Good Thursday morning.
New polling from the University of South Florida and Florida International University shows high gas prices are burning a hole in the average Floridian’s pocket.
More than 83% of respondents said they were spending “a lot more” on gasoline than they were a year ago — an expected outcome considering a gallon costs $1.25 more today than it did one year ago.
A slight majority (51%) said high prices forced them to change travel or vacation plans, while three-quarters said their spending money has evaporated due to pump prices. Further, nearly two-in-five Floridians told USF/FIU that rising gas prices have started to affect their ability to pay their monthly bills.
Nearly two-thirds said they disapprove of how President Joe Biden is handling cost increases, while three-quarters said they were dissatisfied with Congress’ actions — or lack thereof.
By and large, Floridians want government action to rein in prices. A supermajority of Floridians (72%) support boosting domestic production, and 70% said they would support a temporary suspension of the U.S. federal gas tax.
The poll, sponsored by the Florida Center for Cybersecurity at USF, also asked respondents for their thoughts on issues related to Elon Musk’s potential purchase of Twitter — the poll was conducted July 2-10, which was before Musk attempted to walk away from the estimated $44 billion acquisition.
Opinions on the deal were mixed, with 24% saying it would be could for American democracy compared to 20% who said it would be bad. One in three respondents was neutral. Majorities did support some of the proposals floated by Musk, however, such as making the network’s algorithm public (64%), only censoring content if it is illegal (50%) and redoubling efforts to eliminate bot accounts (88%).
U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried will square off tonight in the only debate ahead of the Aug. 23 Democratic Primary for Governor.
Miami-based NBC 6 and Telemundo 51 will be hosting the “Decision 2022” debate, taped ahead of a 7 p.m. kickoff.
In addition to NBC 6, three other affiliates have announced plans to air the English-language broadcast: WESH in Orlando, First Coast News in Jacksonville and WPTV in West Palm Beach. The Spanish-language simulcast will air on WTMO in Orlando, WRMD in Tampa and WWDT in Fort Myers.
Whether voters in the state’s half-dozen other media markets will catch the debate on broadcast is up in the air. There are digital options, however.
NBC 6 said the debate would stream from their website or mobile app. Telemundo 51 will also allow access online and via a mobile app. NBC 6 and Telemundo 51 also have apps on Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV for viewers who prefer the big-screen experience.
Additionally, the debate will air on the “NBC South Florida News” channel on Peacock, The Roku Channel and Samsung TV. The stream will begin at 9 p.m.
More than 1,000 attorneys, consultants, engineers, state and local government officials, developers, landowners and others are in Marco Island this week for the Florida Chamber Foundation’s “Environmental Permitting Summer School.”
Since 1985, the Florida Environmental Network (FENI) has hosted the annual event, which brings together leaders from the public and private sectors to discuss environmental issues facing the state.
FENI is part of the Florida Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s ongoing effort to keep its members and other business organizations informed on environmental and growth management laws.
The 2022 program features breakout sessions on the current state of Florida’s environmental, energy and growth management laws and programs. The agenda includes a keynote from Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Shawn Hamilton.
Thursday’s schedule kicks off with morning sessions covering communication planning, water supply sustainability and water quality, and an examination of water policy passed by the Legislature in the 2022 Session.
The afternoon schedule includes a course on how public-private partnerships can help tackle Florida’s water challenges and updates on Florida brownfields and state and federal wetland jurisdiction methodology.
A full agenda is available on FEMI’s website.
— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —
"I want to use last few seconds to give some words of advice to my successor.
Number One: Stay close to the Americans. Stick up for the Ukrainians. Stick up for freedom and democracy…
Remember above all: It's not Twitter that counts…
Hasta la vista, baby!"
– Boris Johnson pic.twitter.com/jo6DoX6WEJ
— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) July 20, 2022
—@Kattenbarge: It’s so depressing to me that at one point in my life I thought the U.S. was going to elect its first female President and now I’m unsure what rights we’ll have after the next few elections
—@JacobOgles: Just to put this in perspective, Miami man @MarcoRubio is staking out a social conservative position to the right of @TTuberville. I might explain this with Tuberville working so long with college students, but Rubio also continues to teach at a Florida university.
—@ChrisSpencerFL: $0.00 of the state’s surplus is from federal funding.
—@Alison_Vincent: It is absolutely gutting watching my 9th grade world geography testifying in court today about the unspeakable horrors that happened in room 1214. I still remember the day we moved into that brand-new classroom after the 1200 building finished construction. This is unreal.
— DAYS UNTIL —
‘The Gray Man’ premiers in theaters and Netflix — 1; 2022 Sunshine Summit begins — 1; Deadline to register for 2022 Primary — 4; Beyoncé rolls-out seventh solo studio album ’Renaissance’ — 8; MLB trade deadline — 12; The 10-day Florida Python Challenge kicks off — 15; Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner novel ‘Heat 2’ publishes — 19; Early voting begins for Primaries — 23; FBHA’s annual conference, BHCon2022, begins — 27; FRLA’s Operations and Marketing Summit — 28; ‘House of the Dragon’ premieres on HBO — 31; 2022 Florida Primary — 33; launch window opens for NASA to launch the Artemis I — 39; 2022 Florida Chamber Technology & Innovation Solution Summit — 41; ‘Andor’ premieres on Disney+ — 41; ‘The Lord of the Rings’ premieres on Amazon Prime — 43; NFL Opening Night: LA Rams vs. Buffalo Bills — 49; 2022 Emmys — 53; JMI’s 2022 Tech & Innovation Summit begins — 56; Vote-by-mail mailing deadline for General Election — 77; Deadline to register for General Election — 82; 22-23 NHL season begins — 82; Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 96; Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Passenger’ releases — 96; Jon Meacham’s ‘And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle’ releases — 96; Early voting begins for General Election — 100; 2022 General Election — 110; ‘Black Panther 2′ premieres — 113; ‘Captain Marvel 2’ premieres — 115; FITCon 2022 begins — 119; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 119; The World Cup kicks off in Qatar — 123; The U.S. World Cup Soccer Team begins play — 123; McCarthy’s ‘Stella Maris’ releases — 124; Florida TaxWatch’s Annual Meeting begins — 132; ‘Willow’ premieres on Disney+ — 132; ‘Avatar 2’ premieres — 148; ‘Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 211; 2023 Legislative Session convenes — 229; ‘John Wick: Chapter 4′ premieres — 246; 2023 Session Sine Die — 288; ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ premieres — 288; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ premieres — 316; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 484; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Part 2 premieres — 617; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 736.
