Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 9.30.22

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Good Friday morning.

Hurricane Ian tore through Florida yesterday, doing untold amounts of damage and uprooting thousands of our friends and neighbors. There are many ways those of us who were spared from the worst of it can help.

Below are some of the many reputable organizations and charities that can put your dollars and your time to good use:

—American Red Cross: Those looking to donate can do so online, by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS, or by texting “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation. AT&T customers can make a $10 donation via their phone bill by texting “IAN” to 90999. The American Red Cross is also seeking blood donations. Potential donors can find more information online or by phone.

The long road to recovery starts with you — please help.

—CARE: The organization is distributing cash assistance to families so they can secure food, water and shelter. Donations are accepted online.

—Feeding America: The organization is accepting donations online. Funds raised will be used to deliver food and other necessities to Floridians affected by the hurricane.

—The Florida Disaster Fund: The state program funds response and recovery efforts after hurricanes and distributes money across different service organizations in Florida. Donations can be made online or by texting DISASTER to 20222.

—GlobalGiving: The organization connects other nonprofits to donors and companies, including communities throughout Florida and Cuba. Its Hurricane Ian Relief Fund aims to supply food, water and shelter to those affected by the storm. More information is available online.

—Metropolitan Ministries: The organization is working with chef José Andrés of World Central Kitchen to distribute 25,000 meals daily using the Metropolitan Ministries kitchen. Metropolitan Ministries has food, water and power for those who need it. Those looking to donate or volunteer can find more information online or by dropping by the main location at 2002 N Florida Ave. in Tampa.

—Save The Children: Donations to the child-focused nonprofit can be made online. Funds raised will be used to provide water, hygiene kits, diapers and other lifesaving supplies to children affected by the storm.

—Volunteer Florida: You can register as a volunteer on the state-run organization’s website. Volunteer Florida is particularly in need of disaster mental health services volunteers. Alternatively, it is accepting donations starting at $25.

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Ian left millions of Floridians with no power, no water, no food and possibly no homes or neighborhoods to return to.

According to the Florida Behavioral Health Association (FBHA), scores of Floridians will also be struggling with the emotional effects of having to deal with such an overwhelming and catastrophic incident.

“While many Floridians will soon be focused on cleaning up in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian — clearing fallen trees, repairing power lines and rebuilding homes — some residents will be silently trying to deal with the mental health issues that tend to follow natural disasters,” said FBHA President and CEO Melanie Brown-Woofter.

“It has been documented that hurricanes can open the floodgates for anxiety, stress, fear, PTSD triggers and other mental health issues. We know that local mental health providers are still working with families in the Panhandle who were impacted by Hurricane Michael in 2018.”

Not all injuries are clearly visible.

FBHA pointed to a November 2020 study conducted by the University of Delaware that examined the impact of natural disasters on suicide rates during a 12-year span. It found that overall suicide rates increased by 23% when compared to rates before a natural disaster.

Additionally, a 2012 study in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry found that nearly half of those who survived Hurricane Katrina in 2005 suffered from some form of mental distress.

“I encourage all residents, especially those people who struggle with PTSD and anxiety, to take advantage of the resources and helplines provided by the Florida Behavioral Health Association to help them process the trauma and recover,” Brown-Woofter added. “It may take weeks, months or even years to grasp the severity of what has happened. Now is the time to seek help.”

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Nursing home group establishes relief fund for long-term care staff” via Florida Politics — Thousands of nursing home and assisted living facility staff who care for the poor elderly and disabled have been impacted by Hurricane Ian. Through its 501c3 tax exempt organization, the Florida Health Care Education and Development Foundation, the FCHA established a “Hurricane Relief Fund” to help assist its nursing home members’ staffs who have been adversely impacted by the devastating storm. All proceeds will be directed to the long-term care workers.

— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —

Tweet, tweet:

@RSchooley: (Joe) Biden says this might be the deadliest storm to hit Florida and the first question to him is if he can get along with Ron DeSantis.

@BobBuckhorn: I spent 8 years working with Sen. (Rick) Scott as Governor and he could not have been more helpful in situations like this. First to call and the last to leave and it never mattered who was a D or an R.

@DylanFedericoWX: Fort Myers is devastated. Tough hurricane-proof infrastructure that’s in shambles. There’s no electricity or water. It’s unlivable. Wind damage is far worse than I saw after Irma, Ida, Harvey, or Katrina.

@DenisPhillipsWx: I just can’t describe how I’m feeling seeing the images coming out of Fort Myers and other parts of Florida. I feel kind of guilty wondering why much of the Bay Area was so blessed and other areas were devastated. I hope our coverage kept you informed and eased your stress a bit.

@ItsBethBooker: This is my family’s home of 24 years. We’ve survived Charley and Irma. We will survive Ian. My mom refused to evacuate with me because she has impact windows and hurricane shutters and felt safer than being at my house in North Naples without shutters. Please pray for her.

Tweet, tweet:

Tweet, tweet:

Tweet, tweet:

@EricLDaugh: Very fortunate my area of South Fort Myers has power. FPL is working very hard — only lost it for 24 hours, this may go down as the quickest and strongest response to a hurricane in at least recent history

@Eric_Jotkoff: Someone on @msnbc is saying you don’t want to go into the floodwaters in Florida because of alligators. But that is the least concerning thing in that water, which is full of gasoline, chemicals, raw sewage, and could be electrified by downed power lines.

@CHeathWFTV: If you are thinking about wading into standing water, remember this: ants float.

@LennyCurry: BIG thank you to all the media outlets who have been covering this storm. We know how difficult and important your jobs are, especially in times like this. I have said safety is my #1 priority time & time again and you all play a vital role in keeping our community safe.

Tweet, tweet:

@TomBrady: Happy we’re able to head home for Sunday night, but so many people in Florida won’t be able to do the same. I’ll be making a donation to the Florida Disaster Fund to get things started, and I’m hoping the rest of the NFL family in our state will follow suit volunteerflorida.org/donatefdf

@Gangrey: Thank you to whomever turned the AC on in all of Florida after the hurricane. It’s 64 in Tampa right now.

— DAYS UNTIL —

Supervisors of Elections vote-by-mail mailing deadline for General Election — 6; 22-23 NHL season begins — 7; WPEC televised debate in Florida Governor’s race — 12; deadline to register for General Election — 14; ‘Before You Vote’ TV debates (Senate) — 18; NBA season tips off — 18; Taylor Swift’s ‘Midnights’ release — 21; Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 24; Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Passenger’ releases — 25; Jon Meacham’s ‘And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle’ releases — 25; City & State Florida Digital Summit — 27; Early voting begins for General Election — 29; 2022 General Election — 39; ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ premieres — 42; ‘Captain Marvel 2′ premieres — 42; FITCon 2022 begins — 48; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 48; The World Cup kicks off in Qatar — 52; The U.S. World Cup Soccer Team begins play — 55; Florida TaxWatch’s Annual Meeting begins — 64; ‘Willow’ premieres on Disney+ — 64; McCarthy’s ‘Stella Maris’ releases — 67; ‘Avatar 2’ premieres — 77; final Broadway performance of ‘The Music Man’ with Hugh Jackman — 93; Bruce Springsteen launches his 2023 tour in Tampa — 124; ‘Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 140; 2023 Legislative Session convenes — 158; ‘John Wick: Chapter 4′ premieres — 175; American Association of Political Consultants Pollies ’23 conference begins — 200; 2023 Session Sine Die — 217; ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ premieres — 217; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ premieres — 245; Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’ premieres — 294; ‘Blade’ reboot premieres — 399; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 413; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Part 2 premieres — 546; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 665; ‘Thunderbolts’ premieres — 665; ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot premieres — 770; ‘Avengers: The Kang Dynasty’ premieres — 948.

— TOP STORIES —

Joe Biden’s major disaster declaration will start FEMA funds flowing” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — The federal money will start flowing to alleviate Hurricane Ian’s deluge that cut a path through the state as Biden called the storm “the most consequential hurricane … in a long, long time,” Thursday morning.

The storm was declared a “major disaster.”

The agonizing churn of Hurricane Ian across the state took out bridges, roads and homes, likely resulting in losses in the tens of billions. Biden’s declaration will bring the full power of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to the state for the next 30 days, to begin repairing the state’s damage and rebuilding, a FEMA news release says.

Joe Biden opens the FEMA money pipeline for Florida.

“We have been completely responsive to the Governor of Florida — everything he’s needed and asked for,” Biden said in Thursday morning comments. “And it’s a lot.”

The 30-day declaration is not the 60 days Gov. Ron DeSantis asked for. But it means the federal government will cover 100% of the cost of debris removal and emergency protective measures, including public assistance and direct federal aid.

Also, “affected individuals” in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota counties are eligible to receive federal funding for temporary housing and home repairs and low-interest loans to cover uninsured property losses.

Biden: FEMA’s response to Hurricane Ian is ‘reinforcing’ faith in government” via Myah Ward of POLITICO — Biden on Thursday praised the Federal Emergency Management Agency for its response to Hurricane Ian, telling the room full of FEMA workers that they’re restoring Americans’ faith in their government. Biden stopped to speak to the workers after attending a FEMA briefing on the hurricane’s devastation in Florida. He said over the past six to 10 years, faith in government institutions has been eroding. Restoring trust in government and its institutions has long been a pillar of Biden’s agenda. Asked Thursday about his calls with DeSantis, Biden brushed off the divergent politics and rhetorical sparring between the two men that have escalated in recent weeks ahead of November’s midterm elections.

