Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 7.14.21

Sunburn Orange Tally (3)
Your morning review of the issues and players behind Florida politics.

Las Vegas Sands spent the better part of a decade trying to build a casino in South Florida, but the company appears to have shifted its focus a few hundred miles north.

The casino company made waves Monday when it was found to have pumped $17 million into a political committee that would back a then-unspecified gambling amendment in 2022.

A spokesperson said the company was “contemplating various options with no intention to violate the recently passed Compact/revenue sharing agreement” with the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

Is Jacksonville the next home for a Las Vegas Sands casino?

Documents obtained by Florida Politics show the political committee, Florida Voters in Charge, has two pitches for the ballot that both point to Jacksonville as the new target for a resort-casino.

One proposed amendment would authorize up to three existing card room license holders to offer full-fledged casino gaming if they’re located at least 130 miles away from tribal lands and the owners agree to spend no less than $250 million on development and construction costs.

The wording would apply to the bestbet locations in Northeast Florida as well as Gretna, but the Jax area would be the obvious choice for a nine-figure capital investment.

The other proposal would allow for up to three new casinos in the state. The gambling licenses, which would be put up for competitive bid, would require the new facilities to be located at least 100 miles away from tribal lands. Applicants would also have to show they would spend at least $500 million on development and construction.

The second proposal could allow a new player to set up shop down the road from existing card rooms, which would be sure to rile up pari-mutuel interests.

No matter which option Las Vegas Sands picks, Jacksonville is the only major population center that fits the bill. 

 — SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —

@sabrod123: DHS Sec. [Alejandro] Mayorkas to Haitians and Cubans: “The time is never right to attempt migration by sea … this risk is not worth taking. Let me be clear: If you take to the sea, you will not come to the United States.”

@mkraju: Just asked Mitch McConnell about [Donald] Trump’s insult that he’s an “Old Crow.” McConnell’s response: “Actually, it’s quite an honor. Old Crow is Henry Clay‘s favorite bourbon.”

@LEBassett: My entire feed is politics reporters asking who Olivia Rodrigo is, and I’m deeply embarrassed for all of you old nerds

Tweet, tweet:

@mlafferty1: Yah, except the Florida law isn’t just about burning buildings and dragging people out of cars. It goes after people who stand in the traffic, which is what’s happening not only in Cuba but in Tampa and Miami. Ask someone who was on the Palmetto Expressway or Dale Mabry today.

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— DAYS UNTIL —

Jeff Bezos travels into space on Blue Origin’s first passenger flight — 6; new start date for 2021 Olympics — 9; second season of ‘Ted Lasso’ premieres on Apple+ — 9; the NBA Draft — 14; ‘Jungle Cruise’ premieres — 16; ‘The Suicide Squad’ premieres — 23; Marvel’s What If …? premieres on Disney+ — 28; Florida Behavioral Health Association’s Annual Conference (BHCon) begins — 35; St. Petersburg Primary Election — 41; Disney’s ‘Shang Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings’ premieres — 51; NFL regular season begins — 57; Broadway’s full-capacity reopening — 62; 2022 Legislative Session interim committee meetings begin — 68; ‘The Many Saints of Newark’ premieres (rescheduled) — 72; ‘Dune’ premieres — 79; Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary party starts — 79; MLB regular season ends — 81; ‘No Time to Die’ premieres (rescheduled) — 86; World Series Game 1 — 105; Florida TaxWatch’s Annual Meeting begins — 105; St. Petersburg Municipal Elections — 111; Florida’s 20th Congressional District primary — 111; Disney’s ‘Eternals’ premieres — 115; Disney Very Merriest After Hours will debut — 117; ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ rescheduled premiere — 128; San Diego Comic-Con begins — 135; Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’ premieres — 149; ‘Spider-Man Far From Home’ sequel premieres — 156; NFL season ends — 179; 2022 Legislative Session starts — 181; Florida’s 20th Congressional District election — 181; NFL playoffs begin — 185; Super Bowl LVI — 214; ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ premieres — 254; ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ premieres — 296; ‘Platinum Jubilee’ for Queen Elizabeth II — 323; “Black Panther 2” premieres — 359; ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ sequel premieres — 450; “Captain Marvel 2” premieres — 485.

— TOP STORY —

Cubans, broken by pandemic and fueled by social media, confront their police state” via Anthony Faiola of The Washington Post — Cuban soldiers and police patrolled the streets of the capital Monday, the day after the apparently spontaneous eruption of the broadest unrest seen in Cuba since the early years of the revolution, and the security presence was increased in other major cities. In seeing the images of fearless masses overturning police cars and standing defiant in the face of official force, dissidents in Cuba and the exile community in South Florida embraced a historic moment they had long sought. Yet even if authorities can quell the current unrest, the breadth of the protests suggests the most significant threat to the government since the collapse of the Soviet Union and one that could grow.

The broadest unrest since Cuba’s revolution. Image via Reuters.

Raúl Castro reappears in emergency meeting prompted by massive protests in Cuba” via Nora Gámez Torres of the Miami Herald — Castro, the octogenarian leader who is still the ultimate authority in Cuba, came out of retirement to attend an emergency meeting of the Communist Party’s Politburo to deal with the islandwide protests that have shaken the six-decade-old regime. The meeting, reported by the official Communist Party daily Granma, took place on Sunday, the day a massive popular uprising against the government erupted in several Cuban cities, including Havana. It is unclear why Granma waited till Monday to publish the information. The paper repeated accusations by Cuba’s hand-picked president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, that the U.S. was behind the protests. U.S. officials have dismissed those claims.

‘There’s no turning back:’ Cuban dissidents feel emboldened despite crackdown” via Ernesto Londoño and Frances Robles of The New York Times — In the aftermath of a remarkable wave of demonstrations across Cuba over the weekend, the government detained dozens of people in a crackdown that activists described as the largest in years, perhaps even decades. One longtime human rights activist said that the nationwide sweep of arrests was comparable only to the crackdown that preceded the 1961 invasion at the Bay of Pigs. Human rights groups said it may take several days to get a clear picture of the scale of the government response because spotty phone and internet connections have made it difficult to track how many people were taken into custody. But Cubans reported seeing a strong presence of security forces on the streets on Monday and Tuesday.

