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 Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Scott's purchase of Florida now complete

    "Rick Scott, who spent more than $70 million of his own money to campaign for governor, will usher in a new era of governance when he begins implementing his sweeping pro-business agenda as soon as he is sworn in." "Scott's inauguration expected to kick off pro-business agenda".

    Howard Troxler: "Rick Scott becomes Florida's 45th governor today."
    But Question No. 1 is how much his platform of creating jobs and cutting "red tape" will conflict with Florida's environmental and growth laws. At best, he will balance the two; at worst, he will be willing to sacrifice the second for the first — with a Legislature eager to help.

    As soon as he gets started, Scott has to figure out how he would close a gap in next year's state budget that is growing toward $4 billion. It will be interesting to see his "business" approach.

    Frankly, history is against him — the outsider-reformer usually disappoints. Look at Arnold Schwarzenegger in California, a state that proved to be ungovernable. (On the other hand, Arnold never built and ran a multibillion-dollar corporation. So maybe we do have something brand new.)

    Let's hope Scott, the chief executive, does not fulfill Harry Truman's prediction about his successor Dwight Eisenhower: "He'll sit here and he'll say, 'Do this! Do that!' And nothing will happen. Poor Ike! It won't be a bit like the Army. He'll find it very frustrating."
    "How will Florida's new 'chief executive' fare?".

    See also "Gov.-elect Scott starts inaugural celebration", "Ready for the final step", "Inaugural Start Chilly Outside, Warm Inside", "Special interests put up nearly $3M to celebrate new governor, who takes office Tuesday", "Scott touts Fla.'s business advantages at reception", "Inaugural festivities honor Scott, supporters", "Inaugural Concert Honors Military Members, Veterans", "Festivities begin as Scott prepares for inauguration", "Inaugural Events Mark Dawning of Rick Scott Era" and "Scott to be sworn in as Florida's 45th governor".

    Here come Teabaggery

    "The debate over the adoption of an Arizona-type immigration law for Florida is going on front burners statewide, and Palm Beach County will be one of the hot spots for that discussion." "Florida state legislator crafting Arizona-style immigration law".

    "What do they get in return?"

    "Gov.-elect Rick Scott says he bought independence from special interests when he spent a record $73 million of his own money to get elected,"

    but the $3 million inaugural bash he is throwing this week is being paid for by the same Tallahassee interest groups that have the most at stake in his administration.

    Companies that want to influence the debate on Medicaid reform — from drug companies to HMO chains — were the largest donors, giving more than $800,000, according to initial estimates.

    Real estate developers and investors, eager for fewer regulations and no growth management hurdles, contributed more than $275,000.

    Gambling interests — from the Seminole Tribe of Florida to the Las Vegas Sands, who are at opposite ends of a debate over expanding casino gambling in Florida — ponied up a total of $150,000.

    Sixty eight companies and seven individuals wrote checks for $25,000, the maximum.

    At least two contributors, Gary Morse, the chairman of The Villages retirement community in Central Florida, and Wayne Huizenga, the Broward waste management mogul, put in personal contributions along with $25,000 checks from their companies.

    And Florida Crystals, the sugar giant and agribusiness concern that wants to have a piece of the state's alternative energy pie, had four of its affiliates donate a total of $100,000 to the inaugural cause.

    What do they get in return?
    "Corporate interests pick up $3 million inaugural tab". The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "As Crist bows out, some thing Scott must not change". The Sun Sentinel editors: "Florida's new governor faces big challenges".

    Something rotten in Rivera-world

    "Incoming Congressman David Rivera has admitted receiving $137,000 in undisclosed loans from a company co-owned by his mother -- a company now under criminal investigation over secret payments from the Flagler Dog Track during its campaign to bring slot machines to Miami-Dade pari-mutuels." "David Rivera discloses $137,000 in loans for slots campaign".

    "State prosecutors are investigating Rivera's finances, according to three people with direct knowledge of the matter." "New congressman tries to clear financial questions".

    West a "learned nothing"

    "In his continuing effort to become irrelevant even before taking office, Congressman-elect Allen West said Sunday that he had 'learned nothing' by having to back down from his choice of a demagogic talk-show host to be his chief of staff. Predictably, he called the controversy 'an attack from the left.'"

    "West keeps sounding like the sort of free agent who juices talk-show ratings but gets nothing done. Those who voted for Mr. West might want to remind him that if he becomes irrelevant, so will they." "Attacks against West coming from GOP: Concerned more about himself than District 22". See also "Rep. West defends Joyce Kaufman on Fox News Sunday , says she helped pick replacement". More West: "Allen West defiant on debt limit".

    Scott taps business lobbyist as top environmental regulator

    "Scott on Monday selected a Jacksonville shipbuilding executive and sometime lobbyist as his top environmental regulator."

    Vinyard's selection won a rave from Barney Bishop of the pro-business Associated Industries of Florida, and a shrug from Neil Armingeon of the St. Johns Riverkeeper, an environmental organization.
    "Gov.-elect Scott names shipbuilding exec to run DEP". See also "Scott Taps Shipyard Director Herschel Vinyard for DEP" and "Herschel Vinyard named head of DEP".

    More: "Scott pick gets mixed reviews".

    RPOF recognizes women

    "Bondi and Lt. Gov.-elect Jennifer Carroll, who will be the first African-American to hold the job, were the guests of honor at a Salute to Women in Leadership breakfast kicking off two days of inaugural events for Gov.-elect Rick Scott." "Update: AG-elect Pam Bondi speaks at inaugural kickoff event". See also "Florida's First Lady All About Family and Friends".

