Sunburn for 8/22 – A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

in Uncategorized by

A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.

Today’s Rise and Shine Fact-iversary is brought to you by Sachs Media Group, the state’s dominant public affairs PR firm: The storm called Andrew became a hurricane on this day in 1992, preparing itself for a devastating assault on Homestead and much of South Florida two days later. The newly christened Hurricane Andrew battered the Bahamas on August 22, and in short order blasted its way onto Florida’s mainland in Dade County. For years, Andrew stood as the costliest hurricane in United States history, and is still ranked fourth after more than two decades of powerful storms and escalating property values. Andrew, the third most powerful hurricane to make landfall in the U.S., forever changed South Florida – in some ways for the better, as it led to major reforms in property construction in hurricane-prone areas. It also led to a critical change in how local, state and federal emergency managers interact – replacing conflict and chaos with cooperation and coordination.

Now, on to the burn…


Throughout his second term, President Barack Obama’s overall job approval rating has exceeded his approval ratings on both the economy and foreign affairs, arguably the two most important areas of focus for presidents. Obama’s 36% approval rating for handling foreign affairs and 35% approval on the economy in Gallup’s Aug. 7-10 poll, compares with a higher 44% overall job approval rating in the same poll.

Obama’s job approval rating has been a bit lower — averaging 42% in Gallup Daily tracking — since that Aug. 7-10 poll, which was conducted as the U.S. commenced airstrikes against Islamic militants in Iraq.

That Obama’s overall approval rating is higher than his ratings on foreign affairs or the economy is evidence he is getting a more positive review from the public than would be expected given his ratings on the two major issues. This is a change from his first term, when his average overall approval rating (50%) matched his average foreign affairs approval rating, but still exceeded his economic approval rating (41%).

All these ratings are lower for Obama in his second term than in his first term, but his average foreign affairs rating has dropped more than his economic approval rating or his overall job approval rating.

Gallup regularly began measuring presidential approval for handling the economy and foreign affairs during Ronald Reagan’s presidency. Since then, there have been different patterns in how these measures compare for the various presidents. For some, like Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, the patterns varied across the presidents’ two terms.

Looking at the last nine presidential terms, three basic patterns emerge in how Americans rate the president on the economy and foreign affairs in comparison to how he his handling his job overall: Presidents are generally rated higher overall than on both the economy and foreign affairs; a president’s overall job approval rating falls between his economic and foreign affairs ratings; a president’s overall job approval rating is similar to his economic and foreign affairs ratings.


It was supposed to be here, in these diverse Denver suburbs, that the nation’s fiery immigration debate would dominate a competitive House race.

The immigrant population is booming, evidenced by the more than 100 languages spoken at public schools here, the line of foreign flags displayed in the main atrium at City Hall and the bustling Latin and Korean restaurants that line the streets.

But the immigration debate that’s raging in Washington is almost an afterthought in the tight battle between Mike Coffman and Andrew Romanoff. Though they agree on almost nothing, Coffman, the incumbent Republican, and Romanoff, his Democratic challenger, scoff at the national narrative that the sixth congressional district will be won and lost on the issue of immigration reform.

And it’s not just them. Their aides privately admit it, as do consultants in both Washington and Denver who opened the campaign fully expecting the race to hinge on immigration reform. Community leaders say voters are far more focused on other issues. Even immigration activists reluctantly concede it’s not the salient topic they hoped it would be.

The shrug isn’t limited to Colorado. Less than three months before the midterm elections, there’s virtually no competitive House race that’s animated by a debate over immigration. That’s a dramatic shift from the 2012 election when Republican leaders, stung by Mitt Romney’s defeat, looked to some type of immigration reform as a way to make inroads with the Latino community. Other factors – ranging from Obamacare to unease about the economy and the president’s sagging popularity – are far bigger issues this cycle.

“The national narrative’s wrong,” said Floyd Ciruli, a independent pollster here and a longtime observer of Colorado politics.

For most voters, he said, immigration is the sixth or seventh most important issue.


American workers are happy with their jobs, says a new Gallup poll, as nearly six in ten (58 percent) full- or part-time employees report they are satisfied with job security.

This upswing represents a trend from 2009 to 2013, the aftermath of the Great Recession, when roughly 50 percent of Americans reported they were completely satisfied.

While satisfaction with job security varies from year to year —at least slightly – a feeling of fulfillment has been steadily lower over the past five years than in the lead up to the 2007-2009 recession.

A weak economy and difficult job market during that period have given workers less security in employment, even after drops in the U.S. unemployment from its 2010 peak.

