The Krazy Kuban Klansman — Mar-a-Lago losing— Debbie’s aide busted again — NRSC’s deceitful ad ­— Rooney to Trump: LEAD — Why release a 2-headed turtle?


By Marc Caputo ([email protected]; @MarcACaputo) with Raquel Zaldivar ([email protected]; @raqzal) and the staff of POLITICO Florida

Good Friday morning. “Heritage not hate” is a great slogan — unless your heritage is hate. And Tampa’s Confederate monument has a hateful heritage. About 46 years after the Civil War ended, it was dedicated in 1911 as a keynote speaker warned “the South detests and despises all … who … encourages social equality with an ignorant and inferior race.” Tampa has little Civil War heritage to speak of. It was briefly shelled in 1862 for two hours by a single ship of the Union, which saw so little value in Tampa (as well as Florida) that the North left the small town alone back then. In a sign of its importance today, the Tampa area has three pro sports franchises, which are ready to pay up to help remove the monument.

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— “Tampa teams dedicate funds for Confederate monument removal,” by AP: “The NFL’s Buccaneers, NHL’s Lightning and Rays of Major League Baseball issued a joint statement Thursday saying they’re working with the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce because they’re ‘recognizing that this monument does not reflect the values of our community.’ … Former Buccaneers coach Tony Dungy tweeted that he would donate $5,000 to help move the statue from its spot in downtown Tampa.” Read more

— “In one day, fundraisers appear to reach goal to move Confederate monument from downtown Tampa,” by the Tampa Bay Times’ Steve Contorno: Read more

KRAZY KUBAN KLANSMAN — “Meet Miami’s ‘Cuban Confederate’” by Rise News Staff: “Chris Cedano … is openly racist and believes that bringing back segregation is the right way to improve society. We have run into him a few times at various protest events around the area. (He is a constant presence at protests.) While he considers himself a Confederate sympathizer, he is also a Cuban-American. That reality has caused many people to call him out on social media as a ‘Cuban Clayton Bigsby.’ Only in Miami.” Read more

RACISTS’ DOSSIER — “Florida Pro-Confederate Group Doxxes 113 Civil Rights Activists in Detailed Online Report,” by the Miami New Times’ Jerry Iannelli: “Save Southern Heritage is a national network committed to keeping monuments to the pro-slavery South alive and gleaming across the nation … has been frightening and intimidating civil rights activists for the past few months. New Times has obtained a copy of a dossier the group put together earlier this year that lists the faces and names of dozens of activists, mostly from Hillsborough and Broward Counties. The dossier includes detailed personal information about 113 people who have fought to remove Confederate monuments.’” Read more

— “Commissioners plan special meeting to discuss security at Confederate monument protests,” by the Bradenton Herald’s Sara Nealeigh and Hannah Morse Read more

— “Should Walton Co. Courthouse Confederate flag stay put?” by the NWF Daily News’ Annie Blanks: Read more

— “Pensacola man treks to Charlottesville in Confederate uniform,” by the Pensacola News-Journal’s Melissa Nelson Gabriel: Read more

FAKE [CONFEDERATE] NEWS — “The —FAKE HISTORY Sad!— of the Florida Capitol’s Confederate Monument,” by CATECOMM founder Kevin Cate: “The Confederate Monument on the grounds of the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee misspells and misplaces Gettysburg, Pennsylvania—and that may be its least egregious error. It’s full of fake Confederate history—the most common kind in Florida. This monument was erected in 1881 to ‘perpetuate in the memory of succeeding generations the heroic patriotism of the men of Leon County who perished in the Civil War of 1861–1865.’ The monument commemorates three ‘Florida battles,’ the first of which, isn’t really even a thing. And the other two are far from patriotic.” Read more

