Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 6.21.22

Gun Rights

Good Tuesday morning.

Time again to listen up!

Two new Florida Politics podcasts have dropped, and there’s a bit of catching up.

After an extended hiatus, “Hunkering Down” returns with a deep dive into the end of the qualifying week — as the 2022 state races start to firm up.

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Who made it, and who didn’t? Joining host Peter Schorsch are Republican consultant Anthony Pedicini and Democratic operative Reggie Cardozo, looking at the lay of the land both at the top and down-ballot, as well as some of the biggest surprises.

Peter also touches upon his own not-so-brief hunkering down experience in London, dealing with an unfortunately timed exposure to COVID-19 and Joe Biden’s much-better-timed lifting of restrictions on international travel.

Tune in to Hunkering Down on Apple Podcasts and other popular platforms.

Peter and Michelle’s London vacation is also one of the topics in the new “He Said, She Said,” which celebrates Pride Month with civil rights and social justice attorney Rep. Michele Rayner-Goolsby, the St. Petersburg Democrat who made history as the first openly queer Black member of the Florida Legislature.

And with new legislation that rolls back sales taxes on diapers, the duo talks to one of the advocates who made it happen, Torrie Jasuwan.

He Said, She Said is live now on Apple Podcasts and other popular podcast platforms.

Please, enjoy them both today — and thank you!

Michelle and Peter Schorsch are back in the podcast studio. 


@MichaelPWomack: List of things I do not care about: 1) Polling on Kamala Harris in a hypothetical 2024 primary

@Fineout: Get ready for the summer of @GovRonDeSantis profile stories. Been told there may be as many as four or five being worked on by national media types

Tweet, tweet:

@CHeathWFTV: Florida’s alimony overhaul, vetoed by @ScottforFlorida twice, was delivered to @GovRonDeSantis on 6/17 … asked today about the bill, the Governor is noncommittal; but says he’ll either sign it or veto it.

@Jason_Garcia: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis just announced a $4 million state grant to build a water-supply plant serving a giant industrial park north of Jacksonville. The industrial park is owned by Florida Power & Light.

@jacobogles: Meanwhile, I’m paying attention to 3 candidates who were DNQ’d — 1 GOP, 2 NPA — and don’t know why. Two believe it’s a lack of a notary on one page of financial disclosures, which if not turned in at qualifying would warrant just a $25 a day fine. Very curious what gets through.


2022 Florida Chamber Learners to Earners Workforce Solution Summit — 7; ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ premieres — 18; 36th Annual Environmental Permitting School — 28; San Diego Comic-Con 2022 — 32; Beyoncé rolls-out seventh solo studio album ’Renaissance’ — 38; Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner novel ‘Heat 2’ publishes — 50; FRLA’s Operations and Marketing Summit — 57; ‘House of the Dragon’ premieres on HBO — 61; 2022 Florida Chamber Technology & Innovation Solution Summit — 71; ‘Andor’ premieres on Disney+ — 71; ‘The Lord of the Rings’ premieres on Amazon Prime — 73; NFL Opening Night: LA Rams vs. Buffalo Bills — 79; 2022 Emmys — 83; ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ sequel premieres — 108; Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 125; Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Passenger’ releases — 126; Jon Meacham’s ‘And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle’ releases — 126; ‘Black Panther 2’ premieres — 142; FITCon 2022 begins — 149; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 149; The World Cup kicks off in Qatar — 153; The U.S. World Cup Soccer Team begins play — 153; McCarthy’s ‘Stella Maris’ releases — 154; Florida TaxWatch’s Annual Meeting begins — 162; ‘Willow’ premieres on Disney+ — 162; ‘Avatar 2’ premieres — 176; ‘Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 240; 2023 Legislative Session convenes — 258; ‘John Wick: Chapter 4′ premieres — 276; 2023 Session Sine Die — 318; ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ premieres — 318; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ premieres — 346; ‘Captain Marvel 2′ premieres — 402; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 486; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Part 2 premieres — 647; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 766.


Can Ron DeSantis displace Donald Trump as the GOP’s combatant-in-chief?” via Dexter Filkins of The New Yorker — DeSantis’ approach to the pandemic gave rise to an entire governing strategy, in which he regularly denounced some outrage, invariably perpetrated by the left, and proclaimed that he was the only one brave enough to stop it. He laced his speeches and news conferences with anger; when he walked, he thrust out his chest like a soldier on parade. He became a regular on Fox News, second only to Trump as a figure of admiration. His aggressive defense of minimal state action, and his denunciations of anyone who disagreed with him, made him a conservative folk hero.

Who will become the GOP’s next happy warrior?

DeSantis faces re-election later this year, but his ascent has been so dramatic that in a few polls he comes out ahead of Trump in the race for the Republican Presidential nomination; without Trump, he commands a big lead. Both men claim to channel the rage of an electorate that feels sneered at and dismissed by liberal institutions. But while Trump, with his lazy, Barnumesque persona, projects a fundamental lack of seriousness, DeSantis has an intense work ethic, a formidable intelligence, and a granular understanding of policy. Articulate and fast on his feet, he has been described as Trump with a brain.

In February, DeSantis appeared at the Conservative Political Action Conference, held at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel, a sprawling resort near Orlando. The convention halls were filled with the Party’s new vanguard, which was, on the whole, poorer and angrier than the bankers and golfers who led the GOP a generation ago. The panels ranged from outraged to vengeful. A health care panel was called “Obamacare Still Kills.” A discussion of COVID-19 policy was titled “Lock Downs and Mandates: Now Do You Understand Why We Have a Second Amendment.”

— 2022 —

DeSantis escalates feud with White House” via Nathaniel Weixel of The Hill — DeSantis is escalating his feud with the White House over the COVID-19 response as he positions himself for a possible presidential campaign in 2024. DeSantis has been taking heat for his decision not to preorder COVID-19 vaccines for infants and young kids from the federal government. The White House initially made 10 million vaccines for young children available for states to preorder, anticipating that the shots would get the green light from federal regulators. A small stockpile of doses on hand will mean shots can start being administered shortly after the CDC endorses their use.

