Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.
By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Mitch Perry and Jim Rosica.
Or, more to the point, who is next?
By the time you’ve finished reading Sunburn, our rivals at POLITICO may very well have gone forward with another story about another lawmaker involved with another lobbyist.
In case you missed it — and if you did, you’re probably not reading Sunburn — Jeff Clemens, poised to take over as leader of the Senate Democratic caucus, abruptly resigned from his legislative after admitting he had an affair with Devon West, a Broward County lobbyist.
L’Affaire Clemens did not rise to the level of Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment, but it is a sordid tale nonetheless, one that was much worse than what was reported.
I fear Clemens is only the start. Things are likely to get much worse.
Since the story about Clemens broke, I have had several women in the process come forward wanting to share their own stories of being sexually harassed, but they are afraid to do so for any number of reasons. As we’re only just now learning, the Florida Senate has changed its policies to make it MORE DIFFICULT for victims to report they’re being harassed.
What the f*ck is the matter with you, Florida Senate?
A national movement is underway, one in which the damaged and the marginalized are finally being listened to, and the Florida Senate’s response is to make the process more difficult for victims?
President Joe Negron, President-designate Bill Galvano, you have a grave problem in your house. The more serious accusations I’ve been told about involve three of your members. These are not rumors or whispers. These are gut-wrenching accounts. The only reason I’m not naming names right now is to protect the identity of the accusers. But I pray POLITICO Florida, with their better investigating skills than mine, is able to persuade some of these women to speak out.
President Negron, President-designate Galvano, there are monsters among you. Do something now, please.
>>>With Clemens gone, it looks like Audrey Gibson will become the next leader of the Senate Democrats. Bill Montford is also a top contender, but is said to have deferred to Gibson. Lauren Book was mentioned as a possible replacement, but she wants to spend as much time as possible with her twin babies. We hear that Darryl Rouson is making a last-minute push for the position.
>>>As for who will replace Clemens in the Senate, there are two camps: Irv Slosberg on one side and anybody but Irv on the other. These candidates include Lori Berman, David Silvers, and Delray Beach Mayor Cary Glickstein.
“Senate’s new sex harassment reporting policy comes under fire” via Alexandra Glorioso of POLITICO Florida – Previously, Senate employees could complain to their supervisor, the Senate President or the Director of Human Resources of the Office of Legislative Services, a joint agency controlled by the House and Senate in a building separate from the Capitol. The new policy dictates that employees must now file complaints with their direct supervisor, the Senate Chief of Staff or Senate President Joe Negron. In addition, while all complaints were previously routed to the joint agency’s director of human resources for investigation — no matter who they were reported to — they are now all directed to Negron for investigation.
“Richard Corcoran condemns Senate’s ‘wall of silence’ after Clemens’ affair” via Alexandra Glorioso of POLITICO Florida – “I’m greatly disturbed by the stories about Sen. [Jeff] Clemens. You have to be willfully ignorant not to recognize the significant power disparities that exist between a state senator and a lobbyist, whose very job is dependent on the acts of legislators,” Corcoran told POLITICO … “The facts here raise a very real question of sexual harassment,” said Corcoran … Corcoran accused the Senate of protecting Clemens instead of taking action against him. “I’m disappointed in the response of the senators who were aware of the situation. Rather than addressing the wrongdoing, they seem to have formed a wall of silence. An apology is not the same thing as accountability,” Corcoran said.
— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —
— @RealDonaldTrump: After strict consultation with General Kelly, the CIA and other Agencies, I will be releasing ALL
#JFKFiles other than the names and addresses of any mentioned person who is still living. I am doing this for reasons of full disclosure, transparency and in order to put any and all conspiracy theories to rest.
— @AP_Politics: DeVos may only partially forgive some student loans
— @ASE: Driving in Humacao Puerto Rico, 36 days after Maria. Still no water, no power and residents tell us no FEMA. They’re relying on churches.
