Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Sunburn for 5.11.17 – Adam Putnam’s hometown launch; Rick Scott forms super PAC; David Richardson eyeing CD 27; Betsy Devos booed; Happy birthday, Alan Suskey!

in Peter/Top Headlines by

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

By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, Mitch Perry and Jim Rosica.

Happy birthday, A-Susk. I have the honor to be … Your Obedient Servant, the real A-Ham.

Also belated birthday wishes to Tom DiGiacomo, America’s friend.


Standing in front of a huge Florida flag covering the stately pillars of a century-old county courthouse with orange crates on the steps, Putnam on Wednesday used a combination of small-town nostalgia, conservative politics and a deep knowledge of his home state to launch his gubernatorial campaign, reports Tamara Lush of the Associated Press.

Hundreds of supporters turn out for Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam’s kick off to his 2018 campaign for governor at the Polk County Courthouse.

— Putnam says he wants to encourage young people to come to Florida for high-tech agribusiness and science jobs. Setting aside money for research for citrus greening — the disease that’s devastating the orange and grapefruit groves — is one example of how to draw smart, young professionals here, he said.

— On Thursday, Putnam starts a 10-day bus tour of the state that will take him to 22 communities.

— Putnam begins his campaign with about $7 million in the bank

Here are excerpts from Putnam’s speech:

— “I’m fortunate – I have been a Floridian all my life. I grew up in my family’s citrus and cattle business. Like any small business, workdays were not nine-to-five. And there were no holidays. That life taught me responsibility. Hard work. Perseverance. Responsibility. These are common values. And too often in our society, they are forgotten.

— “It has been an honor to serve my community, my friends, my neighbors, my state, and my country. But for me, it’s always been Florida first.

— “We’ve got to put Florida first to make sure that it isn’t only the place where people come after a life well-lived somewhere else; it’s where they come to launch their own American Dream.

— “Our state can be the launch pad for the American Dream. The state that is the fishing capital of the world can also be the state that builds the boats and trains the craftsmen. The state that trained millions of soldiers and sailors and airmen can retrain our citizens with the skills that allow them to compete in a rapidly changing world – and win. The state that put a man on the moon can build the tools for the next giant leap for mankind.

— “American exceptionalism is real. If you ever doubt that… Look at the grocery clerk in Lakeland who revolutionized the supermarket industry… Or the cashier on I-Drive who now owns the souvenir shop… It’s the truck driver hauling fruit who saved up to buy an orange grove, and then another… It’s the hotel maid who now runs her own bed and breakfast.

— “Hard-working folks like these have been able to achieve their American Dream right here in Florida. I want every single Floridian to be able to tell a similar story. I want people around the country to know this is where it happens.

— “It’s why we have more work to do. It’s why we’ve got to keep fighting to put Florida first and make our state the launch pad for the American Dream.

Thank you, Captain Obvious:

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Rick Scott to chair federal super PAC — The Naples Republican will chair the New Republican, a super PAC aimed at changing the way the Republican Party approaches the future. Scott announced Melissa Stone, who served as his chief of staff and ran his 2014 re-election campaign, will serve as the organization’s executive director; while Taylor Teepel, who has served in the Scott administration, will serve as the PAC’s finance director. “New Republican’s goal is to make the Republican Party Great Again. Both political parties are hopelessly stuck in WWI style trench warfare. Both political parties are failing us,” said Scott in a statement. “There is nothing new, it’s the same thing every day – lob some grenades over the ditch and then brace for incoming. The goal of New Republican is to break out of this trench warfare. We have to get rid of all our tired old political jargon and clichés.” The political committee was founded by Alex Castellanos, a Republican strategist and advertising legend. He will stay on as the super PAC’s senior advisor. Scott, who can’t run for re-election because of term limits, is believed to be considering a run for Senate in 2018.

Gov. Rick Scott, seen here in Washington, tells news media how his “New Republican” super-PAC will remodel the GOP the way he did in Florida. Photo credit: Ledyard King.

First in Sunburn – Gwen Graham’s first campaign video: ‘I care about making a difference’” – The Democratic candidate for governor is releasing her first campaign video to share her love for Florida and aspirations for the state’s future. “My love for Florida runs deep, but my patience — my patience for inaction in the state I love has run out,” Graham says in the video which features scenes of her announcement speech and Workdays across Florida teaching, installing solar panels and restoring wetlands. Click on the image below to watch the video.

