Florida Politics reported early Monday on new polling that shows a supermajority of Florida voters support a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize recreational pot.
However, the crosstabs of that Fabrizio, Lee & Associates poll shows some interesting correlations hiding beneath that support. And many of them paint a rosy picture for the man in the Governor’s mansion.
Most interestingly, independent voters back recreational use by about the same margin as the do Gov. Ron DeSantis — 73 percent of no-party voters want the constitutional change while 70 percent of indies say the Governor is doing a good job.
Based on those margins, one could surmise that DeSantis’ outreach on environmental issues has put him in a good position among the no-party crowd backing the amendment put forward by Make It Legal Florida.
At the very least, there’s a lot of overlap.
It also seems the Governor’s plum poll numbers have rubbed off on the Republican-controlled Legislature, which has a 60-31 percent approval rating.
Both DeSantis’ and the Legislature’s popularity have room for growth, too, assuming they jump on the pro-pot bandwagon.
By a 12-point margin, voters say they would be more likely to vote for a lawmaker who backs marijuana legalization rather than less, with a plurality not impacted either way.
Democrats, who are unsurprisingly the least keen on keeping the current cast of electeds, are much more positively impacted.
Supporting adult-use didn’t move the needle for Republicans, either, making a GOP embrace of pot a win-win proposition.
And that’s just the now — the “legalize it” movement has rapidly gained steam over the past decade. In the early 2010s, it was upside-down by double digits in the polls.
By mid-2014 it was favored by a majority. And now it has a supermajority.
Between now and Election Day, GOP voters may very well be on board with the plan as well as the politicians who support it.
For DeSantis, who isn’t up for reelection until 2022, it’s a sure bet.
There’s at least a year-and-a-half before his campaign for another four years begins in earnest, but he has the opportunity to earn some more goodwill.
By an 8-point margin, voters say they’d be more likely to vote for him if he signed a law legalizing marijuana for adult use — that’s a far cry from the razor-thin margin that put him into power.
With two-thirds of Floridians in favor, it could very well be the vehicle for Republicans to weather what could be a wave election for Democrats.
As they say, “a rising tide lifts all boats.”
Voters are lukewarm on the electricity deregulation amendment aiming to get on the 2020 ballot.
According to a new poll conducted by AmericanPublic.us and provided first to Florida Politics, only two in five voters say they’re in favor of the plan to bring “energy choice” to the Sunshine State. About the same number are against the proposed constitutional amendment while 22 percent say they’re unsure.
“It’s clear that support for this amendment is very soft and can be easily eroded when voters hear just a few basic facts about what it would do,” said Mark Allen, President of AmericanPublic.us, who conducted the poll.
The amendment would wrest control of the power grid away from investor-owned utilities, relegating them to line repair and other maintenance.
Backers say the plan would save ratepayers money, but it hasn’t worked that way in other states — in Texas, for instance, energy costs ballooned to $9,000 a megawatt-hour, or $9 a kilowatt-hour, during a recent heatwave.
When voters heard about the potential price spike it could bring, what little support the measure had eroded — just 21 percent said they were “definitely” or “probably” voting yes, while a supermajority said they’d downvote the measure.
“It’s clear that the initiative’s fiscal impact statement, which warns about significant cost increases and the loss of revenue for state and local governments, makes voters think twice about this misleading proposal to dismantle Florida’s existing electricity system,” FARE Board Member Scott Arceneaux said.
— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —
—@AGAshleyMoody: Today, on #, we celebrate the adoption of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. Together, we can accomplish anything.
—@CarlosGSmith: The money [Donald] Trump wants to spend on a new child detention center in Orlando SHOULD INSTEAD be spent on new immigration lawyers, judges and caseworkers to expedite these claims. Seven children have already died in these facilities. No more! They should be reunited with family!
—@MDixon55: That didn’t take long. A poll of less than 300 people will be plastered on cable news. Narrative setting through questionable polls should be this nation’s new pastime … Now Monmouth polling director on TV talking about the numbers. Polls as a vehicle to make polling directors bubble famous is also one of my favorites
—@JamesGrantFL: Somebody gonna explain to @ & the@that the amendment explicitly has a financial obligation expressly in the language? Not that either would listen, let alone care about the indisputable truth. If our bill is a “poll tax,” Gillum campaigned for a poll tax.
