Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 12.8.21

Sunburn Orange Tally (8)
Politics, process, personalities. ‘Sunburn’ tells you what you need to know — now.

Good Wednesday morning.

Let’s begin with an update about one of the best in Florida media.

News Radio WFLA is changing up its morning lineup next year with the launch of “The Ryan Gorman Show.”

Gorman, who has hosted “PM Tampa Bay” since 2018, will host alongside Aaron Jacobson and producers Katie Butchino and James Burlander.

WFLA’s parent company, iHeartMedia Tampa Bay, is slotting the show in the 7-10 a.m. block on weekdays. “AM Tampa Bay with Jack Harris will shift to the 5-7 a.m. block. It debuts Jan. 4.

Ryan Gorman plans to shake up the WFLA weekday drive-time slot.

“I’m excited to make the move to mornings and follow Jack Harris, a Tampa Bay and talk radio legend, and bring something unique and different to talk radio. We’re going to cover the biggest stories of the day and have fun doing it,” Gorman said.

“Plus, we’ll feature guests who have the inside scoop on what’s happening in Tampa Bay and across the country and how it will impact you. I’d like to thank the incredible leadership team at iHeartMedia Tampa for the opportunity to host a morning show in my hometown.”

Gorman will continue to host “iHeartRadio Communities,” which focuses on national topics and often anchors coverage of national breaking news on iHeartRadio stations across the country.

“We’ve got some great things happening in the mornings on 970WFLA beginning in the new year,” said Harris. “First, we’ll be expanding the local mornings on News Radio WFLA to five hours, and we’ll also be expanding our news coverage. As always, ‘AM Tampa Bay,’ followed by ‘The Ryan Gorman Show,’ will be a chock-full of information and entertainment.”

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The Florida Citrus Mutual Board of Directors announced this week that G. Mathew “Matt” Joyner is taking over as CEO and executive vice president of the Bartow-based organization in April.

“Matt brings a unique perspective and skill set to Florida Citrus Mutual, having worked side-by-side with both Legislators in the halls of Congress and growers in the groves of Florida,” said Mutual President Glenn Beck. “We’re excited and encouraged for the future with him at the helm.”

A seventh-generation Floridian, Joyner earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of South Florida.

Matt Joyner will offer a ‘unique perspective’ on the Florida citrus industry.

Joyner started his career in the financial services industry before joining the staff of then-U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam in 2001 and made the jump to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services when Putnam took over as Agriculture Commissioner in 2011.

In 2018, he joined Florida Citrus Mutual and spent the last three years working as the organization’s Director of Government Relations.

He will succeed exiting CEO and Executive Vice President Michael W. Sparks, who announced he is leaving after 15 years on the job. Sparks will remain with Florida Citrus Mutual until June 30 to help ensure a smooth transition.

“Mike Sparks has led us through some of the toughest times this industry has ever seen,” said Mutual Past-President Tom Mitchell. “Florida Citrus Mutual and the Florida citrus industry will be forever grateful for his service and leadership.”

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Here are some other reads worthy of your time.

💩Analysis suggests media is treating Joe Biden as bad or worse than Donald Trump. Here’s why it’s ‘complete crap’: The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank penned an op-ed over the weekend accusing the media of treating Biden just as bad, if not worse, than Trump, using a “sentiment analysis” data tool. But FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver says the algorithm used is bad. In a Twitter thread Monday, Silver points out the algorithm identified more than 40,000 stories favorable toward Biden that were “just totally random,” some of which had nothing to do with Biden at all. Meanwhile, those articles identified as least favorable to Biden, while “a little bit more on the mark” were “mediocre” at best and included polling stories that reflect voter sentiment, not media sentiment. Further, Silver looked at FiveThirtyEight stories specifically and found “exactly the sort of story that @Milbank says there should be more of — calling out Trump’s attacks on democracy — which was listed as neutral toward Trump. Simply put, Silver surmised “designing good algorithms is hard, but this is an especially bad one.”

😱Perhaps the scariest insider report from the Jan. 6 insurrection: Peter Meijer, a freshman Congressman from Michigan, had already received an unlikely crash course in Democracy post-Trump before Jan. 6, and he had already decided that he would vote to certify the 2020 election results, confirming Biden as the next President. But nothing prepared him for that fateful day. In an emotional retelling in the Atlantic, Meijer describes the day in horrifying detail — the screams, the evacuations, the Capitol Police, the feeling that nothing was under control. But perhaps most terrifying, he describes conversations. Meijer said that it seemed more people were planning to vote against certification after the riot, the exact opposite message Meijer expected folks would want to send. One explained that no matter how he felt, he couldn’t vote to certify because he was terrified of what it would mean for his family. “Remember, this wasn’t a hypothetical. You were casting that vote after seeing with your own two eyes what some of these people are capable of. If they’re willing to come after you inside the U.S. Capitol, what will they do when you’re at home with your kids,” he explained. Others inside the Capitol were heard discussing invoking the 25th Amendment against Trump. Neither of them voted later for impeachment.

✊🏾Republicans briefly supported peaceful racial justice protests. Now they don’t: For some, the bigger question here seems, why did they support them (and did they really) in the first place? But broader dynamics meant that brief support among conservative voters for nonviolent demonstrations calling for racial equality, particularly in policing, should never have been expected to last long. An analysis from FiveThirtyEight found that in June 2020, more than half of Trump voters at least somewhat supported peaceful demonstrations. By November of this year, that support plummeted 29 percentage points. For starters, most Republicans responded to polls on the issue, saying they only “somewhat” supported the protests, compared to 73% of Democrats who strongly supported them. Further, most Republicans disagree in general with the reason for the protests overall, rejecting evidence that racial biases exist and, in at least some cases, worrying more about racial discrimination against White people than people in racial and ethnic minorities. And lastly, Biden has since taken office. As FiveThirtyEight correlates, his inauguration has had a thermostat effect on viewpoints — as “warmer positions on racial issues” emerge, Republicans are “growing cooler toward them.”

📦POLITICO launches ‘The Next Great Migration’: The series offers a wide-spanning look at why Black Americans are leaving major cities in numbers reminiscent of the Great Migration of the 20th century and how it could reshape political power for decades to come. Unlike the original Great Migration, which saw Black Americans fleeing the Jim Crow south to friendlier communities with more inclusive opportunities, the new migration saw the opposite. 2020 census data shows that Black residents are fleeing areas known for their dense African American populations, where Black Americans helped shape local and federal politics. The series, part of POLITICO’s Recast newsletter, will break down “the intersection of identity, race, leadership and power in American politics,” with an eye toward how recent demographic changes are restructuring local, state and federal governments.

