Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 7.8.21

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

Ed. Note — All of us at Florida Politics wish Michelle Todd Schorsch a full and speedy recovery from the successful surgery she underwent yesterday. Get well soon; our prayers are with you, Peter and Ella!

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Colodny Fass is expanding its litigation practice again with the addition of Derek Silver.

“We are excited to welcome Derek to our team and provide boots on the ground in South Florida, as well as the Capital City,” said Katie Webb, shareholder and governmental consulting practice group lead. 

Silver’s resume includes working on education policy in the Florida House and later serving as the Jewish Coalition Coordinator for Gov. Ron DeSantis’ gubernatorial campaign.

Colodny Fass boosts its litigation practice with the addition of Derek Silver.

After the election, he served on the Governor’s transition team and subsequently worked as the Deputy Director of Government Affairs for the Office of Insurance Regulation. He also staffed and assisted in planning DeSantis’ 2019 trade mission to Israel. 

At OIR, Silver worked on various insurance issues, including property, health, life and automobile insurance. He also worked on the successful passage of legislation to curb assignment of benefits (AOB) abuse. The now-law was a longtime priority for insurers, who said AOB abuse was partly to blame for rising property insurance rates.

His experience adds to the abundance of insurance policy experts at Colodny Fass. Though the full-service law firm represents clients from several industries, insurance interests often seek out the firm’s expertise, both in the courthouse and the Capitol complex.

Silver, recognized as a “rising star” in INFLUENCE Magazine this year, is a double alumnus of Florida State University, where he earned his bachelor’s and law degrees. He also serves on the board of the Jewish Alumni Network at FSU.

Colodny Fass consistently ranks as one of the top law firms in the state. Attorneys at the firm have attained the highest rating of “AV” by Martindale-Hubbell, the foremost attorney ranking service. The firm has also earned the AM Best “Best Recommended Attorney” and “Qualified Law Firm” designations.

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Go Bolts — “Tampa Bay Lightning win back-to-back Stanley Cups” via Laine Higgins of The Wall Street Journal — The Lightning won their second Stanley Cup in just over nine months, defeating the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 to claim back-to-back titles in seasons that were bunched together by the COVID-19 pandemic. Playing on home ice at Amalie Arena, the Lightning toned down their electric style to match the persistent, grinding play of the Canadiens to win Game 5 and take the series 4-1. The sole goal of the night came from winger Ross Colton just over six minutes into the second period, as he poked a pass from Ryan McDonagh around the back of Montreal goaltender Carey Price. Wednesday’s victory makes it clear that no team weathered the pandemic and its ensuing schedule disruptions better than Tampa Bay.

 — SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —

@NikkiFriedFL: Praying for all the loved ones of the victims, the first responders continuing search efforts, and the entire Surfside community experiencing unimaginable loss and grief following news of this heartbreaking decision. We mourn with you, and we are here for you. #SurfsideStrong

@ChrisSprowls: Tonight, the efforts at Surfside transitions from search and rescue to recovery. May God provide the victims comfort and peace, and may he lend his mighty strength to their families, friends, and loved ones.

@samanthajgross: Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett: “The possibility of someone alive is near zero … in the end, God is still in charge.” “Today is a heartbreaking day. But I have not lost hope that there could be a miracle.”

@MrEvanRoss: The families in Surfside are truly incredible. Just minutes after being told there was no hope of finding any of their loved ones alive, they expressed their profound gratitude to all those who have been searching and assisting them. The room erupted in applause.

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@MaryEllenKlas: A grand jury convened in 1992 after Hurricane Andrew, exposing the dysfunction in building regulation that led to a statewide building reform. Now, a Miami grand jury is convening to determining the cause of the Surfside condo collapse and vows to prevent it from happening again.

@DavidOvalle305: State Attorney says current grand jury agreed to explore “how we can prevent such a disaster from occurring again, not just in Surfside, and not just in condominiums, but in all buildings and structures in the coastal, intercoastal, and surrounding areas of our county”

@anaceballos_: Florida condo laws under scrutiny by Florida Bar task force after Surfside collapse. Recommendation could come as early as September, when state lawmakers are scheduled to start holding legislative committee hearings in Tallahassee.

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— DAYS UNTIL —

‘Black Widow’ rescheduled premiere — 1; MLB All-Star Game — 5; Jeff Bezos travels into space on Blue Origin’s first passenger flight — 12; new start date for 2021 Olympics — 15; second season of ‘Ted Lasso’ premieres on Apple+ — 15; the NBA Draft — 20; ‘Jungle Cruise’ premieres — 22; ‘The Suicide Squad’ premieres — 29; Florida Behavioral Health Association’s Annual Conference (BHCon) begins — 41; St. Petersburg Primary Election — 47; Disney’s ‘Shang Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings’ premieres — 57; NFL regular season begins — 63; Broadway’s full-capacity reopening — 68; 2022 Legislative Session interim committee meetings begin — 74; ‘The Many Saints of Newark’ premieres (rescheduled) — 78; ‘Dune’ premieres — 85; Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary party starts — 85; MLB regular season ends — 87; ‘No Time to Die’ premieres (rescheduled) — 92; World Series Game 1 — 111; Florida TaxWatch’s Annual Meeting begins — 111; St. Petersburg Municipal Elections — 117; Florida’s 20th Congressional District primary — 117; Disney’s ‘Eternals’ premieres — 121; ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ rescheduled premiere — 134; San Diego Comic-Con begins — 141; Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’ premieres — 155; ‘Spider-Man Far From Home’ sequel premieres — 162; NFL season ends — 185; 2022 Legislative Session starts — 187; Florida’s 20th Congressional District election — 187; NFL playoffs begin — 191; Super Bowl LVI — 220; ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ premieres — 260; ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ premieres — 302; ‘Platinum Jubilee’ for Queen Elizabeth II — 329; “Black Panther 2” premieres — 365; ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ sequel premieres — 456; “Captain Marvel 2” premieres — 491.

— ELSA AFTERMATH —

Resilient Tropical Storm Elsa kills 1 in Jacksonville, injures 10 in southeast Georgia” via John Bacon, Doyle Rice and Jorge L. Ortiz of USA Today — Even after it lost some of its punch, Elsa headed across the Georgia coast and into South Carolina Wednesday night, killing one and injuring several others in the panhandle. Authorities in Jacksonville said one person was killed Wednesday when a tree fell and struck two cars. The National Weather Service reported 50 mph (80 kph) wind gusts in the city. The tree fell during heavy rains, said Capt. Eric Prosswimmer of the Jacksonville Fire-Rescue Department. He said no one else was injured. Flash flooding and isolated rain totaling up to 5 inches are possible as far north as the New England states. Tornadoes may also develop from the southeastern U.S. up to Virginia on Wednesday and Thursday.

