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 Sunday, January 30, 2011

"If it were illegal to lie to voters"

    Howard Troxler: "Florida has a rule saying you can't lie to the voters, or try to trick them, on the ballot. Note the words, "on the ballot." If it were illegal to lie to voters the rest of the time, whoa, Nellie." "Should Florida courts have less power to kick amendments off the ballot?".

    Scott "wants to usurp the people’s will"

    The Miami Herald editorial board: "When they came to Florida constitutional Amendments 5 and 6 on the November ballot, voters spoke decisively and deliberately. By a 63-percent margin, Floridians said they want to change how the state draws its congressional and state legislative districts using new, nonpartisan standards." "Heed will of Florida voters"

    And this was in an election year when conservatives came out in force. Why would a newly elected conservative governor want to usurp the people’s will?

    The issues dealt with in Amendments 5 and 6 weren’t a tax cut or some other guaranteed vote-getter. The two amendments set forth straightforward guidelines for reforming a process that politicians in both parties have twisted for their benefit before: the U.S. Constitution’s requirement that the Legislature redraw elected representatives’ districts every 10 years based on the most recent Census data.

    For so many voters to say yes — despite a heavily financed opposition campaign — can only be interpreted as the people speaking loud and clear: No more gerrymandering of districts by whatever political party is in power. No more communities split asunder and carved up into tortuously shaped districts to protect incumbents.

    So why isn’t Gov. Rick Scott getting to work on that mandate?
    "Gov. Scott freezes SunRail contracts". See also "Democrats criticize Scott over redistricting move".

    More: "Scott Maxwell: Gov. Rick Scott, Dean Cannon and Corrine Brown all want to thwart your vote".

    "Las Vegas high-rollers dangling a poisonous carrot"

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "As Gov. Rick Scott and state lawmakers grapple with a $3.6 billion budget shortfall that could grow, Las Vegas high-rollers are dangling a poisonous carrot: offers to turn Florida into a "destination casino resort" state." "Don't sell Florida's soul".

    Ricky's "blessing for sleazy clinic owners"

    Carl Hiaasen: "Efforts to shut down the unscrupulous clinics have been stymied by Bondi’s Republican colleague, newly elected Gov. Rick Scott. One of his first acts was to eliminate the state Office of Drug Control, which had been coordinating the war on pill mills."

    Scott’s executive order freezing all new regulations was another blessing for sleazy clinic owners, who’d been facing a slate of tough licensing standards from state medical officials. Now some of those restrictions will be delayed until the financial impact is assessed, in accordance with Scott’s “accountability” process.

    This is a fantastic development for those who prey on drug addicts, though it’s bad news for healthcare providers, law enforcement and taxpayers who are picking up the tab for most overdose admissions to emergency rooms.
    "Hey, gov: Don’t give pill mills license to kill".

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Bondi takes initiative on dangerous drugs".

    "After two years of radical cuts"

    The Saint Petersburg Times editors: "After two years of radical cuts, it's time to reinvest in Florida to ensure its natural beauty is preserved for future generations. " "Florida Forever needs Scott’s backing".

    A bad re-run

    Douglas C. Lyons: "I've been at this gig too long. It seems like only yesterday that a newly-elected governor shocked Florida's education establishment by introducing vouchers as an alternative for parents whose children were stuck in poorly performing public schools."

    The governor has yet to offer any specifics, but if this new attempt only rises to the potential of a bad re-run, then Scott should put his energy towards more worthwhile pursuits, such as building on the gains made by Florida's existing public and charter schools. There's no time, money or patience for another school-choice experiment that promises more controversy than results.
    "School-choice: déjà vu all over".

    Will Cuba be next?

    Myriam Marquez: "The Mideast is on fire, but will Cuba be next?".

    Privatization follies

    "Former attorneys for an agency that represents poor defendants are accusing the office of paying about $400,000 to a Lakeland court reporting firm without a contract or competitive bidding, and are asking authorities to take action." "Public defenders agency accused of waste".

    Cheap cigarettes

    "Battle over Florida tax on cheap cigarettes heats up".


    "On Monday, Florida pension chief Ash Williams plans to be the keynote speaker for some of the world's most powerful hedge fund managers and financial executives. They're meeting at the $500-a-night Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, and some paid $50,000 or more for sponsorships to woo potential clients." "A high-flown hobnob for state's pension chief".

    Never mind the facts

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Despite reports that indicate Florida's extremely friendly to business, Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leaders continue to accuse the Department of Community Affairs of making the state inhospitable to those who want to work here." "Beware DCA's demise".

    "Lowering corruption scandals to puny banality"

    Fred Grimm: "The former Fort Lauderdale commissioner and vice mayor was not only busted on corruption charges Friday, she managed to lower Broward County corruption scandals to a level of puny banality." "Corruption wave finally hits the toilet".

    Leveling the playing field between public and private sector jobs

    Rick Scott actually:

    believes Florida's free [sic] retirement program is "unfair to taxpayers'' working in the private sector.
    "State workers fear likely pension fees". See also "Lawmakers see savings in pension modification" and "State workers may help fund their pensions".

    The problem with that of course is that benefits aren't "free" to public employees: among other things, state employees have not had a wage increase in years, and have recently enjoyed at least one pay cut.

    Here's another laffer from our Governor:
    Scott acknowledges that teachers, police and other government workers may consider this a pay cut, but he believes it is needed to build up the reserves in the state retirement system and level the playing field between public and private sector jobs.
    Jeez, perhaps those firefighters who don't get overtime until they work more than 212 hours in a 28 day work period (instead of after 40 in a 7 day period) would be interested in more of that "leveling the playing field" tripe.

    There are many other places where public employees enjoy inferior "benefits" to those in the private sector. Recall that
    In 1999, a Republican-led Legislature decided to release state and local governments from a legal regime of safety and health requirements for their workers. Dozens of worker safety compliance positions were eliminated as part of a larger reorganization that reflected the deregulatory spirit pervading Tallahassee.

    In place of state law, then-Gov. Jeb Bush issued an executive order directing state agencies "to voluntarily comply" with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act's standards, and leaving cities and counties to decide for themselves what they needed to do. But no state resources were devoted to ensuring compliance or guiding safety efforts. The move was a wink and a nod toward protecting employees, and little more.
    "Put state back to work on job safety".

    Underscoring the banality of Scott simply mouthing Chamber of Commerce talking points is his conveniently overlooking the fact that Florida's public employees already are amongst the lowest paid and hardest working in the nation. Consider the "Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, which [last year] cranked out another one of its reliable studies about the size and cost of state employment".
    "Florida's average total compensation cost for state employees was $47,027, which included 74 percent wages and 26 percent benefits; average wages were $34,834," said OPPAGA. "Florida's average state employee wages were ranked 32nd among the 41 states (in the lower quartile) that responded to the survey."

    A related story is the Department of Management Services Annual Workforce Report, which said Florida ranks last in state personnel costs, at $38 per resident, and is tied with Illinois for the lowest ratio of state employees to population, 118 per 10,000 residents.
    "On the Cheap". To summarize, Florida already has the "cheapest" employees (in terms of personnel cost per resident), and the lowest ratio of public employees to work (population); restated, Florida has the lowest paid, hardest working public employees.

    Also related: compare "Walt Disney Co. has awarded CEO Bob Iger a 2010 pay package valued at $28 million, up 30 percent from a year ago" with "Disney is offering a 25-cent pay raise to workers on the lower end of the pay scale, but they want 35 cents."

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