Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.
By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, Mitch Perry, Jim Rosica, and Scott Powers.
JEFF ATWATER’S SURPRISE DEPARTURE MAKES CFO JOB THE HOTTEST IN THE STATE
Never mind who’s running for Governor in 2018, Floridians want to know which Republicans are in the running for Chief Financial Officer now that CFO Jeff Atwater announced he is leaving this year, with speculation starting with Tom Grady, state Rep. Joe Gruters, former House Speaker Will Weatherford, and Teresa Jacobs and as many as a dozen other elected officials.
Grady, a securities lawyer who is a former state Representative who also has held several positions in state government, is widely reported as a close friend of Gov. Rick Scott, who will select a replacement for Atwater for the nearly two full years left in the term.
Weatherford, a venture capital and business consultant, is a former Speaker of the House who draws praise from the Florida Chamber of Commerce, and who recently announced he’s not running for governor.
Jacobs is the Orange County mayor and a former banker who always sounds like she’s already someone’s chief financial officer, and who reportedly has been exploring a possible state run for that job in 2018 when she’s term-limited from the mayor’s office.
Names tumbling around Tallahassee – some with more spin than others – also already have included Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, former Speakers Steve Crisafulli and Dean Cannon, state Sens. Jack Latvala, Aaron Bean, Lizbeth Benacquisto, Jeff Brandes, and Tom Lee, state Rep. Jim Boyd, and former state Sen. Pat Neal.
TOM LEE ACTIVELY JOCKEYING FOR APPOINTMENT via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida – Lee says he is actively working to be appointed CFO …“I have already spoke to someone in the governor’s sphere of influence,” Lee said. “We will see that the governor wants to do and when he wants to do it.” Lee had been actively considering a run for CFO when Atwater was termed-out, including building an initial campaign organization and hashing out a potential budget.
THE CASE AGAINST TOM GRADY
It’s no surprise Grady’s name was among the first to pop up as a possible replacement to Atwater when news of his resignation broke last week.
He’s a former state representative, who served stints as both the head of the Office of Financial Regulation and the interim head of Citizens Property Insurance Corp. A securities lawyer by trade, it’s safe to assume he knows a thing or two about the financial sector. And it doesn’t hurt he’s practically besties with Gov. Scott.
But Grady’s career in politics has been speckled with controversy, and not the kind you want from the state’s top finance office.
During his brief tenure in the Florida House, Grady was criticized for his decision to fly private charters to and from the capital city. He was one of 19 lawmakers called out in a 2009 report by the Tampa Bay Times. At the time, the Tampa Bay Times reported Grady “regularly charged taxpayers for use of a private plane arranged by the Naples technology firm InfiNetwork, one of whose executives donated $250 to Grady’s campaign. The bill for taxpayers: $7,850.”
Flying private isn’t against the rules. And back then, neither was flying on the planes of donors and lobbyists. But that isn’t the only time Grady’s travel expenses made headlines.
During his time as the interim president of Citizens, Grady racked up big hotel and travel expenses, all on the state’s dime. The Tampa Bay Times reported in June 2012 that Grady had “spent nearly $10,000 on expensive hotel rooms, airplane trips, a limo ride, and a three-night stay in Bermuda” in about two months. And those expenses, the paper noted, didn’t include the costs associated with a statewide “listening tour” he took as he lobbied to become the permanent head of the state-run insurance company.
If Floridians have learned anything from the recent feud over Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida, it’s this: Out of control spending has the tendency to get someone fired not hired.
But the case against Grady goes beyond controversies, there’s also a question of whether he’d actually stick around. The Naples Republican hasn’t held an elected or appointed post for very long, and always seems to be angling for the next, higher position.
He served just one term in the Florida House, from 2008 until 2010. In 2011, he Scott appointed him to the Commissioner of Financial Regulation post. He held that position for just seven months, before taking over the role as interim president of Citizens Property Insurance. He was on the job for three months as the state searched for a new permanent head, but didn’t make the cut as a finalist.
And along the way, his name kept popping up for run for other positions. In 2010, he said he would consider it if Bill McCollum approached him to be his lieutenant governor. His name was floated as a leading candidate to lead the Office of Insurance Regulation, something he said was “flattering.”
