Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 10.10.23

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Good Tuesday morning.

The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling is bringing on Allison Bundy as its new deputy director.

Bundy, a certified public accountant, has over 12 years of accounting leadership experience, most recently as the Manager of Restaurant Support Services & Asset Management for the food service giant Darden Restaurants.

During her seven years at the company, she also served as project manager for all new restaurant openings, remodels, and closings and led activities across the enterprise to support operational needs and to ensure alignment and consistency of best practices for all openings, remodels and closings/asset dispositions.

Allison earned an undergraduate degree in business administration from the University of Central Florida.

The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling staffs up with Allison Bundy as its new deputy director.

Bundy’s addition comes shortly after FCCG launched its new website, The site went live last month and centers around the 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine as the go-to, ever-evolving resource for Floridians impacted by problem gambling.

With help seekers in mind, the most commonly sought-after topics, such as HelpLine contact methods and the interactive Self-Assessment Quiz, are easy to find and access. Visitors are also able to initiate contact with the HelpLine directly on the website by using the Live Chat feature.

FCCG said the site’s content “informs visitors on the topic of problem gambling, educates on the signs of gambling addiction, inspires those in need that the miracle of recovery is a reality, and provides information about the resources available through the 24/7 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine for both help seekers and professional audiences.”

The site also features a translation widget to provide multilingual support.


Law scholar Dan Markel would have been 51 today.

Instead, lawyers argued about details that will shape the upcoming Oct. 23 trial of Charlie Adelson, Markel’s former brother-in-law and one of many suspected of plotting his murder.

Over the past few weeks, Adelson’s attorney Daniel Rashbaum and the State have filed competing motions relating to everything from whether wiretap recordings can be played in trial, to specific statements individual witnesses can, or can’t, make.

Judge Stephen Everett presided.

Dan Markel would have been 51 today.

The defense wants wiretaps excluded from trial. Their claim is that the warrant to approve the wiretap warrant was inappropriate, as the murder had occurred about two years prior, and (to their thinking) there was nothing current to justify such an invasion of privacy. In other words, the defense says, the details provided to the judge who issued the warrant were “stale” and that the state should have pursued less intrusive methods for obtaining evidence.

When former Judge Robert Wheeler admitted the enhanced recording in Katherine (“Katie”) Magbanua’s Katie’s 2022 trial, he did so properly. Jankowski told Everett that prior jurors told the state after Katie’s trial that not only was the recording audible, but it was compelling.

One key piece of the State’s response included the following statement: “ … the affiant explained in excruciating detail the flow of communication which started with Dan Markel’s ex-wife. Wendi Adelson would talk to her mother and brother, her brother would meet with and talk with his ex-girlfriend Katherine Magbanua, and Katherine Magbanua would meet with Sigfredo Garcia and Luis Rivera …”

Just as the State argued in the prior two trials, the contents of the divorce file aren’t intended to show the “truth” of what had transpired between Dan and Wendi, but rather, to demonstrate the level of acrimony — a factor in the motive to have him killed.

Judge’s decision: The divorce records will be admitted.

Everett will hear arguments Thursday at 11:30 a.m. regarding whether Donna and Harvey Adelson should be forced to sit for investigative interviews, or if they can be held in contempt of court for refusing to do so.

Follow current updates on Florida Politics.


@POTUS: I affirmed to Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu that the United States will continue to make sure Israel has what it needs to defend itself and its people.

@marcorubio: The reason military aid to Israel will not face some of the obstacles Ukraine aid has faced is because back in December of 2020 we passed my bill authorizing a minimum of $3.3 billion a year in aid for 8 years (2021-2028) Because of our bill the administration already has pre-existing authority to provide substantial defense aid without any new congressional action.

@SenRickScott: Stand with Israel

@AGAshleyMoody: Rallies in support of murderous terrorists are detestable. Florida stands with #Israel without question. Our greatest ally in the Middle East needs the full support of the United States right now — not protests from terrorist sympathizers.

@orlandomayor: Grateful for Shalom Orlando hosting an event to show our community’s support to Israel as it has faced horrific acts of terror. We stand in solidarity with Israel and also are offering love to Orlando’s Jewish community during this difficult time.

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Republican Party of Sarasota County honors First Lady Casey DeSantis with the 2023 Stateswoman of the Year Award — 9; Martin Scorsese’s ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ premieres — 10; 2023 Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 13; Britney Spears memoir ‘The Woman in Me’ drops — 14; NBA 2023-24 season tipoff — 14; Taylor Swift’s ‘1989 (Taylor’s Version)’ released — 17; Suncoast Tiger Bay Club hosts ‘Evening with the Tigers’ — 27; ‘The Marvels′ premieres — 29; 2023 Florida Chamber Mental Health Innovation Summit — 30; Formula 1 will take over the Las Vegas Strip — 38; ‘Squid Game: The Challenge’ premieres — 44; Ridley Scott’s ‘Napoleon’ premieres — 45; Florida TaxWatch’s Annual Meeting begins — 50; 2023 Florida Transportation, Growth & Infrastructure Solution Summit — 52; 2023 Florida Chamber Annual Insurance Summit — 64; Zack Snyder’s ‘Rebel Moon’ premieres — 73; Matt Dixon’s ‘Swamp Monsters: (Donald) Trump vs. (Ron) DeSantis ― the Greatest Show on Earth (or at Least in Florida)’ released — 91; 2024 Florida Chamber Legislative Fly-In and reception — 91; Florida’s 2024 Regular Session begins — 91; Florida TaxWatch’s State of the Taxpayer Dinner — 96; 2024 Primetime Emmy Awards — 97; South Carolina Democratic Primary — 116; New Hampshire and Nevada Democratic Primaries — 118; South Carolina GOP holds first-in-the-South Primary — 136; Michigan Democratic Primary — 140; Georgia Democratic Primary — 154; Trump’s D.C. trial on charges related to trying to reverse his 2020 Election loss — 146; Super Tuesday — 147; ‘A Quiet Place: Day One’ premieres — 152; 2024 Oscars — 153; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 158; ‘Deadpool 3’ premieres — 204; 2024 Leadership Conference on Safety, Health & Sustainability — 213; ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ premieres — 223; Republican National Convention begins — 277; New ‘Alien’ premieres — 281; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 290; ‘Captain America: Brave New World’ premieres — 290; Georgia Tech to face Florida State in 2024 opener in Dublin — 320; Swift’s Eras Tour stops in Miami — 364; 2024 Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 377; ‘Thunderbolts’ premieres — 437; ‘Blade’ reboot premieres — 493; ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot premieres — 572; ‘Moana’ premieres — 629; ‘Avatar 3’ premieres — 803; ‘Avengers: The Kang Dynasty’ premieres — 934; Untitled ‘Star Wars’ movie premieres — 956; Another untitled ‘Star Wars’ movie premieres — 1,169; ‘Avengers: Secret Wars’ premieres — 1,308; ‘Avatar 4’ premieres — 2,264; ‘Avatar 5’ premieres — 2,627.


Iran helped plot attack on Israel over several weeks” via Summer Said, Benoit Faucon and Stephen Kalin of The Wall Street Journal — Iranian security officials helped plan Hamas’ Saturday surprise attack on Israel and gave the green light for the assault at a meeting in Beirut last Monday, according to senior members of Hamas and Hezbollah, another Iran-backed militant group.

Officers of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps had worked with Hamas since August to devise the air, land and sea incursions — the most significant breach of Israel’s borders since the 1973 Yom Kippur War — those people said.

Iran spent weeks helping Hamas plan the attack on Israel. Image via AP.

