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 Saturday, October 31, 2009

Crist, Rubio race "suddenly sizzling" and nasty

    "An anonymous Web site aimed at embarrassing Republican Gov. Charlie Crist's political rival appears to have backfired after one of Crist's top political advisers admitted that he helped develop the site."
    This latest twist in a suddenly sizzling primary race is at least the second time Rich Heffley, a powerful Republican political operative, has assisted a shadowy political group on behalf of Crist. ...

    [T]he campaign for Republican Marco Rubio — a former state House speaker hoping to become the first Floridian in modern state politics to hand a primary defeat to a sitting governor - is questioning whether Heffley would have inserted himself into the U.S. Senate race without consent from Crist's campaign or the Republican Party of Florida.

    "Certainly this doesn't pass the smell test," Rubio campaign spokesman Alex Burgos said.

    Heffley said neither the campaign nor the party was involved - their participation probably would have violated federal campaign laws, a legal expert said.

    Heffley said he is not being paid by the Crist campaign. He has received about $250,000 from the state Republican Party this year, but a party spokeswoman said it was for work related to state House and Senate campaigns, not Crist's U.S. Senate campaign.

    Heffley said he helped someone else create the site, TruthAboutRubio.com, after an anonymous YouTube video surfaced last Saturday casting Crist in the role of Hitler during the collapse of the Nazi regime. Rubio quickly condemned the video, a spoof of the 2004 movie Downfall [see The Charlie Crist video Marco Rubio says you shouldn't watch].
    "Political operative linked to Crist, state GOP admits helping create anonymous anti-Rubio site".


    Update: It's a go: "State Sen. Paula Dockery will announce next week that she is running for governor, multiple Republican sources have told The Ledger." "Dockery to Announce Run for Governor".

    "State Sen. Paula Dockery will announce a decision next week on whether to enter the governor race and won't comment on the accuracy of a news report that she'll announce she's running." "Dockery decision near".

    Shoulda signed that card ...

    "Miami-Dade Mayor Alvarez announces cuts for non-union workers".

    Gub Candidates talk agriculture

    "Voters won't cast ballots for Florida's next governor for another year, but the race to succeed Charlie Crist is already considered one of the nation's hottest. So the two major party frontrunners weren't going to miss the chance for some face time with leaders of the state's multi-billion dollar agriculture industry."

    Conservative political commentator

    Susan MacManus, a political science professor at University of South Florida, said national interest in the race is fueling the busy pace of campaigning by the two frontrunners.

    Polls show the two candidates running closely and "it's already been tagged as perhaps the most interesting and significant (race) of 2010," she said. Florida voters' selection of Democrat Barack Obama as president last year after voting Republican in every presidential election since 1976 have "people wondering if Florida is going to stay (a blue state) or if it was an aberration.
    Ag industry hears from gubernatorial hopefuls".

    Hurtin' gators

    "Florida voters want offshore oil drilling, oppose a 'public option' for health insurance and overwhelmingly support a gambling agreement with the Seminole Tribe, according to a new Miami Herald/St. Petersburg Times/Bay News 9 poll."

    The common link among the three issues: the economy.

    A full 44 percent of Florida voters said their personal financial situation worsened in the past year. Just 7 percent said it improved, and 48 percent said it stayed the same in a state racked by record unemployment, home foreclosures and budget deficits. By double-digit margins, Florida voters also believe the state and nation are on the wrong track.

    With numbers like that, oil drilling is no longer a killer in Florida politics. And even the religious right supports a Seminole gaming deal -- favored by 59 percent of voters overall -- to bolster the state budget.

    Healthcare ranked as the top concern, with 39 percent of voters saying it was most important to them. The No. 2 issue: unemployment, at 19 percent.

    Yet 47 percent of voters said they opposed a health insurance "public option'' proposed by congressional Democrats, who say it will increase coverage and lower skyrocketing insurance costs. Just 40 percent of Florida voters said they favored a public option.
    "Poll: Economy colors Florida voters' top concerns". See also "Healthcare, jobs are top concerns for Florida voters, poll finds".

    I got mine

    "In a state where 20 percent of the population is uninsured, voters are opposed to a major Democratic plan to provide more health care coverage, according to a Miami Herald/St. Petersburg Times/Bay News 9 poll."

    About 47 percent oppose the so-called ``public option,'' while 40 percent support the proposal to provide a government-run insurance plan.

    Voters opposed the public option in every area of the state except one: South Florida. There, 54 percent favor the proposal and only 37 percent are opposed. The area with the strongest opposition: Southwest Florida, where 30 percent support the proposal and 50 percent oppose it.

    The telephone survey of 600 registered voters was conducted Oct. 25-28 for The Miami Herald, St. Petersburg Times and Bay News 9. The poll was done by Schroth, Eldon and Associates, whose clients primarily are Democrats, and the Polling Co., which mainly works with Republicans. The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.
    "Poll: Floridians oppose public option for healthcare".

    Thank you, Mr. Obama

    "Palm Beach County, Martin, St. Lucie get $208 million federal lift". See also "U.S. jobs report initially finds few in Manatee" and "State's Stimulus Jobs at 29,322".

    "Florida's 'failing grade'"

    Howard Talenfeld, president of Florida's Children First, statewide child advocates.

