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 Friday, October 23, 2009

Charlie's placeholder a drill shill

    "Up until he was appointed as Florida's newest U.S. senator, George LeMieux was advising a secretive pro-oil drilling coalition that is pushing a bill through the state Legislature to open up the Florida Gulf Coast to drilling."
    But LeMieux, who could have to vote on drilling legislation, refuses to say what he did, and the leader of the industry group says he cannot remember. ...

    LeMieux's involvement revives questions about the role he played for business clients after he stepped down as Crist's chief of staff in 2007, and how those interests could shape his views as a senator.

    "Floridians are entitled to wonder about how much his prior corporate employment is going to affect his decisions," said Ben Wilcox, chairman of the board for Common Cause, a good-government advocacy group. "This is something that occurs when people go in and out of public life."
    "Details of LeMieux's work for oil group remain murky".

    What would you expect when "LeMieux made a living by representing those seeking a helping hand from his former boss and state government." "LeMieux Says Past Work Won't Affect Future Votes".

    Medicare Bidding

    "Five Florida members of Congress are pushing a bill that would kill Medicare's new program requiring competitive bidding for suppliers of medical equipment in nine metro areas across the country, including South Florida and greater Orlando. ... Sponsor of the bill, HR 3790, is Democrat Kendrick Meek of Miami, who is running for the U.S. Senate next year. As of Tuesday, four other Florida House members were among the 18 co-sponsors: Reps. Alcee Hastings, Ron Klein, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Robert Wexler, all Democrats from South Florida. They say they're out to protect patients, not the equipment suppliers." "5 Congress Members Want End to Medicare Bidding".


    "Former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre is questioning whether county law requires him to step down from a transportation board while he runs for the U.S. Senate."

    Yet Ferre acknowledged Thursday that he could face conflicts of interests if he remains on the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority and accepts campaign donations from contractors vying for county work. The board oversees five major expressways in South Florida and has spent more than $580 million in completed and ongoing projects over the past decade.

    Ferre said he would not take money from contractors who do business with the board but wasn't sure about gifts from companies that may seek road work.
    "Former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre".


    The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board: "Florida legislators got the message earlier this month: Get on track with SunRail -- the proposed commuter-rail service planned to connect DeLand to Osceola County -- or risk losing $2.5 billion in federal funding for a high-speed rail service between Orlando and Tampa." "Legislature should open throttle for rail projects".

    Your utility bill dollars at work

    Mary Ellen Klas: "Florida Power & Light has spent nearly $5 million trying to raise customers' electric rates."

    Expenses for the state's largest utility to make its case to state regulators include about $173,000 on business meals, $266,000 on lodging, $622,000 on legal fees and $870,000 for overtime pay, according to documents filed at the Public Service Commission.

    And that's $1.3 million more than the company had budgeted for the rate case when it filed for the 30 percent base rate increase in March.

    Customers won't have to pay the entire $5 million tab. FPL is asking the PSC to rule that customers pay $3.6 million, with the rest paid by shareholder profits.
    "For utility, effort to raise rates is a costly endeavor".

    Teacher "differential pay"?

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board:

    Teachers must be an integral part of the planning for differential pay. They are the ones who can speak directly to the incentives that would entice the best teachers into some of the most challenging classroom situations. And while pay is one major component, it is not the only one. After all, if teachers were in it solely for the money they would choose another career. So pay should be combined with other incentives that ensure success at high-needs schools.
    "Reform teacher pay".

    Spring safeguards

    The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board argues that "the state has done a poor job of safeguarding springs. State officials don't have a reliable inventory of freshwater springs, including those on private land. And even when spring protection makes headlines -- as with the high-profile attempt to set minimum flow levels at Blue Spring -- regulation bogs down in public controversy and bureaucracy." "Florida too slow with spring safeguards".

    Fingerprinting caregivers

    "Florida task force considers fingerprinting caregivers".


    "Rock mining that environmentalists say threatens to pollute water supplies and hamper Everglades restoration can expand to more western farmland, Palm Beach County commissioners decided Thursday." "Environmental concerns fail to stop expanded rock mining in Everglades Agricultural Area".

    UF backtracks

    "University of Florida President Bernie Machen said Thursday he was withdrawing a plan to eliminate faculty sick leave payouts while also considering ways to boost revenue such as expanding online classes and increasing the number of out-of-state students. Faculty members had been paid for accumulated sick leave when they left the university and had overwhelmingly opposed eliminating the perk as a budget-cutting measure. Machen cited that opposition in telling the Faculty Senate he was pulling back the plan." "UF won't eliminate faculty sick leave payouts".

    Death politics

    Raoul G. Cantero III, a former state Supreme Court justice appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush and Mark R. Schlakman, senior program director for Florida State University's Center for the Advancement of Human Rights are a bit late to the game in an Orlando Sentinel guest piece this morning; better late than never, one supposes: "Three years ago, the American Bar Association released a Florida Death Penalty Assessment Team report that raised serious concerns about the state's death-penalty process. Since then, neither state government nor the Florida Bar has done much to remedy the problems."

    The alarming backdrop is that Florida has exonerated more death-sentenced inmates than any other state since 1973. One inmate was exonerated after he died of cancer on death row.

    One of the report's major recommendations embraces a Florida Supreme Court opinion that called upon the Legislature to revisit the state's death-penalty statute. The report, like the opinion, observed that Florida is the only one of 35 death-penalty states that allows a jury to decide that aggravating factors exist and to recommend a sentence of death by a majority vote. Despite the court's strongly worded opinion, the Legislature has been unresponsive.

    ... Charlie Crist has voiced opposition to the recommendation.

    The report also expresses concern about socioeconomic and geographic bias ...

    Another issue was that the legal representation in post-conviction proceedings in death-penalty cases is often abysmal. The report attributed this in part to the fact that a state office that handled such matters in the northern region of Florida was disbanded as part of a pilot project when Bush was governor.
    "Death-penalty process needs reform".


    "U.S. Senate hopeful Meek adds endorsements from Sink, former quasi-rival Brown".


    Paul Flemming: "Citizens Property Insurance policyholders — and there are more than a million of you out there — have new premiums heading their way after three years of frozen rates." "Citizens rate change is more political than practical".

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