Details of the operation were refined during several meetings in Beirut attended by IRGC officers and representatives of four Iran-backed militant groups, including Hamas, which holds power in Gaza, and Hezbollah, a Shiite militant group and political faction in Lebanon, they said.

U.S. officials say they haven’t seen evidence of Tehran’s involvement. In an interview with CNN that aired Sunday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: “We have not yet seen evidence that Iran directed or was behind this particular attack, but there is certainly a long relationship.”

A European official and an adviser to the Syrian government, however, gave the same account of Iran’s involvement in the lead-up to the attack as the senior Hamas and Hezbollah members.

Asked about the meetings, Mahmoud Mirdawi, a senior Hamas official, said the group planned the attacks on its own. “This is a Palestinian and Hamas decision,” he said.

A spokesperson for Iran’s mission to the United Nations said the Islamic Republic stood in support of Gaza’s actions but didn’t direct them.


Ron DeSantis sharpens his attacks on Donald Trump in their shared home state of Florida” via The Associated Press — DeSantis repeatedly slammed Trump on Thursday and defended his own campaign, warning that Trump could deliver the 2024 Election to Democrats energized to beat him. DeSantis, speaking at a campaign event in their shared home state, argued that Trump lost the 2020 Election not because more voters supported Joe Biden but rather to cast him out of office. “He energized Democrats. You could have John Kennedy walk through the door right now and he wouldn’t energize Democrats as much as Donald Trump does,” DeSantis said in Tampa. “That’s just the reality.”

Ron DeSantis takes aim at Donald Trump as Iowa caucuses loom.

DeSantis campaign mocks Trump for ‘scrambling his jet’ to Iowa” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — The DeSantis campaign is spotlighting a Bloomberg report as evidence that Trump is scared he’s going to lose in Iowa. “Donald Trump is very late to the game and is now scrambling his jet to Iowa because he knows just how disastrous it is going to be to lose to DeSantis in January. But anyone who understands Iowa knows that a Caucus victory must be earned — it can’t be bought. Ron DeSantis has long planted his flag in Iowa and the Trump campaign is going to have to do more than spend millions of dollars against him to capture it. It’s now game on,” claims DeSantis deputy campaign manager David Polyansky. The DeSantis camp’s optimism is rooted in senior adviser Chris LaCivita reportedly “relocating temporarily to Iowa,” $2.4 million of Trump ad buys in the state, and a foray by the former President into the state Saturday.

Trump asks Iowans to help him ‘win big’ in 2024 Caucuses to set the tone for the General Election” via The Associated Press — Trump on Saturday called for a show of strength in Iowa, arguing before big audiences that dominating in the Republican Presidential Caucuses in January would signal to voters around the country his strength in the November election next year. “We have to win big,” Trump told about 2,500 in a downtown Cedar Rapids hotel ballroom on his second of stops, part of a Fall push to lock in supporters. “I think we’re in great shape in the Primary. But it sets a tone for the General Election.” Trump’s afternoon stops in Waterloo and Cedar Rapids were his third and fourth in a little more than two weeks.

Trump campaign accuses DeSantis of ‘mental breakdown’ for slating MSNBC hit” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Even a federal holiday isn’t stopping Trump’s political operation from attacking DeSantis. On Monday, Trump campaign spox Steven Cheung suggested that the Governor may have mental problems, by way of trolling him over his scheduled Tuesday morning interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “When Ron DeSanctimonious decides to appear on Morning Mike (SIC) during a Republican Primary, you know he’s desperate and on the verge of having a mental breakdown. However, this may be DeSanctus auditioning on the MSNBC casting couch hoping to get a contributorship when his campaign eventually flames out. In the end, there is no job, Ron,” Cheung trolled.

DeSantis vows full disclosure on Jeffrey Epstein issues” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — DeSantis is saying that if he becomes President, he will reveal information about a former financial giant who is now best known for sex trafficking. During an event held by the Never Back Down super PAC, the Governor told an Iowa crowd that he would release whatever details weren’t released about Epstein. “I don’t know why they didn’t make all that stuff public. You have a right to know what happened with all of that and we will declassify or put out whatever we can on that,” DeSantis said in Le Mars.

DeSantis, GOP rivals want to use force against Mexico to stop fentanyl. Here’s why it could backfire” via The Associated Press — DeSantis wants suspected drug smugglers at the U.S.-Mexico border to be shot dead. Nikki Haley promises to send American special forces into Mexico. Vivek Ramaswamy has accused Mexico’s leader of treating drug cartels as his “sugar daddy” and says that if he is elected President, “there will be a new daddy in town.” Trump has often blamed Mexico for problems in the United States and promises new uses of military force and covert action if he returns to the White House.

Many in the GOP are calling on Joe Biden to force Mexico to stop the flow of fentanyl. That may not work as intended.

Lincoln Project: Stop bashing Joe Biden about ‘disgusting terror attacks’” via Florida Politics — One political advocacy group thinks Republicans should lay off criticizing Biden in the wake of Hamas’ attacks on Israel. Lincoln Project co-founder Rick Wilson sent a statement to the media on Sunday that places Hamas’ attacks squarely on Hamas and criticizes Republican politicians for targeting Biden instead of the primary culprit. Several Republicans, including GOP presidential hopefuls, have ripped Biden since the Hamas incursion. “The world sees the Hamas slaughter of Israeli civilians and their kidnapping of innocent men, women and children as the terror it is,” Wilson said. “It appropriately blames Hamas for perpetrating this horrifying attack on Israel and its people, and for the murder and kidnapping of American and other nations’ citizens.”

— MORE 2024 —

Nikki Haley raises $11 million in battle to take on Trump in 2024 Republican race” via Tim Reid of Yahoo News — Haley raised more than $11 million between July and September, according to her campaign, a significant haul that reflects growing interest in her bid to take on Trump for the party’s nomination. Three months before Republicans hold their first nominating contest in Iowa, Haley is trying to overtake DeSantis, who is running a distant second to Trump, the runaway front-runner in the Republican Primary. DeSantis’ campaign announced last week that he had raised $15 million in the third quarter, but only $5 million of that can be spent on the Republican nominating battle. Haley’s campaign says she now has $9.1 million that can be spent on the Primary race.

Nikki Haley gets some fundraising traction.

Haley is rising in New Hampshire. But toppling Trump is a tall order.” via Hannah Knowles and Dylan Wells of The Washington Post — Haley is gaining some steam in New Hampshire, leapfrogging DeSantis into a still-distant second behind Trump in some recent polls, as DeSantis puts the bulk of his time and resources into Iowa’s first-in-the-nation GOP caucus. Boosted by well-received debate performances, slow-but-steady campaigning and a new surge of spending, Haley is trying to seize a narrow opening in a pivotal state. Her pitch has piqued growing interest from moderate voters such as Weir, even as Haley has embraced more polarizing positions on some issues. At the same time, Trump has built a dominant advantage across early nominating states including New Hampshire, where he triumphed in 2016 and is an imposing challenge for Haley and everyone else in the field.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will run for President as an independent and drop his Democratic Primary bid” via Ali Swenson of The Associated Press — Longtime environmental lawyer and anti-vaccine activist Kennedy Jr. said he’ll run for President as an independent and drop his Democratic Primary bid, adding a wrinkle to a 2024 race heading toward a likely rematch between Biden and Trump. Kennedy said there was a “rising tide of discontent” in the country and said he wanted to make a “new Declaration of Independence” — from corporations, the media and the two major political parties.

