Good Monday morning.
Breaking overnight — “Tim Scott suspends his presidential campaign” via Natalie Allison of POLITICO — The South Carolina Republican Senator made the announcement in a televised interview on Fox News with Trey Gowdy. The news came as a shock to his own staff. Multiple campaign staff members confirmed that they had no prior knowledge of Scott’s decision before the live television announcement.
As Thanksgiving approaches, we ask our loyal Sunburn fans — particularly those in The Process — to let us know what you’re grateful for this year. We will publish the comments in our Tuesday edition — the last one for the holiday week. Please send your emails to [email protected].
INFLUENCE Magazine’s recognition of the Rising Stars of Florida Politics will be unveiled in the January issue.
We are currently taking nominations for those who belong on this prestigious list. (How prestigious? Well, consider that Gov. Ron DeSantis’ former Chief of Staff, Adrian Lukis, and former Communications Director, Taryn Fenske, were both spotted early on in their careers on the list.
We are looking for bright, shiny faces from the campaign, lobbying, fundraising, and public affairs arena. This will be a tight list of about 25 individuals, so make your nominations count.
Email your nominations to [email protected].
As you read last week, we have just wrapped up the latest edition of INFLUENCE Magazine. The print edition is set for publication later this week. (You can order a copy of the print edition here.)
In the meantime, here are the details on the next edition, which will feature the Rising Stars, as described above:
— Deadline to reserve space: Dec. 15.
— Deadline to provide creative: Dec. 12.
— Digital drop of the magazine: Jan. 29.
Here are the specs for ads:
— All ads should be sent as a high-resolution PDF.
These ads need bleeds but no crop, trim or register marks.
Full-page — Trim size: 8.375 x 10.75; add on a 0.25 in bleed; no copy should go outside of 7.625 x 10 space
Double full-page — 16.75 x 10.75; add on a 0.25 in bleed; no copy should go outside of 15.25 x 10 space.
Email me at [email protected] with any questions.
— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —
—@RadioFreeTom: Israel and Ukraine, both democracies, both fighting barbarians who engage in war crimes, terrorism, rape, murder of children, and the intentional targeting of civilians. But you know, (President Joe) Biden is old, and “the river to the sea” can mean a lot of stuff and where is Ukraine anyway
—@RonDeSantis: I’m going to be there at The Family Leader. I think it’s an important part of this process. There’s no way that should cause the RNC to penalize any candidate. I’ll be here no matter what happens.
—@AngieNixon: I’m sorry Jags Fans. I waited too late to leave.
What an amazing UM @ FSU rivalry game! Proud to support Hometown, even in Tallahassee.
Doak Stadium was absolutely electric 🙌 Thank you FSU @Seminoles for your hospitality.
— Alexis Calatayud (@AlexisMCalatayu) November 12, 2023
—@stuartpstevens: More proof God has a sense of humor. All these Texas oil and gas donors who complain about welfare recipients getting paid not to work are about to pay Jimbo Fisher $76 million not to work.
—@Rob_Bradley: The next time someone lectures you about how it’s an “outrage” to pay major college football players, and they wax indignant about “playing for the school and for the team, not $,” remember this moment: Jimbo Fisher just got paid $76m to not coach. What a ridiculous system.
—@JesseScheckner: We get it. X is formerly Twitter. Let’s move on.
