Good Thursday morning.
Chick-fil-A is expanding in Florida, and it has tapped the lobbying team at Capital City Consulting to help it navigate the ins and outs of the state’s politics and regulatory environment.
The chain has nearly 3,000 franchises across the nation. More than 200 are in Florida, and the number is growing fast.
According to Capital City Consulting lobbyist Jim Boxold, the company retained the firm to help familiarize them with state and local government issues in Florida. Currently, the company is not advocating for any policy changes in the state.
“They’re wanting to continue to grow in a responsible way and continue being the company that customers know and love,” Boxold said.
Chick-fil-A is also seeking the firm’s help in permitting, mostly on transportation issues. Whenever Chick-fil-A opens a free-standing location, it must receive a permit from the Florida Department of Transportation to connect it to the surrounding roads.
A smooth permitting process is essential as the company explores drive-thru-only locations. Chick-fil-A has announced plans for drive-thru-only locations in its home state of Georgia as well as Arkansas and Florida.
As reported by The Florida Times-Union, the company’s first such location in the Sunshine State will likely be on Atlantic Boulevard in Jacksonville.
Capital City Consulting, led by Nick Iarossi and Ron LaFace, is the third-largest lobbying firm in Florida measured by revenue. It represents more than 200 clients, including major corporations such as Delta Air Lines and CVS.
As campaign season heats up, Florida Politics proudly announces that Aimee Sachs is joining the team.
Sachs, a Tallahassee native, comes to Florida Politics from The Florida Channel, where she has worked as a senior reporter for the past year. Her work has appeared in many other publications throughout Florida and the Southeast.
The University of Florida journalism alum got her start at The Independent Florida Alligator and WUFT, the NPR affiliate for North Central Florida.
She spent many years of her career as a sports writer for the Tallahassee Democrat and Lakeland Ledger. For several years, Sachs covered Braves games for MLB.com — an experience she called a dream come true.
Her resume also includes covering Georgia legal and political news as a reporter for Courthouse News Service.
At Florida Politics, Sachs will be shining a light on the many exciting campaigns on ballots in the Panhandle and the Tallahassee area. Look for her first byline soon.
— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —
— @JimRosicaFL: The official schedule for Fla. @LtGovNunez shows she visited a @SpaceX launch facility today near Brownsville, Texas — just coincidentally the same day @elonmusk tweeted he was leaning toward @RonDeSantisFL for Prez in ’24. 😁 #FlaPol
Talk about message discipline. @GovRonDeSantis team sticks to the media talking points even in internal (not at all public) emails sent among staff.
This one is not super recent, but does show an impressive commitment to all, considering it was not meant for public consumption pic.twitter.com/Tpvz7k24zk
— Matt Dixon (@Mdixon55) June 15, 2022
Politics over people. Culture wars and bigotry over high-paying jobs for Floridians. This is who Ron DeSantis is. Disney delays moving 2,000 jobs to Orlando amid ‘don’t say gay’ clash with DeSantis – Orlando Sentinel https://t.co/foLb7BWNSG
— Stan Van Gundy (@realStanVG) June 15, 2022
Fried campaign sounding off about the fact that Crist showed up with a notebook at Palm Beach County Democratic forum https://t.co/W8eMKexhiw
— Gary Fineout (@fineout) June 16, 2022
—@JimmyMidyette: Why are the Proud Boys sending love notes to Ron DeSantis in their coup planning documents?
—@jacobogles: And like clockwork, I’m starting to hear from the Jonathan Martin haters, who say, among other things, he let the @LeeCountyFLGOP offices in 2018 turn into an @adamputnam headquarters until @RonDeSantisFL won the Primary. #FlaPol
—@KevinCate: I’m a huge advocate for “self-driving” cars, but I also think other drivers have a right to know if a car has it enabled. Should be a standard indicator light on the front and back of cars — like a Dole (CHMSL) light.
—@Aedwardslevy: a longtime DC bakery called Incrumbency
— DAYS UNTIL —
Pixar’s ‘Lightyear’ premieres — 1; ‘Civil: Ben Crump’ premieres on Netflix — 3; 2022 Florida Chamber Learners to Earners Workforce Solution Summit — 12; ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ premieres — 21; 36th Annual Environmental Permitting School — 33; San Diego Comic-Con 2022 — 37; Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner novel ‘Heat 2’ publishes — 55; FRLA’s Operations and Marketing Summit — 63; ‘House of the Dragon’ premieres on HBO — 66; 2022 Florida Chamber Technology & Innovation Solution Summit — 76; ‘Andor’ premieres on Disney+ — 76; ‘The Lord of the Rings’ premieres on Amazon Prime — 78; NFL Opening Night: LA Rams vs. Buffalo Bills — 84; 2022 Emmys — 88; ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ sequel premieres — 113; Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 130; Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Passenger’ releases — 131; Jon Meacham’s ‘And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle’ releases — 131; ‘Black Panther 2’ premieres — 147; FITCon 2022 begins — 154; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 154; The World Cup kicks off in Qatar — 158; The U.S. World Cup Soccer Team begins play — 158; McCarthy’s ‘Stella Maris’ releases — 159; Florida TaxWatch’s Annual Meeting begins — 167; ‘Willow’ premieres on Disney+ — 167; ‘Avatar 2’ premieres — 181; ‘Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 245; 2023 Legislative Session convenes — 263; ‘John Wick: Chapter 4′ premieres — 281; 2023 Session Sine Die — 323; ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ premieres — 323; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ premieres — 351; ‘Captain Marvel 2′ premieres — 407; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 491; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Part 2 premieres — 652; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 771.
— TOP STORY —
“Elon Musk ‘leaning’ toward supporting Ron DeSantis for President” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO — DeSantis appears to be winning the Musk Primary. Tucked in a Twitter thread where Musk, the world’s richest man worth an estimated $205 billion, discussed midterm politics and the fact he voted Republican for the first time during Tuesday night’s primaries, he said DeSantis, at the moment, is who he would support for President in 2024. Musk commented about DeSantis in reply to a tweet about Mayra Flores winning a Special Election and flipping a congressional seat long held by Democrats. She will now become the first Mexican-born Congresswoman.
When asked about Elon Musk’s tweet that he is “leaning toward” supporting Desantis for president in 2024, he responds: “I welcome support from African-Americans.” pic.twitter.com/6gg34E2gIm
— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) June 15, 2022
“Chris Christie says he doesn’t know DeSantis well enough to attack him” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Long before they called DeSantis “America’s Governor,” Christie cut a singular figure of his own. Currently out of elected office, Christie has not ruled out a run in 2024, a play that could put him on a collision course with DeSantis if both men run. Christie already derailed one Floridian’s presidential hopes with a bruising takedown of Sen. Marco Rubio during the Primary debates of 2016. On the edition of the Ruthless Podcast released Tuesday, Christie suggested devising a strategy for dispatching DeSantis may be a bit tougher than handling Rubio was. “It’s going to take some time because I don’t really know him,” Christie said.
