Gwen Graham Archives - Page 6 of 31 - Florida Politics

National Taxpayers Union gives Marco Rubio an A, Patrick Murphy an F

The National Taxpayers Union, a fiscal conservative organization, is out with its new grades of federal lawmakers, drawing a clear distinction in assessments of candidates for Florida’s U.S. Senate race: Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio got an A, and Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy an F.

“Patrick Murphy’s F-rating from the National Taxpayers Union should come as no surprise after his years of casting liberal votes in Congress. Murphy supports higher taxes, a carbon tax, and wants to make it easier for the federal government to create new regulations. With a record like that, no wonder Murphy never actually worked as a CPA. Murphy’s liberal policies don’t work, and Florida families can’t afford them” Rubio spokesman Michael Ahrens stated in a news release issued by Rubio’s campaign.

Both candidates are in good company within their parties. The taxpayers union’s annual Taxpayer Score also gave Fs to Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and every other Democratic member of Congress from Florida except U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, who got a D. Among Florida Republicans, U.S. Reps. Curt Clawson, Ron DeSantis, Jeff Miller, and Ted Yoho also got As. The worst grades among Florida Republicans were the Cs that went to U.S. Reps. Carlos Curbelo and Ileana Ros-Letinen.

Murphy’s 25 percent score from the taxpayers union was in fact the second-highest among Florida Democrats, after Graham’s 33 percent. Nelson got a 17 percent score. Rubio got an 87 percent score, tied for best among Florida’s congressional delegation.

The National Taxpayers Union was founded in 1969 and calls itself the”The voice of America’s taxpayers.”

“The Taxpayer Score measures the strength of support for reducing spending and regulation and opposing higher taxes. In general, a higher score is better because it means a member of Congress voted to lessen or limit the burden on taxpayers,” according to the organization.

Al Lawson leads Glo Smith in CD 5 cash dash

Al Lawson, a former member of the Florida House and Senate and onetime the “Dean of the Legislature,” appears financially well-positioned down the stretch in his race in Florida’s 5th Congressional District.

As of the October quarterly report, Lawson had $79,309 on hand.

Lawson’s $79,309 is well ahead of the cash-on-hand of his GOP opponent, Glo Smith, who had $11,908 on hand as of the same report, and had little to show for that spend other than a few billboards.

In his pre-primary filing, Lawson had more cash-on-hand; $120,190 in August.

Between August and the end of September, Lawson raised $43,731 and spent $84,612.

The bulk of both contributions and expenditures were made down the stretch before Lawson’s primary victory against incumbent Rep. Corrine Brown.

Though many of Lawson’s donors were from the western side of the district, such as Rep. Gwen Graham, there were some interesting Jacksonville players in the mix.

The Pajcic family — lawyers and notable Democratic donors — came through with $5,400 of new money.

And though it was before the Democratic primary in August, the $1,000 donation of reliably Republican Peter Rummell was catalogued in the most recent report.

Former Education Commissioner Jim Horne maxed out for Lawson before the primary also.

The October finance reports of both Lawson and Smith suggest there isn’t much drama down the stretch in Congressional District 5.

Most of the action — and all of the intrigue — in this race wrapped up in August.

Gwen Graham again slams Rick Scott on Mosaic spill

Gwen Graham is again blasting Gov. Rick Scott about the massive sinkhole created at the Mosaic phosphate plant in Polk County last month. The Tallahassee Democratic representative specifically is challenging the claim made by Scott earlier this week that he wasn’t aware of the 215 million gallons of contaminated water going into the Florida aquifer until weeks after the incident.

“I don’t know which is worse. Either Gov. Rick Scott knew about the sinkhole and didn’t inform the public, or leadership at the Department of Environmental Protection is so irresponsible they didn’t alert the governor to a potential public health disaster,” Graham said in a statement. “Both scenarios are appalling, and the people of Florida deserve full accountability.”

