Sunburn for 10/30 – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

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Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.

Today’s Rise and Shine Fact-iversary is brought to you by Sachs Media Group, the public affairs firm known for unparalleled relationships and winning strategies: On this day in 1970, former Florida State University student and The Doors singer Jim Morrison was sentenced to six months of hard labor by a Miami judge for a controversial incident that may have never happened. In the most notorious episode of his abbreviated career, Morrison reportedly was drunk and obscene throughout a March 1, 1969, concert in Miami – culminating in allegations that he exposed himself to the crowd. Despite a lack of evidence corroborating police accounts, Morrison was found guilty of indecent exposure and profanity and, on this date 44 years ago, sentenced to a half-year in jail. Morrison died in Paris while his appeal was pending, and in 2010 then- Gov. Charlie Crist and the Florida Cabinet granted Morrison a pardon. (What would Jim Morrison look like if he were still alive today?) Morrison’s arrest in the case gave rise three weeks later to a huge “Rally for Decency” at the Orange Bowl, which featured Florida-born singer and former Miss America Anita Bryant, then the spokeswoman for the Florida Citrus Commission and later an outspoken opponent of gay rights.

Now, on to the ‘burn…

STILL ASKING…

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR HALLOWEEN?

Are you dressing up? What do you have planned for the kids? What are your favorite traditions? Email me at saintpeter4@gmail.com and I’ll include the best in Friday’s edition.

START THINKING ABOUT WHO BELONGS ON THE WINNERS & LOSERS LIST

We are now taking your nominations for the highly anticipated 2014 W & L list. Who were the consultants who banked? Who were the hardest working activists? Who took it on the chin. All emails are confidential, but start getting them to me now.

READ THIS FIRST — HOW AP COUNTS THE VOTE  – via Sally Buzbee on AP blog, The Definitive Source

AP assigns stringers in nearly every county in the U.S. and in towns and cities in New England to gather vote tallies from county clerks and other officials. They phone in the results to AP vote tabulation centers … Web teams check for election results on county and state sites, and the AP also processes direct feeds of election results in some states from secretaries of state and from some counties.

THIS IS THE COSTANZA ELECTION via Dick Meyer of Scripps News

This is at least the third time that a midterm election has been labeled a “Seinfeld Election” – an election about nothing.

The first time was 2002.  A fleeting sense of civic spirit after 9/11 had calmed some of the fractures from the disputed 2000 battle between George W. Bush and Al Gore. There wasn’t one giant bone of contention or angry clash of ideologies. It was a tepid contest.

The same was said in 2010, the first midterm of Barack Obama’s administration. It was kind of a referendum on Obama and Obamacare but, again, no great debate, no great energy.

And it is being said again this year. This is an election of tactics, small ball and small ideas.

But that is actually wrong. This election has a clear theme. This is an election about fear, pessimism and anxiety.

It isn’t the Seinfeld Election at all.

It is the Costanza Election – an election about what’s wrong and how it’s all going to get worse.

A LOOK AT HOW FLORIDA WOULD HANDLE A RECOUNT via Gary Fineout of the Associated Press

There’s a chance that Florida’s bitter – and expensive – governor’s race between Gov. Scott and Crist could trigger a recount – a word that sends shudders through the state.

What triggers a recount? No one can request a recount. For statewide races, it is ordered by the secretary of state.

An automatic machine recount is required if the first set of returns, due four days after the election, show that a candidate was defeated by one-half of 1 percent or less. If the margin between the two candidates is then one-quarter of 1 percent or less, then a manual recount of “undervotes” and “overvotes” takes place. “Undervotes” are ballots that reflect that a voter skipped a race. “Overvotes” are when a voter chooses more than one candidate. Those votes are reviewed to see if they were legitimately disqualified during the machine count.

Can a recount be prevented even if the margin is close? Yes, the candidate who is behind can request in writing that an automatic machine recount not be conducted. A manual recount can be prevented if the losing candidate requests that it not be conducted. There is also no manual recount if the total number of “undervotes” and “overvotes” is not enough to change the outcome of the election.

