A year after Hurricane Michael, the Florida county hardest hit by the Category 5 storm is still in crisis, writes Mike Schneider of The Associated Press: Thousands in Bay County are homeless, medical care and housing are at a premium, domestic violence has become a problem, and severely diminished mental health services are overwhelmed with backlogs.
Michael, among the strongest hurricanes ever to make landfall in the United States, barreled onto the Florida Panhandle on Oct. 10, 2018, with 160 mph winds, ripping homes from their foundations, flattening others and utterly devastating Tyndall Air Force Base, home to 11,000 airmen. It left 22,000 of Bay County’s then-180,000 residents homeless and resulted in total insured losses of almost $7 billion.
This summer, county officials unveiled a nearly 300-page blueprint to rebuild. Among their ideas is to use shipping containers and 3-D technology to build new houses and to offer signing bonuses for doctors to replace those who fled when their offices and equipment were destroyed.
They have their work cut out for them: About 5,000 people are still homeless, and rent for the few available living quarters has skyrocketed. About 1 in 6 insurance claims are still unresolved, and local government officials are worried about depleted tax coffers as small businesses struggle to reopen. Bay County schools have lost more than 1 in 8 students, which will affect the amount of state education funding they receive.
More people than ever before require mental health services. Such services were fairly limited before Michael hit. Now, officials said in their report, they are “taxed well beyond capacity.”
During the past school year alone, 125 students in Bay County schools were placed in custody for a mental health evaluation under Florida’s Baker Act. Because the hurricane left standing only one medical center that can receive Baker Act patients, students were sent to facilities as far as 580 miles away.
The school district has a waitlist of 350 students who need mental health services, and the county at large lost 40 percent of its behavioral health specialists after the storm.
County officials also said they had seen a disturbing amount of domestic violence cases but did not provide details immediately.
Health care also has suffered.
The Bay County recovery blueprint calls for signing bonuses, slashed taxes, and student loan forgiveness to physicians and mental health providers who come to Bay County. It recommends building a new hospital in Panama City Beach, a section of the county largely spared the worst of the damage, and enhancing security during emergencies at clinics that house pharmaceuticals. It also calls for acquiring block housing — numerous apartments in the same building or trailer park — to accommodate mental health providers.
County leaders are in talks with private builders to construct new affordable housing quickly through nontraditional means such as 3-D printing, modular construction and tiny houses.
“It’s a chicken and an egg thing,” said Panama City manager Mark McQueen. “You can’t get employees until you get housing. You can’t get housing without construction workers. We are in a vulnerable state of our recovery without housing. It crosses every sector of our community.”
“Michael intensity possibly linked with climate change” via Collin Breaux of the Daily News — In the record-hot Florida fall of 2018, Hurricane Michael was rabid with hidden energy absorbed from a Gulf of Mexico 4 to 6 degrees warmer than normal. Air molecules heavy with moisture and sizzle, soared on thunderstorm currents into Michael’s eye, releasing latent heat — an invisible smorgasbord of fuel for the burgeoning cyclone.
“Callaway still recovering from Michael” via Collin Breaux of the Panama City News-Herald — Some buildings are still damaged and seemingly unoccupied, though the usual traffic has returned to Tyndall Parkway and the Callaway Sports Complex is filled with youth sports again. Amy Fullington, a resident, said there is still a lot of work left to be done. “They’ve done a lot of work. I’ve seen a big difference in the repairs,” Fullington said. “Still, I know a lot of people have a lot of loss and damage they need to recover from. It was bad. It was devastating. It looks bad still. It’s not the same. The trees are gone. It’s a totally different environment than it was.”
“Chipping away at my Michael mask” via Mike Cazalas of the Panama City News-Herald — Real fear didn’t strike me Oct. 10 until the generator failed and the dozen or so people huddled in the center of The News-Herald, in a room where we had sought refuge from Hurricane Michael as the building failed around us, were plunged into darkness. That wasn’t supposed to happen. None of this was. I had ridden out numerous storms at The News-Herald since 1983, and the last veneer of mental safety had just peeled away. And somewhere that morning, that day, I unconsciously put on a mask because I couldn’t absorb the enormity of what was happening, my family far away and unreachable, and still function as a News-Herald employee.
“’Michael’ artists explore painful hurricane aftermath” via Tony Simmons of the Panama City News-Herald — A group exhibition marking the anniversary of Hurricane Michael features a collection of work by local artists from different disciplines and backgrounds. “Each artist offers a unique reflection on the storm and its aftermath, from the mundane ‘new normal’ related to the recovery. The works are wide-ranging and span across many media, including drawing, painting, embroidery, collage, assemblage, ceramics, video and installation. The works exude a variety of emotions from sadness and loss to resilience and hope,” according to a news release. The Visual and Performing Arts Division of Gulf Coast State College will open “Michael” with a public reception from 5-7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, in the Amelia Center Gallery. Admission is free and open to the community
“Teams, communities face ‘new normal’ on anniversary of Hurricane Michael” via Jim Henry of the Tallahassee Democrat — The new normal. That’s what Chipola College baseball coach Jeff Johnson and others in Jackson County face each morning on the anniversary of Hurricane Michael. “Things are slowly getting back to normal — whatever normality is, and it’s going to be here for a while,” Johnson said. “You are seeing less blue tarps, but some of the damage will never be corrected. It’s the new normal, I guess you could say. The landscape of the community, from what it was, I will never see it again in my life.” Michael arrived in Marianna — 72 miles north of Mexico Beach and 60 miles west of Tallahassee — with rain and wind gusts that exceeded 100-mph and splintered around 80 percent of the area’s trees.
“Navy base flags that survived Michael on display” via Ed Offley of the Panama City News-Herald — When the Category 5 storm blew ashore one year ago, the American Flag, a naval Meritorious Unit Commendation banner and the traditional POW-MIA remembrance flag were flying from the warfare center’s flagpole. To celebrate the anniversary — in particular, the performance of the 1,500 military and civilian employees of the Naval Surface Warfare Center who have toiled to rebuild the facility — the storm-tattered flags have been placed in a wall display at the headquarters building that also includes photographs and satellite images of the storm and its aftermath. The frayed and torn edges and spots of black mold have been preserved as a testament to the fury of the storm and the resilience of the people who endured it.
