Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Sunburn for 7.13.16 – Dear God, it’s here already!

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.


The first round of ballots for primary election are in the mail — or at least will be by week’s end. The next round is set to go out beginning July 26. And in-person early voting will be here in the blink of an eye.

If you thought the primary is Aug. 30, think again. It’s today.

The deadline to send ballots to military and overseas voters is July 16. On Tuesday, Okaloosa County Supervisor of Elections Paul Lux told the Tampa Bay Times he had mailed 3,600 ballots. He expected to send another 1,300 by Friday to voters who requested ballots by email.

While elections of yore may have been considered marathons, the 2016 primary is definitely a sprint. Late entries mean campaigns across the state are beefing up their ad buys, and candidates are spending their spare moments knocking on doors and working the phones to get their message out.

Take Marco Rubio, for example. The Miami Republican announced he was running for re-election just days before the end of the qualifying period. He now plans to spend next week on the campaign trail, instead of at the Republican National Convention.

His decision might prove to be a good one: Carlos Beruff, the Manatee County Republican challenging Rubio, won’t be campaigning in the Sunshine State next week. He announced he’s heading to Cleveland to attend the GOP convention.

And if you think the deadline to get ballots in the mail means the races are set, well then you’re wrong there too. On Tuesday, Ana Rivas Logan, a Miami-Dade Democrat, announced she’s dropping out of the Senate District 40 race. While she told supporters she had to take time to care for her parents, she also was quick to note that the Democratic primary changed at the last minute and was shaping up to be filled with “in-the-gutter campaign tactics.”

It’s hard to imagine, but there’s still more than a month until results roll in.

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DAYS UNTIL: Domestic absentee ballots go out in primary – 12; Early voting begins in primaries – 37; Primary elections – 47; Deadline to register to vote in Primary Election – 17; Deadline to register to vote in General Election – 90; Absentees sent in General Election – 82; Early voting begins in General Election — 107; General Election – 117.

FRESH Q-POLL via release —  With a drop in grades on honesty and moral standards, Democrat Hillary Clinton loses an 8-point lead over Republican Donald Trump in Florida.

While the gender gap remains wide, Trump gains support among men, who back him 50 – 29 percent, and women, who back Clinton 48 – 36 percent, compared to 52 – 34 percent in June. Independent voters shift from 44 – 35 percent for Clinton last month to 43 – 30 percent for Trump today. Republicans back Trump 82 – 6 percent, while Clinton leads 87 – 4 among Democrats. White voters back Trump 54 – 30 percent, as nonwhite voters go to Clinton 56 – 21 percent.

Florida voters give Clinton and Trump negative favorability ratings, 35 – 59 percent for her and 38 – 54 percent for him.

Comparing the candidates’ character traits, voters say:

  • 53 – 37 percent that Clinton is better prepared to be president;
  • 42 – 42 percent tie on who has higher moral standards, wiping out a 47 – 36 percent Clinton lead on this measure June 21;
  • 52 – 35 percent that Clinton is more intelligent;
  • 50 – 37 percent that Trump is more honest and trustworthy, up from 43 – 40 percent.

FACEBOOK RANT OF THE DAY via Gary Fineout: “Hate to channel Aaron Deslatte but journalists and journalistic organizations continue to use polls in a cavalier fashion. First off, any news organization should think very very deliberately before it uses poll results from an entity that desires a specific result based on the fact they are paying for it. So whether it’s a poll paid by the city, or a poll paid by an outside group hired by business interests it should be viewed cautiously. But then goodness gracious, look at the crosstabs, look at the questions, look at the margin of error which in the case of this latest poll was +/- 5 percent, which means there could be a 10 percent swing overall in the results…”

EQUALITY PAC ENDORSES PATRICK MURPHY FOR U.S. SENATE – Equality PAC, a political action committee dedicated to supporting LGBT and pro-LGBT candidates, and which includes many members of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, endorsed Murphy for U.S. Senate. Equality PAC Co-Chair Rep. Mark Takano said, “Patrick Murphy has been a visionary leader on LGBT equality in the U.S. House, and Equality PAC is proud to endorse his candidate for U.S. Senate. We need more allies who have not just unending passion for LGBT rights, but also think strategically and smartly about how to make the dream of equality a reality. Patrick’s leadership in the wake of the Pulse shooting and his work as a member of the LGBT Caucus’s LGBT Aging Issues Task Force are just two examples of how he ‘gets it.’ He gets how to support our community when we’ve been attacked and how the fight for equality didn’t end with marriage, but continues on supporting vulnerable LGBT populations.”

