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, October 13, 2011

Florida counties ordered to offer bilingual ballots

    This ought to send the Republi-baggers whinging: "In the run-up to the 2012 elections, the federal government is ordering that 248 counties and other political jurisdictions provide bilingual ballots to Hispanics and other minorities who speak little or no English. ... Florida counties that will have to offer bilingual material include Hillsborough, Polk, Broward, Hardee, Hendry, Lee, Miami-Dade, Orange, Osceola and Palm Beach." "Bilingual voting ballots ordered in 25 states".

    "Tally is awash in special interest money"

    "The economy might be down in Florida, but the state Capitol is awash in special interest money."

    In the past three months, the Republican Party of Florida and the Florida Democratic Party took in $5.5 million and $894,000, respectively. And the 40 political committees linked to top legislators pulled in nearly $1.8 million more.
    "Special interest money floods Tallahassee campaign coffers".

    "Florida Republicans lathering themselves in cash from interest groups"

    "With billion-dollar resort casinos and health-care privatization efforts up for grabs, major gaming and insurance interests are dominating the political money chase in Florida, new state fundraising reports show. Florida Republicans, who control the Legislature, governor's office and virtually all state agencies, are lathering themselves in cash from interest groups at the expense of out-of-power Democrats, who posted their worst fundraising quarter in at least six years." "Health-care, gaming cash pours in for Florida Republicans".

    "Panhandle Republican wants to bring back firing squads"

    "A state lawmaker wants to test the limits of cruel and unusual punishment with a 'lead cocktail.' Rep. Brad Drake, a Panhandle Republican, wants to bring back firing squads."

    Drake said he was tired of all the talk about how to properly execute someone on death row, so he had an idea — get rid of lethal injection and let inmates choose between the electric chair or a firing squad.

    He drafted the bill after overhearing lunchtime chatter at a Waffle House in support of execution by firing squad.

    "I say let's end the debate. We still have 'Old Sparky.' And if that doesn't suit the criminal, then we will provide them a .45-caliber lead cocktail instead," said Drake, a marketing executive who was first elected to the House in 2008.

    Here's how Drake, 36, put it in an interview with the Florida Current: "There shouldn't be anything controversial about a .45-caliber bullet. If it were up to me, we would just throw them off the Sunshine Skyway bridge and be done with it."
    "Call to return to firing squads".

    "State anti-immigrant measures"

    The Miami Herald editors argue that "State anti-immigrant measures harm their own economies". "Immigration backfire".

    Obama in Orlando

    "Saying the nation's 'rugged individualists' can work together for the common good, President Barack Obama told an Orlando gathering tonight that America needs his $447 billion jobs program." "America needs my jobs bill, Obama tells Orlando fundraiser".

    Another front group

    "A newly formed small-business advocacy group praised Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday for his continued efforts to reduce regulations, but added that federal regulations continue to hinder economic growth." "Small-Business Group Praises Scott, Criticizes White House Overregulation". Related: "Business groups target federal regulations designed to protect water quality, children".

    Jebbites fall to their knees

    "Jeb Bush was on CNN tonight and let's get this part over: Asked if he would run for president, he said he decided against it in 2012 not for political calculations but for personal reasons, by which he means family. But asked if he would run in 2016, should Barack Obama win, Florida's former governor would not rule it out, joking that his answer created 'a little opening' that 'all the bloggers' will pick up on." "Jeb Bush leaves 'a little opening' for future presidential run".

    "A rare double cherry-pick"

    "What we have here ... is a rare double cherry-pick"

    LeMieux says that Hasner "cited his efforts to weaken pro-life and school choice legislation as unequivocal proof that he’s a moderate."

    What we have here, based on our review, is a rare double cherry-pick. LeMieux has cherry-picked Hasner cherry-picking his own record. It is true that Hasner cited a vote on judicial bypass and expanding a voucher program as proof that he is a moderate Republican in 2004 and he did use the word "moderate" on his own mailer.

    But those 2004 votes have caveats of their own [see here].

    And being labeled a "moderate" does not tell the full picture of Hasner's voting record on the issues of abortion and school choice.
    "Did Adam Hasner call himself a moderate based on abortion and school choice votes?".

