Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 2.11.22

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Rise 'n' shine. Wake up to the best blurbs on politics and policy in Florida.

Good Friday morning.

The Lincoln Project is coming out Friday with a new ad targeting congressional Republicans for their participation in the 2022 “Coward Olympics” by continuing to promote falsehoods about the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and standing for Donald Trump‘s electoral “big lie.”

Explicitly named in the minute-long spot — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green of Georgia. One part shows McCarthy dodging questions in a Capitol hallway while the voice-over describes the move as an Olympic-style “1,000-meter downhill moral collapse.”

“Kevin McCarthy is a colossal tool bag with the political prowess of a slug,” said Rick Wilson, co-founder of The Lincoln Project. “Some ads are more fun to make than others, and our team had a really good time showing what a eunuch Kevin McCarthy actually is.”

The ad starts running digitally at RNC Headquarters and the Capitol Complex in Washington. It will continue all weekend on broadcast TV, during the Sunday political shows, and on Fox News, as well as at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach and Bakersfield, California, all day Sunday.

To watch “Coward Olympics,” click on the image below:

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Four new hires diverse in background and experience have joined U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist’s campaign to retake the Governor’s Mansion in November.

Topping the list is Deputy Political Director Jordan Pride, president of the Hillsborough County Democratic Black Caucus and a principal consultant for political media firm Parsons-Wilson.

Pride boasts more than half a decade of experience in community engagement, organizing and political strategy. Her past roles include work as a community engagement specialist for the Florida Democratic Party in the Saint Petersburg-Tampa area and as a field specialist for former St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman’s successful 2017 re-election campaign.

Other new hires include Cait Gibbons as Digital Fundraising Director, Carolina Zamora as Online Engagement Director and Grace Wright as deputy press secretary.

“As momentum continues to build and our team grows,” Crist said. “I am humbled to receive the support of Floridians across the state who are sick of the culture wars and demanding change.”

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Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried raised $312,000 toward her Democratic gubernatorial run in January, finding no new momentum after her fundraising efforts began slowing some in late autumn.

Fried’s official election campaign reported accepting $171,502 in January. Her independent political committee, Florida Consumers First, picked up another $141,854 during the month. That’s according to the latest campaign finance reports posted by the Florida Division of Elections.

Short sell: Nikki Fried had a pretty soft month in January.

Her combined January haul of $313,358 was the second-lowest total since she officially opened her campaign fund in June. In fact, Fried’s three driest months of contributions during her eight-month campaign have been the past three: November, December and January.

The latest month of contributions and expenditures provided her with a combined cash-on-hand balance of about $3.6 million by the start of February — just over $2.6 million in her political committee and $955,000 in her campaign fund.

That compares with $6.4 million for Crist as of Feb. 1. The third prominent Democrat in the August Democratic Primary Election, state Sen. Annette Taddeo, had about $705,000 to work with on Feb. 1.

— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —

Tweet, tweet:

@Daniel_Sweeney: Less than 48 hours after we published an editorial pointing out a few of the myriad times (Ron) DeSantis‘ press sec. erroneously slags others, she’s done it again (here, conflating former GOP state Sen. Victor Crist with Charlie Crist). No doubt this one, too, will soon be deleted.

@NikkiFried: A veto pen would be nice to have right about now.

Tweet, tweet:

Tweet, tweet:

Tweet, tweet:

@Mike_Grieco: I have said “gay” 22 times this morning in the Florida Capitol … and now I’m concerned that the Gazpacho Police is looking for me.

@CoryMillsFL: I’m honored to have spent time with legislators at the Florida Capitol over the past few days to discuss FL concerns. Once again, ⁦@AnthonySabatini⁩ was a no-show to votes. FL and US Congress does not need absentee elected officials unwilling to do what they elected to do.

@FALASSource: FALA is standing with the @alzassociation to support Alzheimer’s Awareness on #TheLongestDay as they paint the Capitol purple — our residents are our #1 priority!

@TonyKhan: The fact-checking standard for @ProFootballTalk reporting is far lower than that of @AEWs roving reporter @tonyschiavone24. I’m definitely not running for Congress; this filing is faker than Eddie Gilbert’s apology to Tommy Rich in 1984. PFT sources as trustworthy as @The_MJF.

Tweet, tweet:

@SportsCenter: Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving only played 16 games together. They went 13-3.

— DAYS UNTIL —

Super Bowl LVI — 2; Will Smith‘s ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ reboot premieres — 2; Discover Boating Miami International Boat Show begins — 5; season four of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ begins — 5; Spring Training report dates begin (maybe) — 6; Synapse Florida tech summit begins — 6; ‘The Walking Dead’ final season part two begins — 9; Daytona 500 — 9; Special Election for Jacksonville City Council At-Large Group 3 — 19; Suits For Session — 12; CPAC begins — 13; St. Pete Grand Prix — 14; Joe Biden to give the State of the Union address — 18; ‘The Batman’ premieres — 21; Miami Film Festival begins — 21; the 2022 Players begins — 25; Sarasota County votes to renew the special 1-mill property tax for the school district — 25; House GOP retreat in Ponte Vedra Beach — 40; the third season of ‘Atlanta’ begins — 40; season two of ‘Bridgerton’ begins — 42; The Oscars — 44; Macbeth with Daniel Craig and Ruth Negga begin performances on Broadway — 46; Florida Chamber’s 2nd Annual Southeastern Leadership Conference on Safety, Health + Sustainability begins — 47; Grammys rescheduled in Las Vegas — 51; ‘Better Call Saul’ final season begins — 66; Magic Johnson’s Apple TV+ docuseries ‘They Call Me Magic’ begins — 70; 2022 Florida Chamber Transportation, Growth & Infrastructure Solution Summit — 76; ‘The Godfather’ TV series ‘The Offer’ premieres — 76; federal student loan payments will resume — 79; ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ premieres — 84; ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ starts on Disney+ — 103; ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ premieres — 105; ‘Platinum Jubilee’ for Queen Elizabeth II — 111; ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ premieres — 148; San Diego Comic-Con 2022 — 161; Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner novel ‘Heat 2’ publishes — 179; ‘The Lord of the Rings’ premieres on Amazon Prime — 203; ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ sequel premieres — 238; ‘Black Panther 2’ premieres — 273; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 276; ‘Avatar 2′ premieres — 308; ‘Captain Marvel 2′ premieres — 371; ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ premieres — 406; ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 532; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 616; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 896.