Graham works with ex-offenders at Operation New Hope — The former congresswoman and 2018 gubernatorial hopeful joined Operation New Hope in Jacksonville for a workday Wednesday to learn more about the efforts to develop affordable housing and help ex-offenders with workforce training. “The ex-offenders I met today are working to put their lives back on track. They just want a second chance at becoming contributing members of their community — and Operation New Hope is giving them that chance,” she said in a statement. “Operation New Hope serves as an example for reintegration programs throughout our state and nation. Jacksonville is fortunate to have such a great organization, and I am fortunate to have spent the day working with them.” Founded in 1999, Operation New Hope has successfully placed more than 2,500 ex-offenders in the workforce. The organization has indirectly served 7,200 children and helped build or restore 80 homes.

— “Gwen Graham takes page from father’s campaign playbook in race for Governor” via Ryan Benk of WJCT

Jarvis Guthrie, an ex-offender who now works with Operation New Hope, talks with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham at a campaign stop in Jacksonville.

Andrew Gillum camp brackets Graham’s fundraising numbers per a source within the Tallahassee mayor’s team: “Congresswoman Graham’s total is pretty heavily padded with the $1.2 million she rolled over from not running in 2016. When you roll over 75% of your total, are you really “surging” to the front of the money chase? I don’t think so. When we’re talking about dollars raised for the Governor’s race, it’s a different story – with her thus far at $400K for her PC in April, coupled with $1.2M of Congressional money. Gillum is at $1M raised. Different story altogether.”

Shevrin Jones endorses Andrew Gillum — The West Park Democrat and ranking member on the House Education Committee announced Wednesday he was throwing his support behind Andrew Gillum in race to replace Gov. Scott. “His focus on public education as a way to lift up people in every corner of this state is what our state needs to transition into an economy that works for everyone,” said Jones in a statement. “He is working on so many key aspects of public education: “SHOP 2.0,” a renewed focus on skills and trades education; being the first person in this field to call for an end to high-stakes testing; standing up for public school students and teachers’ funding; and rejecting the harsh rhetoric that has blamed teachers for the persistent challenges our students face. Mayor Gillum rightfully views public education as our best way to move this state forward, and I’m so thrilled to endorse him.”

Assignment editors: Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine will speak at the Tiger Bay Club of Volusia County meeting at 11 a.m. at the LPGA Clubhouse, 1000 Champions Drive in Daytona Beach.

“Matt Caldwell to kick-off Ag Commissioner campaign Monday in Fort Myers” via Florida Politics — The North Fort Myers Republican will officially kick-off his campaign with an event at Sun Harvest Citrus, 14601 Six Mile Cypress Parkway in Fort Myers at 11:15 a.m., Monday. Caldwell, who had been expected to throw his hat in the race to replace Putnam, filed to run for the seat earlier this month. Since January, Caldwell has raised $702,825 for his political committee Friends of Matt Caldwell. State records show his February 2017 fundraising haul of $412,075 was the largest single month haul since August 2016, when the committee was started. The committee ended March with more than $650,000 cash on hand, according to state records.

“Daniel Sohn withdraws from 2018 Agriculture Commissioner’s race” via Florida PoliticsSohn, a Democratic candidate for Agriculture Commissioner in 2018, announced on his Facebook page Wednesday that he is withdrawing from the race. Sohn, district aide to Palm Beach Soil & Water Conservation District Supervisor Pat Edmonson, confirmed the post in a phone call. “There are some serious re-occurring health issues that need my immediate attention,” Sohn said in the post. “Over the next couple of months, I will be undergoing procedures that will require much recovery time. I promise during that time to get myself stronger and ready to continue to resist … In the future I hope to count on your support again.”

