By Marc Caputo (; @MarcACaputo) with Emily Goldberg (; @ejgold94), Sergio Bustos (; @sbustosFL) and the staff of POLITICO Florida

Good Wednesday morning. Committee week grinds on today in Tallahassee, while Gov. Rick Scott and state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam head to Washington to meet with Florida’s congressional delegation concerning Hurricane Irma recovery. Putnam last week reported the storm totaled more than $2.5 billion, including more than $760 million in damages to the citrus industry. Speaking of Washington, there’s another twist and turn in the hunt for U.S. attorney for Florida’s Southern District …

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RETURN OF THE ‘APPRENTICE?’ — “Former ‘Apprentice’ contestant again in consideration for South Florida prosecutor job,” by POLITICO Florida’s Marc Caputo: In gameshow-like fashion, former state legislator and one-time “Apprentice” contestant Jose Felix Diaz is again in the hunt to be the top federal prosecutor for the Southern District of Florida, which covers President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club. Diaz once looked like a leading U.S. attorney candidate for the Southern District of Florida, but his name faded from consideration when he decided to run a special election last month for Florida’s 40th Senate District. But Trump’s lack of popularity helped drag down Diaz in his loss to Annette Taddeo in the swing district, where Democrats played up Diaz’s association with Trump, including his 2006 appearance on “The Apprentice.” In the meantime, another candidate emerged as a frontrunner, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Ariana Fajardo Orshan. Read more

— “Taddeo sworn in,” by POLITICO Florida’s Daniel Ducassi: Read more

‘MAR-A-LAGO’ STRATEGY’ — “NEW: Is Trump’s chief of staff trying to bar him from Mar-a-Lago members?” by Palm Beach Post: “If you’re one of the select few who can pony up $200,000 a year for a membership to President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago on tony Palm Beach, hoping to get a glimpse of the president or maybe even a selfie, you may not be in luck this season. According to Vanity Fair, Trump’s Chief of Staff John Kelly has developed a ‘Mar-a-Lago strategy’ to prevent Trump from getting advice from club members and friends. The plans, citing sources, include trying to keep Trump ‘out of the dining room.’ Trump visited Palm Beach nine times since November, many of the visits coming in the heart of Palm Beach’s season, which begins around the end of October. He was president for seven of the visits and president-elect for two of them.” Read more

MERCURY RISING — Former Rep. Joe Garcia is joining the global consulting firm Mercury, which has been steadily expanding its footprint in Florida and is opening a Miami office. Garcia joins fellow Florida Democrats at the firm, Juan Penalosa (his former campaign adviser) and President Obama’s former Florida campaign manager, Ashley Walker. Rounding out the firm’s Republican bonafides are John David “JD” White (former chief of staff to former U.S. Rep. David Jolly), Brian Swensen (former deputy campaign manager for Sen. Marco Rubio) and Danielle Alvarez (former spokeswoman for Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera).

COVER GIRL “8 things I’ve learned from nearly 30 years in Congress,” by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen as told to Cosmopolitan’s Rebecca Nelson: Read more

HEZBOLLAH HUNTING “Marco Rubio leads the charge to add more sanctions on Hezbollah,” by Sunshine State News’ Kevin Derby: Read more

MACK ATTACK “Former congressman Connie Mack at center of odd fake news controversy,” by USA Today’s Ledyard King: “It involved a sparsely attended hearing in the windowless basement of the Capitol to spotlight alleged corruption by a faraway foreign government. It led to splashy stories of influence peddling, misrepresentation and, naturally, ‘fake news.’ Lobbying shops took shots at each other. Somehow, a former CIA director got in the mix. At the center of the brouhaha was former Florida congressman Connie Mack IV, who had arranged the Sept. 25 ‘panel discussion’ to discuss alleged money laundering by leaders at the National Bank of Ukraine. Two Ukrainians, a former member of parliament and a former employee at the bank, were part of the panel … But the event took on added significance when two media outlets showed up to cover it. The first, Ukraine’s NewsOne television channel, described the get-together as a meeting of the ‘US Congressional Committee on Financial Issues’ and carried it live. Though there were several congressional aides among the 20 or so in attendance, no sitting lawmaker showed up.” Read more