—TOP STORY —

Justices refuse to give Ron DeSantis redistricting guidance he wants on district now held by Black congressman” via John Kennedy of USA Today — The Florida Supreme Court rejected DeSantis’ request for an advisory opinion on whether the state could recast the boundaries of a North Florida congressional district to where it may no longer elect a Black representative. But justices Thursday said they weren’t ready to weigh into the matter: “This Court’s advisory opinions to the Governor are generally limited to narrow questions.” In a statement, Lawson “commended” the court for “making the right decision.” Justices said what he was seeking would demand them to undertake “fact-intensive analysis and consideration of other congressional districts.”

Ron DeSantis hits a legal speed bump over redrawing Al Lawson’s congressional district.

Florida House’s latest draft congressional map preserves Al Lawson seat, wipes out Stephanie Murphy turf” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — The Florida House published a new draft map for Florida’s now-28 congressional districts. And it’s clear that if the Florida Supreme Court doesn’t want to rule out a Tallahassee-to-Jacksonville district, neither will House staff. The new House cartography (H 8011) includes a jurisdiction that runs along the Florida-Georgia border and closely resembles the district now represented by Lawson. That signals the continued stance that the seat, numbered in the draft map as Florida’s 3rd Congressional District, is protected as a Black minority-performing district.

— DATELINE TALLY —

DeSantis opposes bill that would help farmers with water at expense of Everglades” via David Fleshler of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — DeSantis issued a strong statement Thursday against a bill in the state Senate that would give priority to farms in the use of water from Lake Okeechobee, saying it “derails progress” toward restoring the Everglades and reducing polluted discharges to the coasts. The bill, which has the support of Senate President Wilton Simpson, would require the South Florida Water Management District to advocate on behalf of farms, primarily sugar cane, which depend on the lake for water. This would take place at the expense of water for the Everglades and could mean increased discharges of polluted water to the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, where it has fertilized algae blooms that killed fish and destroyed seagrass beds, starving manatees.

Waterlogged: A Wilton Simpson-backed bill goes underwater with Ron DeSantis.

Senate moves to ease appointment process after battle over DeSantis’ DEP Secretary pick” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — Senators have voted to ease the Governor’s appointment process for the heads of three executive agencies, including one agency that is part of a political showdown in the 2022 gubernatorial race. Currently, the Governor’s pick for Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) requires three Cabinet members to approve the nominee. That threshold effectively requires the Cabinet’s unanimous consent. Legislation carried by Sen. Aaron Bean (SB 1658), passed 26-12 on Thursday, would instead give the Governor the choice to seek the Cabinet’s unanimous support or the Senate’s majority support.

House signs off on $500M rainy day fund for Governor’s Office” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics — The House voted Thursday to provide the Governor a $500 million rainy day fund, marking the measure’s final hurdle before reaching the desk of DeSantis. Under the bill (SB 96), the Legislature empowers the Governor with what they dub as an Emergency Preparedness and Response Fund. The Governor will turn first to the fund in an emergency rather than utilize other pots of money. After limited debate, the House OK’d the measure with a 95-22 vote. Sen. Danny Burgess is the bill’s sponsor.

Modified presidential search exemption bill clears Senate amid Democratic opposition” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — The Florida Senate approved legislation Thursday afternoon that would provide a public records exemption for information about applicants seeking a state higher ed presidential position. In a 28-11 vote, the controversial proposal cleared in a near party-line vote, with Democrats mostly opposing the legislation. Three Democrats broke from the party in support of the measure, Sens. Janet Cruz, Shevrin Jones and Darryl Rouson. The bill (SB 520), filed by Sen. Jeff Brandes, would create a public records exemption applicable to the pool of public university and college presidential applicants. Information on selected finalists would be made available, however.

—TALLY 2 —

Senate panel approves ‘compromise’ nursing home staffing bill; Ben Albritton says he’ll meet with AARP Florida, union” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics — The Senate Health Policy Committee approved a “compromise” bill between the state’s trial attorneys, the nursing home industry and a powerful Republican Senator that reduces the number of nursing hours long-term care residents must receive. The bill also adds increased consumer protections for those who sue nursing homes. But representatives from AARP Florida and SEIU 1199 United Health Care Workers continue to oppose the measure. Representatives testified they weren’t always included in negotiations. SB 804 cleared the committee with just one “no” vote, cast by Sen. Jones.

Nope: Shevrin Jones was the only ‘no’ vote on Ben Albritton’s ‘compromise’ nursing home bill.

Data privacy measure emerges from contentious first hearing” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — Legislation to strengthen consumer data privacy in Florida is moving again in the Legislature as lawmakers and businesses look to settle the differences that torpedoed the bill last year. The proposal (SB 1864/HB 9) would give consumers the right to determine what information has been collected, delete or correct the data, and opt out of selling or sharing that personal information. But the version filed by Rep. Fiona McFarland, which the House Commerce Committee approved unanimously, has drawn resistance from business interests who fear complying with the measure will be financially crippling. McFarland told the committee there are innocuous and beneficial uses for someone’s data, such as phone notifications about a person’s commute to work.

A developer-backed bill would make it easier to convert low-income housing into high-priced apartments” via Jason Garcia of Seeking Rents — Amid a statewide affordable housing crisis, a pair of big developers are lobbying the Florida Legislature to make it easier to convert publicly subsidized apartments meant for low-income tenants into high-priced, market-rate rentals and condos. That’s where the new legislation (SB 196) comes in. It would set stricter conditions on the terms required for a qualified contract. Right now, to ensure a development remains affordable, the state housing agency must present the owner with a contract offer at the minimum price that the buyer has signed. Under the new language, the requirement would change to a “commercially reasonable” contract that both the buyer and the seller have signed.

Legislators to require condo owners to conduct inspections, save for repairs” via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald — Thousands of condominium owners could face hefty increases in their association fees under a bill that advanced in the Florida House Thursday that would impose strict new financial requirements to pay for structural repairs. The bill, PCB PPE 22-03, is similar to proposals moving through the Senate and, because it has the support of House and Senate leadership, is expected to become law. It was passed Thursday unanimously by the House Pandemic and Public Emergencies Committee. “This is a bill that is long overdue,’’ Rep. Danny Perez, a Miami Republican who is shepherding the bill through the House.

Mandatory fun: Danny Perez is shepherding a bill to require condo inspections.

