Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics – 11.9.17

florida capitol - straight on

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

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

Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam took the Democratic victories in Virginia, New Jersey and elsewhere as a “wake-up call,” and wants his campaign to convince grassroots voters that Florida’s conservative-principled prosperity is at stake.

— “We are at a crossroads. Make no mistake. Look what happened in Virginia and New Jersey. There should be a sense of urgency about this election. Not complacency.”

— Drawing on lessons from the off-year elections as potential signaling a Democratic resurrection, Putnam also stressed the need to remind voters of the Republican’s accomplishments in Florida, and to get them out to vote to continue the program.

— “There’s certainly a wake-up call here … People are fed up with an absence of results in Washington. People were sent to fix our health care system, reform our tax code, and there’s just, there’s no results. It’s a warning against being complacent on turnout.”

— “And if we don’t get engaged, then you will have a sanctuary state. You will have an erosion of gun laws. And you will have the types of high taxes and bloated bureaucracy that is driving people from Chicago and New York in droves to our states … So, don’t let Florida become more like New York and Illinois.”

Adam Putnam calls Democratic wins in Virginia a ‘wake-up call’ for Florida Republicans. 

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— @NBCNews: Former adviser to President Trump, Carl Icahn, has been subpoenaed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, NBC News confirms

— @NatashaBertrand: Rep. Matt Gaetz, who introduced legislation to pressure [RobertMueller to resign, said on the House floor earlier that “we are in the midst of a coup d’etat in the United States.”

— @TonyFabrizioGOP: Looks to me that media and university polls were far more accurate than private or public party polls yesterday in both VA and NJ

— @HarrisAlexC: Some belated Richard Spencer news. UF confirmed that Spencer’s initial check to pay for his event bounced, so they had to wire the money instead. Event wouldn’t have happened without full payment.

— @JeffSchweers: City Commissioner @ScottCMaddox moves to have all commissioner emails going back five years be posted on city’s website. Dies for lack of second.

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Andrew Gillum campaign fundraising steps forward, committee steps back” via Florida Politics — Gillum’s gubernatorial campaign said it brought in about $80,000 last month, a modest improvement over September, but his committee saw negative fundraising in October. The fundraising announcement touted $80,157 raised last month but did not mention October spending or how much cash on hand the campaign had at the end of the month. In September Gillum’s campaign raised $72,173 and spent $62,806, leaving it with $461,571 on hand heading into October. His political committee, Forward Florida, raised $6,000 in September and spent about $63,000 putting it at just under $96,000 cash on hand at the end of the month. Since then, the committee has posted a loss in fundraising: It took in a $2,500 check from Henrico, Virginia, entrepreneur Jeff Moten and issued a $3,000 refund to Tallahassee-based P&P Communications.

Bricklayers, craftworkers union endorses Gwen Graham — The International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers is endorsing Graham for governor. “Gwen Graham has devoted her career to fighting to make life better for working-class people, “said Jay Smith, Local 8 SE President. “Working people need a voice who understands how difficult it is today for working families. Gwen Graham entered this race for Florida’s working-class families, and she is exactly the leader we need in Florida.” Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers is the third major union to endorse Graham, joining the United Steelworkers and Machinists which endorsed Graham earlier this summer.

Jeremy Ring got thumbs up from four members of Florida’s congressional delegation.

First in Sunburn — Ted Deutch, Alcee Hastings, Al Lawson and Darren Soto endorse Jeremy Ring for CFO — “I’ve gotten to know Jeremy over the years as both a colleague and friend,” said Deutch. “His business background and innovative ideas are exactly what our state needs and his record of protecting the Florida retirement system is exactly what taxpayers deserve from their next CFO.” “He is an innovative and thoughtful leader whose ideas are exactly what Florida needs,” Hastings said. Lawson added: “He was an effective leader who was able to get real results for his district and was well-respected on both sides of the aisle. Florida will be in good hands and deserves a CFO who is looking to build an innovative future for our state!” “It’s time to have someone serve in our state cabinet that will provide much needed financial checks and balances on our state government spending,” said Soto.

