Today is your day, Wilton Simpson. This is for you, Mr. Senate President-designate:
To watch, click the image below:
Simpson is slated to be formally designated as the incoming Senate president during a meeting of Senate Republicans. Simpson will succeed President Bill Galvano after the 2020 elections. Simpson, who was first elected to the Senate in 2012, has long had support lined up to become the next president. Republicans make the selection because they control the Senate and are likely to retain their majority in the 2020 elections.
The designation ceremony is at 2 p.m. in the Senate chamber.
—”Collegial and conservative: Wilton Simpson prepares to take Senate gavel” via Janelle Irwin of Florida Politics
—“The News Service has five questions for Wilton Simpson” via Dara Kam of the News Service of Florida
CNN will need an extra-wide lens Tuesday night at the third Democratic debate to capture all the participants. If anyone thought 10 debaters on a single stage was too many, well, get ready for 12.
That’s right; an even dozen Democrats qualified for this debate at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio. While viewers may concentrate on major storylines like Joe Biden vs. Elizabeth Warren, there are several intriguing things to watch beyond the two front-runners.
Bernie Sanders will be watched closely to see how he holds up after his recent heart attack. Billionaire Tom Steyer is on the debate for the first time. Can Kamela Harris regain her stride after her early momentum slipped away?
And what about those running well back in the polls? It’s likely the last chance for candidates like Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, and Julián Castro to keep their place on the debate stage. Requirements will make it tougher to qualify for the November debate in Atlanta.
The November standard requires 5 percent or better in at least two early-nominating states: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. Or they can have four polls at 3 percent or more in early nominating states or national surveys.
Candidates also will need 165,000 unique donors throughout their campaign.
Neither of those three have yet qualified. If any of them has been holding back, it’s time to let ‘er rip.
Long-shot candidate Tulsi Gabbard has not qualified either. She threatened to bypass this debate because she considered the format unfair but decided to attend.
Oh, and the candidates will get their say about President Donald Trump’s attacks on Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, as well as, oh, pick a topic.
The debate begins at 8 p.m. EDT and likely will run nearly three hours.
Strategos Group is expanding its footprint into the nation’s capital.
The consulting firm announced Tuesday that it was adding a Washington, D.C. office and that it’s added on policy expert Doug Mesecar to staff the new operation.
Mesecar has served in senior operational and policy roles at the U.S. Department of Education, in Congress, and at leading education companies.
At the U.S. Department of Education, Mesecar served in a number of senior roles: Assistant Deputy Secretary of the Office of Innovation and Improvement, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, and Deputy Chief of Staff of the Department.
In Congress, he was a senior professional staff member on the House Education and Workforce Committee, where he negotiated final legislative language for significant portions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (NCLB), including Title I, accountability, flexibility, teacher quality, charter and parental option provisions.
“Expanding into the Washington D.C. market as our fifth geography is the latest achievement in our strategic objectives to amplify our client delivery capabilities,” said Adam Giery, managing partner of Strategos.
— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —
—@RepTedDeutch: After church & synagogue mass shootings After Members of Congress nearly killed on a baseball field after reporters killed at Capital Gazette Trump supporters glorify violence against political opponents & media in a church We must demand better than this.
—@TomColicchio:@realDonaldTrump why aren’t you using your twitter feed to condemn the cartoon video of you going on a murderous rampage.
—@AlCardenasFL_DC: Trump’s abandonment of the Kurds to their certain death reminds me of the fury we Cuban Exiles felt when JFK turned his back on the 2506 CIA sponsored brigade
—@PBPoliticsFins: I covered at # with @ and @ . On Friday pm, we interviewed an attendee in an empty ballroom and we could hear cheering, laughter from the ballroom next door. Seemed they were watching something. Now I am wondering
—@TomLobianco: Of any pol, [Matt] Gaetz does the best job mimicking Trump in terms of grabbing the media and holding it with stunts, etc … wags laugh about how off the wall he is, but look who’s commanding impeachment spotlight in the moment
—@MarcACaputo: Televised political debates are TV shows first and foremost. Televised political debates with 12 candidates on stage are bad TV shows
—@Annette_Taddeo: The air on the tiny plane from # to # literally feels like a sauna. Is this just a metaphor for what awaits us at the Capitol?
—@SenChrisSmith: So my local paper writes about the CRA giving dollars in the community to white developers in the amount of 1.4 million, 7 million, 3 million, and $10 million and they are called subsidies and forgivable loans. When they write about me, a black man (450k) it’s called a HANDOUT!
Yes, that is the sun setting on the 100 ft Christmas tree already going up in @DowntownDelray! A welcome sight, if I do say so myself! Hope everyone had a great weekend! @CBS12 pic.twitter.com/bg9rpO8FXz
— Sam Kerrigan (@samkerrigantv) October 14, 2019
— DAYS UNTIL —
“Watchmen” premieres on HBO — 5; Florida Chamber Future of Florida Forum begins — 13; Brexit scheduled — 16; 2019 General Election — 21; 3rd Annual Florida Internet and Television FITCon starts — 23; “The Mandalorian” premieres — 28; New season of “The Crown” streaming on Netflix — 34; “Frozen 2” debuts — 38; TaxWatch 40th Annual Meeting — 48; “The Rise of Skywalker” premiers — 66; 2020 Session begins — 91; Florida TaxWatch State of the TaxPayer Dinner in Tallahassee — 92; Super Bowl LIV in Miami — 110; Iowa Caucuses — 111; New Hampshire Primaries — 119; Florida’s presidential primary — 154; “Black Panther 2” debuts — 204; 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo begin — 283; Florida primaries for 2020 state legislative/congressional races — 315; First Vice Presidential debate at the University of Utah — 358; First Presidential Debate scheduled at the University of Michigan — 366; Second presidential debate at Belmont — 373; 2020 General Election — 395.
