Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.
By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Daniel McAuliffe, Jim Rosica, and Drew Wilson.
Yesterday we reported that billionaire Jeff Greene was entering the Democratic primary for Governor, and paperwork posted on the Florida Division of Elections hours after SUNBURN went out confirmed it.
In the 24 hours since, however, there’s been no indication outside of that one-page statement of candidacy that Greene is any more a candidate for Governor than Patrick Murphy.
Four days after putting pen to paper, we still haven’t seen a campaign website, staff announcement or introductory news release. The only other person connected to the campaign as of now is campaign treasurer Sarah Nilsen, and she ain’t talking, either.
There was no shortage of coverage stating that Greene had entered the race, of course, but other than unearthing a few grafs from 8-year-old stories on Greene’s Senate bid and freshening them up with some tepid pro-Donald Trump quotes from a months-old Forbes interview, there was little new info coming out of Sunshine State newsrooms Monday.
In fact, Greene’s candidacy was met with almost deafening silence.
Without a little help from Greene, it’s hard to make out why he filed for the race Friday at all.
For a “normal” candidate, dropping off paperwork on the first of the month allows them a full month to make a statement on the fundraising trail, but that kind of maneuvering seems illogical when talking about one of the 200 richest men in America.
— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —
—@JGM41: President @was discharged from @ today after being treated for low blood pressure. The president is deeply appreciative both for the terrific care and the many good wishes he has received.
—@Timodc: Conservatives may mock the argument that the media is pro-Trump but the results speak for themselves. While reporters as individuals might be liberal or anti-Trump he abuses human nature and journalistic tropes to get graded on a massive curve … Take [Mitt] Romney’s 47% gaffe — or frankly any major political gaffe in history — and dump it into Trumps Nashville speech verbatim. The remark wouldn’t have even made it into the newspaper.
—@JonathanTamari: President Trump says the Eagles are “unable to come to the White House with their full team tomorrow” because he “insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart.” Instead says he will host a different celebration tomorrow.
—@MarcoRubio: This is how # uses our own large businesses as a weapon against our national interests. U.S. telecoms are pushing to use tax-payer funded subsidies to buy # & # gear & then use in America. Basically China wants YOU to pay for their spying!
—@RepLoisFrankel: When someone walks into a store, they shouldn’t have to worry they’ll be denied service b/c of who they love or who they are. I will keep fighting to pass the # so all LGBTQ Americans have basic protections from discrimination. #
—@AdamPutnam: Our prayers go out to the Sanford Fire Department, @and the friends and family of Lieutenant Mike Salber. His service to keep our community safe will be remembered.
—@MDixon55: Give Jeff Greene credit for not waffling. He sent out feelers, polled, and made a decision. Another duo that wants everyone to think they are potential Florida gubernatorial candidates have their 537 editorial board meeting today.
—@Fineout: So @FLGovScott & Cabinet have scheduled a 4 p.m. Friday conference call to start the process to find a new banking regulator after the current OFR commissioner resigned under pressure
—@JamesGrantFL: A single API that allows true interoperability of health data is monumental progress. Providers should be hammering their EMR vendors to adopt and patients should be doing the same to their providers. Consumerism can’t happen until consumers are equipped & empowered. #
—@AmyTrask: I shall always remember precisely where I was for “the catch” — I knew then what a tremendous football player @was — I learned later while in the @ what a tremendous man he was — my heart is w/his loved ones.
— DAYS UNTIL —
Democratic gubernatorial candidates debate in St. Petersburg — 4; Democratic gubernatorial candidates debate in Miramar — 6; Time Warner/AT&T merger ruling — 7; 2018 FIFA World Cup begins — 9; Father’s Day — 12; Close of candidate qualifying for statewide office — 17; Florida GOP Sunshine Summit starts — 23; Democratic gubernatorial candidates debate in Fort Myers — 33; MLB All-Star Game — 42; Deadline for filing claim bills — 57; ‘The Race for Governor’ Republican gubernatorial debate — 57; ‘The Race for Governor’ Democratic gubernatorial debate in Miami — 58; Start of the U.S. Open — 83; Primary Election Day — 84; College Football opening weekend — 86; NFL season starts — 93; Future of Florida Forum — 113; ‘Before You Vote’ Florida U.S. Senate debate — 140; ‘Before You Vote’ Florida Governor debate — 141; General Election Day — 154; ‘Hamilton’ comes to the Straz Center — 254; 2019 Legislative Session starts — 273.
