Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 9.14.20
First in Sunburn — Carlecia Collins joins GrayRobinson — GrayRobinson is bringing on Carlecia Collins as a lobbyist. Collins is currently working in the Senate President’s office, where she was in charge of all appointments to boards, commissions, and task forces. Before serving in the Senate President’s office, she worked in the House Speaker’s office during the term of Dean Cannon, who is now president of GrayRobinson. She also worked for former Sen. Jack Latvala when he chaired the Senate Appropriations Committee and has served under multiple presiding officers. She is a double alumna of Florida State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary social science and a master’s in applied American politics and policy.
Collins starts at GrayRobinson later this month.
— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —
—@TheHill: President @realDonaldTrump: “52 days we’re going to win Nevada and we’re going to win 4 more years in the White House — and then after that we’ll negotiate. Based on the way we were treated, we’re probably entitled to another 4 after that.”
—@LASDHQ: To the protesters blocking the entrance & exit of the HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOM yelling ‘We hope they die’ referring to 2 LA Sheriff’s ambushed today in #Compton: DO NOT BLOCK EMERGENCY ENTRIES & EXITS TO THE HOSPITAL. People’s lives are at stake when ambulances can’t get through.
—@AGAshleyMoody: Disgusted by continuing reports of brutal attacks on LEOs across our country. I again call for increased penalties for those who maliciously attack those who bravely serve.
—@SVDate: 1) If you are blocking access to the ambulance driveway at a hospital, you are endangering people’s lives. 2) If you are chanting “let them die” about people who have been shot, then there is something damaged in your soul.
Honored to have been invited by President @realDonaldTrump to attend the signing of the Abraham Accords on Tuesday. Thanks to President Trump’s leadership, the Middle East is normalizing relations w/ our ally #Israel & the region is becoming more stable & secure! #jaxpol #flapol pic.twitter.com/DamATz7w12
— Rep. Jason Fischer (@JasonFischerFL) September 13, 2020
—@ida_v_e: Hypothetical for Floridians: If a Governor knew a Category 5 hurricane was headed to Florida, but told everyone it was a tropical storm to “avoid a panic,” and as a result of that lie, thousands of people who could have evacuated instead died, should that Governor be re-elected?
—@ALixabeth: Is someone recording the “18-21 yr olds executive functions aren’t fully developed so it is not their fault if they spread COVID at college parties” takes so that, in 10 yrs when they are struggling w the consequences of $ decisions they made when 18-21 yrs old, they get a break?
—@CovHousePrez: In nearly 30 years, I’ve never seen this level of child hunger. At @we’ve served over 1 million meals since 3/1 & it’s not enough. We don’t need meaningless campaign slogans about children. We need a war on child poverty, hunger & homelessness. And we need it now.
I’d like to nominate cardboard humans watching baseball in a dystopian hell scape for photo of the year, thanks. pic.twitter.com/DeQmFjuM45
— 🇨🇦 Marshall Ferguson 🏈 (@TSN_Marsh) September 10, 2020
—@FredPiccoloJr: Jags win. 2020 gonna 2020.
— DAYS UNTIL —
Apple announces new iPhone — 1; Walmart Amazon Prime competitor, Walmart+, will launch nationwide — 2; Rescheduled date for the French Open — 7; First presidential debate in Indiana — 15; “Wonder Woman 1984” premieres — 18; Preakness Stakes rescheduled — 19; Ashley Moody’s 2020 Human Trafficking Summit — 22; First vice presidential debate at the University of Utah — 23; NBA season ends (last possible date) — 29; Second presidential debate scheduled in Miami — 31; NBA draft — 32; Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch” premieres — 32; NBA free agency — 34; Florida Chamber’s Future of Florida Forum — 36; Third presidential debate at Belmont — 38; 2020 General Election — 50; “Black Widow” premieres — 53; NBA 2020-21 training camp — 58; The Masters begins — 59; College basketball season slated to begin — 66; “No Time to Die” premieres — 68; Pixar’s “Soul” premieres — 68; NBA 2020-21 opening night — 79; Florida Automated Vehicles Summit — 79; Super Bowl LV in Tampa — 146; “A Quiet Place Part II” rescheduled premiere — 159; “Top Gun: Maverick” rescheduled premiere — 291; New start date for 2021 Olympics — 312; “Jungle Cruise” premieres — 320; “Spider-Man Far From Home” sequel premieres — 420; “Thor: Love and Thunder” premieres — 516; “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” premieres — 569; “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” sequel premieres — 750.
— PRESIDENTIAL —
“Joe Biden-Donald Trump a 5-point race in post-convention poll” via Dana Blanton of Fox News — The Biden–Kamala Harris ticket is ahead of the Trump–Mike Pence ticket by a 51-46 percent margin. That 5 percentage-point advantage sits right at the margin of sampling error of the latest Fox News survey, taken after the Democratic and Republican national conventions. Majorities of likely voters have a positive opinion of Biden and trust him over Trump on coronavirus, Supreme Court nominations, and uniting the country and that nudges the former vice president just over 50 percent in the presidential race. The national survey, released Sunday, is the first Fox News has conducted among likely voters this year, and the first time it included running mates in the vote preference question. Both tickets have secured the backing of their key voting blocs. Biden leads among women, suburban voters, seniors, millennials, Blacks, and Hispanics. Trump is ahead among men, Whites, rural voters, veterans, White Catholics, and Gen Xers.
—”Minnesota seemed ripe for a Trump breakout. It has not arrived.” via Astead W. Herndon of The New York Times
—”A Pennsylvania town once known as ‘communism on the prairie’ is all about Trump now” via Julia Terruso of The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Mike Bloomberg to spend at least $100 million in Florida to benefit Biden” via Michael Scherer of The Washington Post — Bloomberg plans to spend at least $100 million in Florida to help elect Joe Biden, a massive late-stage infusion of cash that could reshape the presidential contest in a costly toss-up state central to President Donald Trump’s reelection hopes. Bloomberg decided to focus his final election spending on Florida last week, after news reports that Trump had considered spending as much as $100 million of his own money in the final weeks of the campaign, Bloomberg’s advisers said. Presented with several options on how to make good on an earlier promise to help elect Biden, Bloomberg decided that a narrow focus on Florida was the best use of his money. The president’s campaign has long treated the state, which Trump now calls home, as a top priority, and his advisers remain confident in his chances given strong turnout in 2016 and 2018 that gave Republicans narrow winning margins in statewide contests.
For context, this @MikeBloomberg spend would be an entire @SenRickScott campaign in 50 days. That amount of spending works here. Florida is a TV state.https://t.co/hY2GSoMWLT
— Kevin Cate (@KevinCate) September 13, 2020
“Latino groups warn that Biden’s sluggish outreach to their voters could hurt in November” via Sean Sullivan of The Washington Post — Top Latino Democrats are warning lackluster efforts to win the support of their community could have devastating consequences. Recent polls showing President Donald Trump’s inroads with Latinos have set off a fresh round of frustration and finger-pointing among Democrats, confirming problems some say have simmered for months. Many Latino activists and officials said Biden is now playing catch-up, particularly in the pivotal state of Florida, where he will campaign Tuesday — the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month — for the first time as the presidential nominee.
“‘This is f—ing crazy’: Florida Latinos swamped by wild conspiracy theories” via Sabrina Rodriguez and Marc Caputo of Politico — George Soros directs a “Deep State” global conspiracy network. A Biden win would put America in control of “Jews and Blacks.” The Democratic nominee has a pedophilia problem. Wild disinformation like this is inundating Spanish-speaking residents of South Florida ahead of Election Day, clogging their WhatsApp chats, Facebook feeds and even radio airwaves at a saturation level that threatens to shape the outcome in the nation’s biggest and most closely contested swing state. The sheer volume of conspiracy theories — including QAnon —is already playing a role in stunting Biden’s growth with Latino voters, who comprise about 17% of the state’s electorate.
