FLORIDA POLITICS
Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary

 

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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 Sunday, April 04, 2010

Crist's "wrenching decisions"

    "Crist will soon confront a set of wrenching decisions that challenge his priorities as governor and something just as important: his desire to be Florida's next U.S. senator."
    Crist, who has the last word on most legislative actions, faces a clear choice with four weeks left in his last session as governor: He can ratify Republican proposals on education, property insurance, political fundraising and the budget, or use his veto pen to beat down party orthodoxy and revive the "people above politics'' populism that got him elected in 2006.
    "Gov. Crist faces fight of political life".

    Jane Healy: "Now that the Florida U.S. Senate race between Gov. Charlie Crist and former state House Speaker Marco Rubio seems to be in full swing, it's time for a few don'ts in the interest of Florida voters."
    1. Don't make the race a replay of the Fox News debate. ...

    2. Don't avoid the real issues. ...

    3. Don't sell Florida short.
    See what she means here: "Here are 3 big don'ts for Crist-Rubio fracas". See also "In praising Rubio, Giuliani exacts revenge on Crist" and "".


    The wacky urologist

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "You could hardly blame patients for wondering what motivated Jack Cassell to become a doctor. To heal the sick? Sure, as long as they agree with his politics." "Politics and docs".


    "Poverty of both revenue and courageous ideas"

    The Tallahassee Democrat editors: "It's now wait-and-see time for the public, state employees in particular, as the Florida Legislature sends its appropriations wizards into conference. For the next couple of weeks they'll arm wrestle over differences in the state budget, a ragged document revealing the state's poverty of both revenue and courageous ideas." "Our Opinion: Short-term, short-sighted budgets rule".

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "About the best thing you can say for Florida's House and Senate spending plans is they're nearer to reality than the starry-eyed budget Gov. Crist dropped on the public in February. The next best thing you can say is they're a long way from being done deals." "Session 2010: A better way to spend".


    Teacher bashing continues

    "Teachers and their unions have been circulating petitions against the measure, making picket signs and holding rallies and demonstrations. They've flooded the Florida House with e-mails and so many calls that extra lines were put in and additional staffers assigned to answer the phones. ... The largely partisan debate is over a bill (SB 6) sponsored by Sen. John Thrasher of St. Augustine, who also chairs the Florida Republican Party."

    And isn't this nice: "It's supported by GOP luminaries such as Gov. Charlie Crist and former Gov. Jeb Bush, who has remained a force in education policy debates through his Foundation for Florida's Future, and by business organizations including the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Florida." "Emotions high over Fla. teacher pay, tenure bill".

    Actually, its all about bashing teachers and their unions; after all, unions tend to support Democrats. As Scott Maxwell recently wrote:

    Florida has one of the worst-funded school systems in America.

    Compounding the problem is the contempt Republican legislators have for teachers. That's right — teachers.

    Sure, they'll try to tell you they just hate the unions. But who do you think comprises the union? It's your son's math instructor, your daughter's music teacher — and their soccer coach.

    Underpaid educators have become the enemy.

    In fact, the overall demonization of the working class is one of corporate America's most successful coups within the GOP — a party that once [back in the 1800s] championed the rights of the common man.
    Maxwell continues: "Nowadays, union-bashing isn't simply a plank in the GOP platform; it's the foundation.".

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "It is understandable that many of Florida's 170,000 public school teachers are outraged by this legislation. Teachers would give up tenure and clear rules on certification renewal without any certainty a new system would evaluate their performance honestly and fairly. By rushing these changes through the Legislature, Republican lawmakers are making enemies". See also "Teachers setting up for a fight on merit pay Monday in House" and "".


    So much for clean energy

    "In the last legislative session before his death, state Sen. Jim King tirelessly pushed for an energy compromise to reduce the amount of dirty fuel the state uses to produce electricity."

    He called it "visionary'' and predicted it would spawn jobs in the growing alternative-fuel industry. It passed in the Senate, 37-1, but died in the House.

