Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 10.6.20

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Coffee is for closers. So is Sunburn, your morning rundown of Florida politics.

Just off embargo — UNF poll: Joe Biden up in Florida by 6 points — Of the voters surveyed, 51% indicated they intend to vote for Biden, versus 45% who stated they would vote for President Donald Trump; 1% of respondents said they would vote for someone else while 3% are still unsure. When asked whether they agree that November’s election results will be fair and trustworthy, 72% said they somewhat or strongly agreed. The Public Opinion Research Lab released the pol showing the former Vice President as the frontrunner. Results also reveal a majority of Florida voters believe state officials have eased off social distancing restrictions too quickly.

Florida For All is pounding the pavement to get Joe Biden into the White House.

The coalition, fueled by millions from Mike Bloomberg’s personal fortune, announced Monday that they’re back to knocking on doors to drum up support for Biden in Florida’s Black and Latinx communities.

“The COVID-19 pandemic may have changed how campaigns are run in many ways — but given misinformation surrounding how to vote, and recent attacks on mail-in voting and the integrity of the election — a strong ground game has never been more important,” Bloomberg said.

With an influx of money from Michael Bloomberg, Florida Democrats are targeting Black and Latinx voters for Joe Biden. Image via AP.

“That’s why I’m glad to support efforts to reach underrepresented voters in key districts throughout the state of Florida to ensure they know what’s at stake in this election, and have the information they need to cast a vote. Black and Latino voters are the backbones of the Democratic Party, and we’re going to make sure their voices are heard at the ballot box this fall.”

The canvassing effort will be focused on Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Orange, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.

Florida For All is a coalition comprised of New Florida Majority, FLIC Votes, Organize Florida, Dream Defenders Action, Florida Planned Parenthood PAC, Service Employees International Union Florida, and Community Change Action.

Its goal is to expand the electorate by mobilizing at least 3.5 million voters of color, young people, women and union supporters.


Tallahassee political consultant and 2019 World Seafood Champion Josh Cooper took third place in the recent World Food Championships Final Table.

Cooper in recent years has been a staple at cooking competitions. Last year, he and his teammates made a top-10 showing at the 7th Annual WFC, and in January at the 8th Annual WFC, Cooper became the 2019 World Seafood Champion thanks to his “Pan-Seared Scallops with Caviar Champagne Beurre Blanc.”

Josh Cooper takes third place in the World Food Championships Final Table.

The dish netted him a $10,000 prize and a spot at WFC’s Final Table Challenge, which was held in August and aired on The Cooking Channel over the weekend.

The competition featured three rounds with judges who are experts in their culinary fields of focus. Their votes and scores eliminated champions through three challenges of Indiana-based dishes until only one person was left standing.

Ultimately, Lidia Haddadian was named the 8th Annual World Food Champion. But Team Cooper didn’t go away empty-handed.

After navigating through many obstacles, they finished the weekend in third place and landed a $3,000 prize.

Cooper has competed in food sport for 13 years now, winning a combined $54,000 in prizes across the competitions he has entered.

To watch a video of the episode, click on the image below:


The Florida Chamber Safety Council announced Sandy Hodes will join its advisory board Monday.

Hodes is the senior vice president and deputy general counsel at Ryder System, a FORTUNE 500 logistics and transportation company.

Hodes leads Ryder’s Safety, Health and Security organization where he provides leadership to prevent and manage risk through the company’s operations and safety liabilities, while ensuring comprehensive, consistent and effective policies and procedures.

Congratulations to Sandy Hodes, newly named to the Florida Chamber Safety Council.

He joins a council dedicated to helping small businesses foster safe and healthy workplaces.

“We’re pleased to welcome Sandy as the Florida Chamber Safety Council’s newest advisory board member,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce. “Bringing together the strongest safety professionals in the state to serve as a resource for our smaller businesses is imperative to securing the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s goal of growing the state’s economy from the 17th to the 10th largest in the world by 2030.”

Advisory Board chair Mark Morgan added, “Each selected member of our growing Leadership Advisory board is committed to making on-the-job safety a top priority. A one-stop platform, the Florida Chamber Safety Council helps Florida employers develop employee-driven programs that empower personal accountability for workplace safety and health.”


@realDonaldTrump: I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 p.m. Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of COVID. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!

@JoeBiden: Now that President [Donald] Trump is busy tweeting campaign messages, I would ask him to do this: Listen to the scientists. Support masks. Support mask mandates nationwide.

@DavidNakamura: Dr. [Sean] Conley says Trump has met or exceeded all of Walter Reed’s patient discharge criteria. Trump is not fully “out of the woods yet,” he adds, but “the team and I … support the President’s safe return home.”

@kaitlancollins: Dr. Conley refuses to say when President Trump’s last negative test was for the third time. He says he “doesn’t want to go backward.”

@ianbremmer: No need to be afraid of COVID! As long as you have … 1 taxpayer-funded helicopter. 10 dedicated hospital doctors. 3 doses remdesivir. 2 rounds of oxygen. multiple steroid doses. experimental antibody cocktail. chest X-rays. 24/7 monitoring.

@politicoalex: NEWS: Debate commission has approved plans for plexiglass to be used at Wednesday VP debate. Barrier will separate [Mike] Pence and [Kamala] Harris, and the two candidates from moderator Susan Page.

@nikkifried: The voter registration deadline in Florida is just hours away, and the online voter registration website is broken. This is unacceptable @GovRonDeSantis. Fix it now.

Tweet, tweet:

@sabrod123: Showdown between Cubans outside Biden’s Little Havana stop today. Trump supporter: “Vete pa Cuba, socialista!!! Límpiale los pies a Raul Castro que te gusta el comunismo.” Biden supporter: “Vete tu que yo nací aquí!!! Yo no soy ningún socialista.”


First vice presidential debate at the University of Utah — 1; Amazon’s annual Prime Day begins — 7; NBA season ends (last possible date) — 8; stone crab season starts — 9; second presidential debate (tentatively) scheduled in Miami — 9; Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch” premieres — 10; NBA free agency (tentative) — 12; Florida Chamber’s Future of Florida Forum — 14; HBO debuts 2000 presidential election doc ‘537 Votes’ — 15; third presidential debate (tentative) at Belmont — 16; “The Empty Man” premieres — 17; 2020 General Election — 28; NBA 2020-21 training camp — 35; The Masters begins — 37; NBA draft — 43; Pixar’s “Soul” premieres — 45; College basketball season slated to begin — 50; NBA 2020-21 opening night — 57; Florida Automated Vehicles Summit — 57; “Death on the Nile” premieres — 72; “Wonder Woman 1984” rescheduled premiere — 80; Greyhound racing ends in Florida — 86; Super Bowl LV in Tampa — 124; “A Quiet Place Part II” rescheduled premiere — 137; “Black Widow” rescheduled premiere — 152; “No Time to Die” premieres (rescheduled) — 178; “Top Gun: Maverick” rescheduled premiere — 269; Disney’s “Shang Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings” premieres — 276; new start date for 2021 Olympics — 290; “Jungle Cruise” premieres — 298; Disney’s “Eternals” premieres — 395; “Spider-Man Far From Home” sequel premieres — 398; Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” premieres — 430; “Thor: Love and Thunder” premieres — 494; “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” premieres — 547; “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” sequel premieres — 728.