— TOP STORY —
“Matt Gaetz kicked out of impeachment inquiry hearing” via Andrew O’Reilly of Fox News — Gaetz got the boot on when he tried to sit in on the testimony of a former top National Security Council expert on Russia who was appearing on Capitol Hill as part of the House impeachment inquiry into the president. Gaetz attempted to attend the testimony of Fiona Hill, a former deputy assistant to the president, but was told that because he was not a member of the House Intelligence Committee that he had to leave. A frustrated Gaetz aired his disappointment to reporters after being told he was not allowed to sit in on the hearing, venting his anger over what he says are “selective leaks” by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff.
“Gaetz spoke at conference where fake video of Donald Trump shooting media was shown” via Jim Little of the Pensacola News Journal — Rep. Gaetz of Pensacola made an appearance at the American Priority Conference at Trump National Doral in Miami last week where a violent video edited to show Trump carrying out a massacre of members of the news media and his political opponents was shown. Gaetz, who was a speaker at the conference, told the News Journal he hadn’t seen the video. “I didn’t attend any sessions other than the time allotted to me for remarks,” Gaetz said in a text message to the News Journal. Other headliners to speak at the conference included Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump Jr. The video has drawn condemnation from the depicted victims in the video since the New York Times reported the existence of the video on Sunday.
— DATELINE: TALLY —
“Aide: Ron DeSantis skipped pro-Trump event and didn’t view violent video” via Michael Moline of Florida Phoenix — “The governor has not seen the video and does not condone violence of any kind,” communications director Helen Aguirre Ferré said via email. The AMP Fest, sponsored by the organization American Priority at Trump National Doral Miami last week, listed DeSantis as a scheduled speaker, but in the end, he didn’t attend. The New York Times was first to report about the video, apparently adapted from a movie depicting a character enacting a killing spree inside a church. Trump’s head was superimposed on the character, with his victims’ heads replaced by news logos or the heads of Trump critics.
Yeah, but …
— Peter Schorsch (@PeterSchorschFL) October 14, 2019
“Arrested Rudy Giuliani associate was at DeSantis’ election night watch party” via Emily L. Mahoney of the Tampa Bay Times — One of the South Florida businessmen who was arrested last week on campaign finance violations was an attendee of DeSantis’ watch party on Election Night in November 2018, according to a Tampa Bay Times photo and a video posted to Twitter by a Reuters reporter Monday afternoon. In a photograph by Times deputy director of photography Chris Urso, Lev Parnas is shown across from DeSantis, who is celebrating at his Election Night watch party. In the video, Parnas is seen in the left of the frame, his top buttons undone, smiling amid the chaos of the watch party. DeSantis had just finished speaking on stage to give his victory speech.
Senate panel confirms 16 appointees at Monday hearing — The Senate Committee on Ethics and Elections unanimously approved appointees to various boards and commissions. Among the newly-confirmed individuals is retired Tallahassee-area State Attorney Willie Meggs, who was named to the Commission on Ethics. Meggs was among the more than 160 appointments made by outgoing Gov. Rick Scott that were rescinded by Gov. DeSantis. DeSantis then reissued several of those appointments. Meggs was one of several people on that list who were preliminarily confirmed to their new positions Monday. Also in that group were John Martin Hayes, who will now serve on the Florida Elections Commission, and William Grant and Eugene Lamb, who were confirmed to spots on the Board of Trustees of Tallahassee Community College. The full Senate must approve all the appointees.
All options on the table for gaming — Giving up on payments from the Seminole Gaming Compact has given legislative leaders some leeway in a gaming bill for the 2020 Legislative Session, reports Arek Sarkissian of POLITICO Florida. The current state budget doesn’t include payments from the Seminole Tribe, which stopped making compact payments in May over what it said was a breach of exclusivity rights. With those payments halted, lawmakers are looking at other ways gaming could increase state revenues, such as sports betting. “It could involve some out-of-the-box thinking,” House Speaker José Oliva said. “But I don’t think it’s compact or bust.” Senate President Bill Galvano added that the compact, which is still in effect, could get an overhaul.
“Florida Senate committee addresses climate change, sustainability head-on” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — The Senate Infrastructure and Security Committee held a meeting dedicated to the long-term impacts of climate change. Dr. Gary Mitchum, a professor at the University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science, discussed the increased frequency of sunny day flooding. Chief Resilience Officer Julia Nesheiwat discussed communication with county and municipal governments on local response to sea-level rise. Dr. Jennifer Jurado discussed how South Florida counties banded together to better manage coastal threats. And officials from the Department of Transportation discussed ways to elevate new highways and retrofit old ones to better account for increased water threats. Sen. Tom Lee was pleased Florida hasn’t ignored environmental threats.
“Teaching the teachers: ‘Continuing education’ a big deal, lawmakers told” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — The Senate Education Committee heard testimony from several superintendents and a representative from the Department of Education touting the importance of continuing education programs for teachers across the state. Testifying in front of the committee were Paul Burns, DOE’s Deputy Chancellor for Educator Quality, along with Superintendents Addison Davis of Clay County, Michael Grego of Pinellas County and Russell Hughes of Walton County. Burns started the afternoon session off by emphasizing the trickle-down effects of continuing education session for the state’s teachers. “Professional development is a key concept, and it really can drive and increase student outcomes by helpful change teachers’ practices and also helping change leaders’ behaviors and school leaders’ practices as well,” Burns said.
Florida retailers video calls to level the playing field for small business — A new video from the Florida Retail Federation is supporting SB 126 — sponsored by state Sen. Joe Gruters — and HB 159 — sponsored by state Rep. Chuck Clemons. It’s a matchup of “Ben,” a small Florida sporting-goods retailer versus Mega Sports Corp., the out-of-state retail giant. Ben sponsors local events, provides local jobs, and pays state and local taxes. The out-of-state business does not. This means locals like Ben are competing with one hand tied behind their back. Florida retailers want to level the playing field and restore the free market by enforcing the laws. SB 126 can fix this.
To watch the video, click on the image below:
Assignment editors — State Sen. Randolph Bracy, House Democratic Leader Kionne McGhee and state Rep. Dianne Hart will hold a news conference on SB 394/HB 189, companion bills that retroactively reduce Florida’s minimum term of imprisonment from 85 percent to 65 percent for nonviolent offenders by allowing them to earn more incentive gain-time credits, noon, Capitol courtyard, 402 S. Monroe St. Tallahassee.