‘Free the grapes’: House votes to allow bigger wine bottles” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics — The House raised a glass Thursday in favor of a bill that would remove size limits on wine bottles in Florida. The bill (HB 6031) would repeal state laws that ban wine sales in containers larger than a gallon. The House passed the measure nearly unanimously with a 117-1 vote. Rep. Chip LaMarca is the bill sponsor. “Free the grapes,” LaMarca quipped on the floor. LaMarca urged lawmakers to encourage Senators across the hall to support the measure, and for good reason: the 2022 Legislative Session marks his fourth attempt with the measure.

— MORE TALLY —

House passes bill bolstering legal protections for firefighters” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics — Firefighters in Florida may soon gain more legal protections under a bill passed unanimously by the House. Like police officers, firefighters are guaranteed a handful of rights as part of their employment, such as the presence of a union representative during an investigation. But unlike cops, firefighters operate without protections against a situation known as an informal investigation. In those cases, a firefighter may be questioned to recall facts or otherwise share work-related details without knowing of a relevant complaint or inquiry. The proposal (HB 31), sponsored by Rep. Demi Busatta Cabrera, would address the loophole and align the Firefighters’ Bill of Rights more closely with the Police Bill of Rights.

‘Bill of Rights’: Demi Busatta Cabrera seeks to bring legal protection for firefighters more in line with police.

Bill to put homestead property tax exemption on ballot passes second committee” via Tristan Wood of Florida Politics — A joint resolution proposing a new $50,000 exemption to homestead property taxes for teachers, nurses, child welfare workers, police, firefighters, and other first responders passed its second Senate committee Thursday. SJR 1746 passed the Senate Finance and Tax Committee unanimously. The resolution would put a constitutional amendment on the 2022 ballot. If approved by 60% of voters, it would exempt the value of a homesteaded property between $100,000 and $150,000 on the tax rolls for first responders and teachers starting in 2023. Homestead properties are already exempted for the first $25,000 and the value from $50,000 to $75,000. The exemption would include about 4% of Florida’s workforce, said Sen. Jason Brodeur, the bill’s sponsor.

Bill favors Chris Latvala, allowing an earlier run for Pinellas Commission” via Tracey McManus of the Tampa Bay Times — Last year, Rep. Latvala filed paperwork to run for Pinellas County Commission District 5 in 2024 when fellow Republican Karen Seel plans to step down at the end of her sixth term. But if a bill filed this month passes into law, Latvala, who is term-limited out of the Florida House this year, won’t have to wait that long to run for Seel’s seat. House Bill 7061 is the companion to a Senate bill that would create an Office of Election Crimes and Security to investigate election fraud. But a provision tucked into the House version, filed Feb. 4, would require County Commissioners in single-member districts to run again for their seats following a redistricting process, which in Pinellas was finalized in December.

House votes to put election of Lee County Superintendent on the ballot” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Lee County voters could soon vote or whether to start electing a school Superintendent. The House on Thursday approved a local bill (HB 497) that would put the issue to a countywide referendum. But the matter sparked controversy, with many questioning the need for a switch when most superintendents nationwide are hired by school boards. Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulicka said it’s important to give voters a voice on both whether to elect and ultimately who should lead the schools. “We know that our constituents and Lee County are smart enough to make a choice between an unqualified candidate and a qualified candidate,” she said.

House passes heightened lobbying restrictions for former lawmakers and judges” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — The House has unanimously approved legislation further restricting former officials from lobbying in the years after they leave public service. The House voted unanimously to pass a couple of bills (HB 7001/HB 7003) to implement 2018’s Amendment 12, which places business and lobbying restrictions on former lawmakers. Penalties under the measures would include fines up to $10,000 and forfeiting money earned from illegally lobbying. Violators could also receive public censure or reprimand. Rep. Traci Koster is carrying both proposals. Both measures passed the House with no questions or debate.

Lotto winner anonymity bill heads to Senate floor with favorable odds” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — On Thursday, a proposal (SB 170) to grant 90 days of anonymity to lottery winners of $250,000 or more unanimously cleared the Senate Rules Committee, its last hurdle before heading to a floor vote. Considering how easily it glided through two prior Senate committees, the odds are good the bill will get a final OK and be sent to DeSantis’ desk. Last week, the House passed its twin (HB 159) by a near-unanimous vote, with only Howey-in-the-Hills Republican Rep.Sabatini voting “no.” The House bill, which Rep. Tracie Davis of Jacksonville sponsored, is now in messages.

Unknown: Tracie Davis’ anonymous lottery winner bill advances by a near-unanimous vote.

Putnam port study measure sets sail for the House” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — A bill from Sen. Keith Perry (SB 1038) would allow Putnam County to request a grant to conduct a port feasibility study and add the county to the Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development (FSTED) Council. Senators approved the measure 37-1 on Thursday, sending it to the House. Representatives from Florida’s 15 public seaports plus the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the Department of Economic Opportunity currently comprise the FSTED Council. Seaports on the Council get access to state grants some transportation experts say have helped boost the state’s shipping industry since the council’s creation. Along the St. Johns River, Palatka is home to the Putnam County Barge Port.

—SKED —

Assignment editors — Sen. Janet Cruz will hold a news conference to discuss SB 654 would allow court clerks across the state to securely file protective orders electronically with sheriffs’ offices instead of by U.S. Mail, 1 p.m., outside Pat Frank Courthouse, 419 Pierce St., Tampa.


—STATEWIDE —

Would DeSantis’ revived Florida State Guard succeed or fail? Here’s how the other states’ forces have fared.” via Lisa J. Huriash of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — DeSantis’ new push to revive the Florida State Guard has drawn fresh attention to these types of defense forces that have decades of history across the U.S. Their main goal is to serve as a backup in safeguarding communities during disasters, but DeSantis’ proposal still drew an outcry. Critics slammed the idea, worried the Governor instead would build a militia that acts at his whim. DeSantis’ supporters praised the plan, calling it an opportunity to strengthen emergency responses. Barry Stentiford, a retired reserve colonel, doesn’t find Florida’s plan so controversial. If done correctly, Florida’s State Guard could be on par with other such groups across the U.S., said Stentiford.

Right guard: The renewed Florida State Guard could be a good thing if done properly Image via WEAR.

Low-paid prosecutors, public defenders leave jobs or take side gigs to make ends meet” via Ana Ceballos and David Ovalle of the Miami Herald — Alex Lopez’s story is a familiar one in the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office: He joined in 2017, earning about $40,000, working his way up to prosecuting robbers and drug traffickers. In July 2021, Lopez left the office to start his own law firm. Within a few months, he’d already earned more than his previous salary from just a couple of cases. Lopez is among some 80 Miami-Dade prosecutors who have left the office in the past year. So far, DeSantis and Republican leaders in the House and Senate have not made as big a push to increase the salaries of state prosecutors and public defenders, as they have with sworn law enforcement officers.