He toyed with the idea of running in Florida’s 19th Congressional District, but dropped those plans after Francis Rooney got in the race. But even then, Grady dropped hints that it wasn’t the last people might hear from him, using a prepared statement to address rumors he might be considering a 2018 run for Attorney General.
“I never say never, but today I am focused on our kids, schools, learning and jobs,” he said in a news release at the time.
Grady dismissed speculation that he was a leading candidate for CFO position, saying he was focused on the Florida Gulf Coast University president’s position. He is one of several candidates scheduled to be interviewed this week, with the presidential selection committee expected to select finalists Thursday. Grady told FloridaPolitics.com last week he thinks he has “a good opportunity to get the presidential appointment.”
Then again, Grady in November told POLITICO Florida he didn’t plan on applying for the FGCU job, saying he and the school’s board of trustees had a different vision for the future.
Never say never, right?
FIRST ON FLORIDA POLITICS – FRANCIS ROONEY SAYS HE’S NOT CONSIDERING 2018 GUBERNATORIAL BID via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – “I am considering one thing — being the best congressman I can be for Southwest Florida,” he said. “I’m thankful to have the opportunity to represent Southwest Florida, and I’m not intending to do anything else other than do the best possible job I can.” Rooney says he’s not interested in running for governor, saying he’s has “said it a lot, no way.” …“I’m sure there’s a lot of good business people that would make excellent governors in Florida, and congressmen and senators as well,” he said. “I just want to be the best congressman I can be.”
— “Jack Latvala’s gubernatorial prospects impacted by decisions by Atwater, Rooney” by Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics
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DAYS UNTIL: Valentine’s Day – 1; Start of 2017 Legislative Session – 22; Florida Capitol Press Corps Press Skits – 29; 2017 Legislative Session Sine Die – 81; FSU vs. Alabama – 201; Election Day 2017 – 263; Star Wars: Episode VIII/The Last Jedi opens – 304.
PLANNED PARENTHOOD FOES, SUPPORTERS FACE OFF IN PROTESTS IN TAMPA BAY AREA via Sara DiNatale of the Tampa Bay Times – A woman in the middle of a median on N 56th Street hoisted a sign above her head that said, “Honk if you are pro-life.” A priest led the group of about 120 people in saying the Lord’s Prayer. On the other side, about 150 people dressed in pink clutched matching signs that said “I support Planned Parenthood.” Some wore pink knit hats with cat ears, made popular during last month’s Women’s March to show opposition to President Donald Trump. Similar scenes played out in front of the Planned Parenthood-St. Petersburg Health Center and across the country Saturday, as those in support of Republican congressional leaders’ plans to defund the organization turned out to demonstrate. The 100-year-old women’s health care provider offers birth control and other women’s health services, including abortions, at more than 600 centers across the country. Despite their sharp disagreement, each side managed to protest peacefully without incident.
GUS BILIRAKIS GETS ANOTHER EARFUL ON OBAMACARE REPEAL via William Levesque of the Tampa Bay Times – More than 300 people came out to the West Pasco County government center for the second of Bilirakis’ “listening sessions” on health care reform. And as happened during a session last week in Pinellas, a majority of those who spoke offered strong support of the law and urged Bilirakis to vote against killing it. Bilirakis, a Republican who wants to replace Obamacare because its costs have skyrocketed, once again had no change of heart on his opposition to the health law. The support for the Affordable Care Act that Bilirakis has heard in the last week stands in contrast to the conservative bona fides of his district, which includes all of Pasco and parts of Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.
— ’Death panel’ disputes erupt at Florida GOP congressman’s town hall” via Eric Bradner of CNN
— ’We need this Affordable Care Act’: Voters discuss health care at Florida town hall” via The Washington Post
— “UCF Socialist Club Incites Young Kids To ‘Kill Donald Trump’” via Jacob Engels of the East Orlando Post
— “Women’s March Florida holds inaugural meeting of Orlando Chapter” via Frank Torres of the Orlando Political Observer
WILL DONALD TRUMP BE BAD FOR BUSINESS AT THE WINTER WHITE HOUSE? via Christine Stapleton of the Palm Beach Post – Whether Trump’s becoming leader of the free world will be good for business at Mar-a-Lago is not yet known. The lure of hosting an event at the winter White House may not be that alluring after all. Some groups have already expressed concern that patrons who oppose Trump might not attend events at Mar-a-Lago. Because the president’s trips are not announced to the public far in advance, groups will not be able to scheduled their events around his visits. That means some unlucky gala-goers who purchase tickets for events that end up coinciding with a presidential visit might find themselves stuck in traffic, waiting for Secret Service to sweep their vehicles. Exactly how often President Trump will visit Palm Beach is not known. However, it could be weekly … the Town of Palm Beach posted notice on its website that every Friday until May 1 the town will take steps to control traffic impacts due to presidential visits. While some members of the Mar-a-Lago club adore Trump, they would like to see less of him in Palm Beach now that he is president.