Scoop –David Richardson preparing for run in CD 27” via Scott Powers of Florida PoliticsRichardson is preparing for a run now that Republican U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros–Lehtinen is retiring. Richardson, of Miami Beach, who won his last re-election with 65 percent in his House District 113 entirely inside CD 27, said he is traveling to Washington D.C. in the next week or so to discuss a candidacy with potential donors and supporters, including leaders of The Victory Fund and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He has not committed to running for Congress in CD 27, but he is making all the preparations. “I’m taking a strong look at it,” Richardson told

Miami-Dade commissioner launches Republican candidacy for Congress” via Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald – Commissioner Bruno Barreiro formally became a candidate for Congress, after he said he filed paperwork to begin fundraising and campaigning for the seat held by Rep. Ros-Lehtinen, who is retiring next year. “Throughout my years as a public servant, I have witnessed firsthand how my efforts can positively contribute to the growth and well-being of our residents in South Florida,” Barreiro, a Republican, said in a statement. “I have a pulse for the needs of our community, and understand the importance of having a strong advocate for South Floridians in Washington D.C.” Barreiro is the first well-known Republican to enter the race for the Democratic-leaning 27th District, after announcing his plans to the Miami Herald last week. Former Miami-Dade School Board member Raquel Regalado is also interested in running, and national Republicans have reached out to Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and Jeb Bush Jr.

Disney writes big check to anti-gambling committee”– Disney Worldwide Services, Inc. gave $250,000 to a political committee behind a proposed constitutional amendment to slow down the expansion of gambling in Florida. “Voters in Charge” is seeking to put an amendment on the November 2018 ballot, with language approved by the Florida Supreme Court last month. If passed, voters would have the “exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling” in Florida. Any future casino-style games would need voter approval. In April, Charge raised $287,675 with $250,000 of that from Disney Worldwide Services. Another $30,000 came from the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, state records show.

Florida Dems take shot at Jose Felix Diaz — The state Democratic Party took a shot at the Miami Republican Wednesday, one day after he filed to run in the Senate District 40 special election. In a statement, Johanna Cervone, a FDP spokeswoman, called Diaz “another Trump wannabe since he was fired from Trump’s show ‘The Apprentice’ for failing to get the job done and lead his team.” The state party also took a swipe at Diaz, saying he wasn’t “enough of a leader to denounce his friend and roommate Frank Artiles’ racist and sexist comments.”

Daisy Baez racks up endorsements in SD 40 — The Coral Gables Democrat has scored the backing of several current and former members of the Florida Legislature, as well as at least a half dozen South Florida Democratic leaders. Her campaign announced Wednesday she has received the backing of former Sen. Arthenia Joyner; Sen. Victor Torres; Reps. John Cortes, Tracie Davis, Sean Shaw, Emily Slosberg, Richard Stark, Barbara Watson, and Clovis Watson; former state Rep. Annie Betancourt; Broward County Commissioner & former state Sen. Nan Rich; South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard;  Pinecrest Councilmember Anna Hochkamer; Coral Gables Commissioner Patricia Keon; former Doral Councilmember Sandra Ruiz; Hector Caraballo, a Democratic Party leader; Arthur Costa, a Democratic Party leader; and Millie Herrera, the SE regional representative for former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.

Kim Daniels files for re-election” via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics –Daniels’ filing means that every member of the Duval Delegation has filed for some 2018 office … Daniels’ major legislative accomplishment this term was close to her heart, as a Charismatic evangelistic preacher with a global following. She filed the House version of the “Religious Expression in Public Schools” bill, which cleared the Florida Legislature this session. Though groups such as the Human Rights Campaign object to the legislation as blurring the lines between church and state, that’s not a position Daniels or the Florida Legislature shares.

Save the Date: The Florida Foundation for Liberty will host a fundraiser for Rep. Paul Renner at 5:30 p.m., May 25 at The River Club, 1 Independent Drive in Jacksonville. According to a copy of the invitation, former Ambassador John Rood, Mori Hosseini, Howard Korman and Tom Petway are listed as the co-chairs of the $1,000 a person fundraising reception.

“As HD 44 special election candidates’ watch begins, Bobby Olszewski nabs Steve Crisafulli’s backing” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Republican Bobby Olszewski has grabbed another endorsement – former House Speaker Steve Crisafulli – in his campaign to win election in Florida House District 44, now heading for a special election this summer with the resignation of incumbent state Rep. Eric Eisnaugle of Windermere. His endorsements, which include numerous local officials from west Orange County, and his fundraising, which brought in $21,000 last month, may be hedging not against current opponents so much as against other Republicans contemplating jumping into the now short race. No special election dates have been set yet, but an announcement from the Florida Division of Elections, through Gov. Scott, is expected to set a primary in mid-summer and a general election soon after, creating the opportunity for a quick campaign.