Ron DeSantis hosts meeting in Miami as dissidents call for regime change in Cuba; defends “riot” law against charge of hypocrisy” via Gray Rohrer of the Orlando Sentinel — At a meeting hosted by DeSantis in Miami, Cuban refugees and Cuban American elected officials on Tuesday called on President Joe Biden’s administration to do more to support the demonstrators who took to the streets Sunday to protest the communist government there. “The people have made their view very, very clear: they want an end to the regime. They don’t want a reform to the regime,” said Marcell Felipe, a Miami attorney. “The Cuban people have spoken — they’re not taking a step back.” Dissidents called for stricter economic sanctions on Cuba’s communist government, assistance in making sure internet access is available, and broader international support for protesters.

Tweet, tweet:

—”Cuban exiles in Polk County hope change finally comes for Cuba” via Gary White of The Lakeland Ledger

Miami-Dade prepped for influx of Cuban, Haitian students — As political unrest in Cuba and Haiti swells, Miami-Dade Schools is preparing for a possible flood of new students. Andrew Atterbury of POLITICO Florida reports that MDC Schools started planning for the possibility on Tuesday. “This school district will continue its long-standing history of opening our arms to welcome, embrace, and educate all students,” Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said in a statement. The county has taken in international students under similar circumstances, but the COVID-19 pandemic is a complicating factor this time. Miami-Dade Schools said its plan encompasses procedures for registration, food services and transportation for the new students. School leaders also said they will work with local, state, and federal authorities to handle the potential influx.

Protesters in solidarity against the Cuban government shut down major Miami expressway” via Anthony Man of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — In a show of solidarity with Cuban people protesting against the country’s communist dictatorship, South Florida demonstrators shut down a major expressway Tuesday afternoon in Miami-Dade County. The Palmetto Expressway/State Road 826 was closed for hours, starting at about 1 p.m. Video from television station helicopters showed the highway closed in both directions, and there was an extensive police presence. Video from multiple TV stations showed people of all ages, many with Cuban flags draped over their shoulders, converged on the highway and remained through the afternoon rush hour. Miami-Dade Police encouraged people to disperse, to no avail.

Hundreds blocked Semoran Boulevard in Orlando at Cuba protest before police force them to sidewalk” via Katie Rice and David Harris of The Orlando Sentinel

Cuba protests blocking lanes of Dale Mabry in Tampa” via Spectrum News

Is Cuban Americans’ highway protest in Miami breaking Florida’s new anti-riot law?” via Ana Ceballos and Charles Rabin of the Miami Herald — Dozens of people supporting the growing anti-government protests in Cuba clogged one of Miami’s busiest highways all afternoon and well into rush hour Tuesday, a show of solidarity that could put them in violation of a new law championed by DeSantis. The new law, known as the “anti-riot” law, is clear: A person shall be cited for a pedestrian violation if they “willfully obstruct the free, convenient, and normal use of a public street, highway or road.” For instance, if a person stands or remains on a street, highway or roadway, they would be in violation of a section in state laws that would subject them to a $15 traffic citation.

Does the Cuban protest in Miami violate Florida’s brand-new ‘anti-riot’ law? Depends. Image via AP.

Lane change: DeSantis’ “anti-riot” law appears not to apply to protest that blocked the palmetto” via Alan Halaly and Alexi C. Cardona of the Miami New Times — In Florida, political gain appears to trump consistency. The largest protests in decades erupted in Cuba on Sunday, with Cubans banding together to speak out against a crumbling economy, food and medicine shortages, and the Cuban government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with Miami Republicans like U.S. Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, DeSantis immediately took to social media to show solidarity with the resistance on the island. Thousands of Cubans in Miami also responded to the protests over the weekend, massing in Little Havana and Hialeah and shutting down public thoroughfares.

— LATEST ON SURFSIDE —

As search nears end, Florida condo death toll becomes clearer” via Patricia Mazzei of The New York Times — The death toll from a catastrophic condominium collapse in Florida last month, once feared to be well more than 100 people, is expected to land between 95 and 99 people, with the search-and-recovery operation at the disaster site nearing its end. Champlain Towers South in Surfside partially crumbled early on June 24. In the 20 days crews have searched for victims, slowly removing layer after layer of rubble from the 13-story building, they have found the remains of 95 people. Eighty-five of them have been identified. The other 10 victims will be considered unaccounted for until the medical examiner’s office in Miami-Dade County can identify them through various forensic techniques, including comparing DNA samples of family members.

With the search winding down, a clearer idea of the Surfside death toll.

Nikki Fried blasts decades of deregulation for Surfside condo collapse” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — Fried said more than two decades of building deregulations led to the condo collapse in Surfside that killed at least 95, left 14 missing, and displaced scores of residents. An NBC News report on Thursday identified a Florida law repealed in 2010 as a possible factor in the collapse. The law, initially passed in 2008, could have accelerated the repair process for major structural damage that may have led to the building’s failure. U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, Fried’s opponent in the 2022 Democratic Gubernatorial Primary, was the Governor who signed the repeal bill. But Fried refrained from singling out Crist when Florida Politics asked about his signature.

Beefed-up building inspections on the way in Palm Beach County after Surfside tragedy” via Wells Dusenbury of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Palm Beach County took the first step Tuesday toward an enhanced inspection policy for taller buildings in the wake of the deadly condo collapse in Surfside. County Commissioners said they supported new measures to safeguard older and taller buildings, including recertification inspections. Broward and Miami-Dade counties require structural and electrical safety inspections for condo buildings every 40 years. Inspections are carried out every 10 years, and building owners must make corrections on any issues found. Palm Beach County, however, has no such law. Currently, inspectors approve new buildings, then inspect again if someone files a complaint or alerts them of potential unsafe buildings.

