Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Sunburn for May 5 – A blockbuster merger; Down goes John Kasich; Frank Artilles won’t be bullied; RIP, Charles Keating

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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, Ryan Ray and Jim Rosica.


One of the largest and most prestigious law firms in Florida is merging with former House Speaker Dean Cannon’s governmental affairs firm. 

GrayRobinson P.A. announced the merger with Tallahassee’s Capitol Insight on Thursday. The terms were confidential.

The deal creates the third largest influence shop in Florida, according to the state’s directory of registered lobbyists.

“The merger blends the political influence of Capitol Insight with the horsepower and statewide footprint of GrayRobinson,” GrayRobinson managing shareholder and President Byrd F. “Biff” Marshall Jr. said in a statement. 

With the merger, GrayRobinson could be even more of a competitor to top lobbying heavyweights for well-heeled, A-list clients needing representation before the Legislature and state agencies.

Cannon, a lawyer since 1993, will become GrayRobinson’s Executive Vice President and Statewide Chairman of Government Affairs.

The move comes roughly seven months after the death of the law firm’s top influencer, Fred Leonhardt. The lobbying legend was personally registered to lobby for 46 clients last year, including the Orlando Magic and five Florida cities. 

“Fred was a friend, and we are all still saddened by his untimely death,” Cannon said. “No one could replace Fred, and I certainly wouldn’t try.”

The combination “makes GrayRobinson’s government relations and lobbying practice the largest such practice in any law firm in Florida and one of the three largest group of legislative lobbyists in the state overall,” the firm said in a press release. 

As of this year, Cannon was personally registered to lobby on behalf of the City of Orlando, The Villages, PepsiCo and its Frito-Lay and Gatorade subsidiaries, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, and Monroe County, among others. 

He also was registered to represent Cox Media Group, which has radio, television, digital and newspaper properties in 15 states, including the Palm Beach Post in South Florida. 

Capitol Insight ranked No. 13 in 2015 lobbying compensation, with a reported median revenue of nearly $1.4 million, according to records. GrayRobinson’s lobbying practice was No. 9 with a reported median income of $2.8 million for 2015.

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RICK SCOTT AS VP: ‘I’M GOING TO PASS’ via Arek Sarkissian of Political Fix Florida – Scott went on CNN’s Out Front with Erin Burnett where he was asked twice if he would accept the opportunity if Trump asked him. “I’m going to pass,” Scott said. “I’m going to make sure I do everything I can so that he wins. Scott twice turned down Burnett’s question about the vice president opportunity. Florida’s governor then told her he believed Trump would win the Sunshine State because voters believe he will create jobs from the White House. “This election is going to be about one thing – it’s about jobs,” Scott said, pointing to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as nothing but a career politician. “He’s running against a career politician who has never created a job.”

SCOTT HEADS TO CONGRESS TO ASK FOR ZIKA FUNDING via Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald – Without asking for a specific amount of money, Scott will request that lawmakers treat the Zika threat like they would a hurricane: something to be prepared for in case of devastation. His trip is planned for May 11-12. “Florida has now had more than 100 documented cases of the Zika virus, Scott said in a statement. “We are now headed into summer, when heat and rainfall cause our mosquito population to grow. Simultaneously, the Olympic Games in Brazil will heavily increase travel to a country where the Zika virus is spreading rapidly. “We don’t yet know for certain what will happen with this virus, but we owe our citizens a vigorous and thorough preparation effort at the federal level to best protect their health.” The first U.S. Zika death was confirmed last week, in Puerto Rico.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Gov. Scott will highlight job creation during a press conference at 9:30 a.m. at Univision, 8551 NW 30th Terrace in Doral.

BROWARD DELEGATION PROTESTS CLOSURE OF BRIDGES OF AMERICA PROGRAM via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – In a new letter, 17 of the county’s members in the House and Senate — 16 of them Democrats — are the latest lawmakers to protest the Department of Corrections’ planned shutdown of a prisoner re-entry program. “The impact of this decision … affects several layers of our communities, from the work release inmates, to the Bridges employees at the facility, to the families of the inmates who are key partners in their loved one’s rehabilitation, and of course, the inmates themselves who are preparing to re-enter our communities after time spent in the system,” said their letter … “On behalf of the men, women, and their families who will be re-entering our local community, we urge you to ‘Keep the Bridge Open’” … The state is closing Broward Bridge, a residential program offering transitional counseling, drug treatment and other services to inmates on work release. Bridges of America, the Orlando-based nonprofit that runs the program, has been waging a PR battle to keep the facility open.