— 2022 —
“Charlie Crist lists net worth at $1.9M, DeSantis sits at $319,000” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Crist’s net worth is just under $2 million while DeSantis’ sits just under $319,000. Crist filed his financial disclosure covering 2021 on Monday, reporting a net worth of $1.96 million. The report detailed about $1.9 million in mutual funds and stocks, a bank account, an income plan, and his 25-foot fishing boat among his assets, and no other properties. Rent on his St. Petersburg home comprised his only listed liability. Crist listed annual income totaling $309,982, including $57,493 from the Florida Division of Retirement, $174,000 from his congressional salary, and the rest from various investment incomes. DeSantis filed his latest financial disclosure covering 2021 last week, showing a net worth of $318,986.
“With $319,000 of net worth, DeSantis is the anti-Donald Trump when it comes to his own money, records show” via Kimberly Leonard of Business Insider — Trump’s investments are exotic, impenetrable, and monumental. But the finances of DeSantis are conservative, straightforward, and boring. The net worth of DeSantis is $318,986.99, according to a financial disclosure filed last week. He doesn’t trade stocks, has $21,284.92 in student loans, and doesn’t own property. DeSantis’ finances had fallen from 2020 when he reported a net worth of $348,832. The change can be attributed to the market downturn that caused reductions in his USAA checking and savings account and his thrift savings plan. DeSantis writes that his only income for 2021 was the $134,181 he made as Governor. The salary represents a pay cut from the $174,000 he made when he was a member of Congress.
“DeSantis’ ‘insurrection’ jibe irks Democratic AG candidate” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Ron DeSantis’ characterization of Supreme Court anti-abortion protesters as partaking in “insurrection” got a rise out of a Democrat running for Attorney General. Santa Rosa Beach lawyer Daniel Uhlfelder condemned DeSantis’ “absurd” turn of phrase in a media release. “On the issue of peaceful protests, the First Amendment is clear,” Uhlfelder. “Ron DeSantis’ absurd labeling of peaceful protest as an insurrection is a dangerous betrayal of free speech. Not only is free speech protected by the Constitution, it is a core value of our American democracy.”
“Marine combat veteran announces self-funded Primary challenge to Matt Gaetz” via Kyle Morris and Brandon Gillespie of Fox News — A businessman and Marine combat veteran with extensive aviation experience has announced a self-funded Primary challenge to Rep. Gaetz to represent the Sunshine State’s 1st Congressional District. Mark Lombardo, who flew CH-46 helicopters in Vietnam and is a former FedEx executive and pilot, described his vision for the district and his mission to defeat Gaetz, who he said has made some “terrible choices,” and to “serve the good, hardworking people of Northwest Florida.” “Matt Gaetz is completely ineffective as a Congressman,” Lombardo said, pointing to Gaetz’s record. Lombardo has pledged to spend up to $1 million to defeat Gaetz in a GOP Primary in late August.
Aaron Bean adds nine endorsements for CD 4 bid — Republican Sen. Bean announced another wave of endorsements for his campaign for Florida’s 4th Congressional District. The new backers include former U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw, former FSU President and Florida House Speaker John Thrasher, former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, former Jacksonville Mayors John Peyton and John Delaney, Baldwin Mayor Sean Lynch, Atlantic Beach Mayor Ellen Glasser, Neptune Beach Mayor Elaine Brown and Jacksonville Beach Mayor Chris Hoffman. “These great leaders have all served our community tirelessly, focusing on building up our Northeast region and putting the needs of our neighbors first. I am honored to have their support and take our shared commitment of conservative values to Washington to fight out-of-control gas prices, inflation, and government overreach,” Bean said.
Bean hits the airwaves in CD 4 — Bean released a new ad Wednesday in his campaign for Florida’s 4th Congressional District. In the 30-second video titled “Best Days,” the Republican state Senator says the country’s best days are still ahead if Americans “do the right thing.” … “Northeast Florida is home. Always has been, always will be. I know our best days are still ahead. As a lifelong conservative, I also know Joe Biden is a train wreck,” Bean says. “In Congress, I’ll fight to end inflation, fix our economy, secure our border. I’ll fight for life, our police, our Constitution.” Bean launched his CD 4 campaign earlier this month. The district covers portions of Nassau, Clay and Duval counties and is expected to perform Republican in November.
To watch the ad, click on the image below:
Bankers shell out in CD 4 — The American Bankers Association made $158,050 in ad buys in the Sunshine State this week, nearly three-quarters of which targeted the Jacksonville media market. The buy, placed through Media Ad Ventures, will place ads on broadcast TV from June 21 to 30. Of the total, $118,459 was directed to the Jacksonville market. The buy also includes $37,469 in ads in the Miami market and $2,120 in ads in the Panama City market. According to AdImpact, the Jacksonville ad buys are for political messaging in the race for Florida’s 4th Congressional District.
“Former Orange County Commissioner Ted Edwards enters CD 7 contest” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Edwards has filed to run in the crowded Republican field for Florida’s 7th Congressional District. Edwards, a real estate lawyer from Winter Park, filed and qualified for the ballot Wednesday, becoming the eighth Republican eligible in a district that Republicans hope to flip, that spans Seminole County and southern Volusia County. He was a leading figure in Central Florida politics and the leading fiscal conservative on the Orange County Commission before his upset loss when he sought re-election in 2016. His district had represented Winter Park and northeastern Orange County.
— MORE 2022 —
“Jay Collins shifts to challenge Janet Cruz, with DeSantis’ support” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Collins will end his bid for Congress and challenge state Sen. Cruz for her seat in the Legislature. DeSantis immediately endorsed Collins as the best Republican to challenge the Tampa Democrat. Meanwhile, Tampa businessperson Shawn Harrison, who filed in April, will leave the race. “Proud to support (Collins) for Senate District 14. Jay is a conservative, a fighter, and a veteran. He was a Green Beret and is a Purple Heart amputee. I look forward to serving alongside him in Tallahassee,” DeSantis tweeted.
“State’s biggest LBGTQ political organization backs Lauren Book” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Book will compete in her first ballot contest with the endorsement of the state’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization. Equality Florida Wednesday announced it is backing Book as she seeks her second full term in the Senate. She is facing a Democratic Primary opponent in former Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief. The LBGTQ community is facing a moment that requires strong allies, and Book has been that throughout her leadership, the organization said. “At a time when Republican extremists in the Florida Legislature have repeatedly attacked the LGBTQ community with hateful and discriminatory policies, Sen. Book has led Senate Democrats to our defense,” said Joe Saunders, Senior Political Director for Equality Florida.
