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Sunburn for 6.26.17 – Captain Anderson’s owner to be named CFO; Rick Scott to D.C.; Jack Latvala makes the rounds; Andrew Gillum blames the GOP; Seaward dogged; Weatherford hearts Gaetz

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.

Independence Day is a week from tomorrow. This should be a slow period in state politics. But 2017 continues to move at a breakneck pace. And it’s Rick Scott who is setting the tempo. He will name a new CFO, travel to Washington, D.C., to lobby on health care, deal with the final bills of the 2017 Session, and his lawyers will square off versus Aramis Ayala.

These are not the dog days of Summer.


Scott on Monday will announce he’s appointing Republican Jimmy Patronis to replace Jeff Atwater as Chief Financial Officer. Atwater, who was first elected to the post in 2010, is resigning from the job before his term is over to become a vice president at Florida Atlantic University, reports Gary Fineout of the Associated Press.

“As a small business owner, Jimmy has been a successful job creator and has helped grow Panama City’s economy,” Scott said in a statement Sunday. “I know that he will bring his wealth of private sector experience with him to Tallahassee.”

By turning to Patronis, Scott tapped someone who is expected to be a strong supporter of the governor. Patronis, 45, backed Scott during his initial run for governor seven years ago when many in the GOP establishment were supporting then-Attorney General Bill McCollum in the primary.

Patronis in a statement said he was “honored” by the appointment.

“As Florida’s next CFO, I want Florida to be the place where government does its job fairly and predictably so workers can find great jobs at great businesses,” Patronis said.

Scott is announcing the appointment at Captain Anderson’s, the restaurant run by the Patronis family for 50 years. Patronis will be officially sworn into the job on Friday.

A big question is whether Patronis will be able to run for the job in 2018 with no other Republican opposition. Former State Sen. Jeremy Ring, a former executive at Yahoo and a Democrat, has already started running for the job.

Assignment editors: Gov. Scott will hold a press conference at 8:30 a.m. (CDT) at Captain Anderson’s Restaurant, 551 North Lagoon Drive in Panama City to announce the Patronis appointment. Scott will then hold a press conference at 10:45 a.m. (CDT) at Wayside Park on the west side of U.S. 98 in Pensacola. He will end the day with a press conference at 2:45 p.m. (EDT) at Aero Simulation, 4450 East Adamo Drive, Suite 501 in Tampa.

Facebook Status of the Day via Matt Farrar:

Why you read Sunburn: We first reported that Scott would select Patronis on June 15.

Why you read, um, The Capitolist: Brian Burgess was the first to mention that Patronis was under consideration way back on May 9.

Why you should listen to Brian Hughes: He privately predicted to me that Patronis would get the appointment on May 6!

Why you should always do whatever you can to remain in the game, rather than make a political move that forces you to the wilderness: Remember in 2013 when Matt Gaetz muscled Patronis out of a state Senate primary? Instead of lose badly to Gaetz, Patronis preserved his brand and now he’ll be CFO.

Meanwhile …Tom Grady asked Gov. Scott to take him off shortlist for Florida CFO” via Alexandra Glorioso of the Naples Daily News —  … because he is having too much fun making money. Grady said his financial consulting through Grady Law increased “dramatically” after Trump was elected in November. He since has invested in money management company Naples Global Adviser and two Silicon Valley startups. The startups are an online human resources company called Rippling and a job-networking business called Door of Clubs. A Naples businessman and lawyer, Grady is a minority stakeholder in all the enterprises.

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Gov. Scott is expected to travel to Washington, D.C. this week to meet with congressional leaders to discuss the Senate’s proposed health care bill.

The Governor’s Office announced Scott’s upcoming trip on Friday, one day after Senate Republicans unveiled their plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare. In a statement, Scott said he planned to meet with congressional leaders to “provide input on how we can make the bill better for Floridians.”

Gov. Rick Scott addresses members of the media in Washington, D.C. in May. Photo credit: YouTube.

“First, all states must be treated equitably. Florida taxpayers deserve the same treatment as every other state under the Medicaid program,” said Scott in a statement. “Second, every American, including those with pre-existing conditions, should have the ability to buy any kind of insurance they want. This will drive down costs and give people the flexibility and power to determine what they want to buy.”

