Sunburn for 10.12.17 — Richard Corcoran warming up; State budget already being crunched; Rick Scott criticized; Janet Cruz delivers PR aid; SpaceX goes 3-for-3

Florida Capitol 3 (Large)

Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.

By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Mitch Perry and Jim Rosica.

Richard Corcoran has “planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway.”

Yes, he does it his way.

The House Speaker is on a tear this week, going Sinatra on Visit Orlando after it disclosed, among other things, that it spent over $76,000 “to advertise on a traffic and weather camera,” the Sentinel reported.

Moreover, a House committee could decide on Thursday “whether to subpoena a TV producer who declined to detail how he spent $14.4 million he received from VISIT FLORIDA,” according to the Naples Daily News.

Pat Roberts, owner of Tallahassee-based MAT Media, refused to cooperate in a House investigation into his cooking show starring celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse and a fishing show,” the paper said.

Corcoran, whom we’ll bet will announce a run for governor after the 2018 Legislative Session, vilified VISIT FLORIDA earlier this year, seeking to defund it and Enterprise Florida because they were dispensers of “corporate welfare.”

Corcoran later agreed with Senate President Joe Negron and Gov. Rick Scott to fund the tourism marketing agency with $76 million. Also created was an $85 million Florida Job Growth Grant Fund.

In return, Corcoran got Scott’s signature on a still-controversial education bill creating “Schools of Hope” that will benefit charter schools.

To think he did all that—and may we say, not in a shy way—yep, he does it his way.

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— @MarcoRubio: Richard Spencer craves publicity.Desperate to incite outrage b/c terrified of @UF speech no one shows up for.

— @TiffanaySalameh: Racially disturbing video allegedly features a UNF student mocking those who attended a BLM rally.

— @MaryEllenKlas: Ophelia becomes a hurricane, tying century-old record

— @Scott_Maxwell: Rick Scott says Congress should make citrus/Ag whole for $2.5B in losses – while also saying farmers don’t want “government handouts.”

— @VentureTampaBay: Yes, grandkids, I remember when oranges grew by the millions in Florida… Quit pulling our legs, grandpa.

— @MDixon55: Sen. Gibson does not sugar coat it. Says Senate got “sucker punched” when house tied Scott’s funding pot to Visit Florida money

@Fineout: City of Tallahassee says it handed 150,000 electronic records to FBI today & 1.500 more will be turned over in coming weeks


‘LIP’ money falls short of initial estimates” via Christine Sexton of the News Service of Florida – At the height of a budget showdown earlier this year, Gov. Scott boasted that his friendship with President Trump‘s administration would result in Florida getting $1.5 billion to help the state’s hospitals. But months later, the final amount will be considerably smaller, a top state Medicaid official said. Instead the state will have about $790.4 million in supplemental Medicaid funds to spend this year. Beth Kidder, a deputy secretary at the state Agency for Health Care Administration, told the Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee that the agency has $303 million in funding commitments from counties to help fund the Low-Income Pool. The money will be used to draw down $487 million in federal Medicaid dollars bringing the total available to just more than $790 million for the supplemental program widely known as LIP. “The $1.5 billion is not $1.5 billion,” Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Chairwoman Anitere Flores said. Kidder told the panel that the size of the Low-Income Pool has always been contingent on the receipt of matching local dollars to fund it.

Senate may tap reserves to plug $1.6 billion budget hole” via Arek Sarkissian of the USA Today Network-Florida – With Medicaid costs rising and tax revenue socked by Hurricane Irma, Senate President Joe Negron says next year’s legislative session may include tapping into the state’s $3.8 billion in cash reserves … “It’s called the rainy day fund and it’s raining,” he said in a one-on-one interview. “I think we will also let the appropriations process look into some of the issues in that base budget so we’re not continuing to fund the priorities of lawmakers from the past.” State economic reports show lawmakers need to trim the budget or face a $1.6 billion hole created by the state’s $26.2 billion Medicaid program and an increase in student enrollment.

Senators sound skeptical of new state jobs fund” via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – Lawmakers asked lots of questions but didn’t get the answers they wanted Wednesday as a Senate panel tried to get a handle on the state’s new $85 million jobs fund. The Senate Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee heard from Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) head Cissy Proctor on the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund … Senators soon started peppering Proctor with questions: “It’s a lot of money … we want to understand what the parameters are,” said subcommittee chair Rob Bradley, a Fleming Island Republican.