    Rubio stalls jobs bill

    "Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., yesterday joined Senate Republicans in stalling President Obama’s jobs bill. According to an impact report compiled by the White House, Obama’s American Jobs Act would have created thousands of education and infrastructure jobs in the state of Florida."

    Florida would have "receive[d] $1,280,300,000 in funding to support as many as 16,600 jobs." "Rubio joins Senate GOP in blocking jobs bill". Meanwhile, "Rubio cosponsors bill that would eliminate one out of every 10 federal jobs".

    LeMieux denies knowledge of Greer mess

    "Republican U.S. Senate contender George LeMieux denied he had anything to do with the formation of disgraced former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer’s fundraising company." "LeMieux Denies Knowledge of Greer's Victory Strategies Formation".

    All this and no surprises

    "Fewer business taxes, new toll roads and more science graduates are among the goals Gov. Rick Scott set Wednesday for his second year in office." "Gov. Rick Scott rolls out his job agenda". See also "Scott seeks to cut more Florida taxes and rules, but on more modest scale", "Scott economic agenda continues to rely on tax cuts and budget cuts", "Scott begins laying out legislative agenda" and "Rick Scott's Agenda: Cut Taxes, Train Unemployed".

    RPOFers in action

    "Region's foreclosure rate jumps 27 percent".

    Stearns opens mouth ...

    "The wind power industry is lashing out at Florida Republican Cliff Stearns over comments the Ocala congressman made about the country’s competitiveness with China when it comes to renewable energy manufacturing. In a recent interview with NPR, Stearns said that U.S. 'can’t compete with China to make solar panels and wind turbines,' so the country should instead invest in other developing technologies." "Wind energy industry slams Florida congressman".

    West rolling in cash

    "West tapped into a nationwide network of small donors to raise a $1.9 million in campaign contributions between July 1 and Sept. 30, his campaign said Wednesday. The haul came from more than 42,100 individual contributors giving an average of $47 apiece, West's campaign said. West announced his third-quarter fundraising figure a day after Democrats Lois Frankel and Patrick Murphy said they had collected $415,000 and $313,000, respectively, in their quests for West's Palm Beach-Broward congressional seat." "West's $1.9 million far outpaces Democratic contenders' contributions in U.S. House race".

    Yee haw!

    "Charging that the National Park Service put the interests of off-road-vehicle riders over wildlife protection and other users, a group files suit to halt expanded access to the Big Cypress National Preserve" "Big Cypress swamp buggy plan draws lawsuit".

    "Person with the weapon is supposed to inform the staff he is armed"

    "Capitol staffers who deal with the public are clearly concerned about their safety after a new law went into effect Oct. 1 allowing anyone with a concealed weapons permit to legally bring a gun into the building."

    "What does that mean to you? People are allowed to walk freely through the Capitol as long as they have a concealed weapon permit," Capitol Police officer Scotty Winfrey said. "They will not be marked, nor stopped, nor detained in any way once they're inside the building. The only time that they're not allowed to go in is when a legislative meeting is taking place."

    That prompted a series of questions from some of about a dozen staffers who attended the meeting, which was not mandatory for Capitol workers.
    And isn't this nice:
    None of the staffers gave their names, saying they feared losing their jobs.

    One, who works for the Senate sergeant's office and frequently mans the doors to committee meeting rooms, asked if he and others could get advance notice when someone with a weapon enters the building.

    "No," Winfrey said. Instead, the person with the weapon is supposed to inform the staff he is armed.
    "Policy allowing guns in Florida Capitol worries some state employees".

    Legislature can set university tuition rates

    "The Legislature does have the power to set tuition rates for state universities, an appellate court ruled Wednesday, siding against a group of plaintiffs led by former Gov. Bob Graham. A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal agreed with a circuit court that the Legislature — not the Board of Governors of the state university system — has the power to set tuition and fees. The appeals court decision was a victory for the Legislature, Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island and House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, who were named in the lawsuit." "Court: Lawmakers can set tuition rates". See also "Court Rules Florida Legislature, Not Board of Governors, Sets Tuition".

    Hasner, LeMieux yawner

    "LeMieux Pushing 'Four Freedoms'; Hasner Says Plan Lacks Imagination". Related: "LeMieux outlines positions on spending, economy".

    Good luck with that

    "State Sen. Nan Rich, D-Sunrise, has introduced a bill for the upcoming legislative session that would expand early voting sites around the state. Senate Bill 516 would remove some restrictions on early voting sites in the state." "State senator files bill to expand early voting".

