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Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 7.24.20

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President Donald Trump’s hopes to salvage a four-night celebration for his reelection campaign have been thwarted by spiking coronavirus cases across the Sun Belt, with the President announcing Thursday that he was calling off the public events of the Republican National Convention scheduled to be held in Florida.

Trump had already moved the convention from North Carolina and dramatically scaled back its programming and attendance in Jacksonville in an effort to keep it on track. But the nights of ’infomercial” programming and parties appeared to be both a health and political risk to Trump and his advisers, who feared that going forward with the event, set to draw more than 10,000 people, would ultimately backfire on the President.

Donald Trump nixes the Jax RNC. ‘Not the right time.’

Trump’s plans for the Florida convention were scaled back almost as quickly as the move was announced, as virus cases spiked in Florida and much of the country over the last month.

Trump said he would deliver an acceptance speech in an alternate form, potentially online.

Trump said thousands of his supporters and delegates wanted to attend the events in Florida, but “I just felt it was wrong” to gather them in a virus hot spot. Some of them would have faced quarantine requirements when they returned to their home states from the convention.

“We didn’t want to take any chances,” he added. “We have to be vigilant. We have to be careful, and we have to set an example.”

___

A new Quinnipiac University poll published Thursday found 79% of registered Florida voters believe people should be required to wear a face mask while in public, while only 20% are opposed to mask requirements.

Meanwhile, only 16% of those polled believe masks or face coverings are not effective at slowing the spread of COVID-19.

The survey also showed 70% percent of registered Florida voters believe the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic is “out of control,” while 24% believe it is “under control.” “There is overwhelming support for requiring face masks among all ages and every other listed demographic group,” the Quinnipiac poll said.

Most Floridians are OK with mandatory mask-wearing. Image via AP.

“It’s a different world, and it will be for a little while,” Trump said, explaining his decision during one of his newly resuscitated White House briefings on the coronavirus. “To have a big convention is not the right time.”

A small subset of GOP delegates will still formally renominate Trump on Aug. 24 in Charlotte, the original host city before Trump moved the ceremonial portions of the GOP convention to Florida last month amid a dispute with North Carolina’s Democratic leaders over holding an event indoors with maskless supporters. That event is scheduled to last just four hours in the morning.

How Donald Trump went from a massive convention bash to no party at all” via Alex Isenstadt, Matt Dixon and Gary Fineout of Politico — On Wednesday evening, President Trump convened his top political advisers, including campaign manager Bill Stepien and Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, for a conference call to consider a move that would have been unthinkable just a few weeks ago: Cancel his party’s upcoming convention in Jacksonville. By Thursday afternoon, with coronavirus raging in the state, the president who all year envisioned a boisterous send-off to the final months of his reelection campaign, had made up his mind: It was a no-go.

— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —

@RealDonaldTrump: Liz Cheney is only upset because I have been actively getting our great and beautiful Country out of the ridiculous and costly Endless Wars. I am also making our so-called allies pay tens of billions of dollars in delinquent military costs. They must, at least, treat us fairly!!!

@LarrySabato: OK realistically, a [Joe] Biden lead of +13% is very probably not achievable. But even if Biden carries FL by a tiny margin, the election’s over. No practical way for Trump to make up those 29 electoral votes.

@RepValDemings: Perhaps Mr. [Ted] Yoho was frustrated because he lacks the courage to stand up to his corrupt and reckless President. Perhaps he and the President simply share a fear of strong women. Regardless, the actions speak for themselves.

@NikkiFried: I personally have not heard any teachers say they were “itching to get back.” What I hear is fear, frustration over a lack of protective gear and social distancing guidelines, and concerns for their health and the safety of the students.

@MDixon55: [Ron] DeSantis is in the Gov’s mansion because of Trump. President’s support made DeSantis’ underdog run for Governor work. If President cuts him loose publicly, the MAGA crowd isn’t sticking with him. There is no real DeSantis base. It’s a Trump base told to vote for DeSantis

@JakeTapper: When you call a woman with whom you disagree “a fucking bitch,” as GOP Rep @TedYoho did with @AOC, it’s not “passion” talking. It’s misogyny. It’s bigotry. Truly disgusting.

@ScottFist: Every single time @OCFLMayor Jerry Demings gives a #COVID19 update, takes a moment to express sadness for those who have died & sympathy for their families. Why is that so hard for other leaders?

@NateMonroeTU: lol this fucking town

@goni_lessan: My nightmares have evolved from zombies and my brakes going out on the freeway to me going to dinner at a restaurant without a mask and hugging someone.

Tweet, tweet:

— DAYS UNTIL —

WNBA starts — 1; PLL starts — 1; TED conference rescheduled — 2; NBA season restart in Orlando — 7; NHL resumes — 8; Florida primaries for 2020 state legislative/congressional races — 25; Florida Bar exams begin online (rescheduled) — 26; Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee begins — 26; Indy 500 rescheduled — 30; Republican National Convention begins in Charlotte — 31; NBA draft lottery — 32; Rev. Al Sharpton’s D.C. March — 35; U.S. Open begins — 38; “A Quiet Place Part II” premieres — 42; Rescheduled running of the Kentucky Derby — 43; Rescheduled date for French Open — 58; First presidential debate in Indiana — 67; “Wonder Woman” premieres — 70; Preakness Stakes rescheduled — 71; First vice presidential debate at the University of Utah — 74; NBA season ends (last possible date) — 80; Second presidential debate scheduled at Miami — 83; NBA draft — 84; Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch” premieres — 84; NBA free agency — 87; Third presidential debate at Belmont — 90; 2020 General Election — 102; “Black Widow” premieres — 109; NBA 2020-21 training camp — 111; Florida Automated Vehicles Summit — 119; “No Time to Die” premieres — 119; NBA 2020-21 opening night — 130; “Top Gun: Maverick” premieres — 152; Super Bowl LV in Tampa — 198; New start date for 2021 Olympics — 364; “Jungle Cruise” premieres — 372; “Spider-Man Far From Home” sequel premieres — 469; “Thor: Love and Thunder” premieres — 567; “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” premieres — 609; “Black Panther 2” premieres — 651; “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” sequel premieres — 805.

— CORONA FLORIDA —

Florida breaks record with 173 COVID-19 deaths reported on Thursday, 10,249 new cases” via the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — The Florida Department of Health announced 10,249 new cases of COVID-19 in the state on Thursday, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the state to 389,868 since the pandemic began. The number of reported deaths of Florida residents rose by 173 to 5,518. That is the largest single-day number of deaths since the pandemic began. Sarasota County’s numbers rose by 77 cases since Wednesday, for a total of 4,644. Manatee County had 174 new cases, for a total of 7,252. One new death was reported in Sarasota County, with total deaths reaching 110, and three new deaths in Manatee, for 152 in total.

