Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Sunburn for 8.08.16 – Americans in Rio, Hillary in Florida and possums in the Panhandle

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.

RIO DELIVERS A SIMPLE, BUT SPIRITED OPENING

What it lacked in flash, Rio made up for with feeling.

With a limited budget, the consequence of a biting recession that roiled preparations for South America’s first Olympics, Brazil laced its high-energy opening party for the games of the 31st Olympiad with a sobering message about the dangers of global warming.

Graphic projections of world cities being swamped by rising seas set Rio de Janeiro’s otherwise fun and festive gala apart from the more self-congratulatory and lavish celebrations that Beijing and London wowed with in 2008 and 2012.

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom. After all, nowhere parties quite like Rio.

Supermodel Gisele Bündchen shimmered to the tune of “The Girl from Ipanema.” Fireworks formed the word “Rio” in the skies. The colossal Christ the Redeemer statue was bathed in Brazilian yellow and green. Dancers, all hips and wobble, grooved to thumping funk and sultry samba.

After one of the roughest-ever rides from vote-to-games by an Olympic host, the city of beaches, Carnival, grinding poverty and sun-kissed wealth celebrated Brazil’s can-do spirit, biodiversity and melting pot history.

The crowd roared when Bundchen sashayed from one side of the 78,000-seat arena to the other, as Tom Jobim‘s grandson, Daniel, played his grandfather’s famous song about the Ipanema girl “tall and tan and young and lovely.”

— “Director Fernando Mereilles and his team delivered a sobering call to address global warming and deforestation cloaked n a stirring multicultural celebration of tolerance” via David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter

— “Here are some of the most powerful images from Day 1 of the Olympics” via Salvador Hernandez of BuzzFeed News

USA BASKETBALL IS ALREADY CRUISING IN RIO. NOW, TO TAKE THE COURT via Andrew Keh of The New York Times – Every four years, the same questions tend to surface before the Summer Olympics: Will the host city be ready? Is Usain Bolt still the world’s fastest man? And what sort of cushy digs will the United States basketball players find for themselves? The Games are underway, Bolt is back to defend his sprinting titles and, once again, the men’s and women’s basketball players from the United States are avoiding the athletes’ village. Carmelo AnthonyKevin DurantDiana Taurasi and the rest of their high-profile teammates are staying on a luxury cruise ship, docked at a pier on the other side of the city. If the team’s lodging seems standoffish, that is by design. U.S.A. Basketball, the organization that oversees the national men’s and women’s teams, has shunned the athletes’ village since 1992. The team stayed on a ship at the 2004 Games in Athens, then used hotels in Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012.

TWEET, TWEET: @JebBush: US goes into #Rio w/976 gold medals — more than next 3 countries combined. What an exceptional nation. Congrats to @TeamUSA’s Ginny Thrasher!

DONALD TRUMP AND HILLARY CLINTON’S COMPETITION: MICHAEL PHELPS AND THE OLYMPICS via John McCormick of Bloomberg Politics — The attention-grabbing Olympics arrive less than 100 days before November’s election and as the campaign moves into a new phase … (A)nalysts say the race could lock in for a while, if there are no major developments. “I’m a little disoriented, and I think everybody is because of the early conventions,” said David Axelrod, a former top strategist and adviser to President Barack Obama. “The last time we had a convention, it ended and a few weeks later there was a debate. What it suggests to me is that the campaigns are going to have to be creative, because there are no natural vehicles to advance their messages.” The next major campaign event isn’t for almost two months, when Trump and Clinton are expected to face off on Sept. 26 for their first of three debates.

Television screens may flicker with just a bit less vitriol. Based on reservations placed, presidential campaign advertising on broadcast, cable, and satellite television will drop to roughly $3 million for the week that starts Aug. 9 from about $9 million for last week, according to data from Kantar Media/CMAG.

bloomberg graph

Weekly spending is projected to stay in a range of $2 million or $3 million during the Olympics and for the rest of August, before spiking back to $6.3 million for the week that follows Labor Day, which falls this year on Sept. 5. While Clinton’s campaign doesn’t have any August advertising reservations after the first week of the month, the top super-PAC backing her, Priorities USA, is booked to continue running ads at its usual clip of $2 million to $3 million per week. Overall, reservations have been made so far for almost $18 million in presidential campaign advertising in August.

“The politics of 2016 likes to break rules, and rewrite rules, rather than follow precedent, but the Olympics has always given campaigns and candidates time to retool, reset and rest before the fall stretch, and this is probably one tradition that survives,” said Anita Dunn, a Democratic strategist and former top aide to Obama.

HILLARY CLINTON IN FLORIDA TODAY, WILL SHE ENJOY A DELICIOUS CRAFT BEER? — Will Clinton be photographed sipping product from the taps at 3 Daughters Brewery in South St. Pete Monday? Why wouldn’t she be, now that it’s been announced she’ll be making an appearance there Monday afternoon. The Democratic presidential nominee — who needs to add millennials to her coalition against Trump — will be making an appearance at 3 Daughters in the Warehouse Arts District, 222 22nd St. S. at 2:30 p.m. Monday that is not open to the public. It’s all part of her “jobs tour” in the Sunshine State. In addition to a 3:30 p.m. scheduled speech at the St. Petersburg Coliseum, the tour includes an appearance scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in Kissimmee Monday evening.

“Clinton will outline her plan to make the biggest investment in good-paying jobs since World War II during her first 100 days in office,” the campaign announced Sunday said in a press release. People who want to see Clinton can do so by attending her speech at the Coliseum, located at 535 4th Ave. N. Doors open at 1:30 p.m. Clinton will stay in the Sunshine State through Tuesday morning, appearing for another event closed to the public at Borinquen Health Care Center in Miami.

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NEW CLINTON AD CALLS TRUMP “TOO DANGERGOUS” FOR PRESIDENCY — The Clinton campaign is highlighting Donald Trump’s temperament in a new advertisement focused on national security. The 30-second spot, called “Unfit,” features commentary from conservative national security and foreign policy experts. “You have to ask yourself: ‘Do I want a person of that temperament controlling the nuclear codes?’,” says Charles Krauthammer, a conservative columnist. “And as of now, I have to say no.” The ad also features Michael Hayden and Gillian Turner, who both served on the White House National Security Council under President George W. Bush.


