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Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics – 10.18.16

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Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.

By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, Mitch Perry and Jim Rosica.

With three weeks until Election Day, it’s hard to say whether the first debate between Sen. Marco Rubio and U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy moved the needle much.

Both men used their time to spout oft-repeated soundbites — Rubio questioning Murphy’s resume and accomplishments; while Murphy attacked Rubio over his continued support for Donald Trump.

Didn’t catch the debate? Here’s five takeaways from the night that was.


Hillary Clinton and Trump might not have been on the debate stage, but their presence was definitely felt as both men tried to tie the other to their party’s nominee.

Murphy got the ball rolling right from the start, saying Rubio “doubled down on his endorsement of Donald Trump” after footage of Trump making lewd comments about women came to light.

“Senator, if you can’t stand up to Donald Trump as a candidate, how in the world are you going to stand up to him as the president of the United States? Think about what he’s done. Think about how unqualified he is,” said Murphy.

The Treasure Coast Democrat sprinkled tidbits about Rubio’s ties to Trump throughout the hour-long debate. But Rubio didn’t back down from his criticism of Clinton, saying he is the only candidate who can stand up to the president.

The attacks aren’t surprising. Both Clinton and Trump have woefully low approval numbers, and are among the most disliked presidential candidates in modern history.


Rubio has caught a lot of flak from Democrats for not committing to a full six-year term in the U.S. Senate, but that appeared to change Monday.

“I’m going to serve six years in the United States Senate, God willing, and I’m looking forward to it,” said the Miami Republican. “Not only am I going to serve in the Senate for the next six years, we’re going to get a lot done.”

So does mean he won’t be running for president in 2020, one of the moderators asked.

“I’m going to be a senator for the next six years on behalf of the state of Florida,” responded Rubio. “You can’t be a senator and president at the same time. So I am running for the United States Senate. I’m going to serve six years, God willing.”

Murphy didn’t seem to believe him, even mentioning later in the debate Rubio hadn’t committed to serving.

Should Floridians believe Rubio? That’s unclear. He repeatedly said he would not seek re-election after his failed presidential bid, but decided just days before the end of qualifying to run for office.


For months, Murphy has been haunted by a CBS Miami report that claimed he embellished his resume. And Monday night was no different.

Moderators questioned whether Murphy misled Floridians about his experience and qualifications. Murphy’s response “absolutely not.” (Click on the video below to watch Rubio criticize Murphy about his resume.)

Murphy said the test to become a certified public accountant is the same in every state. He stood by his claims he was a small business owner, saying he understands what small business owners are going through.

But Murphy glossed over requests to clarify whether he was a Florida CPA, and said he never tried to hide the fact that his business was a subsidiary of his father’s company.

Will his resume matter come Election Day? It might. Murphy isn’t well-known across the state, and many of the ads running against him highlight discrepancies in his resume and feature the CBS Miami report, including one PoltiFact Florida has ruled “mostly false.”


Rubio has spent six years in the U.S. Senate. Murphy has served in the House since 2013.

But if you listened to either man talk about the other, you’d wonder what either had to show for their time in Washington, D.C.

Rubio repeatedly hit Murphy over his lack of accomplishments during his time in Congress.

“Why does someone make things up about their record? Because they don’t have a real one to talk about,” said Rubio. “Congressman, you’re not some outsider running to go in the Senate. You’re a sitting congressman, who has been in the Congress for four years and we are 40 minutes into this debate and you cannot tell us a single signature achievement.”

Murphy pointed to several proposals he supported, including legislation to lower flood insurance rates and a proposal that set aside money for Everglades restoration projects.

Rubio rattled off a list of accomplishments, including helping to convince Sen. Jim Inhofe to support Everglades restoration projects, but was attacked over his attendance record. Rubio has one of the worst voting records in the United States Senate, missing 234 of the 1,633 roll call votes between Jan. 2011 and Sept. 2016.