League of Cities: Time for Tallahassee to step up after Surfside condo collapse” via John C. Pacenti of The Palm Beach Post — When it comes to making sure a Surfside-type cataclysmic collapse of an older condominium building doesn’t occur in Palm Beach County, the real fixes and repairs need to occur at the state Capitol in Tallahassee, said the executive director of the local League of Cities. Richard Radcliffe, director of the organization that represents 39 municipalities, said state lawmakers need to ensure that money is there for critical repairs by requiring condo boards to hoard a specific percentage of assessments for future repairs. The Palm Beach County League of Cities, for its part, has created an ad hoc technical group of experts who are starting by looking at existing structures that fit the profile of Champlain Towers South.

— 2022 —

Charlie Crist to make SW Florida swing Crist will make stops in Sarasota and Fort Myers Wednesday as part of his campaign for Governor. The Sarasota event begins at 9:30 a.m. and is billed as a grassroots event to announce his “Clean Water for All” plan. The Democratic former Governor will then embark on a Caloosahatchee River Watershed boat tour with the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation at noon.

Matt Caldwell won’t run for Agriculture Commissioner in 2022” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Caldwell will not run for Florida Agriculture Commissioner in 2022. The Lehigh Acres Republican said in a social media post he’s focused on his family and the office he currently holds. That means he will not run for any higher office next year. “I do not intend to run for another office in 2022 and look forward to continuing to serve Florida in my current roles,” Caldwell wrote. Caldwell won his Lee County constitutional office in November when he was also elected as Lee County Republican Committeeman. But many wondered if he still had his eye on the Cabinet job. Supporters have also asked if he will run for Congress, he said, and potentially other statewide positions.

First on #FlaPol — “William Braddock drops out of FL CD-13 race following threatening recording” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — Braddock has dropped his bid for Florida’s 13th Congressional District, his campaign first confirmed to Florida Politics. Braddock’s withdrawal comes after recordings of the former candidate leaked of him allegedly threatening to kill fellow Republican candidate Anna Paulina Luna. Braddock’s campaign finance committee filed a termination report on June 18. The report was approved on June 23, making Braddock’s campaign account inactive. Last Friday, a Pinellas County judge approved a temporary injunction order filed by Luna against Braddock earlier in June. Luna sought an injunction against Braddock after recordings surfaced of him allegedly threatening to make Luna “disappear.” The recording was secretly taped by Erin Olszewski, a right-wing activist who has also filed a restraining order against Braddock.

Under a cloud of controversy, William Braddock drops out of the CD 13 race. Image via AP.

Perry Thurston rakes in $280K for CD 20 Special Election” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Thurston raised $280,000 for his bid for the congressional seat vacated when Rep. Alcee Hastings died earlier this year, his campaign announced Monday. Thurston, who gave up his Senate leadership post to run, is in a crowded race with several other current and former elected leaders to represent Florida’s 20th Congressional District. Thurston has blown by the quarter-million mark. But Monday’s report from first quarter fundraising includes a $100,000 donation Thurston made to himself, his campaign says. “I am extremely grateful for the early support from the community in my community,” Thurston said. 

— “Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, largely self-funding CD 20 bid, adds $2.4 million in Q2” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

—“Nick DiCeglie pulls in $35K in June for Senate bid” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics

—“Hillary Cassel adds nearly $14K in June, continues to lead HD 99 fundraising” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

—”Daniel Perez hauls $50K+ in June, campaign and committee funds hit $1.16 million” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics

—“Demi Busatta Cabrera crosses $80,000 raised for HD 114 reelection” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics

Matt Caldwell won’t run for Agriculture Commissioner in 2022” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Caldwell will not run for Florida Agriculture Commissioner in 2022. The Lehigh Acres Republican said in a social media post he’s focused on his family and the office he currently holds. That means he will not run for any higher office next year. “I do not intend to run for another office in 2022 and look forward to continuing to serve Florida in my current roles,” Caldwell wrote. Caldwell won his Lee County constitutional office in November when he was also elected as Lee County Republican Committeeman. But many wondered if he still had his eye on the Cabinet job. Supporters have also asked if he will run for Congress, he said, and potentially other statewide positions.

— DATELINE TALLY —

DeSantis: Teacher, principal bonuses coming in August” via The News Service of Florida — DeSantis said Tuesday that he expects $1,000 bonuses promised to teachers and principals using federal coronavirus relief funds to be delivered in August. DeSantis began touting the plan to use $216 million in federal stimulus money for educator bonuses in March. But in a letter to state Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran sent June 30, U.S. DOE Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Programs Ian Rosenblum questioned whether Florida’s plan would be allowable under federal guidelines for the use of what are known as “ESSER” funds. According to the federal education agency, the pot of money that states can use to provide bonuses is at issue.

Despite federal uncertainty, Ron DeSantis fully expects teacher bonuses to start in August.

DeSantis promotes new Florida civics education program offering teachers $3,000 bonuses” via John Kennedy of the Florida Times-Union — Civics education in Florida schools continued Tuesday on a bumpy course under DeSantis, who touted a new, $3,000 bonus program for teachers after vetoing civics literacy legislation just last month. DeSantis struck down the civics literacy measure only weeks after the state’s Board of Education complied with his demand and banned the teaching of so-called critical race theory in Florida’s K-12 schools. Critical race theory, which explores the impact of slavery and racial injustice on society, is not directly taught in Florida schools. However, talk of the concept has inflamed conservative TV, and the Governor was quick to respond.

Facing ethics complaint, Geraldine Thompson charges political persecution” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Democratic Rep. Thompson accused DeSantis and Secretary of State Laurel Lee Tuesday of pushing an ethics complaint against her as political revenge for when successfully sued to block Renatha Francis’ nomination to the Florida Supreme Court last year. Thompson said the complaint centers on a state budget appropriation that she pushed in 2016. She said it alleges a conflict of interest because some of the money went to an African American history museum she founded in Orlando, but Thompson had not been on the nonprofit’s board of directors since 2012, according to its annual reports. Under its rules, the Florida Commission on Ethics could neither confirm nor deny that such a complaint exists against Thompson Tuesday.

— STATEWIDE —

Florida applies for $1.1B in additional Medicaid funds” via Christine Sexton of News Service of Florida — DeSantis’ administration is asking the federal government for an additional $1.1 billion in federal Medicaid dollars over the next two years to bolster access to home- and community-based programs and steer hundreds of millions of dollars to poor, elderly and disabled Floridians to purchase technology and make home improvements that enable them to age in place. The additional federal Medicaid funding the state is seeking is available under the American Rescue Plan Act. If the Biden administration signs off on the plan, none of the money could be spent without approval from the Legislative Budget Commission, a 14-member panel, composed of seven state representatives and seven state Senators.