TRUMP IMPEACHED? YOU CAN BET ON IT via Steven Shepard of POLITICO – There’s already talk of impeachment, just three weeks into Trump‘s turbulent presidency. In fact, many are already betting on it. Gambling houses all over the world are taking in action on whether Trump, inaugurated just last month, will resign or be impeached. And the odds aren’t as long as you might think. Ladbrokes, the British oddsmaking giant, has Trump’s chances of leaving office via resignation or impeachment and removal at just 11-to-10, or just a little worse than even money. The odds of Trump being impeached this year in the House of Representatives are only 4-to-1, according to the Irish bookmaker Paddy Power, despite GOP control of the chamber. You can win $180 on a $100 bet with Bovada, the online gaming site, that Trump won’t make it through a full term – though the bet is off if Trump passes away during the next four years.
MELISSA MCCARTHY RETURNS TO SNL AS AN EVEN MORE FRUSTRATED SEAN SPICER via Elahe Izadi of the Washington Post – McCarthy reprised her unhinged, seething Sean Spicer character, which was last week’s most-talked-about SNL moment — and an impersonation that reportedly unsettled the White House. Click on the image below to watch the video.
***Sen. Jack Latvala is fighting to protect Florida’s small business owners by leveling the playing field for owners of franchise establishments. This will lead to more economic growth and jobs for our communities. Tell Sen. Latvala you support him and learn how to help protect small businesses in Florida at protectflbusiness.com.***
CHARLIE CRIST HAS BEEN A CONGRESSMAN FOR ONLY SIX WEEKS, AND EVEN HIS FRIENDS ARE GRUMBLING via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times – What’s striking about Crist is how quickly he and his wife, Carole, who is leading much of the decision-making and is being paid to oversee political activities, have generated widespread grumbling and head-scratching about his clumsy start in Congress, even among longtime friends. “I’m a bit disappointed that we haven’t heard from him in Pinellas County,” said County Commissioner Janet Long, a fellow Democrat. “I can only compare the two, and right after David Jolly was elected he was calling my office and asking for a meeting and wanting to work together. We built a very tight relationship. I’m hoping we can build the same kind of relationship with Charlie.” Long lamented that Crist did not keep the “outstanding” Vito Sheeley as his district director and instead seems to be hiring staffers few people know. She and other elected Pinellas officials wondered why Crist did not opt to use the Seminole office used by Jolly and Young and already familiar to many Pinellas constituents.
— “Charlie Crist names Gershom Faulkner as Outreach Director” via Florida Politics
CARLOS CURBELO PROFILE – MEET THE FLORIDA LAWMAKER THAT WILL HAVE A BIG SAY SHAPING THE TRUMP AGENDA via Israel Ortega of Opportunity Lives — Opportunity Lives recently sat down with Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a Ways and Means committee member, to discuss a broad range of issues that are likely to come up this year. On what the appointment means: This is a big deal for me personally, but it is a bigger deal for the people of South Florida. Think about all of the issues that come up before the committee including tax reform and healthcare… On repealing an replacing Obamacare: …Our goal is not just to repeal the law, but also to inject competition in the healthcare system and give people more options. That’s because of the many flaws of Obamacare includes the reality that folks that have been insured through the exchange simply do not have access to good doctors and quality health care. … On standing up for trade: …We want to work constructively with the new administration and help guide them how despite flaws, a lot of the trade deals have really improved the quality of life for many Americans.
RICK SCOTT INAUGURATION PARTY COST MORE THAN $600,000 via The Associated Press – Scott and first lady Ann Scott in January hosted the Florida Sunshine Ball at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium two days before Trump’s inauguration. Records show that Scott’s political committee Let’s Get to Work paid a company more than $609,000 to rent the auditorium, hire caterers and stage the event featuring The Beach Boys. Let’s Get to Work regularly receives donations from some of the state’s main corporate interests. In the last few weeks Duke Energy donated $100,000 as did private prison provider The Geo Group.