DeSantis says White House lying about COVID-19 vaccine policy” via Louis Casiano of Yahoo News — DeSantis on Monday said the White House lied about his state’s COVID-19 vaccine policy changes and that the media has largely chosen to ignore it. The Republican was in Callahan, just north of Jacksonville, when he was asked about a debate on vaccines that occurred Friday and comments from the Biden administration last week that he had changed course and was ordering vaccines for young children. “The White House is lying about it, surprise. Not surprised the White House would lie, definitely not surprised that legacy media would amplify the lie, because that’s what they do,” DeSantis said. Earlier in the week, Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo said he disagreed with the FDA’s decision to administer COVID-19 vaccines for kids under 5.

Ron DeSantis kicks the rhetoric up a notch.

—”Bill Maher insists DeSantis would be ‘way better’ than Trump: ‘He’s not certifiably insane’” via Joseph A. Wulfsohn of Fox News

—“Is DeSantis tough enough for a campaign tussle with Trump?” via David Charter of The Times

Nikki Fried: DeSantis made ‘authoritarian’ move to schedule Cabinet meeting during Primary” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — Agriculture Commissioner Fried says Gov. DeSantis’ decision to schedule Florida’s next Cabinet meeting on the day of the Primary Election is part of an “authoritarian power struggle” with the Democratic Cabinet member. Fried is one of two candidates vying for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination to challenge DeSantis. But with the next Cabinet meeting now scheduled for Aug. 23, the day of the Primary, Fried will be obligated to be in Tallahassee that morning while U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist is free to campaign across the state. “His scheduling of it during the Primaries shows his vindictiveness and his authoritarian power struggle with me, and that’s unfortunate that he is playing politics with the business of our state,” Fried told reporters Monday.

Who’s tougher on crime in big Senate race?” via Bill Cotterell of the Tallahassee Democrat — In the opening salvos of their campaign, Marco Rubio and Val Demings zero in on crime as a central issue of this year’s U.S. Senate race. It’s not unusual that candidates try to out-tough each other on law and order. Voters are rightly worried about public safety, their fears amplified by a steady stream of news stories about muggings and murders. And this summer, we’ve seen recall elections waged against liberal district attorneys in San Francisco and Los Angeles whose “reformist” policies were easily translated as soft on crime. Rubio sought to blunt Demings’ law-and-order credentials with endorsements by 55 sheriffs, plus the backing of leaders of the Police Benevolent Association and Florida Police Chiefs Association. Demings last week made the first television ad of her campaign, touting her 27 years as a police officer, including seven years as Orlando police chief.

— MORE 2022 —

Blaise Ingoglia promises spirited campaign against Green Party candidate” via Mike Wright of Florida Politics — It wasn’t Rep. Ingoglia’s political leanings, his voting record as a four-term member of the House, or the endorsement from DeSantis. No, pure finances led Brian Moore’s last-minute decision to drop his Green Party campaign for Governor in favor of a Senate District 11 campaign against Ingoglia. Simply: He couldn’t afford the $8,051 qualifying fee for Governor, while the $1,781 fee for Senate was palatable. “We only had $4,000 committed,” Moore, of Spring Hill, said. So Ingoglia, whose expected faceoff with Rep. Ralph Massullo in SD 11 never materialized, faces a prolific fringe candidate whose resume includes running for President in 2008 as a Socialist.

Blaise Ingoglia is ready to go after the Green (Party candidate).

Ed Hooper endorses Nick DiCeglie for SD 18 — Clearwater Republican Sen. Hooper on Monday endorsed Rep. DiCeglie in the race for SD 18. “Nick DiCeglie is delivering results for Florida’s families and business owners, working to expand school choice, cut taxes and strengthen our economy. I am proud to endorse Nick because I know he will continue to fight for all Floridians in the Senate,” Hooper said. DiCeglie is the only Republican running for SD 18 and will face Democrat Eunic Ortiz on the November ballot. Heading into June he held a substantial fundraising lead in the race. SD 18 covers a substantial portion of Pinellas County, including parts of Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Largo, Pinellas Park, Gulfport and most of the county’s coastline.

Ana Maria Rodriguez wins in district recently deemed flippable” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Sen. Rodriguez was first elected to half a Senate term in 2020; now, she’s won another four years as no challenger emerged after the deadline to qualify to run ticked down. The Republican real estate agent, who started her political career winning a seat on the Doral City Council, was effusive with thanks for the support. “I don’t know what I did to deserve this, but I am humbled, grateful, and simply blessed,” she wrote on Facebook Friday. “As a good friend says: Life is good when you live it well.” Rodriguez won in a district renumbered in redistricting, from Senate District 30 to SD 40. The redistricting shaved off some of the northeastern portions of her territory, but it was left largely intact. It covers southern Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.

First on #FlaPol — “Republican Ashley Guy forced to end campaign for HD 9 after registration mix-up” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics — Democratic Rep. Allison Tant’s GOP challenger in House District 9 has withdrawn from the race amid questions over whether she met the requirements to run for the seat. Ashley Guy qualified for the race as a Republican according to the state Division of Elections, but her candidate oath had not yet been uploaded as of Monday. Even if it made it in on time, voter records show Guy was registered as a non-party affiliated voter until April. Florida law requires candidates to be a member of the party for which they are seeking the nomination for a full year by the start of qualifying.

Jeff Brandes endorses Jennifer Wilson for HD 59” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics — St. Petersburg Republican Sen. Brandes on Monday endorsed Wilson‘s campaign for House District 59. “Jennifer is a dedicated public servant and will be a fierce leader for Pinellas County in Tallahassee; she will continue our fight for the families and businesses that reside here,” Brandes said. The Republican Primary for HD 59 includes Wilson, conservative Bay News 9 commentator Berny Jacques and Navy physician Dipak Dinanath Nadkarni. The three are competing for the seat currently held by Republican Rep. Nick DiCeglie, who is running for the Senate seat currently held by Brandes. HD 59 covers the middle chunk of Pinellas County. Park Boulevard now serves as the southern border for the district. Largo falls in the district, with the city limits forming the northern border.

