Winner and Loser of the Week in Florida politics — Week of 9.26.21

winners-and-losers5
Greg Steube showed some home-run power. But Marco Rubio? He's at it again.

With muted fanfare, Florida’s minimum wage increased Thursday from $8.65 an hour to $10. By 2026, the minimum will be $15 per hour.

That’s five years away.

For a 40-hour workweek, the current minimum works out to $400 a week, before taxes. In many parts of the state, that would barely cover the rent on a small apartment, let alone the true cost of living.

The increase probably wouldn’t have happened without Amendment 2, which voters passed last November. Predictably, organizations like the Florida Chamber of Commerce opposed it.

The Chamber argued it would force “seniors and working families to pay more for necessities like food, clothing, and haircuts.”

But here’s the thing. The Chamber ignores the other side of the argument. In effect, they’re telling worker bees to quit griping and, as Rick Scott would say, “get to work.”

Companies wonder why so many jobs go unfilled. There’s not a one-size-fits-all answer, but many have decided that working for meager pay isn’t worth the trouble.

It’s a shame it took a constitutional amendment to make this happen, but Florida built its economy on the backs of low-paid workers who made their employers rich. It’s past time to even the scales.

Some owners get it, though.

Bay News 9 reported on the co-owner of the Disco Dolls, a clothing store, hair salon, and art gallery based in Tampa.

Leigh Anne Balzekas said her store has six full-time employees, all of whom make $15 an hour.

“To train someone and keep talented employees — you do that by paying them fairly,” she said.

What a concept.

Now, it’s on to our weekly game of winners and losers.

Winners

Honorable mention — Greg Steube: The 43-year-old Republican U.S. Representative from Sarasota brought his A-game to the annual Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park in Washington.

He was the starting pitcher in the GOP’s 13-12 win, throwing 120 pitches over 5 2/3 innings before shifting to third base.

But the bigger story was what he did at the plate. In the third inning, he cranked the first pitch he saw back, back, back, and GONE! The ball landed in the left-field seats, and Steube got to show off his home-run trot.

It was the first out-of-the-park home run in 40 years for this game.

Fittingly, Steube also caught a popup for the final out of the game with the tying run on base.

Sign him up!

Almost (but not quite) biggest winner — The Kennedy Space Center: The news doesn’t get much better than this. Gov. Ron DeSantis announced plans to build a space satellite factory at the famed center on Florida’s east coast.

It will cost $300 million to build and employ 2,100 people. The factory, when complete, will have the capacity to produce 1,000 satellites a year.

“This will be the largest satellite manufacturing facility in the entire world,” DeSantis said.

The satellites Terran Orbital will manufacture are called CubeSATs, also known as nanosatellites. They can be smaller than most kitchen toasters, but are highly advanced technologically.

The company can quickly manufacture the satellite and adapt them to the buyer’s specific needs.

“There is no better place I can think of if you have $300 million to invest than right here,” Terran Orbital Chairman and CEO Marc Bell said.

DeSantis definitely would agree.

The biggest winner — Desmond Meade: Meade gained notice as the driving force behind the push to restore voting rights for felons in Florida. In recognition of his tireless advocacy work, he was named a 2021 MacArthur Fellow.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation of Chicago award goes to “extraordinarily talented and creative individuals” throughout the country who show “promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishments.”

The honor comes with a no-strings-attached $625,000 “genius grant.”

Meade’s personal story is one of redemption and perseverance. While in the Army, Meade became addicted to cocaine, leading to a crime spree.

The Army dishonorably discharged him, and Meade spent time in prison. After his release from prison in 2005, Meade checked himself into rehab and headed down the road to recovery, eventually earning a law degree.

He was the driving force behind the push for Amendment 4 in 2018, which restored the right to vote for former felons in Florida. Voters approved the measure by nearly 65%.

“This is huge,” said Meade, the founder, president, and executive director of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition.

He said he would use the grant money to pay off loans for law school and advance the cause of voting rights.

Losers

Dishonorable mention — Frank Pichel: He wants to be the next Mayor of Miami, but his campaign just had a little (OK, big) hiccup.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office arrested Pichel Friday on a felony charge of impersonating a police officer. Pichel spent a couple of hours in the county jail before posting a $5,000 bond.

The Miami Herald reported that Pichel is accused of flashing a badge and claiming to be a Monroe County deputy while sitting in a BMW in front of a house in Key Largo on May 30.

An off-duty Miami-Dade police officer, visiting a friend in the neighborhood, asked Pichel what he was doing there.

Pichel, the arrest warrant said, “produced a gold badge and identified himself as a Monroe County Police Officer.”

The Miami-Dade officer ran the license plate and turned the information over to Monroe police.

Almost (but not quite) biggest loser — John Rutherford: The Republican U.S. Representative from Jacksonville is under a microscope for reportedly violating the STOCK Act.

The STOCK Act requires sellers to report individual stock trades between $1,001 and $15,000 to the House clerk’s office within a month of the transaction.