Gov. DeSantis downplays state reporting daily record 173 COVID-19 deaths, cites more positive data” via Dave Berman of Florida Today — DeSantis on Thursday downplayed a report issued the Department of Health showing a daily record of 173 new COVID-19 deaths in the state. DeSantis said the data encompasses deaths that occurred on various days but were just being reported by DOH Thursday. DeSantis said other data indicate positive trends in the battle against the spread of the coronavirus. He cited, for example, decreases in the percentage of COVID-19 test results that are positive for the coronavirus; generally good availability of hospital facilities and equipment; and decreases in visits to emergency departments. “If you look at what we’re seeing on the ground in places like Brevard County, I think that we’re seeing some positive momentum,” DeSantis said.

Ron DeSantis is downplaying the COVID-19 numbers, looking for some positive trends.

DeSantis’ budget office sends home staff after COVID scare” via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald — Several staff members of the Governor’s Office of Policy and Budget were sent home after a staff member, who had returned to work while sick and coughing, tested positive for COVID-19. “The employee in question was told not to return to work until they tested negative for COVID-19,’’ said Meredith Beatrice, spokesperson for DeSantis. “The employee came to work anyway, and was immediately sent home.” Beatrice would not say how many people from the Office of Policy and Budget were sent home, but she said that it is the governor’s policy that “employees exposed to a sick co-worker are required to quarantine for 14 days.”

On MLB Opening Day, DeSantis wants faster testing statewide” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — With the arrival of Major League Baseball’s Opening Day, and with other professional sports leagues ramping up their seasons, the “testing industrial complex” is facing heavier scrutiny in Florida. Professional sports leagues, including the National Basketball Association and Major League Soccer — both isolated in Florida bubbles — have seen tests returned sometimes in a matter of hours. Meanwhile, the general public gets returns in days or even more than a week. When asked during a Thursday news conference whether there are lessons to be learned from professional sports leagues, which have enjoyed lower diagnosis rates than the state and the nation, Gov. DeSantis was open to the possibility but downplayed the comparisons.

Florida voters losing faith in DeSantis, new poll finds” via David Smiley of the Tampa Bay Times — Once one of the most popular Governors in the country, DeSantis is losing his standing among Florida voters as the state’s coronavirus outbreak reaches new, alarming levels. DeSantis, among several Republican governors who pushed in May to quickly reopen their states from pandemic-driven lockdowns, has seen his approval rating dip as Florida experiences one of the worst outbreaks in the country. On Thursday, as DOH reported a state record 173 COVID-19 deaths, a new poll released by Quinnipiac University put DeSantis’ favorability rating at a new low, with 41% of voters approving of his job performance and 52% disapproving. The numbers reflect a 31-point drop in DeSantis’ approval rating from a poll the university conducted in late April.

COVID is leaking into Florida nursing homes as regulators allow exceptions” via Mary Ellen Klas and Meghan Bobrowsky of the Miami Herald — More than 6,700 staff and residents at nursing homes and assisted living facilities have been infected with COVID-19 in the month of July, a 129% rise that regulators blame on vendors and staff who unwittingly bring in the virus. But the state also played a role. DeSantis and Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Mary Mayhew say they have tried to keep coronavirus out by putting elder-care homes on lockdown since March. In June, they announced a plan to test nearly 200,000 staff for evidence of the virus every two weeks. But there are two problems with the state’s approach: Testing has been too late and incomplete; and thousands are allowed to enter facilities without proof they aren’t infected.

To stop COVID-19 from seeping into nursing homes, Mary Mayhew suggests a total lockdown. Image via WUSF.

Inmate COVID-19 toll nears 1,000 at North Florida prison” via Ana Ceballos of the News Service of Florida — Columbia Correctional Institution went from 574 cases on Wednesday to 973 on Thursday, and three inmates at the prison have died from complications of the disease during the past week, state reports show. In all, about 40 percent of the approximately 2,280 inmates at the facility near Lake City are known to have been infected with COVID-19. “This is a total nightmare,” Audrey Jennings Hudgins, the mother of an inmate at Columbia, told The News Service of Florida. The skyrocketing number of cases has left Hudgins and other family members worried about the safety and well-being of inmates and workers at the prison.

Samantha Diaz, Florida health care worker, dies at 29” via Katharine Seelye of The New York Times — Diaz was planning to become a registered nurse. But in late June, her test for the coronavirus came back positive. She was hospitalized. But because she was otherwise healthy, she was expected to survive. Then the virus took over. She died on July 10 at a hospital in Palm Beach near where she worked, her mother, Anadelia Diaz, said. She was nine days shy of 30. Before she died, two of her three children — Anaya, who is 16 months old, and Adrian, who is 2 ½ and has autism — also contracted the virus.

— BACK TO SCHOOL? —

As Florida parents grapple with school choices amid the coronavirus, so are Florida lawmakers” via Katie LaGrone of WFTS Tampa Bay — Florida politicians are going on the record about their own school plans amid the ongoing pandemic. DeSantis recently said he would send his children back to school before adding that his three children aren’t old enough to actually go to school yet. But U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s children are. When he was recently asked if he’s planning to send his kids back to a school campus in Miami, his response was “the answer to that question is, yes.” Go down the list of Florida lawmakers, and you’ll start to notice what their plans are with their kids once school starts. They appear to follow their politics. “We think there’s a lot of reasons kids go to school beyond the education factor,” said Sen. Jeff Brandes.

Central Florida schools push learning option that lets them keep student funding” via Lisa Maria Garza — Central Florida public school districts are giving parents choices on how their children learn this fall, and many schools are pushing programs that would keep students in their home district. The reason? Money. Public schools receive full funding for students who take classes on campus or through their own online learning model, but lose out on funds for kids enrolled in the Florida Virtual School — which could mean teacher layoffs. Principals in Orange County have sent messages to parents through phone calls and social media posts expressing funding concerns and “highly recommending” the district’s new virtual program, OCPS LaunchED@Home, over the other virtual school option.

—“School board voted to mandate masks, delay first day of schooling” via Buster Thompson of the Citrus County Chronicle

—“Duval School Board approves back-to-school plan, including delayed start and hybrid learning options” via Emily Bloch of the Florida Times-Union

—“Office for Catholic Schools delay start date in Escambia County” via WEAR-TV

—“Leon Superintendent Rocky Hanna: Schools should delay start again to Aug. 24” via CD Davidson-Hiers of the Tallahassee Democrat

—“Santa Rosa County School Board approves remote learning option for students” via Kevin Robinson of the Pensacola News Journal

Manatee students need the internet to access online learning. The solution is costly” via Giuseppe Sabella of the Bradenton Herald — Manatee has about 500 Wi-Fi hot spots that would bring internet to families’ houses, but the anticipated need is much greater. “Just for argument’s sake, let’s say 10 percent of our student population does not have internet access, which is not a stretch by any imagination,” the district’s chief technology officer, Scott Hansen, said. As of Tuesday, he estimated that 4,000 students — at a minimum — lacked internet access at home. For between $1.3 million to $1.4 million, the district could likely order 4,000 hot spots and the service plans for each, Hansen said.