Save the date:

Big Bend Police Benevolent Association issues endorsements for Tallahassee City Commission” via Jeff Burlew of the Tallahassee Democrat — The Big Bend chapter of the Police Benevolent Association gave its nod to Mayor John Dailey and City Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox and David Bellamy, who’s running for Seat 3. “Now more than ever, our members and their families are depending on our local officials to support our efforts and to protect our rights as essential first responders so that together, we can make Tallahassee a safe and vibrant city for all of our fellow residents,” said Richard Murphy, president of the Big Bend PBA. “These outstanding candidates have consistently stood with our members and the men and women in the law enforcement community, and we can depend on them to continue to stand with us in the future.”

Meet the candidates running for the Broward County School Board — there are 22 of them” via Jimena Tavel of the Miami Herald — With six of the nine seats on the Broward County School Board on the ballot this year, the group that oversees the sixth-largest school district in the country could change considerably. Five seats are up for the Regular Election and one for Special Election after Rosalind Osgood stepped down from her District 5 seat to run for the state Senate District 33 seat late last year. (She won and is now a state Senator.) Of the five seats, only three incumbents are seeking re-election. Board members are elected to four-year terms and make $46,241 a year. The Primary Election will be on Aug. 23.

Parental rights, DeSantis talking points line up for some Miami School Board candidates” via Sommer Brugal of the Miami Herald — Following a tense Legislative Session where public education and School Boards were at the center of the state — and national — debates, DeSantis’ playbook of boosting parental involvement in public education and ridding schools of “woke” ideologies could be taking hold in Miami-Dade County’s School Board elections this year. Nine candidates qualified Friday to run for the four of nine seats on the ballot this year, including three held by longtime incumbents: Dorothy Bendross-Mindingal, Maria Teresa Rojas and Marta Pérez. The fourth seat is open due to the longtime Chair Perla Tabares Hantman announcing earlier this year that she wouldn’t seek re-election. The four races will be on the ballot in the Aug. 23 Primary Election.

—”Tampa Bay school board races are set amid high political interest” via Jeffrey S. Solochek and Marlene Sokol


Gov. DeSantis: ‘We are not going to order’ vaccines for kids for state health departments” via Caroline Catherman of the Orlando Sentinel — Amid backlash from political rivals, medical professionals, and senior federal government officials alike, DeSantis reaffirmed his decision Monday morning not to preorder newly authorized COVID-19 vaccines or offer them at state health departments. “We are not going to have any programs where we’re trying to jab 6-month-old babies with mRNA,” he said during a news conference at The Pig Bar-B-Q in Callahan. “We still have not ordered it. We’re not going to order it.” The state Health Department in March recommended against COVID-19 vaccines for healthy kids, saying the risks of vaccinating them “may outweigh the benefits.” Major medical groups, including the Florida chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, have contradicted this stance.

Ron DeSantis takes a hard pass on vaccines for young children. Image via Orlando Sentinel.

Fried accuses DeSantis of child vaccine confusion, conspiracy to curb parental rights” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — Fried accused the DeSantis administration of attempting to curb access for parents to vaccinate their children following the latest vaccine faceoff between Florida and the White House. Fried, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate who hopes to deny DeSantis a second term this year, sided with federal officials on Monday, accusing DeSantis and Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo of intentionally missing the necessary deadlines for providers in the state to expeditiously provide vaccines to children between 6 months and 5 years old. “This is part of a continued and concerted effort by the Governor and his anti-science Surgeon General to push dangerous conspiracy theories over proven public health measures in an attempt to take away parents’ rights to make their own decisions for their children’s health with their own doctors,” Fried told reporters.

Alimony laws fight goes to DeSantis” via CBS Miami — After years of legislative battles about the issue, DeSantis faces a decision about whether to approve revamping the state’s alimony laws. The Legislature on Friday sent a contentious alimony bill (SB 1796) to DeSantis, along with numerous other bills that passed during the Legislative Session that ended in March. Former Gov. Rick Scott twice vetoed proposed alimony overhauls. One of the most controversial parts of this year’s bill would change the process for modification of alimony when people who have been paying seek to retire. Critics argued the plan could impoverish ex-spouses who have been homemakers and are dependent on the payments.

Alimony: Allies and foes wage fevered campaigns to have Gov. DeSantis sign or veto overhaul” via Laura Cassels of the Florida Phoenix — The yearslong battle over whether to overhaul permanent alimony and child-custody laws in Florida reached fever pitch last week when the Senate transmitted SB 1796 to DeSantis to approve or veto. SB 1796 would allow more ex-spouses to terminate permanent alimony payments and would create a 50/50 presumption regarding time-sharing of a divorcing couple’s children. Proponents and opponents claim to have delivered to DeSantis petitions signed by thousands of people (not necessarily Floridians) asking him to sign or veto the bill. Advocates say SB 1796 represents an overdue modernization of divorce laws in Florida. Opponents say it will unravel divorce settlement agreements that are decades old as ex-spouses enter retirement age.

Gov. DeSantis says Colombia election shows Marxism, totalitarianism spreading” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — At a barbecue restaurant in Nassau County, DeSantis served up grim warnings about “disastrous” political changes in Colombia, symbolic of advances made by totalitarian Marxists in the last quarter-century. He told media and politicians that the weekend election results, which saw leftist Gustavo Petro prevail, were “very, very troubling” for proponents of “freedom.” “We watched the election results in Colombia,” DeSantis said, noting Colombian Americans in Florida were “very concerned about what’s going on.” “We have a great relationship with Colombia as a state. We were all hoping that the outcome would be different, but we’ve got a problem in the Western Hemisphere with Marxism and totalitarianism really spreading.”

When it comes to dissing his Black constituents, DeSantis just can’t help himself” via Fabiola Santiago of the Miami Herald — DeSantis’ reaction to Elon Musk’s apparent endorsement, when he was asked about it at a news conference in Florida, could’ve gone many ways. For instance, he could have responded something like: “I’m focused on 2022 … but I’m flattered by the vote of confidence.” But no, what DeSantis came up with was the ugliness we’ve come to associate with the Governor when it comes to minorities: “I’m focused on 2022, but with Elon Musk what I would say is: I welcome support from African Americans. What can I say?” He was putting on a show for the White people consuming what he was dishing at this news conference. They nodded as he spoke and laughed at his point that Musk was born in South Africa, a country once ruled by a system of institutionalized racial oppression where the White minority ruled over the Black majority.

