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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, March 16, 2011

Scott gets all teabaggery on the web

    "Scott announces the redesign of his campaign website, which prominently features Scott's ties to the conservative tea party movement and encourages Floridians to e-mail lawmakers and urge them to pass his budget proposal."
    The site featured a new one-minute, campaign-style video; a five-question survey; and at least five mentions of the tea party, including one on his biography page and three social media avatars on a page within the site devoted to the tea party.
    "Scott website focuses on tea party".

    Another party-line vote

    "The Florida House of Representatives today is expected to pass a bill on a party-line vote that creates a new merit pay system for teachers and makes major changes in the way they are hired, fired, evaluated and promoted." "Today in Tallahassee".

    While the rest of us were sleeping ...

    "St. Cloud firefighter injured battling house fire".

    Education "reform" one step away from Governor Teabag

    "Opponents tried one last time — and failed — to make changes to a bill that would dramatically reform the way public school teachers are evaluated, paid and hired. Now the fast-track legislation is one step away from the desk of Gov. Rick Scott, who has indicated he will sign it." "Teacher reform bill set for final vote Wednesday". See also William March's "Teacher tenure, merit pay up for final vote today" and Jim Ash's "House set for final vote on merit pay". Background: "Marathon House session on education reform".

    "A bleak picture"

    "Even as state lawmakers work to lessen the cuts proposed by Gov. Rick Scott in the education budget, they said the numbers they are facing don't look good."

    "It's been excruciating," said Marti Coley, chairwoman of the House K-12 Education Appropriations Committee, who told members Tuesday her preliminary budget now calls for a 7.7-percent cut in per-student funding. "It's pretty overwhelming. Believe me."

    That's less than the 10 percent cut the governor proposed, but still tough to face.

    "Our possible budget is a little bit better, not a lot, but a little bit better than what the governor proposed," Coley, R-Marianna, said during a budget workshop. "When I first heard the 10 percent cut, I kind of gasped, and here we are at 7.7 percent."

    Over in the Senate, the education appropriations committee didn't reach a per-student number yet, but Chairman David Simmons also painted a bleak picture.
    "Florida lawmakers looking at steep cuts in school funding".

    Merit pay, without the "pay"

    "Florida lawmakers are poised to approve a comprehensive overhaul in the way teachers are evaluated and paid, setting up a system that would give the most effective teachers a higher salary. But there's one glitch in the plan. No one is exactly sure how to pay for it." "The big question on merit pay: Where's the money?". See also "" and "".

    Bondi: never mind the black thing

    Pam Bondi whines that the "Clemency shift upholds rule of law".

    Here's a dose of reality, Ms. Bondi, courtesy of The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board:

    Attorney General Pam Bondi and the rest of the Florida Cabinet on Wednesday made a hash of civil rights restoration for nonviolent felons who are trying to put their lives back on track. How they did it — with little public notice or input — was also appalling.
    "A shameful setback on civil rights". See also The Miami Herald's editors' "Welcome back, Jim Crow".

    Fertilizer and sewage headed for a lake near you

    "Environmentalists and local government officials are worried about a bill moving through the Florida Legislature that would abolish all local ordinances restricting lawn fertilizer use, replacing them with a less restrictive state law. ... ordinances banning nitrogen or phosphorus fertilizer use during the summer rainy season prevent pollution of ... local lakes and springs. ... At the same time, another bill moving through the Legislature would repeal a law passed just last year requiring increased septic tank inspections." "Lawmakers consider bill to abolish local fertilizer laws".

    Argenziano: Enough "corruption, hypocrisy, lying and greed"

    Former Florida Republican State Representative, Senator and PSC member, Nancy Argenziano wrote the other day that

    there were grass-roots "Awake the State" rallies all over Florida. For years, I have wondered what it would take to finally stir the people to oppose the corruption, the selling of policy, the hypocrisy, lying and the greed of their leaders. Today, I think they have awakened.
    "Florida has been for sale too long" (via "Florida Defend the Dream Rallies").

    Your remember Nancy Argenziano, the unusually independent Republican who several years ago "delivered a 25-pound box of cow manure to Jodi Chase, [and] many of her colleagues cheered her on because the recipient is a notoriously abrasive lobbyist for Associated Industries of Florida."

