Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 12.11.23

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Here's your morning briefing on what you need to know about Florida politics.

Good Monday morning.

This week marks the 25th anniversary of Gov, Lawton Chiles’s death in office. To mark the occasion, we asked one of his loyal aides-de-camp, Ron Sachs, to offer a tribute to his legacy …

For many people who work or have worked in “The Process,” tomorrow — Tuesday, Dec. 12 — marks the 25th anniversary of the 1998 tragic death of Chiles, at the age of 68, just weeks before the end of his two terms as the last elected Democrat Governor of Florida. “Walkin’ Lawton” served 18 years as our U.S. Senator after a dedicated stint as a state legislator. When he and Reubin Askew won their 1970 races for U.S. Senator and Governor, many called it the state’s own version of “Camelot” for its promise of young leaders starting an exciting and visionary new generation of leadership.

A remembrance of Lawton Chiles, one of Florida’s greatest Governors.

As with many others, serving the people of Florida in the Chiles administration was one of the greatest privileges of my life — and I draw upon its lessons, as do many others, every day. It emboldened me to start a business, in 1996, with Gov. Chiles and Mrs. Chiles exhorting me to “do good, and do well.”

Tomorrow (Tuesday), family, friends, and many staff of Chiles will gather at a special anniversary luncheon at the Governors Club to celebrate Chiles’ life, legacy, and legend. We plan to share tributes and anecdotes — many not publicly known — about Gov. Chiles and First Lady Rhea Chiles, whom he often referred to as his “inner voice” for her loving, positive influence on all his public service and policies (she conceived the 1,000-mile walk across Florida in 1970). His strength, kindness, intellect, folksy nature, politically smart compass, humanity, and humor will all be shared.

The reflections to be revealed will be a poignant look back at a bygone era in Florida politics when Democrats and Republicans generally and often disagreed as policy opponents but not as enemies — and without the rancor, division, and derision that too often dominate our politics today. It should be an inspiration to all to find a way to return to a healthy ability to disagree on issues and policy without demonizing those who disagree with your point of view — and without dismantling institutions as a cynical way to win political points

Among those attending: oldest son Lawton “Bud” Chiles III and his wife, Kitty; Harry and Mary Chiles; former Chiles EOG Chiefs of Staff, Tom Herndon and Linda Shelley; former AHCA Secretary Doug (and Rose) Cook; media stars Bill Cotterell, Mary Ellen Klas, John Kennedy, Gary Fineout, and Brendan Farrington; former state Supreme Court Justice Major Harding and Jane; legendary attorney Chiles friend Duby Ausley; former State Rep. Loranne Ausley; and others including Joy Moyle, Jr., Robert Coker, Todd Wilder, Cindy O’Connell, Mimi Graham, Edie Ousley, Mark Schlakman; and former Democrat-turned-Republican political wizard “Mac” Stipanovich, whom Chiles delighted in intentionally calling “Max” when he was playfully taunting.

The Governor, who underwent multiple bypass surgeries during his Senate career, suffered a fatal heart attack while exercising at the Governor’s Mansion. Though his partner in serving, Lt. Gov. Buddy MacKay, had lost the 1998 General Election Governor’s race to Jeb Bush, Chiles’ unfortunate passing propelled MacKay into the role of Governor for the last three weeks-plus of the Chiles era. As always, he served with dignity and distinction.

MacKay is also widely credited with being Florida’s best Lt. Governor ever — and there’s not even a close second — being burdened with the heavy responsibility and vital ‘portfolio’ that included leading the rebuilding of South Florida after 1992’s devastating Hurricane Andrew, taking charge of the fiscal crisis enveloping the City of Miami; reorganization of Florida’s always- beleaguered Department of Children and Families; and multiple other everyday politically astute thought leadership roles and hard work on policy direction and serving the people.

Lawton Chiles has been called Florida’s best-ever “Children’s Governor” for his heavy emphasis on prenatal care, birth-to-five child care policies, and the long runway of other children/family-friendly issues. Long before the “Obamacare” Affordable Care Act, the Chiles administration developed a statewide plan for CHPAs — Community Health Purchasing Alliances that made health care access more affordable for millions. He also was the “Master of Disaster” — with others, like Jeb Bush, also owning that crown — for his deft handling of hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes, and other disasters.

Surely, one of Chiles’ brightest legacies was his frontal assault on America’s tobacco industry — which had never surrendered or lost even a dollar to any legal challenge of its dangerous and deadly impacts on Americans’ health. When Chiles sued the industry for its untold billions of costs to Florida taxpayers, he crushed them in the court of public opinion before a jury ever had to be impaneled and won a multibillion-dollar settlement. That included guarantees the industry would stop its shallow and cynical marketing to children as their dark hook to another generation of addicted smokers.

“This is the straw that breaks Joe Camel’s back and sends the ‘Marlboro Man’ off into the sunset, forever,” Chiles decried, at a news conference to announce and celebrate the historic settlement. To double down on the victory, Chiles and First Lady Rhea entrusted the conception, creation and conduct of a “Truth” anti-tobacco statewide campaign to Florida teenagers.

When Chiles left the U.S. Senate after three terms in 1988 — including being Chair of the Senate Budget Committee — he was dismayed by the negative impact of partisan gridlock on the ability to get good things done. It was MacKay who urged him back into politics to take on incumbent Republican Gov. Bob Martinez in the epic 1990 race. Chiles also made history by openly talking about suffering from depression in a candid way that helped destigmatize mental health problems suffered by millions of Americans.

At his second inaugural in January 1995, Chiles had popular national country music star, Billy Dean, a resident of nearby Quincy, perform his original tune that was so much an anthem for the Chiles era and the need for us all to make the best use of the time given to us — to ‘do good.’

From Dean’s “Only Here for a Little While” …

“ … Gonna hold who needs holdin’

Mend what needs mendin’

Walk what needs walkin’

Though it means an extra mile

Pray what needs prayin’

Say what needs sayin’

Cause we’re only here for a little while.”

The Chiles era and spirit live on in the leadership that his family, friends, and staff have continued in his style — with the hope that it is an approach to policy, politics, and people that will become mainstream in Florida again.


@RepCarlos: UPenn’s Liz Magill resigned last night so what are Harvard’s President Claudine Gay and MIT’s Sally Kornbluth waiting for?! Their failure to protect students and condemn antisemitism is not only disgraceful and shameless but also extremely dangerous at this time.