“Biden campaign launches new Spanish language ads in Florida” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — Biden is launching a new Spanish language ad campaign in Florida. The television and digital ad, called “Dicen Mucho / They Say A lot” will target Latino families. It criticizesTrump’s response to the coronavirus and economic downturn. The ad also boasts Biden’s role in the economic recovery of 2008 and his plan proposed tax plan. The Democratic nominee’s campaign will also launch two radio ads to run in Florida, called “Arroz / Rice,” and “Corazón de la Economía / Heart of the Economy.” The “Arroz / Rice” ad will target Puerto Ricans — honing in on Trump’s poor response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and criticizing the President’s advertisements in the U.S. territory. The radio ad will also hit on Florida’s coronavirus death toll, which just reached 12,600 residents and 156 non-residents on Friday.
Watch the ad here:
Assignment editors — Biden will be in Florida Tuesday afternoon for a roundtable with veterans in Tampa at 1:30 p.m. He will also attend a Hispanic Heritage Month event in Kissimmee at 6:30 p.m. Registration information for the events is available here.
“Trump’s policy agenda gets Florida focus in election year” via Steve Contorno of the Tampa Bay Times — It’s not normal for a president to announce new policies on the road in front of a sea of supporters chanting “FOUR MORE YEARS” and encouraging him to take more shots at his political foes. But that was the scene in Jupiter last week as President Trump took the extraordinary step of extending a drilling ban off Florida’s coast to 2032. Billed as an official presidential visit, the event started with familiar campaign music and ended with Ron DeSantis tossing Trump’s pens into a pit of outstretched hands like they were guitar picks at a rock concert. Facing a difficult road to another term, Trump’s election-year agenda has frequently shined a spotlight on Florida. The offshore drilling ban follows another high-profile announcement earlier this summer to allow the importation of prescription drugs from Canada, a DeSantis priority.
“ Trump’s campaign is caught between 2 worlds, with 2 months to go” via Gabby Orr of Politico — Past presidents running for reelection have built entire campaigns around their incumbency: Events in the Rose Garden. Signing ceremonies in the Oval Office. Cross-country campaign swings on Air Force One. President Trump has used this tactic to his advantage in recent weeks — parking the iconic presidential jet behind the stage at his rallies, turning the executive complex into a high-production venue for the Republican National Convention and unveiling an updated list of potential Supreme Court nominees against the elegant backdrop of the White House Diplomatic Reception Room. But for the wildly unpredictable president, it’s not enough.
“Trump fumes over Biden ad, media coverage at Nevada rally” via Gabby Orr of POLITICO — President Trump set the tone early on at his rally in northern Nevada Saturday night, warning that he was prepared to “be really vicious” in the final weeks of the presidential campaign. Fuming over a new ad about his alleged disparagement of U.S. military personnel, Trump arrived here with a torrent of insults ready to go. ‘Pathetic Joe. He’s a pathetic human being to allow that to happen,’ Trump said of Democratic presidential nominee Biden and the ad Biden’s campaign released last week, which seized on comments Trump reportedly made about America’s fallen soldiers. “But you know the good part?’ Trump continued. “Now I can be really vicious. Once I saw that ad, I don’t have to be nice anymore.’ The president also claimed Biden, “doesn’t know he’s alive.” “Sleepy Joe Biden. You know where he is now? He’s in his damn basement again,” Trump told the crowd.
Donald Trump arrives on stage for a campaign rally in Minden, NV. Photo via Doug Mills.
From POLITICO’s quoted source in its recent table-setter of the presidential election in Florida — “Roger Stone calls for Trump to seize total power if he loses the election” via Timothy Johnson of Media Matters — Roger Stone is making baseless accusations of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election and is urging Trump to consider several draconian measures to stay in power, including having federal authorities seize ballots in Nevada, having FBI agents and Republican state officials “physically” block voting under the pretext of preventing voter fraud, using martial law or the Insurrection Act to carry out widespread arrests, and nationalizing state police forces. Stone’s efforts are now underway, and his aim appears to be to spread conspiracy theories about voter fraud and call for actions that would likely intimidate potential Biden voters.
“Daytona Trump boat rally draws hundreds of vessels to Halifax River on Saturday” via Jewell Tomazin of The Daytona Beach News-Journal — Looking down the Halifax River on Saturday morning, there were “Trump flags as far as the eye could see.” That’s according to Vic Baker, Communications Director for the Volusia County Republican Party and a State Committeeman for the Republican Party of Florida. He was one of the hundreds who participated in the Daytona/NSB Trump Boat Rally. Baker didn’t have a part in organizing the parade, but he knew exactly why boaters came together. “The purpose is very simple: Supporting the reelection of Donald J. Trump. It was a pure and simple rally to express grassroots support. Everybody showed up spontaneously to do that,” he said. Participants met at the brand new Orange Avenue bridge in Daytona Beach at 10 a.m. and traveled south along the Intracoastal Waterway to Disappearing Island in New Smyrna Beach.
“They voted for him and now regret it. Why White women are turning away from Trump.” via Jenna Johnson of The Washington Post — There are a group of White women, especially those who are middle- or working-class, who didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton in the last election but are determined to vote for Biden this year. Those women, who have been targeted by both campaigns, loom large in a presidential race that could, like 2016’s, be decided by shifts among a few sets of voters in the highly polarized nation. Although Clinton won the majority of votes from women in 2016, she lost to Trump among White women. Since then, however, polls have shown Trump weakening among those voters. Even slight changes in November among White women could play a deciding role in several states that Trump won in 2016 by a razor-thin margin, especially Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
“Why Biden ties with Trump in Florida, but leads in Pennsylvania” via Dante Chinni of NBC News — You can see what those differences look like when you examine a regional breakdown of the state. In the Miami-Gold Coast region, which holds a large Hispanic population, Biden leads by 15 points, while Clinton won those same counties by 27 points. But in the four counties around Tampa, most of which have a higher percentage of college degrees than the state, Biden leads Trump by eight points. Trump won those same counties by 3 points in 2016.
“Inside Joe’s bubble: How Biden’s campaign is trying to avoid the virus” via Christopher Cadelago and Natasha Korecki of Politico — Biden’s chartered airplanes and SUVs are meticulously sprayed with disinfectant and scrubbed. The microphones, lecterns and folders he uses are wiped down in the moments before his arrival. News reporters covering the campaign have their temperature taken. People he meets are scanned in advance with thermometer wands and guests at his events are cordoned off in precise locations mapped out with a tape measure. The former vice president is seldom without a mask when in public or around anyone other than his wife, Dr. Jill Biden.
“Biden courts Black farmers to dent Donald Trump’s lead among rural voters” via Ximena Bustillo of POLITICO Pro — The Biden campaign has spent the summer criticizing discrimination in agriculture, organizing roundtable discussions and tapping former Black government officials in an aggressive push to attract Black farmers, a small but potentially significant slice of the rural vote. Farmers of color, numbering more than 260,000 nationally, make up between 10 and 65 percent of farmers in almost a dozen states, including swing states of Arizona, Florida and Nevada. Many say the focus from Biden is the first time in years a presidential nominee has paid attention to their needs. “I think the Biden campaign is trying to mobilize resources to address each key segment of agriculture. And I didn’t see that before,” said Dewayne Goldmon, executive director of the National Black Growers Council, one of the organizations the campaign has courted.
