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Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 10.14.19

Put that coffee down — Sunburn is for closers.

If you’re reading this first thing in the morning Stop what you are doing and go check out the “Hunter’s Moon.”

Because the Hunter’s Moon rises lower than usual from the horizon, it will appear much larger and more orange due to an effect known as the “moon illusion.”

The Hunter’s Moon is the full moon that appears in October after the Harvest Moon.

The “moon illusion” happens when the moon rises low, causing observers to view the celestial body in relation to objects on Earth that provide scale, versus when the moon rises high overhead, appearing like a small disk consumed by the vast abyss of space to the naked eye.

While many moon names such as the “Full Strawberry Moon,” and “Full Pink Moon,” mark the transition of seasons, the “Full Hunter’s Moon” isn’t tied to any specific month, according to the Farmer’s Almanac.

First in Sunburn — Will Rodriguez is joining Corcoran Partners as a senior lobbyist in its Tallahassee office.

Known for being in House Speaker José Oliva’s inner circle as a political adviser and previous head of the Florida GOP’s House campaigns effort, Rodriguez also has worked for Republicans such as Sen. Rene Garcia, Mayor of Hialeah Yioset De La Cruz. Rodriguez also served as the finance director for House Campaigns under House Speaker Richard Corcoran.

Lobbyist William Rodriguez joins the firm Corcoran Partners in Tallahassee.

“I am excited to have Will join our team,” firm principal Michael Corcoran said. “He has been a tireless advocate for the Speakers and members he has worked for, and I know he will bring that energy and experience to the firm and our clients.”

Rodriguez added: “During my 20 years of working in this business, I have had the distinct pleasure of working for honorable public servants at the highest levels that always put our residents first.

“Will Rodriguez is among my closest friends and one of a small number of people whom I could blindly vouch for,” Oliva said. “His integrity and principles are known by anyone who has ever interacted with him. A great loss for the Speaker’s Office but a tremendous gain for Corcoran Partners.”


Here are some smart, longer reads you may want to check out as you wait for your flight to Tallahassee or D.C. to board.

Florida Politics’ Scott Powers talks to U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz about the Indian River, deepfakes, impeachment, Syria, and Democrats’ obsessions. Read here.

Powers also spent some time looking at the high-speed passenger line being built between Miami and Orlando. Bottom line: stuff is getting real. Read here.

FP’s A.G. Gancarski speaks to the veteran power broker Mike Hightower, who, in the twilight of his career, is calling for a return to civility in politics. Read here.

The intrepid Ana Ceballos of the News Service of Florida interviews the brilliant Tony Carvajal, who is trying to right the ship at The Able Trust. Read here.

It’s not the first time you’ve read it, and it certainly won’t be the last time, but Buddy Nevins rightly bemoans the lack of coverage in the Sun-Sentinel of South Florida’s local governments. Read here.


Congrats to Drew Heffley of the Florida Medical Association and McKinley Lewis of On 3 PR for running in the Chicago Marathon. Heffley, who ran to raise money for The American Heart Association, finished in 3 hours and 28 minutes. Lewis was right behind him at 3:48:17. Way to go fellas.

Congrats to Drew Heffley and McKinley Lewis for completing the Chicago Marathon


She said “Yes!” — Congratulations to Albie Kaminsy, a Senior Manager of Government Affairs for Charter Communications who was recently featured in INFLUENCE Magazine as one of the Rising Stars of Florida politics, on his engagement to Dr. Angela Diamantakos.


Welcome to the world Elliot Graham Thompson, the fourth child of Judith and Eddie Thompson, a veteran in The Process who has served as a legislative aide and the former Director of State Affairs at the Alzheimer’s Association. Elliott was born October 7 and came in at 8lbs, 3oz. Mom and baby boy “are both home and we are all adjusting to our new norm!”


@WaltShaub: Keep telling yourself it can’t happen here. Keep telling yourself the sun’s shinning, garbage trucks show up as scheduled, the school crossing guard gets your kids safely across the street, and that sitcom you like didn’t get canceled. Keep telling yourself that while you can. This time, we really are at the crossroad. The sun is still shining, and day-to-day life may seem the same for lots of people. But we have a republic for only so long as we can be bothered to keep it.

@RealDonaldTrump: Dealing with @LindseyGrahamSC and many members of Congress, including Democrats, about imposing powerful Sanctions on Turkey. Treasury is ready to go, additional legislation may be sought. There is great consensus on this. Turkey has asked that it not be done. Stay tuned!

@SamStein: It truly does defy everything we know about politics that the president of the United States is publicly defending a policy that allowed hundreds of ISIS supporters to escape.

@MichaelDWeiss: “I let ISIS break loose to stop the endless wars” is one helluva reelection slogan.

Tweet, tweet:

@FBNewsroom: looks like broadcast stations across the country have aired this ad nearly 1,000 times, as required by law. FCC doesn’t want broadcast companies censoring candidates’ speech. We agree it’s better to let voters — not companies — decide.

@TheRock: This friendship I have with @SenWarren over my show @BallersHBO is such a wild and pleasant one. No surprise, however, as my character & show transcends politics. Drive, ambition, getting knocked down, getting back up and moving on. She’s a baller

Tweet, tweet:

@GNewburn: To be effective, the opioid task force must be willing to revisit prior legislation and ask whether it conforms to evidence and best practices. The truth is some of what we’ve tried just doesn’t. That could be embarrassing for some, but lives are at stake.

Tweet, tweet:

@Fineout: So this just happened: Former State Sen. Daphne Campbell sees me & calls me Jim. “Jim, why do you treat me so bad?” I explain my name is Gary. She thought I was @DeFede


Fourth Democratic debate outside Columbus, Ohio — 1; “Watchmen” premieres on HBO — 6; Florida Chamber Future of Florida Forum begins — 14; Brexit scheduled — 17; 2019 General Election — 22; 3rd Annual Florida Internet and Television FITCon starts — 24; New season of “The Crown” streaming on Netflix — 35; “The Mandalorian” premieres — 29; “Frozen 2” debuts — 39; TaxWatch 40th Annual Meeting — 49; “The Rise of Skywalker” premiers — 67; 2020 Session begins — 92; Florida TaxWatch State of the TaxPayer Dinner in Tallahassee — 93; Super Bowl LIV in Miami — 111; Iowa Caucuses — 112; New Hampshire Primaries — 120; Florida’s presidential primary — 155; “Black Panther 2” debuts — 205; 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo begin — 284; Florida primaries for 2020 state legislative/congressional races — 316; First Vice Presidential debate at the University of Utah — 359; First Presidential Debate scheduled at the University of Michigan — 367; Second presidential debate at Belmont — 374; 2020 General Election — 396.


