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 Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Charlie's boasts "aren't quite accurate"

    "Charlie Crist campaigned for governor calling himself a Jeb Bush Republican."
    But to hear Crist talk on the campaign trail lately about his accomplishments, cutting spending and taxes and improving schools, it can sound like much of his time has been spent cleaning up after former Gov. Bush.

    "When I got elected governor, out of 50 states, Florida in K-12 education was ranked 31st - 31st out of 50. Not so good,'' Crist told party leaders gathered at the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference in Michigan on Friday night. ...

    Crist is the first governor in Florida history not to seek reelection, and the speech underscored the challenge he faces in touting his record leading state with one of the worst economies in the country.

    He hasn't been in office long enough to have a significant legacy, and to suggest he has fixed major problems in the state is to imply a beloved figure among most Florida Republicans, Gov. Bush, left major problems.
    "Charlie Crist's legacy questioned". Related: "Charlie Crist looks to be dissing Jeb Bush's legacy in speech".

    More to the point, The Orlando Sentinel's Aaron Deslatte writes that "Crist's efforts to build his résumé aren't quite accurate." Deslatte provides "a comparison of his comments and how they hold up to examination."
    Claim: "We're very pleased with what's happened [in education] — from 31st to 10th in the nation since I've been governor," Crist said on MSNBC's Morning Joe show.

    Discussion: Crist's statements aren't quite right, according to the authors of an Education Week "Quality Counts" study upon which the claim is based. For one thing, Florida was never ranked 31st. For another, the magazine changed its ranking methods in such a way that years can't be compared. ... [Moreover,] January's Education Week survey gave Florida high marks for having accountability measures, but it was near the bottom of the heap in school funding and got an F for college readiness. ...

    Claim: Crist, who opposes "government-run health care," has cited his Cover Florida program as an example of how private insurers can design low-cost coverage for the uninsured.

    Discussion: Crist fumbled for a reply when CNN's John Roberts asked him Tuesday why he opposed President Barack Obama's health-care program when he supported KidCare, a government-run health-care program for children in Florida. ...

    Claim: "We understood we needed to rein in spending," Crist told Michigan Republicans. "When I got elected governor, our state budget was $73 billion. I cut it $8 billion in 2 1/2 years. Now it's down to $66 billion."

    Discussion: Lawmakers are privately furious at Crist for grabbing credit for cutting the budget.

    True, spending has shriveled from $73 billion to $66 billion — but that was because of plummeting tax revenues caused by the recession.
    Much more hereZ: "Gov. Crist's record of accomplishment requires a little explaining".

    We got ours!

    "Members of the Patriotic Resistance [sic], a conservative grassroots organization, held up signs protesting proposed legislation". "Local conservatives oppose public health care option".

    Will campaign politics be "left at the [Cabinet room] door"?

    "To catch a glimpse of the 2010 governor's race, look no further than the Cabinet room in the basement of Florida's Capitol."

    It was there, on Tuesday, that Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink's gubernatorial opponent thwarted her latest efforts to expand oversight of the state pension board.

    Sink, a Democrat, wanted her fellow Cabinet members, Republican Gov. Charlie Crist and Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum, to endorse her proposal recommending the Legislature expand the State Board of Administration's trustees board.

    "This is a continuation of the legacy I want to leave as CFO," Sink said. "And that is a better governing board for the pension fund."

    But McCollum, her opponent for governor, insisted on a slower, more measured approach. Crist, who has helped McCollum raise money for his gubernatorial campaign, agreed.
    "A glimpse of the governor's race".

    Crist's "shadow panels"

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Wow! It seems that Gov. Charlie Crist is actually seeking advice from people he knows or admires - and people of different political persuasions, even - in his selection of judges."

    The Associated Press reports the governor has used "shadow panels" - certain core advisers - to interview candidates already vetted by judicial nominating commissions to study their qualifications for appointment to the bench.

    The Daily Business Review of Miami obtained records showing the governor asked the panelists to interview would-be judges nominated by the 26 commissions appointed by the governor. But by the tone of the reporting and front-page coverage, the conclusion that readers are invited to draw is that Crist has been trying to circumvent the system.
    "Crist's clever judicial picks".

    More 'o that gubment regulation ...

    ... that RPOFers would argue "stifles freedom", or sumthin' like that: "Improve caregiver screening now".

    Carole who?

