Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 6.12.19

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Good morning. ‘Sunburn’ has been waiting for you.

Florida Politics’s annual list of the “30 under 30″ — thirty rising stars in Florida politics who are 30 years old or younger — will be published next month.

Your suggestions for the next generation of top operatives, lobbyists, staffers, and politicians are welcomed.

Please email your nominations to [email protected] with your nominations.

The deadline for nominations is June 21.

The Florida Chamber Foundation’s “Learners to Earners Workforce Summit” — featuring a brain trust working to develop Florida’s emerging workforce — will be meeting in Orlando next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, DEO Director Ken Lawson, CareerSource Florida President and CEO Michelle Dennard and more speakers will discuss what the state and businesses are doing to prepare the next generation of working Floridians.

Richard Corcoran
Richard Corcoran will be among the featured speakers at the Florida Chamber Foundation’s ‘Learners to Earners Workforce Summit,’ set for next week.

The sold-out summit will feature discussions on topics like apprenticeships, retaining top talent in Florida and how to prepare for jobs of the future.

The event is popular among the education community, but it offers insight for more audiences. Business leaders, for example, might be interested in the “growing your own 21st-century talent pipeline” discussion.

The summit begins at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek. Discussions will wrap by 5 p.m., followed by a half-day covering more topics on Wednesday. More information and a full list of speakers and discussions are online here.


—@SeungMinKim: Before leaving for Iowa, @realDonaldTrump “took a piece of paper out of his breast pocket and said it’s his deal with Mexico,” per pooler @GabbyOrr_. “He declined to show it to us, but said it will go into effect when Mexico tells him it’s okay to release it.”

—@LearyReports: “Go out and press the Democrats … Press Nancy Pelosi. Press ’em all,” Trump tells Iowa crowd re: USMCA.

—@GovRonDeSantis: I’d like to thank Senate President @BillGalvano, House Speaker @RepJoseOliva and bill sponsors Senator @AaronPBean and Representative @TomLeekforFL for this innovative legislation that empowers Florida to lead the way toward affordable prescription drugs.

—@NewsBySmiley: Random note on the @DNC Miami debates later this month. Based on what I heard from @MiamiDadeDems, tickets available to the gen pub in down here will be extremely limited

—@MDixon55: .@GovRonDeSantis says he hopes to have state budget signed “sometime next week”

—@JimRosicaFL: Some news here: The @FLSenate “will send SB 2500 (the 2019-20 state budget) to @GovRonDeSantis on Friday morning,” says spox Katie Betta.

—@JimWLittle: Rep. Mike Hill is promoting his protest of “fake news” (reporting what he said at a public meeting) with his 2020 reelection campaign funds. As of May 31, Hill had about $9,500 in campaign account. The email has a link to his website, which features a large “contribute” button.

—@DarrickDMcGhee: Swallow this: Tallahassee and Leon County, since the beginning of 2019, has had 37 shootings. Of this rash of gun violence, there has been 33 injured and 7 killed, according to a @TDOnline analysis of shootings. (Ten of those shootings occurred in the last month).

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U.S. Open begins — 1; Madonna and Bruce Springsteen each release new studio albums — 2; Father’s Day — 4; Rick Scott hosts a Hurricane Preparedness Conference in Orlando — 5; Trump formally announces his 2020 reelection campaign in Orlando — 6; Florida Chamber Learners to Earners Workforce Summit begins — 6; “Toy Story 4” opens — 9; First Democratic presidential debates in Miami — 14; “The Loudest Voice,” about Fox News and Roger Ailes, premieres — 18; “Spider-Man: Far From Home” opens — 20; Independence Day — 22; 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 moon landing — 38; “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” premieres — 44; Second Democratic presidential debates in Detroit — 48; Florida Gators opens vs. Miami football — 73; St. Petersburg primary election — 76; UCF Knights football opens vs. Florida A&M — 78; USF Bulls football opens vs. Wisconsin Badgers — 79; FSU Seminoles football opens vs. Boise State — 80; Labor Day — 82; First Interim Committee Week for 2020 Session — 96; “Joker” opens — 114; Florida Chamber Future of Florida Forum begins — 138; Scott Maddox trial begins — 145; 2019 General Election — 146; 3rd Annual Florida Internet and Television FITCon starts — 148; 2020 Session begins — 216; Iowa Caucuses — 236; New Hampshire Primaries — 244; Florida’s presidential primary — 279; 2020 General Election — 510.