With unemployment now approaching 6 percent, Americans are beginning to feel more confident in job security – more than any earlier point.

This trend goes hand-in-hand with fewer worker concerns over layoffs, which Gallup notes have dropped this year to levels not seen since the Great Recession.


A federal judge on Thursday declared Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, joining state judges in four counties who have sided with gay couples wishing to tie the knot.

U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle in Tallahassee ruled that the ban added to Florida’s constitution by voters in 2008 violates the 14th Amendment’s guarantees of equal protection and due process. Hinkle issued a stay delaying the effect of his order, meaning no marriage licenses will be immediately issued for gay couples.

Hinkle, an appointee of President Bill Clinton, compared bans on gay marriage to the long-abandoned prohibitions on interracial marriage and predicted both would be viewed by history the same way.

“When observers look back 50 years from now, the arguments supporting Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage, though just as sincerely held, will again seem an obvious pretext for discrimination,” Hinkle wrote in a 33-page ruling. “To paraphrase a civil rights leader from the age when interracial marriage was struck down, the arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has appealed the previous rulings striking down the ban in Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach counties. Hinkle’s ruling allows time for appeals in the federal case. Bondi has said the Florida cases should await a final ruling on gay marriage by the U.S. Supreme Court.

A number of similar rulings around the country have been put on hold while appeals are pursued.

The latest Florida ruling came in a pair of lawsuits that brought by gay couples seeking to marry in Florida and others who want to force Florida to recognize gay marriages performed legally in other states. Currently, 19 states and the District of Columbia permit same-sex marriage.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, which represented some of the gay couples, said the tide of rulings makes legal same-sex marriage in Florida appear inevitable.

“We’re very pleased to see the ban held unconstitutional in such unequivocal terms so that all Florida families will soon finally have the same protections,” said ACLU staff attorney Daniel Tilley.




“I took an oath to defend the constitution of the state of Florida. Six years ago, by over 62 percent of the vote (actually 61.9 percent), the voters of this state put that into our constitution. That is part of the constitution which I am sworn to uphold,” Bondi told about 75 to 100 Republican activists at Palm Beach County GOP headquarters.

“I challenged it (efforts to overturn the ban) and I will continue to challenge it. Just so you know, Judge (Robert J.) Hinkle ruled against it today but did grant a stay. We have a separation of powers in our state. I am not the judiciary. I am not the person to make that decision. The courts are.”

She added: “This needs to be decided by the United States Supreme Court. They have accepted cert. We want finality. There are good people on both sides. We want finality. That’s what we need. The U.S. Supreme Court’s going to hear this. They are going to make this determination. And if you hear that I have criticized people personally, I have not. I never will. This is me doing my job as attorney general and I will continue to do that and if anybody wants me to moderate my message or stand for less, I have a message for them: I am just getting started.”

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by Bright House Networks, a trusted provider of industry leading communications and networking services to businesses of all sizes, from startups to large, multi-site organizations. Our Enterprise Solutions provides the fiber connectivity, cloud and managed services  today’s large organizations demand, while our Business  Solutions team works with small to mid-size companies to ensure they get the right services to fit their needs and their budget. Find out why so many businesses in your area trust their communications needs to Bright House Networks.  Learn more at ***

CAMPAIGN PROFILE: Republican District 18 candidates thump conservative themes via George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post

The final scheduled gathering of all six Republican candidates for a Palm Beach-Treasure Coast congressional seat highlighted some differences on the role of government in helping business and on abortion.

At a forum sponsored by the Cypress Lakes Republican Club in unincorporated West Palm Beach, the candidates generally sounded conservative themes as they vie for the right to face freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy for the District 18 seat in the general election.

All the candidates oppose the All Aboard Florida train, with several mentioning their opposition to federal loans for the project and candidate Brian Lara adding that he opposes “any kind of funding to private industry.”

That drew a response from former Tequesta councilman Calvin Turnquest, who has owned small businesses.

“It is only those who have never owned a business that will oppose going to the federal government for funding to start or expand a business,” Turnquest said. “As a small business owner … I searched federal websites to provide my company to expand my businesses. So for someone to say that they’re going to stop that or prevent that, how can you consider yourself a conservative if you’re going to try and stop businesses form operating? That is hypocritical.”

Later, former state House member and investment manager Carl Domino defended the Troubled Asset Relief Program of 2008, which has been criticized by many conservatives and tea party members.

“The economy was freezing because no bank was able to make a loan. If we had gone down that path without providing stability to the banks, we’d have had a depression that would have been a record,” said Domino.