Corrine Brown alum mounts primary challenge to Al Lawson” via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics — The first primary opponent for Lawson is Rontel Batie, a 29-year-old former Tallahassee lobbyist and former Brown policy director who overcame a lot of childhood adversity, including his father being killed in a drive-by shooting and serious poverty. Batie framed that as part of his narrative, both in a campaign launch video, and a news release, in which he claimed to have “excited the millennial base in Tallahassee and Jacksonville with his campaign launch video, which now has over 7,000 views and over 300 shares on Facebook. Young people in this district are a demographic that has been in a political slumber since the election of President Barack Obama in 2012.” Batie claims to have received 50 donations thus far for his committee, “Rontel for Florida,” but he didn’t want to say how much cash he has on hand. (To put that in perspective, Lawson had $190,126 raised (all but $51,000 of that from committees), with $97,876 cash on hand at the end of September).

Rontel Batie is the 29-year-old former Tallahassee lobbyist mounting a primary challenge to Al Lawson.

Nancy Soderberg lauds Donald Trump tone change in fundraising pitch” via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics — One might have expected Soderberg to send a “rally the troops” fundraising pitch for her bid in Florida’s 6th Congressional District. However, Soderberg went in a different direction, giving Trump credit for a “remarkable and welcome change of tone” regarding tension with North Korea in a fundraising appeal … “After months of taunting and threats to North Korea,” Soderberg wrote, “we saw a different President Trump today in his visit to Seoul.” “It was a remarkable and welcome change of tone. Today,” Soderberg added, “President Trump seemed more inclined to let diplomacy work, backing off on previous remarks that negotiations would be a waste of time.” “In fact, he seemed to indicate progress and faith in diplomatic efforts, saying ‘Ultimately, it will all work out.’”

American Action Network up with new TV ads in CD 18, CD 26, pushing tax reform” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — AAN is continuing to keep the pressure on Republican U.S. Reps. Brian Mast and Carlos Curbelo to support the Republican tax reform bill in their swing districts, with the launch now of a new television commercial lauding the proposed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The latest release is part a $3 million national TV advertising campaign that pushes the organization’s total spending to support federal tax reform to $18 million. The new 30-second television commercials, “Kendra,” feature a middle-class working mother from Michigan discussing how tax reform would affect her family. The ads are member-specific, ending with a message to viewers to “thank” their member of Congress — in the Florida cases, Mast or Curbelo — for supporting the bill.

Wilton Simpson, Neil Combee endorse Josie Tomkow — Tomkow, who filed paperwork this week to run for House District 39, won the support of Republicans Combee, who now holds the seat, and Simpson, a future Senate President. “Sen. Simpson and Rep. Combee are veterans of the political process and, more importantly, supporters of Florida’s farmers and ranchers,” she said in a statement. “I am humbled and thankful for their support and look forward to working with them to protect our conservative values in Tallahassee.” Combee resigned his office after being appointed to a USDA job by PresidentTrump. A special election will be held.

Republican attorney Tommy Zeichman drops from HD 89 race” via Legislative IQ powered by Lobby Tools — Business attorney Zeichman is no longer running for House District 89. His absence leaves Matt Spritz as the sole Republican left in the race. Also still running are Democrats Ryan Anthony Rossi and James Bonfiglio.

Adriana Gonzalez leaves HD 90 race” via Legislative IQ powered by Lobby Tools — Democratic candidate Gonzalez has left the race for House District 90. She was one of two candidates running. Now her opposition, Democrat Joe Castello, is the sole individual running.


Breaking overnight –Complaint filed with Senate Rules Committee against Jack Latvala” via Ana Ceballos of Florida Politics – A rules complaint was filed Wednesday against Sen. Jack Latvala, a Clearwater Republican who is under investigation by the Senate after six unnamed women accused him of sexually harassing and groping them. Because the complaint is initially confidential, the details about what it pertains are unclear. Republican Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, who chairs the Rules Committee where the complaint was filed, acknowledged the complaint in an interview with Capitol News Service, but could provide additional information. Benacquisto said she can’t release details about the complaint without Latvala giving her the green light.

Latvala told Florida Politics on Wednesday he had been trying to get ahold of Benacquisto for several hours, but she has not returned his calls. “Incredible the Rules Chair would blame me for (the complaint’s) failure to be released, but not acknowledge its existence to me!” Latvala said.