“DeSantis endorses Jonathan Martin to succeed Ray Rodrigues in SD 33” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Martin hasn’t filed for a Florida Senate seat — but already landed DeSantis’ support. DeSantis made clear he expects Sen. Rodrigues, an Estero Republican, will not seek re-election in a tweet endorsing Martin for the job. “I want to thank Sen. Rodrigues for his service to Florida. I wish him well in his future endeavors,” DeSantis posted. “Jonathan Martin is a conservative fighter for Southwest Florida. I am pleased to support him for Senate District 33. He will be a strong ally for our agenda.” Martin confirmed to Florida Politics he is running for Florida Senate.
“Paul Renner endorses Michelle Salzman in Mike Hill rematch” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — Renner is endorsing incumbent Rep. Salzman as she faces a Primary rematch against former Rep. Hill, who she unseated two years ago. Hill filed Tuesday to retake his seat representing House District 1. Both are Pensacola Republicans, but Hill’s actions inside and outside the Legislature ostracized him in Tallahassee, and the establishment coalesced around Salzman in 2020. With the endorsement from Renner, a Palm Coast Republican who is expected to lead the House next term, the establishment is again choosing Salzman, a U.S. Army veteran. Renner serves as chair of the Florida House Republican Campaign Committee, the House Majority’s campaign arm.
“DeSantis endorses David Smith for HD 38” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics — In a Wednesday evening tweet, DeSantis said Smith “is a proven fighter for Florida. I commend his service in the USMC and his service in the FL House. I look forward to winning with him in November.” The endorsement comes as Smith is running in a crowded race for new House District 38. The Winter Springs lawmaker is up against two other Republicans, with four Democrats also competing to make the November ballot. DeSantis’ support could be a difference-maker in the race. In other contests, the Governor’s endorsement has cleared the field. In addition to landing the Governor’s support, House Speaker-Designate Renner recently endorsed Smith. He also holds a sizable fundraising advantage over his competition.
“LaVon Bracy Davis gets backing of Anna Eskamani, Carlos Guillermo Smith in HD 40” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Bracy Davis has received the endorsements of Rep. Smith and Eskamani for the Democratic Primary Election in House District 40 in Orange County. Bracy Davis, an Ocoee lawyer and senior director of community programming at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, expects to face Melissa Myers, a talent recruiter and employment consultant from Ocoee. By Wednesday morning, Bracy had qualified for the HD 40 ballot, along with Nate Robertson. The new HD 40 covers a swath of western Orange, including Ocoee, Pine Hills and College Park. The district has an overwhelming Democratic base.
“Ashley Gantt outraises incumbent for third straight month to take funding lead in HD 109” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — It took Gantt less than three months to close the fundraising gap between herself and incumbent Democratic Rep. James Bush III, whom she hopes to unseat this year. That included another successful fundraising round last month when her campaign account took in about $11,000 — a sum she outspent by about $1,000. As of May 31, Gantt has raised more than $53,000. Of that, she has about $39,000 left. More than 55 people donated to her campaign in May. Most of those contributions came through checks of $100 or less. Among her noteworthy donors are former Miami-Dade County Commissioner Kathryn Sorenson, lawyer and House District 114 candidate Adam Benna and veteran Democratic consultant Christian Ulvert.
—”Jim Mooney tops HD 120 field in May fundraising” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics
— STATEWIDE —
“DeSantis selects Chris Graham as State Guard Director amid budding hurricane season” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — With the hurricane season underway, DeSantis’ State Guard is taking shape. DeSantis announced Wednesday that recently retired Marine Lt. Col. Graham will be the Director of the Florida State Guard, a civilian force the Legislature resurrected this year at the Republican Governor’s behest. The Director will oversee the recruitment and training of 400 guard members and mobilize the force during states of emergency. Graham grew up in Miami and moved to the Panhandle after leaving active duty in the Marines. He now lives in Destin.
“Every state but Florida preordered COVID-19 vaccines for kids under 5” via Michael Wilner of the Miami Herald — Every state has placed an order with the federal government to ensure coronavirus vaccines for young children are delivered as soon as regulators authorize their use, except for one. Florida has yet to request delivery of COVID-19 pediatric vaccines for children under 5, missing yesterday’s deadline for preorders and guaranteeing a delay in access for parents across the state. All other 49 states placed preorders to be delivered in two tranches beginning as early as Monday to thousands of pediatrician’s offices, children’s hospitals, pharmacies and health centers across the country. Those facilities in Florida will not have access during this time and will remain without supply until Florida places an order.
“Medicaid for Florida’s transgender youth at risk under DeSantis” via Gershon Harrell of The Gainesville Sun — On June 2, the Agency for Healthcare Administration released a 46-page report titled “Generally Accepted Professional Medical Standards Determination on the Treatment of Gender Dysphoria.” It was compiled by six medical professionals who claim that there is not enough evidence that sex reassignment through medical intervention is a “safe and effective” treatment for those experiencing gender dysphoria. The change, some fear, means transgender youth will also lose access to hormones and puberty blocker medications. Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo has also requested the Florida Board of Medicine to review and create policies restricting gender-affirming care for transgender youth.
“Book banning getting real in Florida schools: County teachers told to turn in books” via Frank Cerabino of the Palm Beach Post — The book banning in Florida is getting real. A crop of laws passed this year by the state Legislature aimed at banning reading material in schools to whitewash American history and marginalize LGBTQ students is reaching the classroom level. Palm Beach County’s classroom teachers were sent a message by the district instructing them to use the summer break to cull the newly deemed objectionable material from their classroom library collections. That means everything from literary masterpieces by Toni Morrison to elementary-school picture books that appear to show a child with same-sex parents.
“Rural broadband tough and expensive, but possible, says Brad Swanson” via Wes Wolfe of Florida Politics — Getting that last mile in broadband internet connectivity for Floridians isn’t an easy nor inexpensive task, but the opportunities have never been better according to Swanson, president and CEO of Florida Internet & Television. “It’s really going to take a village to connect what are the hardest areas and the most expensive,” Swanson said Wednesday at the Flagler Tiger Bay Club. Florida is one of the most connected states in the nation, and for their part, Swanson said the cable industry invested more than $10 billion in broadband connectivity throughout the state in the past decade.