Judge blocks property insurance law” via Jim Turner of The News Service of Florida — A federal judge has blocked the state from enforcing a key part of a new property-insurance law designed to combat fraud that prohibits roofing contractors advertising to potential customers. Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker supported the call for a preliminary injunction from Gale Force Roofing & Restoration, which argued the law signed by Gov. DeSantis violates First Amendment rights by directly penalizing protected speech. “It is also clear that the threatened injuries to plaintiff from banning plaintiff’s truthful commercial speech outweighs the state’s interest in preventing fraud, protecting consumers from exploitation, and stabilizing the insurance market,” Walker wrote in a ruling issued Sunday.

Florida judge won’t toss out sanctions against Grim Reaper lawyer” via Haley Brown of Florida Politics — A lawyer who walked Florida’s beaches dressed as the grim reaper during the pandemic will continue fighting for his career after a Northwest Florida judge refused to throw out a lawsuit seeking possible sanctions against the Santa Rosa Beach lawyer. Daniel Uhlfelder grabbed headlines in March 2020 when he filed a lawsuit seeking to force DeSantis to close beaches because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Uhlfelder donned a grim reaper costume while walking the beach to draw attention to the issue. The lawsuit, and subsequent statements Uhlfelder made to media outlets, resulted in a three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal taking the rare step of ordering State Attorney Ginger Bowden Madden to pursue discipline against Uhlfelder.

Consequence: Lawyer Daniel Uhlfelder faces legal sanctions for his Grim Reaper Tour. Image via Twitter.

— CORONA FLORIDA —

DeSantis touts Florida vaccinations while downplaying new cases” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Florida has done a good job distributing COVID-19 vaccinations to people who want it, DeSantis declared Tuesday though he stopped short of offering any encouragement to get one. Speaking in Orlando at a news conference highlighting his civics education initiatives, the Governor lauded his administration’s efforts to distribute vaccines but said nothing about whether he thinks people should get the shots. He also downplayed reports of rising COVID-19 numbers in many parts of Florida, saying they show a seasonal rise in cases that were expected.

Vaccinations are going swimmingly, says Ron DeSantis. Never mind the rising number of COVID-19 cases. Image via AP. 

Amid Florida COVID-19 spike, Miami hospital’s virus patients are younger, unvaccinated” via Ben Conarck of the Miami Herald — Florida’s COVID-19 epidemic is on the rise again, driven by outbreaks in the Miami area, Jacksonville and the Panhandle. Several months after highly effective and safe vaccines have been made available to the general public over the age of 12, physicians at Miami-Dade’s public Jackson Health System treated about twice as many COVID-19 patients over the weekend as they had been earlier this month. As of Monday, 101 patients with the SARS-CoV-2 virus were admitted throughout Jackson Health System. Dr. Lilian Abbo, chief of infectious diseases at Jackson, said her team watched the trend carefully. She attributed the uptick to behaviors in the community, though there are other factors at play, including hotter and wetter weather driving more people indoors, and the spread of highly infectious variants of the virus.

—“Leon County’s COVID-19 cases up 62.1%” via Mike Stucka of the Tallahassee Democrat 

It’s official: Masks to be optional in Sarasota County schools” via Ryan McKinnon of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — Masks will be optional in Sarasota County schools this fall, following a unanimous vote Tuesday by the Sarasota County School Board. During a packed board meeting, the vote creates an official policy that students, staff, and visitors to campuses can wear masks if they wish, but they are not mandatory. The policy makes it clear that masks are optional for everyone, regardless of vaccination status. Several parents and community members attended the meeting, speaking out in favor of lifting the mask policy. The most recent guidance from the CDC states that anyone age 2 or older who has not been vaccinated should still wear a mask, and many parents urged the board not to allow the agency’s latest recommendation to dissuade them from making masks optional.

Norwegian challenges ban on COVID-19 vaccination ‘passports’” via News Service of Florida — Norwegian Cruise Line filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to block a state law banning COVID-19 vaccination “passports” so the company’s fleet can resume operations. In court documents filed Tuesday, Norwegian argued that the legal action is the company’s “last resort” to resume operations “in the way that this cruise line has determined will be best for all concerned — with the benefit of documentation confirming that all of its passengers and crew have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.” The lawsuit, filed in the Southern District of Florida, names Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees as a defendant. Norwegian also filed a motion Tuesday for an expedited preliminary injunction seeking to block the law.

Kelly Skidmore hosts women’s health care panel, talks impact of COVID-19 pandemic” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Skidmore organized a virtual Zoom meeting Monday where she and several panelists discussed women’s health care issues, including the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on health care access. Dr. Charmaine Chibar, pediatrics director for the Health Care District of Palm Beach County, said while telemedicine allowed doctors and patients to stay connected, virtual visits weren’t as effective in ensuring patients came in for annual screenings. “We have had, unfortunately, less cervical cancer screenings, breast cancer screenings, colon cancer screenings in the past year due to the lack of office visits during the pandemic,” Chibar said. Skidmore also posed questions on various topics regarding abortion access, contraceptive options and hygiene products, among others. 

— CORONA NATION —

U.S. virus cases rising again, doubled in 3 weeks” via The Associated Press — The COVID-19 curve in the U.S. is rising again after months of decline, with the number of new cases per day doubling over the past three weeks, driven by the fast-spreading delta variant, lagging vaccination rates and Fourth of July gatherings. Confirmed infections climbed to an average of about 23,600 a day on Monday, up from 11,300 on June 23. Even with the latest surge, cases in the U.S. are nowhere near their peak of a quarter-million per day in January; still, health authorities in places such as Los Angeles County and St. Louis are begging even immunized people to resume wearing masks in public.