— TOP STORY —
“President Joe Biden to visit Orlando and Tampa on Monday” via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel — Biden plans to come to Orlando and Tampa, the White House.
Biden is scheduled to address the annual conference of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, or NOBLE, at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando. He also is set to talk at a Democratic National Committee event in Tampa.
This will be Biden’s first visit to Central Florida as President, and only his second trip to Florida following a meeting with families of the Surfside condominium collapse last year.
Biden last visited the region during the 2020 campaign, when he held an event at the Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee to drum up support from the Puerto Rican community.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has repeatedly criticized Biden at his nearly daily events around the state. He was reportedly in Utah on Wednesday for a fundraiser.
— 2022 —
“Mike Pence signals a 2024 bid as he meets with lawmakers and delivers South Carolina speech” via Gabby Orr and Melanie Zanona of CNN — Pence is no longer keeping his cards close, telegraphing in several high-profile moves this week that he is actively exploring a 2024 presidential bid and working to gain a foothold in Donald Trump-fatigued corners of the Republican Party. These speeches and appearances undoubtedly reflect the former Vice President’s towering political ambitions. While a person familiar with his thinking said Pence has not yet “firmly” decided on a presidential run, he is spending the bulk of his time laying the groundwork and strengthening his ties to key players inside the GOP to ensure he is well-positioned should he announce a bid later this year or next.
“Charlie Crist follows Ron DeSantis’ lead, endorses School Board candidates” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — Crist is wading into the School Board endorsement game following DeSantis’ foray into the nonpartisan elections arena. The Republican Governor has endorsed 26 “pro-parent” School Board candidates, endorsements that were viewed as an “unprecedented” entrance of partisan politics into nonpartisan races. Crist, a Democratic Congressman hoping to retake the Governor’s Mansion more than a decade after he left the office, endorsed his slate of seven school board candidates on Wednesday, creating a parental rights showdown. “Gov. DeSantis is politicizing our classrooms, taking away parental rights, and limiting Florida students’ freedom to learn,” Crist said.
Crist announces ‘Accessibility for All’ plan — In a speech to the Democratic Disability Caucus of Florida, gubernatorial candidate Crist announced a plan to provide better care to Floridians with disabilities and their caregivers. The “Accessibility for All” plan includes Medicaid expansion, clearing the Medicaid waiver waiting list, repealing Republican-led changes to state election laws, boosting the minimum wage for caregivers to $15 an hour, a focus on accessible schools, housing and transportation, and the full inclusion of the disability community in the development of policy and enforcement of civil rights. “Between the endless waiting lists for at-home care, reckless mask policies that made schools inaccessible, and completely ignoring parents for months when their child’s helper stopped getting paid — Gov. DeSantis has been an abject failure for the disability community of Florida,” Crist said.
Assignment editors — Fried will host “Together Taking Action Against Gun Violence,” to explore solutions to gun violence in Florida, 2 p.m., Artography Studio, 1830 NW 38th Ave., Lauderhill. RSVP at [email protected].
Citing Chinese espionage allegations, Marco Rubio slams Val Demings’ TikToks — A new video from U.S. Sen. Rubio’s re-election campaign touts him as the tough-on-China candidate while blasting his challenger, Democratic U.S. Rep. Demings, for posting dance videos to TikTok. “Marco Rubio is leading calls for an investigation into TikTok,” the ad says, adding that he and other lawmakers on the Senate Intelligence Committee are urging the Federal Trade Commission to investigate allegations that China uses the app to spy on users. “They say the app in which users post short videos to catchy music is owned by a company based in China that may be exposing their users’ personal information to the Chinese government,” the ad states over video of Demings’ TikTok posts. “Marco Rubio fights back against Communist China. Val Demings makes TikToks.”
To watch the video, click on the image below:
“CD 7 Democrat Al Krulick charges opponent Karen Green falsified credentials” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Green falsified her academic credentials, argued Krulick, one of her Primary Election opponents in Florida’s 7th Congressional District. In a detailed news release issued by his campaign, Krulick charged Green has falsely claimed academic degrees from a university in England, Cornell University in New York and two colleges in Jamaica, her native country. Green is a Vice Chair of the Florida Democratic Party, a political consultant, and a nonprofit organization executive. She entered the CD 7 contest in April. She refers to herself as “The Rev. Dr. Karen Green” in various forums, including some of her congressional campaign materials.
“PAC money fueling Darren Soto’s re-election bid” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — U.S. Rep. Soto relied primarily on political action committee donations in recent months as he prepares for a General Election contest. Soto, seeking a fourth term representing Florida’s 9th Congressional District in Orange and Osceola counties, reported raising less campaign cash from individual donors in the second quarter of 2022 than a Republican opponent, Scotty Moore. Moore is in a four-way Republican Primary Election on Aug. 23 with Jose Castillo, Adianis Morales and Sergio Ortiz. Soto, who does not have a Primary Election opponent, reported raising $179,942 in the second quarter. Yet $132,855 came from PACs, while only $47,175 came from individual donors. That continues the trend for his campaign during the 2022 election cycle.
“Internal poll shows Jerry Torres crushing Kathy Castor. Is it an outlier or deep red wave?” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — An internal poll from Torres’ campaign shows him with a lead over Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Castor. The campaign released no cross tabs on the survey, which also shows Torres leading the GOP field for the Republican nomination. But the survey findings show voters in Florida’s 14th Congressional District favor the first-time candidate over the eight-term incumbent 66% to 14%. If those results are to be trusted, they signal Democrats need to worry about incumbents even in districts where Biden performed exceptionally well.
“Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick has nearly $1.7 million for re-election to CD 20” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Cherfilus-McCormick added $771,570 in the second quarter of 2022 but only $95,455 came from sources other than her own pocketbook. That compares to the $197,174 that her rival in the Democratic Primary, former Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness, raised in the last quarter. The Aug. 23 Primary in Florida’s 20th Congressional District will be a rematch that Holness lost by just five votes last time. An examination of Cherfilus-McCormick’s Federal Elections Commission filings shows her campaign bookkeeping is arousing the federal government’s concern. The campaign has blown two deadlines for addressing FEC concerns around accurate reporting this year. And her July 15 report shows that her campaign used $400,000 to pay back a loan from Truist Bank, by far the largest of the $766,856 in second quarter expenses the campaign reported. Election rules require that a loan from a bank should be reported separately and not included in “loans made or guaranteed by the candidate.”
“Jared Moskowitz, who helped oversee pandemic response, says he wasn’t involved in Florida’s most controversial vaccine sites” via Anthony Man of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Moskowitz, who was DeSantis’ director of emergency management during the first 14 months of the coronavirus pandemic, said Tuesday he refused to have his agency operate several of the state’s most controversial COVID-19 vaccination sites in early 2021. The vaccination sites in question were loudly criticized at the time by Democrats as favoring well-off Republican communities with political connections and being impossible or difficult to access by people who weren’t connected or didn’t have good transportation. DeSantis emphatically rejected the criticism.
“‘She can take on tough fights’: Planned Parenthood, Vote Mama back Annette Taddeo for Congress” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Sen. Taddeo secured endorsements this week in her bid for Congress from national reproductive health nonprofit Planned Parenthood and Vote Mama, a political committee dedicated to electing Democratic mothers. Taddeo’s campaign announced the endorsements Monday and Tuesday, respectively. They join numerous others from local, state and federal organizations, unions and elected officials, including U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, DCCC Red to Blue, Giffords PAC and the Service Employees International Union. Taddeo, who immigrated to the U.S. from Colombia at 17, has been “a champion for reproductive health rights” and a stalwart fighter “against attacks on reproductive health care access,” said Alex McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood.
“María Elvira Salazar posts cycle-best $835K in Q2, ramps up advertising amid Democratic onrushes” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Salazar enjoyed a flood of support to raise $835,000 in the second quarter of 2022 — her greatest three-month round of gains this election cycle — to defend her seat representing Florida’s 27th Congressional District. According to her filings with the Federal Election Commission, she also spent nearly $500,000, mostly on print-based campaign marketing and various consulting services. As of June 30, the Miami Republican had $1.4 million remaining. That’s more than the combined holdings of her lone Primary opponent and three Democrats vying to challenge her. Salazar received well over 1,000 donations in Q2. A significant percentage of her contributions came through personal checks of between $10 and the maximum allowable individual donation of $5,800, representing $2,900 donations apiece for the Primary and General Elections.
— MORE 2022 —
Save the date:
—“Fraternal Order of Police endorses Doug Broxson in SD 1 race” via Aimee Sachs of Florida Politics
—”Former Congressman Jeff Miller endorses Joel Rudman in HD 3 race” via Aimee Sachs of Florida Politics
“Consultant parts ways with Lake Ray in HD 16 race” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Ray, running for the Republican nomination for the open seat in the eastern Duval County district, will complete the 2022 cycle without Bert Ralston, a veteran consultant who previously worked with Ray. “We had different visions as to the path the campaign should take. Early last week I decided that it was in his best interest for us to part ways,” Ralston said Wednesday. “I believe he is the best choice and will help him in any way that I can.” We reached out to Ray Wednesday afternoon for his version of the split, and he described it likewise as a difference in strategy, with the parting of the ways being “not confrontational.” Brock Mikosky will be the primary consultant for the campaign in the future.
“John Snyder nears the $200K mark with $21K June haul” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — The $21,795 that state Rep. Snyder hauled in during June landed the freshman lawmaker just a stone’s throw away from holding $200,000. The Palm City Republican is facing a challenge from Democrat Raymond Denzel, but he’s miles ahead in the money race to represent renumbered House District 86. Between his personal account and his political committee, John Snyder for Florida, Snyder holds a total of $182,258. Denzel had his best month for this election cycle in June, but his campaign kitty needs to grow exponentially to match Snyder’s. His holdings are at $1,995.
Juan Fernandez-Barquin endorses Juan Carlos Porras for HD 119 — Rep. Fernandez-Barquin has endorsed Porras in the Republican Primary for House District 119. “Juan Carlos is the only true Conservative Fighter running in House District 119 and the only candidate backed by our brave first responders and the business community. He served the constituents of District 119 with honor while working as my legislative assistant — and I know he will do the same as their State Representative,” Fernandez-Barquin said. Porras, who previously worked in Fernandez-Barquin’s office, is one of five Republicans running for the nomination in the district, which covers a strip of unincorporated west Miami-Dade County encompassing West Kendall, Country Walk, and The Hammocks.
“Santa Rosa school board candidate: Doctors who help trans kids ‘should be hanging’ from tree” via Colin Warren-Hicks of the Pensacola News Journal — A Santa Rosa County School Board candidate running against a longtime incumbent in the August Primary publicly proclaimed that doctors who prescribe hormone blockers to children transitioning between genders should be hanged. Alisabeth Janai Lancaster commented on gender reassignment Monday night at a political forum. “These doctors that are going along with mutilating these children and prescribing hormone blockers to these kids, in my opinion, they should be hanging from the nearest tree,” Lancaster said. Lancaster’s statement was met by applause from the room.
— STATEWIDE —
“Critics fear legislative proposal to fix nursing home staffing shortages may affect care” via Verónica Zaragovia of WLRN — Florida’s nursing homes are struggling with workforce shortages at a time when their resources are already stretched thin due to the pandemic. Lisa Machamer could see her mom was deteriorating and eventually moved her out of one facility into a new one. She said her mother is doing better but said she has one caregiver who is juggling eight other patients. “I mean, even now at this new place, you know, Sundays and Wednesdays are showering days, and last week they forgot,” she said. Machamer acknowledges most staff are doing the best they can, given the workload they have and often low pay they earn. But she said it’s not enough. A survey from the Florida Health Care Association published in August found that 92% of long-term care facilities in the state faced significant staffing challenges.