Medicaid for Florida’s transgender youth at risk under Gov. DeSantis” via Gershon Harrell of The Gainesville Sun — Cai Husband was only in fifth grade when she told her mother that she wasn’t comfortable in her own skin. Assigned male at birth, Cai expressed how she was struggling internally with her gender identity and didn’t know how to live her life as a young man. They called the pediatrician and had an emergency visit, which led to a pediatric endocrinologist and gender psychologist. The diagnosis: gender dysphoria. The Husband family was luckier than most. With access to health care, they were able to meet with physicians and get the assistance they needed. But that may no longer be the case for others in similar situations under a new proposal from the DeSantis administration.

‘My child will die.’ These families say Florida’s moves to withhold gender transition care will lead to self-harm” via Cindy Krischer Goodman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — In Florida, recent state actions threaten medical and psychological care for transgender youth, say more than a dozen families of transgender youth and children. They say that years of gains would be erased if the state makes transition-related care difficult to get or pay for. Families credit transition care and gender-affirming therapy with not only allowing their child to become the sex they feel they are but also with keeping their child alive. DeSantis’ administration moved forward Friday with a proposal that would deny Medicaid coverage for treatments such as puberty-blocking medication and hormone therapy for transgender people. Florida health officials are asking medical professionals to ignore federal guidance and stop assisting children and teens with gender transitions.

Happening today — Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker will hear a request for a preliminary injunction on a law limiting how race and race-related issues are taught in schools and workplace training, 9 a.m., United States Courthouse, 111 North Adams St., Tallahassee.

Net metering bill becomes wedge issue between moderate and far-right Republican” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Solar energy policy is joining two perennial far-right planks, absolutism on abortion and guns, in Drake Wuertz’s Republican Primary campaign against House District 38 incumbent Rep. David Smith. Wuertz is plugging into a relatively new-rising conservative view on Florida solar energy: It’s a free enterprise thwarted by big business utilities that muscle the government to help protect their market interests. At issue in the HD 38 Republican Primary is the “yes” vote cast by Smith and many other Republican lawmakers on HB 741. That “net metering” bill would have eliminated consumer energy rebates for home solar energy production. Smith and other proponents of the bill contended the program’s subsidies had done little to develop solar in Florida and were no longer the best way to promote solar energy.

David Smith gets blowback from the far-right over net metering.

One click away: New rollout of Amber Alerts on social media hopes to reach new audiences” via Tomas Rodriguez of the Naples Daily News — When Amber Hagerman of Arlington, Texas, was murdered in 1996, local broadcasters joined forces with law enforcement to develop an early warning system that would help find abducted children. Twenty-six years later, one push notification at a time, the alerts continue to reach new audiences by the minute, including across Southwest Florida. The warnings are in place for children younger than 18 who law enforcement has reasonable suspicion that the child was abducted, and the child is in danger of death or serious bodily injury. Now, Instagram has made the feature available for users nationwide. It’s part of a new partnership between Meta — the parent company for Facebook — and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

‘This can save lives.’ Purple Alert, for adults with disabilities, added to Florida system for finding the missing” via Olivia Lloyd of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Floridians may notice a new color of alert flashing across highway message boards soon. After several years of development between disability advocates, law enforcement and transportation officials, the Purple Alert will be rolling out on July 1. The alert will be “used to assist in the location of missing adults suffering from mental, cognitive, intellectual or developmental disabilities,” according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The Purple Alert will join Florida’s Silver (senior), Blue (law enforcement), and AMBER (children) alerts. Purple Alerts will apply to people who are 18 or older and do not qualify for a Silver Alert.

Florida gas prices dropping, may not hit $5 per gallon after all” via Jay Cridlin of the Tampa Bay Times — Gas prices in Florida have fallen 7 cents per gallon in the past week, according to AAA The Auto Club Group, hitting $4.82 on average on Sunday, down from an all-time high of $4.89 the week before. The drops reflect a similar change nationwide. Gas has dropped below $5 per gallon nationally as the Federal Reserve’s latest interest rate increase has diminished demand by stoking fears of a recession, said AAA representative Mark Jenkins. Reports that the Biden administration may tighten limits on petroleum exports — which had driven up prices to international buyers — may also be keeping prices in check. This drove U.S. oil prices down 9% in the last week.


Joe Biden says decision on gas tax holiday may come this week” via Aamer Madhani and Josh Boak of The Associated Press — Biden said Monday that he will decide by the end of the week whether to order a holiday on the federal gasoline tax, possibly saving U.S. consumers as much as 18.4 cents a gallon. “Yes, I’m considering it,” Biden told reporters after walking along the beach near his vacation home in Delaware. “I hope to have a decision based on the data — I’m looking for by the end of the week.” The administration is increasingly looking for ways to spare the public from higher prices at the pump, which began to climb last year and surged after Russia invaded Ukraine in February. According to AAA, gas prices nationwide are averaging just under $5 a gallon.

Ready for a holiday? Image via The Associated Press.

Congresswoman tells of her ‘proudest moment’ as COVID-19-aid contracts draw new attention” via Anthony Man of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — As Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick began self-funding her successful 2021 congressional campaign, the company where she was CEO at the time started receiving a new source of income: providing COVID-19 vaccines in underserved communities. Five contracts listed on a state database show Trinity Health Care Services of Miramar was paid almost $8.1 million for its vaccine work. The records don’t show how much it cost Trinity to fulfill its obligations under the contracts, and how much was profit for the family-owned company.

— JAN. 6 —

Poll: Voters who watch Jan. 6 hearings aren’t fans of DeSantis” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — DeSantis is one of the most talked-about Governors in the country, but when it comes to voters tuning in to the Jan. 6 hearings, a new poll says they are tuning out the Florida Republican. A Yahoo/YouGov survey of 1,541 adults conducted from June 10 to June 13 showed more than three out of five Americans who watched those explorations of the insurrection were down on DeSantis. A full 61% of those surveyed regarded the Governor unfavorably, with just one in four respondents who have been watching those hearings (25%) in favor of the Governor. Interestingly, the Governor regards the hearings every bit as unfavorably as that block of viewers does DeSantis. Earlier this month, he offered a review of the Democratic inquiry as beating a “dead horse.”

For those paying attention to Jan. 6, Ron DeSantis is quite unpopular.