— COVID45 —

Trump returns to White House with COVID, removing mask for photo” via Josh Wingrove, Jennifer Jacobs, and Justin Sink of Bloomberg — Trump returned to the White House after being treated for COVID-19 for three days at the hospital. Trump didn’t speak to reporters at the White House and only said “thank you very much” to those gathered at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center before boarding the presidential helicopter. Back at the White House, he walked up the South Portico stairs to the balcony, where he removed his mask, flashed thumbs-up with both hands and saluted for several seconds. The show of defiance toward both the virus and public health measures to combat its spread was in keeping with the president’s tone earlier when he announced he would leave the Bethesda, Maryland, hospital.

Donald Trump returns to the White House from Walter Reed, eschews masks.

Here’s what experts say about what happens when an infectious patient wants to leave the hospital.” via Sheryl Gay Stolberg of The New York Times — Trump’s declaration that he will leave Walter Reed National Military Medical Center has stunned health professionals. But even if he were not the President, his doctors would have to take extraordinary measures to keep him in the hospital against his will. Under ordinary circumstances, a patient who wanted to leave the hospital against the recommendation of his or her doctor might be asked to sign a discharge form acknowledging that he or she was declining further treatment. Roughly 2% of all patients do so. If the patient leaving against medical advice had a contagious disease, he or she would be asked to pledge to follow public health guidelines to keep those around him or her safe.

Polls show no signs of a sympathy bounce, and find most Americans don’t think Trump took the virus seriously.” via Nate Cohn of The New York Times — The Trump campaign is hoping the nation will rally around the ailing President as he battles the coronavirus. But the first polls conducted since the President’s announcement of his diagnosis early Friday did not seem to show a sympathy bounce. Polls by Ipsos/Reuters and YouGov/Yahoo conducted on Friday and Saturday found that most Americans feel the President hadn’t been taking the coronavirus seriously, in terms of policy or personal conduct, and that he could have avoided getting sick. Both polls also showed Biden maintaining his national lead over Trump. The Ipsos/Reuters poll showed Biden up by 10 percentage points. The YouGov/Yahoo poll found Biden up by eight points.

Concern rises for White House residence staffers as their workplace emerges as a virus hot spot” via Jada Yuan of The Washington Post — As the residence staff has been caring for the first family, a chorus of concern has started to rise among former White House and residence staff members about whether the first family and the administration are taking care of those civil servants in return. For months, this administration has treated the White House as a bubble immune to the coronavirus, ignoring guidance from its own Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by refusing to wear masks, neglecting to maintain social distance and relying on rapid coronavirus tests that have been shown to miss infections. With the President, First Lady, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, top aide Hope Hicks, former counselor Kellyanne Conway and an ever-growing number of administration officials testing positive for the coronavirus, that bubble has burst. Now others are trying to give voice to those working behind the scenes in that building who cannot speak on their own behalf.

Kayleigh McEnany’s bogus excuse for a lack of coronavirus transparency” via Aaron Blake of The Washington Post — The White House spent almost the entire weekend obfuscating, misleading about, and flatly refusing to provide information about Trump’s health amid his coronavirus diagnosis. But even as it began to come clean about what it was doing Sunday, the self-proclaimed “most transparent administration” closed out the weekend on a rather un-transparent note. White House communications director Alyssa Farah indicated earlier Sunday that the White House would soon disclose the number of infections within its ranks. That was promising, given some of the infections, including the first one we found out about, Hicks, have only come to light thanks to reporters digging into the situation.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany is the latest to clam up about coronavirus in the Donald Trump administration.

Jeanette Núñez ‘would have felt comfortable’ in SUV with sick Trump” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Lt. Gov. Núñez said that she “would have felt comfortable” in the same car Sunday with Trump, who controversially left his hospital suite to greet well-wishers inside a black Suburban with rolled-up windows. The President, who tested positive Thursday night and was hospitalized less than 24 hours, has been working to project an image of vitality while hospitalized. Nunez told reporters on a press call Monday that the decision by the President was made “in consultation with medical personnel. I don’t think the medical personnel would have allowed it if had they felt there was an imminent threat in that car. Yes, I would have felt comfortable,” Nunez said.

“‘An embarrassment’: Trump tweet angers pandemic survivors” via Gene Johnson and Peter Prengaman of the Associated Press — Dizzy with a soaring fever and unable to breathe, Scott Sedlacek had one thing going for him: He was among the first people to be treated for COVID-19 at Seattle’s Swedish Medical Center, and the doctors and nurses were able to give him plenty of attention. The 64-year-old recovered after being treated with a bronchial nebulizer in March, but the ensuing months have done little to dull the trauma of his illness. Hearing of President Trump’s advice not to fear the disease — as well as the president’s insistence on riding in a motorcade outside Walter Reed Medical Center — enraged him.


To get a reasonable idea of how the presidential race is playing out, state polling is the way to go — particularly in battleground states like Florida. Some outlets offer a poll of polls, gauging how Trump or Biden are doing in select areas, then averaging the surveys to get a general idea of who leads nationwide. Sunburn will be updating these forecasts as they come in:

CNN Poll of Polls: As of Monday, the CNN average has Biden holding steady at 52% compared to 42% for Trump. The CNN Poll of Polls tracks the national average in the presidential race. They include the most recent national telephone surveys meeting CNN’s standards for reporting and which measure the views of registered or likely voters. The poll of polls does not have a margin of sampling error. As of Monday, Biden holding steady to an 81 in 100 chance of winning compared to Trump, who slipped to an 18 in 100 shot. One model has no Electoral College victory, bringing the election to the House. FiveThirtyEight also ranked individual states by the likelihood of delivering a decisive vote for the winning candidate in the Electoral College: Pennsylvania leads with 27.4%, while Florida comes in second with 14.1%. Other states include Wisconsin (13.7%), Michigan (9.1 %), Arizona (5.6%), North Carolina (4.6%) Minnesota (4.1%) and Nevada (3.3%).

PredictIt: As of Monday, the PredictIt trading market has Biden slipping to $0.64 a share, with Trump rising to $0.40.

A survey of recent polling gives Joe Biden the edge.

Real Clear Politics: As of Monday, the RCP average of polling top battleground states gives Biden a lead over Trump 50.7% to 42.2%. The RCP average also has Biden averaging at +8.5 points ahead.

Sabato’s Crystal Ball: With a stable national lead and a bevy of polling showing him running significantly better with northern white voters than Hillary Clinton performed four years ago, Joe Biden appears to be turning back the clock a bit on the United States’ political transformation. Namely, after Clinton hemorrhaged white voters in northern small town and rural areas in 2016, Biden appears to be bringing some of those voters back into the Democratic fold while also improving on Clinton’s margins with white suburbanites. If this pattern holds in the actual results, it could pay major dividends for Biden in the Great Lakes region.

The Economist: As of Monday, their model predicts Biden is “very likely” to beat Trump in the Electoral College. The model is updated every day and combines state and national polls with economic indicators to predict a range of outcomes. The midpoint is the estimate of the electoral-college vote for each party on Election Day. According to The Economist, Biden’s chances of winning the electoral college around 9 in 10 versus Trump with 1 in 10 or 10%. They still give Biden a 99% chance (better than 19 in 20) of winning the most votes, with Trump at only 2% (less than 1 in 20).