“Parkland teens launch nationwide bus tour to boost voter turnout among young people” via Daniel Ducassi of POLITICO Florida — Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students leading the March for Our Lives movement will embark on a nationwide tour to boost voter turnout among young people. At a news conference in South Florida, Cameron Kasky, one of several Parkland student leaders, said the group is laser-focused on improving dismal midterm election turnout numbers by launching “Road to Change,” a two-month summer bus tour to get young people involved politically and, more importantly, into the voting booths for upcoming primary and general elections. “Voting has so often become a chore to people, so many people have shrugged it off as something that isn’t important,” he said. The shift to increase voter turnout follows the group’s successful efforts in Florida to convince lawmakers in Tallahassee to rewrite the state’s gun laws in the wake of the Feb. 14 mass shooting at the Parkland school that left 17 dead, including 14 students.
— NOTES FROM THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL —
“Rick Scott’s ties to Trump present political predicament for Senate run” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida – Gov. Rick Scott is off to a blistering start in his nationally-watched challenge to Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, dropping $10 million on early TV ads and campaigning in all corners of the state. But he’s still grappling with a potential political quandary: President Donald Trump. Scott’s trip last week to Puerto Rico provided new talking points to Nelson and Democrats as they keep up their attack on the governor’s close ties to the controversial commander-in-chief. Speaking at a news conference on the island, Scott told reporters that he didn’t know “what I would do differently” when asked about the Trump administration’s response in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, a massive storm last fall that knocked out power for months for tens of thousands of island residents. Scott’s response was perceived as a glaring example of his unwillingness to criticize the Trump administration.
“Ron DeSantis’ $3M fundraising haul in May punctuated by boost from major Marco Rubio donor” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida — Kenneth Griffin, founder and CEO of the investment firm Citadel, gave $500,000 in May to Friends of Ron DeSantis, a political committee controlled by DeSantis … Conservative Solutions, a super PAC that backed Rubio’s presidential bid, received $5 million from Griffin during the 2016 election cycle. It was among $15 million in federal contributions Griffin gave to Republicans, including $100,000 to a super PAC backing former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush‘s presidential campaign.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor endorses Gwen Graham for Governor — As Graham marks the beginning of Pride Month, she is announcing another major South Florida endorsement from Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis, the city’s first openly gay mayor. “As we mark the beginning of Pride Month, I’m excited to announce my endorsement of Gwen Graham, a champion for LGBTQ rights and equality,” Trantalis said. “Running for Congress in a conservative district, Gwen wasn’t afraid to stand up for marriage equality and our rights. In Congress, she followed through on her promise and fought for LGBTQ Floridians, co-sponsored the Equality Act and earned a 100 percent rating from the Human Rights Campaign … As governor, she will work to ban conversion therapy, issue an executive order adding sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes against discrimination in the governor’s office, and finally sign the Florida Competitive Workforce Act (FCWA) into law.”
Assignment editors — Graham will sit down with Central Florida health professionals and patients in a ‘listening session’ to discuss her plans for expanding health care. That’s at 9:30 a.m., Florida Hospital Association’s Orlando office, 307 Park Lake Circle, Orlando. Reporters are invited to attend the listening session and interview Graham. Media interested in joining are asked to RSVP to Bettina Weiss at [email protected]
Philip Levine launches new radio ad featuring Ray Allen — The Levine for Governor campaign is releasing a new radio ad featuring former Miami Heat shooting guard Allen sharing why he is supporting the former Miami Beach mayor. “I know what it means to take a shot when everything is on the line,” Allen says in the ad. This year, Florida is on the line, and that’s why I’m supporting Philip Levine in his race for Governor. You see, Philip always has the courage to stand up when it counts——and when the game’s on the line, trust me, Philip Levine not only gets it, but delivers big time. That’s why I’m with Levine all the way!” The new radio ad will run in markets across Florida, backed by a five-figure media buy.
