Mitch Perry, Author at Florida Politics - Page 2 of 346

Mitch Perry

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

Kathy Castor optimistic about bipartisan health care proposal

A potential breakthrough in health care legislation broke out this week with the announcement of a bipartisan deal in the Senate proposed by Tennessee Republican Lamar Alexander and Washington Democrat Patty Murray.

The deal would include funding through 2019 for the Affordable Care Act’s cost-sharing program, which President Donald Trump cut last week. It would allow states to use existing Obamacare waivers to approve insurance plans with “comparable affordability” to Obamacare plans. And it would not allow states to duck the law’s minimum requirements for what a health insurance plan must cover.

The House of Representatives are not in Washington this week. Tampa Democrat Kathy Castor says that it would behoove her colleagues on both sides of the aisle to speak with the public on what they think of the proposal.

“I think it would be fair to allow people to go through it and understand what it means,” she said Wednesday in Tampa. “I also think it’s important to hear from folks at home, doctors, hospitals, a lot of our neighbors. I’m going to check in with our state insurance commissioner, because here we are and open enrollment is going to start quite soon and people need to know is it going to be affordable for me and my family.”

Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act is scheduled to start November 1 and run through December 15. Those “navigators” will attempt to sign up as many people as they can, despite the fact that the Trump administration is reducing their funding, some by as much as 90 percent.

The Alexander-Murray proposal comes a week after Trump finally followed through with his months long threat to yank the funding for subsidies to insurance companies as part of the ACA. Those subsides reduced deductibles and co-payments for low-income Obamacare enrollees. Analysts say the move did not have that significant an impact since many insurers already raised their rates in anticipation of the move. Regulators in several states that didn’t price in the funding loss announced rate hikes soon after the president’s announcement last week. Insurers must continue to offer the cost-sharing subsidies since they are required by law.

Castor says it’s important to let the public “digest the details.”

“We should be cheering on a bipartisan effort to help fix things for families,” she said. “If this bill will really lower costs and provide affordable care to our neighbors, then we need to pass it and the leadership needs to allow a vote.”

Meanwhile on the other side of Tampa Bay, Pinellas County Democratic Representative Charlie Crist is calling on his constituents to sign a petition calling on congressional leaders to demand a vote on the Alexander/Murray proposal.

Four Florida cities receive perfect score from LGBTQ national organization

Orlando, St. Petersburg, Wilton Manors, and West Palm Beach each achieved a perfect 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s annual Municipal Equality Index, the only nationwide rating system of LGBTQ inclusion in municipal law, policy and services.

All told, 68 cities across the country achieved the top score from the organization.

“‘This year’s MEI paints a vivid picture: cities big and small, in red and blue states alike, are continuing our progress toward full equality, regardless of the political drama unfolding in Washington, D.C., and in state legislatures across the country,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Today, the MEI serves as a vital tool for business leaders and municipal officials alike when it comes to economic development. CEOs know that in order to attract and retain the best employees, they must grow their companies in places that protect LGBTQ citizens from discrimination and actively open their doors to all communities. The MEI is the best tool to help these businesses make crucial evaluations about the welcoming — or unwelcoming — nature of towns and cities across the nation.”

The score comes during the same week that a bipartisan group of lawmakers has introduced legislation that would ban discrimination statewide based on gender identity and sexual orientation. Twelve counties and 30 municipalities have already passed local ordinances banning discrimination. But there is no statewide law.

In St. Petersburg, it’s the third straight year the city received the top score, all under the leadership of Mayor Rick Kriseman.

The score judged municipalities in five categories: nondiscrimination laws, employment policies, city services, law enforcement and municipal leadership.

“We are incredibly proud of our perfect score. It is a reflection of our values and policy advancements and serves as a vital message point for us when recruiting people and businesses to our city,” said Kriseman. “We also recognize that building an inclusive city never ends. There’s always work to do. We are committed to this work and ensuring that LGBTQ residents and
visitors forever view St. Pete as a beacon of progress.”

Kriseman and his supporters have made his advocacy of the LGBTQ community a prime campaign issue in his bid for reelection against former Mayor Rick Baker, who showed little interest in reaching out to that community during his first reign as mayor.

Baker has stressed from day one of his current campaign that the LGBT community “is a vital and important part of our community. I believe that when we work together, we have to work together with everyone.”