“Where are the insurance checks for Hurricane Michael?” via the Tampa Bay Times editorial board — Families and businesses should not be in limbo this long, and the state needs to push insurers to resolve all outstanding claims promptly. Former Florida House Speaker Allan Bense rightly used his high-profile last week to crank up the pressure on the insurance companies. He has experienced firsthand the frustration that thousands of others have had with their insurers, whom Bense called the “No. 1 obstacle” to the reconstruction effort. As of last month, more than 18,000 claims — about 12 percent of the total from the storm — were still open, despite a law requiring insurers to pay claims within 90 days. That requirement, though, has so many loopholes that insurers could take months even to provide an estimate.
Meanwhile … “Wealthy counties get many FEMA buyouts of flood-prone homes” via Janet McConnaughey of The Associated Press — FEMA buys flood-prone homes more often in wealthy, populous counties than in poor, rural areas, even though lower-income rural areas may be more likely to flood frequently, a new study finds. The reason is probably that better-off local governments have the resources to apply for and administer the programs — and that could keep many of the people who most need buyouts from getting them, according to the study Wednesday in the journal Science Advances. As climate change increases flood risks, there will be greater need to move people and property out of danger, turning the land to open space, lead researcher Katharine Mach of the University of Miami said during a press teleconference.
— TODAY’S SUNRISE —
A judge sentenced a Florida man to 10 days in jail, one-year probation and 150 hours of community service because he overslept and failed to show up for jury duty. Records show he’s done it before, and some suggest he based the punishments on race. State Sen. Bobby Powell filed a formal complaint against the judge and believes the state should remove him from office.
Also, on today’s Sunrise:
— State Rep. Susan Valdes wants students to have available one day each semester for mental health reasons. Two other states have already passed similar laws.
— Dean Ridings, the of the Florida Press Association, is resigning next month, but he’s not giving up on newspapers. Ridings is going national.
— Sunrise presents the latest in a continuing series on the little-known talents of Florida politicians. In this installment, state Sen. Rob Bradley reveals he has a thing for color schemes and mascots of sports teams.
— New adventures of Florida Men: A guy who tried to barbecue some sex offenders and a drug dealer dressed up as a doctor to escape the law. He failed.
To listen, click on the image below:
— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —
—@realDonaldTrump: Fighting between various groups that has been going on for hundreds of years. USA should never have been in Middle East. Moved our 50 soldiers out. Turkey MUST take over captured ISIS fighters that Europe refused to have returned. The stupid endless wars, for us, are ending!
—@StuartPStevens: A lot of Christian Kurds are facing death because Donald Trump abandoned them. Will the Trump-supporting Evangelicals say anything?
—@MarcoRubio: At request of this administration the Kurds served as the primary ground fighters against ISIS in Syria so U.S. troops wouldn’t have to. Then cut deal with [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan allowing him to wipe them out. Damage to our reputation & national interest will be extraordinary & long-lasting.
—@SenRickScott: This is pathetic. Yet another American company that’s allowing China to dictate their actions. @espn (and it’s parent company, @Disney) should use its platform to shine a light on Communist China’s oppression of the people of Hong Kong, not shy away from it.
—@CesarConda: So the Wizards security just kicked out two people in the Second level for chanting Free Hong Kong. I just saw it.
—@TroyKinsey: Per the FAA, it’s vacation time for @ [Mike] Pence this weekend. There are few finer places for deep thought than #’s Sanibel Island.
—@Mareevs: Hey, @: I have called your office 5x about @ ‘s visit tomorrow and not once has someone answered. No one returned my voicemail either. I also have posed questions to your chairman via email, but fewer than half have been answered. Why?
—@SenTomWright: Thank you to @for taking us on a tour of Camp Blanding today! I am grateful to have learned first hand about the resources our state and nation receive from this installation. Also had the opportunity to catch up with @ , @ , and @ !
The sky over my street the night before Michael. My lineman neighbor had brought his truck home so he could respond faster. We knew it would be bad, but no one knew just how bad for our friends just west of here.
A year later, the scars are still real and raw for many in NW FLA pic.twitter.com/yE7iDZtlUR
— Steve Schale (@steveschale) October 9, 2019
—@StevenDialFox4: All that beer they had ready in the locker room should be given to @fans who sat through this tragedy. Smh.
— DAYS UNTIL —
Debut of Breaking Bad movie on Netflix — 1; Fourth Democratic debate outside Columbus, Ohio — 5; New season of “The Crown” streaming on Netflix — 8; “Watchmen” premieres on HBO — 10; Florida Chamber Future of Florida Forum begins — 18; Brexit scheduled — 21; 2019 General Election — 26; 3rd Annual Florida Internet and Television FITCon starts — 28; “The Mandalorian” premieres — 43; “Frozen 2” debuts — 43; TaxWatch 40th Annual Meeting — 53; “The Rise of Skywalker” premiers — 71; 2020 Session begins — 96; Florida TaxWatch State of the TaxPayer Dinner in Tallahassee — 97; Super Bowl LIV in Miami — 115; Iowa Caucuses — 116; New Hampshire Primaries — 124; Florida’s presidential primary — 159; “Black Panther 2” debuts — 209; 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo begin — 288; Florida primaries for 2020 state legislative/congressional races — 320; 2020 General Election — 390.
— TOP STORY —
“Rudy Giuliani associate embroiled in Donald Trump Ukraine drama raised money for Ron DeSantis campaign” via David Smiley of the Miami Herald — A Soviet-born businessman who helped Trump’s personal attorney dig for dirt in Ukraine on his political opponents also helped raise significant sums of money last year for DeSantis as he campaigned to become Florida’s governor. Lev Parnas, one of two South Florida businessmen called to testify before Congress as part of an impeachment investigation, hosted two fundraisers for DeSantis in the summer and fall of 2018. One of the events was an exclusive affair with fewer than 30 people attending, including the governor. Donald Trump, Jr. headlined the other gathering. A DeSantis spokeswoman told the Miami Herald that the Governor had little to no contact with Parnas.
— PEACHY —
“Trump told Rick Perry and State Department officials as early as May to talk to Giuliani about Ukraine” via Katelyn Polantz, Gloria Borger and Kylie Atwood of CNN — Trump directed Secretary of Energy Perry and two top State Department officials to deal with his private attorney Giuliani when the Ukrainian President sought to meet Trump, in a clear circumvention of official channels, according to two sources familiar with the conversation. Trump believed Ukraine was still rampantly corrupt and said that if President Volodymyr Zelensky wanted to meet with him, Giuliani would have to be convinced first, one source said. “If they can satisfy Rudy, they can satisfy the President,” a person familiar with the meeting said. Trump’s push to have Giuliani as gatekeeper is more direct than previously disclosed.