Jeff Brandes calls for juvenile justice review in wake of Herald series” via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald – The lawmaker who oversees a powerful criminal justice committee said he will spearhead a much-needed reform of the state’s juvenile justice system in the wake of a Miami Herald series that detailed the existence of a mercenary system in which detainees are given honey buns and other treats as a reward for pounding other youths. Sen. Jeff Brandes, a St. Petersburg Republican who is the new chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice, said he believes the state is ripe for reform. “It gives me pause. There is a lot of work that can be done,” Brandes said at a meeting of the committee Wednesday. “There are going to be many tough questions that we’re going to be going through in the next committee weeks.”

Fireworks bill clears first Senate panel” via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – The latest attempt to end a decades-old prohibition on fireworks sales in Florida received its first hearing in the state Senate Wednesday, and it was a bit bumpy. The bill cleared the Senate Regulated Industries Committee on a 8-2 vote, but bill sponsor Greg Steube, a Sarasota Republican, admits it still needs some work. For more than half a century, Florida law on fireworks has been banned, but there is a loophole that allows fireworks to be used “solely and exclusively in frightening birds from agricultural works and fish hatcheries.” Floridians who buy fireworks from roadside stands sign a form that they fall under one of the exemptions. Like, yes, scaring birds.

Bullied students could get state scholarships to private schools” via Gray Rohrer of the Orlando Sentinel – Speaker Corcoran said he’ll push legislation to give scholarships to children abused at school, allowing them to attend another public school or a private school of their choice, if their parents opt to remove them. “Children who are subjected to violence and abuse at school deserve hope, dignity, and a real opportunity to succeed,” Corcoran said. “No child should ever be afraid to go to school and no child should have to continually suffer abuse. They deserve a way out.” Corcoran said total funding for the scholarships was yet to be determined, but would likely be structured similarly to the state’s other three voucher programs for low-income and disabled students, which are funded with tax credits. He said the money would not come out of the Florida Education Finance Program, the main funding source for public schools. About 47,000 incidents of bullying, abuse, physical and sexual assault and hazing reported by schools during the 2015-2016 year, Corcoran said.

Robert Olszewski gets committee assignmentsOlszewski, also known as “Bobby O,” a Winter Garden Republican elected to the House this week in a special election, has been assigned to the following panels, according to the House website: Careers & Competition Subcommittee, Government Accountability Committee, Local, Federal & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee, PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee. Olszewski now represents House District 44, replacing former Rep. Eric Eisnaugle, a Republican who stepped down to become an appellate judge. Olszewski won by a 56-44 margin over Democratic businessman Eddy Dominguez of Dr. Phillips.

Great read –I got rejected from Harvard. then I won a state election” by Rep. Amber Mariano via Cosmopolitan – “I worked really hard in high school because it was my dream to go to Harvard. I remember when I got the Harvard email. I was at Chili’s, which is my favorite restaurant. I had a friend with me who also really, really wanted to go to Harvard. She opened hers and she started crying, and then I opened mine and I started crying. We didn’t get in and it just felt like disaster. I decided to go to UCF [University of Central Florida] in Orlando.” Regarding her election last year: “People were encouraged and excited because, obviously, with Trump’s election, they wanted something new and different than what they’re used to seeing, so for them, I fit that bill.”

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Frustrations boil over in D.C. as Rick Scott meets with Florida representatives” via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times – Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz pointedly challenged the Republican governor over debris removal and alleged he was unresponsive to her personal calls and requests for help. “I have tried to reach you and I have gotten no response from you,” Wasserman Schultz said, charging that Scott’s administration has hindered cities from paying contractors more than pre-negotiated rates, by refusing to submit contracts to FEMA. “If you’ve contacted me, I don’t have any evidence that you contacted me,” Scott said. “I have your cellphone number, governor, and I’ve called you on it. And I’ve also contacted your office,” Wasserman Schultz replied. Scott said that existing contracts must be honored. “I’m always going to stand on the side of taxpayers and consumers, not on the side of somebody who wants to make extra money after a disaster.” Finally, Rep. Vern Buchanan, co-chair of the delegation, broke it up. “Let’s work all that out a little later,” he said.