“When you have an extraordinary emergency, you have to do extraordinary things. … You might sit on your intellectual plateau and say never do a TARP, never do a bailout. But guess what? If you have 20 or 30 percent unemployment because nobody can get a loan from a bank to pay a payroll, that’s not a good thing.”

Candidate Alan Schlesinger said he was “adamantly opposed” to TARP and blamed the financial meltdown on Congress’ failure to address credit-default swaps.

“Instead of bailouts, let’s get at the problem so it doesn’t ever happen, so we don’t need to bail out these institutions,” Schlesinger said. “Listen, there should be some risk aversion out there. People who take these types of risks, they have to lose. It’s as simple as that. We the taxpayers shouldn’t be there to bail them out.”


Two longtime congressional representatives from Jacksonville bolstered their support by reeling in some major endorsements as they seek to continue their service in Washington.

The Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce launched a federal PAC — the Jacksonville Chamber Committee for Good Government — and endorsed two veterans of Florida politics in Republican Ander Crenshaw and Democrat Corrine Brown.

Crenshaw is facing a serious primary challenge from retired Navy Capt. Ryman Shoaf, a former aide to U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, in next week’s primary. Brown doesn’t face any Democratic foes but former gubernatorial aide Glo Smith battles businesswoman Twee Lowe in the Republican primary. Neither of these races is expected to be competitive come November.

Rep. Daniel  Davis, the president and CEO of the Jacksonville Chamber, explained why the group was backing the two members of Congress and why the group was wading into federal affairs. Davis, who is retiring from the Florida House this year to focus on leading the Jacksonville Chamber, pointed to the most recent efforts to improve the St. Johns River for the Panama Canal expansion.

Crenshaw got some additional support from the Tea Party of Florida, a minor political party which was urging Republicans to support him over Shoaf.

JEB!: The former governor is starring in a TV ad for CD 26 candidate Carlos Curbelo. Watch the ad here.

***The Fiorentino Group is a full service government relations and business development firm providing a broad range of consulting services to clients looking to influence public policy and create new business opportunities. The Fiorentino Group’s team of advocates is one of the largest in the state and has decades of experience in state, local and federal government relations and new business development.***


Scott on Thursday announced a plan to raise per-student spending to a record level next year.

Scott’s proposal calls for $7,176 for each student in Florida — a $232 increase over the current school year and a $50 increase over the record high from 2007-08.

“I am proud to announce that in the upcoming legislative session we will propose an increase in Florida’s per-pupil spending to the highest level in our state’s history,” Scott said in a statement. “We already have the highest total spending in K-12 this year and gave every teacher the opportunity for a pay raise. Because we were able to get Florida’s economy back on track, revenues are now projected to stay at a strong enough rate to support historic investments in education.”

The announcement may seem a little premature, considering the November election still stands between Scott and the 2015 legislative session.

But it makes perfect sense in the context of the campaign.

Last week, Crist traveled the state in a yellow school bus, reminding Floridians that Scott cut $1.3 billion from the state education budget during his first year in office in 2011.

Crist promised more money for public schools, but did not provide specific figures.

The Florida Democratic Party responded by calling Scott’s announcement an election-year gimmick.

They pointed out that the record-high per-pupil spending level of $7,126 from 2007-08 equates to $8,191 in 2014 dollars.

“The truth is, Rick Scott cut $1.3 billion from Florida’s education system in his first year,” FDP Chair Allison Tant said. “Every year since then, he has failed to bring school funding back up to where it was under Charlie Crist. This new proposal continues that four-year record of failure.

 VIDEO DU JOUR via American Bridge, “Rick Scott pretends to listen to scientists” here.


Scott’s re-election campaign is slamming Crist in a memo to campaign supporters.

Tim Saler, the deputy campaign manager, said Scott … has led an incredible economic recovery. In the years since Scott was elected, Saler said Floridians have “worked hard to turn the state’s economy around and they’ve done it with a governor who wants to help empower them to succeed.”

The campaign takes aim at Crist, saying the Democrat “has morphed several more times, emerging as a liberal Democrat.”

Saler said Crist is expected to beat Rich in Tuesday’s primary, with a recent poll showing Crist leading Rich 61-14 in a head-to-head race. Saler said it’s expected that Democrats can bring in several thousand more primary votes compared to Republicans.

Despite the campaign’s belief that Crist will win the primary, Saler said the campaign is convinced Scott is “well-positioned for re-election in the fall.”


Unless an Ebola-fueled zombie apocalypse devastates the world between now and next Tuesday, Crist is going to win the Democratic nomination in Florida’s governor’s race. Not one credible political prognosticator thinks otherwise. So one thing to look for is not whether Crist wins or loses — duh — but what is his margin of victory?

