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Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 12.2.20

Your morning review of the issues and players behind Florida politics.

For #GivingTuesday, charities large and small have benefited from American kindness and generosity. But Florida Politics learned of one particular case, a good one that will make an immediate positive impact in someone’s life.

St. Petersburg resident Susan Bitterman is paralyzed from the chest down from a slip and fall accident three years ago; she’s been getting around in a motorized wheelchair. But it broke down, and her insurance won’t pay for a repair or replacement. She needs $1,500 to get mobile again.

Giving Tuesday will have an immediate benefit for Sue Bitterman. Image via Facebook.

Since we reported the GoFundMe campaign Monday afternoon, a group of our friends and fans have opened their hearts (and wallets) to help. For that generosity, Florida Politics would like to thank:

Tim Baker

Lesley Cohen

Chelsea Crockford

Michael Cusick

Michael Griffin

Mike Grissom

Jeff Hartley

Michelle Hunton

Jennifer Jeffres

Jon Johnson

Merick Lewin

Tracy Mayernick

Tom and Debbie Ressler

Ron Sachs

Skylar Zander

As well as three anonymous donors.

And the spirit of giving isn’t limited to Tuesday: please consider helping.

___

Also, please take a moment to read Andrew Meachem‘s obituary for lobbyist Randy Miller here.

— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —

Tweet, tweet:

@nikkifried: The #GivingTuesday challenge is on, CFO @JimmyPatronis!

Tweet, tweet:

@WFSUmedia: In a year like no other, WFSU has been there for you with fact-based reporting, equitable learning resources, meaningful storytelling, and thoughtful entertainment. Please be there for us now with your donation today.

@DrewPiers: So many people desperately need legal services for tough issues, including:

— Adoptions

— Child custody

— Divorces

— Landlord/tenant

But many can’t afford it. @TallahasseeLAF provides FREE legal services but can only do it with your support.

@micheleforfl: Lest I forget!! Today is Giving Tuesday! I truly believe giving is so much more fulfilling than receiving. I’ve already donated to several local orgs in HD 70. If you have extra- I encourage you to do the same. If not- please donate your time if you are able. We are all we got.

Tweet, tweet:

Tweet, tweet:

@SMcorley: Saw the “the kids have been through enough” quote and thought it might be referring to the thousands of young children the President’s policies separated from their families. But nope, it’s referring to the President’s adult children.

Tweet, tweet:

— DAYS UNTIL —

Florida Automated Vehicles Summit — 1; Florida Chamber Foundation’s virtual Transportation, Growth and Infrastructure Solution Summit begins — 6; the Electoral College votes — 12; “Death on the Nile” premieres — 15; NBA 2020-21 opening night — 20; “The Midnight Sky” with George Clooney premieres on Netflix — 21; “Wonder Woman 1984” rescheduled premiere — 23; Pixar’s “Soul” premiere (rescheduled for Disney+) — 23; Greyhound racing ends in Florida — 29; Georgia U.S. Senate runoff elections — 34; the 2021 Inauguration — 49; Super Bowl LV in Tampa — 67; Daytona 500 — 74; “A Quiet Place Part II” rescheduled premiere — 78; “Black Widow” rescheduled premiere — 92; “No Time to Die” premieres (rescheduled) — 121; Children’s Gasparilla — 129; Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Fest — 136; “Top Gun: Maverick” rescheduled premiere — 212; Disney’s “Shang Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings” premieres — 219; new start date for 2021 Olympics — 233; “Jungle Cruise” premieres — 241; St. Petersburg Primary Election — 265; St. Petersburg Municipal Elections — 335; Disney’s “Eternals” premieres — 338; “Spider-Man Far From Home” sequel premieres — 341; Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” premieres — 373; “Thor: Love and Thunder” premieres — 437; “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” premieres — 490; “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” sequel premieres — 671.

— DATELINE TALLAHASSEE —

Florida’s GOP leaders may create long-range plan to fight rising seas” via Jim Turner of News Service of Florida — House Speaker Chris Sprowls and Senate President Wilton Simpson expressed a desire Tuesday to establish work programs that would address the increased impacts of rising sea levels in coastal communities. Their comments, which came after they were sworn in to lead the House and Senate for the next two years, represented a further evolution in the position of Florida Republicans about climate change. But environmentalists said the GOP leaders are not going far enough. Before the recent Organization Session, Florida Conservation Voters sent a letter to Sprowls and Simpson urging the creation of a joint committee on climate change to look beyond the issue of coastal flooding by delving into economic and social impacts and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Wilton Simpson and Chris Sprowls are open to finding a long-term solution for rising sea levels.

Bill inspired by Parkland mass shootings would close ammunition-purchase loophole” via Michael Moline of Florida Phoenix — Legislation has been filed for next year’s session of the Florida Legislature that would close a loophole that can allow people barred from owning firearms because of criminal histories to nevertheless purchase ammunition without a background check. The proposal (HB 25) is similar to a similar bill that failed during last year’s session. It’s called “Jaime’s Law,” after Jaime Guttenberg, aged 14, one of the 17 people killed in the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. As a graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, nothing is more important to me than preventing another tragedy like what our community experienced from ever happening again,” bill sponsor Dan Daley, a Democrat from Coral Springs, said in a written statement.

— CORONA FLORIDA —

Ron DeSantis wants feds to OK jobless aid, ease travel limits” via Jim Turner of News Service of Florida — DeSantis wants Congress to approve more unemployment relief and for the federal government to ease coronavirus travel restrictions from Europe and Brazil. DeSantis blamed federal policies related to trying to curb the spread of COVID-19 for many people losing jobs and said Washington should have “done a relief package months ago.” He commented on Monday during an appearance in Central Florida, where theme parks and other tourism businesses have been hit hard economically during the pandemic. According to the tourism marketing agency VISIT FLORIDA, restrictions on international travel have severely affected the parks, with overseas visitors to Florida totaling 464,000 across the second and third quarters of this year, down from 2.65 million during the same period of 2019. 

Ron DeSantis is urging the federal government to increase jobless benefits. Image via Colin Hackley.