Trump’s savviest aides already headed for the exits” via Juliette Kayyem of The Atlantic — Notably, most of the committee’s witnesses against the former President are or were members of Team Trump or the GOP. Look at them, the committee is saying — there is a way out. According to U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, the committee’s Republican vice-chair, Trump was advised by an “apparently inebriated” Rudy Giuliani. Based on the accounts of Trump-campaign figures, this description isn’t idle gossip but is meant to humiliate Trump, making him seem like a puppet of the unhinged and reckless. Run away from that guy! Trump is also betrayed by his daughter Ivanka, who in videotaped testimony looks deflated and pale as she sides with the forces telling Trump to stop his madness. The implication is clear: If his own daughter isn’t with him, why should you be?


Surfside victims to be honored at private vigil, public event on collapse anniversary” via Martin Vassolo of the Miami Herald — A year after 98 people died in the Surfside condo collapse, the families of the victims will return to the site of the tragedy Friday to mark the anniversary of the Champlain Towers South collapse. About 300 family members are expected to gather early Friday morning at the site where the 12-story building once stood to light a commemorative torch and honor their loved ones. They will officially observe the anniversary at 1:22 a.m., when the building collapsed on June 24, 2021. The torch will remain lit for about three weeks to represent the time it took until the last victim, Estelle Hedaya, was recovered from the rubble on July 20, said Mayor Shlomo Danzinger.

A sad anniversary approaches. Image via AP.

‘Miracle Boy’ survived Surfside building collapse but lost mom. Now he’s on long road to recovery with dad by his side.” via Susannah Bryan of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Jonah Handler, whose dramatic nighttime rescue was captured on camera, plummeted 10 stories to the earth below when the Champlain Towers South condo famously collapsed on June 24 in Surfside last year, killing 98 people. “Please don’t leave me, please don’t leave me,” Jonah, then 15, pleaded. Through the dark, he got an answer that was reassuring and true: “We’re not gonna go anywhere.” Soon rescuers were there, using Air Jacks to free him from the wreckage. Jonah’s mother survived the fall but died later at the hospital. She was 54. Jonah, now 16, lives with his father in Champlain Towers North.

South Florida’s cost of living crunches hiring efforts in State Attorney’s Offices” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Funding for State Attorney salaries escaped Gov. DeSantis veto pen and, for the first time in three years, the Palm Beach County State Attorney hopes to bump starting salaries from the current $50,000 a year. State Attorney Dave Aronberg said he’s not sure how far a planned $7,000-a-year salary increase will go toward attracting more applicants, but it’s becoming an urgent matter in his office, and in Miami-Dade County’s as well. Aronberg has 18 fewer attorneys than a full staff, missing 15% of a full workforce. In Miami-Dade County, the State Attorney’s Office is down nearly 90 attorneys, or about 25% of the total staff. “Recruitment and retention are becoming serious threats to public safety,” Aronberg said.

Federal prosecutors allege police officer defrauded government for COVID-19 relief loan” via Jane Musgrave of the Palm Beach Post — A 44-year-old Coral Springs police officer has been accused of defrauding a federal program designed to help small businesses weather the COVID-19 storm. Jason Scott Carter used the lion’s share of a $29,000 disaster relief loan he got from the U.S. Small Business Administration on repairs and services for his vintage car, federal prosecutors said in court papers. Carter appeared in U.S. District Court in West Palm Beach on Thursday and was released on a $200,000 bond. He faces a maximum 20-year prison term if convicted of a single wire fraud charge. His arrest came two years after he was named Law Enforcement Officer of the Year in 2020 by Attorney General Ashley Moody.

Florida Atlantic University’s President to step down” via Austen Erblat of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Florida Atlantic University President John Kelly will step down at the end of 2022. The announcement came from the Boca Raton university’s board of trustees Chair, Brad Levine, in a campuswide email Monday morning. Kelly will stay at FAU, moving into a position in the university’s research wing, although further details of his new role were not immediately provided. “I feel an enormous sense of pride for what this university has accomplished during the last eight years,” Levine wrote. “While this effort involved all of you, we owe an enormous debt to President Kelly for his vision, energy and leadership.” According to Levine, Kelly’s resignation won’t take effect until the end of 2022.

Man drowns in Davie pond while trying to save pet parrot” via Eileen Kelley of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — A 40-year-old man died after wading into a retention pond Sunday to retrieve his pet parrot. According to Davie Police Sergeant Kelvin Urbaez, Dimitrios Alexiou was out for a morning walk with his dog and pet parrot when the parrot flew into an apartment complex’s retention pond. When the bird appeared in distress, the man waded in after it and drowned, a witness told police. The parrot survived, Urbaez said. Friends of Alexiou came to the complex at 2701 SW 79th Ave. to care for the dog and parrot.


Patient death spurs Orlando Health nurses to sound alarm about staffing” via Caroline Catherman of the Orlando Sentinel — The suicide of a patient at Orlando Regional Medical Center last month has fueled unrest among nurses about what some describe as severe understaffing at the hospital, though a state review found the facility was not at fault for the death. On May 27, a TikTok user known as Nurse Nander posted a video sharing several widely percolating rumors, including that short-staffing contributed to the May 16 suicide, in which a patient broke open the window of his eighth-floor room and jumped to his death. In the following weeks, the video garnered over 1.5 million views. Comments about short staffing and poor working conditions at Orlando Health poured in from dozens of users who claimed to be employees.

Federal court: Two men charged with hate crime; woman found guilty of tax fraud” via Austin L. Miller of the Ocala Star-Banner — One person was found guilty, and two others were charged in separate incidents relating to federal charges. U.S. government officials said an Ocala grand jury indicted Roy Lashley and Robert Lashley for a hate crime. The younger Lashley has been taken into custody, and authorities released information about the indictment. Federal officials said on Nov. 17, 2021, the Lashleys “aiding and abetting one another, willfully caused bodily injury to the victim, a Black man, because of his actual and perceived race.” Authorities said the men “repeatedly called the victim racial slurs and repeatedly struck the victim with closed fists and an ax handle.” If the men go to trial and are found guilty, they could face 10 years in prison, three years of mandatory supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.

