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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, December 22, 2010

Scott hires Lobbyists, wingnuts and losers

    Is this really the best Scott could do? "Mike Prendergast, an Apollo Beach Republican and retired army colonel who in November lost his bid to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, will head Scott's administrative team."
    Scott also announced four other appointments to his leadership team, saying they mark "the end of business as usual in Florida's Capitol.''

    But he selected two former lobbyists as his legislative directors.

    Scott tapped Hayden Dempsey as special counsel to the governor to oversee his legislative agenda.

    Dempsey, a lawyer and lobbyist at Greenberg Traurig [Black Jack Abramoff's employer, before he headed off to prison], represented 13 clients before the legislature last year, including many healthcare interests. He formerly worked as deputy counsel to Gov. Jeb. Bush.

    Jon Costello, a lobbyist from the law firm of Rutledge, Ecenia & Purnell, P.A., will direct Scott's legislative affairs. Costello represented 18 clients last year before the legislature, including HCA, several healthcare companies and the city of Miami Beach. Gary Rutledge, head of the firm, is a longtime friend of Scott and was one of HCA's lobbyists when Scott headed the hospital chain.

    Brian Burgess, who worked on Scott's healthcare initiative and served on Scott's political campaign, will be his communications director.

    And Scott chose Mary Anne Carter to fill the newly-created role of chief advisor to the governor. Carter, who currently serves as executive director of the Scott transition team, previously headed the nonprofit Conservatives for Patients' Rights.
    "Governor-elect Rick Scott names key appointments". See also "Rick Scott Names Senior Staff" and "Gov.-elect Scott chooses Prendergast as chief of staff".

    "Jon Costello, a lobbyist from the law firm of Rutledge, Ecenia & Purnell, P.A., will direct Scott's legislative affairs. Costello represented 18 clients last year before the Legislature, including HCA, several health care companies and the City of Miami Beach. Gary Rutledge, head of the firm, is a long-time friend of Scott and was one of HCA's lobbyists when Scott headed the hospital chain." "The governor-elect names Mike Prendergast of Apollo Beach his chief of staff and four others to leadership positions".

    Damn Government Regulations

    "Study finds Tallahassee, Miami tap water contains cancer-causing chromium-6".

    Jebbites in a dither

    "Poll: Jeb Bush Leads Bill Nelson In Hypothetical FL-SEN Race". Related: "New Poll Finds Bill Nelson Leading in 2012 Over Pack of Unknown Republicans" ("Nelson is ahead of most of his potential opponents, but remains vulnerable: He could not muster more than 50 percent against a pack of mostly unknown Republicans.")

    Expensive RPOF plan to subsidize malpractice

    "Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink has released a study showing a proposal to shield Medicaid doctors from malpractice claims would cost Florida $69 million annually. ... Lawmakers are considering a proposal to extend the state's limited immunity from lawsuits to Medicaid providers." "Sink: Medicaid proposal would cost Fla. millions".

    Wingnuts run wild

    "Governor-elect Rick Scott should arrive in the state capital with a wrecking ball to tear down a dozen state agencies and merge them together to save money and streamline services, advisors to the new governor say in a series of transition reports delivered to him this week."

    Scott, who has promised to cut 6,000 state jobs on his way to creating 700,000 private-sector positions, could be the consolidation king if he adopts the proposals offered to him by his transition committees.

    Over at the Department of Education, his transition team suggests no mergers, just a massive restructuring of education that would provide vouchers for all, eliminate teacher job protection and tie school salaries to student performance.
    "Consolidate health agencies, team tells Scott". See also "Scott Transition Team Gets Health Care Recommendations", " Scott team's key word: shake-up" and "Rick Scott Transition Team Delivers 'Big Ideas'".

    Runin' gub'ment like a bidness

    "The reform team's 79-page PowerPoint presentation highlights changing Florida's "brand" and frequently refers to the state as a corporation." "Gov.-elect Rick Scott's advisers suggest cutbacks".

    The Rich are Different

    "The e-mail messages went out Friday evening, advising 483 of the employees of their fate in Gov.-elect Rick Scott's administration." "Gov.-elect Scott gives state workers pink slips for Christmas".