PRO-DONALD TRUMP SUPER PAC HITS HILLARY CLINTON ON WEALTH via Jordan Frasier of NBC News — “A foundation was created and money started to roll,” a narrator says in the ad, part of a $3 million buy by pro-Trump group Rebuilding America Now. “The Clintons are now worth an excess of $100 million,” the ad continues. The super PAC will initially run the ad nationally on cable television before adding specific targets in the swing states of Florida, Ohio and North Carolina. The ad capitalizes on comments Clinton made while promoting her memoir in mid-2014. The former secretary of state said that she and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, left the White House nearly broke at the end of his presidency before ultimately cashing in on lucrative post-presidency trades of book-writing and speech-giving. This ad is not the super PAC’s first attack on Clinton. The group released an ad earlier this summer, juxtaposing Clinton‘s defense of her private email server with her husband’s infamous denial of infidelity with then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

THE LATEST POLLING: A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows Clinton leading Trump by eight points nationally, 50 percent to 42 percent. … A new Morning Consult poll finds Clinton leading Trump by nine points, 46 to 37 percent.

THE LATEST ODDS: Clinton now has an 85 percent chance of winning the presidential election, according to the CNN Political Prediction Market, powered by Pivit.

odds

TRUMP RISKS ALIENATING MILITARY COMMUNITIES IN SWING STATES via Alexander Burns, Noah Remnick and Nick Corasaniti of The New York Times — Trump is locked in an explosive feud with Republicans in Washington and has already faced humiliating defections within his own party that have destabilized his campaign on the national level. But closer to the ground, he has also risked alienating an even more pivotal constituency in the swing states that will decide the presidential election: military communities dismayed by his crude and at times offensive comments about the armed services.

— “I ran the CIA. Now I’m endorsing Hillary Clinton.” via Michael J. Morell for The New York Times

BEAT HIM LIKE A DRUM: DONALD TRUMP MUST NOT JUST LOSE IN NOVEMBER; TO CORRECT THE INSTITUTIONS HE’S BROKEN, HE MUST SUFFER A HUMILIATING DEFEAT via Rick Wilson for the New York Daily News – The single worst major party nominee in modern history — a man who has no political core, lies practically every time he speaks and is patently unstable — reached this point because every leader and institution in my party, the Republican Party, has failed again and again to grapple with the grim realities of Trump‘s impact on the election, the conservative movement and the character of our nation. And so, now, here we are: As revealed by poll after poll, Americans feel worn down by the dirty, ugly character of the dirty, ugly candidate at the top of the GOP ticket. Those of us who believe, who know, that Trump is dangerous can’t just settle for him being beaten in November. We need to ensure that he is on the business end of a decisive, humiliating defeat — so that the terribly divisive forces he has unleashed are delivered a death blow. The first reason the loss at the polls needs to be total: to snuff out the corrosive fiction that the system is rigged. Trump hasn’t just leveled this charge, ridiculously, about the Republican primary, which he won despite the elites trying to stop him, and somewhat less ridiculously about the Democratic one. He’s now complaining before the fact that the November election will be fixed. if there’s a loss by a slim margin in the popular vote or Electoral College, millions of already embittered Americans, worked into a frenzy by a shameless leader who will surely refuse to accept the returns, will start the next four years convinced that the United States of America is little more than a banana republic — and the presidency of Hillary Clinton is irretrievably illegitimate. That will be awful for the country.

JILL STEIN: DONALD TRUMP ‘SAYS DESPICABLE THINGS,’ BUT HILLARY CLINTON HAS ‘TERRIFYING TRACK RECORD’ via Nick Gass of POLITICO — For Stein, accepting Clinton as the lesser of two evils against Trump is not acceptable, the Green Party candidate said in a new ad released by her campaign. “Donald Trump says despicable things, but Hillary Clinton has a terrifying track record,” Stein said in the 30-second ad, adding, “The answer to Donald Trump is a revolutionary agenda.” Stein touted her Green New Deal as one that “will create 20 million jobs, halt climate change and make wars for oil obsolete … It’s time to reject the lesser evil and fight for the greater good like our lives depend on it,” Stein said. “Because they do.” In the latest RealClearPolitics national polling average of surveys including Stein as an option, the candidate has drawn an average 3.9 percent support over the last week.

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WITH EYE ON NOVEMBER, JOE BIDEN CAMPAIGNS IN FLORIDA FOR PATRICK MURPHY via Brendan Farrington of The Associated Press — Biden headlined a fundraiser for Democratic Senate candidate and U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy before he made a surprise visit to a soul food restaurant that features a breakfast special named for President Barack Obama. While there, he told reporters that Rubio hurt his chances of winning a second term by running for president. “It makes it a little harder for Marco. He has a campaign he ran, and he said a lot of things,” Biden said. “It would have been a much tougher race had he never run for president. And he’s going to be carrying a heavy load, not a joke … with Donald Trump.” He also said Rubio isn’t committing to serving his full six years if re-elected and that’s not the type of person voters should hire. … The Rubio campaign didn’t directly respond to Biden’s comments, instead choosing to resend a news release issued before the restaurant visit that said, “Today’s visit is yet another indication of national Democrats trying to prop up their preferred candidate and his struggling campaign.”

SHOT: “Game over: Carlos Beruff pulls the plug on TV ads a month before primary” via Sarah Rumpf of the Capitolist

CHASER: “Actually, Carlos Beruff has not pulled his ad buy” via Florida Politics

MARCO RUBIO: NO ABORTIONS FOR ZIKA-INFECTED WOMEN via Marc Caputo of POLITICO  Rubio said Saturday he doesn’t believe a pregnant woman infected with the Zika virus should have the right to an abortion — even if she had reason to believe the child would be born with severe microcephaly. “I understand a lot of people disagree with my view — but I believe that all human life is worthy of protection of our laws. And when you present it in the context of Zika or any prenatal condition, it’s a difficult question and a hard one,” Rubio told POLITICO. … Without prompting, Rubio acknowledged the challenges of the birth defects that result from Zika. “Obviously, microcephaly is a terrible prenatal condition that kids are born with. And when they are, it’s a lifetime of difficulties,” he said. “So I get it. I’m not pretending to you that that’s an easy question you asked me. But I’m pro-life. And I’m strongly pro-life. I believe all human life should be protected by our law, irrespective of the circumstances or condition of that life.”

PATRICK MURPHY REAX: “Zika is most dangerous for women who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant, yet Marco Rubio still opposes a woman’s right to make her own health decisions. Florida women need a fighter who will stand up for their right to choose and who is committed to getting our state the critical funding needed to fight this virus. It’s clear that Marco Rubio will always put his ideology above women’s health care — and our families deserve better.”