Florida Watch launches video attacking Donald Trump, DeSantis push to reopen schools” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics — A progressive group released a video Thursday attacking DeSantis for “parroting” Trump on how he is handling the COVID-19 pandemic. The Florida Watch video centers on the Governor’s decision to reopen schools in August despite the high number of COVID-19 cases in the Sunshine State. “As the coronavirus rages across Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis is parroting Donald Trump’s calls for students and teachers to return to school without proper funding or safety measures,” the video begins. “Floridians were stunned and confused when the DeSantis administration ordered our schools to reopen for in-person classes despite Florida being a worldwide hotspot for COVID-19.” The video alleges DeSantis is sending students and staff into schools without proper funding or safety measures.

To watch the video, click on the image below:

— CORONA LOCAL —

Mike Pence to promote ‘incredible progress’ on a coronavirus vaccine at University of Miami” via David Smiley of the Miami Herald — Pence is headed to Miami Monday to promote the Trump administration’s progress on efforts to bring a coronavirus vaccine to market. Pence’s office announced Thursday that he is scheduled to visit the University of Miami next week “to mark the beginning of Phase III trials for a coronavirus vaccine.” UM announced this month that it was looking for volunteers to participate in a study led by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases COVID-19 Prevention Network in which 1,000 people will be injected with a potential vaccine by Moderna. During his visit, Pence will participate in a roundtable with university leaders and researchers “on the incredible progress of a coronavirus vaccine.”

Mike Pence is heading to Miami this week.

Hospitals call for stricter enforcement of COVID-19 restrictions” via Karina Elwood of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Some health care professionals say hospitals will reach a crisis point if the government doesn’t crack down more on people who go without masks or gather in big groups. Aurelio Fernandez, president and CEO of Memorial Healthcare System, urged Broward County commissioners on Thursday to take steps that will alleviate crowding in hospitals. “I cannot overemphasize the need to follow the masking and social distancing guidelines,” Fernandez said. “We cannot handle much more.” As of Thursday morning, 16.72% of hospital beds and 9.52% of ICU beds in Broward County were available. Memorial Regional Hospital has 18.54% capacity but only 15.07% of ICU beds. Broward Health Medical Center has 4.29% available capacity and 8.7% of ICU beds available.

No one is safe from Miami-Dade’s new $100 no-mask fine. Not even people wearing masks” via Haley Lerner of the Miami Herald — The first batch of face mask fines have been doled out in Miami-Dade, with the $100 citations issued everywhere from grocery stores to barbershops and country clubs. One Wawa gas station in Kendall was a particular hot spot for either scofflaws or enthusiastic enforcement, with eight citations over two days, according to Miami-Dade Police Department records of the 162 citations issued so far for people caught in public violating the county’s mandatory mask order. But three of the people in Miami-Dade contacted by the Herald who got mask tickets said they were in full support of social distancing rules and masks. In fact, they said they were even either wearing one or holding one when they got fined.

Miami could eliminate climate change czar as COVID forces budget chops across city” via Alex Harris and Joey Flechas of the Miami Herald — The city of Miami has won international praise for its chief resilience officer, a climate change czar tasked with helping the city adapt to rising seas. Now, under a COVID-19 budget crunch, the city could get rid of the position. “This is a signal for how we prioritize what is an immediate, urgent issue for Miami,” said Frances Colón, a former member of the city’s sea-level rise board. “It communicates the wrong thing to the community, it communicates the wrong thing to investors. People don’t want to see Miami do less.” Miami’s first CRO, Jane Gilbert, is leaving her position at the end of July to spend more time with her family.

Jane Gilbert is stepping down as Miami’s first Chief Resiliency Officer. Image via SmartCitiesWorld.com.

UM professors upset over school’s plan to have in-person classes amid rising COVID cases” via Jimena Tavel of the Miami Herald — As Miami-Dade County — the epicenter of the pandemic in Florida — reports thousands of COVID-19 cases each day, some faculty and staff at the University of Miami are pushing back over the school’s plan to reopen its campuses, feeling the administration has ignored their pleadings over personal safety. The private university, based in Coral Gables, granted its nearly 17,000 students the power to decide how to learn but failed to do the same for many of its approximately 16,000 faculty and staff, full and part-time, some employees said. UM encouraged professors who qualify as vulnerable with underlying medical conditions, as defined by the CDC, to request accommodations but didn’t do the same for those who simply feel unsafe.

New lawsuit says Broward County’s emergency order violates constitutional rights” via Brooke Battinger of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — The man who staged a protest against beach closures on July Fourth and who was taken into custody last week at a Broward County news conference is back with a new complaint against the county’s latest emergency order, which he says is unconstitutional. Chris Nelson, the Fort Lauderdale resident behind the group ReOpen South Florida, said he intends to file a lawsuit against the county’s order this week. His complaint refers to Section 4A of the order, which says that residents of single or multifamily homes must enforce mask mandates on their property, including when they have guests over.

— MORE LOCAL —

66 residents positive for COVID-19 in Ocoee nursing home” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — The Ocoee Health Care Center has had 66 residents and 30 staff members test positive for the virus since a first case was identified in late June, Dr. Raul Pino, the Orange County health officer with the Florida Department of Health, said Thursday during Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings‘ press briefing on the coronavirus outbreak. There have been no deaths reported among the center’s residents, Pino said. “We have a significant outbreak that we are following in an assisted living facility and we have some concerns,” Pino said. “We are in the process of obtaining more information.” He said he did not yet know what the resident population is for the facility.

Santa Rosa County approves $3.2 million in CARES funds for 2 new rapid COVID-19 test sites” via Annie Blanks of the Pensacola News Journal — Santa Rosa County will spend $3.2 million in CARES Act funding allocation on two new COVID-19 testing sites in partnership with Ascension Sacred Heart — one in the north end and one in the south end of the county — in an effort to get a better handle on the local impact of the coronavirus. Commissioners gave the $3.2 million expenditure the green light at their Thursday morning meeting, the first of what will likely be several expenditures to pump money back into the local economy as the coronavirus pandemic continues to tighten its grip on the county. Santa Rosa County will receive approximately $8 million cash in CARES funding and an additional $24 million in reimbursable funds.

— CORONA NATION —

U.S. coronavirus cases surpass 4 million” via Axios — The number of U.S. coronavirus cases exceeded 4 million on Thursday, Johns Hopkins data illustrates. The milestone comes as Trump continues pushing to reopen schools and return the U.S. economy to pre-pandemic normalcy. But infection numbers are rising and coronavirus hospitalizations have surged nationwide, adding to the pressure of a health care system that’s been under immense strain for months. More than 143,000 Americans have died to date from COVID-19.

Texas county stores bodies in trucks as state sets one-day record for COVID-19 deaths” via Brad Brooks and Brendan O’Brien of Reuters — Texas, which reported 197 deaths and 10,893 hospitalizations, has been one of the states hardest hit by the resurgent coronavirus. Hidalgo County, at the southern tip of the state on the U.S. border with Mexico, has seen cases rise 60% in the last week, with deaths doubling to more than 360. “We’ve got to lasso this virus, this stallion, bring the numbers back down and get control of this thing,” Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez said. “Because our hospitals — they’re war zones, they are really struggling right now.”

Texas county stores bodies in refrigerated trucks after setting a one-day record for COVID-19 deaths.