A Capitol in pink — It’s the midpoint of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and expect a somber moment as lawmakers and Susan G. Komen representatives stand on the steps of the old Capitol as the building is bathed in pink light. The illumination “pays tribute to Floridians who have been diagnosed and are living with breast cancer, and to those who have lost their battle,” a news release said. “Every week in Florida, 264 women and men will be diagnosed with breast cancer, 93 with the late-stage disease; 52 will lose their lives. In the last 12 months, over 2,700 people have lost their lives to the disease.” A lighting ceremony will begin at 6:45 p.m., on the steps facing Monroe Street.
— LEG. COMMITTEE MEETINGS —
The Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee will hear a presentation from VISIT FLORIDA, 9 a.m., 110 Senate Office Building,
The Senate Health Policy Committee meets to discuss SB 58, from Sen. Lauren Book, that set up a prescription-drug “repository” program at the Florida Department of Health, 9 a.m., 412 Knott Building.
The House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee meets, 9 a.m., 404 House Office Building.
The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee meets to discuss property insurance, 11 a.m., 412 Knott Building.
The Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee will hear from Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Chad Poppell, 11 a.m., 301 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)
The House Health & Human Services Committee meets to discuss procedures for recreational marijuana, 11 a.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building.
— GOV. CLUB. LUNCH BUFFET —
Florida sweet corn soup; potato and sausage chowder; mix garden salad with dressing; Granny Smith apples slaw; broccoli salad; deli board; cider grind pork chops with Cabernet cranberry sauce; pecan-crusted salmon with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic glaze; Ronnie’s fried chicken; roasted cauliflower with garlic, onions and time; fried green tomatoes with Cajun rémoulade; chipotle sweet potato mash lemon bars for dessert.
— NOTES FROM ELSEWHERE —
What Ashley Moody is reading — “New Mexico has highest number of missing, murdered indigenous women” via KOB.com — Efforts to solve the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women are gaining steam. Kimberly Wahpepah knows this crisis firsthand; she’s a Native American woman and a survivor of sex trafficking on and off the reservation. “I was trying to get myself out of that position, but I just couldn’t,” she said … Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham filled an eight-member task force that is looking into the epidemic. The task force is expected to release a report about their findings in 2020.
What Barbara Petersen is reading — “New law bars public from courtrooms when teens are charged with the most serious felonies” via The Hartford Courant — State prosecutors are considering a challenge to a new state law that closes courtrooms to the public and keeps records secret when teenagers aged 15-, 16- and 17-years old are charged with the most serious felonies, such as murder, armed robbery and rape. The law … is one of the most visible aspects of an evolving package of measures … by juvenile justice advocates and their legislative allies with the stated goal of keeping troubled teens out of the criminal justice system.
What Skylar Zander is reading — “New study questions benefits of state’s investment in film industry” via The Albany Times-Union — Billions of dollars to subsidize film and television projects in New York hasn’t had a statistically significant impact on employment in the entertainment industry, according to a new study. University of Southern California associate professor Michael Thom conducted a peer-reviewed analysis of a handful of states that offer the bulk of motion picture incentives in the country and found that — when controlled for economic factors such as the growth in the labor market — there is “not much” of a link between job creation and the lucrative credit offered in New York, which was created in 2004.
— STATEWIDE —
“1st-quarter state tax collections in Florida reach $11.2 billion, 5th highest in U.S.” via The Center Square — The Census Bureau reported that property tax revenues in the state were unavailable; general sales and gross receipts taxes, $7.2 billion; license fees, $767.5 million; and individual income taxes, unavailable. The numbers do not include taxes levied by local governments, which in some cases determine property tax levels, according to the agency. Under the Census Bureau’s definitions, the phrase “state government” means the executive, legislative and judicial branches, as well as agencies, panels and public bodies that are somewhat autonomous from the state.
“Toll road task forces moving forward” via the News Service of Florida — The proposed roads are a major priority of Senate President Bill Galvano. The Northern Connector Task Force, which will study the extension of the turnpike, will meet at 10 a.m. Oct. 22 at the College of Central Florida Citrus Learning Center in Lecanto. A day later, the Suncoast Connector Task Force, which will study the extension of the Suncoast Parkway to Jefferson County, will meet at 10 a.m. at the Lecanto facility. The Southwest-Central Florida Connector Task Force, which will study the project linking Polk and Collier counties, is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. Oct. 30 at Polk State College’s Lakeland Campus.
“DCF mental hospitals administrator steps down amid questionable African safari, Aramark deals” via Jeff Schweers of the Tallahassee Democrat — Robert Quam, chief administrator for all Florida mental health treatment facilities, resigned days before an Inspector General report was released confirming he committed several ethical violations involving state vendors. Those violations include taking a hunting safari to Africa with an executive of Aramark Healthcare Support Services, having Aramark employees repair a state-leased rental car he wrecked and return it to the agency he’d leased it from, and sidestepping state procurement procedures to hire a longtime friend as a contractor.
“Florida health providers receive guidance on vaping injuries” via the News Service of Florida — With 1,299 reported cases of lung injuries associated with vaping and electronic cigarettes across the nation, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced interim guidelines for health-care providers treating people who have the conditions. In certain instances, the CDC recommended that patients be hospitalized. The CDC recommended tobacco-product cessation strategies, including behavioral counseling, so patients can stop vaping. “To reduce the risk of recurrence, patients who have been treated … should not use e-cigarette, or vaping, products,” the CDC said in its weekly report. The injuries have been reported in 49 states, the District of Columbia and one territory.
“Florida’s lack of dental care hurts low-income and rural residents” via Lloyd Dunkelberger of Florida Phoenix — As of Sept. 30, 5.46 million Floridians — about one in four residents — lived in areas lacking dentists, according to the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration’s latest report on “designated health professional shortage areas.” It would take an additional 1,230 dentists to resolve that unmet need in Florida. Many of those people without access to regular dental care are poor or live in rural communities, according to The Pew Charitable Trusts. Additionally, Pew found that the more than 55 million children and adults nationally who have some type of dental coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program “also face a scarcity of care” because many dentists don’t accept public insurance.