After making a mess in Key West, Elsa moves on to wreak havoc in Jacksonville, Georgia, and points North. Image via AP.

Thousands of power outages reported in Northeast Florida following Elsa” via News4Jax — Following the wind, rain and widespread damage reports across Northeast Florida due to Elsa, utility crews were hard at work restoring power to thousands of homes. Shortly after 7:30 p.m., JEA alone worked to restore power to more than 11,000 homes in the Jacksonville area. Clay Electric was working to restore power to more than 2,000 homes, and Florida Power and Light was working to restore electricity to more than 7,000 homes. Damage reports rolled in Wednesday afternoon after a confirmed tornado touched down in Jacksonville. A tornado was also confirmed to have touched down in Southeast Georgia.

Did Tropical Storm Elsa impact Red Tide blooms along the Tampa Bay coastline?” via Kailyn Rhone of the Tampa Bay Times — Local experts say that Tropical Storm Elsa could have helped or hurt the Red Tide blooms that have plagued the Tampa Bay coastline in recent weeks. However, they will not know for certain until the next round of water sampling, which could happen late this week or early next week. Jim Ivey, environmental science and policy professor at the University of South Florida, said that Elsa could have diluted the blooms and flushed them out of the area. Or increased groundwater flow and runoff from the storm could have fertilized the blooms, intensifying Red Tide. If Red Tide blooms reach land, they will break up quickly, Ivey said, especially with the additional rainfall, so he wouldn’t expect long-lasting or significant health risks to Tampa Bay residents.

— LATEST ON SURFSIDE —

Families told rescue phase in Surfside collapse is ending. It’s careful recovery now.” via Martin Vassolo, Samantha J. Gross and Ben Conarck of the Miami Herald — As the 14th day of searching came to a close, families and loved ones were informed during a private briefing that the search and rescue effort for live victims in the rubble that was once Champlain Towers South is coming to an end. Fire authorities said Wednesday there is no longer hope of any survivors of the June 24 Surfside collapse. Miami-Dade Fire Chief of Operations Ray Jadallah told families that the announcement was “some of the hardest news I’ve ever had to deliver in my professional career.” The death toll in the Surfside collapse now stands at 46, after the most victims were found in any 12-hour or 24-period.

Heartbreak in Surfside — moving from rescue to recovery. Image via AP.

Ron DeSantis tries calming concerns about older Florida buildings following Surfside collapse” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — DeSantis says the state will look for “definitive answers” regarding the cause of the Surfside condo collapse but said broader concerns about other older buildings in the state are not yet warranted. DeSantis fielded questions about Surfside Wednesday morning at the Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee during a briefing on Tropical Storm Elsa. DeSantis said the state is seeking answers to several questions as officials investigate the cause of the collapse. But at this stage, DeSantis said conversations with people on the scene led him to believe the collapse may be an isolated incident and not a sign about widespread issues across the state that could impact the real estate market. “I think this building had problems from the start; let’s just put it that way,” DeSantis said. 

Grandmother who poured her love into her Friday Shabbat dinners died in Surfside collapse” via Syra Ortiz-Blanes of the Miami Herald — The Surfside apartment of Nancy Kress Levin, a longtime resident of the Champlain Towers South, was a point of convergence for her tight-knit brood. Although her family was spread between Miami, San Juan and elsewhere, her Shabbat dinners brought everyone together. “No matter what you were doing, no matter where you were, you always knew it was Shabbat dinners on Friday nights at her apartment in Champlain. And we were always invited,” said Josh Kleiman, her eldest grandchild. Even when they were apart, the Kleimans followed the tradition Nancy had cultivated, wishing each other Shabbat Shalom and checking in on each other. “She was the glue of the family,” said Josh.

In a tragic irony, man who devoted life to structural engineering among dead in Surfside collapse” via Michelle Solomon of WPLG — Simon Segal’s life was an accomplishment in structural engineering and construction. And he was devoted to his craft. He was a product control reviewer for the State of Florida, analyzing test reports on Florida Building Codes, including structural components, pouring over plans and specifications about the state’s condominium and office building construction. In a tragic irony, the 80-year-old died after the condominium he lived in, Apartment 1203, came crashing down on June 24 in a catastrophic collapse of the Champlain Towers South. Segal owned a construction company in Miami Beach and had worked throughout Florida as an engineer with experience in structural design.

Surfside victims fund to start distributing $5K per family” via Christina Vazquez of WPLG — Families affected by the condo collapse can begin applying for money through the Support Surfside Fund. One of several funds created after the tragic collapse of the Champlain Towers South on June 24, Support Surfside is a collaboration led by the Coral Gables Community Foundation, Key Biscayne Community Foundation and Miami Foundation. Organizers say gifts in the amount of $5,000 per family will be made available. “We know that right now the needs are so individualized and personal to people that we want to give people as much agency as possible, so monetary gifts really go a long way,” said Rebecca Fishman Lipsey, CEO and president of The Miami Foundation.

After Surfside horror, we may never look at beach condo living in Florida the same way” via Fabiola Santiago of the Miami Herald — A little piece of what it means to live in South Florida, too, has been lost to the collapse and demolition of Champlain Towers South in Surfside. We may never look at beachfront condo living in the same innocent way again, with the heart of a poet yearning for the sea and the wallet of a professional needing to decompress, no questions asked. Now, we’ve got nothing but questions and demands. For days, I’ve been trying to work through the horror of families like mine once was, blissfully sleeping to the sound of ocean waves, plunging along with their homes into an abyss of rubble and death.

Miami grand jury agrees to explore building safety issues after deadly Surfside collapse” via David Ovalle of the Miami Herald — Miami-Dade’s grand jury has agreed to investigate the broader issue of building safety after the deadly collapse of the Surfside condo, the State Attorney’s Office said Wednesday. The grand jury will issue “recommendations to prevent such a disaster from occurring again, not just in Surfside, and not just in condominiums, but in all buildings and structures in the coastal, intercoastal and surrounding areas of our county, state and nation,” State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a statement on Wednesday. The Champlain Condo Towers South collapsed on June 24, sparking a massive search and rescue effort that included last week’s dramatic demolition of the standing portion of the building.