@DuvalGOP: We strongly condemn the horrific displays of antisemitism found across our city and we hope the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office swiftly apprehends those responsible. We proudly stand with the Jewish members of our community, now and always.

Tweet, tweet:

@RitaforFlorida: It’s important to me to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of #TeamHD44! James and Juan Carlos have so much dedication to our constituents. Our community is lucky to have them! And I am grateful they are on the team!

@Arrington4FL: Big and small, Human Rights are for all! On this day, let us remember to work together and act to ensure that everyone is treated with respect and dignity.

Tweet, tweet:

Tweet, tweet:

@JasonKirk_fyi: Army-Navy over the total. We used to be a country


2023 Florida Chamber Annual Insurance Summit — 3; Zack Snyder’s ‘Rebel Moon’ premieres — 11; Michael Mann’s ‘Ferrari’ premieres — 13; Matt Dixon’s ‘Swamp Monsters: (Donald) Trump vs. (Ron) DeSantis ― the Greatest Show on Earth (or at Least in Florida)’ released — 29; 2024 Florida Chamber Legislative Fly-In and reception — 29; Florida’s 2024 Regular Session begins — 29; CNN to host first of two GOP Primary debates — 30; 2024 Primetime Emmy Awards — 35; House District 35 Special Election — 35; Florida TaxWatch’s State of the Taxpayer Dinner — 37; CNN’s second GOP Primary debate — 41; New Hampshire Primary — 43; Red Dog Blue Dog 2024 — 44; South Carolina Democratic Primary — 54; New Hampshire and Nevada Democratic Primaries — 57; South Carolina GOP holds first-in-the-South Primary — 75; Michigan Democratic Primary — 78; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 81; Trump’s D.C. trial on charges related to trying to reverse his 2020 Election loss — 84; Super Tuesday — 85; 2024 Oscars — 90; Georgia Democratic Primary — 92; 2024 Leadership Conference on Safety, Health & Sustainability — 150; ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ premieres — 164; ‘A Quiet Place: Day One’ premieres — 200; Republican National Convention begins — 218; ‘Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 228; Alien: Romulus’ premieres — 249; Georgia Tech to face Florida State in 2024 opener in Dublin — 257; Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour stops in Miami — 312; 2024 Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 315; Las Vegas Grand Prix — 346; ‘Captain America: Brave New World’ premieres — 431; ‘Moana’ premieres — 564; ‘Thunderbolts’ premieres — 592; ‘Blade’ reboot premieres — 697; ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot premieres — 697; ‘Avatar 3’ premieres — 739; ‘Avengers: The Kang Dynasty’ premieres — 872; Untitled ‘Star Wars’ movie premieres — 898; Another untitled ‘Star Wars’ movie premieres — 1,103; ‘Avengers: Secret Wars’ premieres — 1,243; ‘Avatar 4’ premieres — 2,202; ‘Avatar 5’ premieres — 2,930.


Donald Trump hits Casey DeSantis over call for out-of-state backers to ‘be a part of the caucus’ in Iowa” via Olivia Alafriz of POLITICO — Appearing on Fox News on Friday, Casey DeSantis claimed that “you do not have to be a resident of Iowa to be able to participate in the Caucus.” She encouraged “moms and grandmoms to come from wherever it might be — North Carolina, South Carolina — and to descend upon the state of Iowa to be a part of the Caucus.”

Those remarks seemingly prompted the Iowa Republican Party to post online that “you must be a legal resident of Iowa and the precinct you live in and bring photo ID with you to participate in the #iacaucus!” In her own social media post later Friday, DeSantis noted the residency requirement for Caucusgoers but added that “there is a way for others to participate,” calling on her husband’s supporters to volunteer in Iowa.

At least Casey DeSantis didn’t say: ‘Vote early, vote often.’

That explanation did little to stop the Trump campaign from attacking the DeSantises.

“The Trump campaign strongly condemns their dirty and illegal tactics and implores all Trump supporters to be aware of the DeSantises’ openly stated plot to rig the Caucus through fraud,” read the statement, which also called on Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds to reaffirm that DeSantis had been mistaken and to clarify the caucus rules.

Trump-aligned Make America Great Again PAC weighed in as well, issuing a statement on “Casey DeSantis’ Embrace of Voter Fraud.”

“Casey DeSantis’ embrace of voter fraud to salvage her husband’s failing campaign is not just wrong, it risks compromising the integrity of the Iowa Caucus,” said spokesperson Karoline Leavitt in the statement.

“Iowa Poll: Donald Trump holds overwhelming lead; Ron DeSantis edges ahead of Nikki Haley” via Brianne Pfannenstiel of the Des Moines Register — A new Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom Iowa Poll shows 51 percent of likely Republican caucusgoers pick Trump as their first choice for president, up from 43 percent in an October Iowa Poll. DeSantis, who was tied with Haley at 16 percent in October, has gained 3 percentage points to pull away from her in second place with 19 percent.


Casey DeSantis asked everyone to ‘participate’ in the caucus. Do you have to be an Iowan?” via the Des Moines Register — Yes, you have to be an Iowan to caucus. The Republican Party of Iowa posted that reminder on X shortly after DeSantis encouraged mothers and grandmothers from across the country to come to Iowa in support of her husband, Gov. DeSantis, in an interview on Fox News. “We’re asking all of these moms and grandmoms to come from wherever it might be — North Carolina, South Carolina — and to descend upon the state of Iowa to be a part of the caucus. Because you do not have to be a resident of Iowa to be able to participate in the caucus,” she said. Florida’s First Lady later clarified on X that yes, you have to be a registered voter in Iowa to actually caucus.

Casey’s Caucus quip needed a fact check.

Casey and Ron DeSantis play cleanup over Iowa Caucus remarks” via Kit Maher of CNN — Casey and Ron DeSantis are seeking to clarify comments the Florida First Lady made that appeared to encourage out-of-state voters to participate in the Iowa caucuses. “We’re asking all of these moms and grandmoms to come from wherever it might be, North Carolina, South Carolina and to descend upon the state of Iowa to be a part of the Caucus because you do not have to be a resident of Iowa to be able to participate in the caucus. So, moms and grandmas are going to be able to come and be a part and let their voice be heard in support of Ron DeSantis,” Casey said, in an interview on Fox News with her husband. After the appearance, Casey DeSantis clarified on X that by participating in the Iowa caucuses, she didn’t mean voting.

