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, April 20, 2012

Data mining for knuckle-draggers

    Florida wingers are in a frenzy:
    Enlisting [certain] Florida Christians in a high-tech outreach program by identifying and signing up tens of thousands of area Christians who aren't registered to vote so they can cast ballots this fall and beat President Barack Obama in November.
    "To gear up for the program, Florida Family Action, a group related to the Florida Family Policy Council, is using the same 'data-mining' techniques 21st-century marketers use to find people who might buy everything from French perfume to hunting gear or high-fiber cereal."
    In this case, FFA and other like-minded groups are "mining" telemarketing databases of people who have bought magazine subscriptions and other consumer products to identify those whose buying patterns indicate they are likely social conservatives.

    Their names and addresses are then cross-checked against voter-registration lists to find out who is not registered.

    Late last month, Florida Family Action launched its eight-stop "Ignite to Action Tour" to recruit volunteers. They're being given the data-mined names and assigned to contact them through phone banks, neighborhood canvassing, church events and other meetings, to get them registered.

    The goal — defeating Obama — is shared with passion by volunteers such as Laura Caruso, who hosted the organizing rally at the Marks Senior Center on March 28.

    "What motivates me is that the left in this country are forcing a fundamental and radical change in the very nature of America," Caruso said in an email.

    "People are encouraged and motivated by the knowledge that conservative Christians have a solid plan of action for the campaign season," she added. "They are ready to plug in, anxious to act on what they believe, and especially excited about the availability of so many high-tech tools."

    Obama won Florida by 236,450 votes in 2008. The Family Research Council, a political organization affiliated with FFC, estimates the state was home to 668,890 conservative Christians who didn't cast ballots that year because they weren't registered.

    In one respect, the movement is borrowing from Obama's campaign tactics, according to Mat Staver of Maitland-based Liberty Counsel, an ally of Florida Family Action that has participated in some of the efforts.
    "Christian right starts high-tech voter-registration drive". See also "$4M in grants for flood projects across S. Florida nixed with Gov. Scott's vetoes".

    Local projects

    The Daytona Beach News Journal editors think "Scott got it right on most local projects".

    Scott way behind schedule

    "Scott has made jobs a central focus of his administration. While running for governor he promised that he would help spur the creation of 700,000 jobs over a seven-year period. So far Florida has added roughly 64,300 jobs during Scott's first 14 months in office." "Fla. to announce March jobless numbers".

    "Congress backslides"

    The Tampa Bay Times editors: "The members of the national commission that President Barack Obama appointed in the wake of the BP oil spill have performed another public service this week by calling out Congress for doing virtually nothing to make offshore drilling safer since the well exploded two years ago today."

    While the administration and the industry have followed through with reforms, Congress has not backed up the effort with stiffer fines or regulations. That is the only way to get new safety requirements to stick from one administration to the next, and to bolster the nation's ability to avoid another spill and respond appropriately if one occurs.
    "Congress backslides on oil well safety". The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Drilling reforms still needed".

    "Arcane rules"

    "Several congressional candidates in Florida have been tripped up by arcane rules governing their qualifying petitions, Sunshine State News has learned." "'Ridiculous' Petition Rules Snag Congressional Candidates in Florida".

    Another hurdle for Aronberg

    "The race to become Palm Beach County's next top prosecutor is poised to turn into a three-for-all. A day after attorney Robert Gershman announced he would challenge once-lone candidate Dave Aronberg to become the county's next state attorney, a little-known former federal prosecutor Thursday filed papers to seek the powerful post." "GOP candidate's entry brings field for Palm Beach County state attorney to three".

    State defined contribution plan under the gun

    "The deadline is coming for Gov. Rick Scott to act on a measure that would reduce state contributions to the retirement accounts of more than 100,000 government employees who have chosen the state's 401(k)-style retirement plan."

    The changes in HB 5005 would apply to a provision that steers money into the retirement accounts of employees who are part of the defined-contribution investment plan. The bill would reduce allocations to investment plan accounts by 30 percent. Regular employees, for example, would see allocations drop from 9 percent of their total compensation to 6.3 percent in the upcoming fiscal year.

    Senate Budget Chairman JD Alexander said the change is intended to keep the government's share of retirement contributions equal for the defined contribution plan and the defined-benefit pension plan.
    "Scott poised to act on retirement bill".

    Out here in the fields

    "State Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, says he is 'shocked and surprised' that Gov. Rick Scott cut funding for a community health center in Apopka that would have gone toward providing specialized care to a community of farmworkers facing serious illnesses due to pesticide use." "Fla. senator: Scott budget veto ‘allows poor black farmworkers to die’".