—@SStaffordTweet: 5 yrs. ago today Doctor @ performed double bypass & complicated mitral valve repair on a stubborn patient from Tallahassee. When he smiled & said, “I got this,” my wife and I KNEW I’d be OK. Thank you for saving mine, and others’ lives every day
— DAYS UNTIL —
UCF Knights football opens vs. Florida A&M — 2; USF Bulls football opens vs. Wisconsin Badgers — 3; FSU Seminoles football opens vs. Boise State — 4; Labor Day — 6; CNN hosts candidate forum on the climate crisis — 8; TaxWatch Productivity Awards — 15; First Interim Committee Week for 2020 Session — 20; “Morning” Joe Scarborough releases “This Ends Badly: How Donald Trump Conned America” — 21; MSNBC hosts candidates event on climate in D.C. — 23; “Joker” opens — 38; Triple Force Friday: the next generation of Star Wars products arrives — 38; Debut of Breaking Bad movie on Netflix — 45; Florida Chamber Future of Florida Forum begins — 61; Brexit scheduled — 65; 2019 General Election — 70; 3rd Annual Florida Internet and Television FITCon starts — 72; Frozen 2 debuts — 87; TaxWatch 40th Annual Meeting — 97; The Rise of Skywalker premiers — 115; 2020 Session begins — 140; Florida TaxWatch State of the TaxPayer Dinner in Tallahassee — 141; Iowa Caucuses — 160; New Hampshire Primaries — 168; Florida’s presidential primary — 203; Black Panther 2 debuts — 253; 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo begin — 332; Florida primaries for 2020 state legislative/congressional races — 364; 2020 General Election — 434.
— DEVELOPING —
“Florida in Tropical Storm Dorian’s cone” via The Weather Channel — Tropical Storm Dorian is pelting the Windward Islands with heavy rain and gusty winds this morning, and the storm could go on to impact Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, The Bahamas and possibly Florida over the next several days. Dorian’s center passed near the south coast of Barbados late Monday night, producing a wind gust to 55 mph at Grantley Adams International Airport.
— TOP STORY —
“Former VA official ‘hand-picked’ by Donald Trump to lead Florida GOP” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida — In a surprise move, Peter O’Rourke, a former top official at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and an ally of Trump, will take over leadership of the Republican Party of Florida, the latest development in a party power struggle going into the 2020 presidential election. O’Rourke will replace Jennifer Locetta as executive director. Locetta was hired in January, shortly after DeSantis took office. Trump’s team put O’Rourke’s name forward last week after DeSantis and his chief of staff, Shane Strum, talked to Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale about replacing Locetta. “We are a unified and united team as we head into 2020,” state Republican Party Chairman Joe Gruters told POLITICO.
—“Reports: Newly picked FL Republican Party director had troubles in Washington” via Julie Hauserman of Florida Phoenix
— DATELINE: TALLY —
Richard Corcoran: Disclose Holocaust, slavery curricula — or else — As reported by Andrew Atterbury of POLITICO Florida, Education Commissioner Cocoran is backing a proposed rule that would require school districts to report to the state how they teach the Holocaust, slavery, women’s contributions to the U.S., and other topics. Schools would have to report the details by July 1, and if they don’t, there would be some harsh penalties — including the withholding of state funding. The board is scheduled to vote on the measure Sept. 20, about two months after Corcoran pledged to “exercise all avenues” to act after a Palm Beach County principal ignited a political uproar by claiming he lacked the authority to say the Holocaust was a “factual” event.
“Lawmakers seek to expand mandatory Holocaust education to charter, private schools” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — A pair of Democratic lawmakers are pushing a proposal requiring charter schools and private schools that accept scholarship vouchers to educate students about the Holocaust. State Sen. Kevin Rader and state Rep. Tina Polsky have each filed bills in the Senate (SB 184) and House (HB 91), respectively. The measures would expand statutory requirements the govern public schools’ Holocaust curriculum into those charter and private schools. The bills come after controversy over former Spanish River High School principal William Latson telling a parent: “Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened.” Rader and Polsky were among the lawmakers calling for the district to decline to renew Latson’s contract.
