Takeaways from Tallahassee — Connecting Florida

Blue Tally Takeaways (1)
Creating public-private partnerships is the key to blanketing Florida in broadband.

Broadband Summit

The Florida Association of Counties is bringing together federal, state and local governments and private organizations to create a smooth download for federal broadband support.

FAC is hosting a Broadband Summit Jan. 26 and 27 as a way to spread the word and connect the agencies and private organizations providing the up to $2 billion in infrastructure funding with the local governments who need it.

The pandemic brought forward the need for high speed internet.

Seminole County Commissioner Lee Constantine, a former state lawmaker and FAC’s president, says each of Florida’s 67 counties have underserved areas. Plus, each county comes with its unique needs.

“Unless you’re sitting at the table, you really can’t have any input, so that’s what we’re trying to do,” Constantine told Florida Politics.

With Florida’s population boom, the broadband funding will also help counties accommodate the influx of new residents.

“The more broadband we can provide to outlying areas, the more we can provide for people to be able to remotely work and live the life they want to lead,” Constantine said.

The public consensus is that the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of high speed internet. People were isolated from one another, making the internet critical for working, going to school or simply communicating.

“We all understood it, but this laid it right at our doorstep,” Constantine said.

The summit will feature events with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the Federal Communications Commission, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity — which hosts the Office of Broadband — and more. At those events, local governments can learn which agencies and organizations hold the funding.

Private companies will be able to exhibit their programs and connect with county leaders.

“Private companies … will have a part, because each community will have to decide what their best solution is,” said FAC Director of External Affairs Cragin Mosteller.

Registration is open for the event, which will be held at the Sawgrass Marriott in St. Johns County. An estimated 300 to 400 people are expected to attend, and FAC anticipates 90% of counties will be represented.

Until Jan. 19, counties can register for $275; city, state and federal governments can register for $325; and businesses, corporations and individuals can register for $500.


Coming up, the usual assortment of news, intel and observations from the week that was in Florida’s capital city by Peter Schorsch, Drew Wilson, Renzo Downey, Christine Jordan Sexton and the staff of Florida Politics.

But first …

Take 5

The “Takeaway 5” — the Top 5 stories from the week that was:

Special Session gears up — The bills are drafted, the committees are assigned, the schedule is set. Everything is coming together for next week’s Special Session on property insurance and more. The biggest news breaking Friday was the publication of the House and Senate’s $1 billion plan to stabilize the property insurance industry. A second stab at a reinsurance program, changes to Citizens and tort reforms are part of a sprawling 100-plus-page bill that comes about half a year after the Legislature first tried to stymie the industry crisis this year. Also ready for the Special Session are bills for hurricane and toll relief.

Joe Harding resigns after indictment — Rep. Joe Harding has resigned from the Florida House after facing federal charges alleging he committed wire fraud, money laundering and more. Federal prosecutors say he committed two acts of wire fraud through a scheme in which he attempted to obtain $150,000 in COVID-19 relief meant for small businesses. If convicted, Harding faces up to 20 years in prison for wire fraud, up to 10 years for money laundering and up to 5 years for making false statements. “There will be a time when I can tell my story in detail, and I will,” Harding wrote. “For now, let me reassure my constituents and the taxpayers that I repaid every penny of the loan I obtained, and I have done my best to cooperate fully with all authorities.”

Gov. DeSantis admin takes shape — Gov. Ron DeSantis is gradually unveiling who’s staying or leaving for his second term. The latest officials who will be staying on board are Department of Environmental Secretary Shawn Hamilton and Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Michelle Branham. Departing are Department of Economic Opportunity Secretary Dane Eagle and Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Executive Director Terry Rhodes. DeSantis begins his second term on Jan. 3.

Kent Stermon found deadStermon was found dead in his car at the Mayport Post Office Thursday night. No foul play is suspected and the investigation is being treated as a suicide. Stermon, one of the most connected political figures in Northeast Florida, died just hours after being discharged from hospital for a stroke. The Florida Times-Union’s Nate Monroe reports Stermon was the subject of an active investigation by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. First Coast News filled in further detail, including a statement from Sheriff T.K. Waters. “Mr. Stermon was the subject of an active investigation by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, which began a few weeks prior to his death,” Waters said. “This investigation remains ongoing at this time and will continue until its completion.”