Campaign cash from utilities? ‘I’ll accept it,’ Richard Corcoran says

While GOP gubernatorial rivals Jack Latvala and Adam Putnam feud over campaign contributions from investor-owned utilities, Richard Corcoran is watching from the sidelines.

As reported by FloridaPolitics last week, Agriculture Commissioner Putnam’s political committee has received nearly $800,000 from the utilities, and another $1.8 million to political committees that may have been re-directed to him.

Latvala, a Clearwater state senator, last month said he would no longer accept political contributions from the power companies, saying they should spend their money on improving power grid infrastructure following the outages after Hurricane Irma barreled through the state.

Corcoran, the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, said Wednesday that he has accepted campaign contributions from the investor-owned utilities in the past, and he hopes to in the future.

“I’ve accepted in the past, as has Senator Latvala, and I’ll accept it in the future,” he said to reporters following a news conference in Tampa. “And my record speaks for itself in fighting for consumers in utility fights.”

Corcoran added that he’ll take contributions from virtually any group.

“My point to anybody is, anybody can donate to my campaign for the most part. I’m Richard Corcoran, this is what I stand for, and that’s what I’m going to fight for. And if you don’t like it, don’t donate.”

On another issue, the speaker said Gov. Rick Scott won’t have to worry about a bill funding an airplane for the next governor.

Scott, who is term-limited next year, ended the practice when he became governor in 2011, saying that it was a waste of taxpayer money as he had the funds to afford his own personal plane. Scott sidestepped reporters’ questions about it after this week’s Cabinet meeting.

“I don’t think there’s going to be a plane in the House budget, I can assure you of that,” said Corcoran, who also is term-limited next year—and may declare his own run for governor after the 2018 Legislative Session.

Rick Baker says he’d retain Tony Holloway as police chief, but …

Police Chief Tony Holloway has become an issue in the St. Petersburg mayoral campaign, as Rick Kriseman has been on the offensive about public safety, especially with crime down from the era of past mayor and present candidate Rick Baker.

The two squared off Wednesday night during an hour-long debate sponsored by the Council on Neighborhood Associations and moderated by Tampa Bay Times political editor Adam C. Smith at the Sunshine Center.

Kriseman has boasted about his selection of Holloway, a former Clearwater Police Chief, and said that unlike his opponent, he was dedicated to bringing him back. The crime rate is down from the Baker days, but it is in most cities compared to a decade ago.

Baker has been ambiguous about Holloway, but said he didn’t appreciate Kriseman’s references that he wouldn’t keep Holloway around.

Instead, he said that he has objected to the fact that Holloway doesn’t live in St. Petersburg, and emphasized that has been his only criticism of the chief.

“I’ve met with Chief Holloway. I like him. I see no reason why there’s an impediment towards being able to work with him,” Baker said. “The Mayor keeps on implying that I’m going to get rid of Chief Holloway. What I’ve said is, I’m not going to make any decisions on any staff … until I’m mayor.”

But Baker said if he were to win and chose to retain Holloway, he’d have to change some of his policies, such as eliminating the Street Crimes Unit and Auto Theft Unit — changes that Kriseman said that Holloway made.

After Baker announced he would challenge Kriseman’s re-election, he launched an aggressive campaign that kept the pressure on the incumbent throughout the primary. Polls showed Baker might have been able to win the mayoral contest outright.

That didn’t happen and since then the race has de-intensified. Recent public polling shows the race as tight as it was on primary election night, when the two candidates finished in virtual tie (Kriseman won 70 more votes).

The candidates opened up by offering bromides about their love and appreciation for the neighborhoods before reiterating familiar criticisms that have played out over the past four months, going back to the their first debate in late June.

The sharpest divisions came on the issue of spending, with Baker claiming that Kriseman has hired “close to 200” more staffers than he did. Kriseman dismissed the criticism, citing a PolitiFact article that rebuked the notion that he has spent excessively on high salaried employees.

Baker disputed that there was any such article. In fact, the Tampa Bay Times published a PolitFact article on the issue, but it was ambiguous, claiming who had the definitive word on the matter (the story did report that when it came to highly-paid employees, at his peak Baker had 95 such employees, while Kriseman had 79).

