The Perfect Enemy | Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 7.20.22
August 10, 2022

Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 7.20.22

Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 7.20.22  Florida Politics

Read Time:57 Minute

Good Wednesday morning.

Jacksonville City Council member Randy DeFoor is endorsing LeAnna Guitierrez Cumber for Mayor.

“It is my honor to endorse LeAnna Cumber for Mayor of Jacksonville. I have witnessed LeAnna fight against tax increases while demanding better use of tax dollars. She fights to put more money in your pocket and less money to special interests,” DeFoor said in a news release.

“It’s time for Jacksonville to lose its small-town mentality and mature into a city full of opportunities for our children and our children’s children. The only candidate that wants change for the better and not the status quo is LeAnna. It’s time for LeAnna Cumber to be our next Mayor.”

Randy DeFoor is all-in for LeAnna Guitierrez Cumber as Jacksonville Mayor.

Cumber, also a City Council member, is one of several candidates running to succeed term-limited Mayor Lenny Curry. She leads the pack in fundraising, with more than $2.25 million on hand in her political committee and another $230,000 in her campaign account.

“Having the support of my City Council colleague means the world to me. I’m grateful for her endorsement and look forward to bringing the same level of tenacity we’ve seen in the council chambers to the campaign trail. She’s proven to be an effective leader who stands up for what’s best for Jacksonville,” Cumber said.

___

Jared Moskowitz has received the endorsement of a new Democratic super PAC that’s pouring tens of millions into congressional candidates the PAC calls champions for pandemic prevention.

COVID-19 has spawned a super PAC, and it’s called Protect Our Future.

In its endorsement, Moskowitz gets Protect Our Future’s seal of approval because he’s made stopping the next pandemic a key focus of his campaign. Moskowitz is the front-runner in the race to succeed Democratic U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, representing South Florida in Congress.

Jared Moskowitz racks up another solid endorsement.

The group also cited Moskowitz’s experience running the state agency that formulated Florida’s COVID-19 response in its early days.

“His leadership as Florida’s Director of Emergency Management was instrumental in accelerating the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, and in Congress he’ll work to prevent the next pandemic,” said Michael Sadowski, who leads the PAC. “This is exactly the type of vision and leadership our country needs.”

Moskowitz, seeking to present Florida 23rd Congressional District, which straddles Broward and Palm Beach counties, said he was glad Protect Our Future is spreading the word about his expertise.

“I’m the only candidate in this race — and one of the only candidates across the country — who has firsthand experience doing emergency management during the pandemic, and I know that we need to do more to improve supply chain issues and prepare for potential future health crises,” he said. “I’m proud that our work during the last few years saved lives, and I will continue fighting for science-based health care policies in Congress.”

___

Rep. Anthony Sabatini could be bringing his vaudeville act to Congress, so says a new poll of Florida’s 7th Congressional District.

According to an RMG Research survey, published by U.S. Term Limits, the second-term state lawmaker has 23% support in the crowded Republican Primary, giving him a seven-point lead over No. 2 candidate Cory Mills.

About two in five likely Republican Primary voters are undecided on CD 7 and the poll has a 5.7% margin of error, so Sabatini’s lead is tenuous. And he’s facing a spate of negative ads asking voters to “fire” him over his absenteeism.

Despite accusations of absenteeism, Anthony Sabatini holds a slim lead in the crowded CD 7 Primary.

Sabatini did, however, show up to sign a piece of paper claiming he would support a constitutional amendment imposing term limits on members of Congress. U.S. Term Limits is pushing for such an amendment.

According to the poll, 93% of likely GOP voters in CD 7 support term limits for members of Congress, with a supermajority favoring a three-term House limit. Executive Director Nick Tomboulides said results indicate staunch support for “a pro-term limits candidate who will take on the Washington establishment.”

He said that Sabatini and Mills fit that definition, as do fellow Republicans Scott Sturgill (5%) and Erika Benfield (2%). Brady Duke, who polled at 9%, has not pledged to support a term-limit amendment. Ted Edwards and Rusty Roberts also seek the GOP nomination but polled at about 1% each.

— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —

@MikeGrunwald: The problem with climate policy is that even if Build Back Better passed today, there would be no visible impact. Heat waves, droughts, floods & fires would keep getting worse. It’s still hugely important to prevent even more dystopian outcomes, but the politics are really hard.

@hugolowell: Irony with the missing US Secret Service texts from 5 January and 6 January 2021 is that their cyber forensics team is considered by top current and former US Attorneys as the best in the business — and if anyone could reconstruct lost texts, they could.

@GovPritzker: I’ve tested positive for COVID-19 and am experiencing mild symptoms, but thanks to antiviral medications like Paxlovid and vaccines I’ll be on the mend much quicker. Thank you for all the well wishes!

@Rumpfshaker: Charlie (Crist) feeling 2010-style déjà vu, hmm? So, if (Nikki) Fried knocks him out of #FLGov primary like (Marco) Rubio did in the 2010 Senate Primary, does he switch back to Republican? Call John Morgan & ask for his job back? Launch the most insanely Quixotic of 3rd party runs ever? Just asking.

@jenakingery: some personal news: excited to announce my post-election project — “a campaign staffer’s guide to every gas station between Tallahassee and Tampa”

@JacobOgles: Gotta love a pollster that includes what percentage of likely voters say they likely won’t vote …

@aglorios: So, it’s a downpour in Tallahassee and now there’s water pooling in our laundry room. There doesn’t appear to be a leak from the roof, the water heater or the washing machine. Is it possible it’s somehow coming from the ground?

Tweet, tweet:

Tweet, tweet:

@fineout: Sundown, you better take care If I find you been creeping ’round my back stairs Sometimes I think it’s a sin When I feel like I’m winning when I’m losing again

— DAYS UNTIL —

Vote-by-mail mailing deadline for 2022 Primary — 1; ‘The Gray Man’ premiers in theaters and Netflix — 3; 2022 Sunshine Summit begins — 2; Deadline to register for 2022 Primary — 5; Beyoncé rolls-out seventh solo studio album ’Renaissance’ — 9; MLB trade deadline — 13; The 10-day Florida Python Challenge kicks off — 16; Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner novel ‘Heat 2’ publishes — 20; Early voting begins for Primaries — 24; FBHA’s annual conference, BHCon2022, begins — 28; FRLA’s Operations and Marketing Summit — 29; ‘House of the Dragon’ premieres on HBO — 32; 2022 Florida Primary — 34; 2022 Florida Chamber Technology & Innovation Solution Summit — 42; ‘Andor’ premieres on Disney+ — 42; ‘The Lord of the Rings’ premieres on Amazon Prime — 44; NFL Opening Night: LA Rams vs. Buffalo Bills — 50; 2022 Emmys — 54; JMI’s 2022 Tech & Innovation Summit begins — 57; Vote-by-mail mailing deadline for General Election — 78; Deadline to register for General Election — 83; 22-23 NHL season begins — 83; Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 97; Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Passenger’ releases — 97; Jon Meacham’s ‘And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle’ releases — 97; Early voting begins for General Election — 101; 2022 General Election — 111; ‘Black Panther 2′ premieres — 114; ‘Captain Marvel 2’ premieres — 116; FITCon 2022 begins — 120; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 120; The World Cup kicks off in Qatar — 124; The U.S. World Cup Soccer Team begins play — 124; McCarthy’s ‘Stella Maris’ releases — 125; Florida TaxWatch’s Annual Meeting begins — 133; ‘Willow’ premieres on Disney+ — 133; ‘Avatar 2’ premieres — 149; ‘Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 212; 2023 Legislative Session convenes — 230; ‘John Wick: Chapter 4′ premieres — 247; 2023 Session Sine Die — 289; ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ premieres — 289; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ premieres — 317; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 485; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Part 2 premieres — 618; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 737.

