, state officials are searching for some means of protecting the state from massive losses in the event of a major storm. Tuesday, state advisers offered a list of options to Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink and Gov. Charlie Crist, none of which, they said, will come cheap." "State Readies For Hurricanes' Financial Hits".

    9-11 First responders

    "The federally-funded program monitors and treats 9/11 responders who live outside the New York City and New Jersey metropolitan area."

    Estimates indicate about 1,000 responders live in the Tampa Bay area. Overall, almost 91,500 people, including firefighters, police officers, medical professionals and volunteers, were part of the rescue, recovery and cleanup.

    Many have reported respiratory and lung problems as well as post-traumatic stress disorder.
    "Local Hospital Checks Up On Sept. 11 Responders".

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