With just 20 days before Election Night, there’s very little territory that the two men haven’t discussed at length over the past four months, but some of the questions presented from the members of the Council of Neighborhood Associations were somewhat novel.

Many were not. Baker promised again that if is elected, he would get a new grocery store built in Midtown.

“I don’t agree with the concept by the mayor and his staff who have said that the people in Midtown can’t afford a neighborhood grocery store,” he said. “I believe that in Midtown we can handle a grocery store.”

Kriseman said that his staff was looking at “different models,” such as grocery stores with smaller footprints than traditional stores, as well as co-ops.

On the issue of mandatory curbside recycling, Baker defended the fact that didn’t go that far during his tenure as mayor.. He called the costs for it a regressive tax on those residents who can least afford to pay it. Kriseman followed up by saying that he’d like to consider the idea of composting.

“A lot of communities around the country are doing composting,” he said. “I think it’s something that we also ought to be taking a look at in the city.”

The age old campaign issues of sewage and sea level rise were again revisited. Baker said that he does believe that man has a role in climate change, and said he resented the “spin” that he’s a climate denier. “Sometimes spin can get to the point where it’s actually a lie,” he said.

The discussion allowed Kriseman to associate the former mayor with Sarah Palin and Rick Scott. Scott’s PAC has contributed to Baker’s campaign.

“Sometimes I think Rick Kriseman wishes I was running for governor or president,” Baker said, clearly annoyed. “He needs to start addressing the issues in the city of St. Petersburg.”

Baker bashed Kriseman for allowing the Tampa Bay Rays to negotiate talks with officials in Hillsborough County about a possible new location for a stadium. He said it looked obvious that the Rays would soon announce a site in Ybor City, and he said that Kriseman would have to own that if the team does relocate.

Kriseman dismissively said that Baker hadn’t been reading the papers, or else he would have read a report that the Ybor location is now out, with the team possibly looking in the Westshore area.

And he boasted that he was able to get the Rays to drop the provision in their original contract with the city if they move on getting 50 percent of the development rights to a refurbished Tropicana Field site.

“They only get to keep it if they stay in St. Pete, which is a pretty big carrot, for them when they’re trying to figure out how they’re going to finance their stadium,” Kriseman said.

Voting by mail continues daily. Election Day is Nov. 7.

Opponent blasts Gus Bilirakis for bill hamstringing DEA opioid fight

Gus Bilirakis is taking heat from an opponent for pushing a bill that dilutes the Drug Enforcement Agency’s efforts to stem the nation’s opioid crisis.

Mathew Thomas, a Democrat running against the 11-year Republican incumbent in Florida’s 12th Congressional District, blasted Bilirakis Wednesday for co-sponsoring the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act.

The 2016 bill had a (somewhat unintended) result of severely hampering the DEA’s ability go after opioid distributors supplying corrupt doctors and pharmacists who flood the black market with pain pills.

Bilirakis was one of six co-sponsors for the House version from Rep. Tom Marino, the Pennsylvania Republican who, until recently, was President Donald Trump’s nominee for drug czar.

On Tuesday, Marino backed out of the position, after CBS’ “60 Minutes” and The Washington Post reported that the bill changed a longtime standard required before the DEA could freeze suspicious sales of painkillers, which cuts the flow of opioids into the black market.

Instead of requiring the DEA to first determine shipments pose an “imminent danger” to the community, the agency must now conclude they represent “a substantial likelihood of an immediate threat.”

“I’m appalled, but not shocked,” Thomas said Wednesday. “It has become business as usual for bills like this to roll through as lobbyists team up with members of Congress to ensure these bills succeed.”

Thomas noted that his opponent received $79,000 in campaign contributions from “corporations running this multifaceted campaign to undercut law enforcement.”

Bilirakis has responded. You can read his entire statement here.

Thomas responds: “At some point, we have to question the priorities of a Representative that sides with drug corporations over law enforcement in the midst of an opioid epidemic.”

He calls it “inexcusable” that Bilirakis claims he thought the bill would “strengthen cooperation” on the issue of drug abuse.

“His statement reveals he either never read the bill or he read it and voted for it despite the consequences,” Thomas said. “Both scenarios are unacceptable.”