“‘It’s a lack of respect.’ Why Haitians felt spurned by Kamala Harris’ Miami visit” via Jacqueline Charles and David Smiley of the Miami Herald — Harris courted Venezuelan, African-American and Jewish voters during her first visit to Miami on behalf of her running mate, Democratic presidential nominee Biden. But other than a “Sa k pase ” by Harris — Creole for “what’s happening” — Haitian American representation was mostly absent from Thursday’s campaign stop, reinforcing feelings of neglect by a large contingent of the South Florida Black community that has long felt overlooked by Democratic politicians. “When I turn on my TV, you hear everything in the Hispanic community about [President] Trump or Biden. Biden’s team is always in the Hispanic community but they forget about the Haitian community,” said Christie Chenier, a community organizer and voter who lives in the heavily Haitian city of North Miami. “We feel left out.”
“Sorry, Biden backers. Trump actually has more campaign cash now than 4 years ago” via Dave Levinthal for Business Insider — The Trump campaign ended July with more than $120 million, compared with about $99 million for Biden. For Trump, that’s about three times more than the roughly $39 million his campaign reported at this point in 2016, an Insider review of Federal Election Commission records indicates. Similarly, the Republican National Committee ended July with about $110 million in reserve, compared with about $33 million for the Democratic National Committee. The RNC’s stash is more than three times the $34.5 million it reported at the same point in August 2016. And while Biden’s strong August fundraising has indeed diminished the Trump campaign’s long-standing financial lead, neither campaign appears in jeopardy of running out of money, no matter how aggressive its 11th-hour spending gets, prominent Democrats and Republicans both acknowledged in interviews this week.
“Biden’s transition team, wary of Trump and COVID-19, sets massive fundraising goal” via Elena Schneider and Alex Thompson of POLITICO — Biden’s transition team has expanded its fundraising goal far beyond what Hillary Clinton raised in 2016, anticipating that, should they prevail in November, the Trump administration could actively work against their efforts and that the coronavirus pandemic will make a presidential changeover more difficult than ever. The Biden transition team is aiming to raise at least $7 million by Election Day and build a staff of at least 350 people by Inauguration Day, according to a person familiar with the transition’s planning, while another person said the total fundraising goal is $7 million to $10 million. The budget far exceeds the $2.1 million that Clinton raised for her transition planning by Election Day 2016, or the $6.5 million Trump’s transition raised before he assumed the presidency. Mitt Romney in 2012 raised $8.9 million for what is considered the most robust prior effort to plan a transition hand-off between two different parties.
“Bernie Sanders expresses concerns about Biden campaign” via Sean Sullivan of The Washington Post — Sanders is privately expressing concerns about Biden’s presidential campaign, according to three people with knowledge of the conversations, and is urging Biden’s team to intensify its focus on pocketbook issues and appeals to liberal voters. Sanders, the runner-up to Biden in the Democratic primaries, has told associates that Biden is at serious risk of coming up short in the November election if he continues his vaguer, more centrist approach, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive talks. The senator has identified several specific changes he’d like to see, saying Biden should talk more about health care and about his economic plans and should campaign more with figures popular among young liberals, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Apropos of something — “Study finds ‘hurricane skepticism’ among Trump voters” via Axios — A new study finds that conservative media led to “hurricane skepticism” among Trump voters before Hurricane Irma hit Florida in 2017, discouraging evacuations. In a study published Friday in the journal Science Advances, researchers from UCLA examined evacuation patterns for the hurricane. They used GPS phone location data from each affected voting precinct, which allowed them to compare the behaviors of likely Clinton and Trump voters living as closely as 500 ft. apart. They found Florida residents who voted for Trump were between 10% and 11% less likely than residents who voted for Clinton to obey evacuation orders. That partisan gap wasn’t present during Hurricane Harvey in August 2017 or Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.
— 2020 —
“Florida Democrats grow mail ballot enrollment edge to more than 700,000” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — More than 700,000 Democrats in Florida requested mail ballots than Republicans ahead of the presidential election. The Florida Democratic Party announced Friday that more than 2.22 million Democrats registered to vote by mail. That expands their enrollment advantage to 717,000 over Republicans. “Our volunteers, partner organizations and the coordinated campaign team have worked tirelessly to educate Democrats about vote-by-mail, and with 43 days until the vote-by-mail enrollment deadline we are excited to see this margin continue to grow,” said Terrie Rizzo, Florida Democratic Party chair. The gap between Democrat and Republican requests grew substantially in August. The state party announced at the end of July it enjoyed an edge of half a million voter enrollments. The gap over Republicans has grown roughly 40% in the intervening weeks.
“Darren Soto sees big to-do list in third term representing CD 9” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Soto sees the next term as a chance to push things forward that are making a little progress here and there in across-aisle and across-chamber negotiations. There is so much in the hopper and so much yet to do for Florida’s 9th Congressional District, Soto said. He sees promising movement on issues like immigration reform for Dreamers and refugees needing secured status, law enforcement reforms, national status for the planned Pulse Memorial and Museum, environmental protection for the Kissimmee River and Florida reefs, infrastructure improvements for Central Florida roads and railroads, economic incentives for NASA and commercial space, Lake Nona’s Medical City, Osceola County’s NeoCity, and rising manufacturing in Polk County. “That’s the long term plan. I know that’s a lot. But we have a lot of needs. That’s why I got on the Energy and Commerce Committee, to focus on a more higher-paying high-tech manufacturing job culture here in the district so we are able to withstand recessions,” Soto said. Congress should be doing less, not more, counters his Republican opponent, Bill Olson.
“Trump, GOP leaders embrace Scott Franklin after primary upset” via Gary White of The Lakeland Ledger — Franklin received irrefutable confirmation that he had shed his status as an outsider political candidate when his phone rang the evening of Aug. 19. President Trump then came on the line and congratulated Franklin on his victory. Though the Republican Party’s state and national establishment had supported Ross Spano’s bid for reelection, Franklin suddenly had the attention of the man who defines the party. Franklin said he and Trump talked for more than five minutes. That phone call and subsequent expressions of support from national Republican leaders reflect the significance of the district, a longtime GOP stronghold along the crucial Interstate 4 corridor in a state crucial to Trump’s hopes of reelection.
“Supervisor of Elections says she was unaware St. Lucie County was targeted by Russians” via Joshua Solomon of TC Palm — Gertrude Walker, the county supervisor of elections now embroiled in the national debate over election security, said she never was informed by any level of government that her voting systems may have been hacked by Russian malware in 2016. “I can only assure you that if classified information exists evidencing a hacking attempt on our voting systems, my office has never been informed of such an operation,” Walker said in a news release Thursday. Her admission to not knowing about the reported hacking marked her first public comment since the news broke, some 24 hours prior. On Wednesday, CNN reported that two Florida counties hacked by Russians were Washington, which was previously known, and St. Lucie.
What Kevin Sweeny is reading — “Despite social media, political lawn signs remain relevant to many” via John A. Torres of Florida Today — Everyone has an opinion on everything and thanks to social media (sarcastic) we get to see and hear exactly what our friends on Facebook, strangers on Twitter and everyone else in between on Reddit, Instagram and in the comments section of just about any story, think and feel. And despite the plethora of venues to share one’s viewpoint, one political season staple seems bent on surviving technology: the lawn sign. With the presidential election less than two months away, the signs, flags, posters and displays are popping up all over showing support for presidential hopefulBiden or President Trump. There are even the occasional signs for local races. Most residents are content with the simple wire-frame signs expressing support for either Trump or Biden.