Is there still a chance for “hanging chads” in Florida? No. After the chaotic 2000 election, Florida did away with what are known as “punch card” ballots that required a voter to punch a hole in their ballot. Florida briefly allowed touchscreen machines, but while Crist was governor from 2007-11 the state moved to what are known as “optical scan ballots.” These require a voter to fill in a circle next to the candidate’s name. A machine reads the ballot and registers the vote. The paper ballot is retained by local election officials.

Can any voter be turned away from the polls? No. Elections now allow for the casting of what is known as a “provisional ballot” if there is a question about a voter’s eligibility. Voters have up until two days following the election to present evidence to local supervisors to prove that their vote should be counted. But Florida law does require votes be cast in the correct precinct or the provisional ballot will not be counted.

Can an election still wind up being decided in the courts? Yes. Florida law still allows someone to “contest” the election results in certain instances. The losing candidate has until 10 days after final certification of the results to file a lawsuit challenging the outcome.

U.S. ATTORNEY IN TAMPA SOLICITING COMPLAINTS OF VOTING PROBLEMS via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times

The U.S. Department of Justice says it will be on the lookout for voting irregularities in Florida and is publicizing a Tampa telephone line so people who suspect voting rights abuses can report it to federal prosecutors.

In Tampa, U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley III issued a statement in which he said, “Every citizen should be free to vote without interference and to have his or her vote count, without the fear that it will be stolen because of fraud. The Department of Justice will act promptly and aggressively to protect the integrity of the voting process.” Bentley said public complaints should be reported to Assistant U.S. Attorney Bob Mosakowski at 813-274-6129.

In a news release, the U.S. attorney’s office said it is on alert for harassment or intimidation of voters, including “videotaping voters at polling places under the pretext of uncovering violations of federal voting rights laws.”

In August, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder sent a strongly worded letter to Gov. Scott, saying the feds would be “carefully monitoring” voting in Florida. At the time, Scott called Holder’s letter “pure politics” and said it was “just them trying to help Charlie Crist.”

SEA (DEM) POLL: SCOTT 45%; CRIST 43% via Marc Caputo of the Miami Herald

Florida’s race for governor is as tight as ever, with Gov. Scott getting 45 percent support and Democrat Crist 43 percent from likely voters, according to a new poll from Democratic-leaning polling firm SEA Polling & Strategic Design.

The Republican’s 2 percentage-point lead is well within the 800 voter survey’s 3.5 percentage-point margin of error – like every other recent major poll in this race.

What makes the survey from pollster Tom Eldon stand out is that he’s one of the best in Florida, he’s a Democrat and he doesn’t sugarcoat his numbers. It’s also proof that good pollsters produce good numbers, regardless of party affiliation.

Eldon produced the poll showing Crist running strong in a bellwether seat in Pasco County.

Contrary to the belief among some in Tallahassee and other political circles, Scott has secured his base. He’s getting 84 percent support from Republicans; while Crist draws 80 percent from Democrats.

Crist is not disproportionately getting crossover voters from the opposite party. In fact, on that count, they’re basically tied. Crist gets 11 percent support from Republicans, Scott gets 10 percent from Democrats.

Crist is leading slightly among independents: 37-33 percent. That could prove crucial.

THE FINAL QUINNIPIAC POLL POPS TODAY AT 6:00 A.M. Click here for results

INSIDER POLL: CONFIDENCE REIGNS FOR BOTH SCOTT AND CRIST via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times

This is Florida, so maybe we shouldn’t be surprised by the results of our final Florida Insider Poll of the 2014 election cycle:  More than 140 of Florida’s most sophisticated political operators view the neck-and-neck gubernatorial race between Crist and Gov. Scott in starkly partisan terms.

Democrats overwhelmingly (76 percent) expect Crist will win, and Republicans overwhelmingly (78 percent) expect Gov. Scott to win a second term. The Tampa Bay Times Florida Insider Polls have never before broken down along such clear partisan lines, but it appears both sides have returned to their respective political corners in the final week of a tied race.