J&J, AstraZeneca explore COVID-19 vaccine modification in response to rare blood clots” via Jenny Strasburg and Parmy Olson of The Wall Street Journal — Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, along with outside scientists, are conducting early-stage research into whether potential modifications of their COVID-19 vaccines could reduce or eliminate the risk of rare but serious blood clots associated with the shots, according to people close to the process. According to some of these people, fast-developing clues into how the clots form are boosting hopes of identifying the cause and possibly re-engineering AstraZeneca’s shot by next year. It is too early to know whether either shot can be modified, or whether doing so would make commercial sense, these people say.

AstraZeneca might have to tweak its vaccine in response to the emergency of a rare blood clot side effect. Image via Reuters.

Tennessee’s former top vaccine official: ‘I am afraid for my state’” via Michele Fiscus for the Tennessean — Today, I became the 25th of 64 state and territorial immunization program directors to leave their position during this pandemic. That’s nearly 40% of us. And along with our resignations or retirements or, as in my case, push from office, goes the institutional knowledge and leadership of our respective COVID-19 vaccine responses. I will not sit quietly by while our public health infrastructure is eroded in the midst of a pandemic. It was at a June 16 meeting that the Department was accused of “targeting” youth through Facebook messaging, and its actions were described as “reprehensible” by one Committee member. That member went on to call for the “dissolving and reconstitution” of the Department of Health in the midst of a pandemic.

— CORONA ECONOMICS — 

Airbus soars past Boeing by showing little mercy to struggling customers” via Benjamin Katz of The Wall Street Journal — Last summer, while his airline was burning through more than $1.2 million an hour, Deutsche Lufthansa AG CEO Carsten Spohr signed onto a video call to meet his counterpart at Airbus, the world’s biggest plane manufacturer. At the top of Spohr’s agenda: He wanted a respite from the billions Lufthansa owed for aircraft it had ordered years before the pandemic. Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said no. Mr. Faury spent the bulk of the pandemic trying to force his biggest and most loyal customers, some of whom were teetering on the brink, to live up to their ironclad contractual obligations. That gamble, which bucked industry convention, has helped lift Airbus into the strongest competitive position in its history against rival Boeing.

Airbus survived the pandemic by playing hardball. Image via AP.

Here’s who will be left behind in the housing boom” via Ali Wolf for The New York Times — When COVID-19 first hit, those of us in the real estate industry predicted a collapse of the housing market. In just the first two months of the pandemic, 22.4 million Americans lost their jobs, while GDP fell at the fastest rate in modern history. Instead, what unfolded was a transformation of the housing market, fueled by what I call “migration mania.” But this is not an equal-opportunity boom. The housing rebound has been fueled by buyers whose wealth allowed them to win bidding wars often with a high down payment and a bid over asking price. Those living on local incomes, which are often modest compared with those of relocating newcomers, are losing the ability to buy a home.

Prices rise 5.4% in June over last year as questions mount over whether inflation will be here to stay” via Rachel Siegel of The Washington Post — Prices rose 5.4% in June compared to a year ago, marking the largest spike since 2008 as the pandemic-battered economy regains its footing and questions build over how long this steady climb in inflation will last. Inflation has been on a steep rise for about four months as the recovery gains steam. Policymakers at the Federal Reserve and the White House have consistently said the price pops aren’t here to stay, and that it will take patience for the economy to come back to full strength and for prices to simmer down. However, that message is being increasingly tested, especially as Americans feel the strain at the grocery store, gas station, and housing market. 

— MORE CORONA —

A graphic COVID-19 ad prompts a backlash in Australia.” via Livia Albeck-Ripka of The New York Times — Australians have lashed out at the government after the release of a graphic advertising video that depicts a woman with severe symptoms of COVID-19, arguing that it unfairly blames younger people, most of whom are ineligible for vaccination. The campaign, released on Sunday and aimed at encouraging Australians to get vaccinated, depicts a sweating woman lying in a hospital bed gasping for air. Her eyes are desperate. She claws at the breathing tube in her nose. “COVID-19 can affect anyone,” reads the text that follows. “Stay home. Get tested. Book your vaccination.” On Tuesday, the authorities reported 89 new cases and Australia’s second death from the virus this year as concerns continue over a slow vaccine rollout.

To watch the ad, click on the image below:

Immunized but banned: EU says not all COVID-19 vaccines equal” via Maria Cheng of The Associated Press — Millions of people vaccinated through a U.N.-backed effort could find themselves barred from entering many European and other countries because those nations don’t recognize the Indian-made version of the AstraZeneca vaccine for travel. Although the AstraZeneca vaccine produced in Europe has been authorized by the continent’s drug regulatory agency, the same shot manufactured in India hasn’t been given the green light. EU regulators said AstraZeneca hadn’t completed the necessary paperwork on the Indian factory, including details on its production practices and quality control standards. But some experts describe the EU move as discriminatory and unscientific. Health officials say the situation will complicate travel and frustrate fragile economies and undermine vaccine confidence by appearing to label some shots substandard.

‘We have rights’: the French health workers furious about COVID-19 vaccine order” via Caroline Pailliez of Reuters — Holding up the vaccine as the only path to leading a normal life, French President Emmanuel Macron said inoculation was a matter of individual responsibility but also a matter of collective freedom as the Delta variant spurs the rapid spread of new infections. Faced with a highly contagious new variant and a sharp drop in the vaccination rate, he said it was necessary to compel health workers to get the COVID-19 shot and incentivize the general public to follow. The vaccination order marked a U-turn for a president who in December tweeted: “I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat myself: vaccination will not be compulsory. We are the country of enlightenment and (Louis) Pasteur.”

El Salvador bans mass gatherings amid coronavirus surge” via The Associated Press — El Salvador’s Congress voted Tuesday overwhelmingly to impose a 90-day ban on sporting events, concerts, festivals, and other mass gatherings because of a surge in coronavirus cases. Face masks will be mandatory at any public event still allowed. Fines and closures will be assessed against any venue or organizer that violates the ban. Officials reported 2,284 news cases in the first 10 days of July, 35% more than in the same period of June. El Salvador has so far received enough coronavirus vaccine doses to cover about half the country’s 6.5 million people. The country has registered 81,644 coronavirus infections and 2,457 COVID-19 deaths.

