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, February 12, 2010

Lincoln Diaz-Balart retires

    "Florida Republican Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart will call it quits today, retiring after nine terms representing a heavily Cuban-American district in the Miami area, according to a source briefed on the decision."
    Diaz-Balart has held the 21st district since 1992 when it was created in redistricting following the 1990 census. Diaz-Balart had few competitive races but in 2008 Democrats targeted him and former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez raised and spent better than $1 million. Diaz-Balart, however, tripled that spending and won easily 58 percent to 42 percent even as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was carrying the district by a far more narrow 51 percent to 49 percent margin.

    The seat -- thanks to the Republican lean of most Cuban Americans -- favors the GOP. Although McCain won narrowly, George W. Bush carried the district with 57 and 58 percent in 2004 and 2000, respectively.
    "Lincoln Diaz-Balart to retire". See also "U.S. Rep. Diaz-Balart won't seek 11th term", "Lincoln Diaz-Balart won't run again" and "U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart will not run again".

    All in the family: "Within minutes of his announcement, Diaz-Balart's younger brother launched a campaign to run for office in the more Republican-friendly congressional district."
    Mario Diaz-Balart's seat, in turn, quickly piqued the interest of a number of state legislators and Miami-Dade officials.

    To the list of marquee statewide contests on the 2010 ballot, add a spirited congressional race in South Florida. At least five of Florida's seats in Congress are expected to change hands.

    "Seats are going to be open and that gives a chance to other public servants to run,'' Mario Diaz-Balart said. "It opens the door for new blood.''

    Mario Diaz-Balart -- whose anemic fundraising for his reelection had sparked rumors of his retirement -- called his brother's seat a "natural move,'' noting that he has represented many communities in the district and that he would also represent a slice of Broward County, where he was born.
    "Lincoln Diaz-Balart's exit sets off political scramble". See also "" and "Cuba issues define Diaz-Balart's legacy".

    Now she's shy

    "Sarah Palin will make two high-profile, big-ticket appearances in Central Florida during the next month — but she doesn't want any media coverage." "Sarah Palin to speak in Daytona Beach, at Orange County GOP event -- but media glare isn't welcome".

    "Toughen ethics standards"

    The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Clean up Tallahassee, too: Toughen ethics standards for politicians statewide".

    Outa here

    "The poor economy was cited as the main reason why Florida is the only state with fewer undocumented immigrants now than 10 years ago." "Economy pushing many from Florida".

    "e-mail is as dated as Florida's open-record laws"

    The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board: "In the world of electronic communications -- a world of micro-blogs, Twittering, texting, social-networking sites -- it's no longer an exaggeration to say that e-mail is as dated as Florida's open-record laws as they apply to electronic records."

    An elected official will readily accept that anything he writes in an e-mail about public policy is a public record. But some officials will bristle at the suggestion that their texts or Facebook postings should be open to public scrutiny, should those contain matters of public concern.
    "An open (Face)book".

    Daily Rothstein

    "Lawsuits aim to recover nearly $18 million paid to Rothstein's partners".

    Billy sittin' on his hands

    "Two Democratic candidates for attorney general are asking the current GOP officeholder to press for a state investigation into the use of credit cards at the Republican Party of Florida."

    Specifically, state Sens. Dave Aronberg, D- Greenacres, and Dan Gelber, D- Miami Beach, want the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate whether the state party got around a 2005 ban on gifts to lawmakers by handing out credit cards to them.

    The two legislators, each seeking the Democratic nomination for attorney general, sent a letter Thursday to Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum, claiming the weeklong series of media reports about lavish spending and secret fundraising deals by the party's former leaders "demand a criminal investigation" of the state GOP's spending practices.

    McCollum has been in the middle of attempts to deal with the party's internal scandals, as a candidate for governor and the de facto head of the party. He was a driving force in ousting former chairman Jim Greer and executive director Delmar Johnson after finding found out last month about a secret fundraising contract between the two.

    But on Thursday, he said any talk of an investigation should await the election of a new party chairman on Feb. 20.
    "Democrats seek criminal probe of GOP credit-card scandal". Background: "Florida GOP leaders question secret deal's legality".

    Never mind

    "Senate leaders backing off effort to replace consumer advocate".

    Clean water

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "The clean water standards the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed for Florida are good for public health and the state’s economy." "Cleaning up Florida waters can't wait".


    "A Republican U.S. Senate candidate, a Democratic Palm Beach County Commission candidate and the next Florida Senate President could all be forced to testify if a state House investigation into whether its former leader betrayed the public trust goes forward as scheduled." "Fla. House readies for potentially explosive hearing to decide fate of ex-Speaker".

    She's back ...

    "Donna Arduin, formerly budget director for ex-Gov. Jeb Bush and adviser to then-House Speaker Marco Rubio, will lead the new Senate Budget Office to shape state spending and economic policy." "Conservative budget adviser for Gov. Bush to head Fla. Senate Budget Office".

    Time to attack ...

    ... public employees. The Zell Corporation employees on The Sun-Sentinel editorial board go at it hard this morning: "Can't give state workers generous benefits while axing important programs for Floridians".


    "Florida's two most powerful legislators challenged the head of the FairDistricts Florida campaign Thursday to draw a legal congressional map under the terms the group's proposed constitutional amendment would require if passed." "Redistricting proposals under fire".

    "Nothing criminal"

    "Susan Bucher did nothing criminal under Florida's vague standards when she was a state legislator, state attorney's office says." "Supervisor's residency claims questionable".

    Voucher madness

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board is at it again: "Voucher bill will help kids, taxpayers".

    Death by government

    Paul Flemming: "Advocacy groups are calling for Gov. Charlie Crist to stay Grossman's execution and allow to be heard what they say is further, compelling evidence that Grossman should be punished with life in prison, not death. Grossman has a low IQ. His supporters say he is mentally ill."

    Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty is among those groups. FADP is consistent. With every execution, it raises its objections.

    The Florida Catholic Conference and the Roman Catholic Church bishops of the state always, without fail, contact the governor and oppose executions.

    Grossman's pending lethal injection is also opposed by The National Council of Young Israel, the Orthodox Union, Agudath Israel of America, the Israel Law Center and Lubavitch International.

    "I'm not clear on why this particular execution has brought so many people forward," said Mark Elliott, executive director of FADP. "It's hard to predict which executions are going to provoke an outcry and from whom."

    Elliott is not complaining.

    Neither am I, not yet.

    I've got my own reasons for being against capital punishment, as I'm sure the Jewish groups have theirs for opposing Grossman's execution.

    For one thing, I presume, he's Jewish. Representatives for the Jewish groups were set to hold a press conference after my deadline. Calls I made to various contacts for the groups were not immediately returned.
    "Grossman's pending execution draws unusual opposition".

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