“Judge sides with Corcoran on monitoring contract” via the News Service of Florida — Administrative Law Judge Mary Li Creasy, in a 34-page recommended order, said Corcoran had adequate reasons for rejecting a recommendation by a Department of Education negotiation team and awarding the contract to NTT Data, Inc. Creasy rejected a joint protest filed by Abacode, LLC and ZeroFox, Inc. The deal is rooted in a school-safety law passed in 2018 after a gunman killed 17 people and wounded 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County. Corcoran on April 15 issued a decision that said he was awarding the contract to NTT Data, concluding that it “provides the best value for the state,” according to Creasy’s recommended order.
“Senate panels poised for September meetings” via the News Service of Florida — As many as seven committees could meet Sept. 16, including the Infrastructure and Security Committee. Senate President Bill Galvano announced this month that Infrastructure and Security Chairman Tom Lee would lead efforts during committee weeks to address issues related to mass shootings. The schedule sets aside time from Sept. 16 to Sept. 19 for Senate committees to meet, including a two-hour slot for the Appropriations Committee on the morning of Sept. 18. The afternoon of Sept. 18 is set aside for appropriations subcommittees and the Finance & Tax Committee.
“Single-subject proposal reemerges for 2020 Session” via the News Service of Florida — Ballot measures proposed by the state Constitution Revision Commission would be limited to single subjects, under legislation slated to again go before lawmakers in 2020. Sen. José Javier Rodriguez filed a proposal (SJR 176) that would place a single-subject requirement on proposed constitutional amendments offered by the CRC. The Senate during the 2019 Legislative Session approved legislation that would have placed a single-subject requirement on the Commission’s ballot proposals, but the issue did not pass the House. Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Brandes also has filed legislation (SJR 142) for the 2020 session that would do away with the Commission.
“House dismisses complaint against NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — The Florida House dismissed a complaint against Hammer, a National Rifle Association (NRA) lobbyist, that had alleged Hammer failed to report lobbying compensation properly. Democratic state Rep. Anna Eskamani filed the complaint in the House. A similar claim in the Senate, filed by Sen. Perry Thurston, went nowhere. Rep. Tom Leek, who chairs the House Public Integrity and Ethics Committee, did note Hammer had violated Joint Rule 1.4 of the Legislature. That rule requires disclosure of compensation from lobbying firms. But he said Hammer took appropriate action to avoid sanction.
“Central Florida Dems demand hearings on guns” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Decrying years of inaction on Democratic gun proposals as gun violence has accelerated, a group of Central Florida Democratic lawmakers demanded hearings in the Florida Legislature next year. In a press conference organized by state Rep. Anna Eskamani of Orlando, she and four other lawmakers joined representatives of Moms Demand Action and others Monday decrying the Florida Legislature’s decision Friday to refuse a special session. “You can actually work your way around the Florida Legislature through a ballot initiative. OK?” Carlos Guillermo Smith offered as an alternative to legislative hearings.
“Remembering State Archivist Edward Tribble (1943-2019)” via The Florida Memory Blog — Tribble was 76 years old. His many passions included a love of history and the arts, and he will be long remembered for his lifelong dedication to preserving historical records for future generations … At various times, Tribble was in charge of the State Archives reference desk and its arrangement and description program, and he most notably served as State Archivist. Before leaving that post in 1985, Tribble helped move the State Archives’ collections into the new R.A. Gray Building when it opened in 1977 and developed the first alphanumerical classification system for the Archives’ collections.
Happening today — The Broward County legislative delegation will hold a local-bill workshop, 10 a.m., Broward County Governmental Center, 115 South Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale.
— STATEWIDE —
“State gives confusing signals on prospect of black bear hunt” via Julie Hauserman of Florida Phoenix — Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman Susan Neel said “There is not going to be a hunt this year,” but then walked that statement back two hours later. “As directed by our Commissioners two years ago, we have been focused on updating and revising FWC’s Bear Management Plan before considering future bear hunts,” FWC Executive Director Eric Sutton said in a written statement. “We plan to release the updated plan for public comment in early October and present to Commissioners this December. In terms of a bear hunt in the future, the updated plan will fully address bear hunting, and any decisions in that regard will be up to our commission.”
