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
"every political insider should be reading right now."

E-Mail Florida Politics

This is our Main Page
Our Sister Site
On FaceBook
Follow us on Twitter
Our Google+ Page
Contact [E-Mail Florida Politics]
Site Feed
...and other resources


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.


Older posts [back to 2002]

Previous Articles by Derek Newton: Ten Things Fox on Line 1 Stem Cells are Intelligent Design Katrina Spin No Can't Win Perhaps the Most Important Race Senate Outlook The Nelson Thing Deep, Dark Secret Smart Boy Bringing Guns to a Knife Fight Playing to our Strength  

The Blog for Thursday, October 22, 2009

LeMieux embarrasses himself, Crist and Florida

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "In his initial floor speech, LeMieux opted for partisan rhetoric over honest debate about the growing federal deficit."
    Florida's junior senator squandered a golden opportunity to use the bully pulpit he'll command for just 16 months.

    Wednesday, he sacrificed candor in a predictable play to a partisan constituency. He reasonably equated Congress to a family who recklessly relies on credit cards to pay the bills. But he implied the runaway spending stems from Democratic control, ignoring that it began under President George W. Bush.

    LeMieux really lost the high ground when he bragged that Crist and the Florida Legislature have cut spending by nearly 10 percent, or $7 billion, to balance the budget. LeMieux's omission: This year's state budget was balanced only because of $5 billion in federal stimulus dollars and $2.2 billion in new taxes and fees.
    "Newest senator takes low road".

    Laff riot

    "Will McBride looking at challenging Alan Grayson".

    "Rubio has sliced into Gov. Charlie Crist's lead"

    "A Rasmussen poll of Florida voters released [yesterday afternoon] finds Crist with 14 point lead over Rubio in a GOP primary, down from 22 points in August. Rasmussen has Crist leading Meek by 12 points (compared to 20 points in the Quinnipiac poll). And while Quinnipiac gives Meek a 36-to-32 percent lead over Rubio, Rasmussen finds Rubio beating Meek, 46-to-31 percent." "One day, two polls, two views of potential Rubio-Meek Senate matchup".

    Jim Saunders on yesterday morning's Q-Poll: "Former state House Speaker Marco Rubio has sliced into Gov. Charlie Crist's lead in the 2010 Republican primary for a U.S. Senate seat -- though Crist continues to hold a double-digit advantage." "Poll: Rubio cuts Crist's Senate lead". See also "Poll: Gap narrows in GOP Senate race", "Polls: Rubio gaining on Crist in GOP Senate race", "Poll: Marco Rubio cutting into Charlie Crist's lead" and "Marco Rubio has cut Charlie Crist's lead in GOP Senate race by half".

    As Charlie campaigns ...

    ... "Florida among states with highest unemployment".


    "Hoping to score another point in the healthcare debate, U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson took to the House floor on Wednesday to promote a website that aims to memorialize Americans who die because they don’t have health insurance."

    But the new site – called namesofthedead.com – has sparked a backlash among Republican operatives who allege that the Orlando Democrat violated House ethics rules because the new website also links to Grayson’s campaign website, where visitors can volunteer or donate money.

    Within minutes of the speech, another front opened in the ongoing feud between Grayson and the GOP that started weeks ago when the bombastic lawmaker said the Republican plan for healthcare was for sick patients to simply “die quickly.”

    "Let them file a complaint. I’m sure I’ll be vindicated," said Grayson, who noted that he paid for the website out of his own wallet. He said the GOP allegations were a "stretch" and that they were distracting from the issue of health care reform.

    No complaint yet has been filed.
    "Republicans cry foul over Grayson's new website". See also "Congressman launches site to honor uninsured dead".


    "The Florida House of Representatives declared an impasse Wednesday in gambling talks with the Seminole Tribe of Florida and asked the federal government to stop casino games on the tribe's reservations."

    After decades of fights in the courts and halls of the Legislature, a clear agreement between the state and the tribe over its games seemed closer than ever this year.

    But as the two sides squabbled over money, the tribe has continued to offer blackjack and baccarat at casinos while House Speaker Larry Cretul insisted that the Seminoles lacked the authority to do so.
    "House asks federal government to halt Seminole casino games". See also "House speaker wants slots, card games closed", "Cretul asks federal government to close Seminole casinos", "Seminole gambling deal could be dead" and "Speaker: Penalize the tribe".

    Howard Troxler asks "What's behind the opposition?", and comes up with this:
    Here are various explanations I've heard:

    (1) Believe it or not, some leaders of the Legislature still have a principled concern about expanding gambling.

    (2) Some lawmakers are offended that the Seminoles have already expanded their games despite the court case. (On Wednesday, House Speaker Larry Cretul asked the feds to shut down those games.)