DeSantis says Disney layoffs ‘mostly in California,’ despite 18,000 terminations in Orlando” via Mark Skoneki of the Orlando Sentinel — As DeSantis praised the Walt Disney Co. for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, he asserted that most of the theme park giant’s 32,000 layoffs have occurred at its California parks. But state records and reports from Disney union leaders reveal that at least 18,000 Disney World resort employees in Orlando have been let go, primarily in the theme parks division, including the cruise line and merchandising. That’s 56% of the layoffs and nearly a quarter of the 77,000 people Disney World employed as of last year.

Florida’s health care workers, nursing home patients get first vaccines” via Mary Ellen Klas and Ben Conarck of the Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau — The process of rationing the first doses of the coronavirus vaccines is underway as a federal advisory group recommended Tuesday that when Florida and other states receive their first shipment it “should be offered to both health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities.” A CDC committee approved the guidelines as the federal government prepares to distribute the first of an estimated 20 million doses of the vaccines. The vaccines will be allocated based on state population, and it is up to state officials to prioritize who gets vaccinated in the first round. DeSantis said Monday he expects the state to receive between 1 million and 2 million doses sometime in the middle of December.

— CORONA LOCAL — 

South Florida hospitalizations are surging again as Florida COVID total hits 1 million” via Ben Conarck of the Miami Herald — The fall surge’s gradual build has in recent days accelerated to triple-digit admissions of COVID-19 patients across Miami-Dade hospitals, which are treating more people with the disease than they have since August. Peter Paige, Miami-Dade’s newly minted chief medical officer and chief clinical officer at the county public hospital network, Jackson Health System, said clinical staff is bracing for the current surge to last for several weeks, or months. Paige said he is optimistic that this surge won’t carry the same force as seen over the summer. “We’re hopeful that we don’t get back to that point, but it’s still really early to tell,” he said. “We’re starting to see this trend going up.”

South Florida’s Jackson Health System is bracing for a new surge of COVID-19 that could last months. Image via AP.

‘I have to do this’: COVID killed her father, but straight-A student vows nothing will stop her big dreams” via Emily Sullivan of The Palm Beach Post — Jasmine Calderon, 17, says her family was looking for a house, a safe place where she and her sisters, ages 12 and 24, could have Internet access and their own beds. But that was then, back when her father was alive. Four days after Father’s Day, he died of coronavirus. He was the only financial provider for his wife and three daughters, one born profoundly deaf. Without his income, the family faces looming costs for rent, utilities and other needs. Striving to help her family the best way she knows, Jasmine says she is waiting for her mentoring program to restart and eyeing a library job while continuing to lean into academics, college scholarship pursuits and long-term ambitions.

Future of Jacksonville COVID-19 test sites up in air as federal funding set to end Dec. 30” via David Bauerlein of The Florida Times-Union — The line of people showing up each day for COVID-19 tests at Regency Square mall in Jacksonville shows that even as vaccines are on the way, the virus still is spreading and sending people to seek tests so they can learn if they caught the infection. The clock is winding down on the federal funding that has paid for such test sites nationwide. The federal CARES Act sent $150 billion to state and local governments across the country to help buffer the economic and public health damage caused by the pandemic. The CARES Act funding is coming up on a Dec. 30 use-it-or-lose-it deadline. Congress has not extended that deadline or agreed to the second round of relief.

J.T. Burnette public corruption trial postponed again because of coronavirus” via Jeff Burlew of the Tallahassee Democrat — The trial of Burnette, one of former Tallahassee City Commissioner Scott Maddox‘s co-defendants in a major public corruption probe, has been postponed again because of the coronavirus. The trial has seen numerous delays since Burnette’s indictment in May 2019 on racketeering and extortion charges. Most recently, it was set to begin in October, but Senior U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle, citing coronavirus concerns, postponed it to January. On Tuesday, Burnette’s lawyers asked for a new date, saying that anticipated increases in COVID-19 cases mean that “a safe and fair trial” can’t be conducted in January. Tim Jansen and Gregory Kehoe also noted in their motion that vaccines would be available soon.

FSU extending remote instruction into spring semester so students, staff can be tested” via Byron Dobson of the Tallahassee Democrat — Florida State University is extending its planned period of remote learning at the beginning of the spring semester to Jan. 15, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Sally McRorie announced Tuesday. The first day of spring semester begins on Jan. 6. FSU had originally planned to offer courses remotely for the first three days as students return to campus. That period is now extended to Jan. 15. As a result, all spring semester face-to-face, hybrid, flex and remote classes will meet remotely between Jan. 6, 2021, and Jan. 15, 2021. The extension also includes the FSU Panama City campus.

Florida State University is extending its remote learning to Jan. 15, to better test staff and students. Image via FSU.

About 4% of SW Florida residents have been diagnosed at some point with COVID-19” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — As Florida surpassed a million reported COVID-19 cases, Southwest Florida neared its 100,000th diagnosis. The 95,676 known coronavirus infections in the 10-county area represent 9.5% of all cases in the state. That’s not terrible, considering 11.2% of Florida residents live in the region. But that means just under one in 25 people living in the region have been diagnosed at some point with COVID-19. That includes the first known Florida case, a patient in Manatee County reported nine months to the day before Florida’s 1 millionth case. But the mortality rate within Southwest Florida remains higher than Florida as a whole. About 2.2% of those in the region diagnosed with the disease died from it, while just under 1.9% of cases statewide resulted in deaths.

Don’t make us go back to the office: Floridians say they like working from home” via Connie Ogle of the Miami Herald — This just in: People in Florida really like working from home. One would think that everybody loved working from home, considering that the COVID-19 pandemic has now lasted longer than the Miami Dolphins’ Super Bowl drought. But not every state is as enthusiastic about the home office as Florida. Improb.com discovered in its latest survey of 3,500 people that workers in Florida rate their WFH happiness at 8 out of 10, which is higher than the national average of 6.6 out of 10. There is no data on why exactly we like it so much, but it probably involves the desire for no supervision, the lack of pants and/or bras and constant, almost paralyzing fear of intubation.

— CORONA NATION —

U.K. authorizes Pfizer, BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use” via The Wall Street Journal — The U.K. became the first Western nation to grant emergency-use authorization for a COVID-19 vaccine, clearing a shot developed by Pfizer of the U.S. and BioNTech SE of Germany to be distributed in limited numbers within days. The two-shot vaccine is also being reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S., where a similar authorization could come later this month and a rollout before the end of the year.