Joe Biden moves ahead of President Donald Trump among Miami-Dade Hispanic voters, poll finds” via David Smiley of the Miami Herald — Cuban American voters continue to favor Trump over Biden in Miami-Dade County, but more are moving toward the Democratic nominee, boosting Biden’s chances of winning battleground Florida, according to a poll by Bendixen & Amandi International and the Miami Herald. Conducted Oct. 1-4 — beginning two days after the first Trump-Biden debate and the day before Trump announced he had contracted the coronavirus, and released ahead of Biden’s visit Monday to Miami — the poll of 600 likely voters found Biden leading Trump 57% to 37% in Miami-Dade County. Biden’s 20-point lead over Trump reflects modest gains among Hispanic voters that helped grow his lead from the 55% to 38% advantage Biden held in the county one month ago.

Biden campaigns in Little Haiti and Little Havana, and discusses COVID-19 and Trump, before national town hall in Miami” via Anthony Man of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, said South Florida’s Haitian community could make a huge difference in the outcome of the election. If he wins Florida, Biden suggested during a stop at the Little Haiti Cultural Center in Miami, he’d win the presidency. And, he said, in a close race in Florida, every vote in every community matters. “Folks, the Haitian community by itself — if the turnout is like it was the last time — the Haitian community itself could determine the outcome of this election,” Biden said. “Wouldn’t it be an irony, the irony of all ironies, if on election eve it turned out Haitians delivered the coup de gras in this election?”

Joe Biden speaks with reporters before boarding a plane to Miami. Image via AP.

Campaigning in Florida, Biden urges a national mask mandate and warns the COVID crisis ‘is far, far from over.’” via Michael Cooper, Thomas Kaplan and Alexander Burns of The New York Times — As Trump returned to the White House on Monday after a three-night stay at the hospital, Biden campaigned in Florida, where he expressed hope that the President was recovering but urged Americans not to minimize the threat posed by the coronavirus. “I hope the President’s recovery is swift and successful, but our nation’s COVID crisis is far, far from over,” he said at a gym in Miami’s Little Havana. Biden once again urged Trump — who has sent lukewarm-to-mixed signals on the importance of wearing masks, and who had mocked the former Vice President at the debate just last week for wearing masks — to embrace universal masking, saying it would save lives.

A clear-cut Biden win is emerging as a bull case for stocks” via Justina Lee of Bloomberg — With Biden’s lead widening in the polls and Trump’s campaign sidelined by the virus, investment strategists now say there’s less of a chance for a contested election. A clear-cut Democrat victory could avoid a long and messy legal battle and provide certainty to markets that have been nervous about election risks, according to strategists from Citigroup to JPMorgan Chase. “Polls are shifting from a close election and prolonged uncertainty to more a dominant Biden and clean succession,” said Peter Rosenstreich, head of market strategy at Swissquote Bank SA. “That is reducing uncertainty and increasing risk appetite.”

Biden mounts late fight for Miami” via Sabrina Rodriguez and Marc Caputo of Politico —For much of the campaign, Miami Democrats have been sounding the alarm at Biden’s relatively tepid support among Democratic-leaning, non-Cuban Hispanic voters here and throughout Florida. The problem was compounded by Trump’s outsized support among Cuban Americans. Without a big winning margin and high turnout in populous Miami-Dade County, Biden would have little chance of winning the state. So over the past two months, Biden’s campaign responded by embarking on a hiring spree in South Florida, giving more local press interviews and, in combination with outside groups, pouring $23 million into TV commercials in the Miami media market.

Will women voters turn Seminole blue in a presidential year?” via Annie Martin and Ryan Gillespie of the Orlando Sentinel — The suburban women of Seminole County may hold the keys to the White House and a slate of crucial state races. Women voters outnumber men by more than 26,000 and make up more than half the electorate in the community just north of Orlando. That has helped transform Seminole, a once-reliable Republican stronghold, into one of the most important swing counties in the country’s most important swing state during this year’s presidential election. The gender gap is also visible on the ballot itself.

FDLE still reviewing investigation request into Mike Bloomberg” via The News Service of Florida — State law enforcement officials continue to review Attorney General Ashley Moody’s request to investigate former New York City Mayor Bloomberg for helping Florida felons pay outstanding legal costs so they could register to vote in November. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement review is the first step toward a potential investigation that Moody, at the behest of DeSantis, requested into Bloomberg raising at least $16 million for the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition. Moody contends the assistance to the coalition could be a violation of laws against offering incentives to people or groups in exchange for voting in a particular manner.

Florida AARP balks at Michael Bloomberg attack ad targeting Trump” via Matt Dixon of Politico — The nation’s largest senior lobby, has distanced itself from a Florida attack ad aimed at Trump and financed by the New York billionaire. AARP Florida issued a statement Monday saying it didn’t participate in the ad, which criticizes Trump’s push to repeal the Affordable Care Act and cites the group’s research. “AARP has a proud 34-year history of non-partisan voter engagement and does not endorse or oppose candidates, nor does AARP make contributions to political campaigns or candidates,” AARP Florida State Director Jeff Johnson said in a statement.


Trump campaign ad touts ‘second chance policies’ — A new ad from Trump’s reelection campaign highlights the administration’s use of Opportunity Zones to bring jobs to low-income areas. The ad features United States Army Veteran Tony Rankin, who explains how the policies have made his life “worth living.” The campaign said the ad shows how “Trump has taken historic action to empower the Black community through economic opportunity, record funding for HBCUs, criminal justice reform, and Opportunity Zones” This ad is part of a new, 8 figure ad buy and will be seen on select network cable outlets this week.

To watch the video, click on the image below:

Priorities USA Action rolls out new pro-Biden digital ads Priorities USA Action launched a pair of digital ads in Florida and other battleground states that contrast Trump’s “reckless coronavirus response” with Biden’s “steady leadership.” Both ads harp on the “steady stream of disinformation, lies and attempts to downplay the virus” coming from the Trump administration. These are serious times for our country, and we wish Trump a speedy recovery. But the sad truth is that Donald Trump has put each and every one of us at risk by downplaying the threat of the virus and then undermining the response,” said Guy Cecil, Chairman of Priorities USA.

To watch the videos click the images below here and here:


Florida voter registration system crashes on last day for filing” via Gary Fineout of POLITICO Florida — Secretary of State Laurel Lee said the site went down briefly Monday. The portal appeared to continue with problems and in the early evening was down again or moving slowly, possibly overwhelmed by people trying to access it. Lee said h him er office thought it had handled the crash “right away,” but was “working now to see if there’s an ongoing problem.” Democrats were suspicious of the timing of the crash, noting the system has had problems in the past when demand is high. “This is just the latest attempt from the Republican leaders in Florida to limit democracy,” Florida Democratic Party chair Terrie Rizzo said in a statement.

— 2020 — 

Tommy Gregory calls minimum wage amendment a ‘voter turnout trick’ by John Morgan” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics — Rep. Gregory took aim at Morgan on Monday, describing his $15 minimum wage push as a “voter turnout trick” deployed deliberately during a presidential election year. Gregory criticized Morgan’s intentions and his proposed wage hike during a Florida Chamber of Commerce news conference. He described the minimum wage amendment as a ploy to lure voters. “There’s definitely not a coincidence here,” the Sarasota lawmaker said. “This is all a trick. This is a voter turnout trick and it really is insulting for either party to use a ballot amendment to try to sway an election but that’s exactly what I think has gone on here.” Amendment 2 is a ballot initiative that would incrementally raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026. If passed by voters, Florida’s minimum wage would bump to $10 an hour in 2021 and then rise $1 each year until it hits $15.

Tommy Gregory accuses John Morgan of ‘tricking’ voters to the polls with Amendment 2.