PSC COMMISSIONER APPLICATIONS STILL NOT PUBLIC via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – By the end of business Wednesday, the state’s Office of Legislative Services had not released copies of applications for an open seat on the Florida Public Service Commission. Applications were due by 5 p.m. Tuesday. The paperwork will go to the Public Service Commission Nominating Council, which “screen(s) and nominate(s) applicants for appointment by the Governor to fill vacancies on the Florida Public Service Commission,” its website says. The council only has released a list of the 11 applicants, including Jeffrey S. Bragg, who most recently was an unsuccessful candidate for state Insurance Commissioner despite being Scott‘s favored choice.

TAXIS SUING MIAMI-DADE FOR $1 BILLION OVER NEW UBER LAW via Douglas Hanks of the Miami Herald – Miami-Dade faces a $1 billion lawsuit by taxi companies over legalizing Uber, which the plaintiffs say has demolished the value of the exclusive taxi “medallions” they purchased from the county years ago. “We had $350,000 fair-market value before Mother’s Day 2014,” taxi lawyer Ralph Patino said, referring to what one of the more than 2,000 county taxi medallions sold for on the secondary market before Uber and Lyft started operations in Miami-Dade two summers ago. “Now we’re down to about $60,000.” … Miami-Dade officials say they’re confident the county has no obligation to protect the value of medallions against changes to the local car-for-hire industry. In February, Patino’s taxi-cab clients filed suit against the county seeking to preemptively block a Miami-Dade bill designed to legalize Uber and Lyft. Miami-Dade commissioners passed the ordinance … and Mayor Carlos Gimenez, a top Uber supporter, plans to let it become law when the 10-day veto window ends next week. After the vote, taxi leaders promised more legal action, and Gimenez said he wasn’t worried. “We can’t be held hostage,” Gimenez said Tuesday evening. “That was something they were hanging over our heads for a long time, to scare us. There’s been legal action around the country. We’ll take that on, too.”

— “Judge dismisses Uber driver lawsuit” via Daniel Ducassi of POLITICO Florida

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson will be available for media interviews in his Tallahassee office beginning 11:15 a.m., at 111 North Adams Street, Suite 208. Local Nelson contact is Mary Louise Hester at 850-933-2918.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: A delegation from the Florida Why Courts Matter coalition will hold a press conference at 11 a.m. at the State Capitol, 400 South Monroe Street in Tallahassee. The group will call on U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio to meet with and support hearings for President Barack Obama‘s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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JOHN KASICH DROPPING OUT; DONALD TRUMP ON CLEAR GOP PATH via Julie Pace and Scott Bauer of The Associated Press – With no GOP opponents left, Donald Trump has an open path to represent the party in the November general election — presumably against Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. Clinton, in her first remarks since Trump’s new status was crystalized, said she was more than prepared to handle the kind of deeply personal attacks that helped defeat Trump’s Republican rivals. “To me, this is the classic case of a blustering, bullying guy,” Clinton told CNN. Trump even went after Kasich’s eating style as “disgusting” in recent weeks among other pointed attacks against the second-term governor. Kasich, largely an afterthought for much of the campaign though armed with an extensive political resume, struggled to connect with Republican primary voters in a year dominated by anti-establishment frustration … Trump signaled a new phase of his outsider campaign that includes a search for a running mate with experience governing and outreach to one-time competitors in an effort to heal the fractured Republican Party. “I am confident I can unite much of” the GOP, Trump said on NBC’s “Today Show, as several prominent Republicans said they’d prefer Democrat Clinton over the New York billionaire.

