Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 10.11.19

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If it makes the ballot, Florida voters say they would give the OK to an assault weapons ban — by a narrow margin.

St. Pete Polls called up 3,283 registered voters across the state and asked whether they were for or against the measure, which would ban the possession of semi-automatic rifles and shotguns capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition at once.

Just over 60 percent said yes, while 34 percent said no, and 6 percent were unsure. That puts the measure just over the threshold for passage.

Of course, there’s plenty of time for that to change, assuming the amendment even coughs up the 650,000 petition signatures it needs to go before voters.

Voters weren’t as keen on other amendments being floated for the 2020 ballot.

The top-two primary plan, which would eschew partisan nominating contests and put the two best performers in August on the general election ballot, is underwater.

About 38 percent want the change, while 48 percent want to stay the course. A majority of Republicans are against the plan, while Democrats and independent voters showed lukewarm support, but neither was in striking distance of the 60 percent threshold.

In fact, it fared worse than a ballot initiative that would require voters to approve constitutional amendments twice before they could make it into the state’s governing document.

Just under half say constitutional amendments should get a double OK while 30 percent disagree, and 21 percent are unsure.

The St. Pete Polls survey was conducted Oct. 7 through Oct. 10 with a margin of error of 1.7 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.


First Lady Casey DeSantis flew on a private jet of a political contributor to her husband, which is raising some interesting ethics questions — notably because Mrs. DeSantis attended both a Republican Party fundraiser and a health care policy event.

Also, on Sunrise with special host Jim Rosica, filling in for Rick Flagg:

Amber Mariano is cleared after calling for a corruption investigation in Port Richey.

— Good news for the Panhandle, jobs are returning to areas ravaged by Hurricane Michael.

— Pollster, pundit and political guru Steve Vancore joins in a roundtable discussion of Judge Robert Hinkle, Hurricane Michael, minimum wage and other proposed amendments.

— More from Florida Men: Two men from the Treasure Coast are facing charges after state wildlife officials said they poured beer into an alligator’s mouth.

To listen, click on the image below:


@MarcoRubio: #Syria has nothing to do with endless war or sending thousands of troops Turkey & U.S. agreed to border security zone & Kurds removed fortifications & heavy weapons [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan reneged on deal U.S. agreed to remove our small contingent of troops from border Turkey invaded

@MDixon55: When governor’s formal office comms shop does not want to talk about politics or fundraising, they do not address those questions When they do, that magical official side-campaign side wall no longer seems to exist

@NikkiFriedFL: Killer Seafood was reduced to a pile of debris after #HurricaneMichael. They’ll be reopening soon with a state-of-the-art mobile restaurant, serving up fresh & delicious seafood. It’s been a long road back, but local business owners like Michael are #RebuildingWithLove.

@JimmyPatronis: So proud to attend the grand reopening of the @WMBBTVstudios today. Before, during, and after #HurricaneMichael our communities rely on your coverage to keep the Panhandle moving forward. Thank you for proving we are #850Strong!

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@NoahValenstein: A year ago, Hurricane Michael devastated Florida’s panhandle. I continue to be proud of @FLDEPNews and @FLStateParks staff for their unwavering effort and dedication to our state’s recovery initiatives, including the reopening of every state park that was affected by this storm.

@JennaStaletovich: Florida Crystals getting a lotta love at the @SFWMD board meeting in discussion over lease termination on land for Everglades reservoir. Corps says it needs until May 2020 for wetlands permitting.

@NateMonroeTU: JEA is really kicking off public-power week with a bang: The utility has officially left the Florida Municipal Electric Association, the group confirmed. This comes after the trade group questioned some of the financial assumptions the JEA CEO has used to promote privatization.


Fourth Democratic debate outside Columbus, Ohio — 4; New season of “The Crown” streaming on Netflix — 7; “Watchmen” premieres on HBO — 9; Florida Chamber Future of Florida Forum begins — 17; Brexit scheduled — 20; 2019 General Election — 25; 3rd Annual Florida Internet and Television FITCon starts — 27; “The Mandalorian” premieres — 42; “Frozen 2” debuts — 42; TaxWatch 40th Annual Meeting — 53; “The Rise of Skywalker” premiers — 71; 2020 Session begins — 95; Florida TaxWatch State of the TaxPayer Dinner in Tallahassee — 96; Super Bowl LIV in Miami — 114; Iowa Caucuses — 115; New Hampshire Primaries — 123; Florida’s presidential primary — 158; “Black Panther 2” debuts — 208; 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo begin — 287; Florida primaries for 2020 state legislative/congressional races — 319; 2020 General Election — 389.


Ron DeSantis returns $50,000 he received from arrested Florida businessmen” via Samantha Gross and David Smiley of the Tampa Bay Times — DeSantis will return the $50,000 he received as a contribution from two South Florida businessmen who helped Donald Trump’s personal attorney look into his political opponents in Ukraine. Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were arrested and charged with attempting to funnel foreign money into U.S. politics. The alleged scheme included straw donations in which the duo masked the source of their political contributions by sending them through a newly formed Delaware corporation. In June of 2018, they gave DeSantis $50,000 through a company called Global Energy Producers. They contributed one day before Trump endorsed DeSantis for Florida Governor.

Ron DeSantis is returning $50,000 given to his campaign by Lev Parnas, left, and Igor Fruman; the two were arrested for trying to funnel foreign money into U.S. politics.

Brian Mast says he’ll return money from Rudy Giuliani associate facing federal charges” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Republican U.S. Rep. Mast is joining DeSantis in returning campaign cash from businessman Fruman, who is now facing federal charges for allegedly violating campaign finance laws. Those charges have no connection to the donations to Mast and DeSantis. Fruman and Parnas, associates of Giuliani, were charged in connection with a $325,000 donation in support of Trump’s reelection. Records from the Federal Election Commission show Mast received $2,433 from Fruman in donations between March and June of 2018. A Mast for Congress spokesperson now says they will return the money. “The money came from Protect the House, not directly from Fruman,” the spokesperson said.


White House shifted authority over Ukraine aid amid legal concerns” via Andrew Duehren and Gordon Lubold of the Wall Street Journal — The White House gave a politically appointed official the authority to keep aid to Ukraine on hold after career budget staff members questioned the legality of delaying the funds. Trump said he ordered the aid frozen because he wanted European countries to do more to support Ukraine. He has also said he didn’t make the aid to Ukraine contingent on the country’s cooperation in an investigation of Democrats. While career civil servants put an initial hold on the aid, Michael Duffey, associate director of national security programs in OMB, was given the authority for continuing to keep the aid on hold after the career staff began raising their concerns to political officials at OMB.