… TRUMPLANDIA AND THE SWAMP THINGS …

CIVIL WAR WAR CASUALTY — “NEW: A third organization joins charities leaving Mar-a-Lago,” by Palm Beach Post’s Kristina Webb, Jennifer Sorentrue and Alexandra Clough: “Thursday afternoon, the Cleveland Clinic and American Cancer Society announced they were leaving the president’s Palm Beach estate. Late Thursday, the American Friends of Magen David Adom, an organization supporting Israel disaster relief programs, told The Palm Beach Post it is canceling a planned fund-raising gala at Mar-a-Lago, set for Sunday, Feb. 25 … Last season’s gala, held Feb. 26, featured more than 600 attendees who paid $650 per ticket.” Read more

PALM BEACH BOYCOTT — “Palm Beach chamber head to charities: ‘Have a conscience’ on Mar-a-Lago,” by the Palm Beach Post’s Alexandra Clough: Read more

— @realDonaldTrump: “Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments. You….. …can’t change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson – who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish! …”

HISTORY NOTE: Robert E. Lee himself said this in 1869 in describing his opposition to erecting “enduring during memorials of granite” commemorating the Civil War: “I think it wiser, moreover, not to keep open the sores of war but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife, to commit to oblivion the feelings engendered.” The emphasis is mine, and it should be noted he was speaking of Gettysburg (or “Gettisburg” as its misspelled on Florida’s Confederate monument).

SPY V. SPY — “Venezuelan lawmaker tied to Rubio threat: ‘We don’t care about you’,” by Miami Herald’s Patricia Mazzei: “The things we’ve said here about Narco Rubio are responses to his attacks,” Diosdado Cabello said, repeating his preferred slur against the senator. “But from my telling you that, to coming up with a plan to assassinate someone — you don’t know us. We always deal with things head on. We don’t use imperialism’s methods … I’m not the one who has a brother-in-law in prison for drug trafficking, and I’m not the one who as a senator has stuck his hand out to help him. That’s you.”

“With that statement, Cabello said his slur against the senator refers to Rubio’s brother-in-law, Orlando Cicilia, who in 1989 was convicted of distributing $15 million worth of cocaine as part of a $75 million trafficking ring. Rubio, who was 16 at the time of Cicilia’s 1987 arrest, has denied ever knowing about his relative’s drug dealing, even though Rubio’s family briefly lived in Cicilia’s West Kendall home, where the feds seized some of the cocaine.” Read more

— “Bill Nelson texted Rubio to tell him he was proud of him,” by Tampa Bay Times’ Divya Kumar: Read more

PANTS ON FIRE — “A ridiculous statement in Republicans’ radio ad says Sen. Bill Nelson ‘supports murderers’”, by Politifact Florida’s Amy Sherman: “The NRSC radio ad says Nelson ‘has aligned himself with communists and dictators,’ ‘went to Venezuela to admire Chávez’s revolution’ and ‘supports murderers.’ Though Nelson did visit Venezuela with other senators in 2005, he also repeatedly criticized Chávez in 2004 and 2005, calling him a ‘serious threat’ and raised concerns about his property seizures, judicial appointments and ‘anti-democratic consolidation of power,’ as well as his ties to Cuba. Nelson has also been critical of Maduro, including the recent election, which he called a ‘sham.’ While Nelson agreed with Obama’s decision to normalize relations with Cuba in 2014, Nelson called for democratic reforms. This ad grossly distorts Nelson’s record about his visit with Chávez and about his record on the leadership of Venezuela and Cuba. We rate this statement Pants on Fire.” Read more

ROONEY TO TRUMP: LEAD — “Rep. Francis Rooney calls on Trump to show moral guidance,” by Naples Daily News’ Alexandra Glorioso: Rooney: “The role of the presidency is the person who is leading our direction, and that’s very important. And past presidents have referred to our moral principles and have had a healing tone and a unifying tone … I would like to see the president do more of that. I think the country needs it. I think the country is crying out for it … We need to come together in this country and oppose white supremacists and others that divide us in hate and create violence … Hatred, violence and bigotry have no place in the United States. If he would just say that and focus on getting our economy and our place secure in the world, that would be a good thing, I think.”