“Have $95 million? Two Florida medical marijuana licenses are for sale” via Samantha Gross of the Miami Herald — In a move uncharacteristic of the cannabis market in Florida, an Atlanta broker is searching for the next owners of two highly sought Florida medical marijuana licenses. Aubrey Logan-Holland, the CEO of a relatively new firm called Blue Dream Industries, is listing the licenses, or “paper” in industry speak, for about $95 million in total. One license is going for $40 million and allows the owner to operate no more than 30 retail stores. The other license is selling for about $55 million, with the rights to open up to 35 retail stores. In addition to the actual license, this deal includes a greenhouse for cultivation.
“Septic tanks, agriculture targeted by Florida’s Blue-Green Algae Task Force” via Cap News Service — The task force’s initial recommendations follow multiple meetings around the state. The recommendations include better monitoring of nutrient reduction plans and increasing best management practice enrollment and enforcement for agriculture. “Lake Okeechobee’s problem, a big part of it is agriculture,” said Leon County Water Conservation Commissioner Bill Howell. Septic tanks are also a major nutrient polluter in Florida. There’s more than 2.5 million in the state and 280,000 are leaking. “That’s going directly into the water table. That’s the drinking water,” said Howell. The task force wants to bring back septic tank inspections, which haven’t been mandated since 2012.
“Citrus growers expected to see a production bump” via the News Service of Florida — The U.S. Department of Agriculture, in its first citrus forecast for the 2019-2020 season, projected Florida growers will produce enough oranges to fill 74 million of the industry-standard 90-pound boxes, which would top the 71.6 million boxes during the 2018-2019 season. Grapefruit production is predicted to increase from 4.31 million boxes in the past season to 4.6 million boxes. And specialty crops, such as tangerines and tangelos, also will go up from 990,000 boxes to 1.05 million boxes, U.S. Department of Agriculture State Statistician Mark Hutson said Thursday in a conference call to announce the October estimates.
— PEACHY —
“Rudy Giuliani ran a shadow foreign policy to personally benefit Trump, ex-adviser testifies” via , and of the Washington Post — Fiona Hill, the White House’s former top Russia adviser, told impeachment investigators on Monday that Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, ran a shadow foreign policy in Ukraine that circumvented U.S. officials and career diplomats in order to personally benefit President Trump, according to people familiar with her testimony. Hill, who served as the senior official for Russia and Europe on the National Security Council, was the latest witness in a fast-moving impeachment inquiry focused on whether the president abused his office by using the promise of military aid and diplomatic support to pressure Ukraine into investigating his political rivals. In a closed-door session that lasted roughly 10 hours, Hill told lawmakers that she confronted Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, about Giuliani’s activities which, she testified, were not coordinated with the officials responsible for carrying out U.S. foreign policy, these people said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to disclose details of her deposition.
“Bolton said to have objected to Ukraine efforts, calling Giuliani ‘a hand grenade’” via The New York Times — The effort to pressure Ukraine for political help provoked a heated confrontation inside the White House last summer that so alarmed John R. Bolton, then the national security adviser, that he told an aide to alert White House lawyers, House investigators were told on Monday. Bolton ordered an aide to report Giuliani’s campaign to a lawyer, House investigators were told by Fiona Hill, a former White House official. The testimony revealed the degree to which Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to extract damaging information on President Trump’s behalf divided the White House.
— D.C. MATTERS —
“Rick Scott donates contributions from arrested Rudy Giuliani associates” the Alex Daugherty of the Tampa Bay Times — Scott donated two campaign contributions from Igor Fruman, a South Florida businessman who was arrested on campaign finance charges with his partner Lev Parnas five days ago. A spokesperson for Scott said he donated the contributions to the Shriner’s Hospital. Parnas and Fruman, both clients of Trump attorney Giuliani, were taken into custody at Dulles International Airport in Virginia last week. The men and two other business associates are accused in a New York grand jury indictment of masking the source of their donations to federal candidates.
“After Nita Lowey’s retirement, keep an eye on two members of the Florida delegation” via Kevin Derby of Florida Daily — Democratic U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey of New York announced last week that she is retiring. Lowey has been moving up the ladder on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, leading Democrats in recent years on it and taking over as chairwoman at the start of the year as her party took control of the chamber. Only one member of the Florida delegation has ever led the Appropriations Committee. While none are favorites to take over the committee, there are five members of the Florida delegation on Appropriations: Democrat U.S. Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Lois Frankel and Charlie Crist and Republican U.S. Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and John Rutherford.
“GOP lawmaker mistakenly wishes Navy happy birthday with photo of Russian ship” via Justin Wise of The Hill — Brian Mast mistakenly used a picture of a Russian warship in a tweet celebrating the 244th birthday of the U.S. Navy. The tweet shared from the former Army staff sergeant’s account featured the Pyotr Velikiy, a Kirov-class battlecruiser in the Russian navy. The tweet was deleted soon after some members of the media flagged the error. “Happy birthday to the U.S. Navy! To the men and women who serve to keep our waters safe, we thank you,” Mast, who represents Florida’s 18th Congressional District, said on Twitter after deleting the initial post.
.@BrianMastFL lost both his legs and a finger after stepping on an IED while serving in Kandahar.
I think we can give him a pass on this one. https://t.co/HhNU7QLT9P
— Peter Schorsch (@PeterSchorschFL) October 14, 2019
“Census Bureau seeks state data, including citizenship info” via Mike Schneider of The Associated Press — The U.S. Census Bureau is asking states for driver’s license records that typically include citizenship data and has made a new request for information on recipients of government assistance, alarming some civil rights advocates. The two approaches come amid Trump’s efforts to make citizenship an essential aspect of federal information-gathering in the run-up to the 2020 Census, despite this year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that a specific citizenship question can’t be included in the 2020 Census questionnaire. Civil rights advocates worry that the wider net being cast by the Trump administration for such information could chill Latino participation in the population count.
