Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


UPDATE: Every morning we review and individually digest Florida political news articles, editorials and punditry. Our sister site, FLA Politics was selected by Campaigns & Elections as one of only ten state blogs in the nation
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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, July 05, 2011

All Ricky all the time

    "Scott, plagued by plummeting poll ratings and a fractious relationship with the state's traditional media, has increasingly turned to alternative methods of communicating with voters — including social media — in an effort to improve his public image."
    So far, though, the governor's nontraditional outreach seems to have had little impact. His approval ratings have ranged from a low of 29 percent in a Quinnipiac University poll in May to a high of 45 percent in a survey done last month by two Republican consulting firms. Last week, the Democratic-affiliated Public Policy Polling put his approval rating at 33 percent and said Republican presidential candidates would be wise to keep their distance from him.

    Republican communications strategist Sarah Bascom said that it makes sense for Scott and the state GOP to go into campaign mode now, to offset stories about the state's sour economy, $3 billion in budget cuts and pessimistic electorate.
    "Governor turns to social media, robocalls to try to boost image". See also "Gov. Scott turns to Web, robocalls to boost image in Florida".

    Over the weekend

    You may have missed these posts over the weekend: "Florida Political News: July 3, 2011", "Rubio drags his knuckles 'til they bleed", "The allocation of the immaculate conception", "Florida Political News: July 4, 2011", "Florida Republicans ditching their tricorn hats" and "Experts take down Jebbie's education claims".

    Voucher madness

    The Orlando Sentinel editors: "From the campaign trail, Scott was clear. Charter schools — the private schools funded by public dollars, but free of many of the rules governing traditional public schools — would be a priority. So would expanding homeschooling and virtual education."

    Thus, his hand in the hiring last month of Florida's new commissioner of education wasn't particularly surprising. Scott wheedled members of the state Board of Education to tap Gerard Robinson as the replacement for Eric Smith, who announced his resignation in March.

    In Robinson, fished from a pool of 26 candidates, Scott would have had to call Central Casting to find a more like-minded actor to star in his conservative program to recast Florida education.
    "No schools left behind".

    Thanks for your service ...

    ... you're fired: "About 1,300 workers have lost their jobs under the new state budget approved by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott." "State workers get pink slip under Gov. Rick Scott's budget".

    Meanwhile, "Outgoing city manager to get payout of almost $300,000, plus a pension later".

    "Critics question GOP strategy of forgoing millions in grants"

    "Is the Obama administration bleeding Florida's health-care system, or offering lifesaving infusions of funds? The diagnosis depends on political perspective, and for now, the state's Republicans are taking a pass on the cash." "Florida House Holds Line on Federal Health Handouts".

    Court limits exploitation of undocumented workers

    "Employer knew or should have known that injured man was an undocumented worker". "Appeals Court: Illegal Residents Entitled to Workers' Comp".

    Mack laff riot

    "Connie Mack Claims Plan to Cut Federal Government Gaining Momentum".

    Ricky's vetoes

    "In his first session, Scott signed more than 260 bills passed by the Legislature, but he did find areas to nitpick lawmakers’ work, vetoing a handful of bills. Scott vetoed 10 bills, but six of those were related to line-item vetoes, conflicted with legislation he already signed or overlapped laws he signed previously. Another bill, HB 437, which alters motor vehicle license processes for manufacturers and distributors, became law without Scott’s signature. It’s tough to find a unifying theory to explain Scott’s other four vetoes." "Scott in Line with Legislature, But Finds Bills to Veto".

    "Haridopolos slyly hawking beachfront drilling"

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Less than a year after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill was finally plugged, Senate President Mike Haridopolos looks to be slyly hawking beachfront drilling again." "Beachfront drilling returns".

    Weatherford's "false" claims about redistricting legal fund

    "Redistricting will be a messy battle in 2012. And that means legislators need money to protect their turf. But how much have they set aside to wage the war?"

    The Orlando Sentinel has reported that the House set aside $30 million that can be used for redistricting and to fight potential lawsuits. But state Rep. Will Weatherford, the House redistricting chairman and a Republican from Wesley Chapel, rejected that claim while speaking at a public legislative redistricting meeting in Panama City.

    "There is no $30 million pot of money. That doesn't exist," Weatherford told the June 22 audience. "Your tax dollars are not being spent on anything like that. There is no large pot of money out there that is fighting anything."

    Several readers saw the Sentinel's reporting and the response from Weatherford and asked us to look into it. ...
    "Weatherford's right that neither fund has shiny, bold-faced type linking it to redistricting. The funds are called 'Legislative Carry Forward' and 'House Discretionary Budget.' But we believe he's also underplaying their intent."
    • Of the $8.49 million in the "Legislative Carry Forward" fund, about $571,000 has been spent — including $18,932 for the redistricting committee. The fund includes small allotments for House members, but the biggest chunk of the money — nearly $8 million — is available in a "General House" fund that is available to be used on redistricting. (The redistricting committee has no specific allotment.)

    • Of the $23 million in the "House Discretionary Budget," about $700,000 has been spent so far on house reapportionment, and most of the money is not allocated for any specific use.

    Cannon himself admits that the funds were bolstered in order to fend off redistricting challenges.

    Which makes Weatherford's other claim that "your tax dollars are not being spent on anything like that" — simply not true. (Weatherford told us he wasn't trying to suggest that there are zero dollars for redistricting.)

    Part of the problem in examining this claim is that the Sentinel's stories got somewhat lost in translation. The Sentinel never said there was a bank vault filled with money sealed behind a door with "Redistricting Only" written on it. But Weatherford, in responding to allegations, was able to suggest as much.

    And that's what makes his claim — at least part of it — credible. There is, in fact, no $30 million pot of money for redistricting in the House. There are two pots of money available for lots of things, but the House speaker said the money predominantly is available to fight potential redistricting lawsuits. That admission, which is not in dispute, defies Weatherford's other point, that "your tax dollars are not being spent on anything like that" — referring to redistricting lawsuits. The Legislature is planning on doing exactly that. There's too much about this claim that is missing. We rate it False.
    "PolitiFact: Will Weatherford denies $30 million pot exists for redistricting".

    Florida voting database hacked?

    We aren't sure what to make of this: "Hackers Access Florida Voting Database".


    "Donna Milo, a transgender woman running for Miami commission, refutes claims that she is against same-sex couples marrying." "Transgender candidate Donna Milo: I am not against gay marriage".

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