No candidates in sight, but Florida Democrats energized” via Mike Schneider of The Associated Press — Even with no presidential candidate in sight at their state convention, Florida Democratic leaders said grassroots party members are energized to defeat Donald Trump next year. Party leaders admitted that in past years they have started late in raising money and organizing. But they promised they aren’t repeating that pattern this election cycle. “The fact that the candidates aren’t here is because we’re 25th on the primary calendar,” said Terrie Rizzo, chair of the Florida Democrats. “There’s tremendous excitement about what’s going on.”

More than 500 Democratic Delegates convened for the Florida Democratic Party’s biannual state convention in Orlando. Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried served as the keynote speaker.

At Florida Democrat confab, Terrie Rizzo calls Republicans ‘axis of corruption’” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Rizzo and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried opened the conference of 1,500 Democrats at Walt Disney World by seeking to define the values of Democrats and Republicans, with the latter’s function to support and enable Trump. Rizzo ripped Florida’s Republican U.S. Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio, Ron DeSantis, Attorney General Ashley Moody, and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis for supporting Trump, and for a variety of other offenses ranging from being soft on and hypocritical about racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic and xenophobic hatred, to voter suppression. “Together, all of them have acted as an axis of corruption,” said Rizzo.

Tweet, tweet:

Democrats voter registration key for 2020” via Ana Ceballos of the News Service of Florida — During the party’s convention this weekend in Orlando, leaders stressed they have fixed past errors in their voter-registration strategy and are busy building a more Democratic-friendly electorate. “I think we are going to win by putting our head down and doing the work,” said Juan Peñalosa, executive director of the Florida Democratic Party. “What we have done in the past is starting too late. … We haven’t built the electorate in time for the election.” Since launching a registration program in June, more than 49,000 new Democratic voters have been registered, according to data the party provided to The News Service of Florida. In that same period, 48,000 voters registered as Republicans and 63,570 registered with no-party affiliation.

Miami businessman’s push to change Florida elections a ‘gimmick,’ Democratic Party says” via David Smiley of the Miami Herald — The Florida Democratic Party took an official position against a proposed constitutional amendment that would abolish the state’s partisan August primary elections in favor of a system that forces all candidates for state office to run in a single race, regardless of party affiliation. Hundreds of party activists voted … to pass a resolution that calls the All Voters Vote proposal a “gimmick” that “would increase the influence of big-spending special interests and billionaires.” “We, of course, are disappointed but not surprised that party insiders oppose letting all voters vote and having a say in our democracy,” said attorney Glenn Burhans, chairman of the All Voters Vote political committee.

>>>Trump campaign statement on FDP convention via spox Danielle Alvarez — “This weekend at the Florida Democrat Convention, cardboard cutouts of 2020 Democrat Presidential candidates were the highlight of the weekend because not a single candidate showed up. Floridians deserve better and it’s why the RNC’s robust ground game in Florida paired with President Trump’s promises kept to the Sunshine State will solidify his victory in 2020.”

Joe Henderson: Attacking Ron DeSantis is risky move for Florida Democrats” via Florida Politics — If Democrats want to attach Sen. Scott and Rubio to Trump, that could work. But, like it not, a solid majority of Floridians approve of how the Governor does his job. That makes tying a well-liked Governor to what Rizzo called an “axis of corruption” a dubious strategy. Right now, Rizzo’s rant seems to be one of two things. It could just be red meat to fire up the party faithful at. Or it could be a significant campaign miscalculation. Remember the campaign ad where DeSantis worked with his young daughter to “build that wall” out of toy blocks? Critics widely mocked the ad. And. It. Didn’t. Matter.


Donald Trump’s envoy to testify that ‘no quid pro quo’ came from Trump” via Aaron Davis and John Hudson of the Washington Post — The U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, intends to tell Congress that the content of a text message he wrote denying a quid pro quo with Ukraine was relayed to him directly by Trump in a phone call. The ambassador “believed Trump at the time and on that basis passed along assurances” that Trump was not withholding military aid for political purposes. But Sondland’s testimony will raise the possibility that Trump wasn’t truthful in his denial of a quid pro quo as well as an alternative scenario in which the president’s interest in the scheme soured.

Donald Trump instructed his envoy to testify that there was ‘no quid pro quo.’

New revelations about Trump test Nancy Pelosi’s narrow impeachment strategy” via Rachel Bade and Mike DeBonis of The Washington Post — “What we are doing on impeachment is about the facts — ‘Just the facts, ma’am’ — and the Constitution,” Pelosi told lawmakers. “His policy, his personality, his potty-mouth, that’s about the election, and let’s make sure that we understand the reasons he is — the inquiry is because he has not honored his oath of office. We will honor ours.” But a spate of allegations about other possible abuses has led some Democrats to rethink the strategy. Within a one-day span, The Washington Post reported Trump sought to enlist then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in the fall of 2017 to stop the prosecution of a Turkish Iranian gold trader represented by Rudolph Giuliani.

2014 photo shows earlier ties between Trump and indicted Rudy Giuliani associate” via Ben Schreckinger of POLITICO — In the photo, Trump and Lev Parnas stand shoulder to shoulder, smiling at the camera at what appears to be an outdoor nighttime event. Trump wears a white, Trump-branded cap and a white shirt under a jacket. Parnas wears a royal blue collared shirt. The circumstances of the meeting captured in the photograph remain unclear. It was posted on March 8, 2014, on the Facebook account of Shawn Jaros, also known as Shawn Jarosovich. Jaros posted the photo again on April 2 with the caption, “the big homies!!!!!!!!!!! for real tho” and then commented on the photo, “salute lev im coming brother!!!!!!!!!”

A 2014 photo has emerged showing Donald Trump with Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas.

Trump boasted about aid to Ukraine. But the U.S. isn’t Kyiv’s only friend.” via Ruby Mellen of The Washington Post — “We do a lot for Ukraine,” Trump told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a July 25 call, according to a rough transcript made public by the White House. Trump gave no specifics of the United States’ assistance in the call but bashed European allies — and Germany’s Angela Merkel in particular — as not doing enough to aid Ukraine. Although the United States is one of the country’s biggest foreign-aid benefactors, other countries have also sent significant assistance to Ukraine. The European Union and its financial institutions have provided more than $16.5 billion in grants and loans to support its reform process since 2014. Germany on its own has pledged millions of dollars in assistance, as has Britain.