Chuck Clemons endorses Kat Cammack for CD 3 — Rep. Clemons has endorsed Republican Cammack in the race to replace U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho in Florida’s 3rd Congressional District. “As the country recovers from the COVID-19, we need leaders who are ready to work hard for the American people now. I have come to know Kat as an incredibly hard worker and Kat has the proven leadership experience needed to get to work on day one,” the state representative said. “She is prepared to facilitate job growth here at home and defend our freedom in Washington. I can assure you that Kat will work incredibly hard for the people of FL-03 and represent our conservative values in Washington with strength and determination.”

Pam Keith ad evokes Jeffrey Epstein to attack Brian Mast over rape jokes, while new Mast ad promotes rape victim advocacy” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Keith is out with a new ad hammering GOP Rep. Mast over old social media posts where he joked about rape and sleeping with underage girls. In doing so, the ad evokes Epstein, the billionaire who has been accused of having sex with dozens of underage and died in prison while awaiting charges on those crimes. Keith’s ad is already running on TV stations inside Florida’s 18th Congressional District. This past weekend, the Mast campaign also released an ad highlighting his advocacy for a St. Lucie rape survivor. CD 18, which Mast currently represents, covers parts of northern Palm Beach County and extends into Martin and St. Lucie counties. Epstein’s sordid history has ties to Palm Beach County.

Donna Shalala adds more than $800K to defend CD 27” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Shalala raised more than $800,000 in the third quarter. That’s a jump of more than 50% over her previous quarterly haul and marks one of her best fundraising quarters as a candidate for Florida’s 27th Congressional District. “The strength and momentum of our campaign comes from thousands of supporters who believe in affordable and high-quality health care, ending this pandemic and getting our economy back on track, and combating climate change,” Shalala said in a written statement Monday. In the equivalent period last cycle, Shalala raised around $925,000 in outside cash. Add in loans and transfers from authorized committees, and Shalala added more than $1 million during the 2018 third quarter.


Ads for Bruno Portigliatti join Jason Brodeur, Patricia Sigman on Orlando TV” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — The Florida House Republican Campaign Committee signed contracts for “three-pack” ads on two Orlando TV stations, promoting Portigliatti’s campaign while also promoting the reelections of Republican Reps. Colleen Burton and Tom Leek in the fine print. The commercials make HD 44 the second state legislative race to go up on TV during the General Election campaign. The FHRCC’s effort for Portigliatti so far has been modest. The committee has spent $37,400 on a total of 17 spots for him on WESH and WFTV. To support Sigman, the Florida Democratic Legislative Committee spent nearly $200,000 for the period covering Oct. 1-6, across WESH, WFTV, WKMG, and WOFL.

TV ads for Bruno Portigliatti are helping fellow Republicans in Central Florida.

Two Cuban American educators vie to replace José Oliva in Miami-Dade’s HD 110” via Samantha J. Gross of the Miami Herald — Two political newcomers hoping to fill the seat left vacant by term-limited House Speaker Oliva share a background in education, Cuban heritage and the hopes to represent their communities in House District 110, a sliver of inland Miami-Dade around Miami Lakes and Hialeah that extends to the Broward County line. Democrat Annette Collazo, a Miami-Dade County Public Schools teacher will face Republican Alex Rizo, an education consultant and former administrator and teacher. Both Collazo and Rizo went unopposed in their respective primaries in August. District 110’s registered voters are fairly split: about 30% Democrat, 36% Republican, and 33% no party affiliation, according to state records. The district encompasses Hialeah, a Republican bastion.


Miami-Dade mayoral candidate Daniella Levine Cava names several lawmakers to new campaign advisory board” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Miami-Dade County mayoral candidate Levine Cava is announcing a new list of advisory board members aimed at helping her navigate her first 100 days should she win the Nov. 3 General Election. Included on that advisory board are several current and former lawmakers including state Sens. José Javier Rodríguez and Annette Taddeo, former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, Coral Gables Mayor Raul Valdés-Fauli and former Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine. The 33-person board also includes plenty of nongovernment officials. “Together, we will develop a comprehensive, actionable policy plan for the future of our community that will be implemented on day one of my administration,” Levine Cava said.

Daniella Levine Cava appoints a wide-ranging advisory board for her campaign. Image via YouTube.

Les Miller crosses party lines to endorse Sandra Murman for Hillsborough Commission D6” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — A Democratic colleague is crossing parties to endorse Hillsborough County Commissioner Murman for the District 6 seat. Miller, the current chair who is retiring from office after this year, offered his endorsements Monday in a move that is likely to frustrate many within his own party. Murman is running against progressive Democrat Pat Kemp. “Without question, Sandy Murman is the best choice to help lead us through these unprecedented times,” Miller said. “Her heart and her head are firmly with all of the people of Hillsborough County.”


New cases dip in Florida while some push for statewide mask mandate” via Jane Musgrave of The Palm Beach Post — As renewed calls were made to DeSantis to order a statewide mask mandate, the number of new coronavirus cases and deaths reported on Monday were among the lowest tallied in four months, according to a daily update from the Florida Department of Health. A week after just 728 people were diagnosed on a single day statewide, another 1,415 people were added to the state’s case count on Monday. That is the second-lowest daily increase since June 10, when 1,371 new cases were reported. In Palm Beach County, an additional 74 people were diagnosed with the highly contagious respiratory disease.

Ron DeSantis faces renewed calls for a statewide mask mandate.

State workers in Tallahassee gripped by fear, confusion as telework options end” via James Call of the Tallahassee Democrat — Workers at three state agencies in Tallahassee expressed confusion and trepidation after their supervisors said remote working options during the coronavirus pandemic have ended or will end soon. Also, employees at the Department of State were told Monday to prepare to return to their offices in the Gray Building. “The scary thing is that we are being told NOT to discuss our return over email because ’emails are public record,'” a worker confided to a reporter. “There is a concerted effort to keep DOS out of the press by bypassing communications subject to public records law.” A department spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Happening today — The Florida Public Service Commission meets to consider placing a 90-day moratorium on electricity disconnections due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Other agenda items include a proposal by Florida Power & Light to speed up refunds of deposits to certain customers affected by the pandemic, 9:30 a.m. The meeting will be livestreamed online.


The COVID-19 effect: The surprising impact of the pandemic on Miami-Dade real estate” via Rene Rodriguez of the Miami Herald — Months of stay-at-home orders, growing numbers of infections and deaths, working remotely while the kids are attending school in the next room, stop-and-start business closures, and no end in sight to the COVID-19 pandemic have all had an unexpected — and seismic — impact on Miami-Dade’s real estate market. It’s just not what you probably think it is. COVID-19 has turned out to be an unexpected boon for the residential real estate market and yet another hurdle for out-priced homebuyers. Historically low-interest rates and condo-cabin fever have driven up demand (and prices) for single-family homes and are even moving the needle on the sluggish, overstocked condo market.

What new COVID-19 safety features does your Miami-Dade, Broward school bus have?” via Michelle Marchante and Devoun Cetoute of the Miami Herald — After more than four months of their school door being locked, many students in Miami-Dade and Broward public schools will return to the classrooms this week. For many, their first attempt at the new normal will begin on the school bus. Some of the school bus safety practices will remain the same. But, as a result of COVID-19, many rules have changed when it comes to the school bus. Masks, seating assignments, and reduced busloads are just some of the new mandates.

Buses in Miami-Dade and Broward will look slightly different, with new COVID-19 procedures.

