Sunburn for 8/5 – A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

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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: Happy 153rd birthday, federal income tax!!! Well, maybe not so happy for the tens of millions of Americans who “donate” a portion of their earnings to support such necessary functions as the nation’s defense, highways and education. Floridians can take comfort in knowing that our state is one of only seven with no state-level personal income tax. That’s a guarantee in the state’s constitution, and perhaps a leading reason why so many relocate to the Sunshine State.

Now, on to the ‘burn…


Three top-secret, experimental vials stored at subzero temperatures were flown into Liberia last week in a last-ditch effort to save two American missionary workers.

U.S. SENT LATIN YOUTH UNDERCOVER IN ANTI-CUBA PLOY via Desmond Butler, Jack Gillum, Alberto Arce and Andrea Rodriguez of the Associated Press

An Obama administration program secretly dispatched young Latin Americans to Cuba using the cover of health and civic programs to provoke political change, a clandestine operation that put those foreigners in danger even after a U.S. contractor was hauled away to a Cuban jail.

Beginning as early as October 2009, a project overseen by the U.S. Agency for International Development sent Venezuelan, Costa Rican and Peruvian young people to Cuba in hopes of ginning up rebellion. The travelers worked undercover, often posing as tourists, and traveled around the island scouting for people they could turn into political activists.

In one case, the workers formed an HIV-prevention workshop that memos called “the perfect excuse” for the program’s political goals — a gambit that could undermine America’s efforts to improve health globally.

But their efforts were fraught with incompetence and risk, an Associated Press investigation found: Cuban authorities questioned who was bankrolling the travelers. The young workers nearly blew their mission to “identify potential social-change actors.” One said he got a paltry, 30-minute seminar on how to evade Cuban intelligence, and there appeared to be no safety net for the inexperienced workers if they were caught.

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ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is scheduled to be the keynote speaker dinner at the Orange County Republican Party’s 2014 Lincoln Day Dinner. Also expected to take part is incoming Senate President Andy Gardiner.  Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport, 9300 Jeff Fuqua Blvd., Orlando. 7:45 p.m.

THE GRIFTING WING VS. THE GOVERNING WING via Steve LaTourette of POLITICO defines a grifter as: A grifter is a con artist—someone who swindles people out of money through fraud. If there’s one type of person you don’t want to trust, it’s a grifter: Someone who cheats someone out of money.

Historically, grifters have taken many shapes. They were the snake-oil salesmen who rolled into town promising a magical, cure-all elixir at a price. The grifter was long gone by the time people discovered the magical elixir was no more magical than water. They were the sideshow con men offering fantastic prizes in games that were rigged so that no one could actually win them. They were the Ponzi scheme operators who got rich promising fantastically high investment returns but returning nothing for those sorry investors at the bottom of the pyramid.

Over the last few years we have seen the rise of a new grifter—the political grifter. And the most important battle being waged today isn’t the one about which party controls the House or the Senate, it’s about who controls the Republican Party: the grifting wing or the governing wing.

Today’s political grifters are a lot like the grifters of old—lining their pockets with the hard-earned money of working men and women be promising things in return that they know they can’t deliver.

Political grifting is a lucrative business. Groups like the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks and the Tea Party Patriots are run by men and women who have made millions by playing on the fears and anger about the dysfunction in Washington. These people have lined their pockets by promising that if you send them money, they will send men and women to Washington who can “fix it.” Of course, in the ultimate con, the always extreme and often amateurish candidates these groups back either end up losing to Democrats or they come to Washington and actually make the process even more dysfunctional.

The grifting wing of the party promises that you can have ideological purity—that you don’t have to compromise—and, of course, all you have to do is send them money to make it happen. The governing wing of the Republican Party knows that’s a damn lie. Our Founding Fathers set up a system of government that by its very nature excludes the possibility of one party or one ideological wing of one party getting everything it wants. Ted Cruz, who quotes the founders almost every chance he gets, ought to know this.