Hunter Biden steps down from Chinese board as Trump attacks” via Stephanie Baker of Bloomberg — Hunter Biden is stepping down from the board of a Chinese-backed private equity company and promising to forgo all foreign work if his father, former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, is elected president in 2020. After months of keeping a relatively low-profile as Trump leveled a barrage of unsubstantiated accusations of corruption at him, the younger Biden is publicly vowing to avoid any conflict of interest. Biden said he’ll resign at the end of the month from the management company of a private equity fund that’s backed by Chinese state-owned entities.

Ukrainian influence in Florida? Republicans shrug while Democrats cry foul” via Emily Mahoney and Samantha Gross of the Tampa Bay Times — “Democrats are so infatuated with President Trump, they’re so deranged by his election … frankly, Democrats need to get over it,” said U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz at an anti-impeachment rally outside Democratic U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala’s district office in Kendall on Friday afternoon. “They need to get over the fact that Donald Trump won and that we’re taking our country back.” But unlike the slower moving news cycle surrounding the Mueller Report, revelations surrounding the July 25 phone call between Trump and the Ukraine president are multiplying by the day, spawning fresh avenues of investigation and giving Democrats more ammo.


Bill Galvano wants to ‘dig into’ the iBudget redesign” via News Service of Florida — Lawmakers are back in town next week and are expected to discuss a number of health care issues that will be at the forefront of the 2020 Session that begins January. While the House pushed for the redesign of the iBudget program, the Senate will first publicly discuss a report submitted to legislative leaders last month. (The House is expected to consider the redesign in November.) Senate President Galvano recalled the tier system he designed while in the House, and he noted that “there’s a lot of anxiety about” how the new iteration of the iBudget will work.

Anti-vaccine movement derails bill” via John Kennedy of the GateHouse Capital Bureau — Activists opposed to vaccinations have packed hometown public hearings with Florida lawmakers this month, urging them to reject a measure that would eliminate a religious exemption used by a record-high percentage of Florida parents to get their children out of state-required school immunizations. The pushback apparently has paid off. “This is not going to be heard this Session,” said Sen. Lauren Book, who has also been the target of a vicious social media campaign for sponsoring legislation (SB 64), eliminating the exemption. “I had already met with most of the folks and said I look forward to a dialogue. But they don’t want dialogue.”

Anti-vaxxers helped shoot down Lauren Book’s bill that would eliminate the religious exemption for school vaccinations.

Port Richey lives on: Legislators retreat from bid to dissolve the city” via CT Bowen of the Tampa Bay Times — State Rep. Amber Mariano retreated from her bid to dissolve the city of Port Richey, agreeing instead to a legislative audit of the city’s financial performance. The action came during Pasco County’s legislative delegation meeting at the Pasco-Hernando State College campus in New Port Richey. Mariano is a Republican from Hudson. Facing Port Richey supporters dressed in aqua-colored T-shirts, legislators agreed to table Mariano’s bill to revoke the city’s charter. Instead, they said they may reconsider the bill depending on the results of an audit.

Here we go again — Bill would require Bible to be taught in Florida high schools” via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics — This would include studies of the Old and New Testaments, as well as Hebrew Scriptures. HB 341 would require — rather than just permit, as is the case now — high schools to offer an “objective study of religion.” Such courses include: “A course on the Hebrew Scriptures and Old Testament …” “A course on the New Testament…,” and “A course on the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament of the Bible, and the New Testament of the Bible.” They would still be electives: If the bill passes, however, the state’s public schools would have to offer these, but no one student would be required to take them.

Personnel note: Shane Parnell McGrath joins Aaron Bean’s officeMcGrath is his new district legislative assistant. He began on Oct. 1. McGrath will be responsible for handling media relations, constituent communications, and legislative policy matters. He is a member of the Florida Bar and previously worked as a judicial staff attorney for the judges of the 4th Judicial Circuit. He graduated summa cum laude from the Elon University School of Law. Bean represents Senate District 4, which includes parts of Nassau and Duval Counties.


The Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability meets to discuss a bill filed by state Sen. Jeff Brandes to abolish the Florida Constitution Revision Commission, 2:30 p.m., 301 Senate Office Building.

The Senate Education Committee will hear a presentation on educator professional development, 2:30 p.m., 412 Knott Building.

The House Ways & Means Committee meets to hear a discussion of 2020 legislative “concepts” from the Department of Revenue, 4 p.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building.

The Senate Community Affairs Committee meet to hear an overview of the damages by Hurricane Michael, 4:30 p.m., 301 Senate Office Building.

The Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee meet to hear a presentation from the Division of Emergency Management about Hurricanes Dorian and Michael, 4:30 p.m., 37 Senate Office Building.

The Senate Ethics and Elections Committee meets to consider confirmation for appointees, which include the Florida Commission on Ethics, the Florida Elections Commission the Tampa Port Authority and the state Board of Medicine, 4:30 p.m., 412 Knott Building.

The Senate Infrastructure and Security Committee meet to discuss climate change and what steps the state can do, 4:30 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building.


Wilton Simpson, the Trilby Republican once referred to as “the Donald Trump of regional egg farmers” will soon become Florida Senate President for 2020, the latest in a 20-year GOP rule of the state’s upper chamber.

As Lawrence Mower notes in the Tampa Bay Times, Simpson will lead the Senate on myriad issues — school policy, environmental funding and redistricting Florida’s political districts after the 2020 Census.

Low-key egg Farmer Wilton Simpson will soon take the reins as Senate President.

But unlike Trump, Simpson is not “bombastic,” Mower says, and rarely makes headlines. While he remains a traditional big-business conservative, Simpson is more than willing to work across the aisle.

“It’s amazing what gets done in Tallahassee if you don’t have to take the credit,” Simpson told the Times.

When Simpson ran for Senate in 2012, he was already well known in Pasco County, mainly because of the egg farming business that bears his name, but also for his longtime leadership of the Pasco County Farm Bureau and involvement in several community boards and associations.

This community involvement allowed him to make several contacts with influential politicians in the area, including then-House Speaker Will Weatherford (also from Pasco County) and then-Attorney General Pam Bondi. He was also able to get then-State Sen. Jim Norman to sponsor a 2011 bill that would make it a felony to take photos of agricultural properties surreptitiously.

