5 things I think I think about today’s Tampa Bay Times and other media

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Sabrina Rocco features our wedding in her “Love Notes” column: Power brokers witness the proposal.

Steve Bousquet and Co. offer some insight into the mind of Senator JD Alexander, the State Senator at the center of so many controversial legislative debates:

Soft-spoken and studious, the sandy-haired Polk County senator and grandson of citrus magnate Ben Hill Griffin Jr. has his own style. When he’s passionate about something, he fights for it. He doesn’t ask nicely. He doesn’t schmooze.

He wants what he wants when he wants it. “I stand up strong for things I believe in,” Alexander said.

We offer a corollary to this story, with an analysis of Alexander’s “audacious misdirection.”

“You see, once all of that energy has dissipated, once JD makes “concessions” on the budget, the air will go out of the balloon.  The fight and the attention will go somewhere else.  And that may be exactly what JD wants.  Exhaust your enemy’s resources in one area while pressing forward toward your true goal.  How very Sun Tzu of you, Senator.”

Alright, John Romano, that’s another column about the Florida Legislature.  What did you promise us when you first started?  That you wouldn’t ruin our appetite with stories of legislative sausage-making.

But darn it, Romano makes sense about why lawmakers can’t pass legislation to capture all of that tax revenue lost during online transactions:

“The bigger issue is all of these lawmakers are petrified. It’s not the actual enforcement of tax laws that bothers them. It’s the accusation that they raised taxes.

They are afraid of the political opportunists who will paint them as tax-and-spend liberals. And they’re afraid of the gullible voters who get suckered by that nonsense.

Painful as it is to admit, they have a point.

Voters in this state sent that kind of tea party-obsessed message in the last election cycle. And anyone looking for re-election has to consider that potential pitfall.”

Adam Smith named Senate President Mike Haridopolos his “Loser of the Week” in Florida politics:

Can anyone think of a signature priority the Florida Senate president has accomplished? Not prison privatization. Not expanded casinos. Not the E-Verify anti-illegal immigration system he promised in 2011 (before his U.S. Senate bid flopped) and then promised to resurrect this year, but never did. He says he doesn’t strong-arm colleagues, but banishes uncooperative GOP colleagues such as Paula Dockery and Mike Fasano to legislative purgatory. Meanwhile, he sits back while JD Alexander hijacks the budget to attack the University of South Florida and makes the Senate leadership look like vindictive, ego-driven thugs.

I recently made a similar critique of Haridopolos:

By this time in his term as Senate President, Haridopolos should have been taking victory laps around the Old Capitol.  He should have leveraged his platform as one of the three most important people in state government into the GOP nomination in the race for the US Senate seat.  His legislative priorities should have been passed and signed into law on the first day of last year’s session, rather than them languishing as they do in this year’s.

It should have all been so different.

It’s Sunday morning, which means ‘Political Connections‘ was on this morning.  I’m sorry, but as I tweeted during the show, ‘Political Connections’ – taped, nothing new to hear, useless web polls, weak reporting – is almost unwatchable. It’s so bad it makes Rob Lorei’s  ‘Florida This Week‘ look like ‘Morning Joe’.

A must-read from New York Times Public Editor Arthur S. Brisbane, “Many Voices, but Still One Times: With the newspaper sailing in new directions, its need for an anchor grows”:

New York Times journalists are empowered to build their own personal following via social networks like Twitter and Facebook, while at the same time the wider audience can use blogs and curation sites to pull content away from The Times. The result is a deconstructed New York Times that is reassembled by others far from The Times’s home base at NYTimes.com. The paper should at least try to balance this, I believe, by using home base to reinforce its voice and its standards for journalism. … One step toward accomplishing this would be a powerful reader portal on the Web site , a place where useful tools and straightforward communication could help strengthen The Times‘s brand. …

“[T]he portal should include a blog that enables Times newsroom and editorial page leaders to communicate directly with readers, and vice versa. In the past, The Times published a ‘Talk to The Times’ feature that did just that. The practice could be revived with a goal of giving top editors a place to articulate philosophy and values. Other newspapers, like The Washington Post, have offered this to good effect. Such a forum would also enable The Times to do something it currently has no way to do: comment on its own work when it is in the news.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.