CDC panel says health workers, nursing homes will get COVID vaccine first” via Berkeley Lovelace Jr. and Will Feuer of CNBC — A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel voted 13-1 to give health care workers and long-term care facility residents the first coronavirus vaccine doses once it’s cleared for public use. There are roughly 21 million health care workers and 3 million long-term care facility residents in the United States. Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said most states and local jurisdictions expect it to take three weeks to vaccinate all of their health care workers. Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines require two doses about a month apart.

How pharmacies are preparing to give Americans COVID-19 vaccines” via Alexis Benveniste of CNN Business — In the fight against COVID-19, the U.S. government is enlisting pharmacies to administer vaccines to hundreds of millions of Americans, an endeavor with an unprecedented scale that presents a host of challenges for companies big and small across the United States. Although some companies are ready to store and administer the COVID-19 vaccine, others aren’t. Several companies are working on vaccines, each with its own particular storage and logistical challenges. This is new territory for pharmacies, particularly storing the Pfizer vaccine, which requires ultracold freezers. 

Drugmakers and pharmacies are preparing for COVID-19 vaccines with differing storage and logistical challenges.

Scott Atlas will forever be the face of surrender to the coronavirus” via Philip Bump of The Washington Post — On July 23, Atlas appeared on Laura Ingraham’s Fox News show. Since his appearance on Tucker Carlson the prior month, the number of new cases each day was up by two-thirds, the number of new hospitalizations was up 90%, and the number of new deaths each day had increased by 55% to nearly 900. Atlas was unfazed. Asked whether he agreed with Anthony Fauci, the government’s leading infectious-disease expert, that the pandemic posed a perfect-storm threat to public health, Atlas insisted it didn’t. This was the central component of Atlas’s approach: let it spread but protect those at risk. Throughout his tenure at the White House, he maintained that position, pushing back against the idea that it constituted an embrace of “herd immunity.”

— CORONA ECONOMICS — 

Survey finds small business confidence sagging despite emerging COVID-19 vaccines” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — A poll of more than 9,000 small business owners finds half of small-business owners say they’re really struggling, and 48% appear to be juggling finances in a way that suggests they might not survive much longer. The most concerned sector, not surprisingly to Floridians, is the travel and hospitality sector. The poll, conducted monthly since May, shows the trends marking small business owners’ hope and fear are going the wrong way, almost across the board. Good signs and optimism reflected in poll results tracked through June, July, August, and September, and some even in October, all faded in the November survey, some significantly.

Time is running out for small businesses while companies race to produce a COVID-19 vaccine. Image via CNN.

FPL to offer bill credits to small business customers impacted by COVID-19” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Starting in January, Florida Power & Light will offer bill credits for small business customers as the state’s economy continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The credit program will last “through the end of 2021.” FPL’s new small business credit program will be available for new small businesses, existing small businesses inactive for at least six months in 2020, and small businesses in federal opportunity zones. In November, the company’s representatives announced they would set aside $15 million to offer bill credits to low-income residential customers. Tuesday’s announcement shows small business customers will also be eligible for bill credits, which can help reduce monthly bill obligations as many companies experience a slowdown in business.

‘I can’t afford it’: 30,000 people are behind on FPL bills as power shut-offs resume” via Alex Harris and C. Isaiah Smalls II of the Miami Herald — More than 30,000 Florida Power & Light customers are three months (or more) behind on their power bills, according to October numbers provided by FPL. At this time last year, only about 6,000 people were that far behind. Another 40,000 people are two to three months behind. And on Oct. 1, FPL resumed disconnections after pausing them in March. Miami-Dade’s program to help financially stressed customers has doubled its budget to nearly $20 million, but requests are still pouring in. “We’re tapping into individuals who five, six months ago wouldn’t think they’d need to apply for public assistance,” said Annika Holder, interim director of the county’s Community Action and Human Services Department.

— MORE CORONA —

Why health officials are terrified of a pandemic Christmas” via William Wan and Brittany Shammas of The Washington Post — Like any partygoer waking from a raucous weekend, feeling a bit hungover and perhaps a tinge of regret, the nation is about to face the consequences of its behavior and will need to quickly apply the lessons before heading into the doubleheader of Christmas and New Year’s. Health experts point to several key takeaways: Many states were overwhelmed by unexpected surges in testing, with many families hoping a negative result might make their planned gatherings a little safer. Some airports were not prepared for the huge crowds that had not been seen since the beginning of the pandemic, making it difficult for travelers to maintain social distancing.

A surge in testing is making various health officials nervous about a pandemic holiday season. Image via AP.

Canada: U.S. border measures to last until virus under control” via The Associated Press — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday the ban on nonessential travel with the United States would not be lifted until COVID-19 is significantly more under control around the world. Canada and the U.S. have limited border crossings since March, extending the restrictions each month. “Until the virus is significantly under more control everywhere around the world, we are not going to be releasing the restrictions at the border,” Trudeau told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. “We are incredibly lucky that trade in essential goods, in agriculture products, in pharmaceuticals is flowing back and forth as it always had,” he said. “It’s just people not traveling, which I think is the important thing.”

This couple relaxed their COVID-19 stance and died from it. They wished others would take it seriously.” via Meryl Kornfield of The Washington Post — For a couple who had spent five decades by each other’s sides, Leslie and Patricia McWaters couldn’t have been more different. But the duo was also inseparable: They raised two daughters, three grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren together, co-hosting every family gathering from Thanksgiving to Christmas to summer pool parties when they weren’t on the road in their ’59 Corvette. They lived in tandem, and that’s how they died, both in the same hospital on Tuesday, Nov. 24, at 4:23 p.m., from complications caused by COVID-19, the latest of the tragic tales of longtime couples claimed by a virus that has taken at least 267,000 lives in the United States since the start of the pandemic.

Working remotely is literally a pain the backside for nearly a quarter of Americans” via Chris Melore of Study Finds — As the coronavirus pandemic continues, social isolation has turned many people into couch potatoes. Unfortunately, it turns out being a couch potato can be a painful job. A survey finds three in five Americans have experienced new aches and pains due to how inactive they’ve become since the quarantine began. With four in five Americans spending more time at home now, the resulting lifestyle changes create some unforeseen effects on their overall health. Since March of 2020, the survey finds that 74% find themselves sitting for longer periods of time than pre-pandemic. Americans now spend an additional four hours a day sitting down. The study aimed to uncover the at-home habits of 2,000 Americans and discovered the pandemic had a major impact on Americans’ health, particularly on their backsides.

