Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Sunburn for 5.16.16 – The Florida GOP embraces its inner Trump

in Peter/Top Headlines by

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

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

Florida Republicans gathered en masse in Tampa this weekend for their quarterly spring meeting, where the main order of business was selecting 15 delegates and 15 alternates to the Republican National Convention in July.

Incoming House Speaker Richard Corcoran, former U.S. Senator George LeMieux and former House Majority Leader Adam Hasner – all prominently not on the “Trump train” during the primary season – were among the 15 delegates selected to go to Cleveland by the party’s executive board.

Although the talk was mostly of party unity behind Donald Trump this fall, some party leaders couldn’t pretend to deny that winning over Latino voters would be a challenge based on the presumptive nominee’s comments on the campaign trail.

“When you say you’re going to do a mass deportation, it affects us all, ” said Hendry County State Committeewoman Margie Nelson at the party’s community engagement committee meeting“Once he said that, it automatically closed ears. If he does not come out and amend what he said — if he doesn’t smooth things over, he’s not going to get them on his side.”

 “I want to keep this positive,” interjected Palm Beach County Republican Executive Committee Chairman Michael Barnett, who was chairing the meeting. “We can’t control what the campaign’s message is. I’m here to discuss what OUR message is.”

Republicans learned about how Americans are using the Internet more than ever to access political information, and how they use those tools to advertise more effectively.

Google’s Eleanor Strom told party members that single women spend more hours online than watching TV. She also said that people now watch an hour of video content online every day, making it less critical to put a TV ad online. “It’s a crazy easy way to access voters,” she said.

There was also an emphasis that Florida Republicans weren’t anything like their brethren in Washington.

“As members of the party we need to be armed with the information to say, ‘Hey, what’s going on in Washington D.C. is not what’s going on in Tallahassee,” said party chairman Blaise Ingoglia on Friday, before introducing lawmakers Kelli Stargel and Matt Hudson to talk about the “Top 10 things you should know from the Legislative Session.”

Many of those bills involved social issues, such as standing with Israel against the growing BDS movement, backing a religious freedom law and standing strong against criticism of the abortion bill. “I’ve been deemed a person who hates women, that is not supportive of women’s safety. To me, it’s just the opposite,” Stargel said.

Four of the five U.S. senate candidates appeared early Friday evening before the “Next Generation GOP Roundtable.”

“I’m the only person in this race who would never tell you that I’ve been successful because I voted for something that went nowhere,” said Carlos Lopez-Cantera. “That’s the problem with D.C. these days. They think we’re dumb.”

David Jolly said “conservative solutions” like tax credits and the tax code in Florida could lead to the Sunshine State being “the leader in the next generation of clean energy emerging energies. “

Ron DeSantis complained about being “stonewalled” by the IRS on regarding Lois Lerner controversy over charges that the organization targeted Tea Party groups back in 2010-2012. He said that while the Justice Department and former Attorney General Eric Holder never took the charges seriously, he finally has an impeachment hearing set up against IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Hopefully that will lead to him to be removed from office. He should do the honorable thing and just resign.”

TWEET, TWEET: @AdamSmithTimes: Good to see @George_LeMieux & @AdamHasner ready to Make America Great Again as FL delegates for @realDonaldTrump

ADAM SMITH’S WINNER OF THE WEEK IN FLORIDA POLITICS via the Tampa Bay TimesIngoglia – The Florida GOP chairman already at odds with Gov. Rick Scott avoided a near collision with … Trump by agreeing to name several Trump loyalists to the slate of convention delegates that party officials picked Saturday afternoon.

— “After cool start, Florida GOP begins to embrace Donald Trump” via George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post

— “Florida GOP lawmakers slowly getting behind Trump as nominee” via Ledyard King of the Tallahassee Democrat

— “Florida GOP meets in Tampa to urge unity behind Donald Trump, pick delegates” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida

— “State GOP leaders crush ‘Never Trump’ rebellions” via Kyle Cheney of POLITICO

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by Bright House Networks for Business, your trusted provider of industry leading communications and networking services for any size business – from startup to enterprise, and everything in between. We offer a full portfolio of products and services, including Business Phone and cloud-based Hosted Voice, Business Internet at speeds up to 350 Mbps to fiber-based Dedicated Internet Access, several tiers of high-quality HD Video programming, and an array of advanced cloud and managed IT services. Our solutions are customized to fit your business, your budget and your industry. We own, manage and maintain our network, which means we are 100% accountable; and we’re locally based, which allows us to be immediately responsive to our customers. Find out why so many businesses in your area trust their communications needs to Bright House Networks. Learn more.***