Lawmaker questions cause of nursing home deaths” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – “We keep getting new deaths attributed to the storm, because they came from the nursing home, when in fact, look at the population you’re dealing with: they’re 90-somethings,” Baxley said. “Some of these deaths would have naturally occurred, storm or no storm. So to automatically pushing these over to the medical examiner as part of this case that they’re are studying, I think could be a bit unfair on the other side of the equation “There need to be some evaluation of are these natural deaths or storm deaths, because, that makes a difference in policy, what kind of policy we set. I think we can face the reality that some of these are naturally occurring deaths,” Baxley said. “The more the time clicks off, the more of them there will be, until eventually everyone who was in that nursing home will die. OK? We don’t need to attribute all those to the storm, or we’re in bad policy.”

Republicans see Irma as an opportunity to review energy regulations” via Michael Moline of Florida Politics – The issue came up during hearings before the Energy & Utilities Subcommittee. “Are there any regulations, whether laws that we’ve passed or administrative procedures the PSC might have put in place, that might be slowing down the recovery time or restoration time?” Republican Jason Fischer asked Florida Power & Light’s Bryan Olnick. “And if there are, could you identify what some of those might be? I’d be willing to work with you to pull some of those back.” Olnick thought not. “Right now, I really don’t think that there are necessarily any rules or regulations I would say are a major hindrance when it comes to restoration strategy, restoration philosophy, prioritizing how we restore. I wouldn’t really say there are any major roadblocks,” Olnick said.

Citrus industry feels squeeze from Irma, waits for help” via Laura Layden of the Naples Daily News – The massive storm walloped citrus crops in Florida’s five top-producing citrus counties: DeSoto, Polk, Hendry, Highlands and Hardee. Groves in Hendry and Collier were especially hard hit. Before Irma, the citrus industry’s impact on the state’s economy was estimated at $8.6 billion a year. Last season, nearly 437,000 acres of citrus were grown in Florida, generating roughly 45,000 full-time and part-time jobs, according to Florida Citrus Mutual. A preliminary damage estimates Hurricane Irma’s toll on the state’s agricultural industry at more than $2.5 billion. Florida’s orange crop suffered the most, taking a more than $760 million hit. The damage from Irma — estimated to have taken out as much as 70 percent of Florida’s orange crop this year — will have a ripple effect. Less work for farmers means less work for pickers, processors and others — from the caretakers who fertilize their trees to the accountants who keep their books. With less money in their pockets, farmers will tighten their belts in other ways, spending less at local stores and restaurants.

Debris hauler touts post-Irma prices as potential savings for taxpayers” via Lisa Huriash of the Sun-Sentinel – Randy Perkins, the founder and chairman of AshBritt Environmental Inc., said his Deerfield Beach-based company won’t collect extra fees from eight South Florida cities after all. The cities had agreed to pay higher amounts in taxpayer money for cleanup service from AshBritt, concerned they were left with debris-strewn streets after Irma left a mess. Perkins said he was forced to increase the fees to keep his subcontractors from leaving town for more lucrative jobs. Those higher costs remain, but Perkins said he’ll eat the difference. He declined to say what that will be, only saying, “It is what it is.”

Long lines greet those seeking disaster food aid” via Ashley Harding of News 4 Jax – The line at the Food for Florida disaster benefits center at Regency Square Mall in Jacksonville formed well before opened at 7 a.m. By 10 a.m., officials with the Florida Department of Children and Families announced that the event had reached capacity for the day and no one else should come out … The Regency location, which is for residents of Duval and Nassau counties, will be open for six days, and each day is prioritized by the first letter of the applicant’s last name. Wednesday was for people with last names beginning with letters A through D. Residents with those names who didn’t make it out Wednesday can attend a makeup day Tuesday. People were strongly encouraged to pre-register online at least one day in advance to allow for faster processing of applications on-site.

Mark Zuckerberg sorry for virtual tour of devastated Puerto Rico” via The Associated Press –Zuckerberg has apologized for showcasing Facebook’s virtual reality capability with a tour of hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. The Facebook founder and another executive discussed the platform’s virtual reality project through avatars in a video recorded live Monday. The video begins with the avatars pictured on the roof of Facebook’s Mountain View, California, headquarters before heading to Puerto Rico by using a 360-degree video recorded by National Public Radio as a backdrop. Zuckerberg later responded to critics, writing that his goal of showing “how VR can raise awareness and help us see what’s happening in different parts of the world” wasn’t clear. He says he’s sorry to anyone who was offended.