— DAYS UNTIL —
Formula 1 will take over the Las Vegas Strip — 3; Miami Beach mayoral runoff — 8; Ridley Scott’s ‘Napoleon’ premieres — 9; 2023 Florida Transportation, Growth & Infrastructure Solution Summit — 9; ‘Squid Game: The Challenge’ premieres — 9; Florida TaxWatch’s Annual Meeting begins — 17; Florida TaxWatch’s 2023 Government Productivity Awards Ceremony — 23; in-person sports betting begins at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa — 25; 2023 Florida Chamber Annual Insurance Summit — 31; Zack Snyder’s ‘Rebel Moon’ premieres — 39; Michael Mann’s ‘Ferrari’ premieres — 42; Matt Dixon’s ‘Swamp Monsters: (Donald) Trump vs. DeSantis ― the Greatest Show on Earth (or at Least in Florida)’ released — 57; 2024 Florida Chamber Legislative Fly-In and reception — 57; Florida’s 2024 Regular Session begins — 57; 2024 Primetime Emmy Awards — 63; Florida TaxWatch’s State of the Taxpayer Dinner — 64; House District 35 Special Election — 64; South Carolina Democratic Primary — 82; New Hampshire and Nevada Democratic Primaries — 85; South Carolina GOP holds first-in-the-South Primary — 103; Michigan Democratic Primary — 105; Trump’s D.C. trial on charges related to trying to reverse his 2020 Election loss — 111; Super Tuesday — 112; ‘A Quiet Place: Day One’ premieres — 115; 2024 Oscars — 119; Georgia Democratic Primary — 120; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 124; 2024 Leadership Conference on Safety, Health & Sustainability — 179; ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ premieres — 188; Republican National Convention begins — 242; New ‘Alien’ premieres — 246; ‘Captain America: Brave New World’ premieres — 255; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 256; Georgia Tech to face Florida State in 2024 opener in Dublin — 286; Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour stops in Miami — 330; 2024 Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 342; ‘Thunderbolts’ premieres — 403; ‘Blade’ reboot premieres — 459; ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot premieres — 538; ‘Moana’ premieres — 594; ‘Avatar 3’ premieres — 768; ‘Avengers: The Kang Dynasty’ premieres — 899; Untitled ‘Star Wars’ movie premieres — 922; Another untitled ‘Star Wars’ movie premieres — 1,135; ‘Avengers: Secret Wars’ premieres — 1,274; ‘Avatar 4’ premieres — 2,230; ‘Avatar 5’ premieres — 2,593.
— TOP STORY —
“Why GOP candidates are fighting about shoes” via Lora Kelley of The Atlantic — Republican Primary candidates are avoiding the elephant in the room. None of the candidates at this past Wednesday’s debate have a good shot at beating Trump, and instead of taking him on, some have stooped to petty jabs and personal attacks. The debate was an unserious spectacle. One particularly unserious topic of conversation? Footwear.
At the debate, Vivek Ramaswamy used the phrase “Dick Cheney in three-inch heels” to describe Nikki Haley and DeSantis, to which Haley retorted that she was actually wearing five-inch heels.
The exchange was somewhat eye-roll-inducing, but it’s also a telling sign of how national politics has devolved. Politicians have always been subjects of public consumption. But Trump, a literal reality television star, brought political figures further into the territory of entertainment and celebrity with the surface-level fascinations that are characteristic of those realms.
Trolling has become a dominant form of political campaigning, especially on the right, and we saw plenty of that onstage this week, especially from Ramaswamy.
Ramaswamy’s jabs were undeniably petty, but politicians are public figures aiming to amass tremendous power, and their choices — including sartorial ones — are fair game for public scrutiny.
Politicians can use footwear to put out whatever messages they want. But how we interpret them is a different matter. As Amanda Mull, who covers consumer culture for The Atlantic, noted, sometimes projections of cultural affinity through dress fall flat. “Simply invoking this kind of signal doesn’t guarantee it will be convincing. Cowboy boots with a suit are a little tricky to pull off,” she said when everyone knows that you’re from the Tampa Bay area and went to Harvard.
— THE TRAIL —
“In Iowa, Ron DeSantis criticizes polls, says he’d succeed as GOP’s presidential nominee” via Phillip Sitter of the Des Moines Register — DeSantis told people in the crowd at Muscatine to be skeptical of polls. He said he’s focused on winning the Iowa Caucus by being a candidate who shows up and meets people, not “juicing a poll.” “Some of this stuff is so fraudulent when you look at it,” he said, accusing media outlets of not wanting to release polls if the results are in his favor. “They want Trump to be the candidate, for their reasons,” DeSantis said. “I’ve never seen the obsession with these polls before. It’s like they report that it’s … actually functional news. And a lot of people pay for these things,” DeSantis added.
“DeSantis commits to Family Leader event Republican National Committee has threatened” via Phillip Sitter of the Des Moines Register — DeSantis came out in support of the Family Leader and its CEO Bob Vander Plaats as the Republican National Committee threatened to sanction presidential candidates who attend a planned Thanksgiving forum. Vander Plaats has since said he and the RNC have worked things out. But before that announcement, DeSantis, over Veterans Day weekend in Iowa, criticized the RNC and former President and current GOP front-runner candidate Trump over the situation. He pledged to be at the Nov. 17 event. The RNC Counsel’s Office disagreed with Vander Plaats that what he’s called a forum is not an unsanctioned debate and advised candidates that an appearance at the Family Leader event would violate a pledge they made to not participate in any debate that isn’t RNC-sanctioned.