The sinkhole opened up Aug. 27, pouring out an estimated 215 million gallons of water from one of the processing plant’s gypsum stacks. It took three weeks for the public to learn about incident. Scott’s office said he learned about it on Sept. 16. WFLA-TV NewsChannel 8 in Tampa has reported that, for 19 days, neither Mosaic nor the Florida Department of Environmental Protection alerted neighbors to the potential threat this sinkhole posed to their wells.

Last week Graham issued a public information request to the Department of Environmental Protection, calling on the agency to turn over all electronic communication relating to the toxic sinkhole. It came after what she said were “repeated requests” for more information about when the agency informed the public of the massive sinkhole, originally estimated to be 45 feet wide and 300 feet deep. However, an official with Mosaic said earlier this week it could actually have gone much deeper.

Scott was asked this week if the DEP had kept him in the dark, and if so, was he going to fire Secretary Jon Steverson.

Graham notes in her statement that Stevenson was “handpicked” by Scott and reportedly was the only person he “felt was worthy of an interview.”

The DEP has maintained the closest drinking water wells are three miles from the sinkhole site and that there is no indication of a threat to those wells.

Graham is a first-term Democrat elected in November of 2014. She did not run for re-election this fall, but has not discouraged talk about a run for governor in 2018.

Late Thursday afternoon, Gov. Scott’s office responded.

“The governor’s office was notified Sept. 16, 2016,” said spokesperson Jackie Schutz. “The governor then immediately directed DEP to expedite their investigation and also asked DOH [Department of Health] to assist DEP to ensure clean water. In addition, the governor asked DEP to evaluate ways to improve this process. And on Monday, Sept. 26, Gov. Scott directed DEP to issue an emergency rule that establishes new requirements for public notification of pollution to take effect. The rule will ensure the public, local governments, and DEP are notified within 24 hours by all responsible parties following a pollution incident. “


Mitch Perry Report for 9.26.16 – Keeping everything in perspective

I’m not about to be a spoilsport and say that presidential debates are overrated, but the history shows there have been very, very few since they began being held regularly 1976 that have significantly moved voters.

The first debate in 2000 between Al Gore and George W. Bush definitely changed some things. That’s the one, you might recall, where Gore was okay on substance but horrible on style (with his sighs and eye-rolling).The revelation about Bush’s DUI arrest that Fox News broke five days before the election might also have changed just as many votes, however.

More instructive is looking back at the first debates in 1984 and 2012, when the incumbents – Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama, respectively – delivered horrid performances.

Reagan was stunningly out of it in his first Sunday-night debate against Walter Mondale in October of ’84. He looked completely out of touch and in over his head, and for a moment excited Democrats and the media that what looked like a blowout election could become competitive. Two weeks later, Reagan got his act together, made a self-deprecating remark about not making an issue out of Mondale’s youthful inexperience, and he was golden, going on to win 49 states.

Obama was terrible in his first debate against Romney four years ago, freaking out Democrats who suddenly contemplated that the president wasn’t very focused. If you’ll recall, it was Joe Biden who turned the momentum around when he went super aggressive against Paul Ryan in the VP debate a week or so later.

And yes, Jerry Ford’s infamous admission that Poland was not under the influence of the Soviet Union in the debate from the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco in 1976 was a major story that perhaps nullified Ford’s amazing comeback that summer from what had been a 33-point deficit to Jimmy Carter in the first election after Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace.

But there have been dozens of other debates that truly did not move the needle all that much. The fact that the race is close to tied (with Donald Trump ascendent) does raise the stakes, as well as the fact that historically the first of the three scheduled presidential debates is generally the highest rated on television.

And to think that Trump initially wanted to change the date of this event, because it was up against Monday Night Football. But tonight’s contest between Atlanta and New Orleans is a matchup of two relatively mediocre squads, so there’s no fear of losing too much of the national audience there.