“Mick Mulvaney sidelined as Trump’s impeachment crisis rages” via Nancy Cook and Gabby Orr of POLITICO — The White House’s acting chief of staff has not appeared on any major TV shows to defend Trump, nor has he had any success in setting up an internal White House war room to respond to Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. Instead, the president’s top aide has found his influence dwindling inside the West Wing as Trump faces the greatest threat to his presidency to date. It’s the same place where Reince Priebus and Gen. John Kelly found themselves, despite each having a wildly different management style and philosophical approach to the chief of staff job. Trump sidelined all three of them, even after Mulvaney made nice with his family and adopted his “let Trump be Trump” ethos.
“How can Democrats keep themselves from overreaching?” via Thomas B. Edsall of the New York Times — During my political lifetime, there have been four moments when the continuing viability of the Republican Party has been cast in doubt: the 1964 landslide defeat of Barry Goldwater, Watergate, the 1992 defeat of George H.W. Bush and the 2008 loss by John McCain. In each case, Democratic ascendancy proved fleeting, and conservative Republican forces struck back with devastating impact. Some strategists argue that the 2020 election will produce a resilient Democratic majority coalition. There are, however, several flashing yellow lights Democrats may want to consider before proclaiming victory.
“Impeachment threat is helping GOP recruit new candidates” via Ally Mutmick of POLITICO — But the Democratic impeachment drive is delivering a much-needed jolt to their efforts to retake the chamber. Once wary potential candidates are preparing to come off the sidelines, according to party recruiters, and the GOP’s small-dollar donor base is stepping up to help the party compete against Democrats who are practically awash in money, according to nearly a dozen interviews with Republican Party officials and some prospective contenders themselves. “It certainly sparks something in you when you see this bombardment against our president,” said Dale Crafts, a former state representative and paraplegic businessman who plans to launch a run this week against Democratic Rep. Jared Golden of Maine.
— DATELINE: TALLY —
“Florida’s first lady flies a private jet — and wades into an ethics quandary” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida — When Casey DeSantis took a political donor’s jet to attend both a Republican party fundraiser and a state policy event, she also ventured into a gray area of state ethics law. On Sept. 30, DeSantis flew from Tallahassee to Jacksonville on a corporate jet controlled by Mori Hosseini, a longtime Republican donor. In Jacksonville, she attended a fundraiser at Total Military Management, a defense contractor owned by political donors to her husband, Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Assignment editors — DeSantis will make an announcement joined by the First Lady, Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Ken Lawson, Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz, VISIT FLORIDA President & CEO Dana Young and Volunteer Florida CEO Clay Ingram, 3:30 p.m. Central time, Panama City City Hall, 501 Harrison Ave., Panama City. Later, the Governor will deliver remarks at A Night to Unite, 6 p.m. Central time, Tommy Oliver Stadium, 440 E. 13th St., Panama City.
“Lawmakers want judge removed after he jailed no-show juror for 10 days” via Skyler Swisher of the Orlando Sentinel — A Palm Beach County judge who sent a man with no criminal record to jail for 10 days because he overslept and missed jury duty is now facing a complaint filed by a state senator. Sen. Powell said he wants the Florida Supreme Court to remove John Kastrenakes from his post. Powell filed a complaint with the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission, which is charged with investigating allegations of judicial misconduct and making disciplinary recommendations to the Supreme Court. “If he is not going to be fair as a judge, he does not need to be there,” Powell said Wednesday. U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson has also called on Kastrenakes to step down, calling the sentence “an outrageous abuse of power.”
“Lawmaker takes aim at health care titles” via Christine Sexton of the News Service of Florida — State Rep. Ralph Massullo, a dermatologist from Lecanto, has filed a bill for the 2020 Legislative Session that would change state law and allow health-care licensing boards to take disciplinary action against providers who are not physicians but use monikers that could imply they are, such as “anesthesiologist.” The bill (HB 309) comes on the heels of a unanimous decision by the Florida Board of Nursing in August to allow John McDonough, an advanced practice registered nurse, to identify himself as a “nurse anesthesiologist” without facing repercussions. Massullo’s bill would amend health care professional licensure laws to define anesthesiologists as allopathic or osteopathic physicians who have completed anesthesiology training programs.
“Did Port Richey turn a corner just to get mugged by legislator?” via C.T. Bowen of the Tampa Bay Times — State Rep. Amber Mariano’s district includes the city of Port Richey. Last week, she dropped the bombshell that she and Sen. Ed Hooper plan to introduce legislation to revoke Port Richey’s charter. It would require Pasco County to take over. Mariano doesn’t think city voters should consider the proposed dissolution in a referendum. It’s now clear from interviews and public records that Pasco County government officials, county commissioners, Sheriff Chris Nocco and even the state cops at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement had been notified in some fashion of the Mariano-Hooper plan to file the bill. “It’s ugly. It’s a political stunt to usurp the demonstrated will of the people,’’ said Port Richey City Manager Vince Lupo.
Delegation meets — The Clay County Legislative Delegation will meet, 2:30 p.m., Clay County Commission Chamber, Administration Building, 477 Houston St., Green Grove Springs.
— LOBBY UP —
Florida Family Fairness, the new lead for alimony reform in the Sunshine State, has added The Southern Group’s Nelson Diaz to its list of advocates in Tallahassee.
The new addition means they’ll be repped by two of the top lobbying firms in the state — the new org., which has distanced itself from the problematic Florida Family Law Reform PAC, signed a lobbying deal with Ballard Partners back in August.
In addition to bringing on The Southern Group, the firm previously known as Southern Strategy Group, Florida Family Fairness has retained the PR pros at McNicholas & Associates to help boost their messaging efforts in the Legislature and the public-at-large.
The hires bode well for the 2020 edition in the long-running battle to reform the state’s alimony laws.
Past efforts to push alimony reform have been stymied by groups such as the Florida Family Law Reform PAC, which made a string of tasteless social media posts during the 2019 Legislative Session, including comparing alimony payments to chattel slavery, casting Rep. Bob Rommel as a ‘one-man dictatorship;’ and referring to women as ‘leeches.’
Florida Family Fairness, however, is looking to leave the nastiness of controversial alimony reform advocates such as Debbie Leff-Kelapire and Elvina Bergmann Kallett behind and instead make a good-faith push for reform.