Thomas added: “We cannot accept Representatives championing and co-sponsoring bills like this while we are losing people. We cannot accept Representatives stating ignorance to the effects of the bill when Judge John Mulrooney II, the DEA Chief Administrative Law Judge, warned about the bill’s diminishing DEA authority.

“That’s why I am running to be the Representative we deserve,” he continued. “I am someone who champions the American people and fights for their interest not lay down in the face of opposition or roll over for corporate donations. We have serious issues, people are drying, we need strong leaders empowering not diminishing our power. I am that leader.”

Thomas is a Palm Harbor-based software architect. He entered the CD 12 race in late June, and to date has raised $6,137.

The other Democrat in the race, Robert Tager, has raised $13,423.

Bilirakis, on the other hand, has amassed more than a half-million dollars in his re-election bid for the seat he has held since 2006.

Richard Corcoran: ‘We’re done with talking heads,’ Congress must OK Trump’s tax cuts

House Speaker Richard Corcoran joined other GOP lawmakers for a meeting Wednesday with business owners in Tampa, during which he delivered a stern message to Congress: Get behind Donald Trump and his proposed tax cuts.

“The time to act is now,” the Land O’Lakes Republican said at a downtown Tampa news conference. “We’re done with sound bite politics. We’re done with talking heads. What we need is for those guys to get into a room and pass meaningful tax reform.”

The plan (as currently outlined) would cut the top personal income tax rate; eliminate estate taxes (which presently only tax estates worth at least $5.5 million); kill the alternative minimum tax, and slashes rates on pass-through income. While Democrats predictably turned up noses to the proposal when it was unveiled last month, Senate Republicans have also objected to the proposed plan.

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker indicated he would not vote for any bill that significantly adds to the deficit.

“With realistic growth projections, it cannot produce a deficit,” Corker said. “There is no way in hell I’m voting for it.”

“I will not vote for the budget unless it keeps within the spending caps,” Rand Paul said Tuesday.

In a conversation earlier in the day with Trump, the Kentucky senator told the president, who is a fellow Republican: “I’m all in. I want to be supportive. I’m a ‘yes’ vote. But we have to obey our own rules.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin argues that robust growth, fueled by tax cuts, will actually pay down the national debt by $1 trillion.

However, that’s not what the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center says, contending the Trump tax cut plan would cut revenues to the U.S. Treasury by $5.6 trillion over 20 years.

Corcoran doesn’t agree, saying those calculations are through  “static” scoring — as opposed to “dynamic” scoring, which doesn’t make room for higher growth rates that bring in more revenue.

“Read any economist, any foundation, out there,” he said. “They’re predicting in the first five years, this could lead to  3.2 percent growth rate, which is an additional $2.5 trillion in revenues over ten years. So that more than pays for the tax plan.”

Not every foundation is saying that, however.

The nonpartisan balanced-budget advocacy group Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget believes the cuts will not be self-financing.

In a paper produced earlier this month, the Washington-based group argued the economy “would need to grow by $5 to $6 for every $1 of tax cuts,” to avoid adding to the deficit.

They also said that past tax cuts in 1981 and the early 2000s “have led to widening budget deficits and lower revenue, not the reverse as some claim.”

Corcoran also pushed back on the premise that the Trump tax cut plan rewards the wealthy at the expense of the middle class. The Speaker noted a provision in the plan to double the standard deduction for the majority of taxpayers who don’t take deductions. He also said an increase in the Child Tax Credit (CTC) would be a huge benefit for the middle class.

Speaking on the Senate floor Wednesday, Marco Rubio said flatly that the Trump tax cut plan wouldn’t pass without a “significant” increase in the CTC.

Joining Corcoran at the event were state Rep. Neil Combee of Polk County and Tampa-area Reps. Jackie Toledo and Shawn Harrison, touting that the economies of Tampa Bay and the state were flourishing “based on good, solid conservative pro-business values and policies.”

It was a similar message Corcoran attempted to drive home to Congress, urging them to look at Florida as a laboratory of democracy to be emulated when it comes to fiscal health.

“When you cut 75 taxes over seven years, totaling $7 billion,” he said. “When you get rid of 5,000 regulations, what happens? You become the number one state in the entire union for fiscal health. You become the number four state for tax simplicity.”