—“DeSantis accuses RNC of doing Donald Trump’s ‘bidding’ with threats to punish 2024 candidates” via Kyle Morris of Fox News
“DeSantis floats Iowa caucus sites in Florida, so snowbirds wouldn’t have to go home to vote” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — “But I do know with so many people that go down in Florida, I have to figure out — I may petition the Iowa Republican Party to have some caucus sites in Southwest Florida,” the Governor quipped. “So, people could just go, I mean, do one in Naples, one in Marco Island. You know, whatever you need to do.” The Governor’s trial balloon was included as part of a very familiar riff about how happy Iowans are with the conservative governance of his key endorser, Kim Reynolds and how his children are looking forward to “seeing snow” in an early-voting state.
— MORE 2024 —
—”Joe Biden shifts into campaign mode with more attacks on Trump” via Carol Lee and Kristen Welker of NBC News
—”Biden campaign slams ‘extreme’ and ‘racist’ Trump immigration plans” via Myah Ward of POLITICO
—”Trump’s rivals seize on opportunities to challenge his acuity” via Marisa Iati and Isaac Arnsdorf of The Washington Post
“Nikki Haley has momentum, but can she pass DeSantis to take on Trump?” via Dan Balz of The Washington Post — Haley’s stock has risen in the Republican Party, and recent polls bolster her claim that she would be the party’s strongest General Election candidate against Biden next November. Right now, however, she is on a collision course with DeSantis in a competition that will intensify ahead of January’s Iowa caucuses. Combined results from six swing states in polls showed Trump leading Biden by four percentage points but Haley ahead of Biden by eight. Haley’s path to becoming the main alternative to Trump is slightly better than DeSantis,’ but she must do well in Iowa to do so. The most recent Iowa Poll showed each at 16% to Trump’s 43%. But she was rising and DeSantis falling a bit.
— DESANTISY LAND —
“DeSantis would ‘level’ the Bahamas if they fired rockets at Fort Lauderdale” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — During an event Saturday, the Governor discussed the need to stand with Israel as it battles with Hamas. He floated the metaphor likening terror attacks on Israelis to the distant hypothetical threat of “rockets” from the Bahama Islands. “What are you supposed to do? I mean, I used to say even when they would just fire the normal rockets because they’ve been firing these rockets for years and years. And I thought to myself, like, if the Bahamas were firing rockets into Fort Lauderdale, like, we would not accept that for, like, one minute. I mean, we would just level it. We would never be willing to live like that as Americans,” DeSantis said.
“Florida pauses plan to disband pro-Palestinian student groups” via The Associated Press — A plan to prohibit a pro-Palestinian student group from state university campuses in Florida has been temporarily shelved while officials reassess the proposal. State University System Chancellor Ray Rodrigues said campus groups at the University of Florida and the University of South Florida thought to be chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine are actually “not chartered or under the headship” of the national organization. Rodrigues, working with DeSantis, had targeted student groups, saying that their affiliation with the group aligned them with Hamas attacks on Israel. But both universities have since obtained legal opinions raising concerns about “potential personal liability for university actors” who were tasked with disbanding the groups, Rodrigues said.
“DeSantis cements grip on State University System after power play at BOG meeting” via Brian Burgess of The Capitolist — In a departure from at least 15 years of precedent, the Board of Governors (BOG) of the State University System voted to retain its current Chair, Brian Lamb, for a second term. Lamb’s re-election, coupled with the election of DeSantis ally Alan Levine as Vice Chair, is viewed as a power play by DeSantis allies to ensure the BOG moves in lockstep with the Governor’s sweeping education reform agenda. Lamb was appointed to the BOG by DeSantis in 2019. Lamb, a Florida native and a significant figure in the banking industry as well as an executive with JP Morgan, has been a strong proponent of DeSantis’ initiatives within the education sector.
“Political insiders get fat paychecks, big contracts from DeSantis’ Disney district” via Skyler Swisher of the Orlando Sentinel — DeSantis vowed to bring a new era of accountability, but more than eight months into a state takeover, the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District’s new administration is facing mounting scrutiny and scathing employee exit surveys. “You do see a pattern here that people who are politically connected are getting work,” said Richard Foglesong, a Rollins College professor and author of the book “Married to the Mouse” on Disney World’s origins. “Maybe that shouldn’t be shocking. Is that insiderism? I guess you could call it that.” Glen Gilzean, a close DeSantis ally, landed a $400,000-a-year job leading the district, which provides government services to Disney World. His candidacy was helped by Michael Sasso, a DeSantis-appointed Board member who also was the best man in Gilzean’s wedding over the Summer.