New monkeypox cases found in Central Florida, including in Seminole” via Caroline Catherman and Martin E. Comas of the Orlando Sentinel — Monkeypox is slowly spreading throughout Central Florida, though numbers are still low. On Monday, the Florida Department of Health reported it had detected a probable case of the virus in Seminole County and the second case in Orange County from the weekend. Mirna Chamorro, a representative for the FDOH in Seminole County, said her agency is awaiting tests for confirmation. “Our epidemiology team is actively monitoring the situation,” she said. “The individual remains isolated and is receiving treatment.” The FDOH’s website shows the infected Seminole person is between ages 45 and 49.

No monkeying around with monkeypox. Image via AP.

Judge upholds Orange County sales ban on puppies, pet shops plan to appeal” via Stephen Hudak of the Orlando Sentinel — Orange County’s ban on the retail sale of puppies and kittens, set to take effect Wednesday, survived a legal challenge brought by three owners of pet shops who argued the new ordinance will bankrupt them. In a six-page decision, Circuit Judge Vincent Chiu said lawyers for two Orlando Petland franchises and Breeders Pick presented “credible evidence the ordinance would have a catastrophic effect” on their businesses, but the law required him to consider other factors, too. “While there may be fair debate whether the ordinance is good policy, that debate belongs in the political arena rather than the courtroom and is one in which this Court has no place,” Chiu said in the ruling posted Friday on the Clerk of Courts website.

Former Tampa City Council candidate subpoenaed over social media posts” via Charlie Frago of the Tampa Bay Times — A former candidate for Tampa City Council has been subpoenaed by a local business consultant seeking to uncover the identity behind a Facebook account that has been critical of him and Tampa politicians. In May, Tampa attorney Ethan Loeb subpoenaed John Godwin, who ran unsuccessfully for City Council in 2019, and his wife Catherine Godwin, for all communication and documentation related to the Facebook account of a “James Reed,” an associated Twitter account and a Gmail account. The “James Reed” accounts have been critical of business consultant Steve Michelini, who is seeking to uncover the creator’s identity, arguing the posts have been defamatory.

Hillsborough Superintendent Addison Davis is up for a longer contract” via Marlene Sokol of the Tampa Bay Times — The Hillsborough County School Board is about to vote on extending superintendent Davis’ contract until June 2027. The deal they will consider Tuesday also allows 4% annual pay increases. But those raises are subject to board votes. They do not begin until July 2023. And they are to happen only if other administrators get raises as well. The superintendent now earns $310,000. That compares to $350,000 and $370,000 for the new superintendents in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, which are larger. In the Pinellas County School District, roughly half the size of Hillsborough, incoming superintendent Kevin Hendrick will earn $290,000.

At John’s Pass, where sand buildup poses danger, a dredging project is near” via Chris Kuo of the Tampa Bay Times — When Mary Matthews first opened her jewelry store at John’s Pass Boardwalk in Madeira Beach, she could look down through the slats and see fish, crabs, jellyfish and dolphins. The water glistened. That was in 1982. Now when the 61-year-old owner of Gray Jewelers peers down, she sees only sand. For years, residents, business owners and city officials tried to solve the issue, but they faced a bureaucratic tangle involving the county government and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Then came a breakthrough when DeSantis signed a state budget on June 2 that included $1.5 million for dredging the pass.

From Apollo to Artemis, Kennedy Space Center celebrates 60 years of history and looks again toward the moon” via Jamie Groh of Florida Today — Sixty years after the purchase of a 200-square-mile section of Florida swamp, John F. Kennedy Space Center remains a hub of launch activity and America’s only portal for launching humans into orbit around the Earth. It is also prominently adorned with mementos of a time long since passed. That contrast — a facility aimed at the future while steeped in its own storied history — is visible everywhere from the building where astronauts suit up to the control room where teams give the rocket a final “Go” for launch. The shiny new KSC headquarters building sits next to an Apollo-era processing facility; a reusable SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket rolls by the Vehicle Assembly Building constructed in 1966.

Volusia County lifeguards rescue 212 during busy Father’s Day weekend” via Skyler Swisher of the Orlando Sentinel — Volusia County lifeguards are warning of dangerous beach conditions with more than 200 people rescued on Saturday. Lifeguards pulled 212 people out of the ocean as visitors flocked to the beach for the Father’s Day weekend and to escape the extreme heat. Dangerous surf is expected to continue into the week. Heavy crowds are expected again on Sunday, and visitors are urged to swim in front of a lifeguard tower and pay attention to traffic signs, said Volusia County Beach Safety Capt. A.J. Miller. Lifeguards are flying a red flag Sunday, meaning there is a considerable risk of rip currents.


Kathleen Coppola gets ninth term on Airport Authority” via John Hackworth of the Punta Gorda Sun — Coppola attended Saturday’s Republican Executive Committee shindig prepared to talk about her race for an unprecedented ninth term on the Punta Gorda Airport Authority. She was gearing up for a second run against pilot Stanley Smith, whom she defeated in 2018. “Gene Murtha came up to me and said: ‘Congratulations.’ I said: ‘What for?’ He said for winning the race,” Coppola said. “Gene showed me on his computer that my opponent had withdrawn. Apparently, Mr. Smith pulled out sometime Friday.” The deadline for qualifying was noon Friday. At the end of her new term, Coppola will have served on the board for 36 years.

The ninth time’s the charm for Kathleen Coppola.

Popular Blind Pass Beach Park in Sanibel deemed dangerously eroded and closed indefinitely” via Amy Bennett Williams of the Fort Myers News-Press — Blind Pass Beach Park on Sanibel is closed after sudden erosion over the past month made it unsafe, Sanibel officials decided. If or when the shoreline park, which is popular with anglers and beachgoers, will reopen is unclear,” said the city’s director of natural resources, Holly Milbrandt. Barrier islands are ever-changing, she says, and Blind Pass between Sanibel and Captiva is a case in point. The tidal strait that separates the islands while connecting the Gulf of Mexico with Pine Island Sound is narrowing as it fills with sand. The more constricted waterway causes faster flow, the way a clogged artery raises blood pressure.

