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 Thursday, June 17, 2010


    "Alex Sink may be hoping to boost in her campaign for governor by naming a running mate early, and speculation among her backers is focusing on former state Sen. Rod Smith."
    Sink filed her qualifying papers for the office Wednesday morning, and is expected to be the only politically prominent candidate in the Democratic primary.

    Her campaign has been contacting key supporters for advice on a candidate for lieutenant governor, a step usually taken later on in the race.

    Because Sink is the presumptive nominee, party activists said, there's no reason she shouldn't act quickly.

    "You get two for the price of one – two people raising money, two people giving speeches and contacting voters," said Democratic strategist Screven Watson.

    Former University of South Florida President Betty Castor, a close Sink political ally, said she didn't know what candidates were being considered, but, "I know there's some conversation going on, and the fact that they're beginning the process now suggests they're leaning toward an early pick."
    "Sink considers naming running mate early". Related: "Alex Sink Files Her Paperwork for Governor Run" and "CFO Sink makes her candidacy for governor official".

    "From hug to embrace"

    "A Republican no longer, Gov. Charlie Crist just can't seem to get enough of President Barack Obama or Democratic priorities. The independent is behaving more like the independent he is in Florida's wildly unpredictable Senate race, standing with the president, courting organized labor and vetoing legislation to ban embryonic stem cell research at the state's universities."

    "Looking to cobble together a broad coalition of voters, including Democrats and independents, Crist has:"

    —Vetoed a bill that would have required women to get an ultrasound before having an abortion, a move that upset many Republicans.

    —Cozied up to labor unions, teachers unions and trial lawyers.

    —Told the St. Petersburg Times that he is willing to consider overturning a Florida law that bans gays from adopting.
    "From hug to embrace, Crist acts like independent".

    Scott allegation

    "[T]he claim that a man died at one of the company's hospitals after being turned away was new to us. Could it be true?"

    On the day he died, Anguiano was found unconscious on the lawn of a hotel and taken by ambulance to Columbia Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas. Meyer gave him a full physical, but decided against further tests, according to court records. Anguiano had not eaten in three days and had been drinking and smoking marijuana. He was given some juice and crackers, and hospital security escorted him out. He was found dead on the hospital grounds two hours later.

    Hospital officials said Meyer treated Anguiano for roughly seven minutes, which violated hospital rules, according to court records.

    Meyer was suspended. She sued the hospital and lost. The Nevada Supreme Court eventually concluded the hospital acted with the reasonable belief that it was furthering quality care.
    "Ad attacking Rick Scott as hospital boss stretches truth".


    "In court, attorneys for the men emphasized that the project was a legitimate and routine expenditure for college classrooms as well as a staging area for emergency operations during hurricanes, not an airplane hangar for one of Odom's businesses, as the state claims. The state says Odom needed hangar space to store airplanes for his company, Destin Jet." "State attorney calls Ray Sansom case one of 'theft'".

    "Former Florida House Speaker Ray Sansom and two co-defendants charged with grand theft were back in court [yesterday] to ask a judge to dismiss the case against them. State Attorney Willie Meggs, meanwhile, wants Circuit Judge Terry Lewis to send the case to a jury and set a trial date. Lewis heard arguments for more than two hours Wednesday, but did not rule. He refused last month to dismiss charges of grand theft and conspiracy against the men." "Ex-House speaker Sansom wants corruption charges dropped". See also "Defense lawyers in Sansom case seek dismissal".

    RPOF's Mendelsohn mess

    "Federal prosecutors have added five criminal tax charges to the indictment of Dr. Alan Mendelsohn, a Broward County eye doctor and political power broker."

    In the newest charges, filed Tuesday, Mendelsohn is accused of failing to report on his tax returns about $715,000 he received from 2003 to 2006 — money that Mendelsohn took from political funds under his control and spent on himself, his mistress and his children's education, prosecutors say.

    Mendelsohn, 52, a Republican fundraiser who served on Gov. Charlie Crist's 2006 gubernatorial transition team, already faces 32 charges of fraud and lying to federal agents.
    "One of the biggest donors to Mendelsohn's committees was Joel Steinger, the former head of the Mutual Benefits insurance company, who is himself facing fraud charges. As part of his scheme, prosecutors say, Mendelsohn convinced Steinger that he could use his influence with the governor to upend an investigation into Mutual Benefits. Steinger gave about $1.5 million to the political committees."
    More arrests are expected as part of a wider influence-peddling investigation, prosecutors have said. One likely target: former state Democratic lawmaker Mandy Dawson, who is suspected of receiving $87,000 from Mendelsohn through a one-time Dawson campaign aide, according to sources familiar with the case.

    Agents are also investigating Tallahassee lobbyist Stephen D. Hull, who helped create and manage the political committees along with Mendelsohn.
    "GOP power broker Alan Mendelsohn faces more charges in corruption case".

    South Florida ports' business surges

    "After a dismal 2009 -- a year those in international business say they'd prefer to forget -- trade through South Florida ports is showing double-digit growth in 2010 as the economies of Latin American trading partners revive." "Trade surges 18% through South Florida ports".

    Mitt strives for relevancy

    "Romney, introduced as “hopefully” the next president, raises money for State Sen. Thrasher".

    "Shame! Shame!"

    "Police waded through a crowd chanting 'Shame! Shame!' and 'The banks got a bailout! The people got sold out!' to evict three families from a low-income apartment complex in Miami’s Liberty City yesterday. Miami police also arrested a housing activist and a tenant for interfering with the evictions." "Crowd protests Miami evictions it claims are illegal".