Ron and Casey DeSantis talk Christmas decorations, teleprompters and scooter mishaps in Iowa” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Among the positives for the DeSantises: They don’t have to worry about decorating the Governor’s Mansion. “We’re fortunate enough to live in the Governor’s residence in Tallahassee. And so, one of the perks of that is Thanksgiving comes, it goes and all of a sudden, the house is decorated with all the Christmas stuff, the trees get put up and that saves a lot of work. So that’s a huge perk,” the Governor related. But a problem is that there are a few “different rooms in kind of the public side of the Governor’s Mansion that they put a tree up in. And so, our kids every year will pick which room Santa is supposed to go in and leave the presents.”

Nikki Haley super PAC slams DeSantis as ‘lame’ Donald Trump impersonator” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — SFA Fund, Inc. has a 30-second ad up in Iowa markets. The 30-second spot labels Florida’s Governor as “too lame to lead” and “too weak to win.” The ad primarily compares the speaking style and even the hand gestures of the two Florida politicians in contention for the Republican nomination. It begins with a Trump quote about DeSantis saying, “whatever I want, he wants.” It then goes on to show videos of DeSantis and Trump saying the same phrases. It continues to compare even the physical style of DeSantis and Trump while addressing crowds and the press. “What a phony,” a female narrator says.

To watch the ad, please click the image below:

It’s 2024 or bust for Ron DeSantis’ presidential hopes” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — During a Fox News interview, DeSantis responded to speculation from Primary rival Chris Christie that his current presidential run was effectively a trial run for a run four years later. “We don’t have until 2028 and now is the time and that’s why I ran because I see the direction the country is going,” DeSantis told Mike Emanuel. The Governor was responding to a Christie claim that Florida’s chief was “interviewing for 2028” with the current run for the Republican nomination. Christie also noted that DeSantis didn’t want to be Trump’s “Vice President,” and that was something that DeSantis (who has denied interest in a subordinate role to the former President repeatedly for months) found reason with which to agree.

RNC officially bows out of hosting Primary debates” via Alex Isenstadt of POLITICO — The Republican National Committee is pausing its participation in 2024 GOP Primary debates, the organization decided Friday. The RNC’s decision, made by a 16-member internal body, means that any forthcoming debates will be hosted by networks independently of the Committee. Two outlets — ABC and CNN — have announced plans to host future debates in Iowa and New Hampshire ahead of early state voting. DeSantis already said he will attend CNN’s planned Iowa debate before next month’s caucuses and ABC’s planned New Hampshire debate.

— MORE 2024 —

Days after heated debate, GOP candidates take a gentler tone in Iowa” via Kellen Browning and Chris Cameron of The New York Times — The Republican presidential candidates who spoke at a “faith and family” event on Saturday at Dordt University, an evangelical Christian school in Sioux Center, Iowa, sought to present a kinder, gentler side of themselves, just days after an acrimonious debate and little more than a month before the Iowa caucuses, the first nominating contest. The switch in rhetoric underscored the tenuous position of any candidate not named Trump. And while DeSantis struck a bipartisan tone onstage, saying that he would seek common ground with his political opponents, he also went on the offensive in a conversation after the event, criticizing the donation Haley recently received from Reid Hoffman, the billionaire Democratic donor who co-founded LinkedIn.

Candidates soften for an Iowa ‘faith and family’ event. After that, the knives are back out.

Trump takes 2024 lead as Joe Biden approval hits new low, WSJ poll finds” via Aaron Zitner and Alex Leary of The Wall Street Journal — Biden’s political standing is at its weakest point of his presidency, a new Wall Street Journal poll finds, with voters giving him his lowest job-performance marks and favoring Trump for the first time in a head-to-head test of the likely 2024 presidential matchup. Biden lags behind Trump by 4 percentage points, 47% to 43%, on a hypothetical ballot with only those two candidates. Trump’s lead expands to 6 points, 37% to 31%, when five potential third-party and independent candidates are added to the mix. They take a combined 17% support, with Democrat-turned-independent Robert F. Kennedy Jr. drawing the most, at 8%.

—“Biden’s battleground states footprint (or lack thereof) leaves Dems concerned” via Elena Schneider and Holly Otterbein of POLITICO

She’s with him: Hillary Clinton steps out as a key player in Biden’s re-election effort” via Jonathan Allen, Peter Nicholas and Megan Lebowitz of NBC News — Clinton is stepping into a role as one of the most prominent and influential surrogates in Biden’s re-election effort. As a former secretary of state, she has the bona fides to provide Biden with a measure of political cover amid a war in the Middle East that has split the Democratic Party. Clinton is popular with women and key parts of the Democratic base and remains a fundraising draw who can help ensure Biden has the money to get his message out. There is still a two-for-the-price-of-one theme when it comes to her family: Husband Bill Clinton made a cameo at the fundraising event at their Washington home. Clinton’s role is only expected to grow in the new year, but for now, she is filling a space that, at a later point in the campaign season, former President Barack Obama will join.

Hillary Clinton steps up for Joe Biden.

—“Biden’s Primary challenger steps up attacks, prompting Trump comparisons” via Meryl Kornfield, Azi Paybarah and Marianne LeVine of The Washington Post

Morning must-read — A harvest of memories” via Jose A. Del Real of The Washington Post — Verna Orvis saw things differently than most of her longtime neighbors in Chickasaw County, which had experienced one of the most dramatic political pivots in the country. In the 2008 Presidential Election, Barack Obama won 60% of voters in this onetime Democratic stronghold; by 2016, Trump won 58% of voters and then 65% in 2020. The political era that followed was one of grievance, tribalism, suspicion, and rage. Rage wasn’t Verna’s style. She believed in decency. She believed in nurturing community, not sowing division. Her life was animated by gentler questions than the ones at the heart of national politics in 2023: What do people owe one another? When can the past teach us something about ourselves, and when does it blind us to the present?