In other news…

Matt Gaetz chose the death of Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez to blast athletes for kneeling for the national anthem.

Tim Kaine’s in Lakeland today.

Charlie Crist became the second prominent Democrat in two days over the weekend to plead to Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark to open an early polling site in South St. Pete.

We sat down with NY Times columnist David Brooks for about 17 minutes last week, and this is what we came up with.

Gwen Graham will be out of elected office in a few months. Until then, she’s keeping herself in the news, pressuring the Florida DEP about when they told neighbors new the Mosaic plant in Polk County about that giant spill from a sinkhole in August.

Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman laid out what she hopes to do if voters give her four more years last Friday in Tampa.

Gwen Graham wants a simple answer: When did the Florida DEP inform residents of the Mosaic spill?

Gwen Graham isn’t backing off in her quest to learn how proactive the Florida Department of Environmental Protection was in informing the public about the 45-foot-wide, 300-foot deep sinkhole which opened at Mosaic’s New Wales plant in Mulberry on August 27, emptying 215 million gallons of contaminated water into the Floridan Aquifer.

The Tallahassee-based Congresswoman on Friday issued a public information request to the DEP to turn over all electronic communication relating to the toxic sinkhole, following what she says has been “repeated requests” for more information on when DEP informed the public of the sinkhole and called for the department to conduct an investigation into their delayed response.

“Our office has repeatedly asked the Department of Environmental Protection when exactly they began to notify the public of the 300-foot-deep toxic sinkhole in Central Florida, and they have not yet answered this simple question,” Representative Graham said. “I’m hopeful this public records request will show the date on which the department notified the public of the sinkhole and why they made the decision to keep it secret for so long.”

Although Mosaic said it immediately contacted the DEP about the spill last month, nearby residents concerned that about the potential contamination of their drinking water say they were not contacted, and only learned about the spill when it was reported last Friday.

The New Wales facility produces fertilizer and ingredients for animal feed from phosphate rock.

“The health and safety of Florida’s families is no laughing matter. A giant toxic sinkhole is no laughing matter. Government transparency is no laughing matter,” Graham said. “I expect this request to turn over a large amount of communication regarding the sinkhole — if not, the DEP isn’t taking this issue seriously, or the administration is again trying to skirt our state’s Sunshine Laws.”

Mosaic and the DEP’s transparency regarding the spill has become a national story in the past week. On Wednesday, Hillary Clinton told Tampa ABC affiliate WFTS, “For goodness sake, people are entitled to clean water. People are entitled to know what is in their water and companies that profit off of common resources need to be held liable when something goes wrong. So I have a very clear view about this. Polluters should pay to help clean up the messes that they have created.”

And now Marco Rubio has joined with Graham in criticizing the DEP. In a statement given to the Tampa Bay Times, the Florida GOP Senator says,”There’s no question that residents should have been informed sooner. I understand that Mosaic is working closely with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to monitor and mitigate water that has leaked into the aquifer.”

The DEP responded on Thursday that Governor Rick Scott had directed the agency to expedite its investigation into the spill. The DEP says it is accelerating all water-quality tests to ensure safe drinking water for residents. Scott has also directed the Department of Health to partner with the DEP to ensure that the drinking water is safe.

The DEP also issued a detailed timeline on Thursday on their course of action since learning about the spill on August 28.

Meanwhile, three Florida residents have filed a lawsuit against Mosaic that seeks to hold the phosphate giants responsible for potential contamination of their drinking water wells.

DEP Secretary Jon Steverson responded later Friday to Graham’s request:

“As is the case with all public records requests, DEP will expeditiously process this request and provide the responsive records. DEP has been in communication with Representative Gwen Graham’s office throughout the week and has provided information as requested without hesitation.

“Contrary to the Representative’s claim that we have not answered her question, DEP yesterday released a detailed timeline of all of the agency’s actions including that beginning on Sept. 19, in coordination with Mosaic, DEP began reaching out to nearby homeowners for well testing.

