Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 9.19.22

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Your first look at Sunshine State politics and policy news.

Good Monday morning.

Florida entrepreneur Matthew Farrar is launching EkdroMedia, a production house that focuses on harnessing the power of social movements, culture and outdoor adventure.

EkdroMedia will develop and produce series for network, streaming and social channels, as well as produce branded and animated series, develop virtual and augmented reality projects, and connect brands and organizations with the most stunning and organized collection of outdoor visual assets in the world.

Matt Farrar’s new venture combines social movements, culture and outdoor adventure.

“My journey to EkdroMedia was built and realized in state and national parks, on the water, on the trail, and through the lens of my Sony Alpha camera — taking in the real, raw, incredible world around me. Just as so many have prioritized their health and taken to the outdoors over the past two years, my adventures have helped deepen my understanding of how visual and auditory experiences can create moments that remain with viewers long after they end,” Farrar said.

EkdroMedia launches with three major projects in development. Farrar will direct and produce a short-form documentary film focused on the future of the trucking industry in partnership with the Florida Trucking Association. “Wild Escape,” an outdoor docuseries, is currently in pre-production and will give audiences an intimate and unfiltered look at today’s leaders set against the backdrop of some of the world’s most beautiful wild spaces, with the first episode of the series featuring guest Peter Schorsch. The company also launches an animated series in development, with a creative team led by Jason Maurer, a 20-plus-year veteran of the animation and motion picture industry whose Emmy award-winning work strives to entertain while educating audiences on often socially difficult topics.

“EkdroMedia’s focus will be to create powerful and evocative experiences that move people emotionally and inspire them to live authentically,” Farrar added.

National Parks were the inspiration for Matt Farrar’s newest media effort.


Veteran government relations pro BillieAnne Gay is joining Anheuser-Busch as its new director of state government affairs for the Southeast.

In her new role, Gay will be responsible for leading the company’s legislative agenda, political giving and stakeholder engagement in Florida.

She comes to Anheuser-Busch from HCA Healthcare, where she served as its government affairs manager in Tallahassee. She previously spent 15 years in public education, serving as Director of Advocacy & Legislative Affairs for the Florida School Boards Association.

Congrats to BillieAnne Gay, tapped to lead Anheuser-Busch’s lobby team for the Southeast.

In that position, she represented Florida’s elected school boards before legislative and executive branches and oversaw the association’s communications activities, including website updates, media outreach, and was tasked with heightening FABA’s social media presence and engagement.

Gay serves her community and state on the Leadership Florida NW Florida Council, FLAEYC Board of Directors, Tree House Tallahassee Board, and as a Founding Member of the local Babe Ruth Baseball Alumni Foundation.

She earned her bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and her master’s in educational leadership from the University of West Florida. She also holds multiple teaching certifications and an Education Leadership certification.

Anheuser-Busch has called Florida home since 1969. This addition underscores the company’s commitment to Florida, including its 1,127 employees in the state across six facilities that help to make and distribute America’s iconic beers every day.


Here are a couple of other thoughts:

⤴️ — Democrats are perhaps enjoying some momentum in this year’s political landscape — if FiveThirtyEight’s forecast is any indication. Within models predicting control of the Senate following the November election, Democrats have upped their chances from 47% in late June to 55% now. More here.

😅—Democrats have been losing support among Hispanic voters in recent cycles, but a new poll shows Republicans haven’t continued gaining ground with voting bloc since the 2020 Election. The New York Times/Siena College poll shows 56% of Hispanic voters plan to vote for Democrats in November compared to 32% who plan to vote for Republicans.


@RichLowry: Apparently no one outraged by what (Ron) DeSantis did stopped to consider that being flown to Martha’s Vineyard was probably the best thing that’s happened to these migrants after a hellish, months-long trek

@ComicDaveSmith: The Martha’s Vineyard thing might be the best and clearest example of what so many of us have been talking about for years. The progressive elites advocate for policies that they never have to suffer the consequences of. And the one time they do, it ends quickly.

Tweet, tweet:

@DanRather: Here’s an idea for Chris Licht, the new head of @CNN. Set up a debate — one-on-one — between @GavinNewsom and @RonDeSantisFL. Two Governors of big states, potential presidential candidates. Primetime. Ratings I bet would be huge. Who would have the courage to show up?

@GavinNewsom: Hey @GovRonDeSantis, clearly you’re struggling, distracted, and busy playing politics with people’s lives. Since you have only one overriding need — attention — let’s take this up & debate. I’ll bring my hair gel. You bring your hairspray. Name the time before Election Day.

@JayCridlin: Florida news from the NC bureau: At tonight’s show in Asheville, during ‘Icky Thump,’ Jack White shouted, “This song is dedicated to Gov. DeSantis!” … ‘Icky Thump,’ you might know, is a song that critiques anti-immigrant sentiments: “White Americans, what? Nothing better to do? / Why don’t you kick yourself out, you’re an immigrant, too!”

@MBakerTBTimes: Just as we all expected in the preseason, in the final minute against LSU and in the second quarter tonight, FSU is 3-0. Things are definitely different with the Noles


‘Andor’ premieres on Disney+ — 2; Joe Biden to speak at a DNC rally in Orlando — 8; vote-by-mail mailing deadline for General Election — 13; 22-23 NHL season begins — 18; deadline to register for General Election — 25; ‘Before You Vote’ TV debates (Senate) — 29; ‘Before You Vote’ TV debates (Governor) — 31; Taylor Swift’s ‘Midnights’ release — 32; Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 35; Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Passenger’ releases — 36; Jon Meacham’s ‘And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle’ releases — 36; Early voting begins for General Election — 40; 2022 General Election — 50; ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ premieres — 53; ‘Captain Marvel 2′ premieres — 53; FITCon 2022 begins — 59; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 59; The World Cup kicks off in Qatar — 63; The U.S. World Cup Soccer Team begins play — 63; Florida TaxWatch’s Annual Meeting begins — 72; ‘Willow’ premieres on Disney+ — 72; McCarthy’s ‘Stella Maris’ releases — 78; ‘Avatar 2’ premieres — 88; Bruce Springsteen launches his 2023 tour in Tampa — 135; ‘Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 151; 2023 Legislative Session convenes — 169; ‘John Wick: Chapter 4′ premieres — 186; American Association of Political Consultants Pollies’ 23 conference begins — 211; 2023 Session Sine Die — 228; ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ premieres — 228; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ premieres — 256; Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’ premieres — 305; ‘Blade’ reboot premieres — 410; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 424; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Part 2 premieres — 557; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 676; ‘Thunderbolts’ premieres — 676; ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot premieres — 781; ‘Avengers: The Kang Dynasty’ premieres — 959.