“Sham conviction overturned for Oren Miller, the jailed Villages politician railroaded by DeSantis” via Ryan Grim of The Intercept — A Florida appeals court overturned the conviction of the 73-year-old former Sumter County Commissioner, who was removed from office by DeSantis in 2021 amid a battle with the Governor’s high-dollar donors. The court took the unusual step of not just vacating the previous conviction, but also instructing the lower court to insert a new verdict of “not guilty.” The case is shot through with ironies, principally that the prosecutors used an anti-corruption law to prosecute a Commissioner who was challenging corruption. In a further irony, the prosecution made obviously false statements while accusing Miller of perjury.
“The librarian who couldn’t take it anymore” via Ruby Cramer of The Washington Post — When she had decided to become a librarian almost 10 years ago, it was for a simple reason: She loved to read. Now, she watched as her work at a high school in Central Florida became part of a national debate. There were fights going on over democracy and fascism. There were parents and School Board members arguing on social media and in meetings. DeSantis wasn’t just passing laws but using them to run for President. To Tania Galiñanes, the pure act of reading was becoming more and more political, and as a result, she had to spend much of her time reviewing the books on her shelves — not to suggest one to a student but to ask herself whether the content was too mature for the teenagers at her school. Then she had moved on to the books in each teacher’s classroom because, as of this year, the state considered those books to be part of the library, too.
— D. C. MATTERS —
“Sens. Jacky Rosen, Marco Rubio to screen Hamas attack video” via Marc Rod of Jewish Insider — Sens. Rosen and Rubio are hosting a screening Thursday, Nov. 16, of footage of Hamas’ attack on Israel for fellow Senators, Jewish Insider has learned. The 47-minute video compiled by the Israeli government has been shown to select groups of journalists, diplomats, lawmakers and others in recent weeks. It includes graphic footage of a series of Hamas atrocities from Oct. 7, some of it compiled from body camera footage taken by the Hamas attackers themselves. The private screening will be open to Senators only. House lawmakers are holding a similar screening earlier in the week, on Tuesday. Rosen saw footage from the Hamas attack during a recent delegation to Israel with fellow Senators. The footage is extremely graphic and disturbing, including footage of multiple murders.
— STATEWIDE —
“Veterans are growing old in Florida prisons. This nonprofit has some suggestions for how to fix the issue.” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Florida’s inmate population today is about 80,000. Research has shown that about 5% of them are confirmed veterans, though that share is likely far larger. And while veterans compose only a small portion of those in Florida prisons, an overwhelming segment of them — 72% — are 50 or older. That seems like something worth examining and addressing, according to former state Sen. Jeff Brandes, whose nonprofit Florida Policy Project just released a report outlining several recommendations for how to fix the issue. “Having served our country, I believe we can do better for our veterans,” Brandes said in a statement. “Bringing best practices to Florida will ensure no veteran is left behind.”
“How Florida’s ‘unscrupulous’ auto glass shops fuel an insurance crisis” via Eli Tan of The Washington Post — They roam Florida parking lots and car washes in search of cars with damaged windshields, often bearing gifts, gift cards, steak dinners and discounted hot tubs are the common ones. Insurance companies call them “harvesters,” and their sales pitch to car owners is simple: Auto glass shops can offer free windshield replacements because it’s covered by comprehensive insurance. All they need is a signature. But after the signature is collected and the repair is made, the glass shops send exorbitant bills to insurers, who often deny or pay out a lesser amount for the claim.
“DeSantis reappoints three to Commercial Motor Vehicle Review Board” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — DeSantis is keeping three members of Florida’s Commercial Motor Vehicle Review Board on for two more years. The Governor last week re-appointed members Jonathan “Scott” Christy, Kathy Panozzo and Scott Reagan to the seven-member panel. He’s responsible for their being there, to begin with. Christy, whom DeSantis appointed in 2021, is a Marianna resident and trucking supervisor for Anderson Columbia, one of the Southeast’s largest highway construction firms. He holds a commercial driver’s license and is trained in pre- and post-trip inspection, defensive driving and load requirements, a press note from the Governor’s office said.
— 3:30 p.m. The House Select Committee on Health Innovation meets for an update from the Department of Management Services about the state-employee health plan and insurance “shared savings programs.” Morris Hall, House Office Building.