THE STORY OF THE GOP’S MASSIVE PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY, IN ONE CHART via Philip Bump of The Washington Post – Combined, the 2016 Republican field, at one point 17-people thick, spent 3,776 days running for president. If they’d run back-to-back instead of all at once, a nominating contest that ended today would have begun precisely Jan. 1, 2006. It’s far more interesting to talk about the journey that led us to this point than it is to talk about the announcement that marks our destination. Kasich, governor of Ohio, is going to drop out of the presidential race. Over the past 24 hours, the candidates that entered the race first (Ted Cruz) and last (Kasich) have both given up their long shot fights, leaving the field to one Jeb Bush. Oops, sorry. To Trump. Here’s a little factoid about John Kasich! Outside of Ohio, Kasich won a grand total of seven counties, by our count — including Trump’s home county of Manhattan. Most of the delegates he won were in states with proportional delegate allocations. Why’d he stick around so long? There wasn’t much of a reason not to. His strategy was to win the nomination through the process of elimination. For the party to not give Trump the delegates he needed to clinch the nomination and then not vote for him at the convention. Then, on the second ballot, to hope that Cruz couldn’t make the cut either. And then, as the party was looking around, frustrated, there in the corner, covered with a thin layer of dust, is the governor of a swing state, ready to go.

FLORIDA REPUBLICANS MOVE SLOWLY TOWARD TRUMP via Gray Rohrer and Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel – “Like in any primary process, there’s always healing,” said Orange County Republican Party chairman Lew Oliver. “For those who are presently in the [Trump] over-my-dead-body category, time will fix it.” Trump’s harsh immigration stances, caustic remarks about women and minorities, bashing of foreign trade deals and ambivalence toward NATO have caused a massive rift within the GOP. Many Republicans have said they won’t vote for Trump under any circumstances, underlining their stance with the Twitter hashtag #NeverTrump. … But faced with the reality of nominee Trump, many elected officials are contemplating the alternative and declaring they’ll vote for the former reality TV show host. “Elections are always about two choices,” said state Rep. Scott Plakon. “Put me down in the #NeverHillary crowd.” But Trump will have to tone down or even cease some of his rhetoric on issues such as immigration and national security to win the general election, some Republicans say.

THREE FLORIDA POLITICOS OPINE ON DONALD TRUMP AS PROSPECTIVE NOMINEE – Steve Schale: “Scott, just like Trump — notwithstanding all the outrageous comments — tapped into the real economic anxiety that exists today. The reality is for many Americans — work hard, and you too can live the American Dream — has really changed.” Mac Stipanovich: “On a personal level, Trump is a boor, a bully, a carnival barker and an embarrassment. He appeals to our fears, preys on our anxieties, and exploits our ignorance. A worse candidate to sit in the Oval Office for the next four years cannot be imagined.” Rick Wilson: ““Never means never … The nominee of our party is not qualified in any dimension to be the nominee, and his ideas, philosophies and temperament are dangerous, not only to the future of the party, but of the country.”

CARLOS BERUFF CALLS ON REPUBLICANS TO UNITE BEHIND TRUMP via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – “Like Gov. Rick Scott, I urge all Republicans to unite behind Trump, and I urge my opponents to commit to supporting him as the Republican nominee,” said Beruff in a statement. “This election is too important for our party not to be united behind him to defeat Hillary Clinton … Beating Hillary Clinton in November should be the first goal of all Republicans … Donald Trump is the nominee of our party, and I am committed to voting for him and supporting him so that we can take our country back from the liberal policies of Obama and Clinton.”

BERUFF SAYS PUTTING CUBA ON VOTER FORM WAS ‘SCREW UP’ via Jeremy Wallace of the Tampa Bay Times – The handwritten voter form from Manatee County was signed by Beruff and listed Cuba as his birthplace. But Beruff, 58, was born in Miami. “I don’t know how it happened,” Beruff told the Times/Herald in an interview after being shown the form. “It could have been my assistant … Matter of fact, that is not my writing at all,” Beruff said after examining the voter registration in more detail. He said the “C” in Cuba does not resemble his handwriting. “I would never write Cuba. I was born in Jackson Memorial Hospital. I know that.” Manatee Supervisor of Elections Mike Bennett said although Beruff ultimately signed a form that had false information, he said there is not likely any action his office will take because Beruff corrected the information on his own later and has since explained it was not intentional. “It’s not really an issue,” Bennett said. “On this, it looks like a simple error.”

— “Republican U.S. Senate candidates will support Trump as nominee” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida

U.S. SENATE TRACKER: Republican Todd Wilcox will be in Orlando and Apollo Beach.

