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 Sunday, November 28, 2010

Scott's "unseemly spectacle"

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Gov.-elect Rick Scott ran against "insiders and special interests" in his successful campaign for governor. But that's just who he's counting on to organize and bankroll more than a dozen events around the state to celebrate his inauguration in January. It's an unseemly spectacle." "Inaugural excess".

    Winger of the Week

    Guillermo I. Martinez.

    Chamber of Commerce at work

    The Sun Sentinel editorial board, like its sister in Orlando, continues to parrot the Chamber of Commerce/AIF anti-pension drumbeat, arguing today that "with the state facing another multibillion-dollar budget gap, with many local governments struggling to balance their budgets, and with basic services still on the chopping block, lawmakers can't responsibly ignore benefits that are often more generous than other states' or private companies'." They continue mouthing the big business line about pensions:

    Members of the Florida Retirement System, which covers state, county and some municipal employees, get a deal that many in the private sector would envy.
    "Florida pension reform can start by adjusting deal for new hires".

    What the editors never mention is that the real issue is not the Florida Retirement System (which is financially sound). Rather, "Florida's failed tax policies have our economy in the tank" (Florida's brainless tax cutting is "really just part of the continuing assault on the middle class.")

    Actually, the real issue, which the editors - always beholden to the masters that cut their paychecks - will never admit, is that the Chamber of Commerce, the AIF, and the rest of that ilk resent the fact that public employees even have pensions in the first place, while most (nonunion) private sector employees (like the employees of the Sentinel(s), for example) are stuck with cheap 401(k) plans. The "spats-and-ascot set" do not want employees in the private sector to get all uppity and get the notion that they, too, should have a pension when they retire; heck, uppity employees might even go so far as unionize or sumthin', and we can't have that in "business friendly" Florida.

    We have touched on this issue before, most recently in "Union bashing editors "rescue" taxpayers".

    - - - - - - - - - -

    On a related subject, newspaper editors would have you believe editorials are decided by the newspaper's editorial board, only after hearing all sides of the issue, with "broad, philosophical" discussions, including thorough research and weighing of the facts. That being the case, one wouldn't expect to see different editorial boards - albeit owned by the same media company - publishing virtually the same editorial.

    Yet that is precisely what we have with recent editorials from the Orlando Sentinel and the Sun Sentinel attacking public employee pensions: just last week, on November 20, 2010, we got this doggerel from the The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Don't ignore pensions"; today, The Sun Sentinel editors shared this with its readers: "Florida pension reform can start by adjusting deal for new hires".

    It is not mere coincidence that the different editorial boards are publishing essentially the same editorials, down to the same, though slightly doctored, phrasing, as follows:

    - The words "So far the pension reform wave hasn't washed over Florida" appeared in the Orlando Sentinel editorial on November 20, 2010.

    - yet this almost identical phrase appeared in the Sun Sentinel today, November 28, 2010: "So far, the national pension reform wave hasn't washed over Florida".

    A middle schooler couldn't pass this off without appropriate attribution. Perhaps one of the editors might offer up an explanation?

    For more on the Florida media's concerted attacks on pensions, see "The Orlando Sentinel editors are at it again".

    "The sooner we cut it ..."

    "Rick Scott met with [Northeast Florida] lawmakers Wednesday to hear about their priorities for the spring legislative session in an informal give-and-take that also provided a glimpse into what Florida's next governor hopes to accomplish."

    State Rep. Bill Proctor, a St. Augustine Republican who represents most of Flagler County, outlined a proposal that drew general agreement from the rest. He suggested state employees less than 10 years from retirement would see no changes, while others would keep the benefits they've earned but be shifted into a program that replaces guaranteed pensions with defined contribution plans, similar to a 401(k).

    Rep. Mike Weinstein, R-Jacksonville, said it was just a matter of time before old-fashioned pensions disappeared altogether.

    "I don't think a defined benefit program will exist anywhere in five years," Weinstein said. "The sooner we cut it, the more financially sound we'll be."
    "Gov.-elect Scott meets with lawmakers to gather input".

    Calling Mr. Scott ...

    "Backlash Feared As Some In GOP Push Social Issues".

    "RPOF struggling to shake off a cloud of scandal"

    "For a Republican Party of Florida struggling to shake off a cloud of scandal, the Nov. 2 election may have been the easy part." "Choosing RPOF leader calls for delicacy".

    Them thar silly lawrs

    "The law not only requires more teachers, it means more classrooms are needed." "Local schools fined over class sizes".

    Bastiat laffing in his grave

    "Scott’s choices for his economic team have been hits with free-market advocates and business groups." "Gov.-elect Rick Scott’s economic team embraces 'free market' approach".

    Cox-Roush circus

    "Two years after taking over as chairwoman of the Hillsborough County Republican Party, the state's largest local GOP group, [Deborah] Cox-Roush is running to lead the entire state GOP."

    So far, she is competing against three declared candidates in January: Pinellas County's Tony DiMatteo, Jefferson County's Dave Bitner, and Sid Dinerstein of Palm Beach County.

    Born in a small Ohio town, Cox-Roush, 57, started working when she was 6 years old and sold ice cream with her grandmother at the Ohio State Fair.

    That grew into a family catering business that now operates in five states. Cox-Roush moved to Atlanta when the company won a contract for the 1996 Olympics.

    In 2000, she came to Tampa at the urging of her mother, who held the food service contract at the Florida State Fairgrounds.
    "Times: Hillsborough GOP leader aiming for state party's top post".

    As long as it doesn't cost money ...

    "Newly elected state Sen. Lizbeth Ben­acquisto [the Wellington Republican, who defeated Democrat Kevin Rader on Nov. 2 to claim the District 27 seat], who made waves during the campaign by running a television commercial revealing she had been raped as a teen, is launching task forces in all the counties in her district to come up with ideas to help rape victims." "State Sen. Benacquisto of Wellington seeks ideas to better help rape victims".

    "Seminoles are angry"

    "After nearly two years, the tribes learned that what they'd been told were some teeth and bones turned out to be partial remains of 56 men, women and children moved from an ancient burial ground so significant that it would have been eligible for listing on the National Registry of Historic Places." "Tribes angry, Everglades projects halt after workers dig up major burial ground but don't tell".

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