Ron DeSantis wants to keep Venezuelan migrants from Florida. Some may end up here anyway” via Ana Ceballos, Bianca Padró Ocasio and David Ovalle of the Miami Herald — An official with a Hispanic human-rights organization said that many of the migrants do in fact plan to come to Florida, where they have friends or family, while they wait for their asylum claims to be heard. “The irony is that Gov. DeSantis paid for them to be brought here,” said League of United Latin American Citizens President Domingo Garcia, who spoke to some of the migrants. Rachel Self, a Boston immigration attorney who was conducting in-depth interviews with the migrants about their situations, alleged Thursday that agents with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had likely falsified the addresses of some of the migrants in their paperwork. The result, she said, is that many of them had hearings scheduled in immigration courts across the country as soon as Monday morning. Missing them could jeopardize their chances of staying in the country.

The Martha’s Vinyard migrant stunt didn’t quite turn out as planned. Image via AP.

DeSantis warns to expect ‘more and more’ migrant trips — DeSantis vowed to continue using the $12 million earmarked in the state budget to move migrants from the southern border to cities across the country. As Andrew Atterbury of POLITICO reports, the Governor defended his plans, saying that transporting Venezuelan asylum seekers from Texas to Massachusetts was to prevent them from coming to Florida. “You’re going to see more and more,” DeSantis said at an event in Daytona Beach. “But I’m going to make sure we exhaust all those funds because I think it’s important. I think people want to see that we’re actually standing up and trying to protect the state against Biden’s really, really reckless policies.” DeSantis said the migrants taken by chartered planes to Martha’s Vinyard were told ahead of time where they were going, signed a release and supplied maps of the island. Some of the migrants said to reporters they were told they were going to Boston.

Taxpayers paid $615,000 for DeSantis to fly Texas migrants to island” via John Kennedy of USA Today Network — DeSantis paid $615,000 in Florida taxpayer money to relocate almost 50 Venezuelan migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, his opponent tweeted Friday, as calls intensified from Democrats demanding an investigation of the action. Charlie Crist tweeted the dollar amount after campaign researchers found the Sept. 8 payments to Destin-based Vertol Systems, a transportation services company, on the state’s site. The payment was from the Florida Department of Transportation, which oversees a new, $12 million program to relocate “unauthorized aliens” from the state.

—“DeSantis gives word salad answer when asked to defend spending Florida tax dollars on Texas migrants” via Alex Griffing of Mediaite

Marco Rubio defends DeSantis flying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, says ‘freak out’ ‘misguided’” via Stephany Matat of The Palm Beach Post — Rubio defended DeSantis’ sending of migrants to Massachusetts, saying that what critics say is “wrong” about the action is actually “minuscule” compared to the larger failures in U.S. immigration policy. “What was wrong in Martha’s Vineyard is about a small, like a minuscule fraction of the problem being carried by just a handful of states,” said Rubio during an appearance in West Palm Beach. “Most states are taking on 90% of the burden of uncontrolled illegal immigration.” Immigration is a federal responsibility, but Rubio said the U.S. government has dropped the ball.

Lauren Book demands answers about legality of Martha’s Vineyard flights” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Book sent a letter to Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Secretary Jared Perdue demanding several details about a $12 million program DeSantis received an earmark for in the 2022 state budget. According to Geoffrey Freeman, director of the Martha’s Vineyard airport that received the two Florida-funded flights Wednesday, the flights originated in Texas. If that is accurate, the DeSantis administration may have violated its own rules. “On page 494, section 185 of (the 2022 state budget) it is a requisite condition for the use of appropriate funds that your agency … must first develop and ‘implement a program to facilitate the transportation of unauthorized aliens from this State consistent with Federal law,’” Book wrote.

Assignment editors — House Democratic Leader Evan Jenne and Leader-Designate Fentrice Driskell will hold a news conference to discuss their request for the Legislature, per state statute, to instruct DeSantis to cease his inappropriate use of taxpayer money to apparently intercept, deceive and transport asylum-seeking migrants despite the fact that they are hundreds of miles from Florida. This use of state funds is not what was intended or described in law, nor was it what was discussed in debate: 10 a.m., Zoom link here.

DeSantis hates Florida media, but we sure are eating up his Martha’s Vineyard stunt” via Isadora Rangel of the Miami Herald — Speaking at the National Conservatism Convention in Aventura this month, DeSantis’ campaign director of rapid retaliation, Christina Pushaw, outlined her policy for dealing with “legacy media” outlets: “Cut them off,” deny access and attack, the website Florida Politics reported. But DeSantis sure knows how to bait journalists into giving him wall-to-wall coverage. His latest made-for-the-media stunt of sending unsuspecting migrants to Martha’s Vineyard was cruel and a waste of Floridians’ tax dollars. It was also the stuff of a wicked genius, though the jury is still out on whether it will backfire.

Surprise is key part of migrant travel from Florida, Texas” via Rodrique Ngowi, Gisela Salomon and Claudia Torrens of The Associated Press — DeSantis took from the playbook of a fellow Republican, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, by surprising Democratic strongholds with large influxes of migrants and providing little or no information. “They were told that they would have a job and they would have housing,” said Elizabeth Folcarelli, who leads Martha’s Vineyard Community Services and described the scramble for shelter as a “huge challenge.” In San Antonio, a Latina woman approached migrants at a city-run shelter and put them up at a nearby La Quinta Inn, where she visited daily with food and gift cards. She promised jobs and three months of housing in Washington, New York, Philadelphia and Boston. The woman, who introduced herself to migrants as Perla, promised jobs, housing and support for their immigration cases, said Oren Sellstrom of Lawyers for Civil Rights.

‘Huge mistake’: DeSantis’ migrant transports could undercut support in South Florida” via Gary Fineout of POLITICO — DeSantis’ decision to transport mostly Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard earlier this week could hurt the Republican Governor in November with a key constituency that the GOP has sought to win over. The move by DeSantis dominated the radio and television airwaves in South Florida, where large swaths of Hispanic voters live. One Spanish radio host loudly denounced the move and even compared DeSantis’ actions to that of deceased Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, who relocated Cubans in the early ‘60s.

Moving Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vinyard may not be a good look for Ron DeSantis in South Florida.