A month ago, two out of three Florida Insiders surveyed, including nearly 4 in 10 Democrats, expected Scott to win. Now there is bipartisan agreement that this will be a razor-thin victory — for someone.

Our Insider Polls are less a reflection of the actual state of the race than the state of conventional wisdom among the Florida’s political intelligentsia, unscientific surveys of experienced campaign professionals, money-raisers, lobbyists and academics.

Overall, 57 percent of those surveyed said they expect Gov. Scott to win but that’s because we surveyed far more Republicans. The latest Insider Poll included 85 Republicans, 49 Democrats and eight people registered to neither major party.

They may be sharply divided along partisan lines on the governor’s race, but our insiders reached a clear consensus prediction on the Amendment 2 medical marijuana initiative: More than 8 in 10 expect it to fail, including 70 percent of Democrats and 92 percent of Republicans.

TWEET, TWEET: @adeslatte: Does the @ScottforFlorida team keep two sets of ‘internal memos?’ One comparing 2014 w/ 2012, and one that actually matters?

TWEET, TWEET: @JKennedyReport: .@FLGovScott campaign nyah-nyah’ing Dems on ev/absentee numbers. Say Dems on track to overtake Reps (wait for it) on Jan. 28, 2015.

SPOTTED (FOR THE WRONG REASONS): PAM BONDI IN THIS NYTIMES STORY — CORPORATIONS, LOBBYISTS INCREASINGLY TARGETING STATE AGS 

Eric Lipton has a big investigative piece in the New York Times about influence peddling around state attorneys general. “A robust industry of lobbyists and lawyers has blossomed as attorneys general have joined to conduct multistate investigations and pushed into areas as diverse as securities fraud and Internet crimes,” Lipton writes. “But unlike the lobbying rules covering other elected officials, there are few revolving-door restrictions or disclosure requirements governing state attorneys general, who serve as ‘the people’s lawyers’ by protecting consumers and individual citizens. A result is that the routine lobbying and deal-making occur largely out of view. But the extent of the cause and effect is laid bare in The Times’ review of more than 6,000 emails obtained through open records laws in more than two dozen states, interviews with dozens of participants in cases and attendance at several conferences where corporate representatives had easy access to attorneys general.

BONDI: ‘NO LOBBYIST WILL EVER AFFECT A DECISION I MAKE’ via George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post

“No lobbyist will ever affect a decision I make regarding the citizens of the state of Florida,” Bondi said in a brief interview in West Delray after speaking to about 30 supporters at a delicatessen.

At the Palm Beach County event, Bondi was greeted by Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg, a Democrat who worked as Bondi’s “pill mill czar” before his election in 2012. Aronberg said he is neutral in the attorney general’s race, but came by to say hello to Bondi.

REPORTER-TURNED-CANDIDATE AVOIDS QUESTIONS via Noah Pransky of WTSP/10 News

Investigative reporter-turned-congressional candidate Alan Cohn lists “speaking truth to power” and “uncovering wrong-doing” among his qualifications to be the next U.S. Representative for Florida’s 15th Congressional District, covering Eastern Hillsborough County and much of Polk County. But when 10 Investigates wanted to ask tough questions about how he was profiting off campaign contributions, Cohn repeatedly declined interviews.

The Tampa Democrat is trying to upset two-term Republican congressman Dennis Ross, producing numerous ads and mailers criticizing Ross for profiting off campaign donations, as exposed by 10 Investigates last year.

The 10 Investigates story identified a number of Ross’ campaign expenditures that benefited him personally, including payments to his wife, who was acting as his chief fundraiser. The congressman agreed to an interview for the story, explaining the expenses as a necessity in the fundraising process.

A congressional candidate was critical of campaign donations going to personal profits; even while doing it himself. Cohn’s criticisms of the expenses suggested Ross was “working for…special interests.”

But in July, Cohn started paying himself from his own campaign funds, an unusual measure for a congressional candidate. The $2,197 bi-monthly payments equate to a roughly $53,000 salary.