To hear the ad, click the image below:
“’There’s no catch’: Amendment 2 supporters say it’s for everyone” via Danny McAuliffe of Florida Politics — The campaign hosted a Facebook Live panel with private-industry tax experts who claimed Amendment 2, which seeks to extend an already existing 10 percent cap on properties that don’t have a homestead exemption, doesn’t come with a catch. Instead, it would benefit the economy as a whole, from businesses to consumers to schools to renters — especially those seeking affordable housing. Voters approved the current cap in 2008. It will expire this year. If Amendment 2 passes, it would permanently extend the cap. It was primed for a ballot appearance in 2017 when the Legislature nearly unanimously approved the idea (HJR 21). Robert Weissert, who works as the executive vice president and counsel at Florida TaxWatch, said if voters approved Amendment 2, then the state would maintain an economically healthy status quo.
“Committee to oppose greyhound-racing ban announces formation” via Florida Politics — The Committee to Support Greyhounds has been formed for the “purpose of promoting greyhound welfare, racing, and adoption, as well as educating the public regarding the life of racing greyhounds,” the group announced in a Monday release. “The members of this committee are a group of passionate supporters of the greyhound breed, spearheading a grassroots campaign to boldly go into the heart of greyhound racing in Florida, sharing real-life events of happy, healthy, loving greyhounds in ALL stages of life — from young puppies to life at the track to retirement,” it said. The committee’s announcement comes the same day that advocates for a ballot initiative to put an end to greyhound racing launched their “Protect Dogs — Yes on 13” campaign. Amendment 13, placed on the ballot by the 2017-18 Constitution Revision Commission, would outlaw the racing of dogs and wagering on such races. Amendments need at least 60 percent approval to be added to the state constitution.
“Scott Sturgill outlines bold plan to grant amnesty to undocumented immigrants” via Florida Politics — Sturgill appears to be positioning himself for the general election in his bid to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy in Florida’s 7th Congressional District, at least when it comes to immigration issues. In a recent interview, Sturgill said he was in favor of giving undocumented immigrants three months to “get their ducks in a row” and start the process to become legal U.S. residents. “I think 99 percent of the immigrants who are here are just trying to make things better for their family. Did they come here illegally? Yes. But should we hold that against them? No, again, I think we need to look at the whole issue in broad,” he said. Sturgill clarified he was OK with “expelling” undocumented immigrants who commit violent crimes. The stance is a departure from the boilerplate Republican position on illegal immigration — many of his GOP peers argue that the act of entering the United States illegally is cause enough for deportation.
“Chris Hunter calls for return of ‘common decency’ in new ad” via Florida Politics — Democrat Hunter rolled out a new video for his campaign against incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis in Florida’s 12th Congressional District. The ad, titled “For Granted,” covers Hunter’s career as an FBI agent and federal prosecutor before turning toward his reasons for running for the Tampa Bay area congressional district. “There are things we take for granted in America. Before 9/11, we took our security for granted. Two weeks later, I decided to serve in the FBI. Under Robert Mueller, I worked counterterrorism and counterintelligence and defended our country against all enemies, foreign and domestic, not to serve a party or a president but to protect the country I love,” Hunter says. “As a federal prosecutor, I helped lead a national strike force against health care fraud and put violent criminals and con artists behind bars … for too long we’ve taken our shared American values for granted, too. Things like common decency, honesty and respect for the rule of law.” He closes the minute-long ad by saying he’s running for Congress to “defend those values and protect the America we love.”
Click on the image below to watch the ad:
Happening today — Venice Republican state Rep. Julio Gonzalez, who is running for Florida 17th Congressional District, hosts a meet-and-greet event, 6 p.m., Venice Yacht Club, 1330 Tarpon Center Dr., Venice.
“Aaron Bean draws Libertarian challenger” via Florida Politics — Bean will face a general election challenge in Senate District 4, a Duval/Nassau district that leans heavily Republican. Joanna Liberty Tavares filed for the seat. Tavares, per SunBiz, is an officer for Sweet Freedom LLC. The business address, at River City Marketplace, corresponds with Smallcakes Cupcakery, a well-regarded pastry shop … Tavares is a U.S. Army Veteran, whose highest rank was Staff Sergeant. She served in Afghanistan last decade, as the Global War on Terror was ramping up. And that experience was central to her decision to run. She said she was following the work of the Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, of which incumbent Bean is a member, when she realized “a lot of people are making decisions for military members and veterans who have never served.”