“ ‘Lack of transparency’ causes calls for Scott budget veto” via Florida PoliticsBoth citing a “lack of transparency,” the heads of the League of Women Voters of Florida and the First Amendment Foundation are calling for Gov. Scott to veto the just-passed state budget for 2017-18. But with the House of Representatives passing the budget 98-14 and the Senate approving 34-4 on Monday, there are enough votes there to override a veto, assuming no votes change. League President Pamela S. Goodman and FAF President Barbara A. Petersen alerted their members in separate emails this week.

The final budget arrives in the Florida HouseRepresentativesMonday, May 8, 2017, at the state Capitol in Tallahassee. Photo credit: Mark Wallheiser.

What the Gov’s Office is reading –Chief Executive magazine survey of best business states again names Florida No. 2, but raises concerns” via the Tampa Bay Times – For the fifth straight year Florida was ranked as the No. 2 state for business in Chief Executive magazine’s 13th annual “Best & Worst States for Business” survey. The state consistently ranks among the leaders since the survey’s inception — in part, the magazine states, because CEOs find it one of the top living environments. The rankings appear in the magazine’s May/June issue and reflect CEO perceptions of best and worst states based on a range of key measures. Florida trailed only Texas, which has held a grip on the top ranking every year the survey has been conducted. But not all of the survey feedback on Florida was good. “CEOs ranked its workforce quality a relatively low No. 18,” the magazine states. “And the state’s economic development efforts are in question due to infighting between Republican Gov. Scott and the Republican-controlled legislature.” Florida’s new legislative budget, which still faces the governor’s review, would sharply cut the use of state funds to recruit businesses and market the state’s tourism industry.

“Barahona claim bill, ‘whiskey & Wheaties’ measure go to Gov” – The first bill would pay $3.75 million to Victor Barahona, now 16, who survived physical and mental abuse, torture, and attempted murder, and to other beneficiaries including blood relatives of his and his twin sister Nubia Barahona, then 10, whose life ended in murder at the hands of her adoptive father in 2011. The children were charges of the state’s Department of Children and Families The second bill would allow retailers to remove the ‘wall of separation’ between hard liquor and other goods. A veto campaign has already begun, with opponents—including independent liquor stores—calling the proposal a job-killer. The governor has till May 24 to sign the bills into law, veto them or allow them to become law without a signature.

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“Richard Corcoran joins calls for medical marijuana special session” via Florida PoliticsHouse Speaker Corcoran has added his voice to those calling for a special legislative session on medical marijuana. Corcoran spoke Wednesday on “The Morning Show with Preston Scott” on WFLA-FM radio in Tallahassee. Lawmakers failed to come to agreement this Legislative Session on a bill that would implement the medical cannabis constitutional amendment passed in 2016 … “I do believe and support the notion that we should come back and address and finalize dealing with medical marijuana,” he (said). “Does that mean a special session?” Scott asked. “It would, absolutely,” Corcoran said.

— Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers told The News Service of Florida on Wednesday her company has sold whole-leaf products in different forms — all designed to be ingested by vaporizers — for nearly a year. Those products, however, were ground up, unlike the new bud-like product that can be smoked. Quincy-based Trulieve’s new product, first sold on Tuesday, comes in canisters designed for use with vaporizer pens. But patients can easily use the substance in other ways, such as in joints, bongs or pipes — consumption methods off-limits under state law.

Tweet, tweet: @JaredEMoskowitz: Nor should we leave gaming to the courts #ExpandTheCall

A literal backroom meeting helped yield last week’s compromise on testing reforms” via Kristen Clark of the Tampa Bay Times –With the Senate in daily floor session last week — a scheduled public meeting — at some point, six senators stepped away from the floor to convene around a conference table in a separate room at the back of the Senate chamber. Confined in that small space, no member of the public could have observed or overheard what the three Republicans and three Democrats discussed, even though the chamber was in open session just outside. The conversations and negotiating that took place in that room helped yield a 72-page rewrite to a House education bill (HB 549), which senators later approved unanimously … Senate Democratic Leader Oscar Braynon, of Miami Gardens, revealed the existence of the meeting while speaking with his caucus at a public breakfast the final day of the 2017 session. While discussing a 278-page K-12 budget bill (HB 7069) House Republicans had produced late Friday — which incorporated most of, but not all, of the testing bill the Senate passed and myriad other policies — Braynon complained that input provided by Democrats wasn’t reflected in the final product.