Struggling to pay rent during the COVID-19 crisis? Miami-Dade may have money for you” via Douglas Hanks of the Miami Herald — Tenants and landlords across Miami-Dade can apply for county help from the CARES Act, with stipends available to cover rent payments that can’t be made because of the COVID-19 crisis. Miami-Dade is accepting applications for the next two weeks for the second round of payments from its $15 million tenant program, which can cover up to three months’ worth of rent payments for tenants who meet income requirements. The application window closes on Friday, Oct. 16. To qualify, a person must be a Miami-Dade resident, unable to pay full rent because of a COVID-related hardship and make no more than 20% more than the county’s median income. For a single person, that sets the threshold at $76,800.

An inside look at how a Miami school welcomed back students on its first day of classes” via Monique O. Madan of the Miami Herald — Redland Elementary students in pre-K, kindergarten and first grade got to see their friends on Monday morning after six months being away from school — but only at a distance. Lines were extra long because of social distancing protocols, and sharing Animal Crackers at breakfast was a no-go. Before COVID-19, the South Dade school’s cafeteria was a buzzing place filled with laughing children playing “rock, paper, scissors” and fighting over the lone strawberry milk carton. On Monday, that same room was silent, as children entered one by one after their hands were sanitized at the door. “Yes, it’s weird. It’s extra quiet and kind of like a ghost town,” said Dayamay Gonzalez, a school administrator.


Central Florida businesses worry about the legal liabilities of reopening” via Nicole Griffin of Spectrum News 13 — State leaders are considering new legislation, as many business owners are now worried about liability lawsuits as a result of opening their doors during the pandemic. At Steve’s Famous Diner in Daytona Beach, owner Christos Mavronas claims they are trying to get back on their feet. “2020 we are down 30 to 40% of sales,” he said. While is he taking many precautions against COVID-19, he is still worried that by opening his doors he is also opening himself up to potential lawsuits. “There was a couple that say that they got sick but they were other places, so how do we know you got sick here?” Mavronas said. If someone decides to sue, even without proof, Mavronas believes he’ll probably go out of business. 

Steve’s Famous Diner in Daytona Beach is among the businesses concerned about COVID-19 liability.

It’s no longer mandatory to wear a mask in Cocoa Beach” via Matt Fernandez of My News 13 — The City of Cocoa Beach is lifting its state of emergency COVID-19 order requiring people to wear masks inside public places and outdoors when not social distancing. But business owners like Linda Greenhaw, who owns a bait store in Cocoa Beach, said she will still require customers to wear masks inside her business. A sign on the shop’s front door reads, “Please wear a mask in you come in. I am high risk.” But not every business owner agrees with continuing to enforce the wearing of masks indoors. One business along A1A said it plans to leave the decision up to the customers. The city said the order could be reinstated if there’s a local spike of new COVID-19 cases.

Lakeland ends its face mask mandate” via Sara-Megan Walsh of the Lakeland Ledger — As of late Monday afternoon, Lakeland residents were free to decide to mask up or not. Lakeland commissioners allowed the city’s requirement that facial coverings be worn in indoor public spaces to expire at 5 p.m. Monday. Mayor Bill Mutz said DeSantis made the local mandate a moot point when his Sept. 25 executive order banned local fines against individuals who refused to wear a face mask. “Without the ability to enforce a mandate, there is no reason to mandate,” he said. Since July 2, Lakeland residents who refused to comply with the mask mandate could have been fined up to $250. However, no citations or fines were ever issued by the city.

‘Lethal assaults’: Rural Big Bend sees alarming string of domestic violence homicides” via Nada Hassanein of the Tallahassee Democrat — The back-to-back murders are part of an alarming string of domestic violence-related homicides within the past several months, all occurring in rural Big Bend counties. This year has already seen six deaths. Refuge House shelter director Meg Baldwin counts four deaths in Taylor County alone. But the COVID-19 crisis has aggravated domestic abuse situations with stress and stay-at-home orders to prevent the spread of the virus. While calls to Refuge House’s hotline numbers are down about 30% — from an average of 300 calls from within Leon County to about 200 — the decline signals trouble. Victims, particularly ones throughout the rural Big Bend, aren’t reaching out as much as they were. Many are afraid to call while they’re in earshot of an abuser during the quarantine.

Pandemic relief grants available for Northeast Florida nonprofits” via Beth Reese Cravey of The Florida Times-Union — The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida has created a $1 million fund to help area nonprofits recoup pandemic-related expenses. The Respond/Adapt/Recover Fund will issue relief grants to nonprofits in Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns counties to cover costs associated with reopening or safely maintaining operations, according to the Jacksonville-based Foundation. The average grant award will be between $5,000 and $25,000, based on each organization’s 2019 gross revenues, according to the foundation. To apply, nonprofits must have the federal 501c3 public charity designation. They must be based — and providing services — in Northeast Florida.

FSU legendary coach Bobby Bowden tests positive for COVID-19, watching out for symptoms” via Jim Henry of the Tallahassee Democrat — Bowden has tested positive for COVID-19. The legendary Florida State football coach, who turns 91 next month, told the Democrat he was diagnosed with the virus but feels fine. Bowden had been hospitalized at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare for nearly two weeks with leg infection following the removal of cancer spots. Bowden was transferred to the hospital’s rehab center and was released last Thursday. Bowden was informed by his physician on Saturday that he tested positive for COVID-19. Bowden said he has not exhibited any symptoms such as fever, coughing and breathing issues associated with the illness. His sense of humor also remained intact.

Legendary Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden, 90, tests positive for COVID-19.

USF moves spring break in response to the coronavirus pandemic” via WTSP — The University of South Florida is moving its 2021 spring break as a safety precaution to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Spring break, originally planned for March 15-21, is shifting to April 12-18. The change will allow USF to deliver the last two weeks of learning and final exams remotely. “Because many students and faculty typically travel over spring break, transitioning to all remote delivery for the last few weeks of the semester is intended to reduce the number of individuals who return to a USF campus and lower the likelihood of exposing others to COVID-19,” USF explained in a news release.

Thunder Beach reapplies for autumn rally permit in PCB” via Nathan Cobb of Northwest Florida Daily News — Event organizers have reapplied to host the 20th Autumn Thunder Beach Motorcycle Rally after being denied a month ago because of COVID-19 restrictions. According to Joe Biggs, president of Thunder Beach Productions, the decision to reapply was sparked by a recent executive order from DeSantis, which loosened COVID-19 restrictions and allowed restaurants, bars and other businesses to operate at full capacity. Normally held Oct. 21-25, the fall rally was previously denied by City Manager Tony O’Rourke, who in a memorandum acknowledged it would be great for the local economy but too risky for an area that continues to recover from the pandemic.


Trump official pressured CDC to change report on COVID and kids” via Dan Diamond of Politico — In early September, as many school districts were still deciding whether to hold in-person classes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention altered the title of a scientific report on the coronavirus and removed words like “pediatric” from its text, days after a Trump administration appointee requested similar changes. That request — issued by then-public affairs official Paul Alexander — came amid Trump’s broader push to reopen schools, with the president issuing demands on Twitter the prior day that “Democrats, OPEN THE SCHOOLS (SAFELY),” and holding a news conference that touted data on the relatively low risk of COVID-19 for children.

Nearly one-third of COVID-19 patients in study had altered mental state” via Pam Belluck of The New York Times — Nearly a third of hospitalized COVID-19 patients experienced some type of altered mental function, ranging from confusion to delirium to unresponsiveness, in the largest study to date of neurological symptoms among coronavirus patients in an American hospital system. And patients with altered mental function had significantly worse medical outcomes, according to the study, published on Monday in Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology. The study looked at the records of the first 509 coronavirus patients hospitalized, from March 5 to April 6, at 10 hospitals in the Northwestern Medicine health system in the Chicago area. These patients stayed three times as long in the hospital as patients without altered mental function.