Ukraine President: ‘No blackmail’ in conversation with Donald Trump” via Yuras Karmanau, Angela Charlton and Lynn Berry of The Associated Press — Volodymyr Zelenskiy said for the first time that his country will “happily” investigate the conspiracy theory pushed by Trump that it was Ukrainians, not Russians, who interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. And he encouraged U.S. and Ukrainian prosecutors to discuss investigating a gas company linked to the son of Trump’s Democratic rival Joe Biden, although no one has produced evidence of criminal wrongdoing by the former U.S. vice president or his son. While responding to Trump’s requests, Zelenskiy insisted he was not his puppet, and he appeared to be trying to put an end to questions that have dogged the new Ukrainian president since details of his July 25 call with Trump emerged.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy insists there was ‘no blackmail’ from Donald Trump.

Ousted Ukraine envoy expected to testify in impeachment probe despite White House vow not to cooperate, congressional aides say” via Karoun Demirjian and Carol Morello of The Washington Post — Congressional investigators expect that Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine, will appear as planned for a deposition in the House’s ongoing impeachment inquiry, despite the White House’s emphatic pledge not to cooperate with Democrats’ efforts to investigate Trump, according to congressional officials. Yovanovitch and her lawyer are “on board,” according to a senior congressional aide. Yet House Democrats are preparing backup options to facilitate her testimony — including issuing a possible “friendly” subpoena, according to two people involved in the investigation — in case the State Department forbids her from speaking to lawmakers.

House impeachment investigators subpoena Rick Perry on Ukraine” via Nicholas Fandos of The New York Times — Three Democratic chairmen leading the inquiry instructed Perry to turn over by next Friday any records that would shed light on Trump’s attempts to pressure the Ukrainian government to open corruption investigations into Biden and his son. Investigators also want answers on whether Perry tried to influence the management of Ukraine’s state-owned gas company. The new subpoenas, and more in the works, sent a clear message to the White House that Democrats do not intend to back down from a growing constitutional clash.

Fox News Poll: Record support for Donald Trump impeachment” via Dana Blanton of Fox News — A new high of 51 percent wants Trump impeached and removed from office, another 4 percent want him impeached but not removed, and 40 percent oppose impeachment altogether. In July, 42 percent favored impeachment and removal, while 5 percent said impeach but don’t remove him, and 45 percent opposed impeachment. Since July, support for impeachment increased among voters of all stripes: up 11 points among Democrats, 5 points among Republicans, and 3 among independents. Support also went up among some of Trump’s key constituencies, including white evangelical Christians (+5 points), white men without a college degree (+8), and rural whites (+10).

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DeSantis’ teacher salary increase leaves some disenchanted” via Emily Bloch of the Florida Times-Union — According to DeSantis, the proposed bill — which will be addressed during the 2020 Legislative Session — would boost minimum salaries, not the overall average pay. The Governor says this call was intentional and would affect “60 percent of teachers.” The average teacher salary in the 2017-2018 school year, topped $48,000, Florida state records show. DeSantis’ proposal would raise teachers’ starting salary from around $37,600 to $47,500. But as the proposal stands right now, it doesn’t address what the increase means for longtime teachers who already make more than the potential new rate. “So I am a 20-year teacher, and I will only be making $10,000 more than a starting teacher,” a Facebook user wrote.

Not everyone is thrilled with Ron DeSantis’ proposal to raise starting teachers’ salaries.

DeSantis pledges new help on Hurricane Michael anniversary” via The Associated Press — DeSantis will ask the Legislature to dedicate $23 million in interest earned off the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill settlement fund for Hurricane Michael recovery. DeSantis made his announcement in Panama City on the anniversary of Michael. He said he would also ask the Legislature to approve another $2 million for the recovery fund. DeSantis also said he is awarding the area the first grant from a new economic development fund. The $2.6 million will go to build two new roads and underground utilities to help develop new housing. Thousands are still homeless a year after the storm.

Delegations meet — The Pasco County legislative delegation meets, 8 a.m., Pasco-Hernando State College West Campus, Performing Arts Center, 10230 Ridge Road, New Port Richey.

Flags at half-staff for Capitol Police director Chris Connell” via Florida Politics — DeSantis ordered flags at half-staff in honor of the late Capitol Police Director Connell. DeSantis directed the U.S. and state flags to be flown at half-staff at the Leon County Courthouse, Tallahassee City Hall, and the Capitol from sunrise to sunset on Friday. Connell died last Friday at the age of 59.


Florida’s common core standards: No need for ‘any great change,’ educators tell state” via Leslie Postal of the Orlando Sentinel — More than a dozen teachers and administrators, most from Seminole County but a few from neighboring Orange and Volusia counties, urged the state not to make significant changes to Florida’s current language arts and math benchmarks or to adopt the less-demanding replacements the state has drafted. “This lowering of expectations will lead to gaps in our students’ learning,” said Pamela Ferrante, a literacy specialist for the Seminole school district. “These changes are a step backward.” Other speakers at the Florida Department of Education event, held at Seminole’s Winter Springs High School, agreed.

Prison overdoses not tracked amid contraband problems” via Ana Ceballos of the News Service of Florida — Department of Corrections officials say they deem the health and well-being of prisoners a priority and that the system has protocols to provide inmates with “proper medical treatment” when they overdose. But the department has not tracked how many inmates have required treatment as a result of overdoses during the past three years, according to Rob Klepper, the agency’s press secretary. Correctional officers, however, file reports for any incident that happens inside a prison, said Jim Baiardi, who leads the state corrections chapter of the Florida Police Benevolent Association. That includes inmates overdosing, a scenario that Baiardi noted is a “nightmare” for officers.

Ex-guardian Rebecca Fierle charged Altamonte Springs facility $100K, illegally pocketed refunds, investigation finds” via Monivette Cordeiro and Jeff Weiner of the Orlando Sentinel — After confronting Fierle about her “excessive” invoices, the facility ultimately told her to find other “places for her wards to reside,” according to the investigation. It’s the second time the disgraced guardian has been accused of illegally profiting from her work handling the affairs of vulnerable adults in financial arrangements not approved by a court. An audit by Orange County Comptroller Phil Diamond’s office found Fierle billed AdventHealth nearly $4 million for services she provided to the hospital’s patients, often double-billing those patients for the same service. Fierle is not currently facing charges but is under criminal investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and other agencies.

Years of complaints about former professional guardian Rebecca Fierleas were ignored. Image via WTSP.