DeSantis, Republican stuntman” via Jack Shafer of POLITICO Magazine — Daring to exploit exhausted and traumatized immigrants — children among them — as human pawns in a political game would terrify a normal politician. No matter your views on immigration policy, imagine being treated as political refuse that’s dumped to own the libs. Pulling a stunt like this required the heart of a reptile and the ambition of Genghis Khan, although the comparison might be unfair to skinks and geckos, which feed primarily on insects, fruit and the occasional mouse. That DeSantis performed his cruelty on migrants not even residing in his state tells you all you need to gauge his status as a scoundrel. It’s hard to decide which horrifies most, that DeSantis, Yale undergraduate, Harvard law, U.S. Navy, would squat this low or that he thought it would charm his followers.

A lesson from the past for DeSantis” via Joshua Zeitz of POLITICO — In the spring of 1962, David Harris, a short-order cook from Little Rock, Arkansas, arrived in Hyannis, Massachusetts, a small but tony vacation village located on Cape Cod, best known then and now as the location of the Kennedy family’s summer compound. Harris, who was Black, traveled to Hyannis in search of work, with funding and encouragement from Little Rock’s White Citizens’ Council, one of many local organizations comprised of middle-class white professionals who, while dedicated to the preservation of segregation, styled themselves as the respectable, moderate alternative to the Ku Klux Klan. DeSantis’ ploy didn’t work out as planned. Residents of the small island warmly embraced the asylum seekers, much as the citizens of Hyannis welcomed Harris some 60 years earlier.

What the Martha’s Vineyard stunt says about the Donald Trump wannabes” via Jamelle Bouie of The New York Times — The conceit of this dehumanizing bit of political theater was that the liberal denizens of Martha’s Vineyard would reject the migrants out of hypocrisy, thus proving that Democrats aren’t actually interested in welcoming immigrants into their communities. To DeSantis and his amen corner, asylum seekers are disposable, and they believe that liberals will want to dispose of them too. What happened, instead, was that residents of Martha’s Vineyard rallied to provide food, shelter, clothing and services. The asylum seekers are now on their way to Cape Cod, to receive further assistance. The stunt failed to make its intended point. I think these failed stunts tell us something important about DeSantis’ ability to succeed on the national stage. In short, he’s not quite ready.


Charlie Crist launches new ad on personal faith in light of migrant flight” via Wes Wolfe of Florida Politics — The ad opens with Crist talking in an office directly to the camera: “My faith teaches me that we’re all children of God. That whoever oppresses a poor man insults his maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him. That is lost on Ron DeSantis.” The video cuts to a short slow-motion clip of DeSantis speaking before a quick cut to a TV news segment in which part of the lower third reads, “Migrants used in political stunts ahead of midterms.” The next shot included an MSNBC report showing a plane at the airport in Massachusetts and a lower-third that said Martha’s Vineyard residents were offering food, shelter and medical care to the migrants left figuratively at their front doors.

To watch the ad, please click on the image below:

Crist tries to put abortion back at election forefront” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — Crist is trying to reframe the 2022 gubernatorial election as a referendum on abortion after a day focused on immigration. Crist, the Democratic nominee for Governor, says DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody are next looking to completely outlaw abortion after the Legislature passed a 15-week abortion ban this year, a law that is currently working its way through state courts. After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade this year, which has potentially opened the door to total abortion bans, Democrats have seen a resurgence in a year previously thought to be a strong year for Republicans.

Assignment editors — Crist will take part in the following events: 3:15 p.m., major policy announcement, St. Petersburg; 4:45 p.m., ‘Casa Crist’ grand opening, Tampa.

— 2022 —

Joe Biden to speak at a DNC rally in Orlando at the end of the month” via Spectrum News — Biden will visit Orlando on Sept. 27 to deliver remarks at a Democratic National Committee rally, the White House announced. Biden will join other Democratic officials to highlight what they are calling, “the choice voters have in the midterms between building an economy that works for working families, and the Republican plan to put Medicare and Social Security on the chopping block,” the statement said.

Trump leaves DeSantis off roll call of prominent J.D. Vance backers” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — DeSantis is seemingly being disrespected in the wake of a campaign foray into another state. The latest iteration of this trend came Saturday night at Trump’s “Save America” rally in Youngstown, Ohio. Trump rattled through a list of prominent MAGA-aligned conservatives backing author-turned-politician J.D. Vance in his bid for the U.S. Senate, omitting Florida’s Governor, who traveled to Ohio for Vance last month. Among those listed: talk show host Tucker Carlson, whose prime time show actually offers DeSantis plenty of friendly earned media of late; Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri; Trump campaign and administration alum Stephen Miller; and his own progeny, as well as the “entire MAGA movement.” “All the bravest and boldest conservatives in the country are behind J.D.,” Trump said to cheers.

Rick Scott expresses optimism about midterms: ‘I’m 100% certain we’ll take the Senate’” via Chloe Folmar of The Hill — Scott said he is “100% certain” Republicans will take the Senate in November. “I’m 100% certain we’ll take the Senate,” said Scott, the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, in an interview with Gray Television White House correspondent Jon Decker airing this weekend. “I think we’re going to have a breakthrough.” Scott premised his optimism on the quality of Republican Senate candidates.

Rick Scott is upbeat about the GOP’s chances of taking back the Senate.

Scott: GOP will win ‘minimum’ of 52 Senate seats in Nov.” via Punchbowl News — The Florida Republican has been criticized for failing to raise enough money for the NRSC. Scott, in a memo sent to donors this morning, seems quite upbeat and says the GOP will control the Senate in 2023 by a “minimum” of two votes. Here’s Scott’s take: We are less than 60 days from the election and our path to winning back the Senate majority is clear. We are on track to winning a minimum of 52 seats – and we are fighting every day to get to 54 or more. Thanks to your investments, the NRSC has been able to spend heavily, early (as promised at the start of the cycle!) which has kept our candidates in the ballgame. Every Democrat we are trying to beat is under 50 in the polling right now and no Democrat has been able to pull away in the polls in our target states – even in states like WA and CO.

Rubio goes on air in first Spanish-language ad of the cycle” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Rubio is releasing his first Spanish-language ad of the 2022 election cycle. The 30-second spot focuses on the Senator’s response when Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico and his role in crafting the Payroll Protection Program during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will run on television in the Orlando area. The ad, entitled “Logró,” begins with a weather forecast graphic of the storm as it struck Puerto Rico in 2017. A female narrator in Spanish describes the urgency with which Florida’s Senator treated the disaster.