—TOP STORY —

’Florida is turning into an abortion destination state’: Thousands seek abortions in Florida amid bans in neighboring states” via Manuel Bojorquez of CBS News — Planned Parenthood facilities in Florida had taken in as many women seeking abortions as they could before the state’s 15-week ban on the procedure went into effect this month, according to Dr. Samantha Deans, the associate medical director of Planned Parenthood of Southeast and North Florida.

“We had to increase our staffing. We had to increase our appointments,” Deans told CBS News.

Florida has always been a tourist destination — add abortions to the list. Image via AP.

“Our patients equally have been confused and, you know, devastated and struggling and panicked,” Deans said, adding that they have had to turn women away. “Those are some of the hardest conversations that I have to have with patients.”

Florida is on track to surpass last year’s total of out-of-state abortions, which was nearly 4,900, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. As of July 6, there have been 2,548 out-of-state women who have had an abortion.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Florida has the third highest abortion rate among states in the country.

“Florida is turning into an abortion destination state here in the South,” Andrew Shirvell, founder of Florida Voice for the Unborn, told CBS News. “We need a total ban on abortions here.”

— 2022 —

Ron DeSantis faithful question his Pasco School Board endorsement” via Jeffrey S. Solochek of the Tampa Bay Times — A half dozen Pasco County residents inched forward in the security line Friday to hear DeSantis rouse the faithful attending the first annual Moms for Liberty national summit. “We’re here to protest DeSantis,” said Cathy Julian, a leader of the conservative Pasco Watch group involved heavily in local school district issues. She was only half kidding. Julian and the others avidly back the Governor’s education agenda. But they did not appreciate his foray into Pasco Board politics. A day earlier, DeSantis announced his endorsement of Al Hernandez, a regional Humana executive, for Pasco District 1. The Pasco Watch folks attending the Moms for Liberty event prefer Steve Meisman, who they believe is more in line with DeSantis’ agenda.

The endorsement of Al Hernandez is not sitting well with some Ron DeSantis supporters.

Charlie Crist goes after DeSantis’ public school system; launches ‘Freedom to Learn’ policy platform” via Danielle J. Brown of the Florida Phoenix — Crist launched an education-focused policy platform entitled “Freedom to Learn” Tuesday, harking back to his experience with Florida’s public school system and bashing DeSantis’ education views. “I told you, I’m a public-school kid,” Crist said at a Tuesday news conference in Tampa. While Crist flaunted his connection to Florida public schools, many of his comments were directed toward DeSantis’ handling of the state’s education system, including criticizing low-level teacher pay on average and efforts to limit classroom discussions on race and LGBTQ+ matters. “The conditions are not good. The pay is not right. Everything is wrong under Wrong Ron,” Crist said.

Fox News posts stunning three-minute montage of Donald Trump voters ready to ditch him for DeSantis: He’s ‘too polarizing’” via Joe DePaolo of Mediaite — The incredible montage features a group of Arizona voters who — save for one identified as Beverly who enthusiastically backed a Trump 2024 bid — all said they wanted to see Trump sit it out next time and identified DeSantis as the person they want to take over the party. “I like what he stands for; I like what he does,” said one voter, identified as Jeff. “But he upset too many people, and he upset them really bad. So, I don’t think he’s good for the party.”

CNN poll: Most voters say neither Republican nor Democratic congressional candidates have the right priorities” via Ariel Edwards-Levy of CNN — Neither Republican nor Democratic candidates for Congress are seen by most voters as having the right priorities, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS. The survey finds voters closely divided in their preference for this year’s Midterm Election and the potential consequences of a Republican victory. Two-thirds of registered voters (67%) say that Democratic candidates for Congress in the area where they live aren’t paying enough attention to the country’s most important problems, with just 31% saying that these candidates have the right priorities. A similar 65% say that Republican candidates in their area aren’t paying enough attention to important national problems, with 33% saying that GOP congressional candidates have the right priorities.

Opponent files lawsuit against Rebekah Jones challenging eligibility” via Jim Little of the Pensacola News Journal — Peggy Schiller filed a lawsuit late Friday alleging that Jones has not been a registered Democrat for a full year before qualifying for the ballot as required under Florida law. Schiller and Jones are facing each other for the Democratic Party nomination for Florida’s 1st Congressional District currently held by Republican U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz. Schiller was joined in the lawsuit by an Escambia County voter and registered Democrat Walter Arrington. When Jones registered to vote last year while living in Maryland, her party status was listed as “unaffiliated” for two months from June to August. Jones told the News Journal that she had been a registered Democrat since 2016 and the record in Maryland included in the lawsuit is wrong and possibly fabricated.

Group slams Anthony Sabatini for the many votes he missed — and a few he cast” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — A political committee wants voters to hold Sabatini responsible for his absenteeism. “You show up for work,” reads the headline on a direct mailer. “Tell Sabatini he’s fired because he doesn’t.” The mailer, paid for by Citizens for Better Government Accountability PAC, employs a dubious nickname — “Absentini” — in its messaging. That moniker surfaced online when Sabatini skipped a large portion of a Special Session to campaign out-of-state in February. It also highlights that the two-term lawmaker never passed a bill in the Florida Legislature. But the mailer also finds space to slam Sabatini for votes he did show up for, like when he cast a ballot in the 2012 Democratic Presidential Preference Primary; he was registered as a Democrat then.

Maxwell Frost laps other CD 10 candidates in fundraising” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Democratic congressional candidate Frost, a Generation Z progressive activist, tapped a vibrant national fundraising machine to add $359,690 to his campaign in April, May and June. That expanded his total raised to date in his quest for the open CD 10 seat in Orange County to more than $1.2 million. Consequently, Frost expanded his cash lead over other candidates, including Democrats Sen. Randolph Bracy, the Rev. Terence Gray, lawyer Natalie Jackson, and businessman Jeffrey Boone. The field has 10 qualified Democrats, five Republicans, and two independent candidates vying for the open seat in the CD 10 Democratic stronghold in northern Orange County. None of the candidates spent big on TV advertising or extensive mailers in the second quarter.

Kevin Hayslett collects $520K in Q2, narrows lead held by Anna Paulina Luna” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — Former prosecutor Hayslett is narrowing the lead held by Air Force veteran Luna as the two compete for the Republican nomination in Florida’s 13th Congressional District. Hayslett was the highest GOP fundraiser in Quarter 2, collecting $520,786 and bringing his total to $1,271,606. On the other hand, Luna collected $336,717 in Q2, keeping her $522,166 ahead of Hayslett, having amassed $1,793,772 in the race. Regarding spending, Hayslett dished out $475,641 this last quarter, including a $164,000 TV ad campaign. Luna spent $273,225 in the same time frame. As for cash on hand, Hayslett beats the 2020 Republican nominee with $729,942 in his pocket. Luna, on the other hand, has $553,826 cash on hand.