So what should the line be in Charlie Crist vs. Nan Rich? Like the FSU vs. OSU game, it’s not a matter of who is likely to win. The question is: By how much?

A good night for any candidate is one that ends with him or her receiving 60 percent of the vote. That means three out of five people voted for them. That’s a healthy, more-than-respectable win.

If Crist, who has been a Democrat about as long as Jameis Winston has been a college football player, were to win his party’s nomination with 60 percent of the vote, he’d be happy, but not ecstatic.

The trouble is, once you start pegging a candidate at 65-66 percent — two thirds of the vote — you have to believe that two out of every three votes will go their way. Will two out of every three Democratic primary voters back Crist? Most of the very little public polling suggests they will. According to a July poll from Gravis Marketing, Crist took 68 percent of likely Democratic primary voters, while Rich was far behind with 20 percent. Twelve percent remain undecided.

Were Crist to keep Rich well below 40 percent, that would keep the Monday morning quarterbacks from squawking too much about the lack of enthusiasm among Democrats for Charlie.


Those recent robocalls to Democratic voters featuring the voice and the conservative views of Crist have prompted Democrats to file a formal complaint with the Florida Elections Commission. Their target is Republican Sen. Tom Lee of Brandon.

Lee engineered what he said were about two million robocalls to voters, using the same calls Crist used in his successful 2006 Republican campaign for governor, in which he called himself a pro-life, Ronald Reagan Republican who opposed same sex marriage and supported public display of the 10 Commandments — views now starkly at odds with Crist the Democrat. Lee has taken responsibility for the robocalls and used a long-dormant electioneering communications organization (ECO) called The Conservative (singular). There’s also a new web site featuring all of Crist’s audio clips at

The Conservative is headed by Stafford Jones, a Republican activist from Gainesville and a behind-the-scenes player in state politics.

The complaint was filed by Allison Tant, chair of the Florida Democratic Party. It cites a state law, Ch. 106.147(1)(c), which states that “No telephone call shall state or imply that the caller represents any person or organization unless the person of organization so represented has given specific approval in writing to make such representation.”

A violation is a first-degree misdemeanor. Also named in the FEC complaint is Gov. Rick Scott. Democrats say Lee was acting on behalf of Scott’s campaign in arranging the robocalls to Florida voters.

NAN RICH HOPES VOTERS WILL CHOOSE THE ‘REAL DEMOCRAT’ via Brendan Farrington of the Associated Press

Former Sen. Nan Rich is hoping a solid lifetime record as a Democrat, 28 months of campaigning and outreach to the hardcore grassroots of her party are enough to overcome the name recognition and millions of dollars raised by Crist in Tuesday’s primary for governor.

Rich has been in the race longer than Crist has been a Democrat. She has put thousands of miles on her car instead of flying around the state in private planes donated by millionaire supporters. And there is no one who will question whether she has a stronger track record supporting the Democratic Party platform than Crist.

Yet she remains the underdog as most Democratic Party leaders have backed Crist, thinking his past popularity and reputation as a strong campaigner give them the best hope to beat Republican Gov. Rick Scott and win the governor’s race for the first time since 1994. Crist, who was a Republican when elected in 2006, has raised $19 million through his campaign and a political committee formed to elect him. Rich has raised $644,354.

Despite the odds, Rich has refused to back down.

“We need to have a true, progressive Democratic in the race running against a tea party Republican,” Rich said. “We need to have a serious strong contrast. That’s how we get our base out to vote.”

She was the Senate Democratic leader during Scott’s first two years in office and was a vocal opponent of many of his policies, from cuts to Medicaid, efforts to privatize prisons, a plan to drug-test welfare recipients and changes to public education. She has been a strong advocate for schools, child welfare and human services.

When people were focused on the 2012 presidential election, Rich began jumping in her car and driving seemingly countless miles around the state, visiting nearly every county while attending hundreds of events.

EMAIL BARRAGE: “IMPEACHMENT” via Florida Democrats; “Last email from me” via Charlie Crist; “So close to $50K,” via Charlie Crist’s campaign; “If you do one thing online today” via Nan Rich; “Read, only if you are ready” via Lois Frankel;”Big Setback,” “Counting on you” via Joe Garcia;

***SUNBURN is brought to you in part by Bascom Communications & Consulting, LLC, a top-notch public affairs, political communications and public relations firm.  Visit to read about their growing team, success stories and case studies.***

ONE-THIRD IN FLORIDA CHOSE MEDICAID PLAN via Kelli Kennedy of the Associated Press

Only about one-third of Medicaid recipients transitioning into managed care statewide chose their own health insurance plans.