Ian threatens Florida’s already unstable insurance market” via Anthony Izaguirre of The Associated Press — Florida’s property insurance market was already in peril. Now comes Hurricane Ian. The massive storm that barreled into southwest Florida delivering catastrophic winds, rain and flooding is likely to further damage the insurance market in the state, which has strained under billion-dollar losses, insolvencies and skyrocketing premiums. The scale of the storm’s destruction will become clearer in the coming days but there is concern it could exacerbate existing problems and burden a state insurance program that has already seen a sharp increase in policies as homeowners struggle to find coverage in the private market.

Estimates of Ian’s insured losses range widely from $30 billion to $50 billion. But the actual counting has just begun.” via Ron Hurtibise of the Orlando Sentinel — Property and casualty insurers operating in Florida say they are just beginning the massive effort of assessing damage left by Ian’s assault through southwestern and Central Florida on Wednesday and Thursday. Accurate damage estimates might not be available for days, after teams of adjusters fan out and assign dollar amounts to the wreckage they inspect. Early estimates by catastrophe risk modelers project that Ian’s insured losses in Florida, excluding claims to the National Flood Insurance Program, will be in the $30 billion to $50 billion range.

Curfews span the state following Hurricane Ian’s impact” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Lee County residents are under a stay-at-home order, and other counties have curfews that will go into at least Friday morning as the state starts to hobble out from the wreckage left in Hurricane Ian’s wake. For some counties, power outages and flooded roads are the issue. For others, however, having the public out and about is going to hamper first responder efforts. Essential workers, particularly health workers, are exempt from curfew, as are people who need to get to work. But the amount of general traffic seemed to be causing headaches Thursday. A stay-at-home order was in effect for Winter Park until 5 p.m. Thursday due to the flooded condition of city roads. For others, it’s a matter of crime prevention and safety.

Possible ‘deadliest hurricane in Florida history’ heads for Carolinas as Tropical Storm Ian” via Shira Moolten, Robin Webb, Angie DiMichele, Steve Svekis and David Fleshler of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Hurricane Ian was downgraded to a tropical storm Thursday as it leaves Florida behind, only to become a hurricane again this evening on its way to the Carolinas. Across Florida, the storm’s consequences linger long after the eye has passed, as more storm surges and flooding continue to threaten residents across the state. “The amount of water that has been rising and will likely continue to rise today, even as the storm is passing, is basically a 500-year flood event,” DeSantis said in a briefing Thursday morning. As of 2 p.m., the storm was 40 miles north-northeast of Cape Canaveral and 275 miles south of Charleston, South Carolina, with top winds that increased Thursday afternoon to 70 mph, down from its 155-mph peak Wednesday.


— THE DEVASTATION —

—”Destruction and desperation: See Hurricane Ian damage city by city across Florida” via Jeff Burlew, Kate Cimini, Sergio Bustos, and Derek Gilliam of the Tallahassee Democrat

—”Scenes from Hurricane Ian: Houses crumble, storm surge wreaks havoc across Florida” via Chase Karacostas of The Bradenton Herald

—“‘Total destruction’: Florida residents live through night of terror” via Matt Dixon and Arek Sarkissian of POLITICO

‘First time I’ve ever lost everything.’ Florida Gulf Coast residents in shock at historic devastation left in Hurricane Ian’s wake” via Angie DiMichele of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — One by one, armed with handfuls of belongings or cellphones and cameras, residents of cities along Florida’s Gulf Coast returned to their homes on Thursday to survey the damage. Some of the first signs of the historic destruction left by Hurricane Ian were evident on Interstate-75 near Golden Gate, about 40 miles south of Fort Myers Thursday morning as at least 50 Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission vehicles towed airboats and other watercraft, ATVs and mobile generators and bathrooms. Rising waters and strong winds shoved a floating concrete dock and cement railing that lined the edge of the park about 100 yards inland. Boats of all sizes near a Joe’s Crab Shack flipped over onto their sides, overturned or nearly completely swallowed by the river.

Hurricane Ian’s devastation was widespread.

‘Absolute devastation’: Hurricane Ian decimates Fort Myers Beach” via Zachary T. Sampson of the Tampa Bay Times — Blown-out homes blocked side streets, each an eruption of soggy wood and metal. Sand covered the main drag, Estero Boulevard, as if hurling the barrier island back in time. Beer bottles and kegs spilled out from shattered bars like confetti, and Winds, the beach souvenir shack near the northern edge of town, was a husk. Ian blew out all the shop’s windows, and most of the tile inside, too. Soaked neon swimsuits, hats and sunset-colored T-shirts lay in a wet curl around the building. The stiff sea breeze was tainted by the smell of natural gas. Kevin Behen took a call from his father as pickup trucks rumbled into the city.

Tweet, tweet:

—”Aerial images show Hurricane Ian’s extensive damage in Fort Myers” via the Naples Daily News

—”Video shows flooded streets, damage in Fort Myers after Hurricane Ian” via Pedro Portal of The Bradenton Herald

Naples mayor: Rebuilding from Hurricane Ian is going to ‘take time’” via Laura Layden of the Naples Daily News — The city of Naples has sustained more than $20 million in damages from Hurricane Ian to government property. That’s just to its own buildings, vehicles and equipment — as well as the Naples Pier, which will have to be rebuilt. Naples Mayor Teresa Heitmann shared the estimate during an update on the impact of Hurricane Ian. The city is still assessing damages to private homes and businesses, but it could be well in excess of $200 million, based on what can be seen from driving the streets, said City Manager Jay Boodheshwar.

After first look of damage, Ron DeSantis says Sanibel saw ‘biblical’ destruction” via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald — After his first aerial tour of the destruction of one of the fiercest storms to hit Florida in history, DeSantis declared that the barrier island of Sanibel had been “hit with really biblical storm surge,” but made no mention of the one confirmed death, and provided few details about the damage he had seen from the monster storm. Hurricane Ian “washed away roads and washed away structures’’ on the beloved barrier island, DeSantis said at an afternoon news conference in Punta Gorda.

What does Sanibel Island look like after Hurricane Ian? See for yourself” via Jeff Kleinman of the Miami Herald — Sanibel Island was a perfect escape for many people from South Florida. A place to pick shells, see nature, have a good meal, kick back in the sand. Now it’s a disaster zone. Hurricane Ian washed over the beloved island Wednesday, cleaving away a section of the only causeway from the mainland, leaving scarred asphalt and ruined property. It’s unclear if anyone died.

—“Aerial images of Hurricane Ian’s destruction in Southwest Florida” via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

To watch a video of Ft. Myers Beach (via Max Olson/@MesoMax919), please click on the image below:

Two minutes of terror at Kings Point: Tornado leaves many in 55+ community west of Delray homeless” via Jasmine Fernández and Mike Diamond of The Palm Beach Post — The National Weather Service in Miami confirmed a tornado caused extensive damage to the retirement community of more than 10,000 residents. The tornado took only about three minutes to rip through the area, damaging at least five buildings, each with 48 units. Red Cross officials said they expected as many as 100 more people to come to the civic center by the end of Wednesday. Officials first sought to connect the suddenly homeless residents with relatives or put them up in hotels, but rooms were scarce, taken up by west coasters fleeing Hurricane Ian. Resident Ingrid Robinson said the ordeal lasted only about five or six seconds. But those seconds were enough to cause severe damage. Robinson’s neighbors lost their patios, windows and substantial portions of their roofs.

Ian leaves destruction, and death, in Matlacha. Colorful village flattened, isolated” via Joey Flechas and Matias J. Ocner of the Miami Herald — Many of the colorful cottages, boutiques and restaurants that made this artsy little fishing village famous and fun are gone or battered now, swallowed by surge or broken by wind. Boats have been flung into yards, homes flung into water. Kayaks hang in mangroves like ornaments. Mud covers broken pottery and furniture. And Thursday, just a day after Category 4 Hurricane Ian tore through Matlacha, a body floated in front of the ruins of one home. Stunned residents say others have been found.

‘It sounded like a plane crash’: Ian rips metal roof off house in beachside Melbourne” via Rick Neale of Florida Today — As the former Hurricane Ian’s gusts were lashing Musa Rukab’s beachside home, he was startled to hear a loud ka-boom — and sections of his metal roof started peeling off and fluttering in the darkness. “It sounded like a plane crash on the back of our roof all night long,” Rukab said Thursday morning, standing amid twisted strips of roofing scattered across his front yard. “Just the metal banging up and down, the whole house shuddering — the entire night — until 6:30 this morning,” Rukab said. “Terrifying,” added his wife, Rula. Rukab said his metal roof was just installed last year, and it was supposed to be rated to withstand 175 mph winds.

Broken boats litter Fort Myers marina after Hurricane Ian. One man can’t even find his” via Linda Robertson of the Miami Herald — Lost: 52-foot yacht. Name: “Just Us.” Last seen at Dock C-2 on the Caloosahatchee River in downtown Fort Myers. “I can’t find my boat,” owner Tom Downs said early Thursday morning as he searched a marina destroyed by Hurricane Ian. “I found all my friends’ boats, but I can’t find mine.” They were deposited in a jumble in the parking lot of Joe’s Crab Shack and adjacent streets, cast by 140 mph winds into a landlocked state. Their turbulent journey ripped open hulls, snapped masts, severed engines. Scattered on the ground or hung up in the branches of fallen trees were rudders, anchors, railings, sails and seat cushions.

Boats were particularly vulnerable in Hurricane Ian.

Naples Pier is ‘not gone,’ but heavily damaged” via Laura Layden of the Naples Daily News — The iconic Naples Pier is “not gone.” However, it did sustain “extensive damage” from Hurricane Ian, said Mayor Teresa Heitmann, seeking to clear up a rumor of its total destruction. She shared the news during a community update on the impacts of the powerful storm on Thursday afternoon. While the pier isn’t destroyed, it will be “closed for an indefinite period of time,” Heitmann said. City residents shouldn’t just avoid the pier, but the public beach accesses, which are unsafe, due to downed power lines. They should be reopening much sooner.