“Nikki Fried, legislators propose new ride safety laws for small theme parks after Tyre Sampson death” via Katie Rice of the Orlando Sentinel — Fried joined legislators Wednesday to propose stricter regulations for Florida’s smaller theme parks, but she said the changes would not apply to Disney World, Universal or other major attractions. The announcement came as Fried’s agency continues to investigate the death in March of 14-year-old Sampson on the Orlando Free Fall ride at ICON Park. The framework, created by Fried’s agency with state Sen. Randolph Bracy and state Rep. Geraldine Thompson, would strengthen requirements for ride inspection, maintenance and certification along with accident reporting, documentation of safety systems, safety signs for riders and employee training.
Happening today — The Revenue Estimating Conference meets to discuss “Article V” revenue, which supports Florida’s court system, 1:30 p.m., 117 Knott Building.
“FPL responds in appeal of rate hike decision, says rates justified” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — Florida Power & Light’s rate hike of $1.5 billion approved by regulators last year was justified, lawyers for the state’s largest utility argued in a brief filed with the Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday. The brief urges justices to turn down arguments from a coalition of environmental and other advocacy groups that the Florida Public Service Commission’s decision to approve the rate case violated state laws. Precedent puts the burden of proof on the groups, who are appealing the PSC’s decision, and justices must give deference to the Commission, FPL’s lawyers contend.
“Manatees death toll grows but falls below record pace” via Kevin Spear of the Orlando Sentinel — The 631 manatee deaths in Florida through mid-July this year already stands as the fourth deadliest annual count since records began nearly a half-century ago. Though a blistering pace, the 2022 toll so far is behind the last year’s count of 864 for the same period. For 2021, a record 1,101 manatees died primarily from starvation along Central Florida’s coast in the Indian River system. The veterinarian said that hundreds of the animals are still in the Indian River Lagoon system, which has been stricken by pollution and an ecosystem collapse that has eradicated their diet of seagrass.
— D.C. MATTERS —
“Biden approval hits new low amid public discontent with both parties, Quinnipiac University national poll finds; nearly half of Americans worry about being mass shooting victim” via Quinnipiac — One and a half years since Biden took office, Americans give Biden a negative 31 — 60% job approval rating. Republicans (94 — 2%) and independents (67 — 23%) disapprove, while Democrats approve (71 — 18%). Registered voters give Biden a negative 33 — 59% job approval rating.
“In clean energy push, Biden announces climate actions and pledges more at ex-coal plant” via Seung Min Kim and Matthew Daly of NBC Miami — Biden announced modest new steps to combat climate change and promised more robust action to come, saying, “This is an emergency and I will look at it that way.” Biden stopped short, though, of declaring a formal climate emergency, which Democrats and environmental groups have been seeking after an influential Democratic Senator quashed hopes for sweeping legislation to address global warming. Biden hinted such a step could be coming. Executive actions announced Wednesday will bolster the domestic offshore wind industry in the Gulf of Mexico and Southeast, as well as expand efforts to help communities cope with soaring temperatures.
“White House begins the search for fresh communications team” via Mike Memoli and Carol E. Lee of NBC News — The White House is considering a major overhaul of its press and communications shop in the coming weeks. The effort to revamp the White House press operation comes as Biden has expressed frustration that his message isn’t breaking through to Americans and his approval ratings continue to hit new lows, while his aides prepare for him to seek re-election. One of Biden’s top advisers, Anita Dunn, has begun interviewing candidates to be the next White House communications director, the first step in the overhaul, these people said.
“Senators announce bipartisan bills to stop candidates from stealing elections” via NBC Miami — After months of negotiating, a group of Senators announced two proposals Wednesday designed to close gaps in federal law and prevent future candidates from stealing elections. The measures, called the Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act and the Enhanced Election Security and Protection Act, are led by Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. Joe Manchin. The bills seek to close loopholes in election law that Trump and his allies tried to exploit to keep him in power despite his defeat in the 2020 election. The first bill would clarify the vice president’s role in counting Electoral College votes, raise the bar for members of Congress to object, and try to prevent fake slates of electors from interfering in the process. The second is aimed at protecting election workers.
“‘Chips-plus’ bill passage could slip to next week in Senate” via Laura Weiss and Lindsey McPherson of Roll Call — Republican Senators said Wednesday they’re expecting final passage of a trimmed-down semiconductor manufacturing and science-focused economic competitiveness package will slip to next week. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer planned to begin the process of bypassing a filibuster and moving forward with the bill on Wednesday. He said in morning remarks on the Senate floor that he would file cloture at some point during the day and planned to pass the package “as soon as we can.” Schumer’s remarks signaled he would likely try to get Republicans to provide unanimous consent for a time agreement that would streamline consideration of the bill. But if he can’t get all Republicans to agree, then the earliest the Senate could vote to invoke cloture and cut off debate would be Friday.
“GOP freezes up on same-sex marriage” via Burgess Everett of POLITICO — Mitt Romney doesn’t think it’s necessary. Richard Burr hasn’t read it. And Todd Young is “fixated” on microchips. Those are some of the answers Republicans gave Wednesday on whether they’d back legislation writing same-sex marriage into law. And though Democrats want assurances the bill could pass the Senate before taking it up, Schumer may have to take a gamble to find out if the landmark legislation has the GOP support necessary to clear a 60-vote threshold.
“Rubio drags marriage equality vote as ‘waste of time,’ despite six GOP congressional members supporting it” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Rubio won’t vote for a bill preserving nationwide marriage equality. But most of Florida’s Representatives in the U.S. House voted in favor of the legislation, including six Republicans. Rubio, a Miami Republican up for re-election this year, told CNN’s Manu Raju that he won’t support the bill when it reaches the Senate floor and called it a “stupid waste of time.” That presents a stark difference with Rep. Demings, his Democratic opponent in November. She voted in favor of the Respect for Marriage Act (HR 8404) when the House passed it.
“Rick Scott lauds Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan trip” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — “I’m glad that Speaker Pelosi’s going,” Scott said. “I hope that more elected officials go over there.” Pelosi’s Taiwan trip, slated for August, defies the communist Chinese government in Beijing, which says such a trip would adversely impact relations between China and the United States. Scott, who recently made the trip himself, lauded Pelosi’s travel plans. “I actually just got back from Taiwan a couple of weeks ago. And I think it’s important that we go over there and let Taiwan and South Korea and Japan know we’re their ally. We’re going to stand with them. I think it’s important to let Taiwan know that we’re going to defend their freedom,” Scott said on Fox Business’ “Varney and Co.”