GOP FEUD COULD LOGJAM LEGISLATIVE SESSION via Gray Rohrer of the Orlando Sentinel – The bitter feuding among top Republicans that spilled out into the open this week, a month before the legislative session starts, has some observers worried about gridlock and a possible shutdown of state government. The fights have implications for schools, colleges, the environment, health care and jobs for 20 million Floridians. House Speaker Corcoran… is at the center of the animosity. He’s taking on both Scott and the Senate in his push to reform Tallahassee, but his crusade has roiled the Capitol. “We’re going to fight for the principles that we know are going to make the state better and damn the consequences,” Corcoran said.
— “Meet the new House Republican who is defying Speaker Corcoran” via Jeremy Wallace of the Tampa Bay Times
WHAT THE SPEAKER’S OFFICE IS READING: RICK SCOTT NEEDS BETTER ARGUMENT FOR INCENTIVES via the Pensacola News-Journal editorial board – As entertaining as it is to see state politicians of the same party collide publicly, the battle brings serious ideological questions for taxpayers — especially those who consider themselves conservatives. …The governor’s attempt to shame his antagonists are silly. It’s easy to make hyperbolic accusations about “killing” jobs. It’s another thing to actually explain, in logical terms, how legislators’ actions affect working Floridians. Furthermore, the once-upon-a-time Tea Party prodigy ignores the irony that he’s the politician arguing for spending millions in taxpayer money on things like incentives and advertising that can arguably be described as government handouts. With the state facing real struggles with failing schools, aging infrastructure and environmental emergencies, it’s simply tough to argue that we need to be investing our money in marketing campaigns and corporate incentives, rather than real, tangible public needs. But hey, we’re open to convincing.
POLITIFACT FLORIDA: CORCORAN’S VISIT FLORIDA JAB DOESN’T TELL FULL STORY via Katie Sanders of the Tampa Bay Times – “Spending more taxpayer money on VISIT FL (or less) has not demonstrated a direct impact on tourism,” Corcoran tweeted … with a slew of numbers to bolster his point. PolitiFact Florida’s verdict: Half True … Corcoran’s point neglects important context. The test of good marketing isn’t just whether people come, but how long they stay and how much money they spend. “After all, you can’t deposit visitors in the bank, but you sure can deposit the money they leave behind,” said David Preece, academic director of the Center for Hospitality & Tourism at Brigham Young University-Hawaii.
KEN LAWSON “WILL CONTINUE TO FIGHT” FOR VISIT FLORIDA via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – In an email, Lawson thanked the tourism industry for showing up to a House hearing this week where the Careers and Competition Subcommittee cleared a measure to eliminate the agency, the Enterprise Florida economic development organization and dozens of state incentive programs. It will “You showed up to help and your voice was heard,” Lawson said. “… I could not be prouder of the way the industry has rallied to make a difference. “I want to assure you that VISIT FLORIDA will continue to fight,” Lawson added. “I have already begun meeting with each and every legislator to ensure they know that VISIT FLORIDA serves a vital role in marketing destinations large and small in every community of this great state, and that a reduction in our public funding would mean the loss of tax revenue and jobs that benefit their constituents. Constituents just like you.”
LEGISLATORS HIDE PROJECTS IN UNIVERSITY BUDGETS via Arek Sarkissian of the Naples Daily News – Progress Boulevard Extension is one of Alachua’s newest roads, courtesy of Florida’s taxpayers. State lawmakers agreed to pay $500,000 for the two-lane, black-topped road that leads to nowhere. The money for the road came in last year’s budget, but the project can’t be found anywhere in the 400-plus-page bill passed by legislators and signed by Gov. Scott. It’s not part of the billions the state spends each year on transportation. It’s not in any capital project budget. The cash for that project and dozens of others made at the special request of individual lawmakers is hidden inside the state’s $82.3 billion budget, with no mention of Progress Boulevard Extension … Over the past seven years, lawmakers have quietly tucked nearly $315 million for their secret projects into state budgets, hiding them in the billions they give to universities to operate with the understanding that this is extra money for special purposes.
