Welcome to Tuesday, and a very quiet one it is in Tallahassee for Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Gov. Rick Scott is here in South Florida today for a tourism conference at the Diplomat in Hollywood. Most other bigwig state elected officials are attending the funeral of former state Sen. Greg Evers, who died in a car accident eight days ago. Which means DeVos won’t get much of a welcome wagon in the state capital when she visits Holy Comforter Episcopal School and Florida State University today.
Keep those pollsters pollin’: This should come as no surprise if you follow Florida news, but our voters seem to be a touch schizophrenic, based on a new poll out of Florida Atlantic University. The Sun Sentinel’s Anthony Man reports that the poll shows only 37.1 percent of Floridians approve of the job President Donald Trump is doing. But only 30 percent are in favor of removing Confederate monuments, and they’re about evenly split on whether they agree with Trump that “both sides” are to blame for violence at a Charlottesville, Va., white supremacist rally.
The poll, which will be released today, also shows a tight hypothetical race for Senate between incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson and Gov. Rick Scott, with 42.4 percent of Floridians favoring Nelson and 40.1 in support of Scott. Given the margin of error, that’s a statistical tie.
Fun with journalism: Yesterday, all three Democratic candidates for governor attended a forum in Palm Beach County. I was there, and I have this story, in which I detail some of the slight differences between each other that the candidates tried to highlight. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former Congresswoman Gwen Graham and Orlando entrepreneur Chris King (pictured left to right) have differing top priorities. Gillum wants more money for teachers and preschools, Graham wants to end high stakes testing and for-profit charters and King wants to goose local small businesses rather than do the major out-of-state recruitment efforts that have been the hallmark of Gov. Rick Scott‘s jobs plan.
But mostly, the three candidates agree. For example, they all want Confederate monuments to come down, and all three support a $15 minimum wage.
Dismissed: A Florida judge has tossed a lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee and its former chairwoman, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, the Washington Post’s David Weigel reports. The lawsuit, brought up by supporters of Bernie Sanders, alleged that the DNC had accepted their donations and then screwed their candidate despite its supposed impartiality in primary elections. Federal Judge William Zloch, a Ronald Reagan appointee, ruled the Sanders-backing DNC donors had no standing to sue.
More money: Gov. Rick Scott extended a public health emergency over the opioid crisis Monday, freeing up millions of dollars to be used for treatment and detox programs, the Orlando Sentinel’s Gray Rohrer and Kate Santich report.
Scott’s decision came just hours after state Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, sent him a letter asking for $20 million in increased funding for the opioid crisis.
Meanwhile, here in South Florida, dozens of unscrupulous treatment centers are intentionally keeping patients hooked to keep the insurance-payout gravy train rolling, the Associated Press’s Curt Anderson reports.
Hitting Harvey: President Donald Trump is off to Texas today to survey the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey, the Associated Press’s Ken Thomas reports. This comes a day after, per the Associated Press, Trump defended his decision to pardon Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio as the hurricane neared crisis levels. All the hurricane coverage would be good for ratings, Trump explained.
Bombs away: North Korea launched a missile over Japan yesterday. This is not the first time it has done so, but the previous two were ostensibly for satellite launches, the Washington Post’s Anna Fifield reports. This was a military test, the first such ballistic missile to fly over Japan. The Associated Press reports that President Donald Trump issued a “terse, written statement” that accused North Korea of “contempt for its neighbors, for all members of the United Nations, and for minimum standards of acceptable international behavior.” As to what the United States’ response might be, Trump told reporters “We’ll see” but that “all options are on the table.”
“Threatening and destabilizing actions only increase the North Korean regime’s isolation in the region and among all nations of the world,” Trump said. “All options are on the table.”
America First: The Department of State possesses an infamously unwieldy bureaucracy, one Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is trying to pare down. To that end, the Associated Press’s Josh Lederman reports, the department will cut 36 of its 66 special envoys, state officials dedicated to specific issues. For example, it’s keeping envoys for religious freedom, fighting anti-Semitism and LGBT rights, but it’s getting rid of envoys for Afghanistan-Pakistan, disability rights and closing Guantanamo Bay.
