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, June 14, 2011

Sink, Scott rematch in 2014?

    "Gov. Rick Scott’s popularity has sagged to 29 percent. And some Democrats are already looking at a rematch of the 2010 election a few months after a Democratic-leaning polling firm found former Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink would win the election by 19 points if it had been held in March."
    Sink said she is involved now with other ventures, including her work setting up a nonprofit policy organization. But she didn’t rule out a rematch with Scott, who edged her by less than 62,000 votes in a contentious 2010 election in which the former CFO ran into the strong national winds blowing against Democrats.

    "When the time comes, a couple of years from now, I’ll evaluate the race," Sink said.

    But some Democrats are still skeptical of re-running Sink, whose husband, Bill McBride, also lost to Gov. Jeb Bush in 2002.

    "I’m not sure, because we’ve heard the McBride story and we’ve heard the Sink story, and neither one of them sold," said Jon Ausman, a suspended member of the Florida Democratic Party’s executive committee.

    A current and a former lawmaker are also getting mentioned: former Sen. Dan Gelber of Miami Beach and Sen. Jeremy Ring of Margate. Neither ruled out the chance of taking on Scott in 2014, though both also stressed the three years between now and the next election.
    "Eyes Still on 2012, Democrats Sizing Up 2014 Contenders". See also "With focus still on 2012, Florida Democrats size up 2014 contenders".

    The Week Ahead

    "The Week Ahead for June 13-June 17".

    "Press having a field day lampooning Scott"

    "It's too easy to punch holes in Gov. Rick Scott's economic storytelling about creating jobs in Florida."

    Most of the state's press is having a field day lampooning Scott for taking credit for recent meager jobs relocations or expansions in Florida when, quite often, these deals were cut well before he took office.

    Don't count him out yet.

    For sure, Scott's jobs announcements from last week's Canada trade mission did not earn him credibility points.
    And then they're the job losses on Ricky's watch:
    While such incremental employment gains get the spotlight, cuts of far larger and, in some cases, higher wage jobs were unveiled this month at Angstrom Graphics (161 jobs cut) in Hollywood, Brandon Honda (94 jobs cut) in Tampa, and Kaplan University (137 jobs cut) in Fort Lauderdale, among others.

    Scott's campaign promise of 700,000 jobs in seven years may happen. But it won't send much of a prosperity message if many thousands of better-paying Florida jobs end up lost in the same period.
    "Amid bad publicity over job hype, don't count Scott out just yet".

    Florida votes and campaign cash for Obama

    "President Obama kicks his re-election campaign into high-gear with three Miami fundraisers. The big question: Will Florida give him enough votes as well as campaign cash to win in 2012?" "Obama fires up supporters at Arsht Center rally". Related: "Obama faces economic doubts in South Florida" and "Obama fundraiser underwhelms".

    From the "values" crowd

    "1,300 Hollywood workers get pay cuts; 31 lose jobs". See also "Manatee school district weighs deeper pay cuts" and "City poised to slash salaries 10 percent".

    Bennett flip flops, won't challenge Castor

    "Florida state Sen. Mike Bennett says his 'fire in the belly' to run for Congress has turned into something else after testing the waters. Bennett says what he's feeling, instead, is 'heartburn over constant fundraising, travel and the other demands of running for federal office.' The Bradenton Republican on Monday announced he's no longer interested in the job." "State Sen. Bennett won't run against Kathy Castor for Congress". See also "Bennett drops bid for U.S. Congress" and "State Sen. Mike Bennett scraps congressional bid".

    "Jeb!" gives himself an "A"

    In his annual convulsion of hubris, "Jeb Bush's annual legislative 'report card' still has most Democrats wearing dunce caps and Republicans getting gold stars."

    Bush's Foundation for Florida's Future issued the legislative grades Monday.

    The grades are based on how legislators voted on education measures favored by Bush, a Republican.

    They include a new law that eliminates tenure for new teachers. It also calls for merit pay that rewards teachers based heavily on student test results. ...

    Most other Democrats got F's while nearly all Republican's got A's.
    "Jeb Bush still has moshttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gift Florida Dems wearing dunce caps". See also "Jeb Bush Education Report Card Flunks Florida Dems on Reform".

    As we cut state trooper salaries ...

    "This year, 13 groups (.pdf) will each receive a $150,000 grant from Florida’s Department of Health for the state’s abstinence education program." "Department of Health awards almost $2 million in abstinence education grants".

    Ricky finds religion

    "The conservative Family Research Council is claiming that Gov. Rick Scott will declare Aug. 6 a day of prayer, following in the footsteps of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is putting on a massive 'prayer and fasting' event being held at a Houston stadium that same day." "Family Research Council, Texas governor say Scott will declare Aug. 6 day of prayer (Updated)".