To watch the ad, please click on the image below:

Democratic Agriculture Commissioner candidate says she’s left out of party resources” via Phil Prazan of NBC Miami — Naomi Blemur, the Democratic candidate for Florida Agriculture Commissioner, says the Florida Democratic Party is leaving her out of state efforts boosting their candidates. Blemur is the long-shot bid against Republican candidate Wilton Simpson, who’s the current Senate President. She survived a harsh spotlight in the Democratic Primary when her views on marriage and abortion emerged, but she defeated two other candidates, gaining nearly 700,000 votes. Now, she feels neglected because of her past positions. Blemur said she is not included in the party’s Blue Shift Florida program, a collective effort to pool resources and staff. Candidates are asked to contribute to the overall pot. Blemur was asked to contribute $40,000. According to campaign finance data, she had barely $1,000 going into September.

Interest groups switch sides in Florida state House race” via William March of the Tampa Bay Times — In a reversal of the typical leanings of two powerful Florida interest groups, the state’s trial lawyers are lining up with Republican challenger Danny Alvarez, while many business interests are backing Democratic incumbent Andrew Learned, in a key southeast Hillsborough state House race. The reason: Learned, a moderate Democrat and business owner, has sided with business interests on issues including litigation reform, which he said is crucial to restoring stability in the state’s home insurance market.

Can Democrat take back Pinellas House seat held by a Republican?” via William March of the Tampa Bay Times — Can a little-known, first-time candidate successfully challenge a Republican incumbent in a GOP-leaning swing seat in Pinellas County? Janet Varnell Warwick is trying to do just that in the southeastern Pinellas District 61, and says she has a chance even though incumbent Rep. Linda Chaney is heavily out-fundraising her. Warwick said she’s optimistic in part because the district has swung between the parties in the past, although that was before it was redrawn in this year’s redistricting.

House GOP and candidate invest combined $45K in two weeks in Palm Beach’s solidly blue HD 92” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — State Republicans and their candidate are pushing hard to unseat incumbent Democratic Rep. Kelly Skidmore in a Palm Beach County House District that went for Biden by nearly 20 percentage points the last cycle. The decennial redistricting did not change the blue shade of House District 92 that covers the southwest slice of Palm Beach County. Still, first-time Republican candidate Dorcas Hernandez loaned her campaign $35,000 in the last campaign finance reporting period to take on Skidmore. And the Florida House Republican Campaign Committee dropped $10,000 on Hernandez’s campaign for the same period.

Florida Republicans are pulling out all the stops to unseat Kelly Skidmore.

Jim Mooney drops $81K on ads for HD 120 as challenger ramps up spending too” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Rep. Mooney spent $96,000 between Aug. 1 and Sept. 9 to hold on to his House District 120 seat representing the Florida Keys and the southernmost part of Miami-Dade County. More than 84% of the money covered advertising. Mooney also raised $51,000 between his campaign account and political committee, Friends of Jim Mooney with disproportionate help from health care and utility companies. His largest expenditure was a more than $68,000 payment to Los Angeles-based campaign advertising company Mentzer Media Services.

Ghosted? Citrus County elections complaint targets District 2 NPA candidate” via Mike Wright of Florida Politics — Barbara Fletcher says in her complaint that Paul Grogan has not campaigned for District 2 anywhere but on social media, is conducting no fundraising, spends much of the year out of the county, doesn’t live in the district he wants to represent, and openly endorsed the candidate who won the Republican Primary. Diana Finegan and Stacey Worthington squared off in the District 2 Primary, which was closed only to Republican voters because of Grogan’s candidacy. Finegan won with 57% of the vote. Fletcher’s complaint, which she also sent to Citrus County Commissioners, the State Attorney’s office and Citrus County Sheriff’s Office, mentions a local blog, Just Wright Citrus, which questioned the validity of Grogan’s candidacy.

Is Paul Grogan yet another ghost candidate?

Tallahassee Mayor debate: John Dailey, Kristin Dozier spar over growth, utilities, homelessness” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — Dailey repeatedly clashed with his opponent for re-election, Leon County Commissioner Dozier, during their debate, with clear differences between the candidates shown on growth and development, city utilities and homelessness. Dailey is locked in a runoff with Dozier in the General Election after coming in second to her in the Primary, capturing 45.7% of the vote to Dozier’s 46%. Whitfield Leland nabbed 5.3% of votes in the Primary and Michael Ibrahim garnered 3%. Dailey, who took office in 2018, acknowledged a litany of difficulties the city has faced in the last four years.

For your radar — “Florida Democrats face big hurdles in wooing Hispanic voters” via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel — Republicans have made major gains with Hispanic voters in Florida over the past two election cycles, leaving Democrats scrambling to find ways to reverse the trends with Puerto Rican, Cuban and Venezuelan voters. But DeSantis’ controversial move on Wednesday to fly Venezuelan migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard might help Democrats this November. “Certainly, one group that it might actually influence are Venezuelan voters in Florida, who may look at this as demeaning and shocking to their community,” said Aubrey Jewett, a professor of political science.


Christine Pushaw among Top 10 promoters of ‘grooming’ slur; helped spread LGBTQ hate offline” via Michael Moline and John Micek of Florida Phoenix — Pushaw, currently in charge of rapid response for DeSantis’ re-election campaign, ranks No. 6 on a list of the biggest purveyors of the ‘groomer’ slander — with her hateful tweets viewed 2 million times, according to a new report. Looking at conversations about LGBTQ people between January and July of this year, researchers found that tweets using the ‘grooming’ shot up by 406% in the month after Florida passed its ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill. In addition: Tweets mentioning the ‘OK groomer’ slur surged by 2,465%. The Walt Disney Co. was targeted with 345,152 tweets about ‘grooming.’ The 500 most influential hateful ‘grooming’ tweets were seen 72 million times. ‘Grooming’ tweets from just 10 key figures (including Pushaw) were viewed 48 million times. Twitter is failing to act on 99% of hateful ‘grooming’ tweets.

Trollin’: Christina Pushaw is a heavy hitter with ‘groomer’ hate speech, a new report shows. Image via Colin Hackley.

Manny Díaz names Steve Crisafulli, Rebecca Matthews, more to Education Foundation board” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — Díaz has named seven new members to the Florida Education Foundation’s board of directors, including Matthews as Chair. “I am proud to appoint new board members who are bringing years of experience and immense value to the Foundation,” Díaz said in a news release. “Additionally, I have the utmost confidence in Chair Matthews to make an immediate, positive impact on furthering the Foundation’s mission.”