‘Doomed to fail’: Why a $4 trillion bailout couldn’t revive the American economy” via Peter Whoriskey, Douglas MacMillan and Jonathan O’Connell of The Washington Post — The four spending bills that Congress passed earlier this year to address the coronavirus crisis amounted to one of the costliest relief efforts in U.S. history, and the undertaking soon won praise across the political spectrum for its size and speed. The $4 trillion total of government grants and loans exceeded the cost of 18 years of war in Afghanistan. “We’re going to win this battle in the very near future,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after the Senate approved the Cares Act, the largest of the four measures. Six months later, however, the nation’s coronavirus battle is far from won, and if the prodigious relief spending was supposed to target the neediest and move the country beyond the pandemic, much of the money missed the mark.

Delaying James Bond means even more misery for movie theaters” via Kelly Gilblom, Thomas Seal, and Mark Burton of Bloomberg — The bad news is flowing without relent in the film industry, where a major theater chain is poised to close movie houses in the U.S. and U.K. and the next James Bond adventure has been pushed into April because of the pandemic. Cineworld Group Plc is within days of shuttering its U.K. theaters and the operations of its Regal Entertainment Group in the U.S., a person familiar with the matter said Sunday. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer canceled the November debut, already delayed from last April, of the Bond movie “No Time to Die,” one of the few big films left on the 2020 release calendar. London-listed Cineworld could suspend operations at its U.K. venues — at a cost of 5,500 jobs — as soon as this week, and executives were writing to Prime Minister Boris Johnson this weekend to warn that delays to blockbuster releases have made the industry unviable, the person said.

Delays of the new James Bond movie is yet another blow to the movie industry.

Regal Cinemas announces plans to shut down theaters, including three in Jacksonville” via Tom Szaroleta of The Florida Times-Union — Cineworld, the international theater chain that operates Regal Cinemas in the United States, announced plans to temporarily close all of its theaters, including three in the Jacksonville area. The company operates cinemas at The Avenues, River City Marketplace and Beach Boulevard in Jacksonville. It also has theaters in Lake City and Gainesville. Overall, the company has 536 U.S. locations, including more than 40 in Florida.


Americans say they’re drinking alcohol 14% more often in the pandemic” via Linda Searing of The Washington Post — American adults have been drinking alcoholic beverages more often during the coronavirus pandemic, 14% more often, according to a report in the journal JAMA Network Open. The increase in drinking frequency has been higher for women (up 17%) and for those ages 30 to 59 (up 19%). The findings stem from a study by Rand Corp., a research organization, that involved a nationally representative sample of 1,540 adults ages 30 to 80 and compared their self-reported consumption of alcohol this past spring with drinking habits for the same time the previous year. Women also registered about a 40% increase both in incidents of binge drinking, defined as four or more drinks within about two hours, and in problems linked to their alcohol consumption, such as risky behavior. 

NYC seeks to reinstate virus restrictions in some spots” via Karen Matthews of The Associated Press — New York City’s Mayor said Sunday that he has asked the state for permission to close schools and reinstate restrictions on nonessential businesses in several neighborhoods because of a resurgence of the coronavirus. The action, if approved, would mark a disheartening retreat for a city that enjoyed a summer with less spread of the virus than most other parts of the country, and had only recently celebrated the return of students citywide to in-person learning in classrooms. Shutdowns would start Wednesday in nine ZIP codes in the city, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. About 100 public schools and 200 private schools would have to close. Indoor dining, which just resumed a few days ago, would be suspended. Outdoor restaurant dining would shut down in the affected neighborhoods as well, and gyms would close.

Restaurants in certain NYC ZIP codes may be forced to close, as COVID-19 cases rise. Image via AP.

Boris Johnson warns angry Britons of ‘tough winter’ in COVID-19 battle” via Joe Mayes of Bloomberg — Johnson said he accepts the public is angry with his handling of the pandemic, as officials confirmed thousands of positive cases had been missed from COVID-19 test results. After months of criticism and amid a slide in the polls, Johnson also warned that the country still faces a “very tough winter” ahead. “I know people are furious and they’re furious with me,” the prime minister said on the BBC’s Andrew Marr program on Sunday. “It’s going to be bumpy through to Christmas, it may even be bumpy beyond.” The public, he said, should live “fearlessly but with common sense.” Johnson’s message was aimed at trying to persuade the public of the difficulty of his task, to strike a balance between suppressing the virus, as new cases rise, while keeping the economy open to save jobs.

Norwegian Cruise Line cancels cruises until December after CDC no-sail order extended” via Taylor Dolven of the Miami Herald — Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has canceled cruises on its three brands — Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas — until December. The announcement comes just days after the White House overruled a plan by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ban U.S. cruises until February 2021. Instead, the agency extended its “no-sail order” through Oct. 31. Cruise operations stopped in the U.S. in mid-March amid COVID-19 outbreaks on several ships. Carnival Cruise Line canceled all U.S. cruises for November and December except for those that will leave from PortMiami and Port Canaveral, which are on track to restart Nov. 1.


U.S. Supreme Court turns down Irma nursing home case” via News Service of Florida — The Court won’t take up an appeal by a Broward County nursing home whose license was revoked after residents died following Hurricane Irma. The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills contended that its due-process rights were violated. The nursing home filed a petition at the Supreme Court in June, after the state’s 4th District Court of Appeal turned down arguments that the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration improperly revoked the license. Monday’s decision came more than three years after Hurricane Irma knocked out the air-conditioning system at the nursing home, leading to sweltering conditions and as many as 12 deaths due to the conditions in the facility.

The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear the case of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills.

U.S. Supreme Court won’t hear Indian River County’s appeal of Brightline lawsuit” via Joshua Solomon of Treasure Coast Newspapers — The U.S. Supreme Court won’t hear Indian River County’s appeal of its lawsuit against Brightline and the Federal Railroad Administration. The denial marks an end to the county’s most high-profile case against the higher-speed passenger railroad. It could have resulted in Brightline losing access to billions of dollars in tax-exempt private-activity bonds — a financial model it also is using to finance a similar rail line between Los Angeles and Las Vegas — and short-circuited its expansion from West Palm Beach to Orlando International Airport. The ruling, which was announced Monday, was expected, county officials said. “We knew it was going to be an uphill battle,” Indian River County Attorney Dylan Reingold said.

DeSantis ranks in Top 10 of Cato Institute’s 2020 gubernatorial spending scores” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — DeSantis earned a B grade on his first fiscal report card from the Cato Institute, good enough for ninth overall in the group’s Governor rankings. The libertarian think tank noted the first term Governor as a “lean budgeter” who continued Florida’s conservative spending record. And the group lauded him for signing tax cuts over the last two years. Cato’s 15th biennial report, like many annual reports issued this year, frames its findings around the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent recession, which ended more than a decade of economic expansion. All state governments have faced declining revenues and difficult fiscal decisions, but only some states had the rainy-day funds necessary to mitigate a significant downturn, according to the report.

Happening today — Attorney General Moody is hosting the 2020 Human Trafficking Summit, which will be virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic. Former University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow serves as a keynote speaker. Other guests include Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Simone Marstiller and Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Chad Poppell, 9 a.m., register online here.