Happening today — Jim Messina, a former White House deputy chief of staff during the Barack Obama administration, will be the featured guest at a groundbreaking event for a new building at Florida International University’s Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs, 11:30 a.m., Florida International University, Modesto A. Maidique Campus, Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs, 11200 S.W. Eighth St., Miami.
— MORE 2020 —
“Warren’s rise hasn’t come at Biden’s expense” via Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com — Biden is still doing reasonably well in the polls. Warren’s doing well, too! She probably hasn’t overtaken Biden in national polls, yet, but it’s pretty darn close — close enough that she was momentarily ahead in one national polling average. You’d certainly rather be in Warren’s shoes than Biden’s in Iowa and New Hampshire. But Warren’s gains have come mostly at the expense of the rest of the field — from Harris and Sanders, in particular — and from other candidates, such as Booker, whose campaigns never really took off in the first place. In fact, Biden’s numbers haven’t declined at all since Trump’s phone call with Ukraine became the dominant political story.
“Missing from Warren’s 2020 surge: Democratic endorsements” via Jonathan Martin of The New York Times — Warren is expected to reveal additional support from Democratic officials this week in conjunction with the CNN/New York Times debate and the release of her smashing third-quarter financial disclosure. Yet her growing crowd sizes, soaring fundraising, and surge to the top of several national and early-state polls only shine a brighter light on one of the most revealing elements of this primary: the widening gap between the preferences of many Democratic voters and the lawmakers who represent them. Warren is now a clear front-runner in the race for her party’s nomination, yet just under four months before the leadoff Iowa caucuses, she lacks the support of a single governor, big-city Mayor, or fellow Senator outside Massachusetts.
“A moment of truth for Bernie Sanders” via Sean Sullivan of The Washington Post — Sanders has been sidelined since he was rushed to a hospital on Oct. 1, and the nearly three-hour showdown in Westerville, Ohio, will mark his return to the campaign. An audience of millions — including some wondering whether Sanders has the stamina for one of the world’s most grueling jobs — is expected to tune in, and many of his supporters will be watching anxiously. Sanders may have the most riding on the debate, sponsored by CNN and the New York Times, as scrutiny of his age and endurance, are greater than at any point in his nearly half-century political career.
“What, exactly, is the Tulsi Gabbard up to?” via Lisa Lerer of The New York Times — Rep. Gabbard has struggled to make headway as a presidential candidate, barely cracking the 2 percent mark in the polls. She is now injecting a bit of chaos into her own party’s primary race, threatening to boycott that debate to protest what she sees as a “rigging” of the 2020 election. That’s left some Democrats wondering what, exactly, she is up to in the race, while others worry about supportive signs from online bot activity. Perhaps strangest of all is the unusual array of Americans who cannot seem to get enough of her. On podcasts, online videos, interviews and Twitter feeds, alt-right internet stars, white nationalists, libertarian activists, and some of the biggest boosters of Trump heap praise on Gabbard.
“Republicans to unleash new ad blitz targeting swing-district Democrats on impeachment” via David Lightman of the Miami Herald — The Republican National Committee will spend $350,000 on a multimedia buy as part of a strategy that includes digital ads, text messages and phone calls calling on Democratic House members to “stop the madness.” The effort is primarily targeted at the 31 Democrats in districts 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.” Republicans see the inquiry making vulnerable Democrats’ prospects even shakier. Gorka cited internal GOP polling showing independents overwhelmingly oppose impeachment, though nonpartisan national surveys by Marist, Monmouth, and the Washington Post-Schar School show support among independents growing.
— MONEY CHASE —
“Rene Plasencia turns on campaign fundraising jets” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Republican state Rep. Plasencia lit the jets on his reelection campaign’s fundraising in September, raising more than $42,000 as his Democratic opponent continued to show stronger than usual prowess for a first-time candidate opposing him. Plasencia is seeking a fourth term and a third term serving House District 50; he reported raising $42,235 in September and entering October with about $68,000 in the bank. The month by far yielded Plasencia’s biggest one-month haul in an election off-year month, in now five election campaigns [he lost a primary battle in 2012.] Democratic challenger Nina Wheeler Yoakum is nowhere near that pace.
“Roger Lolly outraises Jenna Persons in September, still trails massively overall” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Lolly, a Republican House candidate, outraised Persons, his primary opponent, in September for the first time. But he’s still got a long way to catch up in resources with the primary under a year away. Lolly, a Fort Myers philanthropist, pulled in $8,350 in September, and has now raised $23,335. That’s on top of a $25,000 loan he chipped in last month. The vast majority of new dollars for Lolly came from companies connected to commercial real estate broker Randy Krise. Persons in September raised $3,400 in September. That brings total contributions for the Fort Myers attorney to $167,630. She remains buoyed by opening her candidacy with a six-figure haul back in February.
“Nelson Rodriguez edges Cindy Polo in September fundraising for HD 103” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Miami Lakes Vice Mayor Rodriguez busted out of his fundraising slump to take the top spot in September among candidates for HD 103. Rodriguez is one of two Republicans who have filed to challenge Democratic Rep. Polo in the contest. Attorney Tom Fabricio is competing against Rodriguez for the Republican nomination. Rodriguez collected just under $15,000 for the month; Polo wasn’t far behind Rodriguez, pulling in more than $11,000. Fabricio, meanwhile, brought in just over $3,400.
Happening today — State Sens. Oscar Braynon, Jason Pizzo, and Annette Taddeo are hosting a fundraising reception for state Rep. Polo for her reelection bid in HD 103, 5 p.m., Liberty Bar and Restaurant, 1307 N. Monroe Street. Tallahassee.
Happening today — House Speaker José Oliva and Speaker Designate Chris Sprowls will host a fundraiser for state Reps. Chuck Clemons, Paul Renner and Jackie Toledo, 5 p.m., The Governors Club Capital Room, 202 South Adams Street, Tallahassee.