Nature gap: Black people strive to overcome history of recreational barriers, reconnect with Florida land” via J.D. Gallop of Florida Today — Draped in camouflage, carrying a 0.20 gauge shotgun, Brandon Thompson wades through the thick mud and muck on Merritt Island hunting for ducks. He hopes to connect others, including Black youth, back to the land. Thompson is one of many trying to encourage others who look like him to explore the nation’s parks and green spaces. It’s a move to break through the legacy left behind from Jim Crow-era rules, segregationist attitudes, and economic barriers that kept many Black people away from Florida’s most sought-after outdoor spaces. A National Parks Service survey issued in 2018, before the COVID-19 pandemic, shows that Black people, about 13% of the U.S. population, made up just 6% of visitors to its 423 locations nationwide.

— CORONA FLORIDA —

Lawmakers extend COVID-19 protections for health care providers, nursing homes” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics — Health care providers will continue to enjoy protection from COVID-19 liability lawsuits after the Florida House on Thursday passed SB 7014 by an 87-31 vote. The measure heads to DeSantis, who is expected to sign it into law. Extending the lawsuit protections was one of the top priorities for the Florida Health Care Association, which represents the state’s for-profit nursing home industry, and other health care providers who worry that the current protections in law expire on March 29.

Protection: Health care facilities will be shielded from COVID-19 liability suits, at least for a bit longer. Image via AP.

COVID-19 update: Florida’s cases, hospitalizations continue to plummet; death toll jumps by 854” via David Schutz of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Florida reported 9,881 new coronavirus cases, one of the lowest daily numbers since the middle of December, and increased its overall death toll by 854. The batch of newly reported deaths brought the seven-day average for daily deaths to 190, back nearly to the previous peak of the omicron surge. Death reports lag behind case reports by three or more weeks. The number of patients in the hospital with COVID-19 was 6,740 on Wednesday, down 20% over a week and the lowest number since Jan. 2. There were 1,045 COVID-19 infected patients in intensive care units on Wednesday, also a decline of nearly 20% in a week. The hospital data combines patients admitted for COVID-19 with those infected while hospitalized.

Two contractors failed to report 230,000 COVID-19 tests during Florida’s omicron wave” via Ian Hodgson and Kirby Wilson of the Miami Herald — The Florida Department of Health reprimanded two companies for failing to report more than 230,000 COVID-19 tests taken in December and January. The missing tests could mean that the number of positive COVID-19 cases in Florida was even higher than reported during the state’s omicron wave, the most widespread outbreak to date, which peaked at over 65,000 average daily cases on Jan. 11. The state has received all of the missing test results, and state employees are currently reviewing the data, Department of Health spokesperson Jeremy Redfern said.

Judge denies Publix’s bid to toss lawsuit over worker’s COVID-19 death” via Marc Freeman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Publix must respond to a lawsuit claiming a Miami Beach store employee died from COVID-19 last April because he was restricted from wearing a mask, a judge says. The ruling by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Carlos Lopez follows pleadings by the supermarket giant that the dispute must be handled as a workers’ compensation claim rather than a lawsuit. Lopez did not elaborate on his decision that favors the estate of Gerardo Gutierrez, who was 70 when he died from the virus. Publix, which tried to have the litigation thrown out before it got very far, now must respond to it by Feb. 25.

In COVID-19’s wake, Central Florida actors look elsewhere for work” via Matthew J. Palm of the Orlando Sentinel — Many performers who left Orlando during the COVID-19 pandemic after work in the entertainment field dried up. There’s no precise data on how many performers have moved away from Central Florida since the spring of 2020, but theater directors and producers have plenty of anecdotal evidence. Writer-director Michael Wanzie recalls needing replacements for two of the three actors in his production of “It All Started at the Radisson Inn” after the original stars left the area. Orlando Repertory Theatre artistic director Jeffrey M. Revels has had to recast roles in two shows interrupted by the pandemic, including “Pete the Cat,” which reopens Feb. 18.

—2022 —

Charlie Crist rebukes DeSantis’ ‘shameful statement’ on Joe Rogan controversy” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — The controversial comments of podcaster Rogan are taking center stage in the race for Florida Governor. Crist rebuked incumbent DeSantis on Thursday for a “shameful statement” regarding Rogan. DeSantis said Rogan should not have apologized for remarks that included racial slurs over the years, a sentiment Crist vigorously contests. “Joe Rogan was right to apologize. As a successful public figure with a large following, he has a special responsibility for the impact his words have. Everyone makes mistakes, and it takes a responsible person to admit when they messed up,” Crist asserted. “That’s why it’s deeply disappointing and offensive to all Floridians that Gov. DeSantis would reject Joe Rogan’s apology.”

Ringer: In the Joe Rogan confrontation, Charlie Crist jumps in to blast Ron DeSantis.

María Elvira Salazar taps array of donors, GOP for $485K haul in Q4” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — U.S. Rep. Salazar collected more than $485,000 last quarter to defend her seat representing Florida’s 27th Congressional District by again drawing on a blend of grassroots and corporate donors from a variety of industries. Salazar’s financial reports show her campaign held $767,000 on New Year’s Day. According to filings with the Federal Election Commission, the campaign spent about $525,000 between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, owing about $224,000. Three filed to oppose her.

Dale Holness has six figures for CD 20 rematch” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Commissioner Holness is teeing up to run again for the congressional seat that eluded him by just five votes in the Special Democratic Primary last November. Reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission show Holness is in the money game in his bid to represent Florida’s 20th Congressional District, reporting more cash on hand than any other candidate who has filed to run. He raised $153,064 in the fourth quarter of 2021, albeit none of it in December. Holness spent $263,897 in the last three months of the year, leaving him with nearly $104,000 on hand, counting a $40,000 loan he made to his campaign.

Mike Beltran will shift to HD 70 to seek re-election” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Rep. Beltran, a Lithia Republican, will run for re-election in the new House District 70. That means he won’t face Rep. Andrew Learned, a Brandon Democrat, in what was shaping up to be a top contest in November. “The new districts won’t change my commitment to advocating for our community, advancing conservative policies, and protecting the Constitution in the Florida House of Representatives,” Beltran said.

