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 Monday, July 27, 2009

2.1 million Floridians on food stamps

    "Statewide, 2.1 million people are on food stamps, up 38.5 percent from a year ago." "State keeping up with filings despite surge in food stamps".

    Meanwhile, the "program to help low-income people afford telephone service in Florida has added an estimated 414,511 users during the last year, an increase of 225.2 percent." "Free phone program popular in Fla".

    Privatization scam gets new life

    Bill Cotterell:

    But the chairman of the Senate budget committee remains skeptical. For about two years, Sen. J.D. Alexander has wanted the Department of Management Services to put the project out to new bids rather than signing the 25-month extension with Accenture....

    This is one of those "B-HAGS" left over from the Jeb Bush administration. Bush, who did more than any governor in privatizing and computerizing state government, didn't like bureaucratic acronyms but coined a short-lived one for "big, hairy audacious goals" early in his term.

    The Convergys contract for state personnel services, fraught with maddening errors that had state employees furiously phoning their legislators, was the biggest of Bush's "outsourcing" undertakings. MyFloridaMarketPlace, widely known as MFMP, was another big and audacious departure from the old way of doing business — allowing state agencies to purchase equipment and services over the Internet.

    Accenture, a New York company, created it — collecting a 1-percent fee from companies selling products online. The contract has been controversial from the start, in 2005, with Accenture not netting as much in fees and the state not always happy with the service.
    "Alexander said he's having his staff "check into" the renewal."
    "It sure seems like they haven't been as transparent as I understood the governor's direction was," Alexander said. "About two-and-a-half years ago, I'd asked that they make plans to fully bid this contract at this time. It's disappointing that they've chosen not to really use every opportunity to get the best deal for the state of Florida."

    Alexander added that "my job isn't to be for or against any company" but that he thought the process called for "clear, open, competitive bids" rather than renegotiation with the current vendor.
    "With no bid, state stays with Accenture".

    "Case is one of the first of its kind"

    "The last-minute attack ads were damning. They accused the state Senate candidate of a 'shady' land deal that had taxpayers shelling out $12 million for a $1-million piece of property his family owned in Davie."

    The ads were wrong--the real estate had been appraised at $15.5 million. But they may have worked: the candidate finished last in a tight three-way Democratic primary last August.

    Now Tim Ryan, a onetime member of the state House, wants the people responsible for the ad campaign against him to answer for their claims. He's pursuing a lawsuit that alleges not only that he was defamed by the group, People for a Better Florida Fund Inc., but that its creators lied as part of a conspiracy to keep him out of the state Senate district 31 seat, which represents a chunk of southern Broward County.

    The case is one of the first of its kind in the state--a losing political candidate using the courts to go after what's known in the jargon of campaign law as an electioneering communications organization. Such groups, also called 527s after the section of the U.S. tax code that regulates them, are allowed to raise unlimited amounts of money to make claims about candidates and issues, but are barred from telling people how to vote.
    "Broward County candidate who lost state Senate race sues over attack ads he says were false".

    "One of only eight people in the world"

    "Tougher sentencing laws and restrictions on parole in Florida and other states have resulted in a record number of criminals serving life sentences, according to a new national study."

    Last May, the nation's highest court agreed to review the case of Joe Sullivan of Pensacola, sentenced to life without parole at age 13 for the rape of a 72-year-old woman in 1989. Sullivan, who is mentally disabled, admitted burglarizing the woman's house on that day but has denied committing rape.

    He is housed at Santa Rosa Correctional Institution in Milton. His lawyers want the Supreme Court to rule on whether Sullivan's sentence violates the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

    According to the Equal Justice Institute, Sullivan is one of only eight people in the world serving a life sentence without parole for a crime that occurred at age 13.
    Jeffey gets his ass up about the study:
    ``They ought to be raising questions about the rising number of violent felons,'' said Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp, a Republican running for attorney general in 2010 on a platform that emphasizes public safety. ``These people are in prison for a reason,'' he said.
    "Record number of `lifers' in U.S. prisons, study finds".

    One trick ponies ...

    Yesterday we got this from the The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Make federal workers share our pain", consistent with the editors' longtime class war against anyone with a defined benefit retirement plan (see also "Trib editors go off deep end"). Today we get more of the same: "Public employee perks batter local taxpayers".

    King passes

    ""Giant of state government" dies". See also "Updated: Friends recall Jim King's passion for people, politics, FSU".

    Can't pave that ... yet ...

    "Florida Keys program teaches global lessons on the ocean".

    Rooney challenger?

    "Democrat Craft “leaning” toward challenging Rooney in congressional District 16".


    The Orlando Sentinel editors:

    First, Uncle Sam's cavalry galloped into the state with billions of stimulus dollars that saved the day for many districts such as Seminole, which used part of its $22 million share to save the jobs of more than 150 teachers who were on the chopping block.

    Then the Legislature punted into the laps of local school districts the option of imposing a temporary, two-year property-tax increase of $25 per $100,000 of taxable value. It's understandable that most of the state's 67 school boards — including Lake, Seminole, and Volusia — are expected to seize the chance to replenish depleted coffers.

    Whew. Problem solved. Except the stimulus cash dries up in two years. So does, in all likelihood, the goodwill of overburdened taxpayers who would need to approve stretching the property-tax boost beyond that.
    "School districts: Keep on cutting costs".


    The Miami Herald editorial board: "Where's the Miami-Dade leadership?".


    The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board claims that the federal dollars flowing into Florida should not be "seen as unexpected largesse that we're lucky to get instead of, as taxpayers, ... our money that's just now coming on home to roost." "They're all our dollars".

    The editors forget that "Southern states have been benefiting from Northern taxes for years. ... 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.".

    Probably still getting insurance from his mommy

    "Jonah Goldberg: Obamacare is a simple bait-and-switch".

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