Florida counties forced to return $1.4 million in election security funds” via Samantha-Jo Roth of Spectrum News 9 — The majority of election officials across the state believe strict guidelines and short deadlines put in place by the state forced them to return more than $1 million in untapped funds to the State’s federal trust fund. The federal government dished out $380 million in election security grants in March 2018 to states through the Help America Vote Act, also known as HAVA. Florida received about $19.2 million. In the state’s application, they specified they planned to use the funds for cybersecurity, physical security, risk assessment, post-election audits, and voting system upgrades. According to public records, 58 counties were forced to return a combined $1.4 million to the states’ federal trust fund after the 2018 midterm.


Ron DeSantis signs drug import bill into law” via Matt Dixon and Alexandra Glorioso of POLITICO Florida — DeSantis signed a bill to establish a prescription drug import program in the state, handing Trump a powerful talking point going into his 2020 reelection campaign even as the measure faces resistance from Trump’s own administration, which must sign off on the plan. “I’ve already met with the president since the bill was passed, and he is in favor of doing whatever we can to lower prescription drug prices,” said DeSantis, a longtime Trump political ally. “Once I signed the bill, obviously, the architecture will be in place. We are already working with Health and Human Services at the federal level.”

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DeSantis orders flags at half-staff to honor victims of Pulse shooting” via Florida Politics — DeSantis ordered flags at half-staff on Wednesday to honor the victims of the June 12, 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. The Governor asked “all residents of Florida to pause for a moment of silence” at 9 a.m. and directed all state flags in Florida to be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset.

DeSantis speaks on Florida’s Threat Assessment Strategy — The Governor discussed the progress of developing Florida’s threat assessment strategy, delivering opening remarks at a meeting hosted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). “In Florida, we must do everything we can to protect our citizens and visitors from senseless acts of targeted violence,” DeSantis said. “FDLE is making tremendous progress on the development of Florida’s comprehensive threat assessment strategy. Together, we will ensure that Florida is a national leader in intelligence-led policing.” This meeting was organized after DeSantis’ directive to FDLE to “prioritize the establishment of a statewide threat identification and assessment strategy.”

DeSantis, Gaetz to make ‘major announcement’ in Shalimar” via the Northwest Florida Daily News — Information about the event was not immediately available from the governor’s office. Gaetz declined to say what the announcement will be or comment on whether it involves school safety measures. “I’m not going to scoop the governor,” Gaetz said. A spokeswoman for the governor’s office said she could not release information about the event and questioned where the information about the visit had been posted.

Assignment editors — DeSantis will deliver remarks and hold a bill signing ceremony, 12:30 p.m., CenterOne Surgery Center, 10475 Centurion Parkway North, #101, Jacksonville.

Happening today — The state Revenue Estimating Conference will hold what is known as a post-session “impact” conference, 9 a.m., 117 Knott Building.

Happening today — The state Blue-Green Algae Task Force will hold its first meeting, 10 a.m., Department of Environmental Protection, Douglas Building, 3900 Commonwealth Blvd., Tallahassee.

Happening today — The Florida Association of Counties will hold an annual conference, with Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried expected to speak during an opening session; board meeting is scheduled for 8:30 a.m., with the conference opening session at 10:30 a.m., Hyatt Regency Orlando, 9801 International Dr., Orlando.

Will outrage over Mike Hill’s derisive action toward LGBTQ people spur long-sought legal protections?” via Mitch Perry of Florida Phoenix — After getting caught on tape at Pensacola political meeting laughing at the suggestion that gay men should face the Biblical punishment of being put to death, state Rep. Hill apologized last week, saying “I deeply regret how the tone of my response to a constituent was received at this event.” While many are calling for Hill to step down or for Party leadership to remove him from legislative committees, others say this is a teachable moment, and that the controversy should spur GOP leadership to finally get behind the Competitive Workforce Act. Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith says the Hill incident shows exactly why it’s important that LGBTQ people have protections in state law.

Will Mike Hill’s derision of LGBTQ+ people finally help the Competitive Workforce Act get passed?

Appeals court weighs major education law” via Tom Urban and Jim Saunders of the News Service of Florida — Appearing skeptical of arguments made by school boards, an appeals court waded into a challenge to the constitutionality of a 2017 state law that seeks to boost charter schools. Numerous school boards filed two lawsuits contending that the law infringed on their rights to operate school districts. One of the major issues in the case is the law’s authorization of “schools of hope,” a new type of charter school aimed at areas where children have been served by traditional public schools that are low performing. Steven Brannock, an attorney who argued for the school boards, argued that the law gave too much power to the state and violates part of the Florida Constitution about the local operation of schools.

‘We’re wasting a lot of time’: Lawyers debate Florida’s medical marijuana law” via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics — A seemingly skeptical three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal heard argument on whether to reverse a preliminary lower court order requiring state health officials to start registering medical marijuana providers to do business immediately. At one point, Judge T. Kent Wetherell II mused, “It seems to me we’re wasting a lot of time discussing a statute that doesn’t matter anymore.” He later told lawyer Katherine E. Giddings of the Akerman firm, representing the Tampa-based firm Florigrown, “you may very well win” at the trial level, saying the state law implementing the 2016 state constitutional amendment allowing medicinal cannabis was “much more restrictive” than the amendment itself.

