Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.
By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, Mitch Perry and Jim Rosica.
FIVE YEARS AGO, BLOGGER PROPOSED TO GIRLFRIEND — YOU’LL NEVER BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENED NEXT from Sabrina Rocco’s original story, “Power brokers witness the proposal” via the Tampa Bay Times
One night (in July of 2011), at a “not-too-political happy hour,” a special quorum of power brokers was called at Cassis, the French restaurant on downtown St. Petersburg’s posh Beach Drive.
Peter, executive editor of city watchdog SaintPetersblog.com, and Michelle, former special assistant to former Gov. Charlie Crist, had gathered a gaggle of politicos and journos before, but this shindig felt different.
“Senator, what are you doing here?” Michelle asked Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, who had just endured a total hip replacement the week before. “I wouldn’t miss this one for the world,” he replied, propped up on crutches.
Weird, she thought.
Peter and Michelle met in 2010 at Judge Thomas Minkoff‘s investiture. “In a room full of politicians, I found Michelle to be the most fascinating person,” Peter recalled. Before long, he charmed her into a date.
During Crist’s senate campaign, they worked late into the night. But the couple ended one night a week at Cassis with a few bubbly flutes of Champagne. They fell fast over their shared passion for politics and fervor for their city, St. Petersburg.
Back at that July happy hour, Rep. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, introduced Peter, who told the crowd how his late father always wished his son would meet and marry a special woman. He had found that woman in Michelle. And he proposed.
When Michelle and Peter booked their wedding, they wanted swank and sentiment. Beach Drive, Vinoy Park, the waterfront were all special places where they spent great chunks of time: “That section of the world is the center of our universe,” Peter said. The Museum of Fine Arts was a perfect pick. Underneath the banyan trees, Peter and Michelle said their vows.
IN REMEMBRANCE: Peter J. Schorsch, who would have been 76-years-old today. There isn’t a day that goes by without me missing my beloved father and friend.
Now, on to politics…
HILLARY CLINTON’S BIG MOMENT
It was a moment America had never seen: a woman accepting a major party’s nomination for president.
Hillary Clinton accepted the Democratic nomination Thursday, pledging to unite a divided country and casting herself as a tested, steady hand in troubled times. She said she would work to improve the lives of all Americans, not just those at the top.
She closed a convention that tested the party’s ability to unify after a divisive primary fight. After a rocky opening day featuring protests and jeers, the opposition settled down, but never faded completely.
— The real audience —
Clinton was greeted by cheering delegates eager to see her win in November. But her real audience was the millions of voters watching on television who may welcome her experience but question her character.
Clinton tried to make the case for why she deserves a second look.
“I get it that some people just don’t know what to make of me,” she said.
Noting her family’s humble roots, Clinton hailed her parents and grandparents, saying they instilled in her a work ethic that allowed her to go to college and law school and begin a career as an advocate for children before becoming a political spouse and a politician herself.
Clinton contrasted her decades of experience as first lady, senator, and secretary of state with Trump’s inexperience in politics. And she questioned his temperament.
“A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man you can trust with nuclear weapons,” she said.
— Introducing Mom —
Chelsea Clinton continued the family effort to show the warm side of her mother.
Nearly a quarter century after America got to know her as a gangly 12-year-old, Chelsea Clinton described Hillary Clinton as a mother who always made her feel “valued and loved” and a doting grandmother who will drop everything to FaceTime her 2-year-old granddaughter, Charlotte.
Chelsea Clinton spoke two days after her father, former President Bill Clinton, addressed delegates in what was as much love story as political speech. Chelsea Clinton followed suit.
“I hope that someday my children will be as proud of me as I am proud of my mom,” she said.
Trump’s family offered similar loving tributes at last week’s Republican convention. Both candidates have low popularity ratings and their campaigns have been trying to emphasize their personal, human sides.
— Still Bern-ing —
Most Bernie Sanders supporters heeded the Vermont senator’s call for unity – or at least his plea not to be disruptive. But there were exceptions.
As Clinton spoke, several people in the crowd unfurled a banner that said “Wikileaks.” It’s a reference to the leaked party emails that some say show the Democratic National Committee favored Clinton over Sanders.
Clinton struggled to keep command of the arena. Supporters chanted “Hillary” to drown out hecklers.
Some Sanders supporters chose a less disruptive way to express their views. They wore neon-green, glow-in-the-dark shirts emblazoned with the Sanders battle cry “enough is enough.”
— Reaching out —
Clinton wasn’t only looking to charge up the Democratic base. She was trying to win over Republicans.
The convention’s last day featured speeches from a former member of President Ronald Reagan‘s administration and a U.S. Chamber of Commerce official who is heading a Republican group supporting Clinton.
“I knew Ronald Reagan. I worked for Ronald Reagan,” said Doug Elmets, a Republican now backing Clinton. “Donald Trump, you are no Ronald Reagan!”
— Glad it’s over —
Trump appeared to be relieved that the Democratic convention was finally ending. He’s had enough criticism. In fact, he said Thursday that he wanted to hit some speakers “so hard their heads would spin.”
He didn’t identify anyone in particular, but mentioned “a little guy” who particularly bothered him. Could be former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg — who is listed as 5 feet, 8 inches.
CLINTON SPEECH DRAWS MIXED REACTION ON CABLE NEWS via David Bauder of the Associated Press Television’s instant reaction to Clinton’s acceptance of the Democratic nomination anticipated what is likely to be a hard-fought slog to November. “This was about the eighth most dynamic speech of her convention,” Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity said dismissively, criticizing Clinton for offering Democratic bromides and a lack of specifics, only to draw an incredulous look from across the desk. “I don’t know what you were watching,” retorted former Barack Obama aide Austan Goolsbee, ticking off points Clinton made. “I thought her speech was solid. She touched all the bases.” The speech’s breadth seemed to give the pundits pause: ABC’s George Stephanopoulos mentioned how it was part biography, part attack on Donald Trump, part Democratic manifesto. That contributed to a lack of consensus on whether Clinton succeeded in reaching the people she needed to.
SPEECH OF THE NIGHT — FATHER OF FALLEN MUSLIM SOLDIER BLASTS DONALD TRUMP — The father of a Muslim American soldier killed in Iraq posed a question to Donald Trump: Have you read the Constitution? To rapturous cheers, Pakistan-born Khizr Khan fiercely attacked the billionaire businessman Thursday at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, saying that if it was up to Trump, his son never would have been American or served in the military. Khan said that Hillary Clinton, by contrast, “called my son the best of America.”
LADY GAGA HITS STAGE FOR INVITE ONLY SHOW FOR DNC DELEGATES via MaryClaire Dale of The Associated Press – … covering classic songs from Woody Guthrie, Neil Young, the Beatles and others. Gaga opened with a jazzy version of Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” and then Young’s “Old Man.” She was introduced by Cory Booker, who called her a star who’s not afraid to speak out about sexual violence and mental health. She closed out her set with the Beatles’ “Come Together” and then sang Edith Piaf‘s “La Vie en Rose” as an encore. Lenny Kravitz, who also performed inside the convention … ended his set by shouting, “We, the people! We, the people! We, the people!” DJ Jazzy Jeff spun tunes in between their sets.