First in Sunburn — Retailers back Keith Perry in SD 8 race — The Florida Retail Federation (FRF) PAC is endorsing incumbent Perry, a Republican, for Senate District 8 in North Central Florida which includes all of Putnam and Alachua counties and a large part of Marion County. “Keith is a longtime retail business owner, and as a Senator, he’s been a tremendous advocate for Florida retailers by helping to pass important legislation that enhances our industry,” said FRF President/CEO R. Scott Shalley. “Keith is a friend of retail, and we look forward to continuing to work with him on ways to ensure Florida remains the top state for businesses.” Perry runs Perry Roofing, a Top 100 roofing company with 150 employees and three offices across the state.
“Amanda Murphy raises $50K for political committee during first weeks on the trail” via Florida Politics — A political committee tied to former Democratic Rep. Murphy, who is running for Senate District 16 in the fall, brought in $50,000 last month … Taxpayers for Responsible Government received that money via a single contribution, though no name or occupation was attributed to the money. The listed address, however, matches that of political committee Florida For All, which also cut a $50,000 check to a committee linked to House Minority Leader Janet Cruz in April. The SD 16 race will likely see Murphy up against Clearwater Republican Rep. Ed Hooper in the fall.
Happening tonight — State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith visits St. Petersburg for a fundraiser for his House District 49 re-election campaign. Host committee includes St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman, fellow state Rep. Ben Diamond and City Council member Darden Rice. Event begins 6 p.m., BellaBrava, 204 Beach Dr. NE, St. Petersburg. RSVP online here.
“Daniel Perez to face Republican challenger for HD 116 seat” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — State Rep. Daniel Perez is now set to face a Republican primary challenger in the race for House District 116. That’s according to a report from The News Service of Florida (NSF). Miami Republican Frank E. Polo Sr. officially opened a campaign account with the Florida Division of Elections Monday. He’s the first Republican this cycle to challenge Perez, who is also from Miami. One Democrat, James Alexander Harden, has also entered the race. Perez won the HD 116 seat last year in a special election after Rep. Jose Felix Diaz quit to run for Senate District 40 following the resignation of Frank Artiles. Perez previously worked as an attorney at Cole, Scott & Kissane.
“Vote centers: The next big thing in Florida elections?” via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times — Florida voters spoke loudly in the 2016 presidential election: More than two-thirds of them voted early or by mail, not on Election Day. That clear preference has county elections officials thinking about making a significant change in the future to move to regional vote centers. An increasingly mobile society and the widespread support for early voting makes it inevitable, experts say, that people will embrace voting at regional sites — subject to the approval by the state Legislature. Voters could go to any vote center in their county and cast a ballot, and the traditional neighborhood polling place at a VFW hall or church would be a thing of the past. No matter where you live and vote, the correct ballot for your precinct would be provided on demand at a vote center, for the same number of days the county holds early voting, including Election Day. In a recent statewide survey of all 67 county elections supervisors, more than two-thirds of those participating favored the idea of vote centers, and fewer than a third opposed the idea.
— STATEWIDE —
“Judge will decide on lifting ‘stay’ in smokable marijuana case” via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics — A Tallahassee judge on Monday did not immediately rule on whether to immediately make effective her ruling to allow patients to smoke medical marijuana in Florida. After a nearly hourlong hearing, Circuit Judge Karen Gievers said she’d take the plaintiffs’ request “under advisement” but added she would make a decision “as quickly as possible.” Gievers also asked plaintiffs’ attorney Jon Mills if his clients would object to holding off for a short time before she lifted a ‘stay’ on the decision. Mills said OK to a week’s delay.
“‘Flower’ fight: Citrus preference sparks medical marijuana rule challenge” via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics — A Tampa orchid nursery seeking to break into the medical marijuana market is challenging the Department of Health’s plan to give a preference in how it awards new licenses to grow the plant … At issue is a provision in state law that gives preference in granting medical marijuana provider licenses to companies with underused or shuttered citrus factories … Del Favero Orchids says in its filing it bought “facilities that were used in citrus processing specifically for the purpose of converting those facilities for use in processing medical marijuana.” Now, the company suggests it could have a white elephant on its hands. The state’s proposed rule, the challenge says, “would provide no additional points to most applicants that qualify for the citrus preference” and “provides no assurance that the preference will actually result in any licenses being issued to applicants” that qualify.