“‘It’s the accumulation’: The Jan. 6 hearings are wounding Donald Trump, after all” via David Siders of POLITICO — The conventional wisdom about the Jan. 6 committee hearings was that no single revelation was going to change Republican minds about Trump. What happened instead, a slow drip of negative coverage, maybe just as damaging to Trump. Six weeks into the committee’s public hearing schedule, an emerging consensus is forming in Republican Party circles, including in Trump’s orbit, that a sizable portion of the rank and file may be tiring of the nonstop series of revelations about Trump. The cumulative effect of the hearings has been to at least marginally weaken his support.
“Trump’s choices escalated tensions and set U.S. on path to Jan. 6, panel finds” via Rosalind S. Helderman of The Washington Post — Trump had already been told by his campaign manager, his top campaign lawyer and his lead data analyst that he had lost the presidential election when he was visited by his attorney general on Dec. 1, 2020. At each moment when Trump could have soothed an agitated nation, he escalated tensions instead. The committee has illustrated this by presenting 18 live witnesses, scores of videotaped depositions and vast documentary evidence. At each moment when longtime loyal advisers offered their view that his election loss was real, he refused to listen and found newcomers and outsiders willing to tell him otherwise. On at least 15 separate occasions, Trump barreled over those who told him to accept his loss and instead took actions that sought to circumvent the democratic process and set the nation on the path to violence.
“Two Trump officials who quit after the Capitol attack will testify before the Jan. 6 committee in prime time Thursday” via NBC Miami — Next up before the House committee investigating the Capitol riot: a White House aide and a member of the National Security Council during the Trump administration, both of whom are expected to testify during a prime time hearing on Thursday. The aide, Sarah Matthews, a former deputy press secretary, and Matthew Pottinger, a former deputy national security adviser, were among the Trump officials who resigned immediately after a mob broke into the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The House committee that has been holding the hearings on the insurrection has said Thursday’s session will focus on the three hours between when the attack began and when the former president asked his supporters to leave the building.
“Merrick Garland: Nothing to prevent investigating Trump or anyone else for Jan. 6 attack” via Bart Jansen of USA Today — Garland reiterated Wednesday he would pursue investigations into the Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021, by following the facts and the law, after some advocates worried a recent memo signaled he would avoid investigating Trump. “No person is above the law in this country,” Garland said. “I can’t say it any more clearly than that. There is nothing in the principles of prosecution and any other factors which prevent us from investigating anyone — anyone — who is criminally responsible for an attempt to undo a democratic election.” Garland has previously said he would follow the facts and law while investigating the attack.
“Even a day after Jan. 6, Trump balked at condemning the violence” via Amy Gardner, Josh Dawsey and Paul Kane of The Washington Post — One day after the last rioter had left the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, Trump’s advisers urged him to give an address to the nation to condemn the violence, demand accountability for those who had stormed the halls of Congress and declare the 2020 election to be decided. He struggled to do it. Over the course of an hour of trying to tape the message, Trump resisted holding the rioters to account, trying to call them patriots, and refused to say the election was over.
“Jan. 6 committee to tell story of ‘187 minutes’ between Trump’s remarks” via Michael Macagnone and Niels Lesniewski of Roll Call — Trump’s actions — and inaction — during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol will take center stage at Thursday’s prime-time hearing, as the committee investigating the assault wraps up more than a month of public airing of its findings. Members previously said it is part of an effort to tie Trump to the attack, as well as the campaign to overturn his loss in the 2020 election, as the committee tries to lay out what caused the assault and ways to prevent its reprise. Testimony from people who were in the West Wing on Jan. 6 would make clear what the President was doing, select committee aides said. One told reporters there was no reason to necessarily think this would be the final hearing.
“Secret Service provided a single text exchange to IG after request for many records” via Jamie Gangel of CNN — The Secret Service was only able to provide a single text exchange to the DHS inspector general who had requested a month’s worth of records for 24 Secret Service personnel. The revelation offers insight into the concern raised in a recent letter to Congress by the inspector general, who accused the agency of not retaining records needed for the Jan. 6 investigation. Inspector General Joseph Cuffari, having already received an initial batch of documents including “hundreds of thousands of disclosures of agency documents, policies, radio communications, emails, briefings and interviews” requested in June 2021 text messages sent and received by 24 Secret Service personnel between Dec. 7, 2020, and Jan. 8, 2021. The letter does not identify the 24 personnel.
“Former Trump White House aide who met with Jan. 6 panel attacks witnesses, lawmakers in profane and sexist rant” via Marshall Cohen and Hannah Rabinowitz of CNN — The aide, Garrett Ziegler, met with the House panel on Tuesday. Lawmakers were likely interested in hearing from him because of his ties to one of the most shocking episodes of the 2020 election saga: A White House meeting where Trump’s outside allies tried to convince him to declare martial law and use the military to seize voting machines. In the 27-minute livestream, Ziegler used vulgar and misogynistic language to attack Cassidy Hutchinson and Alyssa Farah Griffin, two women who worked for the Trump White House but have since publicly broken from Trump and cooperated with the Jan. 6 panel.
“Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast catapults to Apple’s Top 10 in news during contempt of Congress trial” via Kipp Jones of Mediaite — More people than ever before are listening to Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast than ever before as his trial for contempt of Congress begins. It has catapulted into Apple’s top 10 for news. The flood of listeners comes as the former Trump White House chief strategist and Breitbart News chair is being tried for in Washington. It was ranked No. 111 overall as recently as June 30. On Wednesday, it was ranked No. 44 among all podcasts. Bannon currently faces up to 30 days in jail for each of two misdemeanor contempt charges after he declined to speak with the Jan. 6 House select committee.
— MORE LOCAL: S. FL —
“Teachers weep recalling students killed in Parkland shooting” via The Associated Press — A teacher gave heart-wrenching testimony Wednesday, recalling how a student in her Holocaust studies class correctly answered a question seconds before he became one of 17 people murdered by Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz. Ivy Schamis was leading students through a discussion about the 1936 Olympics. It was then they heard the first gunshots in the hallway, and Cruz began firing through the glass on her classroom door. She said the students scrambled to find safety behind furniture, but didn’t panic. Three students were wounded in her class and two were killed.