Cape Coral residents weather Hurricane Ian: ‘It’s been a catastrophic event for the city’” via Luis Zambrano of the Fort Myers News-Press — Torn roofs, bent signs, collapsed trees, and boats on land are just some of the aftereffects to Cape Coral after Hurricane Ian made its way through Southwest Florida. Significant structural damage to homes and businesses can be found throughout Cape Coral. Several residents in southeast Cape Coral experienced flooding in their homes and had no electricity or water.  Broken palm trees, damaged roofs, and a boat in the middle of the street.

Hurricane Ian swamps Central Florida with nearly 17 inches of rain, leaving many inundated, some stranded” via Bill Kearney of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Hurricane Ian’s 155 mph Cat 4 winds and storm surge flattening waterfront communities and tossed boats, cars and even houses asunder. But the storm also dumped massive rainfall along its path, and well inland, causing flooding across the state. Rainfall levels along Ian’s trajectory reached from 14 to nearly 17 inches as the storm moved from coastal counties such as Sarasota inland to Orange, Osceola, and Polk counties, even leaving more than 14 inches on the east coast’s Brevard and Volusia counties.

Downpours from Ian prompt treatment plants to release waste” via Winston Choi-Schagrin of The New York Times — As of Thursday afternoon, excess water from Hurricane Ian had prompted at least a dozen wastewater treatment facilities in Florida to discharge either raw or partially treated waste, which can contain bacteria or other disease-causing organisms as well as high levels of nitrogen and phosphates, according to the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. Now, as the storm heads toward South Carolina, attention is turning to sites there that might be at risk.

— THE HUMAN TOLL —

Hurricane Ian death toll rises in storm-stricken areas. ‘Takes days’ or longer to determine” via Tess Riski of the Miami Herald — About a dozen people have died due to Hurricane Ian, which Biden has said could be the “deadliest” in Florida history. The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office said it is investigating two deaths related to the hurricane. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has confirmed that a 38-year-old Lake County man was killed Thursday when his car hydroplaned in the rain. The News Service of Florida has reported that Charlotte County officials confirmed six deaths, and Lee County officials confirmed five. The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office announced a storm-related death of a Deltona man who fell down an incline while draining his pool, the news service said.

Property damage is one thing; the human toll is much worse.

Ian severed the bridge. It’s unclear how many people are stranded on Sanibel and Captiva” via Jay Weaver, Zachary T. Sampson and Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald — That worrisome question now hangs over the idyllic barrier islands of both Sanibel and Captiva after the ferocious storm severed the causeway and bridge in a few places. How many people — families, children or retirees — were still stranded on the pair of islands? Or worse, was anybody harmed when the near-Category 5 storm slammed into them on Wednesday? Sanibel Mayor Holly Smith expressed grave concerns about Ian’s devastation in a hurricane update Thursday afternoon, saying “all of our lives and our island have been forever changed.” “The coming days ahead will be difficult,” Smith wrote on the town’s website. “Our first priority is to get those who are stranded to safety.”

Fort Myers Beach couple share harrowing tale of surviving Hurricane Ian on their boat” via Zanine Zeitlin of the Naples Daily News — Bob and Charlene Johnson felt fairly confident facing Hurricane Ian on their 35-foot cabin cruiser in a bay on Fort Myers Beach. The couple have lived on the boat since 1998 and survived multiple hurricanes. Storms they were on a first-name basis with were Charley and Irma. “This one got us,” said Bob Johnson. “It was a rough go,” said Charlene. “It was a lot windier and worse than we expected it to be. The ride from the marina to the mangroves was very unexpected.” If there was good in this harrowing experience, it was that the dock served as a sort of plow as they floated about a quarter mile from the marina and into the mangroves.

‘It all got wiped out’: Residents rescued from flooded Kissimmee apartments” via Nicholas Nehamas and Alex Harris of the Miami Herald — Residents of the first-floor units had already escaped before the flooding caused by Hurricane Ian got too bad. But their apartments and many of their cars were destroyed. “They lost everything,” maintenance supervisor Angel Acevedo said. Acevedo said several residents told him they saw an alligator swimming in the floodwaters, although he was skeptical, and no one was able to share a photograph with him. While most residents gratefully escaped, resident Robert Reynolds and at least three other neighbors declined to get on the rescue boat. “I don’t wanna go to no shelter,” he said Thursday afternoon, shouting down from the second story to a reporter standing across a small lake of floodwater.

11-year-old Hurricane Ian evacuee falls to death from Panama City Beach condo” via Nathan Cobb of the Panama City News Herald — According to Panama City Beach spokesperson Debbie Ingram, the incident occurred Thursday afternoon at Sterling Reef Condominiums, which is located at 12011 Front Beach Road. The child fell from an 11th-floor balcony. “Beach Police, fire rescue and EMS located a deceased 11-year-old male child (who) was here with his family (that) evacuated from Jacksonville (because of) Hurricane Ian,” Ingram wrote in a text. She said no foul play is suspected, and local law enforcement officials are investigating the accident.

Woman tracks down elderly mother trapped by Hurricane Ian” via Hannah Critchfield of the Tampa Bay Times — The last time Beth Booker spoke to her mother, photos were rolling in. It was 3 p.m. on Wednesday, and Carole McDanel was surrounded by rising water, cutting in on both sides of her Fort Myers Beach home. Though the 78-year-old’s house was on stilts, the flooding was surging rapidly. Only the top of her garage, with her now-submerged car inside, was visible. The coffee-colored water had engulfed her lanai and was about to reach her balcony floor. To Booker, who was in North Naples, it was clear the storm would be inside her mother’s house imminently.

‘I got him!’ Video shows 2 rescued from sailboat in Fernandina Harbor during Hurricane Ian” via The Florida Times-Union — Two people on a sailboat were rescued Wednesday night during Hurricane Ian, the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office reported that its Marine Unit rescued. It happened at about 8:30 p.m. in Fernandina Harbor. No one was injured, and the sheriff’s office reminds people to stay off the water during dangerous conditions.

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

When the canal out back rose up, they realized they had better flee, and quickly” via Frances Robles of The New York Times — Dr. Chad Sulkes returned to the house he rents on Seagull Drive in Naples Park on Thursday to find it in complete disarray. All the furniture and other belongings were strewn about, covered in mud. Some items were in different rooms from where he had left them. The floor was slick with mud tainted with gasoline. He guessed the water that had flooded the house had risen at least chest high. Sulkes, an eye doctor, and his girlfriend, Lisa Bessette, tried to dry out some of their clothes, and counted most everything else in the house as a complete loss, including the Audi in the garage and the boat sinking in the canal out back.

Spencer Roach’s home destroyed by Hurricane Ian” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Rep. Roach said Hurricane Ian has left countless residents in his Lee County district homeless and he is one of them. The North Fort Myers Republican evacuated the district before the Category 4 hurricane made landfall in Cayo Costa. He rode out the storm in Stuart at his brother’s home. While there, he learned flooding filled his neighborhood for the first time in 100 years. Based on reports from constituents, the property damage will be massive throughout Southwest Florida. “It’s going to take over a decade to rebuild Lee County,” he said. “This is something we have not suffered in many years.”

— THE RESPONSE —

Florida begins recovery efforts as Ian moves through state” via Ivana Saric of Axios — Recovery efforts are underway in Florida in the aftermath of devastating Hurricane Ian, which continued to move northeast as a tropical storm across the state Thursday on its way to the Carolinas. More than 2.6 million in the state were without power Thursday after Ian brought strong winds, “life-threatening, catastrophic” flooding, and storm surges as high as 12 feet in some areas. Collier County issued a precautionary water boil notice for certain areas. Fort Myers Police Department warned residents to stay off the roads and that a local curfew was in effect.

Now the recovery begins.

‘Paradise lost’: Florida rescue crews, aid groups rush to jump-start recovery from Hurricane Ian” via David Lyons of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — State and federal first responders including local government and nonprofit groups rushed to Florida’s Gulf Coast on Thursday to help with the recovery of a region that one city official said had been reduced by Hurricane Ian to “Paradise Lost.” As if on cue, volunteers, urban rescue teams and pre-positioned utility workers swarmed Southwest Florida cities inundated by floodwaters and battered by high winds from the catastrophic storm. “From the wee hours of the morning there have been people that have descended on Southwest Florida to be able to offer assistance,” DeSantis told an afternoon briefing in the Charlotte County city of Punta Gorda.

‘Help is on the way’: DeSantis says hundreds have called 911, rescue efforts underway” via Ana Ceballos and Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald — DeSantis said several people on the barrier islands of Lee and Charlotte counties were rescued by helicopter early Thursday morning. The area experienced “massive inundation,” he said. Rescues are also underway in low-lying areas along the Collier County coast and even inland, in areas such as Fort Myers, he said. “We are hoping that they can be rescued at this point,” DeSantis said at a press briefing in Tallahassee at the state’s emergency operations center. The causeway to Sanibel and Captiva islands in Lee County was damaged and impassable. DeSantis warned that the situation remains hazardous, and urged people to remain home, and said “help is on the way” in the hardest-hit areas.

Search and rescue teams deployed to SW Florida in Ian’s aftermath” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — Teams of emergency rescue workers have been sent to Southwest Florida after Hurricane Ian bashed the area Wednesday, bringing life-threatening storm surge, heavy winds and rain to the area. Four Florida Urban Search and Rescue teams, as well as two teams from Virginia, were sent to Fort Myers, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis said. Each team is made up of 90 people, including physicians, structural engineers and K-9 police dog handlers. “Early this morning the winds died down, so we got the teams closer to the impacted areas. When there’s light, these teams will be airlifted from the Ft. Myers area to area islands to begin lifesaving missions,” Patronis said in a released statement.