“Scientists report blue-green algae pouring out Lake Okeechobee toward St. Lucie River” via Tyler Treadway of TCPalm — “I can see algae here on the east shore of the lake, and it’s getting sucked through the dam,” Mark Perry, executive director of the Florida Oceanographic Society in Stuart, said from a perch on the Port Mayaca Lock and Dam, which connects the lake to the C-44 Canal flowing to the St. Lucie River about 26 miles away. “Once it goes through, it gets mixed in with all the muddy, dirty water and you can’t see it anymore,” Perry said. “But it’s heading our way, and it sure looks like blue-green algae.” Possible blue-green algae also could be seen along the canal downstream of Port Mayaca, four days after the Army Corps of Engineers began discharging Lake O water toward the St. Lucie River to keep the lake from rising too fast. To be sure the bright green scum coming out of the lake and down the canal is blue-green algae, and to see if it contains toxins, will require lab tests.
“Governor of Puerto Rico says he wants hurricane-displaced families to return to the island” via Jennifer Marcial Ocasio of the Orlando Sentinel — With the Transitional Shelter Assistance program of the Federal Emergency Management Agency concluding by the end of the month, about 656 applicants in Florida will have to decide whether they will stay and look for housing on their own or return to Puerto Rico. The TSA program ends June 30. With this in mind, the governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló Nevares, visited Central Florida to address the situation with displaced Puerto Ricans in the Sunshine State and to offer relocation options for them to return to the island. “We would like everyone to return to Puerto Rico. There is only 1 percent without power. Reconstruction funds will reach Puerto Rico, and that will help us improve housing, roads and education. But that is your own decision, and we want to make sure that you have the best resources to make the wisest decision, whether it is staying or returning,” Rosselló said.
“Court sides with state in toll technology dispute” via the News Service of Florida — A divided appeals court backed the Florida Department of Transportation in a contracting dispute about toll-system technology. The dispute stemmed from a patent license agreement entered between the Florida Turnpike Enterprise, which was acting on behalf of the department, and Neology, Inc. The department paid $7 million for the right to use technology that would allow automated toll-collection “readers” to communicate with transponders on the vehicles of cars from other states, according to Monday’s ruling by a panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal. A Neology competitor, Kapsch TrafficCom IVHS, Inc., filed a legal challenge, arguing that the department failed to comply with competitive-bidding requirements. Kapsch argued, in part, that the patent license was a “commodity.” But a Leon County circuit judge disagreed, and the appeals court upheld that stance.
“State asks judge to block release of records that might show why FIU bridge collapsed” via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald — The Florida Department of Transportation went to court in an attempt to keep the public and the news media from examining records that might reveal what caused the bridge collapse that killed six people at Florida International University in March. The agency asked Leon County Circuit Court Judge John Cooper to dismiss a lawsuit by the Miami Herald to compel the state to turn over emails, meeting minutes and other records relating to the bridge’s design and construction. The Miami Herald sued after trying for two months to get the agency to release documents that could shed light on the tragic accident. FDOT has stated that the records are public documents but has refused to release them, arguing that a federal law that shields the release of documents relating to a National Transportation Safety Board investigation pre-empts the Florida public records law.
Happening today — Former Florida State University quarterback and basketball player Charlie Ward will take part in the 2018 Prudential Productivity Awards ceremony. Prudential and Florida TaxWatch sponsor the program, which honors state employees who reduce costs and improve services. In 1993, Ward won college football’s Heisman Trophy. Event begins 5 p.m., Florida State University, Ruby Diamond Concert Hall, 222 South Copeland St., Tallahassee.
— GAME OF CLAIMS —
Is there a ‘swamp’ problem with claims bills in the Florida Legislature? Maybe. Depends who you ask.
The Associated Press’s Gary Fineout reported Monday that of the 100 claims bills filed during the 2017 and 2018 Legislative Sessions, just 21 were approved — eight of which were represented by lobbyist Michael Corcoran, who also is term-limited House Speaker Richard Corcoran’s brother. Michael Corcoran secured $16.9 million for represented victims, a bit short of half of the $37.5 million awarded in total.
While the numbers are at first suspicious, it’s worth noting Michael Corcoran still only saw a 42 percent success rate with claims he represented. Still, others in the process who are sourced in the story criticize the concept.