The governor went on to say he looked forward to “traveling to Washington to fight for Florida families and ensure a health care proposal that dismantles the terrible, expensive mess of Obamacare.”

Details of Scott’s trip were not immediately available.


In a “score card” produced by the Florida Society of News Editors and based on information provided by Florida’s First Amendment Foundation — which tracked a priority list of public records exemptions — the 160 legislators totaled three Fs, 77 Ds, 71 Cs, and 9 Bs.

The 2017 Legislature created 26 exemptions and expanded another, then instituted yet one more exemption during its special session. Should Gov. Rick Scott approve all of the 28 new exemptions, the grand total over the years would be 1,150.

The single lowest score went to Rep. Bob Rommel, who sponsored House Bill 351, which would have made secret records of public college president searches; and House Bill 843, which would have allowed two members of a government board to meet privately. Both bills failed. Rommel also voted on the House floor against government openness in five of seven cases.

Rommel was joined in drawing an F by Rep. Byron Donalds, another Naples Republican; and Kimberly Daniels, a Jacksonville Democrat.

No legislator earned an A in the same way the others got the Fs. Rep. Joseph Geller, voted for government openness in six of seven floor votes and earned a B-plus, the same grade given to Rep. Lori Berman.

— Scores in the House were much more likely to be lower than those in the Senate. Some of that may be because of HB 111, which drew nearly two dozen sponsors and co-sponsors in the House. The bill, which hides information about witnesses to murders, was signed by Scott in May.

— Where does your legislator rank? See the scorecard.

— Pushback:

>>>Fred Piccolo, a spokesman for House Speaker Richard Corcoran — who scored a D-plus — called inclusion of HB 111, the witness identity bill, in the scorecard, “just plain silly.”

>>>Chris Latvala said, “If I have to vote on that bill 100 more times, I will vote 100 more times for that bill.”

>>>“It’s not that hard of a reach to say this law will keep others from being murdered,” said Rep. Evan Jenne, who earned a C-minus. ” I realize they (the First Amendment Foundation) are a one-issue, one-note organization. But at a certain point, reality comes crashing into any philosophy.”


Sen. Jack Latvala is hitting the road, making appearances in several cities throughout the state this week.  

The Clearwater Republican will kick off his swing at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday when he is scheduled to take part in the Clearwater Chamber of Commerce’s breakfast meeting at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 111 North McMullen Booth Road in Clearwater. Latvala, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, is expected to be joined by Reps. Larry Ahern, Ben Diamond, Chris Sprowls, Jamie Grant, Chris Latvala, Wengay Newton and Kathleen Peters for that presentation.

Don’t expect him to linger too long after the meeting, though. Latvala is scheduled to discuss the 2017 Legislative Session during a meeting of the Tiger Bay Club of Southwest Florida at noon at the Marina at Edison Ford, 2360 West First Street in Fort Myers.

Jack Latvala accepts the Dr. Lewis Earle Legislative Service Award from the Florida Dental Association’s Dr. Terry Buckenheimer.

Palm Beach County residents will likely spy Latvala in their neck of the woods on Friday. Latvala is slated to receive an award from the Florida Association of Counties during its annual conference at the Palm Beach Convention Center, 650 Okeechobee Blvd. in West Palm Beach.

On Saturday, Latvala is scheduled to speak at 8 a.m. at the American Legion statewide convention at Orlando World Center Marriott, 8701 World Center Drive.

Latvala: Potential GOP rivals for governor are ‘government animals’” via Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald – Would Latvala make a better governor than Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam? “Oh, absolutely,” Latvala told WFOR-CBS 4’s Jim DeFede on “Facing South Florida.” “Because I’ve actually made a payroll. I’ve actually paid workers comp claims. I’ve been in business all these years, while Adam has been in elected office since he was 22 years old.” What about House Speaker Corcoran, another possible contender? “Richard is a trial lawyer at heart,” Latvala declared. “That’s his background: He’s a lawyer with a law firm that lobbies now. I don’t know how much he actually works and practices law. He’s basically a government animal as well.” Latvala, who said he’ll make a decision about whether to run in August, pitched himself as a practical alternative. “I’m an old-fashioned Republican from the standpoint that I think government ought to stay out of our lives — and that includes our personal lives. Some people think that makes me a moderate. Let them think what they want.”