“Top IT official: Low pay, ‘remote’ location turns talent away from state jobs” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics — Florida’s top IT officer says getting talented senior-level IT staff to work for the state of Florida is an uphill battle, and he named low wages as well as living in Tallahassee, the state capital that is hundreds of miles away from the state’s major metro areas, among the top reasons. State Chief Information Officer Jamie Grant told members of the FX Executive Steering Committee Wednesday that recruiting high-level IT staff, such as a chief information security officer, would be easier if the jobs were placed in a bigger labor market that was not as “remote.” “You have to find a unicorn that is both talented, experienced, believes in the mission, and is going to go do it for a short period of time and say, ‘Hey, I can do this and move,’” Grant said.
Gov. DeSantis orders flags at half-staff for Sylvia Young — On Wednesday, DeSantis ordered U.S. and Florida flags at the Historic Pasco County Courthouse in Dade City and the government centers in Pasco County to be flown at half-staff on Thursday. The Governor issued the order in honor of former Pasco County Commissioner Young, who died last week at 83. Young, a lifelong resident of Darby, served on the Pasco County Commission from 1980 until 2000 and was one of the first women to serve on the Commission. During her time in office, she worked to successfully restore the Historic Pasco County Courthouse, where the Commission meets. A news release from the Governor’s office says Young “will be remembered for her dedication to serving the people of Florida.”
“Promise kept: Tampa Electric solar expansion lessens pain of rising fuel costs, carbon emissions” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics — Tampa Electric announced four new solar plants are now active and producing electricity. This new development completes the next phase of the company’s significant solar expansion plan. And, once again, the utility — one of Florida’s largest investor-owned electric energy providers — made good on its promises. Customers are reaping the rewards of Tampa Electric’s foresight and commitment to a greener future as fuel prices have skyrocketed to unprecedented levels. “Thanks to our strategic investment in solar power, Tampa Electric customers are expected to save about $100 million in fuel costs this year alone,” said Archie Collins, president and chief executive officer of Tampa Electric. “At a time when fuel costs are escalating, we know how important these savings are for customers.”
— D.C. MATTERS —
“Keisha Lance Bottoms to join White House” via Alexi McCammond of Axios — Biden is tapping former Atlanta Mayor Bottoms to replace Cedric Richmond as one of his most senior aides, bringing a Democratic rising star and former VP contender into the White House at a critical juncture, Axios has learned. As director of the White House Office of Public Engagement beginning in the coming weeks, Bottoms will immediately have access to some of the most high-level planning and strategy sessions in the West Wing — and to the President himself. The role is integral to developing Biden’s policies and convincing the broader Democratic coalition that the President is charting the right approach. The stakes are high.
“Joe Biden strains for a message on deteriorating economy” via Jonathan Lemire and Ben White of POLITICO — Prices keep rising. And the clock keeps ticking. So, the White House has started to change up its messaging on inflation, even though Biden has limited tools at his disposal to battle the crisis. The President stepped up efforts to draw contrasts with Republicans, unleashing a series of new attack lines Tuesday in a speech delivered amid a flurry of sobering headlines on rising costs and interest rates. “America still has a choice to make. A choice between a government by the few, for the few,” Biden said at an AFL-CIO union convention in Philadelphia. “Or a government for all of us — a democracy for all of us, an economy where all of us have a fair shot.”
“Republican donors to GOP leaders: Bipartisan immigration reform would ease inflation” via Sabrina Rodriguez of POLITICO — More than a dozen GOP donors are trying a new tack in urging Republican congressional leaders to get serious about granting so-called Dreamers legal status: it’ll help ease inflation and the U.S. labor shortage. In a letter sent Wednesday to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, 14 donors who call themselves “lifelong Republicans” said that reaching a deal on immigration that will provide permanent legal status to immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children “makes economic sense.” Congress remains unlikely and unable to reach any kind of immigration deal that would garner enough Republican support to pass the Senate.
“How the ‘MAGA Squad’ is building power to control the next Congress” via Molly Ball of TIME — Most political observers expect Republicans to win the House in November, putting McCarthy in line to be the next Speaker. But to win that position, McCarthy will need the backing of 218 of his colleagues. There are currently 208 Republicans in the chamber, and election handicappers project the Party will win another 15 to 20 seats. Depending on how many they gain, McCarthy will likely need the support of even some of the Party’s most extreme members. “At this point, not knowing the size of the potential majority, leadership is about keeping all the frogs in the wheelbarrow, even if some of the frogs are pretty ugly,” says a former GOP leadership aide.
“Parkland’s pain recalled in Senate hearing on protecting kids from gun violence” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Parkland’s trauma and other schools’ was relived in front of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee as anticipation grows that some bipartisan action might emerge to change federal laws regarding guns. Max Schachter, whose son, Alex, was killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland in the state’s worst school shooting, was there to give testimony at the Judiciary Committee’s hearing on protecting children from gun violence. Schachter was there as a witness invited by the Republican side and introduced by Sen. Chuck Grassley. Schachter is championing the bill (S. 111) named after his son, as well as fellow victim Luke Hoyer, which would require the Department of Homeland Security to establish a clearinghouse on the federal level for the best practices for safe schools.
“Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar appears to violate same federal conflicts-of-interest law that she slammed her Democratic predecessor for violating” via Dave Levinthal of Business Insider — Rep. Salazar appears to have violated federal conflict-of-interest law by improperly disclosing a 6-figure stock trade. The development comes two years after Salazar blasted her congressional predecessor, former Rep. Donna Shalala, for herself violating the same law, known as the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act. “How can we trust her to represent us in Miami or oversee $2 trillion in government funds while she violates and skirts federal law with her own finances,” Salazar wrote of Shalala in April 2020. Later that year, Salazar defeated Shalala in an upset victory to win Florida’s 27th Congressional District, including much of the Miami area.
— JAN. 6 —
“Jan. 6 panel to make case Trump put Mike Pence’s life ‘in danger’ at third hearing” via Scott Wong of NBC News — The Jan. 6 committee says it will present evidence Thursday showing how then-President Trump’s aggressive efforts to pressure Pence to unconstitutionally block certification of the 2020 Election led to the deadly insurrection and even put the former Vice President’s life at risk. “We’re going to show that pressure campaign directly contributed to the attack on the Capitol, and it put the Vice President’s life in danger,” a committee aide said on a conference call with reporters Wednesday. Thursday’s hearing — the third of at least seven planned by the House committee for June — will focus on the internal battle within the Trump White House over whether Pence could unilaterally stop Biden’s election certification and keep Trump in power.
“Jan. 6 panel shows man from Barry Loudermilk tour threatening lawmakers near Capitol on day of riot” via Chris Marquette of Roll Call — A man who threatened members of Congress in a video he recorded on Jan. 6 was taking photos of the Capitol complex while on a visit the previous day, which U.S. Rep. Loudermilk sponsored, according to images and videos released Wednesday by the House panel investigating the Capitol riot. Members of the group who the Georgia Republican showed around the Capitol complex the day before the insurrection took photos of hallways, staircases and security checkpoints not usually of interest to tourists, the Jan. 6 select committee said in a letter to Loudermilk. Further, members of that group attended Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally at the Ellipse, one of whom filmed a video containing threats against members of Congress, the panel said.