The fundraising gap between Anna Paulina Luna and Kevin Hayslett is closing quickly.

Crossing $5M mark with Q2 fundraising, Brian Mast’s draw dwarfs opponents” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Republican U.S. Rep. Mast didn’t quite reach the $1 million he drew last quarter, but he did cross the $5 million mark for total money raised — showing holdings that dwarf all his competitors’ funds combined. Mast, seeking his fourth term in Congress, raised $773,885 in the second quarter of 2022 and spent $842,500. As of June 30, he held more than $2.7 million to continue representing Florida’s 21st Congressional District that was recently renumbered from Florida’s 18th Congressional District. However, the district’s geographical lines remain largely the same in the wake of redistricting, including northern Palm Beach County and extending into Martin and St. Lucie counties.

Mario Díaz-Balart powers through Q2 raising $210K, opponent faces FEC fine” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — The second quarter of 2022 proved fruitful for incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Díaz-Balart, who stacked $210,000 to defend his seat representing Florida’s 26th Congressional District. He also spent $140,000 while ramping up campaign efforts through a blend of print and digital marketing. By the end of the quarter, he had more than $1.6 million left to spend, according to his filings with the Federal Election Commission. His sole Democratic opponent, middle school teacher and small-business owner Christine Olivo, faces a potentially steep FEC fine for failing to file her Q2 fundraising report Friday. More on that later. Most of Díaz-Balart’s gains last quarter came through corporate and organizational contributions.

— MORE 2022 —

Number of open Primary races increases in 2022 — Following high-profile candidate recruitment scandals last election cycle the number of open Primary races in the state has increased for 2022, Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida reports. There are usually a handful of open Primaries each cycle, but 2022 features more than a dozen, which is the most in a decade. Open Primary Elections occur when every candidate in a race belongs to the same party. They allow all voters to participate regardless of party affiliation. Party operatives have been accused of recruiting candidates to close off Primaries, but sham candidates have been reluctant to run after a 2020 candidate was busted for accepting illegal campaign contributions.

Former Congressman Jeff Miller endorses Joel Rudman in HD 3 race” via Aimee Sachs of Florida Politics — Miller has added his name to the list of individuals and groups backing House District 3 candidate Rudman. “I have never sought political office before, so I am honored and blessed to have Congressman Miller’s support and, even more importantly, his knowledge and advice,” the Republican physician said in a statement. Rudman, who has practiced medicine in Navarre for the last 17 years, entered the race for HD 3 in March after testifying before the Legislature about HB 687, Free Speech of Health Care Practitioners. Recently, he has been a vocal opponent of mask mandates in Florida schools. Rudman was also endorsed last week by Florida Realtors, a trade group known to make political donations.

Jeff Miller is the latest to give Joel Redman the thumbs-up.

Lake Ray used taxpayer money to pay rent at a property he owns: State law says it’s OK” via Jake Stofan of Action News Jax — A local Republican candidate running for State House District 16 is defending himself after an article published in Florida Politics raised questions over his choice of a district office when he previously served in the Florida House. Ray doesn’t deny using an office he owned personally for his district office, arguing it’s allowed under state law. Ray moved his old district office into an office building owned by him in 2011, which meant he essentially paid himself rent for use of the facilities. The article published in Florida Politics spotlighted Ray’s decision to use an office he owned personally for his district office while serving in the Florida House between 2011 and 2016.

Cyndi Stevenson endorses Bobby Payne for HD 20 — Rep. Stevenson is endorsing Rep. Payne for re-election in House District 20. “Rep. Bobby Payne has been a strong leader and a powerful voice for his constituents in Tallahassee,” she said. “He has been an advocate for small businesses, quality education and family values. It has been an honor to work alongside him to defend our conservative principles in the Florida House, and I am proud to endorse his re-election campaign.” Payne faces St. Augustine Republican Luis Miguel in the Primary. No other candidates qualified for the ballot, so the Aug. 23 election will be open to voters of every party.

Webster Barnaby blasts Elizabeth Fetterhoff as a liberal grifter in new ad” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics — Rep. Barnaby is going on the attack in the Republican Primary for House District 29, releasing a new ad slamming Rep. Fetterhoff as a “liberal politician.” The 30-second spot focuses on reports that Fetterhoff has been using campaign dollars to pay a company — FWD Consulting Group — that she and her husband founded in 2021. Her campaign and political committee, United for Florida’s Future, paid the company about $12,000 between April 2021 and January 2022. “Liberal politician Elizabeth Fetterhoff was caught lining her own pockets with special interest money,” the ad narrator says before further detailing the alleged grift. Barnaby is then pitched as the “conservative” candidate who “shares our values and stands with Gov. DeSantis to fight for us.”

To watch the ad, click on the image below:

[embedded content]

House race pits Vero Beach Mayor against Sebastian newcomer” via Lamaur Stancil of Treasure Coast Newspapers — The Treasure Coast will get a new Representative this fall to fill the seat left vacant by Erin Grall being elected unopposed to the Senate in June. The Aug. 23 Republican Primary Election for the newly redrawn House District 34 will pit Vero Beach Mayor Robbie Brackett against Karen Hiltz, a Sebastian resident for three years who has federal government and school board experience in Virginia. The GOP winner will face Democrat Karen Greb in the Nov. 8 election to represent the district that includes Indian River County and a small portion of southern Brevard County. The winner will join the Legislature after a year in which lawmakers made pronounced decisions regarding the state’s education system.

Police union backs Robert Brackett for HD 34 — The Fraternal Order of Police is endorsing GOP HD 34 candidate Brackett. “We believe that dedication to serving the community is a beacon of inspiration to voters and we feel that Robert Brackett is the best chance at a safe and prosperous future,” said Steve Zona, president of the Florida FOP. Brackett responded, “I am grateful to have the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police. Our Florida law enforcement officers serve as the first line of defense in our communities, keeping our families and loved ones out of harm’s way, and in the Florida House, I will fiercely support them and fight to keep them safe.”

The blue backs Robert Brackett for HD 34. Image via the Brackett Campaign.

Equal Ground launches ‘Vote for Black Lives’ campaign” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — The Black voters’ empowerment organization Equal Ground is launching a statewide effort to expand and protect Black voter participation this year in a campaign called “Vote for Black Lives.” The campaign, which will include participation from representatives of Florida churches, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and other organizations, is striving to increase Black voter turnout above the 61% in 2022. The effort comes after two years of Republican-led legislative efforts to rework Florida’s voting and election laws. Those efforts drew widespread criticism from many Black organizations including Equal Ground. Nonetheless, the organizers pledged an effort to encourage nonpartisan Black voting, and to assure Black voters they would be safe and secure regardless of their partisan preferences.