920th Rescue Wing awaits possible rescue missions after Hurricane Ian floods Florida” via Rick Neale of Florida Today — In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian’s catastrophic flooding across Southwest Florida, the Air Force Reserve’s 920th Rescue Wing waits on standby to rescue stranded storm victims, if needed. “Our statement at this time is that the 920th Rescue Wing stands ready to assist should a call come for rescue support,” Lt. Col. Ian Phillips said via email. Monday — as Ian was strengthening and approaching Florida — Phillips said the 920th Rescue Wing moved its HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters and HC-130J Combat King II planes away from Patrick Space Force Base, which largely closed ahead of the looming storm. The wing has stationed the Pave Hawks inside the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. Phillips said the HC-130s were moved to Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas.

Ian inflicts staggering losses on Florida’s growth machine” via Zack Colman of POLITICO — Hurricane Ian could be the storm that chills entire swaths of Florida’s growth-at-any-cost real estate market. From Fort Myers Beach, where Ian leveled beachfront homes, to communities near Orlando, where residents were rescued from waist-deep waters by airboat, the wreckage left behind by the Category 4 hurricane revealed enormous gaps in the state’s homeowner safety net. Now, people forced to rebuild their lives will encounter a combination of soaring insurance premiums, construction costs and interest rates — along with the fact that many of the homes inundated by Ian didn’t even have flood insurance.

Billions likely needed for roads and bridges ripped up by Hurricane Ian” via Alex Daugherty, Tanya Snyder, and Oriana Pawlyk of POLITICO — Hurricane Ian’s rampage across Florida disabled two major bridges, severed access along an interstate, canceled thousands of flights and destroyed untold numbers of homes and businesses, all of which will likely need billions in federal aid to piece back together. The hurricane, which made landfall as a powerful Category 4 storm, is expected to cause major travel disruptions for weeks to come in the region, and emergency officials are still trying to assess the damage to I-75 near Fort Myers, where the sheer amount of devastation has made access difficult.

It will take billions to repair the bridges destroyed in Hurricane Ian.

DeSantis: Lee, Charlotte power and road infrastructure must be rebuilt after Hurricane Ian” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — After Hurricane Ian ravaged the region, DeSantis is saying infrastructure to restore power in Lee and Charlotte counties will need to be largely rebuilt. The same goes for some bridges to barrier islands where many who chose to ride out the storm remain trapped in flooded communities. The Coast Guard has already been rescuing individuals on the barrier islands in both counties. Asked about Lee County law enforcement concerns that fatalities may number in the hundreds, DeSantis said he remains optimistic that number is based on calls from many people who lost communication but will still be rescued. There have been at least two fatalities in the region DeSantis believes are connected to the storm.

Hurricane Ian’s “catastrophic mark”: Over 291,000 without power in Sarasota, Manatee County” via Stefania Lugli of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — Hundreds of thousands of FPL customers in Sarasota and Manatee counties remained without power after Hurricane Ian’s landfall, according to the company’s outage map. There are no specific estimates yet for when power will be fully restored. As of 3 p.m. Thursday, 191,740 FPL customers were out of power in Sarasota County, or about 67% of the customer base of over 287,000.  In Manatee County, 99,790 customers were out of power, about 49.8% of FPL’s entire customer base in the county of 198,710. This figure was slightly higher than it was earlier in the day.

Rick Scott concerned about ‘failing’ Florida property insurers” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — The property insurance market continues to get scrutiny during the DeSantis era, with his immediate predecessor the latest to denote distress amid Hurricane Ian’s onslaught. Scott spoke Wednesday night about solvency issues with the property insurance market, which has driven unprecedented growth of the Citizens Insurance customer base. “Citizens has grown quite a bit recently. We’ve got to figure out why these companies are failing. There’s a lot of property insurance companies that have failed recently. We’ve got to figure out why Citizens is the size it is. And how do we make sure that when you have insurance, you actually have real coverage?”

Did Hurricane Ian damage your home, vehicle? Disaster victims may apply to FEMA for financial help.” via Douglas Soule and Sergio Bustos of USA Today Network — Biden declared much of Florida a major disaster area following Hurricane Ian’s destructive rampage through the state. The declaration means people in those counties affected by the monster storm can apply online for financial assistance through DisasterAssistance.gov, by telephone or in person. Biden’s declaration gives FEMA the authorization to directly help individuals pay for temporary housing and home repairs and fund federal programs to assist individuals and business owners recover from one of the state’s biggest ever storms. The declaration also provides 100% federal funding for debris removal and emergency, lifesaving measures for 30 days in those counties.

Recovery will take weeks if not months, Naples officials say” via Amy Simonson of CNN — Recovery from the devastating effects of Hurricane Ian will take weeks, if not months. At a news conference Thursday, City Manager Jay Boodheshwar said the damage is widespread. City property damage is coming in at an estimate of $20 million, he said. But the value of property damage has not yet been assessed, although a conservative estimate puts the total at $200 million or more. According to Fire Chief Pete DiMaria, who also spoke at the briefing, search and rescues are still being conducted and residents are urged not to call 911 unless it’s an emergency.

Floridians could face weeks without power if Ian leaves grid ‘beyond repair’” via Catherine Morehouse of POLITICO — Hurricane Ian’s wreckage is poised to leave millions of Floridians without power, possibly for weeks and could worsen a supply-chain crunch that threatens the nation’s readiness for future disasters. More than 2.5 million electricity customers in Florida had lost service as of Thursday morning, with many more outages expected as the Category 4 hurricane lumbered across the state. Parts of the grid will experience damage “beyond repair,” the CEO of the state’s largest power utility warned, telling reporters not to expect an instant resumption of power.

Aid arrives to assist Lakeland Electric in restoring power after Ian” via Sara-Megan Walsh of The Lakeland Ledger — Mutual aid crews began arriving in Lakeland Thursday prepared to get to the work of restoring power to Lakeland Electric customers. The municipal-owned utility initially reported roughly 63,000 customers lost power due to Hurricane Ian. That number was reduced to 51,187 outages by 12:30 p.m. Thursday. Cathryn Lacy, LE spokesperson, said the utility had started its post-Hurricane Ian damage assessment as of 11:45 a.m. “We’re seeing a combination of things — lines are down, limbs down, whole trees down — so it’s a combination of problems,” she said. Roughly 100 personnel are coming in from across the South to assist LE with restoring power.

World Central Kitchen starts delivering meals to communities impacted by Hurricane Ian” via Helen Freund of the Tampa Bay Times — Early Thursday morning, just as first responders began to assess the catastrophic damage inflicted by Hurricane Ian, a team of chefs packed 5,000 meals to-go and hit the road, driving south. They would drive to wherever they could get to that day, wherever the need was greatest: Fort Myers Beach or Naples, Venice or Port Charlotte, Cape Coral or Punta Gorda. Judging by the scope of the storm’s impact, they would plan on staying for a while. “We expect this to be a long-term response,” said Fiona Donovan, the director of relief operations for the Washington D.C.-based organization World Central Kitchen.

Tweet, tweet:

National Indoor RV Centers opens doors to RVers fleeing Ian — National Indoor RV Centers (NIRVC) is opening its Atlanta-area RV lifestyle center to RVers who are looking for a place to ride out the storm. Brett Davis, the founder, president and CEO of NIRVC, issued an alert Wednesday inviting any RVers who need a place to escape the storm to come to its lifestyle center at 1350 Hurricane Shoals Rd. NE, Lawrenceville, Georgia. Davis’ message said in part, “if you don’t mind it getting a little cramped, it’s mi casa, su casa at our facility in Atlanta. And, please, don’t offend us by trying to pay. This one is on National Indoor RV Centers.”

Facebook status of the day:

—THE SPARED —

SW Florida residents outside Ian’s landfall feel thankful, but area remains in recovery” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Rep. Bob Rommel represents Collier County but said Lee and Collier feel like a largely unified community. The Naples Republican owns a restaurant at Fort Myers Beach, the Bayfront Bistro, and based on drone footage of the area, he believes the establishment was leveled by the storm. But his greatest personal concerns are for a few employees living on the barrier island he knows who decided to hunker down but who he has not reached by phone. As for his district? “Collier is not as bad as Lee,” he said. “But infrastructure is No. 1. We had concrete power poles, which are as hurricane-proof as possible, that were snapped in half. And we can’t just recharge the lines because they are lying in water.”

Water returns to Tampa Bay after Ian-driven ‘reverse storm surge’” via Lauren Peace and Ian Hodgson of the Tampa Bay Times — It was an unusual scene, sure to enrage public safety officials who had warned people of the danger. But the Instagrammers just couldn’t resist. As Hurricane Ian neared Florida on Wednesday, Tampa Bay seemingly drained away. It was like a bathtub after somebody had pulled the plug. Then, the water returned. The effect of the water being pulled from the bay is referred to as reverse storm surge. It’s something that was experienced during Hurricane Irma in 2017. A reverse storm surge occurs when the wind from a hurricane pulls water away from the coast.

A reverse surge in Tampa Bay creates an eerie landscape.

As Hurricane Ian pushes northeast, Jacksonville breathes ‘sigh of relief’” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Duval County was spared the worst from Hurricane Ian, tracking northeast off the Florida coast, but that doesn’t mean the danger is over even as the storm exits the area to the Atlantic. High waves, gusty winds and the inevitable cleanup after a stormy night counted as just a few of the challenges Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry outlined Thursday. “At this time, I know that many of you here in Duval County are breathing a sigh of relief. Ian has moved further offshore, which means the rainfall we anticipated will be much, much less here in Duval County. However, I want to make clear: we’re not out of the woods.”