    Florida's "failing grade" on a national report card this month should serve not as a sign of defeat but a commitment to improve the way the state serves juveniles in the state welfare system. The grade, issued by First Star, a nonprofit group that litigates and advocates on behalf of children, and the Children's Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego School of Law, ranked all 50 states on the protections of the legal rights of abused and neglected children.
    "State failing in legal rights of its children".


    "House committee deciding on Sansom case".

    Ag race

    "Seven men with varying backgrounds and experience who reside across the state from the Panhandle to South Florida, have one goal, to be elected commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services in 2010."

    And then there's the "Howdy Doody Looking Nimrod":

    U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam, R-Bartow, cited obligations in Washington, D.C., and sent a 10-minute video introducing himself to the 400-plus farmers and ranchers in attendance.
    "Farm group hears candidates".

    "Global warming deniers' facts aren't cool"

    The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board: "Judging from a series of press reports lately, global cooling has returned."

    A spell of global cooling would be welcome, especially in light of the past few days' record-breaking temperatures in Central Florida. A spell of honesty from deniers would be more welcome. There's always room for skepticism on global warming. Questioning the obvious is inherent to good science. Distorting the obvious is not. That's more the specialty of ideologues and pressure groups, especially those mobilizing against bills in Congress that would tackle carbon emissions and tax abusers. Coastal Floridians have a direct stake in the debate if a warmer planet's rising seas lead to the remapping of two of the state's biggest economic engines: tourism and real estate.
    "False hope on climate".

    Brilliant mistake

    "A new state law designed mainly to crack down on Medicaid fraud is having unexpected consequences by keeping some health care professionals from getting or keeping their licenses at a time when the state is suffering a shortage. A little-noticed provision in the 160-page measure is preventing doctors, nurses, pharmacists, lab technicians and others licensed by the state from working in Florida if they have old felony convictions for fraud or drugs." "State law worsens medical staff shortage".

    Rail standoff

    The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Leading state politicians say that Florida really, really wants the latest high-tech stimulus plan goodie - high-speed rail. Like a spoiled child who won't clean his room to earn the reward, however, Florida refuses to do what the state must do to get the prize. The standoff threatens a $2.5 billion project and all the jobs that would come with it." "Turn $2 into $2.5 billion".

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Getting light rail out of the station".

    HD 78

    "Chiropractor Steven Perman, who lost Democratic state House District 78 primaries to Richard Machek in 2006 and Kevin Rader in 2008, said [yesterday] he’s running for the seat again in 2010 with Rader leaving to run for state Senate." "Will third time be a charm for Dem state House hopeful Perman?".

    "Poor leadership"

    The Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "Debt collectors turn bullies" ("Poor leadership from McCollum and Sink.")


    "Wexler, D-Boca Raton, has set his resignation for Jan. 3 at 11:59 p.m. in a letter this week to Gov. Charlie Crist, who will set a special election to fill the last year of Wexler’s term." "Wexler sets Jan. 3 resignation date in letter to Crist".

    "At a historical crossroads"

    This by Joe Cardona in the The Miami Herald today:

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Latinos, this country's fastest growing minority group, make up 15 percent of the U.S. population. Census projects the total number of residents and citizens who identify themselves as Hispanic-Americans will double by 2050.

    Locally the Latino explosion is nothing new. In Miami Dade County Hispanics are 62 percent of the population -- the majority of them of Cuban descent. Miami is to Cubans what Atlanta, Washington and New Orleans are to African-Americans. Because of the distinct and plentiful café windows scattered throughout Little Havana, we can call Miami, Café con Leche City. ...

    From the inception of the Cuban Adjustment Act, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1966 for a plethora of political reasons, Cuban exiles have received preferential treatment over other immigrant groups. Nowhere is this difference more evident and divisive than in Miami where thousands of other immigrants also struggle to gain permanent residency or citizenship in the United States and live the famed American dream.

    As Cuban Americans we now face the challenge of being the majority in Miami. With majority status comes responsibility and an obligation to care about problems and challenges faced not only by Cubans but by everyone who shares this sacred land of freedom.

    Half a century into the Cuban-American experiment, we have made many contributions to the United States and find ourselves at a historical crossroads.

    On Tuesday, Miami will hold an election for mayor. The two leading candidates were born on Cuban soil.
    "Cubans' legacy at stake".

    Cretul's "grandstand play"

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Florida House Speaker Larry Cretul's call for the federal government to fine or shut down games at the Seminole Indians' casinos is highly unorthodox and a bit of a grandstand play." "Cretul rolls the dice".

    Here's an idea ...

    ... stop voting for RPOFers. "UCF student leaders urge students to find ideas to save Bright Futures".

    The The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Paying the price of delay" ("Sticker shock could have been avoided if Tallahassee hadn't put off tuition increases.")

    Never mind them oil slicks

    "For years, Texas has relied on scientists and technology at Texas A&M University to track oil spills, forecast where they are headed and minimize the damage they cause. In St. Petersburg, the University of South Florida's College of Marine Science operates the same kind of program. But that program relies on federal funding that has slowed to a trickle - just as Florida leaders talk seriously about opening up Florida's Gulf of Mexico waters to offshore drilling, as close as three miles off the beach." "USF program to track oil spills falters".

    Raw political courage

    "Lawmakers announced Friday that they will be filing a bill that would require the state to revoke or deny operating licenses for pain clinics operated by convicted felons." "Fla. lawmakers propose banning felons owning pain clinics".

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