HaystaqDNA suggests that states with the highest tea party favorability scores are in the West rather than in the South; and that the elections that will ultimately decide control of the Senate in 2014 are less likely to be impacted by tea party wing candidates. Florida counties with the highest tea party favorability ratings are Okaloosa, at 47.3 percent, Sumter, at 46.8 percent, and Santa Rosa, at 46.7 percent. Broward County rings in with the lowest tea party favorability ratings in South Florida, at 28.6 percent, followed by Palm Beach (31.5 percent), and St. Lucie (32.1 percent). That said, the Big Bend area has the lowest overall tea party approval: Gadsden County has the state’s lowest percent tea party enthusiasts at 24 percent, followed by Jefferson (29.3 percent), Leon (30 percent), and Madison (30.3 percent). Alachua County matches Madison at 30.3 percent, too.

Looking now at the often foretelling I-4 corridor, tea party favorability ratings fall consistently in the 40 percent range: Pinellas (35.9 percent), Hillsborough (37 percent), Pasco (40 percent), Polk (40.7 percent), Osceola (37.3 percent), Lake (42.1 percent), Orange (36.3 percent), Brevard (41.8 percent), Volusia (39.5 percent), and Seminole (38.2 percent).


In an era of highly targeted digital and TV advertising, political campaigns are still banking on an old-fashioned, mundane routine: Voters picking up their mail and leafing through it as they walk from their mailboxes to kitchen trash cans.

Campaigns, party committees and outside groups have spent at least $150 million on direct mail so far in the 2014 election cycle, according to a POLITICO review of Federal Election Commission reports and data compiled by CQ Moneyline. That total is just a snapshot, based only on expenditures that were categorized as a variation of “direct mail” or “mailer” and includes some postage and printing costs. Meanwhile, expenditures categorized as “digital,” “online,” “web” and “email” together totaled about $70 million.

The cost of television time is rising — at the same time the TV landscape has become more diffused — and many voters are using DVRs and internet video streams that upend traditional advertising. The cottage industry developing around Republican primaries — with electorates more easily reached by mail — is also contributing to the spending on the medium, which is relatively easier and cheaper to link with the voter data on which campaigns are becoming increasingly dependent.

Whether it’s mail intended for fundraising or messaging, consultants from both parties now believe the industry has evolved with the times. Although it isn’t growing rapidly like digital, mail remains an indispensable tool for many campaigns.

TV advertising doesn’t quite have that level of targeting yet, but it will soon catch up, said Malorie Thompson of Something Else Strategies.

“Those days are quickly closing in on us,” Thompson said. “It all depends on a campaign’s budget and sophistication.”

She added that even with improvements in targeting voters through TV ads, direct mail will have the crucial cost advantage, especially in supplementing TV and radio buys. “You want to create a campaign that chases a voter, that can engage them where they want to engage. Not all campaigns have the luxury of going on TV. That’s why direct mail is still very efficient.”

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Gov. Scott is touring the state this week to promote a new environmental plan he intends to push if voters give him a second term in office, including more spending on conservation and heftier fines for polluters.

The plan signals his intent to keep trudging along on Everglades restoration, developing anIndian River Lagoon plan, spending more to clean up wastewater in the Keys, and increasing fines for oil and gas companies, among other polluters.

Scott’s tour touts a 10-year, $1 billion effort he is pledging for protecting Florida’s waters, divided evenly between developing alternative water sources and protecting Florida’s springs. But there’s a slight problem: Florida voters might beat him to it.

Amendment 1 on the Nov. 4 ballot would steer far more money into water protection over two decades instead of one. Voters will have a say this fall on whether to start spending more than $700 million annually on water and conservation projects, a figure that would grow to more than $1.3 billion annually over two decades.

And Florida is actually already spending pretty close to what Scott wants: an Orlando Sentinel review last month found at least $637 million in water- and land-protection programs that could have fallen under the amendment’s definition, including money for Everglades and Indian River Lagoon cleanup; land management; springs protection; beach and inlet protection; lake restoration; and petroleum-tank cleanups. (The group pushing the amendment released a statement Monday praising Scott’s “leadership,” and imploring voters to pass the constitutional mandate.)