Lenny Curry advises vigilance, warns flooding could persist over weekend” via Hanna Holthaus of The Florida Times-Union — Jacksonville residents could experience flooding in certain parts of the city as late as Sunday, Curry advised Thursday afternoon. Hurricane Ian was downgraded to a tropical storm early Thursday morning, but Curry warned against returning to normal during an afternoon news conference at the city’s Emergency Operations Center. … National Weather Service meteorologist Alex Boothe explained that although the city will see much less rain than expected, water from Central Florida “is going to channel down and up through downtown.” This, combined with the tides, could cause river flooding through Sunday.

Orange County emerging from Ian’s massive flooding as officials urge caution” via Wes Wolfe of Florida Politics — A 500-year flooding event is no joke; ask the folks in Eastern North Carolina, who, a few years ago, endured two such events within five years, both caused by tropical cyclones. A spin of the wheel of disaster put Hurricane Ian and its bevy of rain over Central Florida, where residents and officials are trying to get their heads and hands around what DeSantis called their 500-year-flood catastrophe. But first, the good news. “The good news this morning, that the National Weather Service released, is the fact Orange County has now been downgraded to a tropical storm (advisory),” Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said.

Kennedy Space Center, Space Force bases OK; launches delayed” via Emre Kelly of Florida Today — Hurricane Ian’s impacts appear to have been mostly minimal across the Space Coast’s military bases and spaceport, though assessment and recovery teams still have work ahead of them as the storm’s remnants linger over the area. Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Patrick Space Force Base, and Kennedy Space Center all remained in HURCON I status as of Thursday morning, the highest readiness level. At Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and Patrick Space Force Base, teams were still in HURCON 1C status, meaning recovery and response had not yet been activated.

To watch NASA roll back the Artemis I spacecraft, please click on the image below:

Citrus County relieved as Ian passes by with little problem” via Mike Wright of Florida Politics — Citrus County residents awoke knowing they’d been spared yet again from the worst end of tropical weather. Days after forecasts called for a near direct hit from Hurricane Ian, the tropical storm that glided by to the east left only remnants: 35 mph wind gusts, scattered power outages, tree debris in the roadways. “We were blessed. Very lucky,” Sheriff’s Capt. Troy Hess, acting director of the Citrus County Emergency Management, said.

— IAN MISCELLANY —

Floridians cautioned about fundraising scams following Hurricane Ian” via Adrienne Ferguson of Florida’s Voice — Jimmy Patronis warned Floridians to be wary of fake campaigns using platforms like GoFundMe to scam people following Hurricane Ian. “Hurricane Ian is going to be an incredibly emotional tragic event and it will bring predators out that will prey on your generosity,” Patronis said. He suggested people use other forms of donations including Samaritan’s Purse, the Salvation Army, and the American Red Cross. “Be skeptical if anybody is putting anything out on GoFundMe because there’s no transparency there, where those dollars are going,” Patronis said.

Once the storm leaves, the scammers move in, says Jimmy Patronis. Image via @JimmyPatronis/Twitter.

One veterinarian, and her pets, rode out Ian’s fierce eye in a Fort Myers parking garage” via Linda Robertson of the Miami Herald — As Hurricane Ian lashed Fort Myers with 140 mph winds and sloshed floodwaters over the banks of the Caloosahatchee River, veterinarian Sharon Powell and her husband retreated to the safest place they could find for themselves and their pets — a downtown parking garage. Then they waited, dreading the next wave of the Category 4 storm that made landfall at Cayo Costa north of Captiva at about 3 p.m. Wednesday. “The surge from the river will be coming this way soon,” Powell shouted while dodging chunks of drywall from a nearby construction site that were flying like missiles through the garage. “They’re predicting 8 to 12 feet. So, we will be ready to go up to the second level.”

A hurricane hunter shot video as he flew into the center of Ian” via Jonathan Edwards of The Washington Post — Nick Underwood flies through hurricanes for a living. Over the past six years, the aerospace engineer has made 76 passes through more than 20 of them, none rougher than the one he endured Wednesday morning. “This flight … was the worst I’ve ever been on,” Underwood said in a tweet after flying into the center of Hurricane Ian. “I’ve never seen so much lightning in an eye.” And he caught it all on video — in a matter of hours, one of the clips had been viewed 1.2 million times. Underwood, 30, was filming around 6 a.m. Wednesday when the aircraft he was aboard flew into Ian as the Category 4 storm approached Florida’s Gulf Coast.

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

Florida Power & Light to use fleet of drones to assess Hurricane Ian damages across Southwest Florida” via Jane Musgrave of The Palm Beach Post — Florida Power & Light is launching a fleet of drones, including its newest $1.2 million fixed-wing drone, to assess the devastation caused by Hurricane Ian and devise a plan to restore power to millions of state residents. Company spokesperson Brian Garner said information gathered from the flying cameras will allow the utility to tell most of its customers by Friday when they can expect their lights will be back on. However, Garner warned, it may take longer to figure out how to restore service to hard-hit areas along the state’s Gulf Coast. In some devastated areas, such as Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties, electrical systems will have to be rebuilt, not just repaired.

Publix begins reopening some stores along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Ian” via Leon Tucker of The Lakeland Ledger — Less than two days after Hurricane Ian prompted the closing and modifying of hours for nearly 200 stores along the Gulf Coast, Lakeland-based Publix Super Markets has announced it is beginning to reopen some of them. “We continue to assess the impacts of Hurricane Ian on our operating area,” said Publix spokesperson Hannah Herring. “We are working to reopen stores as it becomes safe to do so.”

The Bradys rode out the hurricane in Miami. But another storm’s brewing, reports say” via Madeleine Marr of the Miami Herald — Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen reportedly hunkered down during Hurricane Ian in Miami, but in separate residences, as per Page Six. A source told the outlet that the supermodel is holed up with their two kids in a home they rented while their “Billionaire Bunker” ecomansion is being built, and the NFL legend is staying elsewhere. “I don’t think that anyone’s really prepared for this,” Brady said, adding that he gathered up all his outdoor stuff and placed it inside, cluing viewers in that his current domicile that his wife and kids are holed up in is “on the bay.”

In Fort Myers, a Mayor finds a line for pizza amid miles of destruction.” via Patricia Mazzei of The New York Times — Mayor Kevin B. Anderson of Fort Myers watched helplessly from his condo as Hurricane Ian pushed ashore and water from the Caloosahatchee River rose through his city’s downtown. “The globes of the light posts were popping,” he said. On Thursday, when he ventured downtown, he saw businesses that had lost their front windows and been flooded. One pizza place, he said, stayed up all night cleaning and, by lunchtime, had a line out the door of people willing to wait an hour for a hot pie.

Flamingo photo from Hurricane Ian brings back a famous Andrew memory for Miami” via Connie Ogle of the Miami Herald — Thirty years ago, a flock of Florida flamingos became famous for riding out a monster hurricane in a bathroom. As Hurricane Ian struck the state’s west coast on Wednesday, another flock found a similar restroom refuge. At Sunken Gardens, a four-acre historic botanical attraction in St. Petersburg, staff hustled the facility’s flamingos into the public bathroom for protection before the storm, then posted a photo on social media assuring followers the birds were safe. “Our flamingos, tortoises, and other exotic birds are safe and sound with staff on-site to monitor them throughout the storm. The flamingos are having quite the hurricane party.” The Brazilian red-footed tortoises, the post continued, were also on their way to “indoor accommodations.”

Rescued from Hurricane Ian: Animals saved from rising waters in Southwest Florida” via Hannah Leyva of the Fort Myers News-Press — Many humans were able to evacuate and get out of harm’s way, but some animals weren’t so lucky. However, there were some bright spots, as good Samaritans were able to rescue some four-legged friends from the rising floodwaters. Megan Cruz Scavo shared a video of her boyfriend walking outside in rushing water to rescue a cat that was laying on top of an outdoor appliance. She replied to a Twitter user and said that the incident happened at her boyfriend’s parents’ house on the beach in Bonita Springs, which is “built for hurricanes.”

Hurricane Ian uproots Dali Museum’s Wish Tree” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — The St. Petersburg Dali Museum’s beloved Wish Tree has fallen victim to the powerful winds brought by Hurricane Ian. The tree, woven with over 20,000 handwritten wishes, has stood in the museum’s Avant-garden for nearly 11 years. The tree holds wishes among visitors of the museum, written by guests on wristbands tied to the branches. Although Hurricane Ian was the ultimate force behind the tree’s uprooting, the museum had already been planning on replacing it. Hurricane Irma also took its toll on the tree in 2017, leaving it reliant on support crutches and anchors.

Yet another casualty of Hurricane Ian.

Hurricane Ian ‘street shark’ video defies belief” via Graph Massara and Ali Swenson of The Associated Press — A cellphone video filmed during Hurricane Ian’s assault on southwest Florida isn’t just another fish story. The eye-popping video, which showed a large, dark fish with sharp dorsal fins thrashing around an inundated Fort Myers backyard, racked up more than 12 million views on Twitter within a day, as users responded with disbelief and comparisons to the “Sharknado” film series. Dominic Cameratta, a local real estate developer, confirmed he filmed the clip from his back patio when he saw something “flopping around” in his neighbor’s flooded yard.

— HURRICANE POLITICS —

Biden, DeSantis strike cease-fire as catastrophic Hurricane Ian rocks Florida” via Tom LoBianco of Yahoo News — What a difference a hurricane makes. Just a week ago, DeSantis, a possible 2024 contender, trolled the country with the idea that he would fly migrants in Texas to Delaware near the home of Biden. Biden, in a speech rallying congressional Democrats a few days earlier, derided DeSantis’s migrant expulsions as “playing politics with humans, using them as props.” Now the potential 2024 opponents are talking multiple times a day as they face the stunning devastation from Hurricane Ian, a deadly storm that left 2.5 million Floridians without power and inflicted damage that DeSantis described as “historic.”

