FLORIDA POLITICS
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 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 Monday, March 15, 2010

Is Obama creating "a hostile Florida"?

    "When President Barack Obama revealed his plan for the nation's space program, he turned to Buzz Aldrin to explain the new direction, one imagined as more innovative and ambitious."
    But Obama sparked a scathing backlash in Florida. The entire congressional delegation is fighting to preserve an iconic industry with a major presence in the state.

    The battle reached such a pitch last week — with politicians stoking fears about thousands of lost jobs and the Russians and Chinese overtaking our cosmic might — that Obama said he will travel to Florida on April 15 to explain himself.

    "I'm not sure he's got a vision at this point," said Sen. Bill Nelson, who has chastised the White House for "huge mistakes" in rolling out the plan. "They would not listen."

    Unless Obama makes some changes, Nelson said, "he's got a hostile Florida."
    "Obama's NASA plan agitates Florida".

    And that doesn't include the growing anger among Florida's teachers, who are astounded that Obama's education agenda includes proposals on teacher tenure and merit pay as the RPOFers now have in Tally (see below); similar proposals resulted in "the mass firings and school closures Education Secretary Arne Duncan oversaw when Duncan was in charge of Chicago public schools." However,
    a recent assessment [of the Chicago experience] found that many students were shuffled into classrooms and schools that performed just as poorly under the high-stakes testing regimen.
    One wonders what part of Obama's Florida constituency he will slam next.


    DMS on way out?

    "Searching for money to patch holes in the state budget, Florida legislators have squeezed everything the Department of Management Services does. This week, a Senate committee will go after the department itself." "Senate panel eyes DMS for dismantling".


    Another editorial board ...

    ... jumps on the TaxWatch bandwagon: "Florida TaxWatch ideas provide an opportunity for Gov. Crist, too".


    As the unemployment lines grow ...

    ... RPOFers work to appease their base voters, and it ain't pretty: "Creating jobs and cutting spending may be lawmakers' declared priorities this spring, but that has not dissuaded some conservatives from filing a raft of proposals relating to abortion and the unborn."

    About half of the bills come from legislators running for re-election, in a year when Tea Party activists and other GOP malcontents are challenging candidates to prove their conservative credentials. At least one bill was scheduled for a hearing early in the session, by a Republican committee chairwoman who is running for governor.

    John Stemberger, of the Florida Family Policy Council, said he's delighted to see this year's show of anti-abortion initiatives. Lawmakers' votes and sponsorship of at least some of the bills, he said, will factor prominently in the guide to political candidates his organization compiles each year for socially conservative voters.
    "Several abortion bills await in Tallahassee".


    Backward on education

    Republican lawmakers in Tallahassee are proposing

    legislation to revamp how teachers are evaluated, paid and fired -- in what could be Florida's biggest education overhaul in a decade.

    The plan would eliminate "professional services'' contracts -- what some people informally call tenure -- and tie half of teachers' pay to student performance on the FCAT and end-of-course exams.

    Florida would be the first in the nation to hinge so much of an educator's salary on student performance, and one of just a handful of states that do not award multiple-year contracts to teachers with classroom experience.
    Much more here: "Florida teachers' pay faces big overhaul".

    The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board has this for us today: "Who said this?"
    It starts with trusting local people to make the right decisions for their schools. I strongly believe in local control of schools.
    "If you guessed former President George W. Bush, kudos. Bush -- like other national leaders in the first part of the decade, waved the flag of increased local governance of public schools, and a waiver of top-down education mandates."
    But that principle has collided with hard times in Florida. Legislators warped the practice of education by mandating high-stakes testing as the chief measure of student achievement, and piled on mandates ranging from flags in classrooms to publicly funded vouchers for many parents who want their children in private schools.

    The micro-management may hit a peak, however, with legislation being rushed through the Senate. Under SB 6, filed by state Sen. John Thrasher, R-Jacksonville, school districts will lose part of their state funding and be forced to raise local property taxes if they don't adopt the state's test-intensive philosophy toward evaluating teachers (and firing those who don't perform inside those narrow standards.)

    If Thrasher's legislation becomes law, local school officials would be forced to use rigid criteria to evaluate teachers -- even if the principals and superintendents who directly supervise those teachers think they're doing a good job.
    And let's not forget this:
    Florida legislators aren't the only ones who find teacher-bashing fashionable: President Barack Obama made a similar proposal as part of his education plan -- based on the mass firings and school closures Education Secretary Arne Duncan oversaw when Duncan was in charge of Chicago public schools.
    More: "Anti-teacher tack".


    Tax incentive insanity

    "State lawmakers have floated more than $160 million in tax breaks this session to entice everything from the film industry to commercial space ventures, biotechnology firms and a host of other companies to spend more money, buy more equipment or hire more workers. They even want to help Orlando land an NBA All-Star Game by making the tickets tax-free." Read the rest of it here: "GOP: Let computer justify tax incentives".


    "Strange political season"

    "'They voted for somebody they'd never heard of in Barack Obama because he ran on the platform of a very devoted centrist.' That's the answer from Marco Rubio when asked about his stunning rise to national prominence as a Republican challenger to a popular Republican officeholder in the key electoral state of Florida. Underlying this strange political season, says Mr. Rubio, is the president's rapid uncloaking in office as anything but the postpartisan that voters thought they had elected." "Why Marco Rubio Is Running for Senate in Florida".


    Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

    "There's been a lot of speculation about when Jeb Bush will finally make his preference official and endorse Marco Rubio for the Senate. But it strikes us that Rubio is better served for now with the popular ex-governor continuing with his current role: ostensibly neutral and taking increasingly tough shots at Charlie Crist from the sidelines." "Bush keeps Crist in his gun sights".


    From the "values" crowd

    "About 100 Holocaust survivors living in Palm Beach County are among the elderly who could wind up in nursing homes if state lawmakers approve proposed budget cuts to senior services this week." "Proposed budget cuts threaten in-home services for seniors".


    Information filters

    Bill Cotterell: "State employees are still afraid for their jobs if they talk about what goes on in their offices. Most state agencies have rules that everything — everything — goes through their public-information offices." "Open government doesn't need a filter".


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