Central Florida hoteliers announce new round of endorsements” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Democratic Rep. Daisy Morales, three other Democrats and two Republicans drew endorsements for their House races in the latest round from the Central Florida Hotel and Lodging Association (CFHLA). Morales faces another Democrat, Rita Harris, in an open Primary Election on Aug. 23 for the seat representing House District 44 in south-central Orange County. The new House endorsement, which officially comes through the CFHLA’s political action committee and political committee, includes four others who also have Primary Election battles on Aug. 23 for open seats: Republican Apopka City Commissioner Doug Bankson, Democrat LaVon Bracy Davis, Democrat Dan Marquith and Republican Bruno Portigliatti.

— STATEWIDE —

Ashley Moody to Joe Biden: Classify fentanyl as ‘weapon of mass destruction’” via Jason Delgado of USA Today Network-Florida — After a series of high-profile mass overdoses in Florida, Attorney General Moody has sent a letter to Biden urging him to classify illicit fentanyl as a “weapon of mass destruction.” The classification, Moody wrote, would allow the federal government to marshal more resources and agencies against it, including the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security. The letter comes following a spree of tragic overdoses in Florida, including one incident in Gadsden County that claimed the lives of nine people earlier this month and another in Tampa that endangered the lives Tuesday of seven. Law enforcement officials say most people affected don’t know fentanyl is in the illegal drugs they’re buying.

Ashley Moody calls fentanyl a ‘weapon of mass destruction.’

State to examine how much testing Florida students face — The Florida Department of Education has proposed changes to the state’s assessment calculator requiring school districts to provide more information on how long students spend taking tests. As Andrew Atterbury of POLITICO Florida reported, the change was brought about by legislation passed in the 2022 Session that sought to replace standardized testing with progress monitoring. The proposed change would require districts to detail how many minutes K-5 students spend taking statewide and local exams and determine the percentage of instruction time spent on testing.

Happening today — A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal hears the case of a potential class-action lawsuit arguing that the University of Florida should refund fees to students forced into remote learning in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2 p.m., 1st District Court of Appeal, 2000 Drayton Dr., Tallahassee.

Publix cake decorator creates online petition for raises. Nearly 7,100 people have signed on” via Paul Nutcher of The Ledger — Nearly 7,100 people have signed an online petition asking Publix CEO Todd Jones for a pay raise. “We show up every day, work so hard to keep our company going, and to do everything we can to serve our public … With the cost of living and inflation being what it is, a 25-cent raise per year is nothing … It’s time the everyday people, the ones who make it happen get our fair share. We deserve better,” the petition at Coworker.org said. Cake decorator Leland Presley, who started the campaign two months ago, titled her campaign: “To: Todd Jones, CEO Publix Supermarkets, Publix Workers Deserve Raises.”

Leading Florida health care association executive, Andrew Behrman, announces his retirement” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics — Florida Association of Community Health Centers President and CEO Behrman is stepping down from his position at the end of the year. Behrman, who joined the association in September 2002, made the announcement at the association’s annual conference in Fort Lauderdale Tuesday. “Our association is 40-plus years old. We have been around for a while. We have accomplished a lot of great things. But it’s time for somebody else who can take up the mantle and move us forward,” Behrman said. “So, after much consideration, and a lot of discussion with my wife, Robin, who wanted me to do this last year, I have decided to step down at the end of the year.”

— D.C. MATTERS —

CNN poll: Most Americans are discontented with Biden, the economy and the state of the country” via Jennifer Agiesta of CNN — The summer of 2022 is a season of deepening and widespread discontent, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS. The survey finds the public’s outlook on the state of the country the worst it’s been since 2009, while its view on the economy is the worst since 2011. And nearly 7 in 10 say Biden hasn’t paid enough attention to the nation’s most pressing problems. Biden’s approval rating in the poll stands at 38%, with 62% disapproving. His approval ratings for handling the economy (30%) and inflation (25%) are notably lower. Rising costs are a primary economic pressure for most Americans.

Joe Biden is withstanding the worst of American dissatisfaction with the economy, among other issues.

Biden holds off on climate emergency declaration” vie Seung Min Kim, Chris Megerian and Matthew Daly of The Associated Press — President Biden will travel to Massachusetts on Wednesday to promote his efforts to combat climate change but will stop short of issuing an emergency declaration that would unlock federal resources to deal with the issue, according to a person familiar with the President’s plans. Biden has been pressured to issue an emergency declaration after Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democratic West Virginia, pulled out of negotiations over climate legislation. During his visit to Somerset, Massachusetts, Biden could announce other steps on climate change, but the White House has not released details. The President has been trying to signal Democratic voters that he’s aggressively tackling global warming.

Biden and Hunter Biden’s Colombia connection.” via Byron York of the Washington Examiner — It has been clear all along that Hunter Biden spent years trying to cash in on his father’s government position. And we’ve known for a while that Justice Department investigators are looking into whether Hunter Biden paid taxes on the money he got from various overseas deals and whether he fully complied with foreign agent registration requirements. We still don’t know what Hunter’s father knew about his son’s business dealings. It’s hard to imagine a son traveling worldwide trading on his father’s name and position and the father not knowing a single thing about it. And yet, that is what Joe Biden claims. Among his many other foreign business interests, in 2011 and 2012, Hunter Biden pursued a possible lucrative deal in Colombia. He was trying to get in with a Brazilian construction company called OAS.

House passes bill to codify marriage equality with large bipartisan support” via Erin Doherty and Andrew Solender of Axios — Almost 50 House Republicans joined Democrats to pass legislation on Tuesday that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enshrine marriage equality into federal law. The legislation, approved 267-157, is part of Democrats’ response to the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade last month and conservative Justice Clarence Thomas signaling rulings on marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights and contraception could also be reconsidered. 47 Republicans, including several members of leadership, voted for the legislation. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy or Minority Whip Steve Scalise did not support it.

Test vote on ‘chips-plus’ bill teed up in Senate” via Laura Weiss, Lindsey McPherson and Aidan Quigley of Roll Call — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pledged to move ahead with a procedural vote Tuesday afternoon on legislation that would, at minimum, fund semiconductor manufacturing grants and tax incentives through 2026. But Senators were still negotiating over the size and scope of the “plus” part of what’s become known as the “chips-plus” package, with Schumer putting the onus on Republicans to rally enough support on their side for a separate title dealing with authorizations for science agencies. If the first test vote falls short of 60, however, that will signal that broad-enough support exists only for the core of the chips bill that’s circulated in recent days.

Antony Blinken to highlight Ukraine War in push for supply-chain cooperation” via William Mauldin of The Wall Street Journal — U.S. Secretary of State Blinken is expected to point to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as an urgent reason for governments to cooperate more closely on the international supply chain, according to State Department officials. At a virtual meeting on Wednesday with representatives from more than a dozen countries, Blinken also will emphasize the need to reduce dependence on petroleum and natural gas from unreliable countries, instead focusing on trade in clean-energy products, those officials said. Senior U.S. officials are meeting this week with select countries — but not Russia and China — to address supply-chain woes and reinforce economic ties as the Ukraine war and coronavirus pandemic have strained the global trading system.

Antony Blinken attempts to shore up the supply chain. Image via AP.

CFPB to push banks to cover more payment-services scams” via Andrew Ackerman of The Wall Street Journal — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is preparing to prod banks to pay back more customers who are the victims of alleged scams on Zelle and other money-transfer services. Under new guidance the bureau is preparing to release in the coming weeks, banks could face heightened requirements around certain scams that have become more prevalent on these platforms, such as when a customer is tricked into sending money to a scammer pretending to be a representative of their bank. The coming guidance hasn’t been completed and could change. It appears aimed primarily at a spate of complaints related to Zelle but would likely apply to any other payments service that connects directly to a consumer’s bank account, such as Venmo.



