Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


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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, July 08, 2010

Greer "to put Florida Republican Party on trial"

    Greer's lawyer, one Cheney Mason
    plans to put Florida Republican Party on trial, announcing this week that he basically will burn the party to the ground if that's what it takes save his client.

    If Greer is a scoundrel, says Mason, then he was a scoundrel among scoundrels. He did nothing that party leaders didn't know was being done.

    To prove it, he plans to drag them in for depositions. The list includes Attorney General Bill McCollum, future House Speaker Dean Cannon and party Chairman John Thrasher. Gov. Charlie Crist, who appointed Greer but has since abandoned the party, also may be called. All are running for offices.

    Mason says the questioning begins in about two weeks. Their testimony could be released before the August primaries.

    "Some inconvenient truths are likely to come out in depositions,'' Mason says. "I know any elected public official who throws rocks better make sure he is not living in the proverbial glass house.''

    That could be a bluff. But his strategy reinforces the story line of Florida Democrats this campaign season. One-party rule has turned the Republicans into an arrogant, corrupt bunch. Greer was not some party outlier but was the epicenter of their polluted universe.
    And then there's this: "Several top elected officials and party staffers spent lavishly on trips, meals and perhaps personal expenses."
    Federal investigators are doing an investigation into this, according to the St. Petersburg Times and Miami Herald. That includes the IRS, which reportedly is looking into whether former House Speaker Marco Rubio used his Amex for personal expenses, making it unreported income.

    If Rubio is charged, that would end a fairy tale Senate campaign that has captured the imagination of conservatives nationwide. It also would end any hope the Republicans have of winning Florida's U.S. Senate seat.
    "And don't the Democrats just love a good 'you're sleazier than I am' exchange between Republicans."
    There also was a signed severance agreement between Greer and party leaders that stated all expenses, including fundraising, incurred by Greer were "proper and authorized and otherwise ratified'' by the party.
    "Mike Thomas: Will Greer's lawyer be political party pooper?"

    Scott claims public funding violates his free speech

    "Rick Scott, the deep-pocketed Republican front-runner for governor, is suing the state in an effort to prevent his personal wealth from helping his primary rival, Attorney General Bill McCollum."

    Scott filed suit in U.S. District Court in Tallahassee Wednesday challenging part of Florida's public campaign financing system known as the "millionaire's amendment.''

    The provision lets traditional candidates such as McCollum get tax dollars to subsidize their campaigns when they are being vastly outspent by independently wealthy candidates like Scott.

    Scott must agree to limit his campaign expenditures to $24.9-million in the primary or else the state will give McCollum $1 for every dollar Scott spends over the cap. As Scott inches ever closer to that total, his lawsuit argues that the cap is a violation of his First Amendment rights because it restricts his free speech by benefiting his opponents' speech.
    "Scott sues to block public funds for McCollum".


    Howard Troxler has a little fun with "Fictitious E-mails Concerning the State Pension Fund". "Dear Ash: Can I have some of the pension fund, too?".


    "Scroll through Craigslist in cities along the Florida Panhandle and in Alabama, and dozens of ads appear with offers for expensive training guaranteed to net jobs cleaning up oil. Not all the jobs are real. Not all the training is legitimate." "Out of the gushing oil, the scammers swirl".

    "Crist heads to Lake Talquin State Forest this morning to oversee the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s release of a flock of the latest victims of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill catastrophe." "Wildlife officials to release waterfowl in Lake Talquin State Forest".

    See also "Appeals court to hear drilling moratorium case", "Beach cleaners only skimming oil off surface sand", "Holes in the safe-drilling theory" and "Nelson: BP money on the way".

    Medicaid fraud

    "Florida is close to a data-mining agreement with the federal government that will make it easier to combat Medicaid fraud, Attorney General Bill McCollum said Tuesday." "Agreement will help state fight Medicaid fraud".

    Construction work

    "Idea for new Miami Convention Center gains support".


    "New legislation aims to light a fire under Florida's lukewarm recycling efforts. Blending a market-based approach with more rigorous reporting requirements, House Bill 7243 aims to move the state closer to its 75 percent recycling goal by 2020." "Florida Tries to Grow Recycling Market".

    "Algal blooms in the St. John’s River"

    "Algal blooms in the St. John’s River are killing dozens of fish and possibly other animals, and some activists are pinning the blame on nutrient runoff from large companies like Georgia-Pacific and JEA. But the Environmental Protection Agency has made little headway in the effort to regulate the level of nutrients in Florida waters, and some Florida politicians have even sought to block any new controls from coming online." "Nutrient standards for Florida waters remain in limbo".

    Charlie's "no Bobby Jindal"

    "When Charlie Crist appeared on a Pensacola beach with President Barack Obama last month, there was no hug."

    Yet the widely publicized photo op didn't mean Floridians were embracing their "independent" governor, either.

    Conventional wisdom in the media suggests that Crist has raised his profile, and his popularity, amid the oily mess spewing in the Gulf. Recent polls showing him retaking the lead in the U.S. Senate race point to the governor's role in protecting Florida's shores. A cartoon in the Miami Herald even showed him walking on water while a marooned Marco Rubio looks on.
    "Politics of Gulf Oil Spill: Charlie Crist's Tar Baby".

    Kagan support could cost Crist

    "Crist, who has long courted a reputation as a gun rights supporter, has ended up on the opposite side from the nation's top gun rights group on the Supreme Court nomination of Elena Kagan."

    So far, Crist hasn't said whether he'll change his stance in favor of the nomination now that the National Rifle Association has come out opposed to it.

    Crist took his stance in May, well before the NRA's announcement last week of its opposition to Kagan.

    In an interview Wednesday, former Florida NRA President Marion Hammer, one of Florida's top gun rights advocates and a longtime supporter of Crist, criticized his position and hinted it could cost him support in his U.S. Senate campaign.

    Republican candidate Marco Rubio opposes the nomination. The two leading Democrats in the race, Kendrick Meek and Jeff Greene, favor it.
    "Crist, NRA at odds on Kagan's Supreme Court nomination".

    Wasserman-Rubin in a jam

    "The day after former Broward County Commissioner Diana Wasserman-Rubin turned herself in to authorities to face public-corruption charges, the Broward State Attorney's Office released documents showing how she repeatedly voted for county-funded grants authored by her husband." "State: County votes aided husband".

    Tracking mail ballots

    "Starting this month, election offices across the state are offering free, online services that track individual absentee ballots and provide specific voters' registration status, including their local polling place." "Where's my absentee ballot? Floridians can find out online".

    Budget blues

    "Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez, confronting the toughest financial challenge of his administration, proposed a 2010-11 budget Wednesday." "Miami-Dade budget proposal cuts 1,200 positions, holds property tax revenues flat".

    Retirement flood

    "State public employees flooding retirement program".

    So much for independent editorial boards

    The Sun Sentinel editorial board: "Pension plan will need creative adjustment". Ironic that: wasn't it just yesterday that the Tribune company slammed FRS in the Company's other Florida newspaper? See "Doubling down on pensions".

    Meek might not be such a long shot

    "Speaking to 175 supporters Wednesday night at Temple Emeth west of Delray Beach, Kendrick Meek had a message for Florida Democrats: If he's the party's Senate nominee, defeating Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio might not be such a long shot." "Meek tells west Delray crowd he can defeat Crist, Rubio".

    No furloughs

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "The Pinellas County School Board has better options to balance the budget than job furloughs, a shortsighted, one-time quick fix that does not address the district’s long-term problems. Furloughs are the easy way out, and the pain they would create for thousands of teachers and other workers would not result in better policy or firmer financial footing." "School furloughs not the answer".

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