ALAN GRAYSON’S TV AD EDITS MURPHY ANSWER ON SOCIAL SECURITY via George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post — A new ad by Grayson accuses his Democratic Senate primary rival, Murphy, of advocating cuts to Social Security and Medicare — with Murphy’s own mouth seeming to utter what amounts to heresy in a Democratic primary. But Grayson — whose 2010 “Taliban Dan” ad is considered a textbook example of unfairly twisting an opponent’s words for a TV spot — created the Murphy sound bite by splicing together two segments of a 2013 CNN interview. Interviewed about the federal budget the day before he was sworn in as a House member, Murphy’s original words were: “Unfortunately, we have to look at cuts across the board. We’re going to have to look at defense. We’re going to have to look at some structural changes to some programs like Social Security and Medicare.” As edited for the Grayson ad, Murphy says: “We have to look at cuts across the board, uhh, to some programs like Social Security and Medicare.” Grayson campaign spokesman David Damron defended the ad and the way Murphy’s words were edited. “Within the fuller context of the interview, this is a completely fair edit,” Damron said.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Forgive me for breaking up this Sunburn with a promotion of our websites, but below are links to stories about a variety of campaigns written by our reporters who are on the ground — and out of Tallahassee. Each day, our reporters in Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa Bay, Southwest Florida, and elsewhere cover the rat-a-tat-tat of this rapid-fire campaign cycle. Make sure you are following @Fla_Pol & @SaintPetersBlog or visit FloridaPolitics.com and SaintPetersBlog.com for the latest campaign news.

Corrine Brown makes her play in Baker County” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

Xavier Becerra to campaign with Darren Soto in CD 9” via Scott Powers of Orlando Rising

Rick roach picks up school administrators support in SD 13 run” via Scott Powers of Orlando Rising

Bob Healy calls latest Victor Torres mailer ‘appalling’ in SD 15 race” via Scott Powers of Orlando Rising

Peter Vivaldi takes home two straw poll wins this week in SD 15 race” via Larry Griffin of Orlando Rising

Dana Young continues to win the endorsement battle vs. Bob Buesing” via Florida Politics

Dick Greco backs Augie Ribeiro in SD 19 race” via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics

Dick Kravitz lies (again) about NRA rating, as HD 16 race gets nastier” via Florida Politics

New HD 41 legislator will have a heavy task with Nora Mayo Hall” via Bill Rufty of Florida Politics

Laborers’ union weighs in for Kamia Brown, Henry Lim in hotly-contested HD 45 and HD 47 races” via Scott Powers of Orlando Rising

Bruce Antone’s late scratch at HD 46 debate brings backlash, lifts Sheena Meade” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

House District 61 candidates discuss their plans if elected in Tampa Tiger Bay forum” via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics

GREG EVERS PICKS UP LEO ENDORSEMENTS via Will Isern of the Pensacola News-Journal – Evers picked up endorsements from the Fraternal Order of Police and the Police Benevolent Association, according to a news release from the campaign. Evers won endorsement from the Fraternal Order of Police after a favorable recommendation from the men and women in FOP District 1, the release said. “We have fought many battles alongside Greg Evers and know that he will work with dedication and passion for his constituency,” the FOP said in an emailed statement. “His proven dedication to serving his community, and his experience, gives him an insight into what is needed in our state.” Florida Police Benevolent Association Executive Director Matt Puckett thanked Evers for his support and encouraged voters to get behind him. “(Evers’) long relationship with the PBA and unrivaled support for law enforcement is greatly appreciated,” Puckett said. “We ask all our members, their friends and families, and all citizens in the district who respect the strong and efficient enforcement of our laws, to cast their ballots for Greg Evers for U.S. Rep., District 1.”

POLITICAL ‘TAILS’ APLENTY AT FLORIDA’S POSSUM FESTIVAL via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times – It’s a Florida political tradition like no other: the annual Possum Festival. Hundreds turned out in the small Washington County town of Wausau for an event that always draws a big crowd in an election year as candidates bid on possums and take turns hoisting the camera-shy critters by the tail to the delight of a small-town audience. “It wasn’t bad!” said a relieved congressional candidate Mary Thomas after twirling a possum at her first Possum Festival. “It’s fantastic. This is what our country’s all about.” Thomas’ GOP primary rivals, Neal Dunn and Ken Sukhia, also placed mandatory bids on possums as the marsupial madness went on for more than an hour, featuring Rep. Brad Drake and his Republican rival Bev Kilmer, and candidates up and down the local ballot for county commission, school board, property appraiser, sheriff and state attorney. State Attorney Glenn Hess, running for a fourth term in a six-county circuit anchored by Panama City, had a parade float festooned with plastic possums. Sheriff candidate Chris Ellis‘ flatbed truck had a banner that said: “Don’t play possum on Election Day! Vote!” Politics is serious stuff in this part of Florida, but candidates were limited to three-minute speeches just the same. Washington County, where Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson has very deep family roots, is one of those places that for generations was deep blue, but since the 1990s has become red, especially in presidential years. There was no whiff of Democratic grassroots enthusiasm at the festival except for a local DEC banner roasting in the 95-degree heat, but a Donald Trump table drew a steady stream of people.

THIS SUPER PAC IS FUNDED BY GROUPS ONCE RUN BY THE CANDIDATE IT NOW SUPPORTS via Paul Blumenthal of the Huffington Post – Three days before Florida Republican state Rep. Matt Gaetz announced his intention to run for an open seat in Congress, he sent two letters to the state’s Division of Elections formally stepping down as the chairman of two leadership PACs he had run for over two years. Three months later, those two PACs contributed all of their remaining funds to a super PAC supporting his congressional bid. These donations are yet another sign of the porous rules restricting coordination between campaigns and independent groups. Whether the PAC contributions to the pro-Gaetz super PAC amount to violations of Federal Election Commission rules governing coordination depends on the as-yet-unknown facts of the case. The contributions in question include a $369,008 donation from the Economic Freedom Foundation and a $11,306 contribution from the Free Enterprise Fund. Both are political action committees registered with the Florida Division of Elections. They were led by Gaetz from 2013 until he stepped down as chairman and named Amanda Clark as his replacement March 18, 2016. On March 21, he announced his congressional bid. The question at issue is whether Gaetz directed his successor at his two leadership PACs, Amanda Clark, on what to do with the remaining funds. Federal coordination rules prohibit any entity controlled by a candidate from making independent expenditures on their behalf. Although untested, those rules presumably extend to prohibit contributions from a leadership PAC controlled or directed by a candidate to a super PAC supporting that candidate.