It wasn’t all questions about attendance and accomplishments. Moderators attempted to dig into some of the pressing issues facing Florida, giving Rubio and Murphy a chance to sound off on climate change, abortion rights and Cuba.

But one issue definitely hit close to home — gun control. The debate was held at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, just a few miles away from the Pulse nightclub, where 49 people were killed during an attack in June.

Murphy said Congress needs to act to “close the terror loophole” and expand background checks. He criticized Rubio for recent legislation he proposed, saying the country can do more.

Rubio said his proposal would require federal agencies flag someone attempting to purchase a gun if they had been the subject of a terrorism investigation in a previous decade. The proposal, he said, would prevent terrorists from buying guns. It also, he said, has a “chance of passing.”

SPOTTED in the crowd at the debate: LG Carlos Lopez-Cantera, John Morgan, Val Demings, state Reps. Bob Cortes, Mike LaRosa, Mike Miller, as well as Chris Carmody and Robert Argusa.


Florida Democratic Party: “Tonight’s debate offered Floridians a clear contrast between two distinct visions for Florida. Patrick Murphy understands that Florida is stronger when we stand together and work to solve our problems with commonsense solutions. Marco Rubio stood with Donald Trump despite not trusting him with nuclear weapons, gave an incoherent answer on climate change, and reiterated his opposition to a woman’s right to chose. Rubio failed to explain why he has the worst voting record of any Florida Senator in nearly 50 years and refused to unequivocally rule out abandoning his job to run for president — yet again. Florida deserves better than a self-interested senator like Marco Rubio.”

American Bridge: “Marco Rubio tonight couldn’t name a single thing that Donald Trump could do for Rubio to revoke his support of Trump as our commander in chief. After Trump has bragged about sexually assaulting women, violating the Cuban embargo, doubled down on mass deportation of immigrant families, attacked our military, and publicly sided with the Kremlin, Rubio still hasn’t found anything disqualifying about Donald Trump.”

Americans for Prosperity: “Patrick Murphy talked a big game about fighting for working class Floridians in tonight’s debate, but his record shows he’s more interested in fighting for his well-to-do donors. Unless you have thousands of dollars to give Murphy’s campaign, it’s hard to believe he’ll do what’s in your best interest.”

Club for Growth: “Patrick Murphy is still pledging his total allegiance to Hillary Clinton, and that means higher middle-class taxes, more government control of health care, and more law breaking. Senator Rubio will stand up to whoever’s president and will fight for economic freedom, limited government, regulatory relief, and pro-growth tax cuts. Tonight’s debate proved again that Patrick Murphy is just another big government liberal tax-and-spender.”

Senator Marco Rubio has a 94% lifetime score from the Club for Growth for his votes to cut taxes and regulations, and to expand economic opportunity.


In the first 15 minutes of tonight’s US Senate debate, the 2 candidates mentioned Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton by name more than 25 times

@AdamSmithTimes: Rubio today: “Im gonna serve 6 yrs in US Sen, God willing.” Rubio in ’20: “God changed His mind, wanted me in WH”

@Jason_Garcia: “God willing” is a pretty impressive loophole.

@RosemaryOHara14: Marco Rubio says he’d serve full 6 years, but what’s with couch “God willing?” Didn’t he also say he wouldn’t run for reelex? Fooled 2x?

@SteveBousquet: Patrick Murphy saves best line for last, saying Marco Rubio has “one foot out the door”

@MaryEllenKlas: Did @marcorubio concede @realDonaldTrump is toast in #FLSendebate? Can’t trust on intl issues/nukes, called ‘disgraceful’, elex not rigged

@JeremySWallace: @PatrickMurphyFL needed a big debate performance to introduce him to Floridians, landed a few punches, but not enough.

@MDixon55: Rubio probably had best individual lines: Georgia water Murphy had a few: Saying Rubio does not know much abuot biz during CPA exchange

@MDixon55: The real loser tonight: The age old practice of members of Congress signing onto letters & touting them as accomplishments

@MikeVanSickler: Good thing we hustled Rubio and Murphy off the #FLSenDebate stage after less than an hour so we could make room for Dancing with the Stars.