There’s nothing wrong with this state that a yearly governor’s race couldn’t solve.

Oh, sure it would be disruptive. And costly. It would be time-consuming and counter-productive, too.

On the other hand, it could almost make Rick Scott seem pleasant.

Yes, our panderer-in-chief has behaved like a different man with an election looming before him. He still hides and still distorts, but his familiar zealotry has been toned down to a more moderate level.

Almost as if he knows you might be paying attention.

This doesn’t mean he has completely abandoned his core, and it doesn’t mean Scott won’t return to nuttyville if re-elected, but it has been fascinating to watch his sly meander toward the middle.

Think about the stances he has taken this year, and compare them to his first few years in office.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Charlie Crist will be making a “major policy announcement,” according to a press release from his campaign at 2:30 p.m. in Ft. Lauderdale. Axis Space Coworking, 333 Las Olas Way.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Annette Taddeo will hold a media event at Kyn, a start-up company accelerator and working space located at 315 E. Bay Street in Jacksonville. 11 a.m.

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The majority of insurance companies are raising the price of health plans in Florida through the Affordable Care Act exchange.

State insurance officials said Monday that 14 companies filed plans, including three new insurers. Of the 11 returning plans, eight filed average rate increases ranging from 11 to 23 percent, and three filed rate decreases ranging from 5 to 12 percent.

Florida Blue, the largest insurer, is raising its premiums by an average of 17.6 percent. Humana proposed an average 14.1 percent increase for its HMOs, and Molina proposed an 11.6 percent average rate decrease.

Florida’s increases aren’t staggering, as health insurance rates have risen as much as 20 or 30 percent in recent years. Critics of the health overhaul warned of huge rate increases, a signal they say shows the law isn’t working.


The state is not doing its job to protect consumers from health insurance rate hikes. After passing up billions of dollars from the federal government for the state to expand Medicaid, Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican-controlled Legislature callously enacted a new law that, in essence, prevents the state’s insurance commissioner from regulating health insurance rates.

The law, which state lawmakers passed and the governor signed, stripped the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation of an important responsibility: the authority to approve, modify or reject rate hikes by health insurance companies.

I call it a callous decision, in part, because now the governor and some of those same legislators are poised to blame ObamaCare for the coming rate increases.

Florida once had some of the strongest state laws governing insurance.

Now — as a result of the new state law — the commissioner is little more than a rubber stamp on health insurance rates.

When the Legislature passed this bill, I wrote to the governor and asked him to veto it. He did not.

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Black Democrats in Congress are sharply criticizing their party’s leadership for supporting efforts to overturn the GOP-drawn congressional map in Florida and cut into Republicans’ House majority.

Last week, Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Marcia Fudge sent a sharply-worded letter to Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel, complaining about the party’s support for a lawsuit that aims to throw out Florida’s congressional map — changes that could dismantle the gerrymandered seat of CBC member Corrine Brown.

“On behalf of the Congressional Black Caucus, I write to express our ongoing concern with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s support of lawsuits challenging the validity of minority Congressional districts,” Fudge wrote. “Per our prior discussion, we are extremely disturbed by the DCCC’s efforts to dismantle CBC districts in states that have historically proven to be difficult to elect minority members. Considering the history of discrimination through efforts such as gerrymandering, the recent actions reflect the discrimination of days past.”

“There are instances where these types of lawsuits may be warranted,” Fudge wrote to Israel. “However, the recent Florida lawsuit aimed at dismantling the 5th Congressional District is not one. The 5th District was approved by the U.S. Supreme Court and has been virtually unchanged for the last 20 years. It was deemed constitutional then, and it is constitutional now.”