Anthony Fauci: ‘We could start talking about real normality again’ in 2021” via Caroline Kelly of CNN — Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, told CNN’s David Axelrod on “The Axe Files” podcast that the companies behind potential vaccines told him “that they would have doses to the tunes of tens of millions early in the year, and up to hundreds of millions as we get well into 2021, and some companies say that even after a while, you could get as many as a billion doses.” “The timetable you suggested of getting into 2021, well into the year, then I can think with a successful vaccine — if we could vaccinate the overwhelming majority of the population — we could start talking about real normality again,” Fauci added. “But it is going to be a gradual process.”

— CORONA ECONOMICS — 

Layoffs: 1.4M workers file for unemployment as COVID-19 surges, and some benefits near end” via Charisse Jones of USA TODAY — The number of Americans filing jobless claims rose for the first time since March, showing the need for aid isn’t waning even as the extra $600 that bolstered weekly checks during the pandemic comes to an end. A total of 1.4 million more Americans filed for unemployment benefits for the first time as the coronavirus surges throughout many states, and recently reopened businesses shut their doors to slow the virus’s spread. The uptick ended a 15-week stretch in which initial weekly claims steadily declined. In little more than four months, a staggering 52.7 million have sought unemployment aid for the first time.

U.S. unemployment ticks up for the first time since March. Image via Yahoo.

Florida topped 100,000 jobless claims last week” via Jim Turner of the News Service of Florida — The U.S. Department of Labor reported that Florida accounted for 105,410 of the estimated 1.4 million initial claims filed nationally in the week ending July 18. Only Georgia, with 120,281 claims, and California, with 292,673, had higher weekly figures. While the Florida number was down from 132,831 claims during the week that ended July 11, it continued to show businesses shedding jobs. Florida’s unemployment rate in June was 10.4 percent, with the state Department of Economic Opportunity scheduled to release a July rate on Aug. 21.

Florida’s economy won’t recover from COVID-19 for more than a year, report says” via David Lyons of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Florida’s job market and economy are not likely to return to full strength until late 2021, as businesses remain shuttered or restricted to stop the coronavirus, according to a forecast by a University of Central Florida economist. “It’s the public health measures and the lingering fears that are weighing on the recovery,” said Sean Snaith, director of the Institute for Economic Forecasting at UCF. “Businesses are not going back to the levels of staffing pre-pandemic. If they survive the shutdowns, they are no doubt extra cautious about managing costs and are proceeding quite slowly.”

Insurance companies battle their clients over the coronavirus” via Jennifer A. Kingson of Axios — The legal and legislative fight over how much insurance companies must pay for coronavirus-related losses is just starting, and it’s likely to get uglier. COVID-19 is, as one insurance industry executive puts it, “the biggest insured loss event in history.” For many companies, a successful insurance claim will make the difference between staying in business or going bust. Insurance lawyers keeping tabs on the litigation say that hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against insurers over coronavirus-related claims with scant success so far. According to an insurance industry trade group, COVID-19 could generate $40 to $80 billion in insurance payouts in the U.S. and over $100 billion internationally.

‘It’s the disaster of all disasters’: Restaurants, shops struggle as pandemic spikes” via Alexandra Clough of The Palm Beach Post — After months of construction delays, Boca Raton’s newest seafood restaurant, Copperfish Kitchen, finally was poised to open in March. The contemporary eatery, designed in deep ocean blues and warm woods, features a menu filled with delicacies, including an elegant shellfish tower and grilled octopus. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit, and the restaurant’s long-awaited opening was halted after Palm Beach County shut down indoor dining. In May, when restrictions were lifted, Copperfish threw open its doors, and diners rushed in. In fact, for a few weeks into June, the restaurant hummed with business, owner George Anagnostou said. But as the number of coronavirus cases has inched up in Palm Beach County, Anagnostou said business has plummeted.

Southwest and American trim more flying” via Alison Sider and Doug Cameron of The Wall Street Journal — American Airlines Group Inc. and Southwest Airlines Co. said they were tempering expectations for air travel’s recovery, as mounting coronavirus cases have driven down bookings by as much as 80% in some parts of the U.S. American, which has been flying twice as much as some of its rivals as part of a plan to capture summer demand, said Thursday that it will pare some flying. Southwest, which also maintained more flying this summer than United Airlines Holdings Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc., said cancellations are picking up and demand looks weaker heading into fall. Executives at American said bookings have started to slide.

Expectations of an airline resurgence did not pan out. Image via Reuters.

‘It’s going to be bumpy.’ Spirit Airlines reports $144.4 million second-quarter loss” via Taylor Dolven of the Miami Herald — Florida’s failure to curb the spread of COVID-19 is hurting South Florida’s hometown airline, Spirit. The Miramar-based company reported a second-quarter loss this week of $144.4 million, or $1.81. per share, a long fall from the profit of $114.5 million reported during the same period last year. CEO Ted Christie warned of a bumpy road to recovery for the company. “It is our expectation that the company will resume its growth,” he said on a Thursday earnings call. “Leisure travelers are returning to the market already. We expect that will continue. It’s going to be bumpy.”

— MORE CORONA — 

Can you get coronavirus twice? Doctors are unsure even as anecdotal reports mount.” via Carolyn Johnson and Ariana Eunjung Cha of The Washington Post — When Sophie Cunningham, a guard for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, returned to training after a bout with COVID-19, she made an announcement that startled fans. She believed she had been infected twice — once in March and then again in June or July. “They said you can only get it once, but I’ve had it twice,” she told reporters. Doctors emphasize there is no evidence of widespread vulnerability to reinfection and that it is difficult to know what to make of these cases. There is still not enough evidence or sufficient time since the virus first struck to draw firm conclusions about how long it might last — or what might make it less robust in some individuals than in others.

Database calculates your risk of meeting someone with COVID-19 at Florida events” via Dave Berman of Florida Today — There is a 35% chance that, if you attend an event in Leon County with 10 people at least one of the attendees will be infected with the coronavirus, according to a new database developed by Georgia Tech University. The likelihood jumps to 71% at an event with 25 people, and to a whopping 91% at an event with 50 people. If you go to an event with 100 people — like a wedding reception — you are virtually certain to meet someone infected. The database says there’s a 99% chance you’ll be mingling with at least one person with the coronavirus. The interactive map also lists Bay, Gulf, Jackson, Calhoun, Liberty and Gadsden counties as places that carry elevated risk factors.

This map shows the risk level of attending an event, given the event size and location. Image via Georgia Tech.

— SMOLDERING —

Trump tried to blame Black Lives Matter protests for the coronavirus surge. Data doesn’t support his claim.” via Philip Bump of The Washington Post — One of the obvious reasons that Trump has resumed regular coronavirus press briefings is poll data. Recent data indicating skepticism about Trump’s handling of the pandemic and increased support for his probable opponent in November clearly spurred the White House to resume the briefings, in the hope that voters would shift their perceptions of how Trump has handled the crisis. Trump tried to put a fine point on where he thinks blame should lie for the recent surge in new cases. “There are likely a number of causes for the spike in infections,” he said. “Cases started to rise among young Americans shortly after demonstrations, which you know very well about, which presumably triggered a broader relaxation of mitigation efforts nationwide.”