10 Investigates reached out to Cohn for an interview, but he deferred all questions to his campaign manager, who declined multiple interview opportunities.

DIRECT MAIL ROUND-UP: MEET “TAXZILLA” JUDITHANNE MCLAUCHLAN Full blog post here

Halloween and bad dreams are synonymous, so it is more than fitting that the last week of October brings the latest direct mail blast in the State Senate 22 race.

This ad – calling voters to “Meet Taxzilla” — attacks Judithanne McLauchlan as if she was a late-show monster, painting her as a liberal “tax-raising nightmare.”

Among the list of “horrifying” changes that could come if the Madeira Beach Democrat should win against Republican state Sen. Jeff Brandes next Tuesday: State income tax for Floridians; and Increased sales taxes in Pinellas County — as support of the Greenlight Pinellas transit initiative for improved public transportation

Both issues have been major Republican taking points throughout the campaign.

When McLauchlan does make it to Tallahassee, the flyer also claims she would start “living large off taxpayers” with “taxpayer-funded” salary and benefits and “taxpayer-funded” worldwide travel.

The last two opinions allegedly taken from McLauchlan’s “Moldovan Musings Blog.”

And if that was not enough to scare the devil out of SD 22 voters, the brochure takes it to the next level by mentioning McLauchlan’s bankruptcy filing, claiming that she “failed to pay her bills.”

SCOTT PLAKON DOUBLE-DIGIT LEAD HOLDS FIRM IN HOUSE DISTRICT 29 Full blog post here

Former state Rep. Scott Plakon is enjoying a 24-point advantage over first-term incumbent Rep. Mike Clelland in a new StPetePolls survey.

Plakon, a Longwood Republican, leads Lake Mary Democrat Clelland by a 59 to 35 percent margin in an Oct. 28 poll for the House District 29 race. Just over 6 percent of respondents were undecided.

An earlier survey, taken Oct. 14, had the gap at 23 points.

In addition to an overwhelming support of the Republican base, and 14 percent of Democrats, Plakon wins with independents, taking 55 percent, versus 38 percent for Clelland.

HD 29 covers the Republican-leaning region of Seminole County and the cities of Lake Mary, Longwood and parts of Sanford.

Matt Florell of StPetePolls weighted both the Oct. 28 and Oct. 14 polls with a slight Republican edge, using the same 2010 turnout model.

“This represents a best-case scenario for Republicans,” Florell says in an email. “But I don’t think turnout is really going to be that slanted in the end.”

“In races like HD-29,” he adds, “I don’t see any turnout model that could result in Clelland winning.”

KAREN CASTOR DENTEL GAINS IN HD 30 RACE, STILL 11 POINTS BEHIND BOB CORTES Full blog post here

In two weeks, Democratic state Rep. Karen Castor Dentel gained some voters, but a new poll finds the House District 30 incumbent still 11 points behind her GOP opponent, Longwood City Commissioner Bob Cortes.

A new survey of likely voters from StPetePolls taken Oct. 28 has Cortes leading 54 to 43 percent, with more than 2 percent undecided.

Two weeks ago, a similar Oct. 14 poll found Cortes leading 56 to 38 percent, with over six percent undecided. District 30 covers sections of Seminole and Orange counties.

Both candidates continue showing strong support among base voters — each with 86 percent. However, the movement comes as Cortes drops some Democratic backers (13 percent, down from 18 percent) compared to Dentel’s numbers with Republicans (holding steady at 12 percent).

Independent voters also lean slightly to the Democrat: 51 percent for Dentel and 43 percent for Cortes.

Matt Florell of StPetePolls weighted both the Oct. 28 and Oct. 14 polls with a slight Republican edge, using the same turnout model from 2010, which could change if Democrats are successful in their renewed push for increased turnout.

MIKE MILLER SLIPS 5 POINTS, LEADS REP. LINDA STEWART BY 10 IN NEW HD 47 POLL Full blog post here

House District 47 voters have closed the gap slightly between incumbent Democratic state Rep. Linda Stewart and Mike Miller, her Republican opponent, according to the latest polling from StPetePolls.