“Impeachment trial set for FFCR Chair Daniel Weldon” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — The Florida Federation of College Republicans appear on the verge of an impeachment trial of a chair for the first time. Leaders for FFCR revealed to Florida Politics last month that impeachment proceedings were underway for Weldon. Now, a trial has been scheduled the weekend of Sept. 13-14 in Miami, suggesting Weldon was, in fact, impeached. Three state officials for the organization resigned over Weldon’s alleged favoritism, dishonesty and verbal abuse. That came amid concerns of the veracity of claims by Weldon that he was attacked in Gainesville for wearing a ‘Make America Great Again’ ball cap at a local restaurant; that story drew national attention.
“Florida’s best-performing school teaches kids in a condo clubhouse” via Scott Travis of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — The A-rated Somerset Academy Miramar South, which is next to a swimming pool in the Bahia Miramar residential community, is a school most people don’t even know exists, and many parents think their kids actually attend a different school. The school was the only one in the state where 100 percent of students passed state English and math exams last spring. The test results also showed about 70 percent of students in third through fifth grades scored the top level possible on the Florida Standards Assessment, far exceeding all other public schools in Florida. About 93 percent of the school’s 220 students are listed as minorities, mostly Hispanic and black, with a third coming from low-income families.
Happening today — Carolyn Johnson, the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s director of business, economic development, and innovation policy, will speak during a Florida Economic Development Council board meeting, 8:30 a.m., Omni Jacksonville Hotel, 245 Water St., Jacksonville.
Happening today — Committees of Enterprise Florida will meet in advance of a board of directors meeting Wednesday, committee meetings start at 11 a.m., Omni Jacksonville Hotel, 245 Water St., Jacksonville.
— D.C. MATTERS —
Donald Trump pumps Doral resort for G-7 meeting — On Monday, Trump twice used his platform to make an “infomercial” style pitch for Doral resort to host next year’s G-7 summit, reports Caitlin Oprysko of POLITICO Florida. Trump said the Doral resort in Miami would make a prime location because of its proximity to the airport. “My people looked at 12 sites, all good but some were two hours from an airport, some were four hours,” he told reporters, before launching into a live-TV sales pitch for the property. “With Doral, we have a series of magnificent buildings; we call them bungalows, they each hold from 50 to 70 very luxurious rooms with magnificent views,” he said.
“Trump wants G-7 at his Doral resort; ethics watchdogs cry foul” via Antonio Fins of the Palm Beach Daily News — “It’s a great place,” Trump said while speaking to reporters in France. “And it’s Miami.” Next year, it is the United States’ turn to host the gathering, and the President has a significant say in picking the location. The last G-7 meeting in the U.S. was in 2012, and then-President Barack Obama presided over the meeting at the presidential retreat at Camp David in Maryland. A G-7 gathering, which has never been held in South Florida, would rank as the highest-profile diplomatic summit in the region since the 1994 Summit of the Americas. During his remarks, the President extolled Trump National Doral’s proximity to Miami International Airport, conference room space and spacious setting.
What Bob Graham is reading — “U.S. judge orders release of FBI records in Sarasota probe that may tie Saudi royals to 9/11 hijackers” via Florida Bulldog — A federal judge has ruled the FBI unlawfully withheld from the Florida Bulldog key sections of records of its investigation of a Saudi family that fled Sarasota two weeks before the 9/11 attacks – leaving behind cars, clothes, furniture, food, and other belongings. The Bulldog sued the FBI for the records in 2012 after reporting that Abdulaziz and Anoud al-Hijji, who lived in a gated community near Sarasota, had ties to several of the 9/11 hijackers, an al-Qaida figure and the Saudi royal family.
“The U.S. election watchdog needs 4 of 6 members to enforce the law. It now has 3.” via Shane Goldmacher of The New York Times — The Federal Election Commission, the beleaguered independent agency that is supposed to serve as the watchdog over how money is raised and spent in American elections, has long been criticized as dysfunctional, if not toothless. Now the state of affairs at the agency is poised to get even worse: It will no longer even have enough commissioners to meet legally. The resignation of Vice Chairman Matthew Petersen, announced Monday and scheduled for the end of August, will effectively freeze the FEC’s governance, leaving it one person short of a quorum and thus unable to take on some of its most basic actions, including holding board meetings, starting audits, making new rules and levying fines for campaign finance violations.