INSIDE THE GOP EFFORT TO DRAFT AN INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE TO DERAIL DONALD TRUMP via Phil Rucker and Robert Costa of the Washington Post — A band of exasperated Republicans – including 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney, a handful of veteran consultants and members of the conservative intelligentsia – is actively plotting to draft an independent presidential candidate who could keep Trump from the White House. These GOP figures are commissioning private polling, lining up major funding sources and courting potential contenders … The effort … has intensified significantly in the 10 days since Trump effectively locked up the Republican nomination. … [T]hese Republicans – including commentators William Kristol and Erick Erickson and strategists Mike MurphyStuart Stevens and Rick Wilson – are so repulsed by the prospect of Trump as commander in chief that they are desperate to take action. Their top recruiting prospects are freshman Sen. Ben Sasse … and Ohio Gov. John Kasich … Romney is among those who have made personal overtures to both men in recent days … Earlier prospects included former senator Tom Coburn and retired Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis. Former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and retired Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal have been bandied about as potentially potent political outsiders. The recruiters also delved into the world of reality television for someone who might out-Trump Trump: Mark Cuban, the brash billionaire businessman and owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team. Again and again, though, these anti-Trump Republicans have heard the same tepid response: Thanks, but no thanks.

TWEET, TWEET: @TheFix: Things that aren’t going to happen: A credible independent bid

SHELDON ADELSON TO GIVE BIG TO TRUMP via Jonathan Martin of the New York Times – Adelson told Trump in a private meeting last week that he was willing to contribute more to help elect him than he has to any previous campaign, a sum that could exceed $100 million … As significant, Adelson … has decided that he will significantly scale back his giving to congressional Republicans and direct most of his contributions to groups dedicated to Trump’s campaign. The two Republicans familiar with Adelson’s plans spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

MARCO RUBIO VS. “TODAY SHOW” via Marc Caputo of POLITICO Florida — As he makes the most of his last few months in the U.S. Senate, Rubio got a stark reminder Saturday that the national TV media cares a lot more about you know who than it does about, say, urban poverty. So Rubio was shocked (shocked!) when the “Today Show” on Saturday didn’t devote enough in-depth coverage to what he calls the “slum like” conditions of Jacksonville’s Eureka Gardens, run by a HUD contractor. So Rubio let the “Today Show” have it on Twitter: @MarcoRubio: “Agreed 2 bring @TodayShow on tour of HUD project run by slumlord. They turn it into campaign piece. via @todayshow”

P*RN IMAGES OF RUBIO FLASH ON 2 ALABAMA BILLBOARDS AFTER APPARENT HACK via Leada Gore of – Phony p*rnographic images of Rubio flashed on at least two billboards in Alabama today after a hacker allegedly breached the controls. … (T)he images were displayed on two billboards after a hacker using the name Johnny (expletive) Ring followed directions released on the internet to hack into LED billboards.

CARLOS BERUFF CALLS POTUS AN ‘ANIMAL’ via Igor Bobic of the Huffington Post – Beruff … repeatedly referred to President Barack Obama as an “animal” at a county GOP meeting on Thursday. Addressing party faithful at a St. John’s County GOP gathering, Beruff accused Obama of destroying America and its military. “Unfortunately, for seven and a half years this animal we call president, because he’s an animal, OK — seven and a half years, has surgically and with thought and very smart, intelligent manner, destroyed this country and dismantled the military under not one, not two, but three secretary of defenses,” he said. “And they’ve all written books about it.”

DAVID JOLLY REAX: “Like many Americans, I believe with the strongest conviction that the President’s policies the last 7 years have weakened our leadership on the world stage and have weakened us economically here at home, but referring to the President of the United States as an ‘animal’ is an alarming insult of questionable intent and has no place in American politics. Carlos should immediately apologize.”