Lawyers line up to make Surfside condo claims for clients” via Madeleine Wright of WPLG — So many lawsuits are being filed in the wake of the Surfside condo collapse that it threatens to overwhelm the court system. To avoid that, the courthouse in Miami is organizing all the cases to be heard by one judge in one courtroom. A parade of attorneys lined up Wednesday morning to introduce themselves to Judge Michael Hanzman of the 11th Judicial Circuit Court’s civil division — all of them volunteering to take on Champlain Towers South condo collapse cases without getting paid. “This is kind of an unprecedented kind of thing where everybody’s really on the same page just to try and help what we can do,” said Brad Sohn, partner at the Brad Sohn Law Firm.

The quest to learn why a Florida condo building collapsed has already moved to the legal system. Image via AP.

Memorial park? As court weighs sale of Surfside property, debate starts over future of site” via David Ovalle and Marie-Rose Sheinerman of the Miami Herald — Even as search teams continue to sift for remains in the rubble of the Champlain Towers South, the debate over the future of the beachfront site had already begun Wednesday in a Miami-Dade County courtroom. Should it be a memorial or sold to developers to erect another condo — a deal that could help compensate victims of the tragedy? A judge overseeing the growing number of civil lawsuits over the collapse heard from both sides on Wednesday. He was told that the property may be worth between $100 to $130 million, more than double the estimated insurance payout.

— 2022 —

DeSantis beefs up fundraising arm — DeSantis has brought on another consulting firm to build up his fundraising operation ahead of the 2022 election. As reported by Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida, the newcomer is Washington-based Eleventh Street Strategies. The firm was founded by Taylor Lioce, a former Florida Regional Finance Director of the Republican National Committee and Trump Victory. Eleventh Street Strategies hasn’t done state-level fundraising work in Florida before. The expansion comes as DeSantis continues pulling in millions through his Friends of Ron DeSantis political committee every month, including $5.4 million in June.

Ron DeSantis shores up his fundraising operation with some new blood.

Newt Gingrich endorses Anna Paulina Luna in CD 13 race” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — Gingrich is backing Republican candidate Luna in her run for Florida’s 13th Congressional District. In announcing his support, Gingrich said Luna is “not just a conservative leader, but a true patriot.” Luna has made headlines as a vocal Donald Trump supporter with a brazen attitude toward guns and political opponents, likely a plus for Gingrich. Last year, in running for the same Congressional seat against incumbent Democrat Charlie Crist, Luna even snagged a public endorsement from the former President.

Dean Black adds another $40K ahead of likely HD 11 bid” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics — Black, the Duval County Republican Party Chair, pulled in another $40,000 through his political committee last month as he gears up for a possible run in House District 11. The report is the committee’s second since it launched. The first report, covering May, listed more than $100,000 in contributions. To date, the committee has raised $141,150. The June fundraising sheet for the True Conservatives political committee includes checks from Jacksonville Beach City Council members Chet Stokes, Dan Janson, Cory Nichols and Fernando Meza, indicating strong support from the beach communities if he becomes an official candidate.

Happening tonight:

Five Senators back Hillary Cassel in HD 99 Democratic primary” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Cassel is battling Barry Faske of the Florida Green Building Coalition and Jeremy Katzman, an administrator at Nova Southeastern University’s Health Professions Division, in the Democratic Primary. Wednesday, Cassel received a significant boost, as Democratic Sens. Lori Berman, Janet Cruz, Shevrin Jones, Tina Polsky and Perry Thurston said they would back her bid. “Hillary Cassel is the strong voice South Florida needs in the state House,” Jones said in a written statement. Cassel entered the contest in February. She and her husband, Michael, co-founded their law firm, Cassel & Cassel, P.A. 

Realtors put $8 million into ballot initiative” via Jim Saunders of The News Service of Florida — Realtor groups have poured another $8 million into an effort to put a proposed constitutional amendment that would ensure money for affordable-housing programs. Florida Realtors funneled $5 million in June to the political committee Floridians for Housing, while the National Association of Realtors chipped in another $3 million. Florida Realtors had contributed $5 million earlier, bringing the total amount raised by the committee to $13 million. The committee in June also paid $2.5 million to SGS, Inc., a Gainesville firm. If approved by 60% of voters, the proposed ballot measure would establish in the Florida Constitution the State Housing Trust Fund and the Local Government Housing Trust Fund.

Next Jacksonville Mayor? Donna Deegan stokes Duval Dems’ hopes with new political committee” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — The latest indication that the plurality party will actually have a standard-bearer: a new political committee on the state level, “Donna for Duval.” The account, per Deegan, will help “lead Jacksonville in a new direction.” “As a lifelong Jacksonville citizen who deeply loves our community, I promised to stay involved and remain focused on helping build the high quality of life that every resident deserves. Donna for Duval has been launched to help lead Jacksonville in a new direction — one in which we honor the commitments of the past and realize the full potential of the future,” Deegan told Florida Politics. The Deegan account launched earlier this month, which means we won’t see its first fundraising report until early August.

Three in running to lead Broward schools as interim superintendent” via Scott Travis of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Three former superintendents made the cut to temporarily lead the Broward School District through a time of crisis. The interim superintendent’s job attracted 26 applications, but only three met all the required qualifications, including a master’s degree and 10 years of management experience, the district determined. They are Jim Notter, Broward schools superintendent from 2006 to 2011; Vickie Cartwright, who just ended a three-year stint as superintendent for the school district in Oshkosh, Wisconsin; and Robert Schiller, who has led six districts over the past 40 years as interim or permanent superintendent. The School Board plans to review their applications on July 20, conduct interviews the next week and negotiate a contract the first week in August.

Florida Institute for Political Leadership launches local elections database — FIPL on Wednesday launched a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive database of local elections across Florida. The database allows users to see what elections are upcoming in their local area — from city to state and federal offices. The results can be filtered by county, category, next election year, and type of elected office. FIPL said the tool is aimed at helping Floridians “take the next step in their political career.” The database includes nearly 4,200 elected positions at the state and local level, covering elections in all of Florida’s 67 counties and over 400 municipalities through 2027 — that includes almost 200 local races yet to occur in 2021 and another 2,000+ on the ballot in 2022, excluding special taxing districts.