Donald Trump tried to blame the BLM movement for the spike in coronavirus cases. The data doesn’t bear that out.

Blocked gun sales skyrocket amid coronavirus pandemic” via Betsy Woodruff Swan — Internal FBI data reveal a jarring new stat: The number of people trying to buy guns who can’t legally own them has skyrocketed. That came as part of a surge in gun purchases in the first three months of 2020, compared to the same time period in 2019. In March 2019, the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System ran background checks on 823,273 attempted gun buys. This past March, NICS processed more than 1.4 million background checks. The most dramatic shift, though, might be in how many people the system blocked from buying guns. In March 2019 and February 2020, the NICS system blocked about 9,500 and 9,700. In March 2020, it blocked a whopping 23,692 gun sales.

After Confederate monuments fall, where do they go?” via Scott Calvert and Valerie Bauerlein of The Wall Street Journal — Behind concrete barriers at a city transportation department yard here sit three Confederate monuments and a statue of Roger Taney, the Supreme Court chief justice whose 1857 Dred Scott decision helped pave the way to the Civil War. The city removed them three years ago and officials still can’t decide what to do with them. Cities across the South are now confronting this problem, after dozens of statues came down during recent protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd. So far, these cities, which include Richmond, Virginia, and Birmingham, Alabama, are trying to figure out what to do.

Jacksonville prosecutors drop charges against 15 protesters” via Drew Dixon of Florida Politics — For the second time in as many months, prosecutors have dismissed dozens of charges filed against protesters who were arrested during a weekend of civil rights demonstrations in Jacksonville. Fourth Circuit Court State Attorney Melissa Nelson’s office this week declined to prosecute 15 people who were arrested May 30 during the most confrontational clashes with Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office police in downtown. All were charged with unlawful assembly or resisting an officer without violence. “There is not a reasonable probability of conviction for the … listed defendants. Therefore, this office declines to file charges on each of the cases listed,” reads a report signed by Assistant State Attorney John Kalinowski.

Group suing over Confederate monument wants Pensacola held in contempt for putting up tarp” via Jim Little of the Pensacola News Journal — The group that is suing the city of Pensacola to stop it from removing the Confederate monument is asking a judge to hold the city in contempt for violating the temporary restraining order issued last week. David McCallister, the attorney representing groups including the Sons of Confederate Veterans and Save Southern Heritage, filed a motion asking First Judicial Circuit Court Judge Gary Bergosh to hold the city in contempt, alleging the blue tarp covering the monument violates Bergosh’s restraining order against removing the monument.

Confederate monuments removed since May 25. Image via AP.

FSU President John Thrasher says Francis Eppes statue will be removed from campus” via Byron Dobson of the Tallahassee Democrat — Just a few short hours after FSU President John Thrasher announced his intentions to do so Thursday, a university grounds crew removed the statue of Francis Eppes Thursday from campus. The unannounced dismantling of the Eppes statue from Mina Jo Powell Green comes just over two years to the day it first was ordered removed by Thrasher from in front of the Westcott Building, only to later be relocated to the green location near Eppes Hall. The removal of the statue was included in a statement released to the campus Thursday morning as Thrasher announced the 30 members of the President’s Task Force on Anti-Racism, Equity & Inclusion.

Francis Eppes may soon be persona non grata at FSU.

George Washington University to consider shedding controversial Colonials moniker” via Lauren Lumpkin of The Washington Post — After years of protest by students and faculty, George Washington University has established committees to consider requests to retire the school’s “Colonials” moniker and rename the campus’s community center, university President Thomas J. LeBlanc announced. The move comes as colleges and universities throughout the country shed names of racist leaders and tear down statues that pay tribute to the Confederacy. The “Colonials” moniker — intended to honor George Washington — has long been criticized for glorifying colonialism and ignoring the ways colonists ravaged communities of color, students say. The name is a ubiquitous part of the campus; students get flu shots at the Colonial Health Center, cheer for the Colonials sports teams and exchange “Colonial Cash” for meals and laundry services.

— D.C. MATTERS —

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dismisses Ted Yoho’s apology, says his remarks are excuses for confrontation” via John Wagner and Paul Kane of The Washington Post — Surrounded by Democratic colleagues, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, a favorite target of Trump and other Republicans since her arrival in the Capitol, excoriated Republican Rep. Yoho during remarks on the House floor. She dismissed what she called a non-apology for a confrontation between them on the Capitol steps this week and decried Yoho’s reported use of a sexist slur. “What we are seeing here is a resounding rejection of abuse and accosting of women,” Ocasio-Cortez said during the hour of remarks, adding that “incidents like these are happening in a pattern.” The speeches were prompted by an incident Monday in which Yoho uttered the words “f—ing b—h” once Ocasio-Cortez was out of earshot.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is not accepting Ted Yoho’s apology. Image via AP.

— STATEWIDE —

Appointed — Alexander Bokor to the 3rd District Court of Appeal and Joshua Riba to the 6th Circuit Court.

Why is Walmart participating in Florida’s electric regulatory process?” via Malena Carollo of the Tampa Bay Times — The complexities of Florida’s electric regulatory process are usually taken on only by the state’s power companies. But here’s a surprising participant: Walmart. Over the past three years, Walmart has weighed in on an increasing number of issues before the Florida Public Service Commission. Some of the uptick is because of timing — some issues, such as energy efficiency goals, are scheduled to come up once every five years. But others show the retail giant taking a more active role in dockets that affect its energy bills, particularly those that deal with renewable energy. “They’ve made pledges to reduce their carbon emissions,” said University of Michigan professor Andrew Hoffman. “They want to meet that objective (with) the lowest cost possible.”

What does Walmart have to do with Florida’s energy regulatory process?

These Miami-Dade cities are the worst places to rent in the United States, study says” via Connie Ogle of the Miami Herald — Congratulations, Hialeah. You are the absolute worst city for renters in the entire country, according to a new study. And before any Miami dwellers get too cocky, let us add that Miami is one of the worst cities for renters, too. And you wonder why you’re never moving out of your parents’ house. WalletHub’s study of the best and worst places to rent reports that while rents in some cities have dropped due to what it calls “pandemic pricing,” that was not the case for Hialeah or Miami. Out of 182 American cities, Hialeah is the worst place to be a renter, with Miami only a few slots higher at no. 177.

— LOBBY REGS —

New and renewed lobbying registrations:

Angela Bonds, Jennifer Ungru, Dean Mead: Transformations Treatment Center

Dean Cannon, GrayRobinson: Atlantic Housing Partners

Michael Corcoran, Jacqueline Corcoran, Matt Blair, Andrea Tovar, Corcoran Partners: OpinionUP

Matthew Holliday: NCH Healthcare System

Kimberly Case, Lawrence Sellers, Holland & Knight: Niznik Lab Corp

Mark Delegal, Delegal Aubuchon Consulting: HSR

Anna Farrar, Converge Government Affairs of Florida: Florida Veterinary Medical Association

Matt Spritz, The Spritz Group: The Shul of Downtown

— 2020 —

Trump trains his eyes on education as he hunts path to victory” via Laura Meckler, Michael Scherer and Josh Dawsey of The Washington Post — Trump sees two school issues as key to reelection, and after paying almost no attention to education for most of his presidency, he’s pushing both in negotiations over the next pandemic relief bill. The President’s first priority is getting schools to reopen this fall, which he sees as central to economic recovery and getting parents back to work. Trump regularly tells advisers that he believes it is “totally safe” for children to return to school, a senior White House official said. He is also newly focused on school choice policies, which let families use tax dollars for private school tuition. Aides see both as political winners with suburban women and, in the case of school choice, Black voters, too.