Republicans turn on Kennedy as he launches independent bid” via Michael Scherer of The Washington Post — The Republican National Committee greeted his announcement with a news release that described Kennedy as “just another radical, far-left Democrat,” with a number of talking points that could be used by the expansive network of conservative commentators who tend to take messaging cues from the party. “Make no mistake — a Democrat in Independent’s clothing is still a Democrat. RFK Jr. cannot hide from his record of endorsing Hillary (Clinton), supporting the Green New Deal, fighting against the Keystone Pipeline, and praising AOC’s tax hikes — he is your typical elitist liberal and voters won’t be fooled,” RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel said in a statement.

RFK Jr. is now rolling as an independent. Republicans are up in arms. Image via AP.

RFK Jr.’s independent run for President draws GOP criticism and silence from national Democrats” via The Associated Press — Biden’s allies so far have dismissed Kennedy’s Primary campaign as unserious. Asked for comment ahead of the announcement, a Democratic National Committee spokesperson responded with an eye roll emoji. The DNC declined to comment Monday. Four of Kennedy’s eight surviving siblings put out a joint statement denouncing his candidacy and saying his announcement saddened them. “The decision of our brother Bobby to run as a third-party candidate against Joe Biden is dangerous to our country,” it read. “Bobby might share the same name as our father, but he does not share the same values, vision or judgment.”

Trump’s niece denounces ‘maniac’ uncle for leaking Israel intel” via Oliver O’Connell of The Independent — Trump was roundly denounced by his niece Mary Trump for allegedly leaking Israeli national security secrets to Vladimir Putin while he was President. “This f***ing maniac likely gave Putin (who gave Iran, who gave Hamas) Israel’s national security secrets …” she wrote. “Plus, he divulged highly classified information about our nuclear subs to an Australian cardboard guy,” Trump added.


At least 11 U.S. citizens were killed in Israel, Biden says, and others may be captives of Hamas.” via Zach Montague of The Washington Post — At least 11 U.S. citizens have been killed in Israel and an unknown number are still unaccounted for, Biden said in a statement on Monday evening, saying that “we believe it is likely that American citizens may be among those being held by Hamas.” “I have directed my team to work with their Israeli counterparts on every aspect of the hostage crisis, including sharing intelligence and deploying experts from across the United States government to consult with and advise Israeli counterparts on hostage recovery efforts,” Biden said while expressing anguish over the suffering of Israelis from “inexcusable hatred and violence.”

At least 11 Americans are confirmed dead in the early stage of the Israel/Hamas war. Image via AP.

The U.S. will send a carrier strike group to the Eastern Mediterranean in support of Israel” via The Associated Press — The Pentagon has ordered the Ford carrier strike group to sail to the Eastern Mediterranean to be ready to assist Israel, two U.S. officials said Sunday. The USS Gerald R. Ford and its approximately 5,000 sailors and deck of warplanes will be accompanied by cruisers and destroyers in a show of force that is meant to be ready to respond to anything, from possibly interdicting additional weapons from reaching Hamas and conducting surveillance.

At Iowa ice cream parlor, DeSantis calls for Hamas’ obliteration” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — DeSantis offered a scathing denunciation of the “terrorist” Hamas group from an ice cream parlor near the Iowa-Nebraska border. The 2024 presidential candidate said Israelis “have a responsibility to not just defend themselves but to use overwhelming force to wipe Hamas off the face of the earth.” “They are killing elderly, they are killing children, they are raping women and doing it in ways that a lot of the media doesn’t want you to see because it is truly despicable,” he said at an event held by the Never Back Down super PAC Monday in Le Mars, Iowa. The Governor also predicted that “elites” and others would frame a narrative that was unfriendly to Israel’s inevitable defense of its national prerogatives.

Governor orders Capitol to be lit, flags at half-staff in honor of the dead in Israel” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — As darkness falls this week, the state Capitol will be lit in blue and white, Israel’s colors, throughout most of the week in solidarity with the Jewish nation-state. The chaos and carnage that have engulfed the Holy Land following the weekend’s terrorist attacks prompted DeSantis to order the special lighting until sunrise on Friday in honor of those killed in the turmoil. He also ordered all U.S. flags and state flags to be flown at half-staff at all local and state buildings, installations, and grounds throughout Florida from sunrise to sunset on Friday.

DeSantis demands 3 actions in response to Americans killed by Hamas ‘barbarians’ in Israel” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — DeSantis is calling for U.S leadership to take three immediate steps in response to the killing of hundreds of Israelis and at least nine Americans in the Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel. Two suggestions focus on the conflict in the Middle East and its contributors. The third concerns America’s southern border. In a post to X, DeSantis first demanded that the U.S. “freeze any money Joe Biden has made available to Iran,” a top sponsor of extremist activity in Gaza and surrounding Arab nations.

Elected officials stand with Israel at Aventura rally as war death toll rises” via Omar Rodríguez Ortiz and Grethel Aguila of the Miami Herald — Florida elected officials on Monday evening joined hundreds rallying in support of Israel in Aventura two days after the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a deadly attack against the country. Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez, U.S. Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, Aventura Mayor Howard Weinberg and Miami-Dade County Commissioner Micky Steinberg all spoke to the large crowd waving Israeli flags at Waterways Shoppes. The event included a rabbi-led prayer for the Israel Defense Forces, during which the crowd was asked to raise candles or lit-up cellphones and say the names of IDF soldiers who will be fighting in the war.

Protests supporting both Israel and Palestine have broken out in Florida and worldwide. Image via AP.

Palm Beach lawmakers file similar resolutions in support of Israel” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Democratic Sen. Lori Berman and Democratic Rep. Katherine Waldron started drafting their similar resolutions (SR 126/HR 125) Saturday shortly after the surprise carnage. Waldron’s resolution cites “900 Israelis murdered, and 4,000 rockets being launched” into the state of Israel. After filing the resolution, Berman said, “Florida and Israel have a long-standing relationship based on mutual democratic values and the unprovoked, heinous attack on Israel should be offensive to all Floridians. We stand in support of our democratic ally and affirm their right to defend themselves.” Waldron’s resolution makes no allowances for the violence. “The State of Florida unequivocally supports the right of the State of Israel to exist as a sovereign and independent nation with the full recognition of its borders and territories,” the resolution reads.

Central Florida communities unify in response to Israel-Hamas conflict” via Scott Heidler of WESH — As the violence and rhetoric intensify in Gaza and Israel, the Jewish and Palestinian communities in Central Florida grow more concerned while they do everything they can to stay in touch. “I think there’s hardly anybody in this congregation who’s not directly affected and feeling this. Many congregants have friends, loved ones who live in Israel or have a strong connection to it,” Rabbi Craig Mayers of Temple Beth Sholom said. That includes a staff member of his Melbourne synagogue, explained Rabbi Mayers.

Israel solidarity rallies, vigils planned throughout South Florida” via Lois K. Solomon of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — South Floridians are organizing vigils and rallies of support after the weekend’s attacks in Israel and the Gaza Strip. Many require advance registration; all will have heavy security. Make sure to check the rules before you go.

‘We must come together.’ Jewish leaders in Bradenton react to violence in Israel” via Ryan Ballogg of the James A. Jones Jr. of the Bradenton Herald — As conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant movement Hamas reached a violent head over the weekend, local religious leaders in the Bradenton area are wishing for peace. A surprise attack by Hamas on civilians Saturday left at least 900 people dead and prompted Israel to declare war on the group, according to The Associated Press. Hamas cited Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, continued conflict over the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and the treatment of Palestinians held in Israeli jails in its explanation of the attack, The New York Times reported. Israel has initiated retaliatory airstrikes that have killed more than 600 people, according to The Associated Press.

