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 Friday, December 24, 2010

Scott crackpots misrepresent study

    "The transition team for Gov.-elect Rick Scott wants to overhaul Florida's unemployment system, but an economist cited in the team's just-released report says his work has been misused and misinterpreted."
    Princeton University Prof. Alan Krueger, a former U.S. Treasury Department official, said Thursday the report prepared by Scott's team suggests that laid-off workers "put little effort into finding a job." But the real problem faced by the unemployed today, he said, "is lack of jobs, not overly generous benefits."
    "Researcher: Scott transition team misused my work".

    Scott "absolutely irresponsible"

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Incoming Gov. Rick Scott's disdain for government regulation appears to be absolute — and absolutely irresponsible." "With rules comes protection".

    While we're on the topic of silly regulations, "Tallahassee responds to report claiming toxic chromium-6 in city tap water".

    Haridopolos hires crook to attack public pensions

    "Senate President Mike Haridopolos has hired a consultant connected to a massive federal public corruption investigation in Alabama to advise him on the best ways to squeeze savings out of the Florida Retirement System." "Mike Haridopolos hires consultant tied to Alabama bribes-for-bonds scheme".

    "Jeb!"'s Hispanic Republican conference flops

    "Politico reports that a number of presumed 2012 GOP hopefuls are not attending an inaugural conference by a new group of Hispanic Republicans that co-chair Jeb Bush termed 'an exciting new opportunity to engage with an important and fast-growing community.'" "2012 GOP hopefuls skip Hispanic Leadership Conference being held in Coral Gables". See also "2012 hopefuls to skip Hispanic forum".

    Scott "advisor" Huizenga wants more "corporate tax breaks"

    "The economic development team, headed by billionaire H. Wayne Huizenga, provided Scott a host of potential solutions to lure businesses to the state and make it easier for those already here to flourish, including expanding corporate tax breaks, putting a moratorium on impact fees and reducing corporate filing costs."

    But the report lacked details about how much the corporate breaks would cost as Scott and lawmakers face a $3.5 billion spending gap in next year's budget.
    "Make Floridians getting unemployment benefits work for their money, Gov.-elect Rick Scott is advised".

    Scott looks to dumb down the electorate

    It is of course no surprise that Ricky would be very interested in reducing free access to reading material is no surprise: "Scott's advisers also suggested reevaluating the amount of state money spent on historic, cultural and library grants and reconsider how relevant libraries are in 'modern Florida.'"

    This spring, lawmakers at the last minute reinstated more than $21.2 million in state aid to libraries, allowing the mainly county-run facilities to drawn down millions more in federal grants.

    Scott's team recommends maintaining the state funding to draw down the federal aid but also "evaluate the role of libraries in modern Florida."

    Librarians contend that library use has skyrocketed since Florida's economy hit the skids more than two years ago. Patrons are using library computers to search for jobs and apply for benefits because so many government services are accessible online, said Florida Library Association executive director Faye Roberts.

    A recent report found that every dollar spent on libraries returns $8.32 to communities, Roberts said. She said evaluating libraries would be a good thing.
    That Scott would want to dump libraries, and otherwise dumb down the electorate is no surprise. See "Study: Fox News Viewers Are The Most Misinformed", "Orrin Hatch Latest Lawmaker To Flunk Unemployment Legislation 101 (VIDEO)", "12 Wild Misconceptions Held By Fox News Viewers" and "Texas Yanks Thomas Jefferson From Teaching Standard".

    Ricky's "real goal here is to neuter" Environmental Protection

    The Palm Beach Post editors: "Florida. Gov.-elect Rick Scott's Regulatory Reform Transition Team last week proposed a merger of the departments of Transportation, Community Affairs and Environmental Protection. It was far from the only idea in the group's 79-page report, but it was one of the worst."

    The, um, thinking behind the idea is that roads, planning and clean water all are part of good communities. So why not get all the departments together and "reshape regulatory policy"? The report refers to the state as "the company" and proclaims that "the very structure of state government must be reevaluated."

    We suspect, though, that the real goal here is to neuter two departments - Community Affairs and Environmental Protection - that have annoyed the powerful industries.
    "Three-agency merger a bad idea built on a myth".

    "Hypocrites of the highest order"

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Florida's legislators want voters to judge them on how they manage to create jobs. But if legislators also hand voters a proposal to broadly limit revenue growth, they'll deservedly be judged hypocrites of the highest order."

    Thanks to people like Senate President Mike Haridopolis and Senate Finance and Tax Council chair Ellyn Bogdanoff, who couldn't leave bad enough alone.The bill, which Ms. Bogdanoff is drafting, is expected to do what bills championed by Mr. Haridopolos in 2008 and 2009 tried to do: set a cap that ties revenue growth to population and inflation, and require a referendum for any new tax, fee or assessment.