EMAIL DU JOUR via Steve Godwin, Deputy Counsel, Florida House of Representatives

“With the approach of Special Session, Members are reminded that House Rules prohibit all campaign fundraising activity during any regular, extended, or special legislative session.  Specifically, House Rule 15.3(b) provides: A member may neither solicit nor accept any campaign contribution during the sixty-day regular legislative session or any extended or special session on the member’s own behalf, on behalf of a political party, on behalf of any organization with respect to which the member’s solicitation is regulated under s. 106.0701, Florida Statutes, [i.e., an organization that is exempt from taxation under s. 527 or s. 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code], or on behalf of a candidate for the House of Representatives; however, a member may contribute to the member’s own campaign.

“Accordingly, all member campaign fundraising activity, with the exception of member contributions to a member’s own campaign, must cease during Special Session.  No campaign fundraising events may be held.  Any currently scheduled campaign fundraising events must be cancelled and rescheduled for after Special Session.  Further, no direct or indirect campaign contributions may be accepted, received or deposited during the period of Special Session.”


To help lawmakers, staff, reporters and other politicos get by during the dog days of summer, Tallahassee’s Madison Social is introducing a new cocktail in honor of the upcoming special session on redistricting.

Meet the “Jerry-mander.” It’s Sailor Jerry spiced rum, livened up with ginger beer and garnished with a mandarin orange.

What better way to draw congressional districts then after downing a couple rounds of these!

TWEET, TWEET: @JimmyPatronis: Anybody up for another #seersucker day in @MyFLHouse?

TWEET, TWEET: @Jenna_Buzzacco: Listened to my legislative session mix this morning on drive to work in honor of the special session this week.

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A state circuit judge in Broward County made history, ordering the state of Florida to recognize gay marriages performed in another state.

Circuit Judge Dale Cohen’s ruling is the third in as many weeks by a Florida judge who has ruled that the state’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.

This one is unique, however, because it’s the first requiring the state to recognize a gay marriage conducted elsewhere.

The other two – one July 17 by a judge in Monroe County and another July 25 by a Miami-Dade judge – only required local clerks of court to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Those decisions have not yet been enforced because of pending appeals, meaning no same-sex couple has gotten married in Florida.

Cohen ruled that same-sex couples married in other states are entitled to the same privileges as other married couples in Florida.

He then issued a stay to give Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi a chance to appeal, something that’s expected, so for now, things will stay the same.


The Florida Medical Association has come out against Amendment 2, taking the position that the amendment will open the door to untrained doctors prescribing the marijuana for medical uses.

The FMA position, however, is silent to the fact that if the amendment passes, the Legislature and state regulators will have the power to regulate the use of cannabis. The Florida Department of Health is designated as the regulating body under the amendment. It is currently undergoing a rigorous rule-making process to regulate low THC cannabis, which the Legislature legalized last spring.


Early voting in the Aug. 26 statewide primary election starts next week across Florida, and one of the changes the Legislature made in 2013 was to allow early voting on the Sunday immediately before the election.

It’s known as “Souls to the Polls” because a lot of churches, especially in African-American neighborhoods, encouraged worshippers to vote after attending Sunday services.

Politifact Florida confirmed that black voters were more likely than other minority groups to take advantage of the convenience on the Sunday right before the election.

Eleven of Florida’s 67 counties will hold early voting open on Sunday, Aug. 24, but they include most of the state’s largest counties.They are Bradford, Broward, Charlotte, DeSoto, Duval, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Orange, Palm Beach, Pinellas and Seminole.

Among the 10 most populous counties, three will not hold early voting on that final Sunday: Brevard, Lee and Polk. Those three and the rest will end early voting on Saturday, Aug. 23. All counties’ early voting hours and locations are on the state Division of Elections website.

Under the new early voting system, approved as part of HB 7013 in the 2013 session, counties must offer early voting on a minimum of eight days and can offer it up to 14, and they are required to hold early voting on the preceding Sunday, Aug. 17.