DeSantis’ debate choice of favorite President is ‘one that people don’t talk about much’” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Asked to choose an inspirational President at this week’s debate, DeSantis’ pick is not one that has roused much talk of a Mount Rushmore annex — even if he was in office when they started chiseling. President Calvin Coolidge, DeSantis said, “got just about everything right.” His fellow debaters made choices that need not get Google working so hard. “People don’t talk about him a lot,” DeSantis said. But that choice served up an opportunity for DeSantis to dive into what a dim view the 30th President would have of the current state of affairs.

Ron DeSantis looks up to Calvin Coolidge, an unusual choice.

‘Disappointed kids’ drove DeSantis to pledge $1M to sue College Football Playoff” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — When Floridians ask themselves why their Governor promised $1 million from the new budget to sue the College Football Playoff potentially over the exclusion of the Florida State Seminoles, they can credit — or blame — a seven-year-old, a five-year-old, and a three-year-old in part. DeSantis noted Friday he had “some disappointed kids saying ‘Daddy, you told me they were going to be in the playoffs. Why not?’” “So, obviously, when you have two one-loss teams and they’re both good teams, but you have an undefeated conference champion. People look at it and say what is going on here,” DeSantis said during an interview with Iowa Press.

DeSantis’ views on untimely death depend on whom he gets to scapegoat” via Philip Bump of The Washington Times — As DeSantis’ presidential ambitions became more obvious, so did his efforts to amplify hard-line rhetoric about the border. He’s also gone further, suggesting that he would allow law enforcement or the military to shoot border-crossers believed to be carrying drugs (though again, trafficking usually involves pills hidden in motor vehicles). It’s interesting to consider the increase in opioid deaths in Florida through the lens of another cause of premature death in the state: COVID-19. DeSantis’ rhetoric about COVID does not focus on the conduits of the coronavirus as dangerous, demanding that those infected isolate or wear masks. He doesn’t advocate for the deployment of protections early in the process, such as vaccinations. Instead, he responds to the spread of COVID with a shrug, suggesting that the bad actors during the pandemic were the people attempting to contain the virus, not those spreading it.

Growing up transgender in DeSantis’ Florida: How this Broward teen’s life was upended” via Brittany Wallman of the Miami Herald — When Daisy was 10, she stood in front of a microphone in a green dress, her long hair pulled back in a purple headband. “Living in Broward County has given me the sense of safety,” she said to the Broward County School Board members, who were honoring LGBTQ History Month, “knowing that the School Board has my back.” Daisy, a transgender girl, seemed to be growing up in an era of unprecedented acceptance. Daisy’s presence the past two years on a girls’ volleyball team at Monarch High School in Coconut Creek now threatens the jobs of her mother, information management systems employee Jessica Norton, and four others at her school, including Principal James Cecil.

Conservatives called her artwork ‘obscene.’ She’s back in Florida for more.” via Julia Halperin of the Orlando Sentinel — Very few visual artists have been the subject of a Supreme Court case. Karen Finley is one of them. A member of the so-called NEA Four, Finley — along with Tim Miller, John Fleck and Holly Hughes — sued the National Endowment for the Arts in 1990 after the organization withdrew their fellowships. The federal agency was under scrutiny for financing art that the religious right deemed indecent. A performance in which Finley covered her body with chocolate frosting, red candies and alfalfa sprouts to make a statement about society’s treatment of women was another attractive target. On the Senate floor, Republican Jesse Helms called Finley’s work “pornographic” and “obscene.” A nationally syndicated newspaper column dismissed her as nothing more than “a nude, chocolate-smeared woman.”


At D.C. roast, Joe Manchin jokes he could be the slightly younger President America needs” via Aamer Madhani of The Associated Press — Sen. Manchin used a weekend Washington roast to tease a potential third-party run for the White House, joking that the nation could use someone slightly younger than the leading contenders. Speaking Saturday night during the Gridiron Club’s winter dinner, Manchin said the country could benefit from a younger leader than Biden or the 2024 GOP front-runner, Trump. “With all due respect, the President is 81 years old. Donald Trump is 77,” said Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat who announced last month he would not run for re-election in 2024. “I truly believe the American people are ready to pass the torch to a new generation, somebody younger. I’d say maybe someone close to 76 that doesn’t look a day over 70.”

Joe Manchin says he would bring youth (somewhat) to the presidential race.


DeSantis recommended the state nearly double its allocation to the Mary Brogan Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program to $3 million annually, providing lifesaving cancer screenings for medically underserved women between the ages of 50-64 with incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level. A state analysis indicates each dollar invested in screenings yields over double in cost savings.

“Early detection is vital, especially as one in eight women will face a breast cancer diagnosis, with 6% experiencing metastatic breast cancer,” said Tracy Jacim, president and CEO of the Florida Breast Cancer Foundation. “We applaud Gov. DeSantis for his commitment to improving cancer outcomes, and his recommend increase for the Mary Brogan Program will continue to increase Florida’s survivorship rates.”

DeSantis seeks to boost an important cancer early detection program.

“Access to care is key to help people detect, treat, and survive cancer and we are grateful for the Governor’s recommendations,” said Susan Harbin, Senior Government Relations Director for ACS CAN in Florida. “Currently, the Mary Brogan program reaches less than 10% of the eligible population, and the Governor’s budget recommendation is crucial to expand its reach and ensure long-term viability.”

“After losing my health insurance, I was eligible for a free screening through the Mary Brogan program that helped save my life, and now have the opportunity to help other women receive free screenings through Mammograms After Sunday / Spiritual Service, or the MASS program, which is the signature program of the Florida Breast Cancer Foundation,” said Pamela Burnett, Founder of The Beautiful Gate. “Without the Mary Brogan program, many women would have died.”

DeSantis also recommended the state triple its funding to $60 million for the Florida Cancer Innovation Fund and continue to fund several other important cancer research programs, including the Casey DeSantis Cancer Research Program.


Report: Nearly a third of Florida students are ‘chronically absent’ from school” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Florida might have been among the first states to reopen its schools following the COVID-19 outbreak, but the state is exhibiting symptoms of a national plague that has worsened since the virus’s debut: school absenteeism. That’s the news that the House Education Subcommittee received during a presentation from three consultants and a Florida Department of Education official this week. Rep. Dana Trabulsy noted that 30% of the state’s students — that’s about 987,000 students — are chronically absent from school. That’s broadly defined as when kids miss 10% of school — or 18 days a year — of the prescribed 180 days that make an academic year.

Dana Trabulsy touts a report that shows that 30% of Florida students are ‘chronically absent.’