“Once in office, Simpson has thrived as a behind-the-scenes operator,” Mower writes.

Although he pushes for rolling back regulations, Simpson earned accolades from environmentalists who help take the teeth out of a 2015 bill that would roll back regulations on growth.

Simpson’s main goal as Senate President will be to help Republicans hold onto their slim lead in the Senate. What helps is his prodigious fundraising, after bringing more than $12 million since 2013.

And If he’s successful keeping the GOP in power after 2020, Simpson and incoming House Speaker Chris Sprowls will become a formidable force for the Tampa Bay area.


Fifth time in 24 years. Why Florida is changing school standards, again” via Jeffrey Solochek of the Tampa Bay Times — Florida education commissioner Richard Corcoran didn’t hide his enthusiasm during a “listening session” in Gainesville, where a crowd showed up to discuss proposed changes to the state’s education standards. The state, Corcoran said, would eliminate the Common Core as Gov. Ron DeSantis promised, create more understandable and measurable expectations, streamline testing, and end up No. 1. But many educators used different words to describe what’s going on. They’ve called the proposed revisions weak and vague in comparison to the existing standards, which they deemed both complex and challenging.

Happening today — The Florida Department of Education continues its listening tour on revamping academic standards, 5:30 p.m., John I. Leonard High School, 4701 10th Ave. North, Greenacres.

Florida: Where every teacher is above average” via Lane Wright of The Capitolist — A new national report just came out and Florida, you deserve praise for an immaculate deception. You’ve made the nation think that you’re one of the stalwarts in teacher evaluation, even though we have little idea how effective our teachers are. The National Council on Teacher Quality, some of the best minds in the business, found that despite a bipartisan surge in support for stronger, more meaningful, teacher evaluations during President Barack Obama’s administration, since about 2015, states have started to backslide. After choosing to factor in some measure of student growth starting in about 2009, many states started scratching the requirement from their laws six years later under intense political pressure from state and national teachers’ unions.

Ashley Moody leads 1st meeting of Statewide Task Force on Opioid Abuse” via Jake Stofan of News4Jax — The task force includes law enforcement, addiction experts and mental health professionals. “This is not a situation of trying to make bad people good, but rather sick people well,” said Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma, who is co-chair of the task force. In its first meeting, three committees were designated: prevention, treatment and law enforcement. “We were always playing defense. This demonstrates that now we’re ready to play offense,” said former state Rep. Jim Boyd, who is a member of the task force. The law enforcement component will likely be aimed at traffickers, according to members. But Lemma said that, for those who are addicted, the focus will be on treatment.

Attorney General Ashley Moody leads the state’s first Task Force on Opioid Abuse.

Guards allegedly beat an inmate to paralysis, and now the state is trying to dodge the medical bills, attorney says.” via Brittany Shammas of The Washington Post — The Aug. 21 assault at Florida’s Lowell Correctional Institution nearly killed Cheryl Weimar, and left her a quadriplegic. At the hospital where she has spent the past few weeks, she breathes through a tracheotomy and eats through a tube. She will need round-the-clock medical care for the rest of her life. Now, Weimar’s lawyer claims in a new lawsuit, the Florida DoC is trying to wriggle out of paying for that care. Prison officials are seeking to release the injured woman from their custody early, which would free them of covering all her medical bills. “The only reason she needs any sort of medical care for quadriplegia is as a result of their employees,” attorney Ryan Andrews said.

Florida’s assisted living facilities to write rules on reporting deaths, injuries” via Elizabeth Koh and Jack Brook of the Tampa Bay Times — When a resident in one of Florida’s assisted living facilities falls, dies or is seriously injured, that facility is required to tell the state within one business day that something has gone wrong. But a bill before lawmakers would give operators weeks to report such critical incidents — potentially leaving residents in harm’s way, elder advocates warn. Industry groups for assisted living facilities, which crafted much of the bill’s language and handed it to lawmakers, say the one-day reports are not needed, and eliminating them will reduce onerous paperwork and unnecessary administrative fines. But advocates say those preliminary reports are necessary to inform state regulators quickly of potential incidents.

Why are they ‘boasting’ about this? — “The Villages boasts highest rate of full-time working poor in the nation” via Larry D. Croom of The

Charities, nonprofits picking up the slack during Michael recovery in Marianna” via Jeffrey Schweers of the Tallahassee Democrat — Fourteen people crowded into three rooms of Anthony Groomes‘ mother’s house the day Hurricane Michael hit this northeast corner of Marianna a year ago. It was the sturdiest, safest structure — the family’s sanctuary in a time of storms. Without insurance or any federal disaster relief money to help, Groomes was on his own. He applied for an apartment in Cottondale 10 miles away, but was turned down. He went to FEMA, which gave him $1,000 for supplies. The organization, based in Marianna, brought in volunteers, lumber and other supplies and materials and put the matriarchal home back together, finishing the work in July. It’s just one of more than 1,000 homes the faith-based organization has rehabilitated.

Mark Hinson revisits Marianna one year after Michael: it’s winded but not down” via the Tallahassee Democrat — I grew up in Marianna. The pecan trees I helped plant in my youth are gone now. The pines? Well, my oldest brother, Richard Hinson, who saw the storm’s eye at his house, summed it up best when he said, “Remember when I told you we need to sell those pine trees in the summer? We should have sold those pine trees in the summer.” After Michael hit, my friend John Milton, who owns rental property in Marianna, said, “You learned pretty quickly not to ask anyone if they had any damage during the storm unless you had most of the afternoon to listen. Everyone had a story to tell about the hurricane.” Hurricane Michael also stole my childhood in Mexico Beach.

’Not for Sale’: Residents of Florida city destroyed by hurricane cling to hope of rebuilding” via Carmen Sisson of The Washington Post — The city is still struggling to regain its footing a year after Hurricane Michael’s ruthless assault left 852 of the Mexico Beach’s 1,900 homes substantially damaged or destroyed. Half of the city’s 1,200 full-time residents haven’t returned. The city’s operating budget is $3.5 million. It cost $30 million to remove debris from the canals, and total restoration is expected to top $239 million. But city officials haven’t given up hope. There is another sign in Mexico Beach that offers a glimmer of hope: “Not for Sale.” Some residents, weary of the daily onslaught from deal-driven developers, decided to issue a strong message to opportunistic outsiders: “Original 98 MB Not for Sale: We love our neighbors and our community.”

“Not For Sale” signs can be found among the slabs and damaged homes around Mexico Beach showing developers the resolve of many residents intent on rebuilding. Image via Panama City Living magazine.

