Re-open Florida task force: Chaos, cacophony on working group conference call

Hand turns dice and changes the expression "during Corona" to "after Corona".
The line was purged, over and over.

Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ task force to reopen Florida had breakout sessions Wednesday morning and the task force dealing with agriculture and other issues was the most heavily politicized going in.

Democratic Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried balked at her exclusion from the task force, the latest in a series of slights from the GOP Governor on the other side of the Capitol’s Plaza Level.

Gov. Ron DeSantis had ready backup. Republicans said Fried was “whining” about exclusion, and that Senate President-designate Wilton Simpson, an egg farmer empaneled on the task force, was able to represent that sector just fine.

With Fried again on the outside looking in, the Governor’s committee was slated to mull Agriculture, Finance, Government, Healthcare, Management and Professional Services on Wednesday morning.

But “technical issues” delayed the discussion, chewing up much of the time and blunting what would have been a wide-ranging field of inquiry even under ideal circumstances.

The call covering those disparate topics started late, with an ad hoc feel. One participant, ahead of the call’s formal beginning, noted that the Governor’s Office had contacted him the night before asking him to join in, with concerns about not having a “wide enough range” of people on the panel.

DeSantis offered remarks, including questioning the distinction between “essential and non-essential businesses,” saying that “lower risk” sectors that aren’t traditionally considered essential may be candidates for reopening.

“Agriculture,” DeSantis said, “is kind of downstream” of the food service sector, adding that Simpson and others would handle the details on that.

“He’s somebody tailor-made” for “a leadership role here,” DeSantis said before jumping off the call.

Simpson noted the grim reality facing farmers, with Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association President Mike Joyner starting his presentation after three or four purges of the line by “the organizer.”

Thirty minutes into the call, the task force had descended into a cacophony of unmuted lines and befuddled participants, a tower of babble far removed from coherently discussing, never mind solving, the problems of economic reopening. The line was purged again.

“Does anyone on the line know if this call is going to resume,” asked one piqued participant.

Forty one minutes into the call, the first presentation began.

Joyner, whose focus is the fresh produce industry, described “staggering” losses for agriculture, before the call was again disconnected at the 45 minute mark.

“There’s issues with the phone system,” observed Amy Mercer of the Florida Police Chiefs Association.

Indeed, there were.

The call was rescheduled for noon, but there was nothing but dead air on the line for the 40 minutes until this reporter disconnected.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Steve

    April 22, 2020 at 11:12 am

    How long until Nikki goes on MSNBC and blames Desantis for the technical issues?

    • Marlene

      April 22, 2020 at 11:15 am

      Plenty of other stuff the loser Governor is responsible for.
      No need to focus on a technical issue.

      • Jason

        April 22, 2020 at 11:35 am

        Yeah, I guess you would prefer that Gillum was now the Governor. But of course, he would be too busy right now having sex with a male prostitute and doing illegal drugs.

  • Marlene

    April 22, 2020 at 11:50 am

    1) Fake news; and, 2) Yep. Anything better than a Republican hack.

    • NoTimeForTrashTalk

      April 22, 2020 at 12:22 pm

      Marlene, it seems that YOU are the “fake” news on this blog. And, “anything” better than a Republican “hack,” is about as fake as you.

      If you’re going to comment, at least say something that is helpful to the situation. But, like most of your never Trump, never DeSantis crowd, has nothing to add to any conversation, other than hate and division.

      I hope your reality, is better than your desire.

    • Huh?

      April 23, 2020 at 8:12 am

      You think that Gillum just happened to be in a hotel room with a male prostitute and meth? How is that fake news?

    • Charlotte Greenbarg

      April 23, 2020 at 9:51 am

      Fake news? The photos were all over social media. Even msm had to admit it. But you far left trolls lie consistently in your efforts to bring down the state and nation. Anything better? You make my point, parrot

  • Frankie M.

    April 22, 2020 at 12:45 pm

    Man Ronnie could screw up a wet dream? I’m surprised panelists didn’t find out they were on the committee via social media. Seems to be the way he likes to communicate these days. That reminds me…when does the next youtube press conference drop?

  • Tjb

    April 22, 2020 at 5:15 pm

    It appears that DeSantis is afraid of having a strong women, such as Nikki, on the task force.

    • Charlotte Greenbarg

      April 23, 2020 at 9:53 am

      It appears that you have a bad case of DeSantis/Trump DS🤪

      • NoMoTrump

        April 23, 2020 at 10:35 am

        Hey, Trump psychos, there was absolutely nothing in the news, photos or otherwise, that even remotely suggests that Gillum was “having sex with a male prostitute” or that he took any “illegal drugs.” That’s all of your own projections and lies, based on Trumpty Dumpty’s pussy grabbing, pathological lying culture. Talk about actual facts, not just your made up BS.

Comments are closed.


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