“It is important to know that Deputy Secretary Gary Clark is over the department’s Land and Recreation functions and does not, in any way, oversee the department’s regulatory functions, especially in regard to water quality. DEP is absolutely committed to the safety of all Floridians and our environment, and our staff was on-site to investigate the issues at Mosaic’s New Wales facility less than 24 hours after being notified.

“Following Governor Scott’s call to expedite our investigation, we will hold all responsible parties accountable. To keep the public informed of the latest response activities and most recent monitoring data, DEP will continue to issue daily updates on this issue.”

Mitch Perry Report for 9.22.16 – The fire down below

In Charlotte last night, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory called for a state of emergency a night after violence escalated as residents continued to protest the fatal shooting of a black man by a police officer a day prior.

While in Tulsa, the Dept. of Justice is investigating officer Betty Shelby’s use of force in the shooting death of  40-year-old unarmed black man Terence Crutcher on Friday night.

Meanwhile, what about the shooting death of that unarmed black man in our neck of the woods that caused more than a week’s worth of civic unrest?

To remind you, Hillsborough County SWAT Deputy Caleb Johnson shot and killed 22-year-old Levonia Riggins while helping serve a search warrant on his home. Johnson has said that he thought that Riggins was motioning towards his waistband when he was apprehended in his bedroom, and fearing that Riggins was reaching for a weapon, shot him dead.

Like a similar incident that occurred in Seminole Heights a couple of years ago with the Tampa Police Dept., a lot of people have been wondering why law enforcement would send in a SWAT team to apprehend a low-level drug dealer (Riggins had reportedly sold pot on two occasions to from undercover Hillsborough sheriff’s detectives).

Well, presumably we have our reason now, as the Tampa Bay Times Dan Sullivan reported earlier this week that when detectives drafted an application for a search warrant of Riggins’ home last month, they learned of a 2015 incident in which guns were found on Riggins property.

I still don’t get how that justified bringing a SWAT team in to bust a man who had twice sold undercover deputies marijuana. Obviously I’m missing something, because I don’t get that at all. Wondering if that happens in other parts of town where law enforcement is aware of someone selling pot?

Of course, when it comes to pot, Hillsborough County law enforcement seems to be behind the curve in addressing the issue. After months of criticism for not following in Tampa’s path when it comes to decriminalizing those arrested with marijuana , the Sheriffs Department announced last month that they’ve begun a year-long pilot program with other local agencies that will offer an alternative to arrest for first-time offenders caught with marijuana between the ages of 8 to 17.

Meanwhile, the Riggins shooting is being investigated by  Sarasota State Attorney Ed Brodsky.

In other news..

We’ve got specific dates when the “Cross-Bay Ferry” running from Tampa to St. Pete will begin their daily runs.

Kathy Castor signs on to bipartisan legislation calling for drug price transparency.

Gwen Graham wants to know when the Florida DEP began contacting local residents about that Mosaic toxic sinkhole spill last month.

And an environmental group is trying to tie Mosaic’s issues with Representative Dana Young, the Tampa Republican running for the state Senate District 18 seat this November.

Vern Buchanan’s bill to Florida orange farms contending with citrus greening has passed the House of Representatives. 

Gwen Graham wants to know why the DEP didn’t tell the public about Mosaic’s toxic sinkhole

Tallahassee U.S. Representative and potential gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham is blasting the Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection, claiming it failed local citizens by failing to alert them of the massive leak of contaminated water that occurred through a sinkhole at Mosaic’s New Wales Facility in Polk County last month. 

The company did immediately inform the Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection and other agencies, but many members of the local community said they had no idea about it until they saw media reports about it last weekend.

The DEP issued its own press release on Tuesday, where they claimed that the Tampa Bay Times had failed to report that they had notified the nearest adjacent homeowners who may want their drinking water wells tested.