Florida timber farmers face tough choices year after Michael” via The Associated Press — It’s been an excruciating year for Panhandle families who make their living off the land. A year after Michael, they face wrenching decisions about how to carry on. Less than a fifth of the 2.8 million acres (1.1 million hectares) of timberland destroyed by Hurricane Michael have been salvaged. Tons of timber will most likely be left to rot. There are so many fallen logs that they’d fill more than 2.6 million logging trucks, which would circle the equator 1.5 times if parked end on end. Trees once towered over much of Calhoun County, an inland expanse of tiny communities surrounded by forests that suffered the most catastrophic damage to the region’s timberland.

Is Lake O toxic algae harmful by air? CDC study aims to find out” via Kimberly Miller of the Palm Beach Post — Bobbing bright green on idle waters, a microsystis bloom is conspicuous and mostly avoidable. But disturbed, churned up by boat propellers or jet ski engines, the single-celled organism, a type of cyanobacteria known as blue-green algae, can hang suspended in the air — aerosolized into a toxin-tainted fog and inhaled. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are targeting Florida for a study on people who unwittingly breathe in the algae vapor, specifically those who live and work near Lake Okeechobee and the northern estuaries. Noted in the Federal Register last month, the study would choose 50 people “highly exposed” to the harmful algae blooms for testing of cyanobacteria levels in their systems.

Happening today — The Florida Department of Transportation will hold a public meeting in Citrus County to discuss construction of the Withlacoochee-Dunnellon Trail Connector, a multiuse trail that intends to connect Withlacoochee State Trail and the Dunnellon Trail., 3 p.m., Citrus Springs Community Center, Building B, 1570 West Citrus Springs Blvd., Citrus Springs.


Mystery solved: Vice President Mike Pence is visiting Sanibel Island, attends church” via Michael Braun of the Fort Myers News-Press — Pence was reportedly scheduled to arrive in Southwest Florida this weekend, but nothing had been heard of the vice president. Some media reports put his entourage’s arrival early Saturday. Shortly after 11 a.m., the mystery was solved as the entourage of black, tinted-windowed SUVs entered to church grounds and out popped Pence, with a wave to the media, and his wife Karen and a phalanx of Secret Service agents. Church members prepping for early Sunday services said they generally don’t know if, and when, the Vice President makes his visits.

Mike Pence is a frequent visitor to Sanibel Island.

As Peru’s government dissolves, Enterprise Florida pitches roadshow” via Florida Politics — Enterprise Florida announced a roadshow entitled “Doing Business With Peru,” a multicity extravaganza meant to educate the business community in Florida about potential business opportunities in the South American Country. Timing on this could not be worse for EFI. Last week, President Martín Vizcarra dissolved Congress after members of the opposition party cobbled together a slim majority to oppose him. Meanwhile, the leader of the opposition party is already in jail and being investigated for money laundering. That leader is the daughter of Peru’s longtime President Alberto Fujimori, who himself is in the middle of a 25-year prison sentence for human rights abuses and the murders of 25 people.

— 2020 —

Macabre video of fake Trump shooting media and critics is shown at his resort” via Michael Schmidt and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times — A video depicting a macabre scene of a fake Trump shooting, stabbing and brutally assaulting members of the news media and his political opponents was shown at a conference for his supporters at his Miami resort last week. The video, which includes the logo for Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign, comprises a series of internet memes. The most violent clip shows Trump’s head superimposed on the body of a man opening fire inside the “Church of Fake News” on parishioners who have the faces of his critics or the logos of media organizations superimposed on their bodies. It appears to be an edited scene of a church massacre from the 2014 dark comedy film “Kingsman: The Secret Service.”

To watch parts of the video, click on the image below:

>>>From an attendee at the event: “I was at the conference all 3 days. I didn’t see the video, but I did see the room. It was off to the side and due to location/no one in the room, I assumed It was a staff/storage room since no one was in it every time I walked by. It would have been awkward to even just enter the room. That’s why you won’t hear of many attendees (if any) who actually saw the video.”

Giuliani bungling gives Joe Biden a new punchline” via Marc Caputo of POLITICO — With Rudy Giuliani emerging as the face of Trump’s star-crossed operation to dig up dirt on Biden in Ukraine, the former vice president is using the former New York City mayor-turned-presidential-fixer in a different capacity — as a foil in his own effort to fight back against Trump’s relentless attacks. … “Rudy is in so many ways a perfect messenger for exactly what this administration stands for, and that’s why voters reject it,” Biden deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said, underscoring the campaign’s eagerness to use Giuliani as a White House poster boy.

Despite attacks and to the surprise of some, Biden’s firewall is holding — for now” via Cleve R. Wootson Jr. of The Washington Post — Former vice president Biden has slipped in the polls, faced a fusillade of attacks from Trump and his allies, and seen his own advisers downplay his chances in the earliest primary states, all in the past few weeks. But contrary to the expectations of analysts, the fears of supporters and the hopes of rivals, Biden maintains a sizable, loyal following. Nowhere is that more evident than in the African American community, recent interviews suggest, especially in states like South Carolina, which holds a crucial early primary. Shedron Williams, a state representative from Hampton, S.C., predicted that “Biden is going to do well in South Carolina.” Polls back up that contention.

Elizabeth Warren’s same-sex marriage quip captures what some find exciting — and others distressing — about her” via Annie Linskey of The Washington Post — At a forum on LGBTQ issues, a gay rights leader posed a question to Warren: How would she respond if a voter approached her and said: “And I’m going to say, ‘Then just marry one woman — I’m cool with that.’” She finished with a zinger: “‘Assuming you can find one.’” Republicans and some Democrats warned that the quip at the CNN-sponsored forum would play poorly among a big swath of voters. “It’s about telling people who don’t agree with you that they are backward by definition,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic strategist. The line was a “stab” to those who don’t agree with her and “it is a battle cry for men to turn out against Elizabeth Warren.”

Tweet, tweet:

Bernie Sanders says Warren is ‘capitalist through her bones’” via The Associated Press — Democratic presidential candidate Sanders says 2020 rival Warren is “a capitalist through her bones” while adding: “I’m not.” Sanders made the comment in an interview for ABC’s “This Week,” highlighting a difference with Warren, who has been rising steadily in the polls, and now shares the leading position with former Vice President Joe Biden. Sanders has been falling well behind both. “Elizabeth, I think, as you know, has said that she is a capitalist through her bones. I’m not,” he said in the interview airing Sunday. In 2018, Warren was quoted as saying “I am a capitalist to my bones” during an event held by a New England business organization.

