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 Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sink releases energy plan

    "In Alex Sink's view of the future, homeowners could install rooftop solar panels and not pay higher taxes for lowering their electricity bills. Businesses could generate their own electricity. Innovative energy companies would flock to Florida and create jobs. And the state's giant electric companies would thrive as leaders in wind, solar and biomass energy but would not have to control the market."
    That optimistic portrait is painted by Sink, the state's chief financial officer and Democratic candidate for governor, in the energy policy she released Tuesday.

    Sink said the Gulf oil disaster underscored "the economic threat we face if we continue our over-reliance on oil,'' and she scolded the state legislature for allowing Florida to lag in renewable energy production and manufacturing.

    If elected, she said, she "will move our state decisively toward a more reliable, clean, and job-generating energy future.''

    Sink proposes a combination of fiscal incentives, policy shifts and regulations to broaden Florida's market for alternative fuels.

    Sink's energy plan pushes in directions that Gov. Charlie Crist and others have sought but failed to achieve from the reluctant Republican-led legislature.
    "Alex Sink unveils alternative energy plan". See also "Sink offers broad support for renewable energy".

    McCollum sticks his hypocritical hand in your pocket

    Scott Maxwell: "There's only one thing more annoying than the constant barrage of ugly ads you see each campaign season — and that's knowing you helped pay for them."

    That's right. You may be sick of watching Bill McCollum and Rick Scott beat the tar out of each other. But you're still helping fund the battle whether you want to or not.

    That's because McCollum decided to stick his hypocritical hands in your pocket.

    Yes, the same guy who's fighting health-care coverage for the uninsured recently filed paperwork requesting nearly $1.3 million in public money to finance his attack-based campaign.
    "Sick of nasty ads? Tough. You paid for 'em".


    "As the Obamas plan a family vacation to the oil-plagued Florida Gulf Coast, tourism leaders hope they pack their swimsuits." "Will president take a swim during visit to Gulf Coast?".

    See also "Oil-spill claims: Losses caused by public perception of oil rather than actual oil may also be covered", "Exxon Valdez expert Riki Ott tells Florida to dig in for a protracted legal, environmental battle", "Travel group seeks $500 million for Gulf tourism", "Fla. tourism official: hold media 'accountable'", "Give sea turtles a chance", "Oil spill response winding down" and "100 days of oil: Gulf life will never be the same".

    And then there's this: "A tow boat slammed into an abandoned well north of a bay already hit by crude from the Gulf oil spill, sending a plume of oil and gas spewing into the air". "Tug hits well near Gulf, sends oil spewing".

    "McCollum tries to set the record straight"

    "Attorney General Bill McCollum tries to set the record straight when it comes to his views on an Arizona-style immigration law in Florida." "Arizona-Style Immigration and the McCollum Conundrum".

    Boyd, Lawson pissing match

    "In separate meetings with the Tallahassee Democrat editorial board, the Democratic primary opponents accused each other of trying to mislead voters."

    Lawson said Boyd's television advertisements in their Democratic primary race for the Big Bend seat in the U.S. House unfairly allege that he "took $3 million from insurance companies" while voting in the Legislature for bills that led to insurance rate increases for homeowners and medical patients. Lawson said his earnings over nearly 30 years may have approached that amount, but that he sells life insurance — not property and casualty policies — and that rates are set by the Office of Insurance Regulation, not the Legislature.

    Lawson countered with accusations that Boyd has amassed $3 million of his own in a re-election fund built largely by corporate political-action committees and lobbyists, including oil interests. Lawson said BP is among supporters of the 2nd District congressman, who voted in favor of oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico.
    "Boyd, Lawson accuse each other of trying to mislead voters".

    "Ties to big-money South Florida interests"

    "As U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek continues his unexpected battle against billionaire Jeff Greene for the Democratic nomination in Florida’s U.S. Senate race, Democratic candidates — nine total — are duking it out in the race to claim Meek’s congressional seat. And, as new campaign finance reports reveal, the leaders in that race have numerous ties to big-money South Florida interests." "In race to replace Meek, vested interests spend heavily".

    "Attack after attack"

    "Down now even in his own polls, Bill McCollum launched attack after attack against primary rival Rick Scott on Tuesday, hoping something — anything — can convince Republican voters that the TV image of Scott won't be what Floridians get as governor."

