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

Good Tuesday morning. Somehow, Florida made it through yesterday’s eclipse without getting weirder. But something happened to Gov. Rick Scott. In a rare-as-an-eclipse moment in Florida politics, the always on-message governor flubbed his talking points concerning the recent violence in Virginia. After the Naples Daily News accurately reported the governor’s statements, his office walked the comments back and then falsely accused the paper of running a false story. Oops. Expect Democrats, looking at Scott as the likeliest 2018 challenger to Sen. Bill Nelson, to increase the pressure.

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WHAT’S IN A WORD? — “Rick Scott misspoke about Charlottesville violence, his staff says,” by Naples Daily News’ Alexandra Glorioso: “Diverging from an earlier position, Gov. Rick Scott on Monday echoed President Trump’s claim that ‘both sides’ bore blame for the recent racially charged violence in Virginia, saying, ‘there’s no moral authority on both sides.’ But hours after the governor made the statement, his press shop started to walk back his comments. A spokeswoman for Scott said that instead of saying ‘moral authority,’ he meant there was no ‘moral equivalency’ between the white supremacists and progressive activists that publicly clashed Aug. 12, a position Scott took last week.

“As you know, it was horrible what happened in Charlottesville. It was evil.There’s no place in our society for KK(K) for neo-Nazis or for white supremacists,” said Scott on Monday at Stevens Construction in Fort Myers, while discussing job growth. “There’s no moral authority on both sides. We saw white supremacists accused of killing that young lady. And I have a daughter about the same age as her.” Read more

TREASURE HUNT — Gov. Rick Scott is making it clear that he’s fully behind Jimmy Patronis, who was just appointed state CFO by the governor to replace retiring Jeff Atwater and is seeking a full term. The governor, as we told you last week, is headlining a fundraiser for Patronis’ campaign on Sept. 28 in Orlando on behalf of the Treasure Florida political committee, run by Scott’s longtime adviser Melissa Stone. See the fundraiser here.

RUBIO RULE — “Rubio attacked for not attacking ‘Antifa,’” by the Tampa Bay Times’ Alex Leary: “The far right is angry with Sen. Marco Rubio for condemning white nationalist groups in Charlottesville — and faulting President Trump for not doing some more clearly – while not pointing a finger at the far left Antifa. ‘McCain, Romney and Rubio join the Republicans for Antifa Club,’ reads a headline on Breitbart News. Across social media, Rubio was excoriated for his remarks, which drew bipartisan, mainstream praise. Rubio said there was no equivalency between the two sides in Charlottesville. ‘Mr. President, you can’t allow #WhiteSupremacists to share only part of blame. They support idea which cost nation & world so much pain,’ Rubio wrote on Twitter. ‘The #WhiteSupremacy groups will see being assigned only 50% of blame as a win. We can not allow this old evil to be resurrected.’” Read more

— “Supporters of Pensacola’s Confederate monument plan rally in Lee Square,” by the Pensacola News Journal’s Melissa Nelson Gabriel: Read more

— “Confederate statue to be removed from West Palm Beach cemetery,” by the Sun Sentinel’s Lisa J. Huriash and Ryan Van Velzer: Read more

— “Downtown Bradenton prepares for Confederate monument protest,” by the Bradenton Herald’s Jessica De Leon: Read more

— “Second person resigns from Hillsborough diversity council after Confederate activist appointed,” by the Tampa Bay Times’ Steve Contorno: Read more

STONE ZONE — “Marijuana activists launch Roger Stone boycott; John Morgan stands by him,” by POLITICO Florida’s Marc Caputo: “A group of marijuana activists are calling for a boycott of a major cannabis exposition because its keynote speaker next month will be Roger Stone, a longtime Donald Trump adviser, infamous political trickster and longtime drug-decriminalization advocate. Stone recently won praise from cannabis activists after announcing he would help lead a bipartisan group — with the help of Florida medical marijuana godfather John Morgan — that’s dedicated to persuading the Trump Administration to not penalize medical marijuana states and to consider re-scheduling the drug at the federal level to recognize the therapeutic properties of cannabis. But after Trump’s incendiary comments about the racial unrest in Charlottesville, Va., coupled with Stone’s history for making inflammatory remarks, four speakers and one sponsor of the Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition say they’ll boycott if Stone speaks Sept. 13-15 in Los Angeles and at another expo event in Boston from October 4-6. Read more

20 … AND COUNTING? — “Kravis Center becomes 20th organization to leave Mar-a-Lago,” by the Palm Beach Post’s Shannon Donnelly: Read more

DORALZUELA — “VP Pence to visit Miami’s Venezuelan enclave,” by the Miami Herald’s Patricia Mazzei: “To cap off his recent trip to Latin America, Vice President Mike Pence will travel Wednesday to Miami — the region’s unofficial capital — to keep focusing international attention on Venezuela’s political crisis. The White House has yet to publicly announce the trip. But according to an invitation obtained by the Miami Herald, Pence is scheduled to deliver remarks at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Doral, Miami’s Venezuelan enclave. Pence is also likely to stop by U.S. Southern Command, whose headquarters are in Doral, though neither Southcom nor the White House would confirm his plans Monday. Last week, Pence got an earful from regional allies about President Donald Trump’s offhand remark that the U.S. might consider a ‘military option’ against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.” Read more

