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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, September 22, 2010

"Ridiculously lavish spending" by RPOF

    "An audit released last week by the Republican Party of Florida depicts Gov. Crist and former state GOP Chairman Jim Greer as looting the party."
    The audit also, however, essentially exploded a dye pack in the party's own coffers that stained money spent by some of the state's best-known Republicans. ...

    Marco Rubio is similarly responsible for the awful judgment of former House Speaker Ray Sansom. In addition to being indicted on corruption charges unrelated to his party credit cards, Mr. Sansom charged thousands on his card for items, including flower arrangements, that the audit found probably were not related to party business. As House speaker, Mr. Rubio picked Mr. Sansom to be his budget chief. In that role, Mr. Sansom diverted $6 million to a donor, the move that led to his indictment. He also misused his office to secure a university job made for him, a job he didn't get when the story broke.

    Mr. Rubio is running against Gov. Crist for the Senate. Mr. Rubio misused his own credit card. Mr. Rubio, however, was allowed to repay the party $2,400 for items that included a $134 haircut. So he gets a grace period but Gov. Crist doesn't? Moreover, the audit related only to expenses since 2007, when Mr. Greer took over. Mr. Rubio has had a party credit card since 2005.

    Senate President Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, who is a candidate for chief financial officer, reimbursed the party for $1,600. Rep. Dean Cannon, R-Orlando, the speaker-designate, repaid almost $500 for improper charges. Both made good after their personal expenses became an issue.

    The selective audit indeed shows ridiculously lavish spending. Auditors didn't even bother checking the spending of individuals who spent less than $50,000. Of $7 million charged on Republican Party of Florida cards, auditors said, about $381,000 was not for legitimate party expenses and another $98,000 was suspect.
    "Mickey Mouse cover story: One standard for Crist and another for those who've stayed in the party.". See also "" and "".

    Remarkably, the audit has little to say about Rubio

    Daniel Ruth: "Sheesh, Neville Chamberlain's Munich peace treaty with Adolf Hitler had more credibility than the Republican Party of Florida's whitewash audit of its spending irregularities."

    You would think the party of Richard Nixon and Dick Cheney could do a better job when it comes to cover-ups instead of simply offering what amounts to: "The dog ate our expense accounts."

    It also probably doesn't help the GOP's veracity that among all the accounting/auditing experts in the country, party chairman John Thrasher, R-"I Hold In My Hand A List of Communists In The State Department," hired the same guys who counted the numbers for Enron. ...

    Still, you get what you pay for.
    Ruth continues:
    Remarkably, the audit has virtually precious little to say about the "Toga Party!!!!" spending by the likes of former House Speaker Marco Rubio, who is now locked in a bitter Senate campaign fight against Crist; outgoing Senate President Jeff Atwater, now a candidate for chief financial officer; incoming House Speaker Dean Cannon; or other Republican officials who also used their party-issued credit cards for personal expenses.

    Instead, the audit simply notes the three were asked about their tabs and they all had perfectly wonderful explanations for the monies spent on the Republican dime — and besides they reimbursed the cash after they got caught — so everything is simply peachy.
    Just read it: "Holes in the GOP audit".

    "Who paid for what? How much?"

    "A Republican Party of Florida investigation into party finances revealed that former party chairman Jim Greer and Gov. Charlie Crist spent a weekend with their families at Disney World in 2009."

    The cost: more than $13,400.

    The tab: picked up by Republican Party of Florida donors.

    "My family paid for our personal expenses,'' an angry Crist responded Saturday.

    Who paid for what? How much? And how do we know?
    "GOP records vague about who paid for Charlie Crist trip". See also "Who paid for Crist's Disney trip?".

    Bits and Pieces

    Kevin Derby's "Political Bits and Pieces".

    Teabagger lives in wrong district

    "Even though the 22nd Congressional District takes in parts of Plantation, [CD 22 candidate Allen] West said doesn’t live in the district. He lives in the district represented by U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston." "Congressional candidate Allen West doesn't live in the district he's running in" ("Charles Zelden, a professor of history and legal studies who specializes in politics and voting at Nova Southeastern University, said living outside the district may be legal, but it’s not great politics.")