GWEN GRAHAM RETURNS MORE THAN $326,000 IN CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics — Since announcing that she would not run for re-election to her Congressional seat in Tallahassee back in April, Graham has refunded more than $326,000 to the public and political committees who had given her campaign contributions. That may appear as a lofty number for a political figure who could be running for another office next year and might want to transfer the funds to another campaign, but the majority of those returns were generated by a federal election law. Although Graham could legally transfer the funds generated by her congressional campaign into an account to run for governor, she opted to issue a letter immediately to her campaign contributors telling how they could get a refund, if they wanted to. That led to 55 separate donors requesting a refund, for $55,000 … out of 8,500 contributors … the bulk of her refunds — $271,000, or 83 percent of the $326,000 she gathered from individuals and political action money — were automatically returned to contributors who had given the maximum of $5,400 — broken down into $2,700 contributions for the primary and general elections. A Federal Election Commission rule states that “if a candidate accepts contributions for the general election before the primary is held and loses the primary (or does not otherwise participate in the general election), the candidate’s principal campaign committee MUST RETURN the general election contributions within 60 days of the primary or the date the candidate became ineligible to participate in the general election.”

CORRINE BROWN BRISTLES WHEN ASKED ABOUT INDICTMENT via James Call of the Tallahassee Democrat – Brown … vigorously defends her record when asked about the mail and wire fraud and conspiracy indictments facing her and her chief of staff. The indictments were the first question when the three Democratic candidates for the 5th Congressional District met with the Tallahassee Democrat editorial board. “I would hope the questioning would pertain to my work,” said Brown, challenging the interviewer. When informed the questioning would continue, she replied, “I want you to understand I’m not going to answer any questions about the indictment.” Asked to explain what happened to the $800,000 raised by an education charity the government said was actually a private slush fund, Brown pulled out a copy of an African-American newspaper featuring a two-page, three-color advertisement detailing the congresswoman’s work in the community. Rising from her chair, Brown approached the camera recording the interview and stopped in front of her questioner. “These are the things that congresswoman Corrine Brown did. I gave 22 scholarships. It’s important you know that. I gave 22 scholarships,” said Brown. “So don’t ask me something that I don’t have any control over. Ask me what Corrine Brown has done.”

VAL DEMINGS PUMMELING DEMOCRATIC OPPONENTS IN LATEST CD 10 POLL via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Demings has a 30-point lead over her top two opponents in a new poll commissioned by a Democratic organization backing Demings’ run for the Orlando-based Florida’s 10th Congressional District. In the poll by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), Demings garnered 48 percent, while former Florida Democratic Party Chairman Bob Poe and state Sen. Geraldine Thompson each drew 18 percent, with another 17 percent undecided. The poll did not ask about the fourth Democrat in the race, Orlando lawyer Fatima Rita Fahmy. The DCCC has backed Demings with money, endorsements, workers, and campaign support since she entered the race last year. That has drawn strong criticism from the other Democrats, particularly Fahmy, who charged her as being Washington’s pick for Washington. Demings had responded, saying she earned the DCCC backing by running against long odds in the district in 2012, back when it leaned heavily Republican, and narrowly losing.

DENNIS ROSS TO HAVE HEART SURGERY via the Ledger of Lakeland – … to fix a birth defect that could become life-threatening … The operation is scheduled for Tuesday and requires a six- to eight-week recovery period, Ross, 56, said …. The defect involves what is known as a bicuspid aortic valve, which has one fewer flaps than normal, and one of his is becoming calcified. That has created the beginning of an aneurysm, which could become life-threatening if left untreated. “I knew it had to be done eventually,” he said, “and now is a good time.” The three-term Republican congressman does not expect the operation and recovery period to impact his bid for a fourth two-year term in the Nov. 8 general election. He has no opponent in the Aug. 30 Republican primary. “We will be ready and we’ll run a positive campaign,” he said.

DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ CONTRADICTS SELF ON BIDEN BAT MITZVAH TAPE via Cristiano Lima of POLITICO — DWS was forced to acknowledge on Friday that Vice President Joe Biden had indeed recorded a video for her daughter’s bat mitzvah, a day after saying a POLITICO story on the matter was “not true.” But she made a point of clarifying that she hadn’t asked Biden to do so, and the vice president agreed, saying, “I give you my word.” The vice president’s office had offered to shoot the bat mitzvah video, POLITICO reported last week, as something of a consolation prize after she asked Biden to attend the Jewish coming-of-age ritual in Boca Raton in person. Multiple DNC staffers had pointed to the episode as emblematic of Wasserman Schultz’s habit of privileging her personal concerns over those of the party, noting that she had been sent on a mission to ask the vice president for help with the committee’s fundraising efforts. In an interview with the Miami Herald’s editorial board on Thursday, Wasserman Schultz said that POLITICO’s story was “not true.”

FIRST POLITICAL CAMPAIGN AD ABOUT ZIKA? via Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald — Miami Democrat Scott Fuhrman has seized on Zika as a political campaign issue as he tries to unseat Republican U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Fuhrman debuted a 15-second video — and a separate, non-video web ad — blaming Ros-Lehtinen for Congress’ inaction on the mosquito-borne virus. Lawmakers went on recess for seven weeks without passing legislation funding anti-Zika measures. “Pregnant women told to stay out of our neighborhoods?” the video asks. “Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen goes on recess?” A first-time candidate, Fuhrman is running a long shot campaign against the popular congresswoman. Zika gave him an opening to draw at least a little bit of media attention; he showed up at a news conference last week held by Marco Rubio on the virus. Fuhrman’s wife, who is pregnant, gave an interview to NBC News sharing her concerns about contracting the virus … Ros-Lehtinen sent Republican leaders in Congress a letter asking them to convene an emergency session to approve a Zika bill. She also wrote President Barack Obama, urging him to use existing funds to combat Ebola for Zika instead. And she led an effort by the Florida congressional delegation to request more money from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Zika has become a hot campaign issue in Miami, with politicians ranging from the governor to city mayors touring Ground Zero in Wynwood — and nabbing air time — as they try to raise awareness about the virus.