POLICE AND PROTESTERS CREDITED WITH RESTRAINT AT CONVENTION via Geoff Mulvihill and Kristen De Groot of The Associated Press – Sanders‘ devoted followers were careful to pick up after themselves and wore hats embroidered with a dove to remind everyone to remain peaceful. And the police, instead of hauling demonstrators off to jail, issued them $50 tickets for disorderly conduct and released them with a complimentary bottle of water. As the Democratic National Convention drew toward a close, Philadelphia police reported making a four-day total of only 11 arrests, and officers and protesters alike were credited with showing restraint and courtesy. The rallies and marches that some feared would result in violence and mass disruptions instead brought a festival-like atmosphere at times to City Hall and Broad Street. “I’m very happy so far with everyone,” Police Commissioner Richard Ross said. He said his officers “took pride in what they did all week. Very patient, tolerant and courteous is what I was hearing from a lot of people.”
BILL NELSON SAYS CLINTON COULD BEAT DONALD TRUMP BY FIVE POINTS IN FLORIDA via George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post– “An election is a contrast of two people. And I think I understand the people of Florida enough to know that when you look and really start thinking seriously about who do you want to be making the decisions in the extraordinary office that is not only the head of here but the head of the free world, my gut tells me that people will say they prefer Hillary,” Nelson said in an interview at the Democratic National Convention. “It used to be a close election was 2 points, but now 2 points is a comfortable margin. But it may be as high as 5 points in Florida,” Nelson said … Trump was merely bucking the conventional wisdom within the GOP rather than for a general electorate. “He is tapping into the Republican primary and agitation and anger in a Republican primary. That’s why he defied all of the expectations – expectations that included very responsible candidates like Jeb (Bush),” Nelson said. “That changed with Michelle’s speech and then Bernie’s speech.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “This is a good place to be — for a lot of reasons. We must have set up five fundraisers today. This is the bank.” — Charlie Crist, as quoted by the New York Times
DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: ‘SOMETIMES, YOU JUST HAVE TO TAKE ONE FOR THE TEAM’ via George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post – Wasserman Schultz has kept a low profile this week, but she made an appearance to receive an award from the National Jewish Democratic Council. “I just can’t thank you enough for being here for me,” Wasserman Schultz told the roughly 50 attendees at the reception. “This has been a difficult week. There’s no question about it. But I am so proud of my team, some of whom are here, that helped put this together. From the convention team to the Democratic National Committee staff to all of the volunteers to our donors, it has been a remarkable team effort. And you know, sometimes, you just have to take one for the team. And that’s OK. It’s OK. I have the most amazing family that any woman could ever ask for.”
FINAL DISPATCH FROM OUR DNC INSIDER via Ben Pollara of LSN Partners – My daughter, Clementine, will wake up this morning in an America in which she can grow up to be anything, even President of the United
When her little brother gets here in October, he’ll grow up in an America where his older sister’s potential is not limited by her gender. I’ll go to sleep tonight, exhausted – but finally in my own bed, finally with my wife next to me again, finally with my little girl down the hall from me again, snoring like an old man. I’ll sleep very well tonight. It has been a good week.
Thank you to Peter Schorsch and FloridaPolitics.com for letting me share this week with you.
FLORIDA’S 2018 GOVERNOR’S RACE OUT FRONT AT DELEGATION BREAKFASTS via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times – We are in the invisible primary phase of that open governor’s race, where prospects quietly lay groundwork and generate buzz among partisan activists and fundraisers who pay attention long before more sensible people do … three of the four leading prospects for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination —Bob Buckhorn, Gwen Graham and Philip Levine debuted stump speeches. Let’s review their performances: Buckhorn: Winner. For sheer red-meat energy, Buckhorn, 57, blew away Levine and Graham. He might have sounded a bit too practiced a political speaker for some tastes, but his lofty rhetoric and fiery style brought delegates to their feet cheering. Graham: Solid. The convention seemed like the soft opening of Graham’s gubernatorial campaign. No one strikes me as more likely to run than Graham, 53. She even used a teleprompter to help her delivery. Levine: Needs work. Levine, 54, cut a check to help sponsor the delegation breakfasts, but his low-key remarks about promoting a minimum wage increase, responding to sea-level rise in Miami Beach and attending the same Boston school as JFK, had many delegates paying more attention to their eggs and bacon than him.
LAUREN BOOK CHALLENGES FLORIDA DEMOCRATIC DELEGATION TO REMEMBER WHY THEY CAME TO PHILADELPHIA via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – Book, addressed the Florida Delegation Breakfast at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. “Why are each and every one of you here today?” she challenged delegates shortly after her introduction. “Why have you traveled a thousand or more miles to participate over the last few days? What is your motivation to be among this group of super Democrats? It’s taken a lot to get here.” She answered her own question by saying that it might be because of a passion for protecting woman’s right to choose, to help Democrats to win back the Congress, or perhaps stop the epidemic of gun violence. Or it was simply to help Hillary Clinton become the first woman to hold the highest office in the land. As was the overall theme of the convention, Book gave some love to Hillary Clinton. She cited specifically the newly-nominated presidential candidate’s work with the Children’s Defense Fund, which lobbied Congress to pass the Education for All Handicapped Children Act in 1975. The Act requires all public schools accepting federal funds to provide equal access to education, as well as one meal a day free for children with physical and mental disabilities. Book added that while in office, she intends to continue advocating for policies protecting women’s health, expanded access to mental health services and strengthening Florida’s criminal justice system. “As we stand at the convention tonight,” she concluded, “and watch Hillary Rodham Clinton become our nominee … I am going to ask each and every one of you to ‘remember your why’” … “Remembering your why” — or finding the meaning of your life through impactful events — was the topic of a Ted Talk Book gave earlier this year in Oxford, England.
JANET CRUZ SAYS SHE BELIEVES FLORIDA DEMOCRATS CAN FLIP 6 HOUSE SEATS THIS FALL via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – Cruz says that she “conservatively” believes that the Democrats can flip six seats this coming fall, and just as importantly, retain that number in 2018, beginning their journey to finally getting close to parity in the GOP-controlled chamber. “So we build six seats now,” Cruz told the audience who gathered at the Marriott Hotel in Philadelphia for the Florida Democratic Delegation Breakfast. “In the off-cycle we hold six seats. And we come back in the next presidential (election) and we gain six seats, and that, my friends, is the very slow path to parity, but we are going to take back the House, and we’re going to need your help.” Considering that Republicans control 81 of the 120 seats in the Florida House, any discernible observer would have to question Cruz’s sunny optimism. Then again, Democrats here for their national convention were on a high of sorts … still buzzing from Obama’s ‘handing off the baton to Hillary Clinton’ speech that ended shortly before midnight, and mainlining caffeine after a week in which no one is getting much sleep. But in an interview later in the day, Cruz said she meant what she said about the path to getting many more Democrats getting elected to the state House.