— @DeFede: Twitter suspends Roger Stone’s account after he unleashes a series of vile tweets at @anchors
— @BSFarrington: Over and over people @convention are treating @ as a hero. When victories are few, even a state Senate flip is big
— @JoseFelixDiaz: Never thought one of my elections would be discussed on @-Thank you Chairman @ for the kind words
— @Brett_McMurphy: State of Florida football: UM, UCF, USF, FIU & FAU are combined 31-6; UF & FSU 5-9
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— NOTES FROM THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL —
“Florida Democrats hope Donald Trump factor boosts them in 2018” via Brendan Farrington of The Associated Press – The president was mentioned often as the Florida Democratic Party held its biennial convention and many said he will be the reason Democrats could break more than two decades of futility when voters choose a new governor, three new Cabinet members and decide whether to keep Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in office. “People are coming out of the woodwork like never before,” said Palm Beach County Democratic Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo. “We’re seeing people who want to get involved, who want to make a difference, who are tired of what’s going on and what they see.” While Florida Democrats have had a problem with turnout in non-presidential years – a reason why they’ve had a miserable showing in statewide races – many in the party say that will change in the Trump era.
“Democrats look for momentum going into 2018 elections” via Lloyd Dunkelberger of the News Service of Florida – Buoyed by a win in a special election for a state Senate seat last month, Florida Democrats used a three-day party conference to prepare plans for the critical 2018 election year when they hope to retain a U.S. Senate seat and reclaim the governor’s mansion. Sen. Annette Taddeo‘s victory in a special election for Miami-Dade County’s Senate District 40 … is being taken as a sign by Democrats that they can compete in a non-presidential election year when Democratic turnout has historically lagged. Former state Sen. Jeremy Ring, a Broward County Democrat who is running for Chief Financial Officer, said the Senate win has helped counter some of the traditional midterm “apathy” the party has faced in past elections. “The Taddeo race for the first time since I have been in Florida demonstrated enthusiasm in the midterms,” Ring said. One of the factors in the race was the ability of Democrats to tie Taddeo’s Republican opponent, former state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, to President Donald Trump.
“Rick Scott targeted at Democratic candidates forum in Orlando” via Marc Caputo of POLITICO Florida – By nature, the event wasn’t a debate where candidates pointed out differences with each other and disagreed. Instead, the forum echoed the Florida Democratic Party’s theme of unity at its three-day party convention at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. [Andrew] Gillum challenged his opponents to six debates, but none agreed. The differences between the three were apparent more in their styles and backgrounds. Gillum, the most gifted orator, elicited more applause and emphasized the problems of intergenerational poverty and the need to expand Medicaid because “health care is a right.” [Chris] King, a white evangelical liberal, dwelled on affordable housing and the need for a fresh face in politics. And [Gwen] Graham, the daughter of former Gov. Bob Graham, twice invoked her father’s legacy and said it was time for the state to stop the “education industry” from siphoning money from public schools. “Shame on Rick Scott, because you have put this state in peril,” Graham said when asked about man-made climate change. “We’re sitting here at Disney World, well, Donald Trump and Rick Scott are in Fantasy Land.”
– “Democrat gubernatorial forum underwhelms” via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics
– “Julian Castro offers a ‘21st-century blueprint’ at Democratic summit” via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics
“’Trailblazing’ Pat Frank endorses Gwen Graham” via Florida Politics – “Now more than ever, we need a woman to straighten out Tallahassee — and Gwen Graham is the right woman for the job,” Frank said in a statement. “The Republican politicians have turned Florida’s public-school system into an education industry that profits special interests … With her experience as a mother, PTA president and public school official, Gwen understands we need to put parents, teachers and local school districts back in charge of education.” Frank was one of the first women to attend the University of Florida and began her career in public service as a member of the Hillsborough County School Board, where she was a fierce advocate for desegregation. She also served in the Florida House and Senate, where she sponsored legislation in support of the Equal Rights Amendment, the Florida Commission on the Status of Women, and mandatory kindergarten in public education.
Assignment editors – Adam Putnam will join supporters in Melbourne for an “Up & Adam” Breakfast event beginning 9 a.m. at That Little Restaurant, 1749 N. Wickham Road.