Sorry to burst your quarantine bubble” via Rachel Outman of The Atlantic — As the temperature drops and the gray twilight arrives earlier each day, comfortably mingling outside during the pandemic is getting more difficult across much of the country. For many people, it’s already impossible. To combat the loneliness of winter, some of us might be tempted to turn to pods. The basic idea is that people who don’t live together can still spend time together indoors if their pod stays small and exclusive. In theory, it’s meant to limit the coronavirus spread by trapping it in small groups of people. But the details of how exactly to go about podding can be hard to pin down. Experts emphasize that there’s no magic number that makes a group safe.


— PRESIDENTIAL —

Joe Biden: ‘We’re going to fight like hell by investing in America first’” via Thomas Friedman of The New York Times — Biden had a lot to say about how he intends to approach the current Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, and his Republican colleagues in order to get his cabinet nominees — and as much of his agenda as possible — through the Senate; how he intends to reshape U.S.-China strategy; and why he is ready to return to the Iran nuclear deal, if Iran does, and end President Donald Trump’s sanctions on Iran. Biden also spoke in depth about his strategy to connect with rural Americans, who have become estranged from the Democratic Party.

William Barr: No evidence of fraud that’d change election outcome” via The Associated Press — Attorney General Barr said the Justice Department has not uncovered evidence of widespread voter fraud that would change the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. His comments come despite President Donald Trump’s repeated claims that the election was stolen and his refusal to concede his loss to President-elect Joe Biden. In an interview, Barr said U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow up specific complaints and information they’ve received. Still, they’ve uncovered no evidence that would change the outcome of the election. “To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election,” Barr told the AP.

Atty. Gen. William Barr announces finding no proof of election fraud, despite what Donald Trump is saying. Image via AP.

Barr and Rudy Giuliani clash over allegations of election fraud” via Matthew Choi of POLITICO — Barr on Tuesday affirmed that there was no evidence of large-scale fraud during this year’s election, prompting a stern rebuke from Trump’s legal team as the President continues in his efforts to negate the results. Normally a dependable deputy to the President, Barr contradicted Trump’s persistent allegations of a stolen election in an interview. Trump’s legal team, led by Giuliani, has insisted on investigations into what they say are troubling irregularities but are actually normal errors expected in any election. The President’s critics have called out the efforts as a thinly veiled power grab.

Donald Trump files lawsuit challenging Wisconsin election results” via The Associated Press — Trump filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Wisconsin seeking to disqualify more than 221,000 ballots in the state’s two most Democratic counties, a long shot attempt to overturn Biden’s win in the battleground state he lost by nearly 20,700 votes. Trump filed the day after Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Elections Commission’s chairwoman certified Biden as the winner of the state’s 10 Electoral College votes. Trump asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to take the case directly. The state’s highest court also is considering whether to hear two other lawsuits filed by conservatives seeking to invalidate ballots cast during the presidential election.

Trump raises more than $150 million appealing to false election claims” via Josh Dawsey and Michelle Ye Hee Lee of The Washington Post — Trump’s political operation has raised more than $170 million since Election Day, using a blizzard of misleading appeals about the election to shatter fundraising records set during the campaign, according to people with knowledge of the contributions. The influx of political donations is one reason Trump and some allies are inclined to continue a legal onslaught and public relations blitz. Much of the money raised since the election is likely to go into an account for the President to use on political activities after leaving office, while some of the contributions will go toward what’s left of the legal fight.

Rick Scott says Electoral College will decide Trump’s fate” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — U.S. Sen. Scott says he backs the President’s ongoing challenges to ballots in states won by Biden. Still, he doesn’t seem to be counting on any material changes. “With regard to President Trump, the results are going to come out, the Electoral College is going to make its decision, and he’s going to be subject to whatever the decision is,” Scott said. If current results hold, Biden will receive 306 electoral votes, the same number received four years prior by then-candidate Trump. The Senator was responding to questions from Fox News Radio host Brian Kilmeade, who noted that the President has a “lot of problems” with Republican Governors in states that went to Biden.

Georgia election official condemns Trump after threat to worker” via Zach Montellaro of POLITICO — Gabriel Sterling, a top official in the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, condemned Trump and the state’s two Republican Senators, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, in a fiery news conference after a local election worker received death threats. Sterling, who works for Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, opened the news conference by saying an election contractor in Gwinnett County had received death threats after conspiracy theorists spread videos of the worker on social media. Sterling did not name the worker, who he called a “20-something tech” working for Dominion Voting Systems, a voting machine vendor that has become the subject of unfounded right-wing conspiracy theories regarding the election results. 

Gabriel Sterling, the statewide voting system implementation manager in Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office, unleashed on Donald Trump from Atlanta.

Giuliani? Paul Manafort? Himself? Here’s whom a lame-duck Trump could pardon.” via Aaron Blake of The Washington Post — Trump’s pardon of former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn is a doozy. Not only did Trump pardon Flynn for lying to the FBI, to which Flynn pleaded guilty twice, but he sought to spare Flynn from prosecution on basically anything even tangentially related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. With Trump’s time as President running short, it seems likely he’ll wield this power to aid his allies again. The only real question is how much and for whom he might go out on a limb. On Monday, Fox News host Sean Hannity suggested that Trump should preemptively pardon himself and his family, which would be both extreme and legally questionable. 

— TRANSITION —

Joe Biden weighs Rahm Emanuel for Transportation Secretary” via The Associated Press — President-elect Biden is considering former Chicago Mayor Emanuel, a substantial and somewhat divisive figure in Democratic Party politics, to serve as his Transportation Secretary. Biden’s nominee selection to lead the Transportation Department is not believed to be imminent, and Emanuel is among multiple candidates in the running for the Cabinet position. But his candidacy threatens to pull at the divisions among Democrats that Biden has largely managed to avoid as he begins to fill out his administration. Progressive leaders, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, have been especially vocal in criticizing the prospect of Emanuel joining the Cabinet.

Could former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel — a divisive figure — become Joe Biden’s transportation secretary?