Enrollment for the general population started in May and ended in August. Consumers received a letter in the mail two months before enrollment and were given at least 30 days to choose an insurance plan. Those who did not choose a plan were automatically enrolled into a plan by state health officials.

State health officials said 34 percent of Medicaid recipients chose their plan while 66 percent were assigned one. But nearly half of the 66 percent who were automatically enrolled were assigned to a plan they had a prior relationship with.

About 3 million Floridians are on Medicaid — more than half of whom are children.


In its latest budget report, Florida TaxWatch has some good news for the state’s economy, which has been rebounding from the 2008 Great Recession.

Florida legislators will have up to $30 billion in General Revenue to work with next year, says the non-profit government watchdogs Florida TaxWatch, which examined a potential state budget for the 2015 Legislative session.

For the first time, Florida’s General Revenue in 2014 could exceed the pre-recession high of 2005-06, with continued growth between 4-5 percent annually through 2017-18.

After this month’s GR Estimating Conference — that projected budget for fiscal year 2015-2016 at $141.6 million less than expected — the privately supported think tank that investigates government spending issued its latest Budget Watch report.

Estimators credit the lowered forecast to normal fluctuations, not any expected weaknesses in the economy. Final budget estimates for next year budget will be in March.

For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014, actual GR collections also fell short of projections made March 2014 by $106 million. Revenue estimates for this fiscal year also dropped by nearly $84.1 million, while estimations for the sales tax, the largest source of General Revenue, were increased.

STRONG HEADLINE OF THE DAY via Ag. Commissioner Adam Putnam “Florida Forest Service Sets Prescribed Fire Record”


Senator Latvala is calling on Duke Energy to abandon idea of charging its customers higher rates due to expanded billing cycles.

Duke is reorganizing the way it reads meters. As a result, Duke is temporarily extending its billing cycle, typically a month, by as many as 12 extra days. … The additional days mean that about 267,000 customers face bigger bills

Duke charges customers $11.34 for every 100-kilowatt hours of usage up to 1,000 kilowatt hours. But above that, it charges $13.70 for every 100 kilowatt hours. … Multiply the difference between the standard rate and the higher fee and Duke could collect hundreds of thousands of dollars — for nothing.

Latvala fired off a letter to Alex Glenn, president of Duke Energy Florida, urging him to drop the new billing program.

To Latvala, the issue comes down to morals.

“It might be legal for utility companies to squeeze additional money from customers in this manner, it certainly isn’t moral.”


Redistricting, elections and the American Dream were only a few of the concerns of Floridians addressed by Steve Crisafulli at a meeting of the James Madison Institute in Pensacola on Wednesday.

Crisafulli, the Florida House Speaker-Designate, spoke to the audience of more than 100 community members, businesses owners and elected officials gathered for a luncheon hosted by JMI, the Florida-based research and educational organization devoted to limited government, financial freedom and individual liberty.

Joining Crisafulli onstage were state Rep. Mike Hill and JMI president and CEO Dr. Bob McClure, who provided opening remarks.

Each speaker shared personal stories on why they chose public service, with a focus on opportunities and obstacles to increase Florida’s economic prosperity.

Crisafulli, an eighth generation Floridian and fourth generation Brevard County resident, spoke of his background and commitment to do what is right for Florida.

“I learned my work ethic from working in agriculture, specifically from talks with my dad in the front seat of his truck,” he told the crowd. “I firmly believe the American Dream is still alive and that the best days of our country are yet to come because of states like Florida that understand how opportunity is created.”

***Capital City Consulting, LLC is a full-service government and public affairs firm located in Tallahassee, Florida. At Capital City Consulting, our team of professionals specialize in developing unique government relations and public affairs strategies and delivering unrivaled results for our clients before the Florida Legislature and Executive Branch Agencies. Capital City Consulting has the experience, contacts and winning strategies to help our clients stand out in the capital city. Learn more at***


The Florida Medical Association PAC (FMA PAC), Florida’s leading advocate for electing pro-medicine candidates to office, endorsed State Rep. Ronald “Doc” Renuart in his bid for re-election to House District 17.

“We are proud to endorse State Rep. Doc Renuart,” said Dr. Ralph Nobo, President of the FMA PAC. “As a physician, he fully understands the demands of providing quality health care in the existing system. He has always been an outstanding advocate on health care issues, and the FMA looks forward to our continued collaboration that helps physicians practice medicine in the state of Florida.”