“Donald Trump-backed celeb could challenge Charlie Crist” via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times – Joy Villa, best known for wearing a Make America Great Again dress at the Grammy’s … is looking seriously at running as a Republican for Congress in Florida, California or New York — “most likely” Florida … on Twitter she asked her fans which of “my communities” they want her to run in, New York City, Tampa Bay, Santa Barbara or Los Angeles. Villa is a Scientologist who, according to her Facebook page, has lived in Clearwater, the church’s spiritual headquarters and part of Crist’s congressional district. Trump, who used to raise money for then-Republican Crist, wrote in a tweet that he likes the sound of Congresswoman Joy Villa. She is also a favorite of Steve Bannon’s Breitbart News.
“Lauren Baer: Obama administration record proves she’s ready for Congress, District 18 win” via Ali Schmitz of TCPalm – Baer, a former foreign relations adviser in the Obama administration, is running for the District 18 seat for her family and for the Palm Beach Gardens community she grew up in … The often hotly contested swing district covers Martin, St. Lucie and northern Palm Beach counties. “I owe a greater debt of service to this community than any place in the world,” she said, “and I believe on a fundamental level that the people of this district deserve a representative in Congress that will vote for their interests and who will work hard in Washington to make government work for them.” Baer said she believes she can flip the district blue. “If I know anything about the people of this district, I know they are strong, independent-minded folks who don’t want to send someone to Washington just to rubber-stamp the current administration,” she said. Baer said she had no personal issues with Brian Mast, calling his record of military service “honorable.” “This election isn’t about Brian Mast’s service to his country,” she said. “This election is about … Mast’s voting record in Washington.”
Happening tonight – House Minority Leader Janet Cruz is holding a fundraiser in her bid for Hillsborough County Commission District 1, featuring special guest U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor. Event begins 5:30 p.m. at TPepin’s Hospitality Center, 4121 N. 50th St. in Tampa. For more information or to RSVP, contact Zach Hoover at [email protected].
Assignment editors – Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley will campaign for St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman; both on hand for a phone bank kickoff starting 5:15 p.m. at the Kriseman for Mayor HQ, 1638 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. North in St. Petersburg.
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— STATEWIDE —
Assignment editors – Gov. Scott will make a major budget announcement on repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike at 10 a.m. at the Hoover Dike Road City Ramp, 709 Hoover Dike Road in Clewiston. At 2 p.m., Scott will highlight proposed environmental investments as part of his 2018-19 recommended budget at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, 370 Zoo Pkwy. in Jacksonville.
“Rick Scott to try to lure Canadian tourists, businesses” via The News Service of Florida – Gov. Scott will take a two-day trip to Canada next week to try to attract tourists and businesses to Florida, his office said Friday. Scott will be in Canada on Tuesday and Wednesday, though an announcement about the trip did not provide exact locations. Canada is the top source of international tourists to Florida. “Canada is a major partner for Florida trade and tourism, and it is incredibly important that we continue to work with our international partners to support ongoing economic growth for years to come,” Scott said in a prepared statement.
“Before deaths, Scott and Hollywood nursing home owner were chummy” via Dan Christiansen of FloridaBulldog.org – Scott and South Florida health care mogul Dr. Jack Michel began pointing fingers at each other after elderly patients baked to death in Michel’s now-closed Hollywood nursing home, the two men were pals of a sort. At least twice, the Governor’s Office tapped Michel to publicly endorse his budget and health care proposals. And since 2013, records show, Michel’s Larkin Community Hospital in South Miami has received more than $23 million from a Scott-recommended program that uses Medicaid tax dollars to train future doctors … Michel also owns 100 percent of the notorious Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills … The Naples Daily News reported last month that Larkin “has received $48 million in taxpayer money since 2006 to treat state prisoners” under “no-bid agreements.”
“Judge unplugs emergency rule for generators at nursing homes. State quickly appeals” via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald – Administrative Law Judge Garnett Chisenhall ruled that the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration did not have the authority to require all nursing homes and assisted living facilities to purchase generators and fuel by Nov. 15. … The judge concluded that “AHCA took appropriate and swift action by immediately suspending Hollywood Hills’ license to operate a nursing home,” but after two days of hearings concluded, “there was no evidence at the final hearing indicating that the tragic situation at Hollywood Hills was representative of the situation at any other facilities.” … Chisenhall concluded: “it is impossible for the vast majority of nursing homes and ALFs currently noncompliant with the Emergency Rules to achieve compliance by Nov. 15, 2017.”