DNC EMAILS REVEAL CONTROVERSIAL REPUTATION OF SOUTH FLORIDA BILLIONAIRE via James Rosen of the Miami Herald — Stephen Bittel, a Miami Beach businessman who owns and operates more than $1 billion in real estate in South Florida and beyond, isn’t the most popular fellow at the Democratic National Committee despite his large donations to the party. A few of the DNC emails released last month by WikiLeaks, which prompted the resignation of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz as chairwoman, contain trash-talking about Bittel among folks at top levels of its massive fundraising operation. Bittel, who is co-chairman of the party’s national finance committee, is cited in several emails looking ahead to a May 18 meeting of President Barack Obama with the Coconut Grove resident and a small group of other big donors at the Jefferson Hotel in Washington. Two days before the event, DNC national finance director Jordan Kaplan and his mid-Atlantic deputy Alexandra Shapiro were fretting about where to seat Bittel. “Bittel said this morning he was coming so just plan on it, but he doesn’t sit next to POTUS!” Kaplan told Shapiro. Shapiro quickly responded: “Yes — Bittel will be sitting in the s——-t corner I can find.”

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DEMOCRATS TAKE SPOTLIGHT IN SD 23 CAMPAIGN via Zac Anderson of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — Overshadowed by a crowded and bare-knuckled GOP primary, the two Democrats running for the District 23 state Senate seat finally had their turn in the spotlight at a Sarasota Tiger Bay forum that touched on everything from guns to health care reform. New College of Florida professor Frank Alcock and recent University of South Florida graduate Frank Cirillo offered similar views on a range of issues, but the forum managed to draw out a few distinctions and even elicited a subtle jab from Cirillo, who said he was concerned about “dark money” entering the race. Alcock — better known locally because of his community service and work as a political analyst — has been raising more money and also is getting help from outside groups. A political action committee called Future Generations Inc. recently paid for a mailer supporting Alcock. The committee is run by two prominent area Democrats — Susan Nilon and Morgan Bentley — and is largely funded with a $50,000 check from Democratic donor Frank Brunckhorst. But it also received a $30,000 check from an organization called Student Achievement First LLC, which was incorporated in June in Wilmington, Delaware, a state notorious for allowing corporations to shield information. Delaware records list the LLC’s registered agent as The Corporation Trust Company. Nilon said the LLC is funded by “an anonymous donor from Sarasota who does not want his name revealed.” She added that the PAC will be involved in multiple races, including that of Republican Sarasota County School Board member Caroline Zucker, and that the LLC money was not used to help Alcock. Alcock said he does not know anything about Student Achievement First LLC.

FACEBOOK VIDEO RAISES 1999 INCIDENT IN JOHN CORTES’ FAMILY via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — The video, presented by “Citizens For Integrity in Florida,” features a mug shot of Cortez with a narrator declaring, “Warning! Don’t make John Cortes mad. He has a history of violence. He was arrested for punching his daughter in the head eight to 10 times and slapping his wife.” The 30-second spot then urges people to vote against Cortes … Cortes is seeking re-election in the Kissimmee-based House District 43. He is in a primary battle with fellow Democrats, former state Rep. Ricardo Rangel and Sara Shaw. There also is a write-in candidate for the district, so the Aug. 30 election will be open only to Democrats, with the winner virtually assured of election. Cortes beat Rangel in the 2014 primary. Cortes told FloridaPolitics.com the incident involved a disciplinary action he took against his daughter Caridad E. Cortes when she was 17 and was out of control late one night. Cortes did not deny striking his daughter, but said it was a corporal punishment situation, not domestic violence. He said he did not touch his wife. He speculated there may have been confusion about reports on the case, because she, too, is named Caridad Cortes.

BRUCE ANTONE ANGERS DEMOCRATS WITH NO-SHOW TO DEBATE VERSUS SHEENA MEADE via Frank Torres of the Orlando Political Observer — Antone pulled out of a scheduled House District 46 debate against his opponent, community organizer Sheena Meade, just a few hours before the two were to meet at an event hosted by the Young Democrats of Orange County. The debate, then deemed the “Sheena show,” continued as Meade fielded uncontested answers from debate moderators, special guest House Minority Leader Mark Pafford, and attorney Derek Bruce … “It shows that he’s not committed. He’s never committed to his community, and it’s disrespectful to the Young Dems,” said Meade. “Because the community has never seen him, they don’t know him. They don’t know what the job of a state legislator is, and I’m hoping to change that” she added. “This was a great turnout by the community with more community members than politicos.” The official response given by Antone was a “conflict of campaign events” … “To say that I am disappointed in Rep. Bruce Antone’s absence at his own debate is a vast understatement,” said Robert Walters, President of the Orange County Young Democrats.

— “Jeb Bush to make rare endorsement in Miami state House race” via Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald

ENDORSEMENT WATCH:

Bob Cortes, running for re-election in House District 30, has been endorsed by the entire Seminole County School Board: Chair Amy LockhartKaren AlmondJeffrey Bauer and Dede Schaffner.

Henry Lim, running for House District 47, has been endorsed by LIUNA, the Laborers’ International Union of North America, Local 517.

Rebecca Smith, running for House District 60, has been endorsed by Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee.

SCENES FROM THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL:

WRITE-IN CANDIDATE LAWSUIT HEADS TO FLORIDA SUPREME COURT via Elyssa Cherney of the Orlando Sentinel — In Central Florida, the write-in candidacy of a veteran prosecutor in the Orange-Osceola State Attorney race is stopping more than 500,000 voters from casting a ballot this primary. And two write-ins in northeast Orange County’s District 11 Senate race who are not campaigning have blocked Republicans from participating. It’s all possible because of an exception to the state’s closed primaries that critics say is being abused. Now a new filing with the Florida Supreme Court seeks help ferreting out sham candidates. And it could affect races across the state if justices choose to hear it out. It stems from a controversial State Attorney race in Jacksonville after the campaign manager of Republican incumbent Angela Corey … “personally delivered” an opponent’s qualifying papers in Tallahassee, according to the lawsuit. The Jacksonville case hinges on the 1998 Universal Primary Amendment, which allows people of all political affiliations to vote in a primary where all the candidates are from the same party. That’s because the primary winner also clinches the general election if there’s no opposition from across the aisle. Usually, in a closed primary, only registered party members select their representative to advance to the general election. In their lawsuit, Jacobson and Sheppard argued that write-in candidate Daniel Kenneth Leigh, a family law attorney who serves only male clients, is running a sham race and manipulating the provision meant to broaden voter participation. The complaint, first filed in state court in the Fourth Judicial Circuit, states that Leigh donated to Corey … he is “absolutely an Angela Corey supporter.” It asked a civil judge to throw out Leigh’s bid and open the primary to all voters. In response, Leigh cited a recent Florida Supreme Court opinion, handed down in February, which held that write-in candidates count as legitimate opposition, even if they have no real chance of winning. The ruling strengthened the plight of write-ins, and justices said it wasn’t their role to determine the viability of a campaign.