Happening today — House Speaker Oliva, Designate Sprowls and Renner will host a fundraiser for state Reps. Tom Leek and Jayer Williamson, 5 p.m., The Governors Club Library Room, 202 S. Adams St.
— MORE FROM THE TRAIL —
Happening today — The state’s Restoration of Voting Rights Work Group meets, 2 p.m., 212 Knott Building. Call-in number: 1-888-585-9008. Code: 659459077.
Florida Democrats dump Sharon Lettman-Hicks after subpoena news — According to new finance reports, the Florida Democratic Party has parted ways with Lettman-Hicks. Lettman-Hicks is an ardent supporter of former gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum, who made headlines earlier this year by arguing that federal subpoenas naming Gillum were racially motivated. Through the end of June, Lettman-Hicks had been pulling down a $12,000-a-month salary from FDP. In the party’s July-through-September filing, she didn’t receive a dime. FDP spox Caroline Rowland told Florida Politics that Lettman-Hicks “was on the payroll for a short period to close down the Gillum coordinated campaign and to set up partnerships to assist the party meets its goal to register 200,000 new voters.”
“Democrat Hendrith Smith drops primary challenge to Darren Soto” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Smith, a businessman from Kissimmee, had described himself as a conservative Democrat when he announced he was challenging the two-term Congressman from Kissimmee in the 2020 primary election. “I will consider 2022 for CD 9 again, or Osceola County Commission next opportunity, possibly,” Smith said in an email announcing his exit from the campaign. “Also, maybe politically involved in CD 9 in other ways between now and then” His departure clears the Democratic field for Soto, who had won bruising Democratic primary battles in 2016 and ’18.
“Jamie Grant challenger Jessica Harrington wins her school’s 2019 ‘teacher of the year’” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — House District 64 candidate Harrington won teacher of the year at the middle school where she teaches 7th-grade civics. Harrington announced winning the Sergeant Paul R. Smith Middle School’s ‘Teacher of the Year’ for 2019. “I am honored and humbled to receive this award and look forward to dedicating as much care and diligence as I put into educating my students into leading District 64 as their next representative,” said Harrington, a Democrat. Harrington is running against GOP incumbent Jamie Grant for the seat, which represents parts of northwest Hillsborough and northeast Pinellas.
“Vanessa Baugh files for reelection in Manatee County” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — “Manatee County is finally at a point where we are moving forward and getting things accomplished,” said Baugh, a Lakewood Ranch Republican. “We’re making investments in public safety, critical infrastructure improvements, protecting our natural resources and waterways, and being fiscally conservative with taxpayer dollars.” The entrepreneur, who opened Vanessa Fine Jewelry in 1999, was first elected to the County Commission in 2012. She chaired the board in 2016 and has also chaired the Manatee County Port Authority since 2017. She considered a run for state House in 2018 but ultimately chose to stay on the commission, where she’s now seeking a third term.
“Orlando mayoral candidates tout solutions to affordable housing, pedestrian safety” via Ryan Gillespie of the Orlando Sentinel — Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer faces two challengers in his bid for reelection Nov. 5: City Commissioner Sam Ings and Navy veteran Aretha Simons. Dyer said he thinks Orlando has been a regional leader in battling the shortage, pointing to adjustments to the city code, allowing for more garage apartments and other so-called “accessory dwelling units,” as well as investments of more than $30 million toward various affordable developments. Ings said Orlando should prioritize developing vacant land and infill lots in neighborhoods like Holden Heights. In terms of crosswalk improvements, Ings said he’s advocated for banning right turns on red to allow for safer crosswalks and on wider roads, building islands where a walker could cross half of the road safely.
— LOCAL —
“Markeith Loyd testifies in trial for pregnant ex-girlfriend’s slaying: ‘I don’t believe in killing God’s creations’” via Monivette Cordeiro of the Orlando Sentinel — At the witness stand in his own murder trial, Loyd testified he didn’t get a chance to raise his older children after going to federal prison and wanted a new chance at a family. The jury watched a video of Loyd and Sadie Dixon at a sonogram appointment, where the couple was laughing and smiling. “I wanted the baby,” he told jurors. But days after the sonogram, authorities say Loyd shot his 24-year-old pregnant ex-girlfriend in December 2016, killing Dixon and her unborn child. He faces the possibility of execution if jurors find him guilty of first-degree murder in Dixon’s slaying. “I don’t believe in killing God’s creations,” he said. “We all the same flesh and blood.”
“‘My life was shattered.’ Dan Markel’s mother says son’s murder continues to torment family” via Nate Chute of the Tallahassee Democrat — Just days after hearing Sigfredo Garcia pronounced guilty in the 2014 murder of her son, Ruth Markel addressed the court during his sentencing hearing. Garcia is facing life in prison or the death penalty. Reading from a statement, Markel said her family was “forced to experience the unthinkable” because of “the acts of few.” “A life filled with unimaginable pain and heartbreak that no mother should ever have to endure,” Markel said. Markel described him as a devoted son, someone who would spend long periods on the phone with family members in both Canada and Israel. She mentioned his academic and career achievements, but said she was most proud of the father he was to his two children.
“Most Florida sheriffs wear four stars on their collars. Why does Broward’s Gregory Tony wear five?” via Anthony Man of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — In the early months after his January appointment to Broward’s top law enforcement job, Tony wore four gold stars on each side of his uniform’s shirt collar. Now, Tony wears five stars on each side. The sheriff said he concluded the “insignia was off,” based on an analysis conducted by former Undersheriff Sean Zukowsky, who Tony hired as his second in command in January and left the agency in September. “He looked at the scope and size of the agency, the fact that we are the only agency that had Fire-Rescue — and that we’re not the only sheriff to wear five stars in the state, by the way, I don’t know where that misconception came from,” Tony said.