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Breaking overnight — Democrat Tracye Polson and Republican Nick Howland will advance to the February General Election to fill the unexpired Jacksonville City Council term of the late Tommy Hazouri.

With all precincts reporting in Tuesday’s First Election, Polson took the lead with 28,692 votes, followed closely by Howland with 28,366. Polson had 36.5% of the vote, while Howland had 36.08%.

Then there were two.

Republican Howland “Howdy” Russell received 10,837 votes (13.79%) — good for third place. James “Coach” Jacobs took 10,715, in fourth with 13.63%.

Since no candidate took 50% in the First Election, Polson and Howland will move on to the next round. However, Howland appears to be stronger with his base than Polson is with hers.

Howland won 106 precincts, compared to 80 for Polson. Russell won no precincts, while Jacobs took 11 precincts in Districts 7, 8, 9 and 10, which could be seen as a warning for Polson’s citywide appeal.

— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —

@AdamJKucharski: Arguably, the laziest and most damaging cognitive error of the pandemic is not appreciating that lagged outcomes like deaths don’t reflect current threat in a rising epidemic. Remember: first UK COVID case was identified on 31 Jan 2020 — first death was reported on 5 Mar.

Tweet, tweet:

@AlexNazaryan: Matt Gaetz just told me at a news conference that if Republicans win the House in 2022, he will move to install Trump as House Speaker.

@Timodc: Growing up, every story I was told about politics treated the W&M chairmanship as if it were the height of power and influence. Nunes is taking a pass on it to run Friendster for bigots. Congress’ decline in miniature.

@SpencerRoachFL: I’ll be the first to go on record here: 1. Trump will not run in ‘24. 2. (Ron) DeSantis runs for President regardless. 3. DeSantis would win in a presidential primary against Trump.

Tweet, tweet:

Tweet, tweet:

@lennycurry: Well done @NickHowland15 running a visionary city council campaign in the 1st election. Congrats on making the runoff. Look forward to helping you close with a win in a few months. Vision matters!

Tweet, tweet:

@MDixon55: If you make a reporter wait eight hours for a statement, then right at deadline ask them to call you rather than sending said statement, then say you can’t use a name but only “spokesman,” you’re going to get an annoyed reporter on the other end I don’t make the rules

@JeremyRedfern: … Grapesicles are a great snack. It’s important to focus on your overall health, as some of the major risk factors for COVID-19 include diabetes and obesity. The link to the recipe is right on the @HealthyFla Twitter.

@AlixPMiller: A giant iguana just dropped from a tree, six inches away from my head and then proceeded to fight a rooster. I think that’s enough Key West nature for the day.

Tweet, tweet:

— DAYS UNTIL —

‘Sex and the City’ revival premieres — 1; Steven Spielberg’s ’West Side Story’ premieres — 2; ’Spider-Man: No Way Home’ premieres — 2; ’The Matrix: Resurrections’ released — 14; ’The Book of Boba Fett’ premieres on Disney+ — 21; Private sector employees must be fully vaccinated or tested weekly — 27; final season of ‘This Is Us’ begins — 27; CES 2022 begins — 28; Ken Welch’s inauguration as St. Petersburg Mayor — 29; NFL season ends — 32; 2022 Legislative Session starts — 34; Florida’s 20th Congressional District Election — 34; Special Elections in Senate District 33, House District 88 & 94 — 34; Florida Chamber’s 2022 Legislative Fly-In and Reception — 34; Florida TaxWatch’s 2022 State of the Taxpayer Day — 35; Joel Coen’s ’The Tragedy of Macbeth’ on Apple TV+ — 37; NFL playoffs begin — 38; ‘Ozark’ final season begins — 44; ‘Billions’ begins — 46; XXIV Olympic Winter Games begins — 58; Super Bowl LVI — 67; ‘The Walking Dead’ final season part two begins — 74; Daytona 500 — 74; CPAC begins — 78; St. Pete Grand Prix — 79; ‘The Batman’ premieres — 85; The Oscars — 111; ’Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ premieres — 154; ’Top Gun: Maverick’ premieres — 173; ’Platinum Jubilee’ for Queen Elizabeth II — 176; ’Thor: Love and Thunder’ premieres — 213; San Diego Comic-Con 2022 — 224; ‘The Lord of the Rings’ premieres on Amazon Prime — 268; ’Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ sequel premieres — 303; ‘Black Panther 2’ premieres — 338; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 341; ‘Avatar 2’ premieres — 373; ‘Captain Marvel 2’ premieres — 436; ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 597; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 681; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 961.

— TOP STORY —

First 2 cases of omicron COVID-19 variant detected in Florida, and one is in Tampa” via Ryan Ballogg and Lawrence Mower of the Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times — Officials at James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa confirmed Tuesday that someone who recently returned from international travel has tested positive for the omicron variant. The patient is experiencing only mild symptoms, according to a hospital spokesperson. State health officials have also confirmed that a presumptive case of the omicron variant was detected Monday in a COVID-19 patient in St. Lucie County. The Florida omicron cases have not yet been confirmed by the CDC. The agency has confirmed the presence of the omicron in 18 other states.

Welcome to Tampa, omicron. Image via Bay News 9.



— STATEWIDE —

DCF, Ron DeSantis respond to Nikki Fried letter on unused rental aid, release plan for remaining funds” via Daniel Figueroa of Florida Politics — The Department of Children and Families on Monday night responded to Fried‘s letter demanding information on its plan for $660 million in unaccounted-for funds from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. But DCF said that’s not the case. “Florida has missed no deadlines,” DCF Spokesperson Laura Walthall told Florida Politics. “The Commissioner is incorrect and has outdated data.” Treasury data showed OUR Florida, the state-run program formed under DCF to distribute ERAP funds, had only spent 24% of the $870 million in federal pandemic rental assistance it was granted by Sept. 30.

Ron DeSantis fires back at Nikki Fried. Image via Colin Hackley.

DeSantis to propose 60% increase in cancer research funding, First Lady says” via WFLA — Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis announced that the Governor increased the amount of funding for cancer research to $100 million in his proposed budget, an increase by 60%. The historic announcement came during a roundtable at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa with Surgeon General Dr. Joe Ladapo and other medical experts. “60%, I think, is really saying something about what you guys have done in your fields to lead the way, to earn the right to have this money to be able to do this,” Casey said. Ladapo said the funding will significantly impact Florida’s cancer centers on improving patient care and reducing cancer’s impact on people.