“3 from St. Cloud accused of rioting with Oath Keepers at U.S. Capitol” via Cristóbal Reyes of the Orlando Sentinel — Three St. Cloud residents were arrested Wednesday for allegedly participating in the attempted insurrection at the U.S. Capitol as federal prosecutors continue filing charges against others who were there that day. Traci Isaacs, 52, was charged with destruction of records, disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, and remaining in a restricted building with the intent to disrupt an official proceeding, while her 67-year-old husband Luis Hallon, who she married weeks after the riot, faces the latter two charges. Leslie Gray, a 56-year-old who accompanied the couple to the Capitol, faces charges of civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, interfering with law enforcement, and remaining in a restricted building.
“Report: Daughter of Publix founder paid $60,000 for Jan. 6 speech to Donald Trump Jr.’s fiancee” via Gary White of The Lakeland Ledger — Julie Jenkins Fancelli, a part-time Lakeland resident, figures into new revelations from the congressional committee investigating the U.S. Capitol attack. Fancelli provided $60,000 paid to Kimberly Guilfoyle, the fiancee of Trump Jr., for a brief speech at the “Stop the Steal” rally at the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021. The U.S. House Jan. 6 Select Committee is exploring evidence that people in the circle of the former President benefited financially from money generated from Trump’s false claims of election fraud. Fancelli declined to comment Wednesday. Turning Point Action, a conservative organization supporting Trump, paid Guilfoyle $60,000 for the brief speech. Fancelli donated the money that Turning Point Action used to pay Guilfoyle, according to two sources familiar with the arrangement.
“Judge convicts man who carried Confederate flag in Capitol attack” via Alan Feuer of The New York Times — A Delaware man who flew a Confederate battle flag inside the Capitol on Jan. 6 was convicted with his son on Wednesday by a federal judge of obstructing the certification of the 2020 presidential vote. The two men, Kevin and Hunter Seefried, were also found guilty at the bench trial by Judge Trevor McFadden of four misdemeanors, including disorderly conduct and illegally entering a restricted area. The daylong trial, in U.S. District Court in Washington, was the eighth case connected to the Jan. 6 attacks to have gone to trial. In seven cases, defendants have been found guilty — often with exceptionally quick deliberations — of crimes including obstruction, theft of property and trespassing. One case, also heard by McFadden, resulted in a full acquittal.
— MORE LOCAL: S. FL —
“What we know about the Proud Boys in the Miami-Dade GOP executive committee” via Alex Deluca of the Miami New Times — Some say the best way to make a meaningful change is to start small. It appears to be the latest strategy of a local branch of the far-right Proud Boys organization, which, over the past two years, has somewhat quietly infiltrated the ranks of the Republican Party’s local governing body, the Miami-Dade Republican Executive Committee. As several of the group’s members are facing charges in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, at least a half-dozen current and former Proud Boys have managed to secure seats within the 125-member committee to shape local politics from the inside.
“Surfside won’t raise a Pride flag this year. Mayor concerned Satanists may ask next” via Martin Vassolo of the Miami Herald — A year after Surfside flew an LGBTQ Pride flag for the first time outside its Community Center, the town does not plan to display the rainbow-colored flag for Pride month in June. Surfside Mayor Shlomo Danzinger told the Miami Herald he does not support displaying the flag this year after Town Attorney Lillian Arango advised him that doing so could force the town to accept requests from outside groups to display their flags. Danzinger supports LGBTQ Pride month but fears the town may risk having to fly swastikas or Satanic flags — or risk a lawsuit. He mentioned the possibility of “Satanic cults” or other groups pushing for “a black cross or swastika” flag.
“Former Mayor committed ‘ethical violations’ but won’t face criminal charges, prosecutors say” via Lisa J. Huriash of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Former Pembroke Park Mayor Ashira Mohammed won’t face criminal charges over accusations she misused her position, including posting a campaign ad on her town’s Facebook page and using government supplies to benefit her law firm and herself, prosecutors said. In records freshly obtained by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the State Attorney’s Office said they could not prove Mohammed “willfully” engaged in misconduct. Although considered “ethical violations,” authorities say there was no criminal misconduct. “Good, because there was no crime,” said Mohammed’s lawyer, Joseph Geller, this week. “The former Mayor didn’t do anything wrong, nothing wrong.” The case was “absurd to begin with,” Geller said.
“State Attorney Dave Aronberg is a TV news pundit. Is he serving Palm Beach County or himself?” via Jane Musgrave of The Palm Beach Post — If you want to see Aronberg, turn on your TV. At least once, and sometimes two or three times a week, the 50-year-old three-term prosecutor and career politician is on nationally televised news shows, talking about all manner of headline-grabbing cases. From his office or home in downtown West Palm Beach and sometimes in network studios, Aronberg regularly shares his opinions with news celebrities, such as Joe Scarborough on MSNBC, Wolf Blitzer on CNN, and Marni Hughes on NewsNation. The breadth of his commentary is impressive. From the momentous to the mundane, Aronberg has become a go-to for legal analysis if a case attracts public attention.
“Here’s how Boca Raton police plan to join a facial recognition program” via Austen Erblat of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — The city of Boca Raton is letting its police force participate in a statewide facial recognition program, joining hundreds of communities in Florida employing the controversial crime-fighting technology. The City Council has unanimously approved the partnership with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, which, according to data from the FBI, maintains a database that draws from over 38 million photos of driver’s license photos, mug shots and images taken by or provided to law enforcement from security footage. Most major law enforcement agencies in South Florida currently use facial recognition technology. “Essentially, this system is a face or biometric comparison tool used to assist in obtaining investigative leads by identifying persons of interest to law enforcement,” according to a city memo.
“Man admits to trying to extort Book, faces up to 21 years” via Austen Erblat and Rafael Olmeda of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — A man accused of extorting state Book by threatening to release explicit photos of her has entered a plea of no contest, the Broward County Clerk of Court said Wednesday. The plea means Jeremy Kamperveen, 20, of Plantation, doesn’t dispute the allegations against him and could indicate his cooperation in reaching a plea bargain. He’s charged with extortion, a felony, and stalking, a misdemeanor. Kamperveen’s court-appointed lawyer, Michael J. Heise, said his client admits to his actions. Under the law, a no-contest plea accepts the consequence of a crime but stops short of confessing. Kamperveen has been on bond since Nov. 18, just one day after being arrested.