    Tried to do, but failed. The Legislature wisely didn't send the bills to the electorate, which would have had to pass them as amendments to the state constitution.

    But make no mistake: This push to supposedly make government more efficient and productive by limiting its revenue, but which would hamper its ability to provide necessary services, is Mr. Haridopolos' handiwork. He cutely dubs the spending limit a "smart cap."
    "A harmful Bill of Rights".

    Haridopolos' "steaming pile of …"

    Scott Maxwell points out that "guys like Senate President Mike Haridopolos want to place restrictions and caps on how local governments are allowed to spend their money".

    [I]f Haridopolos is so concerned about what local government is doing, maybe he should've run for a seat on the Melbourne City Council.

    But hey, this is Christmas Eve! And I'm cheery Scott! So I'll just take another swig of cocoa and listen to what they have to say.

    Except one of the things I hear is former Sen. Carey Baker complaining about "unacceptable government spending." Now I can't help but think about how Baker — who was term-limited out of office just last month — got his buddy Haridopolos to give him a $90,000 "consulting" contract to keep him on the public payroll.

    And how Haridopolos raised eyebrows for scoring a $75,000 gig as a "guest lecturer" at University of Florida … and another $150,000 from Brevard Community College to write a book.

    And these are the guys lecturing others about the need to turn off the spending spigot?

    Well, ain't that just one big steaming pile of …
    "Spending: It's all relative".

    "Florida Republicans in an awkward position"

    "If the Census hadn't counted noncitizens, Florida would have gained only one new congressional seat, not two. ... The methodology has politicians in states that lost seats angry and also puts some Florida Republicans in an awkward position, given tough talk recently over illegal immigration." "2nd new seat due to noncitizens".

    Jebbie's dead hand

    "Gov.-elect Rick Scott's education team laid out reform ideas that would give parents state money to pick schools for their children and authority to remove them from a subpar teacher's class." "Scott's schools vision: Power to the parents". See also "Scott Reopens Door to School Vouchers" and "Education Reform Could Dominate 2011 Season".

    Stephen Goldstein: "Our I-can't-believe-he-was elected governor, Rick Scott, has gotten a bum steer. He's letting himself be manipulated on education policy by Jeb Bush. During Jeb's eight years in office, he instituted reforms that failed significantly to improve Florida schools."

    During Charlie Crist's four years, Jeb plotted to remake education in his image through a number of failed draconian measures. He still thinks he's governor.

    On Jeb's advice, even before Scott's been sworn into office, he's turning into "Governor-giveaway." He wants to raid the state treasury of public education funds and completely privatize public education. According to accounts in the St. Petersburg Times, Scott recently publicly touted his plan to give potentially all primary and secondary students taxpayer money from public school budgets so they can go to any school they want. But his vouchers-for-everybody plan has actually been concocted by Jeb's Foundation for Florida's Future.
    "Education folly: Scott's voucher plan doesn't jibe".

    Entrepreneurs in action

    "The credibility of the investigation into the Gulf oil spill is being undermined because representatives of companies that made or maintained a key piece of evidence - the blowout preventer - have had too much access to it as it is being analyzed, a federal board says." "Fed board: Keep companies from oil spill evidence".

    JJ changes

    "Scott drew some support Wednesday for what is shaping up as a plan to reduce spending in the state’s Juvenile Justice Department by keeping kids out of costly residential lockups." "Scott Gets Backing for Juvenile Justice Changes".

    More entrepreneurs in action

    "Inhaler drug: South Florida Medicare fraud cost taxpayers nearly $30 million, investigators say".

    Just friends

    "A Public Service Commission employee conversed with a utility attorney to make social plans a few months ago, according to public records the agency released Thursday after pressure from a regulator and open government advocates." "PSC employee talked to utility attorney, according to state phone records".

    "Florida's unemployed draw little sympathy"

    "[W]hile Florida's unemployed draw little sympathy, the transition team in its 109-page report lavishes help on employers who could possibly create jobs - but so far have not in a lousy economy."

    Scott during his campaign promised to cut electric costs borne by businesses by $3.2 billion - with residential customers now appearing to be in line to shoulder a larger share. Scott advisers say FPL and other utilities should be free from regulatory limits to significantly generate more power from renewable energy.

    They cite an industry report that claims 700 megawatts of additional renewable power could yield $8.1 billion in economic activity and 40,000 new jobs.

    Homeowners, though, likely would pay more for this increase.
    Much more here: "Scott's plan for Florida businesses".

    "No hope of passing"

    Bill Cotterell: "With no hope of passing, ERA returns to Legislature".

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