DeSantis burns ‘global warming’ talk, yet pitches $276M in environmental spending” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — Despite criticizing people who use global warming rhetoric, DeSantis announced a quarter billion in what he called a proactive approach to combat rising sea levels. Ahead of his formal budget announcement expected later this week, the Republican Governor unveiled $276 million in proposed state funding for 76 projects as part of the Department of Environmental Protection’s first three-year environmental spending plan. The Governor expected to announce “many hundreds of millions more” in environmental spending soon. When asked what DeSantis has done to address the root cause of global warming and rising sea levels, the Governor attacked liberal ideologies.

DeSantis, Florida Supreme Court earn praise in ‘Judicial Hellholes’ report” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — Despite the Legislature landing on a watch list of “Judicial Hellholes,” the Florida Justice Reform Institute says Florida has improved its standing for the third year in a row. No Florida jurisdictions appeared on the American Tort Reform Association’s ranking of eight “Judicial Hellholes” in the nation. However, the group’s annual report, the latest installment of which was released Tuesday, flagged the Florida Legislature on its watchlist, citing a history of abusive litigation in the state. Florida ranked as the worst “Hellhole” in the nation as recently as the group’s 2018 report. It fell to No. 2 in 2019. It fell off the ranking in 2020, landing instead on the watch list. The state as a whole, minus the Legislature, fell off the list in this year’s report.

What Jeff Brandes is readingPrison town economies suffer due to Florida corrections crisis” via Adam Walser of WFTS — The Florida Department of Corrections is in crisis, caused by a staffing shortage that has led to prisons closing. Cross City, Dixie County’s largest city, now finds itself at a crossroads. The water tower and prison lookout posts are by far the tallest structures for miles around. In good economic times, inmates outnumber residents. But these are not good times, according to residents who worry about their small town’s future. Currently, two out of the three units at the Cross City Correctional Institution are closed, meaning those employees have to travel to other prisons for work. Of 18,000 security positions in Florida’s Department of Corrections, 5,500 are currently vacant. That’s led the state to close prisons, work camps, and work release programs. Inmates and staff have also been consolidated at other facilities.

Chinese-linked insurance startup to take more than 40k property insurance policies from Citizens — The state Office of Insurance Regulation approved the application of upstart insurance company Vyrd Insurance which is indirectly staked by companies with ties to China, Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida reports. One backer is SiriusPoint, which is 40% owned by Shanghai-based China Minsheng Investment Group. Another is Kole, a company led by Robert Schimek, who is also the CEO of Singapore-based insurance matching company BoltTech. Separately, OIR greenlit Vyrd Insurance to take over about 42,000 property insurance policies state-backed insurer Citizens. SiriusPoint’s ties to a Chinese investment firm were not mentioned in any documentation OIR has released to the media.

Assignment editors — The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Florida Power & Light will hold a news conference to share plans for supporting Florida manatees, 9:30 a.m., Manatee Lagoon — FPL Eco-Discovery Center, 6000 N. Flagler Dr. West Palm Beach. Gates to Manatee Lagoon open at 9 a.m.

Disney to tap BP exec and former ABC News correspondent Geoff Morrell as PR chief” via Kim Masters and Alex Weprin of The Hollywood Reporter — The Walt Disney Co. plans to name Morrell to the newly created role of chief corporate affairs officer. While he has been given a broader portfolio, his responsibilities include succeeding top communications officer Zenia Mucha, who will retire at the end of the year. Morrell, currently executive VP communications advocacy for BP, will take on a restructured and significantly expanded position leading PR for Disney. His official title will be chief corporate affairs officer, overseeing communications, government relations, public policy, philanthropy and environmental issues. Before joining the multinational oil and gas company, Morrell worked for both the Bush and Obama administrations as deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs at the Pentagon.

Geoff Morrell heads to a top comms job at the House of Mouse.

Help wanted — The Everglades Trust is seeking an experienced Executive Director who can lead political and advocacy efforts to protect Florida’s natural ecosystem, wildlife, and water supply. Interested candidates should send a cover letter and resume to Kirk Fordham at: [email protected].

— DATELINE TALLY —

House Democrats say they’ll plead for budget funding for ‘everyday Floridians’” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — House Democrats declared Tuesday their state budget priorities will focus on public education funding for all school staff, affordable housing assistance, health care benefits, social services, and tax help for those who are not big corporations. Democratic lawmakers and leadership met Tuesday to lay out their priorities, as the state awaits DeSantis‘ proposed estimated $101 billion 2022 state budget later this week. The Democrats predict the Governor’s budget, along with plans from Republican lawmakers, would be insufficient to provide for the needs of “everyday Floridians.” Rep, Anna Eskamani, ranking member on the House Ways and Means Committee, pushed for fairer taxes.

—” Millions filed in appropriation requests for Tampa Bay veterans” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics

Anna Eskamani is gearing up to fight for ‘everyday Floridians.’

Manny Diaz, Juan Fernandez-Barquin to revive bill regulating pet sales” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Sen. Diaz and Rep. Fernandez-Barquin will give a new face to an old bill this Session, as they’re sponsoring a measure aiming to more strictly regulate pet sales and help cut down on puppy mills. The two GOP lawmakers are fronting the measures (SB 994, HB 849). Fernandez-Barquin takes over the House version from Rep. Bryan Avila, who carried the 2020 version. The new legislation, filed ahead of the 2022 Legislative Session, has similarities to the prior version. The measures would require retail pet stores to obtain a license from the Department of Business and Professional regulation to sell animals. The legislation also requires those stores to only acquire animals from qualified breeders, animal rescues, animal shelters, pet brokers, or individuals who are exempt from licensure. That includes individuals who don’t routinely sell animals.

Happening today — The Collier County legislative delegation meets: Sen. Kathleen Passidomo; Reps. Bob Rommel, Lauren Melo and David Borrero, 9 a.m., North Collier Regional Park, 15000 Livingston Road, Naples.

Happening today — The Palm Beach County legislative delegation meets: Sens. Gayle Harrell, Bobby Powell, Tina Polsky and Lori Berman; Reps. Mike Caruso, Joe Casello, Omari Hardy, Rick Roth, David Silvers, Kelly Skidmore, Emily Slosberg, John Snyder and Matt Willhite, 10 a.m., Dolly Hand Cultural Arts Center, 1977 S.W. College Dr., Belle Glade.