    Vern returns contributions, gets a pass

    "The Federal Election Commission has closed its case against U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan and will take no action against the Sarasota Republican over allegations he knowingly accepted illegal campaign contributions."

    However, "this matter is still open with respect to other respondents,'' the FEC said, which means that Buchanan's campaign committee and some of his car dealerships could still be subject to action.

    In 2008, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, and Carlo Bell, former finance manager for Buchanan's Venice Nissan Dodge, filed a complaint alleging that Bell and other employees had been illegally reimbursed in 2005 for contributing $1,000 each to Buchanan's first congressional campaign.

    The FEC's investigation broadened to include allegations that employees of a Jacksonville dealership in which Buchanan was then part owner also were improperly reimbursed.
    "FEC closes its case against U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan".

    Jeremy Wallace reviews the issue at length: "Though Buchanan's campaign has always denied the allegations, the Herald-Tribune reported last week that the campaign had quietly returned $5,000 in alleged illegal donations. Campaign officials refused requests to interview Buchanan and have not answered questions regarding the reason behind the contribution refunds." "Buchanan was target of federal investigation". Background: "Maddow: Allegations against Buchanan ‘a mess’ for him ‘and for the Republican Party’".

    RPOFer debate "could be an embarrassing flop"

    "It's time to raise the possibility that 'Presidency 5' — the Republican Party of Florida's Sept. 22-24 weekend featuring a nationally televised debate, every major Republican presidential contender and a nonbinding presidential preference vote by 3,500 Florida Republican activists — could be an embarrassing flop." "So far, no contenders commit to join Florida GOP's shindig".

    TeaBagger summer school

    The Komsomol has nuthin' on these folks: "Here's another option now that the kids are out of school: a weeklong seminar about our nation's founding principles, courtesy of the Tampa 912 Project."

    The organization, which falls under the tea party umbrella, hopes to introduce kids ages 8 to 12 to principles that include "America is good," "I believe in God," and "I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable."

    Organized by conservative writer Jeff Lukens and staffed by volunteers from the 912 Project, Tampa Liberty School will meet every morning July 11-15 in borrowed space at the Paideia Christian school in Temple Terrace.
    "Tea party group offers summer camp".

    Hasner insists he's a wingnut

    "Republican U.S. Senate candidate Adam Hasner is working hard to cast his Republican rivals, George LeMieux and Mike Haridopolos, as too moderate or liberal for Republican primary voters. " "Senate hopeful Hasner says he's no moderate Republican".

    Florida wants to write its own pollution rules

    "The uproar over a federal effort to force Florida to clean up its rivers and lakes kicks up a notch this week as state officials air their strategy to avoid the controversial pollution regulations by writing a new set of their own." "Florida hopes to block new federal water-pollution rules by rewriting its own". See also "EPA will wait for Florida to adopt pollution limits before withdrawing federal standards".

    The sorry state of higher education

    "Florida's among the top ten nationally for college-educated legislators".

    "Florida's growth rate has dropped sharply"

    "A University of Florida study shows that while Florida had one of the leading growth rates in the nation in the last 10 years that rate has slowed down considerably." "Florida's growth rate has dropped sharply during Great Recession".

    Entrepreneurs in action

    The Saint Petersburg Times editors: "Newly disclosed documents from a Georgia lawsuit show that major online hotel booking services have systemically schemed since at least 2004 to avoid paying full sales and bed taxes in Florida and across the country. Earlier this year, those companies almost succeeded in duping the Florida Legislature into legitimizing the practice." "Bring tax cheats to justice".

    Rubio speaks

    "Marco Rubio to give first speech from Senate floor".

    Lookin' for Ricky's jobs

    "Florida employers expect to hire at a steady pace in the next three months but the state's employment outlook is one of the weakest in the nation, according to a survey by the Manpower employment services firm." "Manpower survey: Fla. employment weakest in U.S.".

    Grand jury lookin' at Sansom

    "Former Florida House Speaker Ray Sansom won in state court on charges of slipping a $6 million airport project into a state budget, but the federal government is still investigating his travel expenses for the years he was one of the state’s most powerful lawmakers."

    The FBI has served subpoenas on the House and the District 4 legislative office in Shalimar, demanding all of Sansom’s official travel records from Jan. 1, 2004, through the present time. Included in the subpoena were some of Sansom’s former aides – Samantha Sullivan, Eric Edwards and Melanie Phister.

    The subpoena directs House staff to produce the travel records by Thursday. A federal grand jury is meeting in Pensacola on June 21 to examine evidence.
    "FBI subpoenas Sansom’s travel records".

    Gary Fineout reports that "Sansom used leftover campaign money to reimburse himself".