    "Enough to sink Alex Sink"

    Ron Sachs, director of communications for the late Gov. Lawton Chiles from 1992-96, writes this morning that: "Florida's stunning 2010 leadership turnover will bring a new U.S. senator, governor, attorney general, chief financial officer and commissioner of agriculture. Dual-edged voter emotions — anger about the status quo and near-comatose boredom with existing campaigns perceived to lack passion, ideas and momentum — are the formula for a revolution in our strangest-ever political year."

    But the real Florida excitement is in the governor's race, where the picture is even murkier. The Democratic front-runner, CFO Alex Sink, could become our first woman governor, but her path is blocked by Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum, anointed by no less than former Gov. Jeb Bush. McCollum is behind in his own party, however, from a relentless paid air-war assault from the right by former health care executive Scott.

    The real wild card is Lawton "Bud" Chiles III, who has never held elective office (though neither did Jeb Bush) but whose family pedigree and name already register at 19 points in a recent Quinnipiac poll. Voicing strong ideals and policy ideas, Bud is running as an independent because he says no one's speaking about the most important issues, such as children's health and the toxic effect of too much money in the political process.

    There are terrible twin ironies for Bud Chiles. The first: No one is likely to hear his good message absent a well-funded campaign, which he is too late and too disinclined to mount. You can rail against the power of money — but not raising or spending it makes you a coffee-klatch candidate.

    The second irony is even worse for this Lawton Chiles — and the Democrats. With such a late entry, rather than becoming a new generation political messiah, Bud Chiles is better positioned to become the Democratic Party's pariah.

    Despite his good name and good intentions, Chiles has a better chance of winning the title of "2010 spoiler" than being elected governor of Florida. His candidacy would win the votes of some Democratic and independent voters, and the math of his campaign surely adds up to a victory — but most likely for the Republican nominee, either McCollum or Scott.

    This late in the game, a Chiles candidacy could not be enough to elect Bud Chiles, but it would be enough to sink Alex Sink.
    Much more here: "Chiles' candidacy is part of a strange year".

    Adverse possession claims

    The Sun Sentinel editors: "In a state known for shady land deals and dubious get-rich schemes, should anyone be surprised that a centuries-old legal doctrine has become the latest fraud in the housing crisis? From selling "valuable" swampland to claiming ownership on foreclosed property, how far has Florida really come?"

    Not very — so Florida can now boast of a new scheme that has squatters, swindlers, trespassers and other ne'er-do-well low-lifes trying to gain control of abandoned property. A Sun Sentinel examination found that in recent months, adverse possession claims have been filed on about 200 homes in Broward and Palm Beach counties.

    Adverse possession dates back to the English Renaissance, when squatters were allowed to take over abandoned farms if they were willing to live there, work the property and pay taxes on it. In Florida, the doctrine is still used to recycle abandoned property or settle boundary disputes, but there's a seven-year waiting period in which the owner loses the rights to the property because of a failure to pay taxes and liens.
    "An age-old concept brings Florida a new wave of shady land deals".

    "Strange Bedfellows"

    "Bill McCollum's offensive against Rick Scott's well-publicized "mistakes" at Columbia/HCA is shining a light on McCollum's own health-care record in Congress." "Scott, McCollum: Strange Bedfellows on Health Care".

    FCAT follies

    "A pair of Senate Democrats Wednesday called on the State Board of Education to investigate delays in the scoring of the state’s FCAT tests and its contract with test assessment company NCS Pearson." "Senate Dems Want FCAT Contract Query".

    Spending by Scott may give rivals additional public funding

    "Millions of dollars have already been spent during Florida's wild election season and tens of millions will likely be spent between now and November. But who could be footing a big part of the bill? Florida taxpayers." "2010 campaign may cost taxpayers more".


    "Florida's elected chief financial officer said Wednesday that the state should explore selling off its 15 million shares of plunging BP stock, although she stopped short of saying it should definitely dump the holdings." "Florida owns 15 million BP shares; CFO Sink says state should weigh selling".

    See also "Tar balls discolor waters off Okaloosa County" and "Escambia Co. continues to bear brunt of spill in Florida".

    Trapping tourists

    "City voters could cast ballots for Mary Jane come November should a budding effort to decriminalize marijuana possession in the city gain traction." "Campaign underway to decriminalize marijuana in Miami Beach".

    "Not as bad as Detroit"

    "South Florida among areas hardest hit by recession ... but not as bad as Detroit".

    Now OK to fly Spirit again

    "Spirit Airlines made a deal with its pilots on Wednesday that will end their strike, and the airline said it would fly again starting Friday. ... Spirit carries roughly 16,000 passengers per day, or about 1 percent of the nation's air traffic. Its biggest hub is in Fort Lauderdale, with flights to U.S. cities including Detroit and Atlantic City, N.J., as well as the Caribbean and Latin America. Spirit is privately held and based in Miramar, Fla." "Spirit Airlines make a deal to end pilots' strike".

    "How quaint, how yesterday"

    "George W. Bush and Karl Rove showed the power of old-fashioned, shoe leather campaigning in 2004 with an army of volunteer door knockers and phone bankers. Barack Obama built on their lesson in 2008, building a massive, volunteer-driven campaign in every neighborhood in every swing state — and some not-so-swing states."

    How quaint, how yesterday.

    Look at the political landscape in America's biggest battleground state in 2010 and it's clear nothing beats the power of blitzing the airwaves with TV ads.

    Two complete unknowns — Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Greene and Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott — are leading contenders thanks entirely to spending millions on carefully scripted, focus-grouped ads airing in every corner of Florida.
    "Power of TV driving Florida's elections this year".

    A Hillsborough thing

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Hillsborough County commissioners Wednesday took the difficult but necessary step of firing Administrator Pat Bean but then, incredibly, decided to bring County Attorney Renee Lee back to work." "A necessary firing, curious rehiring".

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