Biden introduces team he says will help economy recover after coronavirus” via Sabrina Siddiqui and Tarini Parti of The Wall Street Journal — Biden formally introduced his picks for key economic positions in remarks on Tuesday, emphasizing their experience and diverse backgrounds as the U.S. weathers the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Biden named former Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen as his Treasury Secretary nominee and Center for American Progress head Neera Tanden as his pick for director of the Office of Management and Budget. Biden also announced Cecilia Rouse, a Princeton University labor economist, as his choice to chair the Council of Economic Advisers, and Adewale “Wally” Adeyemo, a former senior international economic adviser during the Obama administration, to serve as Yellen’s top deputy. Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey, Biden’s campaign economic advisers, will serve as CEA members alongside Rouse.

Biden’s economic team charts a new course for globalization, with Trumpian undertones” via Jon Hilsenrath and Nick Timiraos of The Wall Street Journal — Biden’s economic team is taking shape with plans to remake the Trump administration’s approach to economic relations overseas, with a distinction: agreement with Trump’s assertion that globalization has been hard on many Americans but differences on how to address it. According to interviews and their public statements, Biden’s initial economic picks — most of whom served in the Obama or Clinton administrations — still largely believe in the benefits of globalization and trade. Yet, they also have grown circumspect about the pitfalls of globalization that Trump highlighted, including the challenges it imposes on some U.S. workers.

Biden faces a balancing act in choosing top aides with business ties” via Alan Rappeport of The New York Times — Five years ago, Jeffrey Zients was the head of the Barack Obama administration’s National Economic Council. These days, Zients is a co-chairman of Biden’s transition team watched warily by members of the Democratic Party’s left wing. Progressive advocacy groups such as the Revolving Door Project and Justice Democrats, concerned that he would defend corporate America if given a top economic policy job in the Biden administration, pushed to keep him out of such a role. The preemptive resistance to Zients from the left is the latest indication of how the Democratic Party has shifted in the dozen years since former President Obama took office amid the financial crisis.

— D.C. MATTERS —

Jerome Powell and Steven Mnuchin split on risks to the economy in Senate testimony.” via Jeanna Smialek and Alan Rappeport of The New York Times — While Fed Chair Powell pointed to ongoing uncertainty over vaccine speed and distribution, the economic dangers of a surge in virus cases and the reality that many remain out of work while testifying before the Senate Banking Committee, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin painted a sunnier image of the economic recovery, emphasizing state and local lockdowns as the main threat to growth. The contrast underlines the divide between two economic policymakers who, earlier in the crisis, worked closely as partners to usher in a sweeping economic response. Their testimony came as a bipartisan group of lawmakers unveiled a $900 billion rescue package that Sen. Mark Warner called the “best-effort” to reach a framework that both Democrats and Republicans can agree upon.

Jerome Powell and Steven Mnuchin after a hearing of the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee.

Second COVID-19 stimulus: Marco Rubio welcomes bipartisan proposal, but Scott is opposed” via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel — U.S. Sen. Rubio praised the bipartisan effort to approve another COVID-19 relief bill unveiled Tuesday, but he warned it wasn’t enough for small businesses. U.S. Sen. Scott, meanwhile, said he was opposed to what he called “bailouts for liberal states.” A bipartisan group of lawmakers, which includes Senate centrists such as Joe Manchin and Susan Collins are backing a $908 billion proposal that includes $228 billion to extend and upgrade paycheck protection subsidies for businesses. If approved, it would be the second round of relief to hard-hit businesses such as restaurants. It would also revive a special jobless benefit, but at a reduced level of $300 per week rather than the $600 benefit enacted in March. State and local governments would receive $160 billion, and there also is money for vaccines.

Stimulus stalemate persists as centrists pitch a broad compromise and Senate Republicans insist on a bare-bones bill.” via Luke Broadwater, Emily Cochrane and Nicholas Fandos of The New York Times — A bipartisan group of moderate Senators unveiled a $900 billion compromise proposal meant to break the stalemate in Congress over providing a new round of pandemic relief. But Senate Republican leaders quickly undercut the plan, offering up their own bare-bones proposal that stood little chance of enactment. Sens. Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, and Collins, a Maine Republican, outlined their proposal, which would pair a $300-a-week federal unemployment payment with more money for small businesses and state and local governments. Hours later, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell presented his own plan amounting to a fraction of the aid. His framework would repurpose unused money already approved as part of the stimulus law enacted in March.

— 2022 — 

Allen Ellison files for Senate against Rubio” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Ellison, a two-time congressional candidate, said he would challenge Rubio for his Senate seat in 2022. “We have watched career politicians stand by and do absolutely nothing for our people,” Ellison said in a statement. “We have watched them fill this nation with hate through their divisive rhetoric, and we have watched them line their pockets at the expense of the American people while our fellow citizens struggle to make ends meet. “I say enough is enough. We are in desperate need [of] visionary leaders with fresh ideas who care about the issues that matter to all of us.” The Wauchula Democrat ran against U.S. Rep. Greg Steube, a Sarasota Republican, in 2018 and 2020. 

Two-time congressional candidate Allen Ellison takes another stab at elective office, this time it’s against Marco Rubio in 2022.

After losing in November, George Navarini launches 2022 bid for HD 104 seat” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Republican Navarini will once again pursue a House District 104 bid in 2022 after he filed paperwork with the Division of Elections Monday. Navarini ran this past cycle as well but lost in the Nov. 3 contest against former Broward County School Board Member Robin Bartleman. Bartleman, a Democrat, secured 58% of the vote while Navarini earned just 42%. Before Bartleman’s win, Democratic Rep. Richard Stark served in HD 104 for eight years. Stark ran up against term limits in 2020, prompting Bartleman’s effort to hold the seat for Democrats. While it’s no sure thing Bartleman will be the Democratic nominee, she’s certainly the favorite for the nod and would likely be favored over Navarini in Nov. 2022. 

Broward Commissioner Barbara Sharief seeks to challenge Alcee Hastings in 2022” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Broward County Commissioner and former County Mayor Sharief has filed to challenge Democratic Rep. Hastings in Florida’s 20th Congressional District in the 2022 midterms. Hastings has served in Congress for nearly 30 years and is currently the longest-serving member of Florida’s congressional delegation. Sharief has filed to run as a Democrat, which would prompt a primary contest to come Aug. 2022. CD 20 stretches from Broward to Palm Beach County. It encompasses many majority-Black areas near major cities such as Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. The seat is a Democratic stronghold. This past November, Hastings handily won his General Election matchup against Republican candidate Greg Musselwhite, earning nearly 79% of the vote.

