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 Friday, August 19, 2011

Scott team deletes emails in violation of state law

    "The e-mail accounts of Rick Scott and most of the governor-elect's transition team were deleted soon after he took office, potentially erasing public records that state law requires be kept."
    [W]ithout access to the server, it's impossible to know how many e-mails from Scott or his staff were lost between Election Day and the inauguration celebration, a two-month stretch when the team made key hiring moves and shaped the new administration's agenda.
    Here's the fall guy:
    Chris Kise, the Scott transition's attorney and public records adviser, said he was ultimately responsible for not preserving the electronic database. ...

    Kise's involvement followed a Times/Herald report that Scott's office failed to turn over any work product related to a $25,000 state contract the transition gave to an opposition research team.

    It was also three months after Rackspace, the private company that hosted the e-mail accounts for Scott's campaign and transition, deleted nearly every transition e-mail account.

    Kise said the server was wiped after transition staff received a message from a consultant that transition e-mail accounts were scheduled to be closed. Kise said he did not know that meant the accounts would be deleted and become inaccessible.

    Kise said between 40 and 50 transition e-mail accounts, including Scott's, were deleted.
    Bottom line, Scott's administration acted unlawfully:
    Candice Odom, a public records specialist for the Council of State Archivists who also held a similar position at the State Department, said lost e-mails would violate state law, which also requires the destruction of public records to be documented.
    "Scott's e-mails deleted".

    "". See also "" and "".

    Webster "watch list" finally receives Florida press coverage

    "Staffers of at least one Congressional office, Rep. Tim Griffin (R-Ark.), distributed 'homework' to Congressional town hall attendees in the form of a 'watch list' [.pdf] that features photographs, personal information and pointed questions about six activists who are constituents of Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.), each of whom was openly critical of Webster at his town halls earlier this year."

    "Watch List" of FL Citizen Activists Distributed at AR GOP Congressional Town Hall".

    A week after the story broke in the Huffington Post, the Webster fan club at Webster's hometown newspaper, the Orlando Sentinel does damage control for Webster: "After angry town halls, Rep. Webster sent out 'watch list' of local activists".

    "Florida is going backward in preparing students for college"

    "Test results show Florida is going backward in preparing students for college, yet the state's high schools keep getting high grades from the state, a former education commissioner told a higher education study panel Thursday." "Ex-education chief says Florida going backward".

    "Florida ranks 49th in the nation in percentage of uninsured infants, toddlers"

    "The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded Florida about $1.8 million to help the state sign up more children for health insurance. According to the Children’s Movement of Florida, the state of Florida currently 'ranks 49th in the nation in the percentage of uninsured infants, toddlers and other children, and one recent report places our state last. More than 18 percent of our children – about 800,000 of Florida’s youngest, most vulnerable citizens – do not have health insurance.'" "Florida receives almost $2 million in federal grants to sign up children for health coverage".

    Spanked but unbowed

    "Scott is the subject of numerous lawsuits seeking to thwart his agenda, and Tuesday he experienced his first legal setback when the Florida Supreme Court found he 'overstepped his authority' in seeking executive approval of new agency rules."

    The decision prevents the office he set up to review new and existing rules from stopping new rules, but Scott’s office will continue to be involved in the rule-making process, even if it doesn’t have a de jure veto power over new rules.

    Scott said he disagreed with the decision, but remains confident he is on solid legal ground in other lawsuits.
    "Gov. Rick Scott Unbowed by Legal Setback".

    Romney, Huntsman endorsements

    "With Texas Gov. Rick Perry catching him in polls at the state and national level, former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts looked to secure Florida behind his bid for the Republican presidential nomination by unveiling the endorsements of several state legislators. Former Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah also added to his bench in the Sunshine State this week."

    Romney announced the support of five state senators -- J.D. Alexander of Lake Wales, Mike Bennett of Bradenton, Anitere Flores of Miami, Evelyn Lynn of Daytona Beach and Stephen Wise of Jacksonville. The former Massachusetts governor, who came in second in the 2008 Florida presidential primary, also received the backing of three members of the Florida House -- Daniel Davis of Jacksonville, Shawn Harrison of Temple Terrace and Ed Hooper of Clearwater.
    "Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman Add to Their Teams in Florida".

    Hasner, LeMieux battle over who is crazier

    "While the Republican primary to see who will challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is still a year away, two of the leading hopefuls turned up the heat and fired away at each other Thursday."

    The team behind former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner launched a new video ad against their candidate's GOP rival, former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux. The ad links LeMieux to the man who appointed him to the U.S. Senate -- former Gov. Charlie Crist. LeMieux had been a close associate and former chief of staff to Crist -- the man who left the Republicans during the 2010 U.S. Senate race. ...

    "George LeMieux only spent 16 months in the U.S. Senate, but he's already mastered the Washington art of political deception," said Douglass Mayer, a spokesman for Hasner. "George LeMieux is campaigning around Florida, downplaying his ties to Charlie Crist and distorting the truth about the nearly two decades he spent at Crist's side advocating for liberal policies within the Republican Party. But the video doesn't lie. He should come clean about the true amount of time he spent working for Charlie Crist, and his key role in pushing for felons' voting rights, extreme global warming legislation, and other liberal policies that are contrary to his reinvented image as a 'true blue conservative.'"

    The LeMieux team fired back with their own attack, calling Hasner’s conservative credentials into question. They pointed to a Christian Coalition of Florida “F” grade of Hasner’s record in 2007 and claimed Hasner backed weakening parental consent laws on abortion. They also argued that Hasner voted against school choice for military families in 2004.
    "Taking Off the Gloves, Republican Senate Rivals Fight Over the Right".

