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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, April 13, 2010

Jebbites marginalized

    The Jebbite attack on teachers appears to be backfiring. See "Teachers union leads fight against bill". Even "Jeb!" sycophants are backpedaling. Consider Mr. Rubio's proto flip-flop.

    Here's the flip: "A political strategist for Marco Rubio said this weekend that’s Rubio is 'absolutely' in favor of Senate Bill 6, the bill to abolish teacher tenure and base pay largely on test results." Here's the flop: "But Rubio himself, in a Tampa radio interview Monday morning, wasn’t so sure. In fact, he declined to say whether he’d sign or veto the bill." "Rubio now can't say if he would sign teacher bill".

    The backstory from William March in today's Tampa Tribune: "The battle over the teacher tenure bill is the latest in a long-running war between the Florida teachers union and conservative Republicans."
    Led by former Gov. Jeb Bush, the conservative side of the GOP has long sought to marginalize teachers' unions in Florida, which merged in 2000 to form the Florida Education Association.

    Non-partisan but Democratic-leaning, it is Florida's largest and most politically powerful union, with about 140,000 members, including 100,000 of the state's 175,000 public schoolteachers.

    Bush wanted to be known as Florida's "education governor," but his reform proposals, including private school tuition vouchers, more standardized testing and state-mandated merit pay plans, have put him at odds with the FEA. He has openly expressed his desire in the past to undercut its clout.
    "Jeb Bush leads move to marginalize teachers union". See also "One special ed teacher's fears about SB 6" and "Tenure bill opposed from all quarters".

    Sickout strategy successful?

    "In the most dramatic show of opposition in the state, more than 6,300 of Miami-Dade's 21,260 public-school teachers took a personal or sick day Monday to protest controversial legislation that would overhaul their pay."

    Though schools remained open and were staffed by substitute teachers, the "sickout'' -- though most teachers said they took personal days -- was large enough to disrupt the day for thousands of schoolchildren.

    Later, more than 1,000 teachers gathered at Tropical Park in Westchester to drive the point home.

    That Monday's protest took place in the diverse, largely low-income Miami-Dade school district -- the state's largest -- was enough to catch the attention of Gov. Charlie Crist, who has until Friday to sign or veto the bill.

    "I ran to be the people's governor and it's very helpful to hear from the people,'' Crist told The Miami Herald on Monday. "It's enormously helpful.''
    "Thousands of teachers take part in sickout".

    Here's a shocker from the union haters on The Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "'Sick out' poor way to express anger".

    Tea Partiers have Crist's back on veto?

    "As leader of a Tea Party group deep in the Florida Panhandle, Henry Kelley would appear to have nothing in common with a teachers union known as a loyal ally of the Democratic Party. But Kelley and the Florida Education Association agree on one thing: The teacher-pay bill known as Senate Bill 6 is a bad idea."

    Kelley, who has a master's degree in finance and lives in Fort Walton Beach, said he opposes the bill because of its top-down nature: It would empower the education bureaucracy in Tallahassee, instead of elected local school boards, to write rules for a teacher-pay program.
    "Tea Party opposition to a Republican-sponsored teacher-pay bill has caught the attention of Gov. Charlie Crist and his advisors in his race for the U.S. Senate."
    That could be significant, because it could provide even broader cover for Crist to veto the bill: He could point out that opposition runs the gamut of the political spectrum.

    Crist received a resounding welcome from child advocates at a dinner Monday in Tallahassee, and 17-year old Miami-Dade high school student Michelle Ruiz pleaded with Crist to veto the bill. The governor said his skepticism about the bill is not related to his U.S. Senate aspirations, and he had some blunt words for his critics.

    "I always try to listen to the people regardless,'' Crist said, "and if they can't respect that, tough.''

    Organizations and individuals that support the bill have begun bracing for a Crist veto. They include former Gov. Jeb Bush, the state Department of Education, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Florida Chamber of Commerce, and Associated Industries of Florida.