— STATEWIDE —

Nikki Fried, lawmakers volunteer at food bank for Giving Tuesday” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics — State and local officials, including Fried, volunteered on Giving Tuesday at Tallahassee’ Second Harvest of the Big Bend. Fried and colleagues packaged 700 bags of Florida-grown oranges from Jackson and Jefferson counties. Second Harvest will distribute satsuma mandarin oranges to North Florida families in need. “Food insecurity during COVID-19 has increased across our state,” Fried said. “We have all seen the heartbreaking stories of families standing in line for hours to get food, and this is a time when everyone can come together and really help out their communities.” Notably, the food bank tends to six of Florida’s Top 10 most food-insecure counties.

Nikki Fried talks with Tallahassee Democrat Loranne Ausley during Giving Tuesday at the Second Harvest of the Big Bend Food Bank in Tallahassee. Image via Colin Hackley.

‘Slap to the face of democracy’: Fried blasts Matt Caldwell, GOP use of third party candidates” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics — Fried chastised Republicans after a GOP email surfaced, acknowledging third-party candidates as a means to split votes in tight races. In the email sent to Florida GOP committee members, Lee County Property Appraiser Caldwell credited “many” GOP victories to third-party candidates who can help lure votes from Democratic candidates. While the strategy isn’t new, it has faced increased Democratic scrutiny following Florida’s GOP-dominated 2020 election. “It’s such a slap to the face of democracy that Republicans feel that the only way they can win is by playing dirty politics and by trying to confuse the electorate,” Fried told Florida Politics. “They can’t win on their record, so they’re trying all these other tools.

Workers’ comp rates drop 6.6%” via The News Service of Florida — There’s some good news for Florida businesses struggling to keep afloat during the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic: Workers’ compensation insurance rates will decrease by an average of 6.6% effective Jan. 1. It will be the fourth consecutive year that workers’ compensation premiums have been reduced. Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier issued an order on Nov. 12, quietly approving a statewide average 6.6% reduction. The approval came nine days after the National Council on Compensation Insurance, which makes rate filings for the workers’ compensation insurance industry, submitted an amended 2021 filing with regulators. Altmaier requested the amended filing in an Oct. 30 order. 

— LOBBYING REGS —

New and renewed lobbying registrations:

Lori Killinger, Kasey Lewis, Martin Lyon, Lewis Longman & Walker: Florida Invasive Plant Management Association

Richard Kravitz: Patient Services

James McFaddin, The Southern Group: Peerbridge Health

David Ramba, Cameron Yarbrough, Ramba Consulting Group: Propel Florida

Derek Whitis, Whitis Consulting: Propel Florida, Queralyze

— LOCAL NOTES —

Miami-Dade Commission sets date to replace former Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Members of the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners are targeting a Monday, Dec. 7 date to replace former Commissioner and current County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava in District 8. Last month, the body controversially rejected a Special Election for the seat, setting up the Commission to select Levine Cava’s replacement. During Tuesday’s meeting, commissioners weighed who would be considered for the appointment, as well as when that selection would be made. Commissioners debated whether to limit the pool of potential appointees to those who had filed for Levine Cava’s seat.

Lawmakers will begin the process of filling Daniella Levine Cava’s seat on the Miami-Dade County Commission. Image via Miami-Dade County.

How 12 voters are set to pick Miami-Dade’s next County Commissioner ” via Douglas Hanks of the Miami Herald — An end appears near for the contentious effort to avoid an election to replace Levine Cava on the Miami-Dade County Commission, with the remaining 12 board members set to appoint someone to her former District 8 seat on Monday. Commissioners agreed to accept applications through noon on Thursday, a formal and brief official window for a process that’s been underway for weeks as candidates and their insider supporters pursue the seven votes needed for an appointment. While the application window only opened Tuesday, there’s already an unofficial list of candidates, including Lawyer Danielle Cohen Higgins and former Sen. Frank Artiles.

Hundreds wait in line for hours for free $250 Publix gift card in Miami” via Brooke Shafer of CBS Miami — Hundreds of people braved cold temperatures Tuesday morning and got in line early for a chance at a free grocery gift card in Miami. Police said people started lining up around 9 p.m. on Monday. Images from Chopper4 showed a long line of people with very little social distancing. People stood in line all bundled up, some with their pets, others with their kids. Waiting. Hoping to be one of the 500 people to get their hands on a Publix gift card. “My co-worker picked me up about 3:15 a.m., and we got here around 3:50 a.m.,” said Mabel Miller. Miller used her only day off work to wait in line.

FDLE: Escambia County Administrator’s office was illegally bugged earlier this year” via Jim Little of the Pensacola News Journal — Escambia County Administrator Janice Gilley‘s office was illegally bugged by an unknown person earlier this year. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement was contacted by the county administrator on Aug. 1 about a hidden recording device, confirmed FDLE spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger. “We conducted a preliminary investigation and did locate a hidden recording device,” Plessinger said. “But we were unable to develop any additional information, so the case is closed. If we get more information, we’ll obviously continue to pursue it.” On Tuesday, Gilley told the News Journal that she became concerned when details of private conversations became “mainstream” in public. Gilley said she didn’t want to discuss what information was disclosed. 

Okaloosa commissioners support federal legislation on troops’ toxic exposure” via Jim Thompson of the Northwest Florida Daily News — Okaloosa County commissioners are sending a letter to the area’s congressional delegation in support of legislation addressing possible exposure of U.S. troops to toxic materials at a U.S.-leased air base in Uzbekistan in the early 2000s. According to the information provided to the Okaloosa Commissioners, several veterans who served at former Soviet air base have been claiming elevated rates of cancer and other illnesses. An estimated 7,000 American personnel served at the base. It’s not clear how many Northwest Florida veterans served at K2, but the letter approved Tuesday by Commissioners states that they “believe that some of the soldiers in our community may have served at this location during this period.”