Now is not the time for partisan bickering.

How DeSantis handles Hurricane Ian will shape his political future” via Philip Elliott of Yahoo News — DeSantis is about to face the most consequential 72 hours of his political career. Many Republicans will keep a keen eye on DeSantis’s conduct. Given his brazen political stunts in recent weeks to move migrants to liberal enclaves with the goal of embarrassing Democrats unable to accommodate the newcomers, those betting DeSantis can effectively summon empathy are taking long odds. DeSantis is taking care not to seem like a naked partisan. He told reporters on Tuesday that he’s open to briefing Biden.

DeSantis, once a ‘no’ on storm aid, petitions a President he’s bashed” via Matt Flegenheimer of The New York Times — As a freshman Congressman in 2013, DeSantis was unambiguous: A federal bailout for the New York region after Hurricane Sandy was an irresponsible boondoggle, a symbol of the “put it on the credit card mentality” he had come to Washington to oppose. Nearly a decade later, as his state confronts the devastation and costly destruction wrought by Hurricane Ian, DeSantis is appealing to the nation’s better angels — and betting on its short memory. The tonal whiplash for DeSantis reflects a different job and a different moment — a Tea Party-era House Republican now steering a perennially storm-battered state dependent once more on federal assistance to rebuild. Yet even in the context of his term as Governor, the hurricane has required DeSantis to test another gear.

Florida needs help. Maybe DeSantis can learn something from it.” via Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post — Republicans tend to throw their anti-government rhetoric out the window whenever they and the people they represent face some sort of disaster. So it is with DeSantis. In the wake of Hurricane Ian, the Florida Governor now believes in science (of weather forecasting) and the beneficence of the federal government (when his constituents are hungry or lacking shelter). Perhaps DeSantis knows that his political future hangs in the balance, so he has avoided smearing Biden or calling on Floridians to pull themselves by their bootstraps once the floods recede. Such nonsense gets in the way of helping people, after all.

“‘Hopefully everybody works together’: Charlie Crist talks post-Ian cooperation between Biden, DeSantis” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Crist, interviewed on MSNBC, told host Hallie Jackson that he didn’t anticipate “roadblocks to aid” (in Jackson’s phrasing) between Biden’s White House and DeSantis. “Well, I certainly hope not. And I wouldn’t think so,” Crist said. “Hopefully, everybody works together,” Crist added. “This is an American problem. This is an American issue. Certainly, I’m focused on Florida. It’s my home state, but my goodness, what’s happening here is going to take all of us working together.” “It’s no time, obviously, for any kind of politics. It’s a time for humanity. It’s a time for decency. It’s a time for all the love we can muster for these people who are going through such a horrible tragedy as we speak today.”

Mail ballot delays possible in parts of Florida amid Hurricane Ian, election official says” via Bianca Padró Ocasio of the Miami Herald — Election officials in Florida are discussing alternative means of voting for counties most affected by Hurricane Ian, with just a week before the deadline for mail ballots to be sent out and less than six weeks until Election Day. Mark Earley, president of Florida Supervisors of Elections, said that while it was too early to know the full extent of damages, and no final decision has been made, there’s a chance several counties will have to delay their scheduled mail-out dates for domestic vote-by-mail ballots — potentially past the deadline imposed by Florida’s constitution.

— 2022 —

What can history tell us about the Roe effect on the midterms?” via Nate Cohn of The New York Times — It’s an unusual case: With the court’s Dobbs decision, it’s the party out of power (the GOP) that has been enjoying the biggest policy success of a President’s first term. From the narrow standpoint of election analysis, there is a really important part of why Dobbs is unique: It’s a seminal policy victory for the party that doesn’t hold the White House. Usually, it’s the President’s party that pulls off the biggest policy change of a President’s first term; after all, it’s the party in power, and, in doing so, elicits a backlash from the electorate.

Massachusetts lawmakers ask Pete Buttigieg to investigate DeSantis migrant flights” via Lisa Kashinsky, Oriana Pawlk, and Alex Daugherty of POLITICO — Massachusetts lawmakers are asking Buttigieg to investigate whether the migrant charter flights organized by DeSantis broke the department’s rules by allegedly misleading those on board. Sen. Ed Markey, in a letter to Buttigieg signed by five other members of the all-Democratic Massachusetts delegation, invoked a charter-broker rule issued during the Donald Trump administration that prohibits charter operators from “misrepresenting” information like the “time of departure or arrival, points served, route to be flown, stops to be made, or total trip-time.”

Democrats urge Pete Buttigieg to investigate Ron DeSantis’ migrant flights.

Marco Rubio spends $742K on broadcast ads — Republican U.S. Sen. Rubio has spent another $741,579 on broadcast ads for his re-election campaign. According to AdImpact, the campaign will run Tuesday through Thursday in eight media markets. The flight includes $240,830 for ads in the Orlando market, $192,000 for the Tampa market, $157,909 in the Miami market and five-figure buys in other regions.

CLF, Annette Taddeo put more cash into CD 27 ads — Republican political committee Congressional Leadership Fund has booked a $322,850 ad buy in the Miami media market. According to AdImpact, the flight will run Oct. 1-Nov.11. The CD 27 race is between incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar and Democratic challenger Taddeo. Meanwhile, Taddeo’s campaign launched an ad campaign on Tuesday that will continue through Monday. Her campaign spent $73,234 on the buy, which will place ads on broadcast in the Miami market.

— STATE —

Minimum wage rises to $11 today — Florida’s minimum wage will increase from $10 an hour to $11 an hour on Friday. The increase comes as part of the minimum wage constitutional amendment voters approved in the 2020 Election, which initially raised the minimum wage to $10 an hour and scheduled $1 an hour raises through 2025 when the hourly wage will hit $15.

BayCare reaches agreement with Florida Blue” via Veronica Brezina of St. Pete Catalyst — Clearwater-based BayCare Health System and Florida Blue reached an agreement to keep all BayCare hospitals, doctors and services within the network just days before the current deal was set to expire. “We are very pleased to have this agreement behind us so that we can focus on what matters most, our patients,” BayCare CEO and President Tommy Inzina said. Last week, BayCare sent a letter to roughly 215,000 patients insured through Florida Blue informing them its agreement with the insurance company will expire on Sept. 30. Since Sept. 23, BayCare paused scheduling elective surgeries and procedures for Florida Blue-insured patients during the negotiation period.

— D.C. MATTERS —

Biden catches up with his party” via Chris Stirewalt of The Dispatch — At this point in most midterm cycles, an unpopular President and his unpopular party are underwater with voters and heading for a very predictable thumping. But that wasn’t holding … until now. Biden’s droopy numbers were mostly a result of disaffection among Democrats. But after a series of moves designed to suck up to his base, particularly framing the midterms as part of his ongoing micturating contest with Trump, Biden has brought a bunch of Democrats home. But these were mostly not persuadable voters. We know that because Biden’s job approval is up more than 7 points since late July while Democrats generically have improved by less than half as much. Biden has succeeded in turning these midterms into a choice between him and Trump.

Democrats are finally in step with Joe Biden.

Republican-led states sue to block Biden’s plan to erase student loan debt” via Michael D. Shear of The New York Times — Six Republican-led states took legal action to block Biden from wiping away billions of dollars in student loan debt, even as the administration tried to avoid a court challenge by reducing the number of people eligible for relief. A lawsuit filed in federal court by Leslie Rutledge, the Republican attorney general of Arkansas, accuses Biden of vastly overstepping his authority last month when he announced the government would forgive as much as $20,000 per person in student loan debt, a far-reaching move that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated could cost $400 billion over the course of the next three decades.

How Democrats can flip the crime issue against the GOP” via E.J. Dionne Jr. of The Washington Post — It was not inevitable that Republican candidates would spend the closing weeks of the 2022 Midterm campaign running tens of thousands of harsh and often demagogic ads attacking Democrats on violence and policing. When Summer began, Republicans figured that inflation, especially soaring gas prices, and a general disaffection with Biden would let them glide to victory in the Midterms. But then prices at the gas pump started to fall, the conservative Supreme Court energized supporters of abortion rights by overturning Roe v. Wade, and Biden’s ratings started to improve as parts of his program came back to life and were passed by Congress.

— EPILOGUE TRUMP —

‘Giant backfire’: Donald Trump’s demand for special master is looking like a mistake” via Charlie Savage of The New York Times — Trump’s request that a judge intervenes in the criminal investigation into his hoarding of government documents by appointing a special master increasingly looks like a significant blunder, legal experts say. “Maybe from Trump’s point of view, creating delay and chaos is always a plus, but this has the feel of a giant backfire,” said Peter Shane, a specialist in separation-of-powers law. Initially, Trump’s demand that an outside arbiter sift through the materials the FBI seized from his Florida estate seemed to turn in his favor. His lawsuit was assigned to a judge he had appointed, Aileen Cannon of the Southern District of Florida, who surprised legal experts by granting his request.

Has Donald Trump made a tactical error with a special master?

Trump’s paid-speeches organizer is struggling financially” via Josh Dawsey and Isaac Arnsdorf of The Washington Post — A company that organized a lucrative series of post-White House paid speeches for Trump is now struggling to pay vendors, investors and employees, angering Trump allies who supported the effort. The American Freedom Tour, which struck a multimillion-dollar deal with Trump after he left office, has lost two top executives and canceled events in a number of locations as it has failed to pay its bills. Its founder and owner, who has a history of bankruptcy filings, recently sought bankruptcy protection again.