— “Puerto Rico’s health care is in dire condition, three weeks after Maria” via Frances Robles of the New York Times

Janet Cruz heads to Puerto Rico on aid trip” via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – House Democratic Leader Janet Cruz of Tampa traveled to Puerto Rico Wednesday “to deliver 30,000 pounds of much-needed relief supplies, including food, water, and medical necessities,” her spokesman said. Cruz is working with “Major League Baseball, the Tampa Bay Rays, and the Moffitt Cancer Center,” according to Anders Croy, communications director for the House Democratic Office. “Additionally, the group will also be bringing back tissue samples currently on the verge of spoiling that represent years of critical medical research, cancer patients seeking care on the mainland here in Florida, and a group of nuns displaced by the storm,” he added.

Janet Cruz with Evelio Otero, on Oct. 4. Otero collected more than 2 million pounds of goods for Puerto Ricans. Photo credit: NSF.


Florida trims Medicaid HMO payments” via Christine Sexton of the News Service of Florida – Florida has reduced by 3.7 percent the rates it pays HMOs and provider-sponsored networks in the biggest part of the Medicaid managed-care system but has given a 2.4 percent hike to plans that offer managed long-term care.  The net result: The state is projected to spend $16 billion-plus on premiums to Medicaid HMOs to care for the poor, elderly and disabled between October 2017 and October 2018. That’s about a $300 million premium reduction from what they were paid last year, according to Milliman, an accounting firm that helps state Medicaid officials establish actuarially sound HMO rates. The hospital cuts accounted for 94 percent of the reduction in rates. Meanwhile, the Legislature’s decision to add nearly 14,300 people to the Medicaid managed long-term care program in the coming months helped lower a potential rate increase from 3.3 percent to 2.4 percent.

Appeals court upholds major tobacco verdict” via the News Service of Florida – Though it raised concerns about a jury instruction, a state appeals court upheld a nearly $35 million verdict against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in the death of a longtime smoker. A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal sided with Colette O’Hara, who filed the lawsuit in Escambia County after the death of her husband, Garry O’Hara. A jury awarded $14.7 million in compensatory damages and $20 million in punitive damages. R.J. Reynolds appealed on a series of grounds, but the ruling focused heavily on the propriety of a jury instruction sought by Colette O’Hara’s attorneys. The instruction involved an issue about whether Garry O’Hara relied on tobacco-company advertisements. The appeals court found problems with the instruction but concluded it couldn’t determine whether the instruction affected the jury’s decision … Garry O’Hara was a 30-year Air Force veteran who started smoking at age 14 and was diagnosed with fatal lung cancer at age 49.

Regulators shoot down medical marijuana payment proposalvia Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – State regulators have rejected a California bank’s proposal to operate in Florida as a financial middleman for medical marijuana-related transactions. The Office of Financial Regulation denied a request from PayQwick for a declaratory statement so it could operate here. Christian Bax, director of the Department of Health’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use, gave a presentation Wednesday to the House Health Quality Subcommittee on the state’s regulation of medicinal cannabis. Though he did not mention the PayQwick case, decided in late August, Bax did say there has been “reticence” on the part of the banking industry to get involved with marijuana sales. Florida has more or less legalized medical marijuana, through statute and constitutional amendment, but selling marijuana still is a federal crime. And banking, by its nature as “interstate commerce,” falls under federal law.

Poll finds Floridian’s want ‘Marsy’s Law’” via Florida Politics – The survey found 85 percent of the 700 likely voters polled agreed with the proposed ballot language being tossed around by Marsy’s Law for Florida, the major backer of the measure which also commissioned the poll. The ballot language played well with voters from both major parties, with 83 percent of Democrats, 88 percent of Republicans and 87 percent of Independents saying they would vote for the amendment. Marsy’s Law establishes a “Victim Bill of Rights” which would require victims to be told about their rights as well as services available to them, and would add updates on criminal proceedings, meetings with state attorneys before plea deals are handed out, and the ability to be attend and speak during court proceedings to the list of rights crime victims have. The proposal is named after Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas of California who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983

FDLE seeking $29M for new Pensacola regional office” via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is asking for an additional $29.3 million in the 2018-19 state budget to build a local office in Pensacola. An FDLE representative told a meeting of the Florida Cabinet Aides on Wednesday that the budget request was being moved from the Department of Management Services (DMS), the state’s real estate manager. “The total estimated cost is $32.3 million for design and construction,” according to a Cabinet meeting agenda item. “An additional $4.8 million will be required for fixtures, furniture and equipment in (fiscal year 2019-20).” If the agency doesn’t get the building money, it says it “will be forced to re-sign a new lease agreement with the same owner despite the building condition,” the agenda says.