“I am truly grateful to the FMA and the medical community for their support in my re-election bid for the Florida House of Representatives, District 17,” Renuart commented. “I remain committed to working to ensure that all Floridians have access to quality, affordable health care and that patient care decisions are made between patients and their doctors, not government.”

BLOGGERS SPICE UP REGION’S RACES via Jeremy Wallace of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune

When supporters of a state House candidate blasted his opponent for falsely claiming to be a Marine, they leaned heavily on material from a website called the Shark-Tank blog.

And when the opponents in the House race fired back, saying the other candidate was lying about his campaign donations to a prominent national Democrat, they used SaintPetersBlog to back up their claim.

The tactics are part of a growing trend in political advertising this year, one in which campaigns have become increasingly reliant on more lenient, nontraditional media to make their case against opponents.

For their part, bloggers say that while there are some bad apples out there, they are generally filling a coverage void where so many traditional media have had to cut back on staff and coverage.

“Traditional media can’t really afford to dedicate a reporter to a singular statehouse race and give it the attention we can,” said Peter Schorsch, creator of the SaintPetersBlog.

Schorsch said what is happening in the campaign world mirrors the larger culture, where bloggers are no longer seen as renegade bomb throwers. Instead they are embraced or even absorbed by traditional media, like influential bloggers Nate Silver or Ezra Klein.

To counter the Shark-Tank posts, DeNapoli supporters have used headlines from the rival SaintPetersBlog to claim Gonzalez once supported “death panels” and changed his story on why he gave donations to U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz — claims Gonzalez has denied.


Gun rights have always been a prized Republican issue, now they are making an appearance in Dane Eagle’s re-election effort.

State Rep. Eagle is the subject of the latest email blast for the House District 77 race, in the form of an urgently worded National Rifle Association “NRA Alert.”

It warns voters about a supposedly “pro-gun” organization (from outside Florida, no less) that is falsely attacking Eagle for his voting record on Second Amendment rights.

The rumor going around is that the Lee County Republican voted to restrict Second Amendment rights without due process. The organization also asserts Eagle failed to fill out the group’s candidate questionnaire

The NRA says both claims about Eagle are “PATENTLY FALSE.”

“Dane Eagle is a proven friend of the Second Amendment and will oppose any attempt to restrict our rights,” the email continues. “This primary election is your chance to keep a proven Second Amendment Leader!”


Steve Perman’s latest ad mailed to voters in State House District 96 stinks.

That’s the point!

Voters can stratch-and-sniff on a portion of the ad and experience the smell of Wheelabrator Technologies’ huge landfill, which lies along Florida’s Turnpike in North Broward.

The landfill, nicknamed Mt. Trashmore, periodically plagues the east Coconut Creek portion of District 96 with odors.

Perman’s Democratic primary opponent, County Commissioner Kristin Jacobs, has taken campaign contributions from Wheelabrator and its parent company, Waste Management.

And Jacobs did nothing to stop the expansion of the landfill in the past two years, according to Perman, a former state House member.

David Brown, Perman’s campaign consultant, isn’t the first to author an ad with a scratch-off element in Broward. County Commissioner Scott Cowan designed one in the mid-1990s in Davie’s city election. The mailer stated: “Who’s the Developer’s Best Friend in Davie?” Voters could scratch off those words and find underneath a picture of the candidate Cowan opposed.


One of the old standbys of campaigning is that when you’re down without much time left, it’s time to start slinging mud. In recent weeks, flyers have circulated around District 100 that refer to Democrat Joe Geller as “Gambling Joe” and say he’ll bring increased crime, drugs, and job losses to the district with his support for casinos. Geller is the only one of the candidates who is at least open to the idea of a destination resort casino in Broward County. His mantra has been “We should look at any deal and if it’s a good deal, we take it. If it’s a bad deal, we leave it.”

All of the flyers are from a shady political action committee called Communities First.

According to campaign finance records, Communities First has raised a grand total of $65,000 — actually, pretty miniscule by PAC standards. And almost all of that money comes from just four sources. AT&T gave $15,000, as did two other PACs, The Florida Justice Reform Committee and the Florida Jobs PAC. Another $10,000 came from Floridians for a Stronger Democracy.

The Florida Jobs PAC has raised more than a million dollars, but over half of it comes from just three sources — Disney and Publix at $250,000 a piece, and Florida Power and Light at $166,000.