“This information was provided in writing to the Times, but the paper chose to omit this fact and mislead their readers,” the statement read.

In a letter sent to Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Jonathan Steverson on Wednesday, Graham is criticizing the agency for failing to alert surrounding communities of a toxic sinkhole, and calling on the DEP to use all means available to protect Florida families and the environment from a potential health crisis.

“I was extremely disappointed to learn the Department of Environmental Protection had known about this toxic sinkhole for almost a month before taking measures to alert the public. The DEP should warn Florida families of potential contamination before they’re drinking toxic water, not after it’s been contaminated,”  Graham said. “Their excuse for inaction – that they weren’t legally required to do so – is appalling. It’s an excuse we should expect from a special interest group – not from a group whose only interest should be protecting Florida’s environment and citizens.”

“This failure is just the latest example in an alarming pattern of the state placing polluting special interests ahead of the environment and communities they’re charged with protecting,” Graham added. “I hope they will quickly change course and use all resources available to remedy this immediate threat, and in the future work with greater transparency and respect for the public.”

Governor Scott weighed in later on the issue on Wednesday. Spokesperson Jackie Schutz said that Scott has directed the DEP to expedite their investigation “which began almost a month ago.”

“This includes directing DEP to expedite all water quality tests to ensure safe drinking water for residents,” Schutz said in a statement. “Governor Scott has also directed the Department of Health to partner with DEP in their investigation to ensure all drinking water in the area is safe.  We know Mosaic has taken responsibility, but our job is to ensure 100 percent safe drinking water in Florida and to protect our pristine environment.  We will continue to expedite this process until all questions are answered.  We encourage lawmakers and others to make decisions on this issue based on facts and not on their own political interests.”

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Steverson said that his agency is “absolutely committed to the safety of all Floridians and our shared environment, which is why we have worked closely with Mosaic since learning of this issue to ensure that proper actions are taken”

“In an abundance of caution, and above and beyond the requirements of law, DEP is working with Mosaic and through the company’s ongoing efforts to ensure families in the community who want testing for their drinking water wells are offered that service,” he said. “While there continues to be no evidence of offsite movement or threat to offsite groundwater supplies, DEP will continue to ensure Mosaic’s efforts properly resolve this issue. Once the issues surrounding this sinkhole are resolved, DEP will finalize its ongoing investigation to determine any necessary accountability measures to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

Here is Graham’s letter in full:

Dear Secretary Steverson:

I was troubled to learn that the public was not immediately notified about possible groundwater contamination from more than 200 million gallons of industrial waste leaked into a sinkhole at a Mosaic phosphate plant in Polk County. Given the potential consequences, I urge you to conduct a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding the leak and to ensure the site is fully remediated to prevent long term environmental and public health risks.

Media has reported that the leak was discovered by plant personnel and reported to county, state and federal officials nearly a month ago. Yet, most of the general public did not become aware of the potential problem until it was reported by the press last Friday, September 16. Your office claims to have followed notification requirements prescribed by current law, but I believe the Department of Environmental Protection has a greater responsibility to the public. When public health is at risk, the state has a duty to notify nearby residents as soon as possible and before their wells are polluted so they can take appropriate action.

I urge you to exercise your full ability to investigate the causes of and response to the leak by public and private stakeholders. If this was purely an unforeseen natural event, we may still be able to take action to prevent future incidents. If this leak was inadvertently man-made, we need to know that so we can keep it from happening again. If there was mismanagement either before or after the fact, we need to hold the responsible parties accountable. Only a thorough and timely investigation can answer these questions.

Most importantly, we need to do everything we can to clean up the damage that has been done. The substances reported to have leaked from the site are potentially harmful to people and the environment. Given the enormous size of the leak, I expect this remediation to be a substantial undertaking, but it is essential. As we have learned from the contamination of Florida springs and pollution in the Everglades, the hydrology of Florida is uniquely connected. All Floridians are heavily invested in this clean up. Please use your authority to make sure it is done thoroughly and completely.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance to you.