    (3) Some legislators are interested in protecting Florida's struggling (but politically powerful) dog and horse tracks against competition — and some even want to open them to casino-style gambling, which would mean no exclusive rights for the Seminoles.

    (4) Here's the most cynical explanation of all: Because some legislators would like to drag the thing out into an election year so they can put the squeeze on all interested parties for campaign contributions. (Me, I would never say such a thing.)
    Read it all here.

    "With oil rigs faintly visible in the background"

    "Speakers such as Jose Gonzalez, lobbyist for Associated Industries of Florida, disputed the contention that drilling destroys beaches, viewscapes and coastal tourism. To make his point, he displayed a photo of happy tourists frolicking on the beach in Santa Barbara, Calif., with oil rigs faintly visible in the background." "Drilling foes address House". See also "Oil drilling debate starts at Capitol". Related: "Alabama, Texas oil revenues below Florida estimates".

    One more

    "Florida is expected to gain only one new congressional seat, instead of two previously forecast." "Florida Expected To Get One New Seat in Congress".

    "Corporate jets and helicopters"

    "After taking the Public Service Commission to court to keep its executive pay confidential, Florida Power & Light agreed to halve the amount of executive salaries and bonuses paidfor by its electric customers. The salary decision was the second major concession FPL made on Wednesday as hearings resumed on its request to raise rates by $1.3 billion a year -- or 30 percent -- starting in 2010. The company also agreed customers should not have to pay for the company's corporate jets and helicopters for two years, a reduction of about $15 million, reducing the total requested increase $52 million to $1.25 billion."

    The PSC has ordered FPL to make public the salaries and titles of the 419 employees who earn more than $165,000 but the company has refused and appealed the ruling to the First District Court of Appeal.

    FPL argues that disclosing the salary detail would put it at a competitive disadvantage.

    Under questioning from attorneys for the commission and other parties, [Kathleen Slattery, compensation director for FPL] acknowledged that of the 419 employees with salaries over $165,000, 27 received the equivalent of at least half their base salary in bonuses last year.

    Slattery said that because of the economic downturn, FPL cut back on its incentive pay in the fall of 2008. She acknowledged that in 2009, FPL executives are entitled to a 25 percent bonus based on performance goals -- including the successful completion of the rate case.
    "FPL to cut wages paid for by customers". More: "FPL knocks $53 million off rate increase, meaning customers won't pay for exec's planes, some bonuses" and "Five FPL execs earned more than $1 million in 2008; one earned $7.5 million-plus".


    "Dems running for Florida attorney general mostly agree on issues".

    "Cases like this can create unpredictable political fallout"

    Mark Lane writes that "in corruption-rich South Florida, there was the 32-count federal indictment of Alan Mendelsohn handed down at the end of September."

    Mendelsohn is from the shadowy world of, well, ophthalmology. He's raised millions for political campaigns and was politically connected enough to be part of Gov. Charlie Crist's gubernatorial transition team.

    And he bragged about his ability to buy influence in Tallahassee. Bragging that turned up on FBI recording equipment.

    The charging documents said he ran three corporations and three political action committees to move money around covertly. Money that often landed in his personal bank accounts. Money that went to a mistress's expenses, children's tuition and even SAT-prep courses, according to the 30-page indictment.

    Prosecutors charge that Mendelsohn was ripping off a guy who in turn had been ripping off people through a Ponzi scheme. That he was shaking down would-be influence buyers.

    Which is reassuring. People who believed they were buying influence and bribing politicians ended up doing no more than subsidizing a lobbyist's mistress's lifestyle. Kind of restores your faith in the system.

    Mendelsohn's trial is slated for May, which could put it uncomfortably close to the summer's primaries. And cases like this can create unpredictable political fallout.
    "Political corruption how grand will this grand jury be?".

    "Call it ObamaRail"

    Joel Engelhardt: "With the call by Senate President Jeff Atwater for a special legislative session on commuter rail, an issue that has been shuffled and shunted for years has reached crisis stage." "Runaway political train".

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "A special December session of the Legislature is being pushed by Gov. Charlie Crist and Senate President Jeff Atwater to show the Obama administration that Florida is serious about supporting rail transit. ... All indications are that a key factor in winning the competition for a share of $8 billion for high-speed rail will be a commitment to funding local and regional rail projects. Florida's risk in convening the Legislature is that lawmakers will send Washington the wrong message. That could spell disaster." "Make a smart bet on a fast train".

    Mike Thomas has more: "There's nothing like stimulus dollars to stimulate choo-choo mania. And so here we go again with three train proposals coming down the track. Call it ObamaRail, the result of an $8 billion pot of money set up to fund high-speed train projects. That has created an immediate scrum among the states anxious to get a piece of it." "How far will this latest run for trains take us?".

<< Home