THE POLITICS OF PLAY TIME: MOMS TAKE TO SCHOOL BOARDS, ELECTIONS via Christina Veiga of the Miami Herald — Across the state, a loose coalition of moms-turned-political activists has come together to demand daily recess for their kids. They’re taking the fight to local school boards and state lawmakers — even running for office themselves. Uniting them: the belief that school without recess is stressing students out and sucking the joy out of learning. The solution, they say, is 20 minutes of free play every day. The benefits of recess have long been established. Kids learn social skills when they create a new game together, debate a call on the kickball field and take turns on the swings. They also learn better: Studies have shown that children who get recess are more likely to stay on task in the classroom and may even perform better on tests. Despite all that, recess has been on a steady decline in American schools. According to a 2008 report, 20 percent of schools have cut back on recess since 2002, when federal policy led to an era of high-stakes testing. “Sometimes you want to look at these adults and say, ‘How about I confine you to your seat from 8:30 [a.m.] to 3 [p.m.],’” said Louisa Conway, another Miami-Dade recess mom. “That is what a lot of these kids around the district have.” Conway, Asturias and other local moms have been lobbying the Miami-Dade school board to expand the district’s current recess policy. The district, Florida’s largest, already requires recess at least twice a week. But parents say the mandate isn’t always followed by school leaders who are under pressure to perform on state tests. Even when it is, a few days a week isn’t enough for energetic kids.

***Smith, Bryan & Myers is an all-inclusive governmental relations firm located in Tallahassee. For more than three decades, SBM has been working with our clients to deliver their priorities through strategic and effective government relations consulting that has led us to become one of Tallahassee’s premier governmental relations firms today.***

REPORT: HALF OF FLORIDA LAKES’ SURFACE HAVE ‘ELEVATED’ ALGAE LEVELS via Jim Waymer of FLORIDA TODAY – The report from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection shows a mixed bag for the state’s waters, with many trending toward more-frequent toxic algae blooms, fueled by rising nitrates from farm and residential fertilizers, sewage, pet waste and other human-related sources. While the state has made some progress reducing nitrogen and phosphorus into state waters, conservationists say the reductions haven’t been fast enough to stop recent algae explosions. And as Florida’s population grows, so does the challenge of keeping the state’s waters clean, they say. “What’s happening in the state of Florida today should be a wake-up call for us all,” said Lisa Rinaman, the St. Johns Riverkeeper, the chief public advocate for the river. “It’s not just an environmental issue, it’s an economic issue. It’s much more cost-effective to stop pollution at its source.” This week, tests commissioned by Rinaman’s nonprofit group found microcystin — the same blue-green algae toxin recently fouling coastal waters on the Treasure Coast — at more than 120 times health guidelines off a dock in Doctors Lake, an outcropping of the St. Johns River, just south of Jacksonville. Sometimes, Willie Lorton of Melbourne sees fishing in Lake Washington as pointless. He used to fish on Lake Washington all the time. Now he might go out once or twice a month just to keep his boat motor running. “This lake isn’t what it used to be, used to be good fishing,” he said as he pulled his boat up on a trailer at the lake’s dock.

FEDS APPROVE GENETICALLY MODIFIED MOSQUITO FOR TRIAL BASIS IN KEYS via Christine Sexton of POLITICO Florida — The Food and Drug Administration gave final approval to the British firm Oxitec to release its genetically modified mosquitoes into Key West on a trial basis. But the plan to release the vector into the environment still must be approved by the Florida Keys Mosquito Control Board. Its next meeting is scheduled for Aug. 16 in Marathon. Key West residents, who mostly opposed the pilot program, will vote on the issue in a nonbinding referendum in November. “This has come at a really good time,” Oxitec CEO Hadyn Parry told reporters … There are 15 locally transmitted cases of the Zika virus in Florida and 408 overall documented cases of Zika. There are confirmed cases in 29 counties. Parry told reporters that the company has had conversation with the federal government about the emergency use of the mosquitoes given the spread of the virus. He also said the company has been in contact with Gov Scott’s staff and that they provided Scott’s office information at their request. Oxitec has created a genetically modified male mosquito that passes a fatal gene to its offspring, causing them to die before they can mature. The Food and Drug Administration … issued a final environmental assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact. The finding gives the company the green light to use the mosquitoes for a test basis.

ZIKA VERSUS RICK SCOTT: WHO’S WINNING WAR OF PUBLIC PERCEPTION? via Michael Auslen and Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times – Call it Hurricane Zika. As mosquitoes spread the virus in Miami-Dade County, it falls on the governor to show steady leadership, manage an effective response and allay public fears. At times, Scott has convincingly played that role. For months he has called attention to the threat, declaring a state of emergency in February, demanding more federal aid, and offering free Zika testing for pregnant women statewide. Yet his response at key moments has been just as tentative. Even though he promised $26.2 million to combat Zika in late June, the state had released only $1.9 million … according to Department of Health documents. Of that, $316,800 went to Miami-Dade County and $221,635 went to Broward. The rest went to 24 counties where no local transmissions of Zika have been reported. Most of the money given out thus far is for prevention, health department spokeswoman Sarah Revell said. If new outbreaks occur, the state is ready to spend more. “The department understands their needs will increase and we are prepared to support counties by providing additional resources and funding,” Revell said.

ALAN GRAYSON BLAMES RICK SCOTT, REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS FOR ‘INADEQUATE’ ZIKA RESPONSE via Sergio Bustos of POLITICO – “Unfortunately, Gov. Rick Scott, in his fervor to cut public programs to provide tax cuts for business, gutted funding that supported mosquito research and control in Florida, leaving us unarmed as we now face a life-and-death public health emergency,” said Grayson in a statement … before a Senate campaign stop in Miami Gardens to talk about the Zika virus at a town hall-style meeting … He was referring to a POLITICO Florida story … noting that Scott had cut funding for mosquito clinics and programs during his first term as governor. “Just as bad, the lack of any serious funding response from Republicans in Washington has been a complete dereliction of their congressional duty,” said Grayson. He said he demanded Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan end the summer congressional recess and call lawmakers back into session “to pass a clean Zika bill that provides adequate prevention and research funding … We need a WPA-style response that focuses on eradicating mosquito breeding habitat,” in reference to the federal agency — the Works Progress Administration — created in the 1930s by then President Franklin D. Roosevelt as part of the New Deal to put to work millions of unemployed Americans.