‘THIRD-PARTY CANDIDATE’ WITH ARMED SECURITY ATTEMPTED TO CRASH DEBATE via Kristen Clark of the Miami Herald – With three armed security guards in tow, an uninvited third-party candidate for Florida’s U.S. Senate seat unsuccessfully attempted to enter Monday night’s debate between Rubio and Murphy. Courtney Gilmartin, spokeswoman for University of Central Florida’s police, said the four men attempted to enter the ticketed event as the debate began at the university’s Fairwinds Alumni Center. The candidate, whom Gilmartin did not identify, did not have a ticket, she said, “and his security was armed, which is a violation of Florida state statute that prevents guns on college campuses unless they are securely locked inside a vehicle.”

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STATE OF THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE — WHERE THE RACE STANDS WITH THREE WEEKS TO GO via Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight — The election will be over in 23 days. Well, unless there’s a recount. Or unless one of the candidates refuses to accept the results of the election, provoking a Constitutional crisis and undermining the norms that have made the United States the world’s leading democracy for the past 240 years or so. … Hillary Clinton has a significant lead, although there’s some question about the margin. For instance, one major national poll released on Sundaymorning, from ABC News and the Washington Post, had Clinton ahead by 4 percentage points. Another, from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, had Clinton up 11 points instead. Our forecast model falls in the middle and shows Clinton with a 6- or 7-point lead. That translates to an 86 percent chance for her to win the election according to our polls-only model, and an 83 percent chance per our polls-plus model. …The swing state map is broader than in 2012. Whereas by the end of that election, only a half-dozen states were really in doubt, there are 10 to 15 states that remain interesting this year. But Florida stands out … because winning it would all but clinch the election for Clinton. Without Florida or North Carolina in her column, conversely, Clinton would have to retreat to her “firewall” states, of which Pennsylvania, Colorado and New Hampshire are probably the most vulnerable. … Clinton’s been polling well across the board — in national polls, in swing state polls, in polls of red states and in polls of blue states — and the probability of a split between the Electoral College and the popular vote has been declining in our models. But if such a split were to occur, it would be more likely to favor Trump than Clinton, according to our forecast. … For Trump to be competitive at this point, he’ll either have to make a last-minute comeback or the polls will have to be significantly off, and how that might play out in the swing states is somewhat unpredictable.

HILLARY CLINTON 48%, DONALD TRUMP 44% IN NEW POLL OF FLORIDA via Florida Politics — A new Quinnipiac University poll found Clinton leads Trump, 48 percent to 44 percent. Libertarian Gary Johnson received 4 percent support, while Jill Stein pulled support from 1 percent of respondents. “Hillary Clinton is holding a thin lead in Florida because she is winning the battle for independent voters and holding her lead among women, non-white voters and her Democratic base,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, in a statement. The survey showed Clinton is supported by 46 percent of independent voters and 91 percent of Democrats. The poll found 85 percent of Republicans and 38 percent of independent voters said they were backing Trump. More than half (54%) of women surveyed said they were backing Clinton, compared to 39 percent who said they were supporting Trump.

WIFE OF VP CANDIDATE RALLIES PANHANDLE VOTERS via the Pensacola News Journal – Anne Holton urged party loyalists to knock on doors, put up campaign signs and make calls on behalf of the Hillary Clinton/Kaine ticket as part of a final push before the Nov. 8 election. “It is important to have that person-to-person contact, it is even more important with the negativity we have had this campaign season,” Holton told about 50 members of the Escambia County Democratic Women’s Club in downtown Pensacola.

Later Monday, Holton held a smaller event in west Pensacola geared to military families. Holton’s Pensacola campaign stops followed other campaign events in Tallahassee and Panama City. Holton said she knows the Democratic Party will have to fight for every vote in the heavily Republican western Panhandle, and she urged local activists to work nonstop during the next three weeks.