Orlando to Miami higher-speed passenger train project getting real” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Real, as in the rail corridor is being cleared and graded. Dirt is moving. Supplies like railroad ties are being manufactured, hauled in, and stacked for use. And more substantial items like piles are being driven. “We’re fully under construction,” said Michael Cegelis, Virgin Trains USA executive vice president. Virgin Trains USA has a visible construction zone, mostly running about 36 miles from Orlando International along State Road 528 to Cocoa. Almost anywhere within the airport, along long stretches of SR 528 through eastern Orange and western Brevard counties, and around the intersection of U.S. Highway 1 and SR 528 in Brevard undeniable evidence of the creation of the nation’s first new major private railroad in about a century.

Happening today — The Slavery Memorial Review Committee will review artist submissions and select finalists, 9 a.m., Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.


DeSantis promises more help for Bay County” via Tom McLaughlin of the Northwest Florida Daily News — DeSantis announced plans to dedicate nearly $28 million over and above what state and federal sources had previously allocated to Hurricane Michael relief. Most of the money, about $23 million, would come from interest generated by banked BP oil spill settlement dollars in the care of Triumph Gulf Coast. The interest money, along with $2 million additional from the state’s general fund would come with Florida Legislature approval through funding of the Hurricane Michael State Recovery Grant Program for the 2020-21 fiscal year, the governor announced. A significant investment of $2.8 million would be awarded through the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund, DeSantis announced at Panama City City Hall.

A year after Michael, housing remains a challenge” via Jim Thompson of the Northwest Florida Daily News — In rural Bay County, amid forests of snapped trees and the more-than-occasional home still roofed with a blue tarp, Shelly Summers is continuing to help people who haven’t yet found permanent housing. A half-dozen people remain on Summers’ property off Campflowers Road, which she and her husband, Sam, opened up to people with no other options in the wake of the storm. Both of the couple have jobs and use part of that income to provide their guests with food, while a local business, Carter Pecans, covers utility costs for the impromptu campground. Frustration with rising rental prices, even for mobile home lots, is a common theme among those who remain without permanent housing a year after Hurricane Michael.

Hurricane Michael’s anniversary arrives with promises of more relief and much work left to be done.

Mexico Beach rallies around rising again” via Tori Schneider of the Tallahassee Democrat — This small beach paradise with a very distinct, deliberately laid-back culture is still reeling after taking the brunt of Hurricane Michael. As North Florida marks the anniversary of the Category 5 storm, the town’s landscape looks much different than it used to. “For sale” signs hang in many yards of the houses that remain standing and in the empty lots where some have chosen not to rebuild. But there are far more signs that read “NOT FOR SALE” rising from the sandy and grassy yards of those who have pledged their allegiance to their “Mayberry by the Sea” and have vowed to rebuild. These signs send a message to developers that Mexico Beach’s way of life is not for sale.

The ‘forgotten country’: How Greenwood is still feeling the pain from Michael” via Robbie Gaffney of WFSU — The line to get fresh produce is hours long at the food giveaway near the Greenwood Baptist Church. Volunteers plop watermelons and bags of sweet potatoes into car trunks while others hand out barbecue sandwiches — something Anita Crawford needs after Michael leveled her house. She’s waiting in her car at the tail-end of the line. Greenwood has no restaurants, no gas stations, and for the past year — no grocery store. The Greenwood Supermarket caught fire after the storm. April Garrett lost her car when a tree toppled onto it during Michael. She says she can’t afford any more repairs. Her husband has been out of a job because he couldn’t make it to work.

With Panhandle timber down, Ag. Commissioner Nikki Fried thinks hemp will come up big” via Ryan Dailey of WFSU —  Fried says hemp farming in the Panhandle could bring relief from the billion and a half dollar hit to the region’s timber industry. She joined WFSU’s special Perspectives program this week, broadcast from Mexico Beach, on the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Michael that left millions of acres damaged.


As protesters trade chants, GOP leader Joe Gruters slams Stephanie Murphy for backing Trump impeachment probe” via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel — A street corner in Sanford was America 2019 in miniature, as pro-President Trump and anti-Trump groups yelled at each other across Oak Avenue with police keeping them apart. Both groups were there for state GOP Chair Gruters’ news conference outside Democratic U.S. Rep. Murphy’s office in Sanford. Gruters, standing at a podium on the sidewalk outside the building, said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “and Democrats like Stephanie Murphy are putting party before politics and therefore have lost all credibility.” Gruters cited recent polls showing “the American people are not on their side.”

Joe Gruters hosted an anti-impeachment rally at Stephanie Murphy’s Sanford office.

Sarasota GOP will honor Lindsey Graham as ‘Statesman of the Year’” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — South Carolina Sen. Graham will visit Sarasota on Nov. 15 to receive the county GOP’s 2019 Statesman of the Year award. “We are thrilled to have such a national conservative leader as Sen. Lindsey Graham as our 2019 Statesman of the Year,” said Jack Brill, acting chairman of the Republican Party of Sarasota. “Sen. Graham fits right in the mold with our previous Statesman winners, including President Donald Trump. Twice.” The honor has become a draw to some of the most important Republican politicians in the nation.

Happening today — Café con Tampa features Diana Beckmann of Florida House, Florida’s “embassy” in Washington, D.C. Attendance costs $12, including a breakfast buffet. Due to construction across the street, there is limited parking at the venue. That’s at 8 a.m., Upstairs at Oxford Exchange, 420 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa.

— 2020 —

Why Joe Biden declared war on Donald Trump — and poked at Elizabeth Warren” via Natasha Korecki and Marc Caputo of POLITICO — For a candidate lagging in fundraising, polls and enthusiasm, the rollout of a swaggering, fire-breathing approach and full embrace of impeachment signaled a dramatic departure from course — a change in direction necessitated by weeks of Trump’s siege warfare. For weeks, Biden spoke cautiously about impeaching the president. But in speeches at two events, Biden attacked the president in the sharpest and most personal terms he’s used since entering the Democratic presidential primary. Biden didn’t even stop with Trump: He also took a veiled shot at Warren. “It takes a proven ability to get things done,” Biden said in Manchester. “We’re not electing a planner.”

Warren’s been talking to Andrew Gillum, sparking VP buzz” via Hanna Trudo of The Daily Beast — Two sources said the talks between Warren and Gillum resemble the kind of courtship that happens when a leading presidential candidate is exploring potential vice presidential contenders. One source briefed on the communications said the two Democrats have been in contact throughout the campaign and that it is the “strong impression” that Gillum is a possible vice presidential contender for Warren, who has risen in recent months to become a front-runner in the 2020 primary, the source said. “If you’re trying to win Florida, I would be courting Andrew, and that’s what’s happening,” a second source familiar with the conversations said.