Click on the image below to watch a video of the interview.


Scott signs marijuana amendment into law” via Joe Reedy of The Associated Press — Patients who suffered from epilepsy, chronic muscle spasms, cancer and terminal conditions were allowed under laws Scott signed in 2014 and 2016 to receive either low-THC cannabis or full strength medical marijuana. This law adds people with HIV and AIDS, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and similar conditions. The legislation also paves the way for 10 more medical marijuana treatment centers by Oct. 3, which is the deadline for the rules to be enacted, in addition to the seven already operating. Five that applied in 2015 but were not selected will be licensed by August. The other five licensees include one set aside for a group of black farmers. The bill still bans smoking the marijuana, despite amendment supporters saying it is written in the language. medical marijuana products can be sold as edibles, vaping, oils, sprays or tinctures. Patients may receive an order for three 70-day supplies before having to visit a doctor again to get re-examined.

VISIT Florida is ‘cleaning up their act’ says House Speaker” via Ann Howard of The Capitolist — “It’s clear that VISIT Florida has heard us loud and clear and are beginning the process of cleaning up their act and ceasing the waste of taxpayer money,” said Corcoran. For months Corcoran and Gov. Scott have battled it out about VISIT Florida, as Corcoran called for more transparency and massive cuts to the VISIT Florida budget that was more than $80 million. By the end of Special Session, the VISIT Florida budget was cut down, but not by much, to $76 million. VISIT Florida contracts valued at $500,000 are now required to be posted online. Contracts for more than $750,000 will now go before the Joint Legislative Budget Commission with the possibility it could be killed within 14 days by the House speaker or Senate president.

Cancer treatments behind her, Dorothy Hukill tells constituents: ‘I’m back’” via Allison Shirk of the Daytona Beach News-Journal — The Port Orange Republican said she is finished with treatment now, cancer-free and gearing up for next year when the next regular session begins in January, two months before the usual starting time. Hukill addressed members of the Southeast Volusia Chamber of Commerce at a luncheon about the session she watched via Florida Channel. “Guess what?” she said to the room. “I’m back,” Hukill said after the event that she was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support during her treatments, saying she was offered more support than she could possibly ever need. Hukill said she would have rather been in Tallahassee during the session, calling it “painful” to have been away, but that watching the House and Senate members debate from afar made her more aware of body language and reactions — things she would have missed if there in person, she said.

Spotted on the front page of Sunday’s Indian River Press Journal: state Rep. Erin Grall — “GOP ready to have 1st woman as speaker?

Happening tonight — House Majority 2018, Speaker Corcoran, and Speakers-to-be José Oliva and Chris Sprowls host a fundraiser for Grall in her House District 54 re-election bid. Event begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Quail Valley River Club, 2345 Highway A1A in Vero Beach.


Florida Democrats surging with grass roots enthusiasm, but 2018 reality is grim” via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times – The unprecedented surge in grass roots energy and activity should bode well for downtrodden Florida Democrats heading into the 2018 midterms, but it belies a grimmer reality: The state party that won one of the past 13 Florida Cabinet races and zero of the past five governor’s races, remains as much of a dark horse as ever, with fundamental questions about resources and competence … look at Florida’s all-important I-4 corridor. Since Election Day, the Republican voter registration lead over Democrats in the Tampa and Orlando media markets has risen by more than 41,000 voters. It might seem that Democrats could not sink lower in Florida than they already have … But they could sink lower in 2018. With a U.S. Senate seat on the line and open seats for every statewide Florida office, this is a potentially game-changing election cycle. Florida Democrats won’t have an opportunity like this for at least eight more years, and they can’t afford to wait to build the kind of campaign machinery that wins close races in battleground Florida. The good news for Florida Democrats? Two-thirds of those surveyed expect President Donald Trump to be a drag on the Republican ticket in 2018, and 70 percent expect higher Democratic turnout than usual in midterm elections.