New law granting amnesty to underage drinkers takes effect July 1” via Megan Reeves of the Tampa Bay Times — DeSantis signed a bill Friday that will protect young people from legal penalties if they are drinking underage and call for medical help. The bill, HB 595, was sponsored by two lawmakers, including Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg. It expands a law created in 2012 that pardons those who call 911 to help someone who has overdosed on drugs.

Space Coast soars to new economic heights with help from the private sector” via the Space Coast Daily — With wealthy elites like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk on separate quests to explore outer space and hopefully other celestial bodies, their privately funded projects have spilled some good graces over to the Space Coast. The boost that these private enterprises have provided the Space Coast is astounding. From a longtime economic slump which saw a 12 percent unemployment rate and low-priced single-family homes from 2007, Brevard County is only seeing improvements since the acquisition of these launchpads by private companies. Real estate and economic experts well-versed in real estate modeling can all agree that across all fronts, the Space Coast is on an uptrend.

Elon Musk and SpaceX have been a boon for Florida’s Space Coast.

Survey: Florida and its cities among most financially stressed” via Yahoo Finance — Financial stress affects 48 percent of the U.S. workforce, according to a survey of more than 10,000 Americans by Salary Finance, which provides financial education and salary-linked savings and loans. According to the survey, Florida is the third most stressed state, behind Colorado and Texas. The top ten cities include both Tampa (No. 5) and Miami (No. 6). Money worries have a devastating impact on Americans’ mental health; employees under financial stress are over three times more likely to suffer from anxiety and panic attacks and four times more likely to suffer from depression and suicidal thoughts. Women particularly suffer; 56 percent of working women are stressed about their finances, and 63 percent feel they do not earn enough.


Ban Assault Weapons NOW releases video to mark signature milestone — Ban Assault Weapons NOW and the League of Women Voters of Florida joined Democratic state Reps. Carlos Guillermo Smith and Anna Eskamani and U.S. Rep. Darren Soto on Monday to announce a milestone of 100,000 signatures for a proposed assault weapon ban constitutional amendment in 2020. The group now expects a review of ballot language by the Florida Supreme Court. To coincide with the petition-gathering milestone, Ban Assault Weapons NOW also released a two-and-a-half minute YouTube video featuring testimonials of people giving firsthand accounts of shootings with assault weapons.

To view the video, click on the image below:

Jason Brodeur piles another $90K into his state Senate run” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Brodeur is running for the Senate District 9 seat vacated by term-limited Republican state Sen. David Simmons. According to the latest reports posted by the Florida Division of Elections, Brodeur reported collecting $34,299 in his official campaign fund and another $60,500 in his independent Friends of Jason Brodeur political committee in May. Big sums are nothing new for Brodeur, who’s been running for the seat for three years and has one of the more active Republican lawmaker leadership committees. With the latest sums, his official campaign now has raised more than $378,000. It has spent quite a bit, but still had more than $200,00 in the bank on June 1.

Daphne Campbell adds another $4K in bid to return to Senate” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Former state Sen. Campbell raised just over $4,200 in May as she attempts to return as the Senator from District 35. Campbell is one of five candidates declared so far in the SD 35 contest. The winner will replace term-limited Sen. Oscar Braynon II. With May’s haul added on, Campbell has now raised more than $11,000 for her campaign. She was the top fundraiser among the SD 35 field in May, though still significantly trails current state Rep. Shevrin Jones in overall fundraising. Jones has pulled in more than $71,000 so far, as compared to Campbell’s $11,000.

Daphne Campbell raised another $4K in her bid to return to the Senate.

Lee Mangold starts campaign for HD 28 with $10K month” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Mangold, a Casselberry businessman and cybersecurity expert, is seeking a rematch with Republican state Rep. David Smith in the northeastern Seminole County district after Smith won a close election in 2018. First Mangold will have to get past Elizabeth McCarthy of Sanford, who holds legislative affairs positions for both the Florida LGBTA Democratic Caucus and the national Democratic Women’s Caucus, in a Democratic primary. In May, Mangold’s first month on the trail, he raised $10,412 and spent about $2,000. He also received more than $4,000 in various in-kind contributions, including photography and printing services.