— JAN. 6 —

Former Trump National Security Council official will testify at Thursday’s Jan. 6 hearing” via Evan Perez and Zachary Cohen of CNN — Matthew Pottinger, who served on Trump’s National Security Council before resigning in the immediate aftermath of Jan. 6, 2021, will testify publicly at Thursday’s prime-time hearing held by the House select committee investigating the U.S. Capitol attack, according to multiple sources familiar with the plans. Pottinger is slated to appear alongside former Trump White House aide Sarah Matthews. CNN previously reported that Matthews, who served as Deputy Press Secretary in the Trump White House until resigning shortly after Jan. 6, 2021, was expected to testify publicly. Matthews said she was honored to serve in Trump’s administration when she left but “was deeply disturbed by what I saw.”

Next up, Matthew Pottinger.

Secret Service cannot recover texts; no new details for Jan. 6 committee” via Carol D. Leonnig and Maria Sacchetti of The Washington Post — The U.S. Secret Service has determined it has no new texts to provide Congress relevant to its Jan. 6 investigation, and that any other texts its agents exchanged around the time of the 2021 attack on the Capitol were purged, according to a senior official briefed on the matter. Also, the National Archives on Tuesday sought more information on “the potential unauthorized deletion” of agency text messages. The U.S. government’s chief record-keeper asked the Secret Service to report back to the Archives within 30 days about the deletion of any records, including describing what was purged and the circumstances of how the documentation was lost.

A clever plan to foil a 2024 coup attempt quietly advances” via Greg Sargent of The Washington Post — It may seem improbable, given adamant Republican opposition to legislation protecting voting rights, but a bipartisan group of Senators is close to agreement on a separate, crucial way to protect our democracy: reforming the Electoral Count Act of 1887. That arcane law governs how Congress counts presidential electors. If Senators resolve last-minute differences, a stolen 2024 election might become substantially less likely. A serious threat to our democracy is this scenario: A state Legislature appoints a slate of presidential electors in defiance of the state’s popular vote, and one chamber of Congress, controlled by the same party, counts those electors. Under current law, those electors would stand, potentially tipping a close election.

How ‘Stop the Steal’ captured the American right” via Charles Homans of The New York Times — Gone, for now, are the big rallies, with their open calls for violence and ostentatious displays of military-style kit, and many of those who organized them. Gone, too, are most of the election audits and other inquiries into the results convened by Republican-controlled state legislatures and local governments, investigations that failed to produce evidence of meaningful fraud. What is left in their place is an insistence that the election was stolen, which has fed a new wave of post-Trump activism on the right. In 17 of the 27 states holding elections this year for secretary of state — the top elections officer in 24 states — at least one Republican candidate is running on the claim that the 2020 election was illegitimate.

No charges for ‘Late Show’ crew arrested on Capitol Hill” via Michael Balsamo of The Associated Press — Federal prosecutors said Monday they have declined to bring charges against nine people associated with CBS’ “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” who were arrested in a building in the U.S. Capitol complex last month. The decision, made by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Washington, comes after prosecutors determined they “cannot move forward” with the misdemeanor charges against the nine people arrested on June 16 in the Longworth House Office Building. The incident followed the third public hearing by the House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection. A spokesperson for the U.S. attorney’s office said it was not probable a conviction could be obtained and sustained given that the nine arrested had been invited and that their escorts had never asked them to leave the building.

— EPILOGUE: TRUMP —

Trump electors targeted in Georgia criminal inquiry” via Danny Hakim of The New York Times — Prosecutors in Atlanta have informed 16 Trump supporters who formed an alternate slate of 2020 presidential electors from Georgia that they could face charges in an ongoing criminal investigation into election interference, underscoring the risk of criminal charges that Trump and many of his allies may be facing in the state. The revelations were included in court filings released on Tuesday in an investigation led by Fani Willis, the district attorney of Fulton County. They showed that while much attention had been focused on the House hearings in Washington into the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, and the extent to which the Justice Department will investigate, it is a local prosecutor in Atlanta who may put Trump and his circle of allies in the most immediate legal peril.

Lindsey Graham agrees to accept subpoena in Trump election meddling case” via Kevin Breuninger of CNBC — U.S. Sen. Graham agreed Tuesday to accept service of a subpoena for his testimony before a Georgia grand jury investigating possible criminal meddling in the 2020 election by Trump. But Graham still retained his right to challenge the legality of the subpoena, a court filing showed. The Atlanta-based grand jury is seeking evidence related to efforts by Trump and others to get Georgia officials to overturn the election won there by Biden. Graham’s agreement to accept the subpoena likely will streamline his dispute with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis over the demand for his testimony. Asked Tuesday afternoon about the development, Graham told NBC News that Fulton County hasn’t “even tried to subpoena me. I just want to get it done.”

Lindsey Graham decides he will comply with a congressional subpoena. Image via AP.

What Merrick Garland’s ‘election year’ memo actually means for investigating Trump” via C. Ryan Barber of Business Insider — Late Monday night, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow presented an exclusive report: Attorney General Garland signed a memo in May reiterating Justice Department policy that requires high-level approval of politically sensitive investigations. For many, Maddow’s report validated concerns that Garland’s Justice Department was stalling — and that Trump and his allies could avoid criminal accountability for their efforts to overturn the 2020 election. However, many legal experts pointed out Garland’s memo was akin to similar guidance past attorneys general have issued in election years. And so, Garland’s memo — titled “Election Year Sensitivities” — served not as a new limitation on the Justice Department but as a reminder of its long-standing policy for avoiding steps that could be perceived as partisan and designed to influence an election result.

Trump urged Wisconsin Assembly Speaker in July to decertify Biden 2020 election win” via Dan Mangan of CNBC — Trump this month called Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and urged him to decertify Biden’s 2020 election win in that state, Vos said Tuesday. “It’s very consistent. He makes his case, which I respect,” Vos told WISN-TV 12 News in Milwaukee. “He would like us to do something different in Wisconsin. I explained that it’s not allowed under the Constitution. He has a different opinion.” The Republican lawmaker said in the same interview that Trump on July 9 posted a message on Truth Social, his social media platform, calling on the Wisconsin legislature to “turn over the election to the actual winner” by recalling the state’s slate of 10 Electoral College delegates, who cast their votes for Biden.

— MORE LOCAL: S. FL —

‘It was starting to get real.’ Parkland gunshot victim who lost brother in mass shooting testifies about ‘trying not to freak out’” via Scott Travis and Rafael Olmeda of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Even after he was shot, Alex Dworet tried not to believe the Parkland tragedy was real. Dworet was one of 17 injured in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting on Feb. 14, 2018. His brother, Nicholas Dworet, was one of the 17 killed. Alex described his experience during the second day of the trial to determine whether his brother’s killer is executed. He said he was in class when he heard loud bangs but didn’t think much of it initially. “Then I just remember feeling sensation on the back of my head, like a hot sensation,” Dworet testified on Tuesday.