    Argenziano's message was particularly blunt: when Chase,
    a leading nursing home lobbyist who had not come to Argenziano's office all session, walked into her empty office Tuesday and sat on her couch during the House debate on the bill [and watched the closed circuit video of the proceedings], Argenziano was insulted. ...

    Argenziano said she bought the manure at a feed store and had it delivered to Chase with a card that said: "Mrs. Chase, I believe you deposited this in my office in your uninvited visit there yesterday."
    "Legislator sends manure to nursing home lobbyist". See also "Lawmaker sent manure, her fans send praises" and "Legislator Sends Gift Box Of Manure" ("The business lobby is demanding a public apology, calling the revenge 'despicable.'")

    Scott to shape Water Management District

    "With five appointees, Gov. Rick Scott has an opportunity to mold the South Florida Water Management District governing board into the tax-slashing, waste-conscious body he seeks." "Scott gets majority on South Florida water board, with fifth member's resignation".

    Public broadcasting in trouble

    "The Florida Channel -- which provides coverage of committee meetings, legislative sessions and other events -- receives the bulk of the state's public broadcasting funds." "Faced with $1.6 billion schools deficit, Fla. Senate ponders public broadcasting cuts".

    Florida allows local government to play politics

    Jackie Bueno Sousa: "'Florida is among the minority of states that allows local governments to advocate on an election issue,' says Robert Meyers, executive director of Miami-Dade’s Commission on Ethics and Public Trust." "Law is gray when local government plays politics".

    Draggin' them knuckles

    "Thirty-one Republicans on the House Energy And Commerce Committee -- the entire Republican contingent on the panel -- declined on Tuesday to vote in support of the very idea that climate change exists." "Every Single GOPer On House Energy Cmte Won't Say Climate Change Is Real".

    As ye sow, so shall ye reap

    "In their zeal to slash red tape this spring, Florida lawmakers are going so far that they have begun making even the state's biggest businesses nervous."

    Even by the standards already set this year in Tallahassee — where dozens of bills lifting one regulation or another are rapidly advancing through the Legislature — the legislation introduced Tuesday is breathtaking.
    "Some industries balk at giant deregulation bill in Florida House".

    Putnam wants more

    "Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam wants control over school lunch and breakfast programs currently managed by the state Department of Education."

    But Tuesday, Putnam brought the issue before the state Board of Education, where some members aren’t ready to fork over control. Roberto Martinez of Coral Gables said Putnam’s idea for transferring the school nutrition program is bad policy riddled with concerns over conflict of interest.
    "Agriculture chief wants control over school lunch and breakfast programs". See also "Food Fight! Battle Begins Over Who Controls School Lunch Programs".

    Dunce cap

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Don’t be fooled by the 'smart cap' that Republicans in the Florida Senate embraced Tuesday as a way to rein in government spending. It is a solution in search of a problem in a state where revenue collection has dropped precipitously in recent years, and it will only ensure that Florida — even once the economy recovers — won’t have the means for meaningful investment in things like education and infrastructure." "'Smart cap' anything but". See also "Senate Passes 'Smart Cap'".

    "This self-sacrifice thing can get out of hand"

    The Sarasota Herald Tribune editorial board: "The members of a Florida Senate committee must have had a momentary pang of conscience last week."

    After all, they and the rest of the Legislature are getting ready to cut education funding, Medicaid, unemployment benefits and other social services in their effort to balance the state budget.

    It wouldn't be right, the committee members must have thought, to impose such hardship on students, the jobless and low-income Floridians without reducing legislators' benefits as well.

    So, the Senate's Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee swallowed hard Thursday and voted to have legislators contribute 4 percent of their state salaries toward their future pensions.

    But when a senator proposed that legislators reduce the rate at which they accrue their pension benefits — a level that puts the part-time lawmakers on a par with police and firefighters — the committee drew the line.

    Apparently, this self-sacrifice thing can get out of hand.
    "Legislative pension pang".