Commission on presidential debates announces 2020 schedule” via Kate Sullivan of CNN — The first general election presidential debate will be hosted by the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana, on Tuesday, September 29, 2020. The University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah, will host the general election vice presidential debate on Wednesday, October 7, 2020. The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, will host the second general election presidential debate on Thursday, October 15, 2020. The third and final general election presidential debate will be hosted by Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, on Thursday, October 22, 2020. The CPD will announce further details about the debates, including format and moderators, in 2020.


Margaret Good’s fundraising may not be as wonderful as it seems” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics — Good is the first Democratic candidate in Florida’s 16th Congressional District to raise $450,000 in the first quarter. While $450,000 is a significant number, it’s well short of what Good needs to make a splash in 2020. Around the country, Democrat candidates in key congressional races are reporting seven-figure hauls Add in the presidential race in 2020 and just being competitive won’t be enough for Good to take on Vern Buchanan. CD 16 went for Trump by 11 points in 2016, and there’s no doubt that the Buchanan camp will once again be well funded. And it has the same sharp team in place, including consultant Max Goodman, running his political operation. Good is in the wrong race, against the wrong candidate, in the wrong district.

Margaret Good’s fundraising may not be enough to take on Vern Buchanan.

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell tops $500K raised in latest quarter” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — The campaign for Mucarsel-Powell says they’ve added another $500,000 during the third quarter, giving her more than $1.6 million raised for her 2020 reelection bid. Mucarsel-Powell’s third-quarter numbers follow a second quarter, which saw her bring in more than $600,000. The Democrat is attempting to defend her seat against a pair of Republican challengers. Mucarsel-Powell’s campaign says 90 percent of the contributions given during the third quarter were donations of $50 or less. The campaign says it retains $1.2 million cash on hand going into the fourth quarter of 2019.

Mark Oliver to launch HD 59 campaign” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — He’s hosting a kickoff party Saturday at 6 p.m. at CrossFit Sabal Park located at 1615 Allison Woods Lane in Tampa. Oliver is running against Andrew Learned in the Democratic primary to replace Adam Hattersley. Hattersley is leaving office to run for Congress in Ross Spano’s district. “I believe we have opportunities in Florida to expand access to health care, proactively tackle climate change with 21st-century infrastructure, invest in an education system that caters to the needs of  all our students, as well as lead the nation in special needs programs that are fully funded and help people with disabilities live their best life,” Oliver said.

Boyz II Men helping to raise money for Hillsborough Sheriff’s re-election” via Florida Politics — Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister is holding a campaign fundraiser next month, and he’ll have some celebrity guests helping him raise cash. An event invite says Boyz II Men will perform at the Nov. 1 event, which will get underway at 6 p.m. at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa. Additionally, NFL Hall of Fame inductee Eddie DeBartolo will attend — as will his five Super Bowl trophies. The fundraiser lists several contribution tiers. At the top, donors at the $50,000 level will get 12 tickets to the event, a photo with DeBartolo and his hardware, a photo with Boyz II Men, and be let in to a meet and greet with the candidate and his guests.

Seminole Republican to challenge Joel Greenberg for tax collector post” via Martin E. Comas of the Orlando Sentinel — Saying he is “very concerned about the troubling behaviors” of Greenberg, Chuluota resident Brian Beute has filed to challenge the first-term Seminole County tax collector in the Republican primary next summer. “I just don’t think the citizens are being served well,” said Beaute, a schoolteacher, regarding Greenberg. Beaute also is the president and a founding member of Save Rural Seminole, a citizens group formed to rally against the controversial River Cross development that was voted down by county commissioners in August 2018. Greenberg, 34, a Lake Mary resident, who filed Sept. 12 to run for reelection, said he had no comment about Beute and referred calls to his office’s media consultant, Alan Byrd. Byrd didn’t return messages seeking comment.

Republicans to unleash new ad blitz targeting swing-district Democrats on impeachment” via David Lightman of the Miami Herald — Republicans are planning to target Democrats in swing districts with a new round of ads on impeachment this week as lawmakers return from their fall recess. The Republican National Committee will spend $350,000 on a multi-media buy as part of a strategy that includes digital ads, text messages and phone calls starting Tuesday calling on Democratic House members to “stop the madness.” The effort is primarily targeted at the 31 Democrats in districts President Donald Trump carried in 2016. “We’ll emphasize it’s time to move on,” RNC spokesman Rick Gorka told McClatchy. “There are real issues they could be working on, anything but this.”



Dan Markel case: Family says justice ‘partially served’ with murder verdict and mistrial” via Karl Etters and Jeff Burlew of the Tallahassee Democrat — Jurors deliberated for 11 hours Thursday and Friday before convicting the man who fatally shot Markel in broad daylight in 2014 and deadlocking on the woman prosecutors tried to prove was the go-between in an alleged murder-for-hire plot. Sigfredo Garcia was found guilty of first-degree murder following nearly two weeks of testimony in front of a Leon County jury of 10 women and two men. After that decision was announced, jurors briefly continued deliberating on whether to convict Katherine Magbanua, his co-defendant and the mother of their two children. After sending signals earlier in the day they were struggling with reaching a unanimous decision, they officially deadlocked, prompting Leon Circuit Judge James C. Hankinson to declare a mistrial.

‘A partial victory’: A mistrial was called in the case of Katherine Magbanua, while co-defendant Sigfredo Garcia was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of FSU professor Dan Markel.

Dirty trickster worked secretly on Sarasota County redistricting map” via Zac Anderson of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — Bob Waechter, the former Sarasota GOP chairman who was convicted of a misdemeanor charge stemming from a political dirty trick, has been secretly working behind the scenes to craft new Sarasota County Commission district maps, including one that commissioners voted last week to incorporate into their deliberations. Waechter submitted proposed new boundaries for County Commission districts anonymously through Sarasota County’s online redistricting survey portal, and last week commissioners voted to have consultant Kurt Spitzer use it as a template to craft a map that they will consider going forward. When confronted by the Herald-Tribune with evidence that he was the mapmaker, Waechter first denied it. But he later sent an email admitting he drew the map.