The alimony reform movement has failed to get a law on the books for nearly a decade, but with the addition of veterans such as Diaz, the could tilt in their favor this go around.
Diaz is intimately familiar with the ins and outs of the issue, possibly more so than any other Florida lobbyist given his years of experience working the issue. He’s also teamed up with former lawmaker-turned-lobbyist Chris Dorworth for an added edge.
“This law is grossly outdated, and it’s time for compromise,” said Diaz, a partner at Southern Group.
“Families are being torn apart, and mothers and fathers are being pitted against each other … we need laws that help families, not hurt them.”
Whether you agree with them or not, alimony affects tens of thousands of Floridians.
It’s too soon to say how the 2020 push will go, but reform advocates’ may have their best shot yet at getting it across the finish line.
Keep your eye on this one; it could be the sleeper issue of the 2020 Legislative Session.
— STATEWIDE —
Click on the link just for the powerful photography — “Floridians with disabilities fear possible cuts in aid” via Elizabeth Koh of the Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald Tallahassee bureau — (S)tate disability administrators are developing a plan to restructure the state’s home and community-based waiver program for … more than 34,000 others like him, because the Legislature says the state’s disabilities agency has spent too much beyond the budget it is given. There are nearly 22,000 more people who are on a waiting list for services, some of whom have waited for years, if not decades. Those on the Medicaid waiver are waiting to see how state administrators intend to change the program.
“State ponders workers’ comp rate cut” via Christine Sexton of the News Service of Florida — Florida’s insurance commissioner is considering whether to sign off on an average 5.4 percent reduction in workers’ compensation insurance rates despite an ongoing debate about the effects of a state Supreme Court ruling that allowed higher attorney fees in workers’ compensation legal battles. A 2016 ruling, in a case known as Castellanos v. Next Door Company, tossed out a restrictive cap on what attorneys for injured workers could be paid. But those increased legal costs are outweighed by other positive trends in the workers’ compensation system, including a reduced number of on-the-job injuries and improving the technology that helps insurance companies better manage health care costs, according to Jay Rosen, an actuary with the National Council on Compensation Insurance.
“Vaping illness cases continue climbing” via the News Service of Florida — Florida had 13 vaping-related pulmonary illnesses reported last week, bringing the number of cases to 52 as of Saturday, according to data from the Florida Department of Health. While the number of cases continued climbing, the number of vaping-related deaths remained at one. The counts reflect the number of cases of lung injury that were reported to a Florida disease-surveillance system dubbed Merlin. A surge in vaping-related illnesses across the country has drawn heavy attention recently. More than 1,000 pulmonary illness cases had been reported as of Oct. 1 to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“After near miss from Hurricane Dorian, Floridians file thousands of insurance claims” via Ron Hurtibise of the Sun-Sentinel — Hundreds of South Floridians filed insurance claims for damage from Hurricane Dorian— even though it didn’t make landfall in the state and barely had tropical storm force winds. Statewide, nearly 4,000 claims were submitted through Sept. 16, according to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. Of those, 908 — or 23 percent — came from Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties. The tallies released by the state do not include details about the type or severity of the damage claims.
“Trump Jr. lags behind Pitbull when it comes to UF speaking fees” via Megan Reeves of the Tampa Bay Times — By now, you’ve probably heard that Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, will speak at the University of Florida tonight. It’s definitely the most publicized speech at UF since Richard Spencer, the white nationalist, spoke there two years ago. But a key difference between the two is that Spencer was never invited. Trump Jr. is not only invited, but the student government’s speaker’s bureau is paying him and Guilfoyle $50,000 to speak. It’s actually on the low end of what other speakers have been paid by the student government’s speakers bureau, ACCENT.
“’No Nazis’ group demands cancellation of Trump Jr.’s Florida event, resignation of UF’s president” via Jenni Fink of Newsweek — No Nazis at UF, a self-described radical organizing group, is demanding that the University of Florida cancel the speech by Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle. “No Nazis at UF sees [University President Kent] Fuchs‘ inaction as deplorably condemnable when students continue to emphatically voice safety concerns about these right-wing agitators on campus,” said Ashley Nguyen, a senior at the school and member of No Nazis at UF. The group also listed several other demands related to Trump’s appearance, including that his $50,000-speaker’s fee is donated to underfunded cultural organizations on campus, that Student Body President Michael Murphy step down from his position, and that ACCENT, the student government speakers bureau that coordinated the event, be defunded.
Happening today — The U.S. Department of Agriculture releases an initial forecast for the 2019-2020 citrus growing season, noon. Call-in: 1-855-384-4184. Code: 6486013.
— MORNING MUST-READ —
“Proud Boys: Patriotic, pro-Trump fraternity or hate group?” via Christine Stapleton of the Palm Beach Post — Depending on your political persuasion and threshold for noise and large gatherings of Trump’s most devoted supporters, the Proud Boys are either a violent white supremacist, anti-Muslim hate group or an enthusiastic, patriotic men’s fraternal organization that promotes “Western chauvinism” — a Mad Men-esque type of America where Muslims are vilified, housewives are venerated and Trump is revered. “We like to call ourselves a men’s drinking club with a political problem,” said a Proud Boy who identified himself as UK2USAPatriot, one of a handful of Proud Boys who gathered with Trump supporters outside an invitation-only appearance by the president at The Villages. “We are sick and tired of being branded homophobic, racist white supremacists.”
— D.C. MATTERS —
—“Is Vice President Mike Pence headed to Sanibel? Big clue says ‘yes’” via Stacey Henson of the Fort Myers News-Press
“TikTok’s Musical.ly deal needs U.S. national security review — Marco Rubio” via Reuters — In a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Rubio said Chinese-owned apps “are increasingly being used to censor content and silence open discussion on topics deemed sensitive by the Chinese Government and Communist Party.” The Treasury secretary heads the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which reviews mergers and stock purchases to ensure they do not harm national security. Treasury did not immediately comment. Rubio said there was growing evidence that TikTok in the United States was censoring content that is “not in line” with the Chinese government. A U.S. TikTok spokeswoman said the company stores all its U.S. user data in the United States.