Two Central Florida state House money races heating up” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — In the Republican primary battle to succeed term-limited Republican state Rep. David Santiago in House District 27, Webster Barnaby again topped two opponents in campaign contributions during May. Erika Benfield and Zenaida Denizac also managed to raise more than $1,000 for the third consecutive month. In House District 42, Osceola County Commissioner Fred Hawkins‘ once-dominant looking campaign is beginning to seem more mortal. The Republican did raise $5,700 in the month in his bid to succeed term-limited Republican state Rep. Mike La Rosa, but his fundraising has fallen significantly every month since his dramatic February start. Democrat Barbara Cady of Kissimmee posted her fourth-straight four-figure month and best month yet in May, bringing in $2,270.

Without swag sales, Anna Eskamani has $10K month toward reelection bid” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Eskamani, who opened a campaign merchandise page off her reelection campaign website last fall, said the sales of campaign souvenirs had generated $461.80 for her coffers so far. That is even though she temporarily shut down the Anna Eskamani Shop during the Florida Legislative Session and really has not resumed sales since. Without merchandise sales, Eskamani still reported raising $10,638 for her official campaign fund in May, for her reelection bid in Florida House District 48. That month total is below the pace Eskamani set in the early months of her 2018 campaign, when, as a first-time candidate, she raised $135,000 in her first four months, and wound up raising $451,000 for the full campaign.

Jason Maughan continues fundraising as more HD 76 candidates begin to surface” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Sanibel City Councilman Maughan reported another $5,750 in contributions raised in May. The money comes as the race draws fresh interest from new competitors. He has now raised $67,750 in total donations. May marked his lightest fundraising period, but he picked up support from notable donors. State Attorney Amira Fox wrote a $1,000 check. “That’s a lot of money for a government person to give, and I’m very happy to have her support,” Maughan said.

Broward School Board member Robin Bartleman tops HD 104 fundraising” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Bartleman will give up her District 9 seat on the School Board to run for the open seat in 2020. Current HD 104 Rep. Richard Stark is term-limited. According to the latest numbers, Bartleman raised more than $4,300 in May. She’s now crossed the $25,000 mark since beginning her campaign in January. After expenditures, Bartleman still has more than $22,000 on hand. HD 104 covers Weston and Southwest Ranches in Broward County; Stark has represented the district since 2012. But facing term limits, Stark recently announced his campaign for Weston Mayor.

— 2020 —

Donald Trump needs a target to stay interested in his campaign. For Now, It’s Joe Biden” via Annie Karni and Maggie Haberman — In a recent state-of-the-race briefing in Florida with Brad Parscale, his campaign manager, Trump was consistently distracted and wanted to discuss other things … He has shown no interest in formulating a new message for his campaign, and instead continuing with the winning “Make America Great Again” slogan from his last race and adding that he also wants to “keep America great.” Trump has griped about traveling too much, but then lashed out at aides, demanding to know, “Why am I not doing more rallies?” He insists on having final approval over the songs on his campaign playlist, as well as the campaign merchandise, but he has never asked to see a budget for 2019.

Donald Trump needs an enemy, and Joe Biden fits the bill.

5 NBC and MSNBC stars will moderate first Democratic debate” via Michael Calderone of POLITICO — “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt, “Today” co-anchor Savannah Guthrie, “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd, MSNBC prime-time host Rachel Maddow and José Díaz-Balart, anchor of Telemundo’s “Noticias Telemundo” and “NBC Nightly News Saturday,” will be moderating the debate to be held in Miami on June 26 and 27. In recent election cycles, debate moderators have come under increasing scrutiny for both the selection of questions and handling of the candidates. Holt will appear throughout the two hours each night of the debate, while the other four moderators will each get an hour a night. Guthrie and Diaz-Balart will moderate the first hour; Todd and Maddow the second.

Democratic debate lottery to be held at NBC’s 30 Rock” via Reid Wilson, Jonathan Easley and Max Greenwood — A lottery to determine where candidates are placed on stage in the first Democratic presidential debate will take place Friday morning at NBC’s headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffers told representatives from the presidential campaigns of the plan to hold the lottery at NBC during a logistics call last week. The campaigns have been invited to send representatives to witness the drawing. Results will be announced right after the drawing is held.

Anti-abortion activist Randall Terry disrupts Biden event — Terry, according to POLITICO National Political Correspondent Natasha Korecki, “scream(ed) about Biden’s abortion flip flop” at the Democratic presidential candidate’s Tuesday event in Davenport, Iowa. “What about the babies!” he shouted. “Terry confirms he is the same person to disrupt a Pete Buttigieg event where he screamed out about homosexuality,” Korecki reported. As POLITICO Florida’s Gary Fineout later noted, Terry also “ran for office in Florida against (then) state Sen. Jim King” and “was involved in the battle over Terri Schiavo,” a Pinellas County woman who was in a vegetative state for 15 years. The battle between her family and her husband over taking her off life support became a national story before she died in 2005.