JEA cites ‘alarming’ rate hikes, but its bills have gone down” via David Bauerlein of the Florida Times-Union — As JEA sought to justify its decision to seek offers for privatizing the city-owned utility, JEA board Chairwoman April Green highlighted what she called an “alarming fact” in a letter she sent to City Council members. In the last 10 years, Green wrote, “JEA raised customer rates by 71 percent.” But JEA’s own reports on residential electric bills don’t show customers are paying 71 percent more than they did a decade ago. They actually are paying less. In 2009, the cost for a residential electric bill using 1,000 kilowatt-hours was $119.59, according to a Times-Union review of JEA rate reports. Today, that bill is $111.76. That equates to an 8 percent decline.

Questionable spending, lax oversight push agency for seniors to brink of collapse” via Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post — Airline tickets to Portugal, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, some for family and friends. Hotel rooms, car rentals and racquetball equipment. None of those indulgences has anything to do with state business. But they added up to more than $26,000 in personal charges on the state-issued credit cards of the two top officers at the agency charged with helping thousands of vulnerable seniors in and around Palm Beach County. The credit card charges, racked up since 2017 while more than $2 million in legitimate state bills went unpaid, are among questionable spending decisions that have left the Area Agency on Aging of Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast on the brink of collapse, a Palm Beach Post investigation found.

Thousands of Pinellas drivers have suspended licenses. This program is trying to help.” via Alison Ross of the Tampa Bay Times — More than 1.5 million of the roughly 17 million Florida drivers had their license suspended last year, many for unpaid fines and fees rather than actual driving infractions. Next week, Pinellas County drivers who have had their license suspended for overdue court or traffic fees can get some of their late charges waived as part of a three-day amnesty program being held by the county clerk of court’s office. The program, part of a statewide initiative called Operation Green Light, aims to improve the collection of fines while helping residents get back on the road.


Marion County mulls extending penny sales tax” via Carlos Medina of the Ocala Star-Banner — More than three years after Marion County voters approved a one-cent sales tax, the group behind the initial push is back making a case for a second round. Since 2016, the tax has raised nearly $170 million and paid for myriad public projects and public safety equipment. Kevin Sheilley, president and CEO of the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership, presented a letter to the County Commission recently asking it to consider seeking an extension of the tax. “At the request of the commission, we got the task force back together to look at where we are in infrastructure development and look at what has been done and what needs to be done.”

Santa Rosa voters send warning to commissioners, smackdown to special interests” via the Pensacola News Journal Editorial Board — It was only a half-cent, but the proposed sales-tax increase was rejected by 67 percent of Santa Rosa voters in a resounding special election vote last Tuesday. The overwhelming public rejection made two things clear. First, Santa Rosa residents want builders and developers to directly shoulder more of the cost burden for education, public safety and infrastructure demands placed on the county by rapid growth and countywide building boom. The other big takeaway from voters’ tax rejection — that Santa Rosa Commissioners need to get their priorities in line with the citizens they represent.

College Park in transition as home demos, rebuilds surge” via Ryan Gillespie and Adelaide Chen of the Orlando Sentinel — Tim and Lindsay Kiley loved living in College Park, known for its classic homes, restaurants and friendly neighbors. But when they were ready for a bigger home to start a family, they had a tough time finding what they were looking for. They wanted an open floor-plan with natural light and a swimming pool, a contrast of the decades-old bungalows that line brick streets. They decided their best bet was to tear down the modest house already there and build their dream home. They’re part of a movement toward demolitions and rebuilds in one of Orlando’s oldest and most desirable neighborhoods — a trend some residents fear could push College Park out of range for many homebuyers.

Bungalow homes in Orlando’s College Park may become the victim of developers and buyers looking for larger, more spacious homes.

In Putnam County, could a once ‘dying’ city be coming back to life?” via Andrew Pantazi of the Florida Times-Union — Palatka was called a dying city by the Florida League of Cities. But new data suggest Palatka and Putnam County have a new life. It uses samples, and in counties as small as Putnam’s, population 74,163, that can mean exaggerated swings from year to year. But experts say swings this dramatic likely indicate positive trends. Home values rose in Putnam by nearly 10 percent as of August 2019 compared to a year earlier. Unemployment fell to 4.5 percent as of August 2019, compared to 7 percent just three years earlier. State employment data showed average income rose by more than 3 percent, though still well below the statewide average.

Daytona Beach Biketoberfest bookings slow, Volusia hoteliers report” via Jim Abbott of the Daytona Beach News-Journal — Motorcycles will roll into Volusia County again this week for the annual Biketoberfest, a signature event that officials estimate draws tens of thousands of tourists annually. For many hoteliers, advance bookings are down, based on responses to an informal online survey conducted by the Lodging & Hospitality Association of Volusia County. “We’re probably down 15 to 20 percent,” said Gary Brown, longtime owner of the 91-room Sun Viking Lodge in Daytona Beach Shores. “They’re trickling in, but it’s very slow, very sporadic.” Some attribute the decline to a lingering storm hangover from the area’s brush with Hurricane Dorian. Others point to a decline in interest in the event among an aging demographic of motorcycle riders.

Are Community Redevelopment Areas hurting Tampa?” via Charlie Frago of the Tampa Bay Times — Last year, this city collected $28.7 million in property tax revenue within Tampa’s eight Community Redevelopment Areas, entities created specifically to jump-start blighted neighborhoods. But there’s a question now dividing City Council members: Are the redevelopment areas shortchanging other neighborhoods in Florida’s third-largest city? Their revenues don’t go into the general fund, which pays for police and fire protection, parks and a myriad of services. Under state law, tax dollars generated each year from increased property values in a redevelopment area are spent only on improvements in that area.


DeSantis should avoid flawed E-Verify ID system” via Alex Nowrasteh for the Orlando Sentinel — Far from a silver bullet, E-Verify is shooting blanks. The first fatal flaw is that E-Verify doesn’t check the immigration status of workers; it only checks the paperwork that workers hand to their employers. If illegal immigrants steal identities or borrow them from their legal friends and relatives and E-Verify approves the paperwork, the unlawful immigrant can start working and the government is none the wiser.hundreds of illegal immigrants. The second fatal flaw with E-Verify is that many businesses don’t even use it despite the mandates. Does anyone really think that the Florida government will go as far as to target businesses and shut down those that don’t use E-Verify?