SCOTT CALLS LAWMAKERS TO UPDATE THEM ON ZIKA via Michael Auslen of the Tampa Bay Times — Scott met with members of the state Legislature and their aides via conference call to update them on the state’s response to the Zika virus. For 19 minutes, Scott and Dr. Celeste Philip, the state surgeon general, explained what has been done by the health department, CDC and mosquito control officials on the ground in Miami’s Wynwood area, where mosquitoes are believed to be spreading the virus. “Most of it was pretty much just a recap,” said Rep. Evan Jenne, who was on the call. Any questions? Scott directed them to his legislative affairs director, Kevin Riley. Jenne said before the call that he hoped lawmakers left the call with a plan of action. Scott also reiterated that the state would “spend the money we need to make sure all the people who live in our state are safe.” He’s pledged $26.2 million to combat Zika, but according to health department documents has spent just $1.9 million.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Gov. Scott will highlight job growth at 10 a.m. at Intertape Polymer Group Inc., 100 Paramount Drive, Suite 300 in Sarasota. He will then head to St. Johns County for a Zika preparedness roundtable at 3:30 p.m. at the St. Johns County Health Department, 200 San Sebastian View in St. Augustine.

FLOOD INSURANCE SCARE OF 2013 IS CREEPING BACK INTO TAMPA BAY AND FLORIDA via Jeff Harrington of the Tampa Bay Times – The good news: Owners of low-lying homes won’t endure a repeat scare of annual flood premiums immediately jumping five- or sixfold into the tens of thousands of dollars. But like a rising tide lapping at doorsteps, year after year of flood rate increases of 9 percent to more than 20 percent in some cases are coming, eventually pushing homeowners toward that higher, unsubsidized level. Some real estate agents caution prospective buyers that their flood rates will double within four or five years. The sharply higher rates are an attempt to stabilize the National Flood Insurance Program, which was financially decimated by Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy and left desperate to climb out of a $23 billion deficit. Its solution was to target the 20 percent of NFIP properties in low-lying areas that had enjoyed lower, subsidized rates for decades. With more affected homeowners than any other state — and more subsidized properties in Pinellas than any other county in the country — Florida has led the awareness campaign and tried to find answers, says state Sen. Jeff Brandes … an advocate of private insurance options.

SCARY INSTAGRAM POST OF THE DAY:

scary instagram

FRACKING FEARS HIT FEVER PITCH AS SEISMIC TESTS BEGIN via Jeff Burlew of the Tallahassee Democrat — A Texas company has begun seismic testing for oil and gas in Calhoun and Gulf counties, heightening fears among anti-fracking activists that the controversial drilling technique will come to North Florida. Cholla Petroleum, a Dallas-based company, hasn’t said whether it would frack if it finds oil and gas in the rural counties just west of Tallahassee. But consultants for Cholla have maintained for months that fracking wouldn’t be necessary in North Florida given its porous, limestone geology. Anti-fracking forces, however, remain skeptical. “I’m not buying it,” said Deborah Brown, an agronomy student at Florida A&M University who lives around the swath of land where the testing is happening. Concerns over fracking hit a fever pitch this week because of the seismic testing and other recent developments, including the arrival in Blountstown of a company with links to the oil and gas industry. The business, BKW, Inc., of Pensacola, specializes in land clearing and site work, something it did several years ago for a general contractor ahead of a fracking operation in North Dakota. But Karen Webb, president of BKW, said the company opened its office in Blountstown about a month ago after landing contracts to repair dirt roads damaged by flooding. She was surprised to learn the opening had set off alarm bells among environmentalists. “Fracking is just not something that we do or are involved in,” she said.

HEALTH DEPARTMENT, SCHOOL BOARDS PARTNER TO ENCOURAGE MOSQUITO BITE PREVENTION via Jessica Bakeman of POLITICO Florida — The Florida Department of Health and the Florida School Boards Association partnered to launch a mosquito-bite prevention campaign targeting children, parents and school teachers. The campaign encourages kids to “spill the water” that accumulates outside their homes and schools in order to keep mosquitoes from breeding. Middle and high school students can volunteer to find and clean standing water in their communities. It also tells teachers and parents to encourage children to cover up with long sleeves and pants and wear bug spray. Teachers can download activity sheets for students of all ages that are aligned to Florida’s academic standards. The campaign is part of the state’s efforts to stop the spread of Zika.

GOVERNOR, SENATE HAVE BIG PLANS FOR FLORIDA COLLEGES; HOUSE NOT SURE via John Kennedy of the Palm Beach Post – Scott and lawmakers are getting ready for changes … A reworking of the popular Bright Futures scholarship, a new focus on making students finish school in four years and a major overhaul of how tuition is paid are just some of the ideas state policymakers are roughing out, even as campuses brace for another semester’s influx of students. “My personal vision is that our universities in Florida will, at some point in time, be thought of as national elite destination universities,” said incoming Senate President Joe Negron …  for Negron to succeed — and for Scott to light a fire under four-year degrees — both leaders need the state’s traditionally more conservative state House to go along. In the House, there hasn’t been much talk about the Bright Futures plan, which is gaining traction in the Senate. Incoming House Speaker Richard Corcoran … cautioned he sees a “limited pot of money” for Bright Futures. “We support the concept,” he added. “But we have to have a larger discussion about higher education. Whether in scholarships or four-year graduation rates, we have to remember, not every student fits the same mold.”

LOTTERY EXPANSION ENTICES POOR FAMILIES THE MOST via Dan Sweeney of the Orlando Sentinel – In the areas of highest poverty — where people are most attracted to scratch-off games — one in six households spent at least $10 of every $1,000 in income on the games in 2010. Last year, that rate grew to one in three. Critics have long characterized the lottery as a regressive tax, taking more money from the poor than from the rich. Changes in Florida’s lottery strategy have made that problem worse. “The Lottery, and in particular scratchers, are more attractive to people of lower socioeconomic status,” said Alan Cooke, a University of Florida marketing professor who has researched scratch-off games. “For those people who are in circumstances where their continued cash flow is not ever going to allow them to get out of debt, why wouldn’t they buy scratchers? It offers at least some possibility — however improbably — that they’ll be able to get out of their circumstances. It gives them hope.” The Lottery has made it much easier and appealing to buy those scratchers, adding more games for higher prices, deploying self-service vending machines, boosting overall advertising spending and increasing its ad spending at an even greater pace with media that serve minorities.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Surterra Therapeutics will deliver its first medical marijuana products to a Tampa Bay patient at 10 a.m. at Cann Health Center, Suite 290, 34921 U.S. Highway 19 N in Palm Harbor. The company will then deliver medical marijuana products to an Orlando area patient at 2:30 p.m., 1133 Saxon Blvd. in Orange City. Susan Driscoll, the president of Surterra, will be on hand, as will the patients’ recommending doctors, in both Tampa and Orlando.