Naples church group books flight home after war in Israel” via Emma Behrmann of the Naples Daily News — Members of a Naples church await their flight home from a Jerusalem hotel Thursday as a war begins between Hamas and Israel, visiting holy sites and praying. The First Baptist Church of Naples took 53 of its members on a trip to Israel on Oct. 2. The group has a flight scheduled to leave the country out of Tel Aviv at 12:15 a.m. Thursday, the Rev. Alan Brumback, who is on the trip with his family, said in a Facebook Live update. He said the group has been able to do some touring; members visited the Western Wall and spent time praying for the city of Jerusalem.


Biden interviewed about classified documents found at his office, home” via Tyler Pager and Perry Stein of The Washington Post — Biden was interviewed over the last two days as part of the investigation being led by special counsel Robert Hur into the discovery of classified documents at Biden’s private office and Delaware home, the White House said Monday night. A person familiar with the matter, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss it, said Hur himself conducted the interview. “The voluntary interview was conducted at the White House over two days, Sunday and Monday, and concluded Monday,” Ian Sams, a White House spokesperson, said in a statement.

Robert Hur has had words with Joe Biden over classified documents. Image via AP.

Biden administration failed to remove 99% of illegal immigrants released into U.S., GOP report shows” via David Zimmerman of National Review — Since January 2021, the Biden administration has failed to remove more than 99% of the illegal immigrants who have been released into the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan and Immigration Subcommittee Chair Tom McClintock published new data that showed how the Biden administration and Department of Homeland Security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas have been downplaying the border crisis despite the extraordinary numbers.

Army to Congress: Do your job so we can help Israel and Ukraine” via Paul McLeary and Connor O’Brien of POLITICO — Pentagon leadership is still in the early stages of evaluating what Israel might need to battle Hamas militants, but an administration briefing to members of Congress laid out some early markers: air-to-ground bombs, and air defense systems. Palestinians inspect the rubble of a building after it was struck by an Israeli airstrike. But whatever Israel needs, those requests will run headlong into the dysfunction and uncertainty enveloping Capitol Hill, as the House grapples with selecting a new leader and both chambers race to avoid a government shutdown just weeks away.

Israel-Hamas war adds new urgency to House Speaker fight” via Scott Wong, Sahil Kapur and Julie Tsirkin of NBC News — The House of Representatives remains leaderless with an intraparty Republican fight over who should be the next speaker overshadowed by Hamas’ brutal attack on close U.S. ally Israel, which quickly escalated into war. It’s an unprecedented moment that adds urgency to an already challenging week as fractured House Republicans try to agree on who should succeed Kevin McCarthy after they ousted him from power six days ago.

Why Jim Jordan is the best choice for Speaker of the House” via Rep. Mike Carey for The Hill — There are two fundamental questions in this race for Speaker: who can best unite the Republican conference and who can best communicate our shared conservative vision to the American people? On both these important questions, Rep. Jordan is the best man for this tough assignment at this pivotal moment. Jim is a listener and a leader. He is humble and sincere. Anyone who has served with Jim on a Committee knows the kind of man he is and how he empowers members to succeed.

As Republicans split over who will be House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy positions himself as a de facto leader” via Lisa Mascaro and Kevin Freking of The Associated Press — Republicans have no clear idea who will be U.S. House speaker, leaving an unprecedented power vacuum in Congress and severely limiting America’s ability to quickly respond to the crisis in Israel or any number of other problems at home or abroad. McCarthy, quickly jumped into the void, bitterly criticizing Biden’s administration over the strength of its defense of Israel and positioning himself as a de facto Republican leader even though his colleagues toppled him from power. But it’s not at all clear if McCarthy could seriously make a comeback or if one of the other Republicans seeking the gavel, Steve Scalise or Jordan, can be elected Speaker.

Congress may be turning to Kevin McCarthy for leadership — again. Image via AP.

Carlos Gimenez believes McCarthy has the support to return as House Speaker” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — U.S. Rep. Giménez said he wants McCarthy back in the Speaker’s Chair. “Many of our Members, myself included, want Speaker McCarthy to rightfully return as our Speaker,” Giménez posted on X. “We can quickly coalesce and focus on the work of the American people.” While McCarthy initially said he would not run for the post after the successful vote to remove him, he signaled a possible change of heart this week. He told radio host Hugh Hewitt that if the GOP conference in the House wants him back, he will serve. “Whatever the conference wants, I will do,” McCarthy said.

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A tropical wave in the Atlantic Ocean is expected to be a depression or storm soon” via David J. Neal and Grethel Aguila of the Miami Herald — A disturbance in the eastern Atlantic Ocean that’s expected to become something soon and a disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico that might not become anything both have the National Hurricane Center’s attention. The hurricane center updated forecasts for the disturbances at 2 p.m. Monday. “A tropical depression is likely to form in the next couple of days while it moves west-northwestward or northwestward across the eastern tropical Atlantic,” the hurricane center said. The hurricane center calls this a “small area of low pressure” over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico.

Tropical waves are expected to pick up steam very soon. Image via NOAA.

Florida Democrats fall further and further behind Republicans in registered voters. Independents surge.” via Anthony Man of the Orlando Sentinel — Once again, the numbers are inauspicious for Florida Democrats. The latest figures show Republicans now have 588,930 more registered voters than Democrats, continuing a trend that makes the notion of election victories ever more elusive for the state’s No. 2 political party. Statewide, Republican registrations make up 37.4% of the state’s 13.9 million voters. Democratic registration stands at 33.2% and no party affiliation/independents are at 27.2%. “Every month, consistently, we are just adding,” Florida Republican Chair Christian Ziegler said shortly after the state posted the latest tallies. “We’ve just added about another 20,000 to our lead. … Florida’s headed in the right direction. We feel good, as we do every month when these reports come out.”

Senate argues judge who tossed Florida map wrongly saw it as ‘cross-claim of racial gerrymandering’” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — A Florida Senate attorney says a judge wrongly analyzed Florida’s defense of its congressional map as a “cross-claim of racial gerrymandering.” In a court filing, Florida Senate attorney Dan Nordby argued Leon Circuit Court Judge Lee Marsh wrongly ruled the map used in last year’s elections violated Florida’s Constitution. He filed a brief that suggested the judge looked at the defense of the map through the wrong legal lens. “The trial court appears to have considered the Legislature’s defenses as if they represented an unpleaded counterclaim or crossclaim seeking a determination that an unenacted congressional district should be stricken as a racial gerrymander,” Nordby wrote.

Florida settles COVID-19 public records lawsuit, will begin releasing data again” via Jeffrey Schweers of the Orlando Sentinel — After a two-year court battle over the DeSantis administration’s refusal to produce COVID-19-related public records during the height of the pandemic, the state will begin releasing specific data again for the next three years and pay all legal fees. Under the agreement, the Florida Department of Health will pay $152,250 toward former Orlando state representative Carlos Guillermo Smith’s legal fees and cover its own legal costs. It also will have to post detailed COVID-19 data on its website for the next 36 months. “The DeSantis administration has repeatedly tried to weaken the state’s public records law, hide information from the public and they have finally been held accountable,” said Smith.

State sweep yields hundreds of ‘gas station heroin’ packages” via Danny McAuliffe of Florida Politics — A sprawling investigation into stores across the state resulted in the seizure of 653 packages of so-called “gas station heroin,” along with 1,272 packages of a synthetic cannabinoid. Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson announced the outcome of a sweep conducted by authorities at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). The multiday investigation of more than 50 businesses in 27 Florida counties yielded hundreds of packages containing the Tianeptine products, known as “gas station heroin,” according to an FDACS news release. Authorities also picked up or issued stop-sale orders for products containing THC-O, a synthetic, controlled cannabinoid.