Donald Trump is looking toward education for a path to reelection. Image via AP.

Trump’s assault on election integrity forces question: What would happen if he refused to accept a loss?” via Elise Viebeck and Robert Costa of The Washington Post — His unwillingness to commit to a smooth transition of power has forced academics and political leaders — including, privately, some GOP lawmakers — to contemplate possible scenarios. The resulting turmoil could surpass the contention over the outcome of the 2000 presidential election, confounding the legal system, Congress and the public’s faith in how the country picks its leaders. Among the possibilities: Trump could claim victory before the vote in key states is fully counted — a process that could take days or even weeks. He could also spend weeks refusing to concede amid a legal war over which votes are valid and should be included in the tally. Or he could simply refuse to leave on Jan. 20.

Joe Biden says Trump is America’s first ‘racist’ President” via Colby Itkowitz and John Wagner — Biden on Wednesday called Trump the country’s first racist to be elected to the White House. The former VP’s blunt assessment came during a virtual town hall organized by the Service Employees International Union after a health care worker expressed concern that Trump continues to blame Asians for the coronavirus pandemic. Biden signaled that he shared the questioner’s concern that Trump frequently refers to the pandemic as the “China virus.” No sitting President has ever done this,” Biden said. “Never, never, never. No Republican President has done this. No Democratic President. We’ve had racists, and they’ve existed, they’ve tried to get elected President. He’s the first one that has.”

Choosing Val Demings as VP could help Biden but won’t lock up Florida, experts say” via Alex Daugherty of the Miami Herald — In Biden’s ongoing Vice President search, U.S. Rep. Demings brings a lot to the ticket. The Orlando ex-police chief garnered high marks from Democrats for her role in Trump’s impeachment trial, when she served as an impeachment manager. She’s immersed herself in national security issues in the House Intelligence Committee. And many Democrats are clamoring for a Black woman to be a major party’s VP nominee for the first time. But putting the Central Florida congresswoman on the ticket with a goal of winning Florida’s 29 electoral votes isn’t likely to work — if you use past elections as a guide, according to operatives who served on presidential campaigns and experts who study the vice presidency.

Biden will headline Miami-Dade Blue Gala next week” via Spencer Fordin of Florida Politics — The Miami-Dade Democratic Party will host its annual Blue Gala virtually on July 29 and 30, and it will feature a number of political leaders and talented entertainers. Democratic presidential candidate Biden will close the final night of the gala with special remarks for the South Florida community, and a variety of local leaders will precede him. Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the only statewide elected Democrat in Florida, will speak on Biden’s behalf on July 30, as will U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala, the former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Joe Biden will be the headliner at the Miami-Dade Blue Gala.

State rips attempt to disqualify judges in voting case” via Dara Kam of the News Service of Florida — DeSantis’ lawyers are trying to swat down an attempt to disqualify two former Florida Supreme Court justices from hearing a high-stakes elections case that will go before a federal appeals court. Plaintiffs in the case and 10 Democratic U.S. Senators are asking that 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judges Barbara Lagoa and Robert Luck step aside from the voting-rights case, which could determine whether hundreds of thousands of felons with outstanding “legal financial obligations” can cast ballots in the presidential election this fall. Lagoa and Luck were involved in litigation about the issue last year while serving on the Florida Supreme Court before joining the Atlanta-based appeals court.

— MORE FROM THE TRAIL — 

Nikki Fried endorses Oz Vazquez over Pam Keith in CD 18 Democratic primary — Agriculture Commissioner Fried is stepping into the race for Florida’s 18th Congressional District, as she’s endorsing Vazquez in the Democratic primary. The state’s highest-ranking elected Democrat is selecting Vazquez over his opponent, former Navy JAG Officer Keith. The CD 18 is currently held by Republican U.S. Rep. Brian Mast. “Florida’s 18th Congressional District deserves a Congressperson who will fight to protect Social Security and Medicare, will be a champion for clean water, and will work to get things done for the Treasure Coast and Palm Beaches,” Fried said Friday. “Oz Vazquez will be that person. He spent his career fighting for Florida’s working families and seniors, and will continue that fight in Congress.”

Mysterious group targets Democratic front-runner in crucial Seminole state Senate race” via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel — A mysterious group is targeting the front-runner in the Democratic Party primary in one of the most important state Senate races in Florida. And while it claims to be a “progressive” group, it uses a lot of conservative language. The group, Floridians for Equality and Justice, only filed with the state Division of Elections on Tuesday, as is required by law. That came days after the mailings were received and weeks after it emailed voters an online questionnaire with loaded wording about liberal issues. But there is no information yet on where it gets its money or how much It’s listed address is also the same Miami UPS location used by at least two previous Republican campaigns.

—“Jimmy Patronis joins growing list of Danny Burgess endorsers” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics

’Watching liberals tear down our country is hard to take’: Jay Trumbull drops new TV ad” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics — Trumbull released a new TV ad claiming that a “strong dose of panhandle values” is what the country needs in response to recent waves of civil unrest in America’s streets. The 30-second ad features Trumbull speaking over images from the Minnesota riots and contrasting them with various clips of the candidate handling a firearm, meeting with veterans and eating Chick-fil-A. “You know, watching liberals tear down our country is hard to take,” the video begins. ” What America needs more than ever is a strong dose of Panhandle values. “Faith, family, freedom and respect for the warriors who sacrificed for that freedom.” The video continues with Trumbull spotlighting his prior accomplishments from his 2014 term representing House District 6.

To watch the ad, click on the image below:

Donors rally for Wyman Duggan — The Jacksonville Republican state legislator, seeking his second term, raised over $18,000 in the week between July 10 and 15. Duggan has raised over $143,000 this cycle, with nearly $117,000 of that on hand in his campaign account, along with another $21,000 in his political committee. Two undercapitalized Democrats are facing off in the primary. Tammyette Thomas has raised $4,460, and Jay McGovern $6,406. However, Thomas holds a cash-on-hand lead ahead of the August vote.

— Florida doctors back Joe Harding for HD 22” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics

—“Meet Keith Laufenberg, a Democrat running for House District 35” via Jason Delgado to Florida Politics

Paul Renner committee rakes in, sends out political cash” via the News Service of Florida — The Renner-chaired committee Conservatives for Principled Leadership raised $199,500 during the first 17 days of July. The largest contribution, $75,000, came from another political committee, Conservatives for Rural Florida, led by Rep. Bobby Payne. Other contributions to the Renner committee included $25,000 from Jacksonville Kennel Club, Inc., and $25,000 from Atlantic Beach business owner Tom Petway. Renner’s committee, meanwhile, has funneled $250,000 this month to the Florida House Republican Campaign Committee, which is focused on electing GOP candidates to the House.