Kathy Castor pushes bills to help with student loan debt

While Washington is filled with talk about cutting taxes and possibly health care benefits, Tampa Representative Kathy Castor sat down with current and former students from the University of South Florida (USF) and the University of Tampa (UT) at the Attic in downtown Tampa on Wednesday to ask them about two of her potential proposals regarding student loan debt, which continues drag the economy.

Having attended college in the 1980s, Castor said there are students with a lot more debt in 2017, with Pell Grants not keeping pace with inflation, rising tuition costs, and the attendant costs of paying for textbooks, transportation and a higher cost of living.

The average student for UT grads is approximately $31,000. At USF it’s $22,000.

Castor is co-sponsoring two bills to address the issue. The first and most pressing legislation looks to reestablish funding for the Federal Perkins Loan, after Congress failed to reauthorize the program at the end of September. About 2.7 million students in the U.S. received the Perkins Loan, which was subsidized by the students, who paid for it at a 5 percent interest rate.

She’s also sponsoring The Student Loan Relief Act,  which would lower the cap on federal student loan interest to 4 percent for undergraduate students, 5 percent for graduate students and 6 percent for parents.  It would change the way student loan interest rates are calculated, allow borrowers with loans disbursed before the effective date to refinance their loans at the new rates and eliminate loan origination fees.  U.S. Sen. Nelson unveiled the Senate version earlier this month.

“Just having certainty that you know that (the debt rate) is going to stay there…that would be amazing to me and I’m sure a lot of students will have the confidence in what they’ll be paying,” said UT student Aislinn E. Sroczynsk.

“I think people could breath a sigh of relief knowing it’s going to be capped at something, ” added Troy Schneider, also a UT student. “That would really help a lot of people.”

Moneer Kheireddine, USF student body president, said a problem is that the payment schedule is organized so that students must pay for the entire semester just as it begins. “Instead of having to pay off loans at the beginning of the semester, they can space it out and as they accumulate their finances through the semester, they can pay that off as opposed to having to pay off loans.”

“I’ve lived most of my business career with the wolf at the door,” said Kostas Stoilas, entrepreneur-in-residence with Tampa Bay Wave, referring to the loans he continues to pay back, years after earning his MBA at UT.

“You try to keep that wolf at bay by keeping your expenses down,” he says, referring to the $40,000 in debt he incurred in school, and how that affects his monthly bottom line as heads a commercial real estate company.

Sroczynsk says she aspires to go to a top-tier law school like Georgetown. But she worries that if she can’t afford to payback the loans after graduation, it could diminish her zeal for even pursuing such a career.

“I don’t want to have to compromise my career or my passion…just because I can’t afford my loans, or because the minimal payment is too high.”

Castor jokingly asked the students who gave their thumbs up to her proposals if they were ready to lobby the state Legislature, but Kheireddine said he’s already scheduled to travel to Tallahassee three times next month and would gladly advocate on her behalf.

Castor said debt relief for students is rarely discussed in Congress these days, which is why she’s hoping to build a coalition in the House of Representatives to push for her bills.

“The bulk of the year it’s been a fight over healthcare,” she said. “I hope they’re going to talk to state legislators, business leaders and anyone else.”

Tampa streetcar study identifies two new downtown routes

As part of a transit feasibility study on expanding and modernizing Tampa’s streetcar system, city officials have narrowed the choices down to two specific routes going into downtown.

Both routes will be unveiled at a community workshop next week.

Earlier this year, Tampa held three workshops for public input on preferred routes; city officials unveiled the top seven possibilities in May.

Those initial seven routes have now been whittled down to two “alignments.” Both would cost $3.6 million to cover maintenance and operation costs.

Alignment A: Runs north/south on Franklin Street to the downtown core, with a short one-way loop along Palm Avenue, North Highland Street and Henderson Avenue in Tampa Heights. This option would cost $94 million to build (in 2017 dollars).

Alignment B: Runs north/south along Tampa Street and Florida Avenue through the downtown core to Palm Avenue in Tampa Heights. That alignment will cost $97 million to build (in 2017 dollars), .

Compared to the other five alignments, both choices rate highly due to lower capital and operating costs. However, Alignment A rates higher in several areas, as it requires a single CSX railroad crossing and has less impact on local roadways and adjacent land uses due to its path along Franklin Street instead of Tampa Street and Florida Avenue.

