Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.
By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, Mitch Perry and Jim Rosica.
Donald Trump is governing as he campaigned -– defiantly, angrily, and not necessarily productively.
Six months into his term in office, President Trump has succeeded in disrupting the power structures that have long governed Washington. He has delivered on his broad mandate to shake up the national political landscape, while establishing a wild new normal of constant movement and noise generated out of the White House.
The problem comes that for all the president’s exertions and proclamations, a power vacuum now defines Trump’s Washington. The collapse of his signature legislative promise –- to repeal and replace Obamacare –- underscores his inability to deliver on the substance of his agenda, with a conservative revolt helping doom Trump’s push.
The president has seemed alternately determined and oblivious in the face of the fact that he will have zero major legislative accomplishments to boast of from his first half-year in office –- historically, the most productive portion of a president’s term.
Trump allies among establishment Republicans have developed a coping mechanism that gets repeated often: focus on what he does, and not what he says or tweets. It’s almost become cliché for them to answer questions about his presidency with a response that includes the fact that he named Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court without flaw or delay.
But that does not a presidency make. Trump said recently that he would be “very angry” if his health care push falls short, knowing that it marks his best shot at a major victory.
Perhaps he can defy the odds again. But the Trump presidency for now remains more about Trump than it does about governing.
— WHAT 12 KEY FLORIDA POLS THINK ABOUT TRUMP’S FIRST 6 MONTHS —
— U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz: “I’m proud that President Trump has stabilized the Supreme Court, unified the Arab world against ISIS and repealed thousands of Obama-era regulations. Congress should be doing much more to enact the bold conservative reform we promised. Sadly, President Trump interacting the US Senate is like watching the irresistible force meeting the immovable object.”
— House Speaker Richard Corcoran: “The election of President Trump was a clear message to Washington. Fix yourselves! The American people are sick and tired of the dysfunction and ineffectiveness. President Trump is governing the exact same way he campaigned — as a true conservative. Re-establishing American strength abroad, nominating a true conservative to the bench, returning common sense and the rule of law to our borders, or restoring confidence.”
— Senate President Joe Negron: “For me the highlights of the first six months of the Trump Administration were the selection of Sec. DeVos, given her commitment to school choice, as well as the developing prospect of a Medicaid Block Grant, which is supported by Sec. Price. I also think the President’s regular trips to Florida help spotlight environmental and business issues facing our state.”
— Blaise Ingoglia, chairman of the Republican Party of Florida and a Spring Hill state Representative: “Since his days campaigning, candidate Trump promised to fight for the American people and in his first six months that’s exactly what we’ve seen— a fighter. Whether he’s fighting the special interests, the media or the people of his own Party, Trump has no quit in him. But taking on and changing the status quo takes time and perseverance. People will push back. The establishment will push back. But Trump has repeatedly shown he will not back down. In my opinion, that is refreshing.”
— Joe Gruters, a Sarasota state Representative and the co-chair of Trump’s 2016 Florida campaign: “You wouldn’t know it by the national media coverage, but President Trump’s first six months have seen numerous successes, from pushing through a great Supreme Court appointment to eliminating job-smothering regulations to beginning construction on the full border wall. In fact, it turns out that Trump is right in line regarding signed legislation with modern presidents and actually a little ahead of President Obama and well ahead of President Bush. I signed on as Co-Chairman of his Florida Campaign because I saw in Donald Trump someone who would shake up a DC establishment that was not working for the American people. In that, I have not been disappointed. Despite the dysfunction in Washington, D.C., and a virulently hostile media, President Trump is doing his best to keep his promise to make America great again.”
— Susie Wiles, Florida campaign manager for Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign: “Donald Trump remains true to the promises of his campaign that were important to Floridians – working to keep our nation safe and growing jobs and the economy. There are many indicators that show this work and progress. I believe his leadership will turn these commitments into actions that will benefit Floridians, as well as the rest of the country.”
— Andrew Gillum, Tallahassee mayor and 2018 Democratic candidate for Governor: “President Trump’s first six months have been an abject failure and have hurt our nation’s standing in the world. He’s spent months trying and failing to repeal Obamacare, which is helping millions of people get quality healthcare. He’s withdrawn us from the Paris Climate Accord, which showed the world that on his watch the United States isn’t interested in being a world leader anymore. And he’s done nothing to lift the hopes and dreams of millions of people who need help making ends meet.”