One side of Florida is running out of water. The other is getting bombarded with too much rain” via The Associated Press — In Florida, this year has been a tale of two states as far as rainfall totals, with the southeast coast deluged by sometimes-record rainfall and much of the Gulf of Mexico coast facing a drought. Counties up and down Florida’s west side are under new water use restrictions. Now Florida’s wettest season is over until late spring. The main driver of the precipitation divide was a weaker than typical high-pressure system this Summer over the western Atlantic Ocean that led to persistently lighter easterly winds, said Robert Molleda of the National Weather Service office in Miami.

Bill aims to reduce condo insurance costs by allowing cash-value roof coverage” via Ron Hurtibise of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Windstorm insurance coverage would become more affordable and more widely available for Florida’s condominium buildings if a pair of bills recently filed with the Florida Legislature become law. The bills would create a pilot program requiring state-owned Citizens Property Insurance Corp. to cover roofs of condo buildings at actual cash, also known as depreciated, value rather than at full replacement cost. The pilot program is intended to reduce insurance costs and increase choices for condo associations. Eligibility would require a majority vote by condominium association members and roof inspections every two years.

Bipartisan ‘Safe Waterways Act’ floats cleaner, faster contaminated swimming water reporting” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Florida waterways, particularly those in South Florida, are prone to bacterial exposure due to aging or malfunctioning wastewater systems, surface runoff and animal byproducts. In a given year, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties issue multiple no-swim advisories after beach waters come awash in thousands of gallons of sewage. Mass die-offs of marine life, known colloquially as “fish kills,” are a yearly occurrence as well. Local officials blame an overabundance of “nutrients” — code speak, often, for fecal matter from busted pipes and fertilizer.

Not this again! —Lawmaker wants to make it easier for public figures to win defamation lawsuits” via Jim Little of the Pensacola News Journal — Rep. Alex Andrade is bringing back a “pared down” version of a bill that makes it easier for public figures to win defamation lawsuits. Critics say it would upend nearly 60 years of U.S. Supreme Court precedent regarding free speech and create a “chilling effect” around the use of anonymous sources. Earlier this year, Andrade sponsored a bill that made it easier to sue for defamation, assumed anonymous sources in media reports were false, made it more costly to defend defamation suits by preventing defendants from recovering legal fees, and prevented people suing for discrimination from using a person’s religious or scientific beliefs as evidence of discrimination.

Happening today — House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell, will hold a media availability. 10 a.m. Zoom link here.

Happening today — Sen. Linda Stewart, Rep. Rita Harris, and former Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith will hold a news conference to oppose HB 599, which would place restrictions on government agencies in the use of personal pronouns. The bill, from Rep. Ryan Chamberlin, also would restrict workplace training about issues involving sexual orientation and gender identity. 10:45 a.m. The Center-Orlando, 946 North Mills Ave., Orlando.

Legis sked

1 p.m. The House Health & Human Services Committee meets for an update from the Agency for Persons with Disabilities on a “pre-enrollment” list for the home and community-based services waiver. Morris Hall, House Office Building.

3:30 p.m. The House Select Committee on Hurricane Resiliency and Recovery meets for an update on local impacts from Hurricane Ian. Room 404, House Office Building.

3:30 p.m. The Joint Committee on Public Counsel Oversight meets for an update from Public Counsel Walt Trierweiler. Room 12, House Office Building.

3:30 p.m. The Joint Legislative Auditing Committee meets to consider audits of the city of Mexico Beach and the town of Greenville and a presentation about an audit of the town of White Springs. Room 314, House Office Building.

Safety Net Hospital Alliance applauds ‘Live Healthy’ initiative — The Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida is praising Senate President Kathleen Passidomo’s health care priority, “Live Healthy,” which would boost Medicaid rates, create a health care innovation loan program, and fund more slots for resident physicians, among other things. “The Senate’s $796.7 million funding proposal for growing the health care workforce and improving access to care highlights the tremendous effort they are putting forward to strengthen Florida’s health care system. Their proposal of $100 million to go toward increasing GME residency slots as well as increasing investing in Slots for Docs, and increasing FRAME funding, will go a long way in making sure that we have top doctors at our hospitals providing high-quality care to Florida residents,” Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida CEO Justin Senior said. “An additional $152.3 million in total funding was proposed to improve care for mothers and babies. This will ensure that Florida’s maternity units stay open and operate at the highest level, so mothers don’t have to travel over an hour for the care that they need. Our member hospitals applaud the Senate under President Passidomo’s leadership for taking action on these critical issues and for advocating for some of the top health care needs for the state.”

Miami Herald’s new opinion editor comes from a family of journalists” via Howard Cohen of the Miami Herald — Amy Driscoll, a 30-year veteran of the Miami Herald, will lead the media company’s editorial department as opinion editor. In her new role, Driscoll will also serve as Florida opinion editor, coordinating opinion content between the Miami Herald, el Nuevo Herald and the Bradenton Herald for McClatchy, the parent company of the three publications. “Miami is such a wonderful, wild place but it also has lots of long-term problems that desperately need attention. And that’s the emphasis I hope to bring to this new role: encouraging and guiding a community conversation while also serving as a watchdog for citizens,” said Driscoll, who is being promoted from her current role as deputy editorial page editor.

Amy Driscoll gets a major promotion at the Miami Herald.


Happening tonight:



— LOCAL: S. FL —

Seminole Tribe execs, celebs flock to Hard Rock as in-person sports betting begins” via Marc Berman for The Palm Beach Post — Thursday was a day of gambling history for the Sunshine State. Two Seminole Casinos in Broward County, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood and the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek were the first casinos in state history to welcome craps and roulette gambling and in-person sports wagering. Rollouts at other Seminole casinos in Florida, including Tampa, continue through Monday. In 2021, DeSantis and Seminole Tribe of Florida Chair Marcellus Osceola Jr. signed a 30-year gambling deal that included giving the tribe control of sports betting. That deal, which was ratified by the Legislature, also allowed the Seminoles to add craps and roulette to their Florida casinos.

The renewed Seminole Compact is finally starting to get off the ground.