’Toxic culture’ in Tallahassee requires immediate changes, advocates say” via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times — Two freshman House Democrats joined Florida NOW members in demanding changes in how the state Legislature investigates sexual harassment allegations … speakers cited a “culture of harassment” in Tallahassee. NOW lobbyist Barbara DeVane said there would be less sexual harassment in Tallahassee if Florida voters elected more women to public office. That’s part of NOW’s political agenda. Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith … said he had seen sexual harassment, that the House’s sexual harassment policy has “gigantic and glaring loopholes” and that policies need reviewing. Rep. Amy Mercado used the term “toxic culture” and said the Legislature must recuse itself from harassment investigations, saying it’s unacceptable for the body that’s at fault to be the investigating body. “Tallahassee does not protect survivors or provide safe spaces for women to conduct business,” Mercado said.

Anitere Flores: We’re working to make the Capitol safe for harassment accusers to come forward” via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald — Flores, one of Senate president’s two top female advisers, said that Senate leaders are “working very hard to make the Capitol a retribution-free zone” to allow the six unnamed women who have anonymously accused Sen. Latvala of sexual harassment. “We’re in an uncharted territory,” Flores said. “So, everyone is trying to balance these issues. It needs to be something that’s fair for the victims and Sen. Latvala, and I think everyone understands it’s a fine line to walk.” Flores said she hopes the process should be handled “in the most fair and expedited manner” but did not have an opinion as to whether a woman should be involved.

Tweet, tweet:

Neil Combee praises Richard Corcoran, others in resignation letter” via Florida Politics — The Auburndale Republican said Wednesday he would leave the Florida House for his new job at the USDA’s Farm Service Agency on Nov. 24. In a gracious letter to House Speaker Richard Corcoran, he described his five years (and change) representing Polk and Osceola counties as “the honor of a lifetime.” He also had some plum things to say about Corcoran and others whom he served alongside since elected to the House in 2012. “I want to take a moment to thank you and your leadership team for bringing unprecedented accountability and transparency to the way the Florida House conducts its business … I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out, that under the leadership of members like Representative Jose Oliva and Speakers Steve Crisafulli and Will Weatherford, we have made great strides in protecting Florida’s families, improving Florida’s schools and keeping government accountable.”

Bill mandating financial-literacy class for students advances” via Ana Ceballos of Florida Politics — Sen. Dorothy Hukill‘s SB 88 advanced the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on pre-K-12 Education, leaving one more committee stop before it can head to the Senate floor for consideration. “This is the most popular bill — I get stopped in the supermarket for this bill, and I don’t get stopped for many bills,” Hukill said. “So why doesn’t it pass? People think it is going to take away their musical, or take away their art (electives).” Under the bill, the class would teach students how to manage debt, understand credit scores, apply for loans, compute interest rates and analyze simple contracts. They would need to take the course before they can graduate high school. Although the bill would reduce the number of elective credits from eight to seven and a half, Hukill said that still leaves students enough time to take elective courses. The one-half credit would be set aside for the financial literacy course.

Lawmakers clash over financing for trafficking victims” via Ana Ceballos of Florida Politics — Rep. Ross Spano wants the state to create a trust fund for human trafficking victims, financed by half of the punitive damages traffickers are ordered to pay in court cases. Money from the trust fund would then go to pay for human trafficking prevention programs, medical and mental health examinations and treatments for victims, establishing safe houses and assisting law enforcement coordinate with service providers, among other things. Under the bill … half the punitive damages collected in cases brought forth by human trafficking victims would be funneled into the fund. That provision, however, didn’t sit well with two of the 15 members of the House Civil Justice & Claims Subcommittee. “It just concerns me a little bit that 50 percent of the punitive damages award is going to the trust fund just by the operation (of) statute,” said Rep. Sean Shaw, a lawyer and Tampa Democrat. “I don’t know if that percentage is what bothers me, or if philosophically any percentage would bother me, but I will come talk to you about it,” he added.

Sean Shaw questions setting a firm 50 percent of punitive damages awards to pay for human trafficking prevention programs, medical and mental health examinations and more: “I don’t know if that percentage is what bothers me, or if philosophically any percentage would bother me.”

Lawmakers seek expansion of needle exchange program” via the News Service of Florida — Rep. Shevrin Jones filed the proposal (HB 579) in the House, a day after Senate Minority Leader Oscar Braynon filed the Senate version (SB 800). After years of discussion, lawmakers in 2016 passed a law that created a pilot needle-exchange program in Miami-Dade run by the University of Miami and its affiliates. Supporters said the plan would help prevent the spread of infectious diseases among intravenous drug users. Under the newly filed bills … the needle-exchange program could be expanded to other parts of the state. The proposals would allow the Florida Department of Health to establish needle-exchange programs, administered by the department or entities such as hospitals, health care clinics, substance-abuse treatment programs or HIV and AIDS service organizations.