Assignment editors — Congressman Gus Bilirakis will join veterans for a news conference to discuss increased support for veterans who suffer from terminal illnesses linked to their exposure to burn pit toxins during their service, 3 p.m., Leepa Rattner Museum, 600 Klosterman Road, Tarpon Springs.
Assignment editors — U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor will join Meals on Wheels of Tampa and the Shimberg family before a meal delivery in honor of Amy Shimberg, a community volunteer for more than 43 years and former President of Meals on Wheels who died earlier this year, 11 a.m., Meals on Wheels of Tampa, 550 W. Hillsborough Ave., Tampa.
Happening today — Florida seaport officials will open three days of meetings with a luncheon that will include U.S. Rep. John Rutherford and seaport security directors, 11:30 a.m., Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront, 225 East Coastline Dr., Jacksonville.
— 2020 —
“New 2020 poll shows three-way tie among Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden” via Stephanie Saul of The New York Times — A new national poll suggests that the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination may be tightening, with a virtual three-way tie among former Vice President Biden and two more progressive rivals, Sens. Sanders and Warren. Despite the dead heat — Sanders and Warren each with 20 percent support among Democratic voters, and Biden with 19 percent — the Monmouth University Poll released Monday may hint at a concerning trend for the candidacy of Biden, the poll’s previous front-runner, whose support declined from 32 percent when the Monmouth Poll was taken in June. Sanders, of Vermont, and Warren, of Massachusetts, both picked up several percentage points of support since June.
“Biden has an Iowa problem, not an enthusiasm problem” via Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight — Not totally unlike Trump four years ago — Biden’s support comes mostly from the type of Democrats who are sometimes relatively invisible in media coverage of the campaigns, such as black Democrats and older Democrats without college degrees. That’s another reason to be skeptical about claims that Biden isn’t as popular as polls seem to imply. Now, because more voters list Biden as their first choice than list Sanders or Warren, he probably does have his fair share of begrudging supporters. But it’s a fallacy to say that Biden doesn’t have enthusiastic supporters also. According to national polls, he has plenty — about as many as Sanders or Warren.
“Elizabethan: Warren knows the power of words” via Peter Marks of The Washington Post — She enters in an ordinary blouse and slacks, not a toga. And yet, when Warren takes the stage of a music hall in this sweltering Sun Belt city, it is with a command of the occasion that might have “Julius Caesar’s” Marc Antony taking notes. She’s got the ingredients for a magnetic performance. And she delivers. When Warren speaks, you lean in. Just as Antony fashioned an address to provoke a passionate response, in which “every wound of Caesar” should “move the stones of Rome to rise and mutiny,” Warren has a gift for infusing a call to action with raw, clarifying emotionality. Antony appeals to the crowd’s desire to control its destiny. So does Warren.
“Joe Walsh ‘completely ghosted’ his campaign manager days before White House run” via Lachlan Markay of The Daily Beast — “As of this morning, it has been eight days and 23 unanswered phone calls since I last spoke with Joe,” wrote Jacob Perry, a Tallahassee-based Republican campaign operative and Trump critic who had signed on to run the former Illinois congressman’s longshot challenge to the president’s renomination next year. Two days earlier, Walsh had penned a New York Times op-ed hinting at a potential run against Trump. … “Needless to say, it’s the first time in my entire career that I’ve been hired to run a campaign and then been completely ghosted by the candidate,” Perry wrote to a small group of potential campaign vendors and staffers in an email obtained by The Daily Beast. “It’s obvious to me that the campaign plan that we have all worked hard on together in anticipation of a launch today isn’t going to happen, so I am officially releasing all of you from your obligations and agreements.” … The eventual announcement didn’t come for another week. And the Walsh campaign disputes that Perry was going to run the campaign in the first place.
— THE TRAIL —
“Kim Daniels tees up House reelection bid” via the News Service of Florida — Daniels opened a campaign account to run in 2020 in Duval County’s House District 14. Daniels was first elected to the seat in 2016 and was re-elected in 2018, collecting 54.5 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary. She did not face a general-election opponent. Also, in recent days, two freshman House Republicans have drawn Democratic challengers. Democrat Mamie “Dee” Melvin opened a campaign account to challenge Rep. Brett Hage in House District 33. Hage had raised $25,500 for his reelection campaign as of July 31, finance reports show. Meanwhile, Democrat Brian Staver has opened an account to run in 2020 against Rep. Randy Maggard in Pasco County’s House District 38.
“Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Annette Taddeo, others back Daniella Levine Cava mayoral bid” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Levine Cava has announced support from more than a dozen elected officials as she campaigns to be Mayor of Miami-Dade County. Among that list are U.S. Rep. Mucarsel-Powell of Florida’s 26th Congressional District, state Sen. Taddeo and several mayors, vice mayors and local commissioners. “It’s time that we work together to make history to elect the first female Mayor of Miami-Dade,” Mucarsel-Powell said. “At a time when we need real investments in our local communities, to combat the high cost of living, traffic gridlock and sea-level rise, I believe, my friend and mentor, Commissioner Daniella’s experience and compassion for all residents of Miami-Dade make her the only choice. I look forward to working with our future Madame Mayor.”
Happening today — Republican Adam Botana, who is running in Lee County’s House District 76, is scheduled to hold a campaign kickoff event, 5:30 p.m., Coconut Jack’s Waterfront Grille, 5370 Bonita Beach Road, Bonita Springs.
— LOCAL —
“Appeals court backs ex-Broward elections supervisor Brenda Snipes on voting rolls” via News Service of Florida — A federal appeals court has sided with a controversial former Broward County elections supervisor in a legal battle about whether she took proper steps to remove ineligible voters from election rolls. A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week upheld a lower-court decision that said former Broward Supervisor of Elections Snipes had adequately complied with requirements in federal elections laws. In doing so, the panel ruled against the Virginia-based American Civil Rights Union, which filed the lawsuit in 2016 and contended that Snipes had not adequately made efforts to remove ineligible voters.
“Jerry Demings, Central Florida Democrats, oppose federal detention center” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Orange County Mayor Demings and a host of Central Florida federal and state lawmakers declared their opposition Monday to the federal government’s moves to set up a permanent detention center for unaccompanied immigrant children in Orange County. Demings, a Democrat, and U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, state Sens. Linda Stewart and Victor Torres, and state Reps. Carlos Guillermo Smith and Anna Eskamani, in two press conferences, responded Monday to revelations that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services had put in what Demings called “an inquiry” on a specific property in southern Orange County. “The Governor needs to weigh in on this,” Stewart insisted.
“Inside the Hollywood Hills nursing home: Soaring temperatures, dying patients and a nurse asleep. Where were the people in charge?” via Megan O Matz of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Through interviews, depositions and other state records, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel pieced together a revealing look inside the now-shuttered nursing home on the fateful night when eight frail, elderly people died one after the other. Six more passed away in later days. The records give a portrait of an unfamiliar and inattentive crew at the helm, unaware of the growing crisis until it was too late, and bosses scurrying afterward, summoning workers to a Starbucks to complete paperwork and get their stories straight. A dozen of the deaths, ultimately, were ruled homicides. All but one of the dead lived on the home’s second floor. A criminal investigation continued for nearly two years, but now arrests are imminent.
“Did grudge push gunman in Jacksonville Landing mass shooting?” via Steve Patterson of the Florida Times-Union — The gamer who shot a dozen people before killing himself during an esports tournament at the Jacksonville Landing may have had a bitter relationship with one of two men he slew, newly released investigators’ reports show. The mass shooting on Aug. 26, 2018, capped a history of violent episodes at the riverfront marketplace that the city plans to start demolishing this fall. But reasons for the bloodshed had remained elusive as the shooting’s anniversary approached. Sheriff’s Office reports documenting months of follow-up detective work don’t neatly answer questions left from the shooting spree at a regional Madden NFL 19 tournament.
“In New Smyrna Beach, should Dixie stay in U.S. 1’s name” via Casmira Harrison of the Daytona Beach News-Journal — While weighing the value of finally giving State Road 44 a more conversational moniker, some suggested U.S. 1 could also use a name change. North and South Dixie Freeway is the street name for the stretch of U.S. 1 that rolls through New Smyrna Beach, but it doesn’t match U.S. 1′s name as it enters or exits the city. “Dixie Freeway? That sounds so Jim Crow to me,” said local architect Gerard J. Pendergast, suggesting at a recent City Commission meeting that the old highway could use a public relations improvement. Others, however, feel the road’s fine just like it is.