Amid FBI probe of Tallahassee, Andrew Gillum says GOP trying to ‘put as much dirt on me as they can’” via William March of the Tampa Bay Times – Gillum hinted at political motives behind early problems for his campaign, which include the investigation … he wasn’t accusing the FBI of any political motivation: “It’s the FBI’s job to get to the bottom of exactly what’s gone on. If something illegal or untoward has occurred I’m going to do everything I can to assist them in bringing resolution to that situation.” Gillum also proclaimed his innocence of any wrongdoing, and said the Tallahassee FBI field office approved a statement he released saying he is not a target or subject of the investigation. Discussing the investigation and other problems that have affected the opening months of his campaign, Gillum said: “I just know that based on the way they have come after me ever since — prior to my jumping into this race, back during Hurricane Hermine … all I can tell you there’s enough on the record” to suggest Republicans would like to sabotage his campaign. Asked whether he was comparing the investigation to the political scrap over Hermine, Gillum repeated, “I think I would say the Republicans are terrified. And I believe that they are as intent on … trying to put as much dirt on me as they can.”

Evan Power, chairman of the Leon Co. GOP pushes back: “It is embarrassing that Mayor Gillum would try to point to me and my fellow Republicans as the source of the problems in his campaign. We did not tell him to turn down help during hurricane hermine, to create a political email system with tax dollars, or generate the FBI probe of Tallahassee. It is sad that when people start hearing the real record of Mayor Gillum he has to grasp at such fantastical straws. Tallahassee and the State of Florida deserve much better than the failed leadership of Mayor Andrew Gillum.”

Phillip Levine says his authenticity is a quality voters want from their leaders” via Mitch Perry of Florida PoliticsLevine is currently in the “testing the waters” phase of a potential gubernatorial candidacy … he surprised much of the Florida political establishment last month when he announced at a Tampa Tiger Bay meeting that he was considering a run as an independent.

“I tell everyone, I’m a Democrat, but I’m a radical centrist, I’m an American before I’m anything, and that’s the most important thing,” Levine said when asked about his gubernatorial aspirations. “I’m not left or right, I’m forward. If that’s a Democratic hat, great? If not, we’ll see, and I haven’t made any decisions.”

Miami Beach Mayor Phil Levine and POLITICO Florida’s Marc Caputo.

“You learn in this game of politics that people love to grandstand, they like to go after you for different things,” he said. “I came in with a thinner skin. My skin now is kind of like alligators.”

“I can’t vouch whether it’s well run, well-funded, it should be changed, but I know the concept is good,” he said of Enterprise Florida, which ultimately received $85 million in state funding in the FY 2018 budget. “It’s unfortunate that the governor was caught in a situation where folks were playing politics with him,” he said, adding that he felt the same about VISIT Florida. “One thing that people are sick of is people playing politics with good things, and the only one who suffers in the people.”

Ashley Moody adds a political committee to her Attorney General bid arsenal” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Former Hillsborough Circuit Judge Moody, who filed in the Republican Primary for Attorney General this month, also launched a political committee. The name: “Friends of Ashley Moody.” Moody has certain tailwinds behind her, including backing by current Attorney General Pam Bondi, who basically endorsed Moody even before she entered the race. Moody has one opponent on the GOP side thus far: Jacksonville state Rep. Jay Fant.

Teresa Jacobs not talking about possible CD 7 run, but expresses a glimmer of interest in CFO run” via Scott Powers of Orlando RisingJacobs, who is term-limited out at the end of 2018 from the mayor’s position, has been widely viewed as a Republican with higher office potential in her future, and in recent weeks has been widely rumored to be a possible candidate in Florida’s 7th Congressional District, the northern Orange and Seminole counties district where Murphy won an upset over 12-term Republican U.S. Rep. John Mica last fall. On Friday … she dismissed any immediate ambitions and insisted she has not decided yet what she would like to do after her mayoral term expires. “I’m not asking around. I haven’t made any decisions at this point about what I mean to do when I leave,” Jacobs said. What about CFO in 2018? “I’m not certain. I haven’t ruled that out, but the only thing that I know is whatever I do whether it’s public sector or private sector, my goal is to do something that is meaningful,” Jacobs said. “I mean, I had a job for ten years (in banking) in the private sector; paid well, but I didn’t come home at night feeling I was having a positive impact on people’s lives. And that’s what I’ve been able to do for the last seven years.”