Fort Lauderdale lost a homeless feeding ban case. Now the city owes $640,000 in attorneys’ fees.” via Susannah Bryan of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Fort Lauderdale now owes $640,000 in attorneys’ fees nearly a decade after the city approved a ban on public feeding that was later ruled unconstitutional. The money will go to the five attorneys who represented Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs in the nonprofit group’s federal lawsuit against Fort Lauderdale — a case the city lost. After winning the case last year, the Food Not Bombs attorneys said they racked up more than $1.5 million in legal fees. The attorneys say they spent 2,505 hours on the case, billing at hourly rates ranging from $565 to $787. Fort Lauderdale balked at paying $1.5 million, instead offering $334,000. A federal judge ruled Fort Lauderdale owed $603,039 in attorney fees.

A $10,000 members-only sushi restaurant is coming to Miami” via Kat Odell of Bloomberg News — When top Japanese chefs and restaurateurs expand to the U.S., they have invariably headed to New York. Just look at the jammed counters at Yoshino, Odo and Sushi Nakazawa. However, first-time restaurateurs Samuel and Jose Tcherassi made a bold offer: Open in Miami. To eat at Sushi Namba and drink at Listening Room, Miami residents will first have to pay a $10,000 member fee. This will give them access to monthly seats at the sushi counter, as well as to the bar and jazz lounge. The price for an actual meal of sushi omakase will range from $400 to $500 per person. The Tcherassi brothers say that they will cap the number of members at around 300 and have started accepting reservations.

— LOCAL: C. FL —

A question of evidence: Did deposed Orange-Osceola state attorney deserve blame for failed drug trafficking cases?” via Cristóbal Reyes of the Orlando Sentinel — Proclaiming that drug traffickers are “killing our communities,” Osceola County Sheriff Marcos López said that State Attorney Monique Worrell had failed to prosecute a single trafficking arrest his deputies made in 2022, later releasing a list of 74 cases to support his contention. An exhaustive review by the Orlando Sentinel tells a different story: Large numbers of the cases were riddled with flaws that undermined Worrell’s ability to prosecute, while many others were mischaracterized to paint a picture of her alleged failures. The Sentinel determined that 39 of the 74 cases had been dropped or downgraded to lower-level charges, far fewer than López suggested, though still a large proportion. But more than 60% of the problem cases suffered from evidence and investigative issues, often originating with López’s own deputies.

Did Monique Worrell deserve suspension?


Pasco Schools adding 4-day weekends to combat chronic absences” via Sara Filips of The Hill — The Pasco County School District in Florida is introducing a new approach to the school calendar in the 2024-25 school year to combat chronic absenteeism. The new schedule will include several “four-day mini breaks strategically placed throughout the years,” the district said. The extended weekends will be held from Oct. 12-15, 2024, Feb. 14-17, 2025, and April 18-21, 2025. The school district hopes the added breaks will encourage families to take trips or schedule appointments during these days, to boost attendance during scheduled contact days.

Chronic absenteeism is forcing Pasco to extend school year weekends.

Tampa General gets greenlight for $510 million Davis Islands expansion” via Christopher O’Donnell of the Tampa Bay Times — The skyline on Davis Islands is set for a remake. Tampa City Council members on Thursday approved a rezoning request from Tampa General Hospital to begin construction of a 13-story pavilion, which will become the tallest structure on the islands, according to hospital officials. The $510 million project is the centerpiece of the hospital’s master plan to meet the region’s growing demand for health care. The 565,000 square-foot structure will be constructed located adjacent to the hospital’s main building, adding 144 beds, 32 operating rooms and a new intensive care unit.

As Florida targets Black history, this Tampa bookstore celebrates it” via Olivia George of the Tampa Bay Times — The store on the corner was an hour from its grand opening and inside stood its owner, wearing a smile and a broach of Harriet Tubman. “For courage and strength,” Gwen Henderson said. Here, in a state where the relationship between students and books, parents and libraries, and teachers and the texts they teach feels increasingly in flux, Tampa’s lone Black City Council member was opening a bookstore. “A sanctuary,” she said, “for banned books.” Standing beside a mural of her daughter absorbed in a book, Henderson thought of her great-great-grandfather, Sam Hightower, who was born into slavery and died unable to read and write.

— LOCAL: N. FL —

More Florida cities are using Citizen Boards to investigate police. The state may stop it.” via David Bauerlein of The Florida Times-Union — Florida would stop local governments from using Citizen Review Boards to investigate complaints against police in a bill filed by state Rep. Wyman Duggan that would impact about 20 cities that have Boards and close the door on others like Jacksonville from creating them to examine alleged misconduct. Jacksonville does not have a Citizen Review Board like other large cities, but Mayor Donna Deegan said during her campaign she favors creating one. Duggan said locally created panels that do investigations hurt the ability to recruit talented people for law enforcement jobs in Florida because it adds uncertainty to what’s “already a very stressful profession.”

Wyman Duggan and Donna Deegan face off on the subject of Citizen Boards to investigate police.

Jacksonville recycling initiative comes to a close, lowers trash contamination rate” via Hanna Holthaus of The Florida Times-Union — The city’s newest recycling education initiative has potentially helped lower the amount of waste in recyclable materials by 22%, a recent audit found. If the trend sticks or further lowers in the next few months, the city will save money on its recycling contract. Workers have gone to each Jacksonville neighborhood since May, tagging recycling bins using an “oops” tag to show residents what could not be recycled and would ultimately be taken to the landfill. The resulting “contamination” reduction shows the program has so far been successful, but there is still work left to do, city officials said.

‘Gut-wrenching and senseless’: Trial begins in murder of gay rights activist Jorge Diaz-Johnston” via Jeff Burlew of the Tallahassee Democrat — Jury selection begins Monday in the trial of a man charged in the grisly murder of gay rights activist Diaz-Johnston, whose body was discarded in the trash and discovered in a landfill. Steven Yinger, a felon with a lengthy criminal history, is charged with first-degree murder, grand theft, grand theft of a motor vehicle, tampering with physical evidence and criminal use of a personal ID. Diaz-Johnston, of Tallahassee, a paralegal known for his role in the fight for marriage equality, was found dead on Jan. 8, 2022, several days after he had been reported missing.