Florida Medical Association, other medical societies bring attention to physician suicide” via Wes Wolfe of Florida Politics —The FMA and medical societies across the country are bringing attention to the issue through National Physician Suicide Awareness Day. “Physician well-being is at the heart of the Florida Medical Association’s mission to help physicians practice medicine,” said FMA President Joshua D. Lenchus. “Yet far too many physicians endure mental health distress in isolation because of lingering stigmas and structural obstacles that prevent them from seeking help — often with devastating consequences. More than half — 55% — of physicians who responded to a Physicians Foundation survey in 2021 said they knew of a colleague who thought of, attempted or died of suicide.

Should big insurers be required to cover homes in Florida along with autos?” via Ron Hurtibise of the Orlando Sentinel — Every so often, a beleaguered Florida consumer proposes a way to fix Florida’s property insurance availability problem: The state Legislature should require big national insurance companies that bombard the state with auto insurance ads to also sell homeowners insurance. After all, they ask, why should the big companies be allowed to cherry-pick the easier and most profitable motor vehicle risks while avoiding potentially costlier property risks? Ed Huber, a Boynton Beach resident, wrote to the Palm Beach Post in 2013 that “Any insurer that is a national/international company will not be allowed to do business in any state unless all its coverages are available in that state … To exclude some coverage because of higher risk could not happen.”

NOAA vessel speed proposal, meant to protect right whales, draws charter captains’ ire” via Wes Wolfe of Florida Politics — It’s an unavoidable fact that recreational vessel collisions are one of the biggest threats to the survival of North Atlantic right whales as a species, behind the injuries and deaths wrought by fixed-gear, heavy rope lobster and crab trapping in New England and Canada, and along with issues exacerbated by climate change like warming seas and a migrating food supply. There are so few right whales, and they reproduce so rarely, each human-caused death is another step toward extinction. Into this ecological crisis comes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), with new proposed vessel speed restrictions for boats 35-65 feet in length.


Biden warns U.S. democracy threatened, but how can he save it?” via The Associated Press — Biden is finding it’s easier to call out attacks on democracy than it is to stop them. His fundamental rationale for running for President was that America’s democratic traditions were in jeopardy. Now, 20 months into his presidency, the dangers are worse, Biden’s warnings are more dire and the limits of his own ability to fix the problem are clearer. Trump continues to stoke the baseless claim the 2020 election was stolen, and even now advocates for the results in certain battleground states to be decertified even though the falsehood has been rejected by dozens of courts and his own attorney general.

Bidens among thousands paying respects to Queen Elizabeth as officials make final preparations for Monday’s funeral” via Mike Corder, Jill Lawless, and Danica Kirka of the Orlando Sentinel — Biden paid his respects at Queen Elizabeth’s coffin on Sunday as thousands of police, hundreds of British troops and an army of officials made final preparations for The Queen’s state funeral a spectacular display of national mourning that will also be the biggest gathering of world leaders for years. People across Britain paused for a minute of silence at 8 p.m. in memory of the only monarch most have ever known. At Westminster Hall, where The Queen is lying in state, the constant stream of mourners paused for 60 seconds as people observed the minute of reflection in deep silence.

Hopefully, Joe Biden won’t have to wait in the queue.

Panels in both chambers to take up presidential elector overhauls” via Chris Cioffi of Roll Call — With the calendar winding down on a 117th Congress that began with rioters storming the Capitol, lawmakers in both chambers on Friday announced plans to take up bills that overhaul a 135-year-old law governing the counting of Presidential electoral votes. The House Rules Committee will take up a still-unseen bill Tuesday dubbed the Presidential Election Reform Act, and Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said on Thursday a floor vote could happen next week. The Senate Rules and Administration Committee also announced Friday it would mark up a bipartisan bill later this month revamping the 1887 law and clarifying what happens during presidential transitions.

Matt Gaetz sought pardon related to Justice Department sex trafficking probe” via Jacqueline Alemany and Amy Gardner of The Washington Post — Gaetz told a former White House aide that he was seeking a preemptive pardon from Trump regarding an investigation in which he is a target, according to testimony given to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Johnny McEntee told investigators that Gaetz told him during a brief meeting “that they are launching an investigation into him or that there’s an investigation into him,” without specifying who was investigating Gaetz.

Pardon me?

New York Times report questions 2 of Scott Franklin’s stock trades as potential conflicts” via Gary White of The Ledger of Lakeland — Franklin is among 97 members of Congress who have engaged in stock transactions that pose potential conflicts of interest, according to a review by The New York Times, though Franklin denies that. The Times conducted “an extensive analysis of trades” from 2019 to 2021, the article said. The Times found more than 3,700 trades reported by lawmakers from both parties that raised potential conflicts “between their public responsibilities and private finances,” according to the report. The package includes short summaries of the stock trades from each of the 97 members of Congress, and Franklin’s is among the briefest. It says Franklin reported trades in five companies during the three-year period, and the Times deemed two of them to be potential conflicts.

Senior campaign adviser for Byron Donalds involved in multiple confrontations on camera” via Dave Elias of NBC 2 — Disturbing videos reveal Donalds and his senior campaign adviser involved in two separate confrontations. One of the videos shows Donalds fighting with a Collier County school board candidate on Primary Election night. The others show multiple angles of a confrontation involving Donalds campaign aide and the husband of the Collier School Board Candidate Kelly Lichter. There are more than half a dozen different videos and camera angles involving two different arguments. Both of the incidents center on the school board candidate Lichter who is suing Donald’s wife.


Trump’s favorability rating drops to new low” via Rachel Skully of The Hill — Trump’s favorability rating has dropped to a new low after slowly trickling down over the past few months. A new poll released Sunday found that 34% of registered voters said they have a positive view of Trump, while 54% say they have a negative view of him. Trump’s favorability rating was at its lowest in April 2021, when his rating fell to 32% in the same NBC poll. Trump’s favorability score is down slightly since last month, with the same 54% saying they have a negative view of Trump, but 36% saying they had a positive view of him.