TWEET, TWEET: @PeterHamby: In Florida for the day and can’t escape @USChamber ads drilling Patrick Murphy

DC CONSULTANT COMPLICATES CARLOS BERUFF’S ‘OUTSIDER’ CANDIDACY IN FLORIDA via Natalie Johnson of the Washington Free Beacon –  Beruff, who is challenging Marco Rubio in the Republican primary and has portrayed himself as the race’s “Washington outsider,” employs a Washington-based political consultant named Curt Anderson and is using a campaign talking point that another client of Anderson’s has also used. … The talking point replicates an oft-repeated phrase from former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal‘s 2016 GOP presidential bid. Anderson served as Jindal’s chief strategist at the time the former Louisiana governor first used the “hyphenated Americans” talking point. Beruff hailed Anderson during a campaign event earlier this month as his “strategist in Washington who lives this business.”

OFF EMBARGO — SEIU ENDORSES SUSANNAH RANDOLPH FOR CD 9 – The Service Employees International Union has more than 2 million members nationwide and is leading the Fight for $15 movement. “For years, Susannah Randolph has been a true champion. She has fought on the front line alongside her neighbors, standing up for working people in the battles for women’s rights, environmental justice, a real living wage, health care for all, protecting our seniors and strengthening the middle class,” said SEIU Florida President, Monica Russo. “A mother herself, Susannah believes we need to invest in our children and is dedicated to providing quality education and child care to every child in America. As a seasoned community organizer and a true civic partner, she has already helped transform her diverse Central Florida community.”

CHARLIE CRIST’S BEACH HOUSE ON PASS-A-GRILLE IS ABOUT TO HIT THE MARKET via Susan Taylor Martin of the Tampa Bay Times – A Realtor’s “Available soon” sign has sprouted at the 1,480-square- foot cottage Crist and his wife, Carole, bought last year when new congressional district boundaries were still uncertain. But once that issue was settled, the Crists found themselves with two homes in the same district — the modest beach place and a 2,700-square- foot luxury condo in downtown St. Petersburg. Alona Dishy, the listing agent, said photos of the house at 201 Gulf Way in Pass-a-Grille need to be taken before it officially goes on sale. She would not disclose the price but agent Melinda Pletcher said “talk on the street” is that it will be listed at $1.3 million — nearly $400,000 more than the Crists paid a year ago. “The home has tremendous character and is well maintained,” said Pletcher, who has a larger house under contract nearby. “It’s what everybody is looking for when they look at Pass-a-Grille, which is a terrific historic district. It should be very well received once it hits the market.”

PERSONNEL NOTE: DENNIS ROSS ADDS KOURTNEY MOODY AS A STAFF ASSISTANT – U.S. Rep. Ross, Senior Deputy Majority Whip, welcomed Moody to his D.C. office as a Staff Assistant. Moody graduated in May 2015 from North Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, and was previously an intern for U.S. Rep. Bill Posey in his Melbourne and D.C. offices. “I am thrilled to have Kourtney join our office,” said Ross. “Her Florida roots and experience serving constituents in both district and D.C. congressional offices will be invaluable assets to the Tampa Bay and Central Florida regions. Kourtney will no doubt make the wonderful folks from District 15 feel right at home while visiting our nation’s capital.”

MACKS HELP RAISE MONEY FOR FRANCIS ROONEY via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida – “Francis is the epitome of what Florida needs, and will bring decades of real world experience and strong conservative values to a place that needs them most – Congress,” read a fundraising email signed by former U.S. Sen. Connie Mack III and his son, former Rep. Connie Mack IVRooney is running in the 19th Congressional District being vacated by Rep. Curt Clawson … Rooney quickly racked up high-profile endorsements, including unprecedented primary support from Gov. Scott, and has raised more than $500,000.

TREY RADEL, WHO STEPPED DOWN FROM U.S. CONGRESS AFTER COCAINE SCANDAL, LOOKS AT OLD RADIO JOB via Alexandra Glorioso of the Naples Daily News – Radel is seeking his former job on the “Daybreak” talk show on 92.5 Fox News Radio, which he hosted before running for Congress in 2012. Radel has done few interviews since leaving public office, but he said he’s interested in the radio job, which opened up when current host Drew Steele announced on his Facebook page that he would be leaving the show. “I’m open to it,” Radel said about the radio job. “I love this community … I have had an amazing run in media here.” The station’s manager, Jim Schwartzel confirmed Steele’s resignation, saying he was moving to a bigger media market, an NBC-affiliate called KSL in Salt Lake City. It’s unclear who will step in to the position, Schwartzel said.