Andrew Gillum group to host watch party for first Democratic presidential debate” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Forward Florida Action will host a watch party featuring former gubernatorial candidate Gillum on June 26 for the first Democratic primary debate of the 2020 cycle. Forward Florida Action is a nonprofit by Gillum to help register voters ahead of the 2020 election. The watch party will run from 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on the night of June 26 at Ampersand Studios in Miami. That’s just a few minutes away from the Adrienne Arsht Center, which is the site of the first Democratic debate.

Pete Buttigieg eyes Florida environment, schools” via Ana Ceballos of the News Service of Florida — Ahead of the first Democratic presidential primary debate in Miami, Buttigieg says he would set aside politics and work with Gov. DeSantis to fund “good” environmental projects, while expressing his opposition to Florida’s “heavy-handed” approach to federal immigration enforcement and expansion of school voucher-type programs. The 37-year-old presidential hopeful also said he would support more targeted sanctions against allies and family members of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro to restore democracy in the country, an issue that heavily resonates with an estimated 190,000 Venezuelans who live in Florida. “What’s concerning is when you see things like the kind of casual talk of contemplating military force out there,” Buttigieg said about U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Scott.

Elizabeth Warren wins Broward Young Democrats presidential straw poll — far ahead of Biden and Bernie Sanders” via Anthony Man of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — She was the clear first choice for the Young Democrats in Florida’s most Democratic county. She also was the clear second choice in the straw poll, conducted Monday night. Warren finished far ahead of Biden, Buttigieg and Sanders, who were far behind and bunched together. The 75 people who voted each picked a first, second and third choice. The Broward Young Democrats are among the 10 largest Young Democrats organizations in the country. Members are 40 and under, though a handful of older people were present Monday night and allowed to vote.

Miami-Dade Democrats call for presidential candidates to debate climate change” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — A separate debate among Democratic candidates for President should focus on climate change, according to the executive committee of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party. The body approved a nonbinding resolution calling for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to set one up. “Miami-Dade County and the state of Florida are ground zero for the damaging effects of climate change and rising sea levels,” read a portion of the resolution. “Democratic voters everywhere are entitled to a full and detailed understanding of the environmental policies of the 2020 candidates for President.” The resolution comes days after DNC Chair Tom Perez said a debate solely focused on climate change is “not practical.”

With most states under one party’s control, America grows more divided” via Timothy Williams of The New York Times — It is the first time in more than a century that a single party dominates all but one state legislature. … Any hope that single-party control in the states might ease the tone of political discourse has not borne out. Lopsided party dominance has not brought resignation; instead of minority parties conceding that they lack the numbers to effectively fight back, the mood has grown more tense and vitriolic.

Red, white and blah: Why are all these 2020 campaign logos so boring?” via Avi Selk of The Washington Post — Half the logos don’t look like anything at all — a soulless collage of red-white-and-blue typography and American flag parts secreted among the letters. “It’s an abomination. It’s just one cliché after another,” said Debbie Millman, who chairs the branding program at the School of Visual Arts in New York. “What we really need now is a new pussy hat — something so powerful in its simplicity people will be able to identify it all over the world. These are stars and stripes and waves and lines.” At its best, branding can incorporate a candidate’s identity and sublimate a campaign into a movement. And by and large, they’re going into 2020 looking like they just tumbled out of 1992.


’Need to Impeach’ group to pressure U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell with ads in districts” via Mitch Perry of Florida Phoenix — Need to Impeach, the political committee organized by Democratic activist Tom Steyer to persuade Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump, announced it would politically target two Florida Democrats who have been neutral on the issue to date. The group will focus on Tampa- area U.S. Rep. Castor and South Florida Congresswoman Mucarsel-Powell with digital ads, digital billboards, and other events in their Florida districts. If impeachment proceedings were to happen, they would begin in the House of Representatives, which is now controlled by Democrats. The majority in the House, including Castor and Mucarsel-Powell, do not support impeaching Trump now. Of the 13 Democratic members of Congress in Florida, only Orlando-area Rep. Val Demings has announced her support for impeachment.

Roger Stone asserts innocence as he raises cash for living expenses and legal fees. Mum on Robert Mueller.” via Anthony Man of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Stone had an especially harsh assessment of Biden. “Joe Biden seems to have no self-awareness whatsoever,” Stone said. “He does not seem to understand that he comes across as a pompous loudmouth blowhard with nothing to say, which is good, because he has had so much Botox he can barely talk.” As for his own situation, Stone was held back by a gag order imposed by the federal judge presiding over the case against him brought by Mueller. Still, he asserted his innocence before 1,000-plus people at the Palm Beach County Trump 45 Club. “Here’s what I can tell you: I have pleaded not guilty, and I will be vindicated on every single count.”