— Gwen Graham, former congresswoman from Tallahassee and 2018 Democratic candidate forGgovernor: “If asked to sum up Trump’s first six months as President in one word, I’d say ’embarrassing.’ But my concern goes much deeper than that. Trump’s policies, Trump’s deceptions, and Trump’s embarrassing conduct as President are preventing us from solving problems, are hurting real people, and are holding our country back. Six months in, I don’t care one bit how Trump is doing politically; I care a whole lot about the real damage Trump is doing to America. And that damage keeps getting worse by the day.”
— House Democratic Leader Janet Cruz: “What’s been most disappointing to me has been watching Republican leaders throughout Florida, and the country, adopt and normalize President Trump’s behavior and most divisive policies. Our state and our nation are stronger when we embrace the incredible depth of diversity that is the hallmark of our melting pot society, rather than resorting to childish personal attacks based on appearances or someone’s racial or ethnic background. To that point, I have been incredibly heartened by the outpouring of energy from everyday people who have never before been engaged in the political process. It is my hope we can keep that momentum going into 2018 and send more Democrats into office at all levels of government to provide a real check on a President and a party that have given in to their worst impulses.”
— Johanna Cervone, spokeswoman for the Florida Democratic Party: “Republicans and Democrats have been saying it since before he won the GOP nomination–Donald Trump’s presidency is a major disaster for America’s middle-class. These last six months have only affirmed how colossally unprepared and incompetent Donald Trump has been. This President’s major initiative has been to take away healthcare from millions of Americans and raise premiums for millions more–luckily, decent people from both parties are working to stop him. In his spare time he tweets incomprehensible garble over Twitter, embarrasses our nation on the international stage, and misuses his presidential authority to enrich his family business. Simply put, Donald Trump is unfit to serve as President of the United States.”
— John “Mac” Stipanovich, a Republican lobbyist and lawyer: “The Trump Presidency to date has been an appalling combination of incompetence, ignorance, bombast, and boorishness, embarrassing abroad and demoralizing at home.”
— Rick Wilson, a Republican media consultant and fierce critic of Trump: “Let’s face it. Whether you love him or hate him, Donald Trump is bad at being president. Aside from his vast catalog of intellectual, personal, and moral shortcomings Donald Trump simply isn’t up the work of the highest office in the land. He’s a performance artist, in a one-man show called ‘Donny plays President’ and the reviews are awful. Voters who wanted a clown and a showman got exactly what they voted for. Conservatives who want an actual Republican president who does serious things, takes responsibility, and provides meaningful leadership are disappointed. Gorsuch and a few regulatory executive orders are nice, but the vacuum in presidential leadership is a colossal disappointment.”
“While you obsessed over Trump’s scandals, he’s fundamentally changed the country” via Sam Stein of the Huffington Post – On the morning of May 12, Attorney General Jeff Sessions revealed that he had instructed federal prosecutors to begin pursuing lengthier prison sentences for drug offenders. The move was then largely buried under an avalanche of Trump-related news. This is a defining feature of the Trump administration: While scandal and squabble, palace intrigue and provocative tweets suck much of the oxygen out of the room ― and leave the impression of mass government dysfunction ― a wide array of fundamentally Trump-minded reform is taking place. One reason behind the perception that Trump’s agenda has largely foundered is that it’s made painfully little legislative progress. His efforts to push health care reform through Congress have advanced incrementally, but many hurdles remain. Tax reform appears unlikely to come before the summer, if at all. Trump’s budget won’t get a vote, and his relationship with Congress seems to fall somewhere between fractious and nonexistent. But legislative progress is only one vehicle that moves a president’s agenda. And there have been profound policy changes on a variety of administrative fronts, often obscured by scandals emerging from the White House.
“Trump finds that demolishing Barack Obama’s legacy is not so simple” via Peter Baker of The New York Times – Determined to dismantle his predecessor’s legacy, Trump in the space of a couple of hours this week reluctantly agreed to preserve Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran and failed in his effort to repeal Obama’s health care program. The back-to-back events highlighted the challenge for a career developer whose main goal since taking office six months ago has been to raze what he sees as the poorly constructed edifices he inherited.
– “It’s been six months with Trump. Are you tired of winning yet?” via Matt Lewis of The Daily Beast
– “6 months in, Trump’s presidency is teetering on the brink of disaster” via Chris Cillizza of CNN
– “Six months in, Trump is historically unpopular” via Harry Enten of FiveThirtyEight.com
Jimmy Fallon looks at pros and cons of Trump’s first 6 months — President Donald Trump has been on the job for six months now, and Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon took a look at some of the pros and cons of his first six months in the Oval Office. Says Fallon: “Pro: Trump has record high approval ratings. Con: … in Moscow.”