“Still grieving Parkland parents warn lawmakers not to return former sheriff to his post” via Charles Rabin of the Miami Herald — Standing in the midafternoon heat in front of the Parkland Public Safety building, about a half-dozen parents expressed outrage over the findings of a state-appointed arbiter who recommended that Israel be returned to office, saying the report glossed over systemic leadership and training failures at the department. “My little boy Alex was in the first classroom that was attacked,” said Max Schachter. “He failed before Feb. 14, during Feb. 14 and after Feb. 14. The Special Master’s report is not binding. I certainly hope they’re going to vote with their conscience.” Manuel Oliver, whose son Joaquin Oliver, 17, was also killed that day, urged lawmakers to “do the right thing” and keep Scott Israel out of office.
“Parkland father tells Delray Democrats 2020 election to galvanize gun-safety voter coalition” via Abraham Mahshie of the Palm Beach Post — A plethora of gun safety bills awaiting lawmakers in Tallahassee, the stalling of legislation on Capitol Hill and a potential constitutional amendment banning assault weapons in Florida will galvanize voters in the 2020 elections, the father of a Parkland student killed in last year’s massacre said Thursday night.
“Miami-Dade probation officer charged with second series of rapes in two months” via Jerry Iannelli of the Miami New Times — Before this weekend, Yulian Gonzalez, a former Miami-Dade County corrections officer, had already been facing life in prison. He previously supervised inmates sitting on house arrest — but at the end of September, prosecutors hit him with eight criminal charges after a woman said Gonzalez had raped her repeatedly at a motel. The alleged victim said Gonzalez told her that if she refused to have sex with him, he would terminate her house arrest and send her to prison. Friday, Miami-Dade Police filed a slew of new charges against the 36-year-old Gonzalez after another woman stated that, after reading about Gonzalez’s charges on social media, she wanted to share a similar story of her own.
“Supreme Court suspends former Flagler Judge Scott DuPont via Frank Fernandez of the Dayton Beach News-Journal” — The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday suspended for three months DuPont, a former Circuit Judge who presided over cases in Flagler and Putnam counties until he was booted from the bench last year. Some of the same violations that got DuPont removed as a judge in June 2018 also netted him a 91-day suspension on his license to practice law, according to Thursday’s order from the Florida Supreme Court. DuPont must also pay $1,250 in administrative costs to the Florida Bar. DuPont entered a conditional guilty plea to violating Florida Bar rules, leading to his suspension. DuPont engaged in multiple campaign violations and knowingly made “scandalous and inaccurate” claims about his opponent, Malcolm Anthony and Anthony’s family.
“JEA picks nine companies for negotiations to buy utility” via David Bauerlein of the Florida Times-Union — Those going on to the next stage include some big names in the area of investor-owned electric utilities: Duke Energy, NextEra Energy and Emera. NextEra is the parent company of Florida Power & Light. Emera owns Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas. Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets Inc. will join them in the competition. Macquarie Infrastructure is best known in Jacksonville for having an expanding downtown office here for financial services. Rounding out the field are American Public Infrastructure LLC, American Wateworks, INN Investors, and JEA Public Power Partners. JEA Public Power Partners is a consortium comprised of Barnhart Capital Partners, Emera and Suez. A ninth offer selected for negotiations chose to remain anonymous.
“A tale of rich and poor at The Villages” via Lauren Ritchie of the Orlando Sentinel — The Villages showed up this week on two lists published by 247wallst.com. The first is a slate of metro areas in the U.S. with the least poverty. The second was the number of people with full-time jobs who still are living in poverty. The Villages was No. 20 in the accounting of 42 areas with the least poverty in America and the only Florida place on the list that skipped most states in the South. The Villages ranked No. 1 in the places where working full-time won’t lift you from poverty. That’s because pay stinks. Some 4.4 percent of those who work full-time at The Villages make wages that leave them and their families at the bottom of the economic bucket.
“Former state Senator wants another $100,000 from city for new wings place on Sistrunk” via Susannah Bryan of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Now attorney Chris Smith is asking for another $100,000 — and that’s giving some city leaders heartburn. “I’m very concerned about the level of risk the city will be exposed to,” Mayor Dean Trantalis said during a recent meeting. “This is taxpayer money. We have a fiduciary obligation to make sure we don’t squander that money.” Commissioner Robert McKinzie, who represents northwest Fort Lauderdale, defended the request. “This is my district,” he said. “It’s been neglected for years. I’m not fighting for the senator. I’m fighting for the building on Sistrunk. It’s not like this is Disney World and everyone comes to ride on the best ride.”
“UWF audits statewide program amid accusations of financial mismanagement” via Kevin Robinson of the Pensacola News Journal — Allegations of financial mismanagement and budget discrepancies have prompted the University of West Florida to request an independent audit of one of its statewide programs. On Thursday, Politico Florida reported that UWF used state funds earmarked for the Complete Florida Plus Program to cover revenue shortfalls and address deferred maintenance issues on campus. UWF’s leadership denied the allegations, stating that the university did not collect or expend funds in any manner that wasn’t expressly permitted under Florida law. “I am aware that for the past few months, there has been a great deal of inaccurate information swirling around this program,” UWF President Martha Saunders said Thursday.
— OPINIONS —
“Repulsive video satire of rampaging Trump a sign of our sick political times” via the Orlando Sentinel editorial board — The scene was lifted from the film, “Kingsmen: The Secret Service,” during which Colin Firth uses guns and stabbing objects to kill people in a Kentucky church. In the edited version of that scene, Trump’s face is on Firth’s body, and the faces of his victims are replaced by various news outlets’ logos or people the president has denounced. Trump didn’t tell someone to make this video. He didn’t have to. His unceasing attacks on anyone who crosses him have granted soft permission for Americans to act on their worst impulses. When they do, the president makes a few perfunctory, halfhearted remarks, then returns to the attack mode that amuses and entertains so many of his supporters.
“DeSantis should condemn violent, disgusting video” via Joe Henderson of Florida Politics — There is a disgusting, violent video that Gov. DeSantis should immediately, right now, without delay, denounce. It shows a fake Trump on a shooting, stabbing, and pummeling rampage against media outlets and political opponents. There was no immediate word that DeSantis saw or even knew about the video before the Times report. And no one is remotely suggesting the Governor would condone something this outrageous. But he should make that clear in the strongest possible tone. Did I say he should denounce? That’s not strong enough. DeSantis should scream, shout, shake his fist, and demand that people cut out this crap.