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Bernie Sanders says he ‘misspoke’ about scaling back rallies after heart attack, vows ‘vigorous’ 2020 campaign” via Dartunorro Clark of NBC News — The Vermont independent told NBC that his health scare has only strengthened his resolve, despite telling reporters a day earlier he planned to curtail his normally packed schedule. “I misspoke the other day. I said a word I should not have said, and media drives me a little bit nuts to make a big deal about it,” Sanders said during the interview alongside his wife, Jane Sanders. “We’re going to get back into the groove of a very vigorous campaign, I love doing rallies, and I love doing town meetings.” He added, “I want to start off slower and build up and build up and build up.”

Tom Steyer raises paltry $2 million after personally spending tens of millions on his presidential bid” via Dan Merica of CNN — Billionaire Steyer raised $2 million in the third quarter of 2019, his campaign announced, a paltry haul that pales in comparison to the more than $30 million the candidate has spent of his own fortune solely on television and digital ads for his presidential bid. Steyer had always planned to self-fund his campaign, but the extent to which his personal wealth is propelling his campaign became evident in the fundraising announcement. The $2 million haul lands the businessman-turned-politician at the bottom of all 2020 Democrats who have announced their third-quarter fundraising numbers so far. Campaigns are required to submit their fundraising reports to the Federal Election Commission by October 15.


Presidential candidates a no-show at Democratic convention” via Ana Ceballos of the News Service of Florida — The Florida Democratic Party has confirmed Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and U.S. Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware as keynote speakers for the “Fight for Florida Gala,” a dinner at the party’s annual convention. But as of Monday, presidential candidates did not plan to attend one of the most significant events and fundraisers in the nation’s largest battleground state. Instead, candidates will take part in activities such as The 20th New Yorker Festival in New York and an LGBTQ town hall in Los Angeles, hosted by CNN and the Human Rights Campaign. The primary-election calendar plays against Democratic candidates spending substantial amounts of time in the state this fall. Florida won’t hold its primary until March 17.

Pro-Biden email causes stir before Florida Democratic Convention” via Jessica Lipscomb of the Miami New Times — Tomorrow, the top Democratic leaders in the state will meet in Orlando for the Florida Democratic Party’s annual convention. After a disastrous outcome in the 2016 election, this year’s conference is perhaps the most important in recent history. But tensions are heating up between the FDP establishment wing and its bluer, progressive members. Thursday, party leaders across the state received an email from convention organizer Chris Wills, a volunteer for the Biden campaign. The correspondence raised major questions for at least a handful of progressive activists who found the timing and content of the message unsettling. Tomas Kennedy, an activist and member of Miami’s chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, says the email gave the appearance of endorsing Biden.

Donald Trump Jr., DeSantis to headline weekend GOP events in South Florida” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — As Florida Democrats prepare for their state convention in Orlando, Republicans will flock to South Florida this weekend for a series of events headlined by the President’s son, Trump Jr., and Gov. DeSantis. Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, former Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle, will appear at a fundraising breakfast Friday morning hosted by the Miami-Dade GOP. Guilfoyle is also now working as a senior adviser to the Trump reelection campaign. That group will then hold its 71st annual Lincoln Day Dinner Friday night, at which CFO Jimmy Patronis and state Sen. Gruters are slated to appear. Trump Jr. and DeSantis will also appear Friday at “Amp Fest 2019,” an event at Trump Doral organized by American Priority.

Live from Gainesville, it’s Donald Trump Jr., his girlfriend and protesters” via Megan Reeves of the Tampa Bay Times — Donald Trump Jr. and girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle roiled the University of Florida on Thursday night as hundreds protested student government’s use of school funds to pay the pair to speak on campus….Trump Jr. and Guilfoyle were contractually barred from campaigning for President Trump while at UF, because they accepted $50,000 in public funds. Still, they followed the usual Trump family script, praising the president’s successes while criticizing his opponents, raising legal questions about the event.”


Florida GOP raises $2.8 million in third-quarter” via the News Service of Florida — The third-quarter haul brought to nearly $9.8 million the amount raised by the party this year. Contributions during the quarter included $100,000 from the auto-industry firm JM Family Enterprises, Inc.; $100,000 from the tobacco company RAI Services Co.; $100,000 from Conservatives for a Better Florida, a political committee led by state Rep. Daniel Perez; $50,000 from the vaping-industry firm Juul Labs; $50,000 from the tobacco company Altria Client Services; $50,000 from The Geo Group corrections company; $50,000 from Florida Power & Light; and $50,000 from Duke Energy Florida.

Contributions, signatures pile up for ballot initiative” via the News Service of Florida — A political committee seeking to make it harder to amend the Florida Constitution received nearly $1.3 million in contributions in September, according to a newly filed finance report. The Keep Our Constitution Clean committee received $1,278,622 in what the report described as in-kind contributions of petition gathering and office supplies. All the donations came from a nonprofit known as Keep Our Constitution Clean, Inc., which has put a total of $3.96 million into the initiative. As of midday Thursday, the state Division of Elections had tallied 211,711 valid signatures from the committee.

Money flows to utility ballot measure” via the News Service of Florida — The committee Citizens for Energy Choices received $780,100 in cash and spent $767,763, with almost all of the spending on petition-related costs. The committee is trying to put a proposed constitutional amendment on the November 2020 ballot that would deregulate and revamp the way Floridians get electricity. The Supreme Court heard arguments Aug. 28 about the wording of the proposal, which is opposed by state leaders, major business groups and current players in the utility industry.

Happening today — The Financial Impact Estimating Conference will workshop a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize recreational marijuana, 8:30 a.m., 117 Knott Building.

Margaret Good raises a record $450,000 in initial fundraising quarter” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Sarasota Democrat Good reported a record haul in first quarter funding for her bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan. Good pulled in $450,000 in the third quarter of 2019. The just-wrapped fundraising period is the first since she launched her bid for Congress in July. That total is more than any Democrat has ever raised running in Florida’s 16th Congressional District. Good received more than 2,600 individual contributions from over 1,800 individuals, she said. Of that, 72 percent of contributions came from people living within the District. Good previously announced raising $135,000 of that amount on her first day as a House candidate.

Transgender activist to run for Rob Bradley’s state Senate seat” via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics — Melina Rayna Svanhild Farley-Barratt of Trenton filed this week to run in Senate District 5, a seat where 51 percent of registered voters are Republicans, compared to 29 percent for Democrats. Farley-Barratt is, she says, the first transgender woman to run for state Senate. She also boasts credentials in The Process, as the Legislative Director for the Florida Chapter of the National Organization for Women. Odds are long, but Farley-Barratt is unfazed. She’s been thinking about “running for something” for three years. A run for House was foreclosed when Dr. Kayser Enneking filed to run in her state House district.

