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 Thursday, May 19, 2011

Jax shocker

    Update: "Alvin Brown elected Jacksonville's 1st black mayor". See also "Brown makes history" and "Here's how Alvin Brown was able to do it".

    "It's safe to say GOP leaders around Florida are likely in a bit of shock this morning. We still don't know who Jacksonville's next mayor will be, but most never expected it to be this close, much less show Democrat Alvin Brown leading Republican Mike Hogan."
    Depending on the outcome, we'll be talking a lot about what went wrong for the losing campaign and coalition. Rest assured, however, there are a lot of people quite unsure what happened in sleepy Jacksonville. Their perception that a GOP candidate would always win in Duval - even if his nomination elicited howls of protest from prominent civic leaders - has been shattered.
    "Jacksonville mayoral race could send shockwaves through state GOP circles".

    "Governor, veto this bill"

    "Scott has yet to sign a sweeping elections bill that rewrites much of the state's voting laws, but the measure is already having repercussions in a South Florida mayoral race – and drawing challenges from Democrats in Florida and in Washington. Elections officials in Miami-Dade have canceled early voting hours for Sunday in anticipation that Scott will sign the bill by Saturday, his deadline for a decision. Among other things, the bill prohibits early voting three days before an election; the Miami-Dade mayoral primary is next Tuesday." "Protests grow as Scott considers an elections bill".

    Howard Troxler writes - "Here is how bad this bill is, governor:"

    The League of Women Voters has announced that if you sign it, the league will suspend all voter registration efforts in Florida, for fear of being punished by the government.

    And for what reason?

    "Voter fraud." It is a Big Lie told so often that too many people believe it.

    "Everybody knows" that there is voter fraud in Florida. "Everybody knows" that Mickey Mouse was registered to vote in Florida.

    Except ...


    It isn't true. It isn't true!
    "There is not even frequent voter fraud."
    Those anecdotes cited by legislators during debate do not exist. They make it sound like terrorists, commies and ACORN (same thing, I guess) are stuffing the voting rolls with fake names and dead guys willy-nilly. It isn't true.

    If you make this our law, all the things that we were once taught about our American democracy will no longer apply in Florida. We'll want fewer people to vote, not more. Signing up voters is not a patriotic duty; it will be a suspicious activity.

    Good grief!

    Governor, veto this bill.
    "Governor, veto this awful voting bill" (ellipsis original). See also "Scott's likely approval of elections bill could spark showdown with feds" and "Battle Looms Over Florida’s Elections Bill".

    Haridopolos spinning on his head

    Haridopolos' "tone was starkly different from the final rocky hours of the session, when Haridopolos looked despondent as he apologized to senators about how it closed. On Wednesday, he said he was thrilled with the session overall but disappointed the state House did not take up measure to compensate a Brevard County man wrongfully incarcerated for murder and a Broward man disabled after a deputy smashed into his car." "Florida Sen. Mike Haridopolos touts session, says he takes on 'tough issues'".

    Bought and paid for

    "Florida utilities, casino operators, local governments and a host of other interests spent more than $55.1 million to lobby Tallahassee lawmakers and the governor during the first three months of the year, according to [an] ... analysis of lobbyist compensation data released this week." "Florida lobbyists still spending big to influence Tallahassee". See also "Companies set record on Florida lobbyist spending".

    "The Maginot Line of dirty water"

    Mike Thomas: "Florida has spent years defining dirty in lakes and rivers all over the state, working in concert with the very industries that dump poop and fertilizer in them."

    I can assure you of one thing. Having spent my entire life in this state, this ain't working. I've watched Lake Butler, Crystal River and Weeki Wachee Springs all turn green, green and green.

    That's just to name a few.

    And so, spurred on by a lawsuit from the communist environmentalists to do something about this, the EPA decided to attach numbers to dirty. No more guesswork. ...

    The EPA claims it would be millions and millions, and well worth it.

    The state claims it would be billions and billions, and might not do squat.

    This dispute is bigger than just us.

    If Florida knuckles under, the feds will move on to other states with their demands for cleaner water. So polluters and mudfish all over the nation are cheering us on.

    We are the Maginot Line of dirty water.
    "Florida gears up to fight new federal rules on water pollution".

    "Arrogance, bullying and duplicity"

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "The arrogance, bullying and duplicity of 1st District Court of Appeal Judge Paul M. Hawkes has been well documented. Now new charges from Florida's Judicial Qualifications Commission have uncovered even more evidence that Hawkes, a former political operative who orchestrated the building of the 'Taj Mahal' courthouse in Tallahassee, is not fit to sit on the bench." "'Taj Mahal' judge must go". The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Taj Mahal shenanigans".


    "Teachers saved in PBC, sacrificed in Broward – why?" Related: "871 Broward school officials to take furloughs".

    "Power grab by the Legislature"

    "Audubon of Florida and the Everglades Foundation ask Gov. Rick Scott to veto SB 2142. Sen. Alan Hays says the bill makes the districts and their appointed boards more accountable to the public. But former House Speaker Dick Pettigrew said the bill is a power grab by the Legislature." "Groups say bill slashing water management district taxes undermines governor's authority".

    DCA employees let go

    "SB 2156 would transfer DCA's Division of Community Planning to a new Department of Economic Opportunity, with 29 positions in that division being cut effective June 30. One laid-off supervisor said there was 'gallows humor' for the laid off employees while the mood was more somber during an afternoon meeting for employees who are staying." "Some DCA employees receive their pink slips as part of department breakup".

    I'm shocked, shocked...