MIAMI PROSECUTORS PROBE CLAIM THAT ANDREW KORGE OFFERED DWIGHT BULLARD $25 K TO SWITCH DISTRICTS via Tim Elfrink of the Miami New Times – Korge started off in a heated race for state Senate against sitting GOP Sen. Anitere Flores and then hastily switched last month to District 40, where sitting Democratic Sen. Bullard was already running. Bullard says Korge — the son of uber-Democratic fundraiser Chris Korge — had an easy solution to that traffic jam: The well-to-do first-timer offered the senator $25,000 to switch to another district … “The guy with all the money tried to bully me out of my seat by offering up money” … Now, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office has opened a probe into those allegations. “The State Attorney’s Office reached out to me and mentioned the Herald article,” Bullard says. “I have to do a follow-up on that with their investigator.” Ed Griffith, a representative for the prosecutor’s office, confirmed Bullard’s story, though he notes that “Bullard has yet to respond” to the inquiry … Griffith says Bullard has now been in touch with prosecutors to discuss the case. Korge, meanwhile, blasted his new Democratic opponent over the claims. He says, to the contrary, that Bullard is the one who solicited the $25,000 while waffling over whether to stay in the race.

ANA RIVAS LOGAN DROPS OUT OF STATE SENATE RACE via Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald – Rivas Logan is withdrawing from the tumultuous race for Florida Senate District 40. In an email to supporters … Rivas Logan said she has to take time to care for her parents. She also noted that the Democratic primary in the race changed at the last minute, when challenger Andrew Korgeswitched districts to run against Rivas Logan and incumbent Sen. Dwight Bullard …  “Balancing the care my parents need and what will be in-the-gutter campaign tactics by some in the race, I have chosen to suspend my campaign today knowing that my future in public service is not over” … The Miami-Dade County state attorney’s office said earlier it is investigating Bullard’s allegation that Korge offered him a payoff to change districts — a move that would have left the well-funded Korge running solely against Rivas Logan. “[T]he race changed at the close of qualifying and this has a major impact on our path forward,” Rivas Logan conceded. “I firmly believe that I could win this race, but unfortunately, know all too well that this race could turn to distractions rather than focus on the best ideas on how to deliver a strong education system and fighting to raise the wages for our workforce.”

MEET AMY MERCADO, DEMOCRAT RUNNING FOR FLORIDA HOUSE DISTRICT 48 via Florida Politics – In 25 words or less, why are you running for office? “To make sure that this minority Democratic district has someone they can identify with and someone who will fight for them in Tallahassee.” Did you speak with anybody in your political party before deciding on running? Receive any encouragement? From whom? “Before I decided to run in this election cycle, I spoke with quite a few people for almost a year before I made my decision to run. I spoke with past and present party/community leaders, and each of them encouraged me to run for this seat. In fact, many of those whom I spoke with have endorsed me (e.g., Mayor Buddy Dyer, Rep. Mark Pafford, Rep. Lori Berman, former Rep. Ron Saunders, Clerk of Court Tiffany Moore-Russell, business leaders and labor unions.” What does your legislative district need from Tallahassee? “Outside of the economic growth I mentioned previously, my district needs additional funding to address specific needs the Puerto Rican/Latino community is facing.”

MARK PUENTE IS BACK WITH THIS MUST READ — HD 70 DEMOCRATS SQUABBLE OVER EXPERIENCE, VOTES AND FAST FOOD via Mark Puente of the Tampa Bay Times – Weeks before ballots hit mailboxes, the three Democratic candidates vying to represent House District 70 are starting to jab at each other. The contest pits former St. Petersburg City Council member Wengay Newton … against two political novices: Dan Fiorini, a small-business owner and attorney Christopher “CJ” Czaia. Fiorini and Czaia lack name recognition in parts of the district, but both men said Newton’s prior service on City Council doesn’t give him an advantage. “What did he ever do on council?” Fiorini asked … “He’s known, but people aren’t enamored with him,” Czaia said of Newton … The contest has already turned negative. Fiorini accused Newton of using campaign donations to buy personal meals and groceries and pointed to numerous purchases below $20. “Unlike my opponent, I am not going to Chick-fil-A with campaign donations,” Fiorini said. “My donors didn’t give me money to buy food. That shows his judgment.” Campaign records show that Newton has made 85 expenditures for food, totaling more than $4,000. Of that, three fundraising events accounted for $1,100. In comparison, Fiorini has spent nearly $1,000 on meals for large events. Not so fast, Newton says. He acknowledged he should have better detailed how he spent the money. Several “food” purchases from Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club should have been labeled as fundraising events, he added. He said he doesn’t have money for paid staffers and buys meals when volunteers help him campaign.