Who you gonna call? Call Jason Brodeur, ad urges” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Republican Senate candidate Brodeur wants voters to know that if they’ve got a problem and they need his help with it, just call. A new campaign video lightheartedly shows Brodeur, the former state Representative running in Senate District 9, taking phone call after phone call from constituents while his wife Christy Brodeur looks both proud and a little annoyed that he wants to help fix everyone’s problems. This 60-second spot, “Call Jason,” is his first full-length commercial. His campaign said it would begin running Friday in “a full digital offensive on social media, YouTube and IP-Targeting.” Brodeur is running for SD 9, the seat being vacated by term-limited Republican Sen. David Simmons.

To watch the ad, click on the image below:

In race for Florida Senate, Jim Boyd outraises Amanda Linton in September by more than 10-to-1” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — In total, Boyd took in $24,025 in monetary contributions in September, his second month of fundraising since announcing for Senate. So far, he’s raised $48,275 toward the race. More political committees have dropped $1,000 checks in Boyd’s coffer this month. That includes state Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto’s Protect Florida Families Fund, state Rep. Tom Leek’s Living Life With Purpose and GOP consultant Trey McCarley’s Growing Florida’s Future committees. The AT&T PAC also chipped in the maximum amount. Former Speaker of the House Steve Crisafulli and wife Kristen both gave $1,000 to Boyd. So did lobbyist Ron Book, whose government consulting and accounting firms also made donations.

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SD 39 candidate Ana Maria Rodriguez tops $80K in fundraising for third straight month” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — State Rep. Rodriguez continued her strong fundraising pace as she attempts to move to the Senate, bringing in more than $87,000 in September. Rodriguez is competing in the Republican primary for SD 39 against Angie Chirino, a singer and former congressional candidate. Democrat state Rep. Javier Fernandez of HD 114 is also running. Rodriguez raked in more than $46,000 through her political committee, Ethics and Honesty in Government. Her campaign added another $41,000 in September. Candidates faced an Oct. 10 deadline for reporting September fundraising totals.

Thanks to self-loan, Jim Bonfiglio tops Mike Caruso in September earnings for HD 89” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Former Ocean Ridge Mayor Bonfiglio has added a $20,000 loan to his campaign, enough to ensure he brought in more money than his 2020 opponent, GOP Rep. Caruso. So far, Caruso has been the better outside fundraiser between the two. But Bonfiglio added that $20,000 self-loan to $1,000 in outside money, giving him $21,000 in funds added during September. Caruso, meanwhile, earned tenfold Bonfiglio’s haul in outside money, bringing in just over $10,000. But that leaves him with less than half of Bonfilgio’s September haul altogether.

Ned Hancock now has double the cash of Kaylee Tuck” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Citrus grower Hancock now holds more than a two-to-one cash advantage in a Florida House District 55 contest. That’s after Republican opponent Tuck raised just $3,850 in September. The Sebring attorney has pulled in $63,000 and has $52,227 on hand, including a $5,000 candidate loan. Hancock, meanwhile, raised $61,425 in September, and he’s spent only $3,277 throughout the campaign so far, leaving him with $123,523 banked. He also has a Tallahassee fundraiser planned next week. “We’re still in a very good position,” Tuck said. “I had a serious lead the first month. He has a lead this month. It will go back and forth some more, I am sure. I have been spending my time emphasizing grassroots.”

Daniella Levine Cava, Alex Penelas both net six figures in September for Miami-Dade mayoral race” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — The August fundraising contest saw Penelas come out on top, raising $250,000 to Levine Cava’s $200,000. But the newest numbers from September saw the script flipped, though with slightly smaller totals. Still, both candidates earned six figures. Levine Cava raked in $125,000 between her campaign and political committee Our Democracy PC. That topped Penelas by about $25,000. His committee, Bold Vision, raised just over $100,000. “Day by day our campaign is working tirelessly to hit milestones that we were told were out of reach,” Levine Cava said in a statement.

Jussie Smollett, Ben Crump among September donors to Sybrina Fulton campaign” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Following a pair of big-time endorsements of her campaign, Miami-Dade County Commission candidate Fulton courted more than $11,000 in donations during September. That marks the second-highest fundraising total of her campaign for the District 1 seat. The boost comes after former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker backed Fulton’s run. But Fulton still lags well behind the fundraising pace of her opponent, Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert III. Among Fulton’s September donor list are Tallahassee attorney Crump and actor Smollett. Both contributed $1,000 to Fulton’s campaign, maxing out their donations.

Fiona McFarland builds on fundraising advantage in Sarasota state House race” via Zac Anderson of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune —Siesta Key business consultant Fiona McFarland raised $18,717 in September and expanded on her fundraising lead in the race for a northern Sarasota County state House seat. Sarasota business owner Donna Barcomb collected $6,200 for the race during the same month. Barcomb and McFarland are competing for the GOP nomination in state House District 72. Democrat Drake Buckman also is running for the District 72 seat. Buckman, a Sarasota attorney, raised $8,325 in September.


Parkland discloses devastating aftereffects of shooting” via Nicole Gaudiano of POLITICO — Substance abuse and mental health problems surged following last year’s deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, while test scores tanked. The devastating turns in mental health, academic performance, and substance abuse are revealed in a series of federal aid applications from these school districts. The documents paint the most detailed picture of what really happens to a school after a mass shooting. Once students attempt to return to normalcy, there have been dramatic turns for the worse in academic performance, behavior and mental wellness. Marjory Stoneman Douglas used to rank near the bottom of high schools in the district for instances of substance abuse. After the shooting, it shot up 20 places on the list.

The Parkland shooting is having a devastating effect on surviving students.

Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony won’t talk about predecessor Scott Israel. ‘I’m focused on being a public safety professional.’” via Anthony Man of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — “I’m not going to politicize myself and make comments about an individual,” he said in an interview, adding that he came into an office that had “deficiencies” that needed to be fixed and “they have been fixed.” During his interview with Sun Sentinel reporters and editors, Tony was asked directly if Israel is “fit to be sheriff.” “I don’t think that’s a fair question,” Tony said. “For me to make any comment related to whether or not he’s fit to be sheriff, I think it does two things: a disservice to this community and it does a disservice to my own character.”

Dan Markel murder trial: Closing arguments wrap, jury begins deliberating” via Karl Etters of the Tallahassee Democrat — Jurors in the Markel murder trial have begun deliberating after roughly two weeks of testimony. Prosecutors and defense attorneys in the trial wrapped up closing statements this afternoon, with a final statement from Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman. “Just because Katherine Magbanua didn’t come to Tallahassee or pull the trigger herself does not mean that she is not just as guilty as the ones who did,” she said. “She hired Garcia, who in turn hired Rivera. And she’s the conduit between Dan Markel and the man who put a bullet in his head. Without her, none of this happens.”