WHAT MICHELLE TODD IS READING – VOTERS WITH DAUGHTERS ARE MUCH MORE LIKELY TO SUPPORT CLINTON OVER TRUMP – That’s according to the new Washington Post-ABC News poll. One possible explanation, writes WaPo’s polling guru, Scott Clement, is that these voters have reacted in an especially negative way to Trump’s lewd comments about women.


NEW PATRICK MURPHY SENATE AD FEATURES PULSE VICTIM’S MOTHER via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel – A new ad from the Murphy campaign … features Christine Leinonen, who lost her son Christopher “Drew” Leinonen in the Pulse nightclub shooting in June. “He was shot nine times,” Leinonen says in the ad, entitled “Heart.” “He didn’t have a chance. And he’s just one of over a hundred people who were shot. He was half of my heart. I’ve lost half of who I am.” Leinonen, who has become a gun control advocate and spoke at the Democratic National Convention, also criticizes Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio in the ad. “I cannot understand how Marco Rubio would go back to Washington D.C. and do nothing,” she says. “I don’t think Patrick Murphy is afraid to take on the toughest problems, including gun violence, in this country.”

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CONSUMERS FOR SMART SOLAR RAISES $300K DURING FIRST WEEK OF OCTOBER via Florida Politics —State records show Consumers for Smart Solar, the group backing the solar power amendment, raised $300,000 between Oct. 1 and Oct. 7. Records show the committee received two contributions for $150,000 each from the Partnership for Affordable Clean Energy and the Florida Faith and Freedom Coalition. The Partnership for Affordable Clean Energy is a Montgomery, Alabama-based coalition of “working people, business owners, environmentalists, and trade organizations who are fighting for fair, responsible energy policies.” Consumers for Smart Solar spent $352,133 during the same time period. That sum included $310,138 for direct mail.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: United for Care campaign officials will meet with seniors at 10 a.m. at Century Village West Palm Beach, 5500 Century Village Blvd. in West Palm Beach. The event is meant to education seniors on the 2016 medical marijuana amendment.

JOHN MICA, STEPHANIE MURPHY, EACH RAISE ABOUT $400K IN LATEST PERIOD via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – Mica raised $400,000 in the seven weeks before October and had more than $1 million left to spend against Murphy in Florida’s 7th Congressional District. Murphy also raised nearly $400,000 between the Aug. 10 report and Sept. 30 … Yet Murphy, a first-time candidate who did not file until late June, began her deluge of campaign spending in August and she entered October with just $167,000 in the bank, according to the latest reports, posted Monday by the Federal Election Commission. Mica also reportedly has just spent the bulk of his money in a big TV buy, though it occurred after the Sept. 30 reporting date. That would put his cash-on-hand close to what Murphy entered the month with. Mica, a 12-term congressman putting out the call that he’s in a real race for the CD 7 seat for the first time in decades, drew $198,000 in individual contributions and another $203,000 in political action committee money during the period. He also spent just $82,000 in the period, less than a quarter of what Murphy reported spending since Aug. 10.

DENNIS ROSS RELEASES FIRST AD IN CD 15 — The Lakeland Republican released his first ad in his re-election bid. The 30-second spot, called “Solutions,” will begin airing on digital platforms this week, and focuses on the work he’s done in the U.S. House. “With everything going on in the world, Congress shouldn’t be wasting time playing political games,” said Ross in a statement. “There is too much at stake and too much important work to be done.  That’s why I’ve focused my time fighting for legislation that will address our biggest problems. From securing our borders and fighting terrorism to reforming the flood insurance program and writing legislation to help students pay off their loans and to protect our children from sexual predators, I’ve focused my energy on what matters most to our families.” First elected in 2010, Ross faces Democrat Jim Lange in November. Click the image below to watch the ad.