Can the Legislature correct its mistake on Amendment 4?” via the Tampa Bay Times editorial board — Felons leaving prison hardly are in position to satisfy thousands of dollars in court fees and fines. No agency in Florida tracks restitution, and some county clerks have no records on fees in older cases. Republicans like to complain about activist judges. Here’s a federal judge voicing his concerns relating to the law while recognizing the elected legislators’ interest in fixing a flawed statute they wrote. The Legislature should use this opportunity to further the entire purpose of Amendment 4 by giving felons a fair and practical shake at participating in the democratic process. If they fail again to respect the intent of the voters, the federal courts will have to do it.

The nightmare of navigating Amendment 4 in Florida” via Steve Bousquet of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — After voters passed the amendment, Clifford Tyson celebrated by registering to vote. But he worries that if he casts a ballot, he’ll violate the law. A central question Robert Hinkle will soon answer is whether the state’s decision to make voting subject to ability to pay is a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s 24th Amendment, which prohibits a poll tax that was used to keep blacks from voting in federal elections. At a two-day hearing, He pointed to a federal case from 2005, Johnson v. Bush, in which a panel of appellate judges succinctly wrote in a footnote: “Access to the franchise cannot be made to depend on an individual’s financial resources.”

Bad bills became bad laws. Revisiting the destructive 2019 Legislative Session.” via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board — Legislators approved 17 bills that DeSantis should have vetoed during the 2019 Legislative Session. The bad bills that got the green light included multiple assaults on home rule, environmental and consumer protection, and the public’s right to propose and pass constitutional amendments. DeSantis and legislators also eroded the public’s right to open government and public records, damaged the public schools by diverting funds to charters and unregulated private schools, gave unwarranted tax refunds to large corporations, created a monumental toll road boondoggle, and yielded to the irresponsible expedient of arming teachers.

Bobby Bowden is about to turn 90, and we miss him now more than ever” via Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel — I saw Bowden the other night, and I thanked him. I thanked him for being arguably the greatest college football coach of all time. But mostly, I thanked him for definitely be the greatest college football ambassador of all time. Has there ever been a more friendly, funny, charming, disarming, caring, charismatic, winning, grinning coach in the history of any sport than Bobby? Even though he is about to turn 90 years old next month and is walking a little slower these days because of a bum hip, his mind is as fast, and his wit is as sharp as it’s ever been.


Personnel note: Jon Conley joins Alzheimer’s Association” via Florida Politics — Conley has become director of state affairs for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Florida region, according to a news release. Conley, who will lead the Association’s statewide public policy initiatives, has more than 20 years of legislative and policy experience in education, health care and public safety. “I’ve always loved my work, but with Florida’s renewed commitment to Alzheimer’s disease and the ongoing efforts to make our state even more age-friendly, I feel I couldn’t have joined the Association at a better time,” he said in a statement.

New and renewed lobbying registrations:

Christian Camara, Chamber Consultants: B & H Foto & Electronics

Chris Carmody, Christopher Dawson, Katie Flury, Robert Stuart, GrayRobinson: Central Florida Regional Workforce Development Board, Orange County Clerk of Courts

Kevin Cleary, Gunster Yoakley & Stewart: Coalition of Affordable Housing Providers (CAHP)

Gus Corbella, Greenberg Traurig: Tides Advocacy

Michael Cusick, Michael Cusick and Associates: Youngquist Brothers

Mark Delegal, Holland & Knight: Health Law Section of the Florida Bar

Jose Diaz, Ballard Partners: Autism Speaks

Nick Iarossi, Ron LaFace, Megan Fay, Kenneth Granger, Scott Ross, Capital City Consulting: Florida Institute of Technology

Camille Ivy-O’Donnell: Chevron U.S.A.

Marco Paredes, Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler: Crystal Lake Supportive Environments

Frank Ranelli: University of West Florida

Andrea Tovar, Corcoran Partners: Florida Crystals Corporation, Gulfstream Park Racing Association

— ALOE —

Great read — Florida women are no joke. I should know. via Kristin Arnett” of The New York Times — I never think about getting out of Florida. Sometimes I worry that I don’t think about it; that I’m so marinated in the state and its culture that it is possibly affecting the way I’m able to see other people and myself. Florida is a lot of things, but it’s never going to be boring. When the hurricane is on its way, what do we do? We fill our bathtubs with water. We pull out candles and flashlights. We invite over our neighbors. We weather the storm. And then, together, we work to clean up the debris.

A man in Florida paid off the lunch debt for more than 400 students. He hopes others follow suit” via WFTS — It all started with her Facebook post in August, after Angie Vyas-Knight found out that many kids across the country accrue debt from not being able to pay for lunch. Her post detailed a plea for help along with lunch debt totals for more than 400 students at schools in Jupiter, Florida, area. The post eventually made its way to Andrew Levy’s social media screen. “It hit me in the heart,” said the Jupiter real estate agent for Echo Fine Properties. After some time sorting through work and finding out more information from the district, he didn’t want to wait for donations to trickle in. He instead decided to pay the entire debt in full.

Andrew Levy paid the lunch debts of over 400 Florida students, with the hope others may follow suit.

Homeowners wanted: Airbnb seeks Super Bowl 2020 hosts, but they’ll need to work hard for the money.” via David Lyons of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Airbnb, the international home-sharing platform, is conducting a series of workshops next month to show would-be “hosts” in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties how to jump into the game. “We’re looking to target people putting out an initial home or a room for the Super Bowl,” said Airbnb spokesman Sam Randall. Thus far in South Florida, more than 11,000 fans have booked townhomes, condos and other digs between Jan. 30 and Feb. 2, the day of the game, Randall said. A little more than 4,000 of them are in Broward. Airbnb booking numbers for the game are “significantly higher” in January and early February than in non-Super Bowl years.

Crabbers remember horrors of red tide. They’re hoping for a better season this year” via James Jones of the Bradenton Herald — Born and raised in Cortez, Lightning Campbell has fished and crabbed the waters of the Gulf of Mexico for most of his 72 years. With memories still fresh of how last year’s red tide outbreak drastically affected the stone crab harvest, Campbell says he will put out 4,000 stone crab traps this season. Asked what he thinks about prospects for this year’s stone crab harvest, which begins Tuesday, Campbell says it’s too early to tell. Campbell seemed concerned when learning that the state detected traces of red tide off the coast of Manatee and Sarasota counties this week. Last year, red tide made the harvest more challenging and drove up prices for the delicacy charged to consumers.


Celebrating today is Slater Bayliss‘ better half, Sara, as well as Stephanie Rosendorf Diaz, recently featured in INFLUENCE Magazine as one of the rising stars of Florida politics.


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

Written By

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.

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Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
Phone: (727) 642-3162
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St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

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