Markeith Loyd trial: Jury seated for trial of accused cop killer in slaying of pregnant ex-girlfriend” via Monivette Cordeiro of the Orlando Sentinel — After a two-week search, a jury was seated Thursday at the Orange County Courthouse in the trial of Markeith Loyd, the man accused of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon and her unborn child.

Michael Drejka sentenced to 20 years in parking lot shooting” via Katherine Varn of the Tampa Bay Times — Clearwater parking lot shooter Drejka was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the shooting death of Markeis McGlockton. The sentence came during an emotional hearing about six weeks after a jury convicted Drejka of manslaughter. Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Joseph Bulone heard from relatives of the killer and victim before issuing his sentence. A letter from Drejka’s wife, Cara, read in court, asked for leniency and called him a “kind, loving, caring, hardworking supportive man.” McGlockton’s family asked for the maximum sentence of 30 years.

Michael Drejka, described by a judge as a ‘wannabe’ law enforcement officer, had been sentenced to 20 years for manslaughter

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.

Lakeland city attorney arrested in Hillsborough prostitution sting” via Tony Marrero of the Tampa Bay Times — Timothy McCausland, 69, was charged with unlawful acts as a precursor to prostitution, a misdemeanor, records show. Detectives used fake advertisements posted on an adult escort website to lure the suspects to a hotel near South Falkenburg Road and East Adamo Drive in Brandon, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. When the suspects arrived, each came into contact with an undercover detective. McCausland was hired in 1992 as chief assistant city attorney and became the city attorney in November 2001. He currently is paid $222,946 per year.

JEA began walking back secretive process some Thursday after coming under increasing scrutiny” via Nate Monroe of the Florida Times-Union — Barbara Petersen, one of Florida’s leading open-government experts and longtime president of the First Amendment Foundation, said Thursday she has never seen something as “twisted” as the closed-door process JEA executives are using that could ultimately lead to the privatization of Jacksonville’s century-old public electric, water and sewer utility. “It just doesn’t smell right,” Petersen said. JEA opened bids from possible buyers Monday, but utility leaders hadn’t originally planned on releasing the identities of those bidders or any information contained within their offers for as long as six months … Only after those negotiations are complete did JEA executives plan on releasing basic information about the bidders and the negotiations.

Supreme Court suspends ex-Judge three months” via the News Service of Florida — Justices unanimously agreed on the suspension of Scott DuPont, who was removed from the bench by the Supreme Court in June 2018. DuPont had served as a judge in the 7th Judicial Circuit. DuPont and The Florida Bar reached agreement on the 91-day suspension from practicing law in a deal described as a “conditional guilty plea and consent judgment.” The disciplinary case stemmed from issues that included DuPont spreading false allegations about his 2016 election challenger, Malcolm Anthony, and Anthony’s family members. DuPont was accused of violating several rules regulating the Bar.


Central Florida toll-road agency advances Lake and Poinciana expressway plans, boosts ‘pay by plate’ tolls” via Kevin Spear of the Orlando Sentinel — The Central Florida Expressway Authority approved staff-recommended routes for a proposed expressway that would connect Lake and Orange counties and a proposed extension of Poinciana Parkway in Osceola and Polk counties. The projects would cost a combined $700 million and still face several years of development, design and construction. The Lake-Orange connector would span about 4 miles, intersecting U.S. Highway 27 near Lake Louisa State Park and State Road 429 near Orange County National Golf Center. “It will improve the commute for so many people in our county,” said Leslie Campione, an authority board member and Lake County Commissioner. “This was a missing link.”

Billion-dollar consulting firm landing in Miami-Dade, aims to hire 600 workers in state” via Rob Wile of the Miami Herald — Slalom, a Seattle-based global business and nonprofit consulting firm with more than $1 billion in revenues, is landing in Miami-Dade. The firm, whose clients include Tropical Smoothie, Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW) and the American Cancer Society, will also open offices in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Orlando and Jacksonville. In a release, the company said it plans to employ 600 people statewide, and as many as 200 would be located in its Miami-area office. “When we first started planning Slalom’s Florida expansion, anchoring our office in Miami was a perfect fit,” Troy Johnson, Slalom’s chief growth officer and co-founder, said in a statement.

Troy Johnson, chief growth officer and co-founder of consulting firm Slalom, plans to bring 600 jobs to Florida.

Bonnet House and state trust to work on truce” via Lois Solomon of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — There’s hope for a resolution to the acrimonious standoff between Bonnet House and the historic trust that wants to take over its management: The two sides are returning to the negotiating table. Lawyers are still figuring out the parameters of the discussions, but Patrick Shavloske, the house’s chief executive officer, said mediation will soon recommence. The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation, which owns the Fort Lauderdale mansion’s land and buildings and seeks a more active management role, declared an impasse last month during previous mediation efforts. The trust’s efforts to take control from the local board that manages the property have ignited strong emotions from supporters of the estate, a vestige of Old Florida.

Cutler Bay imposes moratorium on development to study impact of sea-level rise” via Jack Brook of the Miami Herald — The town of Cutler Bay has imposed a six-month moratorium on development to study the impact of sea-level rise. Since mid-July, all properties east of Old Cutler Road have been under the moratorium, impacting about half the city. The town has been researching environmental regulations aimed at addressing sea-level rise and ensuring sustainable development in the future, according to the unanimously approved ordinance initiating the moratorium. “We want to look at, if and when we have new developments, what can we do to protect more of the natural environment?” said town manager Rafael Casals.

Downtown Sarasota pedal pub proposal denied” via Florida Politics — The Sarasota City Commission voted 3-2 against a proposal that would have allowed commercial megacycles to operate downtown. “We’ve got a concern about just general safety of people falling off,” said Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino. “They are going to be drinking while they’re pedaling bicycles. That’s a safety concern.” City chief transportation planner Colleen McGue, city engineer Alex Davis Shaw, police officer Jason Frank and Sgt. Anthony Frangioni joined DiPino to address many of the concerns of Sip-N-Cycle Cruise’s plan to expand service to the downtown area. Sip-N-Cycle owner Brittany Orlando spoke to address many of DiPino’s safety concerns. “I have been successfully operating on Siesta Key for almost a year,” Orlando said.

How much money will Sarasota lose by banning cannabis dispensaries?” via Billy Cox of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — Watch how long the County’s ideas about health, safety, morals, etc., hold up when the potential tax windfalls start migrating elsewhere. Studies by the Clever Real Estate website failed to find significant home-price hikes in states which have medical marijuana-only laws, the numbers jumped in legal adult-use communities. The Commission’s decision to stop Knox Medical from opening an MMTC at a shuttered pool supply store on Clark reflects the arbitrary nature of local prohibition enabled by Legislative formulas enacted in 2017. Robert Roundtree, editor-in-chief at Florida Medical Marijuana News, says the sort of ordinance adopted by Sarasota County before legislators mapped out a statewide formula is fairly typical of communities fearing the loss of local autonomy in the face of what appears to be an irreversible cannabis movement.