— DATELINE TALLY —

DeSantis suspends Lake Wales City Commissioner Kristen Fitzgerald after arrest” via Dustin Wyatt of The Lakeland Ledger — Per the executive order, Commissioner Fitzgerald is prohibited from performing any official act, duty, or function of public office during the suspension period. Fitzgerald, who has yet to be convicted of a crime, declined to comment on the Governor’s action. “I have no comment at this time,” she said in a phone call early Wednesday. The executive order signed by the Governor says that any elected official indicted in a crime may be suspended from office until acquitted. Fitzgerald was arrested June 3 and spent a night in the Polk County Jail on charges that she used a gun to threaten an 11-year-old boy she’d picked up without the parents’ permission.

Kristen Fitzgerald gets arrested and booted off the Lake Wales City Commission.

Nikki Fried calls on Florida Supreme Court to take up dispute about local gun laws” via Haley Brown of Florida Politics — Fried is calling on the Florida Supreme Court to take up a dispute about a 2011 state law that doles out penalties to local government if gun regulations are passed. The effort to get a Supreme Court hearing comes after the 1st District Court of Appeal in April upheld the law’s constitutionality after local governments and officials filed three lawsuits challenging the 2011 law. The lawsuits were filed following the February 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland that killed 17 people. Coral Springs Democratic Rep. Dan Daley also attended the virtual news conference. Daley was a graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

NRA appeals ruling on gun sales to people under 21” via Jim Saunders of News Service of Florida — The National Rifle Association on Wednesday went to a federal appeals court after a judge last month upheld a Florida law that prevents people under age 21 from buying guns. The NRA, which challenged the constitutionality of the law after it passed in 2018, filed a notice appealing the ruling to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. The notice, as is common, did not detail the NRA’s arguments. But Marion Hammer, the organization’s longtime Florida lobbyist, said in an email that the NRA is pursuing the appeal to “protect the constitutionally guaranteed rights of all law-abiding adults.” The Republican-controlled Legislature and then-Gov. Rick Scott approved the law shortly after the February 2018 mass shooting in Parkland.

Florida’s new Parents’ Bill of Rights brings big changes to medical care for children” via Cindy Krischer Goodman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Dr. John Gross, a Florida family physician who specializes in sports medicine, often attends his children’s soccer games. But Gross says doing so won’t be the same anymore. If a player gets injured, he says he has to make a tough decision from the sidelines: ask for a parent’s written consent to give emergency medical help or move into action and risk being charged with a misdemeanor. That quandary, for him and many others in the medical profession, results from a law that went into effect in Florida this week. On Tuesday night, Gov. DeSantis signed the Parents Bill of Rights, effective July 1.

DeSantis appoints two to Judicial Nomination Commissions” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — The Governor appointed Ashley S. Hodson to the 12th Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission and reappointed Andrew B. Pickett to the 18th Circuit Judicial Nomination Commission. Hodson, a partner in the Sarasota office of Shutts & Bowen, focuses her practice on estate planning, estate and gift taxation, and estate and trust administration. The 12th Circuit covers DeSoto, Manatee and Sarasota counties. Pickett has served as vice-chair of the 18th Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission, but his term was set to expire July 1, 2020. He has been a trial lawyer in civil and criminal court for 11 years in Brevard County. The 18th Circuit covers Brevard and Seminole counties.

— STATEWIDE —

Haiti President Jovenel Moïse assassinated in middle-of-the-night attack at his home” via Jacqueline Charles and Johnny Fils Aimé of the Miami Herald — Moïse was assassinated and his wife wounded during an armed attack in the early hours of Wednesday at their private residence above the hills of Port-au-Prince, throwing the Caribbean nation, already in the throes of a political crisis, into fresh uncertainty about its leadership. Acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph, who first told his fellow Haitians about the President’s assassination, said he is in charge and that the country is now under martial law. Early Wednesday morning, Joseph said in a statement that the attack occurred around 1 a.m. Wednesday, and some of the unidentified assailants spoke Spanish.

Jovenel Moïse is assassinated, his wife is wounded, and Florida’s Haitian community is outraged. Image via AP.

Haiti’s First Lady arrives in South Florida to be treated for gunshot wounds” via Madeleine Romance of the Miami Herald — First Lady Martine Moïse of Haiti was airlifted to South Florida to be treated for gunshot wounds Wednesday afternoon, hours after her husband was assassinated in an early morning attack in their home. Martine Moïse arrived in Miami in the late afternoon and was taken to Jackson Health System’s Ryder Trauma Center. There was no immediate information about her condition. Her tenure as First Lady began in 2017, but throughout her life, she has displayed a sense of responsibility for others, including being an advocate for women and girls, according to Spouses of Caricom Leaders Action Network, or SCLAN.

Miami’s Haitian community reacts to Haitian President assassination” via Annaliese Garcia of WPLG — South Florida’s Haitian community, as well as the Haitian community around the world, is mourning the sudden and tragic death of their late President. Moïse was assassinated in an attack on his private residence early Wednesday, according to a statement from the country’s interim Prime Minister. Wednesday morning, the South Florida Haitian community gathered outside of a bakery in Little Haiti where people in the area go for breakfast and pick up bread. Many people were shocked, saying they don’t understand how the President and his wife were not safe in their own home. However, most Haitians mentioned the security of Haiti and how they believe it’s been a problem for a long time.

President’s assassination: South Florida’s Haitians are tired of the turmoil” via Lois K. Solomon, Samantha Chery and Rod Stafford Hagwood of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Haitians living in South Florida, accustomed to frequent disaster in their homeland, said on Wednesday the assassination of Moïse in his residence shows the nation’s relentless turmoil is unlikely to cease anytime soon. Shooters assassinated Moïse and wounded his wife early Wednesday. The first lady, Martine, was flown to Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport by Trinity Air Ambulance on Wednesday afternoon for treatment at Baptist Hospital in Miami, Local 10 News reported. Officials said her vitals are stable but critical. In South Florida, which has the largest concentration of Haitians and Haitian-Americans in the United States, many saw the death of the President with distrust and cynicism.

Some in Palm Beach County’s Haitian community express heartbreak, pray for hope” via Hannah Morse of the Palm Beach Post — Boynton Beach Commissioner Christina Romelus awaits the day she can show her children Haiti, the country where she was born. But for now, there is just hurt and anguish after the assassination of Moïse at his home early Wednesday. “It’s a sad day for Haitians and the Haitian diaspora. We’re all heartbroken by this news and shocked, frankly,” said Romelus, who moved from the Caribbean nation to the U.S. at the age of 6. “It just hurts.” Some Palm Beach County residents who are part of the Haitian community shared Romelus’ shock.