Long-awaited RIBS project first step to rerouting treated wastewater from Santa Rosa Sound” via Tom McLaughlin of the Pensacola News Journal — A deal 21 years in the making was consummated Friday morning when Holley Navarre Water System officials were joined by local dignitaries on Eglin Air Force Base to break ground on a rapid infiltration basin system that will be utilized by three Santa Rosa County utilities. “It’s a great thing; it’s something we’ve needed for a long time,” said County Commissioner Ray Eddington. A long time indeed. Paperwork accompanying the executed lease agreement received in March that concluded negotiations between the Water System and the United States Air Force indicates they began discussing a land deal in 2002. The RIB System, as it is called, is to be constructed on 200 acres off an Eglin range road on the west side of State Road 87.

Elgin AFB is constructing a new rapid infiltration basin system for wastewater.

While left out of CFP, FSU football could still be voted No. 1 by AP voters with OB win” via Skip Foster of the Tallahassee Democrat — Florida State football players, listen up: I know you are still steaming. But I’m not here to feed into your frustration by breaking down the corruption and unfairness that is the current sham of a College Football Playoff system. #FSUTwitter is handling that task just fine. Here is what I want you to hear: What if I told you FSU could still win a national championship? No, I’m not talking about UCF making a trophy out of a toilet plunger and some aluminum foil and claiming it’s real. I’m talking about a national championship trophy that has been around for more than 50 years and has been the gold standard for titles during that entire span.


‘Save Sarasota, deport the Zieglers’: residents want MAGA Florida couple gone” via Kate Briquelet of The Daily Beast — One Republican operative in Southwest Florida said it speaks volumes so few colleagues have the Zieglers’ backs. “They have no friends, and the people who they think are their friends are not their friends,” the person said. “That’s why you have seen zero, zero people come to either of their defense.” “I’ve never seen that in the world of politics,” they added. “In the world of fake news, and witch hunts, and hoaxes, this is the one instance where everybody is not surprised and is ready to go in for the kill. And it is not just Democrats.” Ron Filipkowski, a local defense attorney and ex-Republican, said the Zieglers are “probably the most despised people in Sarasota County, easily.”

The ‘most despised’ couple in Sarasota?

NCH heart project set for Dec. 13 review by Naples Planning Board. What to know about it” via Liz Freeman of the Naples Daily News — NCH is facing a crucial review on Dec. 13 by the Naples Planning Advisory Board for its proposed $200 million heart center on the campus of its Baker Hospital near downtown Naples. At issue is a rezoning application to the city’s public services district which needs the approval of the Naples City Council. That would pave the way for the heart center to potentially exceed the 42-foot height limit set by a voter referendum in 2000 for commercial buildings. The Planning Board at its Nov. 8 meeting spent roughly six hours scrutinizing the plans for the five-story heart center and four-story parking garage that would dramatically change the appearance of the campus that abuts a wealthy and lushly landscaped residential area.

State agency extends time for public comment on controversial wetlands permit for Bellmar” via Laura Layden of the Naples Daily News — The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has extended the deadline for public comment on a long-sought permit for a controversial rural village known as Bellmar in eastern Collier County. The deadline is now Dec. 12. Opponents of the village celebrated the extra time as a small victory, after staging a protest and news conference to bring attention to their concerns about the development’s environmental impacts outside of an informational meeting the FDEP held on the wetlands permit at the Naples Regional Library on Thursday. At the meeting, the state agency planned to take final comments but decided to allow more time after facing criticism of moving too fast in the final stages of the review and approval process before making its decision.

M Development sues city over denial of site plan for lofty redevelopment project in Naples” via Laura Layden of the Naples Daily News — A high-profile developer has sued the city of Naples and accused the City Council of attempting to kill its lofty redevelopment plans that involve nearly two city blocks downtown. Fifth Avenue South Holdings, an affiliate of M Development, based in Colorado, filed the suit on Thursday, asking the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, “against the city’s illegal and unauthorized actions.” A city attorney declined to comment, citing pending litigation. The suit stems from a Council decision in September that the developer contends illegally “imposed a moratorium on administrative approvals for projects containing underground parking garages,” like its own.


Documenting the damage to higher education in Florida” via Steve Bosquet of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — A scathing new report documents the “horrifying” deterioration of higher education in Florida.

It should be required reading for every college student — and come to think of it, every taxpayer too.

For the first time, the report lays out in disturbing detail the extent of the damage done to a once-great system by DeSantis, the Legislature and their allies in the higher education bureaucracy, which has been politicized to unprecedented levels, with disastrous results. As much as anything, this will be the destructive legacy DeSantis leaves behind when he leaves office in a few years.

It’s all there: the brutal takeover of New College in Sarasota, secrecy over university presidential searches, attacks on teacher tenure, labor unions and accrediting agencies, rampant cronyism in presidential choices and on university Trustee Boards, including appointing out-of-state ideologues with no ties to Florida, restrictions on teaching race and sexual orientation and blocking professors from testifying about their subject matter expertise in court.

It shouldn’t be overlooked that DeSantis wanted to go further and give university trustees — political appointees, hacks in some cases, chosen for connections, money and school loyalties, not for their education expertise — control over hiring and firing faculty members.

One faculty member who was not shy about being quoted by name in the AAUP report was LeRoy Pernell, a law professor at Florida A&M University.

“We can’t run away from what is happening in Florida,” Pernell said. “Bullies depend on their victims running away and hiding. On their silence. We can’t run away and hide. We can’t be silent.”

He’s right. DeSantis & Co. have done catastrophic damage to Florida’s higher education system.


Why Biden should make an immigration deal with Republicans” via Ross Douthat of The New York Times — The good news for Biden is that it’s easy to imagine developments that would help his re-election bid. Notwithstanding a fashionable liberal despair about how bad vibes are deceiving Americans about the state of the economy, there’s plenty of room for improvements — in inflation-adjusted wages, interest rates, the stock market — that could sweeten the country’s economic mood. (Just sustaining the economic trajectory of the last few months through next Summer would almost certainly boost Biden’s approval ratings.)

The looming Trump trials, meanwhile, promise to refocus the country’s persuadable voters on what they dislike about the former President; that, too, has to be worth something in the swing states where Biden is currently struggling.

There is a commonplace interpretation of the immigration debate that treats the unpopularity of an uncontrolled border primarily as an optics problem: People are happy enough to have immigrants in their own communities, but they see border disorder on their television screens, and it makes them fearful about government incompetence.

