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, November 29, 2011

RPOF sidesteps FlaDem 500,000 registered voter advantage

    "The Senate Reapportionment Committee released drafts of its once-a-decade proposed congressional and state Senate redistricting maps Monday. The committee is expected to decide Dec. 6 if the changes outlined, roughly following the voter-approved Fair Districts amendments, should be proposed in a bill that would go before the full Senate in January." "Senate Redistricting Draft Leaves Democrats Underwhelmed".

    "Florida legislators released the first two of their proposed redistricting maps Monday, creating new Central Florida seats designed to elect Hispanics while carving up the rest of the state in a way that gives Republicans an electoral edge."
    The maps of congressional and state Senate districts were drawn by the staff of the Senate Redistricting Committee and are the first glimpse at how the Republican-led Legislature is tackling new requirements imposed by voters who approved constitutional Amendments 5 and 6 in 2010.

    The amendments prohibit lawmakers from protecting incumbents while requiring them to protect language and ethnic minorities, keep districts compact and recognize existing political boundaries.

    A preliminary analysis by the Herald/Times found that of the 27 congressional districts, 14 would be solidly Republican, 10 would be solidly Democratic and of the three more competitive seats, two lean Republican while one leans Democrat.
    "[T]he fact that the maps perform in a way that is not likely to result in major shifts in congressional or state Senate composition, drew a swift rebuke from Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith and Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich."
    “Florida Republicans have taken a state — which experts have long considered one of the most mal-apportioned states in the country — and worsened it,’’ Smith said in a statement. “In doing so, they have chosen to thwart the will of 63 percent of Florida voters by proposing maps that are aimed at incumbent protection and partisan advantage — the very things which Florida’s Constitution now prohibits.”

    Rich, who represents Weston but will retire because of term limits next year, watched her state Senate district go from being centered in Broward to being based in Palm Beach, a shift that she said ignores what voters asked for during public hearings last summer.

    Rich wasn’t the only incumbent facing term limits whose district would be consumed to make up another district that now includes a longer-serving incumbent. Senate President Mike Haridopolos’ Merritt Island-based district becomes the home district of Republican Thad Altman of Viera, while Altman’s former district becomes a Hispanic, Democrat-leaning seat.
    "First redistricting maps for Florida create new Hispanic seats and retain GOP strength". See also "Democratic chair: New redistricting proposals ‘worsen’ Florida’s ‘malapportioned’ map".

    Aaron Deslatte: "The maps would likely increase the number of Hispanic state senators from three to five. A new congressional district in Central Florida would be 40 percent Hispanic, in addition to three current Hispanic-majority congressional seats. The Hispanic population grew by 57 percent in the past decade."
    Meanwhile, boundaries for the state's three black members of Congress and two state senators weren't greatly changed.

    The new maps also appear likely to make more seats in Florida competitive for Democrats, who outnumber Republicans by 500,000 registered voters.
    "Proposed Senate redistricting maps boost Hispanics".

    Meanwhile, "Jacksonville would lose a member of Congress and two of Northeast Florida’s congressmen would be drawn out of their districts under a set of maps unveiled by the Florida Senate on Monday." "Jacksonville would lose U.S. House seat in new map".

    See also "Senate’s redistricting maps released today; here’s what I am hearing…", "Proposed redistricting maps retain sprawling boundaries", "Hispanics would pick up representation under Senate redistricting plan", "Change ahead for U.S. Rep. Rooney, state Sen. Benacquisto under redistricting plan", "Hispanic Congressional district proposed for central Florida", "Proposed redistricting maps bode well for Southwest Florida, experts say", "Committee releases congressional, state Senate redistricting proposals", "Senate releases rough draft of reapportionment maps", "New Florida congressional voting districts unveiled", "Redrawn districts aim to put logic over politics" and "Fla. Hispanic congressional district proposed".

    "What's next?"