    "The fevered imaginations of NRA lobbyists and their toadies"

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "State and federal lawmakers from Florida have made clear in recent weeks just how eager they are to please the politically powerful gun lobby."

    During this year's legislative session, state lawmakers passed a bill, which Gov. Rick Scott signed into law, that restricts how doctors and other health-care providers talk to their patients about guns. Physicians, especially pediatricians, have traditionally asked about firearms and other potential dangers to children in their patients' homes.

    In the fevered imaginations of National Rifle Association lobbyists and their toadies in Tallahassee, however, such questions are signs of an insidious agenda among some physicians, who might secretly be collaborating with the government to identify and disarm gun owners.
    "Lawmakers defy common sense to pander to the NRA".

    When mockingbirds kill

    "Mockingbirds on the attack near southwest Fla. clinic".

    "Anti-consumer clouds at the Florida PSC"

    The Palm Beach Post editors: "Anti-consumer clouds keep building at the Florida Public Service Commission."

    Three weeks ago, PSC Chairman Arthur Graham forced out the commission's executive director, Timothy Devlin. Mr. Graham praised him, a gesture of insincerity outrageous even by Tallahassee's standards. Mr. Devlin, who had worked for more than three decades at the agency that regulates electric, phone and water utilities, noted bluntly that a majority of commissioners supported "the chairman's request for my resignation."

    Mr. Graham gave no reason, but Mr. Devlin angered the state's investor-owned utilities 14 months ago by asking how many former PSC staffers and former commissioners they had hired, and at what salaries. Florida Power & Light and Progress Energy resisted, with FPL claiming that the request was illegal.

    In fact, state law indicates that the commission can ask for all relevant information. ...

    FPL denied any involvement in Mr. Devlin's removal, but Mr. Graham doesn't worry about commissioners mingling with those they regulate. ...

    Oh, and Gov. Scott's new energy adviser is Mary Bane. She was PSC executive director when newspapers exposed staff ethics issues tied to FPL's big rate case. It's getting to be one chummy club, with consumers not invited.
    "Consumers? What consumers?"

    "Insurance rates are set to skyrocket"

    Mike Thomas: "Your insurance rates are set to skyrocket. [Central Floridians] are about to feel the same premium pain felt on the coast, where the cost of hurricane insurance is almost making home ownership unaffordable." "Inland storm risk rises — so will home insurance". Related: "Seven Florida property insurers are seeking statewide rate hikes".

    Dead sea cows

    The Daytona Beach Bews Journal, once a great editorial board, embarasses itself this morning: "The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission showed welcome flexibility when it rejected a proposal to install a 3.8-mile slow-speed zone for boats in Flagler County's Intracoastal Waterway. The commission staff was instructed to negotiate with Flagler County officials about a smaller zone that won't stifle the county's boating and sport fishing industries." "Balance interests in protecting manatees".

    Pill millery

    "Local officials, law enforcers step up prescription-drug battle". Background: "How did Florida become 'pill-mill' hotbed?"

    Runnin' schools like a bidness

    "The city-run charter school system is Pembroke Pines is running out of money." "Pembroke Pines charter schools face budget deficit".

    "Obama's eye on the Puerto Ricans back on the mainland"

    "President Barack Obama is making a rare presidential visit to Puerto Rico, the U.S. island territory, with an eye firmly placed on the Puerto Ricans back on the mainland who could help him deliver at least one key state during his 2012 re-election campaign." "Obama visits Puerto Rico with eye on 2012 election". See also "Barack Obama Campaigns in Miami, Puerto Rico". Background: "Obama's Puerto Rico visit aimed at Hispanic 2012 vote".

    Fop fest

    "State Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, received a boost on Monday in his bid for the Republican nomination to take on Democratic U.S. Senate incumbent Bill Nelson in 2012 when state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam endorsed his candidacy." "Adam Putnam Backs Mike Haridopolos for U.S. Senate".

    Firemen battle fires, risk lives, pay cuts their reward

    "More than 300 active wildfires were burning on about 115,583 acres across the state Monday. They include a brush fire in the Everglades that has burned 68,000 acres since June 5. Multiple fires have scorched more than 4,500 acres in Levy County since April 26. Other major wildfires were burning in Flagler and Baker counties." "Scott declares wildfire emergency".

    More: "Twenty-nine units and 70 personnel responded to the fire, which took 1 hour and 40 minutes to control." "Apartment fire in Tampa burns 16 units". Across the state, "Firefighters ready for another busy day battling blazes". "Firefighters from Volusia County and the Florida Division of Forestry are battling the blaze. ... Officials say the fire is estimated at between 300 and 600 acres." More: "Brush fire goes out of control in Volusia County".

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