“Rubio becomes first Republican to demand probe of crooked Brazilian meatpacker that benefited from Trump farm bailouts” via Chris Sommerfeldt of the New York Daily News — Rubio, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s panel on transnational crime, urged Treasury Secretary Mnuchin in a letter to have his department begin a formal review of how JBS SA has been able to become one of the biggest players in the U.S. food industry, even though its notoriously corrupt owners have admitted to bribing thousands of Brazilian officials, done business with Venezuela and relied on financing tied to China’s authoritarian government. Rubio’s letter stressed that Mnuchin should use his authority to look into whether JBS’s American foray was illegal, since it has admitted to using illicit funds to establish its main U.S. subsidiary, Colorado’s JBS USA.
“Matt Gaetz turns Trump support into recognition” via Brendan Farrington of The Associated Press — Gaetz is only in his third year in Congress, yet he has already become nationally recognized as one of Trump’s most ardent defenders. He’s a frequent guest on cable news stations and has appeared with the president several times. While his style works in his Florida Panhandle district, one of the state’s most conservative, liberal Democrats love to hate him — and he seems to revel in the criticism. “He knows exactly what he’s doing,” said Democratic state Rep. Evan Jenne. “And let’s be honest, he’s obtained this, in part, because of saying stuff that sounds a little bit kooky.”
“Michael Waltz: Pullout of troops in Syria a ‘huge risk’ with ‘some upside’” via Mark Harper of the Daytona Beach News-Journal — Waltz says he is concerned about the implications of a Turkey invasion and particularly what that will mean for “tens of thousands of ISIS fighters” being held by the Kurdish allies who’ve supported the United States in Iraq and Syria. “I think the President has been stating and signaling for some time now that he was very frustrated with our involvement in Syria.” Waltz said. “So, I don’t know that it should have been a total surprise and it’s not, in my opinion, an irrational decision because there is some upside in that our relationship with Turkey is incredibly important.”
What Bob Graham is reading: “Waltz delivering [the mail] in ‘undercover Congressman’ role” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — The Republican Congressman from St. Augustine Beach is turning his own version of the CBS TV series “Undercover Boss” with his “Undercover Congressman” program, taking shifts in various jobs throughout his district. It’s not unlike what former Gov. and U.S. Sen. Graham and his daughter former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham did with their “Workdays.” Yet while the Grahams characterized it as a day walking in someone else’s work boots, Waltz sees it as being about getting back into the trenches. “In the military, you get down in the fox hole and get down with the troops as the best way to understand what’s going on,” Waltz said.
Happening today — Waltz will give a speech to the Tiger Bay Club of Volusia County, noon, LPGA Clubhouse, 1000 Champions Dr., Daytona Beach.
Happening today — Trump Jr. will give the keynote address at the University of Florida Auditorium, joined by Kimberly Guilfoyle, a senior adviser for the President’s reelection campaign and a former Fox News show co-host. Trump Jr. and Guilfoyle, who are dating, will also have a 15-minute question and answer session. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the talk begins at 7. Trump Jr. will receive $50,000 for the event, which is open to the public and hosted by ACCENT, part of the UF student government. Also, Republican Party of Florida Chair Joe Gruters will lead a #StopTheMadness Stop Impeachment rally outside U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy’s Sanford office. Organized by the Seminole County Republican Party Executive Committee and the Republican National Committee, the rally is set for 10:30 a.m. outside Murphy’s office at 110 W. First St. in Sanford.
— 2020 —
“’There’s nothing discernible to show Joe Biden’s been punched in the nose’” via Marc Caputo and Natasha Korecki of POLITICO — In more than a dozen state and national Democratic primary polls since Trump launched his near-daily fusillade of attacks accusing Biden and his son, Hunter, of corrupt business dealings in Ukraine, Biden’s standing has remained largely static. “There’s nothing discernible to show Biden’s been punched in the nose over Ukraine,” said Tim Malloy, a pollster with Quinnipiac University, which released a survey showing Biden has lost no support from Democratic voters since its last poll released Sept. 25. A Morning Consult poll also found the former vice president relatively untouched in the Democratic primary since the week before and sitting on a 12-point lead over second-place Elizabeth Warren.
“For 1st time, Biden calls for Trump to be impeached” via The Associated Press — Biden made the remarks as part of a blistering 25-minute speech in New Hampshire, departing from his usual campaign pitch and signaling that he will aggressively confront Trump as the President pushes unfounded accusations. Trump is “shooting holes in the Constitution,” Biden said, by asking foreign powers to interfere in the 2020 election by pursuing dirt on the Bidens and then refusing to cooperate with a resulting House impeachment inquiry. “This is a president who has decided this nation doesn’t have the tools, the power, the political will” to punish bad behavior, Biden said. “He’s not just testing us,” Biden said. “He’s laughing at us.”
“Why Biden declared war on Trump — and poked at Elizabeth Warren” via Natasha Korecki and Marc Caputo — After calling for Donald Trump’s impeachment for the first time, Joe Biden experienced something here he rarely sees on the trail: a sustained standing ovation. It was the kind of crowd energy that the campaign had hoped to tap as it abruptly shifted gears, revealing a new intensity and amped up response to the president’s relentless attacks. Biden didn’t even stop with Trump: He also took a veiled shot at Elizabeth Warren, who has overtaken Biden in recent national polls.
“In shift, Warren says she’ll forgo big money events if nominated” via Shane Goldmacher of The New York Times — From the day Warren announced her plan to skip traditional fundraisers in February, she had said the pledge only applied to the primary. “I do not believe in unilateral disarmament,” she said then on MSNBC. But she told CBS News in an interview that, even as Trump has set fundraising records, she would not change how her campaign raises money if she won the Democratic nomination. “No, I will not be forced to make changes in how I raise money,” Warren said. “Look, for me, this is pretty straightforward.” Powered by small donors, Warren has become one of the strongest Democratic fundraisers of the 2020 field, raising $24.6 million in the last three months from more than 940,000 donations.
“Democrats call for Venezuelan TPS, see chance to woo Florida voters” via Abraham Mahshie of the Palm Beach Post — The question of TPS for Venezuelans has become a political football on Capitol Hill. Republicans, including Florida U.S. Sen. Scott, support providing refuge to Venezuelans but have linked it to setting TPS limits on people from other countries. House Democrats blasted the linkage and say it will be a campaign issue in next year’s election. “Republicans talk and Democrats deliver,” said U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala at the round table earlier this month with more than a dozen Venezuelan community leaders. “We took our majority, and we delivered, and now we are waiting for the Senate. But it seems we’re always waiting for the Senate.”