JOLLY NOT PLAYING OUTSIDER CARD IN U.S. SENATE RACE via Brendan Farrington of the Associated Press – In an election year when it is in vogue for Republicans to declare they aren’t part of the political establishment, Jolly is embracing his Washington resume, which includes work as a lobbyist and as an aide to his predecessor, the late Congressman Bill Young. “Everybody wants to be Donald Trump in this race. I want to run on experience and qualifications and having already delivered for the state of Florida,” Jolly said. “Being a United States senator is a serious job. Being angry is not a qualification. Mimicking the success of another political candidate in Donald Trump just because it’s worked for him is not a qualification.”

TWEET, TWEET: @ChrisHartline: BREAKING: Longtime lobbyist and sitting Congressman stops trying to pretend he’s an outsider

JOLLY PUSHES TO BAN LOBBYISTS’ POLITICAL DONATIONS LIKE $16K HE GAVE WHEN REGISTERED via Michael Auslen of the Tampa Bay Times – Jolly has built his bid for the Senate around campaign finance reforms. But as a lobbyist five years ago, he did some of what he now says should be illegal. From 2007 to 2011, federal election records show Jolly personally gave $16,050 to members of the House and Senate appropriations committees. At the same time, he advocated for various clients — including defense contractor STS International, Florida Keys Community College and BayCare Health System — on budget issues before those same committees. He gave $7,500 to then-Rep. Allen Boyd of Florida; $2,300 to then-Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., of Illinois; and $1,000 each to then-Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois and Rep. Pete Visclosky of Indiana, all Democrats.

THE FINANCIAL MUSCLE BEHIND PATRICK MURPHY’S SENATE BID: HIS FATHER via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times – Thomas P. Murphy Jr. has built homes for Oprah Winfrey and Dan Marino, dozens of hotels and resorts, and he has constructed a path for his son in the most fundamental way: money. The elder Murphy has given more than $1 million to super PACs supporting his son’s campaigns and used donations to help create allies in Florida and Washington. His Coastal Construction Group has been the source for more than $180,000 given directly to the candidate’s House and Senate campaigns. A month before Murphy launched his first campaign, his father gave $10,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Last August, Tom Murphy contributed $33,400 to the committee, which a few months earlier endorsed his son.

… MURPHY ‘UNAWARE’ OF FATHER’S ROLE IN $1.7B MIAMI PROJECT – Murphy brushes off questions about his support for EB-5 visa legislation and ties to his father’s construction business. “I’m a member of Congress and I’m not actively involved in the family business … so feel free to reach out to them and learn more about what they do,” the South Florida Democrat told reporters on a conference call his campaign arranged in early April to blast [AlanGrayson over alleged ethics issues. But Murphy, who talks to his father one or two times a day, somehow missed that Coastal Construction in February was named general contractor on one of the biggest projects ever in South Florida — Miami Worldcenter, a $1.7 billion shopping, entertainment and housing project planned for 27 acres in the city’s downtown. Financing will come in part from EB-5 investors, typically Chinese. How could he not know? “As Patrick has no management role at Coastal, we were unaware of this,” spokesman Joshua Karp told the Tampa Bay Times.

RE: ALAN GRAYSON: THIS MAY BE THE DOUCHIEST INTERVIEW IN CABLE NEWS HISTORY via Tommy Christopher of Mediate  Reid introduced the interview by detailing a New York Times report on the ethics investigation, but when she tried to ask him about the spat with Leader Reid, Grayson began a six-minute campaign of douchebaggery that might just land him an endorsement deal with Massengill. Rather than bore you with the blow-by-blow, just watch:

Now, this is a complicated issue, and the way it’s being reported, Grayson is right, he’s technically still under investigation but probably in the clear, but he’s being such a weenie about it that you start to wish he wasn’t. One thing is for sure, though, and that is that he’s not just being a mansplaining jerk here, he’s being dishonest. When the New York Times contacted him about the brochure, he made no objections to its authenticity, only to whether it had ever been circulated, and his repeated assertions about the metadata are just wrong. The document’s metadata would not prove when the brochure was produced and printed, but only when the New York Timesscanned it and uploaded it. Grayson also said the brochure was not from the OCE report, but a portion of it, the portion with Grayson’s name and face on it, actually were reproduced in that report.

U.S. SENATE TRACKER: Beruff will be in Stuart and Ocala. Jolly will discuss the STOP Act at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Todd Wilcox will be in Orlando.