Bipartisan disapproval: Both Rep. Evan Jenne, a Democrat, and Rep. Jay Fant, a Republican running for the Attorney General seat, both point to the unusual power lobbyists hold in the claims process.
Fire with fire: Republican Rep. Cord Byrd told Fineout his two claims bills failed because of opposing lobbyists’ efforts. “It’s cheaper to hire a lobbyist to go in year in and year out and kill a local claims bill than pay it out.”
Speaker’s perspective: Corcoran has championed a six-year lobbying ban for legislators that is up for voter approval, notes Fineout. Though he defends claims as a way of supporting wronged “citizens over government.”
— ‘TOO BIG TO FAIL’ —
A recent newspaper investigation into regulatory actions taken upon the state’s largest network of nursing homes is a must-read, albeit one that will leave the reader uneasy.
Reported by Ryan Mills and Melanie Payne, the investigation revealed that a $347.8 million judgment against Consulate (for fraud, although linked to neglect) was overturned as a result of inaction from state regulators who were limited in their ability to stem wrongdoings of such a large corporation housing so many elder residents.
One source described Consulate as “too big to fail.” Mills and Payne wrote that it “represents a growing trend in the nursing home industry. The homes are evolving into national corporations that funnel profits to wealthy investors.”
Names, faces: Included in the investigative piece are stories of mistreated patients — like Billy Siegler, who overdosed after not receiving therapy — to illustrate how the consumer ultimately is the victim of the inaction.
Oversight: The judge who overturned the settlement placed the blame squarely on Florida’s AHCA and the feds for not exhibiting concern over possible fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid claims.
Untimely at best: Following the judge’s ruling, AHCA informed 53 Consulate homes that the agency would deny their license renewals, followed by another three afterward. Eight of those were later put on improvement tracks.
— DEFENSE OF A COWARD —
Most familiar with the tragedy in Parkland know that the Marjory Stoneman Douglas cop Scot Peterson failed to intervene.
That’s made him an easy scapegoat in the wake of the massacre. He’s often referred to as a coward, a label placed squarely upon him by leaders, media, survivors, and relatives of victims. A recent story in The Washington Post by Eli Saslow features Peterson and shows that such criticism has not gone unnoticed by the disgraced cop.
“He had been admired and maybe even beloved up until a former student named Nikolas Cruz allegedly arrived at school with an AR-15. And ever since, Peterson had been living inside those next seven minutes,” Saslow writes.
Pension problem: Peterson didn’t have a choice but to retire, notes Saslow. But his nearly $100,000 pension has only worsened his situation. It’s clear the ex-cop will not enjoy being out of work, as he’s continually replaying the events of the shooting in his head.
Simulation: Saslow recounts Peterson watching the animated depiction of the shooting created by the sheriff’s office. He feels guilt, and recalls, “I was scanning for the shooter, looking over the windows, the sidewalk, the rooftop. I thought maybe it was a sniper like in Las Vegas. I just didn’t know.”
Santa Fe contrast: The school shooting in Texas that followed came with a stark reference to Parkland. The school resource officer there went in, whereas Peterson did not. “A case study in the difference between heroism and cowardice.”
— OPINIONS —
“Ron Sachs: In ‘fake news’ era, Americans must be better news consumers” for the Tallahassee Democrat — As a former mainstream journalist who has spent a career telling stories with facts, I have deep concerns about the blurring of the lines between reliable sources and the many irresponsible practitioners of messaging today … traditional journalism seems the exception rather than the rule. It’s common for opinions to be woven into news stories, as many reporters share their own perspective and insights. That’s why The PR Council, a national organization of the professional public relations industry, is working to promote the public education necessary, in this strange era, to help consumers learn to differentiate between real news and the many things that fall woefully short of it. While we can’t control waves of conflicting information washing across our lives, we can control how we swim through it.
“Joe Henderson: FEA to Republicans: You get an F, and you get an F, and you …” via Florida Politics — It seems only fair that the Florida Education Association decided the Legislature deserved to be covered with the same sauce it has for years been ladling on public schools … the report card the Association just gave lawmakers, based on how they voted on education issues over the last two years. Not surprisingly, Republicans — aka the Charter School Expansion Rubber Stamp Collective — fared poorly. The primary argument in favor of charter schools is that they offer students stuck in failing schools an alternative. Actually, that is true. Some students do extremely well in charters, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Public schools must accept any student — whether disruptive or disinterested. Nothing is (or can be) demanded of parents regarding school participation. And if the students flunk out, it can drag down the whole school’s grade, under a formula determined by the state to punish teachers. Charters can enact much stricter rules and require support from parents. At Tampa’s Brooks-DeBartolo Collegiate High School, for instance, families must spend at least 20 hours each year in some volunteer service there. Public schools don’t have that option.
