Last Call for 10.2.19 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

A digest of the day's politics and policy while the bartender refreshes your drink.

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

Add union organizer to the list of Mary Ellen Klas’ accomplishments. 

A Wednesday news release signed by Klas and reporters Joey Flechas, Bianca Padró-Ocasio, and Antonio Delgado announced that “editorial employees of the Miami Herald, el Nuevo Herald and took a major step toward forming a union.”

“We’ve decided it’s just our time to save this ship. We’ve tied ourselves together and created a life raft,” said Klas, the Herald’s bureau chief in Tallahassee.

The release added that “reporters, photographers, copy editors, page designers, producers, translators, and growth editors from all Herald publications signed cards stating their desire to be represented by One Herald Guild, a unit of The NewsGuild-CWA, which represents journalists across the country.”

The rationale? “Over the past decade, under the direction of the McClatchy Corp., the newsroom of Miami Herald, el Nuevo Herald and has removed hundreds of people from its payroll, cutting costs by shrinking staff through buyouts, layoffs and consolidation. 

“These changes have had a direct impact on the ability of journalists to do their jobs, but they were often made with no input and little warning. The union intends to change this approach,” it said. 

In a statement, Mindy Marques — President & Publisher, and Executive Editor of the Miami Herald — said she was “grateful for the passion of these talented and hardworking colleagues. We share their commitment to strong, independent local journalism that informs and serves our communities.”

She added: “We have been and continue to respond and adapt to a new digital reality. In the meantime, we have never wavered from our commitment to produce strong, independent local journalism, and this will continue to be our focus. We are reviewing the request (to unionize) and will respond directly to the newsroom.”

Later Wednesday, Herald reporter Samantha J. Gross tweeted: “In our letter to @mcclatchy management today, a supermajority of staff asked for voluntary (union) recognition. We gave them six days to think about it. Six hours later, we got a response: They are not recognizing us, and we’ll move forward with an election. Can’t wait to win.”

Read the full news release here

Evening Reads

State department draws more scrutiny in Donald Trump Impeachment probe” via Rebecca Ballhaus, Jessica Donati and Dustin Volz of the Wall Street Journal

Impeachment rules say Senate must act, but its act might be a swift dismissal” via Carl Hulse of the New York Times

Four things Trump can learn from Bill Clinton’s experience with impeachment — but probably won’t” via Andrew Rudalevige of the Washington Post

Trump uses Rick Scott quote to defend Ukraine call. But that’s not what Scott said” via Alex Daugherty of the Miami Herald

Donald Trump Jr. and senior Trump campaign advisor to speak at UF” via Josh Fiallo of the Tampa Bay Times

Consumer confidence rebounds in Florida” via John Hielscher of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Don’t believe false promises on $15 minimum wage” via Jeffrey Schofield for Florida Politics

Republican lawmaker wants to ditch background checks for concealed-gun owners” via Lloyd Dunkelberger of the Florida Phoenix

An influx of $58.8M in federal cash will help fight opioid epidemic in Broward County” via Ben Conarck of the Miami Herald

Jury reaches guilty verdict on nearly all counts in fraud trial of Jacksonville City Council members Katrina and Reginald Brown” via Christopher Hong of the Florida Times-Union

Critics question Orlando airport attorney’s family and business ties to OIA contractor” via Jason Garcia and Beth Kassab of the Orlando Sentinel

State trust orders takeover of Bonnet House” via Lois Soloman of the Sun-Sentinel

Quote of the Day

“Instead of innocent cries, babies born addicted shriek in a high-pitched scream of pain … They can’t be soothed. They have trouble eating. They can’t sleep. They’re in pain as they endure the cruelty of going through withdrawal.” — First Lady Casey DeSantis, who happens to now be pregnant with her third child, announcing a new state effort to help pregnant women addicted to opioids.

Bill Day’s Latest

Breakthrough Insights

Wake Up Early?

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor and Charlie Crist, and state Rep. Margaret Good will hold a news conference on “the urgent need for action on climate change and energy efficiency.” The news conference comes on the final day of Fried’s 2019 Florida Energy & Climate Summit. That’s at 8:30 a.m., Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, 2900 Bayport Drive, Tampa. 

The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will finish up a 2-day meeting That’s at 8:30 a.m., Radisson Resort, 8701 Astronaut Blvd., Cape Canaveral.

Palm Beach County’s Legislative Delegation will meet in advance of the 2020 Legislative Session. That’s at 9 a.m., Norton Art Museum, 1450 S. Dixie Hwy., West Palm Beach. 

The Public Service Commission will meet to look over a proposal to increase the building of power lines that run underground. That’s at 9:30 a.m., Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.

A coalition of seniors’ advocates and local Democratic leaders say they will “highlight Donald Trump’s broken promises on Medicare ahead of his event in The Villages.” The event will feature members of the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans, the Sumter Democratic Executive Committee and local seniors and retirees. That’s at 9:30 a.m., Sumter Democratic Executive Committee headquarters, 300 South Main St., Wildwood. 

The state Supreme Court is scheduled to release opinions at 11 a.m.

Fried, former Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson, and other dignitaries will take part in a ribbon-cutting and grand opening of the Bronson Animal Disease Diagnostics Laboratory, a “state-of-the-art $11 million state facility (and) only animal disease diagnostic laboratory in Florida fully accredited by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians.” That’s at 1 p.m., 2700 N. John Young Pkwy., Kissimmee. 

Democratic state Rep. Javier Fernandez will host a ‘Town Hall’ meeting on housing issues and affordability. That’s at 7 p.m., Sosa Multipurpose Facility, 1700 S.W. 62nd Ave., Miami.

Staff Reports


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.

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

Sign up for Sunburn