DONATIONS TO LEGISLATIVE CAMPAIGNS TOP $328.6M — Legislative campaigns raised $328.6 million through Oct. 7. An analysis by Contribution Link found found $247.4 million of that went to committees. Political committees received 79 percent, or $195 million, of that sum; followed by the state party executive committees accounted for 12 percent of that sum, or $29.2 million. The analysis showed candidates received $81.2 million. Most of that — 53 percent or $43.1 million — went to Republican candidates; while Democrats raised 30 percent, or $24.7 million, of total contributions to candidates. No party affiliation candidates raised $13.4 million.


DANA YOUNG CANCELS APPEARANCE AT TAMPA FORUM AS DEMOCRATS ASK ‘WHERE’S DANA?’ via Richard Danielson of the Tampa Bay Times – Last week, Tampa Tiger Bay Club vice president Victor DiMaio told club members that their next lunch, this coming Friday, promised to be a “steel cage match.” Well, apparently not. On Monday, Young‘s campaign manager said she would not be there for what would have been the campaign’s sole forum featuring all four candidates in Tampa’s new state Senate District 18. “Rep. Young notified Tiger Bay that due to the scheduling of the funeral of Louise Lykes Ferguson, she would be unable to participate in their event this Friday,” Chris Spencer said in a statement released through the campaign … “News to me,” said DiMaio, who said he had given Spencer three dates to pick from about a month and a half ago, and Spencer previously had confirmed Young’s appearance this Friday by phone, text and email. “Let’s see what we can do and see how serious she is about actually debating.” Friday’s Tiger Bay lunch had been scheduled to feature Young, the House Majority Leader, Democrat Bob Buesing and two candidates with no party affiliation — Air Force reservist Sheldon Upthegrove and Joe Redner, who’s been a political provocateur around Tampa almost as long as he’s owned a string of controversial nude dance clubs.

KATHLEEN PASSIDOMO TO FACE ONE WRITE-IN CANDIDATE via Legislative IQ powered by Lobby Tools – Passidomo will face only Raymond Mazzie, in the general election after MaryKathryn Johnson submitted a letter of withdrawal from the Senate District 28 race.

DEMOCRATS TAKE SLIGHT LEAD IN VOTE-BY-MAIL BALLOTS via Florida Division of Elections — It’s a small lead — 27 ballots — but Democrats are now in front in the number of returned vote-by-mail ballots for November’s general election. With more than a half-million ballots turned in as of Monday … registered Democrats had submitted 210,734 ballots to Republicans’ 210,707. Other party and no-party voters have returned another 91,648 ballots to their local supervisors of elections. Lawmakers recently changed the name of such ballots to “vote-by-mail” ballots from the traditional “absentee” ballots.

LAST CHANCE TO REGISTER TO VOTE — Haven’t registered to vote yet? Today is your last chance to register to vote in the Nov. 8 general election. A federal judge extended the deadline for Floridians to register to vote or update their information to 5 p.m., Oct. 18.

HISPANIC GROUPS LAUNCH AD URGING PUERTO RICANS TO VOTE — The Hispanic Federation and #QueVoteMiGente rolled out a series of advertisements targeting Puerto Ricans living in the Orlando metropolitan areas and other cities throughout the state. The ad campaign aims to elect representatives who will promote a pro-Puerto Rican agenda by increasing electoral participation in the Nov. 8 general election. “You moved to Florida but brought your precious culture with you. Your traditions, your life. Now you’re a Boricua with double the responsibilities,” an announcer says in the advertisement, according to a translation. “You work hard to succeed in this new land but never forget what binds you to your Island home. The coquí’s beautiful song reminds you of your duty. Today, the coquí calls on you to vote for those who fight for Puerto Ricans, there as well as here. Vote early, or remember to show up to the polls on November 8th.” Click the image below to see the advertisement.