SWFL Haitian advocacy groups report a county in fear, with no clear future” via Harriet Howard Heithaus of the Naples Daily News — Beatrice Jacquet-Castor awoke around 4 a.m. to the rings of the first of many frightened callers: Moïse had been assassinated, and his wife, Martine, had been shot as well. “I’m on the phone with people calling left and right. We’re upset. We’re in shock. We’re furious. We’re upset the country is going to be more in turmoil than it has ever been,” said Jacquet-Castor, of Fort Myers, president and a co-founder of the Haitian-American Community Coalition of Southwest Florida. “The ones that want power are the ones who killed him,” she said. “The people are scared out of their minds. They’re not leaving their homes.”

— CORONA FLORIDA —

Delta variant of COVID-19 expected to take over in Florida as dominant strain” via Liz Freeman of the Naples Daily News — The highly contagious delta variant will become the dominant strain of COVID-19 to circulate in Florida and potentially cause a new outbreak among unvaccinated young people and others who are not inoculated, experts say. “I’m pretty concerned,” said Dr. Michael Teng, a virologist and associate professor at the University of South Florida’s College of Medicine in Tampa. “If you have a functioning set of lungs and no immunity, this virus will find you.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the delta variant is now the most common strain of the virus in the U.S. and accounts for nearly 52% of cases.

The COVID-19 delta variant is poised to tear through Florida. Image via AP.

Our masks are off. Now comes fever, sniffles and other bugs” via Cindy Krischer Goodman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — As Floridians whip off their face masks and attend events in person again, all the germs that had been kept at bay by COVID-19 practices are surfacing. Local health providers say they are seeing patients with summer sniffles, coughs, fevers, respiratory infections, and illnesses until recently had been reduced to negligible threats. “There’s a host of viruses out there that we usually only see in cold and flu season,” said Rachel Guran, director of epidemiology and infection prevention at Memorial Healthcare System. “The best we can all do is rely on good hygiene efforts.” Florida’s influenza surveillance system shows rhinovirus, the predominant cause of the common cold, is becoming more prevalent in the state.

— CORONA NATION —

Delta variant is dominant in U.S.” via Edward Segarra and Grace Hauck of USA TODAY — The CDC projects the highly transmissible delta variant, first identified in India, is now the dominant strain in the U.S. The variant makes up 51.7% of all new infections, according to CDC data. It’s not just a problem in the U.S. Germany’s disease control center on Wednesday announced the delta variant has become dominant in the country, nearly doubling within one week. A French government spokesperson said cases increased by 20% from last week because of the variant. And in the United Kingdom, where the variant has also been circulating, officials reported more than 30,000 daily infections for the first time since January.

Should you cancel your summer vacation? Crowds, high prices and variants have some travelers reconsidering.” via Christopher Elliott of The Washington Post — Experts say you should monitor the situation at your destination closely. If you are traveling domestically, check local COVID-19 infection rates or state tourism websites. Internationally, consult the State Department website for reliable safety information. And if you opt to cancel? “Make sure you understand the terms and conditions of the company you booked with,” advises Guy Young, president of Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold Vacations. “Many companies have been more flexible in allowing guests to reschedule their trips.” Few travelers take the time to read the fine print on their tour agreement or cruise ticket contract, so they don’t find out what is in it until they want to cancel. That is a mistake.

Will the delta variant cool down hot summer travel? Image via AP.

COVID-19 may have claimed the lives of even more U.S. inmates than reported.” via Maura Turcotte, Rachel Sherman, Rebecca Griesbach, Ann Hinga Klein, Brendon Derr and Timothy Williams of The New York Times — In some cases, deaths were added to facilities’ virus tolls after The Times brought missing names to the attention of officials. In other cases, people infected with the coronavirus while incarcerated were granted legal releases because of the severity of their illnesses but were not included in the death tallies of the jails where they got sick. Still other inmates’ deaths were left off facilities’ list of virus deaths for unexplained reasons. More than 2,700 people are reported to have died of COVID-19 in connection to U.S. prisons, jails, and immigration detention centers. Still, the additional cases raise the prospect that the known toll on incarcerated people falls far short of providing the full picture.

— CORONA ECONOMICS — 

Have a seat: Patio furniture shortage tells U.S. economic tale” via Josh Boak of The Associated Press — There is the paradox of the fastest economic growth in generations at more than 6% yet also persistent delays for anyone trying to buy furniture, autos and a wide mix of other goods. It’s almost the mirror opposite of the recovery from the Great Recession of 2007-2009, which was marred by slow growth and the near-instant delivery of almost every imaginable product. As America hurtles out of the July Fourth weekend into the heart of summer, the outdoor furniture industry provides a snapshot of the dilemmas confronting the economy. A series of shortages have left warehouses depleted and prices rising at more than 11% annually as Americans resume BBQs and parties after more than a year of isolation.

Add patio furniture to the list of post-pandemic shortages. Image via AP.

U.S. job openings held at record level headed into summer” via Bryan Mena of The Wall Street Journal — The Labor Department on Wednesday said job openings rose at the end of May by 16,000, pushing the total to a new high of 9.2 million jobs in records dating back to 2000. The number of available jobs nearly matched the 9.3 million Americans who were unemployed but actively seeking jobs in May, reflecting an unusual tightness in the job market. The number of unemployed workers had exceeded available jobs in data back to 2000, except for 2018 to early 2020 when the unemployment rate trended near a 50-year low. Regionally, the South had the highest openings rate at 6.2%, unchanged from the prior month.

Is Thursday the new Monday? Flexible working is in flux” via Alexandra Olson of The Associated Press — Last year, companies around the U.S. scrambled to figure out how to shut down their offices. Now, in a mirror image, they are scrambling to figure out how to bring those employees back. Most companies are proceeding cautiously, trying to navigate declining COVID-19 infections against a potential backlash by workers not ready to return. Tensions have spilled into the public at a few companies where some staff organized petitions or even walkouts to protest being recalled to the office. Many workers in high-demand fields, such as tech or customer service, have options amid a rise in job postings promising “remote work” — an alluring prospect for people who moved during the pandemic to be closer to family or in search of more affordable cities.