“Former Keys Commissioner arrested, accused of using campaign funds to pay for Netflix” via David Ovalle of the Miami Herald — Former Florida Keys County Commissioner Eddie Martinez surrendered on Wednesday to face allegations he failed to report campaign expenditures — and used campaign money to pay for personal expenses with businesses such as CVS, U-Haul and Netflix. Martinez was booked into a Miami-Dade jail on Wednesday afternoon, records show, on a dozen misdemeanor counts. He’ll eventually face trial in Monroe County. First elected in 2020, Martinez, 47, served about a year in office before resigning over “health issues.” He quit in December 2021, a week after his arrest on a domestic violence charge at one of his homes in Hialeah. “We’re going to fight the case. We hope for a speedy resolution,” said his defense attorney, Sabino Jauregui.
“Police ‘active shooter’ training varies in South Florida. But taking out threat is mission one” via Charles Rabin of the Miami Herald — Former El Portal Police Chief Dave Magnusson said one of the things that kept him awake at night was the fear of an active shooter at the little city’s largest public school, Horace Mann Middle. With about a dozen full-time cops and a limited budget, his officers had some active shooter training with the much larger Miami-Dade Schools Police Department. But mostly, Magnusson said, his staff prepared for the worst through “tabletop” exercises. Those are sit-down discussions; not real-life practice runs. Budget constraints figured in, too. Magnusson said some officers weren’t given and couldn’t afford rifles, which likely would leave them badly outgunned in the event of a firefight.
“West Palm Beach Mayor out a few weeks after hip replacement surgery” via Wayne Washington of the Palm Beach Post — West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James had hip replacement surgery on Monday, a procedure he expects to keep him out of the office for three or four weeks. The Mayor, 64, did not attend Monday’s City Commission or Community Redevelopment Agency meetings, over which he typically presides. In a note to his staff, he explained his absence from City Hall. “Earlier today, I had hip replacement surgery,” he wrote. “The surgery went well, and I am currently in recovery.” James wrote that he expects “to be out of office (on a full-time basis) for the next 3-4 weeks. However, I anticipate being able to read my emails, review documents, and handle phone calls after the first week.”
“‘Jackass’ star Bam Margera missing from Delray Beach rehab facility, reports say” via Brett Clarkson of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Margera, the ‘Jackass’ star, is missing from a Delray Beach rehab facility, according to TMZ. Citing a Delray Beach police report, TMZ reported that Margera was reported missing by the rehab facility’s owner — and that Margera fled the court-ordered treatment after apparently saying he was unhappy with the services and rules at the facility. Margera, 42, recently finished a year of treatment for substance abuse issues, the New York Post reported. The staff at the Delray Beach facility apparently said Margera didn’t appear to be a danger to himself or others and fled after an argument with his wife, TMZ reported.
“Former Keys commissioner arrested, accused of using campaign funds to pay for Netflix” via David Ovalle of the Miami Herald — Former Florida Keys county commissioner Eddie Martinez surrendered on Wednesday to face allegations he failed to report campaign expenditures — and used campaign money to pay for personal expenses with businesses such as CVS, U-Haul and Netflix. Martinez was booked into a Miami-Dade jail on Wednesday afternoon, records show, on a dozen misdemeanor counts. He’ll eventually face trial in Monroe County. First elected in 2020, Martinez, 47, served about a year in office before resigning over “health issues.”
— MORE LOCAL: C. FL —
“Disney delays moving 2,000 jobs to Orlando amid ‘don’t say gay’ clash with Gov. DeSantis” via Katie Rice of the Orlando Sentinel — Amid the feud with DeSantis over the so-called “don’t say gay” law, Disney has delayed more than three years plans to move about 2,000 high-paying jobs to Orlando from California. Disney representative Jacquee Wahler said Wednesday the expected opening date for the Lake Nona campus was pushed to 2026 to “give people more time” and accommodate the construction timeline for the new offices. A Disney representative previously told the Orlando Sentinel the offices were expected to be operating in Orlando by December 2022. Rep. Anna Eskamani, an Orlando Democrat, attributed the decision to Disney’s battle with Florida leaders over what is officially called the Parental Rights in Education legislation, saying “these culture wars have an economic cost.”
“Orlando loses out on bid to host Army-Navy game in 2027” via Matt Murschel of the Orlando Sentinel — Orlando lost out on an opportunity to host the Army-Navy game in 2027, with the annual matchup between service academies slated to return to Philadelphia. Orange County officials submitted a bid hoping to lure one of college football’s oldest rivalries to Central Florida. Instead, Army-Navy officials decided Wednesday to bring the game back to Philadelphia, which has hosted 89 times previously, including in 2019 and 2022. The game has never been played in the South, with the majority of the matchups taking place in northeastern states such as New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey. Chicago’s Soldier Field (1926) and the Rose Bowl (1983) also hosted the event.
“Library board approves new branches for fast-growing Lake Nona, Horizon West” via Stephen Hudak of the Orlando Sentinel — Orange County’s two fastest-growing communities, Lake Nona and Horizon West, are getting their own library branches. “I’m happy to tell the people living in Lake Nona and Horizon West they have libraries on the way,” said Crockett Bohannon, president of the Library Board of Trustees. “This has been a long road and a lot of hard work, but I’m proud of what we have been able to accomplish.” The Board unanimously approved leases for both sites on June 9. Both need additional approvals — Lake Nona’s by Orlando City Council and Horizon West’s by Orange County Commissioners.
“Applicant seeking housing aid told Brevard County’s housing credit cards are ‘maxed out’” via Amira Sweilem of Florida Today — An email from a county worker sent out last week to one desperate applicant for rental assistance said that Brevard County was unable to help her because its program that provides emergency funds to people facing homelessness because of COVID-19 had “maxed out” it’s credit cards. “The problem is not the funding of the program,” Richard Van Esselstyn, a county housing department case worker, wrote to Cheryl Dailey in an email with a county address. “The problem is the county credit cards assigned to this program are maxed out,” the email said. Van Esselstyn told Dailey, who was hoping the program could pay for her stay at the Suburban Extended Stay in Melbourne, that she would have to wait until June 5, when the program would pay its credit card bill.
“Travel agent dies after fall at Disney World hotel, lawsuit says” via Gabrielle Russon of Florida Politics — Jessica Straub posted selfies wearing Mickey Mouse ears as she posed at Disney World. Going to Disney felt like going home, she wrote. According to a new lawsuit, the travel agent’s trip right before Christmas 2020 took a tragic turn. aaStraub fell and hit her head at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. She suffered blunt force trauma to the head and died Dec. 22, 2020, said a lawsuit filed by her estate against Disney this week. Her cause of death was ruled an accident due to blunt head trauma from falling at a standing height, the agency said.