Joe Gruters announces bid for RNC Treasurer — Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) Chair Gruters is launching a bid for Treasurer of the Republican National Committee (RNC). “We have had tremendous success here in Florida,” Gruters told Florida Politics. “My whole focus is getting Florida represented at the national level.” Gruters previously secured support from RPOF members to move the state party’s executive board elections to Feb. 17 and 18. That effectively extends his own tenure as state Chair until next month, which in turn makes him eligible for the national officership.

Hispanic heritage

Better late than never for the teachers and students who took part in this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations.

Gov. Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis were forced to cancel the ceremony for this year’s contest winners because of Hurricane Ian. But on Wednesday, the First Family hosted those winners at the Governor’s Mansion.

The DeSantises made sure to honor the young and the wise for with a belated celebration. Image via the Governor’s Office.

“It is important for students to learn about contributions Hispanic Floridians have made to the success of our state, and educating our students about those contributions requires great teachers,” Gov. DeSantis said. “Congratulations to the winners of this year’s contest.”

Hispanic Heritage Month is recognized and celebrated from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 every year. This year’s celebration in Florida included an art and essay contest for students and awards for exceptional educators.

“Hispanic Floridians have played a tremendous role in the history of our state and it is important that we honor those contributions and teach our students about those pieces of history,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis. “I am honored to host the winners of this year’s contest at the Governor’s Mansion and recognize the contributions of Hispanic Floridians.”

Teachers who earned recognition received $1,500 gifts from Volunteer Florida.

Education Commissioner Manny Díaz called Hispanic heritage an integral part of Floridians’ shared history.

“Congratulations to this year’s contest winners and to all those who participated in advancing our world-class education system by learning about the many contributions of Hispanic Floridians,” Díaz said.

Grift card

Just like a real gift card is a convoluted way to give someone money, a fake gift card is a convoluted way for scammers to get one over on you.

Gift card scams are a year-round problem, but Attorney General Ashley Moody rightly notes that there’s a certain miasma surrounding the holidays that brings out the fraudsters, many of whom would love you to buy them gift cards.

Gift cards are a common present, but also a common scam. Image via Colin Hackley.

It feels like this should go without saying, but apparently it cannot: Carrabba’s gift cards are not a valid way to settle your tax liability, and no reputable debt collector will square you up if you fork over some App Store credit.

If there is a legitimate business that accepts gift cards not bearing their own name … well, that says a lot about their corporate self-esteem.

The cold truth is that few people will earnestly ask you for a gift card unless and until American dollars cease to exist. Anyone who does should be met with incredulity and, should you happen to know them personally, at least three “are you sures?” and one “are you OK?”

As the top cop lays it out: “Gift cards are the most common present given during the holiday season, so it is no surprise scammers devise schemes in an attempt to exploit these popular gifts. Before you buy or use a gift card, check out our new Scams at a Glance resource to be better prepared to spot and avoid these schemes.”

The thrust of the advice contained in Moody’s pamphlet is don’t kowtow to odd gift requests from strangers. If for some reason you need that explained in greater detail, give it a read — it’s available online in English and Spanish, the language in which gift cards are known as “tarjeta de regalos,” which is infinitely more fun to say.

Treasure hunt

In an apparent attempt to one-up Santa Claus, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis has delivered more than $20 million in holiday cheer to Florida residents.

Patronis announced the figure in his monthly update from the state’s unclaimed property system.

Unclaimed property, per the CFO, is a lost or uncollected financial asset in the state’s possession. It can take many forms, including dormant bank accounts, uncashed checks, inheritances and refunds.

FLTreasureHunt.gov has got billions in forgotten prizes. Image via CFO’s Office.

Patronis said there’s a one in five chance Floridians have unclaimed property belonging to them or a loved one. Over the years, celebrities and politicians, including former President Donald Trump, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, and former MLB star Derek Jeter, have been listed in the unclaimed property log. DeSantis even appears to have a current entry or two.

The November returns come at an opportune time for Christmas and Hanukkah shoppers who are penny-pinching in a rocky economy. Truly, the balance of one’s long-forgotten Barnett Bank account could determine whether they purchase a tchotchke for a peripheral friend.

And for those who are roughing it this holiday season, consider searching for a friend’s or loved one’s unclaimed assets and presenting the results to them in a hastily constructed holiday card. It’s a gift idea that while not expressly suggested by Patronis is at least tacitly endorsed by him.

“Currently, Florida has unclaimed property accounts with a total value of $2.5 billion,” he said in a news release. “I am encouraging every Floridian to search now for unclaimed property for yourself, your friends, your loved ones, and even your business at FLTreasureHunt.gov. It’s your money, claim it today!”