    "Crist's Senate campaign sent a mail solicitation from Carole Crist that asks for $1,000, $1,500 or $2,400 to help send her husband to Washington."

    The fundraising letter in which she describes her supposed

    experiences might be somewhat exaggerated. Carole Crist is rarely with the governor at official events, yet the letter talks about seeing the horror of storms, weeping with families who've lost loved ones to war, sharing the sorrow with those who've lost homes and more.
    "Crist's wife joins fundraising campaign".

    "A dangerous irony"

    The Miami Herald editorial board: "Democracy relies on competition -- candidates vying with their ideas to win elections. For Florida's 67 counties to now have only one large certified company to select for election equipment or upgrades is a dangerous irony."

    Florida's Department of State, which certifies election equipment and oversees statewide election results, should move quickly to broaden the competition. Otherwise, Election Systems & Software's $5 million acquisition of Diebold Inc.'s voting-machine company amounts to a near monopoly. ...

    With mostly ES&S and Diebold equipment in use the company will essentially have a monopoly, and that is making a lot of elections officials and fair-voting advocates uneasy. ...

    The state and election supervisors have been working with the manufacturers to develop software enhancements that tell voters at least twice during the process if they make a mistake, such as voting for more than one candidate in a race.

    This is why competition is necessary. Given that voting is a human endeavor there may always be problems that challenge the process. Elections supervisors have to be able to tell ES&S that, if the competition has something better to offer, they expect the same from it, at a reasonable price, or else they'll go elsewhere.

    For this to happen the State Department will have to make sure other voting-machine manufacturers understand that, even though Florida's likely not to be in the market for major purchases any time soon, its elections officials still want to have access to their products for future upgrades.

    The 2000 election fiasco raised Floridians' expectations for transparency and accuracy in the voting process. Voters in Florida today have no tolerance for mistake-riddled balloting. Election officials can reassure voters by fostering healthy competition among the makers of voting equipment to ensure that every machine works, is tamper proof and will enable every vote to be counted.
    "A risky irony".


    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: ""."The public has a right to know and participate in government decisions. But some current and former public officials in Venice thumbed their noses at the law by discussing business in their private e-mail accounts and then either deleting them or failing to save them. The e-mails constituted "meetings," yet the public was shut out. These officials should be ashamed of themselves." "A deserved case of sunburn".

    Special election blues

    "Poll workers who went unpaid after this month's special election while the Flagler County Commission and the Supervisor of Elections wrangled over costs could see checks by Thursday." "Election workers to get paid".

    As Florida burns ...

    "Florida lawmakers want to muffle car stereos" ( Rep. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla wants to "make it a moving violation to play a car stereo too loudly").

    "Taxpayers aren't served by intragovernmental bickering"

    The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board: "In mid-September, 19 percent of Flagler County's registered Republicans turned out to elect former House Speaker John Thrasher in a special primary election to replace the late Sen. Jim King. Until then, Flagler County hadn't had a special election in at least 30 years."

    The week before the election, Kimberle Weeks, the supervisor of elections, requested $179,000 from the County Commission. It was an unusually large sum for a special election -- larger than the $173,500 that had been requested to cover the 2008 general election cycle, which included early voting days and a primary. The amount Weeks requested represented a 26 percent supplement to the supervisor's $690,000 budget. The commission agreed to honor the request as long as Weeks provided a paper trail showing where the supplemental money was spent. The county, in turn, would turn over that paper trail to the state in order to be reimbursed.

    Weeks would not agree to the arrangement. Appearing before the commission earlier this month, she disputed commissioners' micro-management of her office. She had a point. But so does the commission.
    "A special election's costs".


    "As he retraces many steps of his famous father's long walk, Bud Chiles is thinking about running." "Chiles weighs run for CFO".

    "Without debate or objection"

    "Without debate or objection, Gov. Charlie Crist and the Cabinet agreed to spend $1.98 million Tuesday to protect about 436 acres near Lake Miccosukee from development." "Crist, Cabinet OK nearly $2M to protect Jefferson Co. land".

    "Catch 22"

    "Already suffering from a grinding recession, Florida's 3,000 home inspectors, and a growing legion of mold inspectors, face a Catch 22 next summer when they are required for the first time to obtain a state license." "Home inspectors, contractors frustrated by new license law".

    5 gears in reverse

    "Trial lawyers, black lawmakers, blasting lobbying group over racial mailers". See also "Race-baiting flier prompts lawyer to threaten quitting group".

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