Bobby Olszewski files bill to restrict hunting of mother black bears” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — The hunting of black bear mothers of cubs under 100 pounds would be banned in Florida under a bill filed by Olszewski. House Bill 559 also makes harvesting of saw palmetto berries, the primary food of Florida black bears, to be declared petit theft of the second degree. Olszewski … stressed the point that bill would reduce the need for black bears to wander from their habitat into human-occupied areas, including parts of northwest Orange County where black bear-human encounters have been on a steep rise in recent years. The bill also forbids prescribed burns in known black bear habitats during certain times.

Epilogue — “After resigning from office, ex-state lawmaker Daisy Baez pleads guilty to perjury charge” via David Ovalle of the Miami Herald — The Coral Gables Democrat appeared in Miami court to formally accept the plea deal that called for her to quit and agree to serve one year of probation. Baez, who lasted less than a year in office, became the third Florida lawmaker last week to resign amid scandal during the past six months. “She apologizes to the community for having mistaken her obligations in changing her voter registration early, earlier than she should have done,” said her attorney Ben Kuehne. “Today, she resumes her private citizen status.”


Marco Rubio, Mario Diaz-Balart accuse bureaucrats of undermining Donald Trump’s hard-line Cuba policy” via Sabrina Rodriguez of POLITICO – “It is clear that individuals within the bureaucracy who support the former administration’s Cuba policy continue to undermine President Trump,” Rep. Diaz-Balart said responding to regulations released by the Treasury and Commerce departments. “I look forward to working with the president to ensure that his policy is fully implemented and that the regulations are entirely consistent with his intent, unlike the ones announced today.” Rubio made a similar argument. The regulations … were written to implement the policy shift Trump announced in June, to tighten sanctions and prohibit financial transactions that benefit the Cuban government. They are designed to deprive the Cuban government and military of U.S. dollars, while continuing to permit Americans to travel to the island under more limited circumstances.

What the Governor’s Office is reading — “Florida sees a net increase in private sector jobs” via Legislative IQ powered by Lobby Tools — The State of Florida added 7,000 private sector jobs during October, according to the ADP Regional Employment Report. In the service-providing private sector, jobs went up by 9,100. In the private goods-producing sector, jobs went down by 2,100.

Going “global”: Gov. Rick Scott visited Pensacola’s Global Business Solutions, an IT company, to highlight his proposal for $180 million in tax cuts.

Lawsuit: Rick Scott not disclosing his finances” via Michael Van Sickler of the Tampa Bay Times — Tallahassee attorney Don Hinkle filed a lawsuit against the multimillionaire governor that asks a judge to force him to reveal more information. Relying on stock records, the lawsuit alleges that Scott has broken the law because his financial disclosures do not include all of his holdings. Hinkle was a top fundraiser for President Obama but says that open government is “not partisan.” Scott’s latest filings listed his net worth at nearly $149 million. Scott uses a blind trust and does not report the individual assets or stocks contained within it. Scott has defended the trust as a way to make sure he does not run afoul of conflict-of-interest laws.

Assignment editors — Gov. Scott will highlight his proposed $180 million in tax cuts as part of his proposed 2018-2019 budget with a 9 a.m. news conference at Weather Tite Windows, 2119 W. Columbus Dr. in Tampa.

Scott son-in-law employed as board observer at company in governor’s blind trust” via Dan Sweeney of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — … raising questions about whether there was any communication between them about the business that would violate state law. Jeremy Kandah was a nonvoting member of the board of Continental Structural Plastics, a company that manufactures car parts, from October 2013 to June 2015, according to his résumé. The company was sold to the Japanese conglomerate Teijin Ltd. for $825 million in January. Scott’s share of the sale was reported to be to about $200 million, more than doubling his net worth. Kandah, 33, is married to Scott’s daughter Jordan. Kandah’s role in Scott’s business affairs could take on added significance now that a lawsuit relating to Scott’s blind trust was filed in Tallahassee. Tallahassee lawyer Don Hinkle filed the suit in Leon County court.