“Dangerous doctors: Despite malpractice charges, Florida lets them keep treating patients” via Stephen Hobbs of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel – The Sun Sentinel examined more than seven years of state data, hundreds of disciplinary cases, and interviewed patients, attorneys, doctors and experts. The review revealed a system often slow to punish doctors and quick to let them settle charges without accepting responsibility. The investigation found: State law says prosecutors for the Florida Department of Health should decide whether to charge a doctor within six months of a complaint being filed. But on average, they take more than twice as long to file charges. State law requires department prosecutors to expedite cases that take a year or longer. But on average, doctor prosecutions take two years. State law empowers the department to ask the Florida Surgeon General to suspend the licenses of doctors while cases against them are prosecuted. The state rarely does. State law requires the health department to investigate doctors who settle three or more medical malpractice lawsuits for more than $50,000 each over a five-year period. The law has triggered 1,500 investigations in the past 10 years – but only seven led to discipline.
“Contractors consider compromise in assignment of benefits battle” via Michael Moline of Florida Politics – Corporate America has long looked to alternative dispute resolution — ADR, including mediation and arbitration — to avoid costly litigation. Might that be a solution to Florida’s assignment of benefits (AOB) debate? The Senate Banking & Insurance Committee is considering it. Sha’Ron James, Florida’s public advocate for the insurance industry, suggested ADR during recent hearings. The dispute over AOB pits insurers against repair contractors and attorneys. Insurance companies accuse contractors of inflating repair bills; contractors blame insurers for low-balling payout offers. The problem is particularly acute in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. We asked Foyt Ralson, a lobbyist representing the Florida Association of Restoration Specialists, and Dave DeBlander, owner of Pro Clean Restoration and Cleaning in Pensacola, whether ADR would be a good idea: “Ultimately, the devil is in the details. We’re certainly open to discussing that and seeing what it would look like.”
“Booze from vending machines? No way, beer and liquor groups say” via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – Beer distributors and independent liquor stores are lining up to oppose a proposal for high-tech beer and wine vending machines in South Florida. The Beer Industry of Florida, the Florida Beer Wholesalers Association, and the Florida Independent Spirits Association filed separate motions to intervene in the case last Thursday. A newly-formed Miami-Dade company is seeking an OK from the state’s Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco to install what it calls “self-checkout micro marts” with wine and beer. La Galere Markets of Coral Gables asked regulators for a ruling that the machines would be legal under existing law and regulations.
— CAPITOL INSIGHT —
“A look at DJJ’s response to ‘Fight Club’ expose” via Carol Marbin Miller of the Miami Herald – The state Department of Juvenile Justice issued a lengthy statement titled “Setting the Record Straight: Miami Herald Omits Facts, Ignores Reforms in Series Targeting DJJ.” The department did not challenge any facts or data presented in the six-part series. “I will not deny, or discredit or downplay some of the horrible incidents that have happened,” DJJ Secretary Christina Dalytold a state Senate committee … But in the secretary’s “setting the record straight” release, she stated that the Herald’s stories “do not accurately define the juvenile justice system in Florida or the many partners who are committed to serving youth and their families.” And she said the juvenile justice system was not receiving proper credit for years of reforms … In fact, the series did state that juvenile arrests in Florida are down dramatically … Like youth crime, the commitment of youths to residential programs has dropped sharply over the past decade throughout the United States, and it is difficult to see how DJJ is primarily responsible for that. While the state attorney’s office apparently found the stories persuasive, DJJ did not. The inspector general report said there was insufficient evidence to support or refute the allegation, without explaining what would constitute “support.”