Tree time

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) are delivering locally grown Christmas trees to fellow Cabinet members’ offices to spread holiday cheer and support local agriculture.

“The holidays are such a special time, when we are given the opportunity to gather with our loved ones and celebrate the people and traditions we hold dear,” Fried said. “I am proud to spread the joy of the season with this FDACS tradition, providing my fellow Cabinet officers with locally grown, Fresh From Florida Christmas trees.”

Time for the annual Christmas tree delivery to plaza-level offices. Image via Twitter/FDACS.

The FDACS’ Fresh From Florida program delivered 8-foot tall Carolina Sapphire trees from Bavarian Christmas Tree Farm in Tallahassee to the offices of DeSantis, Moody and Patronis Tuesday.

The tree farm has been a Fresh From Florida member since 2012 and is owned and operated by Franco, Sigrid and Robert Camacho, the same group that has provided Christmas trees for Cabinet members for the past decade.

This will be Fried’s final year spearheading the Christmas tree tradition, as she did not seek re-election. She also won’t be receiving a tree after his failed bid for Governor.

Next holiday season, the tradition will pass to Fried’s successor, former Senate President Wilton Simpson.

It’s a tradition that even DeSantis has participated in. During DeSantis’ first holiday season as Governor, back when he and Casey only had two kids, Fried personally presented the tree to the First Family before a gaggle of reporters. After years of animosity between the two, that possibility sounds foreign now.

Instagram of the Week

The Week in Appointments

Board of Osteopathic Medicine — DeSantis appointed Christopher Creegan, Dr. Monica Mortensen and Dr. Gregory Williams to the Board of Osteopathic Medicine. Creegan is the owner and broker of Creegan Group. He was recognized in 2022 by RealTrends as one of the top Realtors based on number of homes sold, ranking No. 31 out of all Realtors in the U.S. Creegan earned his associate degree from Seminole State College. Mortensen is a pediatric endocrinologist with Nemours Children’s Health. She is a courtesy assistant professor for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville. Dr. Mortensen earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Loyola University, her doctor of osteopathic medicine from Midwestern University, and completed her fellowship in pediatric endocrinology at the University of Chicago. Williams is a physician with Tallahassee Primary Care Associates. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and is a clinical assistant professor for the Florida State University College of Medicine. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Palm Beach Atlantic College and his doctor of osteopathic medicine from Southeastern University.

Reemployment Assistance Appeals Commission — DeSantis appointed Geri Atkinson-Hazelton to the Reemployment Assistance Appeals Commission. The Tallahassee resident is the former general counsel for the Reemployment Assistance Appeals Commission. She is a current member of the Florida Bar and received an award for excellence in public service from the Government Lawyer Section of the Florida Bar in 2007. Atkinson-Hazelton earned her bachelor’s degree and her law degree from Florida State University.

Health Care District of Palm Beach County — DeSantis announced the appointment of Tracy Caruso, Patrick Rooney and Carlos Vidueira to the Health Care District of Palm Beach County. Caruso, of Delray Beach, is the president of Delray Beach Executive Suites. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from New York University. Rooney, of West Palm Beach, is the president of the Palm Beach Kennel Club. He previously served as a state Representative from 2010 to 2016. He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science form Clemson University, his MBA from Lehigh University, and his law degree from Villanova University. Vidueira, of West Palm Beach, is the vice president of Huizenga Holdings. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Southern California and his MBA from the University of California.

Gulf Coast State College District Board of Trustees — The Governor made a string of appointments to the GCSC BOT. Tricia Berry is the co-owner of Panhandle Pediatric Dentistry who earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from the University of Florida. Bill Cramer is the owner of Bill Cramer Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC who earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of North Carolina and his law degree from Harvard University. Abel De La Rosa is the chairman of the Board of Antios Therapeutics and senior scientific and strategic adviser to the company. He earned his bachelor’s degree in microbiology from the University of California and his Ph.D. in microbiology from Miami University. Caroline Windham is the owner and office manager of David D. Windham DMD. She attended the University of Florida. Frank Hall is the Northwest Florida president of BancorpSouth Bank. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business management from Florida State University. Charles Powell is a business lending manager with Innovations Federal Credit Union who earned his bachelor’s degree in finance and real estate from Florida State University. Joe Tannehill Jr. is the president and CEO of MERRICK Industries. He earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Vanderbilt University, his master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Kentucky, and his MBA from Dartmouth College.


Simpson, Sen. Jay Collins and Rep. David Borrero unveiled the framework for legislation that will restrict foreign control of Florida agricultural and strategic military lands.