“Miami-Dade Commission approves $8.8M partnership to curb gun violence, boost opportunity” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Miami-Dade communities disproportionately plagued for decades by gun violence are on track to receive a combined $8.8 million through a partnership between the county, the Carrie Meek Foundation and local, to-be-chosen organizations dedicated to ending the problem. Commissioners approved a resolution Tuesday clearing funds from last year’s county budget to the Carrie Meek Foundation. The item’s sponsor, Kionne McGhee, said the agreement would help to strengthen the county’s preventive efforts against and response to community violence. “The Carrie Meek Foundation is an excellent organization that continues to improve the lives of our residents,” he said.
“Why George Soros is the GOP’s villain in the sale of a Spanish-language radio station” via Leslie Cosme Torres of the Miami Herald — Following the announcement that a left-leaning group of investors is buying Radio Mambí, the longtime talk-radio station of choice for Miami’s exile community, conservative media and Republican politicians seem to agree: Soros is trying to take over Cuban radio. Soros, a global philanthropist and substantial Democratic Party donor, has been name-dropped by members of Congress opposed to the deal, which Fox News has labeled a “Soros Takeover.” Some of Mambí’s hosts have cited his links to the sale in their decision to resign.
“Jury: Tesla just 1% to blame for South Florida teen driver’s fiery crash” via The Associated Press — A jury in South Florida has found Tesla just 1% negligent in a fiery crash that killed two teens, for disabling a speed limiter on the electric car. Tuesday’s verdict placed 90% of the blame on the driver, Barrett Riley, and 9% on his father, James Riley, who brought the lawsuit against Tesla. Michael Brooks, acting executive director at the Center for Auto Safety, said it is the first known case involving a Tesla crash that has gone to trial. James Riley claimed the crash was “entirely survivable” and that it was the ensuing fire that killed the teenagers, but the judge dismissed his lawsuit’s claim that Tesla designed defective lithium-ion batteries that “burst into an uncontrollable and fatal fire” upon impact.
— MORE LOCAL: C. FL —
“Voter card info stirs Orange County candidates’ protests” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles is making wording changes in voter instructions after candidates in nonpartisan elections protested that prior wording could discourage voters in the Primary Elections. Orange County mayoral candidate Chris Messina and County School Board candidate Demensio Barton objected to the wording on a voter information notice attached to voter registration cards mailed out this month. The language, they contended, could mislead some voters into thinking they cannot vote in the Primary Election on Aug. 23, even though some of the contests, including the Mayor and School Board elections, are nonpartisan and therefore open to all voters.
“Increased fines, jail time: Marion County adds teeth to litter enforcement ordinance” via Danielle Johnson of the Ocala Star-Banner — After nearly 10 months of work from the Litter Task Force, Marion County Commissioners have adopted a final report and ordinance that change how the county will handle littering going forward. While the report spells out a marketing campaign to change the hearts and minds of Marion County about litter, the ordinance adds some teeth to enforcing the litter code with higher fines and jail time. “Although this is the end of one segment, this is really the beginning of all the work,” Commissioner Craig Curry, who spearheaded the creation of the task force, said at Tuesday’s Commission meeting.
“New law opens path for Brevard pharmacies to test and treat some diseases” via Amira Sweilem of Florida Today — At the height of the pandemic, some of the patients who receive their medications at Hobbs Pharmacy in Merritt Island saw Jessica Beal, a pharmacist at Hobbs, more than they saw their primary care physicians. Now, thanks to legislation passed in 2020, Beal is applying to join one of only two other pharmacists in Brevard County who can treat patients for minor illnesses, such as flu and lice. These developments are new. Though pharmacology has existed in the U.S. since the 1800s, pharmacists like Beal in Florida could only vaccinate for the flu since 2007. Then when the pandemic hit, legislation was introduced to allow pharmacists to test and treat.
“‘Shouldn’t they fit in?’ Polk Commissioners deny 242-unit subdivision in rural Kathleen” via Maya Lora of The Lakeland Ledger — On a 4-1 vote, County Commissioners sided with residents and denied a 242-unit subdivision proposed for rural Kathleen. Commissioners cited issues with compatibility between the proposed single-family development and the surrounding residential and agricultural community. The land in question is a vacant pasture. “The reality is that it’s poor property. And that’s the reason why it hasn’t been developed,” Commissioner Neil Combee said. “I think that there will come a time when there will be some development on it but I would, I would like to see something much less intense.” Commissioners Combee, Bill Braswell, Martha Santiago and Rick Wilson voted to deny the project. Commissioner George Lindsey voted against that motion and in favor of the project.
“Hillsborough County reports first 3 cases of monkeypox” via Sam Ogozalek of the Tampa Bay Times — Three monkeypox cases have been reported in Hillsborough County, the first time the viral disease has been detected in the county during the current global outbreak. The infected people have been told to isolate, said Ryan Terry, a representative for the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County, which conducts contact tracing for monkeypox cases. Pinellas County has diagnosed nine cases. No infections have been recorded in Pasco County. “It’s not airborne. It’s not another COVID,” Terry said. “You’re not going to get it having a conversation with somebody.”
“Is Tampa Bay’s hot housing market finally cooling off? What buyers should know.” via Rebecca Liebson of the Tampa Bay Times — Prospective homebuyers in Tampa Bay have had to endure frenzied bidding wars, make cash offers and even waive their rights to an inspection just to have a shot at snagging a home in recent years. As housing markets across the country show signs of cooling off, Tampa Bay buyers may get some reprieve. Still, experts warn that prices may never drop back down to where they were before the pandemic. “We’re definitely seeing some slowing (nationally), but it’s not as pronounced in Florida,” said Kristine Smale, senior vice president for the real estate analytics company Zonda.
“St. Pete woman challenges unclaimed property law over $26” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — Alieda Maron owns $26.24 worth of property that is held in custody by the state. When she claims it, the state won’t pay out any interest or dividends accrued on the funds, which she argued is a violation of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits the government from taking private property for public use “without due compensation.” Maron’s lawyer, Scott Jeeves, filed the suit on her behalf as well as on the behalf of “others [similarly] situated,” so the suit could become a class-action suit if others who own unclaimed property held by the state join her in the lawsuit.