Florida makes a big bust of ‘gas station heroin.’

Florida kicked 63,000 people off Medicaid during the pandemic, report shows” via Christopher O’Donnell of the Tampa Bay Times — Even as Florida accepted billions of federal dollars to keep people enrolled in Medicaid during the pandemic, the state terminated medical coverage for almost 63,000 residents. The “continuous coverage” protection for Medicaid recipients was put in place through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, passed in March 2020 as COVID-19 cases began spreading across the nation. States received billions of dollars in additional funding in exchange for keeping people covered through the health insurance program. But over an 18-month period through June 2021, Florida removed tens of thousands of people from Medicaid rolls, the audit by the Department of Health and Human Services found. The state accepted $2.4 billion in additional funding over the same period.

Legis sked:

Happening today — The Senate Military and Veterans Affairs, Space and Domestic Security Committee meet for an update from James Hartsell, executive director of the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs: 9 a.m., Room 301, Senate Office Building.

Happening today — The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee meets to hear an update from Insurance Commissioner Michael Yaworsky and Citizens Property Insurance President and CEO Tim Cerio: 11 a.m., Room 412, Knott Building.

Happening today — The Senate Criminal Justice Committee meets for an update on the Regina B. Shearn Corrections Transition Program: 2 p.m., Room 412, Knott Building.

Happening today — The Education Pre-K-12 Committee meets for an update on the recommended “cut” scores for tests aligned with the state’s Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking, or B.E.S.T., standards: 4 p.m., Room 412, Knott Building.

Florida gas prices fall 4 cents after surprise rise” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Gas prices in Florida downshifted slightly after a surprise increase last week, ultimately falling to $3.46 cents Monday. That’s 4 cents cheaper than on Sunday, Oct. 1, and the lowest daily average price since July. “Florida gas prices tried to swim upstream early last week, but were quickly knocked down by week’s end,” AAA spokesperson Mark Jenkins said. “Oil and gasoline suffered big losses in the futures market, which could enable pump prices to move lower. However, that could change depending on how the market responds to rising geopolitical tensions following the surprise attack by Hamas on Israel.”


Bryan Ávila hauls $77.5K in Q3 to defend SD 39 seat, with sizable gains from auto dealers” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Sen. Ávila is running for re-election in Senate District 39 unopposed, but he isn’t fundraising like it. In the third quarter of 2023, Ávila raised $77,500 between his campaign account and political committee, Fighting for Florida’s Families. None of it was grassroots. Every dollar he accepted came from a political or business interest. More than a third of his Q3 gains came directly from car dealerships, which gained added protections this year through legislation Ávila sponsored banning most direct-to-consumer auto sales in Florida.

Primary debate for House Special Election is set for Wednesday” via the Orlando Sentinel — The three Democrats vying to succeed Rep. Fred Hawkins in the Legislature will hold a Primary debate on Wednesday, an event sponsored by the Orlando Sentinel and Spectrum News 13. The pre-taped debate will air at 7 p.m. Wednesday on Spectrum News 13 and will be streamed at and The moderators will be News 13 anchor Ybeth Bruzual and Orlando Sentinel politics editor Steven Lemongello. The Democrats and three Republicans are running in a Nov. 7 Special Primary Election for District 35, which includes parts of eastern Orange and Osceola counties.

The three Democrats vying for HD 35.

Happening today — Residents of state House District 35 face a deadline to register to vote in a Nov. 7 Special Primary Election. The House seat in Orange and Osceola counties opened when Hawkins was named president of South Florida State College. The Special Election will be on Jan. 16.

Democratic contender to replace Rick Roth says she has raised more than $52K” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — The Democrat competing for the seat now occupied by term-limited Republican Rep. Roth says her first personal campaign finance report will show she’s raised more than $52,000. Former Palm Beach Gardens Mayor Rachelle Litt said the personal campaign report due Tuesday will reveal she’s added that total as of Sept. 30, the end of the third quarter, in her bid for the Palm Beach County seat. Her personal campaign account started collecting cash on July 24 and has raised $38,500. Her political committee, Friends of Rachelle Lift, has also raised $14,000 since April. Litt said the support she’s received shows enthusiasm for an alternative to the five Republicans competing for the seat.

Charlie Justice is all-in for re-election to Pinellas County Commission” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics — Justice is seeking re-election, he announced Monday. The Democrat represents District 3, including parts of west St. Pete and Lealman, though his seat is elected countywide. In a campaign announcement, Justice pointed to “a score card of successes” and wrote that he was “looking forward to new opportunities.” “I am incredibly proud of the partnerships we’ve built and the successes we’ve achieved in Pinellas County,” Justice said. “We’ve rejected the partisan extremism like we see in Washington and Tallahassee that just stands in the way of getting things done. Due to strong leadership, we are seeing improvements made in every corner of Pinellas from Tarpon Springs to Tierra Verde.”

Charlie Justice is ready for another term. Image via Charlie Justice.

Democrat and Melbourne Council member Yvonne Minus files to run for County Commission District 3” via Tyler Vazquez of Florida Today — Melbourne City Council member Minus has filed to run for the Brevard County Commission District 3 seat. She is the first Democratic candidate for the seat this election cycle. The seat is currently held by Republican John Tobia, who cannot seek re-election because of term limits. Minus has served on the Melbourne City Council since 2014, when she was appointed to fill a vacancy, making her the first Black woman to sit on the city’s governing body. She then went on to win two more elections, maintaining her office. She will be ineligible to run again next year due to term limits.

Lakeland Commissioner Chad McLeod faces two political newcomers in November” via Sara-Megan Walsh of The Lakeland Ledger — Two political newcomers have thrown their hat in the ring to challenge for Lakeland Commission’s At-Large Seat #2 this November. Health care practitioner Kay Klymko and business strategist Dennis Odisho each offer a different perspective to incumbent Commissioner McLeod, who seeks to be re-elected to his second four-year term in office. Klymko says that while it’s her first campaign for an elected office, it’s far from her first time dealing with politics. Odisho said he’s decided to make a run for the city’s At-Large seat because he thinks his skill set could help Lakeland continue to grow while further developing its own identity.

— LOCAL: S. FL —

C-44 Reservoir cost $339M, but it’s leaking and holding 80% less water than it should” via Katie Delk of Treasure Coast Newspapers — A $339 million reservoir designed to curb Lake Okeechobee discharges to the St. Lucie River is leaking, so the Army Corps of Engineers had filled it to only 20% of its maximum capacity for most of this year. The C-44 Reservoir’s water level had been 3 feet instead of 15 feet since March, meaning it was holding about 3.26 billion gallons of water instead of 16.5 billion gallons — about 13.2 billion gallons less than it should have been. The agency, which is in litigation with the construction contractor, is designing a solution, but has not estimated how much that will cost or how long that will take, Col. James Booth said.

The C-44 Reservoir was expensive and is already leaking.

Inundated with algae, Lake Okeechobee faced a slimy season” via Nathalie Vega of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Intense heat battered Floridians this Summer like never before. The Northern Hemisphere experienced its warmest Summer on record. Combined with hurricane season, the intense heat brought algae blooms back to Lake Okeechobee with a vengeance, staining its deep blue waters with various shades of green slime. Hurricanes in Florida can cause phosphorus-rich fertilizer runoff to enter the state’s waters. They can also stir the bottom of the lake’s pollution and possibly harm the environment. Throughout this Summer, lime-green swirls of slimy algae coated many parts of the lake, carrying a strong odor of fish and rotten eggs to shore.