“Florida’s Strategic Land Plan” would restrict the purchase, acquisition, lease, or holding of controlling interest in agricultural land in the state of Florida by nonresident aliens, foreign businesses and corporations, or foreign governments. Also encompassed are key strategic military lands in the state of Florida. As of 2020, 1.3 million acres of agricultural land in Florida were under foreign ownership.

Now that Simpson’s done lawmaking, he has to as for legislation like everyone else. Image via Colin Hackley.

“We have a responsibility to ensure Floridians have access to a safe, affordable and abundant food and water supply,” Simpson said. “Florida plays a critical role in our food supply chain and in the national security of the United States. China now controls nearly 200,000 acres of agricultural land in the U.S., leaving our food supply chain, our water quality and our national security interests vulnerable to the Chinese Communist Party. Restricting foreign control of Florida’s agricultural land and key strategic military land will protect our state, provide long-term stability and preserve economic freedom.”

Collins added, “As a Green Beret, I have seen first-hand the impact foreign adversaries’ involvement can have on infrastructure, supply chains and national security here at home and across the globe. As a farmer, Commissioner-Elect Simpson is on the frontlines protecting our food and water supply, and I am eager to work with him and my partner in the House, Rep. Borrero, to protect and preserve these important Florida agricultural lands and key strategic military lands, now and in the future.”

Earlier this year, DeSantis said he would push to ban gifts from “malign” foreign countries, such as China, Russia, Cuba and Iran, to higher education institutions. At the time, he noted that about 5% of Florida’s agricultural land is foreign-owned, although he admitted that includes friendly countries such as the United Kingdom and didn’t specify how much Florida land was owned by the Chinese government or other “malign” governments.

Celebrating firsts

The U.S. Senate confirmed Markenzy Lapointe as the next United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, making him the first Haitian American to hold the region’s highest law enforcement post.

And state Sen. Shevrin Jones couldn’t be happier.

Markenzy Lapointe is Joe Biden’s top federal prosecutor in South Florida. Image via Attorney at Law Magazine.

“Congratulations to Markenzy Lapointe, an exceptionally well-qualified advocate who will serve our region with distinction as U.S. Attorney,” Jones said in a prepared statement. “He brings the experience and perspective needed to create stronger, safer communities. This is undoubtedly an important moment for our South Florida and Caribbean-American communities.”

Jones graduated from FSU College of Law in 1999 and was admitted to the Florida Bar that same year.

He is a shareholder in the Miami branch of the Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP firm, an international law firm with a particular focus on the technology and life sciences, energy, financial, and real estate & construction sectors.

Budget classes

Two Tampa Bay area Democrats are opening their doors to help constituents apply for state funding.

St. Petersburg Sen. Darryl Rouson and Rep. Dianne Hart are hosting their annual appropriation workshop Saturday. Beginning at 10 a.m., representatives from their offices will offer a course providing constituents with the knowledge and skills to apply for funding.

Dianne Hart is hosting an explainer for her constituents. Image via Colin Hackley.

“The Senator and the Representative believe it is critically important that the constituents understand the Florida Appropriations process,” according to the invitation.

Of course Rouson and Hart, as members of the “superminority,” leave the disclaimer that attendance does not guarantee funding. However, Democrats regularly get some projects through the Legislature and past the Governor’s veto pen.

This year, the funding process will be somewhat easier. House members won’t have to file individual bills to accompany their funding proposals, reducing redundancies that some complain were there for transparency.

The workshop begins at 10 a.m. at the Encore Community Job Training Center in Tampa.

There isn’t long till the workshop begins, but constituents may still be able to RSVP with Paulette Smith in Hart’s office. Smith is available at (813) 224-1956.

Use of force

The LeRoy Collins Institute is out with suggestions of eight ways to reduce the use of force during police and civilian interactions, curbing violence.

The report, “A Review of Use of Force Policies in Florida and Perspectives of their Effectiveness,” includes methods like deescalation tactics and a continuum of force alternatives so officers don’t resort to guns. It’s the result of an initiative from Campaign Zero, a police reform campaign launched in 2015.

A little communication could reduce violent interactions.

“This report shows us that three of these policies in particular, when implemented correctly, are effective in reducing excessive force,” said LeRoy Collins Institute Director Lonna Atkeson. “In addition, transparency, relationship building, and more training for officers will be important as we move forward with implementing these policies.”

The report lists bans on chokeholds, warnings before using deadly weapons and bans on shooting at moving targets as key solutions.