— LEG. CAMPAIGNS —
“José Javier Rodríguez tops Ileana Garcia in latest SD 37 fundraising as he begins massive ad spending spree” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Javier Rodríguez‘s campaign added more than $38,000 as he looks to defend his Senate District 37 seat against Republican candidate Ileana Garcia. Rodríguez pulled in more than $33,000 through his campaign account in the most recent fundraising period, covering Aug. 22-Sept. 4. Initiative for Florida’s Future, a political committee associated with his campaign, added another $5,000 from Aug. 22-28. The committee’s report covering Aug. 29-Sept. 4 was not available as of this posting. Either way, that $38,000 total is enough to top his Republican challenger. Garcia raised just over $26,000 in the latest report. That’s her best fundraising period since she entered the race in early June, but still short of the haul from her Democratic incumbent. Garcia’s political committee, No More Socialism, showed $0 in new contributions during the most recent fundraising period. Non-party affiliated Alex Rodriguez raised no new money, according to the freshly-filed reports, and holds less than $800 total.
“Ana Maria Rodriguez posts big fundraising haul in SD 39” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics — The latest campaign finance reports are an ominous sign for Democrats hoping Rep. Javier Fernandez can flip South Florida’s Senate District 39. In the most recent reporting periods, Republican Rep. Ana Maria Rodriguez raised more than four times as much as Fernandez, with nearly $180,000 added to her campaign and political committee to his $40,369. The most recent figures leave Rodriguez with more than $672,000 cash on hand, and Fernandez just $252,000. The fundraising totals are the latest in a series of bad news for Democrats in South Florida.
First in Sunburn — “New video highlights Anna Eskamani’s leadership during pandemic” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics — Democratic Rep. Anna Eskamani on Monday released a video highlighting what she’s done to help constituents during the COVID-19 pandemic. The video, dubbed “We’re Ready,” begins with a focus on her office’s work following the collapse of the state unemployment system. “People are looking for compassion, they’re looking for a little help to get back on their feet, and leadership in a time of crisis. And Governor … This isn’t it,” she says in the ad. Eskamani is running for a second term in House District 47, which covers part of Orange County. She will face Republican nominee Jeremy Sisson in November.
Watch the ad here:
“Fiona McFarland, Drake Buckman turn on fundraising spigots in HD 72” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — McFarland is rapidly replenishing her campaign account after an expensive House District 72 primary. But Buckman also just reported his most successful fundraising period to date. McFarland reported $28,510 raised between Aug. 22 and Sept. 4. That’s after she spent $243,479 from her campaign account to beat primary opponent, Donna Barcomb, by just 263 votes. Now, she’s reporting $20,119 in cash on hand. If nothing else, the successful period means she’s recovered enough in contributions to cover a $20,000 candidate loan consumed during the pricey primary. As for Buckman, he raised $13,608 during the fundraising period, pulling in more in two weeks that he raised any prior month since entering the race. That ensures he still holds a cash on hand advantage with $44,339 in the bank. He avoided any primary in the open seat, but that means he also must play catch-up on a quarter-million dollars worth of name recognition in the district.
— CORONA FLORIDA —
“Florida reports 2,423 new COVID-19 cases and the fewest deaths since June” via David J. Neal of the Miami Herald — The state of Florida’s daily COVID-19 dashboard reported eight deaths, the fewest since June 15, while also reporting 2,423 new, confirmed cases. While Sunday’s reported case numbers show a gentle downward Sunday slope — Aug. 30 was 2,583, Sept. 6 was 2,564 — Sunday’s death count appears to be even more of an anomaly as the corresponding numbers on June 14 and 15 were. Tuesday through Saturday, 144.6 deaths per day were reported and three of those days were over 100. In the five days before Sunday, June 14 (six deaths) and Monday, June 15 (seven deaths), an average of 42.6 deaths were reported per day. In the five days after, 41.2 deaths per day were reported.
“Hospital visits for flu-like illnesses increase for first time in two months” via Florida Politics staff reports — Hospital visits for flu-like illnesses, a leading indicator for COVID-19 spread, increased last week for the first time since peaking in early July.DeSantis and the Department of Health have recently been highlighting emergency department visits for illnesses like influenza or COVID-19 as the best method to track the novel coronavirus. Both metrics have declined each week since July 5. However, DOH reported 2,101 visits for flu-like illnesses last week, the most since mid-August. Meanwhile, visits for illnesses like COVID-19 dropped a ninth consecutive week to 4,058. According to the C.D.C., flu season typically begins in October. The latest weekly confirmed flu report, which covers the week before the recent reversal, shows laboratory-confirmed flu at a low. DeSantis began underscoring emergency department visits over testing positivity rates in early August after raising questions about the reliability of complete and timely reporting from private laboratories.
“Florida’s health system among the worst in the nation, according to new analysis” via Christine Sexton of the News Service of Florida — We’re No. 41. A new Commonwealth Fund analysis ranks Florida’s health system among the worst in the nation, finding, among other things, that the state spends $19 a person on public health, or about 51 percent of the national average, and has more children without a “medical home” than any other state. Also, the report released Friday shows that Florida is one of 17 states that in 2018 had more than a 5 percent disparity in uninsured rates between white adults and Black and Hispanic adults The report shows that 15 percent of white Floridians were uninsured, according to 2018 census data, compared to 21 percent of Black residents and 26 percent of Hispanic residents. David Blumenthal, a physician and president of The Commonwealth Fund, said the Scorecard on State Health System Performance report was generally based on 2018 data and that the COVID-19 pandemic will likely put added stress on systems that were already struggling.
“Florida to resume visitation soon, despite highest monthly COVID-19 death toll among prisoners” via Grace Toohey of the Orlando Sentinel — After Florida’s prison system in August reported the most deaths in one month from COVID-19 since the pandemic began, corrections Secretary Mark Inch announced Friday he is planning to soon re-open some institutions for visitation. The agency plans to allow for modified visitation with “numerous safety measures” starting Oct. 2 “at institutions where it is safe and appropriate to do so,” Inch said Friday in a video shared on social media. Facilities have been closed to visitors for almost six months. In an interview with the Florida Channel that aired Friday, Inch said the agency plans to make the visits “non-contact” and explained they have prepared plexiglass shields to go on visitor tables. He also said children under 13 would not be allowed to visit.
“Many Canadian snowbirds are delaying Florida visits until COVID-19 eases” via David Lyons of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — As if COVID-19 hasn’t done enough damage to South Florida’s tourism industry, many Canadians who for years have wintered in the Sunshine State are having second thoughts about migrating south unless the pandemic shows signs of abating. “There are hundreds of thousands of Canadians who are on the sidelines planning not to visit Florida this year due to COVID,” said Alain Forget, who heads sales and business development at RBC Bank, a subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada. Their decision, he said, is contingent on how much longer the U.S.-Canadian border remains shut or if Florida’s COVID-19 cases rise in the next few months.
— BACK TO SCHOOL? —
“Teacher departures leave schools scrambling for substitutes” via The Associated Press — With many teachers opting out of returning to the classroom because of the coronavirus, schools around the U.S. are scrambling to find replacements and in some places lowering certification requirements to help get substitutes in the door. Several states have seen surges in educators filing for retirement or taking leaves of absence. The departures are straining staff in places that were dealing with shortages of teachers and substitutes even before the pandemic created an education crisis. Teachers in at least three states have died after bouts with the coronavirus since the start of the new school year. It’s unclear how many teachers in the U.S. have become ill with COVID-19, but Mississippi alone reported 604 cases among teachers and staff.
“Hesitations come with new transition to daily in-person classes at Duval Schools” via Emily Bloch of The Florida Times-Union — Starting Monday, the school district will launch the next phase of its “bridge to reopening” program, transitioning students attending classes in-person from part-time to full time, five-days-per-week. The move comes as a result of a “compromise” between the school district and the Florida Department of Education, a spokesman said. The process is starting with sixth-graders, who previously attended in-person classes three days a week. The following week, seventh- and eighth-graders will transition to daily classes and the week after, high school students, who were only taking in-person classes two days a week, are expected to attend daily.