    "A new version of Mr. Inside"

    "Is Scott truly Mr. Outside? Or is he, as some of his critics charge, simply a new version of Mr. Inside beholden to the same old corporate interests? Here's a sampling of comments and prognostications about the new administration ..." "Will Scott Take Aim at 'Real Outsider,' Uncle Sam?".

    Greer says he's the victim of right-wingers

    "Jim Greer has a pretrial hearing scheduled Tuesday at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando. ... Greer has pleaded not guilty and says he is the victim of right-wing conservatives who turned against Gov. Charlie Crist." "Former Fla. GOP leader in court".

    ACLU intervenes in Fair Districts case

    "The ACLU of Florida has filed a motion 'to intervene as defendants' in the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Amendment 6 — one of two so-called 'Fair Districts' amendments that limit the Florida legislature’s ability to draw district lines to protect incumbents and guarantee one-party dominance." "ACLU moves ‘to intervene’ to defend Amendment 6".


    "Thousands of Floridians opting for ‘quick pay’ oil spill claims".

    Never mind

    "DNA Shows Texas Man Innocent After 30 Years In Prison".

    "Unless he wants to be a one-term governor"

    "Rick Scott wisely tasked teams with expertise in several policy areas to provide him with ideas he might tap as the state's chief executive. He asked for bold ideas, and got boatloads. But if Mr. Scott wants to do right by voters, he won't swallow the ideas whole. Some have merit. Many could help him deliver on his pledges to cut costs and create jobs. But others could compromise vital services and protections that Floridians count on, while still others need vetting. A lot of it. " "Rick Scott, which way forward?".

    Pelham's "parting shot"

    "Florida's planning chief says it'll take decades to use up development capacity approved over the last four years. Department of Community Affairs Secretary Tom Pelham took that parting shot Monday at Republican Governor-elect Rick Scott and other critics who say the agency has been a job killer by blocking development." "Fla. has decades worth of development capacity".

    He usually did right the thing

    The Tampa Tribune editors: "Crist usually did right thing".

    Pill Mill

    "Tampa ‘pill mill’ bust uncovers how millions of pain pills were dispensed".

    "How's that term limits thing working out for you?"

    Daniel Ruth: "Perhaps one of the perverse upsides to throwing out all the bums every eight years is the body politic gets to have a whole new cabal of bums to blame."

    Speaker Dean Cannon isn't just presiding over the Florida House. He is mother hen, Sherpa guide and legislative midwife to the new breed of elected newbies still trying to figure out where their — figuratively speaking — political keisters are.
    "Cannon must contend with the fact that roughly one-third of his charges — and aren't they the cutest little dickens you've ever seen? — have two years or less of experience in Tallahassee."
    The problem, of course, is that all term limits has accomplished is the creation of an amateur political class. More cynically, the imposition of term limits has transformed the Florida Legislature into little more than a finishing school on how to become one of the silk-stocking lobbyists — who prey upon the guppies who succeed them in elected office.

    In this era of tea party fulmination and frothing drive-by radio bloviators, the notion of legislating has come to be regarded with all the appreciation as something caught between a satanic cult and starring in The Jersey Shore. The craft of governance is left in the hands of people who have even less of an idea of what they are doing than Brett Favre contemplating the send video function on his cell phone.
    "Like newbies to the slaughter".

    "Something you don't see every day"

    The Saint Petersburg Times editors: "Here's something you don't see every day in Tallahassee. State Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, might like to run for Congress next year. Fasano just happened to be a member of the Senate redistricting committee, which will draw the lines for the new districts that will be in place for the 2012 elections. Yet Fasano resigned from the redistricting committee on Monday to avoid the perception that he would help draw a new district to his liking." "Politician says no to self-serve option".

    RPOF race

    "With the race to become Republican Party of Florida chair coming down to the wire, candidates are scrambling to make a name for themselves — and at least one of the leaders in the race is saying that those voting should look to candidates’ 'past experience' when deciding who will be the best person to run the party after former chair Jim Greer was forced out of the job amidst scandal." "DiMatteo on his state GOP rivals: ‘Past experience is the best indicator of future performance’".

    "Public should be concerned"

    "Former Florida Public Service Commissioner Nathan Skop said Monday that the public should be concerned about the agency's ability to be fair and impartial now that he and other reform-minded commissioners have been ousted." "Outgoing PSC Commissioner doubts agency will be fair to consumers".

    Simmons in the thick of it

    "When the Florida Legislature meets in March and April, Sen. David Simmons is expected to be in the thick of education reforms proposed by new Gov. Rick Scott. " "Simmons to be in thick of education debate".

    Before he cuts corporate taxes, guts regulations or privatizes ...

    The Miami Herald editors: "Rick Scott will be sworn in as governor Tuesday with a mission to create jobs. Yet before Florida cuts corporate taxes, guts regulations or privatizes more state government jobs -- all part of Mr. Scott's agenda -- the No. 1 job the governor must do is gain the public's trust. That starts with ethics reform -- from Tallahassee to the Florida Keys." "Ethics reform from Tallahassee to the Keys". The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Clean up government".

    It's a Wal-Mart world

    "The Florida Citrus Commission will study the impacts of China's growing citrus industry. The three-year, $174,941 study looks at how China will affect the world's orange juice and fresh citrus markets." "Citrus Commission to study China competition".

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