Grave concerns: Arcadia moving to stop further site cave-ins at Oak Ridge Cemetery” via Ted Carter of The Arcadian — The prospect of cave-ins of several dozen deteriorating grave sites at century-old Oakridge Cemetery has led Arcadia maintenance workers to begin removing deteriorated vault coverings and reinforcing the sites with dirt and sod. A cave-in two months ago prompted the city’s rush to take off the vault covers and strengthen the ground in and around the graves. A child, to her horror, discovered a deep hole and looked down into it. She “saw the bones of whoever was in there,” city administrator Terry Stewart said. City Hall, meanwhile, is working to find the descendants of family members whose grave vault coverings at the city cemetery must be removed. They are getting the choice to put in new coverings or accept the city’s dirt-and-sod reinforcement.


DeSantis gives $4M to Callahan for clean water plant” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — The town of Callahan, a small burg of 1,372 just north of Jacksonville, will receive $4 million to build a clean water plant, DeSantis said Monday. The money will come from the state’s Job Growth Grant Fund, a pot used by DeSantis for job training and infrastructure projects, and will be used to expand capacity at the Crawford Diamond Industrial Park in Callahan. DeSantis said that the project will help bring more jobs to the area and boost manufacturing jobs. “We want to build more stuff in the U.S. We want to build more stuff in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said before handing over the check to local officials. Audra Wallace, President of the JAXUSA Partnership, an economic development agency for the Jacksonville area, said the port and transportation infrastructure had lured logistics companies and other manufacturers to the region.

Once again, Ron DeSantis whips out the oversized checkbook.

Escambia County school navigators so successful, program may continue after funding stops” via Colin Warren-Hicks of the Pensacola News Journal — The Escambia County School District’s navigator program has proved to be so successful that Superintendent Tim Smith believes the district will try to keep a scaled-down version of the program going, even after the federal funding that pays for it runs out. This past school year, 32 “navigators” from the Children’s Home Society were placed in 34 public schools. The job of the navigators was to essentially act like social workers. They provided and connected students and their parents with resources, including food, clothing, government assistance and health care.

Okaloosa NAACP calls for expansion of Crestview PD’s Critical Incident Review Board” via Tom McLaughlin of the Northwest Florida Daily News — The family of Calvin Wilks gathered with their attorneys Saturday to declare they are unified in the struggle to see three indicted Crestview police officers face justice for his killing. “We stand as one as a family, as one for justice,” Wilks’ sister Linda Maples said. “We’re calling for justice, not calling for pity.” Attorneys Rawsi Williams and Michael Jennings, who have been retained to represent family members, organized and were present for the event. Lewis Jennings, the president of the Okaloosa County Chapter of the NAACP, used the occasion to call upon the city to expand the Crestview Police Department’s Critical Incident Review Board to include members of the public.

Local voters need not worry about impacts of new voting laws” via Tom McLaughlin of the Northwest Florida Daily News — Despite all of the attention given to changes made to election laws during Florida’s 2021 and 2022 Legislative Sessions, those casting ballots this year in Okaloosa and Walton counties won’t likely be overwhelmed by what they find at their designated polling places. “For us, the changes have been somewhat minor,” said Okaloosa County Supervisor of Elections Paul Lux. “Most of it was stuff we had already been doing or codifying things we were doing previously.” Changes to voting procedures in Walton County amount to “a few little things,” said Supervisor of Elections Bobby Beasley. “Most of it’s stuff the public wouldn’t even notice,” he said.

Black bear sightings in busy areas of Florida Panhandle highlight impact of rural development” via Sierra Rains of the Northwest Florida Daily News — In 2016, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) estimated that there were over 5 million acres of potential black bear habitat in the Florida Panhandle. Florida black bears are the only species of bear found in the state and are common in the region. However, as urban sprawl encroaches on traditionally remote areas, more bears are spotted in places they normally wouldn’t venture. Videos of black bears in Niceville and Destin, and even on Pensacola Beach, have recently been popping up on social media. One video captured a large black bear at The Track amusement park in Destin on June 13.

Development is pushing Florida black bears into more populated areas.

Breaking down the 2022 budget: Here’s how Leon County will spend $316 million this year” via Karl Etters of the Tallahassee Democrat — Leon County is looking to tap into an increase in collected property taxes and federal COVID-19 relief funds to replenish its reserve coffers and balance out its budget for the next year. But at the same time, it’s grappling with inflationary pressure on its operations and addressing the food insecurity among citizens, streetside litter, and countywide library improvements. During a workshop Tuesday, Leon County Commissioners will discuss their $316 million proposed 2023 budget.

Three letters in support of Leon County’s efforts to preserve the Lake Hall schoolhouse” via Gerri Seay, Triel Lindstrom, and Bob Holladay of the Tallahassee Democrat — Living in Leon County, a county filled with restored plantation houses and communities named after them, there is little evidence that enslaved people were ever a part of that time. While the plantation houses are saved, restored, and listed on the National Register, very few pieces of African American material culture from that period are preserved and listed. The Lake Hall School fills the historic-representation gap that’s been created. Leon County has an opportunity to bring The Lake Hall School into the circle of historical places in Leon County. The school is the only school in the state built by formerly enslaved people on the land they purchased after the Civil War.

Here’s where the Southern fast-food chain Cook Out is looking to set up shop in Tallahassee” via Christopher Cann of the Tallahassee Democrat — Less than two months after Tallahassee won a Twitter poll determining the next Cook Out location, the Southern fast-food chain has proposed a site in west Tallahassee, near Florida State University. The 1,800-square-foot restaurant, including a drive-thru lane, a walk-up order window, and associated parking, would be constructed at West Pensacola and Day streets if the city approves permits. One of the current buildings at the intersection will be demolished to make room for the new eatery.


DeSantis abandons children” via The Washington Post editorial board — At last, the nation’s youngest children will get some protection from the coronavirus. Regulatory approval means shots could be administered as soon as this week to children under 5 years old. The mRNA vaccines that have been lifesavers for adults will come in smaller doses for children that, while not perfect, should at least prevent serious illness or death. This is welcome news everywhere but in Florida. DeSantis’ Department of Health has refused to put in an order with the federal government for a supply of the pediatric vaccines for children under 5, leaving pediatricians and parents to scramble on their own. The deadline for placing a preorder was Tuesday, and the 49 other states met the cutoff.