“Sarasota teachers face COVID-19 challenges” via Ryan McKinnon of The Sarasota Herald-Tribune — Mackenzie Altman was trying to get her Booker High School students excited about the role of government last Thursday afternoon. It was a standard “bell work” activity for her American Government class, geared to get students interested in the day’s lesson and spark conversations. She leads this type of discussion every day, but with COVID-19 restrictions in place, nearly everything about it was different. Everyone was wearing masks, except for a group of students in a Zoom meeting box projected on a large monitor at the front of the class. Most of these “remote learners” seemed to be sitting in their bedrooms, and many had angled their laptops so that just the tops of their foreheads were visible. The in-person students tried to keep their binders and textbooks on their desk without knocking off the new trifold divider shield they are required to sit behind. Like most teachers across Sarasota County School District, Altman is still figuring out how to teach “concurrently,” meaning she has a group of students physically present in her classroom and another group watching from home via a live stream.
Assignment editors — Rep. Geraldine Thompson, House District 64 candidate Jessica Harrington, Hillsborough County School Board candidate Nadia Combs and Teaching for the Culture founder Bianca Goolsby will host a virtual press conference to “highlight the failures of Republican leadership” regarding school reopenings. It begins at 11 a.m. Monday. Registration is available here.
— CORONA LOCAL —
“DeSantis announces Phase 2 reopening for Broward, Miami-Dade counties” via Tiffini Theisen of the Orlando Sentinel — DeSantis announced Friday that Broward and Miami-Dade counties enter into Phase 2 of reopening on Monday after months of coronavirus closures. Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said his county reopen more outdoor venues such as zoos, in consultation with experts to ensure safety. The county will not allow bars to reopen at this time. “I’m very pleased that our community is taking this virus very seriously,” Gimenez said. South Florida has been the epicenter of the pandemic in the state, accounting for about 43% of cases despite having 29% of the population. The governor is holding a press conference with Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez and Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools Alberto Carvalho also on hand. Miami-Dade schools will make an announcement soon about school reopenings, Carvalho said, citing “downward trends” in coronavirus statistics that are encouraging.
“Overdoses rise in South Florida as people struggle with isolation from pandemic” via Andrew Boryga of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — More people who are out of work and isolated at home are dying of drug overdoses in South Florida, becoming overlooked victims of the COVID-19 pandemic. Florida reported 5,621 overdose deaths, a 14% increase from January 2019 to January 2020, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And in parts of South Florida, early numbers suggest 2020 could be even worse. In Palm Beach County, overdose deaths are already 49% higher from January to August of this year than they were for the same period last year, according to records. At the current rate, the county could see nearly 200 more deaths in 2020 than there were in 2019.
“6 months of COVID: Central Florida endures deep divisions over pandemic” via Kevin Spear of the Orlando Sentinel — Along State Road 50 from the dry, sandy hills of Clermont to the congested squeeze through Orlando and down to the flat, moist pinelands of Christmas, six months of coronavirus has revealed a deeply divided region. What stands out from the 50-mile stretch of the road, examined because of its wide range of demographics and as a representative cross-section of Central Florida, is the surprising variety and frank passion of opinions about the pandemic. In conversations with 20 people, it was often apparent that beliefs shaped by information silos are hardening further in pandemic-sheltering bubbles and that discussing COVID-19 also means talking about the recession and the presidential race.
“Images of fans not wearing masks at FSU football home opener draws criticism” via Jim Henry of the Tallahassee Democrat — Doak Campbell Stadium was at limited capacity Saturday for Florida State’s football game against Georgia Tech because of COVID-19 safety protocols. However, images of many in the crowd of 17,538 not wearing masks as required has led to criticism across social media regarding the school’s ability to enforce the policy. It wasn’t the look college administrators and politicians probably wanted to see as the deadly coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt lives. Several college football games have also been canceled because of COVID-19 outbreaks. “We were disappointed with some fans, particularly some student fans, at the Georgia Tech football game who did not comply with our policies regarding social distancing and wearing masks while in their seats,” FSU Athletic Director David Coburn said Sunday in a statement to the Democrat.
FRLA hosts mask giveaways in Northeast Florida — The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association’s Northeast Chapter will host events this week to distribute washable, reusable cloth masks to local hospitality employees. The events will be held at St. Augustine Distillery from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday, followed by an event at Sight & Sound Productions in Jacksonville from 9:30 a.m. to noon Tuesday, and a third at the FRLA Fernandina Beach Main Street office from noon to 3 p.m. Wednesday. The events are part of FRLA’s joint initiative with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to distribute masks to Florida hospitality workers. To date, FRLA has donated nearly 1 million masks.
—”Bar owners across Brevard excited about reopening Monday after almost six months” via Suzy Fleming Leonard of Florida Today
— CORONA NATION —
“America is trapped in a pandemic spiral” via Ed Yong of The Atlantic — The U.S. enters the ninth month of the pandemic with more than 6.3 million confirmed cases and more than 189,000 confirmed deaths. The toll has been enormous because the country presented the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus with a smorgasbord of vulnerabilities to exploit. But the toll continues to be enormous—every day, the case count rises by around 40,000 and the death toll by around 800—because the country has consistently thought about the pandemic in the same unproductive ways. Many Americans trusted intuition to help guide them through this disaster. “The grand challenge now is, how can we adjust our thinking to match the problem before us?” says Lori Peek, a sociologist at the University of Colorado at Boulder who studies disasters.
Overall U.S. Covid cases and hospitalizations continue to fall, driven by sharp declines in the sunbelt states. Key question: Is this the nadir before we see a fall and winter resurgence of a pathogen that typically spreads in the winter; or can we hopefully hold onto these gains pic.twitter.com/oSG532EFeb
— Scott Gottlieb, MD (@ScottGottliebMD) September 13, 2020
“Trump’s virus debate: Project strength or level with public” via Zeke Miller of The Associated Press — In times of crisis effective leaders strike a balance between inspirational rhetoric and leveling with the public about the tough times ahead. Historians say Trump missed the important lessons about how other world leaders have navigated crises. Facing the coronavirus, Trump chose a different path, acknowledging that from early on he was intentionally “playing down” the threat from an outbreak that has gone on to kill more than 190,000 Americans. His rosy assessment of the peril confronting the nation spotlights the struggles he has faced in trying to steer the United States through the challenge of a pandemic. Trump on Thursday placed himself in the august company of Roosevelt and Churchill for the way he has handled this crisis, adding that he had low-balled the threat to prevent “panic.”
“Trump team says history will vindicate him on coronavirus” via Nolan D. McCaskill of POLITICO — Trump’s allies on Sunday blamed anybody but him for his handling of the deadly virus that has killed more than 193,000 Americans. In interviews across the morning political talk shows, Trump officials portrayed the president as a calm leader throughout the pandemic and singled out China, corporate media and Democrats for what they asserted were lying and politicizing the coronavirus. RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said the President had been calm, steady and methodical throughout this crisis, comparing his leadership throughout the pandemic to that of President George W. Bush after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“Trump officials interfered with CDC reports on COVID-19” via Dan Diamond of POLITICO — The health department’s politically appointed communications aides have demanded the right to review and seek changes to the C.D.C.’s weekly scientific reports charting the progress of the coronavirus pandemic, in what officials characterized as an attempt to intimidate the reports’ authors and water down their communications to health professionals. In some cases, emails from communications aides to CDC Director Robert Redfield and other senior officials openly complained that the agency’s reports would undermine Trump‘s optimistic messages about the outbreak, according to emails reviewed by POLITICO and three people familiar with the situation. CDC officials have fought back against the most sweeping changes, but have increasingly agreed to allow the political officials to review the reports and, in a few cases, compromised on the wording, according to three people familiar with the exchanges.
