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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 Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Scott flip flops on job numbers

    On the hustings, Rick Scott promised he "would 'grow 700,000 more jobs' than Florida would generate without him."
    Three months later, Scott made pretty much the same statement during a debate sponsored by Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association.

    "Our plan is seven steps to 700,000 jobs, and that plan is on top of what normal growth would be," Scott said.
    "Not long after that, Scott moved the goalpost."
    The new promise: Create 700,000 jobs. Period.

    In June, Scott spokesman Brian Burgess touted news that Florida had added 50,000 jobs since January, saying that Scott was going to count every one toward keeping his promise.

    In the same few days, another Scott spokesman, Lane Wright, brushed off a question about Scott's original promise to create 700,000 jobs "on top of what normal growth would be."

    "Gov. Scott committed to creating 700,000 jobs in seven years, and we are on track to meet that goal," Wright said.

    In August, the governor himself weighed in. An Associated Press reporter reminded Scott that his jobs plan was designed to generate 700,000 jobs on top of those restored by the state's expected growth.

    "No, that's not true," Scott said. ...

    Last week, the governor again faced the question he was asked as a candidate, nearly a year prior. This time, instead of a debate audience, Scott faced members of the Sun Sentinel editorial board.

    "Your pledge was for 700,000 in addition to normal growth, wasn't it?'' Scott was asked.

    No, he replied.
    "The problem with Scott's new position is that there are at least two times during the campaign -- captured on video -- where Scott said the exact opposite. And in both those cases, someone asked Scott a follow up question. And in both replies, Scott reinforced his position -- 700,000 jobs, on top of normal growth."
    Now, Scott says it's just 700,000.

    To be clear: That's a difference of about 1 million jobs.

    The governor's plan was on the record, and it was specific. His policy changes, from regulatory reform to spending cuts, would result in job growth. Instead, his office has counted every net new private sector job — starting from before the governor had a chance to change policy. For the governor, that means a tally of more than 71,000 jobs since January.

    On the Flip-O-Meter, that counts as a Full Flop.
    "The governor's new math". See also "Gov. Scott denies going back on job-creation promise" and "Rick Scott backtracks on jobs pledge".

    Buchanan a prime target in Florida

    "Democratic former state Rep. Keith Fitzgerald of Sarasota is poised to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan. Taking on a relatively popular multimillionaire incumbent in a GOP-leaning district is an uphill challenge to say that least, but Fitzgerald was a moderate and among the brighter bulbs in the Florida House over two terms. He is likely to be Buchanan's toughest challenger since 2006. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee heavily recruited Fitzgerald and sees Buchanan as a prime target in Florida." "Uphill battle ahead".

    "Serious budget fixes in a looming"

    "Economists have assured Florida lawmakers that the state faces a smooth budget road in the coming year, but Tuesday a few deep potholes emerged." "State’s recovery hits potholes as revenue from foreclosures, roads and schools lower than expected".

    "Siding with the extreme rhetoric"

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "The Pinellas County Commission has taken a big step backward on public health, siding with the extreme rhetoric of a vocal conservative minority over sober scientific analysis and the county's medical community. The 4-3 vote Tuesday to end the county's water fluoridation program this fall will contribute to higher dental bills or poorer health for 700,000 Pinellas County residents. It is an indefensible retreat, and voters should remember this failure to stand up to scare tactics." "Vote for scare over science".

    "Saving the average Florida family $371 at the gas pump in 2030"

    "A new set of fuel efficiency standards proposed by the Obama administration could save the average Florida family $371 at the gas pump in 2030." "Report: New fuel efficiency standards could save Floridians billions".

    Medicaid deform protest

    "This afternoon, health advocates and Medicaid recipients are protesting the state’s plan to privatize Medicaid in front of WellCare’s corporate headquarters in Tampa."

    The protest is being led by Florida PIRG, a public interest group in the state that also released a report (.pdf) today that criticizes the state’s plans to expand the Medicaid Reform Pilot statewide. The current pilot exists only in a few counties.
    "Group claims state Medicaid plan a ‘recipe for a massive taxpayer rip-off’".

    "Angry reactions from Republicans"

    "Five Republican presidential candidates are boycotting a proposed Univision debate due to allegations that the Spanish-language media giant tried to strong-arm Sen. Marco Rubio with a controversial story about a relative." "5 Republican presidential hopefuls boycott Univision debate over Rubio story". See also "Five Republican candidates boycott Univision's January debate" and "Republican presidential candidates boycotting Univision debate over Rubio flap".