CHARLES CANADY QUALIFIES FOR SUPREME COURT RETENTION ELECTION via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – He’s the last of the three justices to qualify who are up for merit-retention votes. Chief Justice Jorge Labarga had qualified Monday, and Justice Ricky Polston qualified Tuesday. Canady and Polston make up the court’s conservative minority, often voting together when the court splits 5-2 on hot-button policy issues, most recently on striking down attorney fee caps in workers’ compensation cases. Appellate judges qualify by showing they’re an “elector and resident of the territorial jurisdiction of (their particular) court upon taking office,” that they have been “a member of the Florida Bar for the preceding 10 years,” and that they are not yet 70 years old, the mandatory retirement age, according to the Division. Qualifying for state offices began noon Monday and will continue until noon Friday. The state’s appellate judges can serve virtually unlimited six-year terms, after appointment by the governor, until mandatory retirement at age 70.

CANDIDATE SWITCHES RACES AFTER LEARNING HE LIVES IN DIFFERENT DISTRICT via Mark Harper of the Daytona Beach News-Journal – David Foxx, a St. Augustine business consultant who entered the 6th District Congressional race last month, is now exiting. Foxx, a Republican, says he’s switching to the 4th — a seat being vacated by Congressman Ander Crenshaw — not because of opportunity, but because The News-Journal informed him his residence will be part of the more Jacksonville-centered district. State legislative maps show the new 6th slides south. What included all of St. Johns and Flagler counties, with parts of Volusia and Putnam now becomes a district composed of all of Volusia and Flagler, with eastern Lake and southern St. Johns … Turns out, he was unaware of the new lines. “I should be more informed, myself,” he said in a phone interview.

TEAMSTERS ENDORSES CD 9 CANDIDATE SUSANNAH RANDOLPH – As a community organizer, Susannah has been a leading advocate for providing our working families with fair wages and better working conditions,” explained Local 385 Teamsters President, Mike Stapleton. “Susannah will be a key ally in Congress where she will continue to lead the effort to protect workers’ rights and expand the middle-class. We are proud to support her.” International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. The union boasts a membership spanning a variety of economic sectors, with members employed as police officers, construction workers, airline pilots, healthcare workers, and more.

SPOTTED: at Charlie Crist’s fundraiser in downtown St. Pete – Bill BlewsTrevor Burgess, U.S. Rep. Kathy CastorGary HessJoann and John NestorDarden RiceAlex SinkNancy Safford WestphalSteve WestphalPhil and Valerie Yost.

DOUG BROXSON POST-SINE DIE FUNDRAISING TOPS $165K IN SD 1 RACE via Florida Politics – Broxson announced he had raised more than $165,000 between his Senate campaign account and political committee since Sine Die. Broxson didn’t include a full report for April, but given that he raised $57,050 for his campaign and nothing through his committee in March, the Gulf Breeze Republican brought in about $108,000 across the two accounts in April. How much he spent and how much he has on hand, however, is unknown. Broxson is running against fellow Republican Rep. Mike Hill in the race to take over for exiting Republican Sen. Greg Evers in the newly redrawn Senate District 1.

FUTURE SENATE LEADERSHIP LINING UP BEHIND KATHLEEN PASSIDOMO via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – Senate Majority Leader Bill Galvano, Sen. Wilton Simpson, and House Majority Whip Jim Boyd are scheduled to host a fundraiser for Passidomo’s Senate District 28 bid June 21 in Bradenton. Both Galvano and Simpson are believed to be in line for the Senate presidency if Republicans keep the majority. Passidomo faces Rep. Matt Hudson in the race to replace Sen. Garrett Richter in the Florida Senate. The race could be shaping up to be hotly contested. It marks the first time in several years the seat has been competitive. Richter ran unopposed in both of his elections.

JOSÉ JAVIER RODRIGUEZ REVS UP FLORIDA SENATE BID WITH HELP FROM SPECIAL GUESTS via Kristen Clark of the Miami Herald – If there was any doubt about the importance of District 37 in terms of Florida Democrats’ desire to win back a few seats in the state Senate in November, look no further than the campaign kick-off of Javier Rodriguez in Miami … two high-profile Democratic guests in attendance to help him raise money: current U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and U.S. Senate candidate and current U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy. Incoming Senate Democratic Leader Oscar Braynon, of Miami Gardens, was also there, hoping to see Rodriguez join his ranks next year. Nelson spoke for about seven minutes, urging the crowd to open their wallets in support of Rodriguez so he can help bring back “common sense in our state Legislature.” District 37 is expected to be one of the more competitive contests in the state, with Rodriguez facing current Republican Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, one of the chamber’s moderate conservatives.