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RICK SCOTT WANTS FEDS TO DECLARE ‘MAJOR DISASTER’ IN FLORIDA AFTER MATTHEW via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics – Scottreiterated his call for the federal government to approve Florida’s entire request for a “major disaster declaration.” The federal government has not approved funding, asserts the governor’s office, “for individual assistance or for permanent work to roads, parks, and government buildings in local communities.” Scott, who has been pushing for such since Hurricane Matthew, is understandably nettled. “Since Hurricane Matthew impacted our state, I have continued to travel along Florida’s east coast meeting with Floridians who were affected by this storm. Many families and businesses have lost everything. Homes were destroyed, businesses have shut down and are unable to pay their employees, roads are torn up, and many of our beaches have suffered severe erosion,” Scott said, according to a statement from the governor’s office … I am very disappointed that President Obama has not yet approved our entire request for a major disaster declaration. We are waiting on the president to approve funding to help families and businesses pay for things like temporary housing, home repairs and living expenses.”

PANEL FINDS NO EASY ANSWERS ON COSTS OF VOTER RIGHTS RESTORATION via Michael Moline of Florida Politics – A state panel struggled to figure out a price tag for the proposed Florida Voter Restoration Amendment, which would automatically restore voting rights to felons who have completed their sentences. The Financial Impact Estimating Conference heard testimony from a variety of state criminal justice agencies indicating it might be hard to nail down what the amendment would cost. The panel planned to reconvene next week for additional study. Amy Baker, coordinator for the Legislative Office of Economic and Demographic Research, the Legislature’s policy-analysis arm, said lawmakers might have to clarify the meaning of key terms. “We’ve got several issues we are struggling with,” Baker said during a break in proceedings. The proposed amendment’s ballot summary says: “This amendment restores the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation. The amendment would not apply to those convicted of murder or sexual offenses, who would continue to be permanently barred from voting unless the governor and Cabinet vote to restore their voting rights on a case-by-case basis.” But the amendment doesn’t define felony sexual offenses or murder — might that latter include manslaughter or attempted, members of the panel wondered during the morning’s testimony. And does “complete all terms of their sentences” include victim restitution? Orders to repay court costs and fees? And what if those orders have been converted into civil judgments for nonpayment — would that bar an ex-felon from recovering his or her voting rights? “It is likely the Legislature is going to have to get involved in determining what the different terms mean,” Baker said.

DOE IDENTIFIES BUDGET CUTS TO MAKE IN CASE OF BUDGET DEFICIT via Legislative IQ powered by Lobby Tools – The governor’s office directed agencies via Legislative Budget Request Instructions to demonstrate what 10 percent in budget cuts would look like from both General Revenue and state trust funds. The Department of Education’s total budget would receive almost $1.4 billion in cuts, with $1.2 billion coming from General Revenue and $200 million from trust funds. Nearly $115.6 would be cut from the Florida College System Program Fund, with the agency noting a drastic student impact as 75 percent of operating costs tied to personnel costs. The education and general budget for state universities would see a $273.8 million reduction. Included in these cuts are nearly $225 million from the core budget that assists universities in funding educational activities. The workforce development program would be cut by $35 million. Almost $800,000 would be cut from the board of director’s budget. The executive budget for PreK-20 would also see $13.3 million in cuts.

HEALTH AGENCIES IDENTIFY WHAT COULD BE CUT IF THERE IS A REVENUE SHORTFALL via Legislative IQ powered by Lobby Tools – The Florida Constitution requires agencies to identify what could be cut if there is a revenue shortfall. Agency for Health Care Administration … outlined what $2.2 billion in cuts would look like. That’s largely shaped by a $203 million reduction to hospital outpatient services and $853 million reduction for hospital inpatient services. It could reduce eligibility and coverage to children and pregnant women who participate in the Medically Needy Program at a $502 million savings. That program is for those with income regularly above Medicaid levels, but that incur medical expenses that cause income to qualify. Department of Children and Families … showed $281 million in cuts … more than 20 program cuts including reductions to protective investigations, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Substance Abuse and Mental Health services. Department of Health … would see a $141 million reduction … Community health promotion, county health departments and Children’s Medical Services were among the programs listed though few details were provided. Agency for Persons with Disabilities … outlined $53.6 million in cuts … That vast majority would harm the state’s ability to draw down $82 million in federal Medicaid funds and would lead to a reduction in “iBudget” waiver payments. Department of Elder Affairs … Schedule VIIIB-2 cuts $12.8 million … capping participation in the Alzheimer’s disease Initiative program — which includes respite in-home, facility and emergency care — at 890 slots. That would generate a $4.2 million reduction but would impact 349 seniors. Department of Veterans Affairs … outlined how $5.9 million of its $6.7 million total reductions could come from day-to-day operations of the state’s veteran nursing home program, noting that any cuts to the program could have “dire consequences.”