    Right wing pollsters don't think "class-warfare" will fly in Florida

    Rick Scott's pollsters don't think Floridians will go for that taxing the rich thing. "Obama's Class-Warfare Strategy a Loser in Florida".

    "Woefully out of touch"

    Scott Maxwell: "Rick Scott swallowed his pride (and probably some bile) and walked into the Orlando Sentinel on Thursday morning. Wearing his trademark boots — the ones with the state seal and "45th GOVERNOR" embroidered on the front — Scott settled in for an hour's worth of questioning. This was part of the "Reinventing Rick" tour, the one he launched when his approval ratings dipped just below head lice."

    Within the hour, Scott gave thorough answers to a few questions, incomplete or evasive ones to many more — and at least once told a flat-out lie.

    Oh, and I'm pretty sure he has a man-crush on Rick Perry.

    On at least three different topics, Scott longed for Florida to be more like Gov. Perry's Texas. (Presumably, that doesn't include the Lone Star State's tar-covered beaches. But Scott later said he wasn't ready to rule out near-shore drilling off Florida's cost. So who knows?)
    "The best (worst) example of that came when editorial board chief Mike Lafferty read a question submitted by a reader via Twitter:"
    "How can you justify having taxpayers pay for your health care while you oppose the same type of coverage for them?"

    Scott responded: "I get the same health care every other state employee gets."

    That is simply untrue.

    The vast majority of state employees are not eligible for the taxpayer-subsidized plan Scott gets — $8 a month for individuals and $30 for families. It's only for a certain class of folks — including elected officials, political appointees and high-ranking bureaucrats.

    Most state workers pay more than five times as much. It's still a good deal. And still subsidized. But it's not what Scott gets.

    If I had to guess, Scott's fib wasn't intentional. It was probably based on being uninformed. And you can rightfully argue that taxpayers still come out ahead regarding his compensation, because he made a campaign pledge to take no salary.

    But it's still telling that the state's chief executive is so clearly unaware of the benefits his employees receive — even as he fights to cut them.
    Much more: "Aspects of 'Reinventing Rick' tend to be disturbing". The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Gov. Rick Scott defends jobs, school agendas". Bill Cotterell: "On Scott and health coverage, 'hypocrisy' is a little strong".

    One more shot for PIP?

    "As criticism mounts against the state's no-fault auto insurance law one leading House Republican says legislators should give personal injury protection one more shot before it is eliminated. 'If we can't fix it, then we'll flush it'' said Rep. Bryan Nelson." "One more year on the road for no-fault auto insurance?".

    See 'ya in court

    "Florida's next banking commissioner is friends with Gov. Rick Scott and even lives right down the street from him in Naples. Former state legislator Tom Grady also has another connection: He's part of a lawsuit against his new bosses that contends that the state failed to pay him and other lawyers more than $1 million that was owed to them." "New Florida banking regulator suing his bosses".

    Vern speaks

    "Florida Republican Congressman Vern Buchanan’s bill to open up the bicameral 'supercomittee,' tasked under the recent federal debt-ceiling deal to cut spending, received some conservative support Wednesday when the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) backed the bill." "Conservative Group Backs Vern Buchanan's Plan for Supercommittee Sunshine".

    Heavily scarred knuckles required

    "AIF creates search committee to find replacement for Barney Bishop". See also "Associated Industries starts charting new era".

    Recommended Reading

    "Recommended Reading for Friday, August 19".

    Charter madness

    "Speaking to the crowd of about 2,000 Charter Schools USA employees, Scott gave a nod to the charters that are independently operated, but financed with tax dollars. Charter USA manages 25 charters in Florida with about 23,500 students, making its operation larger than 40 of 67 public school systems in the state."

    Charters were under fire earlier this summer when school grades came out and charters earned nearly half of the 31 F grades handed out statewide, although they represent only a fraction of the state's more than 3,000 public schools.

    Overall, they performed no better than traditional schools, although they originally had been billed as a superior alternative. ...

    Scott also commented on criticism of Charter Schools USA for holding the event.

    The for-profit management firm, which is paid with tax dollars, bused in employees from across the state for the daylong event, including lunch, at the upscale Rosen Plaza. Orange and Seminole school district officials said the expense was misguided when schools across the state face a budget crisis for daily operations.

    "Leave it to the local educators to decide how to best spend their money," Scott said.

    Charter schools, including those managed by Charter Schools USA, have complained that they are inadequately funded by the state.
    "Charter schools must improve, Gov. Scott says".

    "Scott everyone's favorite whipping boy, with reason"

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board:"From the headlines generated after the Florida Supreme Court ruled this week that Gov. Rick Scott cannot suspend his executive agencies' rule-making responsibilities, you would think the 'power-grabbing' governor got his comeuppance."

    And he did to a degree. But the difficult case raises legitimate questions about the extent of the chief executive's authority.

    Scott has become everyone's favorite whipping boy, with reason. His interactions with state employees and the media have been inept, and he is frequently disdainful of opposing views.
    "A question of authority".

    Sansom goes on the offensive

    "Former Florida House Speaker Ray Sansom said he's filed an ethics complaint against the state prosecutor who pursued criminal charges against him over his dealings with a Panhandle college." "Ray Sansom files ethics complaint against prosecutor Willie Meggs".

    Not a joke

    "Contest winners to get hotel stay and Scott visit".

    Raw political courage

    "Gov. Rick Scott criticized the state's 24 regional work-force boards Thursday ... Scott said if board members want agency business, they should step down. 'If they are in a position that holds a conflict of interest," he said, "then they need to resign.'" "Gov. Scott blasts jobs agencies' actions | Video". See also "Scott Wants More Transparency for Workforce Boards".

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