Carlos Guillermo Smith talks about guns, PTSD funding, the Speaker’s love” via Orlando Rising — As a progressive, what do you think was the most important thing the Florida Legislature did or didn’t do this year? Smith: Forming the first-ever Legislative Progressive Caucus or LPC. This year, we launched the LPC to begin organizing progressive voices within the legislature as a voting bloc to impact policy and work together toward a progressive agenda. OR: Post-Pulse, Democrats’ efforts to limit assault weapons and high-capacity magazines didn’t get any further in this session than before that terrible tragedy galvanized many people on the issues. Is it a lost cause for supporters of restrictions on high-powered weapons? Smith: NOT TRUE. Until now, lawmakers weren’t even filing proactive legislation to address the epidemic of gun violence. OR: What did Orlando get out of this session? Smith: After all the tragedy our community has endured, I am disappointed at how the legislature treated Orlando. SILVER LINING: Luckily, I worked with Rep. Mike Miller and Sen. Linda Stewart to secure $2.5 million in funding for the PTSD clinic at UCF helping veterans, first responders and Pulse survivors.

Jeff Atwater sticking around as CFO until state budget is nailed down” via Michael Moline of Florida Politics — Atwater will remain in office as state chief financial officer until the state budget is completely settled, his office confirmed … Atwater has announced plans to leave Tallahassee to become CFO at Florida Atlantic University upon the conclusion of the Legislative Session. That came Friday, although the Legislature required another three days to pass an $83 billion state budget. That budget — plus conforming bills spelling out some of the spending — is now in Gov. Scott’s hands. He could veto individual line items or the entire spending plan. That latter option would force the Legislature to return to the Capitol to attempt an override or, theoretically, give the Governor more of what he wants. As for    replacing Atwater, Scott seems in no particular hurry.


“Trump-fighting Miami billionaire Mike Fernandez founds group, gives $1M for deportation-fighting lawyers” via Marc Caputo of POLITICO Florida — Mike Fernandez, the billionaire former Republican donor who left the party due to President Donald Trump, is fighting the administration’s hardline immigration policies with a frontline weapon: lawyers for the undocumented facing deportation. As more illegal immigrants are swept up, detained or deported, Fernandez founded a fundraising group called the Immigration Partnership and Coalition to underwrite groups that provide legal counsel for detained illegal immigrants who don’t have felony records Fernandez announced Wednesday he was giving $1 million of his own fortune to the effort, pledged $4 million more and was spending an additional $250,000 for the staff and infrastructure for the coalition, called IMPAC. Fernandez, a Miami-area resident, said he’s hoping to get friends like Latin Grammy winners Gloria and Emilio Estefan and former Miami Heat basketball stars Alonzo Mourning, Shane Battier and Ray Allen to lend their celebrity to IMPAC. The coalition has a who’s who of local Republicans on board, including CNN contributor Ana Navarro.

Graduating seniors boo Betsy DeVos at commencement in Florida via Jessica Bakeman of POLITICO FloridaHundreds of graduating seniors of a historically black university in Florida booed and turned their backs on Education Secretary DeVos as she stood up to deliver a commencement speech. “Let’s choose to hear each other out,” DeVos said, straining to be heard above the crowd at Bethune-Cookman University’s graduation in Daytona Beach. “We can choose to listen, be respectful and continue to learn from each other’s experience.” But most of the students remained with their backs turned as the crowd applauded. University President Edison O. Jackson took the podium and tried to quiet the crowd, threatening to end the graduation. “Your degrees will be mailed to you. Choose which way you want to go.”

Tweet, tweet: @MarcACaputo: Daytona Beach News Journal headline writer misleadingly tried to *balance* the boos with cheers– therby underplaying the jeering of DeVos

Tweet, tweet: @THolt74: Bethune-Cookman University kicked reporters from @dbnewsjournal, @BuzzFeed off its property as they tried to cover Devos’ campus visit

Child abuse tips silenced for months by DCF computer glitch” via Christopher O’Donnell of the Tampa Bay TimesAbout 1,500 tips to the Florida Abuse Hotline – the state’s front line for child protection — were not sent electronically to law enforcement agencies between February and April because of a software problem, DCF officials said. That included roughly 230 cases in the Tampa Bay region. Reports of abuse or neglect by parents, which are handled by child welfare investigators, were not affected. But tips on abuse by others, including neighbors, teachers or strangers, stalled in the DCF’s computers. Some of those cases may still have been investigated, DCF officials said. Even though the software failed, abuse hotline operators were still able to transfer calls to 911. But local law enforcement agencies received notice of some reports only when the backlog was resolved May 3. In some cases, agencies are still wading through them to determine if an investigation is warranted.