The survey, taken Oct. 28, still shows Miller with a 10-point advantage, 53 to 43 percent, with just over 3 percent undecided.

Two weeks earlier, in a similar poll Oct. 14, Miller’s lead over Stewart was 15 points, 56 to 41 percent.

District 47 covers much of Orange County, East Orlando, Winter Park and Belle Isle.

Stewart enjoys strong support from her base (80 percent) and splits the independent vote (49 percent). Miller still takes a chunk of Democrats (16 percent, down from 18 percent two weeks ago) and continues his still-solid Republican base (84 percent, down three points from Oct. 14).

RENE PLASENCIA TAKES DOUBLE-DIGIT LEAD OVER REP. JOE SAUNDERS IN HD 49 Full blog post here

With less than a week until Nov. 4, Republican Rene “Coach P” Plasencia has taken a solid, double digit lead against Democratic incumbent state Rep. Joe Saunders in House District 49, according to a new survey from StPetePolls.

In a poll of 323 likely voters taken Oct. 28, Plasencia, a popular Colonial High School track coach, enjoys a 13-point advantage over Saunders, 54 to 41 percent. Just under 5 percent are undecided.

HD 49 is a borderline Democratic district covering the area between Lake Pickett and Semoran Boulevard and Colonial Drive to the Seminole County line.

Plasencia has both the backing of Republican voters (86 percent) and a majority of independents (55 percent), as well as nearly 20 percent of Democrats. Saunders gets 74 percent of the Democratic base, 12 percent of Republicans and just 38 percent of independents.

SHAWN HARRISON HOLDS TIGHT TO 12-POINT LEAD OVER MARK DANISH IN HD 63 Full blog post here

Republican former state Rep. Shawn Harrison is holding tight to a 12-point lead over state Rep. Mark Danish in House District 63, according to a recent St. Pete Polls survey.

In the poll of 413 likely voters taken Oct. 28, Harrison leads Democratic incumbent Danish among likely voters 53 percent to 41 percent; 6 percent remain undecided. That mirrors a similar poll taken two weeks earlier, which gave Harrison a 13-point lead on Oct. 14.

District 63 covers Tampa and other parts of Hillsborough County.

LATEST HD 65 POLL: REPUBLICAN CHRIS SPROWLS 55%, CARL ZIMMERMANN 42% Full blog post here

An Oct. 28 survey from StPetePolls gives first-time Republican candidate Chris Sprowls a 13-point lead over Democratic incumbent state Rep. Carl Zimmermann in House District 65.

With only days left before the election, Sprowls has now pulled ahead of his opponent by a margin of 55 to 42 percent. Less than 4 percent remain undecided.

A similar survey taken on Oct. 14 showed a much closer race; with a Sprowls advantage of only four points, 50 to 46 percent.

District 65 covers parts of North Pinellas County. In 2010, Zimmermann took the seat from Republican Peter Nehr; now the GOP has given Sprowls its full blessing (and lots of money) to get it back.

StPetePolls chief Matt Florell said both the Oct. 14 and Oct. 28 polls weighted with a slight Republican edge, since they used the same turnout models from the 2010 midterms. Final numbers are likely to change, he said, particularly if Democrats are successful in their improved push for increased participation.

“It is best just to stick with a consistent turnout model for every poll,” he said in an email, “so that we can see if there is any specific momentum in some of these races over the rounds of polling.”

“This represents a best-case scenario for Republicans,” he added. “But I don’t think turnout is really going to be that slanted in the end.”

BILL YOUNG GAINS IN NEW POLL, FACES TOUGH ROAD AGAINST DWIGHT DUDLEY IN HD 68 Full blog post here

Republican Bill Young II has regained some of the ground lost to Democratic state Rep. Dwight Dudley in the hard-fought race for House District 68, according to new polling.

The survey of likely voters taken Oct. 28 by StPetePolls found incumbent Dudley still leads Young by five points, 51 to 46 percent, with less than 3 percent undecided. That is just outside the poll’s margin of error.