“Stop suing citizens who seek public records” via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board — Chapter 119, the public records law, says citizens may inspect and copy any non-exempt record “at any reasonable time, under reasonable conditions.” But some agencies — notably the South Florida Water Management District — have been responding to records requests by first going to court to sue the people who want the documents. The method is to ask a judge to declare the records exempt. That’s an aggressive attack on Florida’s long-standing principle that public records are the public’s business. The tactic stalls the request, often for months. It forces citizens to hire lawyers. And suits for declaratory judgment ordinarily make people bear your own costs, even when they win.
“Michael Carlson: Our work is not done until every Hurricane Michael claim is resolved” via Florida Politics — Of the 150,000 claims, just over 17,000 of them remain open — it is important to clarify that nearly 10,000 of those are “reopened” claims. A typical reopened claim occurs when the homeowner discovers damage that was not included in the original claim. For example, the homeowner may have filed a claim for roof damage, and then weeks or even months later discovered additional damage. This “reopened” claim is included with the original claim, making it appear to take longer to resolve. This common occurrence doesn’t reflect an undue delay. Claims should be resolved promptly. But it is important to understand the potential barriers that force a claim to go beyond the so-called 90-day “prompt pay” period.
“A victory for the python, a loss for Florida” via the Tampa Bay Times editorial board — Florida has more invasive species than any other state, and climate change threatens to make the problem worse as native species struggle against a changing environment and unchecked invaders who often have no natural enemies. At the final meeting of the invasive committee in late spring, an Interior Department official told the remaining members that “budget constraints” required the panel to go on “administratively inactive status.” It has been a particularly bad few months for protecting Florida’s environment. The losers are all of us who love Florida and its endangered wild native beauty.
— MOVEMENTS —
Appointed — William Theodore “Ted” Conner, Hung Mai and Patrick Allman to the Tampa Port Authority.
“Personnel note: Elaine Sarlo of Marco Rubio’s office joins TM Strategic Consulting” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Sarlo, the regional director for Rubio’s Southwest Florida office, has joined Fort Myers-based consulting firm TM Strategic Consulting. Firm founder Terry Miller praised Sarlo as a veteran campaign and government professional. “Elaine’s skill set, along with her wealth of experience working on campaigns and as Sen. Rubio’s Regional Director, will play an instrumental role as we look to expand our profile across the state of Florida,” Miller said. She also won praise from Matt Caldwell, a partner at the firm and a former state Representative. He said Sarlo would be a crucial addition at TM.
Human trafficking council names direct support organization director — The Statewide Council on Human Trafficking Chair has selected a new leader for its direct-support organization. Chair Ellyn Bogdanoff announced Tuesday that Erin Collins would take over as Executive Director of the direct-support organization. “Erin brings a unique skill set to this role. Her expertise within the legislative process and her fundraising and development capabilities will serve the organization well,” Bogdanoff said. “Through her volunteer work, she has advocated on human trafficking issues and is committed to improving the lives of vulnerable populations.” Collins’ experience includes nonprofit advocacy and membership development. She alumna of the University of Florida and an active volunteer with the Junior League of Tallahassee and the Junior Leagues of Florida State Public Affairs Committee.
— ALOE —
“Florida gas prices are down, but they may rise 5 cents this week” via Malena Carollo of the Tampa Bay Times — According to AAA, Florida gas prices averaged $2.41 a gallon Monday, down 6 cents over the week, while Tampa Bay gas prices were $2.33 a gallon on average Monday, down 10 cents over the week. The dip, AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said, might be short-lived. “The state average could potentially rise a nickel by the end of the week based on recent fluctuations in wholesale gasoline prices,” Jenkins said in a release. “Prices at the pump could rise even higher if the price of crude makes significant gains this week.”
“Disney Plus reveals every obscure, old movie arriving on day 1” via Petrana Radulvoic of Polygon — When Disney Plus launches on Nov. 12, the original content — such as live-action Star Wars series The Mandalorian and nostalgia-fest High School Musical: The Musical: The Series — will be dwarfed by the sheer size of Disney’s catalog means that some idiosyncratic classics, from Disney proper, Disney Channel, Disney direct-to-home video, and Fox, will also be coming to Disney Plus. Case in point? 1962 classic Sammy the Way-Out Seal. Who could forget Sammy? If seals aren’t your thing, then perhaps you’ll be in the mood for The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes.
“Disney Skyliner gondola system back up and running again” via Dewayne Bevil of the Orlando Sentinel — Notifications on Walt Disney World’s official website and the My Disney Experience app indicate that the hours of operation Monday will be 8 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Disney also says that on Wednesday, the line going to Hollywood Studios will be closed for “system updates,” and the other two lines will run from 1-10:30 p.m. All lines are scheduled to run from 1-10:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. “Following a complete review with the manufacturer, we’ve made adjustments to our processes and training, and we are improving how we communicate with guests during their flight with Disney Skyliner,” according to a post on the official Disney parks blog.
“Extremely rare ‘one in a million’ yellow cardinal spotted in Florida” via Max Chesnes of TCPalm — An exceptionally rare yellow northern cardinal with a genetic color mutation was spotted and photographed in Port St. Lucie. Tracy Workman, who teaches photography at a homeschooling organization in Port St. Lucie, said she first spotted the bird in her backyard Oct. 3. Nine days later, Workman saw the rare bird reappear; this time, she followed it for five minutes with her Canon T5i camera before finally capturing some photographs. “Following a bird is, of course, not the best way to get pictures of it,” Workman laughed. “But at first, I didn’t believe I actually saw it. I was super excited.”
— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —
A very happy birthday to our friend Edie Ousley, Vice President of Public Affairs at the Florida Chamber of Commerce. She’s also a member of the INFLUENCE 100. Also celebrating is state Rep. Josie Tomkow.
Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jim Rosica, and Drew Wilson.