    "Remaining in the shadows"

    "Private prison companies lost one chance for a big profit last week when one of the largest known privatization campaigns in the country was blocked by a Florida judge for being unconstitutional. But private prison players like The GEO Group and the Corrections Corporation of America, which would have won big from privatization, and the tactics they use to ensure they stay in good graces with lawmakers have remained in the shadows even as the future of the legislation remains in question." "Despite setback, private prison companies have track record of influence".

    A third batch of deleted Scott emails

    "E-mails on Gov. Rick Scott’s BlackBerry may have been lost in another technological mix-up inside his office, newly released records show."

    Scott and his staff have acknowledged that his account and about 50 others from his two-month transition — a crucial stretch after Election Day when key hires are made and a first-year policy agenda is shaped — were lost when a contract lapsed with a private company that stored the e-mail data. Scott also lost about 50 e-mails from his iPad when a staffer inside his office updated software for the device.

    Now it’s a BlackBerry.
    "Scott’s spokesman confirmed the events and stressed that Scott did not delete any e-mails."
    Scott’s office has acknowledged that missing transition e-mails may violate state public record laws.
    "Gov. Rick Scott e-mails 'cleaned out' from third source".

    Sunshine State who?

    "Sunshine State News surfaced in the Tallahassee press center last year as one of many web-based news organizations covering Florida government. Only the folks at Sunshine refused to disclose the investors financing its conservative-oriented news reports."

    Sunshine State News Editor Nancy Smith again refused Wednesday to identify the organization's owners. ...

    Editors at Sunshine have repeatedly declined to identify the owner of the news service that frequently praises Republican Gov. Rick Scott and routinely trashes Democrats and the mainstream media. Earlier this year Smith praised Scott as a "hero'' and described him as "utterly charming'' in a column critical of the Capital press corps.

    A study completed in July by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism ranks Sunshine as the least transparent news website in journalism's new internet-based landscape. The study found that news websites were more likely to offer balanced news coverage when they were more transparent about funding sources.

    Sunshine State News, a Florida corporation, was initially formed by Justin Sayfie, a former staffer of Gov. Jeb Bush who operates Sayfie Review, a website that aggregates news about Florida.
    "Mystery ownership of Sunshine State News identified as CNN, but it's not".

    Golf cart heaven

    "Romney is all-too familiar with The Villages — a mainly conservative retirement community in Central Florida that has become a must-visit stop for Republican candidates passing through Florida. His trip Tuesday was his eighth, by his count, between two presidential campaigns and trips stumping for others, like Gov. Rick Scott." "Romney stumps in Florida, attacks Perry". See also "Cain no mere flavor of month; says 'I am Hagen-Dazs black walnut with substance'", "Romney has good day at Central Florida's Villages; Cain due today" and "Herman Cain says his grass-roots base will carry him to victory". Related: "Herman Cain Gains Momentum While Rick Perry Falls and Mitt Romney Holds".

    "Intolerable, embarrassing, and extremely unprofessional"

    Scott Maxwell writes that "we have someone claiming Jennifer Carroll needs to be impeached for running 'an intolerable, embarrassing, and extremely unprofessional' office."

    That someone, by the way, is Carroll's spokeswoman. Or rather, she used to be until she went public with her concerns ... and quickly lost her job.
    "Tell me again why we need a lieutenant governor".

    "This space available"

    Fred Grimm: "Among Florida’s beggared public institutions, their budgets desiccated, even a school bus looks like a big yellow business opportunity. Those unnatural sounds breaching the quiet along the state’s network of nature trails? The voices of the outdoor advertising industry, offering to re-decorate those economically antithetical pathways. The Sunshine State’s new motto: 'This space available.'" "New Florida state motto: ‘This space available’".

    Odd Couple

    "Rick Scott and Debbie Wasserman Schultz: Odd Couple for Israel Trade Trip".

    I-4 corridor

    "Deborah Cox-Rousch looked on in dismay three years ago as Barack Obama turned Hillsborough County blue and then went on to capture Florida and the White House — ending her county’s eight-year run as a GOP stronghold in presidential elections. 'I said, 'Never again,''Mrs. Cox-Rousch said."

    Since then, she’s been elected GOP county chairwoman and has been busy laying the groundwork to avoid a repeat of 2008, when Mr. Obama’s 10,000-vote victory in Hillsborough County rippled across the Interstate 4 corridor and through the state, reinforcing the region’s reputation as a harbinger for presidential elections.

    “We say in Hillsborough County, you can’t win Florida unless you win the I-4 corridor and you can’t win the nation if you can’t win Florida,” Mrs. Cox-Rousch said.

    Dotted with citrus groves and scrub pine woods and populated by the retirement communities of Polk County and the burgeoning areas around Orlando, the 132-mile stretch of highway has become known as a microcosm for the entire Sunshine State.