— “California Democrat wants to work with Kathy Castor on ending sanctions against Cuba” via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics
— “Nancy Pelosi thanks Florida Democrats for fighting for redistricting” via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics
— “Philip Levine touting streetcar project to statewide Democrats” via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics
— “Robbie Mook wants Florida Democrats to open their homes for campaign staffers” via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics
MUST-READ OP-ED MICHELLE OBAMA DELIVERED THE WINNING ORATORY WE REPUBLICANS HAVE FORGOTTEN via Rick Wilson for USA Today – The post-Republican Trump party has left the ancient power of rhetoric and speech-writing behind. There was no cohesion or strategic underpinning to the speeches in Cleveland, and with a few exceptions, the Republican convention speakers were a hot rhetorical mess. Closing with a nearly incoherent Castroesque 76-minute shoutfest, delivered with the volume and hate turned up to 11, told viewers that the art of Republican speech-writing is in mortal danger. This was no shining city on a hill but a dumpster fire on a burning tire pile. Monday night, the first lady reminded this Republican that a passionate speech with heart, poetry and grace is still one of the most powerful and effective tools in the political toolbox. It was the instrument of the speech itself that impressed me, not its politics. Even if you’re not a Michelle Obama fan, it was authentically her voice, beautifully crafted and strategically on point. In 20-plus minutes, she helped unify her fractured party, brilliantly rebuked Trump and played perfectly to the Clinton campaign’s not-so-secret target audience: suburban, educated women, many of whom are behaviorally and temperamentally Republicans. It was a perfect antidote to the Democrats’ fractious morning … Trump Republicans believe volume and venom are substitutes for meaning and vision. Can a sharp-edged and effective critique of the opposing party include some rhetorical heat and contrast? It should. However, a party that forgets that there are objectives beyond its base and emotions beyond rage will reflect that in the speeches of its leaders.
DEMOCRATIC DONORS RIP DONALD TRUMP FOR FAILURE TO SHARE TAX RETURNS via Julie Bycowicz of The Associated Press – Supporters of Hillary Clinton are sounding the alarm about Trump‘s break with decades of presidential campaign tradition. Clinton put out eight years of recent tax filings last summer, and her backers lament that voters don’t seem to understand why Trump’s refusal to do the same matters. Democratic talk of the taxes spilled onto the convention stage … Vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine, mocking Trump, said, “Believe me, there’s nothing suspicious in my tax returns. Believe me!” The crowd laughed. There’s literally a bounty for the Trump documents. Moishe Mana, a top fundraiser for Clinton, has offered to give $1 million to the charity of Trump’s choice if he makes them public. He joins an unnamed Republican donor working with Clinton ally David Brock who has made a similar offer of $5 million. “Through his financial documents, we are trying to break into the image that he’s portraying to the American people,” said Mana, a real estate developer in Miami. “He says he’s a successful businessman who wants to do for the country what he did for his company. Well, go ahead, show me the money.” Trump is unmoved. The billionaire owner of the Trump Organization, an international development company, reiterated at a news conference Wednesday that the Internal Revenue Service is auditing his tax returns and that he’ll release them only once that review is complete.
BRADLEY COOPER’S DNC APPEARANCE IRKS CONSERVATIVES via The Associated Press – Cooper‘s appearance at the Democratic National Convention has irked some conservative fans of the actor’s portrayal of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle in 2014’s “American Sniper.” Cooper was spotted by TV cameras seated at the meeting in Philadelphia alongside his Russian model girlfriend, Irina Shayk. Some Twitter users say they plan to boycott Cooper’s future films over his presence at the convention. Another commented that they thought his experience playing Kyle would have rubbed off on him. The complaints have been mocked by others who say Cooper was simply acting a role when playing Kyle and conservatives shouldn’t be surprised.
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ALAN GRAYSON CAMPAIGN LOSES FOUR STAFF FOLLOWING DOMESTIC ABUSE REPORTS via Michael Auslen of the Tampa Bay Times – Political Director Mario Piscatella, as well as three field staffers are leaving the campaign … “We’re sorry to see our political director and a few of our good field staffers leave the campaign, but our core team remains intact,” campaign manager Michael Ceraso said in a statement confirming the departures. “As in recent weeks and months, we are constantly re-tooling and adding talent to the campaign, and we’ll continue to do so.”
CONSERVATIVE SUPER PAC GOES AFTER PATRICK MURPHY IN NEW AD via Kristen Clark of the Miami Herald – A dark-money conservative group with ties to the Koch brothers has launched an ad attacking Murphy for a vote supporting the Export-Import Bank. The ad from American Future Fund began airing this week on certain Florida markets. It urges viewers to call Murphy and tell him to support HR 5715 to “stop supporting corporate welfare” and “stop supporting state sponsors of terror.” The Washington Post reported the ad buy is worth $1.5 million and is targeting “networks that attract a disproportionate share of Democratic viewers, including MSNBC, while eschewing GOP-heavy networks, such as Fox News Channel … Also arousing suspicions are the markets in which the ad is airing — Democratic strongholds like West Palm Beach and Gainesville are seeing the ad, while GOP-heavy areas like Fort Myers and Pensacola are not.”
FIREFIGHTERS UNION BACKS MURPHY — Murphy picked up the endorsement of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) and Florida Professional Fire Fighters. “We know Patrick will continue to stand up for workers’ rights, fight to protect retirement benefits, and work to keep our fire fighters and communities safe. Florida’s professional fire fighters can count on Patrick Murphy to fight for them in the U.S. Senate,” said Harold Schaitberger, the general president of the IAFF.
The Treasure Coast Democrat said he was humbled by the endorsement. “Florida’s fire fighters work hard every day to keep our state and our country safe and they deserve a Senator who will show up and work hard for them,” said Murphy.
PAM KEITH SAYS HER EXCLUSION FROM U.S. SENATE DEBATE IS ‘BLATANT RACISM AND SEXISM’ via Kristen Clark of the Miami Herald– In a statement … Miami labor attorney and former naval officer Keith blasted WFTV Channel 9 for “colluding” with leading Democratic candidates Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson to arrange what the station said will be a “one-on-one” debate between the two sitting U.S. congressmen. “Essentially, WFTV wants to ensure that all voters, but especially women, African-American and Hispanic voters, remain ignorant of any candidates other than the two wealthy white men they seek to promote,” Keith said. The televised debate is scheduled to air Aug. 12 and will likely be the only Democratic U.S. Senate debate ahead of the Aug. 30 primary. WFTV told the Herald/Times that it invited just Grayson and Murphy to participate because they were the only two candidates that met the station’s criteria: a showing of at least 15 percent in statewide polls. Such a threshold is common for organized political debates. Keith has been campaigning for about 20 months — longer than any other candidate from either major party — but she’s still an underdog. Most polls haven’t included her. In News 13 / Bay News 9 polls in March and in June, Keith got 11 percent and 10 percent support, respectively.
MARCO RUBIO FOCUSES ON NATIONAL SECURITY IN FIRST RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN AD — The advertisement calls Rubio as a “national security leader,” and highlights his opposition to, among other things, the Iran nuclear deal. “A national security leader, Rubio wrote the toughest sanctions on Hezbollah ever passed,” an announcer says in the 30-second spot. “He led the fight against the Iran deal, and took on Obama to block refugees from terrorist counties. Marco Rubio. Fighting to keep America safe.” The advertisement is part of a statewide ad buy ahead of the Aug. 30primary.