“Bob Gabordi: Why FLORIDA TODAY is dropping photos of people arrested” — For years, FLORIDA TODAY has published one of those information dumps: A gallery of photographs — mugshots — of people arrested. As of today, we’ll no longer do that … We’ll still go through the mugshots and the information supplied by the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, but we’re not going to just dump everything online … People need to know when a significant crime or arrest occurs in their neighborhood, favorite shopping area or near their child’s school. So, we’ll continue to write stories and briefs about important crimes and when appropriate, we’ll use an arrest photo. What we’re doing is dropping the automation of the process and the routine publication of mugshot galleries.
— MOVEMENTS —
Appointed — Judges Dawn V. Denaro, Andrea Ricker Wolfson and Renatha Francis to the 11th Judicial Circuit Court; Judge Scott H. Cupp to the 20th Judicial Circuit Court; Jennifer Alexandra Alcorta Waters to the Martin County Court.
“Jeff Vinik hiring Bob Buckhorn special assistant Christina Barker” via Richard Danielson of the Tampa Bay Times — A third member of Mayor Buckhorn’s inner circle is leaving City Hall for a job with Vinik, and she’s taking experience on an issue — transportation — increasingly important to Vinik. Special assistant to the mayor Barker, 32, will be vice president of community partnerships and policy for the Vinik Family Office, which employs more than a dozen people and manages Vinik’s independent business interests. Over the past four years, Barker’s job at City Hall has included working on efforts to improve the TECO Line Streetcar System, city transportation policy, the Autism Friendly Tampa initiative, federal and state legislative priorities, grants, and paid parental leave, plus events like park openings and the annual State of the City speech. The city job pays $87,859 a year.
— ALOE —
“Nearly a quarter of Tesla’s Model 3 reservation deposits in the U.S. have supposedly been refunded” via Rani Molla of recode — Two years ago Tesla began accepting $1,000 deposits for its new, lower-priced Model 3 electric car, with the expectation that customers would likely receive their vehicles in 2018. Hundreds of thousands of people have reserved one. But perhaps due to extended production delays, many customers have been asking for their money back. As of the end of April, some 23 percent of all Model 3 deposits in the U.S. had been refunded, according to new U.S. data from Second Measure, a company that analyzes billions of dollars in anonymized credit and debit card purchases. These cancellations aren’t necessarily bad for Tesla since its production rate is nowhere near as high as it needs to be to fulfill the more than 450,000 reservations it still has. Last quarter, it delivered just 8,180 Model 3s.
“The newest blue crayon is 200 years in the making” via Nathaniel Ainley of Vice — Thanks to Crayola, the brazen glow of the first new blue pigment created in the last 200 years will soon be in the hands of art makers everywhere. The new blue, temporarily labeled “YInMn,” will be making its international debut as a crayon in Crayola’s new box set slated to be released later this year. The art supplier announced the new crayon last month at The Colorful World of Pigments panel on color theory and invited the public to participate in a naming competition that lets people submit potential name ideas for the new color. The new shade of blue is slated to replace the “Dandelion” color from Crayola’s staple 24-color box set.
“Universal mistakenly posts info about new nighttime show” via John Gregory of Orlando Rising — Construction on a new nighttime show in the lagoon at the Universal Studios Florida has been underway for several months, but the park itself hadn’t announced many details on what was coming. Technically, it still hasn’t, but a post quickly removed from Universal’s site listed the show’s name, concept art and some of the franchises which may be featured … Universal Orlando’s What’s New page featured a new addition about the show, which is called Universal’s Cinematic Celebration: Epic Cinema Under the Stars. The info was taken down from the site within a few hours.
Happy birthday to former Reps. Seth McKeel, Amanda Murphy and Ricardo Rangel, Brad Burleson of Ballard Partners, Kevin Cleary, and Heidi Otway of Salter Mitchell.