FRANK ARTILES ‘WON’T BE BULLIED,’ MIGHT SUE OVER ATTACK ADS via Kristen Clark of the Miami Herald – Artiles says he plans to sue FloridaStrong because the group’s organizers refuse to correct claims they made in a mailer that went out to Artiles’ constituents recently and which his attorney said depicts Artiles “in an unfavorable light … My reputation is very important to me and I will not allow any organization or person to defame, slander and libel me because they think nobody’s going to fight back,” Artiles told the Herald/Times. “I truly believe these organizations — which are funded nationally through special interests — that if you don’t stand up or correct them, you’re acquiescing to their bullying. I won’t be bullied by some political hacks.” FloridaStrong’s most recent mailer against Artiles alleges that he is a “property appraiser by trade,” “voted to raise property taxes on Florida families by $427 million,” “received thousands in campaign contributions from the insurance industry” and “voted to privatize Citizens Property Insurance and protect insurance industry profits.” But, in a letter dated April 21, a Tallahassee attorney for Artiles said the claims aren’t true. Emmett “Bucky” Mitchell offered point-by-point rebuttals and accused FloridaStrong of making “false statements … that should be corrected.” Or else.

FRANK FARKAS WON’T RUN IN HOUSE DISTRICT 68 via Florida Politics – Former state Rep. Farkas said … he won’t be on the ballot in 2016. Farkas, a St. Petersburg chiropractor, held the seat from 1998 to 2006. Farkas attempted to regain the seat in 2012, but lost a tough campaign to [DwightDudley. (Don’t feel too bad for Farkas about that loss; six months later he won $50,000 a year for life in a Florida Lottery scratch-off game.) District 68 is one of the most competitive legislative seats in Florida. Six different lawmakers have represented the Pinellas district – four Democrats and two Republicans – since 1996.

FDLE ARRESTS ESTERO MAN FOR HACKING INTO ELECTIONS WEBSITES via WINK News – David Levin, 31, of Estero, is facing three counts of unauthorized access of a computer system, network or electronic device, a third-degree felony. Levin, the owner of Vanguard Cybersecurity, is accused of hacking into the Lee County Elections website Dec. 19 as well as the Department of State Division of Elections website Jan. 4 and Jan. 31 … Levin turned himself in to FDLE agents and was transported to the Lee County Jail. “I want to assure the voters of Lee County that all Lee County Supervisor of Elections systems: voter registration, tabulation and website, are secure,” said Lee County Supervisor of Elections Sharon L. Harrington in response to Levin’s arrest.

SOUTH MIAMI MAYOR WANTS TO BUILD “TOWER OF SHAME” FOR THOSE FAILING TO ACT ON CLIMATE CHANGE via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard says he’d like to create a 60-foot tall “Tower of Shame” that would list those who have failed to act on the issue. “We should inscribe the name and elected official of every federal and state level elected official in Florida who failed to commit significant resources to address climate change and sea-level rise when they had the chance to do so.” The Mayor was participating on a conference call organized by the liberal Center for American Progress Action to announce their “2016 Climate Guide to States,” which lists the records of every governor and attorney general in the country on the issue of their stance on climate change. “The city of Miami and cities and towns across the state of Florida have felt the impacts of climate change for years, and we need action to address this threat now,” said Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado … “From more severe storms to sunny-day flooding on and off the coast, the effects of climate change are taking a toll on Florida families … That’s why I joined 54 other mayors and county leaders to support the Clean Power Plan in the courts. Floridians, and Americans across the country, deserve leaders who will stand up to face this threat head on.”