    RPOFers can't get their teabags around that separation of powers thing

    Scott Maxwell: "State House Speaker Dean Cannon says they threaten the freedom and liberty of Americans. U.S. Rep. Sandy Adams says they disregard our 'national sovereignty.' Are they talking about Al-Qaida? Osama bin Laden?"

    No. American judges.

    And so they are waging war against one of our own branches of government.

    Forget separate but equal powers. Some politicians are convinced that some branches are more equal than others.
    "Politicians vs. judiciary: A misguided war".

    Scott budget funds controversial "crisis pregnancy centers"

    "Since Gov. Rick Scott unveiled his 2011-2012 budget proposal last month, questions have swirled about what his recommendations might mean for particular state programs. According to state Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, one controversial program — which provides taxpayer dollars to crisis pregnancy centers that have been found to disseminate disputed information about abortion — lives on in Scott’s budget." "Plakon: Scott’s budget renews funding for crisis pregnancy network".

    Shocker! Business gets a pass

    "The Senate Judiciary Committee officially took up its version of an Arizona-style immigration measure Monday – but watered down its employer mandate." "Senate drops business mandate in immigration bill".

    Empty suit strides national stage

    "With a landmark spending debate engulfing Washington, the Florida Republican has, virtually overnight, launched the national profile the conservative movement has been clamoring for." "Politico: Rubio brand readies for prime time".

    Obama coming to town

    "President Obama to speak at Miami-Dade College graduation".

    Scott "stuck on stupid"

    "Scott should have allowed the private companies interested in building a high-speed train in Florida to at least make an offer before he scuttled the $2.7 billion project, a potential bidder said Monday. 'Maybe we would have agreed with him [that it was not feasible], but we were never given the chance,' said Richard P. Lawless, president and CEO of U.S. Japan High-Speed Rail."

    Lawless called Scott's move a "political decision." U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, was more outspoken, calling it "stuck on stupid."
    "Gov. Rick Scott should have waited on high-speed rail, train exec says".

    "Poetic justice"

    "There's a possible new twist to House Speaker Dean Cannon's radical plan to reorganize the Florida Supreme Court — one that could lend a new meaning to the term poetic justice." "Proposed bill would move expanded Fla. Supreme Court to new 1st DCA building".

    Closing prisons

    "The state plans to close six prisons, including Tallahassee's road prison and a Brevard County institution, in a $30-million cost-saving initiative." "State to close Tallahassee road prison".

    Yee haw!

    "A bill that would allow weapons to be openly carried in Florida has cleared a Senate committee. The Senate Criminal Justice Committee on Monday voted 3-2 along party lines to approve the bill (SB 234)." "Open-carry proposal passes Florida Senate committee".

    Scott dead ender

    Kingsley Guy: "Space: Invest in NASA, not high-speed train".

    Florida nuke safety

    "Florida's five nuclear energy reactors are built to withstand a Category 5 hurricane. They're also elevated 20 feet above sea level to be able to withstand the worst-case storm surge." "Nuclear crisis like Japan's unlikely at Fla. reactors". The Sun Sentinel editorial board: "Nuclear power moratorium not the answer".

    Scott's heads out on junket in middle of session

    "Scott will leave Thursday for his first foreign trade mission since being elected, a two-day trip to Panama. A delegation of port officials, businessmen and Florida Chamber of Commerce representatives will head to Panama on Wednesday and Scott will join them a day later." "Gov. Scott readies first trade mission".

    As Ricky packs his golf clubs...

    "Two [pill mill] proposals, diametrically opposed to each other but both designed to tackle the state's prescription drug epidemic, are on a collision course." "House, Senate bills differ over creation of pill database".

    Miami-Dade recall results

    "The campaign to recall Alvarez was launched in October by billionaire businessman Norman Braman after Alvarez successfully pushed for a property tax-rate increase to help plug a gaping budget hole. At the same time, Alvarez pushed for labor contracts with employee unions that included pay hikes for most county workers this year." "Miami-Dade voters fire Mayor Carlos Alvarez over pay hikes, tax increase". See also "Overwhelming vote ousts Miami-Dade County Commissioner Seijas" and "Miami-Dade voters toss out Mayor Carlos Alvarez, Commissioner Seijas".

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