“Victor Torres seeking FEMA help for housing for Puerto Rico evacuees” via Scott Powers of Orlando Rising – Torres’s request follows a similar call earlier this week from the Central Florida Heart of Florida United Way, seeking federal assistance to help tens of thousands of people fleeing storm-ravaged Puerto Rico to come to Florida, when many arrive finding dire options on where to live. Torres said he’s pushing for FEMA to provide Temporary Stabilization Assistance grants, which would allow Puerto Rico evacuees to use FEMA money immediately to rent hotel or motel rooms for up to 14 days while they find a longer-term place to stay. FEMA also has programs that could provide vouchers for longer term rentals, and set up temporary housing in mobile homes — provided the local governments assist in identifying places to put them. As of a week ago, more than 60,000 Puerto Ricans had arrived in Florida. Some estimates suggest the number will climb over 100,000.
No agreement yet in ongoing Lottery lawsuit – The Florida Lottery and the House of Representatives may again seek more time in which to settle a pending lawsuit over a $700 million contract for new equipment. Lottery outside counsel Barry Richard told Florida Politics the two sides still are in “a settlement phase,” but will likely ask the 1st District Court of Appeal to “continue the stay.” They had asked the court to put a hold on the case while they tried to settle; a status report on their talks is due tomorrow (Tuesday, Oct. 31). The case is on appeal after Tallahassee-based Circuit Judge Karen Gievers in March invalidated the Lottery’s 15-year deal with IGT (International Game Technology) for new equipment for draw and scratch-off tickets. House Speaker Corcoran had sued the Lottery, essentially saying the agency went on an illegal spending spree when it inked the contract last year.
Bill Galvano visits Broward County – State Sen. Galvano, the Senate president-delegate for after the 2018 elections, will attend the Broward Days kickoff event beginning 5:30 p.m. at the Brightline Fort Lauderdale Station, 101 N.W. Second Ave. in Fort Lauderdale.
Heather Fitzenhagen Irma insurance town hall – State Rep. Fitzenhagen will hold a town-hall meeting to talk Hurricane Irma insurance claims. Meeting begins 5:30 p.m. at the Lee County Commission meeting room, 2120 Main St. in Fort Myers.
Happening today: Leon, Nassau delegations meet – The Nassau County legislative delegation – state Sen. Aaron Bean and state Rep. Cord Byrd – will hold a public meeting in advance of the 2018 Session. Meeting begins 4 p.m. At the Nassau County Commission chamber, 96135 Nassau Place in Yulee. At 5 p.m., the Leon County legislative delegation – state Sen. Bill Montford and state Reps. Ramon Alexander, Loranne Ausley and Halsey Beshears – will also hold their pre-session public meeting beginning 5 p.m. At the Leon County Commission chamber, 301 South Monroe St. in Tallahassee.
— FOR YOUR RADAR —
Lost in Friday’s developments about Jeff Clemens, is our table-setter on the race to succeed Bill Galvano and Wilton Simpson as Senate president beginning in 2022.
– It’s not a lock that Republicans will still hold the majority in 2022 given the current political climate.
— Bit if the GOP does still control the Senate, the two frontrunners for the presidency are Travis Hutson of St. Augustine and Tampa’s Dana Young.
— Senators, unlike their House colleagues, are more apt to take their time choosing the new leader, preferring to consider collegiality and an ability to work with others as features in those seeking to lead.
– An unofficial coalition of as many as five first term senators are serving a bulwark from a rush to anoint; these members are: Dennis Baxley, Doug Broxson, Kathleen Passidomo, Keith Perry and Greg Steube.
– Young brings a political pedigree: Her grandfather, Randolph Hodges, served in the Florida Senate from 1953-63, rising to Senate President in 1961-63. Young’s uncle, Gene Hodges, was in the House of Representatives from 1972-88.
– Young also has a strong record of accomplishment after six years in the House, rising to become Republican leader, before graduating to the Senate.
– Hutson, himself with a net worth of $7.2 million, also boasts a solid record – most notably as chair of the influential Regulated Industries Committee – during his tenure in the House before moving up to the Senate in 2015.