Happening today — Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Director Timothy Shea meets with U.S. Attorney Lawrence Keefe, Moody and sheriffs from Northwest Florida, among others. Following the meeting is a news conference at 10:30 a.m., U.S. Courthouse, 111 North Adams St., Tallahassee.

Feds: Elected Florida prosecutor stole nearly $1 million, bribed defendants, attorneys” via Andrew Pantazi of The Florida Times-Union — The federal investigation of former Lake City State Attorney Jeff Siegmeister, which began due to allegations he was bribing defendants, has turned toward new allegations that Siegmeister swindled and stole $985,000 from an elderly man. A federal forfeiture complaint last week detailed part of the federal investigation as prosecutors attempt to take Siegmeister’s home. While the complaint didn’t say what stage the bribery investigation was in, it said the FBI has investigated Siegmeister since the summer of 2018 for an alleged bribery scheme where “he solicited money or things of value from defendants and their attorneys in exchange for favorable prosecution.”


The serious political and health risks Republicans are taking in moving forward with the Amy Coney Barrett hearings” via Amber Phillips of The Washington Post — Despite a coronavirus outbreak that has hospitalized the president, infected a host of his staff and Republican allies, and forced the Senate to pause all votes for two weeks, Senate Republicans are pushing forward with the confirmation of Judge Barrett to the Supreme Court. There’s an in-person hearing scheduled for Oct. 12. “We’re going to have a hearing for Amy Barrett, the nominee to the Supreme Court,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham said over the weekend about the first, major step in the process. “It will be done safely — but I’ve got a job to do, and I’m pressing on.”

Pushing ahead with the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett could be dangerous for health and politics.

U.S. stimulus talks grind on without a deal despite Trump urging” via Erik Wasson and Mike Dorning of Bloomberg — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin engaged in another round of talks Monday on a pandemic relief package with no sign they are close to deal, despite the urging of Trump to get it done. The two negotiators have maintained talks by telephone since last week when they met in person for the first time since early August. They’re attempting to bridge a still-yawning gap between the Democratic $2.2 trillion proposal and a $1.6 trillion White House offer. While Trump’s infection with COVID-19 and his tweet from the hospital on Saturday pressing negotiators to “get it done” had raised hopes that the administration would endorse a bigger package, the timeline is increasingly compressed as Election Day looms.


Duke puts storm costs at $145 million” via Jim Saunders of The News Service of Florida — Duke Energy Florida is asking state regulators to approve $145 million in costs stemming from preparations for last year’s massive Hurricane Dorian and restoring power after a much-smaller tropical storm. The request came after the Florida Public Service Commission in February allowed Duke to begin collecting $171.3 million on an interim basis because of estimated costs associated with Dorian and Tropical Storm Nestor. But that decision required Duke to come back and seek approval after actual costs were tallied — what is known as a “true-up” process.

Parts of Martin County get 20 inches of rain in 5 days, flooding several roads; It’s not over yet” via Sara Marino of Treasure Coast Newspapers — After five days of off-and-on heavy rain and thunderstorms, parts of Hobe Sound and other areas in the county collected up to 20 inches of rainwater, weather officials said. There was a lot of standing water Monday in portions of the county. Some areas of Stuart had 15 to 20 inches of rain since Thursday, according to National Weather Service meteorologists in Melbourne. There was an additional 1 to 2 inches estimated overnight into Monday morning, meteorologist Krizia Negron said. Hobe Sound and Jensen Beach were also impacted by the heavy weekend rain, with areas seeing anywhere from 9 to 14 inches of rainfall. And it’s not over yet, Negron said.

U.S. Coast Guard establishes 500-yard buffer for Three Mile Bridge construction” via the Pensacola News Journal — The Florida Department of Transportation announced over Twitter that a 500-yard buffer zone has been established for all Three Mile Bridge construction activities by the U.S. Coast Guard. Vessels traveling within the buffer zone may only use low or idle speeds. Due to the potential for underwater hazards, boaters are advised to use caution while near the bridge. The buffer zone was created after the Three Mile Bridge sustained damage in Hurricane Sally that FDOT estimated would take about six months to repair. 

The Coast Guard has established a 500-yard buffer for the repairs to Pensacola’s Three Mile Bridge.

An explanation for embattled school Superintendent Robert Runcie” via Keith Bromery of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Broward County School Board members recently issued their written annual job performance reviews for Superintendent Runcie, the man they hired almost a decade ago to lead and manage the second-largest public school system in the state and the sixth-largest in the country. In some cases, scathing reviews reflect a troubled administration. At the other end of the spectrum, some praise a stellar performance by an embattled superintendent challenged by major unpredictable issues, including the lingering repercussions of a mass school shooting and a pandemic that forced a half-year systemwide shutdown of in-class instruction and imposed remote learning for all. The reality of Runcie’s performance likely falls somewhere in the middle of these extremes.

Broward rehires transit boss who was fired over false time cards” via Lisa J. Huriash of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — A Broward County transportation superintendent who once was suspended for sharing sexually explicit joke emails and videos, and who ultimately was fired over accusations he falsified time cards, is back on the job. Jeffrey Scott got his job back because the county reached an agreement with him that avoided a lawsuit. But county officials declined to say why they were steering clear of the lawsuit. Scott, who oversees training programs for bus operators and supervisory workers, returned to work on Sept. 28 in his former position as superintendent of transportation with his previous salary of $93,359, according to David Kahn, Broward’s human resources director.

Principal who made Holocaust comments may be rehired this week” via Austen Erblat of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — A former Boca Raton principal could be rehired this week after a judge concluded he shouldn’t have been fired over remarks about the Holocaust that drew national attention. William Latson was fired from his position at Spanish River High School in October 2019, and the Palm Beach County School Board on Wednesday will vote whether to reinstate him and if he’s eligible for back pay. It was not immediately clear if Latson would return to his original post, but Florida Administrative Judge Robert S. Cohen ruled the School Board should place him in a position that lines up with his qualifications. In August, the judge ruled that Latson should have been disciplined instead of fired.

Jacksonville Beach becomes a debt-free city after 8 years of paydown” via David Bauerlein of The Florida Times-Union — When the calendar rolled over to Oct. 1, the city of Jacksonville Beach officially wrote “debt-free” on that date. That’s a rarity in municipal finance. Over the past eight years, Jacksonville Beach zeroed out almost $42 million in debt. Whether the city maintains that status will depend largely on the next set of City Council members who will take office after the Nov. 3 election. “There’s going to be a clean slate when they take over,” said Mayor Charlie Latham, whose eight years in office will be ending because of term limits. “It’s up to the next council what they do with that clean slate.”

City of Jacksonville could give Shad Khan $152 million in incentives for Lot J” via Christopher Hong of The Florida Times-Union — Jacksonville City Hall and Jaguars owner Khan have reached a proposed agreement for Lot J that would see the city provide up to $152 million in economic incentives toward the mix-used development that would include apartment buildings, a hotel, office space, retail and an outdoor entertainment venue. The proposed agreement is the first the city has ever reached with Khan, who has for years discussed the concept of building a massive urban village around TIAA Bank Stadium that has evolved over time. The proposed deal calls for a smaller investment from taxpayers than the one the two parties tentatively agreed to last July, which called for the city to provide up to $260 million in economic incentives.

Shad Kahn gets $152 million in city incentives to develop Lot J.

