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 Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Diaz-Balarts bail on Crist

    "Lately, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has been having a tough time in his bid for U.S. Senate, and things just got worse."
    U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart confirmed Tuesday he and his brother, U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, have rescinded their endorsement of Crist for the Republican primary.
    "Fla. congressmen rescind Crist endorsement".

    Sansom jammed

    "A budget document clearly links Rep. Ray Sansom to a Panhandle college's $6 million airport project and a statement from an official raises new questions about Sansom's ties to a private developer and major political donor."

    You know things are getting dicey when your lawyer resorts to this:

    Sansom's criminal defense attorney has said there is no evidence Sansom opened the message, though Sansom regularly used e-mail to communicate.
    "New info undercuts Sansom defense".

    Greer wigs out

    "Republican Party of Florida Jim Greer, under fire from GOP discontents trying to oust him from his post, removed the party’s grievance chairman Tony DiMatteo from the committee set to deal with a complaint about the party infighting."

    Greer accused dissidents of "treason," "slander" and "libel" in a letter to party leaders.

    In the letter, Greer, handpicked by Gov. Charlie Crist, warns he won’t back down from his leadership spot despite efforts by what he calls Marco Rubio backers to get rid of him.

    Greer flexed his political muscles this year when he tried to use a parliamentary procedure to hamper former state House Speaker Marco Rubio’s candidacy to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez. Crist had jumped into the Senate race in May, garnering Greer’s support immediately.

    That transformed what had been a whisper campaign against Greer into a petition from some party faithfuls to get Greer to resign.

    Not going to happen, Greer said in the letter.
    "Greer accuses dissidents of treason, slander and libel".

    Charlie's "muddled stats"

    "Crist says Florida has a good story to tell when it comes to K-12 education. ... Does Crist have the rankings right?"

    Christopher B. Swanson, director of the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, the not-for-profit organization that publishes Education Week, says Crist is referring to overall rankings for 2008 and 2009. But there is no overall ranking for 2007.

    That's because the publication never produced one, Swanson says.

    What was graded and ranked in 2007 are two specific categories, Chance For Success and K-12 Achievement. Those categories were then folded into the overall calculations and rankings for later years, Swanson said. Put another way, the 2007 rankings measured A and B, while the 2008 and 2009 numbers measured A, B, C, D, and so on.

    Crist shoehorned the numbers together.
    "Gov. Charlie Crist's education claim compares apples, oranges".


    "The four candidates for U.S. Senate affirmed their support for democratic reforms in Cuba and took a tough line on American policy toward the island nation. " "Florida's U.S. Senate candidates unified on Cuba". See also "Senate hopefuls hit the stump on Cuba policy".

    "Local-preference ordinances do more harm than good"

    The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board: "Local-preference ordinances appeal to local boosters, especially in economically tough times. The ordinances give local businesses an edge when bidding for contracts, even when their bids are higher than those of out-of-town companies. ... For all their appeal, those local-preference ordinances do more harm than good. Taxpayers should not have to pay more for a service just to favor a local company. It penalizes all to benefit very few on the assumption that supporting a local business helps the economy. The assumption is short-sighted and parochial." "Taxpayers before bidders".

    Revolving door

    "Dale Brill, director of transportation, tourism and economic development for Gov. Charlie Crist, is leaving to serve as president of the Florida Chamber of Commerce Foundation." "Gov. Charlie Crist aide departing to be Chamber chief".

    Union's are terrible things ...

    ... Just ask Mike Thomas: "Florida teachers union trying to block $700M in federal education grants".

    Sink's "reform push seems to have hit a political roadblock"

    The Orlando Sentinel editors: "With more than $100 billion in investments, Florida has the nation's fourth-largest pension fund. For the nearly 1 million public employees and retirees counting on the fund — and the taxpayers who would cover any shortfalls — Florida can't afford anything less than strong supervision."

    The Florida State Board of Administration manages the pension fund and other investment accounts. Responsibility for supervising that state agency, however, comes down to just three politicians who serve as trustees: Florida's governor, chief financial officer and attorney general. In that current trio, only CFO Alex Sink, a former banker, has a private-sector financial background. But it's easy to envision a scenario where none of the trustees knows a stock from a bond.

    Ms. Sink has been calling for better oversight of the agency since a crisis two years ago exposed serious management problems. Her proposals include adding a trustee with investment expertise and one enrolled in the pension plan as an employee or retiree. But her reform push seems to have hit a political roadblock.

    The Democratic front-runner for governor in 2010, Ms. Sink hasn't won over Attorney General Bill McCollum, the leading Republican candidate for governor. Nor has she convinced Gov. Charlie Crist, who is seeking next year's GOP nomination for U.S. Senate.
    "Protect state funds".


    The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "A Guatemalan dishwasher can claim vindication in his four-year legal fight against the U.S. government over seizure of his life savings, after a federal judge heeded an appeals court ruling and reversed himself." "Illegal whose $59,000 was confiscated still may get cleaned".

    Puffing Dockery

    "State Sen. Paula Dockery has been the face of opposition to Central Florida's commuter-rail ambitions for the past two years. Now she wants to be known as something else: governor." "Paula Dockery making 'outsider' bid for governor".


    "The next two presiding officers in the Florida Legislature, Sen. Mike Haridopolos and Rep. Dean Cannon, flew into town this morning to announce they would stage a two-day jobs summit in Orlando next month to focus on what the state could do to speed up economic recovery." "Haridopolos and Cannon call a jobs summit, won’t comment on Greer’s". See also "State leaders plan conference on job creation".

    Home resales skyrocket

    "Home resales in the South skyrocketed last month as first-time buyers hurried to grab an expiring federal tax credit while exploiting low prices and mortgage rates."

    Here are some highlights:

    - Orlando, Fla.: This tourist mecca experienced two extreme swings in November. Sales doubled from last November, the biggest gain among Southern cities in the AP-Re/Max report. (Jackson, Miss., had the smallest sales gain at 15 percent.)

    Meanwhile, the Orlando median sales price dropped by a quarter to $123,250, the steepest price decline among Southern metro areas in the AP-Re/Max report.

    Homes priced $200,000 and below sold quickest in November, fueled by first-time buyers and investors, said Les Simmonds, president of L.G. Simmonds Real Estate Corp. in Orlando.

    "If you have something in the low price range, your telephone will ring," Simmonds said.

    Still, prices could keep sinking because of consistently heavy foreclosure inventories, which have driven down property values in Orlando as well as in Miami and Tampa.

    "That's the kicker: It's almost like you feel you are getting somewhere, then there's always something to hold you back," Simmonds said.

    - Miami: This sunny metropolis saw the median sales price decline 23 percent to $152,000, but affordable prices for houses and condos helped spur a 59 percent sales increase from last November, the AP-Re/Max report showed.

    Foreign investors and buyers looking for bargain foreclosures boosted sales for Ralph De Martino, owner of Ocean International Realty in Miami Beach. De Martino has presided over six deals since the start of November.

    "Business has been pretty good - very good, actually," De Martino said.
    "Home resales skyrocket in South".

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