Tallahassee-based attorney Ben Crump, renowned for his civil rights work, called the report important to saving lives and transforming relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

“We are far overdue to adopt common sense policies that de-escalate encounters with police, like banning chokeholds and shouting warnings before using a deadly weapon,” Crump said. “How many credible, independent voices need to make the case for these basic reforms before they are widely adopted by law enforcement agencies?”

The five other suggestions are requiring officers to deescalate situations before using force, using a force continuum or matrix to define what tools or weapons officers can use in a given situation, requiring officers to exhaust all other reasonable alternatives before resorting to force, requiring officers to intervene to stop another from using excessive force, and requiring officers to report uses of force, threats of force or attempted and accidental uses of force.

A Minneapolis police officer who laid his knee on George Floyd’s back during the man’s fatal arrest was sentenced to 3 and a half years in prison on Friday, a poignant way to end the week on the topic of force.

History in the making

The Florida Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (FAFCC) provided more than $200 million in health care in the state fiscal year 2021-2022.

It’s the first time in its history that FAFCC clinics provided more than $200 million in health care services.

Backed by staff and volunteers, the FAFCC is stepping up its services.

“I am so proud of our volunteers and medical and professional staff for providing an unprecedented level of care to fellow Floridians in need,” said George Papadimitriou, Board Chair for FAFCC and Executive Director of Community Health Center of West Palm Beach. “Behind every number in this report is a Floridian who needed help and an entire community rallying together to make it happen. It’s incredible.”

Between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2002, the clinics treated services to 200,757 patients. Care was provided by 1,184 paid staff who work at the clinics and 14,092 volunteers (3,712 of whom were physicians), the report shows.

The 2021-2022 Florida Budget included $9.5 million in funding to assist the 98 free and charitable clinics that provide the care.

“Our free and charitable clinics fill a gap in the healthcare system, making sure that no low or no-income household — our underserved Floridians — go without care,” said Rebecca DeLorenzo, CEO of FAFCC. “And this year, with the help of our funders and partners, we’ve done more than ever — helping to get Floridians back to work and back to normal. I couldn’t be any prouder of our volunteers and staff.”


AARP Florida has awarded Bettina Robson with its Andrus Award for Community Service for her volunteer efforts.

“Her remarkable volunteerism has greatly benefited her community, reflected AARP’s vision and mission, and inspired other volunteers,” AARP Florida State Director Jeff Johnson said in a prepared statement.

Ethel Percy Andrus was an early AARP leader. Image via Facebook/AARP.

“Bettina’s dynamic service with AARP Florida has included participation as a speaker, trainer, technology expert, passionate advocate and leader,” Johnson continued. “This esteemed award reflects her strong commitment to driving positive social change in the Sunshine State.”

The award is named after AARP founder Ethel Percy Andrus, who established the association in 1958. Andrus also founded the National Retired Teachers Association in 1947. She lived by the motto, “To serve, not to be served,” which remains AARP’s motto today.

Other AARP Florida volunteers considered for the award included: Howard Lunsford; David Bruns; Judy Wolgang; Chalmers Wilson III; Lowell Van Vechten; Katherine Shortlidge; Nancy Sincock; Helen Marchese; and Lana Young.

People interested in volunteering for AARP Florida can apply on the association’s website.

For enterprising Noles

Blackstone LaunchPad is now available to them with a grant from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Blackstone.

Through LaunchPad, students can access mentoring networks, learning tools, participate in fellowships and convene with students and staff at events that tap Blackstone’s network of entrepreneurs and resources.

Blackstone is bringing its network to FSU students. Image via FSU.

“The first step in breaking entrepreneurial barriers is to bring entrepreneurship to those who need it most by meeting students where they are,” said Maura Pally, executive director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. “There is no better place to start than right on their campuses.”

LaunchPad helps students experience what it’s like to build a start-up company. It also gives them the opportunity to participate in national pitch competitions, fellowships and conferences, all of which builds the student’s connections and increases their internship and job opportunities.

While the grant is for the Florida State University Moran College of Entrepreneurship, Dean Susan Fiorito said LaunchPad will be available to help everyone to access, not just future entrepreneurs.

“It will provide us more resources to build more entrepreneurs and reach a diverse group of students no matter what major they are pursuing,” she said.

New courts

Winter is tennis and pickleball season in Tallahassee, and Leon County has opened resurfaced and entirely new courts at Daniel B. Chaires Community Park.

The county improved four tennis courts at the site and added four new courts for pickleball, a downsized cousin of tennis that is gaining in popularity nationwide.

Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the United States.

“The new and improved courts at Leon County’s Chaires Community Park continue to expand our community’s outdoor offerings more and more,” said Leon County Commission Chairman Nick Maddox. “All of these facilities give citizens exciting ways to remain active and stay social, building new connections in this wonderful place we call home.”

Renovations include resurfacing and relining of four existing tennis courts, the addition of four lined pickleball courts within two of the tennis courts and new LED court lighting at the proper height for tennis and pickleball play. That’s in addition to the basketball courts, little league fields and more available at the community park.

“The County’s latest renovations show our commitment to having public parks that provide the quality of life our neighbors have come to expect from Leon County,” said Leon County District 5 Commissioner David O’Keefe. “Chaires Community Park continues to be an exceptional facility for all of our community, and I’m proud of our County’s ongoing commitment to such green spaces.”

Curmudgeon retires

Florida’s self-proclaimed Capital Curmudgeon is signing off with his final column on Sunday.

After 57 years in the news business, Bill Cotterell says he’s actually retiring this time.

Bill Cotterell led a storied career in the capital city. Image via Facebook/Bill Cotterell.

Cotterell began his career in 1966 and retired as a reporter in 2012. However, he continued writing columns twice a week for Gannett papers in Florida.

Throughout his career, Cotterell has spilled ink for the Miami Herald, United Press International and the Tallahassee Democrat. The Democrat got the majority of those years — 35.

“I told them to call me if they need help in a hurricane (the Emergency Ops Center, not out in the messy stuff) or when somebody I used to cover dies,” Cotterell wrote in a Facebook post saying goodbye.

The post has received nearly 300 comments and nearly 500 likes and reactions.

“Looking back, I’m reminded of a line in one of David Brinkley’s books,” Cotterell relayed. “Some Washington bigshot remarked that as a reporter, Brinkley must meet so many interesting people. Brinkley said, ‘Yes, mostly other reporters.’


Capitol Directions

Ron DeSantis — Up arrow — It was a big year for people, and TIME confirms DeSantis is indeed one of them.

DeSantis’ endorsements — Down arrow — They’ll be next to the register at TJ Maxx soon.

DeSantis’ election police — Down arrow — At least mall cops have someone to look down on now.

Pfizer — Crossways arrow — DeSantis is giving them chest pains, but there’s a pill for that.

Florida Legislature — Down arrow — C-C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER!

BlackRock — Down arrow — $2B might be pocket change to them, but they’re praying Florida isn’t a trendsetter.

Doug Broxson, Tom Leek — Up arrow — Is there a size limit on sprinkles?

Ed Hooper — Down arrow — An arms akimbo oopsie if there ever was.

Diane Hart — Up arrow — She already had a seat in the House, now she’s taking her leadership national.

Joe Harding — Double down arrow — Are we allowed to teach third graders how to forge bank statements?

FJA — Crossways arrow — The trial lawyers are about to get screwed, right?

Tampa Bay infrastructure — Up arrow — Senate Transpo Chair Nick DiCeglie will give it plenty of attention.

Mockingbirds — Down arrow — Go back north. And take all these transplants with you.

School boards — Crossways arrow — Just make it a bloodsport already.

Florida Chamber — Up arrow — A crash course on insurance just in time for the Special Session.

Integrity Florida — Down arrow — They’re that friend that just started watching The Wire in 2022 and wants to talk about it.

Marsy’s Law — Crossways arrow — Did Marsy pull the trigger in an officer-involved shooting, or do we need to rename the law?

Pinellas Co. — Down arrow — It’s the Beavis and Butthead time zone episode, except with property taxes.

Hertz — Down arrow — Imagine believing someone would steal a Ford Focus.

Your electric bill — Up arrow — A watt is one joule per second. Coincidentally, it costs about one jewel per second.

State parks — Up arrow — Now with more water.

Rebekah Jones — Crossways arrow — Girl, don’t go away mad. Just go away.

Larry Robinson — Crossways arrow — He’s still FAMU prez. But a 3.5% performance raise isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement.

Chaz Stevens — Up arrow — We would have liked to see DeSantis plopping out of a wet Trump Mogwai, but we understand budget limitations.

Dillan Gibbons — Up arrow — His commitment to community service would make Danny Wuerffel proud, even if he plays for a rival.

Staff Reports

One comment

  • Richard Jenkins

    December 14, 2022 at 4:11 pm

    New Port Richey
    Port Richey
    Dade City

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