Trump openly embraces, amplifies QAnon conspiracy theories” via David Klepper and Ai Swenson of The Associated Press — After winking at QAnon for years, Trump is overtly embracing the baseless conspiracy theory, even as the number of frightening real-world events linked to it grows. On Tuesday, using his Truth Social platform, the Republican former President reposted an image of himself wearing a Q lapel pin overlaid with the words “The Storm is Coming.” In QAnon lore, the “storm” refers to Trump’s final victory, when supposedly he will regain power and his opponents will be tried, and potentially executed, on live television.

It’s no secret; Donald Trump goes all-in for QAnon.

Trump rally plays music resembling QAnon song, and crowds react” via Alan Feuer and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times — While speaking in Youngstown in support of Vance, Trump delivered a dark address about the decline of America over music that was all but identical to a song called “Wwg1wga” — an abbreviation for the QAnon slogan, “Where we go one, we go all.” As Trump spoke, scores of people in the crowd raised fingers in the air in an apparent reference to the “1” in what they thought was the song’s title. It was the first time in the memory of some Trump aides that such a display had occurred at one of his rallies. Aides to Trump said the song played at the rally was called “Mirrors,” and it was selected for use in a video that Trump played at the conservative meeting CPAC and posted on his social media site, Truth Social. But it sounds strikingly like the QAnon theme song.

Donald Trump’s theme music is a hit with the QAnon crowd. Image via Reuters.

Justice Department asks appeals court to lift judge’s Mar-a-Lago probe hold” via The Associated Press — The Justice Department asked a federal appeals court Friday to lift a judge’s order that temporarily barred it from reviewing a batch of classified documents seized during an FBI search of Trump’s Florida home last month. The department told the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta that the judge’s hold, imposed last week, had impeded the “government’s efforts to protect the nation’s security” and interfered with its investigation into the presence of top-secret information at Mar-a-Lago. “The government and the public would suffer irreparable harm absent a stay” of the order, department lawyers wrote in their brief to the appeals court.

‘What happened to your country?’: The poisoned well of the Trump era” via John T. Bennett of Roll Call — The small SUV bounced along one of Washington’s many pothole-scarred streets as dusk set in when its driver asked a simple but complicated question. “What happened to your country?” the Lyft driver, who identified himself as Patrick, asked this columnist as we locked eyes in his rearview mirror. Born and raised in Kenya, Patrick explained on the evening of Sept. 10 that he emigrated to the United States three decades ago. “Why do you Americans hate each other so much?” he said, not trying to suppress the emotion of his statement. “I came here because this seemed like a country where you always found a way to get to the solutions. Today, I do not see solutions.”

How Russian trolls helped keep the Women’s March out of lockstep” via Ellen Barry of The New York Times — Organizations linked to the Russian government had assigned teams to the Women’s March, a mobilization against Trump that surpassed all expectations. Copywriters were testing out social media messages critical of the Women’s March movement, adopting the personas of fictional Americans. They posted as Black women critical of white feminism, conservative women who felt excluded, and men who mocked participants as hairy-legged whiners. But one message performed better with audiences than any other. It singled out an element of the Women’s March that might, at first, have seemed like a detail: Among its four co-chairs was Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian American activist whose hijab marked her as an observant Muslim. One hundred and fifty-two different Russian accounts produced material about her.

— LOCAL: S. FL —

Some board members weigh in after DeSantis appointee hints at removing Broward superintendent” via Jimena Tavel of the Miami Herald — After the state’s Board of Education chair insinuated Thursday that he wants Broward Schools Superintendent Vickie Cartwright suspended or fired, three of the nine Broward School Board members said Friday Cartwright has been doing a good job and they don’t plan on dismissing her. The board hired Cartwright as superintendent in February, the first woman to hold the post in the district’s 107-year history. She had been the interim superintendent since August 2021.

Defense seeks judge’s removal in Parkland school shooter case” via The Associated Press — Attorneys for Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz asked for the judge in his murder case to remove herself on Friday, two days after she scolded them when they abruptly rested their case after calling only a fraction of their expected witnesses. The Broward Public Defender’s Office said in a motion that Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer held a longstanding animosity toward lead defense lawyer Melisa McNeill. The motion cited Florida’s Judicial Code of Conduct which states a judge shall disqualify himself or herself if the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned, including, but not limited to, instances where the judge has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party or a party’s lawyer.

Nikolas Cruz’s defense tries to get Elizabeth Scherer booted off the case.

Parkland defense has convinced some that killer deserves mercy” via Rafael Olmeda of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — The sudden end of the defense case in the Parkland mass shooting trial this week drew criticism of and from the presiding judge, temporarily overshadowing the biggest question at issue, was enough evidence presented to convince a jury to spare the defendant’s life? It’s impossible to say for sure, juries are notoriously unpredictable. But at least one expert, and some trial observers, say they would not be surprised if the jury in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas mass shooting case were to show mercy toward confessed shooter Cruz.

Witness statements raise questions about Broward sheriff’s self-defense claim in 1993 deadly shooting” via David Lyons of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Words from long ago by witnesses to the fatal shooting of a young Philadelphia man by Gregory Tony, then 14, appear to contradict his insistence that he fired in self-defense. Now the Broward County sheriff, Tony has been under intense scrutiny from the Florida Commission on Ethics, which this past week found probable cause that he misused his position by providing misleading statements to authorities on a police job application, driver’s license renewal and a state law enforcement certification form about his past.

— LOCAL: C. FL —

Tampa City Council unanimously endorses All For Transportation plan” via Florida Politics — The Tampa City Council on Thursday unanimously passed a resolution supporting the All For Transportation plan on the Nov. 8 ballot. The vote came the same day the All For Transportation campaign officially opened its campaign office in Ybor City. New campaign signs show an update to this year’s campaign from the one it ran successfully four years ago, with the words “Yes For Transportation” emblazoned on yard signs, posters and T-shirts. The approved Tampa City Council resolution provides a robust background on Hillsborough County’s pressing and growing transportation needs, including a $13 billion backlog of “road, safety and transit needs,” which are “growing by $1 billion a year.”

Lisa Wheeler-Bowman resigns City Council post” via Florida Politics — Wheeler-Bowman resigned her position Thursday following accusations that she no longer lived in the district she represents. It is a violation of the City Charter to not live within an official’s elected district. The accusation came from former mayoral candidate Vincent Nowicki, who has also filed an ethics complaint against Mayor Ken Welch over his appointment of James Corbett to be City Development Administrator. Council Chair Gina Driscoll announced the resignation Thursday shortly after Nowicki’s claim.

lisa wheeler-bowman
Lisa Wheeler-Bowman makes a hasty exit.