MARSY’S LAW — “Poll Shows Floridians Overwhelmingly Support Adding Victims’ Rights to The Florida Constitution,” via press release: “A new poll released today shows an overwhelming number of Floridians support enumerating victims’ rights in the Florida Constitution, the basis of a proposal known as Marsy’s Law. The survey, commissioned by Marsy’s Law for Florida, found 87 percent of likely voters believe victims should have, at the very least, the same protections in the state constitution as those given to those accused of committing crimes … When asked if crime victims should have the constitutional right to speak at the bail or sentencing hearing of the accused or convicted, support rises to 89 percent … 77 percent believe that victims of crimes should have the constitutional right to be consulted by the state attorney before plea bargain …

“In the coming weeks, the Florida Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) will consider Proposal 5, filed by Commissioner [and Pasco County Sheriff] Chris Nocco, creating the Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights. If approved by the CRC, it will appear on the 2018 General Election ballot. negotiations can begin.” Read the polling memohere [from Gov. Scott’s polling firm, OnMessage] and read the press release here.

SAME AS THE OL’ BOSS — “In designation speech, Oliva vows to stay the Corcoran course,” POLITICO Florida’s Daniel Ducassi: In his first speech as House Speaker-designate, state Rep. Jose Oliva vowed Tuesday night to stay the course when it comes to much of the policy agenda pursued by House Speaker Richard Corcoran. Oliva took aim at Florida’s hospitals, universities and local governments, all of which he described as being rife with government waste. The wealthy Miami Lakes GOP lawmaker painted himself as the man with the ideological fortitude to steer the state ship through uncharted waters. Read more

EXPENSIVE CRISIS — “Young wants more medically assisted opioid treatment money,” by POLITICO Florida’s Alexandra Glorioso: Read more

DOCTOR IS IN — “Direct primary care bill approved by Senate committee,” by POLITICO Florida’s Alexandra Glorioso: Read more

BEGGING FOR A BREAK — “Senate Democrats urge Scott to waive KidCare fees,” by POLITICO Florida’s Alexandra Glorioso: Read more

OOPS “House panel concludes there’s probable cause to punish Rep. Daisy Baez for not living in her district,” by Miami Herald: Read more

WATER WARS — “Florida activists hold out hope for Supreme Court arguments in water dispute with Georgia,” by POLITICO Florida’s Bruce Ritchie: Read more

STORM PLAN — “State Democrats say they’re crafting hurricane response legislation,” by POLITICO Florida’s Bruce Ritchie: Democratic state lawmakers said Tuesday they will offer legislation dealing with nursing homes, walk-in clinics, and debris removal shelters in charter schools in response to hurricanes affecting the state. Hurricane Irma swept through the state, beginning Sept. 10, killing at least 59 people plus at least 14 others who died after power went out at a nursing home in Broward County. The hurricane forced the evacuation of 6.5 million residents. House Speaker Richard Corcoran announced in September he was creating a select committee to consider a wide range of issues involving Hurricane Irma. During a Capitol press conference on Tuesday, Democrats thanked Corcoran and said they were hoping their ideas would be taken seriously by the Republican majority in the House and Senate. Read more

“Audit warned that agency that wanted Florida to prepare for hurricane was ‘ill-prepared’ for hurricane,” by Miami Herald: Read more

— “Utilities tout power restoration after Irma, but concerns linger among legislators,” by POLITICO Florida’s Bruce Ritchie: Read more

— “Florida pushes Congress to include disaster relief for farmers,” by POLTICO’s Jenny Hopkinson: Read more

“Mark Zuckerberg apologizes for tone-deaf virtual tour of hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico,” by USA TODAY’s Jessica Guynn: Read more

“Puerto Rico’s economy at ‘a near standstill’ as businesses wither, wait for power,” by Miami Herald’s Tim Johnson: Read more

“After Irma: Storms leave lobster, stone crab seasons underwater,” by Palm Beach Post’s Antonio Fins: Read more

“Thousands queue up for post-Irma food help,” by Florida Today’s Britt Kennerly: Read more