— 3:30 p.m. The House Select Committee on Hurricane Resiliency & Recovery will hold a panel discussion about local governments affected by Hurricane Idalia. Room 404, House Office Building.
Happening today — Sen. Corey Simon will keynote an event by The MolinaCares Accord and Molina Healthcare of Florida. A virtual panel discussion — “Empowering Pathways to a Healthy and Resilient Florida” — moderated by News Service of Florida political reporter Dara Kam. 2:30 p.m. More information @ EventBrite.com.
—DOWN BALLOT —
“Lucia Báez-Geller launches campaign to unseat María Elvira Salazar in CD 27” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — We now know what Miami-Dade School Board member Báez-Geller’s next political move is, and it’s an ambitious one. In August, the educator and community leader confirmed that she would forgo seeking a second School Board term and is taking on Republican U.S. Rep. Salazar in Florida’s 27th Congressional District. “My opponent has put party politics over Florida families — and it’s time we vote her out of office,” Báez-Geller said. “As the daughter of immigrants who was raised in Miami, I am proud to announce my candidacy to restore order in the halls of Congress, grow the middle class, and protect fundamental rights and freedoms.” Báez-Geller is the first Democrat to run this election cycle for the seat Salazar won in 2020, the same year Báez-Geller won her District 3 seat on the county School Board.
“How did Tom Keen and Erika Booth win Primaries in HD 35? And what’s their plan to win in January?” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Primaries held Tuesday set the stage for the hottest Florida legislative race of the year. Now, both Republicans and Democrats feel confident they can win House District 35, where voters favored Biden for President in 2020 but DeSantis for Governor in 2022. Republicans picked Osceola School Board member Booth as a nominee. Democrats tapped aviation entrepreneur and veteran Keen to carry the party banner. Through Nov. 2, six candidates spent about $490,000 combined in the fight for the nomination. That’s likely a fraction of what will be poured into the Central Florida contest in the 10 weeks leading to a Jan. 16 Special Election.
“Stephanie Meyer endorses Ed Montanari in HD 60” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics — Pinellas County School Board member Meyer is endorsing Montanari in the House District 60 race as he seeks to unseat Democratic incumbent Lindsay Cross. Meyer, a conservative School Board member elected amid a red wave in Pinellas County and across Florida and as part of a DeSantis-backed attempt to remake School Boards throughout the state, is a former educator elected in 2022. “Ed Montanari is the common-sense conservative leader Pinellas residents deserve,” Meyer said. “As a School Board member, I know how important it is for parents to have a voice in the classroom. Ed will stand up for parental rights in the State House and ensure our students and teachers have the resources they need to succeed, and that’s why he has my endorsement!”
— LOCAL: S. FL —
“Broward’s Andrew Weinstein on front lines of fight against global antisemitism” via Anthony Man of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Weinstein went to the United Nations 14 months ago, expecting to serve a year as a U.S. public delegate. He planned to do whatever he could to further the Biden administration’s agenda in the multilateral diplomatic arena. His work evolved as Weinstein became increasingly involved with U.S. efforts to combat rising antisemitism at home and abroad. Right now, he’s not sure when he’ll be back more or less full-time at home in Broward. Even before the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks started the Israel-Hamas war and unleashed a torrent of antisemitic rhetoric and actions, Weinstein’s government service was extended so he could contribute toward the development of a U.N. action plan to combat antisemitism.
“School police were warned about teacher’s guns years before arrest with loaded gun on campus” via Katherine Kokal and Andrew Marra of The Palm Beach Post — School police didn’t know about the loaded gun in Robert Krasnicki’s waistband when they asked the Royal Palm Beach High School teacher to move his motorcycle on the morning of Jan. 19. But they quickly learned the educator of seven years was hiding a 9 mm handgun with one bullet in the chamber as he taught math to high school students that morning. When asked about his motorcycle blocking the school’s gate, Krasnicki responded with bizarre claims that his ex-girlfriend had cut the brake lines on his car and that she was attempting to spy on him through his phone.
Magic 8-ball points to ‘Yes!’ — “Could gambling’s expansion make South Florida the new Vegas?” via Shira Moolten of the Orlando Sentinel — Some people have a vision of Florida’s future: a gambling destination second only to Las Vegas, perhaps even rivaling it, where tourists play craps and roulette at the Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, sip cocktails on the beach, and place bets on a Dolphins or Heat game with the swipe of a finger. Maybe their kids are at Disney World or at the pool; maybe they’re at home in New York or Massachusetts, somewhere cold. “If you look at Vegas, their hotels are always packed, their casinos are always packed,” said Mychal Milian, a lodging instructor at Florida International University’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. “Now imagine Vegas with a beach.” Milian also serves as the complex director of operations for the Dania Pointe Marriott Hotels at Fort Lauderdale Airport, a 10-minute drive from the Hard Rock in Hollywood.