— D.C. MATTERS —
“Marco Rubio backer’s money initially funded anti-Trump research” via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times – A conservative website funded by a billionaire supporter of Marco Rubio paid for the opposition research that eventually led to the salacious dossier about Trump … Paul Singer is the money behind the Washington Free Beacon and the publication and it first hired Fusion GPS to dig up information about Trump and other Republicans. Rubio a day earlier said his campaign was not involved. New York-based Singer was a powerful backer of Rubio’s in the presidential campaign and was an early victory for Rubio over Jeb Bush, who rushed out the gate and swallowed up tens of millions of dollars in contributions only to see Rubio and the field blow by him. Singer was said to be unaware the Washington Free Beacon hired Fusion GPS.
“Advocates: Florida to suffer if Donald trump cuts immigrant program” via The Associated Press – Immigrant advocates and officials are warning Florida’s economy could suffer if the U.S. government does not renew a program that protects almost 45,000 Haitians and Central Americans in the state from deportation. Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jean Monestime said Florida could lose nearly $2 billion annually if Trump’s administration does not renew Temporary Protected Status for Haitians, Hondurans and Salvadorans. Haitian-born Monestime worries immigrants working in construction and service industries would lose work permits. Groups say there are thousands of U.S.-born children with parents under the program.
“Florida Chamber urges congressional delegation to find DACA solution” via Elizabeth Koh of the Miami Herald – … citing the economic damage of lost workers and business should recipients of the program lose their ability to work and study in the country. Spurred by Trump’s announcement in September that he planned to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, members of the chamber wrote a letter to the Florida congressional delegation urging them to “quickly find a legislative solution before the program expires” … “Without a legislative solution, 800,000 DACA recipients will lose their ability to work and legally study, and it will leave many Florida employers, workers and students without certainty,” the chamber’s CEO Mark Wilson wrote in the letter … “The Florida Chamber supports an earned pathway to citizenship for immigrants that pass criminal background checks as well as supports policies that reduce illegal immigration and improve on border security.”
“Feds balked at Florida plan for Irma food aid, documents show” via Skyler Swisher of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel – Weeks before it happened, the federal government anticipated Florida’s disorganized effort to give out emergency food assistance after Hurricane Irma. The feds expressed concern that Florida was not prepared to handle the expected crowds … The initial plan left out details about how the state would staff relief sites and supply water, restrooms and other necessities to thousands of people waiting for assistance. Although the plans were later amended, the problems arose anyway. When the program launched in South Florida about two weeks ago, law enforcement ordered several South Florida relief sites closed because of health and safety concerns. People stuck in long lines fainted from the heat. Traffic snarled neighborhoods. Some left frustrated, confused and empty-handed. “I am absolutely blown away by how poorly the program was run by the state,” said Palm Beach County Commissioner Dave Kerner, who said he was never told that John Prince Park near Lake Worth would be used as a disaster relief site.
— OPINIONS —
“Don Gaetz: So who should run Florida elections?” via the Pensacola News Journal – The notion of having a political appointee in charge of elections is unusual. None of our counties do it. The local supervisor of elections in all 67 Florida counties is elected. Thirty-five states have elected secretaries of state chosen by and accountable to the people. Not Florida. Only in Florida and four other states is the chief elections official appointed by the governor … it shouldn’t matter whether the governor is a Democrat, a Republican or a Whig. No governor should decide how his or her own and other elections are overseen. It should matter a lot that the person entrusted by our Constitution to ensure the fairness and accuracy of voter registration, voting machines, voting procedures, vote counts and our elections is independent of the politicians whose names are on the ballot and directly accountable to the public. It so happens that you and I might be able to do something about that.
“Darryl Paulson: Political purges in American politics” via Florida Politics – Steve Bannon, a former Trump political adviser and the head of Breitbart News, has declared a “season of war” against the Republican establishment. Bannon is requiring all of the challengers to oppose the nomination of Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky as party leader. Bannon said the candidates he recruits must “play Brutus to your Julius Caesar.” Trump has also noted that some of the people Bannon is seeking to purge are “great people” and he will “see if I can talk him out of that.” Some purges have succeeded. Conservatives ousted House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia in 2014 after accusing him of being too moderate and too willing to compromise with Democrats. Tea Party activists were able to purge several Republicans in 2010, including their support of Marco Rubio over Governor Charlie Crist in the Senate race. Some purges were embarrassing, such as the Tea Party support for Christine “I am not a witch” O’Donnell over proven Republican vote-getter Mike Castle. O’Donnell won the primary and got trounced in the general election. Most purges have been dismal failures. The most famous political purge in American history was Franklin Roosevelt’s 1938 attempt to defeat Democratic opponents of his New Deal policies … The unanswered question is: Are we better off with our ideological parties, or were we better served by our former party system where both parties had a mix of liberals, conservatives and moderates?