— CORONA NATION —

Abrupt end to mask mandates reflects a shifting political landscape” via Fenit Nirappil and Tyler Pager of The Washington Post — As the coronavirus pandemic enters its third year, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is acutely aware that his state’s residents are increasingly desperate for their old lives, worried about their children’s schooling and exasperated by masks and other restrictions. Several of these Democratic governors have stressed that their constituents need to live with the virus, echoing rhetoric that their Republican counterparts adopted earlier in the pandemic.

Drop it: Phil Murphy gives up on school mask mandates. Image via AP.

Under pressure to ease up, Joe Biden weighs new virus response” via Zeke Miller of The Associated Press — Facing growing pressure to ease up on pandemic restrictions, the White House insisted it is making plans for a less-disruptive phase of the national virus response. But impatient states, including New York, made clear they aren’t waiting for Washington as public frustration grows. Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that New York will end its COVID-19 mandate requiring face coverings in most indoor public settings, but will keep it for schools. Illinois announced the same. Biden, who has long promised to follow to “follow the science” in confronting the pandemic, is hemmed in, waiting for fresh guidance from federal health officials, who so far still recommend that nearly all Americans wear masks in most indoor settings.

CDC weighs updating messaging around transmission and masking” via Erin Banco and Adam Canryn of POLITICO — The CDC is considering updating its guidelines on the metrics states should use when considering lifting public health measures such as mask mandates. Agency scientists and officials are debating whether to continue publicly supporting using transmission data as a marker to ease public health interventions such as masking, particularly in school settings. CDC staff are weighing whether the agency should use case rates as a metric or lean more heavily on hospitalization data, particularly information on hospital capacity. In recent days, the CDC has reached out to external doctors, scientists and public health organizations for input, one of the people with knowledge of the discussions said.

Most vulnerable still in jeopardy as COVID-19 precautions ease” via Lauran Neergaard of The Associated Press — Up to 7 million immune-compromised Americans have been left behind in the nation’s wobbly efforts to get back to normal. A weak immune system simply can’t rev up to fight the virus after vaccination as a healthy one does. Not only do these fragile patients remain at high risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19, but they can also harbor lengthy infections that can help spark still more variants. With more of the country now abandoning masks and other precautions as the omicron wave ebbs, how to keep this forgotten group protected is taking on new urgency. Indeed, amid all the talk about omicron being less severe for many people, the most contagious variant so far laid bare how the immune-compromised need more defenses.

— CORONA ECONOMICS —

Prices climbed 7.5% in January, compared with last year, continuing inflation’s fastest pace in 40 years” via Rachel Siegel and Andrew Van Dam of The Washington Post — Prices continued their upward march in January, rising by 7.5%, compared with the same period a year ago, the fastest pace in 40 years. Inflation was expected to climb relative to last January, when the economy reeled from a winter coronavirus surge with no widespread vaccines. Today’s new high inflation rate reflects all the accumulated price gains, in gasoline and other categories, built up in a tumultuous 2021. In the shorter term, data also showed prices rose 0.6% in January, compared with December.

Memory hole: Inflation has never been this bad — if you’re under 40. Image via AP.

Tampa Bay’s 9.6% inflation still tops other cities. These five charts show how.” via Jay Cridlin and Bernadette Berdychowski of the Tampa Bay Times — It’s no secret costs are still soaring in Tampa Bay. Prices across the region rose an average of 9.6% last month compared to January 2021, the highest hike of any major market in the study. That rate is even higher than the 8% annual inflation Tampa Bay saw in November when it again topped all other cities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks inflation in 23 major markets every month. Tampa Bay’s 9.6% January inflation rate was the highest of the 12 markets studied in January, far outpacing Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, California (8.6%), San Diego (8.2%), and Denver (7.9%).

— MORE CORONA —

Boost and cruise: CDC pushes for COVID-19 boosters in new optional program for cruise lines” via Morgan Hines and Bailey Schulz of USA Today — The CDC announced new guidance for the cruise industry Wednesday and will give cruise lines until Feb. 18 to decide whether they want to opt-in or not. The new COVID-19 program comes nearly a month after the agency’s Conditional Sailing Order, which outlined numerous health and safety protocols, expired on Jan. 15. Most guidelines outlined in the CSO remain in the updated program. The CDC’s new COVID-19 program adds a new “vaccination status” tier that offers a tailored approach for ships that operate with passengers and crew that are almost entirely fully vaccinated and boosted.

In or out? The CDC gives cruise lines a choice on boosters.

Viva Las Vegas — “Nevada, Vegas casinos rescind mask mandates effective immediately” via Scott Sonner and Ken Ritter of Fox 13 — Nevada and its casinos have rescinded requirements for people to wear masks in public, joining most other U.S. states lifting restrictions that were imposed to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Gov. Steve Sisolak announced he would no longer require face coverings in public places, “effective immediately.” State casino regulators followed with a rule change for casinos. Masks won’t be required in jails and correctional facilities, Sisolak said, but “there are locations where Nevadans and visitors may still be asked to wear a mask,” including hospitals, clinics and long-term care facilities, and at airports, on planes and public buses and school buses.

— PRESIDENTIAL —

Biden’s approval rating continues to erode, including with vital parts of his base” via Philip Bump of The Washington Post — You may recall last month when President Biden was holding a news conference, and a reporter asked how he planned to regain support from independents, and 2020 voters who polling showed had soured on his presidency. His response was unusually curt. “I don’t believe the polls,” he said. This is almost certainly not true, of course. Biden may not believe a poll showing his national approval at 33%, as might be suggested by the extent to which his team sought to tamp down confidence in that result. But he has been doing this long enough to know that polls are an important indicator of popular support.

Crumbling base: Joe Biden’s loss of support goes deep. Image via AP.

White House does damage control with Latino allies after criticism of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra” via Jonathan Allen and Natasha Korecki of NBC News — The White House is racing to respond to Latino allies rankled by public criticism of Becerra’s job performance. The outpouring of concern so rattled the administration that it launched a public campaign to reassure Becerra and key Latino supporters after The Washington Post reported last week that White House frustration with Becerra had grown so deep that aides have openly discussed replacing him. Following a story about Becerra’s low public profile, The Post report touched an already raw nerve among Latino leaders. Even though White House aides derided the speculation as “anonymous gossip,” prominent Latinos were concerned that a narrative could set in that Becerra had been sidelined.