“In cases like HD 68,” Florell said in an email, “where Dudley has consistently been ahead, there isn’t much chance Young will win, because this is such a slanted Republican turnout model.”

BILL HAGER TAKES 13-POINT LEAD OVER DEMOCRAT DAVID SILVERS IN HD 89 POLL Full blog post here

In Palm Beach County, two-term incumbent Republican Rep. Bill Hager leads Democratic newcomer David Silvers by 13 points in the House District 89 race, according to new polling.

In an Oct. 28 survey of likely voters from StPetePolls, two-term incumbent Hager has a comfortable advantage over Silvers, 55 to 42 percent, with 3 percent undecided

The district, which contains much of Boca Raton, Delray Beach and the Palm Beach County coast to the city of Palm Beach, is roughly even in voter registration.

Not only does Hager have broad support from GOP base voters (85 percent) and a slight advantage with independents (52 percent), he also takes more than 17 percent of Democrats.

REP. JOSE JAVIER RODRIGUEZ NOW EIGHT POINTS BEHIND DANIEL DIAZ LEYVA IN HD 112 Full blog post here

Miami attorney Daniel Diaz Leyva widens the lead over incumbent state Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez to eight points in the House District 112 race, according to a new survey from StPetePolls.

Democrat Rodriguez won the seat by only 7 percent in 2012, and momentum now seems to be favoring Leyva, a well-funded Republican attorney from Miami.

In the Oct. 28 survey of likely voters, Leyva leads Rodriguez 51 to 42 percent, with just under 8 percent undecided.

In an earlier poll, taken Oct. 14, Leyva received just over 49 percent; Rodriguez took 44 percent, with a little more than 6 percent undecided.

In addition to strong GOP support (77 percent), Leyva also siphons off nearly 21 percent of Democrats, as well as 49 percent of independents.

Rodriguez, in comparison, receives almost 75 percent of the Democratic base, 15 percent of Republicans and just over 38 percent of independents.

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FLORIDA MONITORING NINE AT ‘LOW RISK’ FOR EBOLA via PoliticalFixFlorida.com

The Florida Department of Health said that staff members at county offices are monitoring nine “low-risk” people who recently returned from designated Ebola-affected areas in West Africa.

The monitoring is part of Gov. Scott’s executive order requiring anyone returning from Ebola-affected countries to be monitored twice a day for 21 days. The countries were designated by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

During a conference call with state legislators, Scott said there were no confirmed cases of Ebola in the state.

The health department did not say which counties were involved. No details on any of the cases was available.

The health department also said it has completed delivery of 15 first-responder “support packages” to strategic locations around the state. The packages are available so that additional equipment can be provided within one hour or less to aid local first responders if the need exists.

FLORIDA LEADS U.S. IN ANNUAL FORECLOSURES via Paul Ausick of 24/7 Wall St.

In the month of September, 46,000 U.S. home foreclosures were completed, up 4.7 percent from the previous month but down 32.6 percent from 68,000 in September of 2013, according to research firm CoreLogic. While an improvement, the number of foreclosures is still more than double the 2000 to 2006 average of 21,000 foreclosures per month. CoreLogic notes that the foreclosure inventory totals 1.6 percent of all homes with a mortgage in the United States. That is down from 2.3 percent in September of 2013.

The number of U.S. homes currently in some stage of foreclosure totals 607,000, compared with 924,000 in September a year ago. That represents a year-on-year decline in the national foreclosure inventory of 34.3 percent. Month over month, the foreclosure inventory dropped 2.8 percent.

The five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures in the past 12 months were Florida (120,000), Texas (36,000), California (31,000), Michigan (29,000) and Georgia (27,000). The five states with the fewest foreclosures in the 12 months through September were South Dakota (63), District of Columbia (68), North Dakota (286), West Virginia (458) and Wyoming (628).

The five states with the largest inventories of foreclosed properties as a percentage of mortgaged properties are New Jersey (5.7 percent), Florida (4.4 percent), New York (4.1 percent), Hawaii (2.9 percent) and Maine (2.7 percent). The five states with the lowest inventories of foreclosed properties are Nebraska (0.4 percent), Alaska (0.4 percent), Arizona (0.5 percent), North Dakota (0.5 percent) and Wyoming (0.5 percent).