In Miami-Dade Schools, all you need to be a substitute teacher is a GED degree” via Amanda Geduld of the Miami Herald — Barbara Hochman, a retired physical therapist, decided she wanted to become a substitute teacher. After applying for the position, submitting her college transcript, and completing the necessary training, she started working in Miami-Dade County Public Schools about a year and a half ago. Over the summer, Hochman received an email from the district alerting her that all hiring and management of substitutes, also known as temporary teachers, would be outsourced to a company called Kelly Education. Soon after, as she began seeing ads on Facebook from the company for open positions, she noticed something odd: the requirements to be a substitute teacher had changed.

After cap lifted, North Miami to get $4M more a year for economic development” via Raisa Habersham of the Miami Herald — North Miami will have nearly $4 million more a year to spend on its economic development arm after striking a deal with Miami-Dade County to loosen a cap on how much property tax the agency can keep. The deal, approved earlier this month, means a significant cash boost for the North Miami Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), which City Commissioners control. The agency spent about $12 million last year on projects aimed at boosting economic growth within its boundaries and is funded with a mix of city and county property taxes that would otherwise go to police, parks and other services.

JetBlue, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International launching construction of $404M Terminal 5” via David Lyons of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — JetBlue Airways, which is approaching a key moment in its bid to win U.S. government approval for its proposed acquisition of Spirit Airlines, is moving forward with its plans Monday to help build a new terminal at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, as the New York-based carrier and Broward County launch construction of a project costing $404 million. The 230,000-square-foot project, which would become the fifth terminal at the airport, would among other things feature five passenger gates, inbound and outbound baggage-processing facilities, a security checkpoint, retail and food and beverage concessions, and two elevated pedestrian bridges, according to authorizing legislation approved by the Broward County Commission.

DEP data shows good news for Glades air quality — except for those darn Canadian wildfires” via Florida Politics — Aside from this Fall’s freak occurrence of Canadian wildfire smoke drifting down into Florida, the Glades region experienced excellent air quality over the past year, according to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Data shows 311 out of 335 days, or 92.8% of the time, PM2.5 levels were rated as “good,” the highest rating available. Measurement of PM2.5, fine particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter, helps determine if air quality is safe in the region. The most recent DEP data shows the Glades region falling in the top-rated “good” range nearly 93% of the time. All remaining days were rated as “moderate,” the next highest category.

— LOCAL: C. FL —

Former Volusia Council member Heather Post agrees to pay $1K to clear up ethics case” via Sheldon Gardner of The Daytona Beach News-Journal — The Florida Ethics Commission has reached a preliminary agreement with former Volusia County Council member Post to pay $1,000 for failing to file her financial disclosure form on time. Post was required to file the report by July 1, 2022. She didn’t file it until Feb. 8, 2023. She paid a fine of $1,500. But that was not the end of it. A DeLand resident, Phyllis Stauffenberg, filed an ethics complaint against Post on Oct. 12, 2022, before Post filing the paperwork. The Commission on Ethics found probable cause that Post violated the Florida Constitution and Florida statutes by failing to file the form.

Heather Post cuts a check to put her ethics issue behind her.

West Melbourne City Manager gets $27,248-a-year salary boost in unanimous City Council vote” via Dave Berman of Florida Today — Fearing that West Melbourne City Manager Tim Rhode is underpaid ― and could get lured away by a better salary offer from another community — the City Council approved raising Rhode’s annual pay by more than $27,000. Council members unanimously approved raising Rhode’s annual salary to $177,248, up more than 18% from the $150,000 salary he was given when he became City Manager a little more than one year ago. Rhode’s new salary is the midpoint of West Melbourne’s current pay range for City Manager of $139,018 to $215,479. Rhode’s new salary also is higher than the $168,972 salary of Rhode’s predecessor, Scott Morgan, at the time of Morgan’s retirement in August 2022.

State Attorney candidate drops out, leaving Will Scheiner unopposed as Phil Archer plans retirement” via Eric Rogers of Florida Today — The race for Brevard and Seminole County State Attorney is down to one — for now. Christopher Cusmano, the Republican former Assistant State Attorney who filed to run in August, confirmed he is dropping out of the race due to a conflict with his service in the U.S. Army Reserve. That leaves his opponent, Republican Assistant State Attorney Scheiner — State Attorney Archer’s chief trial lawyer in Brevard — unopposed. Archer is supporting Scheiner for the position but has not yet made an official endorsement. Potential candidates have another six months to qualify, however, meaning the race may not be over just yet. Archer, who has been the 18th Judicial Circuit’s chief prosecutor since 2013, is not running for re-election.


34-acre mixed-use project moves forward in St. Petersburg’s Skyway Marina District” via Breanne Williams of the Tampa Bay Business Journal — After a more than four-hour debate, the 34-acre Skyway Village project in St. Petersburg’s Skyway Marina District is moving forward. The project is the latest from Coral Gables-based Altis Cardinal. It will bring more than 2,000 multifamily units, nearly 81,000 square feet of commercial space and 22,500 square feet of office space to the former Ceridian Office Campus at 3102 24th St. S. The project will be phased with the first portion bringing 119,160 square feet of self-storage space and commercial elements to the site. In July, it was announced that Sprouts Farmers Market would be anchoring the commercial component in a 23,000-square-foot space. Delaying the process put that deal at risk, Altis Cardinal executives told the Development Review Commission members on Oct. 3. The clock is ticking to get approval to move forward with their commitment to the location, Frank Guerra, principal of Altis Cardinal, said in the meeting.

Skyway Marina District is ready for an upgrade. Image via Altis Cardinal.

Hillsborough Tax Collector strives to inspire next generation of leaders” via Brian Rea of Spectrum Bay News 9 — Nancy Millan says that every day she walks into work at the Hillsborough County Center, she feels a sense of pride. Millan is the first woman, and the first Hispanic person, to serve as the county’s tax collector. Millan was elected tax collector in November 2020, but has spent her entire career working for the office. Millan started as an accounting clerk when she was 22 years old, and over the years she has worked her way up to the top. “I’m passionate about what I do, I’m passionate about our team and truly trying to make a difference for this organization and for Hillsborough County,” Millan said. “It was just something that was an easy decision, even though I had never thought about it, wasn’t even prepared to enter the political world.” Millan has made it her mission to change the public’s perception of the tax collector’s office, while building a positive workplace. She welcomes new employees on their first day the best way she knows — with a fresh cup of Cuban espresso.

Clearwater aims to catch up on lagging pay for city employees” via Tracey McManus of the Tampa Bay Times — Although the Clearwater City Council adopted its $724 million budget for fiscal year 2024 last week, deliberations over major spending are far from over. The city has more than 200 vacancies that are burdening workers across departments, and current wages are well below St. Petersburg, Pinellas County and other local governments that are culling employees. To better attract and keep personnel, the city has a compensation study underway that is looking at how to make the salaries of Clearwater’s 1,900 municipal employees more competitive with comparable governments. But with the study not done in time for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, the City Council will have to make a budget amendment to accommodate any wage increases, most likely in January, according to City Manager Jennifer Poirrier. Until the study is done, Poirrier could not estimate how much the changes will cost. Some positions may not be adjusted at all since they are already in line with market rate while others could require upward of 30% increases to meet market expectations, she said.