DANA YOUNG CALLS ON FDLE TO INVESTIGATE THE PTC via Janelle Irwin of the Tampa Bay Business Journal – Young is calling on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to formally launch an investigation into a collaboration between the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission and taxi companies … In a letter to the state law enforcement agency, Young asks that PTC Executive Director Kyle Cockream, the agency he oversees and members of the local taxicab industry be formally investigated. (Read the entire letter below.) “When the line is blurred between the regulator and the entities they regulate, the public cannot rely on impartiality in the government,” said Young in her letter to FDLE. “The disturbing revelations of the relationship between the PTC, Mr. Cockream, and members of the taxi industry in Hillsborough County merit a full review to determine if ethical or legal boundaries have been violated.” The emails … showed Cockream knowingly used volunteers who worked for taxi companies to “hail” drivers in the Uber and Lyft platforms in order to have PTC inspectors issue civil citations to the drivers for operating against regulations. The citations cost drivers $700, but Uber and Lyft typically pay the fines on the drivers’ behalf. “The public must have faith and confidence in the objectivity of their government entities, and I request that you promptly initiate an investigation into the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission,” concluded Young.

PERSONNEL NOTE: CRYSTAL SIRCY HEADS TO ORLANDO EDC via Florida Politics  Sircy, the chief operating officer of Enterprise Florida (EFI), the state’s public-private economic development agency, is leaving to join the Orlando Economic Development Commission as its new executive vice president. Sircy, who has been with EFI since 1997, announced her resignation in an email to “stakeholders” last Thursday that was provided to on Monday. “I am so proud of the work we have done together to expand and diversify the state’s economy through job creation,” she said. “I am honored to have been a part of this team and thank you for being great partners.” Her move comes as lawmakers gird for a fight this upcoming session that could lead to the agency’s demise. EFI acts as a conduit for economic incentives to lure companies and jobs to the Sunshine State.

PERSONNEL NOTE: GABY GUADALUPE JOINS ACLU OF FLORIDA via Florida Politics – Guadalupe has joined the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida as Media Relations Coordinator. She is a Miami native and has an undergraduate degree in political science and minor in journalism from Florida International University. Guadalupe joins Baylor Johnson, Director of Communications, and Casey Bruce, Digital Communications Associate. She will be coordinating media opportunities and providing communications support for the ACLU of Florida staff and volunteer chapters, with an emphasis on expanding outreach to Florida’s Spanish language communities.

PRIME STRATEGIES MERGES WITH CALIFORNIA’S URBAN ASSOCIATES via Florida Politics – The combined concern, first launched in Florida, now has offices in California, Florida, New York, Texas, and Washington D.C. “California embraces diversity and inclusivity and is typically at the forefront of emerging state and local issues,” Urban Associates managing partner Pedro Carrillo said. “For years our firm has championed causes and led coalitions for our clients in Sacramento, city halls, union halls and corporate boardrooms throughout California,” Carrillo added. “We are privileged to deliver this high level of service now for Prime Strategies.” Pat Maloy, managing partner of Prime Strategies, said he was “honored to have Pedro and his supremely talented team join Prime Strategies” … “We felt it was important to work with a team of professionals that reflected the diversity of California, as well as a team that had the talent and skill sets to deliver the same high level service and value equation we have always offered our clients,” Maloy said.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Tim Cerio, INFLUENCE 100 alum Marcus Jadotte, and TallyMadness champion Monica Rodriguez.

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

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