“While activists point fingers at farmers, actual data points to excessive rain” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics — While the activists point fingers at Florida farmers for all the water flooding the Everglades, the evidence reveals more than 70% of the water comes from excessive rainfall this season. At the South Florida Water Management District meeting in Kissimmee Thursday, John Mitnik, chief engineer for the South Florida Water Management District, provided a detailed presentation on the source of water flows into the Everglades from May 1 to date. “Last month there was a fair amount of discussion about all the water that was stacked up,” Mitnik said. “There were conversations and questions about where that water came from.” According to Mitnik, just shy of 2.4-million-acre-feet of water stacked up in the conservation areas comes from the direct rain over the region.
— LOCAL: C. FL —
“Winter Park bans smoking and vaping in public parks and lake beaches” via Beth Kassab of Winter Park Voice — Winter Park became the latest city to ban smoking and vaping in public parks and beaches, though there appears to be a carve-out for cigar smokers who want to partake on the city’s golf courses or other public parks. “I think they smell worse than cigarettes, but that’s just me,” said Vice Mayor Sheila DeCiccio as the Commission noted the exemption for cigars and pipes from Tallahassee. The Commission voted 5-1 to pass the ban with Commissioner Kris Cruzada as the only no vote. In 2022, the Legislature repealed a pre-emption that prohibited local governments like Winter Park from enacting their own rules for smoking in their own parks. About two dozen cities across Florida have adopted bans since then for parks, beaches and recreation facilities.
— LOCAL: N. FL —
“Even after almost a decade, Dan Markel murder saga may not be over” via Jeff Burlew of the Tallahassee Democrat — The guilty verdicts in the Charlie Adelson murder trial closed one chapter, but not the book, on the investigation into the plot to kill Markel and the prosecution of the people behind it. Adelson, a Fort Lauderdale dentist and Markel’s former brother-in-law was convicted Monday on all counts, first-degree murder, conspiracy and solicitation, in the law professor’s 2014 death. Three people had already been convicted in the murder-for-hire: the two hit men, Luis Rivera, a Latin Kings gang leader, and Sigfredo Garcia, his close friend, along with Katie Magbanua, who had two kids with Garcia but was dating Adelson at the time of the killing.
“Clock is ticking to remove Confederate monument in Jacksonville park” via Nate Monroe of The Florida Times-Union — A Jacksonville state lawmaker filed legislation that aims to stop local officials across Florida from removing Confederate monuments in public spaces with personal fines and a threat of removal from office by the Governor. Jacksonville state Rep. Dean Black’s bill is both a direct challenge to Mayor Donna Deegan’s campaign pledge to take down the controversial monument in Springfield Park and part of a larger project by Tallahassee lawmakers to strip local communities of their power of self-governance. The bill purports to merely protect “historical monuments and memorials” and does not explicitly acknowledge that its goal is to preserve the presence of Confederate monuments in public spaces.
“CSX donates $10 million to ‘transformational’ UF graduate campus in Jacksonville” via Beth Reese Cravey of the Jacksonville Florida Times-Union — The planned University of Florida Jacksonville graduate campus recently received a $10 million infusion from CSX Corp., one of Jacksonville’s largest employers. The gift will be distributed over five years and “solidifies CSX as the leading private funding partner of this transformational project,” according to a statement from the company. UF announced plans in February for a Jacksonville campus focused on medicine, technology and engineering that would cost an estimated $200 million, serve about 1,000 students and require about 200 faculty. Since then, the state budget allocated $75 million for the project and the City Council approved $20 million, the first installment of $50 million from the city over three years.
UF video highlights Ben Sasse inauguration — The University of Florida is highlighting the official inauguration of former U.S. Sen. Sasse as university president. “Today is not about me; it’s far more interesting than that. Today is about the University of Florida’s last decade and next decade. It’s about Gator Nation’s unbelievable accomplishments of late and where we’re headed next,” Sasse says in the 90-second video. The inauguration held two weeks ago began with a prelude and processional by the UF Concert Choir under the direction of Will Kesling. UF Board of Trustees Chair Mori Hosseini said, “As I have said many times, Dr. Ben Sasse is uniquely and distinctly qualified to lead our amazing university to the next level. Is it any wonder why he was the unanimous choice of the presidential search committee? I can answer that without any hesitation whatsoever: Ben Sasse is exactly the right person for the job.”