Alignment B rates higher in other areas as it would not require a crossing of the Esplanade on Franklin Street and has a larger service area due to its alignment along two parallel roadways.

Currently, the streetcar runs 2.7 miles, going through 11 station stops, starting in Ybor City and going south and west along Channelside Drive, moving north past the Tampa Convention Center to the intersection of Franklin and Whiting streets.

Ever since it began operating in 2002, poor ridership numbers have made the streetcar a disappointment from the get-go; many are calling it a financial boondoggle.

The Preferred Options Report is available here

Citizens will get to see the two proposed routes at a workshop Tuesday, October 24, at the Chester H. Ferguson Law Center, 1610 N. Tampa Street beginning 5:30 p.m.

Hillsborough Young Democrat considers challenging Stacy White

Andrew Davis, a 35-year-old Gibsonton resident who resigned from his position as public relations officer with the Hillsborough County Young Democrats on Tuesday night, says he is exploring a challenge to Stacy White for the District 4 seat onthe Hillsborough County Commission.

“We often talk about our desire to help our county and improve such issues as the area’s job market, transportation, affordable housing, and dealing with the challenges that have come with the area’s population surge. I am feeling more and more that my time to help in an even bigger way may be now,” Davis told his colleagues with the Hillsborough Young Democrats Tuesday night.

Davis works as a salesman and also writes a food blog. Like many other Democrats in Hillsborough, he says that the summer-long battle regarding removing a Confederate monument was an important moment for him personally and for the community, as was the fact that he was listed in the so-called dossier of Confederate monument critics published by Save Southern Heritage, the leading advocacy group to maintain the statue in its place.

“It is my belief that anyone regardless of political ideology or party affiliation should be able to voice their opinions to their elected officials without fear of retribution against either themselves or members of their family,” Davis says about that incident. “This is of course also the same David McCallister who was named in August to our county’s Diversity Advisory Board in what I consider an appalling move.”

If Davis opts to challenge White, it will be a formidable contest in what is generally considered the county’s most conservative district.

White has raised more than $152,000 for his re-election race next year. The only other announced Democrat in the race, Angel D’Angelo, has raised just $355.

Angry Hillsborough Democrats have the opportunity next year to defeat all four Republicans who at one point or another voted to maintain the Confederate statue in front of the county courthouse this summer, but the big political question has been if they will be able to field competitive candidates to do so. The BOCC has leaned Republican for years, and all four incumbents — White, Sandy Murman, Victor Crist and Ken Hagan, have years, in some cases, many years of experience serving on the board, which helps them with name recognition.

An energized anti-Donald Trump Democratic wave could change that dynamic, though whether Democrats will remain as focused and as energized as they are now for another year remains unknown at this time.

Davis says he will make a final decision about whether he will run for the District 4 seat sometime after the holidays.

Orkin says Tampa Bay-area among most rat-infested

Here’s one national survey where it’s preferable not to be in the top 10 — or 20.

Fortunately, in Orkin’s Top 50 “rattiest” cities, Tampa/St. Petersburg only ranks No. 38, with the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area as the top Florida community, coming in at No. 18.

Experts at Orkin, the national pest control company, say the metro regions are ranked by the number of rodent treatments the company performed from September 15, 2016 — September 15, 2017. The ranking includes both residential and commercial treatments.

Chicago tops the list as the city with the most rats during the winter months, followed by New York, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area and Washington D.C.

“Rats and mice begin looking for warmer, more insulated places to get through the winter, and these too often happen to be our homes or businesses,” said John Kane, entomologist and Technical Director of Orkin’s Midwest region. “Rodents like to chew on wood and electrical wires, increasing the fire danger behind your walls and potentially damage to your home.”

It’s not hard for rodents to get into a home or business, Kane added.

West Palm Beach is at No. 46, joining Orlando/Daytona Beach as the four Florida communities listed in the Orkin 50.

In July, a social media report of possible rodents in a West Palm Beach AMC movie theater showing the comedy “Girls Trip” went viral.

One of the people who shared the Facebook post told a reporter for WPTV-TV she saw half the people in the theater run out in fear. The woman said rodents had apparently run across the feet of people sitting in the front rows.

Orkin’s full list is here.

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