    "Lust For Labels"

    Nancy Smith: "How did Charlie Crist get accepted into the national "No Labels" movement? He lost a high-profile election, that's how. " "Charlie's Lust For Labels".

    Let the gerrymandering begin

    "Florida legislators got the official go-ahead Tuesday to start a two-year argument over redrawing the state's congressional and legislative districts." "Battle over Florida redistricting begins".

    "Florida has gained two congressional seats, according to U.S. Census data released Tuesday, giving the Sunshine State even more influence in presidential elections and in Congress." "Growth gives Florida more say in House".

    "The state's 17.6 percent population growth over the last decade, from almost 16 million in the 2000 Census to 18.8 million as of April, means it will be divided into 27 congressional districts instead of the current 25." "Florida will gain political clout with 2 more in Congress". See also "New census numbers award Florida 2 more seats in Congress".

    Jeremy Wallace: "New clout means new tasks ahead".

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "The initial speculation is that the two new U.S. House districts will be carved out in the Orlando area and South Florida. But the redistricting constitutional amendment changes the rules, banning state legislators from drawing districts to favor incumbents or political parties and requiring the districts to be compact. If the Legislature follows the intent of the amendments, Floridians will benefit from both additional House districts and a congressional delegation that better reflects the swing state." "Florida puts on political muscle".

    Usual suspects

    "Incoming Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Adam Putnam named key members of the administration on Tuesday as he prepares to leave Congress to assume his new responsibilities in January -- keeping many staffers who served under current Commissioner Charles Bronson." "Adam Putnam Unveils Familiar Faces for Agriculture Team".

    Western Hemisphere and Livestock runnin' for cover

    "As they both think of taking on Bill Nelson, Florida Republicans wield the gavel on Western Hemisphere and Livestock committees". "Connie Mack, Tom Rooney Will Lead Congressional Subcommittees".

    "Developers want tax breaks"

    Scott Maxwell:

    Taxpayers are about to get stiffed.

    Why? Because developers want tax breaks.

    And what developers want, Florida politicians usually give.

    The problem for you is that, unlike Santa, politicians don't have a bottomless bag.

    If they let a developer get away with not paying for a road that their new business needs, then someone else has to pay for that road. And that someone may be you.
    "Scott Maxwell: Tax breaks for developers mean higher costs for you".

    Never mind the constitution

    "On their big class-size test, many of Florida's school districts got failing marks this week and now owe some $38 million in potential fines — money that would be painful to hand over in another bleak budget year."

    But key Florida lawmakers already are looking at ways to inject some flexibility into the class-size rules this spring. Those efforts include finding ways to minimize fines that districts face if they fail to shrink all their classes, said state Sen. David Simmons, R- Longwood.
    "Legislator aims to ease class-size law, reduce fines".

    Limbaugh breathes a sigh of relief

    "Rx for Danger: Prescription-abuse tracker on hold in Florida".

    Pining for the Batista days

    "Diaz-Balart, a passionate crusader for a democratic Cuba during his nearly two decades in Congress, was honored at the annual luncheon of the influential U.S. Cuba Democracy political action committee, the leading lobby in support of the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba." "Diaz-Balart praised as he retires". See also "Congressman who tightened U.S.-Cuba embargo is retiring".

    "Jeb!" appointments pondering their RSVPs

    "Sen. Mike Fasano, chairman of the Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Committee, sent invitations late Tuesday to Judges Paul M. Hawkes and Brad Thomas ... Hawkes and Thomas, both former legislative staffers who also worked on Gov. Jeb Bush's budget staff, led a lobbying campaign over several years to raise money for the $48.8 million project." "'Taj Mahal' judges, officials invited to testify before Senate committee".

    Another fine Jebacy

    The Miami Herald editorial board remind us that, notwithstanding Florida's school grades all being well above average, "key indicators still show Florida students are behind their peers nationally. While the achievement gap among white, black and Hispanic students has narrowed, it's still large, and the 2009 results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress show Florida high school seniors performed below the national average for reading and math." "After FCAT hype -- true test for success".

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