Trump+Russia: Privyet, comrades! Over the weekend, the Washington Post broke the news that the Trump Organization was trying to negotiate a deal for a Trump Tower Moscow throughout 2015 and even into January 2016, all while then-candidate Donald Trump reiterated again and again that he had no dealings with Russia. Now, emails relating to the deal are coming to light, and they represent some of the highest-level communications between Trump Organization employees and members of President Vladimir Putin‘s government.
Nice beach community you got there: If you’re going to call a city “Mouse’s Mouth,” don’t be surprised when it tries to take a bite. The Sun Sentinel’s Aric Chokey reports that the city of Boca Raton is debating whether to annex Highland Beach. The deal seems to make sense on paper — Boca gets miles of pristine beach, and a whole lot of wealthy beachfront property owners and the tax roll that comes with them. With the economy of scale that comes with being a part of Boca, Highland residents get cheaper municipal services. But Highland officials aren’t biting.
Tri-Rail tonight: The Tri-Rail commuter line is debating whether to add a station near Boca Raton’s Town Center, the Sun Sentinel’s Aric Chokey reports. But first, it wants to hear what residents have to say. That will be the focus of a public meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. today at Boca€™s Spanish River Library, 1501 NW Spanish River Blvd.
Ignore the cities behind the curtain: Broward County’s tourism agency has produced a pamphlet highlighting tourist attractions in the various cities in the county. One problem, per the Sun Sentinel’s Larry Barszewski and Lisa Huriash — six cities have not been included. Sea Ranch Lakes and Lazy Lake — populations 670 and 24, respectively — are somewhat understandable. And Parkland Mayor Christine Hunschofsky said she’s cool with the omission, calling Parkland a residential area, not a tourist destination. But elected officials in North Lauderdale and Lauderdale Lakes are none too pleased.
Oh, look. More sewage in Fort Lauderdale: At this point, sewage bursting from beneath the streets in Fort Lauderdale is getting to be commonplace. Monday, a break in an 18-inch sewer main caused 100,000 gallons of sewage to spill into the Intracoastal Waterway, the Sun Sentinel’s Linda Trischetta reports. The busted pipe comes just a few days after the Sun Sentinel’s Brittany Wallman put out a warning call about the deteriorating sewage infrastructure throughout the city.
The kids are all right: The Sun Sentinel’s Caitlin McGlade reports that the Broward County School District is putting plans into place to support immigrant children as fears of deportation grow. School board members will hash out the plans at a meeting today, but they’ll likely build on a resolution the board passed in March calling for school staff to demand warrants of immigration agents who attempt to enter school property.
Armies on the march: Confederate and Union forces are being deployed near the city of Hollywood and will likely meet in the streets Wednesday for the Second Battle of BullCrap Run. The Sun Sentinel’s Susannah Bryan reports that the Hollywood City Commission will be taking a final vote on whether to change the names of three streets in the city that are named after Confederate generals. The long-running debate seems almost quaint in light of Charlottesville, but Hollywood had its own clash of protesters back in June — the First Battle of BullCrap Run — and officials are worried that protesters and counter-protesters could once again take to the streets.
MEANWHILE, IN THE TWITTERVERSE …
‰¥140 CHARACTER HOT TAKE: Now to make sure that not a dime of that taxpayer money goes to “treatment centers” keeping people hooked on heroin.
Victoria and I care deeply about our fellow Houstonians. Lakewood€™s doors are open and we are receiving anyone who needs shelter.
‰¥140 CHARACTER HOT TAKE: It’s amazing what a couple days of brutal negative publicity can do for a megachurch. Or rather, megashelter.
‰¥140 CHARACTER HOT TAKE: One of the very rare times I will cheer for the Noles. Also, side note — seriously? Florida v. Michigan and FSU v. Bama on opening day? C’mon, isn’t opening day meant for thrashing cupcakes? Sheesh!
As always, I’m @Daniel_Sweeney. Troll me there.
Copyright © 2017, Sun Sentinel
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