“Trump officials race against time to build massive new vaccine tracking system” via POLITICO Pro — The Trump administration is betting it can get millions of coronavirus shots to the Americans who need them most using a new, unproven data system that threatens to bypass state trackers that have long been mainstays in public immunization programs. The effort, funded by an almost $16 million sole-source contract, would help public health officials schedule COVID-19 immunizations, and manage vaccine supplies. States already have information systems, called vaccine registries, that perform the same basic functions and can help doctors see what shots patients already have. But the Trump administration, which has left critical questions about the COVID-19 recovery unanswered while urging states to take the lead, believes that the scope of the pandemic requires new infrastructure to cover all the providers who might be involved in the response.
— CORONA ECONOMICS —
“Bankers are leading the way back to our offices — for good or ill” via Megan McArdle of The Washington Post — This week, JPMorgan Chase reportedly requested that 50 percent of its dealmakers be in the office on a given workday, up from 25 percent. Goldman Sachs quickly announced it was following suit. That will put pressure on other banks to signal to clients that they, too, love nothing more than the job. I can make an argument that this is good. Bankers may carry it to ridiculous extremes, but in-person contact matters; it is how institutional loyalty is built, corporate culture transmitted, a disparate group of strangers forged into a cohesive group. Besides, New York City’s economy, and its tax base, depend heavily on the well-paid employees of the securities industry; both will be devastated as long as bankers are working from suburbs and second homes. It seems rather dangerous to shove more immunologically naive people back into the office just in time for flu season.
“More workers hit with pay cuts than in last recession, and stagnant wages could linger” via Paul Davidson of USA TODAY — The layoffs and furloughs of more than 25 million U.S. workers have understandably fueled most of the nation’s anguish over the coronavirus recession. But that’s not the only economic setback for workers: Many companies are trimming employees’ hours or wages to reduce costs – either instead of, or in addition to, the job cuts. For workers, a smaller paycheck may be a welcome alternative to losing a job, but economists say it still could hurt consumer spending and the economy, and represent an even more enduring legacy of the downturn than the layoffs. Nearly half of the nation’s net job losses in early spring have been recouped, though recovering the rest could take a few years, economists say.
“Florida Power & Light offers aid as disconnections loom” via News Service of Florida — Florida Power & Light said Friday it will offer aid to customers who are behind on their electric bills, as the company prepares to begin disconnections that have been put on hold during the coronavirus pandemic. FPL said, in part, it will provide bill credits of up to $200 to some residential and small-business customers. To qualify, customers would have to pay outstanding balance amounts minus the bill credits. For example, a customer who owed $600 would have to pay $400, with a $200 bill credit making up the remainder, according to FPL. The utility plans to write off the credit amounts as bad debt. Separately, FPL plans to speed up refunds of customer deposits.
“Amazon doubles holiday hiring to 200,000 temporary workers” via Spencer Soper of Bloomberg — Amazon.com Inc. will hire 200,000 seasonal workers in the U.S. to fetch products in its warehouses, pack boxes and make deliveries, doubling the number of temporary workers it hired last year and signaling the world’s biggest online retailer expects a strong fourth quarter. In an emailed statement, Amazon attributed the hiring growth to the increasing breadth of its logistics operations, which include stowing, packing and sorting products and shipping them to customers’ homes from facilities specifically designed for e-commerce, rather than sending goods to retail stores. The Seattle-based company also said it promoted 19,000 employees in its logistics operations to supervisory roles this year. The AP earlier reported Amazon’s hiring plans. The company said it had 750,000 full- and part-time workers globally as of Sept 30.
— MORE CORONA —
“Hospitals prepare for ‘nightmare’ scenario of flu and coronavirus striking at same time” via Frances Stead Sellers of The Washington Post — In the past six months, the 25-bed Ward Memorial Hospital in desert-like West Texas has made countless adjustments to combat the novel coronavirus: It has updated its testing equipment and stocked up on masks and gowns. It created an interdisciplinary team to tackle the virus’s multipronged attacks and traded tips and resources with other regional rural hospitals. But as fall approaches, it is an old foe that is causing sleepless nights — the possibility that flu could upend this careful planning, diminishing resources and putting further stress on overworked staffers. Infectious-disease experts have warned of a new and potentially calamitous wave of coronavirus cases this fall, possibly cresting in winter when the flu and other respiratory viruses take hold.
“U.S. offering breaks on immigration deadlines due to pandemic — but higher fees await” via Daniel Shoer Roth of the Miami Herald — After immigrants apply for immigration benefits and submit their forms with the all the requirements, it is common for immigration authorities to ask for more evidence to establish eligibility in support of their visa, green card, asylum and citizenship through naturalization petitions. These Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requests and notifications allow applicants to intervene by providing more documentation or correcting mistakes before adjudicators close or denied their cases. As the pandemic has slowed the agency’s work pace since it normalized operations on June 4, immigration authorities again extended more flexibility in the delivery deadlines to assist immigrants and foreigners responding to some requests. This relief measure was set to expire on Sept. 11.
— STATEWIDE —
“DeSantis’ Supreme Court fight reveals division among Black legislators” via Mary Ellen Klas of the Tampa Bay Times — The decision by DeSantis to go to Broward County this week and have Democrats join him to complain about his derailed Supreme Court pick not only proved fruitless, as the court rejected his argument Friday, but it also created tensions among members of Florida’s Legislative Black Caucus. “The governor is stoking division in our community,” said Sen. Perry Thurston, a Fort Lauderdale Democrat, who was not invited to join the governor at his press conference in Miramar Wednesday. “We don’t need a Republican governor sowing division between the Caribbean community and African-American community.” The furor began when state Rep. Thompson, a Democrat from Windemere, filed a lawsuit in July accusing the governor of violating the Constitution by appointing Palm Beach County Judge Renatha Francis to the state’s highest court when she wasn’t yet eligible.
Must-watch TV today — “Florida Democrat Andrew Gillum, 41, reveals he has cried ‘every day’ and dreams of getting over his ‘shame’” via James Gordon of The Daily Mail — Former gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum has told of the shame he felt after being found ‘inebriated’ in a South Beach hotel room in March, along with a male escort who overdosed on crystal meth. Gillum opened up in his first television interview since he was pictured unconscious and naked together with photos that depicted a slew of drugs, both prescription and illegal, found inside a swanky $220-per-night hotel room. The 41-year-old father-of-three entered a rehab facility to deal with alcohol abuse shortly after the incident and revealed to Tamron Hall that he has ‘cried every day’ since his sudden fall from grace. In a tearful interview to be shown in full on Monday morning, Gillum spoke candidly about the incident.
FTA celebrates National Truck Driver Appreciation Week — The Florida Trucking Association is recognizing National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, which runs from Sept. 13 through Sept. 19 this year. FTA says this year’s #NTDAW has taken on a special significance considering the crucial role Florida’s 500,000 CDL holders have played during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially now that they are facing the threat of hurricane season. “This week we celebrate the 3.5 million professional men and women who are committed to safety and dependability to ensure our quality of life remains intact,” FTA President and CEO Ken Armstrong said. “Our professional drivers are the heart of the industry, and trucking is the backbone of our economy.”
— LOCAL NOTES —
“Tropical Storm Sally brings foot of rain to Florida Keys, several inches to Miami-Dade” via Aaron Leibowitz and Gwen Filosa of Florida Keys News — Tropical Storm Sally drenched much of South Florida this weekend, causing flooding as it dropped about a foot of rain on parts of Key West and several inches in much of Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Just before 1 p.m. Sunday, the National Weather Service said that while southwest Florida saw the heaviest rainfall since Saturday, parts of the Miami metro area got about five inches of rain overnight. In Homestead, water seeped into people’s homes, WSVN reported. Downtown Miami saw about three inches of rain Saturday into Sunday, leaving parts of Biscayne Blvd. underwater.