Fiona McFarland ad torches Donna Barcomb over Sovereign citizens vote” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Barcomb voted in favor of advancing a “Sovereign Citizen” charter amendment in 2015. That came despite concerns from the Anti-Defamation League and others that the movement behind the measure was responsible for killing police officers and federal agents. Barcomb’s chief opponent in the HD 72 Republican primary, McFarland slams the vote in her new ad. “The fact that Donna voted to support an anarchist group that the FBI classified as domestic terrorists should be alarming to any Sarasota voter who cares about the well-being of our brave men and women in blue,” said Maryann Grgic, a McFarland spokesperson. The ad references a quote where she defended the vote, saying the proposal “sounded like a good idea.”

To view the ad, click on the image below:

Lauren Melo charges onto airwaves” via Jacob Ogles Florida Politics — The 30-second spot shows a figure rocket out of a garage on the back of a four-wheeler as a narrator asks, ”What’s it take to jump-start this economy? Someone who’s built a business, made payroll, earned success. The driver then takes off a helmet, revealing herself to be Melo, a candidate in House District 80 candidate. “Someone with horsepower,” Melo proclaims. The ad reminds the Realtor has an array of experience outside selling land. She previously ran her own trucking company, for example. And that’s not her only experience driving a motor vehicle.

Five Democrats in crowded, fiery race for House District 88” via Christine Stapleton of The Palm Beach Post — The race to become the Democratic nominee in HD 88 primary is crowded, contentious and made for reality TV. One candidate does not live in the district. The incumbent, an African American attorney, accused another African American candidate of “fighting for his master’s plantation house.” An anti-gay slur riled the LGBTQ community and a viral video grabbed headlines in The New York Times and Washington Post. For incumbent Democratic state Rep. Al Jacquet, the race to retain his seat in Florida House District 88 has a lot to do with race. He came out swinging at the July 15 Facebook live debate on Kitty Lundan’s People of Power Show and managed to inject discrimination against African Americans into nearly every response.

— DOWN BALLOT —

Stand With Parkland endorses Gregory Tony for Broward Sheriff while hammering Scott Israel” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Stand With Parkland, a group created after Tony Montalto lost his daughter in the 2018 Parkland shooting, is endorsing Broward Sheriff Tony for reelection. “I am grateful for the level of support and confidence that they had in me long before an endorsement took place,” Tony said Tuesday during a Zoom conference announcing the endorsement. The organization has pushed for change following the 2018 attack, including gun reforms. While the group explained its support for Tony on Thursday’s call, Montalto also trashed former Sheriff Israel, who is running for his old job. Israel led the Broward Sheriff’s Office during the 2018 shooting and was removed from that position due, in part, to the agency’s handling of the response.

Stand with Parkland is standing behind Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony.

—“LGBTQ group endorses ‘strong champion and ally’ Cindy Lerner for Miami-Dade Commission” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

— TOP OPINION —

American exceptionalism was our preexisting condition” via Dan Zak of The Washington Post — America is sick. Still sick. The fever spikes, abates, returns. The shortness of breath lingers. America is in the middle of a public health wildfire, an economic sinkhole and an earthquake over racial injustice. This test of solidarity and public trust couldn’t have come at a worse time. America’s mask has slipped. There is a feeling of failure, of being repeatedly victimized by a virus despite our supposed exceptionalism. National pride in the United States has fallen to a record low, according to Gallup, and only 1 in 5 Americans is satisfied with the direction of the country — a steep drop from four months ago when satisfaction was at a 15-year high.

— OPINIONS —

Don’t exclude these Americans from stimulus benefits” via Al Cardenas for the Tampa Bay Times — When Congress passed the CARES Act and provided Americans an economic impact payment of $1,200 for each adult and $500 for each child, it specifically denied this critical lifeline to U.S. citizens who happened to be married to a foreign national. Republicans and Democrats should be ashamed of themselves for implementing such a discriminatory provision. This is cruel. It is also foolish. Imposing a marriage penalty on (voting) U.S. citizens, such as the 88,000 mixed-status families here in swing-state Florida, it is no wonder Trump is unpopular with roughly 75% of Latino voters nationally.

I was wrong about Florida’s response to COVID-19” via Joe Nocera of Bloomberg — Florida is now the epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S. Since July 10, the number of new positive cases has averaged more than 10,000 a day. As of Wednesday, the total number of cases was nearly 380,000 according to the state’s health department. The positivity rate — the percentage of those tested who turn out to be infected — is well above 18%. And who claimed that Florida was doing a good job containing the pandemic? Oh, right. It was me. I wrote not one but two columns praising Florida’s response to the pandemic. In retrospect, it’s clear that DeSantis reopened too early because he was too swayed by Florida’s low death rate and eager to get the economy back on track.

Courts should side with teachers in reopening Florida schools” via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board — Florida’s teachers refused to take it any more. After demands from Tallahassee to reopen public school campuses five days a week in the world’s COVID-19 hotspot, the Florida Education Association sued. The litigation should not have been necessary. Ideally, DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran would have let local school districts decide how and when classes would resume. Teachers know far better than Trump, DeSantis and Corcoran what students lose when not in the classroom. They understand that parents need to work. But Trump and DeSantis failed to contain the virus, which is necessary for a return to classrooms and economic health. For them now to threaten schools is beyond hypocritical.

— TODAY’S SUNRISE —

Florida sets another grim record for the greatest number of COVID 19 deaths reported in a single day. When asked about the 173 new fatalities, Gov. DeSantis responded by challenging the phrasing of the question.

Also, on today’s Sunrise:

— While DeSantis had a point, he didn’t answer the question about all those newly reported fatalities. And despite that record, the Governor keeps talking about turning the corner.

— It’s official: The RNC won’t be coming to Jacksonville after all. In a surprise announcement, Trump told reporters he’s canceling because of what he called a “flare-up” of the virus.

— The COVID-19 crisis is driving the Governor’s favorability numbers down. A new poll from Quinnipiac University says his approval rating is down more than ten points and 52% of Floridians say he’s not doing a good job. The numbers flipped in just 2 months.

— And what won’t help is a new ad attacking DeSantis for his response to COVID-19.

— A deep dive into Tagus and Green Iguanas. The state wildlife commission is targeting the invasive lizards — much to the dismay of reptile breeders.

— The latest with Florida Man, who thought he found gold at the bottom of a urine specimen.

To listen, click on the image below:

 WEEKEND TV —

Facing South Florida with Jim DeFede on CBS 4 in Miami: The Sunday show provides viewers with an in-depth look at politics in South Florida, along with other issues affecting the region.

Florida This Week on Tampa Bay’s WEDU: Moderator Rob Lorei hosts a roundtable featuring political consultant April Schiff, attorney Sean Shaw, attorney Rick Johnson and Dr. Patricia Emmanuel, professor and Chair of the College of Medicine & Pediatrics, USF Health, Morsani College of Medicine.