Rutherford made five such trades in October 2020 but didn’t file a report until February, The Business Insider first reported.

Rutherford spokesperson Alex Lanfranconi told Insider the filing was late, but the Congressman didn’t receive a $200 fine.

“Any late periodic transaction reports have been submitted in full and accepted by the House without a fine,” Lanfranconi said.

The moral of the story: You gotta do the paperwork.

The biggest loser — Marco Rubio: Florida’s senior U.S. Senator reminded us again last week of his penchant for placing his foot squarely in his mouth.

Start with Rubio’s take on President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion spending plan to address multiple national needs.

“The $3.5 trillion Biden plan isn’t socialism, it’s marxism,” Rubio tweeted.

Oh really?

The New York Times’ Paul Krugman replied, “Ah yes, remember that stirring line in The Communist Manifesto: ‘Workers of the world, unite to spend 1.2% of GDP on popular programs over the next decade!'”

Connecticut U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy tweeted, “According to Republicans, everything Democrats do is socialism or Marxism. When I get a turkey sandwich for lunch today, it’s socialism.”

Marxism is considered a social, political, and economic philosophy. The application of that philosophy is communism, under which the state controls most property and economic resources.

Biden’s spending plan is neither of those things.

He proposes offering more guaranteed public education to fight inequality and subsidized child care and paid leave to help more women in the workforce. It would expand Medicare and put more money into fighting climate change.

Also, it addresses the nation’s crippling infrastructure needs.

Rubio should, and probably does, know all this. But, dang, invoking Karl Marx will scare the bejeebers out of the GOP base, so it’s all good.

Rubio also mocked an advisory from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention for using a gender-neutral term in a message about COVID-19 vaccinations.

“COVID-19 Vaccination for Pregnant People to Prevent Serious Illness, Deaths, and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes from COVID-19,” the agency said.

Rubio pounced.

“‘Pregnant people’?” he wrote. “If the @CDC ever discovers a pregnant man, I assure you his vaccination status will not be the main thing he should be worried about.”

Given the way Rubio has often mocked transgender people, the Twitterverse was not kind.

“There are people who have a uterus but identify as male. There are literally people right now who identify and look like men who are pregnant. Educate yourself and then resign,” one person wrote.

Another responded: “This is the message you choose to run with, not the fact that they want pregnant people to get vaccinated?”

There also was this cryptic reply.

“How about worry about the growing body count in your state instead of picking apart the wording in the CDC guidelines?”

Ouch.

Joe Henderson

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.


14 comments

  • tisaciv

    October 3, 2021 at 5:46 am

    Hey Guys, I know you read many news comments and posts to earn money online jobs .You trust me. I just started this 4 weeks ago. I’ve got my FIRST check total of $850, pretty cool .I wish you tried it. You don’t need to invest anything. Just click and check jobs .. .. http://www.jobsapp1.com

  • Ron Ogden

    October 3, 2021 at 5:58 am

    ““How about worry about the growing body count in your state instead of picking apart the wording in the CDC guidelines?”

    Plenty of people are watching the rate of death from CoVid. If they weren’t you would not see lefty outlets like this celebrating it daily as evidence of how Democrats ought to be in power.
    Perverting the language is a powerful tool in the proggie’s war chest. If they can confuse readers by making up neologisms to replace basic, shared and well understood words, they are well on their way to convincing readers that their politics of irrational change is the correct politics–like Henderson tries to do. Using new nouns and pronouns where terms like “man,” and “woman,” “mother”, and “father” have always been enough to express ideas is but one example. There is no need for a phrase like “pregnant people.” It’s only used to create doubt in readers’ minds, and it is silly. For about 100 million years, pregnancy has been a condition only experienced in the physical sense by one gender. Now the sour ultra-rationalists think they can noodle up a model of living in which that is no longer true, even if it takes perverted science and ghoulish surgery to demonstrate it. This is called “equity”. It is childish.
    Childish thinking can be tolerated among children, but certainly not in the thinking of a person who claims to have had a “45-year career in newspapers.” I am beginning to think that quite a few of those 45 years were spent DELIVERING newspapers. This kind of blogging does not show me the sharpness of mind that seems needed to keep up a career writing them.
    Because the left in general thinks like a child and is willing to undermine clarity and moderation in language, Rubio is right to respond as he did.

    • Alex

      October 3, 2021 at 7:25 am

      Where did you copy/paste that pile of nonsense with words you don’t understand from that have zero relation to the article?

      Yawn.

    • Tom

      October 3, 2021 at 8:18 am

      Ron, Governor Ron’s effort in leading and providing monoclonal Regeneron and opening 25 centers changed the paradigm.

      His leadership on his on initiative with no assistance from inept POTUS and WH. Governor Ron’s effort saved lives and showed the country how to provide leadership and alternative for those in need. Work horse not a show horse makes a difference.