    PSC appointments

    "Charlie Crist Passes Up Insiders, Taps Brown and Balbis to PSC". See also "Crist chooses Palm Beach Gardens man to oversee FPL, other utilities".

    SD 25

    "Two veterans of the Florida House are fighting for an open state Senate seat representing coastal areas of Broward and Palm Beach counties. State Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff is a Fort Lauderdale Republican who has long been part of the inner circle of GOP leadership in Tallahassee. State Rep. Kelly Skidmore is a Boca Raton Democrat who has grabbed headlines fighting to regulate pain management clinics and prohibit discrimination against gays and lesbians." "Two veteran legislators battle for coastal Senate seat".

    See also "Florida Senate District 25 candidates".


    "Big issues surround plan to privatize hospital district".

    "'Right Size Class Size' campaign"

    "Supporters of Amendment 8 kicked off the 'Right Size Class Size' campaign Tuesday, hoping to convince Florida voters that relaxing class-size restrictions is the reasonable, most cost-effective and least-disruptive way to serve a changing student population in the Sunshine State." "Amendment 8 Proponents Urge Easing of Class-Size Caps".


    "Gubernatorial Candidates Vague on Insurance Solutions".

    Crist on the attack

    "With four recent polls, including one from Sunshine State News, showing that Gov. Charlie Crist, who is running for the U.S. Senate without party affiliation, is trailing Republican former House Speaker Marco Rubio by double digits, the governor is taking to the airwaves to attack." "Under Fire from Kendrick Meek and Marco Rubio, Charlie Crist Runs TV Ad Targeting Rubio".

    Federal Funds Help Floridians Avoid Poverty

    "Billions of dollars in federal stimulus have prevented an estimated 225,000 Floridians from falling into poverty. They are among the 1.2 jobless Floridians who have received $3.7 billion in unemployment compensation from funds in the Recovery Act of 2009." "Federal Unemployment Funds Help Floridians Avoid Poverty".

    FCAT follies

    "FCAT testing company pays Florida $14.7 million fine, revamps systems".

    Big of 'em

    "If an appeals court reverses a South Florida judge and rules that Florida's ban on adoptions by gay couples is valid, the state's child welfare agency won't remove the two children at the center of the challenge, the head of the agency said Monday." "Florida child welfare agency won't take gay man's kids". See also "Gay man can keep his adopted boys, chief of Florida child welfare agency says".

    Cold, dead hands

    "Republican candidates for statewide office pledged during the weekend to continue defending the Second Amendment -- and took aim at Democrats who, they said, are working to undermine the right to bear arms." "GOP Candidates Pledge to Defend Right to Bear Arms".

    Mr. Fixit

    "Crist said Florida could start a trend toward less polarized, less partisan national politics by electing him, a no-party candidate, to the U.S. Senate." "Crist: Florida could change polarized politics by voting for him". See also "Charlie Crist's plan: Be all things to all voters".

    Mike Thomas: Charlie Crist: In favor of everything except taxes

    You might want to try the union hiring hall

    "Fla. website aids jobless construction workers".

    Scott: all business all the time

    "Rick Scott wants more private property insurance companies in Florida, and that means rates could rise, at least in the short-term."

    Scott's proposal to revamp the insurance market coincided with a call to limit lawsuits against insurance companies, small businesses, car companies and also doctors who perform surgeries under the auspices of the state. Known as "tort reform,'' lawsuit limits are the key concern of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, which endorsed Scott last week.

    Scott's Democratic opponent, state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, said in a statement that Scott was on the side of "Big Business'' instead of the little guy by making it tougher for them to access the courts.
    "Rick Scott calls for property insurance overhaul". See also "Scott calls for major changes to Florida's insurance market" and "Still Squabbling with Alex Sink, Rick Scott Calls for Property Tax Cuts and Tort Reform".

    Gerrymanders of the world unite!