NEARLY TWO YEARS OF DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS EMAILS DESTROYED DURING 2012 HARDWARE MAINTENANCE via Matt Dixon of the Naples Daily News

Every email sent or received from the embattled Florida Department of Corrections over a nearly two-year period was destroyed in 2012, a massive loss of public records that help document the agency’s actions.

The department acknowledged only recently, in response to inquiries over the past 12 months from the Scripps-Tribune Capitol Bureau, that emails from January 2007 through September 2008 were destroyed. The department’s top information officer called the destruction of public records a “significant loss of data.”

Smith said the records were destroyed in March 2012 in “an attempt to fix a hardware problem” by the Southwood Shared Resource Center, which is a state-owned data center that houses information for state departments and agencies.

The destruction of such a large number of public records is significant because it eliminates an important trail of electronic evidence the agency is required to maintain to publicly document its actions. Not only are state agencies required to maintain and make public records accessible to citizens under Florida’s Sunshine Law. They also are required to retain documents, including emails and other electronic messages, for a period that is determined based on the subject of the communication.

The correspondence must be retained under the state’s record retention policy to comply with required financial and performance audits; grant compliance; potential legal action; and other administrative functions that rely on archived documents.

Gov. Scott did not know the records were destroyed, according to Frank Collins, his communications director.

CONTEXT FLORIDA: AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE, CHARLIE CRIST, A SURVIVALIST AND HALLOWEEN TAXES

On Context Florida: Women across Florida are leading households and doing everything they can to support families, but Ronda Wallace notes the odds are stacked against them — especially when it comes to getting health care. Daniel Tilson gives the first, best reason to vote for Charlie Crist for governor, and almost every other Democrat running in Florida’s 2014 elections is that Gov. Rick Scott and almost every Republican candidate is committed to continuing an ugly era of unprecedented economic unfairness in the state. Scott has many of the advantages needed to win, including the power of incumbency, says Bob Sparks. Perhaps he put a decisive dent into Crist’s previously respectable favorability numbers with the attack ads. But Crist is a survivalist. Do not be surprised when vampires and ghosts ring your doorbell on Friday, and Dominic Calabro doesn’t mean political canvassers. Halloween is coming and trick-or-treaters will be out and about. Before you rush to the nearest corner store and buy a bag of Halloween candy, figure out if you’re handing out tricks or treats, since taxes on Halloween treats can get tricky.

Visit Context Florida to dig in.

YOUTUBE CONSIDERS OFFERING AD-FREE SUBSCRIPTION via Reuters

YouTube, the popular online video service owned by Google Inc, is planning to offer a paid, ad-free version, the head of the site said.

The move would represent a significant change for the world’s No. 1 online video website, whose free videos, often accompanied by short commercials, attract more than 1 billion users a month.

“There are going to be cases where people are going to say ‘I don’t want to see the ads or I want to have a different kind of experience’,” Susan Wojcicki, a Google senior vice president who heads the YouTube business, said at the Code/Mobile technology conference in Half Moon Bay, California late on Monday.

Wojcicki, who became the head of YouTube in February after several years overseeing Google’s multibillion-dollar advertising business, said a paid video service was “near-term” but provided few details, including how much a subscription would cost.

In May 2013, YouTube launched a pilot program that allowed individual content creators to charge consumers a subscription fee to access a particular “channel” of videos. Wojcicki on Monday described a broader subscription service in which consumers would pay to access an ad-free version of YouTube’s vast collection of videos.

“We’re early in that process. But if you look at media over time, most of them have both ads and subscription,” he said.

CONGRATULATIONS to Eileen and Ben Stuart on the birth of baby boy Samuel Deane. He weighed in at 8 lbs, 12 oz and 21 inches long. A proud papa emails, “He looks like a slightly bigger, less mohawked version of his big brother – we’re in love already.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to 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.