FPL debuts first electric vehicle fast-charging station in Palm Beach Gardens” via Jodie Wagner of the Palm Beach Post — Florida Power & Light is making it easier for electric vehicle owners to plug in when they’re away from home. Florida’s largest electric utility launched its FPL EVolution electric vehicle infrastructure program Friday at Mainstreet at Midtown in Palm Beach Gardens. The three-year pilot program was designed to accelerate the use of electric vehicles in Florida by increasing the number of charging stations in the state by 50%, and growing the company’s 800-mile grid of universal fast chargers, said Anuj Chokshi, FPL EVolution’s project director. Mainstreet at Midtown is one of a handful of locations where Level 3 fast-charging electric vehicle stations have been installed in FPL’s planned statewide EV charging network.

GCSC, state creating workforce program” via Tony Mixon of the Panama City News Herald — Gulf Coast State College is working with the Florida Department of Education to create a workforce education initiative to raise awareness of short-term career and technical education programs. The program, dubbed Get There, is designed to rebrand CTE, or career and technical education. The goal is to let people know there is a new approach to higher education and training. The initiative is different from what society normally expects from a community college or a university. Get There accelerates the process of putting students in the workforce, compared to those seeking four-year degrees. FDOE has identified 17 CTE pathways throughout all colleges in Florida. At GCSC, those pathways include public safety, health sciences and engineering technology.

How one Boca teen is working to erase stigma of ‘that time of the month’” via Lois K. Solomon of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Boca Raton teen Megan Enriquez doesn’t get the stigma about menstruation. She sees it as the reason for a party. Her after-school club, PERIOD @Boca Raton, has been organizing weekly “Period Packing Parties” on Zoom. Members gather pads, tampons and soap and send them to South Florida nonprofits that support impoverished women. “Periods don’t stop during a pandemic,” said Enriquez, 16, a junior at Grandview Preparatory School in Boca Raton. Enriquez and PERIOD chapters across the country are working to erase the shame of menstruation and emphasize the normalcy of a bodily function experienced by half the world’s population.


Nassau Sheriff condemns hate speech after racist signs were found in front yards” via Travis Gibson of News4Jax — After racist signs were found in the front yards of Yulee homes last week, Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper responded on Facebook, saying that “hateful and racially related” acts will not be tolerated in the county. The comments came after two racially motivated incidents in the county since July. According to a report from the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office on Sept. 27, a Yulee woman told investigators that a man drove by her home and threw signs into her yard and the yard of her neighbor. When she looked at the signs, she found they included hate speech against African Americans, according to the report.

Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper strongly denounces hate speech after racist signs started appearing.

USF students protest budget cuts, call for cuts to salaries and police funding” via Ryan Hughes of WFLA — It is a sign of the times: budget cuts because of the coronavirus crisis. Students from the University of South Florida are upset about the impending cuts, so they took to a street corner near campus on Monday to speak up. The students said they fear their education will suffer now that the state is requiring state colleges and universities to make plans for an 8.5% reduction in general revenue and lottery funds. “We want to take away funding from the USF Police Department and put more funding toward educational services. Basically, the police budget at USF is way over-bloated,” said Matt Wheat, a student who protested at Fowler Avenue and North 50th Street.


Americans showed Trump compassion. He repaid us with contempt.” via Dana Milbank of The Washington Post — Americans of all political stripes wished Trump well in his battle with COVID-19. Now he is repaying our compassion with reckless disregard and callous contempt for the well-being of anybody but himself. Trump, announcing via Twitter on Monday afternoon that he was ending his hospitalization at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after three days, told Americans that the pandemic is no big deal. “Don’t be afraid of COVID. Don’t let it dominate your life,” he wrote. “I feel better than I did 20 years ago!” he added. A more selfish man has never occupied his high office. He received a cutting-edge treatment, monoclonal antibodies, unavailable to virtually all other Americans. He received an antiviral, remdesivir, that is rationed for ordinary Americans. He required oxygen and steroids.


White House deceptions don’t help Trump” via Jonathan Bernstein of Bloomberg — My immediate reaction to Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis was to urge the administration to practice full disclosure and avoid factual mistakes. One very long weekend later, that obviously hasn’t happened. Instead, we’ve learned that Trump’s first instinct was to try to cover up his illness. Since then, we’ve had a series of statements that had to be walked back, reversed, or significantly revised. Several basic questions still haven’t been answered. The consequences were predictable. Instead of news coverage focused on the world’s concern about the president and wishes for his rapid recovery, we have headlines like: “Trump’s Doctor Delivers Confusion” and “confusion continues over his health” and “Trump Recuperates Amid Questions About His Health and Campaign.”

Who’s still working at home? You, probably” via Justin Fox of Bloomberg Opinion — In May, Census Bureau survey-takers started asking Americans if they were working at home because of the coronavirus, and 35.4% of employed persons said yes. That percentage dropped in subsequent months, but it hasn’t been dropping by all that much lately. Harvard University economist Raj Chetty has found that many of the ZIP codes hit hardest by the economic fallout of the pandemic are those where affluent stay-at-home workers have stopped spending money on local services. “The shock is most severe actually in the richest parts of the country and the richest neighborhoods in the country,” he said. “It’s literally the people you were interacting with who I think are suffering the most.”


The Florida Chamber of Commerce is taking aim at the constitutional amendment seeking to raise the minimum wage in the Sunshine State.

Also, on today’s Sunrise:

— And the Chamber president says it’s not just a trick, Amendment 2 is downright un-American.

— Panhandle residents are still recovering from Hurricane Sally, and now there are warnings to prepare for the arrival of a new storm — Beta — by the end of the week.

— Trump is out of the hospital and back in the White House after treatment for COVID-19.

— Republican consultant Anthony Pedicini talks about the impact of the President’s illness on the campaign.

— While Trump was preparing to leave Walter Reed Medical Center, Biden was in Miami visiting the Little Haiti Cultural Center.

— And finally, checking-in with a Florida Man who assaulted deputies with a Bible.

To listen, click on the image below:

— ALOE —

Laid-off Disney World employees find side work and unity in Facebook group“ via Gabrielle Russon of the Orlando Sentinel — Feeling survivor’s guilt that she kept her job during the economic crisis, Disney World employee Maxine Wild wanted to make a difference. “I needed to help. I needed to do something,” Wild said as she watched colleagues get furloughed during the pandemic. That’s why Wild started a Facebook group for out of work Disney employees to advertise their side hustles, from the Disney chef selling pastries made at home to the Imagineer who can do interior decorating. “It makes you realize you are not alone, sitting at home figuring out what to do,” said Jennifer Padley, a furloughed employee from Haines City whose job had been working on photo albums for couples married at Disney World.

Laid-off Disney employees are coming together in a Facebook support group.

Salvation Army, Toys for Tots team up for Christmas cheer” via the Tallahassee Democrat — The Local Toys For Tots Campaign is partnering with The Salvation Army of Tallahassee for the largest combined Christmas Assistance program in the area. The “Angel Tree” and “Toys for Tots” programs have served families in multiple counties for several years, to ensure that no child or senior citizen in need goes without gifts at Christmas. On Monday, Oct. 5, registration will begin for the combined program at The Salvation Army of Tallahassee, located at 2410 Allen Road. “We anticipate seeing a higher need for assistance this year due to the pandemic,” states Captain Ashlee Wildish, Corps Officer of The Salvation Army of Tallahassee. “With the help of our donors and volunteers in the community, we can ‘rescue Christmas’ together.”


Best wishes to Joe Follick, former Pinellas Tax Collector Diane Nelson, andSen. Kevin Rader. 


Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, A.G. Gancarski, Renzo Downey and Drew Wilson.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


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

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

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