— LOCAL: S. FL —

South Florida soaked by nearly 10 inches of rain from Hurricane Ian” via Bill Kearney of South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Areas of South Florida received nearly 10 inches of rain over the past three days from Hurricane Ian, according to the National Weather Service. The wettest sector of the tri-county area proved to be in western Broward County, where the fringe of development abuts the Everglades and Francis S. Taylor Wildlife Management Area. Weston topped the list with 9.69 inches, followed by Cooper City with 9.19 inches, Plantation with 8.49 inches and Davie with 8.23 inches. North Perry Airport, where a tornado touched down on Tuesday night, was soaked by 4.75 inches, and Fort Lauderdale picked up 3.94 inches. The driest areas in Broward were the coastal towns of Deerfield Beach, with 3.17 inches and Dania Beach with 3.14 inches.

Key Largo is so flooded that crocs swim in streets — and you can’t even flush the toilet?” via David Goodhue of the Miami Herald — For years, American crocodiles have been seen lounging, mouths agape, on boat ramps in the Key Largo neighborhood of Stillwright Point. On Thursday, Florida Bay storm surge from Hurricane Ian piled onto higher-than-average seasonal “king tides.” That caused almost 3 feet of standing water to spill into the streets, making it impossible to tell where backyards end and canals begin. Apparently, the crocodiles didn’t know either. With the boat ramps underwater, those crocs that live in the canals were spotted swimming down Stillwright Point’s streets.

Watch where you step in Key Largo.

Schools in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe to reopen Friday after Hurricane Ian closures” via Sommer Brugal of the Miami Herald — Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe County school districts will be open Friday following a two-day closure because of Hurricane Ian, district superintendents announced Thursday morning. Schools in Miami-Dade and Broward have been closed since Wednesday ahead of Ian, which made landfall on Florida’s west coast as a powerful Category 4 storm around 3 p.m. Wednesday. Monroe County public schools in the Florida Keys have been closed since Tuesday. In a video, Broward County Superintendent Vickie Cartwright said officials expect all campuses reopening, but if a campus is not ready to reopen, the school principal will let families know by 5 p.m. Thursday.

After years of scrutiny, Miami-Dade schools reviews discipline policies in response to grand jury” via Kate Payne of WLRN — Miami-Dade County Public Schools has faced scrutiny for its so-called “Student Success Centers,” alternative sites for students facing suspensions that some say left kids without adequate instruction or counseling. Now, MDCPS is putting the success centers on hiatus and reviewing its student discipline policies, after state officials accused the district of “laundering” school safety data. “Miami-Dade has had incidents wherein schools report hundreds of battery or fight incidents one year and zero the next,” the grand jury report reads in part. “For 2017-18, the entire District reported zero physical attacks.”

Miami Beach Commissioner faces criminal probe. Did she try to ‘interfere’ in election?” via Aaron Liebowitz of the Miami Herald — The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office is investigating whether Miami Beach Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez improperly used her position to try to interfere with an upcoming election. Multiple sources familiar with the probe said investigators will seek to figure out whether Rosen Gonzalez used her office to try to hurt the campaign of Sabrina Cohen, one of five candidates in a Nov. 8 election to fill a Commission seat previously held by Mark Samuelian, who died of an unexpected illness in June. Rosen Gonzalez is endorsing Samuelian’s life partner, Laura Dominguez, for the seat.

Legal battle over Miami bank allegedly controlled by Venezuela intensifies” via Antonio Maria Delgado of the Miami Herald — The legal battle over the control of a Miami bank alleged to have been secretly run by the Venezuelan government is heating up, following the efforts of its original owner to take back the reins of the bank’s Curaçao-based parent company. The original owner, Venezuelan American businessman Juan Santaella, had previously sued members of Eastern National Bank’s board of directors, including Gabina Rodríguez, who chaired the board between 2015 and 2021. The suit claims that she assumed control of ENB after she was appointed by the Venezuelan government in 2009 as the intervenor of the bank’s parent companies, Venezuelan registered Corpofin and Curacao registered Mercorp.

Jupiter cuts spending with new $126M budget, but property tax bills to increase slightly” via Lianna Norman of The Palm Beach Post — Spending for the town of Jupiter will decrease by 7% in the next fiscal year, which begins Saturday, under the town’s new $126.4 million budget. All the funding categories increased or stayed the same, except for the capital investment program. The Town Council chose to decrease its spending by about $22 million for the fiscal year 2022-23. The town is keeping its property tax rate at $2.46 per $1,000 of assessed value for the sixth year in a row. Even though the rate is unchanged, it still will deliver another $3.4 million in revenue because property values in Jupiter rose by an estimated 13%.

— LOCAL: C. FL —

Disney World to resume operations in ‘phased approach’ starting Friday” via Ryan Haidet of WTSP — Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando issued updates Thursday afternoon, addressing their plans to restart operations after Hurricane Ian brought heavy rain and damaging winds throughout the region. Other destinations, including SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, have revealed they will remain closed through Friday. Conditions permitting, Universal Orlando’s site says they expect to reopen their location — including Halloween Horror Nights — starting Friday.

The Mouse roars back.

Tampa International Airport to resume operations Friday morning” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — Tampa International Airport will resume commercial operations on Friday at 10 a.m. following closures due to Hurricane Ian. Airport maintenance and operations staff inspected the airfield and facilities Thursday morning and determined TPA did not sustain any serious damage during the storm, which ravaged the region just south of Tampa Bay. The airport originally declared it would be suspending all operations beginning at 5 p.m. Tuesday as the region prepped for impacts from Hurricane Ian. The airport halted all commercial flights, but cargo and military aircraft were allowed to continue. Airport CEO Joe Lapano, alongside 120 employees, rode out Hurricane Ian at the airport.

St. Pete to reopen all parks and rec facilities Monday” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — The City of St. Petersburg has announced several facilities will reopen after shutting down in anticipation of Hurricane Ian. The city announced that the St. Pete Pier, the Municipal Marina, the Albert Whitted Airport and The Coliseum will all reopen Friday. All city-run parks and rec facilities will reopen on Monday with normal programming and operating hours. The city of St. Pete released a preliminary report this morning on damage caused by Hurricane Ian, saying the storm appeared to cause no significant damage. The city has received reports of numerous downed trees and power lines. Fire crews also reported a handful of fires that have been contained with minor damage and no injuries.

— LOCAL: SW. FL —

—”Here’s how Anna Maria, Myakka, Parrish, Cortez, Lakewood Ranch fared in Hurricane Ian” via James A. Jones Jr., Jessica De Leon, and Aaron Liebowitz of The Bradenton Herald

Manatee rivers flood after Hurricane Ian. Gates opened at Lake Manatee Dam” via James A. Jones, Jr. of the Bradenton Herald — The flood gates at the Lake Manatee Dam were open, releasing 7,000 cubic feet of water per second into the Manatee River in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian and heavy rainfall the area has experienced in recent weeks. Releases have been underway for about three days, but started very minimally, said Amy Tilson of the Manatee County Utilities Department. Water is released from the dam if the water level in the lake gets too high. Thursday, the Manatee River was flooding at Rye Bridge and along property off Upper Manatee River Road.

Manatee rivers crest from Hurricane Ian.

Hurricane Ian strikes hospital from above, below” via The Associated Press — Hurricane Ian swamped a Florida hospital from both above and below, the storm surge flooding its lower-level emergency room while fierce winds tore part of its fourth-floor roof from its intensive care unit, according to a doctor who works there. Dr. Birgit Bodine spent the night at HCA Florida Fawcett Hospital in Port Charlotte, anticipating the storm would make things busy, “but we didn’t anticipate that the roof would blow off on the fourth floor,” she said. Water gushed down Wednesday from above onto the ICU, forcing staff to evacuate the hospital’s sickest patients, some of them on ventilators, to other floors. Staff members resorted to towels and plastic bins to try to mop up the sodden mess.

— LOCAL: N. FL —

Floodwaters sweep into St. Augustine from a powerful storm surge” via Rick Rojas of The New York Times — In Jacksonville — with more than 900,000 people — officials called for continued vigilance as powerful winds whipped through the city and the heavy rain threatened floods. “The risk still exists,” Curry, the Mayor, said during a briefing. In St. Augustine, some stretches looked as if they had been annexed by the bay. The churning waters slammed boats into docks, swamped vehicles and pushed into neighborhoods of narrow roads and centuries-old homes and businesses. The surge was high enough that officials had to close the Bridge of Lions, which runs over the bay and connects to major peninsulas in the city. But officials said the impacts of the storm were rippling out beyond downtown, with the destruction caused by winds close to 50 miles per hour.

Yet another in a long history of St. Augustine flooding. Image via @LewTurner/Twitter.

Riding out the storm: JIA flights resume Friday and JTA buses run again” via Dan Scanlin of The Florida Times-Union — As Hurricane Ian’s departure from Florida continues en route toward the Carolinas and Savannah, travelers now have some good news when it comes to air and ground transportation in the Jacksonville area. Jacksonville International Airport reopens for operations Friday, the first flight in at about 9 a.m., officials said. Some airlines will initially be operating on reduced schedules. The Jacksonville Transportation Authority restarts its regular bus service by noon Friday after shutting down all mass transit and specialty services late Wednesday and Thursday due to the approach of then-Hurricane Ian.

Gadsden County Republicans pick replacement for Jeffery Moore ahead of November election” via Christopher Cann of the Tallahassee Democrat — Gadsden County Republicans have selected a replacement to run for the District 2 Commission seat, vacated by Moore, in the November General Election. Moore resigned from the seat and withdrew from the upcoming election last Friday after an alleged photo of him wearing a Ku Klux Klan outfit began circulating in the community. Larry J. Clayton, a retired Army Reserve colonel, was selected in a silent vote by the Gadsden County Republican Executive Committee Tuesday evening, according to Douglas Croley, the Chair of the committee.