    Among a volley of accusations at two separate Pinellas County events, McCollum said Scott plagiarized from McCollum's economic and jobs plan and is peddling an unrealistic and potentially devastating plan to cut the state Department of Corrections by almost 40 percent, or $1 billion. He also continued to pound Scott over his time as CEO of Columbia/HCA, saying Scott profited hundreds of millions of dollars by defrauding taxpayers through Medicare and Medicaid.
    "Bill McCollum lobs attack after attack at gubernatorial rival Rick Scott".

    Tuff guy

    "Trailing badly in the polls behind health-care executive Rick Scott in the fight for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, Attorney General Bill McCollum sought to reinforce his crime-fighting credentials". "Bill McCollum Back to Basics, His Law Enforcement Base, to Salvage Gov. Campaign".

    RPOFer laff riot

    "In the hotly contested Republican primary for attorney general, it doesn't take much to start controversy."

    Seeking to deflect Bondi's criticism of his connections to the trial bar, Kottkamp [who briefly worked for Morgan & Morgan] cited an e-mail written last fall by Billy Howard, 43, a member of the Morgan & Morgan firm, who once dated Bondi.

    In the e-mail, Howard suggested that Bondi hire the firm if she wins the race.

    "Told me at church today she will use us for consumer protection if she wins,'' Howard wrote on Nov. 22, 2009. "She plans to announce this week I think, but u would know more than me as usual.''

    Both Howard and Bondi now insist such a conversation never took place.
    "Trial lawyer's e-mail triggers controversy".

    Grayson opposes "tax cuts for the rich."

    The right-wingers at the Sunshine State news"Heading into the fall elections, congressional Democrats appear ready to let the Bush tax cuts expire at year end. That's going to be a tough sell on the campaign trail, even as populist Democrats try to fashion themselves as newborn deficit hawks. A one-year extension of the cuts would 'cost' the federal government $115 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Or, viewed from outside the Beltway, an extension of tax relief would save U.S. taxpayers $115 billion."

    Turning supply-side economics on its head, the Democratic majority [in DC], as of now anyway, insists that higher taxes will right the fiscal ship.

    Toeing the party line, Rep. Alan Grayson, a freshman Democrat facing a tough re-election fight in Florida's 8th Congressional District, stridently maintains that the Bush-era reductions were "tax cuts for the rich." He opposes any extension.
    "A Tax Time Bomb Ticks Away Under Democrats".

    Delaying EPA’s Numeric Nutrient Standards

    "Only weeks after reports surfaced that Florida U.S. Reps. Ander Crenshaw, R-Jacksonville, and Allen Boyd, D-Tallahassee, were attempting to introduce a rider that would essentially delay the EPA’s Numeric Nutrient Standards from taking effect, rumors of another rider have begun to circulate." "Environmental group alleges that another nutrient standards-blocking rider is in the works".

    Two peas in a pod

    "The detail from the campaign's 800-page report is a reminder of how close Greer and Crist were." "Crist campaign buys furniture and office gear from former GOP Chairman Jim Greer".

    Republican lobbyist at work

    "A 19-year-old Florida State University student says a Republican lobbyist conned him into sending mailers attacking Democratic congressional candidate Joe Garcia."

    The fliers, which try to tie Garcia to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, were sent by a political group recently formed by student Matthew Slider. But Slider said he never saw the fliers featuring Garcia's picture over a Cuban flag with the universal "no'' symbol over it.

    Slider had declined to comment on the mailer last week when a story first appeared in The Miami Herald.

    Then, over the weekend, he sent out a sworn statement saying he had been tricked by Tallahassee lobbyist Evan J. Power into believing he was helping the campaign of Luis Meurice, a lesser-known Democrat also running for the seat being vacated by Republican U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart.

    "Certainly this makes me look like an idiot,'' Slider said, adding that he felt badly that mailers with "racist overtones'' were sent out under his name. ...

    Power did not respond to the Miami Herald after he had asked that the newspaper e-mail questions. He told the Naples Daily News that someone had hijacked the group's name and that he was just as surprised as Slider to see the mailers. ...

    Power is also the ex-boyfriend of Erin Di Cesare, a former FSU student with no political background who was set up to front another political group that sent racially tinged attack mailers in 2009.
    "Sender of political attack mailers says he was conned".