Border control in an age of easy global movement is not a simple policy problem, even for conservative governments. But policy does matter, and while the measures that the White House is reportedly floating as potential concessions to Republicans — raising the standard for asylum claims, fast-tracking deportation procedures — aren’t quite a pledge to finish the border wall (maybe that’s next Summer’s pivot), they should have some effect on the flow of migrants north.

This makes them a distinctive sort of policy concession: A “sacrifice” that this White House has every political reason to offer because Biden’s re-election becomes more likely if Republicans accept.


Troubling poll numbers? Biden has a plan for that.” via E.J. Dionne Jr. of The Washington Post — The “Joe Biden is toast” story is so entrenched in conventional wisdom that buying into it has become a near-requirement for membership in the Federation of Political Pundits. This is thus an excellent time to stress-test the hypothesis. The heart of Biden’s challenge: No matter how good the economic data is, voters remain disgruntled. Thus, the key components of their emerging plan: Acknowledge that prices are a problem and highlight what Biden is doing to bring them down. Biden will juxtapose his “bottom-up and middle-out” approach to economic growth with the GOP’s eagerness to cut taxes on the rich.

Why all this Trump hysteria?” via Martin Gurri of UnHerd — A giant landfill of words has been dumped out on the subject of Trump. The word most often associated with Trump is “authoritarian.” We are told with ritual repetition that Trump is an aspiring dictator eager to herd his opponents into the great American gulag. Naturally, people panic. I want to calm them down. Using as few words as possible, I’m going to show that the combination of Trump and authoritarianism is an impossibility. If you expect to become an authoritarian, you have to wield absolute control over a key institution of government such as the military or a mass movement with a paramilitary wing. Neither condition applies to Trump.

Hunter Biden indictment is total vindication for whistleblowers” via Byron York of the Washington Examiner — Remember when two IRS whistleblowers came forward to charge that the Biden administration gave the President’s son, Hunter Biden, special treatment in the tax investigation into his business affairs? The two — Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler offered proof that the IRS had an open-and-shut case that Hunter Biden evaded taxes on large amounts of money he had made from foreign sources. But the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware and the larger Justice Department would not pursue it, and both men were removed from the case in retaliation for having the temerity to point out the inaction. Shapley’s and Ziegler’s testimonies supported the Republican charge that Justice Department officials stifled and slow-walked the investigation. GOP agitation forced the U.S. attorney leading the inquiry, David Weiss, to seek special counsel status, giving him the freedom to resume the investigation.

Florida’s high court should reinstate Monique Worrell because truth and justice matter” via the Orlando Sentinel editorial board — Florida’s governmental integrity and the rights of its voters stand on a precipice. Worrell’s fight to regain control of her office after being suspended in August by DeSantis is just one symptom of this. But it’s a big one. Wednesday’s oral arguments before the Florida Supreme Court underscored that. The attorney for DeSantis argued that the court had no power to consider the facts alleged in his brief. Will the court agree, after the exhaustive research that left one of DeSantis’ biggest allegations against Worrell in ruins? Cristóbal Reyes’ story undermines a claim that Worrell is to blame for failed drug trafficking cases in Osceola County. And it raises an even bigger question: Why didn’t the Governor’s office check its facts before taking the grave step of removing her from office?

Nick DiCeglie: Getting it right — vacation rentals and private property rights” via Florida Politics — Once again, we are heading into a new Legislative Session attempting to strike the right balance for homeowners who want to live in peace, entrepreneurs who see potential in an emerging industry, tourists whose support drives our state’s economy, and local governments, whose best efforts to address these competing interests have been understandability inconsistent. Quite simply, small beach communities like mine have to accept that vacation rentals are here to stay. We don’t have to accept irresponsible and inappropriate conduct, which would never be tolerated by long-term tenants, destroying our communities and quality of life. The middle ground is elusive, but it is possible.


— ALOE —

Romeo and Juliet, two elderly manatees, get a happy ending” via Maggie Penman of The Washington Post — For months, Romeo, a sexagenarian manatee, spent his days alone swimming in circles in a small tank at a Miami aquarium. Stuck in another tank was Juliet, also in her 60s, along with a third manatee. For the aquatic mammals, though, there is a happier ending than in Shakespeare’s play. After their living conditions at the Miami Seaquarium came under scrutiny from federal officials and animal welfare advocates, a team of veterinarians and animal care specialists this week transported Romeo, Juliet and the other manatee, Clarity, to new homes at ZooTampa and SeaWorld in Orlando, two animal critical care facilities.

Romeo and Juliet have earned a happy ending.


How a $13.99 Snoopy sparked a Gen-Z craze” via Ashley Wong of The Wall Street Journal — When Snoopy first appeared in the “Peanuts” comic strip in 1950, his creator Charles M. Schulz couldn’t have guessed that his hand-drawn beagle would spawn one of the hottest toys of 2023. The latest Gen-Z obsession is a $13.99 stuffed Snoopy toy wearing a little blue puffer and a striped hat. A CVS exclusive, the toy is sold out at the pharmacy chain’s locations all over the country. Online, it’s being resold on sites like eBay and Mercari for anywhere between $40 to $70. On Reddit, CVS employees swap stories about receiving dozens of daily phone calls asking if they still have the toy in stock. And on TikTok, young consumers are documenting their quests to get their hands on the stuffed beagle.

A Snoopy plush combines Gen-Z nostalgia and runaway consumerism.

The dark side of Christmas music” via Lora Kelly of The Atlantic — Spencer Kornhaber, who covers music for The Atlantic, spoke about what makes holiday music sound distinct, how the genre relies on nostalgia, and why sleigh-bell-sprinkled tunes can be so polarizing. A lot of holiday music is harmonically rather dark. But instrumentally and in the performances, it’s bright and cheerful. What many people like about holiday music is that it reminds us of previous holidays, especially childhood’s. A lot of what we consider classic holiday music was written or recorded a long time ago, in the middle of the 20th century or earlier. In our culture and politics, that’s often portrayed as an era that was more pure, more prosperous, simpler than our own.


Happy birthday to Leon Co. Commissioner Nick Maddox and Marco Paredes of Stearns Weaver Miller.


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.

One comment

  • My Take

    December 11, 2023 at 5:33 am

    Every Floridian should read the Sun-Sentinal editorial on DeSantis’s almost berserker destructive assault on Florida’s colleges and universities. Some won’t care but anyone wno cares about Florida will. The message should be shared widely.

Comments are closed.


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