Bodycam footage, investigation show inconsistencies in GPD’s handling of Terrell Bradley case” via Javon L. Harris of The Gainesville Sun — A review of records and video is raising more questions about inconsistencies with the Gainesville Police Department’s response and handling of the Bradley arrest. Last week, Chief Lonnie Scott held a news conference to say his office thoroughly reviewed the July 10 incident that cost Bradley his right eye and left him with spinal leakage and two broken fingers. Though Scott said his department was trying to be transparent and that officers were cleared of any wrongdoing stemming from the arrest, hours of footage and additional records suggest the agency took steps to mitigate its handling of the situation before the release of information to the public.

Kayak outfitters forced to stop tours at Blue Spring: ‘I’m watching my livelihood disappear’” via Patrick Connolly of the Orlando Sentinel — Blue Spring State Park has long been a hot spot for tourism as visitors have traveled from near and far to swim in the azure-blue waters or see manatees, sometimes on kayak tours. But local outfitters say the state has put a hold on their tour operations as of Aug. 1, handing out warnings to some paddle tour groups amid sudden enforcement of the Florida Administrative Code, which governs the Department of Environmental Protection and state parks. “It came as a surprise, I think, to everybody. I was not contacted by anyone beforehand,” said Astrid Jackson, owner of Venture Outdoors.

School district first to include Tom Brady’s fitness program” via Andrew Crane of the Tampa Bay Times — For Tiffany Williams and Allison Swank, their 13-student wellness education class at Pinellas Park Middle School on Friday was an epicenter of innovation. A monitor showed a PowerPoint presentation that included a video featuring Brady. Words like “pliability” were written on a whiteboard. Foam rollers vibrated, pliability spheres rolled, and instructions explained foundational movements to loosen the muscles of their eighth grade students. Pinellas Park Middle School is one of 10 pilot schools in the district, four high schools and six middle schools, integrating Brady’s TB12 Method into their health and wellness curriculum this year.


Collier Planning Commission sides against controversial high-rises on Isles of Capri” via Laura Layden of Naples Daily News — In a win for hundreds of opponents, Collier County Planning Commissioners have sided against a controversial high-rise development on Isles of Capri. On Thursday, the board voted 6-1 to recommend denial. Only Commissioner Joe Schmitt dissented, saying if the current commercial zoning stays in place, it would “just be a disaster” for the island. After the vote, Schmitt reminded opponents the project could still move forward. “The fight isn’t over,” he said. The project would require rezoning and a growth plan amendment. County Commissioners will make the final decision. While the battle isn’t over, Isles of Capri resident and business owner Jeri Neuhaus said: “Right now there is a little bit of celebrating going on. We have to celebrate our little wins as well.”

South Fort Myers High given all-clear following gun threat, all 67 Lee Schools searched” via Nikki Ross and Tomas Rodriguez of the Fort Myers News-Press — All 67 schools in the Lee County School District were searched and cleared Friday after South Fort Myers High School received a call there was a gun on campus, according to officials. South Fort Myers High and Cypress Lake High schools were both placed under lockdown, according to district spokesperson Rob Spicker. The school was given the all-clear around 2 p.m. Friday. “There is not an active shooter. The room they said it (the gun) was in does not exist,” Spicker said. “The campus is being swept as a precaution.” The call is suspected to be a “prank,” according to Spicker and the Sheriff’s Office.

New North Naples high school named after former Collier Sheriff Aubrey Rogers” via Nikki Ross of Naples Daily News — Collier County School District’s new high school in North Naples has a name and a mascot after the school board’s unanimous decision Monday. The high school will be named Aubrey Rogers High School after former Collier County Sheriff Aubrey Rogers, who established the office’s Youth Relations Program in 1977. The program introduced the concept of putting deputies in schools. The school’s mascot will be the Patriots, which the district’s website said aligns with Rogers’ service in the U.S. Army. The school, which will cost about $97 million, will have 1,887 students. The school is found near Veterans Memorial Elementary and North Naples Middle School. The 60 acres for the campus was acquired by the school district in 2001.

Aubrey Rogers is honored with a new school name.

Fort Myers working to fix water outage, precautionary boil water notice issued” via Matthew Seaver of WINK News — The City of Fort Myers said it is working to fix the water outage Sunday morning. The city said it was aware of the issue but did not give a timetable for when water would be restored. They say the water is out due to a water main break on Kingsbridge Boulevard. A precautionary boil water notice has also been issued. The city says the boil notice is for areas east of I-75, including Lexington Palms at The Forum, Promenade East and West, Colonial Country Club, Pelican Preserve, Olympia Pointe, Sherwood, Whispering Palms, Treeline Elementary, Marina Bay, Botanica Lakes, Bridgetown, and The Plantation. The city says the boil notice will remain in effect until the water main is fixed and the water is tested and deemed safe.

— LOCAL: N. FL —

DeSantis likely to pass on appointment as District 2 Leon County Commission race heats up” via Jeff Burlew of the Tallahassee Democrat — Though DeSantis hasn’t publicly said one way or the other, few if anyone expects him to appoint someone to the Leon County Commission District 2 seat left vacant by the death of Commissioner Jimbo Jackson. Jackson, a longtime educator who served as principal of Fort Braden School, died May 28 of complications from long COVID-19. His death, which came in the middle of his second term, opened the door for the Governor to appoint someone to serve temporarily until after the General Election. The open seat prompted seven people to run for the nonpartisan post. And while a few applied to fill the vacancy after Jackson’s death, none of them ever heard back from the Governor’s Office.

Will Ron DeSantis fill a long-empty Leon County Commission post? Signs point to ‘no.’

The City Council, once again, picks winners and losers among Jacksonville nonprofits” via Nate Monroe of The Florida Times-Union — There are two sets of rules for nonprofits in Duval County. For the vast majority, securing a city grant means competing against other nonprofits, filling out detailed applications, and meeting deadlines. For a select few organizations, however, there really are no rules. For these lucky organizations, there is no competitive process. Deadlines are more like ‘livelines,’ malleable and voluntary, while scoring criteria are arbitrary when it exists but often simply non-existent. All it takes is cozying up to the right member of the Jacksonville City Council, one who is willing, sometimes for perfectly well-meaning reasons and sometimes not, to help these fortunate nonprofits circumvent the competitive process that exists for everyone else.