… 2018 …

DEEP SOUTH DIVISION “Local PR exec says Gillum threw city under ‘campaign bus;’ mayor calls it a ‘cheap shot,’” by Tallahassee Democrat’s Jeffrey Schweers: “Local public relations executive Ron Sachs has taken to social media to push back at Mayor Andrew Gillum for his recent remarks about the racism he sees every day in Tallahassee. And Gillum pushed right back. Posting on his Facebook page, Sachs, the CEO of Sachs Media Group, said he was disappointed that Gillum “essentially trashed the very community that propelled his political career by electing him repeatedly to the city commission and most recently as mayor.’ Speaking at the University of Tampa last week, Gillum said, ‘There isn’t a day that doesn’t go by in my city where I’m not driving behind a truck on my way to work that has a big old Confederate flag.’” Read more

NORTH FLORIDA WAY — Since one of Gillum’s Democratic opponents, former Rep. Gwen Graham, is also from Tallahassee, used to campaign about the “North Florida Way” and received a campaign contribution from Sachs, we asked her campaign what she thought of the dispute. No comment so far.

KING’S WAY — And since we asked Graham about the dust-up, we decided also to ask the third major Democratic candidate for governor, Chris King, about the dispute. Here’s what his campaign said: “Chris understands why Mayor Gillum spoke out about the complicated reality he witnesses every day and that his comments are important to move the debate forward … Chris believes that pointing out where a community or state–or country, for that matter–falls shorts of living up to its own ideals is not an act of betrayal, but an act of love. He believes if we want to move Florida forward to reach the potential we know it has, those who seek leadership positions in this state have a responsibility to promote an honest, open and civil conversation about race, economic inequality, social justice, and other areas in which our union has yet to be perfected.”

MORE HELP FOR MAST, CURBELO — The conservative group American Action Network — which has been advocating for tax cuts and backing GOP Reps. Brian Mast and Carlos Curbelo — announced a new $500,000 digital ad campaign to run in their Florida districts as well as 40 others nationwide. “The ad simulates a search query on tax reform to highlight tax cuts for middle-class families under the Tax Reform Framework, according to findings from an independent analysis,” according to a press release. The districts targeted are here and the ad is here.

CASH MAN PUTNAM — If money determined elections, the race for governor would be over. State Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam reported raising $1.18 million in September through his political and campaign committees. He has $13.86 million on hand, his campaign says. Fellow Republican Jack Latvala, the state Senate’s budget chief, reported raising more than $650,000 in September, the first full month of fundraising since he announced.


‘HONEY-BUNNING’ — Florida’s Department of Juvenile Justice is a mess, and The Miami Herald goes inside the lockups to show us just how rotten it is. Guards actually bribed kids with Honey Buns to beat each other up Here are the links to its Pulitzer Prize-worthy investigative series:

“Fight club: A Miami Herald investigation into Florida’s juvenile justice system”: Read more

— “Dark secrets of Florida juvenile justice: ‘honey-bun hits,’ illicit sex, cover-ups,” by Miami Herald’s Carol Marbin Miller and Audra D.S. Burch: Read more

“Criminal record? Horrible work history? Florida juvenile justice would still hire you,” by Miami Herald’s Carol Marbin Miller and Audra D.S. Burch: Read more

— “How small rebellions by Florida delinquents snowball into bigger beatings by staff,” by Miami Herald’s Carol Marbin Miller and Audra D.S. Burch: Read more

“They were stalkers, sexters and rapists — and worked safeguarding Florida delinquents,” by Miami Herald’s Carol Marbin Miller and Audra D.S. Burch: Read more

— “Cause of death: ‘Lack of empathy.’ Medical neglect in Florida’s juvenile justice,” by Miami Herald’s Audra D.S. Burch and Carol Marbin Miller: Read more

— “Transgender girl says she was forced to perform oral sex in juvenile program,” by Miami Herald’s Audra D.S. Burch and Carol Marbin Miller: Read more


