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, June 13, 2009

Charlie bares his teeth

    "State Sen. Steve Oelrich believes he may have been the first casualty in the crossfire from Florida's Republican primary for U.S. Senate, after Gov. Charlie Crist's veto of a non-controversial bill Oelrich sponsored. The Cross Creek Republican and former Alachua County sheriff said he believes that his 'innocuous' little bill to allow for an optional transportation fee at community colleges was vetoed by the governor in retaliation for his failure to support Crist's Senate candidacy." "Gov. Charlie Crist's veto was payback for lack of support, state Sen. Steve Oelrich says".

    Charlie rewards his friends

    "Although he vetoed most other college construction projects that sidestepped budget procedures in 2007, Gov. Charlie Crist spared Rep. Ray Sansom's last-minute proposal to build a classroom facility at an airport."

    Newly released records show Crist took a hard line against community college building projects that weren't part of initial budget recommendations. Of the 14 such projects sent to Crist, he vetoed nine.

    It has long been known that Crist didn't veto Sansom's $6 million request for Northwest Florida State College, but new records show the governor's office questioned the project and asked for documentation to justify funding. The school's president sent e-mail messages to Sansom, R-Destin, seeking ''advice'' on how to avoid a veto.

    ''Nobody expressed any concern,'' Crist said Friday, adding that Sansom's project ``looked legitimate to the way it was titled.''

    But a grand jury has concluded otherwise. In April, Sansom and college president Bob Richburg were indicted on charges that they falsified the state budget to use taxpayer money to build a hangar for the jet business of a mutual friend. That man, Jay Odom, has since been indicted in the matter as well.
    "Gov. Charlie Crist denies favoritism in Sansom".

    Can't make this stuff up

    "Thousands of Florida public schools will have to ramp up efforts to reach their weakest students this fall or face sanctions -- including possibly replacing principals and teacher aides and paying teachers based on performance instead of experience." "New law forces Florida schools to improve -- or else". See also "Crist touts new school ratings law".

    Charlie not good at "tests"

    "The early and ardent promise from Gov. Charlie Crist to hold down property insurance rates will be tested in a bill that arrived on the governor's desk Friday."

    The bill would let major property insurance companies, including State Farm, sell residential property insurance policies that would be largely free from standard state rate regulation. In essence, the companies could basically charge whatever they want.

    And it would likely mean a return to huge increases from companies such as State Farm, whose rates in Florida have risen more than 520 percent since 1992.
    "Insurance bill tests Gov. Crist".

    "Skirting public hearings"

    The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "The health and stability of Florida's future depends on how well we handle our water needs. To make sure that supply is responsibly managed, and that decision-makers are answerable for their choices, it is critical the public be encouraged and empowered to stay engaged in the process." Ill-advised measure skirting public hearings on water permits deserves veto".


    The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "Give the proponents of offshore drilling credit. They are as equally persistent as their policy goals are potentially detrimental to the Sunshine State." "Oil drilling a lose-lose situation for Florida".

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "The vote by a Senate committee Tuesday to expand drilling to within just 45 miles of Florida's Gulf coast and 10 miles of the Panhandle – irresponsible though it is – should surprise no one." "Fight the rising tide".

    The problem with electing judges

    The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial Board: "Electing judges is a uniquely American practice. No other country does it. When judicial elections combine with the slippery maze of campaign financing, questions of propriety and judicial independence can follow."

    State law is silent on campaign contributions or financial interests. The Code of Judicial Conduct is somewhat clearer. It doesn't address contributions, but requires extensive personal and public finance reporting, including gifts and confidential financial information. For instance, a judge must report all financial holdings such as stocks and other investments. The report isn't public, but a litigant may request that it be checked by the court to verify that the litigant's case before the judge doesn't involve the judge's financial interests.

    Judges may accept payments for services away from the court, such as speaking engagements or writing fees. "A judge should ensure, however," the code states, "that no conflicts are created by the arrangement. Judges must not appear to trade on the judicial position for personal advantage." Litigants are free to alert the court about perceived conflicts, but, in the end, recusal is the judge's decision.

    With money playing a bigger role than ever in judges' elections, the judicial code and state law should go beyond judges' discretion in deciding when recusal (or disqualification) is appropriate. The law sets a specific degree of separation between judges and relatives to decide when a judge is automatically disqualified from a case. A similar standard, set by Florida's judiciary, should apply to the campaign contributions to a judge's coffers.

    Due process can be too subjective, especially when the elusive personal and financial ties of campaign contributions are involved.
    "Florida judges should set stricter code for recusals".

    Never ending game

    "Lawmakers may have to alter terms for a new gaming compact with the Seminoles before the tribe signs it, a tribe attorney said Friday." "Gaming deal may need alteration". See also "Tribe: Gambling deal not certain".

    "Top administrators" make do with more

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Hillsborough County residents have every reason to protest the pay raises County Administrator Pat Bean gave six top administrators at a time when county employees face layoffs and furloughs." "Bean-headed pay raises".

    It ain't beanbag

    "Congressional candidate Karen Diebel says she's surprised by personal attacks".


    The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "The Health Care District of Palm Beach County will close a $56 million budget deficit by reducing services and increasing costs of medical insurance for low-income residents." "Health-care emergency".

    So much for ...

    ... Mel's "compelling" life story - few people seem to care: "Financial reports for U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez show the Orlando Republican received $34,000 in royalties last year for an autobiography published during the summer. Martinez, who fled Cuba as a teenager, also received $7,875 in royalties the previous year. He listed personal assets worth between $1 million and $2.4 million, mostly in stocks and other investments owned by him, his wife or jointly."

    About Allen

    "Rep. Allen Boyd's family farms and other investments have earned millions for the Monticello Democrat, financial disclosure forms show. Boyd listed 2008 assets worth between $3.5 million to $13 million on the document released Friday." "Rep. Boyd's family farms, investments worth millions".

    15% tuition increase?

    "Tuition hike, research funds has UF optimistic". See also "UF Tuition May Increase by 15 Percent in Fall".

    Real estate market not that tuff for Miller

    "Rep. Miller making money in real estate".

    Nuthin' better to do?

    "The NCAA must release copies of its response to Florida State's appeal of penalties stemming from academic violations, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum said Friday." "Fla. attorney general: NCAA must release letter". See also "McCollum tells NCAA: Turn over FSU records".

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