CJ CZAIA SAYS HE’LL MAKE A REAL DIFFERENCE IF ELECTED IN HD 70 via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – “I’ve worked a long time empowering Latinos and African-Americans in Manatee and Sarasota counties. I’ve been in and out of Pinellas County since the late 70s, and I’ve also lived in Hillsborough County in the Ruskin area,” he said while attending the Pinellas County Democratic Party’s “Prelude to Victory” dinner in Clearwater. Among his achievements include founding the group, a 5013(c) nonprofit designed to represent the integration needs of the region’s Latino population. He’s also worked with the Palmetto Youth Center and is a former chair of the Manatee County Democratic Party. Czaia boasts of his work bringing blacks and Latinos together. “When I was on the CRA (Community Redevelopment Agency) of Palmetto, you’d go to the African-American side and the Latino side, and the ditches are smaller. There’s no sidewalks. No lightning, no money has traditionally gone for the minority community, I will make that difference. I guarantee, I will bang the drum. I’ve been attacked, I can handle the heat. The judge is screaming at me, I don’t care,” he said, referring to his courtroom experience. “You have to collaborate with people in power,” he says when asked how he would work with Republicans to pass legislation, noting his friendship with Manatee County state Senator Bill Galvano over the years.

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Hans Tanzler, running for Congressional District 4, has received the endorsement of former Central Intelligence Agency Director of Counterterrorism Jose Rodriguez.

Francis Rooney, running for Congressional District 19, has received the endorsement of former U.S. Sen. Connie Mack.

Dennis Baxley, running for Senate District 12, has won the endorsement of the National Rifle Association.

Mike Clelland, running for Senate District 13, has earned the backing of the Laborers’ International Union of North America.

Kathleen Passidomo, running for Senate District 28, was endorsed by the National Federation of Independent Business.

Frank Artilles, running for Senate District 40, won the endorsement of the Florida State Lodge Fraternal Order of Police (FOP).

Sean Shaw, running for House District 61, has received the endorsement of the West Central Florida Chapter of the Florida Police Benevolent Association.

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FLORIDA ZIKA VIRUS UPDATE via – As of Tuesday, there were six new travel-related cases with two in Brevard, one in Broward, one in Clay, one in Miami-Dade and one in Orange counties. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms associated with the Zika virus last between seven to 10 days. There are now 239 total cases in Florida; by county (number of cases): Miami Dade (75), Broward (41), Orange (23), Palm Beach (13), Osceola (12), Seminole (9), Polk (8), Brevard (6), Hillsborough (6), Lee (6), Pinellas (6), Alachua (5), Duval (5), Pasco (4), Clay (3), Collier (3), Citrus (2), St. Johns (2), Volusia (2) and a single case each in Charlotte, Escambia, Highlands, Lake, Martin, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa with 43 cases involving pregnant women. The DOH recommends women who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant postpone travel to Zika affected areas. The department also urges Floridians to drain standing water weekly, no matter how seemingly small. A couple drops of water in a bottle cap can be a breeding location for mosquitoes. Residents and visitors also need to use repellents when enjoying the Florida outdoors. Florida currently has the capacity to test 5,271 people for active Zika virus and 1,692 for Zika antibodies. The number for the Zika Virus Information Hotline is 1-855-622-6735. The hotline, managed by the Department of Health, has assisted 2,267 callers since it launched.