Plantation Mayor’s race has been marred by controversy. Here’s how the candidates differ.” via Lisa J. Huriash of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — The Plantation Mayor’s election has become a contest between two political opponents who each have wrangled with controversy. Incumbent Lynn Stoner and challenger Nick Sortal are squaring off in an election whose key issues include the city’s growth, how to best offer more affordable housing, and what more can be done to help the public. Stoner is a longtime city leader seeking her second term as Mayor, and Sortal is a current member of the City Council who was first elected in 2018. In Plantation, the strong Mayor runs the city — instead of a City Manager — overseeing departments, the $125 million general fund and 1,000 employees, including the police department.

Nick Sortal and Lynn Stoner face off in a race steeped in controversy.

Man in police standoff and shooting in Doral had escaped from the Florida prison system” via David J. Neal and Charles Rabin of the Miami Herald — The man shot by police on a Doral rooftop Monday afternoon had escaped from a nearby Florida Department of Corrections facility on Friday. As of Tuesday morning, Michael Prouty sits in Miami-Dade Corrections’ Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center charged with burglary of an occupied structure, attempted burglary of an occupied structure, grand theft auto, aggravated assault on a law enforcement official, fleeing and eluding an officer and resisting an officer without violence. “TGK,” as those familiar with Miami-Dade’s incarceration location on the edge of Doral call it, is next door to the state Department of Corrections’ Miami North Community Release Center, 7090 NW 41st St.

Miami plans to donate guns to Ukraine. They are not going to the military” via Anna Wilder and Joey Flechas of the Miami Herald — The city of Miami is sending more than 150 used guns to Ukrainian police — not to soldiers fighting on the front lines of the Russian invasion. In June, city officials announced the intention to put firearms in the hands of Ukrainians defending their country, though it was unclear who would receive the weapons. Since then, the city has rushed to throw together a plan that became clearer Tuesday when the city announced that the police department for one of Kyiv’s suburbs, Irpin, would receive 167 surplus guns. “We’ve been building a plane as we fly it,” said Commissioner Ken Russell, who has sponsored the idea. He’s running for Florida’s 27th Congressional District as a Democrat.

Miami designates part of Coconut Grove as ‘Little Bahamas’ to honor area’s history” via Joey Flechas and Anna Wilder of the Miami Herald — A swath of Miami’s oldest neighborhood has been formally designated “Little Bahamas of Coconut Grove,” a recognition of the historically Black enclave settled by Bahamians in the 19th century even before Miami was incorporated as a city. Miami Commissioners voted on Tuesday to mark the area’s cultural and historical importance with the designation, the second time the Commission has formally named a neighborhood with boundaries by resolution. In 2016, the city officially designated boundaries for Little Haiti. The community’s naming comes at a time when the West Grove is under pressure from gentrification that threatens to displace longtime residents, including descendants of Bahamian settlers and early pioneers from other states in the American South.

Miami-Dade County Commission calls for speedier executions of mass shooters” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Miami-Dade County Commissioners are calling on Florida lawmakers to expedite the execution of convicted mass shooters. The 13-member panel approved a resolution Tuesday by Chair Jose “Pepe” Diaz urging the Legislature to enact a measure that would speed postconviction capital punishment proceedings “to the extent possible” for individuals who committed a mass shooting. Commissioner Eileen Higgins was the sole “no” vote on the item, which the County Clerk’s Office will send to Gov. DeSantis, Senate President Wilton Simpson, House Speaker Chris Sprowls and members of the Miami-Dade Legislative Delegation. Florida has been the site of numerous mass shootings, including world headline-grabbing instances at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Ric Bradshaw says he’ll return to Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office ‘very soon’” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Palm Beach County Sheriff Bradshaw has not been to the office since April, but his office released a statement with his voice Monday, saying he would return to work “very soon.” The message, which also said the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Department is operating at full capacity, is similar to what his spokesperson said in May, right down to the complaints about rumors and misinformation about his health. The only difference is that now he’s resting at home, not at the hospital, according to his voice-over delivered over a montage of photos and b-roll from his news conferences. And this time, “soon” became “very soon.”

Ric Bradshaw vows to return sooner than later.

Herd of grazing cows shuts down stretch of Florida’s Turnpike, causes backups for hours” via Michelle Marchante of the Miami Herald — A herd of cows was set loose on Florida’s Turnpike in Central Florida Monday after a cattle truck caught fire. The “Oh, Florida” moment began around 11:30 a.m. in the northbound lanes of the turnpike at mile marker 226 in Saint Cloud, Osceola County, and caused a “cowload” of backups in the area for hours, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. A 47-year-old truck driver from Samson, Alabama, told troopers his semi-cab Cattle Hauler caught fire. He pulled over and released the cattle (about 70 cows) so they could escape the flames, troopers said. Video taken by local TV news stations showed dozens of cows grazing on the road, with some going into the surrounding woods.

— MORE LOCAL: C. FL —

Orlando VA leads nation in active COVID-19 cases” via Caroline Catherman of the Orlando Sentinel — The Orlando Veterans Affairs health care system has more active COVID-19 cases than any other VA in the nation as of Tuesday: 532. This is a fraction of the active caseload faced during the winter omicron surge but may be an underestimate due to the popularity of at-home testing. Hospitalizations are also increasing, said Orlando VA health care system Chief of Staff Dr. Lisa Zacher. As of Tuesday, 25 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 and one in the intensive care unit. “We are seeing less hospitalizations than during the delta wave, but more hospitalizations when compared to the omicron surge,” Zacher said in a statement sent over email.

Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón accepts new job, to leave this month” via Jeff Weiner of the Orlando Sentinel — The Orlando Police Department’s departing police chief will exit his current post weeks earlier than expected after accepting a new position, he said in a statement Tuesday. “Today, I amended my retirement date to be effective July 31, 2022,” Rolón said. “I am delighted to announce I have accepted a job offer starting in September, and I will provide more details during the Change of Command Ceremony on August 24th.” The statement did not reveal Rolón’s next stop. His previously announced departure date was Aug. 19.

Orlando Rolón is making his exit a bit earlier than expected.

Orlando Sentinel legal battle over unpaid rent ends abruptly” via Gabrielle Russon of Florida Politics — Midtown Opportunities VIB sued the Sentinel in 2020 and accused the newspaper of defaulting on its lease by not paying rent. Midtown said the newspaper owed $635,158 from April 2020 to September 2020, according to an amended lawsuit filed in September 2020. The unpaid rent continued to accumulate with Midtown alleging the newspaper was now “responsible for millions of dollars of damages in unpaid rent” for the building at 633 N. Orange Ave. — the paper’s home since 1951 — in an October 2021 court filing. The lawsuit sought unpaid rent as well as interest and legal expenses. But now, Midtown has voluntarily dismissed its lawsuit and both sides are responsible for their own legal fees.

Sky-high Orlando rent hikes top the U.S., with relief years away” via Trevor Fraser of the Orlando Sentinel — Orlando rents are growing at the fastest pace in the country, and one expert says it could be nearly two years before the region returns to pre-pandemic increases. “We have an affordability crisis right now,” said Lisa McNatt, director of market analytics for Orlando for CoStar Group, which tracks rental rates. “Orlando used to be a very affordable home market.” Rent in the second quarter grew by 18.7% year-over-year, the highest percentage growth in the nation, according to CoStar. The average asking rent in Orlando is $1,819, more than $150 above where it was in January. Since the pandemic started two years ago, the average metro Orlando renter has seen an increase of $380 per month.