“Universal Orlando, OUC shield records after electrical shocking of Volcano Bay visitors, staff in June” via Gabrielle Russon of the Orlando Sentinel — Nearly three months after Volcano Bay visitors and employees were mysteriously shocked by an electric current at the water park, Universal Orlando and city-owned OUC have worked in tandem to withhold records that might shed more light on what happened that day. When the Orlando Sentinel requested documents on June 6, Orlando Utilities Commission attorney Chris Browder immediately forwarded the request to a Universal attorney and then allowed Universal to decide what information should be exempt from public records law. Universal attorneys helped draft the letter denying the records, which OUC sent on its letterhead back to the Sentinel.
“First public meeting on proposal for full three new toll roads in Tampa” via the News Service of Florida and Steve Newborn of WUSF — The Florida Department of Transportation’s “Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance,” or M-CORES, task forces will ultimately make recommendations about the toll-road proposals, which were a top priority of Galvano, during this year’s Legislative Session. More than 100 local officials, environmentalists, representatives of agricultural interests, transportation planners, members of business groups and educators have been named to the task forces. But the task-force process is expected to be contentious.
“For added security, Miami Beach City Hall will soon have a single, guarded entrance” via Miami Herald — The city will create a single point of entry to its municipal headquarters, the building where residents can clear building plans, obtain permits and visit elected officials. Beach City Hall has long been one of the most open government buildings in South Florida. Anyone can enter the commission chamber and multiple offices without ever passing a guard. That will soon change after commissioners met in a closed session Monday morning and voted to implement a single, centralized access point with metal detectors and guards.
“3 female Orlando officers injured on duty accuse OPD of gender bias” via Orlando Sentinel — Hired by the Orlando Police Department when she was 24 years old, Dolores Bracero’s identity was rooted in being a cop. In 10 years patrolling the city’s streets, she said she took pride in never turning down someone who asked for help. But she injured her hand and wrist during a training exercise in 2015 and was unable to return to patrol. Bracero applied for medical retirement, but instead was reassigned. When she was told three years later that she had to return to full police duties, she said refused and was fired. Bracero, 38, is among at least three female Orlando Police Department officers who have recently filed complaints against the agency through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Happening today — The Florida Department of Transportation will hold a kickoff event for the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance, as the state moves forward with a new law, 8 a.m., Tampa Convention Center, 333 South Franklin St., Tampa.
— SCHOOL TAX CHAOS —
The big drama at Jacksonville City Council Tuesday has to do with what happens with the proposed half-cent sales tax referendum for public schools.
Possibilities abound. The Rules Committee approved a 2019 vote; in an olive branch to the other side, Councilman Matt Carlucci will amend that to a 2020 vote.
The Finance Committee, meanwhile, voted for a straight withdrawal. That could be amended to a deferral, allowing another two weeks or two months to work out more language.
The 2019 vote may be a tough sell. Charter advocates were hopeful that Gary Chartrand and Duval School Board Chair Lori Hershey could work a deal. One elected official called the whole process a “sh!t show.”
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Al Lawson offered eleventh-hour support.
“This much is clear, Duval County’s Public Schools are in poor shape. With the average age of our schools at 44 years-old, these facilities are the oldest in Florida. Many of our students are being educated in buildings that are literally crumbling around them … Repair costs are not going down. The time is now to pass the half-cents sales tax to renovate and build new schools across Duval County and ensure that every child has a great place to learn.”
Council agenda meeting kicks off at Jacksonville City Hall at 4 p.m., with the full session at 5 p.m.
— OPINIONS —
“What economics is for” via Marco Rubio for FirstThings.com — In the American tradition, private business enterprise is the main institution the public has entrusted with providing dignified work. Historically, the goals of business enterprise in America have been oriented to useful production. In our best moments, this institutional alignment created stable mass employment that secured the foundation for a dignified life. Economic stability for working-class families is not a feature of today’s economy, however. Business profits have become increasingly estranged from production and employment. Large, transnational corporations mainly drive this. Not only the American worker, but American industrial capacity itself has suffered. When dignified work is lost or unattainable, it corrodes the human spirit.