Greater Tampa Chamber announces name change as part of a larger rebranding” via Brendan Ward of the Tampa Bay Business Journal — The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce will change its name to the Tampa Bay Chamber starting in December. The new name is part of a larger rebranding effort for the chamber that includes a new logo, which will be unveiled later this year. To aid the rebranding, the Chamber formed a “branding caucus” made up of Chamber members and staff. While redesigning the logo, the caucus also decided to change the organization’s name. The new name is intended to be a more “reflective name that truly embodies the work that the chamber is doing,” the Chamber explained in a news release.

Hurricane Dorian slammed Daytona, Volusia tourism in August” via Jim Abbott of the News Journal — Hurricane Dorian’s Labor Day weekend brush with Volusia County contributed to significant year-over-year declines in occupancy, revenue and bed tax collections at area hotels, according to figures released Thursday by the Lodging & Hospitality Association of Volusia County.

Navarre Beach fire chief ‘not going down without a fight’ after special fire district vote” via Annie Blanks of the Pensacola News Journal — Navarre Beach Fire Rescue Chief Danny Fureigh says he’s not backing down on his effort to create a special fire district, even after voters failed to come up with a 60 percent majority for a non-binding referendum that would have given pensions and state benefits to his firefighters. In Tuesday’s special election, 56 percent of Navarre Beach voters said “yes” to the referendum, and 44 percent said “no,” which is just four percentage points shy of the 60 percent threshold needed for state Rep. Jayer Williamson to take the bill to the next level. “The 60 percent is my protocol,” Williamson told the News Journal on Thursday. Had the non-binding referendum met the 60 percent threshold, Williamson would have taken the measure to the state Legislature.

How will Santa Rosa County pay for infrastructure, public safety after penny tax defeat?” via Annie Blanks of the Pensacola News Journal — By a 2-to-1 margin, constituents voiced deep opposition to increasing the sales tax from a half-penny to a full penny, which would have generated an estimated $180 million over the next 10 years. With those infrastructure demands not going away and the current half-cent expiring at the end of 2021, how do officials plan to accommodate the county’s rapid growth and prioritize funding for much-needed projects? “Well, we still have the half-cent sales tax in place until 2021, so we’ll be able to do what we can with that remaining half-cent,” said District 3 Commissioner Don Salter. “Other than that, there aren’t any options, other than raising property taxes. And we’re not going to do that.”

Commissioner demands crucial vote for Beckham soccer stadium deal in Miami” via Joey Flechas of the Miami Herald — A showdown with ramifications for the future of South Florida’s upcoming MLS team, Inter Miami, is set. Much like the summer 2018 vote to put the preliminary terms of the deal to a referendum, the Oct. 24 vote could prove a pivotal moment for Inter Miami and a large tract of public land next to Miami International Airport.

Morning must-read —Now in second decade leading Miami-Dade schools, Alberto Carvalho is ‘married to the community’” via Colleen Wright of the Miami Herald — It had the suspense of LeBron James’ prime-time “Decision” and the drama of a telenovela. The national media had a name for it: “The Carvalho Show.” On the first day of March 2018, the Miami-Dade County School Board hastily convened to learn the fate of its superintendent. Was Carvalho really leaving for New York City, where he had been offered the job of running the nation’s largest school district? Carvalho had his moment in the national spotlight, and he turned down the job on live television. Of course, he did. Could you imagine “The Carvalho Show” anywhere else? Carvalho is a Miamian by choice.


Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo and William Barr deserve to be impeached, too” via Max Boot of the Washington Post — Three senior officials could have tried to dissuade the President from misusing his office for personal gain, but there is no evidence that they ever attempted to do so. History will record their names along with Trump’s in the annals of ignominy. The President’s principal accomplices in his brazen assault on the rule of law are Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Pompeo, and Attorney General Barr. Pence has adopted the Sergeant Schultz defense: I know nothing! Pompeo is now officially the worst secretary of state in history — wresting that uncoveted title from his predecessor, Rex Tillerson. Pompeo was fully aware of how unlawful Trump was acting. But wait. If you think that’s bad, Barr says, “hold my beer.”

’The U.S. stands solidly behind Hong Kong protesters seeking freedom from Chinese repression’” via Rick Scott for the Miami Herald — China’s growing influence around the world presents a clear and present danger to the stability of world markets, the security of the United States and our allies and the quest for freedom and democracy around the globe. I just returned from Hong Kong, where I met with pro-democracy, business and religious leaders who are fighting for their freedom and human dignity. They are standing strong against Beijing’s aggression. All of this is happening because President Xi is a human-rights violator. He is yet another Communist leader trying to be the dominant world power. It’s Hong Kong now, then it will be Taiwan and soon America itself.

Governor’s vague teacher pay raise plan cries out for answers” via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board — DeSantis wants to raise starting teacher pay by nearly $10,000 a year, to $47,500 for a first-year teacher just out of college. His plan would dramatically uplift Florida’s starting teacher salary from a dreadful 46th nationwide, to No. 2, after New Jersey. DeSantis deserves credit for addressing the low pay that has driven too many good teachers out of the classroom and contributed to Florida’s acute teacher shortage. But the governor’s bold plan, issued in a bare-bones news release followed by headline-grabbing visits to three schools, is full of holes. The biggest question: Where’s the money coming from?

Charting a new direction for Florida’s waters” via Christopher Pettit of TCPalm — Under the leadership of Agriculture Commissioner Fried, Florida’s Office of Agricultural Water Policy is taking decisive steps to improve existing water resource programs, and spearheading conversations to address the challenges posed by the impacts of our climate crisis. As director of that office, I recently spoke before a Florida Senate committee on how we’re addressing issues in watersheds across the state. From updating research on the water resource benefits of agricultural best management practices, to prioritizing cost-share funding to help farmers acquire the best technology, we’re putting a new emphasis on innovation to protect Florida’s waters.


Personnel note: New leadership at Department of Health” via Florida Politics — Courtney Coppola has been promoted to be the Department of Health’s Chief of Staff, Secretary and state Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees announced Thursday. Coppola also will be the department’s Marijuana Coordinator, he said. Alberto Moscoso is now Communications Director, Emerson George is Deputy Communications Director and Andrew Love is Legislative Planning Director, Rivkees added. “I am excited to bring aboard such a dedicated group of professionals to assist in accomplishing the Department’s mission,” Rivkees said in a statement.