— MORE CORONA —

Pandemic deaths near 4 million worldwide amid delta variant surge” via The Washington Post — The coronavirus has killed nearly 4 million people since it first emerged in Wuhan, China, in 2019, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. New confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, remain high, and the world struggles with unequal vaccine rollouts and new threats posed by fast-spreading variants. Some countries have already found that the spread of the virus is outpacing their vaccination plans, especially in the face of proliferating variants. More than a billion doses have been administered around the world, far more than the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic — though a large number of cases were likely never recorded, experts caution.

As the delta variant rages worldwide, COVID-19 has claimed more than 4 million souls. Image via Reuters.

From Wuhan to Paris to Milan, the search for ‘patient zero’” via Eva Dou, Lyric Li, Chico Harlan and Rick Noack of The Washington Post — In the search for the pandemic’s origin, the trail officially ends with Patient S01, China’s first confirmed COVID-19 case, whose sparse details were outlined in the joint WHO-China report released in March. He was an accountant surnamed Chen who shopped at a very large supermarket. Researchers have collected a handful of clues that hint at what might have happened in the days before Patient S01 fell ill. Three days before Patient S01’s symptoms began, on Dec. 5, 2019, an oral swab was taken from a 4-year-old boy outside of Milan who was suspected of having measles. Months later, it tested positive for coronavirus RNA. Researchers in France say they found hints of the virus even earlier, in November.

India supercharged its economy 30 years ago. COVID-19 unraveled it in months.” via Vrishti Beniwal, Eric Martin, Dhwani Pandya and Shruti Srivastava of Bloomberg — Thirty years ago, on a summer evening in late July, India liberalized its Soviet-style economy in a transformation that eventually pulled about 300 million out of poverty, fueling one of the biggest wealth creations in history. Years, and perhaps decades, of progress have been unwound in months, as many Indians who had clawed their way out of poverty face grim job prospects and carry heavy debt loads wracked up to get themselves through the pandemic. More than 200 million have gone back to earning less than minimum wage. The middle class, the engine of the consumer economy, shrank by 32 million in 2020. That means India will be regressing on vital fronts just as its global importance is growing.

— PRESIDENTIAL —

Joe Biden pitches massive spending plan in Donald Trump territory” via Natasha Korecki and Tina Sfondeles of POLITICO — Biden on Wednesday ventured into an Illinois county that Trump won twice, then tried selling a plan that would turn off most MAGA supporters. Big government. Corporate tax hikes. More money for climate. Free community college. This is the next phase of the White House’s ambitious infrastructure package — what it has dubbed the “Families Plan” — and the administration is making clear that even after landing a deal with Republicans on traditional infrastructure, it hasn’t dropped priorities important to his party’s base. In that sense, his visit Wednesday was as much about the audience watching back in Washington as it was for the small crowd, which included a host of local political luminaries, gathered at McHenry Community College to hear his remarks.

Joe Biden goes deep red to pitch his spending plan. Image via AP.

Biden taunts Mitch McConnell for ‘bragging’ about relief bill he voted against” via Libbey Cathey of ABC News — Biden said the Republican leader had acknowledged, as recently as Tuesday, that although he did not support the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package passed in March, its funding will help McConnell’s constituents. “Have you seen what Mitch McConnell said? … Look it up, man. He’s bragging about it in Kentucky.” In fact, McConnell at an event on Tuesday in his home state did talk about the American Rescue Plan. “So you’re gonna get a lot more money. I didn’t vote for it. But you’re gonna get a lot more money,” he said.” My advice to members of the legislatures and other public officials is: spend it wisely, because hopefully, this windfall doesn’t come around again.”

— EPILOGUE TRUMP — 

Trump sues Facebook, Twitter, Google to restore social-media accounts” via Michael C. Bender and Sarah E. Needleman of The Wall Street Journal — Trump has sued Facebook, Twitter and Google, seeking to restore his online profile after he was suspended from most social-media platforms following the Jan. 6 riots in the U.S. Capitol. Trump was the most prominent plaintiff seeking class-action status against the tech companies, claiming he has been wrongly censored by them in violation of his First Amendment rights. The lawsuits were filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Miami. Trump claimed he was banned for “exercising his constitutional right of free speech,” according to the lawsuit. Trump said that public-opinion polls suggested the American people would support his lawsuit, and he vowed to take his legal fight to state legislatures “and the ballot box.”

Donald Trump gets litigious. Image via AP.

Will Trump’s big tech lawsuits succeed? Experts say chances are slim” via Kari Paul of The Guardian — Trump may have filed lawsuits against Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, claiming he and other conservatives have been censored — but legal scholars say his case is likely doomed to fail. “Trump has the first amendment argument exactly wrong,” said Paul Barrett, the deputy director of the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights. “The First Amendment applies to government censorship or speech regulation. It does not stop private-sector corporations from regulating content on their platforms.” Eric Goldman, a law professor at Santa Clara University in California, has studied more than 60 similar, failed lawsuits over the past few decades that sought to take on internet companies for terminating or suspending users’ accounts. He says Trump’s lawsuits are unlikely to go far.

— CRISIS —

High School P.E. teacher arrested in alleged connection to U.S. Capitol riot” via Elina Shirazi of FOX 35 Orlando — Authorities said a Florida high school instructor was arrested on Tuesday for his alleged connection to the U.S. Capitol riot. Court documents show Viera High School P.E. teacher Kenneth Reda used the social media app, Parler, discussing his trip to D.C. According to the court documents, posts show he encouraged other people to show up for the riot. The Brevard County School District confirmed his employment and a spokesperson said he had been put on leave pending an internal investigation. Reda had his first appearance yesterday and was released on a $25,000 bond.

A high school P.E. teacher is the latest Floridian joining the long list of arrested insurrectionists. Image via Department of Justice.

Florida Republicans will host rally calling for Jan. 6 insurrectionists to be released” via Colin Wolf of Creative Loafing Tampa Bay — A handful of Florida Republican candidates will host a rally in Tallahassee calling for DeSantis and others to put pressure on authorities to free the “political prisoners” of Jan. 6. The “Free Our Patriots Rally in Tally” is hosted by Luis Miguel, a far-right Republican candidate looking to primary Sen. Marco Rubio. “Folks, the patriots who have been hunted down by the corrupt, communist FBI are suffering. Many of them are veterans who fought for this nation,” tweeted Miguel. “Let’s do our part to ensure they’re liberated. We can’t allow this in America. Be there at the Florida Capitol July 10.” Miguel also claims that the insurrection was, in fact, a “False Flag carried out by a corrupt FBI.”