— PRESIDENTIAL —

Joe Biden warns that American democracy is under threat — a message targeting many in his own party” via Philip Bump of The Washington Post — Biden has been president of the United States for 174 days. On at least 21 of those days, about 1 in every 8, he has talked about the threat posed by autocracy. Often, as he did Tuesday in Philadelphia, he has warned about the risk of an ascendant autocratic movement in the United States, one fomented by his predecessor and one that many in his own party seem to be underestimating. Biden’s speech was broadly focused on protecting voting rights. He spoke about the need to ensure that Americans had both the right and access to vote, the latter of which has become a focal point of much of his party in the face of widespread Republican efforts to restrict it.

Joe Biden decries the GOP ‘attack on democracy.’ Image via AP.

GOP state voting restrictions ‘un-American,’ Biden declares” via Jonathan Lemire, Brian Slodysko, and Zeke Miller of The Associated Press — Biden declared that preserving voting rights is an urgent national “test of our time,” as Texas Democrats took dramatic action to stymie Republican efforts to tighten ballot restrictions in their state. Biden, who has proclaimed protecting ballot access the central cause of his presidency, has faced sharp criticism from allies for not doing more, though political headwinds and stubborn Senate math have greatly limited his ability to act. He avoided any mention of trying to alter the Senate filibuster rule that stands in the path of federal legislation. Speaking at the National Constitution Center, Biden called the efforts to curtail voting accessibility “un-American” and “undemocratic” and launched a broadside against his predecessor. 

Biden to participate in CNN town hall in Cincinnati next week” via CNN — Biden will participate in a CNN town hall on Wednesday, July 21 in Cincinnati, Ohio, a little more than six months after being sworn into office. CNN anchor Don Lemon will moderate the event that will air at 8 p.m. ET and is expected to focus on a wide range of issues facing the nation ranging from COVID-19 to the economy. The event comes as the administration has made progress in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic with a strong vaccine rollout, but concerns are rising over the slowing of the pace of vaccinations in recent weeks. The US now faces an uptick in COVID-19 cases, driven largely by the highly transmissible Delta variant. Forty-five states are experiencing a surge in new cases, and the daily pace of people becoming fully vaccinated is down 84% since mid-April.

—”Biden to pick former West Virginia health official as nation’s drug czar” via Dan Diamond of The Washington Post

—”White House appoints new director to steer key climate change report” via Jason Samenow of The Washington Post

Biden’s view of the economy is tested by new inflation data.” via Jim Tankersly of The New York Times — A Labor Department report showed prices rising at their fastest monthly pace since 2008 in June and presents a new political challenge for Biden’s economic team, which has quietly concluded that rising prices could linger in the economy slightly longer than administration officials initially expected. Biden’s aides continue to say that the current rate of inflation is temporary and largely a product of special circumstances from the pandemic. They point to snarled supply chains in areas like automobile manufacturing, where a shortage of semiconductor chips is slowing production and contributing to a rapid rise in used car and truck prices. Used vehicles accounted for one-third of June’s price increases, the Labor Department said.

— EPILOGUE: TRUMP — 

Donald Trump unloads on Brett Kavanaugh in new Michael Wolff book” via Mike Allen of Axios — Trump, in a book out Tuesday by Wolff, says he is “very disappointed” in votes by Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh, his own hard-won nominee, and that he “hasn’t had the courage you need to be a great justice.” … “There were so many others I could have appointed, and everyone wanted me to,” Trump said in an interview with Wolff. “Where would he be without me? I saved his life. He wouldn’t even be in a law firm.” After the election, Trump saved his worst venom for people he believed owed him because he got them their jobs. Wolff writes that Trump feels betrayed by all three justices he put on the court but “reserved particular bile for Kavanaugh.”

In a new book, Donald Trump unloads a double-barreled blast on Brett Kavanaugh.

Trump Org CFO began resigning his positions days before he was indicted, documents show” via David A. Fahrenthold and Shayna Jacobs of The Washington Post — Allen Weisselberg resigned from his positions at dozens of the company’s subsidiaries in late June — several days before he was indicted on charges of tax fraud and grand larceny. The Trump Organization submitted the letter to New Jersey liquor regulators last week, asking to remove Weisselberg’s name from the liquor licenses for two golf courses. The Post has identified at least 54 Trump entities where Weisselberg has recently resigned from his positions. The resignation letter — and the reshuffling of responsibilities that followed it — has shed new light on the impact of Weisselberg’s indictment on 15 felony counts in Manhattan on July 1. New York prosecutors said Weisselberg had helped organize a 15-year “scheme to defraud.”

Mitch McConnell responds to Trump’s ‘Old Crow’ insult: ‘It’s quite an honor’” via Manu Raju of CNN — Trump took a whack at Senate GOP leader McConnell last weekend, calling him an “Old Crow” as he railed against the Kentucky Republican. On Tuesday, McConnell took it in stride. “Actually, it’s quite an honor,” McConnell said. “Old Crow is Henry Clay‘s favorite bourbon.” McConnell, who has long revered Clay, a fellow Kentuckian, responded to Trump’s attack of the retiring GOP senator from Alabama, Richard Shelby, for endorsing Katie Boyd Britt, a former Shelby chief of staff who is the head of the Business Council of Alabama. Trump has endorsed Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks to fill Shelby’s seat next year, while McConnell has not picked a candidate in the race to this point.

— CRISIS —

Are Jan. 6 rioters traitors? So far, criminal charges say no” via Michael Tarm of The Associated Press — Plotted to block the certification of Biden’s election victory: Check. Discussed bringing weapons into Washington to aid in the plan: Check. Succeeded with co-insurrectionists, if only temporarily, in stopping Congress from carrying out a vital constitutional duty: Check. Accusations against Jan. 6 rioter Thomas Caldwell certainly seem to fit the charge of sedition as it’s generally understood, inciting revolt against the government. And the possibility of charging him and others was widely discussed after thousands of pro-Trump supporters assaulted scores of police officers, defaced the U.S. Capitol, and hunted for lawmakers to stop the certification. Some called their actions treasonous.

Criminal? Sure. Traitors? Perhaps. Image via AP.