Click the image below to watch the video.
“Republican anti-Donald Trump group launches new Vladimir Putin ad” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – The Stand Up Republic campaign run by two former Republican insiders has come out with another internet video ad blistering Trump‘s relationship with Putin, an ad produced by Florida Republican operative Rick Wilson. The ad begins with unflattering pictures of Putin and Trump with the declaration, “When America is under threat, we come together,” and concludes with a pitch for people to support the Russian sanctions measure Senate Bill 341, passed overwhelmingly by the U.S. Senate but languishing in the U.S. House of Representatives. The ad comes from Stand Up Republic, the 501 (c) (4) committee established at the beginning of this year by former conservative independent presidential and vice presidential candidates Evan McMullin and Mindy Finn, who both had longtime ties with the Republican Party. It was produced by Intrepid Media and Wilson, the Republican operative behind last year’s #NotTrump campaign.
Click on the image below to watch the ad.
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— NOTES FROM THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL —
“Andrew Gillum political email investigation in hands of state attorney” via Jennifer Portman of the Tallahassee Democrat – Leon County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Grady Jordan said the report has been turned over to State Attorney Jack Campbell’s office. Jordan said the report makes no recommendations but is “merely a presentation of our investigation and the facts.” Any decision to bring charges related to the investigation would be the decision of Campbell’s office. Campbell confirmed he received the investigation … described it as “hefty and multiple pages.” He said he had not yet reviewed the document but was prepared to do so within the next few days. “In the coming day and probably weeks, I’ll be reviewing and be in consultation with the sheriff’s office,” he said. “I’m not going to talk about the facts or where it might go because it is a pending criminal investigation.”
A look at Jack Latvala’s Bartow ties via John Chambliss of the Lakeland Ledger – Latvala’s family moved to Bartow when he was in fifth grade when his father began work as a phosphate-mining engineer. He worked his first job in Bartow at a snow-cone stand outside the SpeeDee convenience store at Manor Drive and U.S. 98. Latvala said he has fond memories of Bartow. “It was a great place to grow up,” Latvala said. Latvala graduated from Bartow and was active in student government. He continued that interest at Stetson University, where he was a member of the Young Republicans. Soon after he graduated, Latvala started his own business, Direct Mail Systems, which produced direct mail for political races.
Here’s Nancy Soderberg video announcing her CD 6 bid — Soderberg released a video Wednesday morning, announcing her bid in Florida’s 6th Congressional District. The 2-minute video is autobiographical in nature, focusing on Soderberg’s history in the Clinton administration and her time as a professor at the University of North Florida. “I’m running to fight for us, the people of Florida,” she said in the video.
Click the image below to watch the video.
— “Democrat Nancy Soderberg opens CD 6 campaign in DeLand” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics
“Republican Scott Sturgill announces for CD 7” via Scott Powers of Orlando Rising – … setting up a primary showdown with state Rep. Mike Miller of Winter Park. Sturgill, owner of a company that produces work safety equipment such as hard hats, made his announcement at the Sanford Regional Chamber of Commerce surrounded by about 100 guests, including numerous members of the chamber, and several Seminole and Sanford elected officials including Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett. He called for a return of civility to Washington D.C. and promised a platform that would put heavy emphasis on pushing for more reform of the Department of Veterans Affairs to assure quick, quality health care, and for aggressive efforts to keep and support the military presence in Central Florida, notably the simulation and modeling industry. Sturgill is pushing his business background.
“Alex Diaz de la Portilla debuts 1st TV ad, 6 days before Miami Senate election” via Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald – … launching a Spanish-language ad that touts him as the reliable, experienced Republican in next week’s special state Senate primary. “My trajectory speaks for itself,” Diaz de la Portilla, a former senator, says into the camera, characterizing his voting record as one of cutting taxes, protecting seniors and fighting for more jobs and better education. Then he appears with his brothers, former Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla and former Rep. Renier Diaz de la Portilla, and their families. “You already know me and my whole family,” onent, Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, has been on TV for weeks.
Click on the image below to watch the ad.
United Teachers of Dade backs Annette Taddeo in SD 40 — United Teachers of Dade and United Faculty of Miami-Dade have endorsed Annette Taddeo in the special election to replace Sen. Frank Artiles in Senate District 40. “Miami-Dade teachers are proud to endorse Annette Taddeo for state senate because she will be an unwavering voice for our public schools,” said Karla Hernandez-Mats, president of the United Teachers of Dade, in a statement. “We know Tallahassee continues to put for-profit companies ahead of our school children and we need strong leaders like in Annette Taddeo in the Florida Legislature who will fight against this disastrous effort.”