Some county election supervisors don’t offer early voting two days before the election to give their employees a day of rest. In addition, turnout for the primary is expected to be low, in the 20 percent range (statewide turnout in the 2012 primary was 20.5 percent, and it was 22 percent in 2010).


With the primary election just weeks away, Volusia County’s elections office is already experiencing some big time obstacles.

Thousands of absentee ballots were returned by the US Postal Service as undeliverable.

In the primary, we have a little over three thousand, so far,” said supervisor of elections Ann McFall. “And there isn’t that much of a turnout in the primaries. So we’re going through each and every one of the 3,000 we’ve gotten undeliverable and make sure they truly are.”

At the end of business Monday there were 3,500 undeliverable absentee ballots, to be exact.

McFall believes those ballots were undeliverable because people either moved from their homes, or moved out of the county altogether. So now the supervisor of elections office is trying to reach those eligible voters to see if they want to do an address change to vote in the August primary. McFall admits the task is daunting.

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Tampa Bay Times columnist Ernest Hooper gives a strong shout-out to State House District 67 candidate Chris Latvala and you may believe the reason why.

Hooper is commending Latvala, the son of State Senator Jack Latvala, for NOT debating. In a campaign season in which one of the dominant themes has been Charlie Crist’s refusal to debate his Democratic rival Nan Rich, it’s surprising to see someone in the media support a candidate’s decision not to debate his opponents.

Actually, Latvala is doing the right thing.

After one of his Republican primary opponents, Joshua Black, called for the hanging of President Barack Obama, Latvala publicly declared that he would not share a stage with Black. Latvala has remained true to that pledge, even when it would have been to his advantage to receive some free face-time before voters.

But doing the right thing even when it’s difficult and remaining true to your principles even when it’s inconvenient is what leadership is all about. Thank you to my friend, Chris Latvala, for reminding me of that.

And thanks, Ernest Hooper, for noticing and giving Chris some much-needed recognition.


As the old saying goes: “When you fight with a pig, you both get dirty – and the pig likes it.”

Infuriated by accusations from his GOP primary opponent, House District 15 Republican candidate Paul Renner swears he has not broken the “clean campaign pledge.”

But Renner’s opponent – Republican Jay Fant – most certainly has. At least that is what Renner’s campaign is saying.

This particular wrestling match is about a mail piece sent to HD 15 voters, from a “third party leveling unfounded or misleading charges” against Renner.

Renner, a former South Florida state attorney who served in the Navy during Desert Storm, faces Fant in the Aug. 26 primary for the district covering the western part of Jacksonville and much of Duval County.

In an email from the Renner campaign, Fant “is mistaken in his claim that Paul Renner broke the ‘Florida Republican Code of Conduct’ they both signed.”

Now they turn the tables on who is truly fighting “dirty,” and that is the part that pigs love.

Renner’s campaign then goes to say, “In fact, it is Mr. Fant’s campaign press release that is actually in clear violation of that Code.”

The Renner Campaign insists it did not mail the mailer Fant is referencing, and clearly identified as “Paid electioneering paid for by Better Florida Fund.”

Although third-party involvements have been a longstanding tradition in politics, both in Florida and nationally, it is only in the past few election cycles where it has reached this frenzied pitch.

Candidates now are expected to campaign on two fronts. The first is directly against his or her opponent, usually on the issues (but not always). The second is a constant battle to maintain the moral “high ground” by regularly disavowing the various third-party groups working in the shadows.

“It’s not me playing rough, it’s YOU,” is the oldest move out there.

Now voters are left to sort out who is telling the truth.


Leon County Circuit Judge Angela Dempsey has reaffirmed her decision to disqualify a man from running as a write-in candidate for a Tampa Bay House seat. She also refused to call for a temporary halt on her order that the planned August primary be postponed and the House District 64 race between two Republicans be opened up to all voters, regardless of party affiliation, in November.