New and renewed lobbying registrations:

Brian Ballard, Ballard Partners: NTT Data

Amy Bisceglia, AB Government Affairs: Aamz Food

Travis Blanton, Johnson & Blanton: Samsung Electronics America

— CORONA FLORIDA —

‘Let these folks breathe’: DeSantis urges businesses to unmask employees” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics — DeSantis blasted businesses Tuesday that require staff to wear masks while patrons roam mask-free, arguing the suggested rule disparity is symbolic of a “two-tiered society” wedged against the “servant class.” “Let these folks breathe,” DeSantis said at a news conference in Oldsmar. “Let them make their own decisions on this because I think it’s terribly uncomfortable that they’re in this for so many hours a day, and I don’t think it’s proven to make a difference.” The argument of a “servant class” is a spin on one of DeSantis’ primary arguments against public health mandates. They, he often says, divide Americans. In September, the Governor mounted a similar argument against COVID-19 vaccine passports and vowed to prevent a “biomedical security state” in Florida.

In his new PSA, Florida Surgeon General touts treatments with little track record for COVID-19” via Cindy Krischer Goodman of the Orlando Sentinel — Ladapo’s new PSA has angered physicians and medical experts who say the focus should be on COVID-19 prevention and more proven treatments. The 30-second PSA is part of the Florida Department of Health’s “Let’s Live” campaign and has aired on the department’s YouTube channel, on cable television stations such as the Golf Channel and is embedded on a state website called healthieryoufl.org. “We have always protected Floridians through innovative solutions and COVID-19 is no exception,” says Ladapo. He never mentions vaccines and the only reference is in a graphic listing them along with vitamins, exercise and nutrition as healthy ways to support one’s immune system. He also does not mention testing.

To watch the PSA, click on the image below:

Ashley Moody recovers $11M from pandemic scams, cancellations” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics — Moody announced Tuesday Florida has recovered more than $11 million lost by consumers in pandemic-related fraud, scams and cancellations. Moody said her Consumer Protection Division is spearheading the ongoing recovery effort. To date, the Division has addressed thousands of consumer complaints, including reports of price gouging and wrongful cancellations, among others. The Division recently took on a travel company that left thousands stranded without travel arrangements. In a news release, Moody said the travel company, Bookit, offered to book flights, hotels and rental cars for consumers despite not having the funds to do so. The Division recovered roughly $7 million from Bookit after the company failed to refund stranded consumers.

TMH relaxes COVID-19 visitor policy: ‘Family support is vital to the healing process’” via the Tallahassee Democrat — As COVID-19 continues to spread at lower levels in Leon County, the capital city’s largest hospital is relaxing its visitor policy put in place shortly after the pandemic was declared in March 2020. As the virus surged, the policy shifted multiple times, but it mostly restricted visitors to one or two at a time on a rotating basis. As of Dec. 2, Leon County’s positivity rate was at 2%. It rose to 3.75% on Dec. 7 and community transmission is labeled as “moderate.”

— 2022 —

DeSantis gets presidential odds boost — The Governor has seen a spike in support among bettors, leading oddsmaker BoyleSports to increase his chances of winning the 2024 presidential election from 8% to 12%. The boost puts DeSantis at No. 4 in the markets. “Although former President Donald Trump remains the firm favorite for the Republican Party nomination in the 2024 election, support for DeSantis is steady and his chances of getting into the White House in three years’ time are improving according to the latest betting moves as he is now 15/2 from 12/1,” BoyleSports spokesperson Sarah Kinsella said. Trump leads the way with a 25% chance, followed by Biden at 20% and Kamala Harris at 13%.

Fried campaign blasts ‘false and fraudulent’ Ethics Commission finding — Fried’s gubernatorial campaign slammed the state Ethics Commission for entertaining a complaint made by former Leon County GOP Chair Evan Power. The complaint, filed in June, centers on $400,000 in lobbying income Fried added to her 2018 financial disclosure via an amendment filed this year. Campaign spokesperson Drew Godinich said the Ethics Commission acted improperly by using the amended reports as probable cause to allow the complaint to move forward. “A disgraced Republican Party official filed a false and fraudulent ethics complaint against Commissioner Fried. Consistent with the administration’s regular practice of feeding false information to its subordinate agencies, Commissioner Fried is being attacked for following the law and showing transparency, exactly the opposite of what Republican Ron DeSantis and his cohorts do every day,” he said.

Wall Street Journal taps Tony Fabrizio for new polling operation — The Wall Street Journal is partnering with several prominent campaign pollsters for its new polling operation ahead of the 2022 midterms. Among the people involved is Fabrizio, Trump’s lead pollster during both presidential runs. The Ft. Lauderdale resident also served as a pollster for the presidential campaigns of Bob Dole, Rand Paul and Rick Perry. He and others working with WSJ will produce a new quarterly poll series detailing voter sentiment trends on key issues ahead of the midterm election.

Tony Fabrizio gets a new gig at The Wall Street Journal.

Jeff Brandes discusses reports of petition blocking, intimidation by Seminole Tribe” via Mark Parker of St. Pete Catalyst — Brandes is calling for an investigation into reports of petition blocking and voter intimidation. On Friday, he issued a news release calling for an investigation into allegations that the Seminole Tribe and their vendors are using paid petition blockers to bully, intimidate and harass Florida voters. Brandes found the reports “shocking.” “I think it’s unprofessional at best and unconscionable at worst,” said Brandes. “They can advertise all they want, but when you start harassing the petitioners who are simply trying to exercise their constitutional right to petition to change the constitution — that is completely out of balance.” Brandes said the Tribe’s tactics prevent voters from making a clear choice.

FAU poll: Party divide on climate change shrinks — Nearly nine out of 10 Florida Republicans believe climate change is real, according to a new survey released by Florida Atlantic University. While Florida Democrats register a higher belief rate at 96%, the GOP’s 88% represents a substantial increase over the past few years. FAU researchers said the Republican belief rate is “more than sufficient” for GOP lawmakers to embrace climate change science without blowback at the polls. The poll also found 72% of Floridians, including 60% of Republicans, support teaching climate change causes, consequences and solutions in K-12 classrooms, while 47% are willing to pay $10 per month to strengthen Florida’s infrastructure to weather hazards.



— CORONA NATION —

Omicron raises vaccine questions a year after first Pfizer shot” via James Paton of Bloomberg — One year ago, a grandmother named Margaret Keenan, then 90 years old, rolled up her sleeve at University Hospital Coventry in the English midlands to take her place in history. Now, after 8 billion doses, the impact is clear. The vaccines have slashed hospitalizations and deaths in countries where they’ve been rolled out widely. In Europe alone, research shows they’ve saved about half a million lives among people aged 60 and over. And now, two years into the pandemic, there is omicron, a heavily mutated variant that emerged in recent weeks. It’s put the world on edge, leaving everyone desperately waiting for information on the severity of the strain and how well vaccines will work against it.