    Bulldozers, start your engines

    "The governor's veto action this week left the regional planning councils and some growth management supporters concerned. The planning councils under state law are responsible for reviewing local development proposals and establishing regional plans that include economic development." "Scott vetoes $2.5 million for regional planning councils -- again".

    Wage theft: Florida vacated the field when "Jeb!" eliminated the Department of Labor

    "The report, 'Cracking Down on Wage Theft' (.pdf), adds that 'a sharp decrease in union membership and an increase in low-wage and informal employment … has led to a significant rise in wage theft, to the point that it is virtually ubiquitous in certain industries,' like the retail and food service industries."

    In a phone conference held Wednesday, Tim Judson — the senior policy specialist for workers’ rights at the Progressive States Network who coauthored the report — said Florida vacated the field by eliminating its Department of Labor in 2002.

    The report explains that
    Florida lawmakers abolished the state’s Department of Labor and Employment Security in 2002. The move eliminated any mechanism for enforcing the state’s wage laws. In 2010, Miami-Dade County stepped forward and enacted the nation’s first sweeping municipal wage theft law. Worker advocates and county officials crafted an innovative mechanism for enforcement, administered by the Department of Small Business Development. The Wage Theft Ordinance entitles workers to double-liquidated damages, and makes employers liable to the County for administrative hearing costs. In its first year, the county processed 662 claims and workers recovered $1,760,177 in wages. For the last two years, state lawmakers have sought to abolish the program through legislation pre-empting local governments from enforcing wage laws.
    This push to terminate Miami-Dade’s wage theft ordinance started in the 2011 legislative session, when state Rep. Tom Goodson, R-Titusville, filed a bill to prohibit local governments from adopting or maintaining any “law, ordinance, or rule” that would address wage theft. Goodson’s bill did not pass.

    In the 2012 legislative session, Goodson filed the bill again, as did state Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs. This time the House version passed but the Senate version died in committee.

    The Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy (known as RISEP) at Florida International University released its second study on wage theft in Florida in January. It shows how wage theft remains a widespread problem that affects millions of Floridians.
    "Wage theft a growing problem for low-wage workers in the U.S., Florida".

    In a Fox poll, no less

    Obama edges Romney in Florida 45-44, even with Rubio on the ticket. "Fox News Poll: Obama and Romney in Tight Race in Florida" ("a margin of sampling error of ± 4 percentage points.")

    Rivera laffing his way back to Congress?

    "State prosecutors say they won't charge Republican Congressman David Rivera with a crime, but allegations of questionable financial practices will make his re-election campaign difficult. Rivera, who is still facing a federal probe over possible tax evasion, is running in South Florida's newly created, heavily Hispanic 26th district. But despite his apparent weakness, Florida Democrats are having a tough time challenging him. Their first candidate dropped out, and the second choice declined to run. Their latest pick has no political experience." "Rivera's foe still unclear".

    "Was Ted Nugent unavailable?"

    "Scott's task force raises doubts". See also: "Gov. Rick Scott’s task force to explore Stand Your Ground laws dominated by lawmakers who support gun rights" and "Panel named to review Stand Your Ground law, in wake of teen's death".

    The Orlando Sentinel editors ask, "Jason Brodeur on a panel reviewing gun laws? Was Ted Nugent unavailable?"

    We were caught off guard by the governor's announcement about his task force Thursday because, a day earlier, he told the Sentinel's editorial board, "My goal is to get it out in the next couple of weeks."

    That wasn't Scott's only verbal misdirection. He was vague or evasive on other important issues. In hindsight, it's not surprising he didn't offer any details about the lineup he had in mind for his task force.
    Gov. Scott's picks for gun law task force miss the mark.

    "Misguided rhetoric about from the tea party crowd"

    The Tampa Bay Times editorial board: "The fluoride fight has become a traveling road show with more heat than light and many of the same faces. Four county commissioners blindly accepted misinformation about fluoride and misguided rhetoric about small government from the tea party crowd: Nancy Bostock, Neil Brickfield, John Morroni and Norm Roche. In Tarpon Springs this week, the city commissioners were not so easily manipulated or bullied." "Rejecting fluoride double-talk".

    "If you said unions, go to the head of the class"

    Nancy Smith is on fire about ALEC critic. She writes, "Guess who especially doesn't like them apples? If you said unions, go to the head of the class." "ALEC: Progress Florida's Latest Good-Guy Target".


    "Rubio, for the umpteenth time, said he does not want to be vice president, but the media continues to press the issue." "Marco Rubio shuns vice-president talk during immigration pitch".

    Nevertheless, the self-important Rubio seems to have overlooked his denials. "Marco Rubio: 'If I do a good job as VP ...' Oops!".

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