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 Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Kosmas may draw ex-Notre Dame football coach as opponent

    "After earning nearly 250 wins on the college gridiron, former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz is eyeing another competition -- as a candidate for Congress in Central Florida."
    The famed skipper and ESPN analyst met with top Republicans here last week and said he was interested in challenging first-term U.S. Rep. Suzanne Kosmas, D- New Smyrna Beach, according to four GOP officials who did not speak on-the-record because they don't know if Holtz actually will run.

    Lou Holtz could not be reached for comment. An associate said he was flying to the West Coast for a meeting. Holtz has been one of ESPN's premier college-football analysts since 2005.

    Mike Humes, a spokesman for ESPN, said Holtz "told us [today] that he is committed to ESPN." He would not comment on the length of Holtz's contract and did not immediately know if the network had rules covering employees who run for office.
    "Ex-coach Lou Holtz considering running for Congress in Central Florida".

    Developer rebate

    "It wasn't long ago that Transeastern Properties Inc. had future U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez on its lobbyist roster. The company donated thousands of dollars to local politicians and paid millions in advance fees to build homes in Orange County."

    Now the phone lines are dead, its parent corporation is in bankruptcy, and the company wants those fees – totaling $3 million – back.

    And it looks like the company – or its creditors – will soon get a check.

    That's because the Orange County Commission, at the urging of Mayor Rich Crotty, has voted to refund as much as $8.9 million this year to developers who paid advance fees intended to ensure their projects got built despite nearby clogged roads.

    Over five years, the refund total could soar to as much as $35 million, though county officials so far are budgeting just $20.5 million.
    "Officials to seek unemployment benefits extension".


    "Victims of abuse at the Florida Reform School for Boys should be compensated for their injuries at the hands of school staff during the 1940s, '50s and '60s, a Tampa state senator said in a bill filed on Friday." "Bill seeks compensation for 'White House Boys'".

    Sansom ethical charges to be heard today

    "A special House committee meets for the first time at 9 a.m. today to consider charges of ethical misconduct that a special investigator has made against former House Speaker Ray Sansom." "Special House committee meets today on Sansom case". See also "Will House committee postpone Sansom inquiry?".

    Howard Troxler: "Today's hearing will deal mostly with preliminaries. Sansom has asked the House to wait for his criminal trial, scheduled for September."

    The delay is fair. Sansom is a citizen accused of a crime. The government should not be able to drag him first through a political proceeding in the House and then use whatever he might say there at his criminal trial.

    Sooner or later, though, the House is going to have to judge its own — and by extension, judge itself.
    Much more: "How will he reflect on the House?". Background: "Sansom pushed through other pet projects" and "The rise and fall of Ray Sansom".


    Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board: "SunRail, the ambitious commuter-rail line that could eventually be part of a network linking Florida's east and west coasts, keeps coming back from the dead."

    There's still a lot of work to be done to strike a fair deal. Extra federal stimulus money could shift more of the projected $432 million purchase price away from state coffers, but that price tag is steep, especially if it comes bundled with $200 million worth of liability protection for CSX. (The total cost of the project is $2.7 billion, over 30 years.) The state also should back away from any hint that it intends to use the deal to bust up railworkers' labor unions.
    "Commuter rail deserves another chance at success".

    Florida case tests online political advertising

    "An online twist in a hotly contested race for mayor of St. Petersburg, Fla., could signal trouble for local politicians advertising on popular Web sites like Google, Facebook and Twitter."

    The Florida Elections Commission has decided a mayoral candidate's ads on Google and Facebook appear to violate the state's election law because they don't include a disclaimer that indicates who bought them. Many other states, including Texas, Alaska, Connecticut and Ohio, also require similar disclaimers.

    The candidate's campaign, however, argues that the messages in question aren't technically ads, but rather links to ads, and that it doesn't pay for them unless a Web user clicks on them. When that happens, it says, the person is taken to a Web site that provides the appropriate disclosures. ...

    [A]nalysts say online ads could become a more crucial part of political campaigns, and the Florida dispute is likely to set a precedent for how state and local politicians advertise on the Web.
    "For State, Local Office Seekers, Web Ads Present Potential Pitfalls" (via "St Pete election complaint could have wide repercussions"). See also "Online campaign ads questioned".

    From the "values" crowd

    "State parks feeling budget cuts".

    Kudos to all three of them

    "Thanks to Gov. Crist and the Florida Cabinet, Virgil McCranie no longer has to wear the scarlet letter of a sex offender."

    Last week, the governor, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, Attorney General Bill McCollum and Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson, who comprise the state's clemency board, looked past the politics of next year's election and saw the bigger picture of a man paying an unfair price for youthful mistakes. Mr. McCranie had sex with a 14-year-old girl when he was 19. That girl became his wife, and they are raising four children in Panama City. Before that walk down the aisle, however, a scorned Misty McCranie and her father had pressed charges after learning that Virgil had impregnated another woman. ...

    Crist is running for the U.S. Senate next year. Ms. Sink and Mr. McCollum are running for governor. They could have worried more about potential attack ads - "Soft on sex offenders!" - but they didn't let Mr. McCranie and his family become political casualties. Anyone who raises the issue against these three candidates doesn't deserve the office.
    "EDITORIAL: Political courage in Florida".

    Herald Kerfuffle

    "A Miami Herald review has exonerated reporter Carol Rosenberg of sexual-harassment and verbal-abuse allegations." "Review clears Herald's military affairs writer".

    Background: "It's all a big left wing conspiracy" (scroll down)

    Boyd speaks

    "A leader of the congressional Blue Dog coalition, targeted by Republicans on national health care, said Monday nothing can be accomplished unless both parties quit partisan 'sniping' on the issue." "Boyd: Parties' 'sniping' a hindrance to health-care plan".

    "One of the great understatements in Florida histor"

    Dan Moffett: "State Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson, who started out as a Kissimmee rancher and still sounds like one, uttered one of the great understatements in Florida history after he watched gasoline prices spike to stratospheric heights last year:"

    "It was very obvious that something was going on."

    Floridians found out some of that something last month, when Commissioner Bronson's office and the state attorney general settled a lawsuit against Morgan Stanley Capital Group and a subsidiary, Trans Montaigne Product Services. The companies agreed to give the state $2.3 million to end an investigation into their behavior after Hurricane Ike. Naturally, they admitted no wrongdoing, but something definitely was going on. ...

    Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs each received $10 billion in bailout money from the government in October. Whether it's from the world's oil market or from Washington, torrents of money just keep gushing to these two corporate behemoths no matter how irresponsibly they behave.

    State officials such as Commissioner Bronson can only do so much to divert the flow. At least Florida consumers know enough now to think twice before investing with Morgan Stanley.
    "Florida's energy find".

    Panhandle blues

    "As state stabilizes, region still losing more homes to foreclosure".

    Mike Thomas

    "High school graduation rates would improve if disruptive students didn't have to stay in classrooms" "Go ahead: Leave classroom troublemakers behind".

    "Sweeping overhaul"

    "State Attorney General Bill McCollum is advocating a sweeping overhaul of local ordinances that ban sex offenders and predators from living within 2,500 feet of schools." "McCollum: Sex-offender bans faulty".

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