– “More on the shadowy money in Miami’s Democratic Senate primary” via Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald
– “Kathryn Starkey eyeing a run for Richard Corcoran’s House seat” via Florida Politics
“Florida mayoral candidate had a message for activists who want reparations: ‘go back to Africa’” via Cleve Wootson Jr. of The Washington Post – Paul Congemi insists that he doesn’t want all black people to go back to Africa; just a specific group of black people who have been trying to make reparations a political issue in St. Petersburg — and who, he said, heckled him at a mayoral forum … Congemi, 60, a Republican long-shot in St. Petersburg’s mayoral race, seized headlines with his invective, which was laced with Barack Obama references and suggestions about Florida-to-Africa flight plans. “Mr. Nevel, you and your people talk about reparations,” he said, mentioning Jesse Nevel, a white campaign opponent who heads a group calling for reparations for African-Americans. “The reparations that you talk about, Mr. Nevel, your people already got your reparations. Your reparations came in the form of a man named Barack Obama.” He added: “My advice to you, if you don’t like it here in America, planes leave every hour from Tampa airport. Go back to Africa. Go back to Africa. Go back!” Nevel’s campaign is backed by the Uhuru Solidarity Movement, which believes reparations can begin to mend racial inequality.
— STATEWIDE —
“Judge gives state 2 months to defend abortion waiting period” via Florida Politics – If the state thinks a law requiring women to wait 24 hours before getting an abortion is constitutional, it needs to prove it, a Tallahassee judge said during a Wednesday hearing. Circuit Judge Terry Lewis—a 28-year veteran of the bench—gave the Attorney General’s Office 60 days to develop evidence to counter a Supreme Court decision this February temporarily halting enforcement of the waiting period, passed in 2015 … Julia Kaye, the American Civil Liberties Union lawyer representing a Gainesville women’s clinic, later told reporters the “mandatory timeout” was an “insulting law,” and that Lewis’ move meant “Florida women will just have to wait a little longer for justice.”
“Florida appeals court grapples with two-horse race” via Daily Commercial – The 1st District Court of Appeal heard argument in a case over a controversial “flag drop” race held at Hamilton Downs. The Hamilton County track is appealing an order by the state’s Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering disciplining it for the race. A major part of the appeal stems from a complaint filed by gambling regulators six months after an administrative law judge found the state lacked the authority to punish the track for such races. Judge E. Gary Early found that … gambling regulators do not have any laws or rules governing flag drop races. While he sided with the track, Early clearly took a skeptical view of the races, which he wrote “must be seen to be believed.”
“Florida insurers place all options on table to address AOB abuse” via Amy O’Connor of insurance Journal – Florida’s home insurers hope the public doesn’t blame them as they implement rate increases, initiate coverage changes and nonrenew policies. They say they have no choice after the Florida Legislature for the fifth year in a row failed to address the crisis in water damage claims abuse. “We keep saying help us try to solve this problem,” said Michael Carlson, president of the Personal Insurance Federation of Florida. AOB will ultimately be addressed by the marketplace if lawmakers don’t do anything. Since lawmakers reneged on enacting reforms, insurance carriers are now taking matters into their own hands and the state’s regulator is warning consumers to be prepared. “We will continue to see homeowners’ insurance companies raise their rates for our consumers in a best-case scenario, and in a worst-case scenario just simply stop offering their products in certain regions of the state,” Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier told the Florida Cabinet last month.
“Florida prisons have toilet paper, but they’re not supplying it to some inmates” via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald – In prison after prison over seven months, Rep. David Richardson reported that toilet paper, toothbrushes, toothpaste, pillows, sheets, shirts and soap were often withheld from inmates, especially those in confinement. Richardson, who has been on a one-man mission to hold the state’s troubled prison agency accountable, first observed the toilet paper troubles during a Jan. 19 visit to Baker Correctional Institution in northern Florida. After finding dozens of inmates without toilet paper, toothbrushes and other supplies, he asked the prison warden to open the storage unit just feet away from the inmate dorms, and deliver hygiene products with him to more than 50 inmates. “It is behavior that is intended to dehumanize them — treating them like an animal,’’ Richardson said.