To watch a video of the inauguration, please click the image below:
“DeSantis taps Jason Welty to replace suspended Jefferson County Clerk” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — DeSantis is banking on a longtime state government finance wonk to bring stability to the Clerk and Comptroller’s Office of Jefferson County. Last week, DeSantis appointed Jason Welty, the deputy executive director of the Florida Clerks of Court Operations Corporation (FCCOC), to serve as Jefferson’s new Clerk. DeSantis suspended the prior one, Kirk Reams, following his arrest on felony charges of defrauding the county. Welty’s appointment is effective Monday. A self-described “pragmatic problem-solver,” Welty is a solid choice for the job. He’s worked in state government for nearly two decades, first with the Department of Juvenile Justice, where he rose to the role of legislative director, and since 2018 with the FCCOC.
— TOP OPINION —
“The new Republican Party isn’t ready for the post-Roe world” via David French of The New York Times — In the eight years since the so-called New Right emerged on the scene and Trump began to dominate the Republican landscape, the Republican Party has become less libertarian but more libertine, and libertinism is ultimately incompatible with a holistic pro-life worldview.
I’m not arguing that the pro-choice position is inherently libertine. There are many millions of Americans — including pro-choice Republicans — who arrive at their position through genuine philosophical disagreement with the idea that an unborn child possesses the same inherent worth as anyone else. But I’ve seen Republican libertinism with my own eyes. I know that it distorts the culture of the Republican Party and red America.
The difference between libertarianism and libertinism can be summed up as the difference between rights and desires. A libertarian is concerned with her own liberty but also knows that this liberty ends where yours begins. The entire philosophy of libertarianism depends on a healthy recognition of human dignity. Not all libertarians are pro-life, but a pro-life libertarian will recognize the humanity and dignity of both mother and child.
A libertine, by contrast, is dominated by his desires. The object of his life is to do what he wants, and the object of politics is to give him what he wants. A libertarian is concerned with all forms of state coercion. A libertine rejects any attempt to coerce him personally, but he’s happy to coerce others if it gives him what he wants.
Trump is the consummate libertine. He rejects restraints on his appetites and accountability for his actions. The guiding principle of his worldview is summed up with a simple declaration: I do what I want. Any movement built in his image will be libertine as well.
— OPINIONS —
“Biden is in trouble” via John Della Volpe for The New York Times — A vexing challenge for the administration has been connecting with the young, diverse electorate and persuading them to see its achievements. According to the Pew Research Center, adults between the ages 18 and 29 have been following current events less closely than when Trump was in office: Fewer than one-fifth of Americans under age 30 reported following the news regularly last year. Whether it’s due to faltering confidence in institutions like the government and the media or simply about protecting one’s mental health, the result is the same: In 16 focus groups I’ve led recently, young voters told me they are more aware of society’s chaos and conflicts than they are of what the President argues is a record of progress, millions of good jobs and a robust GDP.
“Kamala Harris is Biden’s No. 2 problem” via Peggy Noonan of The Wall Street Journal — Biden’s main problem, the perception that he is too old for the job, is guaranteed to get worse each day. This makes his Vice President more important than Vice Presidents ever have been. When people consider voting for Biden for the presidency, they’ll know it is likely they’re really voting for Harris. This will only hurt Democratic fortunes because she is uniquely unpopular. The practical path would be to make a change that reassures — to a veteran, highly regarded figure in whom people might feel confidence. This wouldn’t be easy and would give the President a black eye with some portion of his base, but black eyes heal in a year, and none of those angered will be voting for Trump.
“DeSantis’ China ‘crackdown’ and its contradictions” via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — With great fanfare, DeSantis signed several laws in May to “crackdown on Communist China.” DeSantis banned the TikTok app from government devices. He cut off state subsidies to prestigious private schools in Weston and suburban Orlando, claiming they are controlled by an investment firm with ties to China. But as with so many of DeSantis’ political pronouncements, the reality is much more complicated than it appears. A few weeks before the bill-signing ceremony targeting China, the DeSantis administration quietly signed multimillion-dollar contracts to lease a sleek, high-tech aircraft to track down and detain illegal immigrants, especially in the Florida Keys. The DeSantis administration’s aircraft of choice was a twin-engine, high-performance, diesel-powered jet known as a Diamond DA62, made by Diamond Aircraft, an Austrian firm which in 2017 was purchased by Wanfeng Aviation Industry Co., headquartered in China.