— MORE LOCAL: SW. FL —
“Herald-Tribune challenges order against identifying deputies in fatal shooting” via the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — The Sarasota Herald-Tribune is seeking to overturn an emergency injunction granted by a judge Friday night to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office and the 12th Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office barring the news organization from publishing the names of two of the deputies involved in a fatal shooting. The ruling, which granted the injunction without notice to the Herald-Tribune, is an unconstitutional prior restraint of the press, prohibited by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Florida’s Constitution. The motion was filed Monday by Carol Jean LoCicero and James B. Lake from the firm of Thomas & LoCicero in Tampa, representing the Herald-Tribune.
“Sarasota Proud Boys activist helping host School Board candidate campaign event” via Steven Walker of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — A local man with connections to the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group whose former leader has been charged with seditious conspiracy for his role in the Jan. 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol is helping host a campaign event for School Board candidate Robyn Marinelli. James Hoel, 50, and his wife, Kathy, are listed as RSVP contacts for a meet and greet event with Marinelli scheduled for June 23. The event is set to take place at Island Organics Cafe in Venice.
“Collier County calls special meeting to select next County Manager” via Rachel Heimann Mercader of the Naples Daily News — Collier County plans to select its next County Manager at a special meeting Thursday morning. The decision to call the special meeting was made on the fly after the remaining six candidates gave presentations during the Commission’s regular meeting on Tuesday, June 14. At the Board of Commissioner’s May 10 meeting, Deputy Manager Amy Patterson was appointed acting manager following County Manager Mark Isackson’s sudden resignation, which was announced the day prior. Isackson announced in January that he would retire on July 1 because of COVID-19-related health concerns. Early last month, he abruptly changed his departure date to May 13 amid disputes over his request to cash out his leave pay.
“Port St. Lucie likely to give credits to property owners for Waste Pro’s poor services” via Olivia McKelvey of Treasure Coast Newspapers — More than 81,000 property owners could be getting money back toward next year’s assessments to make up for Waste Pro’s failures to collect trash on time. The City Council Monday discussed giving a one-time credit to residential trash customers, but how much cash could be returned remains undetermined. However, one thing is certain: The city won’t provide a full refund — about $280 — of what property owners paid for solid-waste services in the 2021-22 budget year, City Manager Russ Blackburn said. The credit could be funded by new property-tax revenue from increased values, which spiked 19% here this year, according to preliminary estimates released June 1.
“Manatee ‘rescued’ off Cape Coral shores in 2021, returns twice her size and healthy” via Michael Braun of the Fort Myers News-Press — For one injury-scarred manatee, author Thomas Wolfe was wrong, you can go home again. Bellissima, a 1,500-pound West Indian manatee, slipped back onto the waters off Horton Park in Cape Coral on Wednesday morning after a more than yearlong recuperation from several injuries. Bellissima’s journey after 15 months in a hospital ended when she was released by ZooTampa at Lowry Park, which treated her and has cared for more than 500 other injured or sick manatees. The grayish-brown manatee was recovered in March 2021, found injured by a hiker, weighing 750 pounds.
— LOCAL NOTES: N. FL —
“Council withdraws bill to reimburse city employees traveling for ‘treatment related to reproductive rights’” via News4Jax — The Jacksonville City Council voted unanimously to withdraw legislation aimed at creating a reimbursement option for city employees who travel for “medical treatments related to reproductive rights.” The bill was introduced in May by Council member Reggie Gaffney. It came on the heels of a leaked initial majority opinion from the Supreme Court on Roe v. Wade. “Just so the record is 100% absolutely clear,” said Council member Rory Diamond, “I am a strong, enduring, and forever ‘no’ for … using any taxpayer money or anything related to abortion.”
“Public outcry against storage units in downtown Jacksonville forces delay in vote” via David Bauerlein of The Florida Times-Union — A groundswell of public opposition caused Jacksonville City Council to hit the pause button on deciding whether it will open up more areas of downtown to new self-storage buildings. About 120 residents and business owners emailed council members and called them to kill the bill. “You’re hearing the cry of a lot of folks that are saying ‘No,’ and if they say ‘No,’ we have to listen to what the people say,” Council member Ju’Coby Pittman said. Even bill sponsor Gaffney said he was on the fence after hearing the pushback. Rather than take a vote Tuesday night, the council sent the bill back to the Land Use and Zoning Committee, which had previously recommended approval, for more discussions at the committee level.
“North Florida prison guard loses job, housing after guilty plea in U.S. Capitol riot” via Steve Patterson of The Florida Times-Union — A North Florida prison guard has been fired after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor for his part in the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol, a court filing shows. Jonathan Daniel Carlton, who worked at Union Correctional Institution in Raiford, “is now not only unemployed, but he will lose his subsidized housing that was provided as part of his employment,” defense attorney Richard Landes wrote in a memo to the judge in Washington scheduled to pass sentence June 29. Carlton pleaded guilty in March to parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building in return for prosecutors dropping three other misdemeanor counts.
“Florida taking ownership of Garcon Point Bridge; cash toll is $2.75 effective Thursday” via Alex Miller of the Pensacola News Journal — After almost a year of negotiations, the state of Florida is taking ownership of the Garcon Point Bridge and slashing the toll nearly in half. Beginning at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, toll rates on the Garcon Point Bridge will be reduced from $4.50 to $2.30 for SunPass customers and $5 to $2.75 for cash customers. A news release from the Florida Department of Transportation announcing the change said, “For the first time, tolls collected on the Garcon Point Bridge will remain in Florida and will be reinvested for routine maintenance, critical updates, and improvements.”
“Santa Rosa gears up for first election since sweeping reform was passed last year” via Alex Miller of the Pensacola News Journal — Santa Rosa County elections officials are gearing up to make changes ahead of the 2022 Election Day, which marks the first major election since the Legislature passed a large-scale reform of election processes last year. Two core aspects of SB 90, passed in May of last year, altered protocol around using drop boxes to vote and necessitated a method of recording turnout data electronically. Rather than using 24/7-type drop boxes, the ballot units will now be available only during early voting hours and must have a person monitoring the unit. The new law also specifies timeline parameters around when the boxes must be emptied.
“Celebration of life: Fallen TPD officer ‘gave his very last breath defending this community’” via Christopher Cann of the Tallahassee Democrat — On the day McKenna Zweydorff was sworn in as officer 727, she met the man who would soon become her best friend, Christopher Fariello, officer 726. The pair quickly bonded through banter and a shared love of Disney films. Last Wednesday, while helping a Leon County deputy pursue an attempted murder suspect, he was killed when the man drove head-on into Fariello’s squad car. He was 33. “What happened to Chris is a nightmare. It’s something we’re never fully going to wake up from, nor will we fully ever recover from,” Zweydorff said through tears. “That’s something I know Chris would want to say as he would be proud of every single person who was there with him that night. I know I was.”