RUBIO’S AD BUY UP TO $912K via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida – Rubio’s campaign has boosted his first ad buy to $912,028 … The ad focuses on foreign policy by tying Democratic U.S. Senate candidates to Hillary Clinton. “All three support the disastrous Iran deal, and would close Guantanamo,” reads the narrator. “Standing in their way? Marco Rubio.” The biggest buy is in the Orlando media market, which will see $405,076 worth of ad buy spending. The new spot is set to go through Aug. 8 … The ads are hitting the airwaves at the same time as several other groups have commercials aimed at the U.S. Senate race. Rubio’s primary opponent Carlos Beruff has so far dropped $6 million on ads. Democrat Patrick Murphy and Democratic super PAC Senate Majority PAC each has ads currently running, with most in the Orlando and Tampa media markets. Florida First Project, a super PAC backing Rubio, is also in the middle of an ad campaign. Overall, $32 million in ads have been purchased for the race by a host of outside groups and campaign through November’s general election.
ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Rubio will meet with local Venezuelan leaders at 11 a.m. at Arepazo #2, 3900 NW 79 Avenue in Doral. Media interested in attending must RSVP to to email@example.com by 8 a.m. The campaign event is open to the public, but registration is required. Attendees can register using the event’s Eventbrite.
NORTH FLORIDA NEIGHBORS DROPS NEW AD TO SUPPORT MATT GAETZ IN CD 1 — The super PAC released a new advertisementThursday, saying the Fort Walton Beach Republican wouldn’t back down if elected in Florida’s 1st Congressional District. “Matt Gaetz will respect and support our military, protect life and our right to bear arms. Matt Gaetz will secure our borders and defend our values, and end policies that coddle terrorists … and kill them,” an announcer says in the 30-second spot. “Cutting taxes, bringing jobs, protecting veterans. Matt Gaetz won’t back down.”
MARY THOMAS RELEASES NEW AD IN CD 2 — The Tallahassee Republican unveiled a new advertisement in an email to supporters Thursday, encouraging them to donate $10 to help get the 30-second spot on the airwaves by the end of the week. In the ad, Thomas says as “a constitutional conservative and a political outsider (she will) stand up to career politicians and stand up to our families” if elected in Florida’s 2nd Congressional District.
DESPITE BEING AMONG POOREST MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, CORRINE BROWN LOANS TROUBLED CAMPAIGN $50K via Matt Dixon of POLITICO – The two loans, reported in June, were together the biggest contribution to her campaign during the past three-month period. Over that time, she raised only $64,197 from donors, and reports having $99,683 cash on hand, the most she’s had since July 2010. Through a spokesman, Brown said that she had “no comment” when asked about the personal loans. The first loan to her campaign was dated June 28; the second a day later.
O’JAYS ASK REPUBLICAN JOHN MICA TO STOP USING THEIR MUSIC via The Associated Press – Founding members Eddie Levert and Walter Williams said they sent a letter to Rep. John Mica asking him to stop using their song “For The Love Of Money” in an online video featuring Donald Trump posted in 2014. The R&B group previously decried Republican presidential nominee Trump for using their song “Love Train” during last week’s Republican National Convention, including a version remixed as “Trump Train” without the O’Jays’ consent. “Trump and his people have no right to help themselves to our music,” Levert said. “He presents himself as supporting ‘law and order’ but, in truth, he’s not respecting the law at all.” The O’Jays’ song “For the Love of Money” served as the theme song for Trump’s reality show “The Apprentice.”
CASH FOR OPPONENT POURS IN AS DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ STRUGGLES via Julie Bycowicz of The Associated Press – Tim Canovaisn’t even in Philadelphia. Instead, the political novice who wants to unseat Wasserman Schultz is reaping big financial rewards from days of nonstop publicity about her resignation from the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee after a hack of embarrassing party emails. Call it viral fundraising. It’s a down-ballot twist on how Bernie Sanders, who has endorsed Canova, was able to raise more than $235 million during his primary race against the far more politically connected — and initially better-funded — Hillary Clinton. “In some ways it feels like we’ve won the lottery,” Canova said. “There’s been a natural donor base for someone willing to take on a person with a national profile who is seen as a failed leader.” Soon after Wasserman Schultz was booed during a Florida delegation breakfast in Philadelphia, Canova wrote to his 20,000 Twitter followers, “It’s time to end her political career for good,” and shared a link to his campaign fundraising webpage.
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VETERAN GOP CONSULTANT SAYS DEFEATING RITCH WORKMAN A ‘HOBBY FOR ME’ via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida – Workman is running in state Senate District 17 in an expensive, hard-nosed primary against fellow Republican Rep. Debbie Mayfield. It has been a costly special-interest fueled slug fest, with both sides funding attacks on the other. A political committee called Stop Career Politicians has been alleging that Workman has used his post to help political donors, promoted his claims on education reform, and raised questions about using political committee funds for personal travel. Each time, the Workman camp has pushed back, calling the attacks dirty politics. Erin Isaac, a spokeswoman for the committee, said Workman’s claim of dirty politics is “hypocrisy.” She points to a website called MayfieldFacts.com, which highlights several negative Mayfield media reports. It is funded by Accomplished Conservative Leaders Fund, a political committee funded almost entirely by a separate Workman-controlled committee … Stop Career Politicians, the site attacking Workman, received $135,000 of its overall $160,000 contributions from Citizens First, a separate committee that uses Randy Nielsen, a partner in the firm Public Concepts for much of its advertising and consulting work. A committee controlled by [Bill] Galvano – Innovate Florida – gave $100,000 of the total $275,000 Citizens First raised during 2016. Galvano, who serves as Senate majority leader, says he is not trying to influence the Republican primary, and that he gave to those committees because he knows they are philosophically aligned with him. But he said he’s not exactly sure how they spent the $435,000 in total contributions he gave the three committees. “The bottom line is I’ve not endorsed in that race, and those dollars in that committee [Citizens First] – I don’t control them,” he said. Galvano said he sometimes gives contributions to political committees based on the advice of others.
DEBBIE MAYFIELD HOLDS A DOUBLE-DIGIT LEAD OVER RITCH WORKMAN IN SD 17 via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – A new survey by St. Pete Polls found Mayfield leads Workman by nearly 18 points … nearly 43 percent of likely Republican primary voters said they would vote for Mayfield if the election were held today. The survey found 25 percent of likely Republican primary voters said they would pick Workman … 10 percent of respondents said they would vote for Mike Thomas, while 22 percent said they were still undecided … nearly 43 percent of respondents said they had a favorable opinion of Mayfield, while nearly 28 percent said they had an unfavorable view. Nearly 30 percent of likely Republican voters said they were unsure … 72 percent of respondents said they were unsure when asked if they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Thomas. Nearly 12 percent said they had a favorable opinion of him, while 16 percent said they had an unfavorable opinion. The poll of 644 likely Republican primary voters was conducted July 26. It has a margin of error of 3.9 percent.