The center has not held in Colombia, but democracy still might” via The Washington Post editorial board — Gustavo Petro, a leftist senator and former militant in a guerrilla group, emerged as the winner of Sunday’s Colombian presidential election with just over 50% of the vote. If the center did not hold in Colombia, democracy still might. Voting was peaceful and transparent, followed by the prompt, gracious concession of Rodolfo Hernández — who proved blessedly, and admirably, un-Trumpian in that respect. Other institutions might act as a check on the new President: Colombia’s Congress, for example, is fragmented, and Mr. Petro’s opponents control more seats than his Party does. Similar divisions of power have turned governance into a slog for new leftist presidents in Peru and Chile. Mexico’s Congress, too, has blocked some of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s more extreme proposals.

Texas Republicans want to secede? Good riddance.” via Dana Milbank of The Washington Post — The Lone Star State does not have the best track record as a sovereign power. But, as the saying goes: If, at first, you don’t secede, try, try again. The Texas GOP now wants the state to vote on declaring independence. And the United States should let Texas go! Consider the benefits to the rest of the country: Two fewer Republican Senators, two dozen fewer Republican members of the House, annual savings of $83 billion in defense funds that Texas gets. And the best reason? The Texas GOP has so little regard for the Constitution that it is calling for a “Convention of the States” to effectively rewrite it — and so little regard for the United States that it wishes to leave.

On guns, Republican Florida Legislature surpasses Democratic Congress” via the Orlando Sentinel and South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial boards — Florida did more to stop gun violence after one school shooting than Congress is likely to do after a two-decades-plus string of school shootings and nationwide firearm carnage. The federal legislation would not expand background checks to close loopholes for sales at gun shows and online, despite strong bipartisan support for doing so. Most important, it would not ban the sale of those military-style weapons to people under 21. Few state legislatures have genuflected before the National Rifle Association like Florida’s. Yet, in 2018, after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, the Legislature banned the sale of military-style rifles to those under 21. We don’t often say that the Florida Legislature is a good model for the country. However, Congress will come up way short of Tallahassee on protecting children.

Florida’s new insurance law is a boon to the insurance industry” via Adam Ellis for The Gainesville Sun — While the law does provide for a rate reduction to consumers, which is to be commensurate to the cost savings realized by the companies participating in the program, it appears that the insurance companies themselves are free to determine the amount. There is neither a mechanism for oversight nor a penalty for failure to comply. The law also makes it more difficult to maintain a lawsuit against an insurance company. Florida needed some relief, but this certainly isn’t it. This new law props up private companies with taxpayer dollars, and further skews an already uneven playing field in favor of big insurance.

— ALOE —

‘Awed and humbled’: Netflix debuts Ben Crump documentary ‘Civil’ on Juneteenth” via TaMaryn Waters of the Tallahassee Democrat — The new Netflix documentary “Civil” begins with Crump pacing alone in a dim hotel room as he takes a call that would spark his leading role in America’s racial reckoning. Moments earlier, Crump saw the viral video of George Floyd, a “documentary of his death.” The 6’4″ unarmed Black man was choked to death by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck. Floyd begged for his life and drew his last breath outside a convenience store on Memorial Day 2020. The woman caller, one of Floyd’s cousins, sought Crump for legal advice. Crump took the case, becoming the family’s megaphone for justice and the man dubbed by many as “Black America’s Attorney General.”

To watch a trailer for “Civil,” click on the image below:

New cruise ship Disney Wish arrives in Port Canaveral” via Richard Tribou of the Orlando Sentinel — Disney Cruise Line’s new ship Disney Wish sailed into Port Canaveral for the first time this morning to the delight of fans let into Jetty Park to witness its arrival. The first new ship in the DCL fleet in more than 10 years arrived at its new home port around 5 a.m., sailing by hundreds of fans who either woke up early or didn’t sleep at all for the ship’s predawn arrival. With lightning in the background and under a moonlit cloudy sky, the pier was eerily silent despite the lines of people. The waves crashing along the pier were only interrupted by a buzzing drone flying overhead.

Famous for her face, the Gerber baby wanted to be remembered as a great teacher” via Kristen Hare of the Tampa Bay Times — Ann Turner Cook was the Gerber baby. Turner Cook’s role as the sparkling-eyed, pillow-cheeked mascot was officially confirmed by the company in a 1950s court case and to the public in 1978. And while the original Gerber baby enjoyed the bit of celebrity that came with the role, she hoped to be remembered for something else. Turner Cook was a great teacher, her children and former students agree. After the Hillsborough High School teacher retired, she became a mystery writer whose work showed her love for Florida. While her face at its youngest remains fixed in our culture, Turner Cook did the thing babies are supposed to do — she grew up and lived a good and interesting life. She died June 3 at 95 of natural causes.

In a town crippled by grief, the healing power of a perfect pitch” via Edgar Sandoval of The New York Times — It has been a month of mourning in Uvalde, Texas: 21 funerals in 17 days in the wake of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School. This weekend’s Little League All-Star Championship, an event Uvalde had proudly planned to host, seemed like the next casualty. But Matthew Hughes, a league board member whose daughter plays, said almost everyone they talked to, including parents of the fallen team players, agreed to go forward. “I reached out to a couple of counselors in town and asked them, ‘What do you think?’ They said that part of the healing process is getting people back to the level of continuity, a level of regularity as quickly as possible,” Hughes said. “In my mind, we are putting on this tournament for all of them.”

South Florida entrepreneur set to build first distillery in Fort Lauderdale owned by Black spirits producer” via Daniel Oropeza of the Miami Herald — After his 38-year-old mother died suddenly after cardiac arrest, 10-year-old Victor Harvey and his three siblings were raised by their father, a hardworking banker. Harvey grew up in Mount Vernon, east side of Columbus, Ohio, during the early 1980s. He saw basketball as his opportunity to get into college, a feat nobody in his family had yet achieved. When his aspirations to become a professional athlete did not happen, he became a hip-hop artist and invested his earnings in real estate. Today, the money he’s made on real estate investments is helping bankroll Harvey’s expansion of his alcohol spirits production business Victor George Spirits, known for an award-winning premium vodka brand that bears his name Victor George.


Celebrating today are our friends Michele Cavallo, Cory Dowd, Gia Porras-Ferrulo, Anthony Katchuk, Shannon Love, Gisselle Reynolds of Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart’s  office, Courtney Bense Weatherford, as well as Anthony Ketchup and Bill Young.


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

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