Dempsey ruled last week that Daniel Matthews was not eligible to run as a write-in candidate in House District 64, which includes parts of northern Pinellas and northwest Hillsborough counties, because he didn’t live in the district at the time of qualifying. Dempsey said that the primary between incumbent Rep. James Grant and challenger Miriam Steinberg had erroneously been restricted to Republican voters only.

Ballots have already been printed for the August primary, so Dempsey directed the Hillsborough and Pinellas supervisors of elections to put out notices letting voters know the primary has been rescheduled to November and opened to all voters in the district.

Matthews’ attorney has asked the First District Court of Appeal to take up the case, but it is too early to know if that will happen. In the meantime, Matthews requested an emergency hearing with Dempsey to ask her to put aside her ruling while the matter is pending in the higher court.


A pair of mistakes made by two different notaries has blocked Rep. Reggie Fullwood from appearing on the ballot in the next election. Since Fullwood was the only candidate for the seat, taxpayers could have to foot the bill for a special election to the tune of more than $200,000.

Fullwood says the first time he turned in his qualifying paperwork to get on the ballot, the notary he’d used for the official documents forgot to sign her own name. Later that day the Department of State called Fullwood to let him know about the error. So, he found another notary and headed back to Tallahassee, where all legislative candidates must show up to qualify. He turned the paperwork in again.

“About 11:50 I received a call from the division of elections saying my second notary didn’t check a box,” Fullwood says.

That left Fullwood with just about 10 minutes to correct the second error. He offered to send the notary back to take care of the problem, but officials told him he’d need to fill out a whole new form. Unfortunately he’d already driven back home to Jacksonville and Fullwood says there was no way to make it back to Tallahassee in time or get an extension.

Now Fullwood is suing the state, saying he completed his part of the paperwork and should be allowed to qualify. If the suit doesn’t go Fullwood’s way, Duval County will have to hold a special election to fill the seat. And that’s just one example of how important the work notaries do can be.

“These are the most important documents that affect people’s lives. Deeds, wills, things that are game changers and things that Floridians rely on for the biggest events in their lives,” Soto says.


A mailer in the HD 15 GOP primary explores the failure of a bank led by Jay Fant’s. Mailer here.

ECO Legal Reform Now attacks John Shannon in House District 40.


The Tampa Bay Times explores the race for House District 61.

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APPOINTEDKal Le Var Evans and Daniel Kanner to the Broward County Court.


Ballard Partners announced the addition of a new partner, Genaro “Chip” Iglesias, who will serve as the chair of the firm’s local government practice and will be based in the Miami office.

Iglesias brings more than 30 years of experience working in one of Florida’s largest counties, Miami-Dade. Iglesias has served as Deputy Mayor of Miami-Dade County since 2011 where he oversaw the Office of the Mayor, and more than 9,000 employees in the Police, Fire-Rescue and Emergency Management, Corrections and Rehabilitation, Medical Examiner and Community Information and Outreach Departments.  Before joining the county, Iglesias was the Key Biscayne Village Manager. As Chief Executive Officer of the Village government, he was responsible for a $27 million operating budget.

 “With his extensive background in city and county government, Chip will be an incredible asset to our team and will help achieve positive results for our clients,” said Brian Ballard. “We are excited to have Chip join us and bring his expertise on various issues.”


Sachs Media Group (SMG) today announced the promotion of Lisa Garcia to Senior Vice President of Public Relations. Garcia will be responsible for account management, contributing to strategy and firm operations.

“Lisa’s leadership and loyalty are invaluable and she has demonstrated a great ability to inspire our staff to do its best work,” said Ron Sachs, president and CEO of Sachs Media Group. “Her vision will continue to enhance the firm’s strategic direction for many years.”

Garcia joined the public affairs team at SMG in 2005 and quickly advanced to the role of director of campaigns and subsequently vice president of operations. Her more than 18 years of communications experience made her a natural fit for the current promotion. Prior to her position with SMG, Garcia served in leadership positions for the Gas Workers Union and the Teamsters in Washington, D.C., delivering comprehensive solutions to meet their unique needs.