RENT TAX RANKLES MORE CENTRAL FLORIDA BUSINESSES via Mary Shanklin of the Orlando Sentinel – Florida stands alone as the only state charging a business-rent tax on rent and utility expenses. But new momentum appears to be building to undo the longtime government charge. Under pressure from Florida Realtors, the Florida Chamber and Enterprise Florida, Gov. Scott proposed cutting the tax in recent years … The measure lacked legislative support. But state business lobby groups, such as the Business Rent Tax Coalition, have been rallying companies in Orlando and elsewhere in the state to support an overhaul of the 6 percent tax … Eliminating the tax in the near future is unlikely. In 2015, it generated $1.5 billion and is projected to bring in $2 billion annually starting in 2020, according to the state Department of Revenue … Gradually reducing and eventually eliminating the tax will Be a priority moving forward for Florida TaxWatch, said Dominic Calabro, president of the nonprofit group based in Tallahassee. “In Florida, we don’t have a state personal income tax or other personal taxes,” said the longtime tax-cut advocate. “We try to tax ‘them damn Yankees’ and businesses instead. We don’t tax residential utilities but we do tax commercial utilities. We don’t tax residential insurance but we do tax commercial insurance.”

APPEALS COURT HEARS CASE OVER KOSHER FOOD IN FLORIDA PRISONS via The Associated Press – An attorney representing the Florida Department of Corrections told a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the estimated $12.3 million additional cost of kosher meals could become prohibitive if other budget needs arise. The state is appealing a decision by a Miami judge requiring kosher food for inmates who request if for religious reasons. That includes not only Jewish inmates, but Muslims, Seventh Day Adventists and people of other faiths as well, the corrections department said. The lawsuit was brought against the state in 2012 by the U.S. Justice Department under a federal law guaranteeing the religious rights, including diets, of people in prisons and other government institutions. About 10,000 of Florida’s roughly 100,000 inmates get the meals, which are currently available in about two-thirds of the state’s prisons, attorney Lisa Kuhlman Tietig said. The state also provides vegan meals, which are less expensive than standard fare, and special medically-required diets, which the state is not seeking to change.

SPOTTED in this Tampa Bay Business Journal story about Gov. Scott’s pitch at a British air show: Mike Grissom, Enterprise Florida senior vice president of external affairs.

SPOTTED in this NBC News story about Florida tourism impacted by the algae bloom: Morgan McCord, spokesperson for the Department of Economic Opportunity.

HAPPENING WEDNESDAY – The 2016 Helping Florida Work Town Hall Tour will take place with employers, community leaders and elected officials showing commitment to keeping Florida’s laws working for our businesses and families. A town hall in Jacksonville is from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the DoubleTree Jacksonville Riverfront, 1201 Riverplace Boulevard in Jacksonville. The event is free.

PUBLIX NUMBER 1 ON LIST OF FLORIDA’S MOST VALUABLE BRANDS via Justin Griffin of the Tampa Bay Times – Publix is Florida’s most valuable brand, according to Brand Finance, a brand valuation and strategy consulting firm, which ranked the 500 most powerful and valuable U.S. brands. Chalk it up to the Publix subs and the weekly BOGOs. Publix was tops among the 17 Florida companies that made the Brand Finance U.S. 500 list. Publix’s brand grew by 10 percent this year to increase its value to $6 billion. Miami-based Burger King was Florida’s second most valuable brand with a total value of $4.5 billion. Royal Caribbean International was third at $3.4 billion. Norwegian Cruise Line was the state’s fastest-growing brand, with a 52 percent increase to $2.3 billion.

LAST CALL MAY COME EARLIER ON SOUTH BEACH’S OCEAN DRIVE via Lance Dixon of the Miami Herald – After neighbors’ complaints, robberies and reports of late-night noise on Ocean Drive, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine is proposing to limit liquor sales on the street with some of South Florida’s hottest bars and lounges. Levine … will propose an ordinance that would limit alcohol sales after 2 a.m. on Ocean Drive from Fifth to 15th streets. His ordinance will be discussed at the city’s regular commission meeting. The ordinance would not apply to bars and lounges that are enclosed and located entirely within hotels. Last year, the city banned alcohol sales from 2 to 8 a.m. at sidewalk cafés. “This lawless disruption is unacceptable to everyone who comes here and everyone who lives here, it has escalated to the point that many residents feel compelled to avoid the area altogether,” Levine said in the email. “Let’s not allow this incredible street, which symbolized the rebirth and renaissance of our city, to now signify decay and decline.”