Omicron raises doubts about the Pfizer vaccine, Image via AP.

Judge halts Joe Biden vaccine mandate for federal contractors nationwide” via John Kruzel of WFLA — A federal judge in Georgia on Tuesday temporarily halted the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors across the country. The ruling by U.S. District Judge R. Stan Baker, a Trump appointee, is the latest in a series of legal setbacks for Biden as his administration seeks to blunt the effects of a pandemic that has killed more than 788,000 people in the U.S. “The Court acknowledges the tragic toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought throughout the nation and the globe,” Baker wrote in a 28-page ruling. “However, even in times of crisis this Court must preserve the rule of law and ensure that all branches of government act within the bounds of their constitutionally granted authorities.”

Coronavirus vaccine demand grows in U.S. amid omicron variant concerns, booster eligibility expansion” via Annabelle Timsit of The Washington Post — Demand for coronavirus vaccines has spiked in the U.S. in recent weeks, as more Americans are eligible for booster shots and concerns grow over the omicron variant. Health care providers administered 2.18 million doses of coronavirus vaccines on Thursday — the “highest single-day total since May,” the White House said. For most of October, fewer than or slightly over 1 million doses of coronavirus vaccines were reported to the CDC as being administered every day in the United States. By mid-November, those numbers hovered around 1.5 million on average. In the past three reporting days, they neared or exceeded 2 million. The increased demand for coronavirus vaccines is largely driven by the demand for booster doses, CDC data shows.

CDC: 60% of U.S. is fully vaccinated” via Oriana Gonzalez of Axios — Sixty percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This comes as the Omicron variant continues to spread across the U.S. It has been detected in 19 states, and the number is expected to increase, CDC director Rochelle Walensky said during Tuesday’s White House COVID-19 briefing. Walensky noted that the Delta variant is still the dominant strain in the U.S. Approximately 71% of the U.S. population has received at least one vaccine dose, and around 23% have had a booster shot. Some 64% of those over 5 years old are fully vaccinated. That number is around 72% for all adults.

Is it time to change the definition of ‘fully vaccinated?’” via Victoria Knight, Kaiser Health News for the Tampa Bay Times — As more indoor venues require proof of vaccination for entrance and with winter as well as omicron, a new COVID-19 variant looming, scientists and public health officials are debating when it will be time to change the definition of “fully vaccinated” to include a booster shot. It’s been more than six months since many Americans finished their vaccination course against COVID-19; statistically, their immunity is waning. Some scientists point out that many vaccines involve three doses over six months for robust long-term protection, such as the shot against hepatitis. So “fully vaccinated” may need to include shot No. 3 to be considered a full course.

How Biden can enlist insurance companies to get COVID-19 tests to all Americans” via Leana S. Wen of The Washington Post — When I first heard Biden announce that his administration will make rapid coronavirus tests free through insurance reimbursement, I thought it was a terrible plan. Upon more reflection, I think this could be an opportunity for Biden to enlist insurance companies in a new way that not only incentivizes testing but also vaccination and even preventive measures that go beyond COVID-19. Imagine if Biden could guarantee that everyone who has private or government-sponsored insurance — more than 91% of Americans — receives a monthly packet of at-home antigen tests, enough for all members of their household to test twice a week. It’s common sense that people are far more likely to use something if it’s conveniently delivered to their homes.

— CORONA ECONOMICS —

Americans’ pandemic-era ‘excess savings’ are dwindling for many” via Talmon Joseph Smith of The New York Times — Infusions of government cash that warded off an economic calamity have left millions of households with bigger bank balances than before the pandemic, savings that have driven a torrent of consumer spending, helped pay off debts and, at times, reduced the urgency of job hunts. But many low-income Americans find their savings dwindling or even depleted. And for them, the economic recovery is looking less buoyant. Over the past 18 months or so, experts have been closely tracking the multitrillion-dollar increase in what economists call “excess savings,” generally defined as the amount by which people’s cash reserves during the COVID-19 crisis exceeded what they would have normally saved.

America’s pre-pandemic piggy bank is running low. Image via AP.

Billionaires’ wealth surged to record during pandemic, Piketty Lab says” via Augusta Saraiva and Alessandra Migliaccio of Bloomberg — The share of global wealth held by billionaires surged to a record during the COVID-19 crisis, according to a group founded by French economist Thomas Piketty. About 2,750 billionaires control 3.5% of the world’s wealth, the Paris-based Global Inequality Lab said in a report Tuesday. That’s up from 1% in 1995, with the fastest gains coming since the pandemic hit, the group said. The poorest half of the planet’s population owns about 2% of its riches.

— MORE CORONA —

Why are we still isolating vaccinated people for 10 days?” via Katherine J. Wu of The Atlantic — For most fully vaccinated people, a breakthrough coronavirus infection will not ruin their health. It will, however, assuming that they follow all the relevant guidelines, ruin at least a week of their life. For at least those who have gotten all their necessary shots, we have the data and tools to slash the recommended length of isolation and the attendant burden by a lot, possibly even by half. Two years into the pandemic, we’re long overdue for a rethink on how vaccines affect our approach to outbreak control.

What’s with the quarantine of breakthrough cases? Image via AP.

Millennials, feeling their mortality during COVID-19, start writing their wills” via Veronica Dagher of The Wall Street Journal — Lawyers and financial advisers are hearing more frequently from younger people who want to get their affairs in order should they die unexpectedly. Thirty-two percent of the adults under 35 who wrote a will said it was because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a 2020 survey by online legal documents company LegalZoom. Caring.com, a senior-care referral service, said about 27% of 18- to 34-year-olds had a will in 2021, compared with 18% in 2019. The largest factor driving the increase in millennials’ will-writing is continued uncertainty of whether they or their family will get sick.

‘Omicron Family Restaurant’ embraces unfortunate turn of events with ‘corona’ T-shirts” via Devin Willems of Nexstar Media Wire — If only the rules of first come, first served applied to naming new variants of COVID-19, as one restaurant in Wisconsin now shares a name with the virus’s newest variant. Omicron Family Restaurant says they offer something for everyone and include multiple choices in their cuisine, which includes American, Greek, Italian, and Mexican foods. The restaurant is located in West Bend, which is about 40 miles north of Milwaukee. People apparently come in and take pictures with the sign. The restaurant also ordered custom T-shirts to help embrace the correlation between the new variant and the restaurant’s name. The shirts will only be available at the Omicron Family Restaurant starting after Dec. 13.