Run, Javi, run –Javier Manjarres explores Congressional run” via Samantha Leff of the Shark Tank – “After speaking with my trusted colleagues, friends and family about future career opportunities, I have decided to explore the possibility of running for the U.S. Congress in Florida’s 22nd Congressional District. It was clear that after the historic 2016 elections, Americans rejected the agenda and policies of the outgoing Obama Administration that they believe were threatening the American way of life. Even with Republicans in control of Congress, it is of the utmost importance that Republicans continue to win the public’s trust and reform all aspects of the federal government.”

Last day to register to vote for SD 40, HD 116 primaries — Monday is registration deadline for voters hoping to cast a ballot in the special primary elections in Senate District 40 and House District 116. Florida is a closed primary state, which means only registered Democrats and Republicans can vote in their party’s primary. Both primaries are scheduled for July 25.

Democratic Progressive Caucus endorses Annette Taddeo in SD 40 special election” via Florida Politics — The Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida is backing Miami businesswoman Taddeo in the Senate District 40 special election, saying she will be a “progressive champion” who will represent the interests of everyday Floridians in the Florida Legislature. “DPCF’s endorsement questionnaire covers a wide variety of topics, including charter and voucher school accountability, gun safety, state pre-emption of local control, and access to affordable health care,” said DPCF President Susan Smith. “The caucus is committed to implementing progressive policies in Florida as a way to enhance quality of life and we cannot do that without legislative leaders like Annette Taddeo. Residents of SD 40 deserve a senator who will fight for them and not special interests.”

New mailer targets Jose Mallea over tax increasesMallea is the target of a new mailer, which claims he helped usher in a massive tax increase during his time in city government. The mailer — which appears to be from Conservatives for Truth PC, a Coral Gables political committee — claims Mallea, who served as chief of staff to former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz played a role in “increasing taxes by $74 million on Miami residents.” … “This massive tax increase was very damaging to many of us in the Miami area. Mallea stood by and watched a 41 percent increase in taxes bleed many in our community dry. 

Miami legislators to hold fundraiser for Speaker Corcoran” via Amy Sherman of the Miami Herald — Miami Republican State Rep. Michael Bileca is hosting a fundraiser for Corcoran‘s Watchdog PAC at his home Wednesday night. Also on the host committee: state Reps. Ray Rodrigues, Jeanette Nuñez, Carlos Trujillo, Bryan Avila and Manny Diaz, Jr. The suggested contribution is $1,000.

HD 44 special election candidates debate health care, education, marijuana, tourism support” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Stark differences of policy positions were clear between the one Democrat and three of the four Republicans running to fill the open Florida House District 44 seat but the differences between the Republicans proved more subtle in a debate, boiling down to who claimed the strongest ownership of particular GOP positions. The debate sponsored by the West Orange Chamber of Commerce in Ocoee, pitted Democrat Paul Chandler and Republicans Usha Jain, John Newstreet and Bobby Olszewski, while Republican Bruno Portigliatti sent his regrets. With a question asking how they expected to address the estimated 13 percent of Floridians who are without medical insurance as the Affordable Care Act faces repeal, Olszewski said the state needs to focus on “smart business principles.” The four all pledged support for public education and insisted they consider education critical, with Olszewski and Newstreet pointing out they are the sons of teachers and are married to teachers, and Chandler pointing out he used to be a teacher.

Florida politics lopsided despite required fair districts” via Brendan Farrington of The Associated Press – While it would be easy to say Republicans built their power because they draw the political boundaries for Congress and the Legislature, it’s not as simple as that. Yes, observers note, it has contributed to the lopsided political numbers in a state where presidential elections are often seen as a tossup … Republicans are at this point just better at raising money, recruiting candidates and winning races in districts that should be more competitive. The Associated Press analyzed all 435 U.S. House races and about 4,700 state House and Assembly elections last year … Florida Republicans’ advantage in Congress was slightly more than should’ve been expected, it wasn’t to the point that clearly indicated gerrymandering. “Republicans really put their foot on the gas when Bush got elected,” said Steve Schale, a Democratic political consultant … Republicans drew maps with highly concentrated Democratic districts so that they could create more Republican-strong districts that weren’t as concentrated. As a result, Schale said, districts seen as competitive still have a slight Republican edge: “Even the places that are competitive aren’t truly like jump balls.”