Personnel note: Danielle Alvarez on hiatus from Mercury to join Trump reelection effort — Alvarez, featured in the “Great Communicators” edition of INFLUENCE magazine, is on leave from her post as Mercury Florida vice president. She’s now Regional Communications Director for Trump Victory 2020. The Miami native worked for the Scott administration, was Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera’s press secretary, then moved on to serve as director of external affairs for Enterprise Florida. She’s also done political stints for then-state Rep. Kathleen Passidomo and the Republican Party of Florida.
— THE TRAIL —
“Travis Cummings continues to raise money for his political committee despite no 2020 plans” via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics — Despite no announced plans to run for another office, Cummings’ First Coast Conservatives political committee continues to raise money — a lot of it. During September, the committee raised $45,000, with Disney and Florida Blue each writing $10,000 checks. August fundraising was more interesting, encompassing the weeks after Cummings’ decision to stand down and clear a path for Sen. Rob Bradley‘s wife Jennifer Bradley to run for the open seat in Senate District 5. Mrs. Bradley’s candidacy was first reported on Aug. 1, but Cummings had endorsed her preemptively.
Save the date — House Speaker José Oliva and Speaker Designate Chris Sprowls will host a fundraiser for state Reps. Chuck Clemens, Paul Renner and Jackie Toledo, Tuesday, October 15, 5 p.m., the Governors Club Capital Room, 202 S. Adams St., Tallahassee. Oliva, Sprowls and Renner will also host a fundraiser for state Reps. Tom Leek and Jayer Williamson, also at 5 p.m., the Governors Club Library Room.
“Keisha Bell to again challenge Wengay Newton in HD 70” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — Both Tampa Bay area attorney Bell and Newton are Democrats, but Newton has been criticized by some within his own Party for siding with Republicans on some issues. That includes supporting a bill increasing funding for school vouchers to send public school students to private schools and a toll road proposal unpopular among most Democrats. “We are in critical times, and I will fight for what our district needs — greater resources and funding for our public schools; high-quality health care that people can afford; and environmental justice,” Bell said. Bell’s parents were both teachers. She’s centering her campaign platform on public education, health care, the environment, and any other areas Bell says the state “can do better.”
Happening today — Democratic state Rep. Cindy Polo will launch her HD 103 reelection campaign with an event, 7 p.m., La Cocina, 1000 E. 16th St., Hialeah.
“Republican Oscar Ganem ready for another shot in HD 104” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Republican Ganem is once again looking to run in HD 104, after losing out to Rep. Richard Stark in 2016. Stark defeated Ganem 62-38 in that election. Ganem, a Southwest Ranches Republican, also filed to run in 2018 but backed out before Election Day. But with Stark term-limited in 2020, Ganem is hoping a Republican can break through in the Broward County District. HD 104 covers Weston, Southwest Ranches, Davie and Pembroke Pines. Stark is attempting to run for Mayor of Weston. The district has been a Democratic stronghold.
— LOCAL RACES —
“Joshua Rydell adds another $43K in bid for Broward State Attorney” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — After earning $54,000 in August, Broward State Attorney candidate Rydell says he’s hauled in another $43,000 in September. Rydell, a Coconut Creek Commissioner and former Mayor, announced his campaign on Aug. 2. “I’m so proud of the campaign we’re building all across this county and grateful to everyone who believes in our message of positive change,” Rydell said in a statement on the fundraising numbers. “Rydell is among several candidates looking to replace Broward County State Attorney Michael Satz, who has served in that role for more than four decades. Also running to succeed Satz are Assistant State Attorney David Cannady, defense lawyer Joe Kimok and former Assistant State Attorney Harold Pryor.
“Patty Sheehan wins another Orlando term after opponent drops out” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Sheehan won another term on the Orlando City Council when her election opponent withdrew from the race. Sheehan, first elected in 2000, will get sworn-in for her sixth term representing District 4, covering the near east side of Orlando. “I’m delighted. I’m delighted to continue to serve,” Sheehan said. “The only thing we need to work a little bit on is we haven’t been doing as much traffic enforcement in neighborhoods because we’ve had to put officers in all the schools after the shootings. That’s something we need to work on. But other than that, people seem happy. I’ve been getting some really good feedback. And I’m delighted to be able to rest for the next month.”
“Gulf breeze voters approve election referendum, strike down purchasing referendum” via Annie Blanks of the Pensacola News Journal — About 44 percent of voters supported the referendum on purchasing and procurement, while 56 percent were opposed, according to the unofficial results. On the election referendum, about 62 percent were in favor and 38 percent were opposed. Both of the referendums were largely procedural amendments to the city charter, and voters’ opposition to the purchasing and procurement amendment means the charter won’t reflect the most recently updated language from the city. “The city will now move forward with consideration of a new Purchase and Procurement Manual, albeit less consolidated, but consistent with the charter,” Gulf Breeze Mayor Cherry Fitch said in a statement.
“Navarre Beach voters strike down referendum to create special fire district” via Annie Blanks of the Pensacola News Journal — The referendum needed 60 percent approval, plus one, to make it to the next step, which is the desk of Rep. Jayer Williamson. But just under 56 percent of voters approved the measure and 44 percent voted against it, according to the unofficial election results. Navarre Beach Fire Rescue is currently a private fire company, funded by a Municipal Service Benefit Unit. Anyone who owns property or is a leaseholder on Navarre Beach pays into the MSBU to fund the fire department, which employs 10 firefighters plus Chief Danny Fureigh. Fureigh wanted to become an independent special fire district, the same as neighboring departments, so that firefighters could receive state benefits.
“Santa Rosa County voters strike down penny tax in contentious special election” via Annie Blanks of the Pensacola News Journal — Santa Rosa County voters decisively defeated a half-cent sales tax increase with more than two-thirds of voters casting ballots against the penny — leaving open questions of how county leaders plan to keep up with infrastructure needs for one of the state’s fastest-growing counties. With all precincts reporting, 67 percent of voters rejected the ballot measure while 33 percent approved it. Had it passed, the penny tax would have replaced the half-cent sales tax that voters last approved in 2016. Approving the measure would have raised the sales tax from 7 percent to 7.5 percent.
— LOCAL —
“How ‘Brexit’ affects Central Florida’s economy” via Nicole Darden Creston of WMFE — Brexit — the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union — is having an economic impact here in Central Florida, despite its geographical distance from the Sunshine State and uncertainty over whether it will even happen. As economic analyst Hank Fishkind tells 90.7’s Creston, the UK’s economy influences Central Florida’s in a number of ways … from tourism numbers to real estate to overall financial health.