    "Scott's Washington, D.C.-based lawyers said the governor has no conflict because of the ownership transfer to his wife's trust." "Florida ethics panel rejects Solantic complaints against Gov. Rick Scott".

    GOPers give Ricky a pass

    "According to a poll unveiled Wednesday, Republican voters don't think their representatives in Tallahassee are doing enough to help Gov. Rick Scott get the Sunshine State back to work."

    The poll, from Sunshine State Communications, a firm with connections to prominent Republicans, found that a strong plurality of Republican primary voters think the Legislature let Gov. Rick Scott down in his effort to bring jobs to the Sunshine State -- even though Republican supermajorities dominate both the House and the Senate.

    When the session started in March, Republicans controlled 81 of the 120 seats in the Florida House and 28 of the 40 seats in the Senate. Most of the current leadership in the Legislature -- including Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, who is running in a crowded Republican primary to take on Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in 2012, and House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park -- backed then-Attorney General Bill McCollum over Scott in a heated Republican gubernatorial primary last year.

    The poll found that 49 percent of those surveyed believe the Legislature didn't do enough to help the governor. While 36 percent of those surveyed were undecided, a mere 15 percent thought the Legislature did do enough to help Scott with his jobs plan. ...

    The poll of 457 likely Republican primary voters was taken on May 12-13 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.58 percent.
    "Poll of GOP Voters: Legislature Did Not Help Rick Scott Get Florida Back to Work".

    Conforming bills

    "In the wake of a session that included what veterans said was an abnormally large number of 'conforming bills' usually meant to simply bring state policy in line with the next year’s budget, interest groups and others are still sifting through all that was in them more than a week later." "In Spate of Conforming Bills, Dozens of Changes to Law".

    Nelson weighs in

    "With the federal government reaching the debt ceiling earlier in the week, Florida Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio -- and the field of GOP candidates looking to knock off Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson -- weighed in this week, calling for fiscal restraint." "Marco Rubio and GOP Challengers to Bill Nelson: Focus on Debt Ceiling".

    "Lobbying stars aligning for insurance industry"

    Now that "Gov. Scott signs in sweeping insurance changes", the The Saint Petersburg Times' Business Columnist, Robert Trigaux writes that "Insurers win; Florida could lose".

    Opening the door for graft

    "HB 7207 would make sweeping changes to the state's 25-year-old management system, substantially reducing state oversight of local land use decisions. Former Gov. Bob Graham called the bill 'detrimental' to the economy, while Nat Reed said the legislation will open the door for bribery and graft among local officials." "Critics say growth management bill will harm economy and increase corruption".

    Huntsman state HQ in Orlando

    "Although he hasn't officially jumped into the race, potential Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman has decided to open his national headquarters in Orlando, his advisers confirmed Wednesday. ... The former Utah governor's exploratory committee also named Nikki Jerger Lowrey, a onetime aide to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, as its Florida director." "Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman's presidential campaign to set up in Orlando". See also "Should he run, Huntsman to base WH campaign in Fla" and "The sun's shining for Huntsman in Florida".

    Scott vows vetos

    "Scott vowed Tuesday to pare the $69.7 billion state budget approved by lawmakers, reining-in public-sector spending and easing a debt burden that has skyrocketed under fellow Republicans the past decade." "Gov. Scott poises with veto power -- over his own party's spending plans".

    Yee haw! I gonna kill me sum bar

    The Saint Petersburg Times editors: "State wildlife officials have concluded there are just too many darned black bears roaming around inhabited Florida. But is that the bears' fault, or the fault of politicians who have allowed developers to pave over more of the state? And before open season is declared by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the bear is removed from the state's list of protected animals, the justification should be more compelling than a nearly 10-year-old data base." "Don't let Florida black bears be victims".

    "Seniors Tax Simplification Act"

    "Florida Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio today introduced a bill that would that would simplify the tax code and filing requirements for seniors. The legislation, titled 'Seniors Tax Simplification Act,' would create a new 1040 form making it easier for seniors to file for Social Security benefits, dividends, capital gains and interest." "Sens. Nelson, Rubio team up on taxes".

    Florida's "public shaming"

    "When federal officials announced this month that Florida ranked No. 3 in the nation when it comes to costs incurred from fatal vehicle crashes, traffic safety advocates embraced the public shaming as new ammunition in the effort to tame the state's highways." "As crash costs surge, safety advocates ask if Fla. will act".

    While the rest of us were sleeping

    While the rest of us were sleeping, Florida's firemen (who actually have pensions) yet again see, touch and smell the things the rest of us never have to concern ourselves with: "Firefighters find body inside burning van in Deltona" ("Firefighters early today made a gruesome discovery: a body inside a burning vehicle.")

    Dubya's 2000 lawyer cashes in (on Floridians)

    "Legal bills continue to mount for the defense of insurance commissioner Kevin McCarty and the state Office of Insurance Regulation."

    So far the state has been billed more than $55,000 by high-powered attorney Barry Richard, who is charging up to $715 an hour to defend against a lawsuit filed by the owner of a Texas insurance company who alleges McCarty unfairly rejected his proposal to do business in Florida.

    That makes Richard, who represented George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential election recount, the highest-paid outside counsel hired by the state insurance office in the past four years.

    In three other cases, the state's risk management office paid outside attorneys between $85 and $95 an hour to defend the insurance office, with charges totaling between $15,748 and $115,772. In those cases, risk management covered all the costs.

    In this case, McCarty's office is picking up some of the costs.
    "Taxpayer bill mounts in legal defense of Florida insurance commissioner".

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