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, January 14, 2011

Scott flops "power grab"

    "Thirty minutes after taking office last week, Gov. Rick Scott signed an executive order requiring his approval for any new state rules in departments under his purview. Three days later, he sent an e-mail asking agencies that are not under his control to voluntarily 'consent to the pre-authorization process' as well.

    That request went to Attorney General Pam Bondi, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam - state Cabinet members who were elected in their own right. Their response? Thanks, but no thanks."

    "Observers say Scott's request of the Florida Cabinet shows an attempt to run the state as a corporate CEO would, having the final say on all decisions. But as a leader in state government, that's not possible."
    Richard Scher, a University of Florida political science professor, called it a power grab.

    "My guess, and it's purely a guess, is this is a very calculated move on Scott's part. I would say he is interested in grabbing as much power as he can in an attempt to control the direction of the state,'' he said. ``He's trying to show these guys that he intends to be the boss.''

    But he's not.
    "Cabinet to Rick Scott: No, you can't veto our regulations".


    "State Senate President Mike Haridopolos has made it official: He's running for U.S. Senate. It's not much of a surprise, but he's already launched a website Mike2012.org, and he has a political committee called Friends of Mike H." "State Sen. Mike Haridopolos officially eyes 2012 Senate race". See also "Mike Haridopolos raising money for U.S. Senate bid" and "Haridopolos launches bid for U.S. Senate against Nelson".

    Scott "backtracks" on yet another promise

    Ricky seems to have ... ahem ... revised "his campaign pledge to require all employers to run the names of new hires through a federal database called E-Verify to confirm that they were in the country legally. ... [Scott has] done nothing yet to compel private businesses, many of whom don’t like the system, to do the same. Thursday, he gave no indication he would force the issue." "Gov. Rick Scott steps back a bit from E-Verify pledge".

    Haridopolos promises "dramatic cuts to health care and education"

    Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos - and would-be U.S. Senator - "said policymakers would be passing a budget this spring without any new tax increases, which means they would have to make dramatic cuts to health care and education to make the math work." "Florida Senate president: Cuts in education funding are likely".

    "Foxes guarding the henhouse"

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board defaults to its "the Chamber of Commerce" can't be wrong mode this morning: ""

    Many environmentalists are discouraged by Gov. Rick Scott's appointments to key positions. Understandably so.

    He picked a development official to head the Department of Community Affairs, which enforces the state's growth management laws. He selected a shipbuilding executive who has defended polluters to lead the Department of Environmental Protection.

    Both men are attorneys. Both served on transition teams for Scott that made some controversial proposals, including combining the DCA, DEP and the Department of Transportation. So it is logical to conclude Scott, who appeared indifferent to Florida's natural riches during his campaign, wants the foxes guarding the henhouse.

    That may be so. But it is also possible that these smart, experienced business leaders will embrace their assignments and find better ways to safeguard Florida.
    "Foxes or visionaries?".

    "" "".

    Term limits

    Nancy Smith: "Want a laugh? A couple of legislators are trying to tell us if we want better government, we have to keep them in office longer." "Don't Change Term Limits".

    Mudslinging in RPOF race

    "As Saturday's election of a new Republican state chairman approaches, the attacks on the candidates have intensified." "Republicans' party-boss fight to end Saturday". See also "Cox-Roush/Bitner Against the Field" ("RPOF duo decries 'personal attacks'; more revelations surface about ex-lawmaker").

    More: "Media Mavens Anoint Favorites in RPOF Race".

    Putnam thinks ahead

    Adam has the Hispanic vote on his mind: "Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who promotes an industry heavily dependent on migrant workers, said Thursday that Florida can't copy Arizona's hotly controversial immigration law because the states' immigration problems are different." "Putnam: Fla. can't copy Ariz.'s law".

    "You pay the cash; they carry it away"

    Stephen Goldstein: "Gov. Rick Scott is giving Florida "the business" by turning the state over to business."

    The first principle in Scottland is: Government can do no right; business can do no wrong. Under his leadership, with a lapdog, Republican-controlled Legislature, we'll become a corporate state — a catastrophe. Under the cover of creating jobs, they want to rewrite the framework and responsibilities of government in the name of cash-and-carry capitalism: You pay the cash; they carry it away.
    "Beware of Rick Scott's desire to run Florida like a business".

    3 picture IDs needed at the door

    This is a genuine laff riot: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will speak to "Republicans gathering in South Florida [at the posh Biltmore Hotel] to improve the party's outreach to Hispanic voters will tackle trade, education - and the elephant in the room, immigration - at a conference organized by the new Hispanic Action Network." "Republicans seek more Latino outreach". See also "Jeb Bush guides Republican outreach to Latinos".


    "Thousands may be victims in Orlando telemarketing scam".

    Scott has created "a bureaucratic nightmare"

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board write that "the real-world impact of [Scott's] unilateral, top-down approach that requires his office to approve all pending state rules and contracts over $1 million is hitting home: Hundreds of routine regulations are in limbo, and hundreds of millions in road projects could be stalled. Scott is learning on the job, but this is a bureaucratic nightmare." "Bogged down from the top".

    In an effort to streamline government and create jobs, Scott has bogged down Tallahassee and placed countless workers at risk in less than two weeks. His spokesman, Brian Burgess, says the new governor merely "wanted to make sure nobody tried to buy another state airplane or build another Taj Mahal courthouse during the transition period." But Scott's executive orders are sledgehammers when scalpels would have been more useful.