Polluted stormwater pouring into St. Lucie River, Indian River Lagoon, Florida beaches” via Tyler Treadway of TCPalm – The water is a combination of rainfall runoff from western Martin and St. Lucie counties and Lake Okeechobee discharges since Hurricane Irma struck in September. Farther north, about 20 billion gallons of post-Irma rainwater runoff has poured out the C-54 Canal along the Indian River-Brevard county line and into the lagoon. In between, a plume of brown water from western farmland extends into the lagoon from the mouth of Taylor Creek north of Fort Pierce. “What’s worse than the color of the water is what’s in the water,” said Grant Gilmore, a marine biologist who’s studied life in the lagoon for more than 40 years … with the silt-laden brown water comes “all the chemicals we put on our crops and our lawns,” Gilmore said. “The chemicals kill the plankton in the river and lagoon that all the fish depend on for food.”

UF security costs top $500,000 for Richard Spencer’s talk on white ‘separation’” via Claire McNeill of the Tampa Bay Times – UF will be the first school to host the notorious white nationalist since his “Unite the Right” rally brought torches, Nazi chants and bloodshed to the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Still, his speech will center on his primary concern: what he calls the necessity of white identity, and a white homeland, in a multiracial era … Yet the university, bound by the First Amendment, has found itself playing host to his contentious talk with an estimated security price tag for UF, and taxpayers, of more than $500,000. Spencer and his National Policy Institute, which advocates for European heritage, know well that targeting large, public universities like UF is a win-win. They get free speech protections and a built-in audience. Whether students cheer or protest, headlines follow. And for the most part, universities pay the bill. That’s because the Supreme Court has ruled that speakers can’t be made to pay the costs for whatever hostile audience may appear, just like a university can’t ban a speaker in anticipation of protesters.

Tweet, tweet:


South Florida leaders endorse Gwen Graham – The Graham campaign on Wednesday said she had received the support of four more local South Florida Democratic leaders: West Palm Beach Commissioner Shanon L. Materio, Pompano Beach Commissioner Barry Moss, former Miami-Dade Commissioner Katy Sorenson, and state Rep. Matt Willhite. “After 20 years of one-party rule in Tallahassee, our state is out of time. I’m honored to have the support of these South Florida leaders and look forward to fighting with them to renew our promise to public schools, protect our clean land and water, and to build an economy that works for every Floridian,” Graham said.

Another state attorney endorses Ashley Moody for AG – State Attorney Phil Archer of Florida’s 18th Judicial Circuit is the latest to endorse Moody to succeed Attorney General Pam Bondi. “As a career prosecutor and the top attorney for my circuit, I can say without reservation Ashley Moody is the kind of leader Florida needs right now. Her extensive legal background, temperament, and energy will help us make headway on some of Florida’s most critical issues such as mental health in our court system and elder abuse,” Archer said in a statement.

U.S. Sugar drops $1.5 million into legislative committees; biggest check goes to Jose Oliva” via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald – Oliva was designated as the Republican’s choice to be their next speaker if the GOP retains the majority in the Florida House. On Aug. 18, his political committee, Conservative Principles for Florida, received a single $100,000 check from U.S. Sugar — more money than any single contributor had ever given Oliva’s PC. It far exceeded the $5,000 the company had given the committee previously in 2015. What does U.S. Sugar expect in return for this investment? Sugar has aggressively fought Senate President Joe Negron‘s push to force agricultural interests to relinquish some of their land to build a water-storage reservoir in the Everglades Agricultural Area. It relied on the House and the governor to weaken the proposal last session, and succeeded.