    The corridor is home to two of the state’s top three media markets, Tampa and Orlando, and about half of the state’s Republicans — a fact that likely will be driven home in the coming months now that the state has moved its primary date to Jan. 31, putting it the fifth in lineup on the nomination calendar and forcing GOP candidates to take note.
    "Interstate 4 corridor drives Florida politics".

    "Liberal scribblers"

    Nancy Smith: "Liberal scribblers are fish out of water when they dive into GOP affairs – all wet. Bless their hearts, they can't help themselves. They've got to butt in and pronounce judgment." "Sorry, Frank: It's Our Party Primary and We'll Cry (Only) If We Want to". Related from the The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Call off the party, GOP" ("On Friday, Republicans in Florida scheduled the state's presidential primary for Jan. 31, which would be the first in the country, and thus made the campaign season as volatile as the financial markets.")

    Enough "brainstorming"

    "The Hialeah fire department stripped life-saving paramedic equipment — including intubation kits to help patients breathe and defibrillation pads to revive children — from its fire trucks Tuesday, only to undo the changes after what the city called a misunderstanding."

    The move happened after fire department brass discussed the possibility of doing away with the equipment in the future to save money. That “brainstorming,” said Fire Chief Marcos De La Rosa, was incorrectly interpreted as an order to remove the equipment.
    "Hialeah: Stripping paramedic supplies from fire trucks a misunderstanding".

    "Political pressure from Scott crippled the ability of the elderly advocates

    "Secretary Charles Corley told a Senate committee Tuesday that he will follow the recommendations of a federal report to allow the long-term care ombudsman the ability to talk to legislators directly, conduct independent press conferences, and serve as independent advocates of the elderly — as required by federal law. But Corley stopped short of agreeing to sever compete control of the Long Term Care Ombudsman program, saying that because the state relies on federal funding for the program, it must maintain an oversight role."

    That didn’t suit the committee chairwoman, Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Valrico, who called Corley before her committee in the wake of the blistering federal report that accused the governor’s office and his appointees of meddling to muzzle critics of the nursing-home and assisted-living industry.

    Storms said she will file legislation for next session that makes the Long Term Care Ombudsman program completely independent from the Department of Elder Affairs, which has authority to appoint or terminate ombudsmen who are supposed to have the authority to criticize department rules.

    In its 31-page report, the U.S. Administration on Aging concluded that political pressures from the office of Gov. Rick Scott and state elder-affairs officials had crippled the ability of the elderly advocates to serve as effective, independent advocates for frail elderly and the disabled.
    "Lawmakers grill state Elder Affairs chief over allegations of muzzling activists". See also "Senator wants more independence for nursing-home watchdog".

    "Haridopolos has stacked deck in favor of casino gambling"

    The Sarasota Herald Tribune editorial board: "Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos has stacked the deck in favor of expanding casino gambling in the state — and so has the gaming industry. The push for more casinos has become so intense, in fact, that someone in state government needs to slow the action and ask whether having more ways to gamble is really in Florida's best interests." "Hedge bets on Fla. casinos". Related: "Sarasota works to limit casinos".

    Protesters are expected in downtown Sarasota

    "Scores of protesters are expected in downtown Sarasota Thursday for a demonstration outside the Main Street Bank of America in support of the amorphous Occupy Wall Street movement. Characterized by some as the liberal antithesis of the Tea Party movement, the Wall Street demonstrations have been marked by conflicts between police and protesters, but Sarasota authorities say they expect a peaceful event and do not plan to intervene." "Protest planned outside Sarasota bank".

    Never mind

    "After being chastised by the federal government for intimidating volunteer advocates for the elderly, the head of the Florida Department of Elder Affairs agreed to loosen its control over the activists." "State agrees to loosen grip over nursing home ombudsman".


    "Attorney General Pam Bondi said Tuesday at a meeting of the Florida Cabinet that it was 'indefensible' for state Sen. Mike Fasano to receive a nearly $11,000 invoice after he requested records regarding Florida pension fund investments." "Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi calls nearly $11,000 bill for public records 'indefensible'".

    Miami-Dade County muscles in on casino cash

    "Miami-Dade County began muscling in Tuesday on the potential financial windfall from a Malaysian casino and resort operator’s $3 billion plan to build a sprawling resort destination on The Miami Herald site on Biscayne Bay. Commissioners voted unanimously to negotiate new terms with the city of Miami board that determines how tax money is spent in the Omni area, with the ultimate goal of spreading the new wealth generated by the Genting Group’s development." "Miami-Dade to Miami: Give us a share of city’s casino windfall".

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