Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


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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 Friday, July 17, 2009

Charlie's angels a secret

    "After backpedaling on plans to deliver his campaign finance numbers in electronic form, Gov. Charlie Crist said today he was also not inclined to disclose his list of campaign bundlers. Last year, both Barack Obama and John McCain volunteered their list of bundlers, or the men and women who collect hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of checks on behalf of the candidate." "Crist indicates he won’t release Senate campaign bundlers". See also "Crist leans against identifying 'bundlers' who raise his campaign cash".

    The questions are particularly legitimate in light of Charlie's sordid record when it comes to bundlers: "A federal indictment released [in March] claims Gov. Charlie Crist received 10 illegal campaign contributions of $500 each from ... Southern California in 2006." "More questionable Crist contributions?"

    See also this February, 2009 The Palm Beach Post article: "Sum of questionable contributions to Crist in '06 may rise, records show" ("The amount of questionable campaign contributions Gov. Charlie Crist collected in 2006 could quadruple the $5,000 that was flagged this week in a federal indictment, campaign finance records show. Federal prosecutors say Crist received 10 illegal contributions of $500 from Los Angeles-area men and women, including two restaurant workers and four homemakers.")

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

    "How is federal stimulus money really affecting Florida? ... Additional stimulus dollars that Florida is seeking to build high-speed rail, primarily to link Tampa, Orlando and Miami." "Florida's stimulus money".

    Yet the whining from the no-taxes-under-any-circumstances (except cigarettes) crowd continues. The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Funding formulas stiff Florida" Winger "Dominic Calabro, the president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch, says Florida will continue to be stiffed as long as Washington relies on old formulas that favor Rust Belt states."

    Here's the reality: "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 [Southern] 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.
    "Do Southern Senators Really Want to Start a New War Between the States?".


    "Crist appointed a Tallahassee public-relations executive [the familiar Alia Faraj-Johnson] and a South Florida lawyer [the unfamiliar Brian Seymour] to the state Elections Commission on Thursday." "Crist appoints two to Elections Commission".

    Curious as to what qualifies these folks - Jebbie's former flack (Alia Faraj), and a "shopping center" attorney (Seymour) - to interpret and enforce Florida election law?


    "Republican Charlie Crist says he's too busy governing Florida to take a stand on Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor and other federal issues. But his leading rivals for the U.S. Senate accused him Thursday of ducking tough questions, noting that the governor keeps making time to attend out-of-state fundraisers to pump up his record-setting campaign account."

    For example, on "Saturday, he is scheduled to attend a reception at the Sag Harbor home of Jill Zarin, a friend of his wife and a star of The Real Housewives of New York City reality TV show." "Times: Crist says he's too busy to weigh in on Sotomayor nomination".

    We like our Kosmas, thank you very much

    "The bad economy hasn't affected the fundraising prowess of U.S. Rep. Suzanne Kosmas. The freshman Democrat from New Smyrna Beach raised more than $360,000 this spring, with help from unions, aerospace companies and financial firms. That's double the $169,000 haul of fellow freshman Democrat Alan Grayson of Orlando and more than triple the $97,000 raised by U.S. Rep. John Mica, the nine-term Republican from Winter Park." "Kosmas' contributions double Grayson's total, triple Mica's".

    Florida yet again a national laughingstock

    First Bill Posey and the "birthers"*, now this.

    Bill Cotterell reports that "25 Republican legislators have co-signed House Memorial 19, a nasty note to Congress saying the feds have it all backward. Like Moe Green dismissing Michael Corleone in "The Godfather," the memorial says, "Hey, you don't buy us out, we buy you out." The states don't work for Washington, the legislators say; Congress and the president work for us."

    Nice idea, though it didn't work out so well at Appomattox (or when Moe Green lay down on that massage table in the movie). But rapidly expanding federal involvement in the auto industry, banking and finance, national health care and the issuance of strings-attached stimulus money have rudely awakened the somnolent state legislatures.

    "I'm a man of faith, and when I placed my hand on the Bible and took an oath to God to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the state of Florida, that meant a lot to me," said Rep. Matt Hudson, R-Naples. He devised HM 19 with Reps. Scott Plakon of Longwood and Ritch Workman of Melbourne, and more Republicans piled on.

    They started a Web site, FLfreedom.org, and spread the word on Facebook. Since the Fourth of July weekend, Hudson said, they've gained 1,800 social network friends for their "Don't Tread On Me" memorial....

    First-term Rep. John Tobia, R-Melbourne, is another co-sponsor of the memorial. He teaches government and said the nation would be a lot different if presidents and Congress had always respected the states.

    "If Congress adhered to the 10th Amendment, we wouldn't have the bank bailouts," Tobia said. "We wouldn't be going through what's probably going to be the failure of the stimulus packages." ...

    You can imagine the attack ads, especially if Obama's policies are popular "... and did you know that, when President Obama was trying to save the nation, our opponent supported a resolution to restart the Civil War?"
    "Florida legislators have a message for Congress".

    - - - - - - - - - -
    * "'Birther Bill' Author Offended By Alligator Rumor Fought By Stephen Colbert".