“How hot is the real estate market near Fort Walton Beach? Home prices rise to $330K” via Sean Lahman of Northwest Florida Daily News — The median sales price for a single-family home in Okaloosa County during March was $330,000. That’s an increase of 12.7% compared with March 2021. On a year-over-year basis, prices have been rising for 29 consecutive months. March prices are up from $327,000 the previous month. The number of houses sold increased by 0.5% from a year earlier. A total of 398 houses were sold countywide during March. During the same period a year earlier, 396 single-family homes were sold.
— TOP OPINION —
“The tired tale of bad incentives” via Jonah Goldberg of The Dispatch — Here’s a great way oil companies could lower their “obscene profits”: give all their employees massive raises. Or they could go on a wild spending spree on unprofitable investments. Or they could take all their cash and place a massive wager on the betting markets that the Democrats will win big in the midterms.
In other words, they could boost their costs, bad investments, or losses so their profits shrink or even disappear.
Obviously — or, I should say, “It should be obvious that” — there are some big problems with this approach. First, it would be very stupid. But there’s no law against being stupid with your money, right?
No, there’s not. But corporate executives aren’t spending their own money; they’re spending their shareholders’ money. While you are free to blow as much of your own shmundo on pet rocks, meme stocks, or a “seeing eye cat” business, there are laws against blowing other peoples’ money on stupid stuff.
— OPINIONS —
“Republicans love parental choice, but not when it comes to drag queens” via the Miami Herald editorial board — Drag Sunday brunches and drag bingo are popular fixtures in South Florida. Turns out that hurts the sensibilities of some Republicans. And now, the Party of parental rights wants state entities to investigate parents who take their children to drag shows. Children are already banned from most drag shows at adult nightclubs. But Republicans’ issue appears to be not with exposing children to booty dancing but with the “perverted adults” dressed as the opposite gender. There’s no political uproar about parents taking their children to sports bars to watch fighters in a cage-like UFC rink draw blood from each other. Will the state of Florida begin monitoring what parents allow their children to see on the web? Or isn’t that a parental responsibility?
“Florida court makes it harder to fight bad convictions” via the Orlando Sentinel editorial board — More recently, the Florida Supreme Court eradicated a 170-year-old safety valve that could help bring bad convictions to light. And a case announced last month makes it clear just how frightening the loss of that standard might be. Florida lawmakers should correct the high court’s activism, with a law that makes it clear that weak cases won’t get protection from appellate scrutiny. For decades, Florida courts were instructed to take a harder look at cases based only on circumstantial evidence — that is, cases where there was no direct evidence. But in 2020, the state Supreme Court, for no good reason we can see, officially abandoned it. Florida should be looking for ways to reexamine bad convictions, not making it more difficult to identify weak cases.
“Tampa’s upturn in gun violence” via the Tampa Bay Times editorial board — While Tampa’s increase in violent crime mirrors what’s happening more broadly across the country, the number of aggravated assaults in Tampa has skyrocketed. Since 2014, Tampa’s homicide rate has been about 50% higher than the state and national averages. The number of homicides in Tampa in 2020 was the highest since 2003. And the 48 homicides last year were the most since 1994. Controlling crime, not merely reacting to it, is tough work and requires a sustained commitment by the government and private sector alike. It also requires honesty to recognize that historically underserved neighborhoods need special attention. These shootings, after all, aren’t happening in Davis Islands or Beach Park. But that doesn’t mean they’re not everybody’s problem.
“Misguided antitrust proposal handcuffs U.S. tech companies and gives China the edge” via Scott Brown and Robert McClure of the Miami Herald — While Floridians are tightening their belts, some U.S. Senators are pushing ahead with the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, a harmful antitrust proposal that would wreak havoc on our fragile economy and hurt American competitiveness. The proposal would mandate how tech companies feature services on their platform, hurting consumers. In addition, it vastly expands the power of the federal government into the private sector and sends the message to our homegrown innovators, including those in the emerging hub of Miami, that American innovation is no longer encouraged. Its passage threatens the low-cost and free online products and services that they regularly use and enjoy, such as Amazon Prime and Google Docs.
— ALOE —
“The New Yorkers who moved to Florida” via Jon Lentz of City & State Florida — When City & State launched its Florida operation earlier this year, it followed a well-traveled path from the Empire State to the Sunshine State. Many notable New Yorkers have moved to Florida, including hedge fund billionaires, superstar athletes, and a certain former U.S. President. It’s not just celebrities, either. More than 1.6 million residents of Florida were born in New York, according to 2020 census data, and these transplants now make up nearly 8% of the state’s population. The coronavirus pandemic saw even more New Yorkers fleeing there. The trend is a hot political topic.
“FAMU’s Marching 100 preparing to perform at Fashion Week in Paris. Here’s what we know” via Tarah Jean of the Tallahassee Democrat — If there was ever any doubt about the global reputation of Florida A&M University’s “incomparable” Marching 100 band, fashion industry giant Louis Vuitton has erased it. The multibillion-dollar company has invited the band to perform at the Louis Vuitton Men’s Paris Fashion Week Show in France on June 23 during an all-expense-paid trip. “As soon as the news broke, my parents called me to ask if I was going to Paris with the band,” said Jadon Roberts, a spring 2022 FAMU graduate and returning drum major from Atlanta, Georgia, who will be going on the trip. “I didn’t have to tell them about it; they already knew.”
“‘Top Gun: Maverick’ F-18 dogfighting action scenes filmed by an Embraer business jet” via Rick Neale of Florida Today — “Top Gun: Maverick” is loaded with IMAX-worthy high-speed footage of F/A-18 Super Hornets dogfighting, dodging missiles, chasing through canyons and zooming over snow-capped mountaintops. Turns out much of the movie’s action-packed aerial cinematography was filmed by, of all aircraft, a Melbourne-manufactured Embraer executive jet. A specially outfitted Phenom 300E “camera ship” offered an airframe platform and technological advances that helped “set the standard for aerial cinematography,” Kevin “K2” LaRosa II, aerial coordinator and lead camera pilot. A second-generation stunt pilot, LaRosa II has flown, coordinated and directed aerial film sequences on more than 100 productions. LaRosa said “Top Gun: Maverick” was shot primarily along the West Coast.
— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —
Happy birthday to our dear friend Natalie King of RSA Consulting, Omar Khan of WSP USA, Kurt Kelly of the Florida Coalition for Children, Anna Grace Lewis Director of Talent, Education and Infrastructure Policy at the Florida Chamber of Commerce, and Ramon Maury.
Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Daniel Dean, Renzo Downey, Jacob Ogles, and Drew Wilson.