In Focus with Allison Walker-Torres on Bay News 9: Remains on hiatus due to coronavirus.

Political Connections on CF 13 in Orlando and Bay News 9 in Tampa/St. Pete: A look at races leading up to the August primary; Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi will discuss preparing for the RNC; and Biden’s campaign gets help from Former President Barack Obama.

The Usual Suspects on WCTV-Tallahassee/Thomasville (CBS) and WJHG-Panama City (NBC): Host Gary Yordon talks with former Leon County Elections Supervisor Ion Sancho and FEA President Fedrick Ingram.

This Week in Jacksonville with Kent Justice on Channel 4 WJXT: this week’s guests are former Clay County Schools Superintendents Charlie Van Zandt and Ann Wiggins, and Clay County Sheriff candidate Harold Rutledge.

This Week in South Florida on WPLG-Local10 News (ABC): This week’s guests are Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie and Miami-Dade mayoral candidate Alex Penelas.

— LISTEN UP — 

Dishonorable Mention: Rep. Chris Latvala, activist Becca Tieder, Ernest Hooper and communications expert Dr. Karla Mastracchio discuss politics and culture. The hosts talk about education and the delayed start time of in-person classes. Tommy Tuberville wins his primary over Jeff Sessions. War Eagle? Will football allegiances dictate the election in Alabama? AOC had a verbal confrontation with a fellow congressman. Is this unprofessional? The show welcomes Chief Media Officer for Merkley and Partners Adam Arnegger to discuss the handling of COVID-19 in New York, how the pandemic will affect sports, the evolution of media and more!

Inside Florida Politics from GateHouse Florida: Despite Florida’s soaring death toll from coronavirus, the Governor sounds like he’s got this. Are Floridians buying the message? Gannett reporters John Kennedy and Antonio Fins also talk about a vote-by-mail settlement and how Goya Foods got political.

podcastED: Step Up for Students President Doug Tuthill talks with Lynne Munson, the chief executive officer and founder of GreatMinds, an organization focused on developing world-class, content-rich curriculum for PK-12 students. A group of education leaders launched GreatMinds in 2007 and now 75% of its employees come from the teacher ranks. GreatMinds curricula aim to inspire joy in both teaching and learning, giving teachers the tools they need to help students achieve success.

REGULATED from hosts Christian Bax and Tony Glover: What do politicians do when they can’t shake hands and kiss babies? This week Bax and Glover break down the unprecedented challenges COVID-19 presents to candidates across the country. The guys are particularly interested in state and local laws all over the country that are forcing candidates and their staff out into their communities to collect thousands of signatures in the middle of an epidemic to even get on a ballot.

The New Abnormal from host Rick Wilson and Molly Jong-Fast: Mary Trump joins The New Abnormal with a giant barrel of tea to spill about her family. Her uncle Donald? “He was protected at every turn from his incompetence, from his total inability to handle money. The media, the banks kept propping him up and protecting him and letting him fail up consistently and constantly — until the Republican Party started doing the same thing.” Her grandfather Fred, the family patriarch who got arrested by a Ku Klux Klan rally? “Honestly, that story surprised me. Not because my grandfather wasn’t anti-Semitic, he was, but because he would spend time doing something other than making money. I’m totally serious. Like he went to a Klan rally with what free time? He’s perfectly happy being racist and anti-Semitic in his own house and his place of work.”

The Rotunda with Trimmel Gomes: The protester at a news conference who shouted and called for the resignation of DeSantis over his handling of the pandemic says he would do it again. Gomes talks with Thomas Kennedy, a longtime Miami-Dade advocate for undocumented immigrants, about his vocal opposition. Also, former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum breaks his silence, opening up and discussing his time in rehab and therapy. Plus, the Florida Education Association President Fedrick Ingram says they have filed suit against the state of Florida over Education Commissioner Corcoran’s order to open school buildings in August as coronavirus infections surge.

The Yard Sign with host Jonathan Torres: Chris Licata, Amy Beck, Anibal Cabrera, and Torres talk the passing of Rep. John Lewis, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Portland and antifa, Trump and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

— INSTAGRAM OF THE DAY —

— ALOE —

Fox taking fans to the ballgame with a virtual crowd” via Joe Reedy of The Associated Press — Fox will be taking viewers out to the ballgame by adding a virtual crowd in parks during its baseball broadcasts this season. The network revealed Thursday that it will include computer-generated fans in the stands beginning with the three games on Saturday. Given that fan opinions about crowd noise being added to baseball games has been mixed, Fox may draw some jeers for adding virtual fans. But Fox Sports Vice President Brad Zager, who oversees live event productions and operations, is hoping people give it a chance. “We believe that what we’re doing is creating a natural viewing experience,” Zager said. “We’re not looking to fool everyone. We know it is a virtual crowd.”

Video shows a test of the virtual crowds at Chase Field in Phoenix. Image via AP.

Disney delays ‘Mulan’ indefinitely, Star Wars and Avatar movies pushed back a year” via Sarah Whitten of CNBC — Disney is making some changes to its release calendar that include delaying “Mulan” from its Aug. 21 release indefinitely and pushing back the debuts of future Star Wars and Avatar movies by a year. On Thursday, the company said that theater closures and production shutdowns during the global coronavirus pandemic caused it to make a number of adjustments to its slate. “Over the last few months, it’s become clear that nothing can be set in stone when it comes to how we release films during this global health crisis, and today that means pausing our release plans for ‘Mulan’ as we assess how we can most effectively bring this film to audiences around the world,” a Disney spokesperson said Thursday.

‘Tenet’ tosses playbook: Staggered rollout may be new box office ‘normal’” via Pamela McClintock of The Hollywood Reporter — In recent weeks, a campaign to begin releasing new Hollywood movies even if it means only launching a title in markets that are able to open safely — whether overseas or in the U.S. — has gained momentum as a global day-and-date launch becomes impossible in the era of coronavirus. Without new product, the box office could remain dark into next year, dragging down cinemas across the world and film studios. Warner Bros.’ Tenet, directed by Christopher Nolan, is the first movie to announce it will pursue this radical departure from tradition. Studio insiders said the espionage epic will go out first overseas, where cinemas have reopened in many European and Asian countries, and have begun to reopen in China.

What Jeff Brandes is readingDriverless shuttle could run along St. Petersburg’s Bayshore Drive this fall” via Caitlin Johnston of the Tampa Bay Times — A driverless shuttle could carry people up and down Bayshore Drive this fall, if city and county officials sign off on it. The three-month, $140,000 pilot program was approved by Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority’s finance committee Wednesday and is going before the St. Petersburg City Council today. The county transit authority’s full board will vote next week. If approved, Beep, an autonomous mobility company based in Orlando, would provide two electric, 15-foot shuttles to cruise along the waterfront at a brisk 15 miles per hour. The vehicles are able to carry 10 passengers but would be limited to six at a time as a coronavirus precaution.

— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —

Happy birthday to Congressman Charlie Crist, Mike Fernandez and Ann Howard.

___

Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, A.G. Gancarski, Renzo Downey and Drew Wilson.

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