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Former Florida Supreme Court justice dies at age 93” via The Associated PressParker Lee McDonald died Saturday at his home in Tallahassee. McDonald, who was born in Sebring, was appointed to the state Supreme Court in 1979 by then-Gov. Bob Graham. McDonald served 15 years on the court and retired from the court after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70. He authored the decision regarding jurors in 1984. He was nicknamed the “Whistling Justice” because a security guard stopped him on his first day and told him no whistling was allowed in the court building. McDonald told the guard he could do what he wanted since he was a justice.

“Governor orders flags at half-staff for FHP Sgt. William T. Bishop” via Florida Politics – The governor ordered flags at half-staff to honor the late Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Bishop, who was hit by a car on Interstate 75 … Scott directed the U.S. and Florida flags at half-staff at the Columbia County Courthouse in Lake City, the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles headquarters in Tallahassee, the Troop B Station in Lake City, and at City Hall in Lake City from sunrise to sunset this past Friday. “We are heartbroken over the death of 30-year veteran FHP Sgt. William Trampas Bishop,” Scott said in a statement. “Ann and I are praying for Sergeant Bishop’s family and loved ones during this very difficult time.”

Collapse? Six insurers eye return to Florida’s 2018 Obamacare market” via Charles Elmore of the Palm Beach Post — A total of nine insurers filed rates for individual plans compliant with the health law, on or off the exchange, according to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. The average requested rate increase for the nine companies is 17.8 percent, slightly below last year’s approved average hike of 19.1 percent. For the six companies on the exchange, it’s 17.3 percent, officials said … about nine in 10 of Florida’s approximately 1.5 million marketplace customers saw their monthly premiums barely change at all from an average of about $84 because of government subsidies that lower what they actually pay. Customers who make too much money to qualify for government aid face the full impact of the rate increases.

“DEP doles out nearly $3 million in water grantsvia Florida PoliticsThe Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently awarded almost $3 million for six stormwater projects to communities across Florida, it announced in a Friday news release. “Funded through annual appropriations from the Florida Legislature, Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) grants support projects designed to improve water quality in impaired springs, rivers, lakes and estuaries, which need help meeting Florida’s stringent water-quality standards,” the release said. “The department is eager to partner with communities to improve water quality in coastal estuaries,” said Drew Bartlett, DEP’s deputy secretary for ecosystems restoration, in a statement. “Healthy waterways are a top priority for Florida’s residents and visitors.”

How the hotel lobby planted an Airbnb question at the mayors’ opening news conference” via Douglas Hanks of the Miami Herald — Signing up as the main sponsor of a convention brings significant perks: branding exposure on all materials, prime speaking spots on panels, and generally VIP treatment for the getaway. Then there was Friday in Miami Beach for Airbnb, the title sponsor of this weekend’s U.S. Conference of Mayors gathering … During the event’s opening news conference, the final question came from Sean Kelly and a cameraman wearing a “PRESS” badge. “Mayor,” Kelly asked Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, who is president of the Conference, “who is in the best position to deal with the sharing economy when it comes to short-term rentals: local government or state government?” If the question seemed teed up to the hotel lobby’s opposition to Florida and other states blocking local crackdowns on Airbnb, it was. Kelly works for Align, an Orlando public affairs firm hired by the hotel lobby and the group it backs to fight short-term rentals, called Airbnb Watch.

How the Amazon deal might affect Publix” via Kevin Bouffard of the Lakeland Ledger — The merger announcement came just nine days after Publix announced it would expand a pilot program with San Francisco-based Instacart to all 1,148 Publix stores in six states by 2020. Instacart takes online orders for Publix products, fulfills them through its own store-based shoppers and delivers the order to the customer’s home for a fee. Amazon does much the same for a variety of consumer products. Until the Whole Foods announcement, Amazon dabbled with delivering food products, and the merger signals its intention to go all in with a wider range of grocery products from more than 460 Whole Foods outlets. Amazon’s entry into the grocery market likely will spur Publix to speed up the Instacart alliance to all its stores.

Publix is fighting back on the Amazon/Whole Foods merger.

Under investigation, SeaWorld subpoenaed for executives’ comments on ‘blackfish’ doc” via Gabrielle Russon of the Orlando Sentinel — In June, the U.S. Department of Justice subpoenaed the theme-park company as part of its investigation into “disclosures and public statements” that were made about the movie’s impact and trading in SeaWorld’s securities, the filing said. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission also subpoenaed SeaWorld in connection with the comments although it was unclear if they were also issued this month. “Blackfish” is the 2013 anti-captivity documentary that painted a damning portrait of SeaWorld. “The Company has cooperated with these government inquiries and intends to continue to cooperate with any government requests or inquiries,” the filing said adding the company’s board of directors put together a committee with counsel to deal with the government’s inquiries.