Bill Galvano leads Senate campaign arm to record-breaking Q3 haul” via Florida Politics – The Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee raised more than $3.2 million from July through the end of September. Those numbers are way up from the April to June reporting period, when FRSCC took in $720,000. Over the same three-month stretch in 2011, FRSCC brought in a little over $2.1 million. Two years later, the committee had a $1.85 million third quarter, while Q3 2015 saw a little more than $2 million head to the committee’s coffers. The special election in Miami-Dade’s SD 40 can claim credit for the some of that boost, same as the 2015 special in SD 6 and the 2011 contest for the old SD 1, but those quarters still fall short of Q3 2017. The only other difference maker is Bradenton Sen. Bill Galvano, who took over fundraising duties for the committee in the summer.

Rebekah Bydlak adds $14K for HD 1 bid, as Mike Hill struggles out of the gate” via Florida Politics –Former Rep. Hill opened a campaign account to return to the House last month, but his first three weeks on the trail haven’t put much of a dent into Bydlak’s lead in Escambia County-based HD 1, where current Rep. Clay Ingram faces term limits in 2018. Hill’s effort brought in just $5,900, including $1,000 from a committee tied to Clearwater Republican Sen. Jack Latvala, $1,000 a piece from Pensacola flight instructor Mark Freymiller and his wife, Mia, and another $1,000 from Gulf Breeze chiropractor John Newlin. Bydlak, for her part, piled on another $14,272 for her campaign account in September, a respectable follow up to her banner opening month, which saw her pull in $50,000 for her campaign and another $10,000 for her political committee.

Spotted: Hill in a story out of the McClatchy D.C. Bureau on “The Steve Bannon primary.” Hill, a “Trump backer who is running again in 2018, displays a picture of himself with Bannon on his campaign website.”

Berny Jacques fundraising slows as Nick DiCeglie enters race” via Florida Politics – DiCeglie has been in the race for House District 66 for a month and his first campaign finance report signals a momentum shift in the GOP primary between him and Jacques. Jacques filed March 3 and was the first-in candidate for the Pinellas County-based seat. Since showing $30,000 raised in his initial report, his contributions have slowed. April brought him about $11,000 in campaign cash, and after the dog days of summer, he posted another five-figure report in August. His September report, though, brought about a new low: just $1,875 in new money came in, while about $5,500 went out the door. His lone $1,000 check for the month came in from Sarasota attorney Patrick McCardle, while the remainder came from a smattering of small-dollar donors most of whom gave $50 or less. In all, Jacques has raised $67,344 over the past six months and has about $52,000 in the bank.

Happening tonight – A kickoff fundraiser for DiCeglie’s bid for House District 66 will be from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Belleair Country Club, 1 Country Club Lane.

Fmr Rep. Jim Waldman “actively looking” at county commission race” via Buddy Nevins of – If Waldman runs, the contest for the seat now held by Commissioner Chip LaMarca could become a freewheeling donnybrook. There are two candidates already running: Pompano Beach Mayor Lamar Fisher, a Democrat. Former Oakland Park Commissioner Shari McCartney, a Republican. Both campaigns expect to be well funded. A well-to-do lawyer and real estate investor, Waldman’s entrance would shake up the race. He pledges to kick-start his campaign with $250,000 from his own pocket. A House member from 2006 to 2014, Waldman was the Democratic floor leader in 2006-2008. LaMarca’s Commission District 4 overlays the northern part of the district that Waldman lost in an expensive, three-way scorch-and-burn race for state Senate last year.


Matt Kiessling: Florida needs commonsense short-term rental policies” via Florida Politics – Short-term rentals have been available across the nation for decades, but have become more popular as technology has helped make them more accessible and affordable. Technology innovators have helped to create a vibrant marketplace for travelers and property owners, expanding the travel landscape by making it easier for travelers to find and book short-term rental accommodations and providing economic benefits to communities around the world. It is important for public policy to reflect the changing travel dynamics brought on by the popularity of short-term rentals, allowing both travelers and residents the ability to benefit from the options and flexibility that short-term rentals provide. Destructive short-term rental regulations being pushed by the hotel lobby can have the unintended consequence of limiting those benefits for both the residents and economy in Florida. Whether the hotel lobby likes it or not, the sharing economy is here to stay. For everyone’s benefit, it is critical for local municipalities in Florida to develop reasonable, efficient policy frameworks that ensure short-term rentals continue to thrive, protect property rights, and promotes economic growth throughout the state.