The PAC gave $280,000 straight to the Republican Party of Florida. Tens of thousands of dollars also went to Let’s Get to Work, Gov. Rick Scott’s PAC, and other Republican-leaning efforts. All told, just $30,000 went to the Florida Democratic Party and a few hundred to a couple of Democratic political campaigns.

The same could be said for the other PACs that donated to Communities First. The Florida Justice Reform Committee has raised $352,000, with the biggest contributor once again being Publix at $150,000. And then the PAC turned around and gave that money almost entirely to Republican causes. The biggest beneficiary? The Scott PAC Let’s Get to Work, with $50,000.

And the final PAC, Floridians for a Stronger Democracy?

That PAC raised $341,000, but $126,000 came from Big Sugar and $175,000 came from yet another PAC, the Voice of Florida Business — another one that supports Republican, conservative candidates.

***SUNBURN is sponsored in part by Floridian Partners, LLC, a statewide Public and Government Affairs firm with offices in Tallahassee, Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. Their firm’s success is measured by its clients’ success. Outreach and Public Advocacy; Strategic Issue and Campaign Development; Grassroots and Grasstops Coalition Building – Floridian Partners is a one-stop firm for clients needing assistance at all levels of government in Florida.***


Veteran insurance attorney Nate Wesley “Wes” Strickland joins Colodny, Fass Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb as a partner in the Tallahassee office.

Strickland, formerly a partner with Foley & Lardner, will lead the Colodny, Fass Insurance Regulatory practice. He brings to the firm more than two decades of experience with insurance regulatory law and complex corporate transactions.

***The Public Affairs Consultants Team of Jack Cory, Keyna Cory and Erin Daly Ballas guide their clients through the legislative, state agency and local government process. They do so by providing governmental consulting, lobbying and professionally coordinated grassroots programs for businesses, professionals, non-profits, local governments and associations. Recently named a Leading Association LobbyistThey Cover Florida Like the Sun.***


Today on Context Florida: Unless an Ebola-fueled zombie apocalypse devastates the world between now and next TuesdayPeter Schorsch writes that former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist is going to win the Democratic nomination in Florida’s governor’s race. So one thing to look for on Tuesday night is not whether Crist wins or loses — duh — but what is his margin of victory? When Congressman Steve Southerland is not dodging questions about his trip to the King Ranch, Diane Roberts says he is touting a bill to help struggling polluters. Unlike January, Shannon Nickinson believes August is a great time for a resolution – to take the mantra of “each one, teach one” seriously and to heart. When a telephone and a stamp were the social media of choice, Linda Grist Cunningham says smacking down trolls was simple: hang up or toss it in the trashcan. It could have been that simple in the wicked web world.

Visit Context Florida to dig in.


Over the past 30 years, no state has played championship football better than Florida. During that period, Florida college teams have won 11 Division I national championships. The Miami Hurricanes claimed five titles while Florida State and Florida won three each. Florida State is the defending national champion.

One of the cool benefits of winning a national championship is traveling to Washington, D.C., to be part of a public White House ceremony with the president of the United States. President Ronald Reagan began the tradition in 1986 by hosting the Penn State Nittany Lions.

The Florida State Seminoles are about to become the first champion to be unwillingly denied the chance to go to Washington. What happened?

The official reason is “scheduling conflicts.” We know any president has a great deal on his plate. Let us also not forget the criticism heaped onto FSU for the difficulty in scheduling a local celebration in Tallahassee earlier this year.

It appeared early on the White House was willing. On January 10, President Obama telephoned FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher to congratulate Fisher and the Seminoles for their achievement. According to the White House, “the President said he looks forward to welcoming the team to the White House to celebrate their championship.”

The invitation never arrived. Florida State presented several possible dates, but all were rejected by the White House. “We tried to give them a thousand dates, but we couldn’t get it worked out,” Fisher told the Orlando Sentinel.

These kinds of events always work out, but somehow not for FSU. It is fair to assume something other than scheduling is in play.

HOW TO ESTABLISH A MEDIA DIET via Jihii Jolly of the Columbia Journalism Review

Earlier this year, I began experimenting with different strategies for stepping outside of the 24-hour news cycle. I was overwhelmed by the continuous streams of information available online, and mainly consuming fleeting tweets and headlines, I felt like I knew a little bit about a lot of things and not a lot about anything specific. So I began reading a lot about how other people read the news and reconstructing my media diet according to my own information needs and time preferences.

In the age of the 24-hour news cycle, when high volumes of information are updated in real-time and are perpetually at your fingertips, choosing what to read, when, and how is a news literacy skill. In the same way that financial literacy requires knowing how money works and the most effective methods for managing it, news literacy requires familiarity with how journalism is made and with the most effective ways to consume it.