Walton TDC approves proposal for 2% bed tax in northern county” via Jim Thompson of the Northwest Florida Daily News — A 2% “bed tax” on accommodations north of Choctawhatchee Bay in Walton County is expected to raise $620,000 in the first 24 months of collection, according to information from Tuesday’s meeting of the Walton County Tourist Development Council. Also at the meeting, the newly appointed council board approved a proposal for allocating those funds. The proposal now goes to the Walton County Commission for final action. Earlier this month, county commissioners set March 1 as the beginning date for collecting the tax. The imposition of the tax, to be paid by visitors to the northern part of the county, was approved by voters at that end of the county in Nov. 3 balloting.

Walton commissioners could fast-track development along U.S. 331” via Jim Thompson of the Northwest Florida Daily News — Walton County commissioners have taken a first look at a set of proposals that could reshape the economic potential of the U.S. Highway 331 corridor. Last week, commissioners unanimously approved the first reading of proposed amendments to the county’s land development code aimed at fast-tracking industrial, commercial, and mixed-use development along parts of the corridor, in line with an approved corridor development plan. Commissioners also approved the first reading of proposed amendments to the land development code, establishing improved development standards along the corridor from the northern edge of Choctawhatchee Bay north to the southern edge of DeFuniak Springs. The amendments regarding development standards also would apply to U.S. Highway 331 east along State Road 20 to Antioch Cemetery Road.

Candidate sues to overturn Fort Lauderdale Mayor’s election” via Susannah Bryan of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Losing candidate Kenneth Cooper has filed a lawsuit contesting the results of Fort Lauderdale’s mayoral election and demanding that he be named Mayor. Cooper lost to incumbent Dean Trantalis by 12,820 votes, prompting critics to question whether the case has merit. Cooper’s lawsuit demands that all 43,803 mail-in ballots cast in the Nov. 3 election be invalidated for various reasons. “I don’t think most of them are valid,” Cooper said of the mail-in ballots. His lawsuit mentions 106 mail-in ballots but argues that the whole lot should be tossed. The lawsuit, filed Nov. 23 in Broward Circuit Court, names Trantalis as a defendant and Peter Antonacci, Broward supervisor of elections at the time of the election.

The opponent of Fort Lauderdale’s Mayor Dean Trantalis is going to court to try to overturn the election.

Suzy Lord wins Cutler Bay town council seat in runoff” via Samantha J. Gross and Joey Flechas of the Miami Herald — Paralegal Suzy Lord beat retired architect Jose Rodriguez in a runoff election for an open seat on Cutler Bay’s town council Tuesday, which was held after none of the three original candidates received more than 50% of the vote on election night. Lord said she was “absolutely stupefied” Tuesday night after the vote tallies showed she had a decisive lead over Rodriguez. She had 60% of the vote with all precincts reporting. In a small-turnout runoff where about 3,150 votes were cast, about 650 votes made the difference. “I’m very, very excited,” she said. “I’ve been here a very long time. I’ve lived here almost 42 years. I was very happy that people believed in me and people supported me.”

Jacksonville City Council advised not to enforce subpoena given to Tim Baker for JEA records” via Christopher Hong of The Florida Times-Union — The lead attorney for the Jacksonville City Council’s special committee investigating last year’s failed sale of JEA on Monday advised against enforcing subpoenas it issued to Baker, who has refused to provide documents the committee has requested. Last month, the committee voted to exercise the council’s subpoena power by demanding that Baker and several consulting firms he controls provide various records, including copies of all consulting contracts he had with Florida Power and Light and all communications with the company’s leadership. Baker advised JEA officials on the attempted sale and attended private strategy meetings while also under contract with FPL, whose parent company, NextEra, was the front-runner to purchase JEA. 

Key West ends hurricane seasons by burning warning flags” via The Associated Press — A small group of Florida Keys residents marked the end of the record-breaking 2020 Atlantic hurricane season by dousing hurricane warning flags with rum and burning them during a waterfront ceremony. On Monday, the event included remembering people still recovering from hurricanes that battered parts of the Caribbean, Central America and the United States. This year’s season was the most active ever recorded. It included 30 named storms, with 13 hurricanes. Speakers also gave thanks that the Keys escaped significant impacts, despite Eta crossing the Upper Keys on Nov. 9 as a tropical storm.

— TOP OPINION —

Leaders in the Florida House take the coronavirus pandemic seriously” via Bryan Avila of the Miami Herald — When I read the Nov. 17 Herald story “Florida Legislature: Not our role to contain coronavirus,” I wondered, were these reporters at the same meeting I attended? Perhaps they missed when newly elected Speaker Sprowls said: “I expect much of this session will be spent dealing with the fallout of the virus and modernizing our laws and plans to ensure we are prepared for future pandemics.” Sprowls gave a 40-minute policy-heavy speech in which he talked about the theme of unity at least 25 times. It even brought Democratic caucus members to their feet in applause at times. This was not mentioned in the article. Instead, there were quotes from partisan Democrats who implied the speech was divisive and accused the Republican leadership of “taking a hands-off approach” to COVID-19.

— OPINIONS —

Even after he’s gone, Trump will try to hog the spotlight. Ignore him, media colleagues” via Leonard Pitts Jr. of the Miami Herald — Well, that was … normal. Biden slips while playing with his dog on Saturday and has to go to the hospital. The information is released in an apparently transparent manner. No doctor even bothers to report that Biden was “a phenomenal patient.” Like a patch of blue in a thunderstorm sky, normalcy reappears. Yet even as one basks in the feeble sunshine of it, one wonders how long it can last. The answer is not knowable. However, what is knowable is that however durable it ultimately proves will depend in large part on those of us who report and opine upon the news. Put simply: It is time for us to break our addiction to Trump.

Time to tell Florida’s COVID-reckless Governor that the election — and the war on science — is over” via Frank Cerebino of The Palm Beach Post — I found myself thinking of Yoshio Yamakawa and Tsuzuki Nakauchi this week. They were the two World War II Japanese soldiers who hid out in the jungles on the Philippine island of Mindanao until they were in their 80s — unaware that the war they had been fighting was over. DeSantis is the modern-day equivalent. He has apparently been hiding out in his own imaginary Mindanao, where word of Trump’s defeat hasn’t made it down to his bunker yet. Maybe DeSantis only gets Newsmax and OANN down there. That’s the only plausible explanation for DeSantis’ behavior lately, which appears to be still solely guided by his desire to please Trump, his outgoing and diminishing-by-the-day political patron.