DANA YOUNG HOLDS NARROW LEAD OVER BOB BUESING IN SD 18 via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – A new survey by St. Pete Polls found Young leads Buesing by about 4 points … 35 percent of likely voters said they would vote for Young if the general election was held today. About 31 percent of voters said they would pick Buesing … 16 percent of respondents said they would back Joe Redner, while nearly 6 percent picked Sheldon Upthegrove. Nearly 12 percent of respondents said they were still undecided. The tight race is what makes the Senate District 18 race interesting. The newly drawn district is considered a swing district … Obama narrowly won the district in 2012, which includes Lutz, MacDill Air Force Base, and South Tampa.
DOUG HOLDER LEADS CROWDED REPUBLICAN FIELD IN SD 23 via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – A new survey from St. Pete Polls found Holder would receive nearly 29 percent of the vote, besting a crowded Republican field … Greg Steube would come in second with 23 percent of the vote, followed by Nora Patterson with 20 percent. Ray Pilon comes in fourth with 9 percent, while Rick Levine received 3 percent … 16 percent of likely Republican primary voters were still undecided … Steube and Pilon both decided to forego re-election bids in the Florida House to run for the seat. Both of their seats are on the ballot this year. While Holder may lead the pack, he doesn’t have the highest favorable rating among voters … 41 percent of respondents said they had a favorable opinion of Holder, while nearly 24 percent said they had an unfavorable opinion of him. The survey found 35 percent of respondents were unsure. Steube has the highest favorable ratings, with 43 percent of respondents saying they have a favorable opinion … nearly 23 percent said they had an unfavorable opinion, while 34 percent said they were unsure. Despite serving in the Florida House for six years, voters don’t appear to have a positive or negative opinion of Pilon … nearly 50 percent of respondents said they were unsure when asked if they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the Sarasota Republican … 28 percent had a favorable opinion, while 22 percent said they had an unfavorable opinion … 37 percent of respondents said they had a favorable opinion of Patterson … One in four respondents said they had an unfavorable view … 38 percent said they were unsure. Levine remains largely unknown: 67 percent of likely Republican primary voters polled said they were unsure when asked whether they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of him.
POLL: RACE BETWEEN KATHLEEN PASSIDOMO AND MATT HUDSON A TOSSUP via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – A new survey by St. Pete Polls found 30 percent of likely Republican primary voters said they were still undecided in the race to replace Sen. Garrett Richter… 36 percent of likely Republican primary voters would vote for Hudson if the election were held today, while 34 percent said they would pick Passidomo. The close race means Hudson and Passidomo will spend the next few weeks trying to woo undecided voters. The Naples Republicans have already invested significantly in advertising, and outside groups have begun pouring money into the solidly Republican district … 45 percent of respondents said they had a favorable opinion of Passidomo. Nearly 28 percent said they had an unfavorable opinion, while 27 percent said they were unsure … 34 percent of respondents said they had a favorable opinion of Hudson, while 22 percent said they had an unfavorable opinion of him. Nearly 45 percent of respondents said they were unsure about Hudson.
KEVIN RADER: ‘KEVIN RADER SCARED IRV SLOSBERG OUT OF THE SEAT.’ via Alexandra Seltzer of the Palm Beach Post – Rader … showed off some muscle when he met with The Palm Beach Post Editorial Board to answer questions about his campaign for state Senate District 29. Literally. When The Post’s board asked Rader why he thought State Rep. Slosberg switched campaigns at the last minute, Rader said, “He was scared to run against me.” And then he flexed his muscle. “The only thing I can attribute that to is the strength and muscle of Kevin Rader scared Irv Slosberg out of the seat,” Rader said, lifting up his arm. Slosberg, who is now running for state Senate District 31, first opened a campaign against Rader in state Senate District 29 but switched at the last minute. Now Slosberg is running against State Sen. Jeff Clemensand Emmanuel Morel, and Rader is running against Mindy Koch. “That is such a stupid quote,” Slosberg said over the phone. And it’s false, he added.
MIAMI SENATE RACES DIVIDING DEMOCRATIC DONOR GROUPS via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida – Encouraged by a prominent Republican lawmaker, some labor unions are joining trial lawyers in steering campaign cash to a pair of incumbent South Florida Republican senators, a decision that is sparking an internal fight in Democratic donor circles. Labor unions and trial lawyers are considered some of the last bastions of Democratic support in a Republican-dominated state Legislature. Each group has various coalitions that don’t always make political decisions in lockstep, but much of their support this year has gone to incumbent Republicans in key state Senate races. That support has angered Democratic groups and donors who want to chip away at the GOP’s 26-14 advantage in the state Senate. Miami Republican state Sens. Miguel Díaz de la Portilla and Anitere Flores, both of whom are in re-election fights in districts that lean Democratic during presidential election cycles, are getting campaign cash from some labor unions and trial lawyers … Andy Madtes, executive director of American Federation of State Florida. “We have a member-driven process and we have to make decisions that are best for us.” Over the past decade, American Federation of State Florida has given more than $4 million to the Florida Democratic Party, but is supporting the two Republican Senate incumbents. That includes giving $25,000 to a Díaz de la Portilla-controlled political committee. Outside of that race, the union is supporting a host of Democratic candidates and committees across the state. Madtes says both have “fought for working people” during their time in the Legislature.
DISTRICT 8 CANDIDATES DEMAND ATTENTION TO GADSDEN’S NEEDS via James Call of the Tallahassee Democrat – Unlike the national party conventions, the four Democratic candidates vying to be the next Florida House District 8 representative quickly found common ground when they met with the Tallahassee Democrat editorial board. Ramon Alexander, Clarence Jackson, Brad Johnson and Dianne Williams-Cox, when asked to rate incumbent Rep. Alan Williams‘s term in office, said some variations of the district needing a strong voice at the state capitol. “People feel underrepresented,” said Clarence Jackson. “People need to be heard. Gadsden needs to be heard,” said Williams-Cox “I will advocate for the state workforce,” said Johnson. “We need resources (for) the community,” said Alexander. One in four residents of the south Tallahassee and Gadsden County neighborhoods of the district lives below the poverty line. One in five residents of Gadsden County goes without health insurance. Gadsden County infant mortality rate is nearly double the state average.
CHRIS SPROWLS FACES HEAT FROM OPPONENT AFTER LEAVING STATE ATTY.’S OFFICE via Megan Reeves of the Tampa Bay Times– Bernie Fensterwald, a 65-year-old Dunedin Democrat running against Sprowls, said … that his resignation proves the representative has “abandoned public service” and only made the move to make it easier to climb the political ladder. “Being with the State Attorney’s Office was the one thing (Sprowls) did that I thought was good,” Fensterwald [said]. “It was the only way he was working for the public interest, but he has given up on that, so now there is no public interest.” Sprowls said Fensterwald is wrong and that his goals to pass “common sense, pro-consumer” legislation remain regardless of his personal career choice … State Attorney Bernie McCabe said Sprowls decided to leave to “spread his wings a little bit” and try his hand at civil litigation. After seven years at the State Attorney’s Office, he joined the Tampa office of Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney, a Pittsburgh-based law firm where he will focus on business law … But Fensterwald, who spent 19 years as a civil attorney himself until 1999, says he is convinced Sprowls took the new job for the chance to get closer to big business lobbyists who can help him raise money for the GOP as the presumptive House speaker after the 2020 elections. “People want something other than business as usual, and this guy is the definition of business as usual,” he said. Sprowls disagrees. “Whether I’m putting murders behind bars as a state prosecutor or representing businesses in the private sector, it doesn’t change what my focus is, and always has been, in the state Legislature, which is to fight for north Pinellas County,” he said.