Brevard County Fire Rescue to distribute Narcan to help overdose crisis on the Space Coast” via Amira Sweilem of Florida Today — Brevard County Fire Rescue launched a program this month to distribute naloxone, better known by its brand name, Narcan, an overdose reversal medication, to the families and loved ones of people who’ve overdosed. The distribution program known as “Project Care and Share” is overseen by Jonathan Weiss, a community health resource coordinator at BCFR. “You know it’s pretty bad when the state contacts you and goes, ‘Hey, we pulled your numbers and you guys are pretty bad. We want to use you for a pilot program,’” Weiss said. “That’s when you realize, hey, maybe we need to start getting … this stuff (Narcan) out to people.”

Brevard County Commission OKs $30M marketing grant to Cocoa Beach Westin hotel project” via Dave Berman and Ralph Chapoco of Florida Today — Brevard County commissioners on Tuesday — ignoring their own advisory panel’s recommendation — approved a controversial proposal to grant up to $30 million to the developer behind the planned Westin Cocoa Beach Resort & Spa. The vote was 3-1. County Commission Chair Kristine Zonka, Vice Chair Curt Smith and Commissioner Rita Pritchett voted in favor of the grant. The sole vote against it was by Commissioner John Tobia. The money for the developer, Driftwood Capital, will come from up to half the revenue the Westin expects to generate from the county’s 5% tourist development tax on hotel rooms and other short-term rentals. The grant extends for 30 years, with up to $1 million available to the company each year.

Lakeland drops sale price of city-owned land for Bonnet Springs Park” via Sara-Megan Walsh of The Ledger — City officials approved two measures to show the city’s support of the upcoming Bonnet Springs Park. Lakeland commissioners voted 5-1 to reduce the sale price of city-owned land to Lake Wire Development, LLC, a subsidiary of the nonprofit Bonnet Springs Park. The site is located south of the George Jenkins Boulevard and Kathleen Road intersection, adjacent to the former Florida Tile site. “We are very excited and thrilled to have the support of the city,” Josh Henderson, CEO of Bonnet Springs Park, said. “We’re excited what this means for all parties involved.”

Happening today — Sen. Janet Cruz holds an annual job fair, 10 a.m., Higgins Hall, 5225 North Himes Ave., Tampa.

TradeWinds project in St. Pete Beach greeted by mixed reviews” via Chris Kuo of the Tampa Bay Times — A proposal to expand TradeWinds Island Resorts in St. Pete Beach — including adding new buildings and parking garages — has sparked a community backlash amid some support. The proposed project would take about a decade to finish and would add 33,000 square feet of conference space, 18,000 square feet of new retail space, three new parking garages, three new swimming pools and 650 new guest rooms. While some residents welcome the increase in tax revenue and potential customers, others fret that the project will lead to more crowds and congestion. In a town that prides itself on being distinct from bustling cities like Clearwater or Miami Beach, some see the expansion as an assault on their way of life.

The new TradeWinds project is a mixed bag with St. Pete Beach residents. Image via TradeWinds Resorts.

In Pasco County, epicenter of a giant land snail invasion, life slithers on” via Milla Surjadi of the Tampa Bay Times — When a Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services worker knocked on Jay Pasqua’s door three weeks ago talking about an infestation of giant snails, it took everything in him not to laugh. “We’re not on Mars,” he said. And besides, he hadn’t noticed any snails. Then the state worker took Pasqua to the yard next to his lawn mower repair shop on Massachusetts Avenue. There, beneath a large tree, she pointed out a giant African land snail. Florida can’t seem to shake the pests. It’s now the state’s third battle against them, with the last infestation in Miami-Dade County spanning 10 years. The state only declared the snails eradicated last year after workers tracked down and destroyed 168,000 snails at the cost of $23 million.

— MORE LOCAL: SW. FL —

Department of Health warns of fecal bacteria at SWFL beaches, but many swim anyway” via Amy Bennett Williams of the Fort Myers News-Press — The bad news: Sometimes there are unsafe levels of poop at the region’s beaches. The good news: It’s no secret. That means would-be recreators can arm themselves with knowledge before they grab their towels and head out — though not everyone does. Last week, 11 Southwest Florida beaches got poor marks after tests showed high fecal bacteria counts. At popular Bonita Beach, the Florida Department of Health is recommending that people stay out of the water completely until it clears. Even so, plenty of people ignored the bright signs posted at the pavilion and planted in the sand Monday as they bodysurfed, rafted and dove in the tainted waves.

A sign is not discouraging some from swimming in unsafe waters.

Lee County School Board District 6 election: Three candidates are running” via Nikki Ross of the Fort Myers News-Press — Three candidates are vying for the Lee County School Board District 6 at large seat this year. In the running are Tia Collin, Denise Nystrom, and Jada Langford-Fleming. Incumbent Betsy Vaughn is not running for re-election and could not be reached for comment about her reasons for staying out of the race. The Primary, which will take place on Aug. 23, will see the top two vote-getters move on to the General Election if no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote. District 6 is an at-large nonpartisan race, which means anyone in the county can vote for a District 6 candidate. Nystrom and Collins listed student achievement as a top priority for the district.

U.S. Marine, 29, sought for desertion; alert says family in Lee County is hiding him” via Michael Braun of the Fort Myers News-Press — A U.S. Marine wanted for desertion is reportedly hiding in Lee County. An alert from Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers said the federal government wanted Andrew Tyler Hall, 29, for desertion. A Crime Stoppers news release about the former Lehigh Acres man said authorities believe he is hidden by family members in Lee County. Family members could not be reached for comment. Hall left his post in mid-February. According to the U.S. Marine Corps, Hall said he would surrender himself several times but failed to do so. Hall last served as a machine-gunner stationed in Camp Pendleton, California.

The Environmental Conservancy of North Port announces new fundraiser” via Sue Erwin of the North Port Sun — The Environmental Conservancy of North Port announced another new fundraiser to purchase land for conservation. “We have the opportunity to purchase and permanently conserve another parcel in a Florida scrub jay-gopher tortoise neighborhood of North Port that is adjacent to 3 others we already own,” said Barbara Lockhart, president of the conservancy. Lockhart said that acquiring the fourth lot will create a 1-acre tract of conservation land, a first for the conservancy. “Our goal is to raise $5,000,” she said. The conservancy has created a “bingo puzzle” fundraiser, where supporters can choose to go online and purchase a square of the bingo puzzle. The squares cost $500; $250; $100; $50 or $25 (or any increment thereof).

—MORE LOCAL: N. FLORIDA —

Lenny Curry will propose property tax rate cut as residents battle inflation” via David Bauerlein of the Florida Times-Union — As Jacksonville residents struggle to keep up with the nation’s highest inflation in 40 years, Jacksonville Mayor Curry will propose a cut in the city’s property tax rate when he delivers his budget to City Council on Thursday. The city has used the same millage rate since 2013, even as the tax rates for the Duval County School District, St. Johns River Water Management District and Florida Inland Navigation District went down. The booming real estate market has caused the city’s property tax base to grow in leaps and bounds this year, prompting calls from some City Council members for a reduction in the millage rate when residents face soaring costs for everyday expenses such as gas and groceries.