BILL CALLING FOR RESERVOIR SOUTH OF LAKE OKEECHOBEE FILEDHOUSE via Tyler Treadway of TCPalm.com – The proposal to build a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee to curb disastrous discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers is now officially before the Florida House of Representatives. State Rep. Thad Altman … filed House Bill 761 … The legislation is identical to Senate Bill 10 filed in late January by state Sen. Rob Bradley … Both outline Senate President Negron‘s proposal for the state and the federal government to equally share the $2.4 billion cost of buying up to 60,000 acres south of Lake O and building a 120 billion-gallon reservoir. Even before the House version was filed, the plan has met with opposition from that chamber’s leadership. House Speaker Corcoran … said he doesn’t think Negron’s reservoir would curtail the discharges and doesn’t want to borrow money by issuing government bonds to pay the state’s share.
QUEST FOR DAILY RECESS: MOMS RENEW FIGHT FOR MORE FREE PLAY IN LEGISLATURE via Kristen Clark and Kyra Gurney of the Miami Herald – Across Florida, how much unstructured playtime public elementary schoolchildren get each day varies greatly from school to school. Some of the state’s 67 county school districts don’t have a formal policy, and in those that do, administrators often give principals and teachers a lot of discretion. It’s that inconsistency that’s leading passionate “recess moms” to once again lobby lawmakers this spring to pass a statewide, mandatory requirement that elementary schoolchildren get 20 minutes of recess each day. This year, the proposal (SB 78/HB 67) appears on slightly better footing but faces the same hang-up — now in the House. Miami Republican Rep. Michael Bileca, the education policy chairman, isn’t convinced a statewide mandate is the way to go, and he’s reluctant to limit teachers’ flexibility in the classroom.
JEFF BRANDES FILES BILL TO CREATE AFFORDABLE HOUSING TASK FORCE via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – The bill (SB 854) … would create an affordable housing task force assigned to the Florida Housing Finance Corp. According to the St. Petersburg Republican’s proposal, the task force would be charged with “developing recommendations for addressing the state’s affordable housing needs.” With another 5 million people expected to be living in Florida by 2030, Brandes said he filed the bill because he thinks there needs to be discussion about how the state approaches workforce housing and affordable housing going forward. “There really isn’t a statewide direction for affordable housing,” said Brandes.
SPOTTED at Jack Latvala‘s fundraiser at the International Polo Club Palm Beach – Adam Corey, Matt Forrest, Carl and Walt Dover, Brittany Dover, Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, Andy Palmer, Alan Suskey.
SPOTTED at the Farmers for Wilton Simpson event at the 4G Ranch: Gus Bilirakis, Spkr. Richard Corcoran, Sen. Denise Grimsley, Adam Babington, Jeff Johnston, Rachel Perrin Rogers and Brian Hughes, Bridget and Sheriff Chris Nocco, Ron Pierce, Will Weatherford.
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ANDREW GILLUM ENLISTS ALLIES IN ‘CAMPAIGN TO DEFEND LOCAL SOLUTIONS’ via Michael Moline of Florida Politics – Tallahassee Mayor Gillum continued his “Campaign to Defend Local Solutions” … marshaling support from consumer, environmental, and anti-poverty organizations against proposed legislation that would block local business and professional regulations absent express permission from the Legislature. “We would like to work with our colleagues across the street in standing up for local democracy,” Gillum said during a news conference outside Tallahassee City Hall … “It’s consistent with the governing party’s philosophy that decisions are best when they are made locally. If that is the case, then we’ve got to make sure that that’s consistent with the laws that are adopted in this state. Otherwise, it’s hypocritical.” Gillum, a Democrat and potential candidate for governor in 2018, launched the campaign in January, promising to recruit “individuals, organizations, and elected officials concerned about the erosion of local rights.”
HAPPENING TODAY – PUBLIC SCHOOL ENROLLMENT, POPULATION NUMBERS DISCUSS— The Education Estimating Conference will discuss pre-kindergarten through 12th grade public school enrollment during its meeting at 10 a.m. in 117 Knott Building. The Demographic Estimating Conference will meet to discuss and analyze Florida at during its 1:30 p.m. meeting in 117 Knott.