At a Palm Beach County Trump 45 Club appearance, Roger Stone has harsh words for Joe Biden and insists is innocent of all charges. Image via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.


More infighting breaks out on social media between Jacksonville council president, incoming councilwoman” via Christopher Hong of the Florida Times-Union — In a sharply worded Twitter post, Brenda Priestly Jackson, a councilwoman-elect for Jacksonville’s District 10, accused Council President Aaron Bowman of discriminating against her and another African American councilwoman, Ju’Coby Pittman, for ending a presentation by Sheriff Mike Williams before Pittman and Jackson could ask a question. Two other council members asked questions earlier in the presentation. Bowman said he was simply trying to move forward with the orientation, which was already nearly an hour behind schedule, and said Jackson’s accusation wasn’t worth responding. Pittman said she didn’t feel discriminated against and was surprised the situation had escalated. In an interview, Pittman said her comment was a joke.

Miami-Dade commissioner’s nephew among teens injured in shooting” via Roy Ramos and Amanda Batchelor of — The nephew of County Commissioner Esteban Bovo Jr. was among two teens injured in a shooting on Bird Road. Police said both teens survived the shooting, which occurred during an armed robbery in the parking lot of Frankie’s Pizza. Surveillance video shows the teens pulling into the parking lot in a white Lexus and leaving, but returned about 10 minutes later. The 18-year-old and 19-year-old victims were sitting in the Lexus when two men in a black SUV pulled up to the victims’ car and got out of their vehicle. Police said one of the robbers pulled out a gun and both demanded the victims’ property. As the victims tried to drive away, the armed robber fired at the Lexus, striking both teens.

’It cracked like hell.’ Feds say engineers didn’t heed alarms before FIU bridge collapse.” via Andres Viglucci and Douglas Hanks of the Miami Herald — In a new report, federal work-safety investigators conclude that engineers in charge of design and construction of the Florida International University pedestrian bridge should have shut down Southwest Eighth Street because of growing cracks in the structure, but failed to recognize the span was in danger of imminent collapse due to design errors. The report by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration details a catalog of errors ranging from a “deficient” design by Tallahassee-based FIGG Bridge Engineers, to inadequate oversight by two engineering consulting firms, Louis Berger and Bolton Perez and Associates, and a fatal attempt by FIGG to close the cracks that triggered the collapse.

Harry Cohen shares insight on Jane Castor’s transition priorities” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — Cohen is committed to developing strategies that “are actually capable of being implemented” as he takes on a new role as co-chair of Castor’s transition team. Cohen, Castor’s former opponent and third-place finisher in the Tampa mayoral race, is focused on developing solutions for Castor’s five policy blueprints, which include transportation, affordable housing, workforce development, sustainability and construction services. “I see my role as providing policy knowledge and guidance to these groups as they formulate plans,” Cohen said. As a former Tampa City Council member, Cohen understands the inner workings of city government. He’s also paired up with Tampa’s Chief Financial Officer Sonya Little who oversees the creation of the city’s budget.

As part of Jane Castor’s transition team, Harry Cohen says he will work on policies that will ‘actually be implemented.’

Cuban Ambassador to U.S. will meet with Rick Kriseman. But Tampa Mayor Castor and City Council Chair Luis Viera pass.” via Charlie Frago of the Tampa Bay Times — Kriseman may well sip some cafe con leche with José Ramón Cabañas Rodríguez on June 24, but a breakfast meeting hasn’t been formally scheduled yet. Kriseman spokesman Ben Kirby said the mayor will definitely sit down with the ambassador, but the two sides are still working out the details. Castor won’t meet with Rodríguez, continuing a tradition of Tampa Mayors who have kept representatives of the Cuban government at arm’s length since relations thawed between the countries in recent years, culminating in the resumption of diplomatic relations in 2015. Castor had “prior commitments,” texted spokeswoman Ashley BaumanViera, whose parents fled Cuba after Fidel Castro took power, also declined to meet with Rodríguez.

Rick Scott takes a shot at Kriseman over Cuba — The GOP Senator criticized the Democratic Mayor  over his plan to meet with Cuba’s ambassador to the U.S. “It’s a shame that some FL officials continue to play Patty Cake with the oppressive Cuban regime that oppresses its own people and supports the murderous regime of @NicolasMaduro,” Scott tweeted. “I urge Mayor @Kriseman to cancel his upcoming meeting and support freedom & democracy instead.”

The next season of MTV’s ‘Floribama Shore’ will take place in St. Petersburg” via Colin Wolf of Creative Loafing Tampa Bay — Even though “Floribama” is technically in the Panhandle, the popular MTV reality drama Floribama Shore will be filming its next season in the St. Petersburg area. According to Deadline, the show has been greenlit for a third season, and will take place in St. Pete Beach. “It’s puke and rally time” tweeted the official account for the MTV show, along with what appears to be a text message exchange between cast members. “I think it’s time for us to be hot messes at a new beach” texts one castmember — “St. Pete Beach!” texts another.