USF receives $24 million for innovative dementia research” via Mark Parker of the St. Pete Catalyst — Researchers at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg have received a five-year, $24 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to expand its groundbreaking dementia prevention research. Alzheimer’s disease, colloquially known as “the long goodbye,” is the most common form of dementia and affects over 5 million Americans. While there is no cure, USF researchers hope to prove computerized brain training can mitigate its effects. The funding supports the new Active Mind clinical research study, and local researchers need volunteers over the age of 65 and with some cognitive decline to participate. Dr. Jennifer O’Brien, associate professor of psychology and principal investigator on the St. Petersburg campus, said preliminary results are encouraging. Active Mind volunteers will complete at least 40 hours of computerized exercises over the two-year study. They receive a free iPad and can participate at the St. Pete or Tampa campus.

St. Petersburg jeweler claims to have Jose Gaspar’s treasure” via Paul Guzzo of the Tampa Bay Times — The pirate Jose Gaspar is widely thought to be a myth, yet a South Florida woman claims to be his great-great-great-granddaughter. A Sarasota treasure hunter has led a team on the search for his booty for the past decade. And since September, a St. Petersburg jewelry shop has been selling coins that were allegedly stashed in one of Gaspar’s buried chests. So, wait, was the patron saint of Tampa Bay revelry and namesake for the area’s largest annual parade real? The answer could lie with those coins and a man known as Uncle Vern, who might be able to authenticate the currency as pirate. But it’s unclear if he would be willing to talk or is even alive. “If Uncle Vern comes forward,” jeweler Gene DeLuigi said, “my coins rewrite Florida history.”

— LOCAL: N. FL —

Patronis threatens legal action against NCAA, demands eligibility for FSU’s Darrell Jackson” via Adrian Andrews of WFSU — Florida State University transfer Jackson has yet to play this season because of an issue with getting an eligibility waiver approved by the NCAA. Jackson, who started his career in Maryland in 2021, transferred to the University of Miami last season, before joining the Noles in August. The NCAA has strict rules when it comes to how many times players can transfer schools. In most cases, college athletes who move more than once must sit out for a season. But Jackson wants the Board to reconsider. He argues the transfers were only to be closer to his mother, who he says has medical conditions. But the NCAA has yet to see that as being enough.

Donna Deegan defends Jacksonville Pride parade appearance after GOP attacks” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Jacksonville’s Mayor is responding to criticisms from the local Republican Party for her decision to participate in this weekend’s Pride Parade. Deegan, the first Mayor to attend Pride, was the Grand Marshal of the event. And her spokesperson is defending her attendance. “Mayor Deegan attended the River City Pride Parade to show her support for our LGBTQ+ community and commitment to diversity and inclusion. During her participation, she did not see any of the items that were alleged to have been present. What she did witness is people and families coming together to celebrate the beautiful mosaic that is Jacksonville,” said Phil Perry.

Donna Deegan doubles down on supporting the Pride parade, where she served as Grand Marshal. Image via City of Jacksonville/Melissa Ross.

Ethics complaint filed against former Walton County Commissioner Trey Nick” via Collin Bestor of the Northwest Florida Daily News — A complaint has been filed with the Florida Commission on Ethics against former Walton County Commissioner Nick. In the 17-page complaint, Santa Rosa Beach resident Alan Osborne lays out what he believes are four violations: solicitation, misuse of public position, sexual misconduct and noncompliance violations on land development. During his election campaign, the complaint alleges, Nick broke ethics rules and openly promised jobs to a longtime friend and former Walton County Commissioner, Scott Brannon, and the county’s former human resources director and assistant county administrator, Gary Mattison.

Jacksonville Mack Trucks workers join UAW strike after tentative agreement rejected” via Alexandria Mansfield of The Jacksonville Florida Times-Union — Nearly 4,000 UAW members at Mack Trucks facilities in three states walked out on Monday morning after voting down a tentative agreement Sunday night. Mack Trucks employs about 3,900 people in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Florida — where the smallest of the company’s facilities is in Jacksonville. There are 27 employees at the Jacksonville parts distribution facility. It is located at 4949 Bulls Bay Highway, near an Amazon warehouse. The last time Mack Trucks workers went on strike was in 2019 after their contract expired on Oct. 1, resulting in the first UAW-Mack strike in 35 years. The strike lasted nearly two weeks, from Oct. 12-25, 2019.

Wakulla residents race time to protect possible slaves graves from RV development” via James Call of the Tallahassee Democrat — Time may run out for the residents seeking to block an overnight park for recreational vehicles on land where some of Wakulla County’s earliest settlers, including enslaved workers, may have been laid to rest. A Flager County developer wants to build a 171-space RV park with amenities including a pickleball court next to the Richardson Family Cemetery at the intersection of The Coastal Scenic Highway (U.S. 98) and Spring Creek Highway. Rusty Boyd has had permits in hand to build the park where RVs can gather on 20 acres since Sept. 15. Boyd didn’t return a call seeking comment, but it is believed construction will begin after the new year.

After uproar over frat house, city leaders may crack down on Greek housing zoning” via Elena Barrera of the Tallahassee Democrat — After a Florida State University fraternity declared a duplex in the outskirts of downtown Tallahassee its new permanent home, city leaders are poised to take swift action to ensure this wouldn’t happen again. Commissioners will be voting Wednesday on a proposed amendment to the land development code that would keep fraternities and sororities out of the central urban district. If approved, it will remove fraternities and sororities as “an allowable land use from the Central Urban 45 zoning district” and establish a geographic boundary where they are allowed to exist within that district. “This would prevent the establishment of any fraternity or sorority in the future within the zoning district,” city staff wrote. “Any existing fraternity or sorority in the district would become a legally nonconforming use.”

FSU and the City of Tallahassee seek to put restraints on Greek life.

‘If you keep demanding action, change will come’: Gainesville leaders battle gun violence” via Cleveland Tinker of The Gainesville Sun — Anxiety and nervousness would overcome Resli Ward every time the intercom came on last school year when she was a senior at Gainesville High School. “I would be on edge every time the intercom came on, and I could see it in my classmates, too,” said Ward, now a first-year student at the University of Florida. “No child should have to go through this.” Ward was one of six panelists from a cross section of the community who spoke Saturday at the Clarence R. Kelly Community Center. The panel discussion, titled “Our Children in Crisis: Youth, Gun Violence and School Safety,” featured topics such as recent legislation with potential impacts on youth safety, evidence-based strategies to keep children safe at home and at school, and gun violence prevention measures.

Jaguars’ owner Shad Khan discusses 2023 season, stadium renovation talks, promising future” via Gene Frenette of the Jacksonville Florida Times-Union — Times-Union sports columnist Gene Frenette sat down for a one-on-one interview Saturday with Khan at his London hotel to discuss a variety of topics. Team President Mark Lamping was also present and provided input when asked by Khan to interject some points. The discussion covered issues about the current state of his football team, negotiations with the city of Jacksonville on a proposed $2 billion plan to renovate EverBank Stadium and create an entertainment district around the venue, the dynamic of his relationship with newly elected Mayor Deegan and the team’s future of continuing to play games in London.


Venice Council will consider buying site to relocate drinking water treatment plant” via Earle Kimel of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — Two items highlight a packed Venice City Council agenda on Tuesday, Oct. 10: Purchase of a 7.9-acre parcel that would be the future site of the city’s drinking water treatment plant, and a development plan change that would help facilitate construction of a new shopping center at the intersection of Laurel Road and Jacaranda Boulevard. Located in a flood zone at 200 N. Warfield Ave. near Hatchett Creek, the city of Venice reverse osmosis water treatment plant got roughly 20 inches of rain during Hurricane Ian. City utility staff briefed the Council on options for moving the plant during the Board’s January strategic planning session.