— “Speaker-to-be Chris Sprowls leaves state prosecutor’s office for private practice” via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics
EDUCATION, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, TOP PRIORITIES IN HD 87 RACE via Kevin Thompson of the Palm Beach Post – Three political rookies — all vowing to make education reform their top priority — are vying for the District 87 State House seat vacated by Rep. Dave Kerner, who’s running for Palm Beach County Commission. Darren Ayoub, an environmental attorney; David Silvers, president of a Boca Raton book development and licensing business; and Virginia Savietto, a marketing manager and former county public affairs official, have tossed their hats into the political ring for the Aug. 30 election to represent a working class district that is 50 percent Hispanic and predominantly Democratic. Of the three candidates, only Silvers, 37, has run for office before. He lost to State Rep. Bill Hager in the District 89 race in 2014. Silvers has a huge financial lead in the race, with more than $191,000 in his war chest, according to his campaign finance report. Ayoub has raised $55,000, while Savietto has about $7,600 in her campaign account, campaign records show.
Mary Thomas, running for Florida’s 2nd Congressional District, has been endorsed by the U.S. Immigration Reform Political Action Committee, USIRPAC.
Rebecca Negron, running for Florida’s 18th Congressional District, has been endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police.
Wenda Lewis, running for House District 21, has been endorsed by Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater.
Bob Cortes, running for House District 30, has been endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police.
Lange Sykes, running for House District 54, has been endorsed by the Florida Retail Federation.
SAVE THE DATE: State Reps. Jennifer Sullivan and Gayle Harrell are holding a fundraiser Thursday, Aug. 4, for their re-election campaigns in HD 31 and HD 83, respectively. Event begins 4:30 p.m. at the Governors Club Board Room, 202 ½ S. Adams Street in Tallahassee.
SAVE THE DATE: State Rep. Holly Raschein is hosting a fundraiser Tuesday, Aug. 23, to support her re-election bid in House District 120. Event begins 11:30 a.m. at the Governors Club Library, 202 ½ S. Adams Street in Tallahassee.
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COUNCIL NARROWS LIST FOR PSC VACANCY via Bruce Ritchie of POLITICO Florida — The PSC Nominating Council voted to interview eight applicants for the Public Service Commission seat being vacated by Lisa Edgar. The council is expected to meet Aug. 17 in Orlando to recommend three names to Gov. Scott for an appointment. From the list of 11 applicants, the eight to be interviewed are: Jeffrey Bragg, former executive director of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program, U. S. Department of the Treasury. Thomas Brantley, director of facilities management and construction, Leon County Commission. Todd Chase, Gainesville city commissioner. John Coleman, a former supervisor in the New York State Department of Public Service. Jeffery Foster, Jacksonville public works department project manager. Stuart Pollins, deputy policy coordinator in the Office of Policy and Budget in the governor’s office. Donald Polmann, senior project director at Athens North America Inc. Cynthia Wilson Orndorff, professor of construction management at SouthWestern State College in Fort Myers.
FLORIDA SUPREME COURT MAY SETTLE CONFLICTING RULINGS ON RED LIGHT CAMERAS via Christopher O’Donnell of the Tampa Bay Times– In an opinion … the 3rd District Court of Appeal ruled in favor of the City of Aventura in a case brought by a motorist challenging the legality of the city using a private red light camera firm to run its program. That ruling contradicts one made by the 4th District Court of Appeal in 2014 where a three-judge panel ruled that the City of Hollywood’s camera program illegally delegated law enforcement functions including the determination of a citation and the issuance of a ticket by a third party. The state Supreme Court often accepts cases in which appellate courts produce conflicting decisions. In its ruling, the 3rd DCA stated that would be appropriate here. “Because of the broad public and institutional interest in red light cameras, we certify three issues to the Florida Supreme Court as having great public importance,” the three-judge panel wrote. Class action lawsuits filed by traffic attorneys in the wake of the City of Hollywood decision are seeking reimbursement of the $158 citations. That includes a lawsuit filed against the City of Tampa. City Attorney Julia Mandell declined to comment on the ruling but said a Supreme Court ruling would provide some consistency for communities that use the cameras. “The City of Tampa will continue to move forward in a manner consistent with its existing processes,” she said. “It would be important for there to be clarity on this issue.”
GROUPS FILE LAWSUIT TO STOP BIG CYPRESS PRESERVE OIL EXPLORATION via Bruce Ritchie of POLITICO Florida – Environmental groups have filed a lawsuit against federal agencies to allow seismic exploration for oil and gas in Big Cypress National Preserve. “Oil and gas companies have no place in our national parks and preserves,” Alison Kelly, staff attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement from environmental groups. The National Park Service in May issued a finding of “no significant impact” in response to a proposal by Burnett Oil Company, Inc. for a seismic survey of a 110-mile area of the preserve in Southwest Florida. The survey will use sound waves created by truck-mounted vibrators to create 3-D maps of potential oil and gas reserves, the federal agency said. The environmental groups say the “thumper trucks” – weighing more than 60,000 pounds each- would be driven through roadless parts of the preserve, more than 80 percent of which are wetlands. The trucks would flatten everything in their path and press large vibrating steel plates onto the ground to create seismic signals. The company would also use other intrusive off-road vehicles and low-flying helicopters to survey the preserve. Other groups filing the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Fort Myers are the Center for Biological Diversity, National Parks Conservation Association, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Earthworks and South Florida Wildlands Association.
TWO SHERIFFS APPEAL BUDGET DECISIONS TO GOV. SCOTT, CABINET via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times – Sheriffs Sadie Darnell of Alachua County in Gainesville and Nick Finch of Liberty County in the Panhandle have filed appeals of county votes to reduce their budget requests. Scott and the Cabinet must decide which side is right, at a tense time when police officers in a number of cities have been targeted and murdered. The Florida Sheriffs Association adopted a resolution … calling on all elected officials to support law enforcement officers and to denounce hate speech against police. State law allows a sheriff to appeal local budget decisions to the governor and Cabinet, and the clashes played out at a meeting of Cabinet aides at the Capitol in Tallahassee in advance of a Cabinet meeting next Tuesday. Darnell is fighting a reduction of $936,000 from her budget request of $26.3 million for this budget year. Her appeal has been grinding through the bureaucracy since October … Darnell, a Democrat who faces a challenge in the Aug. 30 primary, accused county commissioners of being “punitive and vindictive” and she played a portion of a June 2 commission meeting to make her point. Her slide presentation said “reduction jeopardizes public safety” and noted: “Due to the current climate in our country, I have mandated backups be sent to all calls for service.”
ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Gov. Scott will hold a hold a press conference and attend a round table discussion about the Zika virus at 9:15 a.m. at the Orange County Florida Department of Health, 6101 Lake Ellenor Drive in Orlando.