    Attorney General Bill McCollum, a Republican candidate for governor, supports the bill. His primary rival, Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, does not. Crist's opponent for the Republican nomination for Senate, former House Speaker Marco Rubio, also is a supporter [but see "Rubio now can't say if he would sign teacher bill"].
    "Vetoing teacher bill might aid Crist's Senate bid". See also "Crist says he tries to listen to people, and people are telling him to veto teacher bill".

    Tally Update

    "2010 Legislature summary".

    Grayson on fire

    "U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson continues to convert his fiery partisan rhetoric and populist political stands into big campaign dollars."

    The often-polarizing Orlando Democrat expects to report raising $803,000 in the first three months of 2010, a haul that will likely eclipse what all his Republican opponents have raised combined and leave him with $1.5 million in cash-on-hand. It's also enough to outpace nearly every other member of Congress for the second quarter in a row.

    "Congressman Grayson is proof that you do not need to suck up to lobbyists and Wall Street to be effective," said Julie Tagan, a senior adviser. "He is the epitome of people power."
    "Grayson has another huge fundraising quarter".

    Voucher madness

    "A school voucher proposal the Florida Supreme Court took off the 2008 ballot has been revived in the Legislature. ... It would repeal a ban on state financial aid to churches and other religious institutions." "Voucher amendment revived in Fla. Legislature". See also "In Tallahassee today, separation of church and state".

    Rubio rolls for votes

    "Rubio hopping on political tour bus to cruise for votes".

    RPOFers look to gut FairDistricts

    "Senate Republicans want to put another amendment before voters to either clarify FairDistricts', or to gut it, depending on whom you believe" "Senate may put redistricting amendment on ballot in addition to FairDistricts group's".


    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Slush fund veto shouldn't be last word".

    He writes phony books instead

    "Amid repeated revelations of massive credit card spending by Florida Republican leaders and party staffers, here's something different: someone who did not ring up six-figure charges on his credit card. State Sen. Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, charged less than $2,400 during the three months he had a party American Express -- most of it on food for fundraising events in his hometown, according to credit card statements obtained by the St. Petersburg Times." "This senator wasn't a big spender".

    "Jeb!" lapdogs rush to his defense

    Mike Thomas loves to publish Jebbie's press releases in the form of columns. The latest: "Jeb Bush hurt education in Florida? Hardly".


    The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Protect homeowners' rights: Keep judges in charge of foreclosures.".

    Bright Futures

    The Sun-Sentinel editors: "Justifiable changes could be coming to Bright Futures".

    Tea baggers hit Orlando

    "Scores of American flags and "Don't Tread on Me" banners flew outside Orlando City Hall, where more than 1,000 people gathered Monday evening to oppose "Obamacare," taxes and government intervention in their lives. ... Speakers also included Dr. Jack Cassell, a Mount Dora physician who gained nationwide attention for advising patients who voted for Obama to seek care elsewhere." "Tea Party activists rally outside Orlando City Hall".

    "The mess unfortunately could get considerably worse"

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Cleaning up the mess at the agency that regulates the state's utilities should be easy. But because the Legislature's doing the cleaning, the mess unfortunately could get considerably worse." "Public shorted in Public Service Commission bout".

    "Medicaid reform on steroids"

    "A House panel voted overwhelmingly Monday to put Medicaid reform on steroids, approving a massive overhaul that over the next five years would force the state's 2.7 million patients into some form of a managed care." "Fla. House panel approves major Medicaid overhaul".

    Raw political courage

    "State prosecutors would get new tools to crack down on corrupt government officials who hide financial interests that result in private gain from their public jobs under a bill unanimously passed by a Senate committee Monday." "Anti-corruption bills get unanimous support in Florida Senate committee". See also "Anti-corruption bills win Senate committee approval".

    They want theirs

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Keep ads, notices in papers".

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