Development firm brings major businesses to Bay County” via Tess Rowland of WMBB — If you’re a fan of brands like Aldi, Slim Chickens and Chicken Salad Chick, read on. More brands like these may be on their way to the Bay County area and it’s all thanks to an economic Development firm called Nextsite. The company uses specialized technology to perform market analysis, connecting prospective businesses with developers in the Bay County area. The most recent project Nextsite is responsible for is the new Aldi’s coming to Callaway in Summer 2023. The new development and sounds of construction are a welcoming sight for Callaway City Manager Ed Cook. Like so many other cities in the Panhandle, Callaway faced major destruction after Hurricane Michael and then the pandemic.

— TOP OPINION —

Hurricane Ian’s three early lessons for Tampa Bay” via the Tampa Bay Times editorial board — As we pick up the fences, tree limbs and other pieces in Tampa Bay, it’s not too soon to consider what we got right and wrong. After all, the fate of Mother Nature is outside our control. So, the question is: How did we prepare? Was the forecasting helpful? Did the authorities do their jobs? And what can we learn from having dodged another big one?

Local forecasting. The Weather Channel did its usual bang-up job of highlighting the hurricane’s threat to low-lying coastal Florida. Residents who historically focused mostly on wind speeds have come to recognize in recent years the deadly danger of storm surges. Critics accuse the media of overhyping these storms, and Ian’s change of course to the Fort Myers area instead of Tampa Bay (as with Charley in 2004) only further fuels some public skepticism.

But forecasting is still tricky business, and the bigger message is sinking in — that these storms are unpredictable and can carry wide fields of destruction.

Public messaging. Mayors and other leaders face a difficult balance in emergencies; they must project the gravity of the moment without igniting hysteria. And Tampa Bay’s Mayors delivered

Counties’ importance. It takes a village, for sure, to prepare for and respond to hurricanes.

It’s been telling this week how often the state has deferred to local governments. Counties and cities are the ones doing the heavy work on the ground — managing evacuations, securing streets and key facilities, staffing shelters in school buildings and transporting those without any other means to safety.

— OPINIONS —

DeSantis shows some good manners” via Jack Shafer of POLITICO — Ordinarily a political opportunist — the sort of guy who flies asylum-seekers to Martha’s Vineyard to score points, beats up on Disney for using its First Amendment rights, retaliates against the Special Olympics and lowers the boom on drag show bars, DeSantis has responded to Ian with the sort of governance you’d expect from Mitt Romney or any other Governor who doesn’t consume a pail of bile for breakfast. The Governor is actually governing in the face of Ian, steering relief dollars, monitoring the rebuilding of infrastructure and bucking up the downtrodden.

Honestly? The link between climate change and hurricanes is complicated” via Robinson Meyer of The Atlantic — With such a catastrophic storm coming after the string of disasters this summer, some commentators have tried to link Hurricane Ian to climate change. But while climate change is clearly fueling some disasters, such as heat waves and wildfires, it has a more complicated effect on hurricanes. The most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said that it’s an “established fact” that industrial carbon pollution has led to an increase in “frequency” or “intensity” of extreme weather. But the report uses more circumspect language such as “likely” to talk about tropical cyclones.

Hurricane Ian proves politicians are trying to fool us if they’re tackling climate change” via Craig Pittman of Florida Phoenix — DeSantis likes to mention how many millions he’s spending on “resilience.” That’s a code word used by politicians who want to fool the voters into thinking they’re on top of climate change when they’re not. It means: “I am throwing a lot of taxpayer cash at well-connected contractors to pay them to armor the coastline to save waterfront property owners from getting flooded. And that’s all I am doing.” Spending money on “resilience” has a downside. It makes the taxpayers foot the bill for all the developers building more and more homes in low-lying, flood-prone areas.

When will it be Tampa Bay?” via Stephanie Hayes of the Tampa Bay Times — The breeze went down like a cool drink in Tampa Bay, a rare offering of dry September air. How could this morning, of all mornings, be open-window beautiful? We were so lucky. Almost providential. Relief mutated into wretched guilt, a stomach knot of gratitude, confusion and shame for feeling glad. Didn’t we all shuffle around the yard in a zombie state, hardened by numbness? Hurricane Ian had been barreling straight toward us. Coming for us. This was the one we’d talked about for a century, the one that would blast up the fingers of Tampa Bay, imprisoning the rushing water and destroying our communities.

Cuba goes dark after Hurricane Ian strikes. Can it end the great ‘apagón?’” via the Miami Herald editorial board — Total darkness. That’s what fell across Cuba when the island’s antiquated power grid was brushed by powerful Category 3 Hurricane Ian Tuesday night. But what else could be expected? The power grid is a relic from the 1950s and was repaired with parts from the long-gone Soviet Union. The poor Cuban people. Ian exposed the depths of the weakness of Cuba’s grid infrastructure, leaving 11 million people without power when the storm crossed the western end of the country. And we’re not talking about pockets of power outages; we’re talking about no electricity from end to end of the Caribbean island.

DeSantis’s race problem” via Charles M. Blow of The New York Times — DeSantis of Florida appointed Jeffery Moore, a former tax law specialist with the Florida Department of Revenue, to be a County Commissioner in Gadsden, the blackest county in the state. On Friday, Moore resigned after a picture emerged that appeared to show him dressed in Ku Klux Klan regalia. Neither Moore nor DeSantis has confirmed that Moore is in fact the man in the picture. When POLITICO reached out to DeSantis’ office for comment, his communication director responded, “We are in the middle of hurricane prep, I’m not aware of the photo you sent but Jeff did submit his resignation last week.”

How big will the GOP House Majority be after the midterms?” via Karl Rove of The Wall Street Journal — The generic ballot keeps vibrating modestly. It was at 44.6% Republican, 43.7% Democratic on Aug. 1 in the RealClearPolitics average, then at 46.1% Republican, 45.1% Democratic on Wednesday. But this is somewhat misleading. Democrats need a big lead on this measure because their voters are more clumped together geographically. A good performance for their party on a national generic ballot might not be enough in competitive regions. A poll found the generic ballot in competitive congressional districts was 55% Republican, 34% Democratic among all voters, compared with 51% GOP, 46% Democratic among likely voters nationally. The red wave will likely generate a smaller Midterm swing than the average.

— WEEKEND TV —

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

In Focus with Allison Walker on Bay News 9/CF 13: A discussion of Hispanic Heritage Month and a look at the efforts state, county and local communities are working on to integrate and celebrate this growing population. Joining Walker are Dr. Martha Santiago, chair, Polk County Commission; Ashley Justiniano, gallery director of the Marion Cultural Alliance; and Maria Revelles, co-director of La Mesa Boricua de Florida.

Political Connections on Bay News 9 in Tampa/St. Pete: The latest on the migrants flown from Texas to Florida and up to Martha’s Vineyard; and an interview with Rep. Fentrice Driskell about her concerns with state money being used for migrant flights.

Political Connections on CF 13 in Orlando: Florida Rights Restoration Coalition Deputy Director Neil Volz will discuss the election security arrests and what has happened with felon voting rights since the passage of 2018’s Amendment 4.

The Usual Suspects on WCTV-Tallahassee/Thomasville (CBS) and WJHG-Panama City (NBC): Gary Yordon, pollster Steve Vancore and Robin Safely of Feeding Florida.

This Week in Jacksonville with Kent Justice on Channel 4 WJXT: Florida Chief Financial Officer Patronis, Billy Wagner of Brightwood Insurance and Jacksonville University Public Policy Institute Director Rick Mullaney.

— INSTAGRAM OF THE DAY —

— ALOE —

Disney resort during Hurricane Ian was ‘like the Twilight Zone,’ according to guest” via Suzy Fleming Leonard of Florida Today — A Disney resort during a hurricane is basically like the Twilight Zone. That’s how Jan Tuckwood, who has a home in Lake Worth but spends much of her time in Charlotte, North Carolina, described Tuesday and Wednesday at Disney’s Swan Reserve. No valet met her at the door when she arrived. Housekeeping and other staffing were limited. Restaurants were closed or had reduced menus and boxed meals. While Disney parks remained closed Thursday as officials assessed Ian’s impact and cleared debris, hotels weren’t allowing new guests. But those who arrived earlier in the week or evacuated to Orlando from Florida’s Gulf Coast stayed, making do with the help of pared-down Disney Magic and cocktails.

Disney during Ian was a bizarre scene. Image via Florida Today.

‘Yellowstone’ Season 5 Trailer: Meet Gov. John Dutton” via Rick Porter of The Hollywood Reporter — It’s not a spoiler to reveal that John Dutton (Kevin Costner) becomes Governor of Montana in season five of Yellowstone. In fact, it’s the opening scene of the trailer for the coming season of the Paramount Network hit, which premieres Nov. 13. John announced his candidacy and secured the endorsement of the outgoing Governor (Wendy Moniz) during the show’s fourth season, seemingly to spite Jamie (Wes Bentley), who was set to run for the post himself. The campaign, it appears, was a successful one.

— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —

Celebrating today are former Rep., now Alachua Sheriff Clovis Watson, Curt Anderson of The Associated Press, Michael Cantens of Flagler Strategies, Tracy Duda Chapman, Harrison Fields, Jason Gonzalez of Shutts & Bowen, nice guy Jason Holloway, Steve Lapinski, Capital City Consulting’s Chris Schoonover, and Vito Sheeley.

___

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

Peter Schorsch

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



#FlaPol

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.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Renzo Downey, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Kelly Hayes, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Andrew Wilson, Wes Wolfe, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704




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