MOSQUITOES SUSPECTED IN TWO NEW MYSTERIOUS FLORIDA ZIKA CASES via Mike Stobbe of the Associated Press – Florida health officials are investigating two more mysterious cases of Zika infection that do not appear to be related to travel, bringing the total to four. The cases have raised the possibility that mosquitoes in the U.S. have begun to spread the virus. Florida officials say they are still looking into the cases and have not come to a conclusion. The four cases are in neighboring Miami-Dade and Broward counties. The cases fit a similar pattern seen when mosquito-borne clusters of two other tropical infections, dengue fever and chikungunya, occurred in Florida in the past, according to Tom Skinner, a spokesman for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Evidence is mounting which points to local transmission via mosquitoes,” he said of the Florida cases. The virus is mainly spread by mosquitoes, as well as sex. So far, the 1,400 infections reported in the U.S. have been linked to travel to countries with Zika outbreaks in Latin America or the Caribbean.
FEARING ZIKA, FDA TELLS MIAMI-DADE, BROWARD BLOOD BANKS TO STOP COLLECTING DONATIONS via Jessica Bakeman of POLITICO Florida – Banks in Miami-Dade and Broward counties must cease collections until they implement Zika testing for each blood donation or use a “pathogen inactivation technology,” according to a notice posted on the FDA’s website … “Additionally, FDA recommends that adjacent and nearby counties implement the precautions above to help maintain the safety of the blood supply as soon as possible,” the notice said. Nationally, blood banks must defer donations from people who have traveled to the two south Florida counties during the previous four weeks. “These may be the first cases of local Zika virus transmission by mosquitoes in the continental United States,” the notice says.
MEANWHILE … COLOMBIA DECLARES ITS ZIKA EPIDEMIC OVER via Nick Miroff of The Washington Post – Nearly 100,000 Colombians have been diagnosed with Zika since the first cases were confirmed in October. But Colombian health officials say the number of new infections in their country is falling by more than 600 a week, meaning that the virus has moved into an “endemic” phase in which it continues to circulate but is no longer spreading pervasively. Only Brazil, the epicenter of the Zika outbreak, has reported more cases, but Colombia’s total is far below the projected 700,000 infections that health officials were bracing for earlier this year. “Colombia is the first country in the world to declare an end to the Zika epidemic,” Vice Minister of Health Fernando Ruiz told reporters.
SLIMY GREEN BEACHES MAY BE FLORIDA’S NEW NORMAL via Laura Parker of National Geographic – Blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, occur naturally and thrive in warm, calm water. Two conditions work against eradicating it: climate change and political inertia. As the climate warms, toxic algae blooms are proliferating worldwide—from eastern China, which has seen some of the largest algae blooms on Earth, to the American West, where sludge covering almost the entire surface of Lake Utah is raising questions about the safety of fruits and vegetables irrigated with algae-infested water. Florida, already confronting warmer and wetter days, will surely find itself battling more algae as the climate continues to heat up in the decades to come. But the guacamole-thick sludge that keeps appearing can be blamed more on political inaction. The state’s current algae problem is rooted in its historic penchant for dredging and filling, which started when its founders began draining the swamp a century ago to create dry, marketable real estate. Solving the problem is stymied by legislative bickering and warring factions that drive modern Florida’s economy and politics. Few expect environmental restorationists, Big Agriculture, and the residential housing industry to get together and agree to a fix. “There is no single villain in this nightmare, and not one single thing you can do to make it all better,” says Maggy Hurchalla, a former five-term commissioner from Martin County and the sister of Janet Reno, who served as U.S. Attorney General in the Clinton administration.
AIF FORMS WORKERS’ COMP TASK FORCE via Florida Politics – The Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) business lobby is forming a “Florida Workers’ Compensation Strategic Task Force” after court decisions they said will collectively cost businesses in the hundreds of millions. The task force evolved from a series of “Helping Florida Work” town halls in Jacksonville, Tampa and Miami this summer “to foster ideas and initiatives,” the group said in a news release. “After hearing from our elected leaders and business community from all corners of the state on how the recent Florida Supreme Court rulings have impacted our state’s workers’ compensation system, we were compelled to continue to help restore a stable, self-executing and affordable workers’ compensation system in Florida as the Florida Legislature intended all along,” AIF president and CEO Tom Feeney said in a statement. In recent months, the Florida Supreme Court has ruled on cases affecting the state’s workers’ comp system. One struck down a law that limited payments to injured workers to two years and another struck down a law that limited attorney fees in workers’ compensation cases.
FLORIDA HEALTH REGULATORS ANNOUNCE TELEMEDICINE BOARD APPOINTMENTS via Ryan Benk of WJCT – Florida’s health regulators announced the appointment of 13 health care professionals to a board tasked with assessing the viability of telemedicine. The taskforce will recommend solutions for reimbursing doctors who use distance medicine technology to treat patients. The 15-member panel will be chaired by Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Elizabeth Dudek or her stand-in. Florida Surgeon General Celeste Philip was also appointed to the committee and can also select a stand-in. The Telehealth Advisory Council was set up after lawmakers couldn’t agree on the best way to regulate the use of webcams and other technology to treat patients from a distance. Major sticking points were whether out-of-state doctors could participate and how physicians would be reimbursed for the services by insurance companies. After years of failing bills, lawmakers decided on creating a taskforce to study these questions and make recommendations to the Legislature. The board is expected to have those recommendations a year from January. The panel is composed of doctors, insurance representatives and medical supply executives from around the state, including Jacksonville Dr. Servam Terkonda.
BREVARD COUNTY TO DEBATE $303 MILLION INDIAN RIVER LAGOON CLEANUP PLAN via Jim Waymer and Dave Berman of FLORIDA TODAY– Brevard County is considering a decadelong, $303 million cleanup plan for the Indian River Lagoon. County commissioners are scheduled to review the proposal at its Aug. 9 meeting when they discuss a new property tax on the November ballot to pay for it. The cleanup will be costly, but the new plan concludes that the lagoon has a total current value of $6 billion tied to its restoration. There is about $2 billion in benefits from restoring the lagoon … and an estimated $4 billion in damages if the lagoon is not brought back to health during the next decade. The county spent $69,000 for Tetra Tech, Inc., of Tallahassee and CloseWaters LLC. of Satellite Beach, to prepare the plan. Brevard commissioned the plan in response to severe fish kills this past March, and after state officials had asked for a specific list of potential future lagoon cleanups that the state could help fund. The Save the Lagoon Project Plan will remove an estimated 762,000 pounds of nitrogen and 98,670 pounds of phosphorus.
AUBURN TAG PLEDGES SURPASS 4000 MARK via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – According to the iwantmyfloridaauburnplate.com website, 4,018 people had turned in unofficial pledges as of Tuesday night. New plates need 4,000 “pre-sales” before they can be produced. Supporters hope those filing pledges at the website will follow up with the state. The plate has bipartisan backing: Democratic PR man Kevin Cate (Class of 2005) and state Rep. Jamie Grant (Class of 2006), a Tampa Republican. Grant intends to file a bill next year to create an Auburn plate. If passed, that would add to the 123 specialty tags Florida now offers. It would be the first collegiate specialty tag for an out-of-state school. “We take a moment to be proud of the Auburn Family here in Florida and recognize the impact that generations of Auburn alumni have made on our state,” Grant said in a statement.