Gwen Graham

Angry Rick Scott wants Barack Obama declare Florida disaster after Hermine

No doubt there is bad blood between the Rick Scott and Barack Obama administrations.

It could be a reason why the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has rejected Scott’s request for federal assistance for a multitude of bad weather events — as well as requests for federal funds for handling the Zika virus and the Pulse nightclub shooting — over the past year.

But in a letter directed to the President on Tuesday, the governor lays out the case that it’s beyond time for the feds to help out the nation’s third-biggest state, following the damages incurred from Hurricane Hermine.

In his letter, the governor states there has been more than $36 million in damages due to the hurricane. A presidential disaster declaration would provide federal resources to support recovery efforts in Florida. This request is for both individual assistance for families and public assistance to help state agencies and local governments.

“We must do everything we can to ensure that Florida families and businesses can get back on their feet following Hurricane Hermine,” Scott said in a statement issued out Tuesday afternoon. “I have traveled across the state to meet Floridians who have been personally impacted by the storm, and communities are working hard to recover from flooding and damage. The resources and financial assistance from the federal government would support our communities and help them rebuild. We look forward to President Obama immediately issuing a declaration in support of all Florida families and businesses affected by the hurricane.”

Florida was rocked significantly by weather events in August and September this year. In his letter to the president, Scott lists the amount of rainfall to specific counties, with Pinellas leading the way with more than 22 inches.

Thirty-eight different counties in the state declared local state emergencies, 39 opened up their emergency operations centers and 34 opened up shelters.

“During the preceding 12 months, the state of Florida experienced repeated emergencies that required the development of significant state resources,” Scott writes. “Individually these incidents may not have overwhelmed the ability of the State of Florida to respond. Cumulatively, however, these emergencies significantly impacted the state’s capability to provide financial support following Hurricane Hermine.”

Scott then indicates how the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), under the guidance of former Floridian Craig Fugate, has refused to provide any funding from severe flooding from Aug. 1-9 of 2015, nor from the fallout of excessive El Nino-led rainstorms in January and February of 2016, nor from tornadoes that affected several Florida counties, nor to June’s Tropical Storm Colin.

Scott also cites the lack of any federal help after the Pulse nightclub shooting in June in Orlando, which led to the deaths of 49 people, the deadliest single-gunman massacre in U.S. history. Nor from the toxic algae bloom that emanated near Lake Okeechobee earlier this summer.

Three weeks ago the White House rejected Scott’s last request for a federal disaster declaration for Tampa Bay’s August flooding, prompting Scott communications director Jackie Schultz to say, “It’s disappointing that the Obama administration denied our request for federal assistance for those impacted by recent floods in the Tampa and west-central Florida areas.”

Before he ran for governor in 2010, Scott led a movement to try to bring down what would become the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). He’s also sued the Obama administration regarding veterans programs and federal hospital funding, while Attorney General Pam Bondi has joined up with other Republican attorneys general to sue the president over some issues, including his executive orders in late 2014 to shield several million undocumented immigrants from being deported.

In the immediate aftermath of the Hurricane Hermine, Tallahassee-based Democratic Representative Gwen Graham sent a letter to Obama requesting federal assistance. She said today she supported Scott’s missive to the White House.

“Hurricane Hermine was the greatest natural disaster our region has faced in a generation,” Graham said. “I fully support Governor Rick Scott’s request for federal assistance and renew my call on President Obama to quickly approve all available and applicable help for North Florida,” Representative Graham said. “North Florida families are as strong as they come, and we will recover from this storm. I’m hopeful the state and federal government will work together, as neighbors worked together after the storm, to best serve the constituents we represent.”


Mitch Perry Report for 9.16.16 —What will become of Edward Snowden?