“Pulse memorial designs range from sublime to curious” via Kate Santich of the Orlando Sentinel — The six design finalists for the $45 million Pulse Memorial & Museum would bring sweeping landscapes, somber reflecting ponds, engraved walls and in one case a towering, 400-foot-tall edifice visible not only from neighboring Interstate 4 but from several miles away. The sometimes controversial effort, led by the nonprofit onePULSE Foundation, allows for public comment on the designs only through Thursday. After that, the decision will be in the hands of a selection jury of onePULSE board members, architects, local political leaders, a survivor of the June 12, 2016, mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub and the mother of one of the 49 killed there. They will announce a winning design team for the project on Oct. 30.
“Is JEA trying to make sale negotiations look shady, or are they just shady” via Nate of the Florida Times-Union — If the JEA sale was intended to unite the city behind a common goal, then give ’em a tip of the old hat: JEA executives have somehow managed to insult just about everyone and satisfy no one. The City Council, voters, JEA employees, the rest of the public power industry. If the JEA sale was aimed at making utility employees feel more secure, well, this is really one talented group of leaders: They have nurtured a potent culture of fear within JEA headquarters that has left employees more shaken than ever. If JEA leaders were hoping the public would believe the eventual outcome — privatization — wasn’t a foregone conclusion, they knocked it out of the park: The golden goose looks cooked.
— MORE LOCAL —
“Citizens group calls for ouster of Independent Ethics Board officer and attorney” via Jeff Burlew of the Tallahassee Democrat — A group of Tallahassee business and political leaders called on the city’s Independent Ethics Board officer and general counsel to exit their roles over matters including a relationship the officer had with an appointed city official. Citizens for Responsible Spending announced a five-point plan to reform what it called a “troubled” Ethics Board during a news conference Wednesday at the Florida Press Center. The group announced it supports ethics rules proposed by Mayor John Dailey along with some recommendations of the Ethics Board, which finalized a revised ethics code earlier this year designed to put teeth in the law.
“The crash that left a scar: how the Treasure Coast rebounded from housing crash” via Joshua Solomon of TCPalm — Homes are selling for around what they did in 2006, right before counties began to feel the effects of the crash that led to single-family home sales plummeting through 2011. The Treasure Coast housing market, by several measures, has rebounded from the depths of the crash. Not only are homes consistently selling at prices similar to their pre-crash values, but the number of single-family home sales is close to, or exceeding, those from 2006, according to a review of home-sale values from property appraiser offices in Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties. Yet while the homes may be selling, and selling at a fair price, it’s not without an air of healthy skepticism.
Pinellas sheriff, state attorney raise bar for pot arrests” via Katherine Varn of the Tampa Bay Times — Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri and Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe issued a memo cautioning deputies about making pot arrests in light of a new law legalizing a type of cannabis called hemp. The memo spelled out these standards: For creams and oils, the memo advises that deputies generally avoid making arrests unless the substance is in large amounts. Oils are typically consumed through vaporizer pens or e-cigarettes. In schools, where vaping is on the rise, deputies were advised to avoid making arrests and instead refer the student to administrators for discipline. For cannabis-infused food products such as cookies or gummies, known as edibles, deputies were told to make no arrests, according to the memo.
“Red tide on Marco Island presents issue for marine life, birds” via Hannah Vogel and Breanna Harvath of WINK — “My heart is totally broken,” said Kathy Graf, who lives on Marco Island. She had plans to walk the beach, but one look and one sniff turned her away. “I couldn’t even breathe when I got down there. I was coughing,” she said. The most common human health problems caused by red tide are respiratory or gastrointestinal. “There’s gotta be a respect for life,” said Graf. “We’ve got to wake up, wake up people and rise up to the fact that your Earth is dying, and we’re responsible.” On Wednesday, some beachgoers sat toward the back of the beach, avoiding the shoreline. “Quite a few dead fish and a lot of birds enjoying that,” said Bob McMahon of Marco Island.
— OPINIONS —
“Trump is betraying his oath of office. If Republicans don’t step up, they will be, too.” via The Washington Post editorial board — If they are allowed to stand, they will open the way for more offenses in the coming year — including more appeals for foreign intervention in the 2020 election — and they will establish new baselines for future presidents. We’d like to think congressional Republicans would want to learn what, exactly, Trump did to pressure the Ukrainian government — including whether he withheld vital U.S. military aid that those Republicans overwhelmingly voted for. Republicans ought to join with Democrats in insisting that the diplomats be allowed to testify to Congress — and Republicans should also make clear to Trump that his solicitations of foreign governments are unacceptable. Any other course is a betrayal of their own oaths.
“Impeachment in secret” via The Wall Street Journal editorial board — Democrats are moving fast toward what looks like an inevitable vote to impeach Trump, so why aren’t they doing more to persuade Americans? Start with the news that Democrats may attempt to keep secret the identity of the intelligence whistleblower whose complaint started the impeachment drive. This is astonishing. The key witness to depose an elected President would testify without the American public getting a clue about who he is or what his motivations might be. You’d think that annulling the 2016 vote of 63 million Americans would be significant enough to demand witness transparency and a chance for both parties to test his knowledge and credibility.
“Rubio says Trump just kidding about China. It’s no laughing matter.” via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board — The Florida Senator suggested the press should do a better job of determining when the president is playing the role of a joker. “I don’t know if that’s a real request or him just needling the press, knowing that you guys were gonna get outraged by it,” Rubio said in response to a reporter’s question. “[Trump’s] pretty good at getting everybody fired up, and he’s been doing it for a while now, and the media responded right on task.” The only thing “right on task” was Rubio’s response. Rubio suggests the media is wrong to seriously report that Trump wants China to investigate his political rival. What makes him so certain?
“Joe Henderson: “Administrative nightmare” for felon voting rights on Amendment 4” via Florida Politics — In approving Amendment 4, voters overwhelming endorsed giving those felons who had completed their sentences and probation the right to vote again. Republican lawmakers saw their seats in the House and Senate disappearing into the heavens. The amendment would have potentially added about a million new voters to the rolls. Many of them probably would have voted for Democrats. Stopping this was a priority. The situation called for old-fashioned bare-knuckle politics. It required resolute cynicism. This is not complicated. What the good judge didn’t say, but I will, is that creating an administrative nightmare was the intention all along. Republican lawmakers wouldn’t admit that, of course. It was about “clarifying” (their word) what voters meant.