Kevin McCarthy not yet sold on naming Republicans to Jan. 6 investigation” via Jonathan Custodio of POLITICO — House Minority Leader McCarthy said on Tuesday he has not decided on whom to name to the select committee that will investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection, or even whether he would appoint any fellow Republicans. “I haven’t made a decision yet, even to appoint,” McCarthy said. “I’m discussing it with my members. I have a real concern, the scope of what we’re looking at.” Legislation to create a select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol was approved by the House. Before its creation, an independent, bipartisan commission was moving forward but was thwarted by Senate Republicans. Six GOP senators did vote to advance the proposed commission, which would have had five Democrats and five Republicans.

Punta Gorda man accused of involvement in Capitol riot, Oath Keepers affiliation” via Zach Oliveri and Jack Lowenstein of WINK News — According to a criminal complaint made by an FBI task force member on July 2, David Moerschel, 43, of Punta Gorda, was arrested for the activity he’s accused of with the Oath Keepers group during the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. The FBI shared a picture showing an individual, who the bureau identifies as Moerschel, wheeling a cart with at least one long gun case onto an elevator at a hotel in Arlington, Virginia. The FBI also says it secured encrypted messages, an account linked to Moerschel attending 17 Oath Keeper-affiliated meetings. Moerschel faces charges for conspiracy, obstruction of justice/Congress, and unlawful entry into restricted buildings or grounds.

— D.C. MATTERS —

Democrats eye immigration action in budget, but outlook hazy” via Alan Fram of The Associated Press — Congressional Democrats and immigration advocates are staring at their best chance in years to overcome Republican opposition and give millions of people in the U.S. without legal authorization a way to become citizens. Their goal is to stuff the language into a huge measure this fall, financing many of Biden’s priorities that would be shielded from a Republican Senate filibuster. That bill-killing procedure requires a virtually impossible 60 votes to overcome, but erasing that danger with a Democrat in the White House means they could score an immigration triumph by themselves after years of Republican blockades. “This is the chance to finally get it done,” said Kerri Talbot, deputy director of the Immigration Hub.

Mary McLeod Bethune statue on its way to D.C.” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — On the 146th anniversary of her birth, Bethune’s form debuted larger than life, practically immortal and destined to take a place in history. An 11-foot, 4-ton likeness of the trailblazing educator and civil rights activist, was unveiled Saturday in Pietrasanta, Italy, beginning the journey that will end in the National Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C., where it will be the first statue of an African American to take a place there. Bethune will replace a statue of General E. Kirby Smith, who surrendered the last armed Confederate force in the Civil War. “My heart swelled with pride as we unveiled the iconic statue of Dr. Bethune in front of Pietrasanta City Hall with music, a blessing and inspirational speeches paying tribute to Dr. Bethune’s legacy,” said U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, a Tampa Congresswoman who championed Bethune’s place in the nation’s Capitol.

Mary McLeod Bethune is ready for her journey to Capitol Hill. Image via Kathy Castor’s Office.

— LOCAL NOTES —

Key West Commission pushes back on state preemption, calls for new cruise ordinance” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — With cruise ships expected to return to the Port of Key West in September, City Commissioners have called for an ordinance limiting how the vessels may operate in its seaways. The move, meant to guard the quality of the city’s waters and the health of its nearby coral reefs, may invite lawsuits from affected businesses and challenges by the state, City Attorney Shawn Smith said. Commissioners Monday directed Smith to draft an ordinance that will put a cap on the size of ships allowed to enter the Port of Key West and the daily number of passengers permitted to disembark onto the city’s docks. Such limitations track with referendums city voters approved last year.

Donald Fennoy resigns as Palm Beach Schools superintendent” via Scott Travis of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent Fennoy announced Tuesday that he plans to resign, ending a three-year tenure that started successfully but turned tumultuous during the pandemic. His contract requires three months’ notice, so he said his last day will be Oct. 11. The decision comes after a difficult year in the school district, marked by multiple controversies, including when to reopen schools during the pandemic, whether the district should pledge to combat “white advantage,” and whether to rehire a principal who made comments questioning whether the Holocaust was real. Fennoy, who makes $306,167 a year, also received a mediocre evaluation from the School Board last fall, with some board members wanting to put him on a performance review.

Donald Fennoy makes his exit.

No Red Tide relief in sight as dead fish overwhelm St. Petersburg” via Zachary T. Sampson and Gabe Stern of the Tampa Bay Times — The Sunshine City and its sparkling waterfront parks have become the center of Tampa Bay’s Red Tide crisis. Rafts of dead fish are washing ashore more quickly than crews can gather the carcasses. Workers have picked up 477 tons of dead fish from the coastline in recent weeks, according to Mayor Rick Kriseman. That accounts for the overwhelming majority of more than 600 tons picked up across Pinellas County.

Jacksonville City Hall’s top lawyer is out. That’s a big deal” via Nate Monroe of the Florida Times-Union — Jason Gabriel, is resigning to take a job in the private sector, creating an imminent vacancy in one of the most powerful jobs in city government. Mayor Lenny Curry tapped Gabriel in 2015 to head the city’s Office of General, following a year as the office’s interim leader under Curry’s predecessor. Gabriel, an affable attorney, found himself entangled in complicated and divisive issues surrounding pension reform, public school taxation and, most controversial of all, the potential sale of JEA, Jacksonville’s public electric, water and sewer utility. “It’s been a great ride,” Gabriel said. “I’ve been at the Office of General Counsel for 11 years, the last seven of which were as general counsel under both Democratic and Republican administrations.”

‘Someone I trusted’: Federal prosecutors call first witnesses in J.T. Burnette corruption trial” via Jeff Burlew of the Tallahassee Democrat — Federal prosecutors called their first witnesses in the trial of Burnette, accused of taking part in a bribery scheme with former Tallahassee City Commissioner Scott Maddox. Melissa Oglesby, the owner of KaiserKane construction management company and a close cousin of J.T. Burnette, took the stand as part of an immunity deal with prosecutors. She said she bought a small company from Burnette in 2005 and changed the name to KaiserKane. Burnette, who sold her the company for $5,000, served as a mentor, helping it grow into a business with $25 million in annual sales, she said. She said KaiserKane often lent Burnette money, sometimes in increments of a million dollars or more.