“Girl Scouts report ranks Florida 39th in overall well-being for girls” via Beth Reese Cravey of the Florida Times-Union – The state has about 1.5 million girls ages 5 to 17 and about 23 percent of them live in poverty. That rate is up from 16 percent in 2007, above the national average and affects multiple other aspects of their lives, including health and education, according to “The State of Girls 2017: Emerging Truths and Troubling Trends.” Compiled by Girl Scouts of the USA’s Girl Scout Research Institute, the report found conditions affecting girls in the United States have not fully recovered from the “Great Recession” in the late 2000s. Florida girls ages 5 to 17 are generally healthier than they were a decade ago. The number of overweight or obese girls ages 10 to 17 dropped from 32 percent to 22 percent. But there was a slight increase, from 6 percent to 7 percent, in girls with emotional, behavioral or developmental issues. Less than half of Florida girls exercise four days a week, 21 percent participate in no organized activities and 27 percent watch TV or play videogames at least three hours a day.
“CRA places moratorium on large projects” via Jeff Schweers of the Tallahassee Democrat – Placing a moratorium on downtown projects over $2 million was the first order of business for the Tallahassee Community Redevelopment Agency during its first meeting since an FBI investigation came to light a month ago. CRA Chairman Nick Maddox, who also serves on the Leon County Commission, opened the meeting Wednesday by acknowledging the FBI probe as “the elephant in the room.” The city and CRA received federal subpoenas demanding volumes of records, emails, documents, meeting minutes, voting records and other material related to business the CRA has done with several prominent local developers. “Everybody is attempting to get answers with all the speculation that has arisen,” Maddox said. “But I am confident in the transparency and management of CRA operations.”
“Ex-FAMU admissions officer sentenced in bribery case” via Tallahassee Democrat – A former Florida A&M University admissions officer was sentenced to probation after being accused of taking money from the families of students and altering records in exchange for acceptance to the school. Leman Ulee, 47, was found guilty Monday … and will serve five years of probation. The 2016 case was initiated by the Attorney General’s Office after Ulee contacted the mothers of two students who had at first been denied admission to FAMU and offered to let them in for money. A third student decided to enroll at another university after making contact with Ulee.
“Rick Scott asks Supreme Court to toss out lawsuit over justices” via Associated Press – Gov. Scott is asking the state’s top court to throw out a lawsuit that aims to stop the Republican governor from appointing three Supreme Court justices on his last day in office. Attorneys for Scott on Wednesday filed a response to a lawsuit filed last month by the League of Women Voters of Florida and government watchdog Common Cause. The filing with the Supreme Court of Florida asserts the lawsuit should be rejected because it deals with something that may or may not happen in 2019. Because there is “no controversy to be decided, the Court should deny the petition as prematurely filed,” it says. Age limits could force three justices to retire on the day Scott leaves office in January 2019. Scott has said he plans to name their replacements that same morning.
“Pete Antonacci likely next head of Enterprise Florida” via Florida Politics – The executive committee of Enterprise Florida (EFI), the state’s public-private economic development organization, Wednesday recommended lawyer Antonacci to be its next CEO. The vote for Antonacci, formerly Gov. Scott‘s general counsel and now head of the South Florida Water Management District, is largely a formality. The full board is expected to approve Antonacci’s nomination; he’s a Scott loyalist. The motion to hire Antonacci was made by executive committee member Alan Becker, a prominent South Florida attorney and friend of the governor. Scott, in his role as governor, chairs the EFI board of directors.
“Jack Latvala schedules opioid crisis roundtable” via George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post – … for Aug. 8 at the Lake Worth campus of Palm Beach State College. Latvala said he’s been urged to hold such a meeting by Sen. Kevin Rader and by Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay and wants to be “on top of the issue” when he oversees spending levels for next year’s budget. “It’s fact-finding,” Latvala said. “I don’t really understand a whole lot about this issue. I hear about it from the members over there, I hear about it from the commissioner there who’s my friend…It seems like Palm Beach County is the epicenter of the problem in Florida.” … he wanted to schedule the opioid discussion before his planned Aug. 16 announcement about running for governor in 2018. “I want to get this done before that so it doesn’t get tied up in politics,” Latvala said. “It really doesn’t have anything to do with the governor’s race.”
— “Miami boy’s death shows powerful opioid’s chilling potential” via Jennifer Kay and Curt Anderson of The Associated Press – Fifth-grader Alton Banks died June 23 after a visit to the pool in the city’s Overtown section. He began vomiting at home, was found unconscious that evening and was pronounced dead at a hospital. Preliminary toxicology tests showed he had fentanyl in his system, authorities said. “We don’t believe he got it at his home,” Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said. “It could be as simple as touching it. It could have been a towel at the pool.” She added: “We just don’t know.” The case has underscored how frighteningly prevalent fentanyl has become – and how potent it is. Exposure to just tiny amounts can be devastating.