“Greg Steube’s extreme view on vacation rentals” via the Sarasota Herald-Tribune Editorial Board – Steube is no stranger to operating on the political extremes … In a Herald-Tribune guest column, Steube compared the Florida hotel industry and local governments to the Communist rulers of China. Noting that China recently suspended home-sharing services such as Airbnb in Beijing, Steube said hotels and local officials want to “do the same and ban short-term vacation rentals in our state.” To put it mildly, the senator seems confused. First of all, in China, the state controls almost every facet of public life. A more accurate comparison might be made between such government overreach and Steube’s previous bill (also rejected) that would prohibit local governments from regulating vacation rentals “based solely on their classification, use or occupancy, etc.” In other words, Steube wanted to prevent local governments from responding to constituents’ concerns that poorly regulated, short-term rental properties were transforming residential neighborhoods into the equivalent of motel strips. When local governments place common-sense regulations on vacation rentals it isn’t communism. To the contrary, it follows basic Republican philosophy of letting the government closest to the people decide. Steube should try it sometime.
— MOVEMENTS —
“Scott appoints former general counsel, three others to the Board of Governors” via Byron Dobson of the Tallahassee Democrat – Scott appointed his former general counsel Tim Cerio of Tallahassee to the Florida Board of Governors. Cerio, who also was appointed by Scott to the Florida Constitution Revision Commission, has his own law firm, and is of counsel to the GrayRobinson law firm. Cerio, who served as Scott’s general counsel from 2015 to 2016, succeeds Richard A. Beard III. Scott also reappointed Patricia Frost to the board. The retired Dade County principal serves as an advisory board member for the Frost Art Museum at Florida International University, where she is a former trustee; the Frost School of Music at University of Miami, and the Frost Museum of Science in Miami-Dade County.
Appointed – Kathryn Whitson, Fran Paschall, Dr. Derrick Glymph, Lisa Renee Johnson, Diane Johnson and Heather Baumwald to the Florida Board of Nursing.
New and lobbying registrations
Jose Bermudez, Yolanda Jackson, Karen Skyers, Becker & Poliakoff: SST
Derek Bruce, Cameron Yarbrough, Gunster Yoakley & Stewart: Utilities Inc. of Florida
Kevin Cabrera, Edgar Castro, Nelson Diaz, Southern Strategy Group: City of Coral Gables
James Daughton, Warren Husband, Patricia Greene, Allison Liby-Schoonover, Aimee Lyon, Andrew Palmer, William Schuessler, Metz Husband & Daughton: City of Ormond Beach
Corinne Mixon, Rutledge Ecenia: Prints
Lincoln Quinton, NorthPointe: Corporater
— ALOE —
“Fantasy Fest returns to Key West after Hurricane Irma” via Jennifer Kay of The Associated Press – Fantasy Fest – one of Key West’s major tourist draws of the year – is in full swing. And that’s a relief for Florida Keys business owners trying to weather the economic storm that hit after Hurricane Irma battered the middle stretch of the tourism-dependent island chain. The mostly residential middle stretch of the island chain took the brunt of the hurricane’s 130-mph winds. The area is still almost entirely brown, with debris piled alongside the highway and mangroves stripped bare. But at opposite ends of the 120-mile-long island chain, tourist attractions in Key Largo and Key West escaped significant damage. Some jobs have been lost to Irma … But up and down the island chain, bars, marinas and mom-and-pop establishments able to reopen have been hiring laid-off workers and keeping people from moving away, Daniel Samess, CEO of the Greater Marathon Chamber of Commerce.
Happy birthday from the weekend to Bascom Communications & Consulting’s Kristen Bridges and Rivers Buford. Celebrating today is Josh Gabel and former Rep. Ron Saunders.