— D.C. MATTERS —

Dems face a sobering possibility: Build back … never” via Burgess Everett of POLITICO — Build Back Never? The thought has crossed Democrats’ minds. President Biden’s $1.7 trillion social and climate spending plan is dead as written, rejected by Sen. Joe Manchin. The Senate is moving on to a host of other issues that will take up the rest of the winter and possibly some of the spring. And some Democrats concede there’s a small but distinct possibility they could have to shelve the whole endeavor indefinitely. The Senate is now in a long cooling-off period after the twin failures of “Build Back Better” and a push to change the Senate rules to pass elections bills.

Cooling off: For Joe Manchin, it’s more like ‘build back never.’ Image via AP.

Congress passes landmark #MeToo bill” via Emily Peck and Sophia Cai of Axios — With rare bipartisan support, the Senate passed landmark workplace legislation on Thursday that forbids companies from forcing sexual harassment and assault claims into arbitration. The secretive dispute resolution process keeps litigation out of the public eye and is widely considered to favor employers over workers. The bill is the first major piece of legislation to come out of the upheaval of the #MeToo era. It now heads to Biden for his signature.

Marco Rubio’s CRACK Act bars federal funds for pipes — White House denies it’s happening” via Bryan Lowry of the Miami Herald — Senators have introduced legislation to prohibit the use of federal funds for distributing pipes, something the White House disputes was ever on the table as part of a drug harm reduction program. The Cutting off Rampant Access to Crack Kits (CRACK) Act responds to a report that alleged that money from a $30 million grant program could be used to fund the distribution of “crack pipes,” a claim that the Biden administration and fact-checkers have repeatedly rejected. A Department of Health and Human Services document outlining the grant program lists safe smoking kits as one of the approved items that organizations can purchase with the grants of up to $400,000, along with infectious disease testing kits and syringes.

— CRISIS —

A Donald Trump adviser’s angry eruption over Jan. 6 bodes badly for democracy” via Greg Sargent of The Washington Post — It is a central tenet of Trump’s evolving mythology about Jan. 6 that what transpired that day constituted a world-historical act of betrayal of Trump. In this stab-in-the-back lore, when Mike Pence refused to invalidate Biden’s electors and help Trump overturn the election, Trump’s Vice President treacherously failed to do not just what he could have done, but what he should have done, on Trump’s behalf. The persistence of this among some top Trumpists, and the refusal of others to unequivocally side with Pence, bodes badly, as Trump’s movement adopts the idea that the only thing wrong with his coup scheme was that it failed.

— EPILOGUE TRUMP —

Investigators find gaps in White House logs of Trump’s Jan. 6 calls” via Luke Broadwater, Jonathan Martin, Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt of The New York Times — The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol has discovered gaps in official White House telephone logs from the day of the riot, finding few records of calls by Trump. Investigators have not uncovered evidence that any official records were tampered with or deleted, and it is well-known that Trump used his personal cellphone and those of his aides routinely to talk with aides, congressional allies, and outside confidants. The panel is still awaiting additional material from the National Archives, which keeps the official White House logs, and from telecommunications companies subpoenaed for the personal cellphone records of Trump’s inner circle.

Spotty record: There are major gaps in the White House logs. The National Archives is not pleased. Image via Vox.

Trump is on an endorsement spree and has now put his MAGA stamp on more than 100 political candidates since leaving the White House” via Warren Rojas and Jake Lahut of Business Insider — Trump made and then surpassed his 100th public endorsement on Wednesday in political races around the country since leaving the White House. It’s an important milestone that shows Trump’s enduring staying power inside the Republican Party. His list of MAGA-backed candidates also demonstrates a penchant for picking both incumbent and rookie political candidates with one thing in common: absolute loyalty to him. He has similarly picked people all over the place geographically, inserting himself into upcoming elections in at least 30 different states.

—LOCAL NOTES —

Before steakhouse slap, police say U.S. Rep.’s son slung a slur at Miami Commissioner” via Charles Rabin of the Miami Herald — The U.S. congressman’s son arrested for striking a Miami Commissioner at a popular Coral Gables steakhouse Wednesday afternoon, also tossed an insulting slur before striking him, a police officer who witnessed the incident said on the arrest form. “Hey p**sy, do you remember me?” the officer reported Carlos J. Giménez as saying just before hitting Miami Commissioner Alex Diaz de la Portilla with an open hand on the side of the head. Giménez was charged with one misdemeanor count of battery. Records showed he had been released by 11 a.m. Thursday. His bond had been set at $1,500. Gimenez has hired attorney Michael Band, who said Thursday morning he hadn’t seen the arrest report and didn’t have enough information to comment.

Slappy: Carlos J. Giménez gets arrested for a restaurant row.

Boynton Beach mayoral candidate is found guilty in anti-mask dispute in West Boca” via Lisa J. Huriash of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Cindy Falco-DiCorrado was found guilty Tuesday by a six-member jury of two misdemeanor counts of trespassing and resisting an officer without violence. “I’m disappointed; I feel this is all a political ploy,” she said Thursday. “This all stems from a mask. … This is wrong on every level.” The encounter happened in January 2021 inside an Einstein Bros. Bagels when Falco-DiCorrado refused to cover her face inside the restaurant. She shouted at customers and employees about her right not to wear a mask while refusing to leave the store, leading deputies to arrest her.

A developer sued Boca Raton for $137 million. The city won. Here’s what it could mean for the future.” via Austen Erblat of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Nearly four years ago, a prominent developer drew Boca Raton’s attention by unveiling plans for a massive destination that would’ve offered up to 2,500 new apartments and condos, with shops and restaurants near the Town Center mall. But when those plans to build Midtown Boca seemingly fizzled, the developer, Crocker Partners, sued the city for $137 million in 2018, arguing that the city’s rejection of its plans had damaged the value of the land and other nearby properties it owned. The city of Boca Raton ultimately prevailed in the legal battle, helping illustrate how local governments have latitude in deciding whether to build such communities.

St. Johns teachers fear they must ‘out’ LGBTQ students to parents” via Katherine Hobbs of WJCT News — Some teachers in St. Johns County Public Schools are alarmed about a recent policy change that could force them to reveal LGBTQ students to their parents. Under new guidelines, teachers are asked to report a student’s change in name or pronouns to the administration, which informs the child’s guardians. A St. Johns teacher, speaking under the condition of anonymity, stated his concern for his students’ safety. He said some students are not comfortable coming out to their parents because they fear mistreatment, abuse or conversion therapy, the practice of trying to “cure” a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Pronoun trouble: Teachers are worried new rules would force them to out LGBTQ students. Image via AP.