Emergency management chief hires business associate’s younger brother” via Arek Sarkissian of the Tallahassee Democrat — A former consultant picked by the Florida Division of Emergency Management to improve how it manages federal claims hired the sibling of a business associate at a top-dollar rate, despite having little documented experience. Jason Wheeler was hired to lead the state agency responsible for overseeing claims made to the Federal Emergency Management Agency after it developed a track record of blown deadlines. Days before taking the job, he handed his multimillion-dollar consulting firm to Marianna resident Ben Maddox and then hired Maddox’s younger brother, Jeromy Maddox, as a temporary employee to help manage FEMA claims. Wheeler gave Maddox a salary of $85 an hour, or the annual equivalent of $176,800. The application he submitted for the job only lists five months of experience working for Wheeler’s emergency consulting firm. Other jobs included nursing, computer network design and land surveying stretching back to 2005.

Puerto Rico leaders say evacuees’ needs may last years; Adam Putnam pledges help via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Meeting at the Puerto Rico Family Response Center in eastern Orange County, LatinoLeadership Executive Director Marucci Guzman, her husband state Rep. Rene Plasencia, Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President Julio Fuentes, Orange County Commissioner Pete Clarke, and others, Putnam commended Gov. Scott’s efforts to help Puerto Rico, but added that “we have a whole new crisis that needs to be dealt with right here in our backyard in Central Florida.” “We need to keep in mind this is an issue that’s ongoing. It’s not just a month ago, it’s not just right now, but it’s going to be a three or four or five yearlong process. We don’t know how long it’s going to take Puerto Rico to rebuild, but we do know we have hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans who are looking to us here in Florida, to possibly call this their new home,” said Plasencia, a Republican from Orlando. “And we have to make sure we’re doing everything we can both as communities, whether as community leaders, as faith leaders, or as just regular citizens who are opening our homes, but also as political leaders who have the power to make things more efficient and the transition more fluid.”

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam joined Rep. Rene Plasencia, President and CEO of the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Julio Fuentes, and Executive Director of Latino Leadership Marucci Guzman, at the Puerto Rico Family Response Center in Orlando on Wednesday.

Nursing home group denounces proposed residents’ ‘bill of rights’” via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics — The Florida Health Care Association’s Emmett Reed called the amendment, filed by Constitution Revision Commissioner Brecht Heuchan, “glaringly bad.” The proposed bill of rights would “wipe out more than 30 years of meaningful and thoughtful progress designed to ensure that nursing home residents have the right to quality care and the services they need,” said Reed, the association’s executive director, in a statement. He then focused on Heuchan, saying he had “lost sight of the fact that the select members of this august body have a profound duty not just to those in their workday lives, but indeed to all Floridians.” The proposal would create a “right to access courts and a jury system that allows for a speedy trial and relief and remedies, without limitations, for loss, injury, and damages caused to residents and their families by the abuse, negligence, neglect, exploitation, or violation of residents’ rights by the facilities’ owners, operators, employees, professionals, and others who care for residents at such facilities.”

Chamber-promoted study links algal blooms to septic tanks” via Danny McAuliffe of Florida Politics — A recent study by Florida Atlantic University points to aging septic tanks as a leading cause of pollution in the Indian River Lagoon and St. Lucie Estuary … the Florida Chamber of Commerce released the fifth installment of a water education series, touting the new study. Brian Lapointe, a professor with the FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, produced the research. Lapointe and Florida Chamber President and CEO Mark Wilson debuted the video in the Senate Office Building. Before debuting the video, Lapointe briefly recapped his research. “A leading cause of this pollution is aging septic tanks, which are leaking into the Indian River Lagoon and Port St. Lucie Estuary and other parts of the state,” Lapointe said. “The evidence is undeniable.” Some reporters later questioned whether U.S. Sugar financed the research. Research linking algal blooms to septic tanks, instead of fertilizer runoff, which takes the burden off the corporation. Wilson said U.S. Sugar did not fund the research itself, but he conceded the Chamber is using a grant to fund the education and promotion of the study and U.S. Sugar is an economic player and friend of the Chamber. Wilson, who seemed miffed by the question, argued the research isn’t a diversion of anything and is instead a demonstration of his organization investing in Florida’s future.

Click on the image below to watch the Chamber’s video.