      If you make Alex yawn it must be good. LMAO

  • Tom

    October 3, 2021 at 6:34 am

    Good going Joe.

    F P. ignored Gov Ron’s, America’s Governors announcement this past Monday in announcing 2000 “new” jobs in a newly announced Orbitan manufacturing satellite factory on Florida’s space coast. This is a game change investment but couldn’t crack the pre programmed daily petty stories.

    Governor also announced “new” environmental and economic initiatives in past week that offer new water resource clean up and economic employment opportunities.

    America’s Governor continues to move Florida forward.

    • Dom

      October 3, 2021 at 12:04 pm

      You forget to mention CRT. You paid political operatives are supposed to hit that one hard

    • Joe Henderson

      October 4, 2021 at 7:52 am

      Uh, Tom? It might be time for an eye exam. FP did not “ignore” the satellite factory. In fact, what I’m about to paste is from this very column. You can look it up.

      Almost (but not quite) biggest winner — The Kennedy Space Center: The news doesn’t get much better than this. Gov. Ron DeSantis announced plans to build a space satellite factory at the famed center on Florida’s east coast.

      It will cost $300 million to build and employ 2,100 people. The factory, when complete, will have the capacity to produce 1,000 satellites a year.

      “This will be the largest satellite manufacturing facility in the entire world,” DeSantis said.

      The satellites Terran Orbital will manufacture are called CubeSATs, also known as nanosatellites. They can be smaller than most kitchen toasters, but are highly advanced technologically.

      The company can quickly manufacture the satellite and adapt them to the buyer’s specific needs.

      “There is no better place I can think of if you have $300 million to invest than right here,” Terran Orbital Chairman and CEO Marc Bell said.

      DeSantis definitely would agree.

  • Alex

    October 3, 2021 at 7:38 am

    Rubio WAS the leader of the movement in the GOP to become more moderate.

    Then the Trumpistan idiot train left him in shambles scratching for some toehold to stay in office.

    From the right, he looks more like a Bush, from the left, he’s a pitiful relic of a party that used to be honorable.

    • Tom

      October 3, 2021 at 8:02 am

      And Rubio will win re elect! No contest. His anti socialism understanding has even more value with today’s Dems and you Alex.
      As Dum, Da, Da, Dum struggles.

      Wassermann Schultz & Crisp throwing around federal pork barrel tax dollars like personal a piggy bank. Pork barrel spending really a bad symbol.

      Joe, honorable mention, for Wassermann Schultz and her family being cited by congressional watchdog on financial investment last week.

      Just saying.

  • Ocean Joe

    October 3, 2021 at 8:20 am

    Thanks for recognizing the Chamber of Commerce. You can count on the chamber to oppose any constitutional amendment that is designed to help working people. In fact, we wouldn’t need amendments if the chamber did not own our gerrymandered, white, male, GOP legislature. Thanks to the voters of Florida who realized keeping life unaffordable for people working a full week, many patching a couple of jobs together, is no way to build a strong economy. The chamber types argues the added expense will just be passed along to consumers. Maybe so, but consumers determine what the market will bear, and just maybe, a profitable business will recognize lowering it’s profits a bit will be better than losing business to competitors. And where there is no competition, the PSC is supposed to regulate pricing, though it’s appointees are selected with heavy chamber influence.
    We need to appreciate that without people willing to work for even $10 an hour, and less much of our economy would grind to a halt.
    Florida voters did the right thing in raising the wage.

    • Tom

      October 3, 2021 at 9:30 am

      11 million jobs in America and 8.5 million unemployed. Bad economic policy encouraging this.

      Governor Ron just worked and announced 2000 “new”factory/manufacturing jobs with Orbitin satellite maker on the space coast, new development.

      Respectfully, min wage jobs are not the future. Just a stop gap opportunity for assorted reasons. The illegal invasion on southern border encourages these jobs.

      Unfortunately, we shipped to many good paying jobs to Asia. Governor Ron’s effort to bring some back is the right course for Florida. Without a doubt, when min wage increases other like jobs lessen.

      I’m sure Ocean Joe you will compliment America’s Gov. in your fair and bipartisan manner. LMAO.

  • JmjUSA

    October 3, 2021 at 8:23 am

    Ah, the typist of the day: Henderson..
    All things capitalism baaaadddd..
    All things communism better than Tony the socialist tiger, great!!!
    One word that works really well for the FP flybois: PREDICTABLE..

  • Tom

    October 3, 2021 at 1:49 pm

    Dim You are diarrhea but what’s new. I’m not a paid political operative but you are a panty hose liberal. Facts hurt!

    I’m just a great American unlike cocoon liberals like you. Presidential scholar and political scientist.

    You can CRT and education reform upcoming. Add them as well if you like. Fine with me.

    America’s Governor the best!
    Unlike Alzie Joe &. Giggles Harris.
    Biden -13 at 40% Florida approval, 38 states negative for Alzie Joe.
    LMAO

Comments are closed.


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