Wife of mass gunman loses appeal; stays in jail” via The Associated Press — A panel of the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled last week that Noor Salman should remain in jail until her trial next March. Salman is charged with obstruction and aiding and abetting her husband, Omar Mateen, who opened fire at the Pulse gay nightclub … A magistrate judge in Oakland, California, said in March that Salman could be released from jail, but that decision was reversed by a federal judge in Orlando. Salman appealed to the appellate panel, which said her release would pose an unacceptable risk of flight and danger to the community.

Federal judge dismisses counties’ challenge to All Aboard Florida” via Lisa Broadt of TCPalm — U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper’s ruling comes after a two-year legal battle that has cost the counties more than $6 million. It’s unclear whether the decision would affect All Aboard Florida’s construction timetable: The company is to begin service between West Palm Beach and Miami this summer, but a date for expansion through the Treasure Coast and Space Coast, and on to Orlando International Airport, has been less clear. The counties’ lawsuits were dealt a fatal blow when All Aboard Florida late last year abandoned the financing plan at the heart of their case, according to Cooper’s decision.

“Reversal of fortune: Citrus forecast says oranges up, grapefruit down” via Florida PoliticsAnother bag of mixed news for Florida’s signature crops: Orange production actually increased while grapefruit production has declined. That’s according to the latest forecast released Wednesday from the the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, or NASS. “The May report projects the state’s orange crop to increase to 68 million boxes for the 2016-17 season,” said a press release from the Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC). “The grapefruit crop dipped to 7.8 million boxes.” … “It is heartbreaking to watch an industry you love work so hard to survive,” said Shannon Shepp, the department’s executive director.

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“More fun with summer jai alai permits: Dania looking to sell” via Florida PoliticsSaying it will be good for “tourism and tax revenue,” a South Florida gambling permitholder is asking state regulators to OK the permit’s sale and allow the next operator to build on a new location in Broward County. Dania Entertainment Center, which operates The Casino @ Dania Beach, last Monday asked for a declaratory judgment from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation on its “converted summer jai alai” permit. The department regulates gambling in the state. The company has a tentative deal with an unnamed buyer that wants to build a casino at a new location, the filing explains, even though it argues under current law the department’s “approval of the relocation … is not required.” The terms of the sale require the ability to set up shop elsewhere in the county.

SeaWorld attendance, revenue take dive in first quarter” via Sandra Pedicini of the Orlando Sentinel – Even after turning in a disappointing earnings report and warning investors about a drop in British tourists, SeaWorld Entertainment presented a hopeful picture of its future. The company has “a solid base from which to grow in 2017 as we introduce our strong lineup of new rides and attractions this summer,” CEO Joel Manby told analysts. In Orlando, those include a virtual-reality makeover of the Kraken roller coaster, an Electric Ocean nighttime show and a refurbished dolphin nursery. The Orlando-based theme park company’s attendance and revenue both dropped 15 percent, as it generated $186.4 million in sales.


Actual email: “Peter, (t)hank you for being willing to come to our conference. Unfortunately, our annual conference committee decided to bump our media panel for active shooter training.”

Appointed Maryke Lee, Rodney Talbot, Dr. Denise Carter and Dr. Peter Taylor to the West Orange Healthcare District. Donna Elam to the Florida Commission on Human Relations.

Governor names 12 to judicial nominating commissions” via Florida Politics – Gov. Scott made six appointments and six reappointments Wednesday to the commissions that nominate state trial judges in the event of a death, departure, or elevation to a higher court.