Daniel Uhlfelder: 1 million Florida COVID-19 cases — a tragic milestone” via Florida Politics — I have gone to great lengths to draw attention to how badly Gov. DeSantis has mishandled this health crisis going as far as to sue him to issue a temporary stay-at-home and beach closure order. Florida’s response to COVID-19 buck stops with DeSantis, and from Day One, his response has been inadequate at best and outright murderous at worst. From his slow initial response, which allowed thousands to flock to our beaches over Spring Break, to his eradication of all COVID-19 safety restrictions, to his prioritization of the advice of crackpot conspiracy theorists and snake oil salesmen pushing questionable virus therapies over the advice of scientists, the Governor has created a perfect storm of uncontrolled viral spread.

There is no reason to wait. Cancel your holiday travel plans now.” via Leana S. Wen of  The Washington Post — Americans have a hard truth to face, and the sooner we do it, the better: We must cancel travel over the winter holidays and find different ways to celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah. It’s clear what lies ahead. In November, the United States added 4 million new coronavirus infections, while hospitalizations broke records daily for more than two weeks in a row. All projections indicate that December will be worse than November. So there’s no reason to wait to issue a warning. Before Thanksgiving, COVID-19 infections were already spreading explosively. One in five hospitals reported that they were facing a critical shortage of workers. The coronavirus surged after Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day. After an estimated 50 million people traveled for the holiday, the same will certainly be true of Thanksgiving. 

Landowner: Lake County borrow pit is following all the rules” via Kirk Leiffer for the Orlando Sentinel — What has been reported is that our farm has been providing dirt for the Wekiva Parkway without a permit, making the assumption that we are intentionally doing so without regard for the rules. That is simply not true. Because we, too, are Floridians dedicated to environmental best practices and want to do what is best for our community, we have applied for permits from Lake County and the SJRWMD, regardless of our steadfast belief that we are exempt from this requirement, because of the status of our farm. To date, we have applied to both Lake County and the SJRWMD for what they believe are the applicable permits. The SJRWMD permit is under review, but it can’t be issued until the Lake County permit is issued because state law requires local government signoff on projects within the Wekiva River Protection Area, which the farm is.

A bridge too far” via Dean Trantalis for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Recently, the Sun-Sentinel published an editorial encouraging decision-makers to move forward on creating a commuter rail service on the eastern railroad tracks, a plan often referred to as a “Coastal Link.” Despite this idea’s best intentions, there are unintended consequences that must be addressed first before we can move forward. One such impact would be across the New River. With dozens of trains making their way along the existing paths, the marine industry would be negatively impacted upriver, with the train bridge being almost always in a down position, completely frustrating an industry upon which the entire region depends. We cannot afford to have them looking elsewhere.

— ON TODAY’S SUNRISE —

Florida now has the dubious distinction of more than 1 million cases of COVID-19.

Also, on today’s Sunrise:

— On Tuesday, the state Department of Health reported 8,847 new coronavirus cases. That pushes the statewide total to 1,008,166. And when the new stats come out today, there’s a good chance the death toll will top 19,000.

— Meanwhile, in DeSantis’ world, the Governor wants the feds to eliminate travel bans so more people can come to Florida.

— The COVID-19 crisis has been a major challenge for schools, and the Foundation for Excellence in Education began its three-day virtual event to talk about where we go from here. It’s called “EdPalooza” 2020, and former President George W. Bush served as keynote speaker — despite some reservations.

— Reporter and author Amanda Ripley authored a book on how people react to disasters like COVID-19. Ripley says the one thing they all have in common is that our leaders don’t trust us enough to tell us the whole truth.

— Ripley never mentioned DeSantis or Trump by name … she didn’t have to.

— Political consultant Steve Vancore discusses the constitutional amendment that seeks to legalize recreational marijuana in Florida. Despite what you may have read, Vancore says the Make It Legal amendment may not even make the ballot.

— And finally, a Florida Woman danced during a sobriety check. It would have worked if only she hadn’t fallen down.

To listen, click on the image below:

— ALOE —

Empty Stocking Fund off to strong start” via Mike Cazalas of the Panama City News Herald — The first gathering of checks following the kickoff of the 2020 Empty Stocking Fund drive brought smiles as the total reached $18,750, just short of last year’s $19,000, despite the myriad challenges organizers face this year. This year, organizers expect, might be one of the toughest yet. Community leaders are showing they recognize it as well, as Trumbull Family Culligan Water stepped up with a check for $5,000, matching the $5,000 donated by both Floyd Skinner and The News-Herald. The News-Herald kicks off each year with its $5,000 donation; Cramer matches it with $5,000 when the goal is met.

FSU football will finish season vs. Duke, at Wake Forest” via Curt Weiler of the Tallahassee Democrat — The Seminoles haven’t played since Nov. 14 due to COVID-related issues. They won’t play this weekend as scheduled. After weeks of uncertainty, the ACC announced Tuesday afternoon that FSU would finish its 2020 regular season with a home game vs. Duke Dec. 12 and a road game at Wake Forest Dec. 19. The Seminoles were originally slated to play the Blue Devils at Duke this Saturday. FSU coach Mike Norvell said Monday night on his weekly television show that the FSU coaching staff woke up Sunday intending to reorganize its depleted roster — down to 44 available scholarship players Saturday morning — to still play the Blue Devils this weekend.

After not playing since Nov. 14, FSU will finish up its football season on Dec. 12 against Duke and a road game against Wake Forest on Dec. 19.

Panama City residents decorate work-zone barricades for the holidays” via Nathan Cobb of the Panama City News-Herald — Some locals recently took an unusual approach at decorating their neighborhood for the holidays. The decorations include stringing lights, toys and ornaments across two work-zone barricades in the Cove along Beach Drive and near Bunkers Cove Road and Sudduth Avenue. Each was put in the area to mark a portion of the road that had caved in. However, the excitement was cut short as of Monday morning as city crews were seen repairing the pothole on Beach Drive and removing its now festive barricade. According to Caitlin Lawrence, spokeswoman for Panama City, the repairs were not connected to the attention the decorations garnered.

Panama City work barricades get into the holiday spirit. Image via Panama City News-Herald.

— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —

Best wishes to former Rep. Larry CrowSarah Criser Elwell, the Executive Director at The Forum Club of the Palm Beaches, and Joey Redner.

___

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

Written By

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

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

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson, and Kelly Hayes.
Email: Peter@FloridaPolitics.com
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
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