Oliver Stone’s “Snowden” arrives in theaters today, and with it comes a campaign to have the former NSA contractor receive a pardon from the commander in chief.

At a press conference Wednesday, representatives from the ACLU, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International spoke out in support of getting President Barack Obama to pardon Snowden.

“Cases like Edward Snowden’s are precisely why the presidential pardon power exists,” said Anthony Romero, the ACLU’s executive director, who referred specifically to cases when mitigating circumstances merit forgiveness for a crime.

But comments by the current occupant of the White House and the two people competing to replace him don’t indicate any newfound desire to grant him that pardon. Hillary Clinton has said Snowden shouldn’t be brought home “without facing the music,” while Donald Trump has said, “I think he’s a total traitor and I would deal with him harshly.”

In an op-ed published in the New York Times Thursday, Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch and Salil Shetty with Amnesty International wrote, “The enormous value of Mr. Snowden’s revelations is clear. What was their harm? Scant evidence has been provided for many officials’ ominous statements. Some officials have warned that the terrorism-related activity of certain groups has become harder to monitor, but the most dangerous adversaries have always taken precautions against surveillance, with at least one independent study showing little impact from the Snowden revelations.”

They went on to write that, “what has changed is that since the staggering extent of government surveillance became known, the public has sought greater privacy, and corporations have begun to provide it on widely used platforms. No doubt, among the millions of users of encrypted technologies there are a few who hide criminal activity. But the rest of us just want our privacy back.”

Members of our military, however, say Snowden gave away a lot. In 2014, then-Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey said that “the vast majority of the documents … had nothing to do with exposing government oversight of domestic activities,” but “were related to our military capabilities, operations, tactics, techniques, and procedures.”

I loved Oliver Stone’s films from the ’80s like “Salvador,” “Wall Street,” and “Platoon.” Can he still come up with the goods? It’s got a high bar to cross: Laura Poitras’ electrifying documentary on Snowden, “Citizenfour,” won the 2015 Oscar for Best Documentary.

In an interview with USA Today, Stone says the U.S. is doing far more than people know when it comes to cyber-warfare, which makes sense, actually.

“They see the surface of the news — the Russians are attacking us, the Chinese are hacking us — but they never hear we’re hacking them first,” he says. “But when you do this kind of warfare, it comes back to haunt you.”

In other news …

The Tampa City Council has approved red-light cameras in the city for at least another two years.

Councilman Charlie Miranda went off an epic rant about taxpayer support for major league sports franchise stadiums, and other things yesterday.

Patrick Murphy joined nearly all of his House Democratic colleagues (sans Gwen Graham) in opposing a GOP bill preventing any more transfers of prisoners from Guantanamo Bay.

Rick Scott requesting more CDC support personnel to help with Zika testing

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is sending seven people to Florida support Zika testing and lab functions.

But Gov. Rick Scott wants more.

On Wednesday, Scott requested more support personnel from the CDC. The governor made the request in order to ensure pregnant women get test results faster, according to the governor’s office.

“While these additional personnel will help to expedite Zika testing, we know that there is an increasing demand for testing throughout our state and we must be prepared to respond,” said Scott in a statement. “That is why today I am requesting the CDC to provide Florida with additional lab support personnel to aid in our testing efforts. I am hopeful the CDC will quickly fulfill this request as our state continues to do everything possible to protect pregnant women.”

Scott is in Washington, D.C., this week to meet with lawmakers about the need for Zika funding. The Naples Republican was scheduled to meet with several members of the Florida delegation Wednesday, including Republican Reps. David Jolly, Gus Bilirakis, and Mario Diaz-Balart; and Democratic Reps. Gwen Graham and Frederica Wilson.

Scott is expected to meet with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Marco Rubio Wednesday afternoon.

“I will continue to meet with congressional leaders to discuss the need for immediate funding for Zika preparedness,” said Scott in a statement. “I expect Congress and the president to address this national health issue by taking action now.”

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