FIRST IN SUNBURN – AMY BISCEGLIA JOINS THE RUBIN GROUP — “We’re excited that Amy has joined our team of dedicated consultants who are known for assisting our clients in positively overcoming the challenges that Florida’s political landscape often poses,” said William Rubin, founder and president of The Rubin Group.  “Her experience in government and the government affairs realm will pair well with our team and clients.” Bisceglia began her career in government working in the Florida Senate President’s office as a legislative aide. She then accepted a position in Governor Rick Scott’s administration working directly with the chief of staff on carrying out the daily operations of the office. From there, she served as a public affairs specialist within the communications department at the Florida Lottery. Most recently, Bisceglia has been a contract lobbyist involved in a variety of legislative and budgetary initiatives. Bisceglia joins the consulting team of Rubin, Heather Turnbull, Chris Finkbeiner and Melissa Akeson, and will be based in the Ft. Lauderdale office and will spend time in Tallahassee for legislative sessions.

DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY REVS UP LOBBYING EFFORTS BY HIRING JOHNSON & BLANTON, SSG via Lloyd Dunkelberger of Florida Politics – The speedway … nearing the completion of a $400 million “Daytona Rising” renovation, was one of three sports facilities that sought incentive money for improvements in the 2016 Legislature, along with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Miami Dolphins for their stadiums. But lawmakers rejected the plan, with strong opposition from the House leadership. Darrick McGhee, a lobbyist with Johnson & Blanton, said the speedway would be revamping its Tallahassee strategy, emphasizing the economic impact and the jobs the new facility is generating and highlighting the track’s connection’s with other major state initiatives, like the Florida Lottery, the Department of Transportation and Visit Florida. McGhee said the speedway would continue to make a case for the incentives, which represent a $3 million-a-year tax break spread over 30 years, with the understanding that the next two Republican House speakers, Reps. Richard Corcoran of Land O’ Lakes and Jose Oliva of Miami Lakes, have reservations about economic incentives. “We understand it’s going to be a challenge and difficult,” McGhee said. “But we’re still hopeful.”


Brian Ballard, Justin Sayfie, Ballard Partners: Broward College Foundation

Victoria Hernandez: Miami-Dade College

APPOINTEDKeith SonderlingAlexis YarbroughDebra Jenks and Susan Aprill to the 4th District Court of Appeal Judicial Nomination Commission. Robert Batsel to the 5th Circuit Judicial Nomination Commission. John Reid to the 7th Circuit Judicial Nomination Commission. Brandon Burg to the 14th Circuit Judicial Nomination Commission.

DARRYL E OWENS: CHEAP BLEACH AND POLARIZED POLITICS DON’T MIX AT DISCOUNT STORE via Florida Politics – Politics makes strange bedfellows — especially when enjoying a quickie at the Dollar Tree. Lesson learned Independence Day weekend after I popped into the discount store for some cleaning supplies. As luck would have it, I chose precisely the moment that only the manager was on duty and every Apopkan felt it his or her duty to replenish their stashes of secondary-market Twizzlers. With the line snaking around the open register, I stood, sighing, clutching my counterfeit Clorox. After several minutes of plodding forward, my fellow discount detainees’ patience cracked. “Maybe we’ll get out in time for the fireworks,” quipped one patron. Another customer tested her wit. “Maybe Hillary [Clinton] will be in jail by the time we get out.” DUN DUN DUUUUN!!! Politics. Usually, when it’s time to check the political barometer, I visit the barbershop for fresh insight and a fresh bald fade. This wasn’t Uptown Barbers. Still, with my Words with Friends friends slow on the draw — I craned my neck to listen in.

FLORENCE SNYDER: AND ANOTHER ONE GONE (-30-) via Florida Politics – There was yet another round of layoffs last week at Florida newspapers. Men and women with, collectively, hundreds of years of priceless institutional memory and high-functioning moral compasses were unceremoniously kicked to the curb. They will be replaced, if at all, by younger, cheaper bodies who have not necessarily been taught the difference between putting bylines on news releases and honest reporting. Serving up the pink slips at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune was Publisher Patrick Dorsey … Among the casualties of Dorsey’s latest exercise in “reduction in (work)force” is ink-stained eminence grise Lloyd Dunkelberger. Dunkelberger earned the gratitude of generations of Florida journalists for his extraordinary generosity. He didn’t cherry-pick the good stories, leaving the boring or minor topics for the underlings. He freely shares knowledge with newcomers and arcane bits of information with his peers. Some of the brightest names in what’s left of Florida journalism cycled through his office … Dunkelberger kept his nose to the grindstone, and went down with the ship, his integrity intact.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Ballard Partners’ Sylvester Lukis, Tampa City Councilman Guido Maniscalco, and Sean Pittman‘s better half, Audra.


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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