Hmmmm: “Rooney primarily blamed white supremacists for the violence last weekend in Charlottesville but avoided faulting them entirely.” Read more

DEBBIE’S DOWNER — “Charges revised against ex-Wasserman Schultz aide,” by John Bresnahan: “A federal grand jury has broadened the criminal indictment against Imran Awan, a former House Democratic IT staffer who was charged with bank fraud last month as he tried to leave the United States for Pakistan. Awan’s wife, Hina Alvi, has also been indicted, although she and the couple’s three children are already in Pakistan, according to FBI officials. The new charges against Awan and Alvi include conspiracy to commit bank fraud; false statements on a loan or credit application; unlawful monetary transactions; and engaging in unlawful monetary transactions. Awan was still on the payroll for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) until he was indicted last month. Awan, a longtime IT staffer who worked for more than two dozen House Democrats, has been at the center of an ongoing criminal probe on Capitol Hill related to alleged procurement theft. Several of his family members, also former House IT staffers, have been implicated in the ongoing investigation.” Read more

GROUND CONTROL TO BRIDENSTINE — “NASA to get new administrator under Trump,” by The Houston Chronicle’s Kevin Diaz: “The Trump administration appears close to naming Oklahoma U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, a military aviator and Rice University graduate, to become the next NASA administrator, according to two industry sources … The NASA Watch website, citing anonymous sources, reported Tuesday that the three-term congressman would get the nod to lead the agency, with former NASA and industry official John Schumacher as his deputy.” Read more

… PENINSULA AND BEYOND …

THE L WORD — “Putnam consultant behind ‘Liberal Jack Latvala’ website,” by POLITICO Florida’s Matt Dixon: A longtime political consultant for Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam is behind a website calling one of his rivals in the race, state Sen. Jack Latvala, a “liberal.” The committee responsible for the “Liberal Jack Latvala” site is funded by the political committee United Conservatives for Florida. That committee’s chairman is 20-year-old Skylar Lee Frey, who is registered to vote at a Sarasota home owned by Mac Stevenson. Asked about the site, Stevenson said only, “I’d like to let the site speak for itself.” Putnam spokeswoman Amanda Bevis said the site is not “a campaign effort.” “I saw it when it popped up in my Twitter feed like everyone else,” she said. Read more

RICK AND DON — “Trump, Scott talk Lake Okeechobee dike, Barcelona attack during New Jersey lunch,” by POLITICO Florida’s Matt Dixon: Gov. Rick Scott’s lunch with President Donald Trump on Thursday focused predominantly on Florida’s push to get money to repair a federally operated dike around Lake Okeechobee. Scott, who met with Trump at the president’s golf club in Bedminster, N.J., secured $50 million as part of a budget deal last session to repair the Herbert Hoover Dike around the lake, but work there will require much more funding. “Governor Scott wants to do all he can to protect Florida’s environment and President Trump is very supportive,” Scott communications director John Tupps said in a statement. In April, before the budget deal signed off on by lawmakers, Scott met with Trump on the same issue. After that meeting, the governor said Trump “committed that his administration would help provide the resources” to fix the dike. Those funds have so far not materialized. Read more

FOR THE GREEN — “Former state. Rep. Alan Williams has joined the ranks of the lobbyist corps,” by POLITICO Florida’s Christine Sexton: A Democrat who represented Tallahassee in the Legislature for eight years before leaving office due to term limit, Williams registered Aug. 11 to lobby for AGRiMED Industries, a medical cannabis firm. Williams is registered to lobby the executive branch; he is precluded from lobbying the Legislature. Williams, who joined the law firm Meenan, P.A., in January, said he didn’t register as a lobbyist until this month because his consulting work has taken him outside of the state. Read more