“Jacksonville prosecutors will seek longer sentences for felony gun charges. Will it stop crime?” via Andrew Pantazi of The Florida Times-Union — With homicides continuing to climb in Jacksonville, State Attorney Melissa Nelson this month began requiring her line prosecutors seek longer prison sentences for felons arrested for illegally carrying guns. Nelson, who would not grant an interview or answer questions for this story, announced the new policy to her staff on Aug. 31. The policy requires that based on defendants’ criminal backgrounds, prosecutors must seek 10 years, five years, or three years in prison. To waive a mandatory minimum sentence, prosecutors must get approval from a director who will have to write a paper deciding if it’s worth reducing the sentence. The memo, which the Times-Union obtained this we also announced a new diversion program for those who carry a concealed gun without a license, but it was short on details. Last year, State Attorney’s Office records show, there were 212 cases of someone carrying a concealed gun without a license; 46 of them were sentenced to prison or jail time.
“At a luxury resort, a crucial meeting of JEA minds” via Nate Monroe of The Florida times-Union — In early July 2019, then-JEA CEO Aaron Zahn convened a battalion of lawyers, investment bankers, consultants and utility officials for a three-day series of meetings at Club Continental in Orange Park, a luxury hotel on the banks of the St. Johns River about a 20-minute drive outside Jacksonville. In one of the hotel’s private meeting rooms, and over three catered meals, including mid-afternoon snacks and iced tea, services that cost JEA more than $11,000, the gathered officials talked about a plan that would consume many of their lives for the next year, though not for the reasons they could have imagined at the time. This would not be the first time Zahn and his lieutenants talked about the controversial idea of privatizing the city-owned utility, but it was nonetheless a remarkable series of meetings.
“Bill Heller, former USF St. Pete leader and lawmaker, dies” via Emily Mahoney of the Tampa Bay Times — Heller, a longtime University of South Florida St. Petersburg leader and former lawmaker, has died, according to an email sent Saturday morning to the school’s employees.
“Ocala man threatens to blow up state building over child support calls” via Jim Cheesman of Ocala News — Michael Warren Smith was charged with making a false threat to plant a bomb on a property owned by the state of Florida and use of a two-way communications device to facilitate a felony. An employee with the Florida Department of Revenue Child Support Services reported that another employee with the agency called Smith’s phone at around 6 p.m. to speak about his next child support payment. During that conversation, Smith became irate and said he was going to blow them up if the child support office didn’t leave him alone, according to the sheriff’s office report.
“The party’s over: Airbnb suspends listings in Okaloosa, Walton, won’t ‘tolerate’ partying” vis Savannah Evanoff of Northwest Florida Daily News — The party is over – at least at your next Airbnb. The vacation rental marketplace suspended a listing in Okaloosa County and one in Walton County, after announcing a “crackdown on party houses throughout Florida,” in a press release sent out Thursday. These were among more than 40 listings across the state that have received complaints or violated its policies on parties and events and were suspended from the platform, according to the release. “This is an issue in Florida and elsewhere we’ve been trying to combat since well before the pandemic era,” said Ben Breit, the head of trust and safety communications. “There’s no question that in this current environment, combating and stopping any irresponsible parties is more important than ever.”
— D.C. MATTERS —
“Mandela, Gorbachev, Trump? A disruptive President plays peacemaker” via Michael Crowley of The New York Times — Even before Trump announced a diplomatic breakthrough between Israel and Bahrain on Friday, he had been nominated twice this week alone for the Nobel Peace Prize. The nominations, each from a right-wing Scandinavian politician, were met around the world with a mixture of amusement and dismissal: Much like submitting art or writing for a prize, such a designation doesn’t mean much in itself. But the White House rejoiced all the same. After the first nomination on Wednesday, by a Norwegian parliamentarian who cited a similar agreement Mr. Trump’s administration brokered last month between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, the White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, opened her briefing that day by calling it “a hard-earned and well-deserved honor for this president.”
“Marco Rubio to Disney: Xinjiang? Seriously?” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Republican U.S. Sens. Rubio and Rick Scott and a bipartisan group in Congress are demanding Walt Disney Co. explain why and how it filmed its new movie “Mulan” in a region of China reported for human rights abuses bordering on genocide. “Disney’s apparent cooperation with officials of the People’s Republic of China who are most responsible for committing atrocities — or for covering up those crimes — is profoundly disturbing,” their letter declares. Rubio, Scott, and 17 other members of the Senate and House sent the letter Friday to Walt Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Chapek. They want him to provide information about the company’s cooperation with Chinese security and propaganda authorities to film parts of “Mulan” in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
“ICE flew detainees to Virginia so the planes could transport agents to D.C. protests. A huge coronavirus outbreak followed.” via Antonio Olivo and Nick Miroff of The Washington Post — The Trump administration flew immigrant detainees to Virginia this summer to facilitate the rapid deployment of Homeland Security tactical teams to quell protests in Washington, circumventing restrictions on the use of charter flights for employee travel, according to a current and a former U.S. official. After the transfer, dozens of the new arrivals tested positive for the novel coronavirus, fueling an outbreak at the Farmville, Va., immigration jail that infected more than 300 inmates, one of whom died. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the agency moved the detainees on “ICE Air” charter flights to avoid overcrowding at detention facilities in Arizona and Florida, a precaution they said was taken because of the pandemic.
— SMOLDERING —
“2 California deputies shot in apparent ambush in patrol car” via The Associated Press — Authorities were searching Sunday for a gunman who shot and wounded two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies who were sitting in their squad car, an apparent ambush that drew an angry response from the president and sparked an anti-police protest outside the hospital where the deputies were being treated. The 31-year-old female deputy and 24-year-old male deputy underwent surgery Saturday evening, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in a late-night news conference. Both graduated from the academy 14 months ago, he said. The deputies were shot while sitting in their patrol car at a Metro rail station and were able to radio for help, the sheriff said. Villanueva, whose department has come under fire during recent protests over racial unrest, expressed frustration over anti-police sentiment as he urged people to pray for the deputies.
“Protesters block buses outside NBA campus at Disney World, asking for help” via Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press — A small number of protesters carrying signs and shouting into megaphones blocked at least two buses chartered by the NBA from briefly from entering the Walt Disney World campus on Saturday night, with the group saying it wanted LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and other top players to take notice. The group blocked charter buses carrying members of the news media and some NBA staff, but no players or team personnel. The protesters assembled near one of the entrances and were not inside the so-called bubble, where teams, NBA staff and others have been for more than two months in some cases for the resumption of the season.
“Dozens rally for ‘blue lives’ at Seminole courthouse in event linked to hate-group supporter” via Cristobal Reyes and Grace Toohey of the Orlando Sentinel — More than 100 people gathered Saturday at the Seminole County courthouse in Sanford to support police officers at a “Back the Blue” rally — an event from which one elected official scheduled to speak dropped out after concerns were raised about an organizer’s connections with a designated hate group. Participants carried American flags and Blue Lives Matter banners in front of the courthouse, with a lineup of speakers voicing support for law enforcement in the wake of nationwide protests against police brutality. The event was hosted a day after the 19th anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks, and attendees took a moment to mourn the 412 emergency workers killed that day, including 60 police officers and 343 firefighters.