Florida school lets parents buy bulletproof panels for students to put in backpacks” via Travis Andrews of The Washington Post — Florida Christian School in Miami put a few order forms on its website to make school supply shopping easier … for $120, they can buy them bullet-resistant panels designed to slip into their backpacks in case of a school shooting. The nondenominational kindergarten through 12th-grade school hasn’t been the scene of any gun violence, but its private security wants to be prepared just in case. The panel is a “tool” to help protect children in case of a horrific event, just like its sound-enabled surveillance cameras and active shooter drills, according to George Gulla, the school’s head of security. “I’d rather be prepared for the worst than be stuck after saying ‘Wow, I wish we would’ve done that,’” Gulla told the Miami Herald.

Traffic ticket firm sues over unlicensed law practice claims” via Curt Anderson of The Associated Press — A Florida company that provides a way to resolve traffic tickets using a cellphone or computer filed a lawsuit claiming The Florida Bar and a more traditional ticket firm are conspiring to shut it down by making false allegations against it. The company, TIKD, seeks damages of more than $11 million to compensate for lost revenue from the Bar and from The Ticket Clinic, a law firm that operates across the country. TIKD also wants a Miami federal judge to rule that its operations are legal and prevent The Ticket Clinic from filing ethical claims against attorneys with whom TIKD works, CEO Chris Riley said. Riley said the Bar, which regulates the legal profession in Florida, and Ticket Clinic are acting together to shove TIKD out of business and limit consumer choice, by making false allegations that TIKD is practicing law without a license.


DCF faces costs in food program for Irma victims” via the News Service of Florida — Department of Children and Families Secretary Mike Carroll told a Senate budget panel that administering a food-stamp program in 48 counties that were damaged by Hurricane Irma cost the state about $33 million as of October. While the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — or D-SNAP — is funded with federal dollars, the state and federal governments equally bear the administrative costs of the program. Carroll told Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Chair Anitere Flores that he could absorb some of the expenses in this year’s budget and, moreover, that there are two trust funds that he can tap to help cover the costs. To that end, the DCF submitted a request to the Legislature for an additional $10,933,871 in spending authority, about $243,000 of which has already been paid.

Mike Carroll, Secretary of Department of Children and Families.

Puerto Rico reports increase in overall deaths after storm” via Danica Coto of The Associated Press — Officials in the U.S. territory reported the island had an average of 82 deaths a day in the two weeks before Maria hit Sept. 20. The average increased to 117 deaths a day through the rest of the month, but the rate then fell below usual in October. “The truth is, that’s not normal,” said Jose Lopez Rodriguez, a demographer with the island’s Demographic Register. “We saw a difference, and it was a significant difference.” The overall daily death figures hint that the storm could have caused other, harder-to-detect fatalities as well, though officials at the government’s forensic institute said they did not have evidence to attribute them to Maria. They also rejected some media reports that suggested hundreds of people had died as a direct result of the hurricane.

Thousands in Puerto Rico still have no running water. That’s making people sick.” via Kyra Gurney of the Miami Herald — Nearly six weeks after Hurricane Maria, they still had no running water and nowhere else to bathe or wash clothes. Some — from remote areas where bottled water was too expensive or difficult to obtain — also didn’t have anything else to drink. And everyone was worried about getting sick. Since the hurricane hit, there have been at least 18 confirmed cases of leptospirosis, a bacterial disease spread through contact with contaminated water that can be deadly if not quickly treated. At least four people have died from the disease so far, according to official figures. It’s likely both numbers could be higher because they don’t reflect other suspected but unconfirmed cases in remote areas. Doctors and nurses also report seeing patients for other health problems related to a lack of clean water, including gastrointestinal illnesses and pink eye. Although government officials say they’ve distributed water purification tablets and bottled water throughout the island, by late October there were still places where residents said the help hadn’t arrived.


’Impeach Trump’ must be Democratic candidates’ rallying cry” via Mary Barzee Flores for the Miami Herald — We deserve a complete accounting of Russian interference in the 2016 elections, potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and answers to whether the president obstructed justice in the course of that investigation. Any who violated our laws deserve swift and sure punishment. I spent nearly a decade as a judge and over a decade prior as a federal public defender. I have a deep and abiding respect for the notion that no man or woman — even the president of the United States — is above the law. But prosecuting a sitting president is not as simple as empaneling a grand jury and filing an indictment in federal court. Nor should it be. This is why the U.S. Constitution lays out the standards and procedure of impeachment. I call on all my fellow Democrats running in 2018 to make the case against this president, to be willing to hold him to full account, and to use impeachment as a central rationale in our argument to Americans.