BACK IN THE SHADOWS — “Tense days for business owners without legal status in U.S.,” by the AP’s Gisela Salomon and Claudia Torrens: “Maribel Resendiz and her husband came to the U.S. from Mexico, sold cool drinks to workers in the tomato fields of South Florida and eventually opened a bustling shop in a strip mall offering fruit smoothies and tacos. Now she is preparing for the possibility she’ll have to leave it all behind. Resendiz, who is not a legal U.S. resident, recently turned over control of the business in Florida City to her daughter, a citizen. The once-proud shop owner is so afraid of deportation these days that on a recent morning she was keeping out of sight of customers while her husband was not there at all.” Read more

PLEASE STOP CALLING — “Tallahassee man sues over ‘incessant’ robocalls,” by the Tallahassee Democrat’s Jeff Burlew: “Michael Hofmann alleged in the lawsuit that Peak Living, LLC, which manages properties across the country, called him morning, noon and night over the last four years. From late March through early May alone, the company called Hofmann at least 82 times, the lawsuit says. The lawsuit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Tallahassee, says Hofmann asked the company to stop calling him on several occasions, including in January, when he informed Peak Living that its ‘incessant calls’ were harassing him. ‘(Peak Living) knowingly employs methods and/or has corporate policies and/or procedures designed to harass and abuse individuals such as (Hofmann),’ the lawsuit says.” Read more

YOU CAN CALL ME ‘MIKE MILLER’ — “Gillum took boat ride in NYC with undercover FBI agent,” by the Tallahassee Democrat’s Jeff Burlew: “Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum acknowledged in an interview with WCTV that he traveled to New York City last year and went on a boat ride with a man believed to be an undercover FBI agent along with lobbyist and longtime friend Adam Corey. While Gillum is pictured with a federal agent believed to be investigating possible public corruption in Tallahassee, he said the photo simply showed ‘people hanging out. I really am deeply offended by folks ascribing other meaning to it.’ Later, Gillum said he didn’t know at the time that the presumed FBI agent, who went under the alias ‘Mike Miller,’ was an undercover agent. Miller, along with at least two other undercover agents, first appeared in Tallahassee in the summer of 2015. ‘He just seemed like a normal person,’ Gillum told the TV station. ‘And I had the opportunity to I think get to know him a little bit.’” Read more

… ODDS, ENDS AND FLORIDA MEN …

— “Milton veteran speaks out after restaurant turns away service dog,” by the Pensacola News-Journal’s Melissa Nelson Gabriel: Read more

— “2 injured as driver crashes through Sacred Heart ER entrance,” by the Pensacola News-Journal’s Emma Kennedy: Read more

— “At school district, repair money is in short supply,” by Ocala.com’s Joe Callahan: Read more

— “Security threat leads Florida to cancel prison visitation,” by the AP Read more

— “Ticket quota flap leads to high-level resignation at Florida Highway Patrol,” by Sun Sentinel Read more

— “Mother of Duval County student wants answers to teacher’s alleged racial insults,” by Jacksonville.com’s Denise Smith Amos: Read more

— “Man with hatchet in pants popped in Port St. Lucie,” by TC Palm’s Will Greenlee: Read more

— “Hellfire from above,” by the Tampa Bay Times’ Neil Bedi, Jonathan Capriel, Anastasia Dawson and Kathleen McGrory: Read more

— “After couple pushed for change, Tavares says no to pet pigs,” by the Orlando Sentinel’s Jason Ruiter: Read more

MUTANT (NOT NINJA) TURTLES — “LOOK: Rare two-headed sea turtle found by UCF interns,” by the Palm Beach Post’s Sarah Elsesser: “A rare two-headed loggerhead turtle was found in Florida Tuesday. Two interns from the University of Central Florida Turtle Lab discovered the turtle during a nest inventory that to count how many eggs hatched. ‘It is rare to find a two-headed turtle but not unheard of,’ said Kate Mansfield, an assistant professor at UCF, ‘We see a number of developmental anomalies each year.’ The turtle was described as ‘alive and energetic’ before being released into the water. ‘We often find hatchling stragglers and this was one of them,’ Mansfield said. ‘We always release the stragglers.’” Read more

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