— MORE LOCAL: SW. FL —
“Manatee County Commissioner George Kruse pleads not guilty in DUI case” via Jesse Mendoza of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — Manatee County Commissioner George Kruse has pled not guilty to driving under the influence charges by State Attorney Ed Brodsky‘s office over a high-profile car accident where Kruse appeared to be intoxicated when he crashed his truck into a tree. The case received heavy public scrutiny after body camera footage showed that a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputy skipped field sobriety tests and allowed Kruse to go home despite acknowledging that the Republican County Commissioner showed clear signs of intoxication. Brodsky’s 12th Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office filed DUI charges against Kruse two months later on June 23. The case took its first steps in court Tuesday during a traffic arraignment by County Judge Heather Doyle.
“Charlotte County aims to maintain property tax rate” via Daniel Sutphin of the Port Charlotte Sun — Charlotte County Commissioners want more details before deciding whether to reduce the property tax rate. At Tuesday’s tentative budget meeting, Commissioners approved keeping this past year’s property tax rate of 6.3007 mills as a tentative rate for 2023, but that could still change. One mill equates to $1 of property tax on every $1,000 of taxable value. Gordon Burger, county budget and administrative services director, presented a tentative budget of around $1 billion. That’s a significant increase from last year’s net budget of $854 million.
“Reps for 10-year-old perp-walked by Lee sheriff call for DOJ investigation” via Dan Glaun of Fort Myers News-Press — An advocacy group representing Daniel Marquez, the 10-year-old Cape Coral boy arrested in May for allegedly making a school threat, has asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the Lee County Sheriff’s Office’s handling of the case. Letitia Kim, the managing director of the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism’s legal network, accused Sheriff Carmine Marceno of violating Daniel’s constitutional rights and publishing edited text messages to falsely portray Daniel as guilty.
— MORE LOCAL: N. FLORIDA —
“Escambia County asks DeSantis to determine if Doug Underhill vacated his office” via Jim Little of the Pensacola News Journal — Escambia County is asking Gov. DeSantis to investigate if Commissioner Underhill has vacated his office by selling his Perdido Key home. Commissioners voted 4-0 Tuesday to send a letter asking DeSantis to look into the issue. The controversy around the issue arose on Thursday during a Commission meeting. During the meeting, Underhill said he maintained all the legal requirements to hold his office. In comments on social media on Monday, Underhill said that he had sold his home but was leasing the property from the new owner to keep his residency. “So, we sold and rent back until I’m done with my service,” Underhill wrote on Facebook.
“Desperate for more teachers, Escambia County schools suspends new-hire, tobacco-free policy” via Colin Warren-Hicks of the Pensacola News Journal — The Escambia County School district is desperate for more teachers and starting to go to whatever lengths are necessary to attract new hires. The Escambia County School Board suspended its new-hire, tobacco-free policy Tuesday night at its monthly meeting. The board approved the measure with a unanimous 4-0 vote as the board’s fifth member, Patty Hightower, was absent from the evening’s proceedings.
“Nearly $6.6M in American Rescue Plan funds ready for resiliency, infrastructure in Fernandina Beach” via Wes Wolfe of Florida Politics — Fernandina Beach City Commissioners are ready to get projects funded and moving forward now that the federal government has issued its final rule on spending restrictions for American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. “This seems to have been an evolving process from the federal government,” City Manager Dale Martin said. Initially, there were more constraints on ARPA funds; they could only be used for items like wastewater, stormwater and broadband internet access. The final rule opens that up a bit, allowing the claim of a one-time revenue loss of up to $10 million, and the city’s kitty comes in under that level.
“Fernandina Beach eyes increased revenues in new budget” via Wes Wolfe of Florida Politics — It’s budget time for the city of Fernandina Beach, and while there are workshops and an entire millage meeting to come, City Commissioners got to work on a proposed budget from city staff that would hold the millage rate constant, but which would lead to increased revenue for the city. “The proposed budget is based on maintaining the exact same millage rate of this year, which is 5.3330 mills,” City Manager Dale Martin said. “Under Florida state statutes, the proposed operating millage rate of 5.3330 generates revenues that exceed revenues generated by the ‘rollback rate,’ which is 4.7709 and constitutes a tax increase. Under state statutes, that’s defined as an 11.78% tax increase.” The budget cuts the equivalent of seven full-time positions, but the city’s also down 10 people in jobs that are still vacant.
“Advocates, city divided over cause of the big blue-green algae problem at Lake Munson” via James Call of the Tallahassee Democrat — Recommendations by DeSantis’ Blue-Green Algae Task Force and the Legislature’s 2020 Clean Waterways Act may eventually end a nearly century-long argument between the City of Tallahassee and clean water advocates who charge that the city uses Lake Munson in south Leon County as a 255-acre toilet bowl. The county closed the boat ramps at Lake Munson in May after an outbreak of blue-green algae led the Florida Department of Health to issue an alert recommending people not go in the water. The ramps are still closed, and the health advisory is still in effect. The county is pursuing a $3 million state grant to clean up the lake.
“Contractor causes 2,500 gallons of raw wastewater to spill near Crestview” via Tony Judnich of the Northwest Florida Daily News — An estimated 2,500 gallons of raw wastewater was spilled after a contractor accidentally hit and damaged a 6-inch diameter sewer force main on Wednesday morning at 1123 Shoal River Drive in unincorporated Crestview. Okaloosa County Water and Sewer (OCWS) Department officials became aware of the initial details of the incident at about 8 a.m. Wednesday. The department completed repair work and restored operations of the system by about 9:45 a.m.
— TOP OPINION —
“In a nasty era, insisting on basic politeness is a revolutionary idea” via Mitch Daniels of The Washington Post — It seems the escalating — make that descending — level of boorish behavior in our society has many in customer-facing enterprises rethinking their traditional “all are welcome” policies. As a Rhode Island hotel manager put it, “The customer was always right. Well, they’re not.” One consumer-research consultant said he now advocates drawing of clear and firm rules: “If you don’t meet our expectations of decorum, leave.”
One wishes these new politeness police every success and wide emulation. But if not, life will go on, just less pleasantly.
In the real world, beyond the reach of any machine learning, anti-social behavior is increasingly common where America can least afford it: in public school systems. There, disruptive, sometimes barbarous conduct is blighting the futures of innocent children and inflicting lasting damage on our society.