Manatee County snuffs USF, considers land donation to New College for student housing” via Jesse Mendoza of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — Instead of donating 9 acres of the bay front Powel Crosley Estate to the University of South Florida, Manatee County Commissioners will vote Tuesday on a proposal to give the land to New College of Florida for student housing and an educational facility. Manatee County acquired the 16.5-acre property in 1991, and Commissioners voted in 2020 to donate the land to the University of South Florida. A standstill in negotiations has led Commissioners to rescind that agreement and instead consider whether they will donate the land to New College, Commissioner Mike Rahn said. “There was a use agreement that said what USF had to do to get that property or it was going to revert to us,” Rahn said.

Mike Rahn says USF’s loss is New College’s gain.

Florida family sentenced to prison for selling bleach mixture as COVID-19 cure” via Kinsey Crowley of USA Today — The family convicted of selling a bleach mixture as COVID-19 cure was sentenced Friday to several years in prison. Four men of the Bradenton, Florida Grenon family were found guilty of conspiring to defraud the United States by distributing an unapproved and misbranded drug at a trial earlier this summer. The Grenons represented themselves, while prosecutors called them “con men” and “snake-oil salesmen.” Prosecutors said the men sold more than $1 million of the “Miracle Mineral Solution,” commonly referred to as MMS, claiming it could cure almost any ailment including coronavirus.

Want to perform at the new Margaritaville like the late Jimmy Buffett? Here’s your chance” via Phil Fernandez of the Naples Daily News — As the new Margaritaville prepares to open on Fort Myers Beach, the resort is on the hunt for musicians to perform for their hotel guests and bar patrons. Its most wanted list includes bands, duos, trios and solo and acoustic performers. Having a little fun, the firm said in a statement, it would love to have a “sand-sational singer.” It probably goes without saying that it doesn’t hurt to know at least a tune or two or many more by the late Buffett.


The Biden-Trump ‘double referendum’” via Matt McDonald of The Wall Street Journal — Everyone already has an opinion about both candidates. There is no “defining Trump” for the Biden campaign, and there is no “turn it into a referendum” option for the Trump campaign that doesn’t also become a referendum on his own term.

For these reasons, their strategies will likely focus more on turnout than persuasion. Their success stands to be diminished by the potential for external events and destabilizing shocks.

Multiple risks could turn the 2024 race into a roller-coaster. Pocketbook issues are always top of mind for voters, and the continued fight against inflation will dominate the coming year. Much of the savings Americans built up during the pandemic is gone, interest rates are high, credit has tightened, increased capital standards have the potential to tighten it further, and the commercial real estate sector is still finding its post-pandemic footing.

Whether that means a soft landing or a soft recession, the economic year ahead is a minefield for the Federal Reserve and the administration. This isn’t the first time a President finds his economic fate uncomfortably out of his control. President-elect Bill Clinton famously said, “You mean to tell me that the success of the program and my re-election hinges on the Federal Reserve and a bunch of [expletive] bond traders?”

Meantime, realpolitik has made a return to the global stage in ways that could affect 2024. The partial decoupling with China and its economic instability, Russia’s war in Ukraine, and the messy withdrawal from Afghanistan put Americans on edge. The geopolitical climate shows no signs of cooling.

All of this adds up to overflowing volatility and uncertainty in a brewing matchup without precedent. So, throw out your old playbook and buckle up.


Biden administration wants to shut down Port Tampa Bay, 3 others and fine boaters $20K for boating over 11 MPH” via Danny Alvarez of Florida Politics — The Biden administration is taking draconian steps that will effectively shutter four of Florida’s Gulf Coast seaports, and fine boaters, including commercial fishermen who travel Gulf of Mexico waters, $20,000 for boating over 11 miles per hour. The effect would be a near shutdown of Port Tampa Bay, SeaPort Manatee, Port Panama City and Port of Pensacola. To be honest, NOAA’s proposed rules smell fishy. It’s difficult for me to see how potentially jeopardizing Florida’s public safety, our nation’s security, and Florida’s economy will be friendly to our state’s environment.

Matt Gaetz is half right” via Lee Drutman of The Atlantic — The Freedom Caucus has a point: The House speakership, in its current form, is too powerful. More Committee autonomy could make for a better, more productive Congress. What Gaetz and his cohort don’t seem to realize is that by heightening partisan divides over unwinnable fights on the debt ceiling and government spending, they are undermining the conditions necessary for a more decentralized, and functional, Congress.

Different views, lifestyles no longer acceptable at New College” via the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — I am a retired professional educator. I taught for 42 years in the public schools in Manatee and Sarasota counties. I also grew up in Sarasota and, as such, have always been aware of the existence of New College and its mission to provide a different curriculum and a different culture to young people who were looking for just that in their quest for higher education. The Governor and his minions have, through their actions, articulated to these young people that they are not acceptable. Because they, and their college, do not conform to some ideal called classical academics, they need to change. These adults have communicated that, because of their differences of opinion, appearance, and lifestyle the students are without merit, and therefore, unwanted.

What we can do to make American politics less dysfunctional” via Yuval Levin of The New York Times — The disarray engulfing the House of Representatives has been unprecedented, yet somehow it has also felt inevitable. No sitting speaker has ever been removed before, but the process that brought about McCarthy’s overthrow was the culmination of several related trends that have amounted to a repudiation of coalition building in American politics. That process has been overdetermined in an era of partisan polarization and geographic sorting, but that doesn’t mean we are powerless against it. Narrow majorities empower the fringes of our politics. Only eight Republican members voted to remove their speaker, but when the majority’s margin is so small, a tiny tail can wag the dog.



— ALOE —

Rare annular solar eclipse will be visible from Florida Panhandle. When and how to view” via Brandon Girod of the Pensacola News Journal — Pensacola residents often feel left out when it comes to cool space events like eclipses, but the next “annular” solar eclipse will be visible on Oct. 14. The Florida Panhandle won’t be able to see the full eclipse, but residents will be able to catch the moon covering about 70% of the sun’s area when it passes over. The annual solar eclipse will begin in Oregon around 11:13 a.m. CDT and end in Texas around 12:03 p.m. CDT. Not all eclipses are the same. An annual solar eclipse is when the moon passes between the sun and Earth while it is at its farthest point from Earth, according to NASA. The moon appears smaller than the sun during this rare event because it’s further away from Earth than typical.

The ‘ring of fire’ eclipse will be visible in North Florida. Image via AP.

This list ranks the most Googled Halloween costumes. Which costumes top the list in Florida?” via Samantha Neely of USA Today Network — With Halloween roughly three weeks away, it’s time to get cracking on a costume if you haven’t already. Fashion experts at Boohoo held a study to examine the most popular pop culture-inspired and traditional costumes that each state is searching for this Halloween. Boohoo said they have analyzed Google Trends data to establish the most searched Halloween costumes in each state over the past month. Florida’s results matched other states, seeing a love for classic costumes and recent Netflix hits. According to Boohoo experts, the most popular costumes in Florida will be skeletons and Wednesday Addams from Netflix’s hit show “Wednesday.”

‘The Crown’s’ final season will be split into two parts” via Rick Porter of The Hollywood Reporter — Netflix has announced a premiere date for the sixth and final season of The Crown, but it won’t be debuting all at once. As it’s done with several series in the past year and change, the streamer will split The Crown’s last run into two parts. The first four episodes will premiere on Nov. 16, with part two, six episodes, following four weeks later on Dec. 14. Netflix has similarly split up the runs of the most recent seasons of Stranger Things, You and The Witcher, which like The Crown are among the more popular shows on the platform. The final season of the series will cover the years 1997-2005.


Celebrating today are David Mica of the Florida Petroleum Council, Jared Ross, and Barry Rubin.


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

Peter Schorsch

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


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

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