Florida Senior Living Association brings on Lee Ann Griffin” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Griffin comes on with 18 years of experience focused on rules and regulations for nursing homes and senior centers. As a certified trainer for core assisted living facility programs and specifically for Alzheimer’s disease and related conditions, she knows the day-to-day needs of facilities. Through her work, Griffin has developed a diverse range of curriculum, coursework, video training and other tools to promote quality improvement. She also holds some experience supporting providers through the use of compliance guidance and survey readiness. Griffin said helping members through that process ensures they are better able to focus on staff and the community and residents they serve.

Congratulations to Lee Ann Griffin, newly named Director of Regulation and Education at the Florida Senior Living Association.

Bryan Eastman joins political communications firm Statecraft Digital” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — Eastman found a niche space in politics blending campaigns and technology. The Gainesville-based Democrat founded PoliEngine, a company that serves as a “web-building platform for candidates and political issues.” Eastman worked on the successful 2018 half-cent sales tax referendum in Alachua County to fund public schools. He worked on his first campaign when he was 21. His candidate lost, but Eastman was hooked. Now, Eastman has been working on political campaigns for nearly a decade. He was named a 2019 “Rising Star of Florida Politics” in INFLUENCE Magazine this summer.

New and renewed lobbying registrations:

Alex Alamo, Becker & Poliakoff: Village of Virginia Gardens

Kevin Cleary, Gunster Yoakley & Stewart: The Haskell Company, Town of Oakland

Kathleen Elizabeth Keenan: Enterprise Florida

George Levesque, Jessica Love, Kim McDougal, Joseph Salzverg, Todd Steibly, GrayRobinson: Dosal Tobacco Corporation, MACtown, OneBlood, SanusLeaf, VitaOvum

Robert Schenck, The Legis Group: Christeia Jones


Battleground Florida with Christopher Heath: Kyle Foley got into politics and then walked away. A writer for several conservative outlets, Foley covered the 2016 election. Foley talks about how values led him to write about politics and then led him to a career-altering decision.

Dishonorable Mention: State Rep. Chris Latvala, activist Becca Tieder, Tampa Bay Times Columnist Ernest Hooper and communications expert Dr. Karla Mastracchio discuss politics and culture: national, state, local, but from a place of love. Mastracchio talks about her work with a cyberbullying forum on the campus of USF; she talks about her findings and shares an individual’s story on being cyber-bullied and her experience with UPD. Former USF Football Player Joshua Brown was killed over the weekend. He recently testified against Dallas police officer Amber Guyger who shot and killed Botham Jean in his apartment.

Gradebook from the Tampa Bay Times with hosts Marlene Sokol and Jeffrey Solochek: This week, DeSantis announced his goal to increase Florida’s base teacher salary to $47,500. It didn’t win universal accolades, though. It instead was greeted with questions, doubts and criticisms. Why all the concern? Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association president Rob Kriete talks to Solochek about the proposal and the pushback.

Inside Florida Politics from GateHouse Florida with hosts John Kennedy and Zac Anderson. DeSantis wants to raise the starting teacher salary in Florida to $47,500. Kennedy and Anderson discuss the debate over teacher pay, new developments in a big court battle over felon’s voting rights and Republican efforts in Florida to push back against impeachment.


Facing South Florida with Jim DeFede on CBS 4 in Miami: The Sunday show provides viewers with an in-depth look at politics in South Florida, along with other issues affecting the region.

Florida This Week on Tampa Bay’s WEDU: Moderator Rob Lorei hosts a roundtable panel with attorney and political science professor Tara Newsom from St. Petersburg College; Arc Capital CEO and founder Rita Ferrandino; anchor/political reporter Holly Gregory of Bay News 9 and Pasco County Tax Collector Mike Fasano.

In Focus with Allison Walker-Torres on Bay News 9: A discussion of disability legislation that could benefit Floridians with disabilities and a proposal that could curb discrimination. Joining Walker-Torres are state Reps. Anna Eskamani and Randy Fine; Doug Towne, chair/CEO, The Access Ready Organization — Inclusion Can’t Wait; and Melanie Etters, Communications Director of the Agency for Persons with Disabilities.

Political Connections on CF 13 in Orlando and Bay News 9 in Tampa/St. Pete: U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio will join in-studio to discuss Turkey launching a military offensive in Syria, U.S. negotiations with China, and the impeachment inquiry.

The Usual Suspects on WCTV-Tallahassee/Thomasville (CBS) and WJHG-Panama City (NBC): Gary Yordon speaks with pollster Steve Vancore, News Service of Florida political reporter Dara Kam and POLITICO reporter Gary Fineout.

This Week in Jacksonville with Kent Justice on Channel 4 WJXT: This week’s guests are state Sen. Travis Hutson, Align Impact CEO Jennifer Keating and Jacksonville Charter Revision Commission Chair Lindsay Brock.

— ALOE —

The only story that matters — ’We’re kicking around some thoughts.’ Don Johnson hints at possible ‘Miami Vice’ reboot” via C Isaiah Smalls II 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 an interview on the British show “This Morning.” “We’re kicking around some thoughts,” Johnson told the hosts. “Amazingly enough, it’s come back around. It seems like they’ve run out of good ideas for shows. So they’re going to the well.” Johnson, who was on the show promoting his new film, “Knives Out,” was then asked if he’s already doing the reboot. The actor paused, then grinned and replied, “Maybe.”

‘We’re kicking aground some thoughts’: Don Johnson plays coy about a Miami Vice comeback. Image via NBC.

Dad texts daughter to help study for test — whether she likes it or not” via Alyssa Newcomb of Today — Ana Caputo crammed for her test, with help from her mom, Erin, who is a public-school teacher, and her older sister, Liv. Her father, Marc Caputo, also quizzed his daughter on the ride to school. After he dropped off Ana, Caputo received a text message. “I hate school and there is this one kid who gets on my last nerves,” Ana wrote. He decided to keep helping Ana study. “Federal Bureau of Investigation is the FBI.” Ana responded “IK.” “National Aeronautic & Space Administration is NASA.” Again, she replied, “IK.” Then he crossed the line into full dad territory. “You love me too. I know,” he wrote. “I do. I never said I didn’t,” Ana replied. “Because the Fifth Amendment is the right against self-incrimination (right to remain silent),” he added. That prompted Ana to send him: “OMG DAD STOP.” But Caputo had to slip in one more memorable line. “I will not stop,” he said, “because the First Amendment gives me freedom of speech.”


Celebrating today are Joni Branch of the Florida Education Association, Kim McKeel, the legendary Lucy Morgan, and Anissa Raiford. Celebrating tomorrow are Sen. Lauren Book, lobbyist Allyce Heflin, Jimmy Midyette, and former Rep. Jimmie Smith. Celebrating on Sunday is our friend, Cesar Fernandez, of Converge Government Affairs.


Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jim Rosica, 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.

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