SPOTTED: Fmr. U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, along with Michael MooreJeremy ScahillKatty Kay, and Jack Hunter on Friday’s episode of Real Time with Bill Maher.

WATCH this video of U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham “fly into the Danger Zone”:

— “Charlie Crist named to DCCC’s “Red to Blue” program” via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics

CALLING IT ‘DISGUSTING,’ CD 18 CANDIDATE RANDY PERKINS RENOUNCES FUNDRAISING via Marc Caputo of POLITICO Florida – Congressional campaign fundraising is such a “disgusting and appalling” process that multimillionaire Perkins won’t hit up contributors anymore and is refunding donations to anyone who asks… “In order for me to keep raising money, I now have to go to people I don’t know. They don’t know who the hell I am,” said Perkins, who is running for 18th Congressional District seat in South Florida. “My own team says ‘Randy, you’ve got to keep raising money.’ Whether you’re running as a Democrat or a Republican, the expectation is you’ve got to raise, raise, raise, raise. It’s not something I’m willing to do. It’s disgusting and appalling.”

CAN CARLOS CURBELO SURVIVE IN TRUMP’S GOP via Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald – When he was first elected in 2014, Curbelo seemed like the perfect face of the new, post-Mitt Romney Republican Party: a young Hispanic who supports immigration reform, believes in climate change and is well-liked by GOP leaders in Congress. Then came the 2016 presidential election. Out went Republicans’ plans — swept away by Trump’s populist force — to grow their party by embracing diversity and a soft political touch. Can a moderate like Curbelo survive in Trump’s GOP? Yes, Curbelo insists — assuming Trump’s name leading the November ballot doesn’t end his congressional career after a single term.

POWERFUL READ ABOUT ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN — “A Republican congresswoman has personal stake in transgender debate

RANDOLPH BRACY NEWSLETTER CRITICIZED BY SD 11 OPPONENT CHUCK O’NEAL FOR GOING BEYOND DISTRICT via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – An official House of Representatives mailing from Bracy has one of his Florida Senate Democratic primary election opponents crying foul because the newsletter went beyond the House district. Last week Bracy sent out an official House newsletter for spring 2016, containing all the usual positive reports and handsome photographs any house member might share with constituents. The newsletter has all the appropriate information a member’s newsletter should have — but the mailing went out throughout the Senate District 11 area where Bracy is running, not just within the HD 45 area he currently represents. It contains no references to nor disclosures from his Senate campaign.

HAPPENING TONIGHT: A fundraising reception for Democrat Lisa Montelione in her campaign for Hillsborough County House District 63. Event begins 5:30 p.m. at the Heights Exchange, 4610 North Central Ave. in Tampa.

DEMOCRATS PULL BACK ENDORSEMENTS IN HD 68 RACE via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times – [P]arty leaders had hoped to avoid an expensive and potentially bruising state House primary after Rep. Dwight Dudley announced he would not run again. A bunch of prominent Democrats immediately endorsed St. Petersburg lawyer Ben Diamond, once an aide to former Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, hoping to send a signal to other Democrats they should stay out. But that did not discourage… Eric Lynn from pulling the plug on his congressional campaign against Charlie Crist and jumping into a primary against Diamond. Now Diamond is losing some endorsements from party leaders saying they have to be neutral. That includes Pinellas Democratic Chairwoman Susan McGrath and state Rep. Janet Cruz of Tampa, the House Democratic leader. Party Chairwoman Allison Tant, however, said… her endorsement of Diamond stands, though the party will be officially neutral.

MY TAKE: “Solar choice advocates like Stephen Smith and Debbie Dooley can’t come to grips

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by Jamestown Associates, winner of eight 2016 Reed Awards and 60 industry awards overall. Jamestown’s TV, radio, mail and digital advertising helps clients in Florida and across the nation perfect their message, create powerful ads, micro-target the media buy and WIN. See how Jamestown Associates wins tough campaigns at***

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Gov. Scott will announce first quarter tourism numbers at 10:30 a.m. at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, 249 Windward Passage in Clearwater. Parking will be reserved for guests of press conference in the main lot.