    Class size

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board thinks the "Class size price too steep".

    From the "values" crowd

    "Volusia slashes school budget again".

    The "McCristums"

    Nancy Smith says,"take away those mostly physical differences and what you’ve got are Gov. Charlie Crist and Attorney General Bill McCollum -- the McCristums -- in so many other ways two peas struggling for political survival in the same illuminated pod. Bill and Charlie, Charlie and Bill. Year after year together. At least, that's the perception. And let’s face it, these two epitomize how perceptions get to be perceptions."

    Smith puts it this way:

    - Both are career politicians with law degrees

    - Both will make wildly outrageous, impossible statements

    - Both seem to adjust their ambitions upward every 2-4 years

    - Both use their offices to further their campaigns

    - Both are severely ethically challenged

    - Both have a Jim Greer problem
    "Meet the McCristums: Election Twins Joined at the Lip".

    On the road

    "On the fourth day of Rick Scott’s tour across the state of Florida, he made several stops in Jacksonville and surrounding areas, culminating in a Sunday visit to First Baptist Church." "Rick Scott offers stump speech rhetoric at Jacksonville barbecue". Related: "Should the GOP be afraid of this man?".

    "Aronberg rejects Gelber's call for 11 debates"

    "With less than a month until the primary election Aug. 24, Greenacres' Sen. Dave Aronberg shot down the idea of holding 11 debates with Sen. Dan Gelber of Miami Beach, his rival for the Democratic attorney general nomination." "Dem AG Candidates Joust Over Debates".

    Passing the buck

    "School burden is shifting in state".

    Surge in "no party" voters in Brevard

    "The latest voter registration numbers in Brevard County indicate a surge in 'no party' voters, a number that surpasses registering Democrats and nips at the heels of newly registered Republicans." "No-party voters step up in 2010".

    Country clubbers flex

    "The lead group fighting the proposed "Hometown Democracy" amendment collected a stunning $4.7 million between April 1 and July 16 compared to $138,573 for the group that put the measure on the ballot in November." "Hometown Democracy opponents raise nearly $5 million".

    Scott does not believe in global warming

    "Scott omitted the fact that he continues to leave the door open for offshore oil drilling -- despite a shift in public opinion that prompted top Republican state lawmakers to abandon the idea. ... Scott said he supports the development of alternative energy, but gave no details about what he would do as governor to boost the industry. Asked if he believes in global warming, Scott said no. "I have not been convinced,'' he said." "Rick Scott sidesteps oil drilling stance".

    McCollum's "murky political committees"

    "With the fate of Florida’s public campaign finance law before a federal court, Republican Bill McCollum’s campaign continues to work the margins with millions of dollars swirling around and passing between murky political committees." "With Public Cash in Doubt, McCollum Works Money Margins".

    Teachers pull their weight ...

    "Florida inched closer to winning millions of dollars in federal grant money for education. ... The competition, called Race to the Top, is part of the federal stimulus plan. It awards money to states that commit to four areas of education reform: raising standards, using data, improving teacher quality and turning around chronically failing schools."

    Before Florida applied for the second round, Crist assembled a group of superintendents, school board members, teachers, union representatives, parents and business leaders to find consensus.

    The working group, chaired by Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, developed a new application that found universal support.

    Florida's new application includes several controversial reforms, including merit pay for teachers. Previous proposals to base a portion of teacher pay on student test scores have been unpopular among educators. This plan, however, goes beyond test scores, taking into account poverty, language barriers, parental involvement and other factors that influence student achievement.
    "Florida a finalist in 'Race to the Top' education grants". See also "Florida gains finalist slot in second attempt to win 'Race to the Top' grants".

    ... Union haters foam at the mouth

    The union haters on The Orlando Sentinel editorial board, who one suspects have never attended a union meeting of any kind, are not loathe to attack anything any union ever does; here's yet another example: "The teachers union has made clear its self-interest in suing to block class-size referendum." "Looking out for No. 1".

    Jebbie's dead hand

    "Among those on the bus with Scott are Arlene DiBenigno, an adviser to former Gov. Jeb Bush and current Gov. Charlie Crist who also worked on John McCain’s presidential campaign, and Donna Arduin, who helped shape Bush’s economic agenda and now is doing the same for Scott." "On the Bus: Outsider Scott Has Insider Team".