East Bay Boulevard residents angered by pollutants entering Midway-area waterway” via Tom McLaughlin of the Pensacola News Journal — The East Bay ecosystem in southern Santa Rosa County, already environmentally damaged to the point that the state is moving to shut down oyster harvesting in the area, endured another blow earlier this month. Following a Sept. 9 rainstorm, a fast-moving stream of water swept into a narrow ditch created as part of a project to repair a damaged bridge culvert in the area between Midway and Navarre. The water carried fill dirt with it and caused what one neighbor called “a river of mud” to flow into a lagoon that feeds into the bay.


Why a majority rejected the Republican approach to COVID-19” via David French of The Atlantic — The New York Times’ David Leonhardt rightly notes that neither party has a perfect record on COVID-19. Nobody does. Our nation’s public-health officials were learning in real time about a novel coronavirus, and politicians had to make decisions based on partial information. Even if they were operating in absolute good faith in a completely functional political environment, they’d make mistakes. They’d still have to make tough decisions that included difficult trade-offs between, for example, public safety and economic vitality.

But we don’t live in a functional political environment, and our politicians don’t always operate in good faith. So, we filtered partial information about the virus through different red and blue political cultures, and the result was remarkably consistent. Per the Brookings Institution, “Republicans consistently underestimate risks, while Democrats consistently overestimate them.”

From a policy perspective, this different risk analysis resulted in opposing kinds of errors. When Democrats erred, they erred on the side of excessive fear. When Republicans erred, they erred on the side of recklessness.

Both kinds of errors had real consequences, and no one should minimize the consequences of excessive caution. Prolonged school closures and lockdowns harmed both kids and adults. The learning loss to children alone will take years to overcome. But, as Leonhardt notes, minimizing COVID-19’s risks can be deadly (in May, a Brown University/Microsoft study estimated that vaccine refusal had cost almost 319,000 American lives). The consequences are not equal, and it’s quite telling that the most vulnerable community — America’s seniors — is most upset at the Republican response.


DeSantis’ cruelty toward refugees marks a new low” via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board — There’s plenty to say about DeSantis’ ugly political stunt of dumping two planeloads of confused, misled, tired and hungry people in the ritzy Massachusetts resort of Martha’s Vineyard with no notice, except to the media, and absolutely no preparation for their welfare. Shame on you, Governor. He has made the people of Florida ashamed and wasted their tax dollars doing it.

How low can they go?” via Maureen Dowd of The New York Times — Politicians who purport to be guardians of American “values” are rewarded for being inhumane. The nastier, the better. Republican pols have gone from kissing babies and rope-line handshakes to full-on viciousness. I asked Trump during the 2016 campaign why he had gone so dark. “I guess because of the fact that I immediately went to No. 1,” he replied, “and I said, why don’t I just keep the same thing going?” Trump created the cynical and boorish template for other presidential hopefuls on the right. It can be amusing to mock elites. But there’s something exceedingly creepy — and blatantly opportunistic — about DeSantis chartering two planes to send some 50 migrants, mostly Venezuelan, from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard.

One way to repair the Supreme Court” via The Washington Post editorial board — So far, senior Democrats have thankfully declined to embrace court-packing. The idea should gain no more momentum. This is not to say that Americans must simply accept the status quo. There are better reforms that would reduce the partisan rancor surrounding Supreme Court nominations and encourage Americans to once again view the court as a dignified body insulated from politics. Reformers should press Congress to impose court term limits. Supreme Court terms would be long — perhaps 18 years — so that justices would not use brief stints as waystations to lucrative jobs. The terms would also be staggered so that each President could expect to fill the same number of court vacancies every four years.

DeSantis owns this huge mistake: He must suspend Sheriff Gregory Tony” via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board — What is DeSantis waiting for? He removed Tampa’s twice-elected state attorney from office for making statements on abortion that he didn’t like. But he leaves Broward Sheriff Tony in charge of one of the largest law enforcement agencies in Florida, despite his history of lying about his past on official documents. Tony should never have been appointed Sheriff in the first place. But he was in sloppy, hurried fashion by DeSantis himself, without a full background check that should have raised enough red flags to derail his appointment.

Insurance litigation problem stares deep into an abyss” via Guy Fraker of Business Observer — Much has been said, and debated, about the National Association of Insurance Commissioner reports stating Florida’s national market share of residential property insurance litigation. Using 2019 data, in combination with a market conduct survey, the first observation indicated that Florida’s 74,210 lawsuits represented a 76.45% market share. When Florida’s Commissioner David Altmaier cited this metric in his April 2, 2021, letter to Florida’s House, the subsequent reactions were illuminating. Until the recent Special Session in May, little urgency addressing these statistics emerged.


— ALOE —

Halloween Horror Nights are back with new scares at Universal Orlando” via Gabrielle Russon of Florida Politics — Amid the slashers, the snarling animals and the monsters, there was something unexpected at Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights. Mournfully, a ghostly woman dressed all in white played on the bow of a ship in a recreated New England fishing village. Eerie and beautiful all at once, it was a show-stopping scene. Dead Man’s Pier: Winter’s Wake, the haunted house where you can find the violinist, is part of the dark magic of Halloween Horror Nights which runs on select nights through Oct 31.

New scares await at Universal Orlando’s 2022 Halloween Horror Nights.

68% of Disney World fans say the park’s ‘lost its magic’: poll” via Daisy Ruth and Russell Falcon of KTLA — The gambling website time2play recently released a study based on data from 1,927 “self-described Disney World enthusiasts” about the rising costs to visit the park. According to the study, 92.6% of those surveyed believed the cost of a Disney World vacation is out of reach for an average family. Additionally, 68.3% of people said increases made it feel like the theme park has lost all its magic. As of Tuesday, the cost for a standard one-park day ticket on Friday, Sept. 16 is $134, though prices of tickets vary by date. Almost 50% of respondents said they postponed a Disney World trip in recent years due to price increases.

Read the survey here.


Celebrating today is Kate Bascom‘s dad, Mike, as well as Ali Glisson of Strategic Property Partners, Andy Marlette, and Josh Wolf.


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

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.

One comment

  • David in Shoreline

    September 19, 2022 at 9:45 am

    What kind of cheese would you folks like with your whine today?

    “DeSantis is mean. DeSantis is breaking norms.” Oh cry me a river. Biden intentionally blew up our border security the day he took office. There is plenty of blaming to be done but take your aim squarely at Joe Biden.

    Lawful immigrants in Florida are just as sick of the rampant crime and drugs coming across the border as long term citizens are.

    Next flight perhaps, Malibu California?

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

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