    "Here's what's next in the Legislature's redistricting effort:"

    •The Senate Reapportionment Committee is scheduled to meet Dec. 6 to vote to file its congressional and Senate district maps as formal legislation. ...

    •The House redistricting committee will file its own set of congressional and House district maps, most likely next week.

    •After both chambers approve their respective maps, a "conference committee" of senators and representatives will meet to iron out differences in the congressional maps.
    "New districts: What's next?".

    "Goodbye to PIP"?

    "State should say goodbye to PIP, most advise in poll".

    "Haridopolos has taken prevarication ... to heights of fantasy Lewis Carroll could only dream of"

    Daniel Ruth outdoes himself this morning:

    "It appears one of the three most powerful political figures in Florida, overseeing a nearly $70 billion budget, has an attention span rivaling an oat bag."

    Jeepers, you would have an easier time getting a straight answer out of the dearly departed Moammar Gadhafi than Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos, who has taken prevarication, misdirection and willful amnesia to heights of fantasy Lewis Carroll could only dream of.

    The noted author of the publicly funded $152,000 tome on Florida politics, Lassie Goes to Tallahassee, admitted a few days ago he fibbed, obfuscated and otherwise engaged in a full Pinocchio when he denied to a reporter knowing anything about a payoff to get rid of former state Republican Party chairman Jim Greer, who had treated the job as if he were a Kardashian on steroids.

    But in a sworn deposition connected to a lawsuit brought by Greer against his former employers, Haridopolos now admits he was less than truthful about the proposed, but unconsummated, $124,000 settlement. The acclaimed author of Tallahassee: Indian for 'Where's My Check?' said he thought he wasn't supposed to talk about the back-room deal. ...

    Although the proposed $124,000 farewell gift to Greer was signed by the attention-to-detail-challenged Senate president, House Speaker Dean Cannon and then-party chairman and state Sen. John Thrasher, Haridopolos struggled to recall specifics of the agreement.

    Greer is now facing charges of fraud and money laundering associated with Victory Strategies, a firm he created to conduct party fundraising while serving as chairman.

    But Haridopolos, the creative force behind The Chronicles of Narcissism, insisted in his sworn testimony he had zero knowledge of Victory Strategies, even while he was up to his tuchas in maneuvering to ease Greer out.
    Much more here: "Haridopolos gets convenient amnesia".

    Money for nothing

    Tom Lyons: "Lyons: State's sales pitch seeks your money for nothing".

    ALF Absentee-voting compromised

    "The votes of three assistant-facility residents were compromised last year, the Miami-Dade ethics commission found. But there was not enough evidence to file charges." "Probe finds ‘unscrupulous’ absentee-voting practices at ALF".

    Connie who?

    "Connie Mack officially enters GOP Senate race".

    "Pervasive sense of anarchy"

    Fred Grimm: "At least when Meyer Lansky ran the show someone was in charge."

    Gambling had a boss, albeit one whose enforcement techniques may have been a bit harsher than those employed by the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering. But with Meyer, we didn’t suffer this pervasive sense of anarchy, with one new gambling proposal piled atop of another, with no coherent state policy.
    "Where’s Meyer Lansky when you need him?".

    Scott writes an op-ed

    "Scott defends environmental stance in new op-ed".

    Miami-Dade improperly favored Metrorail firm

    "Miami-Dade must reevaluate final bids for new Metrorail trains after federal regulators found the county improperly favored one firm that promised to build a local assembly plant." "Feds: Miami-Dade broke rules in choosing new Metrorail trains".

    Obama losing support among Hispanic voters

    "Amid angst over illegal immigration, President Barack Obama is losing support among Hispanic voters, complicating his re-election chances in Florida, a new Quinnipiac Poll shows." "Barack Obama's Hispanic Support Erodes, Cutting His Edge in Florida".

    Occupy Florida

    "Florida to host first statewide Occupy gathering". See also "Occupy Jacksonville outlines its objectives".