“USMC trade pact bad deal for Florida farmers and special Session for gun control needed” via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Much has been said in the debate over the President’s proposed U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement. As Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has noted, the USCMA is a bad deal for many of Florida’s farmers. Like NAFTA, the USMCA will fail to stop Mexico from dumping fresh produce into the U.S. below market price. Farmers could be devastated, should the USMCA be passed without changes. Florida’s produce farmers contribute billions to our economy. But a June study by the University of Florida shows the USMCA may cost Florida farms up to $389 million in economic losses, $271 million in lost income, and 8,000 lost farm jobs. The opposition to the USMCA is bipartisan, and so are the solutions.
— MOVEMENTS —
Appointed — George Roberts (reappointed) to the Northwest Florida Water Management District.
“Environmental consulting firm names Ernie Marks U.S. Director of Water Resources” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Marks, the former Executive Director of the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), is taking on a new role at EHS Support LLC, an environmental consulting firm. Marks has been named as the U.S. Director of Water Resources for the group. According to a release from the organization, “Marks will provide leadership and technical direction to support clients’ water resource needs and further expand EHS Support’s capabilities in the water resources sector.” EHS Support works on projects throughout the globe and has multiple offices here in Florida. Nigel Goulding, the group’s Chief Technical Officer and Co-Managing Director, released a statement noting Marks’ hire.
Personnel note: Tyler Sununu joins LeadingAge Florida — Florida’s only association representing the entire continuum of care for older adults said Sununu was hired as Director of Nursing Home Public Policy. He was as Health Services Administrator at Westminster Oaks, a senior living community in Tallahassee. In his new role, he will be responsible for the development and execution of all nursing home related public policy, and for supporting members with nursing home operations, regulatory issues, quality improvement, and best practices. Steve Bahmer, president and CEO of LeadingAge Florida, said Sununu “brings a wealth of nursing home leadership experience and relationships that will make him an excellent resource for our members.”
— ALOE —
“Former FSU star Myron Rolle lands neurosurgery residency at Harvard” via Mark Lancaster of Sporting News — The former Florida State safety learned he has been accepted for a neurosurgery residency at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, the next step on a path he had planned out even before stepping away from the NFL to enter med school. He earned a Rhodes scholarship while at FSU and deferred his NFL career for a year while earning a Master’s in medical anthropology at Oxford University. Rolle didn’t end up playing in a regular-season game and ultimately entered FSU’s medical school to pursue his real dream. At age 30, he is now one step closer to fulfilling it, with his residency set to begin July 1.
U.S. Polo Assn. partners with Palm Beach County to create a 30-minute TV & digital show ‘Women in Polo: The Palm Beaches’ — USPA Global Licensing Inc., the official licensing arm and broadcaster of the United States Polo Association, is proud to partner with the Palm Beach County Tourist Development Council to develop a new television and digital show “Women in Polo: The Palm Beaches,” examining polo players of yesterday, today and tomorrow. The show’s release is in conjunction with USPAGL’s Women’s Initiative, “Inspiring Others,” a yearlong campaign celebrating female polo players and supporting women’s training programs, charities, tournaments, lifestyles and fashion. The launch coincides with Women’s Equality Day on Aug. 26 to commemorate the 1920 adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which granted all women the right to vote.
“This little manatee was just born. A Keys man on a smoke break saw it at his home” via Gwen Filosa of the Miami Herald — Jeff Qualls didn’t expect to witness the miracle of a manatee birthright outside his home in a dead-end Rockland Key canal. He was taking a smoke break outside his home when he came upon a manatee who had just given birth. “I went out back, lo and behold, there they were,” Qualls said. In the video, a manatee is very still in the water, and then a baby manatee pops up through the surface. “It’s not the birth I don’t believe. I believe the birth happened within 30 or 60 minutes because the amniotic sac was still there. He called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission Commissioner, he said. “They were excited.”
To view the video, click on the image below:
— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —
Best wishes to former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, Charlie Dailey, Nicole Gomez of LSN Partners, Albie Kaminsky (recently featured as one of the Rising Stars of Florida politics), state Rep. Wengay “Newt” Newton and Melissa Stone Sellers.
Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jim Rosica, and Drew Wilson.