Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


UPDATE: Every morning we review and individually digest Florida political news articles, editorials and punditry. Our sister site, FLA Politics was selected by Campaigns & Elections as one of only ten state blogs in the nation
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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 Saturday, May 12, 2012

MacNamara denies he's unethical

    Bill Cotterell: "After a week of excruciating news reports about a couple of state contracts, Gov. Rick Scott's chief of staff said Friday he has not violated any laws or rewarded friends with government business."
    Steve MacNamara, who was widely credited with helping Scott improve his poll numbers when he joined the administration last July, said Scott has expressed full support for him.

    "The governor's been very supportive of me. He's (also) been unfairly attacked himself in the past," MacNamara said.

    The Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times last weekend ran a lengthy profile of MacNamara, calling him the Wizard of Oz manipulator behind the governor's throne, followed by a critical column criticizing him as the ultimate insider working for a studiously "outsider" governor.
    "After a week of heat, governor's embattled chief of staff says he's done nothing wrong".

    There's more: "A state ethics complaint filed this week against Gov. Rick Scott’s chief of staff Steve MacNamara alleges he used state employees to help him seek a college president’s job in Montana."
    The complaint comes at a time when MacNamara has drawn media scrutiny for steering contracts to friends or associates and getting involved in personnel matters. He and Scott are scheduled to meet over the weekend to talk about MacNamara’s future. ...

    In the past week, the Herald/Times has reported that MacNamara intervened to give a $5.5 million no-bid contract to the business partner of a friend, overruled an agency head to approve travel for the state film commissioner . The Associated Press reported that MacNamara gave a $360,000 no-bid contract to another close acquaintance. ...

    MacNamara also challenged the Herald/Times’ account of his decision to overrule the former secretary of the Department of Economic Development, Doug Darling, and allow the film commissioner, Shari Kerrigan, to attend the Sundance film festival in Utah in January. He said that Kerrigan’s trip had been previously approved by the deputy secretary and Darling “unreasonably withheld permission.”

    Darling was among several agency heads who — at MacNamara’s request — had agreed to step down at the end of the legislative session in March. But, after receiving a memo from Darling complaining about Kerrigan, MacNamara ordered Darling to leave by Jan. 26.

    MacNamara, who considers Kerrigan’s father a friend, also disputed that he acted on her behalf because of his friendship with her family.
    "Gov. Rick Scott’s chief of staff draws ethics complaint for using state staff to apply for a job".

    Week in Review

    "The Week in Review for May 7 to May 11". See also "Weekly Roundup: High Court in High Gear".

    "Job changes for state workforce"

    Bill Cotterell: "The 2012-13 state budget approved by legislators provides for 4,354 fewer authorized positions as of July 1. But that doesn't mean mass layoffs state employees. Instead, management will be deciding where to cut and employees will be deciding whether to switch jobs or leave state employment." "Spring is in the air, and so are job changes for state workforce".

    LeMieux calls it "a coordinated campaign effort"

    "Nearly 58,000 pieces of mail touting a key component of U.S. Rep. Connie Mack's Senate campaign were sent to voters outside of his district at taxpayer expense this month -- a violation of congressional rules that Mack blamed on a vendor error but GOP primary rival George LeMieux called 'a coordinated campaign effort.'" "Franking violation a vender error to Mack, 'campaign effort' to LeMieux".

    Campaign Roundup

    "This week saw the Division of Elections embark on a review of thousands of voter registrants suspected of not being U.S. citizens. There was also the withdrawal of endorsements in one northeast Florida state Senate race, while a candidate in a nearby district dropped out." "Campaign Roundup: Voter registration review, and the endorsement shuffle in NE Florida".

    Voters scrutinized in predominately Democratic Miami-Dade

    "More than one of every 100 registered voters in Florida, many in predominately Democratic Miami-Dade County, are being scrutinized for their citizenship and eligibility to cast a ballot." "Florida Scanning Driver's License Lists for Possible Ineligible Voters". Background: "State looks to ax non-citizens from voter rolls".

    Equal Access to Justice Act

    Nancy Smith: "The arrival in Florida earlier in the week of the lawyer-packed environmental group Center for Biological Diversity has renewed a conversation in Washington and elsewhere that it's time to find out exactly how much money the government is forking out to this cottage industry." "How Environmental Lawyers Are Fleecing the Taxpayers and Why Nobody Notices".

    "Scary silence"

    The Palm Beach Post's Randy Schultz: "Four weeks ago, The Palm Beach Post reported that the campaign to make Dave Aronberg state attorney of Palm Beach County included intimidation of two criminal court judges. Krista Marx heard that if she ran as a Republican against Democrat Aronberg, her husband, Judge Joe Marx, would face a re-election challenge. To drive the point home, Krista Marx would face a trumped-up ethics charge from attorneys to be named later. She probably would have been Mr. Aronberg's toughest opponent."

    The story should have outraged Mr. Butterworth, Ms. Bondi and Mr. Krischer. They swore to protect the criminal justice system from such political corruption. Mr. Butterworth showed up when Mr. Aronberg announced his candidacy in January. Ms. Bondi gave Mr. Aronberg the title-heavy, results-light prosecutor's job that he used to give his campaign credibility. Mr. Krischer is a prominent Aronberg supporter.

    Yet not one of them has criticized the tactics of the Aronberg conspirators. Not one has criticized Mr. Aronberg for his weasel-wording defense that such "rumors" are part of campaigns, though the facts are clear. Not one has criticized Mr. Aronberg for failing to disavow the sleazy tactics carried out on his behalf. ...

    Ms. Bondi won't even talk to The Post about the man for whom she created a $92,000-a-year job to do not much.
    "Schultz: Scary silence on threat to Palm Beach County justice system".

    Rubio doesn't impress in Iowa

    "U.S. Sen Marco Rubio, R-Fla., spoke to business leaders in Iowa Thursday, setting off speculation that he could be angling for a future presidential bid."

    But a poll released this week shows that the junior senator from Florida has some major competition in the Hawkeye State. Rubio next week is headed to South Carolina, another early state in the presidential nomination process.

    A poll released this week from Public Policy Polling (PPP), a firm with connections to prominent Democrats, shows that Rubio and two other Republicans with ties to the Sunshine State would start off the 2016 presidential contest in solid shape in Iowa, home of the first caucus. The poll finds that Iowa is solidly behind Hillary Clinton if she makes a second bid for the Democratic nomination, while two previous winners in the Hawkeye State -- Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum -- start out ahead on the Republican side.
    "Marco Rubio Might Be Dreaming of Iowa but He Faces Major Competition".

    "Arrivals and Departures"

    "David Halstead retires from the Division of Emergency Management", and much more: "Arrivals and Departures".

    "If a big storm hits"

    Travis Pillow: "Groups calling for changes to the fund that backstops the state's property insurance market have seized on the latest estimates released this week, which show the state may not be able to borrow enough money to meet its obligations if a big storm hits." "Hurricane fund possible shortfall spurs calls for changes".

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