    "Organizers of a business-backed effort to defeat two constitutional amendments intended to prevent legislators from gerrymandering legislative and congressional districts said Monday they hoped to raise $4 million for commercials in the six weeks left before the Nov. 2 general election." "Foes announce $4-million campaign against redistricting reforms".

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Lawmakers and influential business groups will do just about anything to hold on to power. So don't think for a minute that U.S. Reps. Corrine Brown and Mario Diaz-Balart and their deep-pocket allies are fighting for democracy and minority rights by opposing two constitutional amendments concerning redistricting. It is a cynical alliance driven by self-interest and aimed at preventing voters from having real choices in legislative and congressional elections." See also "See also "Lawyers, Unions Bankroll FairDistricts Crusade".

    Home builders say Jump!

    "Federal wildlife managers agreed Tuesday to reassess whether the wood stork still merits endangered-species status, a step prompted by a petition from Florida home builders." "Wood stork's endangered-species status to be reassessed".

    "Florida ranks dead last"

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Tallahassee lawmakers all give lip service to children's health and educational well-being, yet in proportion to our size and wealth, Florida ranks dead last in per-child state spending among the 50 states. More than 18 percent of Florida's children, for instance, do not have health insurance - double the national average." "Rallying for Florida's children".

    Scott Maxwell: "Politicians need to show up to support Florida's children". The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Making children a Florida priority".

    Lay down with dogs

    "Gov. Crist assails today's 'hard-right tack' of Republican Party".

    RPOF lying about Ausley

    The RPOF advertisement says: "Loranne Ausley 'voted six times to tax your savings.'" Politifact weighs in:

    We rate this claim False.
    "Democratic CFO candidate didn't vote to tax savings".

    Atwater whines

    "Atwater says Crist's view on coastal oil drilling shifted abruptly this year".

    LeMieux hammered by Students Working for Equal Rights

    "The U.S. Senate blocked the defense authorization bill that included the immigration reform measure known as the DREAM Act, with Florida Sen. George LeMieux supporting a Republican filibuster. The Florida Immigrant Coalition and Students Working for Equal Rights, both of which support the immigration measure, issued a press release denouncing the bill’s failure and criticizing LeMieux." "Immigrant-rights groups criticize LeMieux for joining filibuster of defense bill".

    Campaign roundup

    "Thrasher and Gianoulis tied in Senate race, Report says conservative group is running "misleading" ads." "Campaign roundup for Tuesday".

    West getting paranoid

    "The Ron Klein-Allen West congressional contest took another nasty turn with the dissemination of a lien supposedly against West's house bearing West's Social Security number."

    The copy of the 2005 document, circulated by the Florida Democratic Party as part of a campaign mailer for Klein, inadvertently bore his Republican opponent's Social Security number, party officials said. They called it an "oversight."

    West's campaign spokesman Josh Grodin wasn't buying that explanation.
    "Campaign Mailer Blows Up on U.S. Rep. Ron Klein".

    Crist free to spend

    "Until a judge rules on a lawsuit demanding contributions be returned to former supporters of Charlie Crist, he can continue spending money on his bid for Senate." "Judge: Crist can spend campaign cash, for now". See also "Judge: Crist can spend campaign funds".

    The right to defecate

    "Rep. Coley and Sen. Lynn say they will propose bills to roll back measure that was intended to protect Florida's springs." "Public backlash building against legislative mandate on septic tanks".

    "All over again"

    "In April, Ted Deutch became the newly elected representative of the 19th congressional district. Now, he's trying to do it all over again." "Deutch, Budd compete for seat in U.S. House District 19".

    Meek supports DREAM Act

    "Democratic Senate candidate Kendrick Meek joined a rally for passage of a bill to give younger illegal immigrants a chance to become legal residents." "DREAM Act gets support".


    "Rejecting argument that the EPA boss is too busy, a Miami judge stands by his order that she appear in court to explain Everglades cleanup failures." "Judge reaffirms order for EPA chief to appear in court over Glades cleanup".

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