“Angry infighting: Florida Republicans are a hot mess right now, yet may still win” via Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel — After covering politics in Florida for more than a quarter century, I’ve watched Democrats fumble races, fight among themselves and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory more times than I can count. Lately, however, we seem to live in a Bizzaro World where Florida Republicans act like guests on a chair-throwing episode of the Jerry Springer Show. DeSantis is feuding with former allies like Randy Fine. Fine says DeSantis emboldens neo-Nazis. DeSantis says Fine is a joke of a petty politician. Even the party’s top trollers are in such a meltdown mode that they’re sniping at each other instead of Democrats.
“Jimmy Patronis proposes state tax to pay Trump’s legal fees” via Frank Cerabino of The Palm Beach Post — Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Patronis is special. The funniest people are often the ones who are most unconscious of their comedic gifts. I’d put Patronis in that category. It’s almost like you can hear the Benny Hill soundtrack faintly playing in the background when he opens his mouth. He’s obviously struggling to be taken seriously. The Panhandle Pagliacci took his show to Orlando recently, where he advocated for perhaps the most ridiculous course of action at the GOP’s Florida Freedom Summit. No small feat. Patronis told the crowd that Florida taxpayers should all pay into a fund to cover Trump’s legal fees. You know, the billionaire tax evader, national-secrets stealing, insurrection-leading, elections denier who is also a miserable speller of words and an advocate of bleach drinking.
This is a must-read — “We are battling a fentanyl crisis in Florida’s Gateway” via Sheriff Bob Johnson for the Pensacola News Journal — Here in Santa Rosa County, we, and all of our neighbors in the gateway to Florida, find ourselves facing an alarming and distressing challenge, a fentanyl crisis is knocking at our door and making it the epicenter of overdose incidents within the state. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid known for its staggering potency, lies at the core of our community’s ordeal. The issue is multifaceted, but one key issue is that the drug dealers who are lacing other drugs have no clue what it is that they are doing, as they are not licensed pharmacists. The other main factor in all the overdoses that we are seeing is that the people using the drugs do not know what they are taking or if it is laced with fentanyl.
“Candidates, pay attention: Conservatives care about clean energy.” via George Riley of InvadingSea.com — Republican candidates looking to connect with voters on energy and climate issues should pay attention to new polling. A panel of experts convened to discuss the results of recent statewide and nationwide polling that reveals a noteworthy trend: The days of one party dominating the discussion on climate-change policy are now firmly behind us. Conservative respondents in Florida and across the county are becoming more and more concerned about the impacts of climate change and want to be a part of the conversation for finding solutions. As the 2024 Election begins to heat up, Republican candidates in Florida looking to gain an edge should consider including more clean energy messaging in their platforms in order to connect with an untapped portion of the electorate.
“FSU beat rival Miami, but even in losing the Hurricanes showed their fight and future” via Greg Cote of the Miami Herald — It was a finish befitting the history and drama of one of the great rivalries in college football. The 55th consecutive season the Miami Hurricanes and Florida State Seminoles have met on a field produced the 18th game since 2000 decided by one score. FSU beat UM 27-20, but if it felt like both teams won, that might not have been entirely wrong. The Seminoles were fighting for their season in a real, literal sense, to stay unbeaten and protect their spot in the College Football Playoff and their national championship hopes. They did. The Hurricanes were fighting for their season, too, but more symbolically. To show their improvement in Year 2 for Mario Cristobal. To show they are getting closer to “back.” They did.
— INSTAGRAM OF THE DAY —
— ALOE —
“Zack Snyder assembles a ragtag team in ‘Rebel Moon’ trailer” via Aaron Couch of The Hollywood Reporter — Snyder is getting the gang together in the new trailer for Rebel Moon, his Netflix space opera that’s like Star Wars meets The Magnificent Seven. In the feature, a mysterious woman named Kora (Sofia Boutella) forms a ragtag team to defend a peaceful farming village from nefarious imperialists who want to take their food and starve them out. “I am a child of war,” Boutella’s protagonist says about halfway through the three-minute trailer. “I’ll find warriors to fight with us.”
To watch the trailer, please click the image below:
— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —
Happy birthday to Speaker-to-be Sam Garrison and lobbyist David Ramba.
Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Daniel Dean, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, and Drew Wilson.