— D.C. MATTERS —

The fencing built around the Capitol after the Jan. 6 riot is coming down.” via Luke Broadwater of The New York Times — William J. Walker, the House Sergeant at Arms, told members of Congress on Wednesday that the Capitol Police Board had endorsed police leaders’ recommendation to remove the fence, which became a potent symbol of the violence of the Jan. 6 assault, and workers would begin doing so as early as Friday. In an email, Walker said the step was possible because of improved security conditions on Capitol Hill, which were the result of “enhanced coordination” between the Capitol Police, District of Columbia authorities and “neighboring state and federal law enforcement partners.” The process is expected to take no more than three days, Walker wrote.

William Walker is tearing down the wall. Image via Department of Defense.

FBI, CISA investigating hack of Republican Party” via Jordan Fabian, Jennifer Jacobs and Justin Sink of Bloomberg — The U.S. is investigating a cyberattack against the Republican National Committee believed to have been carried out by Russian hackers. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency are in touch with the RNC, but that the government has not officially determined who is behind the hack. “We will determine attribution and make a decision accordingly,” she said. She noted that the RNC issued a statement saying none of its data was accessed. Russia’s U.S. Ambassador Anatoly Antonov said Moscow wasn’t involved in hacks against U.S. infrastructure and he reiterated previous offers by President Vladimir Putin’s government to work with the U.S. on cybersecurity issues.

Judge grants Joel Greenberg’s request, delays sentencing to November” via Jeff Weiner of the Orlando Sentinel — Greenberg, 36, will now face sentencing at 9 a.m. Nov. 18 at the federal courthouse in downtown Orlando, before U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell, who granted the request to delay the hearing. Scheller cited Greenberg’s ongoing cooperation with federal authorities. “Said cooperation, which could impact his ultimate sentence, cannot be completed prior to the time of his sentencing,” Scheller wrote. Greenberg could face 12 years in prison, though prosecutors have indicated they will recommend a lesser sentence if Greenberg provides substantial assistance. Among those reported to be in the crosshairs of investigators is Greenberg’s friend U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, with authorities probing whether Gaetz paid for sex with a 17-year-old girl who Greenberg has confessed to trafficking.

— LOCAL NOTES —

Former coastal manager with White House past hired for Jacksonville resiliency job” via Steve Patterson of The Florida Times-Union — Jacksonville has hired a former White House staffer who developed coastal restoration projects in New Orleans to be the city’s chief resiliency officer, Mayor Lenny Curry said Tuesday. Anne Coglianese is scheduled to start July 19 in the new role, which needs City Council approval. Curry announced hiring Coglianese during a briefing on preparations for Tropical Storm Elsa, saying that her background “will be critical in emergency situations, including storms like this.” Her selection drew enthusiastic responses from people interested in sustainability.

Anne Coglianese will take on Jacksonville’s resiliency efforts. Image via Twitter.

Fort Lauderdale accepts bid from Elon Musk’s Boring Co. to build tunnel to beach” via Susannah Bryan of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — The out-of-the-box prospect of building a tunnel to the beach jumped one more hurdle this week. Late Tuesday, Fort Lauderdale commissioners formally accepted a bid from Musk’s Boring Co. to build an underground tunnel from downtown to State Road A1A. Other companies that want to submit a competing bid can do so within 45 days. Mayor Dean Trantalis touts the tunnel as an innovative way to tackle traffic congestion downtown but says the project still has more “milestones” to meet before it’s a done deal. “It must be something the community feels it needs and we can afford,” he said.

Days after telling residents it violated contaminants standard, West Palm insists water is safe” via Wayne Washington of the Palm Beach Post — Days after telling residents it violated a state standard limiting contaminants, West Palm Beach officials again insisted that the city’s drinking water is safe and provided an inside look at the elaborate efforts to keep it that way. “This water gets checked every day multiple times a day,” West Palm Public Utilities Director Poonam Kalkat said Tuesday as she escorted journalists on a tour of the city’s sprawling water treatment plant at Australian Avenue and Banyan Boulevard. During the Fourth of July holiday weekend, West Palm Beach water customers were notified that the city had violated a state standard limiting the amount of disinfectant byproducts allowed in drinking water.

After 3 years, Boca Councilwoman settles defamation case over political flyer” via Victoria Villanueva-Marquez of the Palm Beach Post — Boca Raton City Councilwoman Monica Mayotte won a final judgment in a defamation case from a former political opponent who took issue with a flyer that accused him of running a real estate scam. After Mayotte beat Armand Grossman out of a seat on the City Council in March 2018, Grossman sued Mayotte over the same flyer that called him a “scam artist” and said he was charged with defrauding more than 4,000 people. The flyer also claimed he hired unlicensed people to pose as real estate sales agents and that none of those who fell for the “get-rich-quick scam” received their money back. After three years, the case was settled in May.

No mercy for former Broward deputy convicted of using excessive force” via Rafael Olmeda of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Former Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Justin Lambert went before a judge Wednesday to plead for mercy. He was denied. Convicted two years ago of using excessive force on a drunk, belligerent man outside a Deerfield Beach gas station, Lambert, 40, told Broward Circuit Judge Daniel Casey that he was having trouble finding meaningful work and supporting his family because he has to admit he is a felon when he fills out job applications. He asked the judge to remove the adjudication of his conviction, which would allow him to truthfully answer “no” if asked on a job application if he had ever been convicted of a felony.

Universal Orlando faces lawsuit over actor’s racist hand gesture” via Gabrielle Russon of Florida Politics — Two families are suing Universal Orlando after a “Despicable Me” costumed character appeared to flash the White power hand symbol in photo shoots with their children during two separate incidents in 2019, according to a newly filed lawsuit. The little girl, who is biracial and has autism, stood next to Gru for a picture while the character made the ‘OK’ hand gesture — a symbol hijacked by White supremacists — over her shoulder, the Orange Circuit Court lawsuit said. The March 2019 incident at Universal’s Loews Royal Pacific Resort garnered national media attention that year, and a theme park spokesman later acknowledged the employee playing Gru had been fired. Universal did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the lawsuit this week.

A costumed character at Universal seems to flash a White Power hand sign. Image via Orange Circuit Court.

Health alert remains at Timer Powers Park as water samples find traces of toxin in algae” via Max Chesnes of Treasure Coast Newspapers — A health alert will remain in place at Timer Powers Park after state water samplers this week detected trace amounts of toxin in a blue-green algae bloom, the Florida Department of Health office in Martin County confirmed Wednesday. Health officials first urged against swimming, drinking and wading in the algae-laden water on June 4, when water measurements revealed a toxin found in cyanobacteria, commonly called blue-green algae, lurking in the C-44 Canal. Timer Powers Park sits beside the canal and is about 12 miles east of the Port Mayaca Lock & Dam, where water from Lake Okeechobee enters and ultimately flows east along the waterway until it reaches St. Lucie Lock and Dam.