HAPPENING TODAY — School is (almost) in session. And that means more kids and school buses on the road. To make sure Floridians are up-to-speed on the rules of the road, the Florida Beer Wholesalers Association is launching a statewide, safe driving campaign to raise awareness of increased risks around school buses and school zones. The campaign is meant to act as a both refresher for distributors’ professional drivers and a public awareness campaign, said Mark Vroman, president of the association and Coastal Beverage in Naples.A refresher video and training materials can be found at www.SchoolsBackFL.com.

IS MIAMI DADE COLLEGE IN A BIND OVER DEVELOPMENT DEAL? via Florida Politics – Miami art dealer Gary Nader has been in a running battle with developer Jorge Pérez, CEO of Related Group, over a proposed development on what’s now the college’s faculty parking lot. Nader graciously offered to build out a new Latin American arts museum for the school and fill it with $60 million worth of pieces from his private collection. Because of state law requirements, the college had to invite other bidders, which spurred Pérez to creep in like a dog in the night and block the project with his own offer. Long story short, the works have been gummed up with legal challenges, ugly rhetoric and bad feelings. Meanwhile, the college has been striving to appear above it all — and yet is ignoring one detail that’s worth noting. So what’s notable about that? Well, Al Dotson is one of the attorneys who advised Miami Dade College’s selection committee on the parking lot development. He’s with Bilzin Sumberg, the same law firm that employs Suzanne Amaducci-Adams, Miami Dade College’s outside counsel. As a side note, Amaducci-Adams was spotted socializing with Related executive Lissette Calderon, despite a “cone of silence” that’s supposed to surround the bidding process. Could there be a conflict of interest with Dotson working for Related on an unrelated (no pun intended) affordable housing project before the Miami-Dade Commission? When reporters in Miami tried to ask Dotson — you guessed it — he couldn’t be reached for comment.

GOTTA LOBBY ‘EM ALL via POLITICO Influence — Attention all Pokémon masters: A new gym has been set up on K Street. I choose you, Greenberg Traurig! The law and lobbying firm registered to represent the Bellevue, Washington-based Pokémon Company International on technology and intellectual property policy in Congress and the administration. The filing names former Sen. Tim Hutchinson … senior director Diane Blagman (former chief of staff to Rep. Bob Carr), and Rob Mangas (a former aide to Sen. Wendell Ford). “There’s no question that the success of Pokémon Go has raised the profile throughout the country and on Capitol Hill, so it’s important they have a strong voice in Washington to advocate and educate policy makers about their brand,” Blagman said.

NEW LOBBYING REGISTRATIONS

Ron Greenstein, Ron Greenstein: City of Oakland Park

Samantha Sexton: Personal Insurance Federation of Florida

Jennifer Wilson, Adams and Reese: AAA The Auto Club Group

PERSONNEL NOTE: AMY MAGUIRE TO COCA-COLA via Florida Politics – After “almost 15 years being affiliated with Florida’s greatest children’s hospital” … Maguire, now vice president for government, corporate and community relations at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, will be taking on a similar role for Coca-Cola. Starting Sept. 6, she will be vice president for public affairs, communications and government relations for Coca-Cola Beverages Florida. “Our collective work for Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital has been rewarding and incredibly meaningful to the hospital’s mission of caring for all children regardless of race, religion or ability to pay,” she said in an email to friends. “Together we have impacted thousands of children and their families across our region and beyond.” She began her career with Fifth Third Bank in Cincinnati after graduating from Centre College in Kentucky. Maguire later was the marketing and communications director for Orlando Health, a nonprofit health system based in Central Florida, and later their government relations director. Before joining Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, Maguire worked with ACH as a consultant on a range of children’s health issues. She was an advocate for All Children’s while serving as the founder/CEO of Trinity Advocacy Group and as managing partner/CEO of Southern Strategy Group Tampa Bay.

***Liberty Partners of Tallahassee, LLC, is a full-service consulting firm located just steps from the Capitol. The firm specializes in the development and implementation of successful advocacy strategies highly personalized for each client. Team Liberty is comprised of professionals with a track record of successful coalition-building, grassroots efforts and team coordination. The combination of a strong commitment to clients and practical government and private sector experience is why Fortune 500 companies and not-for-profits alike choose Liberty Partners of Tallahassee.***

DISNEY BUILDS BOULDER WALL TO BLOCK ALLIGATORS ALONG 7 SEAS LAGOON via Caitlin Dineen of the Orlando Sentinel – Work continues at Walt Disney World beach resorts to keep alligators away from guests after a two-year-old boy was snatched from the beach line at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in June. Immediately following the attack, a rope fence and warning signs were placed at Disney resorts that line the property’s Seven Seas Lagoon, where the incident happened. No fishing signs were placed at other resorts with lakefront access. For the last five weeks, Disney workers have been constructing wide boulder walls along the Seven Seas Lagoon beach line, adding another barrier between guests and the lake … the wall was part of the company’s original safety plans after Lane Graves was dragged away from his family earlier this summer. Lane’s body was discovered 16 hours after he was taken. Autopsy results indicate the boy drowned during the attack.

CONGRATS to Danielle Doheny, senior legislative assistant for U.S. Rep. Richard Nugent, and her husband, Tom, on the birth of their daughter. Via Facebook — “Cecilia Grace Doheny. Beautiful little girl born 7 lbs, 7ounces at 8:57 p.m. August 1, 2016. Proud mom and dad doing well.”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY belatedly to state House candidate Daisy BaezHeather Manso BarkerKirsten Borman Dougherty, Southern Strategy Group’s David BrowningArlene DiBenignoJill Gran, former state Rep. Ed Hooper, Southern Strategy Group’s Mercer Fearington, and Eric Seidel. Best wishes today to our friend, Slater Bayliss.

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