Anyone who has talked with inner-city parents on charter school waiting lists or, where they are available, rushing to utilize vouchers or choice scholarships knows that for many, if not most, the first goal is not academic quality but a setting free of chaos.
Impeding any school, but especially those serving low-income and minority students, from maintaining order in the classroom is worse than mindless; it’s inhumane.
— OPINIONS —
“School Board races are DeSantis’ next battlefield” via Joe Henderson of Florida Politics — The change we see across Florida and throughout the country grew from seeds Republicans planted decades ago. While Democrats strayed from their working-class roots, Republicans took control of state governments by appealing to everyday folks. We saw that in Florida for sure, where the GOP has a stranglehold on state government, and it shows no signs of stopping. Well, it’s happening again, this time even closer to home. The new battlefield for DeSantis is local School Board races, and it’s having an impact. There was a saucy little story in the Tampa Bay Times about the Pasco County School Board race.
“Miami-Dade Republicans support same-sex, interracial marriage. We’re shocked, but thrilled” via the Miami Herald editorial board — Here’s what makes the vote unique. The Respect for Marriage Act bill passed the Democratic-controlled chamber — no surprise there — by a vote of 267-157, with support from 47 Republicans. That’s the shocker. Among those Republicans voting Yes were the three from Miami-Dade County: Mario Diaz-Balart, Carlos Giménez and Salazar. Really. We get that it’s an election year and that Salazar is seen as vulnerable, but still it’s of note that our congressional delegation went their own way. They landed on the right side of the fence on this issue, which we consider settled law. The bill now goes to the Senate. We’re not holding our breath, but we implore Sens. Rubio and Scott to follow the path laid out by Miami-Dade’s three House Republicans.
“What is wrong with Brevard County lately? Some conservatives have had enough.” via Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel — For years, Brevard County has been known for its lovely beaches, abundant wildlife and space-industry activity. Lately, though, the county has been better known for being a political dumpster fire. But last week, things took an even darker turn when two candidates for local office came forward to say that they’d been pressured to drop out of their races. The man whom they said was delivering the pressure and promises was none other than the Brevard County Sheriff, Wayne Ivey. So, what did Ivey have to say about all this? Well, he wouldn’t answer questions from Florida Today for its story — nor the following day when TV stations came calling. Keep in mind: Ivey normally craves media attention the way zombies crave brains. Yet suddenly, the high sheriff is keeping a low profile.
“Meet U.S. Rep. John Rutherford, Northeast Florida’s cruelest Congressman” via Nate Monroe of The Florida Times-Union — Why did Rutherford go to Washington? It’s difficult to imagine the former Duval sheriff set out to deliberately ruin his reputation for moderation and good sense, yet there’s little more he could have done in his time there to have more thoroughly vaporized it. The once-mainstream Jacksonville Republican has become a traitorous crank, an alleged scofflaw, a cog who simply does what he’s told. He has also become needlessly, inexplicably cruel. And so, it was no great revelation that Rutherford was not among the 47 House Republicans on Tuesday to support a bipartisan measure that would protect same-sex marriage in federal law. It was perhaps the first time in his disgraceful congressional career Rutherford managed to distinguish himself from the herd: he’s the biggest jerk of them all.
— INSTAGRAM OF THE DAY —
— ALOE —
“‘House of the Dragon’: Official Trailer Released for ‘Game of Thrones’ Prequel” via James Hibberd of The Hollywood Reporter — HBO has released its official trailer for its Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon. Below is the first full look at the new show, which chronicles a civil war that ripped apart Westeros 150 years before the events in the original series and stars Emma D’Arcy, Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke and Paddy Considine. The release comes ahead of Dragon’s San Diego Comic-Con panel on Saturday, which marks the franchise’s return to the fan event for the first time since 2019.
To watch the trailer, click on the image below:
“Disney: Dave Bautista, ‘Guardians’ actor, rides Cosmic Rewind coaster” via Dewayne Bevil of the Orlando Sentinel — Bautista has taken a ride on Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, Disney World’s new roller coaster at Epcot. “It was crazy. I’ve never been on anything like it,” Bautista said. “I could hear my lines. … ‘I don’t do well with milk’ … It was the silliest line, and it was perfect.” The indoor coaster takes passengers on a spinning, intergalactic chase. Members of the movie’s cast, including Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, Glenn Close and Bautista, make appearances in the queue and character voices are heard during the ride. Bautista is also part of Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: Breakout, the ride at Disney California Adventure that’s a reimagining of the theme park’s Tower of Terror attraction.
“For sale: 1 Gasparilla pirate ship, bathrooms included. Price: $25K” via Jay Cridlin of the Tampa Bay Times — This ship, Vanity, belongs to the Bonney-Read Krewe, a 28-year-old all-female krewe that’s building a new float for the 2023 Gasparilla season. With membership capped at around 60, Bonney-Read isn’t large enough for two floats, so it’s selling the one it bought from another krewe in 2003. The problem is finding a buyer. Even in Tampa — arguably the nation’s premiere pirate ship parade float marketplace — float sales don’t happen every day, said Chris Rivers, who has built and maintained ships for parade organizers Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla for years. It’s more common for krewes to save by upgrading the floats they already have. “You’d never know it’s the same body they’ve been running for the last five, 10, 20 years on the parade route,” he said.
“Plant City, Dundee farms featured on TV show ‘Where the Food Comes From’” via Paul Nutcher of The Lakeland Ledger — The cable TV series “Where The Food Comes From” features stories of crops grown on familiar central Florida farms. The prime-time series launched on Jan. 20 on Nashville-based RFD-TV Network and has a weekly Nielsen-rated 12.5 million viewers across the country and Canada, a news release said. “The show is focused on the farm, but we go up and downstream to show all the hands that guide it along the way, introduce the faces behind the labels, let people truly get to know who’s growing their food,” said the show’s producer and host Chip Carter. “A lot of those stories are based in Florida,” Carter said, adding that many of them are based in Tampa Bay and Lakeland.
— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —
Celebrating today are Sen. Gayle Harrell and Thomas Hobbs.
Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Daniel Dean, Renzo Downey, Jacob Ogles, and Drew Wilson.