    Romney plants flag in Florida

    "If there's any Republican presidential candidate who can afford to spend precious time and money focusing on winning in Florida, it's the one campaigning here Tuesday. While others focus on Iowa's caucuses or the early primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina, Mitt Romney is set to spend the day in the state welcoming endorsements from three top Cuban-American Republicans, attending several fundraisers and visiting the port in Tampa to discuss trade policy." "Romney the 1st GOP candidate to plant flag in Fla.". See also "Election 2012: Mitt Romney to raise money in Naples on Tuesday".

    "Ultimate Cuban-American endorsement trifecta"

    "Mitt Romney will pick up the ultimate Cuban-American endorsement trifecta Tuesday in South Florida: The support of U.S. Reps. Ileana Ros Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart, and his brother, former Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart." "Romney picks up key South Florida endorsements" ("the three representatives joined another Cuban-American leader, then-Sen. Mel Martinez, and endorsed John McCain.")

    "Important issues may get stuck behind the Tallahassee rope line"

    The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Hurricane season will end Wednesday with Florida having enjoyed six comparatively uneventful seasons. Unfortunately, the storm over hurricane insurance hasn't moved on."

    This month, Florida TaxWatch released a report on the state's property insurance system. Not surprisingly, the report highlighted the usual lingering problems: Florida's state-run insurer of last resort, Citizens, has become the insurer of first resort; private companies continue to drop policies; the Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, Florida's state-run reinsurance system, wouldn't be able to pay its bills if a large storm struck.

    Given the Legislature's priority of drawing congressional and legislative districts, important issues may get stuck behind the Tallahassee rope line. At this point, there is only one property insurance bill (SB 578), which would let unregulated companies take policies out of Citizens. At some point, though, the Legislature should listen to what Jack Nicholson has to say.

    No, not that Jack Nicholson. This Jack Nicholson is CEO of the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund. The fund provides subsidized backup coverage to insurance companies. Without the fund, private companies almost certainly wouldn't write any hurricane policies in Florida. The purpose of the fund, Mr. Nicholson said in an interview, is to "stabilize the insurance market."
    "Head off 'economic disaster'".

    "Lawmakers tinker with sacrosanct document"

    "It's not easy to amend the Florida Constitution, but that never stops the Legislature from trying."

    Heads up, voters: When you go to the polls a year from now to choose a president, U.S. senator, members of Congress and 160 legislators, you will also see seven proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot, all approved by the Legislature in the spring.

    One would bar President Barack Obama's health care law from taking effect in Florida. Another would impose a revenue cap tied to inflation and population. A third would require state Senate approval of Florida Supreme Court justice appointees. ...

    In the next few months, the number of ballot propositions could increase, as lawmakers tinker with the sacrosanct document that serves as a framework for state government and grants individual rights to citizens.

    Lawmakers have already filed two dozen proposed constitutional amendments for the 2012 session that opens Jan. 10 in Tallahassee.

    Two South Florida Democrats, Sen. Larcenia Bullard of Miami and Rep. Jeff Clemens of Lake Worth, have filed bills that would legalize the medical use of marijuana, subject to voter approval. Such laws already exist in 16 states.

    Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, and Rep. Ben Albritton, R-Wauchula, want to ask voters to make the post of education commissioner elected and not appointed, reversing a change voters made when they approved a downsizing of the Cabinet in 1998.

    Sen. David Simmons, a Maitland Republican, wants voters to extend the mandatory retirement age for judges from age 70 to 75. ...

    Democratic Rep. Rick Kriseman of St. Petersburg has filed three proposed constitutional amendments, none of which is likely to endear him to his Republican colleagues.

    One would ban offshore oil drilling in state waters. Another would create a mechanism so voters could recall the governor or legislators. His third proposal would extend term limits for lawmakers from eight years to 12. (Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, has filed the same bill in the Senate.)

    Under the change, House members, who now run for office every two years, would run every four years and senators every six years instead of every four years.
    "Changing the Constitution".

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