Normally, the voters elect these judges, but the governor holds the authority to fill vacancies:

— In the First Circuit, Robert “Alex” Andrade, 27, of Gulf Breeze, an attorney with Moore, Hill & Westmoreland, will fill a vacant seat through July 1, 2019. Scott reappointed Pamela Langham, 52, a solo practitioner from Gulf Breeze, to a new term ending on July 1, 2020. Baker solo practitioner Wanda Morgan, 51, will serve through July 1, 2020.

— In the Third Circuit, solo practitioner James Willingham Jr., 64, of Jasper, gets a new term, ending on July 1, 2020.

— In the Seventh Circuit, Katherine Miller, 35, of Daytona Beach, an attorney with Wright & Casey, was reappointed through July 1, 2020.

— In the Tenth Circuit, Richard Straughn, 58, of Straughn & Turner in Winter Haven, was reappointed through July 1, 2020.

— In the 13th Circuit, Assistant Attorney General Elba Martin, 44, of Tampa, fills a vacancy through July 1, 2019.

— In the 14th Circuit, Gregory Wilson, 45, of Greg Wilson Law in Panama City, was reappointed through July 1, 2020.

— In the 17th Circuit, Kenneth Joyce, 50, of Coral Springs, a partner with Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, will serve through July 1, 2020. Pembroke Pines solo Christina McKinnon, 42, will serve through July 1, 2020.

— In the 20th Circuit, solo practitioner Carlo Zampogna, 38, of Naples, will serve through July 1, 2020. Finally, Assistant Public Defender Kathleen Fitzgeorge, 56, of Fort Myers, was reappointed through July 1, 2020.

New and renewed lobby registrations

Toni Large, Uhlfelder & Associates: Florida Medical Horticulture LLC

Herschel Vinyard, Foley & Lardner: Rayonier

“Tournament raising funds for education and to honor Phil Galvano, father of Bill Galvano, scheduled for this week” via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics — Six months cooped up in the Florida Capitol might put a damper on Sen. Bill Galvano’s golf game, but the Bradenton Republican isn’t too worried about it. He’s hopeful his skills will come back to him when he hits the links later this week during the 21st annual Phil Galvano Classic at the Legacy Golf Club at Lakewood Ranch. And even if they don’t, he’s confident the annual event in memory of his father — golf pro Phil Galvano — will once again raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Manatee Education Foundation. … Last year’s tournament raised about $400,000, and he expects to surpass that this year. In addition to the Manatee Education Foundation, Galvano said a portion of funds raised will go to The Malala Fund, a nonprofit inspired by Malala Yousafzai that works to secure girls’ right to a minimum of 12 years of quality education. … Galvano, who is in line to be the next Senate President, said he gets a lot of support from his colleagues in Tallahassee and expects eight senators and several House members will be in attendance this year. … Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino has attended the event for the past three years, and will be in attendance again this year. … Sponsors will get a chance to mix and mingle with Marino and Galvano during a private lunch and round of golf at the Longboat Key Club on Thursday, before the main event kicks off Friday at the Legacy Golf Club at Lakewood Ranch.

– ALOE – 

Iconic Magic Kingdom fireworks show ends tonight” via Terry Roen of Orlando Rising – The newest show, “Happily Ever After,” will take its place Friday by becoming the third nighttime fireworks spectacular to ever blast off at Magic Kingdom Park. For those who cannot afford admission to the park or don’t want to fight Friday night traffic, the show’s grand debut will be live streamed at 8:55 p.m. on #DisneyParksLIVE. Tune in five minutes early to watch a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of “Happily Ever After.” To follow along on Twitter, use the hashtags #DisneyParksLIVE and #HappilyEverAfter.

It’s last call for “Wishes” at Walt Disney World, to be replaced Friday by “Happily Ever After” at Magic Kingdom Park. The show’s debut will be live streamed at 8:55 p.m. on #DisneyParksLIVE.

‘Make brunch great again’: Orange County allows restaurant alcohol sales beginning at 7 a.m. via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel – The mimosas are ready to be poured after the Orange County Commission approved alcohol sales in all restaurants beginning at 7 a.m. The change was one of two liquor-related measures discussed by the commission at its Tuesday meeting, along with the possibility of removing the rule requiring a 5,000-foot barrier between liquor stores in the unincorporated parts of the county.

Spotted – On HBO’s Vice News: Burmese python hunters in the Florida Everglades.

Happy birthday to Franco Ripple‘s better half, Ashley Ligas and Democratic activist Alison Morano.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, 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.

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