    Browning pushes voter suppression scheme

    "In an effort to push forward the Legislature’s controversial elections overhaul, the state of Florida has filed a complaint challenging sections of the Voting Rights Act. The complaint — which was filed today by Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning — argues that federal preclearance requirements for state election laws are 'unconstitutional.'" "Florida secretary of state challenges Voting Rights Act".

    Local preferences flop in Hillsborough

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board thinks its a great idea to spend public dollars on out-of-state companies; after all, why pay local construction workers when you can hire low-bid contractors with non-union employees who work without health insurance and sleep in their cars until the job is done.

    "A proposal to give local business an advantage when bidding on Hillsborough County projects didn't pass last week, but unfortunately it didn't exactly fail either."

    County commissioners voted to give Commissioner Les Miller a chance to tweak his proposal to win more support from the business community. Miller was clearly surprised that business leaders speaking at the Oct. 5 public hearing turned up their noses to preferences as if he had offered them sour milk.

    They correctly pointed out that a protectionist approach is economically and politically wrong because it violates free-market principles. The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce is officially opposed to local preferences.
    "No local preference in bids".

    "Scott’s remarks 'unprovoked, ill-informed and insulting'"

    "Scott also wants state colleges and universities to produce more graduates in science, technology, engineering and math, subjects that account for about 20 percent of all graduates."

    Scott said those degrees will build a more employable workforce, but he did not provide details on how to increase those graduates.

    In recent days, Scott has implied that the state should give bigger subsidies to students who study one of the so-called “STEM” subjects. Currently, state taxes follow the student no matter the major.

    “How many more jobs you think there is for anthropology in this state?” Scott told a group of Tallahassee business leaders Tuesday. “You want to use your tax dollars to educate more people that can’t get jobs in anthropology? I don’t.”

    The jab at anthropology was the second in two days from Scott and brought a response from the American Anthropological Association.

    “It is very unfortunate that you would characterize our discipline in such a short-sighted way,” AAA President Virginia R. Dominguez and Director William E. Davis wrote in their letter.

    “Perhaps you are unaware that anthropologists are leaders in our nation’s top science fields, making groundbreaking discoveries in areas as varied as public health, human genetics, legal history, bilingualism, the African American heritage and infant learning,” the pair wrote.

    Brent Weisman, chair of the University of South Florida’s anthropology department called Scott’s remarks “unprovoked, ill-informed and insulting.”

    “People with degrees in anthropology do good work,” Weisman said. “They have the very kinds of skills that are necessary to confront the problems that exist in Florida.”
    "Scott: State needs more science grads ...". See also "Rick Scott vs. anthropology". Meanwhile, "Gov. Scott's daughter has anthropology degree".

    "Florida's resurging foreclosure activity"

    "The state is part of a nationwide trend in resurging foreclosure activity that had lulled as a result of the 'robo-signing' revelations of October 2010. " "Florida's foreclosure rate picks up steam again".

    "State's court system in a financial bind"

    "Expected revenue shortfall left the state's court system in a financial bind, so state Chief Justice Charles Canady requested money to keep the courts functioning." "Gov. Scott approves $45.6 million courts loan".


    "Restoration yet to start one year after Florida's $197 million Everglades land deal".

    Dirty laundry in Hialeah

    "It’s almost déjà-vu in Hialeah politics: The city’s mayor has encountered critical questions on the campaign trail about his financial dealings with a convicted Ponzi schemer."

    Months ago, then-Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina faced similar treatment from the media over his loans of $750,000 to the imprisoned jeweler, Luis “Felipito” Perez.

    Carlos Hernandez took over Robaina’s job as mayor in May and is running to keep the seat in November.

    But his newfound political status has prompted questions about his $180,000 in loans to Perez, who maintains from behind bars that he paid Hernandez in interest-only payments, at an annual rate of 36 percent.

    Hernandez is not under federal investigation — unlike his predecessor Robaina, who is suspected of taking secret cash payments from Perez and not reporting them. Robaina denies any wrongdoing.

    For his part, Hernandez failed to disclose the interest he earned on his loans to Perez on his federal tax returns for 2007-09.
    "Hialeah mayor’s ties to Ponzi schemer follow him on campaign trail".

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