    This year, environmentalists and green companies are urging the revival of the Jacksonville senator's vision from 2009. But with four weeks left of the legislative session, the prospects have vanished for a renewable-energy standard that would force the state to clean up the way it produces power.
    "Clean energy movement stalled in Florida Legislature".


    Early voting begins

    "Early voting starts Monday in special election to replace Wexler".


    "Hard to imagine"

    "It is hard to imagine what 'Walkin' Lawton' Chiles would make of today's campaign for U.S. Senate between Gov. Charlie Crist and former House Speaker Marco Rubio." "Chiles' walk still carries lessons for state politics".


    Robbing the courts' trust fund

    The Miami Herald editorial board: "As foreclosures continue to rattle the state's economy, Florida's courts are drowning in such disputes -- while facing little sympathy from Tallahassee."

    Cuts for the judiciary, which has been underfunded for years, cannot continue. Some legislators have been tempted to rob the courts' trust fund, which experienced a $130 million surplus this fiscal year, to pay for other unrelated state programs. That remains a danger as legislators, reconciling House and Senate versions of their budget proposals, eye the trust fund to plug part of a $3 billion hole in the state budget.
    "Don't steal from Florida's judiciary".


    No runoffs

    Mary Ann Lindley: "The most important and yet most choice-limiting decisions of this election year in Florida will be on Aug. 24, date of the Democratic and Republican party primaries."

    Since 2002, we haven't had runoffs in which the top two vote-getters square off for a party's nomination. So it's winner-take-all — yet that isn't really representative of the voters' will. ... Doing away with party runoffs, a GOP concept, was a ridiculously restrictive plan in some ways, a brilliant political strategy in others.

    It can save campaigning money and the costs of holding elections. But it also discourages citizens from participating as voters because it limits our choices — turning more of us into armchair spectators.
    "Reform the primaries and untie our hands".


    "A rare display of discord and disintegration"

    Aaron Deslatte: "Looks like Florida Republicans and ex-state party Chairman Jim Greer will be playing Deal or No Deal all the way to the fall elections."

    Greer's lawsuit also says the criminal investigation into his financial dealings with the state party "may encompass" House Speaker-designate Dean Cannon, Senate President-designate Mike Haridopolos and party Chairman John Thrasher, who along with Attorney General Bill McCollum were key players in forcing Greer out of office.

    To sum up: The Republican Party of Florida is basically accusing Greer of criminally concealing his personal benefit from a fundraising contract he secretly signed with a company in which he secretly owned a 60 percent stake. In response, Greer's lawyer is accusing the RPOF of a "political vendetta" to avoid paying him under the terms of the severance deal party leaders offered in January.

    This can only get worse. ...

    It's a rare display of discord and disintegration with the once-disciplined party machine. And Greer's lawsuit seems certain to keep alive the issue of the behavior of party leaders.

    This fall, we'll see whether it costs the party a lot more than some "hush money" and dinner tabs.
    See what he means here: "Aaron Deslatte: Ex-Florida GOP chief could damage party leaders".


    "Crist and McCollum sit idly by"

    Scott Maxwell: "Crist and McCollum sit idly by, focused on their quest for higher office. Fortunately, the candidates vying to replace Crist and McCollum have vowed to be more vigilant." "Will Florida lawmakers help imprisoned innocents?".


    Ferre

    "This underdog bid to overcome Meek and then take on whoever emerges from the Republican primary slugfest between Gov. Charlie Crist and former House Speaker Marco Rubio is driven by Ferre's belief that smart, centrist ideas and a generous dose of moxie generate more traction than monied campaigns. After making the rounds at condos, Democratic clubs and civic organization meetings in South and Central Florida, Ferre said he senses voters are so disenchanted by incumbents that they just might give him a shot." "Maurice Ferre, former insider, now an outsider in race for U.S. Senate".


    So much for the "backlash"

    George Bennett: "Health care backlash doesn't bring big bucks for GOP candidate Lynch; Deutch has 13-to-1 money edge".


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