    Teabaggers = GOPers

    "The 2012 presidential race may be two years away, but that’s not stopping tea party activists around Tampa, host city for the Republican National Convention, from getting prepared for it, even as they are fully engaged for the mid-term elections in November."

    Just across the bay in St. Petersburg, Largo, Clearwater and other locales, the Pinellas Patriots, an area tea party organization, hope to steer their country toward what they feel is the right track.

    "This is going to be a great opportunity," Eileen Blackmer, an organizer for the group said. "We’ll be meeting with party officials when they come here.” Members have already met with several notables this year, including former House Speaker and potential presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, who gave out his personal e-mail address for people to send him their thoughts and ideas directly. ...

    They’ve additionally met with mid-term election hopefuls such as Florida Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum. “The great part about this is that we don’t have to go to them, a lot of them are coming to us,” Blackmer said, adding that she expects even more courting from GOP candidates during the convention.

    Karena Morrison, coordinator for the Abigail Adams Project of Florida, a national, nonpartisan voter education project started by the Homemakers of America and affiliated with the tea party movement, looks forward to the Republicans coming to town and all the media focus that comes with it.
    "Tampa-Area Tea Partiers Already Gearing Up for 2012 RNC Convention".

    "Campaign roundup"

    "McCollum down in his own poll; Bondi wins straw poll, Benson nabs endorsements from former GOP chairmen". "Campaign roundup". See also Kevin Derby's "Political Bits and Pieces".

    Earth to Rubio ...

    "Rubio calls for cutting the size of the federal workforce ... Rubio also condemned the $787 billion stimulus -- despite having also earlier said that he would have accepted unspecified portions of the money so Florida would not be in worse financial straits." "Marco Rubio calls for federal layoffs". See also "Looking to Cut Fed Spending, Marco Rubio Hopes to Halt Obama's Economic Program".

    Never mind

    "A new report warns that failure to extend higher matching rates for Medicaid could be a blow to the financial recovery for many state budgets. States received higher matching rates for Medicaid starting last year as a part of the federal stimulus. But that higher rate is scheduled to expire at the end of this year unless Congress acts. The National Conference of State Legislatures on Tuesday released a budget update that shows there could be budget gaps in 25 states if Congress lets the higher matching rate expire. Congress has been split over the extension because it would add to an already growing federal budget deficit." "Stimulus flameout could impact more than two dozen states" ("The report, however, does not include any data for Florida. Florida appears to be the only state that did not give any information to NCSL")

    Uphill walk for Bud

    "In a state with no mountains, Lawton 'Bud' Chiles III spends every day walking uphill."

    Chiles, the 57-year-old son of a Florida political icon, is waging a low-budget, grassroots campaign for governor that faces almost certain failure.

    He has abandoned the party of his late father — legendary Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles — to run as an independent, a move that has irked more than a few party officials.

    They worry that Chiles, who inherited much of his dad's face but not all of his homespun charisma, will steal votes from Alex Sink, throwing the race to the Republicans. Chiles doesn't buy it.
    "Candidate Bud Chiles is walking uphill but confidently".

    Little-known rivals

    "Politics watchers around the nation are anticipating the November rematch between U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, and Republican Allen West. But before they can square off in the general election for a U.S. House seat, both face Aug. 24 primaries against little-known rivals." "Klein, West both face primary opponents who want U.S. exit from wars now". See also "U.S. House of Representatives, District 22: The job and the candidates". See also "Despite odds, challengers don't shy from taking on Ron Klein and Allen West".

    Ambler gets Trib endorsement

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board endorses Ambler again' Norman in the District 12 Senate Republican primary. "Ambler gets nod in state Senate race". Related: "Longtime Republican allies face off in bitter state Senate primary".

    Meek on the air, plans bus tour

    "Democratic Senate candidate Kendrick Meek launched his first television ad Monday -- an attack ad against rival Jeff Greene." "In his first TV spot, Kendrick Meek takes aim at Jeff Greene". See also "With Obama White House Cautiously Behind Him, Meek Unleashes First TV Ad". Related: "Greene goes double-negative on Meek in Dem Senate primary ad war".

    "Looking for some mojo in his campaign against a Palm Beach billionaire, U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek is launching a 10-day bus tour that will start in Orlando next Wednesday." "Meek organizing 10-day bus tour".

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