COMMITTED TO COLLABORATION via Matthew Surrency of the Florida League of Cities – One year ago, the Florida League of Cities embarked on a journey to unite cities within regional clusters to identify and solve shared challenges that cross municipal boundaries … Inspired by four southeast Florida counties that came together seven years ago to address regional flooding, the Florida Regional Compact Initiative (FRCI) was born. From economic development to addressing water quality, cities around the state are recognizing the value of forming natural alliances as agents for collective change … The concept is not new. In fact, committing to this form of collaboration might even sound a bit duplicative of other regional planning efforts. The difference is that cities take a formal vote to join the compact and then work together to coordinate the recommended activities across jurisdictional boundaries. And it’s working. Around the state, multiple regions are using the tools and resources of the FRCI to convene conversations focused on engagement and connection. Cities are partnering with their constituents, academia, the business community, and the nonprofit sector to identify the salient issues facing their region, cultivate the partnerships to tackle these issues together and build consensus on what the solutions should be. Through these conversations, Florida cities have discovered the elements needed to sustain these collaborations into the future … Leadership by elected officials … Commitment from the community … Partnerships with academic, business and non-governmental organizations … Small, deliberate steps. We sometimes focus so much on a distant solution that we stumble along the path immediately before us. This leads to great ideas but very little action. By taking small, deliberate steps, we are able to move forward while building confidence and constantly monitoring progress. And this is just the beginning.
WHAT LENNY CURRY IS READING – AMAZON BRINGING 1500-JOB FULFILLMENT CENTER TO JACKSONVILLE via Timothy Gibbons of the Jacksonville Business Journal – Amazon will be establishing an 800,000-square-foot fulfillment center in Jacksonville … Incentives for the project had been approved in April — including $4.95 million from the state and $13.4 million from the city. The city funding would include $2.5 million for the roadway improvements. The Northside distribution center would bring 1,500 jobs by 2019 and $200 million in capital investment. The $200 million facility will be located on a plot of land at the corner of Interstate 295 and Duval Road, according to project documents. The bulk of the site — 148 acres known as Broward Signature had been owned by Signature Land, while another 22 acres belonged to CRM Florida Properties LLC of Atlanta.
BITCOIN NOT MONEY, MIAMI JUDGE RULES IN DISMISSING LAUNDERING CHARGES via David Ovalle of the Miami Herald – In a case closely watched in financial and tech circles, the judge threw out the felony charges against website designer Michell Espinoza, who had been charged with illegally transmitting and laundering $1,500 worth of Bitcoins. He sold them to undercover detectives who told him they wanted to use the money to buy stolen credit-card numbers. But Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Teresa Mary Pooler ruled that Bitcoin was not backed by any government or bank, and was not “tangible wealth” and “cannot be hidden under a mattress like cash and gold bars” … “The court is not an expert in economics; however, it is very clear, even to someone with limited knowledge in the area, the Bitcoin has a long way to go before it the equivalent of money,” Pooler wrote in an eight-page order … Florida law — which says someone can be charged with money laundering if they engage in a financial transaction that will “promote” illegal activity — is way too vague to apply to Bitcoin.
FLORIDA SENATE RENOVATIONS ON SCHEDULE via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – “We expect the dome to be completed by early next week,” Senate representative Katie Betta said. Workers dismantled the chamber’s ceiling and put up scaffolding to install a new dome, modeled after one in the Old Capitol. Outgoing Senate President Andy Gardiner pulled the trigger on the upgrade, recognizing that the chamber “has received only minimal updates since its original construction in the 1970s,” he said in a memo. The renovation project will cost nearly $5 million. The final product in the Senate will be similar to an artists’ rendition released earlier this year … It shows the proposed new ceiling dome and other design elements that echo the Old Capitol’s exterior, such as a pediment on top of columns over the president’s rostrum and the words, “In God We Trust.” Construction is still planned to be wrapped up before the 2016 Organization Session this fall.
EMAIL SCAMMERS TARGETING FLORIDA LAWYERS AGAIN via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – Attorney General Pam Bondi sent out a warning about a new “impostor scam.” This time, her office is the one being spoofed. “Bar members are receiving emails purported to be from the Florida Attorney General’s Office, erroneously informing (them) that their business is being sued by the state,” a press release from Bondi’s office said. “The email includes a link claiming to be a complaint filed against the recipient’s company; however, it may actually deploy malware,” it added. Malware, short for malicious software, is software intended to damage or shut down individual computers or online systems. To report such an email, call the Florida Attorney General’s Office at (866) 9-NO-SCAM or go to MyFloridaLegal.com … subject lines of the emails, which were sent from “@flabar.org” addresses, claimed membership fees were past due or that the receiving attorney had a complaint filed against him or her.
FPL SECOND QUARTER PROFITS UP via Susan Salisbury of the Palm Beach Post – NextEra Energy, Inc. reported second-quarter 2016 profits of $777 million, or $1.67 per share, compared to $699 million, or $1.56 per share, in the second quarter of 2015. Juno Beach-based NextEra Energy’s principal rate-regulated electric utility subsidiary, Florida Power & Light Company reported second-quarter profits of $448 million, or 96 cents per share, compared to $435 million, or 97 cents per share, for the prior-year quarter. FPL’s contribution to second-quarter adjusted earnings per share was roughly flat, down one cent versus the comparable prior-year period. Growth driven by continued investment in the business was offset by share dilution and a negative impact relating to the Florida Supreme Court’s decision to reverse the Florida Public Service Commission’s approval of the company’s natural gas reserves program.
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PERSONNEL NOTE: LLOYD DUNKELBERGER HIRED BY NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA via Florida Politics – The indefatigable
SOUTH FLORIDA CASINOS DEAL WITH POKÉMON CRAZE via David Raterman of SouthFlorida.com – Mardi Gras Casino … Hallandale Beach … has a PokéStop at its main entrance, senior marketing manager Ashley Foster says. “The creators of the game put it there. We had nothing to do with it” … “We have a PokéStop on property where you can load up on Pokéballs, healing potions and other miscellaneous Poké items,” says Francesca Costa, marketing manager of Casino Miami … “In addition, people often drop a lure at our PokéStop, which attracts rare Pokémon.” Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino … has hosted two Pop-Up Pokémon Parties, with the most recent taking place July 25 at its La Pizzeria. “Gulfstream Park is a hot spot for Pokémon Go trainers,” says Corin Angel, marketing manager for the Village at Gulfstream Park. “We have two gyms and over 20 PokéStops.” Gyms are where trainers teach Pokémon to fight. Another Pop-Up Pokémon Party is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 1, at a Gulfstream site to be determined. Other casinos are still considering their options.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY belatedly to the dean of the Florida Capitol Press Corps, Bill Cottrell. Celebrating today are our friends Tre Evers and Debbie Ressler. Also celebrating today are politicos Sarah Busk, Rich Reidy and Crystal Stickle.