Last Call for 7.12.21 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

A digest of the day's politics and policy while the bartender refreshes your drink.

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

A record-breaking number of manatees have already died in Florida this year — only halfway through 2021.

As of July 2, 832 manatees have died since Jan., according to recently released data from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). 

State officials said the manatees are primarily dying from starvation due to the loss of seagrass beds.

“Unprecedented manatee mortality due to starvation was documented on the Atlantic coast this past winter and spring,” Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute wrote in its announcement of the record. “Most deaths occurred during the colder months when manatees migrated to and through the Indian River Lagoon, where the majority of seagrass has died off.”

If Florida’s manatees keep dying at this rate, the number of dead manatee deaths will double that of last year.

Florida lawmakers appropriated $8 million for the state’s beloved sea cows this past Session to help restore seagrass and to help identify the root causes of the starvation of manatees seen over the past winter, particularly in the Indian River Lagoon, which runs through Republican Rep. Tyler Sirois’ Brevard County district. In Brevard, 312 manatees have perished.

“Seagrass depends on sunlight. Because of the algal bloom situation we’ve had around the state in years past, the water has become very, very cloudy, and the sunlight cannot penetrate to near the bottom to support the seagrass,” Sioris explained.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife declared the increase in deaths an Unusual Mortality Event and is investigating the cause.

The federal government says approximately 6,300 manatees live in Florida waters, up from about 1,300 in the early 1990s.

Evening Reads

Hey Joe Biden, hands off Cuba!” via Jacob Silverman of The New Republic

What do Cubans who were shot at for staging unprecedented protests want? The right to be.” via Fabiola Santiago of the Miami Herald

If war comes, will the U.S. Navy be prepared?” via Kate Bachelder Odell of The Wall Street Journal

How $45K went unaccounted for from PAC with ties to ‘ghost’ candidate scandal” via Annie Martin and Jason Garcia of the Orlando Sentinel

Why comparing the 2022 midterm dynamics to 1966 is risky” via Stuart Rothenberg of Roll Call

First it was sex ed. Now it’s critical race theory.” via Alex Samuels and Kaleigh Rogers of FiveThirtyEight

Mystery surrounds suspected mastermind of Haiti presidential assassination plot” via Widlore Merancourt, Samantha Schmidt and Rachel Pannett of The Washington Post

Tucker Carlson’s manufactured America” via Megan Garber of The Atlantic

How the heck is Peloton the best-paying music streaming service?” via Nitish Pahwa of Slate

The rationing of a last-resort COVID-19 treatment” via Sheri Fink of The New York Times

Here’s why Richard Branson’s flight matters — and, yes, it really matters” via Eric Berger of Ars Technica

He was 86 and easygoing — until he shot boss dead after 31 years on job” via Marc Freeman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Quote of the Day

“We stand with the Cuban people and their clarion call for freedom and relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by Cuba’s authoritarian regime. The Cuban people are bravely asserting fundamental and universal rights.” — President Joe Biden, on the protests in Cuba.

Bill Day’s Latest


Breakthrough Insights



Staff Reports


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

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Kelly Hayes, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Andrew Wilson, Wes Wolfe, and Mike Wright.

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

Sign up for Sunburn