What Shane Strum is reading — “Ron DeSantis sets smart goal: Raise teacher salaries.” via the Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board — For the first time in years, a Florida governor has a bold plan for raising teacher salaries that rank among the lowest in the nation. DeSantis’ proposal to raise the minimum salary for teachers by nearly $10,000 would be an excellent start toward finally investing in public education. There are plenty of details to resolve involving both policy and politics, but the governor’s ambitious plan is an impressive opening bid for a broader discussion. For a state that routinely dwells in the cellar of teacher pay, the governor’s proposal is wonderful news. But there are plenty of questions to answer. Improving public education also is more complicated than raising minimum teacher salaries.
“Raises for Florida teachers? Heck yeah. But don’t cheer yet” via Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel — Today we’re talking about Democratic candidates snubbing Orlando, why you’ll soon see more toll roads in Florida and this week’s all-alligator edition of only-in-Florida headlines. But first, let’s talk teacher salaries. Right now, the average starting salary for public teachers in Florida is around $38,000 — about what fitness trainers and drywall installers earn, according to census data. If you care about public education, you know that’s a problem. This week, however, Gov. DeSantis announced he wanted to raise starting pay to $47,500. That’s a big deal. Yet before DeSantis’ announcement had even fully reverberated around the state Monday, House Speaker Oliva seemed to throw cold water on the idea.
“10 days in the clink for missing jury duty is no slap on the wrist” via Frank Cerabino of the Palm Beach Post — You usually have to do something a lot worse than oversleeping jury duty to draw a 10-day stretch in the slammer. For example, last month, Robert Lee “Bo” Benac III, of Bradenton, was sentenced to 10 days in jail for being one of three men who dragged a shark behind a boat in the Gulf of Mexico while firing a gun at it. Then there’s Crenshanda Williams, the former 911 operator in Houston, Texas, who was convicted last year of hanging up on thousands of 911 calls because she didn’t feel like talking to anybody at the time. Williams got a 10-day sentence. So did Tonya Harding, the infamous figure skater, for drunken driving in 2002.
— MOVEMENTS —
Personnel note: Bo Rivard named chair of Citizens Insurance board — Rivard, a lawyer and past chair of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, on Wednesday was named the chair of the Citizens Property Insurance Corp. Board of Governors by CFO Jimmy Patronis. “As a Panama City resident, his firsthand knowledge of Hurricane Michael’s impact provides an important perspective on the effects and financial toll of natural disasters our state faces,” Patronis said in a statement. Rivard has served on the Board since April 2019. He has represented both public and private companies, including those in health care, transportation, and other regulated industries.
Personnel note: Carlos Lopez-Cantera named to Citizens Insurance board — House Speaker Oliva this week appointed the past Lieutenant Governor to replace former state Rep. Gary Aubuchon on the Board of Governors. Aubuchon’s term expired this summer. Citizens is the state’s insurer of last resort. Lopez-Cantera’s term is up in July 2022. He was tapped to become Lieutenant Governor by former Gov. Scott in 2014 after the resignation of then-Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll. Lopez-Cantera was previously the Florida House Republican Leader and the Miami-Dade County Property Appraiser. He ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate, ending that bid in 2016.
“Personnel note: Dean Ridings departs Florida Press Association” via Florida Politics — Ridings, the president of the Florida Press Association (FPA), has resigned to become CEO of the newly formed America’s Newspapers. Ridings also leaves his post as CEO of Intersect Media Solutions, the marketing agency that is part of the Association. The resignation is effective Nov. 1. The move was announced in an email this week … Ridings’ new employer was formed out of the merger of the Inland Press Association and Southern Newspaper Publishers Association, the email said.
New and renewed lobbying registrations:
Alex Alamo, Ellyn Bogdanoff, Becker & Poliakoff: City of Miami Springs, City of South Miami, Village of Pinecrest
Dane Bennett: Florida Home Builders Association
Stuart Brown, SKB Consulting Group: Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy
Jon Conley: Alzheimer’s Association
Jose Diaz, Katherine San Pedro, Shannan Schuessler, Ballard Partners: Consumer Protection Alliance, Friends of the Underline, North Broward Hospital District
Marty Fiorentino, Davis Bean, John Delaney, Joseph Mobley, Mark Pinto, The Fiorentino Group: Sustainable Water Investment Group
Thomas Harrington, Peebles Smith & Matthews: City of Gainesville
Brian Hughes: City of Jacksonville
Nick Iarossi, Kenneth Granger, Capital City Consulting: Junior Achievement of Florida Foundation
Jeff Johnston, Johnston & Stewart Government Strategies: Centerstone of Florida, Live Nation Entertainment
Kim McDougal, Kirk Pepper, GrayRobinson: Rave Wireless DBA Rave Mobile Safety, SanusLeaf, VitaOvum
Robert Shave, Capitol Energy Florida: Florida Smoke-Free Association
— ALOE —
“Stone crab season is near. But Florida blue crab has a following, too.” via Helen Freund of the Tampa Bay Times — While Florida’s beloved stone crab is just a week away from making its annual debut on Oct. 15, the season for Florida’s other crab — blue crab — lasts all year. From roadside shacks to seafood markets, there are plenty of places to find it. And while crab boils might evoke visions of Baltimore and the Eastern Seaboard, blue crabs — steamed, boiled or deviled — have a devout following in Tampa Bay. Florida’s extensive coastline is home to a robust blue crab population. The crabs also thrive in freshwater, which promotes growth and provides a refuge for juvenile crabs as well as protection from predators and disease, according to statistics from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute.
“‘We’re kicking around some thoughts.’ Don Johnson hints at possible ‘Miami Vice’ reboot” via C. Isaiah Small of The Miami Herald — Dust off your favorite white suit and cue the Phil Collins — “Miami Vice” might be making a comeback. Well at least that’s what Johnson seemed to allude to in Tuesday’s interview on the British show “This Morning.” “Amazingly enough, it’s come back around,” Johnson told the hosts. “It seems like they’ve run out of good ideas for shows. So they’re going to the well.” The show starred Johnson as James Crockett and Philip Michael Thomas as Ricardo Tubbs. The two played undercover detectives in the show that helped revitalize Miami and Miami Beach.
— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —
Celebrating today are David Mica of the Florida Petroleum Council and Jared Ross of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen or the League of Southeastern Credit Unions. Whichever one is most applicable.
Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jim Rosica, and Drew Wilson.