“Confederate statue near site of white nationalist rally in Charlottesville is removed” via Derrick Bryson Taylor of The New York Times — With yellow bands and rope wrapped around its legs, waist and ankles, a Confederate statue in Charlottesville, Va., the site of a violent white supremacist rally in 2017, was removed on Saturday morning from its pedestal at the Albemarle County courthouse after 111 years. The removal of the monument, “At Ready,” which depicts a Confederate soldier holding a rifle in his hands, along with two cannons and several cannonballs on either side of it, was live-streamed on the Albemarle County’s official Facebook account. At the start of the removal process at 6:30 a.m., Ned Gallaway, chairman of the county board of supervisors, read a brief history of how the statue was erected in 1909 using taxpayer money and how supervisors voted last month to remove it. The county will pay the $63,700 to remove the statue and other items, Emily Kilroy, a county spokeswoman, said on Saturday. The statue itself weighs 900 pounds, Ms. Kilroy said, and the cannons each weigh 2,800 pounds. The stack of cannonballs weighs 400 pounds.
“Stadiums quiet but college football, shows of unity go on” via Eric Olson of The Associated Press — The first big weekend of college football was mostly stripped of the pageantry that is at the heart of the game. The stands were empty, or attendance was limited, because of a pandemic that has disrupted the season. That didn’t stop shows of support for the fight against racial injustice. Players for Kansas State and Arkansas State locked arms on the sidelines with their teammates before the game in Manhattan, Kansas. K-State players spoke in a video calling for unity and equality, and there were cheers and applause following a moment of reflection. A similar scene played out in Morgantown, West Virginia, before West Virginia’s game against Eastern Kentucky. Notre Dame played a video promoting racial equality before its game against Duke in South Bend, Indiana. Several teams’ uniforms called attention to social injustice
— TOP OPINION —
“Wilton Simpson and Chris Sprowls: Florida must address sea-level rise” via Wilton Simpson and Chris Sprowls for Florida Politics — Throughout our history, Floridians have reveled in our state’s natural resources. With our miles of beautiful beaches, gorgeous coastline, and ample sunshine, it is no wonder our state is home to over 21 million and a destination for people from across the globe. As we celebrate the many reasons Florida is the best place to live, work, start a business, raise a family, and retire, there is also a great paradox associated with being a Floridian: our state’s greatest asset is also a significant liability. What exactly can our state government do? Quite a bit as it turns out. Unlike the overpriced and entirely unrealistic “Green New Deal,” Florida remains focused on finding solutions that actually work.
— OPINIONS —
“Why Biden has edge over Trump as November election approaches” via Karl Rove for Fox News — Everything is a little off about this election, even its traditional fall kickoff. It isn’t only because coronavirus wiped out gigantic Labor Day celebrations for candidates to attend. Labor Day, the first Monday in September, fell on the latest possible date, Sept. 7, while Election Day, the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, will be on the second-earliest possible date, Nov. 3. So even the campaign’s final stretch will be truncated. Still, it’s a good time to take stock of the race. Trump partisans don’t believe it, but national polls show former Vice President Biden continues to be ahead. The race has tightened, though, especially in battleground states. Anxious Democrats are wondering if this could be the sixth contest in history and second in a row in which the Electoral College winner loses the national popular vote.
“DeSantis gets hauled to the woodshed for violating Florida’s Constitution” via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board — The governor who promised to appoint “solid constitutionalists” to the Florida Supreme Court has found to his chagrin that the justices already there pay more respect to the state Constitution than he does. On Friday, the court told DeSantis that the Constitution means precisely what he ignored when he appointed an unqualified person to the court after waiting two months too long to do it. The court gave him until noon Monday to choose one of seven other nominees to replace Renatha Francis, the Palm Beach circuit judge whom he had insisted on appointing even though she was short of the time a new justice must have been a member of the Florida Bar. “The constitution’s ten-year Bar membership requirement and sixty-day appointment deadline are bright-line textual mandates that impose rules rather than standards and prioritize certainty over discretion,” said the order signed by all five participating justices.
“Infectious disease outbreak concerns rise as immunization records drop” via Cathy Mayfield with Florida Politics — At the beginning of March, the United States declared a state of emergency due to the outbreak of COVID-19. For the past three months, most of the country has been practicing self-quarantining, social distancing, and limiting their exposure to public places. Unfortunately, for many people, this also includes limiting visits to the doctor’s office. Immunization records have dropped significantly since March according to the Florida Department of Health. So far, there was a 15% reduction in the number of vaccinations administered in March 2020 compared to March 2019. In April, that number jumped to a 40% reduction compared to the year before. As the United States begins to slowly reopen, now would be the perfect time for the Florida Department of Health and Surgeon General Scott Rivkees to be a leader in this space and make meningitis ACWY vaccination a requirement
— INSTAGRAM OF THE DAY —
— ALOE —
“Fred Guttenberg, Parkland dad, writes uplifting book about coping after tragedy” via Lisa J. Huriash of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Countless acts of generosity and support helped Fred Guttenberg survive the unbearable loss of his only daughter in Parkland’s high school massacre in 2018. A who’s who of political heavyweights contacted him: the Democratic presidential candidate, the speaker of the House, a congressman from Florida, the governors of Ohio and New Jersey. But the kindness of friends and strangers also propelled him through his darkest days, including a famous Hollywood actor who pledged his support, and a group of Broward fire cadets who went to the funeral. These helpers are part of Guttenberg’s uplifting story, which he’s sharing in his new autobiographical book, “Find the Helpers: What 9/11 and Parkland Taught Me About Recovery, Purpose, and Hope.” It will be released this week.
“Harshmallow: Virus prompts pause for Peeps holiday treats” via The Associated Press — Peeps treats are going on hiatus for several months — another consequence of the coronavirus pandemic. Just Born Quality Confections said it won’t be producing the popular marshmallow sweets for Halloween, Christmas or Valentine’s Day as the Bethlehem, Pennsylvania-based company prepares for next Easter, PennLive.com reports. Production of the holiday-shaped candies was suspended in the spring as the coronavirus spread across the state. Limited production resumed in mid-May with protocols in place to protect employees, Just Born said. “This situation resulted in us having to make the difficult decision to forego production of our seasonal candies for Halloween, Christmas and Valentine’s Day to focus on meeting the expected overwhelming demand for Peeps for next Easter season, as well as our everyday candies,” the company said.
“Louis Vuitton unveils full face shield with gold studs that reportedly will cost nearly $1,000” via Kelly Tyko of USA TODAY — Louis Vuitton plans to sell a face shield with its signature LV monogrammed pattern. The French fashion house unveiled the full face shield as part of its 2021 Cruise Collection, and it will reportedly go on sale in late October for $961, according to multiple media reports. A news release describes it as “an eye-catching headpiece, both stylish and protective.” It will be photochromatic and can transition from clear to dark when it comes into contact with direct sunlight. The shield can also turn into a hat when the visor is flipped up. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it does not recommend the use of face shields as a substitute for masks amid the coronavirus pandemic.
What Michelle Todd Schorsch is reading — “‘The West Wing’s’ idealism looks even better 20 years after its first Emmy” via Brian Lowry — “The West Wing” cast will reunite before the election for an HBO Max special, benefiting the voter-participation group When We All Vote. Watching the series again 20 years after its first of four consecutive best-drama Emmys, it’s remarkable how well Aaron Sorkin‘s creation holds up, and how much of the Bartlet presidency still echoes through our current politics. Revisiting the NBC series (which is available on Netflix and was produced by Warner Bros. Television, like CNN and HBO Max, part of WarnerMedia) underscores the patriotism and idealism, as well as intelligence and humor, the show embodied. In “The West Wing,” the dialogue came in rapid-fire bursts as people executed those famous walk-and-talk sequences through the halls, while the simple phrase “I serve at the pleasure of the president” could put a lump in your throat.
— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —
Happy birthday to Gov. Ron DeSantis, state Rep. Mike Caruso, Danny Martinez, and the one and only Brian Pitts.
Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, A.G. Gancarski, Renzo Downey and Drew Wilson.