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, August 31, 2009

"Mysterious and troubling"

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "How state Republican Party insiders spend donors' dollars is generally nobody's business but the party's, but what has surfaced about party accounting is both mysterious and troubling."
    One piece of evidence in the criminal misconduct case against former House Speaker Ray Sansom is a list of things he bought on the state Republican Party's American Express card. Over two years Sansom charged $173,000, the St. Petersburg Times reported, including flowers, electronic gear and family travel. He spent $839 just at Starbucks.

    State Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer said nothing inappropriate occurred. He refuses to provide supporting details. ...

    Greer says that anyone who keeps talking about credit cards is just trying to hurt the party. Nonsense. The party's credibility is at stake.

    Crist should get to the bottom of what's going on, no matter whose cappuccino gets spilled in the process.
    "Sansom's sprees debit GOP credibility".


    Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board:

    The state's high-speed rail application isn't due to the Federal Rail Administration until Oct. 2. But Florida applied Monday for $270 million from the high-speed rail fund to offset the cost of building the $1.2 billion SunRail line. It's a bit of a stretch to go after the high-speed rail money for SunRail but worth the try for these reasons: The commuter line would feed passengers to the fast train. It would also improve the economic link between Central Florida's east and west coast communities. Then, too, the additional money, combined with $300 million in other federal funds that U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Winter Park, says are promised, should reduce the financial obligation of local partners like Volusia County. That should ease the concerns of SunRail opponents who have blocked the Legislature's approval of the commuter line deal with CSX railroad company for two years.
    "Tandem on trains".

    Remember, newspapers are just businesses ...

    ... and it is all about the bottom line. The Miami Herald editorial board: "While most businesses were turning to 401(k) plans for their workers in the 1980s and 1990s and away from defined benefit plans, local governments counting on union support promised generous pension perks for those plans that guarantee a set amount for life." "How to fix pension mess".

    How's your defined contribution plan (a/k/a 401(k) plan) looking these days?

    "Another twist"

    Mark Lane: "But there's another twist at work here, too. Last May, in a little-noticed ruling,"

    a federal court invalidated Florida's 2004 law that regulated so-called "electioneering communications organizations." These are those groups that take out political ads but aren't part of political campaigns.

    For example, when a couple of lobbyists get together and form a group called Outraged Grassroots Regular Ol' Citizens With No Axes to Grind Against Government Waste. A group like this used to have to register with the state and report where its contributions came from. No more.

    You may have seen the ads attacking former House Speaker John Thrasher for being a big-spending superlobbyist who "took money to lobby for trial lawyers and against taxpayers." These were paid for by the group Stop Tax Waste, which, the Thrasher campaigns says, was set up and funded by trial lawyers.

    The Partnership for Florida's Future has begun airing counter-ads showing sinister cigar-smoking guys in suits and warning about "greedy personal injury trial lawyers and illegal aliens" conspiring together to sue the pants off everybody. Then there was a race-baiting mailing from a mystery group called Conservative Voters' Coalition, which despite its elephant logo has been denounced by the state Republican Party.
    "Shadowy hard sell in Dist. 8".

    'Ya reckon?

    "A Sentinel analysis of state inspections suggest officials do little to make sloppy hotels and motels fear state regulators." "Does state lack teeth in punishing Central Florida's dirty hotels?".

    Remember, it ain't a "tax" increase

    "Floridians questioning motor vehicle fee increases". See also "License, tag fees set to increase for motorists Tuesday".

    "Bush is the key"?

    "It has been a decade since former Gov. Jeb Bush joined forces with then-House Speaker John Thrasher. Now Thrasher now wants to return to the political arena, and Bush is the key." "Does Jeb still have influence?".

    That and unlimited amounts of lobbyist cash to grease the campaign wheels.

    "Retirement visa could boost economy"

    The Sun-Sentinel editors: "As envisioned by its advocates, a new U.S. retirement visa would be available to foreign retirees who buy a home for at least the median value in the community where they would be living. They'd have to pass a security check and agree not to take a job. They'd need to document sufficient assets, and health insurance, to avoid burdening U.S. social safety-net programs." "Change law to make Florida a retirement destination".

    The new media

    Bill Cotterell: "One interesting angle of the new media, in government, "

    is public notice of government meetings and contracts. By law, they have to be advertised so the taxpayers know what their government is doing. Part of the case against former House Speaker Ray Sansom involves a meeting of the Northwest Florida College board of trustees, which was advertised in Okaloosa County but held over here at Florida State.

    Not to get into the legal details of whether the meeting was properly advertised, or whether it was Sansom's responsibility or the college trustees' duty to do so, but what if they had just put out notices all over Facebook and Twitter for a few days? That's probably not covered by current law, but it would probably inform more people than a discrete little classified ad in a Fort Walton Beach paper.

    The trouble is, only "friends" or "followers" on FB and Twitter would get the word. That's not exactly public notice.
    "Tweets are for the birds, and the butterflies, too".

    Birther Bill talks health care

    "The event will include presentations by Posey and Dennis Smith, a former director of the Federal Center for Medicaid and State Operation under the George W. Bush administration. ... Smith is the senior fellow in health care reform at The Heritage Foundation's Center for Health Policy Studies." "Posey wants big, civil crowd".

    The whining never ceases

    "Employee Act would harm industry".

    From the "values" crowd

    "Agencies that serve some of Pasco County's neediest citizens will be on the chopping block Tuesday as commissioners hold their final budget workshop of the summer." "Agencies to plead for funding from Pasco County".

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