“It’s a really an exciting time in the history of our firm,” said Michelle Ubben, Chief Operating Officer of Sachs Media Group. “Lisa is a vital part of our leadership team. Her expanded role will help us manage the significant growth we are experiencing.”

Garcia will play a key role on the senior leadership team, along with Sachs, Ubben and senior vice presidents Ryan Banfill and Vicki Johnson, and vice presidents Jon Peck and Ryan Cohn.


One of the capital’s leading public-relations firms is suing the parents of Eric Brody, the Broward County man left brain-damaged and paralyzed after a speeding deputy who was late for work rammed into his car.

Sachs Media Group filed suit last week in Leon County circuit court, seeking $375,000 in unpaid PR services, according to court filings.

The complaint is against Brody’s guardianship, the legal entity responsible for decision-making related to his care.

Company president Ron Sachs agreed to hold off on getting paid until the Legislature passed a claim bill awarding Brody, a high school senior at the time, compensation for his 1998 injuries.

Sachs started providing PR help to the Brody family in late 2008; after several attempts, Brody’s $10.75 million claim bill passed in 2012.

Sachs then billed the Brodys in October of that year – to no avail.

Florida law limits local governments to paying up to $200,000 in damages unless lawmakers pass a claim bill for any extra money.

Fairmont Insurance Co., the insurer of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, fought against the claim bill for years.

The complaint says Sachs’ team “did substantial work to enhance public awareness and elected-official awareness” about Brody’s plight, including work that resulted in “newspaper articles, TV and radio reports, news conferences, special events, editorials (and) significant social media.”

Further, Brody’s lawyer and lobbyist said Sachs’ “long-term dedication to the cause through tireless work was … ultimately essential to the claim bill’s passage,” according to the complaint.

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On Context Florida: The state is not doing its job to protect consumers from health insurance rate hikes, says U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson. According to Adam Weinstein, former NRA president and top pro-gun lobbyist Marion Hammer, in praising Florida’s recent “Docs vs. Glocks” law, does not give gun owners credit for their ability to hear the risks that come with their choices. Gun owners are not children, he says. Rather than openly push for the expansion of gambling, former Lieutenant Governor Jeff Kottkamp writes that many of those behind the effort to eliminate live greyhound racing at greyhound racetracks say it is in the name of “dog safety.” But he believes the real goal is to operate the tracks as mini-casinos with slot machines despite the fact that the tracks were approved only for the operation as greyhound racing facilities. Marc Yacht notes that in July, the Florida Medical Association House of Delegates passed a resolution to support the state’s acceptance of Medicaid expansion money. The endorsement represents a giant step forward to improve the health care of Florida citizens.

Visit Context Florida to dig in.

JIMBO FISHER EYES BACK-TO-BACK TITLES via Kareem Copeland of the Associated Press

Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said he read books written by former NBA coach Phil Jackson in an attempt to discover the secrets of winning multiple championships.

Jackson led teams to three consecutive titles on three separate occasions. Fisher is just focused on capturing back-to-back championships.

The fifth-year coach routinely lists Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird as inspirations, but also mentioned Miami Heat president Pat Riley, former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Chuck Noll and former Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson on Monday.

“The key to all of them was how they related and got the message over to their players to make sure that they stayed hungry,” Fisher said. “One of the keys to all those things was that it was serious, it was work, but at the end of the day they still enjoyed playing the game.

“We can get so caught up in not trying to lose instead of winning and playing good football. … What I don’t want us to do is create a culture where we’re worried about losing.”

Florida State, the defending BCS champions, held its first preseason practice Monday afternoon. The Seminoles ended a string of seven consecutive titles won by Southeastern Conference teams with a perfect 14-0 record.

While the Seminoles have some offseason issues – Heisman trophy winning quarterback Jameis Winston was cited for shoplifting and receiver Jesus Wilson is suspended indefinitely for the theft of a motor scooter – they have enough talent to make another run. The Seminoles return 15 players who started in the championship game.

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.