FLORIDA OPTS NOT TO SEEK U.S. FORECLOSURE-RELIEF FUNDS via Mary Shanklin of the Orlando Sentinel – Already lagging behind the rest of the country in aiding struggling homeowners with federal foreclosure-relief funds, Florida missed out on a chance at $250 million in additional assistance. More than a dozen of the nation’s 18 hardest-hit states got word at the end of April that they won a new round of federal foreclosure-relief funds they had sought. Florida was not among those states. It never applied, a Treasury spokesman said… State officials did not say why they didn’t seek the funds but pointed instead to a $78 million infusion of “Hardest Hit Funds,” which the federal government gave to all qualified states. Florida’s missed opportunity has been criticized by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson. “The state’s decision not to apply for this money is tragic for Florida homeowners who are fighting to keep their homes,” he said last week.

UNREDACTED DEPOSITION REVEALS $2.2B IN SEMINOLE GAMBLING REVENUE LAST YEAR via Danny Ducassi of POLITICO Florida – The Seminole Tribe made approximately $2.4 billion in total revenue last year, almost $2.2 billion of which came from its gambling business, according to a deposition obtained by POLITICO Florida that the tribe’s attorneys went to federal court to keep secret. The Seminole Tribe claims that its revenue numbers — the fuel for both a political machine and large portions of the state budget — are protected “trade secrets,” a distinction it argues should make the information exempt from Florida’s broad public record laws. The figures, which were not publicly known as the state and Tribe have attempted to negotiate a long-term agreement over revenue sharing, were outlined in the unredacted transcript of a deposition given in late April by Seminole Gaming CEO Jim Allen.

A $6 MILLION FACELIFT FOR FLORIDA SENATE CHAMBER via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times – Work crews arrived the morning after the 2016 session ended in March, ripping out wiring and carpet, wheeling away the boxy dark brown desks. “It looked faintly how you would have imagined the East German parliament to look,” said Sen. Don Gaetz. The chamber was part of a new 22-story Capitol that towered over Tallahassee, a $43 million monument to progress but a target of ridicule for its sterile and soulless profile, in contrast to the quaint and photogenic Historic Capitol in its shadow. The tallest building between Jacksonville and New Orleans, it had features considered opulent at the time, such as private showers and an electric icemaker in the House members’ lounge.

PERSONNEL NOTE: Fred Piccolo (for the record, he’s the better looking Piccolo brother), will serve in the Speaker’s Office under Richard Corcoran. No job title yet, but Piccolo, a veteran Capitol Hill staffer and successful campaign operative, will play a role in Corcoran’s comms and media shop.

CENSUS: 3 CENTRAL FLORIDA COUNTIES AMONG HIGHEST WITH UNINSURED ADULTS via Associated Press –  Nearly half the counties in Florida, including Orange, Osceola and Volusia, have a high percentage of adults without health insurance, according to new estimates released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau. Twenty-nine of 67 counties have many working-age adults without insurance, according to 2014 data from the bureau. The counties, largely located in Central and South Florida, have uninsured rates of at least 20 percent or higher.

ETHICS COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST ST. JOHNS WMD CHAIRMAN via Asia Aikins of the Palatka Daily News – St. Johns River Water Management District governing board Chairman John Miklos is at the center of a Florida Commission on Ethics complaint stemming from his company’s involvement in a potential public land acquirement in Volusia County. Deltona resident Donald Mair said he recently filed a complaint with the ethics commission claiming Miklos has a conflict of interest, as Miklos’ company, Bio-Tech Consulting, works with the city of DeBary to acquire land at Gemini Springs.

WHY THE GRAYROBINSON & CAPITOL INSIGHT MERGER MATTERS – via Peter Schorsch for the Tallahassee Democrat– This merger continues the consolidation trend within the governmental affairs industry. The big firms are getting bigger, while the days of bold name solo practitioners are numbered. Over the last few years, the industry has witnessed the two biggest firms, SSG and Ballard Partners, gobbling up several smaller firms and/or solo players. The era of the mega-lobbying firm is here; While the GR-CI mashup is mostly about what happens in Tallahassee, it’s also about the two firms expanding their presence in Central Florida, which is symbolic of another trend in the industry: the growth of the governmental affairs business at the local and regional level. The lobbying firms with the most lucrative balance sheets are the ones with not only a healthy book of business before the Legislature and the agencies, but also the firms working the city halls of boom towns like Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa, and, of course, the gilded town centers of South Florida; If Richard Corcoran has his way, Dean Cannon could be the last lawmaker-turned-lobbyist to hit it big. The incoming House Speaker is proposing a six-year ban before former legislators can lobby their colleagues. By then, even a big name like Cannon or Chris Dorworth would elicit a “Who?” from lawmakers, thereby eliminating a big part of their value as lobbyists.