SICK WATER “Polluted stormwater pouring into St. Lucie River, Indian River Lagoon, Florida beaches,” by TC Palm’s Tyler Treadway: “Coffee-colored water now spreads throughout the St. Lucie River into the southern Indian River Lagoon, out the St. Lucie Inlet and south several miles along the Atlantic Coast beaches. The water is a combination of rainfall runoff from western Martin and St. Lucie counties and Lake Okeechobee discharges since Hurricane Irma struck in September. Farther north, about 20 billion gallons of post-Irma rainwater runoff has poured out the C-54 Canal along the Indian River-Brevard county line and into the lagoon. In between, a plume of brown water from western farmland extends into the lagoon from the mouth of Taylor Creek north of Fort Pierce. ‘What’s worse than the color of the water is what’s in the water,’ said Grant Gilmore, a marine biologist who’s studied life in the lagoon for more than 40 years.” Read more

BASHING BROWARD “Controversial statue to be removed from Broward County courthouse,” by ABC Local 10’s Bob Norman and Amanda Batchelor: Read more

NORWAY? — “Who gave foreign money to Beach PAC? Prosecutors are asking this Norwegian millionaire,” by Miami Herald’s Nicholas Nehamas and Joey Flechas: “Add a new name to the strange cast of characters caught up in the downfall of Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Grieco. Petter Smedvig Hagland, a member of a billionaire Norwegian shipping-and-oil family, has been contacted by Miami-Dade public corruption investigators seeking to track foreign money they believe was illegally funneled into People for Better Leaders, a fundraising group tied to Grieco’s campaign. Hagland, 37, might have knowledge of a $25,000 donation to the political action committee, according to sources familiar with him and the ongoing state investigation. Hagland lives primarily in London and Stavanger, Norway. He has invested millions in Miami Beach real estate, although with poor results: He took a bath on one deal and is involved in litigation over another.” Read more

FOR EVERYTHING ELSE, THERE’S MASTERCARD “Davie misused credit cards, lost track of equipment, probes find,” by Sun Sentinel’s Brian Ballou: “Davie lost track of $275,898 in computers, printers and other equipment purchased between October, 2012 and July, 2014, according to a report by county investigators released last week. The Broward Office of the Inspector General wasinvestigating misuse of town-issued credit cards by officials but during that probe discovered that more than 200 items were missing, which sparked a second investigation.” Read more

CRA DUI “Police: Intoxicated Clearwater official crashed golf cart, battered diner during Oktoberfest,” by the Tampa Bay Times’ Tracey McManus: “One of the city’s top government employees was arrested over the weekend after police said he drove a golf cart while intoxicated into outdoor tables at the Clear Sky restaurant on Cleveland Street, grabbed a patron filming the incident out of a chair by the neck and fled the scene. Community Redevelopment Agency director Seth Taylor, 38, was transported to the Pinellas County Jail but was not booked, according to the arrest affidavit.” Read more


“More than sea rise: Miami Forever bond includes $100M for housing,” by Miami Herald’s David Smiley: Read more

“Shorter Obamacare enrollment period has some worried,” by Orlando Sentinel’s Naseem S. Miller: Read more

“Orlando to install rainbow crosswalk near Pulse this week,” by Orlando Sentinel’s Jeff Weiner: Read more

“Duval school budget woes $17.8 million,” by The Florida Times-Union’s Denise Amos: Read more

“Alex Morgan shares her perspective on body cam video of soccer players getting kicked out of Disney World,” by Orlando Sentinel’s Gal Tziperman Lotan and Iliana Limón Romero: Read more

“Jacksonville undersheriff’s 3 vehicle accidents set off internal warning system,” by The Florida Times-Union’s Ben Conarck: Read more

“Palm Beach County Schools to pay $3.6 million to settle sex abuse cases,” by Sun Sentinel’s Scott Travis: Read more

CREEP SHOW “Police: Airbnb host rigged condo to record sex parties, guests had no idea they were recorded too,” ABC Action News’ Michael Paluska:“A couple from Indiana, renting an Airbnb on Longboat Key, said they noticed something weird about one of the smoke detectors in the master bedroom. Then they realized it was actually a camera disguised as a smoke detector and was pointing right at their bed.” Read more

FOR MORE political and policy news, check out Politico Florida’s home page: And please follow our staff @mdixon55, @sbustosFL, @christinesexton, @dducassi, and @bruceritchie on Twitter.

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