“Connie Mack and friends start new firm” via Theodoric Meyer of POLITICO – Former Rep. Mack is teaming up with Rick Wiley, the GOP operative who ran Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker‘s aborted presidential campaign; Doug Davenport, a lobbyist who worked on President Donald Trump‘s campaign; and Hans Klingler, a former chief of staff to Rep. Michael McCaul, to launch a new firm, Black Diamond Strategies. The firm plans to handle domestic and international lobbying work, including work for foreign governments, as well as public relations and grass-roots advocacy campaigns, Mack said in an interview. “We all have our own different experience and knowledge base,” Mack said. “We determined we’re stronger working together than individually.” The firm has already signed seven clients, Mack said, although he declined to disclose them.
“Personnel note: Mike Yaworsky in, Eric Johnson out at OIR” via Florida Politics – The state’s Office of Insurance Regulation confirmed Wednesday that Yaworsky, now with the Georgia Department of Insurance, will become chief of staff under Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier. Meanwhile, Johnson, who has been Deputy Commissioner, is leaving the department, though a spokeswoman said his plans were not known. Yaworsky, a Florida State and Samford University law school alumnus, previously worked for Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation, according to his LinkedIn page. He also has been state director of field operations for the Republican Party of Florida.
Appointed – Judge Lourdes Simon to the 11th Judicial Circuit Court; Gary Pyott to the Regulatory Council of Community Association Managers; Jerry Pate and Ted Everett to the Governing Board of the Northwest Florida Water Management District; Alan Landman to the District Board of Trustees of Eastern Florida State College; Russell Bach and Gregory Clary to the Clay County Development Authority.
Appointed – Rep. Holly Raschein to the Florida Defense Support Task Force.
New and renewed lobby registrations: James McFaddin, Southern Strategy Group: Care Medical Center Group
Spotted: Florida Realtors hosted a D.C. fly-in event for the state’s top 50 brokers and owners, and were expected to meet with a several members of the congressional delegation, including Reps. Kathy Castor, Val Demings, Ted Deutch, Mario Diaz-Balart, Neal Dunn, Matt Gaetz, Al Lawson, Brian Mast, Stephanie Murphy, Bill Posey, Dennis Ross, John Rutherford, Dan Webster, Frederica Wilson and Ted Yoho.
— ALOE —
“Florida coast-to-coast bike and hiking trail segment opens today” via Jasper Scherer of the Tampa Bay Times – The Coast-to-Coast Connector Trail, a 250-mile multi-use trail will run from downtown St. Petersburg to the Atlantic coast when completed. Almost all of it will be isolated from car traffic, except at road crossings. A critical 5-mile segment extending the Pinellas Trail to the Pasco border opens [today]. Another portion in Pasco is slated to begin construction next year and open in 2019. When complete, the two segments will fill a gap, linking the start of the Pinellas Trail to the Suncoast Trail’s northern point in Hernando County, opening a continuous path stretching 100 miles. The larger project running through nine counties in the middle of Florida and connecting the state’s west and east coasts is still in various stages of planning. The state Department of Transportation has no firm ti but meline for its completion. Though years of work remain until the trail is finished, the patience of bikers and runners will be rewarded, said Jim Wood, the DOT’s chief planner of transportation development.
“Netflix’s next move is to disrupt Hollywood’s biggest moneymaker” via Hamza Shaban of The Washington Post – Netflix’s bold foray into movie-making and directly-to-couch distribution is an explicit challenge to the traditional Hollywood model, analysts say, although it remains unclear if a company propelled by binge-watching TV at home can alter the future of going to the movies. “We understand that our approach to films – debuting movies on Netflix first – is counter to Hollywood’s century-old windowing tradition,” Netflix said in its earnings report. “But just as we changed and reinvented the TV business by putting consumers first and making access to content more convenient, we believe internet TV can similarly reinvigorate the film business.” Netflix produced 16 films in 2016, less than half of what it says it’ll make this year. But beyond the increase in movies, it is the company’s vision for distribution that threatens to upend the money-making apparatus that Hollywood has relied on for so long. Netflix cares far more about its subscribers and whether they can access the best content from their homes or mobile devices.
Happy birthday to Sen. Darryl Rouson and William Large.