Lenny Curry seeks to give Jacksonville a going-away present. Image via AP.

Pensacola City Council considers raising salary of next Mayor” via Jim Little of the Pensacola News Journal — Pensacola’s next Mayor could get a salary bump. Council member Jared Moore is proposing a $34,000 salary increase for the position of Mayor that would go into effect when the next Mayor takes office in November. Moore’s proposal would set the Mayor’s salary at $134,000. The increase is based on adjusting the salary for inflation since the salary was set at $100,000 in 2010. The City Council has considered raising the mayoral salary before, most recently in 2018, but has never passed an increase since the current charter went into effect in 2010.

As some state attorneys use ‘discretion’ on abortion, Jack Campbell vows to follow law” via James Call of the Tallahassee Democrat — Democratic prosecutors and city governments in the South and Midwest are moving to keep open abortion services as their state governments move to ban or severely restrict access. However, there does not seem to be any such movement in Florida or its capital city. Leading Republicans in Florida, including DeSantis, support a fetal heartbeat bill — a six-week ban. In Tallahassee last week, state attorney Jack Campbell told the Tallahassee Democrat that he will prosecute violators of Florida’s 15-week abortion ban and any further restrictions the Legislature may impose. “I will always follow the law and feel that a failure to do so would be contrary to my oath of office,” said Campbell.

Stats: Tallahassee shootings cause more injuries, deaths this year compared to last year” via Chris Cann of the Tallahassee Democrat — There have been nearly the same number of shootings in the first six months of this year when compared to 2021. However, the number of injuries and deaths in shootings has climbed. Between Jan. 1 and July 1, there have been 117 shootings investigated by the Tallahassee Police Department. According to statistics provided by TPD, they left 48 people injured and eight people dead. In the same six months in 2021, there were 110 shootings, resulting in 31 injuries and seven deaths, according to police statistics. The Tallahassee Democrat also keeps a running count of serious shootings that could or did result in injury or death.

Change in state law means about 33,000 Duval County voters must update records to request mail ballots” via David Bauerlein of the Florida Times-Union — The delayed impact of a change in Florida election law showed up this month in the mailboxes of about 33,000 Duval County voters who learned they must update their records if they want to request a mail-in ballot by going online or calling the election office. The new requirement does not affect their status as registered voters, Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan said. “All the voters that received a notice are voters in good standing,” Hogan said. “They can vote in all elections.”

— TOP OPINION —

DeSantis’ first commander-in-chief test” via Dan McLaughlin of the National Review — Let us assume — as is widely assumed, but as yet unannounced — that DeSantis would like to run for President in 2024. Many across the Republican spectrum would like to see him do so. The trick is that DeSantis needs to wrest the Republican nomination away from Trump, either by defeating him or, better still, convincing him not to run. Harder still, he needs to do so in a way that keeps Trump’s most passionate supporters behind him come that November.

Therein lies the test of character.

While it can be easy to forget this in times of economic turmoil and cultural conflict at home, the first and biggest job of the President is to be the commander-in-chief of the military, chief diplomat of the United States, and — ever since 1945 — the leader of the free world.

This is why it represents such a great test of this aspect of presidential character to face down Trump within a Republican primary, where his own power base resides. DeSantis does not have the luxury of a Democratic candidate, who can simply treat Trump as hostile and despised: He relied on Trump’s fans and supporters to win his own first election in Florida (with Trump’s endorsement) and will need many of them to win the nomination.

— OPINIONS —

America is resigned to mass shootings — but not to police who fail to act” via Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post — An infuriating new report on the shameful police response to the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting “absolves no one,” according to The Post’s print headline. A better way to put it would have been that the report “implicates everyone” for delaying more than an hour while 19 children and two teachers were dying or lying dead. But the question here is not whether the existing system could have been made to perform better. It’s whether we need a whole new system to confront the mass shootings that have become a tragic fact of American life. I see these indiscriminate killing rampages as terrorism.

Trump’s spell weakens, and that’s bad news for Florida” via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board — DeSantis was Ron who? — a backbencher in Congress with little hope of political stardom — when Trump enthusiastically endorsed him more than four years ago. One Trump tweet changed Florida history. Now, as the ex-President sees DeSantis emerge as his biggest rival, Trump must have buyer’s remorse. Anyone who admires DeSantis from afar should come to Florida with eyes wide-open. After winning by just 32,463 votes, he has governed with total contempt toward the 4 million people who didn’t vote for him. He’s as authoritarian as Trump, just as disdainful of democracy, no less polarizing and openly hostile to scientific evidence that doesn’t conform to his narrow agenda.

Novice school board hopefuls offer only anger” via Randy Schultz for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — In recent days, the Sun Sentinel Editorial Board has interviewed most candidates in four Palm Beach County School Board races, three of which involve incumbents. The county Republican Party pledges to defeat all three in these supposedly nonpartisan elections. According to the party’s website, “Parents must have the right to direct the education and upbringing of their children. Also, “Schools must be stopped from indoctrinating students in CRT-inspired ideology,” using shorthand for Critical Race Theory. Challengers dutifully parroted those talking points. A couple of candidates described themselves as “just a mom” looking out for her kids. These candidates are seriously angry. They were angry about the board’s mask mandate. Now they’re angry about supposed indoctrination. The problem is, they would make terrible school board members.

— INSTAGRAM OF THE DAY —

— ALOE —

Can pickleball save America?” via Sarah Larson of The New Yorker — Pickleball, played with paddles and a Wiffle-like ball, has exploded in popularity in recent years. During the pandemic, more than a million Americans began playing it, bringing the total to around 5 million. Stars and athletes play pickleball (Michael Phelps, Leonardo DiCaprio, the Clooneys); so do grandparents, parents and children, often together. It’s simple to grasp — “easy to learn, hard to master,” many told me — and is social and inexpensive. Its design, which includes a no-volley zone near the net, minimizes running, as does the vast popularity of doubles. For these reasons, it can blur the lines between sport and hobby, amateur and pro, celebrity and mortal.

Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the U.S.

How a Pensacola woman’s ruby ring is tied to the Titanic. And why she’s getting rid of it” via Brittany Misencik of the Pensacola News Journal — When finances started feeling tight, Nina Winkler began sifting through her belongings in her Pensacola home and asking herself the difficult question, “What do I have that has value to it?” Looking down at her great-great-grandmother Mabel Darling Mott’s glistening 14-karat ruby ring dated back to Mott’s engagement in the early 1900s, she knew the gem would be enough to get what she needed to provide for her family. She didn’t realize just how much historic value she had within her fingertips. When preparing to sell the ring online about a week ago, she couldn’t help but notice the ring’s distinct hallmarks. The Maltese cross and “O-B 14K” inscribed on the ring’s frame prompted her to start digging for an explanation

— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —

Celebrating today are state Sen. Darryl Rouson and William Large of the Florida Justice Reform Institute.

___

Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Daniel Dean, Renzo Downey, Jacob Ogles, and Drew Wilson.


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