Personnel note: Joe Garcia to join global strategy firm Mercury” via Florida Politics – Mercury, a leading global, bipartisan public strategy firm, is adding former U.S. Congressman Garcia to expand its Miami team and capabilities both in Florida and across the firm’s national offices. Garcia, who served Florida’s 26th Congressional District, joins the team at Mercury as co-chairman based in the Miami office. “We are excited to welcome Joe Garcia to the Mercury family. His extensive policy experience will be invaluable as we expand our footprint in Miami, and across the Sunshine State,” said Mercury Partner Ashley Walker.

Reappointed Bob Davis and Mary Ann Haas to the District Board of Trustees of Daytona State College.

New and renewed lobbying registrations

Robert Beck, Bryan Cherry, Tanya Jackson, PinPoint Results: Broward County

Ron Book, Rana Brown, Kelly Mallette, Ronald L. Book PA: City of Coral Gables

Jim Boxold, Ron LaFace, Jr., Capital City Consulting: Florida Fuel Connection, LLC

David Browning, Mercer Fearington, Jim Smith, Southern Strategy Group: MMI Development

Nelson Diaz, Southern Strategy Group: City Year, Inc.

Candice Ericks, Lauren Jackson, Ericks Advocacy Group: Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea

Griffin Finan: DraftKings, Inc.

Allison Flanagan: Department of Education

Nicole Graganella, Colodny Fass: Broward Teachers Union

Timothy Meenan, Meenan:

Joe Mobley, Mark Pinto, The Fiorentino Group: Mattamy Homes

Alan Suskey, Suskey Consulting: TmaxSoft, WeatherSTEM

— ALOE —

SpaceX launches communications satellite, lands booster” via Marcia Dunn of the Associated Press – SpaceX has launched and landed its second rocket in three days, this time from the U.S. East Coast. The unmanned Falcon – recycled following a February flight – blasted off with a communications satellite Wednesday evening from Kennedy Space Center. Minutes later, the leftover booster landed on an offshore barge. The booster launched Wednesday was previously used to deliver supplies to the International Space Station for NASA. It’s only the third time SpaceX has reflown a rocket on an orbital mission.

The 229-foot-tall (70-meter) Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from pad 39A at the Florida spaceport at 6:53 p.m.

Halloween haunts Disney Springs” via Terry Roen of Orlando Rising – Four Halloween-themed backdrops are scattered through the shopping district including the iconic Mickey pumpkin and a “Shopped ‘Til I Dropped” photo location. PhotoPass photographers will also roam the property with fall-themed props. Once the sun goes down, Halloween music haunts the Disney Springs promenade. A family-friendly DJ Dance Party occurs nightly near Once Upon a Toy. Stilt walkers will join the festivities with daily appearances from Oct. 20-31. The area’s restaurants and shops will also offer seasonal indulgences, like the Pumpkin at Midnight Cocktail with smoked rum and pumpkin liqueur at Paddlefish and caramel apple, black velvet and pumpkin cupcakes at Sprinkles Cupcakes.

Two new attractions to open next year at Legoland” via Terry Roen of Orlando Rising – The Ninjago action continues with the Jan. 20 opening of the 4D theatrical attraction starring the cast of TV’s “LEGO NINJAGO: Masters of Spinjitzu.” Lego Ninjago: Master of the 4th Dimension combines 3D computer animation with 4D effects in the Wells Fargo Fun Town Theater. Lego Ninjago Days will let kids become ninjas and battle against famous Lego foes on three consecutive weekends: Jan. 20-21, Jan. 27-28 and Feb. 3-4. The Winter Haven theme park announced its new virtual-reality roller coaster, The Great Lego Race, will open next spring. The new attraction that will transform the existing Project X ride into a virtual adventure starring a wacky cast of LEGO minifigures. In May, the park will unveil the newest addition to LEGO Star Wars MINILAND Model Display.

Happy birthday to future Governor Lauren Book, former Rep. Jimmie Smith, Allyce Heflin of Southern Strategy Group, and Doug Kaplan of Gravis Marketing.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was 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.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Renzo Downey, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Kelly Hayes, Joe Henderson, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Gray Rohrer, Aimee Sachs, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Andrew Wilson, Wes Wolfe, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

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