    Please, Mr. Obama, please help us

    Floridians want the rest of the nation to bail us out of our public finance irresponsibility: " In a few years, high-speed trains may be zooming past slow-moving traffic on congested Florida expressways as they travel from Tampa to Orlando -- and eventually Miami -- at 150 and 180 mph, speeds comparable to small private aircraft. Bullet trains may come to Florida -- and it's a big if -- the Florida Department of Transportation persuades the Obama administration to award the state $2.53 billion in federal stimulus money for development of a high-speed rail system." "Plans outlined for high-speed Florida train".

    RPOFer self-immolation party

    Paul Flemming on the RPOFer "Urge to purge".

    SD 12

    "Three Republican state senate leaders, including the future senate president, have taken sides with Hillsborough County Commissioner Jim Norman over state Rep. Kevin Ambler in the Republican primary for a Tampa Senate seat." "3 GOP senators backing Norman in primary".

    HD 26

    "Longtime Volusia County educator Tim Huth has opened a campaign account to run in 2010 for a state House seat that will be vacated by Rep. Pat Patterson, R-DeLand. Huth this week became the first Democrat to take the initial step toward seeking the House District 26 seat, which Patterson will leave because of term limits. Republicans Vince Champion and Fred Costello of Ormond Beach opened campaign accounts earlier this year." "Educator Tim Huth to run for state House".

    Another RPOFer Yawner

    "Diaz-Balart: Here's how to create jobs".

    Never mind

    "With questions swirling a day after the federal raid of Conax Florida Corp., U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young on Thursday withdrew support for a $4 million funding request for the defense contractor. The move puts some distance between Conax and Young, who has secured $28.5 million in federal 'earmarks' for the company since 2005." "U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young withdraws support for Conax's latest federal contract".

    "Florida should declare war on exotics"

    Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board: "Sen. Bill Nelson wants to ban Burmese pythons and track down snakes that have escaped into the wild -- a quest that's drawn keen mockery from Web sites like Politico, which posted his quest in its 'Lighter Side of Politics' column with the snippy kicker 'How long until PETA responds?' But Florida's Democratic U.S. senator is right to take this seriously, as is Gov. Charlie Crist -- who issued a news release about the issue Wednesday." "Snakes alive".

    Raw political courage

    "Crist urges senators to push for carrier dredging".

    Where the sun don't shine

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board reminds us that "in Florida, the commissions empowered to nominate candidates for vacancies on state courts operate behind closed doors. Their process is more like picking a pope. An exception has been made for the commissions from Florida's constitutional guarantee of open government. But given the state's long and proud history of government in the sunshine, Floridians have a right to expect better.
    " "Pick judges in sunshine, not secrecy".


    Paul Flemming: "During the three months ended June 30, Democrats out fundraised the Republican Party of Florida for the first time in the decade-plus since records started being kept electronically by the state."

    By my reckoning — which includes all positive additions to the bottom line — Democrats took in $1.23 million in the second quarter of 2009. The Republicans in the same period raised $1.17 million.

    "The outpouring of support from grass-roots donors once again shows that Democrats are organized and energized to elect proven leaders," said FDP Chair Karen Thurman.

    I'm not raining on anyone's cash parade, just pointing out two things.

    For the year, RPOF has raised $5.3 million to the FDP's $2.47 million.

    And though members of both parties are often guilty of acting as if dollars (whether as taxes or contributions) are limitless, that's not so. Any chance the RPOF second-quarter number was reduced by a very big straw sucking cash out of the finite pond of political giving? U.S. Senate candidate Charlie Crist is the true victor of quarter two, siphoning a record $4.3 million for his own campaign.
    "Democrats celebrate a small victory".


    "South Florida's largest and most powerful environmental agency is thinning its management ranks in its largest staff shake-up in years. The South Florida Water Management District -- the largest of Florida's five water management agencies and the one charged with leading the multibillion-dollar Everglades restoration for the state -- will merge two of its five major departments, combining water resources and regulation with government and public affairs." "South Florida Water Management District to trim some management jobs".

    "The fix appears to be in"

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "The fix appears to be in for Florida Atlantic University president Frank Brogan to be named today as the next chancellor of the state university system. The field of finalists is predictably weak and shrinking, given the continuing cloud over the governing structure of the system and the state's lack of commitment to investing in higher education." "Brogan as chancellor".

    New fangled arm twisting

    "Obama supporters mobilize in Florida to press lawmakers to back health reform".


    "Amtrak released a long-awaited report to Congress on Thursday that outlines options for restoring passenger rail service through north Florida." "Amtrak considers return to North Florida".


    "Senate confirms retired astronaut Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden as new NASA administrator".

    St. Pete follies

    "Overnight, roughly 900 Scott Wagman for mayor signs were suddenly everywhere — medians, next to sidewalks, curbs — and residents were not too happy about it." "Wagman signs cause a stir".


    Scott Maxwell wants you to know that Democratic U.S. Rep. Suzanne Kosmas "got busted skipping a meeting of the House Financial Services Committee to attend a fundraiser hosted by special interests." See the original story here: "Rep. Suzanne Kosmas Skips Hearing For Fundraiser".

    Sansom saga

    "A small victory for Sansom, Richburg and Odom".


    "Everglades and FPL managers are evaluating a compromise so the power company can add much-needed transmission lines in West Miami-Dade." "Everglades land swap may be key to FPL plans to expand in West Miami-Dade".

    Amendment 4

    John Hedrick, a "point person" for the Sierra Club on the Florida Hometown Democracy Amendment: "Amendment 4 corrects power failure".

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