Hundreds of Airbnb owners are delinquent on county taxes and they have no idea” via Emma Kennedy of the Pensacola News Journal — A change in Tourism Development Tax requirements has left some short-term rental owners confused about how much they need to pay Escambia County, and it’s left the clerk’s office with a heavier workload trying to review hundreds of files that have in many cases become inadvertently delinquent. The county’s Tourism Development Tax rate increased from 4% to 5% in April, meaning that property owners who rent their homes on sites like VRBO and Airbnb must send five cents of every dollar they make in rental income to the county, in addition to any state taxes owed. The problem is, there’s a lag between the county’s implementation of the tax and Airbnb’s software, which has left hundreds of Airbnb owners delinquent on their TDT taxes.

Naples ethics commission to self-start investigations based on informal complaints” via Omar Rodríguez Ortiz of the Naples Daily News — The Naples Commission on Ethics and Government Integrity can self-start investigations based on the information it receives through informal complaints, the commission voted unanimously last month. The new rules allow the commission to begin investigations if it obtains ethical misconduct allegations about city employees, officers, board members and contractors via unsworn statements such as anonymous sources, emails and calls. The commission can “investigate complaints on its own initiative,” according to the city’s charter. Mike Murawski, the commission’s executive director, said in a meeting last month he proposed the rules so the commission could have a way to address complaints that are not submitted through a formal process.

— TOP OPINION —

The U.S. has the duty to act in support of the Cuban people” via Jordan Valdés of the Tampa Bay Times — For Cuban Americans around the country, the last few days have been filled with emotion as we watch friends and loved ones in Cuba take to the streets and demand change from their government for the first time in decades. For many of us, the most reliable sources of information have been through some combination of family on the ground and updates on social media. The stories these interactions tell are of people whose day-to-day conditions are intolerable.

— OPINIONS —

Republicans refusing to get vaccinated are owning no one but themselves” via Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post — What used to be the conservative movement in this country is becoming a death cult. The measure of its power is less in ballots cast than in how many people die needlessly in service of this twisted worldview. This reality was on view over the weekend in Dallas at CPAC, where attendees cheered when Alex Berenson, who has made himself a Fox News folk hero for spreading misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines, crowed about the fact that fewer Americans were getting their shots than public health officials had hoped. “It’s horrifying,” Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said.

Florida’s anti-protest politicians shift their tone for Cuba protesters” via the Orlando Sentinel editorial board — In Cuba, protesters are taking to the streets with some blocking traffic, overturning police cars, throwing rocks at officers, and looting stores. Cubans are saying enough is enough. They are fighting for their lives and fighting for freedom. Their cause is just, and their methods are legitimate. But if that were happening in Florida, protesters would face tough new criminal charges for rioting and face the scorn of politicians who insist demonstrations must be peaceful and orderly. Unless it’s in Cuba. In that case, the architect of Florida’s tough new anti-protest laws, DeSantis, has nothing but praise for the demonstrators, feverishly defending their right to protest.

— ON TODAY’S SUNRISE —

Florida’s COVID-19 surge continues with more than 20,000 new cases over the past four days, but the Governor won’t be changing policies or imposing any mask mandates.

Also, on today’s Sunrise:

DeSantis wants the federal government to help the demonstrators in Cuba; he supports their street protests against the Cuban government. Quite a change for the guy who wanted to lock up Black Lives Matter protesters in America.

— DeSantis says one thing the U.S. can do to support the dissidents in Cuba is to provide satellite internet after their government pulled the plug on the net.

— Florida will be spending more than $100 million to beef up civics education this year, including a new emphasis on debate in high school.

— Agriculture Commissioner Fried is asking for your suggestions to help encourage what’s known as “energy equity.”

— Fried runs the state energy office and says studies have shown that Black, Hispanic and low-income families face an energy burden three times higher than other consumers.

— And finally, a Florida Woman went to jail after refusing to wear a mask on an airplane, spitting on her fellow passengers as she was being removed from the plane. 

To listen, click on the image below:

— ALOE —

‘An institution’: Cypress Restaurant is shutting down after two decades in Tallahassee” via TaMaryn Waters of the Tallahassee Democrat — Cypress Restaurant, a culinary treasure nestled in downtown Tallahassee, is slated to close its doors after more than 20 years. Its owners, Elizabeth and David Gwynn, have a trio of small businesses: Cypress, Vertigo Burgers and Fries, and Grove Market Café. After years of winning Florida Trend’s Golden Spoon Awards, Cypress cemented a reputation for fine dining in an inviting environment that evolved into a beacon for politicos flooding the capital during the Legislative Session. “We’re not trying to make a huge deal out of it, even though it might be, (because) friends are saying Cypress is an institution and that we’ve been around for over 20 years,” Elizabeth Gwynn told the Tallahassee Democrat.

After two decades, Cypress Restaurant is bowing out.

SeaWorld announces first haunted house for its first Howl-O-Scream” via DeWayne Bevil of the Orlando Sentinel — SeaWorld Orlando has announced the theme for the first haunted house for its first-ever Howl-O-Scream. According to the theme park’s website, the initial haunt for the fright fest will be called Dead Vines. “Is this jungle alive … or undead?” warns the Howl-O-Scream page. There’s also talk about a “merciless mistress of ivy and evil,” along with a video featuring a mysterious character emerging from dark greenery. The park also revealed its first scare zone: Witchcraft Bayou with a voodoo theme/dark magic theme and a themed bar experience called Poison Grotto. SeaWorld debuts its Howl-O-Scream event on Sept. 10, and it will run on 27 select nights, mostly weekends, through Oct. 31.

— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —

Happy birthday to Melanie Bostick of Liberty Partners of Tallahassee, Justin Homburg, Holly Tomlin, and Mike Vasilinda.

___

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.


One comment

  • Tom

    July 14, 2021 at 9:15 am

    —@sabrod123: DHS Sec. [Alejandro] Mayorkas to Haitians and Cubans: “The time is never right to attempt migration by sea … this risk is not worth taking. Let me be clear: If you take to the sea, you will not come to the United States.”

    If you walk across the southern border of the US, we will welcome you with open arms!

    Reply

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