Hillsborough transportation group keeps I-275 expansion projects on track with midnight vote  via Tampa Bay Times — Hillsborough leaders ultimately decided to keep two controversial Interstate 275 projects in the county’s five-year transportation plan following six hours of discussion and a complicated re-vote Tuesday night. The 16-person board of the Metropolitan Planning Organization, which sets transportation priorities in the county, listened to four hours of public comment before taking a series of complex votes.

Governor appoints Darryl Taylor as Superintendent of Calhoun County SchoolsTaylor, of Blountstown, is the current Principal at Carr Elementary and Middle School in Clarksville, Florida as well as the Interim Assistant Superintendent of Calhoun County Schools. “Superintendent Taylor is an outstanding choice for Calhoun County,” said Sen. Bill Montford. “He has had a long and distinguished career in the district and will continue to provide crucial leadership and committed service to the students. The entire community will be well served by Superintendent Taylor.” “Calhoun County’s students will be fortunate to have Darryl Taylor as Superintendent of Schools, and the entire community is sure to benefit from Gov. DeSantis’ selection of such an excellent leader,” Education Commissioner Corcoran added.

’Triple Threat’ cyberattack cripples City Hall in Lake City” via Nick Jones of News4Jax — A ransomware program known as Triple Threat hit City Hall in Lake City, and many city systems are out of order as a result, according to a release from the Lake City Police Department. The program, Lake City police said, combines three methods of attack when targeting network systems. All of the city’s government email systems were rendered inoperable, and most of its landline phones were out of order. All emergency services are fully operational, the Police Department said. Any late fees on city-related payments resulting from delays caused by the malware attack will be waived. Utility payments can still be made in-person at City Hall; however, credit card payments are currently not available.

Wanda Ford, FAMU’s CFO and vice president for administration, resigns effective immediately” via Byron Dobson of the Tallahassee Democrat — Joyce Ingram, associate vice president of human resources, will serve as interim vice president for Finance and Administration/CFO. “The university is working to secure the services of AGB Search to provide assistance with identifying an individual to serve as interim CFO until a national search is completed to fill the vacancy,” FAMU said in a statement. Ford’s name and title remained on the Division of Finance and Administration’s website late Monday afternoon, but not listed on the president’s leadership team site. Florida A&M University President Larry Robinson named Ford interim vice president for finance and administration and chief financial officer in December 2016. She was named to the permanent post by Robinson in July 2018.


Rick Scott: China’s growing influence in Latin America is a threat to our way of life” via CNBC — We know that China is a bad actor. China is not our friend. China sees the United States as its global adversary and is taking the steps necessary to “win” the great power conflict of the 21st Century. We know what China is. And yet, how many Americans realize that in countries just a few thousand miles (and in some cases a few hundred miles) away, China is taking every opportunity it can to gain influence and exert control. Latin America is the new battleground in the greatest geopolitical conflict of our time. China’s president Xi Jinping knows what Maduro is doing to his own people. Xi doesn’t care. China is a willing participant in Maduro’s genocide.

Lauren Book: Clergy sexual abuse reporting rule doesn’t go far enough to protect children” via Florida Politics — A recent rule change from the Vatican will now require the clergies of the Catholic Church to report all known instances of child sexual abuse to church superiors, who will decide what to do with this information. This rule does not go far enough in keeping our children safe. It should not be at the discretion of any institution — religious or otherwise — to make determinations as to whether allegations or admittance of child sexual abuse should be reported to law enforcement. The rule should require that all suspected instances of abuse be reported to law enforcement and not kept in the confines of an institution that has already shown an inability to seek justice. The facts are undeniable.

Pulse survivor: To end gun violence, we must overhaul politics” via Orlando Sentinel — Three years ago, I survived the Pulse nightclub shooting. But 49 others didn’t. In 2016, I survived what at the time was the deadliest mass shooting in United States history, a distinction surpassed only a year later when 58 people in a crowd of Las Vegas concertgoers lost their lives. And just a few hours south of Pulse, and only a few months after the Las Vegas massacre, a gunman killed 17 students in Parkland at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018. Gun violence is an epidemic in this country.


Personnel note: Patricia Brigham reelected president of League of Women Voters of FloridaBrigham was reelected for another two-year term as president this past weekend at the League’s 37th biennial Convention in Naples. “The 2020 general election promises to have one of the highest, if not the highest turnout ever. It is the League’s duty to empower the voters of Florida to have the confidence to participate in our democracy, and we are definitely up to that challenge,” Brigham said. “It is only fitting that 2020 also commemorates 100 years of the 19th Amendment and the League of Women Voters.” Brigham was first appointed to the group’s presidency after the resignation of Pamela Goodman.