    The governor didn't tailor his efforts to catch only those contracts or rules under consideration since Election Day. He did not set reasonable thresholds on the types of rules or the size of contracts. Nor has he been transparent on how he will apply his subjective economic criteria on spending and rule proposals already authorized by the Legislature and the previous administration.
    "The more he dallies on second-guessing his predecessors and the professionals in his state agencies, the more questions will be raised about his management style and intentions." "Bogged down from the top"

    Which explains the results

    "Study: 2010 political ads set record in negativity".

    "Record year of bankruptcy cases"

    "Central Florida recorded its second straight record year of bankruptcy cases in 2010, according to the final data released this week by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida. In the end, the 2010 tally beat last year's record by nearly 15.5 percent, according to court figures. Central Florida bankruptcies topped the 2009 mark by late November." "Orlando area sees second straight record year of bankruptcies".

    Another billionaire pushing voters around

    "Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez and Commissioner Natacha Seijas are slated to face voters in a March 15 recall election to decide whether to oust them."

    The recall drives erupted amid a public outcry last fall after commissioners adopted a new budget, proposed by the mayor, that raised the property tax rate while handing pay raises to most county employees. Miami billionaire businessman Norman Braman took the lead in the campaign to oust the mayor. He hired professional consultants who gathered 95,499 petitions, about 43,000 more than the minimum needed to force a recall election.
    "March 15 recall-vote date chosen by Miami-Dade Commission".

    While Ricky fumbles, Obama acts ...

    The Miami Herald editors: "When Interior Secretary Ken Salazar came to South Florida for the annual Everglades Coalition Conference last week he brought a terrific gift along: A plan for a large national wildlife refuge north of Lake Okeechobee to preserve the ecologically diverse Florida prairie and livelihoods of the area's ranchers." "Interior smiles kindly on Florida".

    Thank you, Mr. Obama.

    "Longer on rhetoric than substance"

    The Palm Beach Post editorial board acknowledges that they

    must blame our industry, the media, print and broadcast, for promoting politicians in both parties who are much longer on rhetoric than substance. Last week, new Congressman Allen West made the talk-show rounds. For his chief of staff, Rep. West first picked talk-show demagogue Joyce Kaufman, who has proclaimed that "if ballots don't work, bullets will." They are soulmates. Rep. West told a rally, "We need to be well-prepared and well-armed because this government is a tyrannical government.
    "One civil war was enough: We ask that we not tear ourselves apart with vitriol.".

    Scott's "campaign rhetoric often falls short of reality"

    The Sun Sentinel editorial board: "Well, it sounded like a good idea. Sell off the state's two-plane fleet, use your own private jet and make good on a campaign promise, all while making a statement about being fiscally responsible and reaping the benefits of less government and lower costs. Unfortunately, as Gov. Rick Scott is learning, campaign rhetoric often falls short of reality." "Governor's campaign promise gets a reality check".

    Perhaps they'll do better next time

    "Florida's role in Civil War larger than in history books".

    Negron to the rescue of banks "churning out foreclosures"

    "Critics of lending institutions and law firms specializing in churning out foreclosures say the state government isn't doing enough to help keep Floridians in their homes."

    Florida ranks third in the nation for foreclosures, and its processes are "in total disarray," one of the slides in the presentation declared. Florida also leads the nation in the percentage of homeowners who are "seriously delinquent" on their mortgages, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
    Fortunately for the "law firms specializing in churning out foreclosures", "Sen. Joe Negron, a Republican from Stuart, fears government may be interfering too much in how businesses like banks operate." "Stuart lawmaker criticizes state's foreclosure inquiry".

    See generally: "Foreclosures Still Plague Florida" ("Despite a drop in foreclosures at the end of the year, Florida was one of the most active states in 2010 for defaulting home loans, with the second-highest number of foreclosed homes and third-highest rate of foreclosure.")

    Florida entrepreneurs in action

    "Florida Crystals Corp. will be able to lease about 1,700 acres of sugar cane land in the Everglades for $61 per acre, two years after it blasted one of its rivals in the sugar industry for trying to lease land at a similar rate." "Water district rents land to Florida Crystals; rival says deal shortchanges taxpayers".

    Another day at the (public employee) office

    "Sarasota officer hit by suspect after car chase".

    The poor fellow probably expects a (real) pension when he retires.


    Mike Thomas struggles to make a point this morning: "Exaggerated predictions about global warming hurt the cause".

    Convenient confidential criminal allegations

    "The public will probably never know who prompted the Broward Sheriff's Office investigation of County Commissioner Sue Gunzburger last summer as she ran for reelection."

    Sheriff Al Lamberti's investigation of Gunzburger came at a damaging time -- smack in the middle of the toughest campaign fight of her life. The sheriff's investigation largely focused on business that Gunzburger's late husband did with the county during the 1990s, the documents show. ...

    The investigative file is rife with campaign-related tidbits that went nowhere. ...

    Gunzburger, no friend of the sheriff's, denounced him last summer for opening the probe, saying he abused his power and misused his office, and saying his motivation was to ruin her chance for her reelection to her District 6 seat in South Broward.
    "Instigator of sheriff's probe of Sue Gunzburger remains a mystery".

    "A matter of chance"

    Fred Grimm: "Can Florida's gaming-machine law be enforced? It's a matter of chance".

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