— PRESIDENTIAL —

Biden bank cop nominee withdraws after pushback from moderate Dems” via Victoria Guida of POLITICO — Biden’s choice for a key role policing the nation’s banks withdrew her nomination Tuesday after facing pushback from several moderate Democrats, a rare defeat for the President on one of his personnel choices. Saule Omarova’s nomination as comptroller of the currency also met with fierce resistance from Republicans and business groups over her advocacy for a dominant role for government in finance, views that didn’t sit well with some Democrats either. Her confirmation process became increasingly unpleasant, with some GOP lawmakers suggesting that the Soviet-born academic had communist sympathies, an allegation she has vigorously denied. Omarova, who if confirmed would have overseen national banks, has repeatedly expressed concern about the size and reach of U.S. megabanks.

Saule Omarova is dropping out. Image via AP.

Senate confirms Biden’s nominee to lead Customs and Border Protection” via Natalie Prieb of The Hill — Chris Magnus, the police chief for Tucson, Arizona, will lead the agency in charge of overseeing border security and travel. He was approved to the position by a vote of 50-47, with the only Republican vote coming from Sen. Susan Collins. Magnus worked for police departments in Michigan, North Dakota and California before joining the police department in Tucson in 2016, according to Reuters. The newest top border official, who made headlines during his time in California for holding up a “Black Lives Matter” sign while on the job in the midst of a demonstration, was a vocal critic of Trump’s immigration policies, writing in a 2017 op-ed for The New York Times that Trump’s policies were having a “chilling effect” on police-community relations.

— D.C. MATTERS —

Mitch McConnell secures GOP support for new debt strategy” via Burgess Everett and Heather Caygle of POLITICO — McConnell believes he’s convinced a skeptical Senate Republican Conference to allow Democrats to more easily raise the debt ceiling, a critical development as the country faces a mid-December debt cliff. The Senate minority leader spent Tuesday selling his members on a convoluted strategy that would require at least 10 Republicans to approve legislation that would later allow Senate Democrats to raise the debt ceiling by a simple majority vote. After a leadership meeting and a Senate GOP lunch, McConnell said he’d done enough work to clinch the deal in a vote expected on Thursday. Still, McConnell faced a “mixed” reception during a full party meeting, according to attendees, with what one member estimated as five to 10 Republicans speaking in opposition.

Mitch McConnell may have significant progress in the debt ceiling debate.

Lawmakers rush to avert looming Medicare cuts” via Megan Wilson of POLITICO — Congress reached a deal on Tuesday to avert billions of dollars in impending Medicare cuts to hospitals, doctors and other providers that are set to take effect early next year. The Supporting Health Care Providers During the COVID-19 Pandemic Act, which has bipartisan support from leadership in the House and Senate, would blunt some of the cuts — but not all. Medicare providers have been pressing Congress all year to produce a solution — an effort that went into overdrive after lawmakers failed to include any fix in the short term funding bill approved late last week. Doctors could see Medicare payments decline nearly 10%, and hospitals 6%, if Congress doesn’t act by the end of the year.

Rick Scott requests meeting with Adam Silver on NBA’s ‘unsettling’ China issues” via Ryan Gaydos of Fox News — Sen. Scott requested to meet with NBA Commissioner Silver in a letter on Monday to talk about a litany of the Senator’s concerns regarding the league’s relationship with China. In his letter, Scott mentioned his criticism of the NBA regarding how it handled Daryl Morey’s pro-Hong Kong tweet, the reported abuses at an NBA academy in China, and the failure of the league to insert itself into the geopolitical conversation when it comes to human rights abuses regarding Uyghur Muslims. Scott wrote that organizations like the NBA have a responsibility to speak out on human rights abuses and called on the league to be a “powerful voice of human rights.” The Republican wrote that he spoke with Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter Freedom and acknowledged his admiration for him as the player speaks out against China.

GOP Rep. Dan Crenshaw calls members of House Freedom Caucus ‘grifters,’ ‘performance artists’” via Mariana Alfaro of The Washington Post — Rep. Crenshaw called out members of the House’s conservative Freedom Caucus, decrying them as “grifters” and “performance artists” who failed to support much of Trump’s agenda when he was in office and Republicans controlled Congress. Crenshaw made this assessment during an event this weekend with Republican congressional candidates in his hometown of Houston. Crenshaw said the conservative movement has “grifters in our midst, not here, not in this room. I mean in the conservative movement.” Crenshaw said his criticism was directed at “everybody in the Freedom Caucus — all of them,” and did not single out any specific GOP lawmaker.

Dan Crenshaw rips the Freedom Caucus a new one. Image via Reuters.

‘Carrie pushed the doors open.’ Rep. Carrie Meek’s legacy remembered at funeral” via C. Isaiah Smalls II of the Miami Herald — In life, Meek was a mother, teacher and activist who brought the demands of Miami’s most vulnerable to the halls of power in Tallahassee and Washington. In death, she brought the country’s most powerful politicians to Miami Gardens, where they charged everyone to pick up where she left off. Elected officials, ministers and hundreds of others touched by Meek’s work joined her family Tuesday at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church to honor the legacy of a woman who championed the voiceless at every turn. The funeral carried an air of regality, yet in true Meek fashion contained moments of disarming humor meant to move others to action.

— CRISIS —

Top Mike Pence aide cooperating with Jan. 6 committee” via Jamie Gangel, Michael Warren and Ryan Nobles of CNN — Marc Short, the former chief of staff to Vice President Pence, is cooperating with the Jan. 6 committee, a significant development that will give investigators insight from one of the highest-ranking Trump officials, according to three sources with knowledge of the committee’s activities. The committee subpoenaed Short a few weeks ago. Short remains one of Pence’s closest advisers and is a firsthand witness to many critical events the committee is examining, including what happened to Pence at the Capitol on Jan. 6 and how Trump pressured the former Vice President not to certify the presidential election that day.

Marc Short is giving his firsthand account of what went down on Jan. 6. Image via AP.

DOJ aims to block key Steve Bannon defense strategy” via Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein of POLITICO — The Justice Department plans to try to block a central line of defense for Bannon in his upcoming trial for contempt of Congress: that his decision to stonewall Jan. 6 investigators was the result of his lawyer’s advice. “The Government anticipates filing a motion … to exclude evidence and argument relating to any advice of counsel on the basis that it is not a defense to the pending charges,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Vaughn said in a status report filed late Monday. Prosecutors did not explain in the report why they don’t think relying on his attorney’s advice is a defense for Bannon, who’s charged with “willfully” defying subpoenas for his testimony and records.