Patricia Brigham has returned as president of the League of Women Voters of Florida

Personnel note: Ed Miyagishima joining Department of Homeland Security — The former Shumaker Advisors principal will be the department’s Director of Operations and Chief of Protocol, based in Washington. “Ed has been an amazing partner and helped accomplish tremendous outcomes for our clients and this community,” said Ron Christaldi, CEO of Shumaker Advisors. “He embodies the core value that is the cornerstone of Shumaker, and that is to serve our community. We are confident that he will have continued success and are proud of his service to our great Nation.” Shumaker Advisors is the public affairs arm of the Shumaker law firm. Miyagishima previously was a senior adviser to the president and CEO of Port Tampa Bay, one of the nation’s largest ports.

Mike Hightower leaves JEA” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — A Northeast Florida political and lobbying heavyweight quietly and without ceremony retired this week from local utility JEA. Hightower, who came aboard as JEA’s top lobbyist in 2015 and ended up as Chief Public and Shareholder Affairs Officer, is out of the building now. Chief Administrative Officer Herschel Vinyard said that Hightower “worked closely” with “key political leaders” in his role. “He was instrumental in the success of recent state legislation critical to cybersecurity for municipal utilities statewide [including exemptions for] customer meter-derived data and information from public records,” Vinyard said.

— ALOE —

Tony Award journey for Andre De Shields took him through FSU with a role in ‘Prymate’” via Byron Dobson of the Tallahassee Democrat — De Shields’ 50-year-acting journey leading to Sunday’s first-ever Tony included a stint at Florida State University’s Richard G. Fallon’s Mainstage Theater. At 73, the Baltimore native won Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his role as Hermes in the play “Hadestown,” a musical adapted from Anais Mitchell’s folk album of the same name issued in 2010. His two prior Tony nominations were in 1997 for “Play On!” and in 2001 for “The Full Monty.” In 2007, he won an Obie Award for sustained excellence in performance. His Broadway credits include the short-lived “Prymate,” which went straight to Broadway following its premiere in 2004 at Florida State University’s School of Theater.

Tony winner Andre De Shields long career includes a stop through Florida State University.

A Miami bar offered free shots every time Team USA scored. They didn’t expect 13 goals” via David Wilson of the Miami Herald — American Social in Miami probably didn’t exactly plan for Tuesday. The bar, located in Brickell, has a litany of promotions for the 2019 Women’s World Cup as the bar hosting The American Outlaws supporters group. The most notable is certainly free shots for every U.S. goal. On Tuesday, there were 13. At one point in the second half, the United States unleashed a flurry of four goals in six minutes. No word on whether American Social ran out of alcohol in the second half when the United States unleashed 10 goals upon Thailand to run up the score. If you missed your chance at getting drunk courtesy of the United States, there are a couple more chances.

Jon Meacham, Tim McGraw explore American history in song” via Kristin Hall of The Associated Press — What this “Odd Couple” duo does have in common is a love of history and a new book they wrote together, “Songs of America: Patriotism, Protest, and the Music That Made a Nation.” They were in rehearsals for a book tour that’s unlike anything the two of them have done before, a mixture of songs and lectures on American history and culture, starting in New York City. At McGraw’s house, they laid out copious notes and lyric sheets as they worked through their program, which will include Meacham talking about the book and McGraw singing a few songs that relate to the themes. He’ll be covering some of the songs mentioned in the book, even a song from before the Revolutionary War called “The Liberty Song.” “It allowed me to use such a different part of my brain and such a different part of my artistry,” McGraw told The Associated Press.

After uptick, Florida gas prices likely headed down” via Malena Carollo of the Tampa Bay Times — Florida pump prices saw a small uptick last week but are headed back down, according to AAA, the Auto Club Group. State gas prices climbed two cents over the week to $2.58 a gallon Monday, while Tampa Bay gas averaged $2.56 a gallon Monday, up 8 cents over the week. “Florida gas prices inexplicably increased last week, despite falling fundamentals like oil and wholesale prices, which would normally lead to lower prices at the pump,” Mark Jenkins, AAA spokesman, said. Jenkins expects prices to be headed down to the $2.50-a-gallon range this week. Nationally, gas was $2.75 a gallon Monday.


Happy birthday to one of our favorite people, Sally Bradshaw. Also celebrating today is former Rep. Neil Combee, Husein Cumber, Matt Lettelleir of the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, Margie MenzelRick Minor, our dear friend, St. Petersburg City Councilwoman Darden Rice, Matt Wolking

Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jim Rosica, Dan McAuliffe, and Drew Wilson.

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, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

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