Citrus County wants input on potential turnpike routes” via Mike Wright of Florida Politics — Citrus County Commissioners say they want to be on the front end of the state’s plans to extend Florida’s Turnpike from Wildwood to U.S. 19 near Crystal River. Rather than wait for the state to tell Citrus which of the four preferred alternative routes it chooses, Commissioner Jeff Kinnard said the community should be involved in gathering input now. “We know public interest is gaining ground,” Kinnard said during Tuesday’s County Commission meeting. Kinnard suggested, and the board agreed, to conduct a workshop in May to discuss which route it prefers and which ones to avoid, and then to provide that information to the state.

UF athletics report $36 million loss, but SEC affiliation offsets pandemic’s impact” via Edgar Thompson of the Orlando Sentinel — The University of Florida lost $36 million in athletics during the pandemic, but it could have been worse if not for the Gators’ long-standing SEC affiliation. The actual price tag from the COVID-19′s financial impact totaled $59 million, according to the most recent annual NCAA report. A year after reporting revenue totaling $175 million, UF’s University Athletic Association brought in $139 million during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021. The $36 million decline would have been even greater without the SEC awarding one-time support of $23 million to all 14 member schools.

— TOP OPINIONS —

This year’s Super Bowl showcases the pandemic double standards that try our patience” via Bill Whalen of The Washington Post — “Showcase” and “Super Bowl” go together — the game is a showcase for the NFL, a showcase for advertisers, a showcase for athletic talent. On Sunday, the Super Bowl in Los Angeles is also likely to be a showcase for pandemic double standards and shifting rules that increasingly are trying the American public’s patience. Every fan arriving on Sunday will receive a KN95 mask and be instructed to wear the mask at all times in the building except when eating or drinking. Less than two weeks ago, the NFC Championship Game was held before a crowd of 73,202 fans, few of them wearing masks that this TV viewer could discern.

The Super Bowl: Our (undeclared) national holiday” via Mike Vogel of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — These are challenging times, and we need distractions more than ever. The Super Bowl provides that and more, from powerhouse teams to budget-busting ads to a dazzling halftime show. This year’s extravaganza will feature rappers Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar. I can visualize readers excitedly screaming “That’s dope!” or “OMG, no!” or “Who?” Whatever the case, the game has steadily grown to become one of our biggest (if undeclared) national holidays, right up there with Christmas and the Fourth of July. Last year’s championship attracted 96.4 million TV viewers, with retiring Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady making his farewell Super Bowl appearance a spectacular one.

— OPINIONS —

Jan. 6 is only ‘legitimate political discourse’ coming from an illegitimate political party” via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board — The RNC put on the historical record a week ago that the deadly attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was “legitimate political discourse.” To hear the principal author, though, it was simply the unintended outcome of incompetent drafting. But it remains in print for the world to see. The context is nearly as staggering as the violent insurrection itself, which meant to overturn the election of Biden and perpetuate Trump, a man with the manners and morals of a fascist dictator, in the presidency that he had fairly lost by more than 7 million popular votes and 74 electors.

My miscarriage was crushing. Overturning Roe could make the ordeal even worse.” via Katherine Clark of The Boston Globe — We recently celebrated the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruling protecting women’s reproductive rights. So now, the question is, will Roe make it to 50? Abortion is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to access for millions of Americans, especially low-income people and people of color. Today, we’re witnessing a renewed assault on mifepristone, the abortion pill that is also used in many cases for nonsurgical miscarriages. Yet another barrier for reproductive health care and a tactic to frighten and take power away from pregnant people, regardless of their feelings toward their pregnancy.

Is open government still the law in Florida?” via the Tampa Bay Times editorial board — The Florida Department of Health undermined the fight against COVID-19 by halting detailed reports on the pandemic last June. That was strike one. Strike two is the department’s effort to scuttle a lawsuit that seeks to hold the state accountable for making that poor decision. It’s another reminder of where DeSantis stands on open government. Attorneys for the department filed a petition this month at the 1st District Court of Appeal seeking to shield agency officials from having to explain why the state stopped releasing the reports. The move was in response to a lawsuit filed in August by the Florida Center for Government Accountability and state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith that seeks to obtain the information under Florida’s Public Records Law.

Florida should not execute people with serious mental illness” via Celeste Fitzgerald for the Tampa Bay Times — Florida is one of only 13 active death penalty states that executes people with serious mental illness. With pending Republican-sponsored legislation, state lawmakers have a chance to protect this vulnerable group from the death penalty. They should do so. We know so much more today about serious mental illness than when Florida’s death penalty law was enacted in 1972. Everything we’ve learned indicates the need to treat people with serious mental illness differently in the criminal justice system. Serious mental illness is relevant to everything from a defendant’s culpability to his ability to participate in the legal process.

Guest workers essential to Florida agriculture” via Mike Joyner for the Orlando Sentinel — Earlier this month, legal H-2A agricultural workers staying at a Maitland hotel were falsely accused of being undocumented immigrants. The responses, witnessed across social media and at a rally toward workers who play a vital role in Florida’s agriculture industry, were incredibly concerning and even heartbreaking. Many within the agriculture industry utilize the H-2A visa program to hire temporary or seasonal legal workers to supplement their U.S. workforce. It’s a program that has been around for decades, and the importance of it to Florida agriculture cannot be overstated. In fact, Florida is the largest user of the H-2A program in the country, with approximately 39,000 visas approved in 2020, a dramatic increase from the roughly 4,400 visas approved for Florida in 2010.

—TODAY’S SUNRISE —

Gov. DeSantis says controversial Spotify podcaster Rogan should not be apologizing. Congressman and gubernatorial candidate Crist says if that includes Rogan’s use of the N-word, there’s a problem …

Also on today’s Sunrise:

— At a Crist roundtable on racism, antisemitism and hate groups in Florida, Crist says he’s asked the U.S. Attorney General to investigate.

— There was a Trans Youth Day at the Florida State Capitol this week. But organizers kept the date quiet to protect the kids.

— And, have you marked yourself safe from the “gazpacho police?”

To listen, click on the image below:

— WEEKEND TV —

Facing South Florida with Jim DeFede on CBS 4 in Miami: The Sunday show provides viewers with an in-depth look at South Florida politics and other issues affecting the region.

In Focus with Allison Walker on Bay News 9/CF 13: A discussion of the state of the ongoing Legislative Session with Democratic leaders and the status of the Democratic agendas in Tallahassee.

Political Connections Bay News 9 in Tampa/St. Pete: A look at a bill that would prohibit the discussion of sexual orientation in Florida’s primary schools; and a one-on-one interview with Kevin Hayslett, candidate for Florida’s 13th Congressional District.