U.S. Capitol Police inspector general says only a small number of recommendations after Jan. 6 attack have been adopted” via Mariana Alfaro of The Washington Post — U.S. Capitol Police Inspector General Michael Bolton, who is leading an investigation into why law enforcement failed to contain a pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6, said that only 30 of his 104 recommendations to make the Capitol complex “safe and secure” have been adopted. Not enough has been done to address the security flaws that led to the mob overwhelming Capitol Police officers, Bolton told the Senate Rules and Administration Committee on Tuesday. Additionally, Bolton said, out of the 200 security enhancements that the Capitol Police department has provided to his office, only 61 have “documentation to support those enhancements to have occurred.”

— EPILOGUE TRUMP —

Trump, Bill O’Reilly heading to Orlando on Sunday for ‘History Tour’” via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel — Trump is returning to Orlando’s Amway Center on Sunday, but instead of a free rally that kicked off his re-election campaign in 2019, this time supporters will have to pay big to see him. Tickets for the “History Tour,” featuring Trump and O’Reilly, start at $100 for upper deck seats and run into the thousands of dollars for VIP packages. It’s a notable change from Trump’s usual raucous rallies, held during his 2020 campaign in Sanford and The Villages. Trump also did campaign-style free events in Iowa and Georgia in October as he has repeatedly hinted at running for President again in 2024.

Donald Trump, Bill O’Reilly head to Orlando.

Trump had wanted to pick Amy Coney Barrett instead of Brett Kavanaugh for second Supreme Court opening, former chief of staff says” via Felicia Sonmez of The Washington Post — Trump wanted to choose Barrett to be his second Supreme Court nominee in 2018 but ultimately chose Kavanaugh, a former top Trump aide writes in a new book. Mark Meadows, who was Trump’s chief of staff from 2020-2021, writes that Trump “had wanted to go to Justice Barrett before he nominated Brett Kavanaugh in 2018.” Meadows was a member of Congress and chair of the House Freedom Caucus when Trump chose Kavanaugh as his nominee to succeed Justice Anthony M. Kennedy on the country’s top court.


— LOCAL NOTES —

Nursing home deaths rose 25% after Hurricane Irma, study finds” via Erin Blakemore of The Washington Post — When Hurricane Irma barreled through Florida in 2017, it left suffering in its wake. As creeks and rivers overflowed and high winds battered the state, nearly two-thirds of Florida’s electricity customers lost power. When researchers matched the electricity outage statistic with Medicare claims for death and hospitalization, they found that nearly 28,000 nursing home residents, 65 and older, lost power during the storm. Those who lost power were subject to a 25% increase in deaths the first week and a 10% increase a month after the power loss. Residents between ages 65 and 74 were more likely to be hospitalized after the power went out, the study found.

Christine King named chair of Miami Commission — the first woman to hold gavel” via Joey Flechas of the Miami Herald — King, the newly elected Commissioner representing Miami’s predominantly Black district, has been appointed chair of the City Commission. At Thursday’s meeting, she will be the first woman to hold the gavel and lead the Commission as they pass city laws and discuss public policy in Miami-Dade County’s largest municipality. On Tuesday, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez appointed King, the District 5 Commissioner, to control the flow of legislation and pace of meetings where the city government’s decision-makers debate and the public sounds off. Suarez also named Commissioner Joe Carollo as the vice-chair.

Christine King makes history in Miami. Image via @TheMiamiTimes/Twitter.

North Miami Beach officials voted to up their compensation. Not everyone is on board” via Samantha J. Gross of the Miami Herald — Just months after contentiously voting to give themselves city-funded health insurance, North Miami Beach Commissioners are again feuding over a decision to increase their own compensation, this time by setting aside money in expense accounts that can be spent as elected officials see fit. Late last month, Commissioners voted 4-3 to allow $6,500 from an “executive expense allowance” to be spent without restrictions, meaning the money could be used for personal expenses if Commissioners so choose. The vote happened after midnight after City Manager Arthur Sorey expressed confusion around how the money — made available when Commissioners voted 4-3 while setting their 2022 budget to increase expense accounts to $13,000 — could be spent.

Real estate and oil tycoons avoided paying taxes for years” via Jeff Ernsthausen, Paul Kiel and Jesse Eisinger of ProPublica — Stephen Ross, who founded Related Companies, was a massive winner between 2008 and 2017. He became the second-wealthiest real estate titan in America, almost doubling his net worth over those years, according to Forbes’ annual list, adding $3 billion to his fortune. His assets included a penthouse apartment overlooking Central Park and the Miami Dolphins. Then there’s the other Ross, the big loser — the one depicted on his tax returns. Though the developer brought in some $1.5 billion in income from 2008 to 2017, he reported even more — nearly $2 billion — in losses. And because he reported negative income, he didn’t pay a nickel in federal income taxes over those 10 years.

Men tied to Italian mob money-laundering case still able to snap up South Florida properties” via Ben Weider, Shirsho Dasgupta and Karen Wang of the Miami Herald — In March 2013, Italian real estate developer Antonio Velardo was charged in two separate real estate money-laundering probes connected to organized crime in Italy. But by then, he and three other associates had already turned their attention to a new target: South Florida. As they would soon learn, the charges were no impediment to snapping up millions of dollars’ worth of property in Florida. Companies tied to the four men have purchased more than 130 homes in the state since 2012 — the bulk of them in Miami-Dade County. A hundred of the homes were purchased after Velardo was charged, a Miami Herald analysis of property records found.

Single-member districts will be back on ballet in Sarasota County special election next March” via Allyson Henning of WFLA — Back in 2018, 60% of Sarasota County voters approved a referendum for single-member districts. Tuesday night, Commissioners voted unanimously to bring the issue back to the ballot in a special election. Right now, Commissioners can only be elected by voters in the district where they live. With an at-large system, all voters can vote for all Commissioners on the board. The County Commission has expressed opposition to single-member districts on a number of occasions. Some have suggested residents didn’t understand what they were voting for back in 2018.

Venice Middle School students disciplined after chanting ‘(****) Joe Biden,’ drawing swastika” via Ryan McKinnon of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — A group of Venice Middle School students in the Sarasota County School District has been disciplined after chanting “(expletive) Joe Biden” on the school bus last week, and one student drew a swastika on the bus windows. According to District spokesman Craig Maniglia, five students received disciplinary referrals for inappropriate language for taking part in the chant, which has gained increased attention recently after a euphemism for the phrase, “Let’s Go Brandon” started trending. The school principal sent a letter home to the parent of the boy who started the chant, and Maniglia said they were “very supportive” of the school’s disciplinary action.