Don Gaetz deserves credit for Triumph” via Will Weatherford for the Pensacola News-Journal — The eight counties that were hit the hardest as a result of the Deep Horizon Oil Spill are now the primary recipients of a fund that was conceived by a visionary leader and preserved by sheer will and determination. All who know Don Gaetz recognize that he is a man of action … he aggressively channeled his intellect and political prowess to create both short-term and long-term plans of action. Don wanted to make sure that no one forgot the Panhandle when it came time to pay for mistakes. With unstoppable will and grit, Don created the Triumph Gulf Coast Corporation, and entity represented solely by the impacted communities. I watched Don in real time as he negotiated with forces in and outside of government to ensure that the vast majority of the recovery funds would be brought home to the Panhandle. It’s a great reminder for all of us that leadership matters, vision matters, and Senate President Don Gaetz made sure that Northwest Florida mattered in its time of need.


“Jorge Labarga names Council of Business Partners members” via Florida PoliticsChief Justice Labarga on Friday announced the first members of a panel to advise the Florida Supreme Court‘s commission on helping the state’s poor and working poor get legal help. The Council of Business Partners will advise the Commission on Access to Civil Justice, created by Labarga in 2014. “Employers, too, have a stake in this,” Labarga said in a statement. “Employees who have challenges accessing justice have higher absenteeism and reduced productivity … It is in all our interests to address access to justice,” he added.

Appointed — Dr. Mark Williams (reappointed) and Tina Pike to the Florida State Boxing Commission.

New and renewed lobby registrations: Gary Perko, Hopping Green & Sams: Natural Therapeutics of Florida

— ALOE — 

Orlando may make pitch for 2019 Major League Soccer All-Star Game” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Orlando is readying a pitch … but organizers could need $350,000 in backing from public funds and if they get that they’ll have to do it Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs‘ way. At Friday’s Tourist Development Council meeting, which Jacobs chairs, she lashed out at organizers for coming in late and through what she described as inappropriate protocol seeking county tourism tax support for the bid. The bid must be filed with the league by Aug. 25. Instead, she worked out an alternative way the county could offer tourist tax guarantees to cover any possible losses up to $350,000, and the council voted unanimously to encourage the county commission to “take whatever actions deemed appropriate and necessary to bring the MLS All-Star Game for 2019 here to Central Florida.”

Millennials are making it luxe to be more ethical and environmentally aware” via Marc Bain of Quartz —  Luxury goods are rarely just about the product. Often, it’s the subtle conveyance of good taste, access and wealth. And increasingly, that high status is suggested in the language of conscious consumerism: “organic,” “sustainable,” “ethical.” The luxury industry is waking up fast to this reality, and responding with a slew of products and services geared to what the sociologist Elizabeth Currid-Halkett has called the “aspirational class”— those who “earnestly buy organic, carry NPR tote bags, and breastfeed their babies.” Sustainability is a growing priority for these customers, and an urgent imperative for upscale labels — and one that will only become more critical as they increasingly look to younger customers who grew up steeped in “aspirational” culture.

Luxe products aren’t just about goods, Millenials want them to be sustainable, too. 

These charts show who you’ll spend your time with across your lifetime” via Corinne Purtill and Dan Kopf of Quartz — Time with friends, colleagues, siblings, and children diminishes over the course of a lifetime. The older we get, the person we spend the most time with is the one we see in the mirror. That’s the conclusion of a recent, fascinating analysis of data from the American Time Use Survey, an annual census by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics of how Americans spend their hours. Time with friends drops off abruptly in the mid-30s, just as time spent with children peaks. Around the age of 60 — nearing and then entering retirement, for many — people stop hanging out with co-workers as much, and start spending more time with partners … Others are more surprising. Hours spent in the company of children, friends, and extended family members all plateau by our mid-50s. And from the age of 40 until death, we spend an ever-increasing amount of time alone.

Happy birthday to Lydia Claire Brooks and Eric Carr.

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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