Political Connections on CF 13 in Orlando: Rep. Sabatini will discuss bills he’s filed in the Legislature, including open carry revisions and verification procedures for employment eligibility.

This Week in Jacksonville with Kent Justice on Channel 4 WJXT: Sen. Audrey Gibson, Rep. Cord Byrd and Jacksonville City Council member Ron Salem.

This Week in South Florida on WPLG-Local10 News (ABC): Topics include new Dade/Broward school superintendents, “don’t say gay” bills and continuing COVID-19 issues in classrooms.

— OLYMPICS —

Cleared for COVID-19, FSU student Josh Williamson set to join Olympic bobsled teammates in China” via Jim Henry of the Tallahassee Democrat — Williamson has been cleared to join his Olympic teammates in Beijing. The U.S. bobsled athlete and Florida State student shared on Facebook Tuesday that he was “Beijing bound!” Williamson may be the first FSU student to compete in the Winter Olympics, according to FSU. On Jan. 28, Williamson — a brakeman on the four-man team — wrote on Instagram that he would not be flying to Beijing with other members of Team USA after testing positive for COVID-19.

A long strange trip: Josh Williamson is finally cleared for Beijing. Image via FSU.

COVID-19 tests, red-eye flights and borrowed skates: Casey Dawson’s crazy journey to the Beijing Olympics” via Tom Schad of USA Today — The first flight of Dawson‘s crazy journey left Salt Lake City, Utah at around 8 a.m. local time Sunday. Which was around 10 a.m. in Atlanta, where he traveled first. Or 4 p.m. in Paris, where he had to switch planes. Or 11 p.m. in Beijing, where he was scheduled to race in, oh, about 44 hours. And if you think that’s crazy, here comes the kicker. “I got here this morning, and all of my bags were not here,” the U.S. speedskater said. That’s relevant because those bags were carrying, among other things, his skates. “It’s the cherry on top of this whole situation,” Dawson said, shaking his head.

Over COVID-19, Elana Meyers Taylor gets Olympic bobsled training runs” via The Associated Press — U.S. bobsledder Meyers Taylor has finally made it to the Olympic track. The worst of her coronavirus scare that started with a positive test on Jan. 29 is behind her. She’s testing negative now, as are her husband and young son. The three-time Olympic medalist participated in the first official session of women’s monobob training on Thursday. Meyers Taylor had not been on the ice at the Yanqing Sliding Center since this fall, and before Thursday, hadn’t been in a sled since the final World Cup race of the season in St. Moritz nearly a month ago.

For Nathan Chen, the journey to redemption is complete” via Les Carpenter of The Washington Post — The ending was so decisive that when Chen finally won his Olympic gold medal Thursday afternoon, the victory felt almost anticlimactic. He had landed all his free skate jumps. His greatest rival, Japan’s two-time gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu, had skated out of contention, for the most part, two days earlier. No serious challenge loomed from the scoreboard above Capital Indoor Stadium. The revelation that his final score of 332.60 would be more than 22 points ahead of anyone else was simply a formality. It was almost out of obligation that he skated a victory lap around the ice, holding an American flag behind his head, doing the traditional smiles for the photographers gathered at rink’s edge.

What went wrong in Mikaela Shiffrin’s slalom” via Barry Svrluga, Artur Galocha and Bonnie Berkowitz of The Washington Post — When Shiffrin started down the slalom course in Yanqing, China, on Wednesday, she was intentionally aggressive. Her 47 World Cup victories and 2014 Olympic gold medal prove she knows how to win a slalom, perhaps better than anyone else in the world. The turns are set close enough that there is little room for error. But at the fourth gate, Shiffrin slipped. The slip at the fourth gate threw her off-balance, and she was out of position as her momentum carried her toward the fifth. She cleared it, but her skis were pointed down the hill when they should’ve been heading toward the next gate, and she was unable to recover.

— ALOE —

We tracked Bengals owner Mike Brown and Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s political donations” via Noah Pransky of NBCLX — Before the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals face off in Super Bowl LVI, Pransky went through the team owners’ history as political donors. The Bengals owners love Republicans, while the Rams owners were more balanced in where they sent their cash.

31M Americans to bet on Super Bowl, gambling group estimates” via Wayne Parry of The Associated Press — A record 31.5 million Americans plan to bet on this year’s Super Bowl, according to estimates released Tuesday by the gambling industry’s national trade group. The American Gaming Association forecasts that over $7.6 billion will be wagered on pro football’s championship game set for Sunday. Both the number of people planning to bet (up 35% from last year) and the estimated amount of money being bet (up 78% from last year) are records. Bettors include people making casual wagers with friends or relatives, entries into office pools, wagers with licensed sportsbooks, and bets placed with illegal bookmakers.

You betcha: 31 million people will participate in the great American pastime — Super Bowl bets.

— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —

Happy birthday to former Gov. Jeb Bush, Alex Conant, Hannah Kaplan Plante, John Rodriguez, former First Lady Ann Scott, and Larry Williams.

___

Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Daniel Dean, Renzo Downey, Jacob Ogles, 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.


4 comments

  • Tom

    February 11, 2022 at 5:51 am

    First three stories are so predictable and so bad.
    Racist Lincoln Org, pathetic group. They have no steer credibility. Lot’s of nothing from Crispy critters, and dreadful fundraising from Fraud.
    All three, a joke. America’s Governor the best.

    • nail

      February 11, 2022 at 8:28 am

      How much does the vile DeSantis and his Ukrainian puppet, pay you for this BS?

      • Tom

        February 12, 2022 at 7:12 am

        Hey pal, snail, excuse me nail.
        You need to get a grip! Everything said is accurate above.
        I am a legged on FP.
        You and the rest of your Manchurians don’t have a clue. You are an embarrassment along with the rest of your tom a tons! Can’t think on own
        BTW, America’s Gov has been vindicated by the northeast Govs lifting mandates. LMAO.
        The line for leadership and America’s future starts with Gov Ron.

        Open Schools, school scholarship opportunity, jobs-employment, teachers, first responders, environmental policy, quality of life and families are number one with Gov Ron. There is a new paradigm and working class, middle class and blue collar workers are now majority party in the Repub party. DeSantis is leading that new wave. The elites are over.

        Snail, mail, or Nail. LMAO.

  • politics

    February 11, 2022 at 9:45 am

    I will have to say where art thou little llaves..this all seems to be a mystery.

Comments are closed.


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