Is math education racist? Jacksonville educator shows how to make the subject more culturally inclusive” via Emily Bloch, Erin Richards, Gary Stern and Christine Fernando of The Florida Times-Union — Schools are collapsing math “tracks” to put kids of all abilities in the same classes and adding data science courses that carry the same prestige as calculus, long seen as a gateway to a career in STEM fields and elite colleges. Another heated issue: the extent to which math education should include real-world problems involving racial and social inequities. Fairly or not, that debate has landed in the murky soup of “critical race theory” digressions. The changes have pitted mathematicians and math educators against each other and sparked criticism from affluent parents upset by the elimination of gifted tracks.

Planned National POW-MIA Memorial and Museum taking flight in Jacksonville after COVID-19 delay” via Teresa Stepzinski of The Florida Times-Union — Nearly two years after ground was broken, construction is underway on the planned national memorial and museum in Jacksonville to honor and remember all American prisoners of war and those missing in action during the country’s wars. When completed, it will be the first of its kind in the United States. The planned National POW/MIA Memorial and Museum will pay homage to all those classified as prisoners of war or missing in action from World War II through current conflicts, Mike Cassata, organization executive director, told the Times-Union.

Tallahassee candidate, FSU officials spar over $20M stadium Blueprint request” via Tristan Wood of Florida Politics — Tallahassee City Commission candidate Adner Marcelin is pressuring Florida State University President Richard McCullough to pull the university’s $20 million Blueprint request for Doak S. Campbell stadium renovations. Marcelin, the former president of the Tallahassee branch of the NAACP and an FSU alum, has made opposition to the Blueprint funding a pillar of his campaign. He told Florida Politics he decided to run after hearing citizen concerns about the project during the Tallahassee NAACP’s “Say No 2 Doak” town hall last month. In a letter to McCullough, Marcelin said the funding request could drive a wedge between Tallahassee and FSU residents by keeping the money from going to other areas.

Adner Marcelin based his campaign on the idea that Tallahassee Blueprint money could be spent smarter.

UF signs deal to take over Scripps Florida” via Joel Engelhardt of On Gardens — Fifteen years ago, the state put up $310 million and Palm Beach County put up $269 million to bring The Scripps Research Institute to Abacoa. Last month, Scripps agreed to hand it all over to the University of Florida for $100. Without saying why, the La Jolla, California-based nonprofit agreed to give UF the three main science buildings built with Palm Beach County money, the state-of-the-art robotics and the vacant 70 acres in Alton set aside for biotech development, a Nov. 15 Asset Transfer Agreement shows. Also, the agreement says Scripps will give UF $102 million in cash on hand, most of it apparently committed to ongoing projects, minus $3 million for transition costs.

— TOP OPINION —

In Georgia, Republicans’ Faustian bargain with Trump is catching up with them” via Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post — Anyone who thinks the Republican Party is some kind of well-oiled juggernaut ready to steamroll Democrats in November might want to check out what’s happening in Georgia, where the GOP is busy trying to steamroll itself. Brian Kemp, who is seeking re-election, got bad news last week when he learned that his likely Democratic opponent will be Stacey Abrams, who came within a hair of beating him in 2018. He got worse news on Monday, when former Sen. David Perdue, defeated in his re-election bid in Jan., announced he will challenge Kemp in the GOP gubernatorial primary. In what for decades has been a reliably red state, the Republican Party has lost both U.S. Senate seats to Democrats and stands a real chance of losing the Governor’s mansion as well.

— OPINIONS —

Green for the blue: Reimbursing police who lost pay because of COVID-19” via Jimmy Patronis for the Tallahassee Democrat — Police are being fired because of vaccine mandates. Thank God for leaders like DeSantis who said “enough is enough” when it comes to mandates. I got the vaccine, but I don’t believe in mandates. When COVID-19 was hitting our nation the hardest, I issued a directive covering state first responders for workers’ compensation. However, workers’ comp claims just don’t cover all the bills. That’s why this Session the Legislature should consider covering the lost pay of any law enforcement officers hospitalized as a result of COVID-19. This would be a “Bridge for the Badge,” something that would provide a monetary bridge to families of law enforcement as their loved one dealt with COVID-19.

The ‘Latinx community’ doesn’t want to be called ‘Latinx.’ Just drop it, progressives” via the Miami Herald editorial board — Dear progressive politicians, pundits and media friends: Stop trying to make the term “Latinx” a thing. Trust us here in Miami, where, Ya tu sabes, we drink cafecitos and parental discipline is usually delivered with a chancleta. The so-called “Latinx community” doesn’t even want to be called Latinx. That’s the finding of a new national poll by Bendixen & Amandi International, a Miami-based Democratic firm focusing on Latino — and we mean Latino — outreach. The survey of 800 registered voters of Latin American descent found that a meager 2% described themselves as Latinx. The majority (68%) preferred “Hispanic” or “Latina/Latino” (21%). In Miami, whenever possible, we advise you call them Cuban, Colombian, Venezuelan, Dominican, Argentine, etc. And please don’t call Brazilians Hispanic — they speak Portuguese, not Spanish.

— ON TODAY’S SUNRISE —

DeSantis is pledging to defend freedom as Florida sees its first few cases of the new COVID-19 variant.

Also, on today’s Sunrise:

— As the Supreme Court weighs the future of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, we talk with the outgoing leader of Planned Parenthood in Florida. Today’s interview is with Lillian Tamayo, who is passing the baton after 22 years of service. She shares her views on the current threats facing access to abortion both in Florida and across the country.

To listen, click on the image below:

— ALOE —

Gamblers may be entitled to refunds from Hard Rock Sportsbook app, experts say” via Jordan Bowen of Fox 13 Tampa Bay — The Hard Rock Sportsbook app shut down Saturday, more than a month after a federal court ruling deeming the Seminole Tribe’s Gaming Compact with the state illegal. But there are still many questions about what will happen to the money that was made while the app was in operation. “There is no more authority of law under which these bets were being placed. And it sets up a really interesting dynamic whether the Seminole Tribe will either voluntarily refund money to customers who requested or fight or resist those overtures. And it will lead to litigation,” attorney and gaming law expert Daniel Wallach said.

Will there be refunds for the Hard Rock Sportsbook app? Signs point to yes.

— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —

Best wishes to Allison Ager, our friend Mike Deeson, MSNBC’s Joy-Ann Reid, and Ben Smith.

___

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

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of FloridaPolitics.com, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as 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. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


One comment

  • Tom

    December 8, 2021 at 8:00 am

    Covid all time low in Florida.
    Michigan #1 regretfully. Boating and gardening lockdowns under blue state tyrant Governor failed.

    America’s Governor, Desantis the best Governor.

Comments are closed.


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