SCHOOLS IN FLA. FACING TEACHER SHORTAGES via The Associated Press – School districts all over Florida are facing teacher shortages, including in elementary education, which historically had the easiest jobs to fill … The recruiting is starting earlier than ever, and recruiters are exploring out-of-state candidates in the Midwest and northeast. “We are starting earlier, and we are definitely exploring more options than we ever have,” said Greg White, recruitment specialist for Osceola County schools in the Orlando area. “We’ve got to find those quality educators to be in front of our children.” … The Seminole County school district … used to rely on state-run teacher job fairs but is for the first time hosting its own next month, hoping in can fill some jobs ahead of a later-spring hiring crunch. A main reason for the shortage is a drop in Florida college students majoring in education.
OFFICIALS, VOTERS CLASH OVER MEDICAL MARIJUANA RULES via Joe Reedy of The Associated Press – Three months after Florida voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment on medical marijuana, state health officials and prospective pot-seeking patients are at odds over proposed rules that would spell out who could get marijuana. State officials have recommended restrictions on what type of patients can qualify for medical marijuana, and where they can obtain it. Their suggestions, however, have prompted a wave of opposition across the state, with nearly 1,300 residents attending what are normally low-key bureaucratic hearings to press for less restricted access to marijuana. “Patients, doctors, caregivers and activists all had a unified message which is rare,” said Ben Pollara, who is the campaign manager for United for Care. “They want impediments removed and a free marketplace.”
DEP, MOSAIC TAKE ISSUE WITH TAMPA BAY TIMES SINKHOLE STORY via Bruce Ritchie of POLITICO Florida – DEP posted on its website a response saying that the Times’ conclusion was false because the well data is from the North stack, which — while continuously monitored and intact — has been closed for nearly 12 years. The sinkhole, DEP said, occurred under the south stack. Mosaic called allegations “fundamentally wrong.” The company said the higher aquifer levels were expected and intended from grouting operations at the north stack that were performed with DEP’s oversight. Tampa Bay Times reporter Craig Pittman [said] he was checking with others at the newspaper on whether they would comment in response to the criticism. DEP says sampling of 1,250 private drinking water wells has shown no effects from the sinkhole.
HUMAN WASTE FERTILIZES FARMS, BUT FUELS TOXIC ALGAE BLOOMS via Lucas Daprile of TCPalm — Two-thirds of the state’s waste is spread on private land. Half of that requires permits and is banned in certain watersheds because, being less treated, it contains more pathogens and heavy metals. The other half is not. Classified as “fertilizer,” limitless amounts of it can be dumped near waterways — despite containing just as much nitrogen and phosphorus as the sewage sludge. It’s the source of nearly a fourth of the phosphorus in the Lake Okeechobee watershed, according to a 2009 Audubon Florida report that called human waste-dumping “the most preventable source of pollution.” … Lawmakers tried to ban waste dumping in the St. Lucie, Caloosahatchee and Lake Okeechobee watersheds when they unanimously passed the Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Program in 2007. But a committee rewrite of the bill exempted the waste that contains less bacteria and heavy metals, without regard to its nitrogen and phosphorus content. While that Class AA “fertilizer” now falls under Department of Agriculture voluntary guidelines about how best to use it, Class B “sludge” requires a Department of Environmental Protection permit that regulates the amount, proximity to surface water, time the public must avoid the site after application — and bans it in those three watersheds. … Lawmakers who deregulated Class AA waste expressed surprise when TCPalm provided examples of unfettered waste-dumping in sensitive watersheds.
IN MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH, JACKSONVILLE POLICE, FIRE UNIONS REACH TENTATIVE PENSION DEAL via Nate Munroe of the Florida Times-Union – Many steps – and some uncertainty – remain: Union members must formally vote on the proposal, while city officials have to run a complex financial analysis, write legislation and brief members of the City Council. And [Lenny] Curry’s administration will have to convince the Police and Fire Pension Fund board of trustees – with whom the mayor has publicly traded barbs – to go along with significant changes to a 2015 pension-reform law. But the tentative agreements — which cover police, firefighters and corrections officers — are a major victory for Curry. Negotiations with the police and firefighter unions were the highest stakes because of the poor financial health of the pension fund and the burden that has placed on the city’s budget. The talks had also become contentious at points, particularly with police union leadership, which felt betrayed by Curry’s plan to cut pension plans for future employees.