‘Impeach Trump’ should be Democrats’ rallying cry in 2018, says Mary Barzee Flores.


Florida Association of Health Plans to host March of Dimes Signature Chefs event  The March of Dimes will be holding its Signature Chefs Event Wednesday, Nov. 15, in Tallahassee, with top leadership at the Florida Association of Health Plans, Inc. — Wences Troncoso and Audrey Brown — respectively serving as ambassador and event chair.

Today, roughly 1 in 150 babies are born with a chromosomal condition, like the Troncoso’s daughter, Audrey Rae Troncoso, who was born five weeks early and was diagnosed with an extremely rare chromosome disorder known as Tetrasomy 18p. The March of Dimes is instrumental in helping these babies by providing grants to researchers with the goal of understanding the causes of, and treatments for, chromosome and genetic disorders. The Troncoso family and Brown are calling for support to reach fundraising goals for the event and help babies like Audrey.

To donate in any amount, please visit For sponsorship opportunities, email Brown at [email protected] or [email protected].


Patrick Bell, Capitol Solutions: Christopher Cannon

Edward Blakely Jr., Blue Tusk Communications: Redflex Traffic Systems

Al CardenasSlater BaylissSarah BuskJustin DayStephen Shiver, The Advocacy Group at Cardenas Partners: Instate Partners

Rosanna Manuela Catalano, Capitol Energy Florida: MTOA

David Custin, David R. Custin & Associates: HCA Healthcare

Katie FluryRobert Stuart Jr., GrayRobinson: Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation

Ashley Kalifeh, Capital City Consulting: Lennar Ventures

Tyler Knox, Executive Office of the Governor

Ryan Matthews, Peebles & Smith: Florida Chamber of Commerce

Allison Payne: Florida League of Cities

Karen Skyers, Becker & Poliakoff: CIOX Health

Robert Stuart Jr., GrayRobinson: Lake Monroe Waterfront and Downtown Sanford CRA

Jennifer Ungru, Jones Walker: One Source Medical Group

Richard Wood: Wawa

— ALOE —

Disney to livestream ‘frozen’ holiday show from Magic Kingdom” via Ashley Carter of Bay News 9 — Disney will livestream the “A Frozen Holiday Wish” castle lighting from Magic Kingdom Thursday at 8:10 p.m. EST. Anna and Elsa, from the hit Disney movie “Frozen,” are joined by Olaf and Kristoff in the nighttime show. Elsa uses her powers to transform Cinderella Castle into an ice palace. A link to the livestream will be posted on the Disney Parks Blog minutes before the show. On the following day, Disney will also livestream a sneak peek of the new “Beauty and the Beast” musical production from the Disney Dream cruise ship.

Queen Elsa from ‘Frozen’ transforms Cinderella Castle in ‘A Frozen Holiday Wish.’

Uber reaches for the skies with plan for sleek flying taxi” via Barry Hatton of The Associated Press — The ride-hailing service unveiled an artist’s impression of the sleek, futuristic machine it hopes to start using for demonstration flights in 2020. The company aims to have its first paying passengers in various cities around the world by 2023, though the plan still faces significant hurdles. The battery-powered aircraft looks like a cross between a small plane and a helicopter, with fixed wings and rotors. The vehicle is intended to soar over traffic congestion, sharply reducing city travel times. Uber hopes it will eventually become a form of mass transport and cost commuters less than using their own car, though initially, it will be more expensive than that, Uber’s Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden said.

Watch first trailer for Steven Spielberg’s ‘The Post,’ starring Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks” via Maane Khatchatourian of Variety — The film follows The Washington Post’s Katharine Graham (Streep), the first female publisher of a major American newspaper, and editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks) as they race to publish The Pentagon Papers to expose a massive government cover-up, about the U.S. involvement in Vietnam, spanning three decades and four U.S. Presidents. “The way they lied, those days have to be over,” Hanks tells Streep in the trailer. The two must decide whether to risk their careers, lives, and The Post’s future in bringing those secrets to light. “We could all go to prison,” Hanks says, later adding. “What will happen if we don’t publish? We will lose. The country will lose.”

Happy birthday to our dear friend state Rep. Dana Young.

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

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jason Delgado, Drew Dixon, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Andrew Wilson, and Kelly Hayes.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
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