But before I could construct a news diet for myself, I needed to be familiar with available sources; I needed to know what tools existed to read or watch the news, spanning media (radio apps, RSS readers, curated apps, email newsletters, TV, Web video, print and digital editions of publications, social feeds); and I needed to have a useful system for mixing and matching platforms to create a reading routine that could keep me informed, sane, and fit my lifestyle.

While formalized training on how to do this isn’t yet at the top of news literacy education agendas, which are still focused on teaching students to recognize reliable news sources, there are many tools and frameworks that do exist that helped me assess my schedule, manage my time, and help me start to read content in the most effective way.

One way to think about mitigating media overload is through the slow news movement, largely popularized by Dan Gillmor, director of the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at Arizona State University’s Journalism School. It’s named after the slow-food movement, which encourages consumers to buy, cook and eat slowly in order to fortify both their physical and mental health, going against society’s emphasis on (unhealthily) convenient fast food.

In the words of slow-news blogger Marie-Catherine Beuth:

Instead of making their users fight to keep up with the 24-hour news cycle, I believe the media should make it easier for their (otherwise busy) users to be well-informed, especially when everything is reported in real-time. It is very pretentious to keep assuming we have our readers/watchers/listeners’ attention at all times. It would be safer to bet on the fact that often enough, people have missed bits and pieces of unfolding stories. And they don’t have a lot of time to catch up on news. I believe that solving this equation will make the media experience more valuable to its consumers. And hopefully improve the economics of journalism.

TWEET, TWEET: @SaintPetersBlog: If you proudly list @uflorida in your twitter bio, please replace with @UF and use the extra 6 characters to sound even more awesome.

TWEET, TWEET: @FLPressCorps: Tomorrow at 5pm, members of the @FLPressCorps will rise to the #ALSIceBucketChallenge


Facing Florida with Mike Vasalinda: Discussing Amendment 2; Pete Dunbar and Screven Watson

Florida This Week on Tampa Bay’s WEDU: Joshua Gillin, Chris Ingram, Mitch Perry, and Darden Rice

Political Connections on Tampa Bay’s BayNews 9: Ana Cruz and Chris Ingram

Political Connections on CF 13: Primary election preview

The Usual Suspects which airs on WCTV-Tallahassee/Thomasville (CBS) and WJHG-Panama City (NBC): Steve Vancore, Gary Yordon, Sean Pittman and Mary Ellen Klas

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you in part by the Florida Medical Association: Affordable, safe, patient-centered health care in Florida starts with a physician-led team, with all health care professionals playing valuable and appropriate roles. Learn more here.***

HAPPY BIRTHDAY belatedly to Caitlin Fishman. Celebrating today is Rep. Dennis Baxley and Kurt Browning.


A pay it forward chain that began in a St. Petersburg, Florida, Starbucks linked more than 750 strangers in a two-day act of coffee kindness.

“It was a pleasant surprise. Everyone likes their coffee paid for. So it was nice,” one customer told CNN affiliate Bay News 9.

The chain reportedly began Wednesday morning when a woman in her 60s offered to buy coffee for the car behind her, a store employee told Bay News 9.

“There were some stops and starts to it since it started yesterday (Wednesday) morning at 7 a.m., but I do know it originally started through a customer,” said Starbucks spokesperson Linda Mills.

Participant Lucy Ramone went through the line twice on Wednesday.

“I was number 57 this morning,” Ramone said to the drive-through barista, according to Bay News 9. “What number am I now?” Ramone asked the barista.

“Number 297!”

Ramone raised her hands in victory. She had brought her son as a passenger to experience the second round of beverages. “I think it just puts a smile on people’s face,” she said.

“We are greatly humbled by the generosity of our customers and store partners in the organic Pay if Forward movement happening in St. Petersburg, Florida,” said Mills. “It’s truly a testament to the goodwill of our customers and our store team.”

The hundreds of acts of kindness had at least one public critic.

St. Petersburg blogger Peter Schorsch asked that readers don’t call him a “grinch” for allegedly ending the pay it forward chain.

“In case any of you are caught up in the Pay It Forward baloney at Starbucks. I just drove through the line, bought a venti mocha frap AND DID NOT PAY IT FORWARD. The chain is broken and this silliness should stop. (P.S. I tipped the baristas $100, just so you can’t call me a grinch.),” Schorsch posted on his Facebook account.

In a post on his website Schorsch wrote “customers were being told that they had had their drink paid for and then asked would they like to pay for the drink of the person next in line. That’s not generosity, that’s guilt.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.