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NEW AND RENEWED LOBBY REGISTRATIONS
Mario Bailey, Becker & Poliakoff: AT&T
Albert Balido, Anfield Consulting: Gentry & Associates; JetPay; Renew Financial
Slater Bayliss, The Advocacy Group at Cardenas Partners: DFGV Holdings, Inc.
Ellyn Bogdanoff, Becker & Poliakoff: Florida Association of Student Educational Inc.
Stuart Brown, SKB Consulting Group: Public Consulting Group c/o MultiState Associates Inc.
Michael Cantens, Flagler Strategies: Retail Services & Systems, Inc.; AT&T
Edgar Castro, Southern Strategy Group: Fairness in Taxation
Christopher Chaney, The Advocacy Group at Cardenas Partners: Strategic Holdings, Inc.; DFGV Holdings, Inc.
Leslie Dughi, Greenberg Traurig: North Broward Hospital District
Mercer Fearington, Jr., Southern Strategy Group: 3M Company
Robert Gentry, Gentry & Associates: City of Bunnell
Jennifer Green, Liberty Partners of Tallahassee: Auto Care Association; Florida Justice Reform Institute
David Griffin, GrayRoninson: Government Payment Service, Inc.; Scientific Games Corporation
Thomas Griffin, Smith Bryan & Myers: Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association; The Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center; Florida Association for Child Care Management; Florida Land Title Association; Istation
Michael Harrell, Kimberly McGlynn, Timothy Stanfield, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney: Vertical Bridge Holdings, LLC
William Helmich, Helmich Consulting: Educational Management Services
Cynthia Henderson, Cynergy Consulting: Wireless Infrastructure Association c/o MultiState Association Inc.
Jim Horne, Strategos Public Affairs: AMI Kids, Inc.
Jonathan Kilman, Foley & Lardner: NeuroTrauma Association of American Inc.
Brian Lee, TPG Consulting: Food & Water Watch Fund
Nickolas Lowe, Unconventional Strategies: Broward College Foundation
Paul Lowell, Foley & Lardner: Regal Senior Care Management
Tracy Mayernick, The Mayernick Group: Lake Wales Charter Schools
Jim Naff, Smith Bryan & Myers: Istation; Summit Care, Inc.
Sarah Neiwold, Joy Ryan, Meenan PA: Brookdale Senior Living, Inc.
Eli Nortelus, David Roberts, Akerman LLP: Marifirst Wellness Solutions, LLC
Winn Peoples, The Peoples Group: Florida Insurance Council
Rebecca Roman, Adams St. Advocates: Quidel Corporation
SPOTTED at Ballard Partners’ Gasparilla Knight Parade party: Ana Cruz, Bob Buckhorn, Ashley Bauman, Chris Berg, Alan Clendenin, Pat Kemp, Sen. Latvala (across the street at the Italian Club), Janee Murphy, Kyle Simon, Ian Whitney. Also spotted at the parade: Anthony Pedicini and Jackie Toledo.
TIM TEBOW HEADLINES FLA. PROM FOR TEENS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS via The Associated Press – Tebow was the star attraction at a prom held for teenagers and young adults with special needs in Daytona Beach … The “Night to Shine” prom was held Friday night. The idea for the event was created by Tebow’s foundation and similar ones are held around the world. About 160 teens and adults, helped by hundreds of volunteers, attended the prom held at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach.
DISNEY INCREASING PARK TICKETS FOR CERTAIN TIMES OF YEAR via Orlando Rising – The single-day ticket prices are either staying the same or are increasing no more than $5 under the new price structure that goes into effect Sunday. Last year, Disney rolled out a pricing plan that allows visitors to view a planning calendar from eight to 11 months out to determine which days are considered “value,”” regular” or “peak” times. Visitors pay more on “peak” days, which are the busiest times as forecast by park officials. The goal of the varied price structure is to give park visitors an incentive to come during times that are not “peak” so that the experience can be better enjoyed by all, officials said. There have been times during holiday and spring break where the crowds have been so large that Disney has had to stop selling tickets. “Our pricing provides guests a range of options that allow us to better manage demand to maximize the guest experience and is reflective of the distinctly Disney offerings at all of our parks,” said Disney spokeswoman Jacquee Wahler.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY belatedly to former Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Jeff Brandes and Marc Reichelderfer. Celebrating today is Mitchell Norton.