Brian BallardAna Cruz, Ballard Partners: BioSpine Institute

Paul BradshawMercer FearingtonSarrah GlassnerJim Smith, Southern Strategy Group: Jackson County Board of County Commissioners

Katherine Nielson: American Association of University Women

IN THE DEPARTURE LOUNGE: Good guy Donovan Brown is no longer with governmental affairs firm Colodny Fass.


AGENT WHO STARTED SOBER HOMES INVESTIGATION’S ‘OH MY GOD’ MOMENT via Lawrence Mower and Christine Stapleton of the Palm Beach Post – Two and a half years ago, state insurance investigator Bill Griffin received a simple fraud complaint against a Palm Beach County drug treatment provider. On its face, the complaint looked no more extraordinary than the other 16,000 cases the Division of Insurance Fraud looked into that year. But the more he dug into it, the more his eyes widened, and that complaint has spawned a billion-dollar insurance fraud investigation into the county’s lucrative drug treatment industry. In April, he says, his boss at the state Division of Insurance Fraud suddenly stripped him of his cases and removed him from the federal task force, so he quit. Griffin, who was based in West Palm Beach, said he never has been told why he was removed.

ARE WE READY FOR A GAY DISNEY PRINCESS? WA MAY BE CLOSER THAN YOU THINK via Jessica Contrera of the Tampa Bay Times – For viewers of the animated Disney hit Zootopia, it’s been a bit of a guessing game. In an early scene, rookie rabbit police officer Judy moves into her new apartment and meets her new neighbors. Bucky and Pronk are both antelopes and both men, who live together and bicker like a married couple. But . . . were they? The answer, available to sharp-eyed movie fans, comes in the closing credits: Bucky and Pronk share a last name, Oryx-Antlerson. While gay and lesbian characters are standard players in movies and TV shows for adults, they remain a fleeting or barely acknowledged presence in children’s entertainment.

CAPITOL HILL NEWSPAPERS, ONCE A PROTECTED CLASS, REDEFINE THEMSELVES via Nicholas Fandos of the New York Times – Capitol Hill publications … are scrambling to find their footing in a political landscape that is more competitive and almost unrecognizable from the one they chronicled for decades. Advertisers have fled, in part … because of congressional inaction, which has sapped the special interest advertising that once padded their balance sheets. … Some in the Beltway worry that the drive for wider readership has necessitated a kind of betrayal of Capitol Hill DNA. “Put me down as questioning whether they can pull it off,” said Jim Manley … “It seems to me that they are moving away from their bread and butter and tying to find new ways to bring in clicks.”

FIRST EVIDENCE OF HUMANS IN NORTH AMERICA FOUND OFF FLORIDA, NEW STUDY SAYS via William Herkowitz of Popular Mechanics – It took decades, and a countless number of SCUBA tanks. Now, the painstaking excavation of an underwater archaeological site in northern Florida may change our understanding of when humans first populated North America.  A team of archaeologists led by Jessi Halligan—an anthropologist who specializes in underwater archaeology at Florida State University—just completed an aquatic dig of the oldest archaeological site in the American Southeast. It’s a deep sinkhole called the Page-Ladson Archaeological Site located just beyond the southeastern skirts of Tallahassee in the Aucilla River.

IT’S BEEN A VERY BAD YEAR FOR GROWING BLUEBERRIES IN FLORIDA via Alli Knothe of the Tampa Bay Times – For a few weeks each April, central and South Florida dominate the country’s blueberry supply. During that time, hundreds of small local farmers churn out millions of pounds of blueberries for grocery stores around the country. They typically beat blueberries from other states to market and make the money they need to survive the year. Florida farmers lost that sweet spot this year due to peculiar spring and winter weather, which delayed the blueberry harvest and forced them to compete with other states. As a result, the value of those berries plunged by more than half.

STORY I’M STILL NOT READING: “Auction for gun that killed Trayvon Martin possibly hijacked” via the Associated Press

HAPPY BIRTHDAY belatedly to state House candidate Eric Lynn. Celebrating today are Matthew Ubben and Rick Watson.

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.

Latest from Peter

Go to Top