TAMPA BAY TIMES BORROWED $13.3 MILLION TO FINANCE TRIBUNE PURCHASE via Richard Danielson of the Tampa Bay Times – The mortgage does not say what the Times paid for the Tribune, and Times chairman and CEO Paul Tash said the amount borrowed is not the purchase price. The mortgage recorded … is the latest piece of financing the Times has taken out in the last 2½ years. In December 2013, the Times borrowed $28 million from Crystal Financial LLC of Boston. It amended the mortgage four times, increasing the debt by: $2.5 million in September 2014. $2 million in June 2015. $2.5 million in September 2015. $3 million in November 2015. Last month, the Times sold its headquarters on First Avenue S in St. Petersburg for $19 million. That sale allowed the company to pay what it owed to Crystal down to less than $4.7 million. That amount was rolled into the new, amended $18 million mortgage. “Compared to a few weeks ago, we have less debt and a much more promising business plan,” Tash said. “That is the essential message here: Our debt is down and our business prospects are up.” The debt is secured by seven pieces of property that the Times Publishing Co. owns in Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties. In Pinellas, the property pledged as collateral includes the newspaper’s printing plant on 34th Street N in St. Petersburg and The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, a nonprofit school for journalists that owns the Times. On the North Suncoast, the property consists of the newspaper’s offices on U.S. 19 in Port Richey and a delivery center it owns in Hernando County.

— “Tampa just lost a daily newspaper; is this the continuation of an old trend or the start of a new one?” via Joshua Benton of NeimanLab

FLORIDA CAPITAL’S TAMPA TRIBUNE ALUMNI MOURN LOSS via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – News of The Tampa Tribune’s demise left Allison North Jones “crestfallen” … Jones, a capital bureau reporter for the Tribune from 2003-06, is one of a handful of former employees still in Tallahassee. “My instant reaction was just a little bit heartbroken,” said Jones, who now owns her own PR firm in town … “I was in the thick of it when we were aggressively competing, going toe to toe with the then-St. Pete Times.” Other alumni of the bureau still in town include Florida TaxWatch spokesman Joe Follick, Senate Democratic Caucus staff director David Cox and Senate Democratic communications director Michelle DeMarco. When the Tribune folded … it had only capital reporter Jeff Schweers in Tallahassee. He had been on the job only since late last year. “I’m disappointed,” said Jones, who left The New York Times’ D.C. bureau to write for the Tribune in Tallahassee. The Tribune “always had a strong commitment to covering the capital for Tampa Bay residents, which was a different approach than the Times,” she said. “Both are exemplary news outlets, but had differing approaches to covering” state government news for Tampa.

***Join us on May 7 at 5:30 p.m. in our transformed Beer Garden—the Victory Garden—to watch the 142nd Kentucky Derby. Break out your bowties, seersucker suits and big hats, because coming dressed for the occasion will get you your first mimosa for free. Plus, we’ll have plenty of mint juleps on hand. We bet you won’t be able to have just one! RSVP here.***


J. Keith ArnoldBrett Bacot, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney: Cornerstone Hospice & Palliative Care

Gregory Black, Metz Husband & Daughton: Guard Dog Valves

Gus Corbella, Greenberg Traurig: Jennifer Wohlgemuth

Kenneth Granger, Capital City Consulting: Accenture

Cesar Hernandez: Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authorit

Nikita Dean Limberopoulos: Crown Castle USA

Jonathan Menendez, Kaleo Partners: SHI

Amanda Ball Prater, Cooperative Strategies: Restoration Association of Florida

HAPPENING TOMORROW: Volunteer Florida is bringing back one of its signature service projects, #BringABook, this time partnering with ADT for an event in Boca Raton. Volunteer Florida and ADT will distribute the books with help from students from Citrus Cove Elementary and AmeriCorps members from the Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County. Throughout April, 3,600 ADT employees at 18 Florida locations collected 10,000 children’s books through #BringABook. Event begins 11 a.m. at ADT Headquarters, 1501 Yamato Road in Boca Raton.

MUST-READ — FLORIDA MOM: SON KILLED IN IRAQ PROUD TO BE NAVY SEAL via The Associated Press – Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Charles Keating IV was shot and killed … during a gunbattle involving Islamic State fighters. Krista Joseph of Jacksonville … said in a statement that her son wanted to serve his country and that he died doing what he loved …   “he was our golden boy with a million-dollar smile and a heart of gold.” Keating was a grandson of Arizona financier Charles H. Keating Jr. and grew up in Phoenix, where he was a star distance runner in high school. Keating ran track and cross-country at Indiana University.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our wonderful friends, Laura Jolly and Jim Magill. I don’t know which of them is prettier.

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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