Fort Pierce eyes new law to regulate short-term rentals; city may impose $250 annual fee” via Olivia McKelvey of Treasure Coast Newspapers — Property owners looking to post their homes on popular websites such as Airbnb may face new costs as the city tries to enforce its short-term and vacation-rental regulations. The City Commission Tuesday unanimously gave first approval to eliminating the requirement for rentals to have a conditional-use permit requirement and replacing it with a streamlined application process. That change was recommended by the city’s short-term rental task force, which last month presented the commission with possible solutions toward a compromise between permit applicants and those who don’t want them here, citing concerns over safety, noise and commercial activity.

— TOP OPINION —

DeSantis gets an ‘A’ for leadership in a crisis” via Joe Henderson of Florida Politics — I think most people would agree the last couple of weeks in Florida scored high on the stress meter, what with the Surfside calamity and Tropical Storm Elsa. In times like this, politics should go out the window while leaders step up and, well, lead. That’s how we judge them. Whatever your political leaning, if you’re scoring fairly, then DeSantis gets an “A” for his handling of this twin crisis. He thankfully kept politics out of the mix at the condo collapse and struck a welcomed bipartisan tone with Biden. He worked well with federal relief efforts and was the compassionate, focused Governor all Floridians needed him to be. On July 3, three days before Elsa began its run up the west coast, he declared a state of emergency for 15 counties in the storm’s path. 

— OPINIONS —

The luck, and lessons, of Tropical Storm Elsa” via the Tampa Bay Times editorial board — Preparation pays — but so does luck — and Tampa Bay had an abundance of both with the passing glance from Tropical Storm Elsa. Local governments, though, need to expand ready access to sandbags, making them more available throughout the entire hurricane season. And public employees and volunteers need to mobilize to help older residents who cannot load or transport the bags themselves. Agencies should continue using social media to push emergency alerts. And nobody should take for granted the light damage Elsa caused. A slight change in the storm’s track or intensity could have produced an entirely different outcome. But as with any good luck, we’ll take it.

The Supreme Court’s further gutting of the Voting Rights Act is unconscionable” via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board — On July 1 the court upheld two features of Arizona law that have been proven to have disparate effects on Black, Hispanic and Native American voters. Florida law is similarly outdated regarding wrong-precinct ballots and nearly as strict on who may handle ballots for others. It appears the court is bent on eviscerating the Voting Rights Act, one of the nation’s most necessary laws, section by section. “If a single statute represents the best of America, it is the Voting Rights Act,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote in dissent for herself and Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. Dissents, it is said, are usually written for history. In this one, Kagan has rung a fire bell that Congress must answer.

Jeff Brandes: A GOP lawmaker who chose his state and his principles over his party” via the Orlando Sentinel editorial board — Before GOP politics took a detour into Crazytown, the state used to have more Republicans like Sen. Brandes, lawmakers who were plenty conservative but weren’t slavishly loyal to the party. Brandes broke ranks with the party on several notable occasions during the past lawmaking Session, usually to uphold constitutional principles his party used to embrace. Now the Pinellas County Republican is paying the price for principle. He was stripped of his chairmanship of the high-profile Judiciary Committee in the state Senate. Instead, Brandes will oversee the Committee on Governmental Oversight and Accountability. His replacement as head of Judiciary is Danny Burgess, as loyal a party soldier as you could ever ask for. 

— ON TODAY’S SUNRISE —

Elsa moves on; it’s time to clean up.

Also, on today’s Sunrise:

— If you plan to post any pictures of the damage on social media, the state Emergency Management director says tag him … they may be able to use those pictures when filing a claim with the feds.

— As the search continues in the rubble of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, the Governor refuses to say whether Florida should do anything to encourage more inspections of aging condo towers.

— The tower may have been 40 years old, but DeSantis says it had problems from the start.

— Agriculture Commissioner Fried is calling on the state’s highest court to hear an appeal over Florida’s law that preempts the authority of city and county commissions to pass gun laws. It also threatens big fines and even removal from office for any official who dares to try.

— Fried was joined by a host of local officials from South Florida who say that preemption law is a violation of their First Amendment rights and prevents them from protecting their own citizens.

— A South Florida lawmaker holds a workshop on community violence. Rep. Kevin Chambliss says they’re looking for solutions.

— And finally, a Florida Man found a million dollars when cleaning up his house.

To listen, click on the image below:

— ALOE —

Walt Disney World passholders can get an exclusive citrus-infused ganache square at Disney Springs” via Laughing Place — Walt Disney World Passholders can get a special treat during the Flavors of Florida event at Disney Springs with an exclusive citrus-infused ganache square available now through August 12. The square features freshly squeezed orange juice and orange zest blended with The Ganachery’s custom Dark 65% chocolate. The ganache square is then topped with an edible Orange Bird garnish. Annual Passholders looking to pick up the exclusive treat can do so at The Ganachery at Disney Springs (while supplies last) from now through August 12 as the Flavors of Florida event takes place. Passholders will need to bring a photo ID and their Annual Pass in order to purchase.

A special treat awaits Disney World passholders. Image via Disney.

Dog, reported stolen in Florida, reunited with family after 7 years” via NDTV — Losing a pet is a devastating experience, and a family in Florida spent seven years not knowing what happened to their dog that went missing in 2014. However, after several years of waiting, things took a turn when the family received a call last Monday from the Eaton County Animal Control, stating that they had managed to trace their beloved dog, Sgt. Pepper, nearly 1,000 miles away in Michigan. Sgt. Pepper was six years old when he went missing. Though the pet’s family had discovered a “found” post for him on Craigslist, the dog had already been claimed by someone who was not his real owner. Using the incident as an example, Eaton County Animal Control also stressed the need to microchip one’s pets.

— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —

Best wishes to Republican super activist Peter Cracchiolo and Doug Mannheimer, a partner with Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough.

___

Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter SchorschPhil AmmannRenzo 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 Orlando Rising and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also 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.



#FlaPol

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, Jason Delgado, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Jesse Scheckner, Scott Powers, Andrew Wilson, and Kelly Hayes.

Email: [email protected]
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