— “Colombia offers asylum to Venezuelan prosecutor who criticized Maduro regime,” by the Miami Herald’s Jim Wyss: Read more

SPEND, SPEND, SPEND— “Trump’s Pentagon wants to spend almost $500 million on Guantánamo construction,” by the Miami Herald’s Carol Rosenberg: “Behind the scenes, the U.S. military is planning for nearly a half-billion dollars in new construction during the Trump administration, including a Navy request to build a $250 million, five-bed hospital here that has been singled out for study by a Senate committee. Despite President Donald J. Trump’s campaign promise to reduce costs at the remote U.S. Navy base — at one point he mused that his new Cuba policy might import cheap, local labor from across the minefield — the Pentagon’s appetite to spend at this outpost of about 5,500 residents and 41 wartime prisoners continues unsated.” Read more


WINNING MESSAGE? — “‘We’re all in this together,’ Senator Bill Nelson tells Chamber crowd,” by the Bradenton Herald’s James A. Jones, Jr. Read more

FRESH AIR — “New Ad: Congress Is Threatening to Undermine Laws Protecting Florida Families from Pollution, Toxic Chemicals, Unsafe Food and Other Dangers,” via press release: Clean Air Moms Action [has] released a new digital ad in Florida featuring Janette Fennell, founder and president of the nonprofit, who narrowly escaped tragedy when she was abducted and trapped inside the trunk of her own car. Fennell calls on Congress to oppose the Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA) and the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, two bills that threaten life-saving consumer protections that keep our air and water clean, our food and workplaces safe and our families healthy.” The ad is here

TAX CUTS — “AAN’s Middle-Class Growth Initiative to Air Radio Ads on Tax Reform in 34 Congressional Districts: Part of $1 million English and Spanish radio ad campaign,” via press release: “Today, American Action Network’s Middle-Class Growth Initiative (MCGI) announced a radio ad campaign that will encompass 34 congressional districts nationwide [including Florida Reps. Brian Mast and Carlos Curbelo]. Six of the 34 districts will have a Spanish version airing simultaneously. Over the next two weeks, radio ads will blanket districts across the country highlighting the failures of our current tax code and call on members of Congress to pass reforms that cut taxes and eliminates loopholes to help bring back America’s middle class.” The ad is here

OOPS — “House Democrat’s Office Approved $120k Write-off Linked To Awan Brothers,” by Daily Caller’s Luke Rosiak: Read more

FLORIDA PLUNDER & LOOT — “Federal appeals court hearing is latest in Florida nuclear costs battle,” by POLITICO Florida’s Bruce Ritchie: Fresh off a hearing last week on Florida Power & Light Co.’s request to defer nuclear cost recovery, the utility and Duke Energy will be in a federal appeals court on Tuesday to defend against a lawsuit involving the state nuclear cost recovery law. A 2006 state law allows utilities to seek approval to charge customers for nuclear projects regardless of whether they are built. A class action lawsuit challenging the state law was dismissed last year but is being appealed to the 11th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The group of FPL and Duke Energy Florida customers argue in their lawsuit that a federal circuit judge wrongly dismissed the case they are seeking to recover $2 billion collected by the two utilities. Read story here

VAXXER VECTOR — “DOH memo notes ‘alarming decrease’ in 1-year-old immunizations at health departments,” by POLITICO Florida’s Christine Sexton: Florida has seen an “alarming decrease” in the number of toddlers who are being properly immunized at county health departments. Newly released data show that nearly 25 percent of 1-year-olds did not receive the vaccinations they need to help ward off diseases. Only 76 percent of the toddlers — defined as between 12 and 23 months old — who got their shots at county health departments received the proper dosage and quantity. That’s a significant drop from the prior year’s efforts, when 85 percent of toddlers that age treated at county health departments received all the recommended doses, according to an April 2017 memo. Read story here

CHARGE CARD CHARGES — “Hallandale Beach commissioner says she’s victim of identity theft, blames political foes,” by the Florida Bulldog’s William Gjebre: “Hallandale Beach City Commissioner Anabelle Taub has become the victim of credit card fraud and blames her political opponents for playing a part in publicizing her personal information during last year’s bitterly contested commission election. She made a fraud report July 12 with the Hallandale Beach Police Department. Taub also met with an FBI agent who specializes in identify theft at the agency office in Miramar. She had expressed concern about possible credit card theft when her personal information, including the last four digits of her Social Security number, was publicized. ‘My identity has been stolen,’ Taub said at the Aug. 2 city commission meeting where she talked about the credit card fraud amounting to nearly $4,000 and her lingering bitterness involving dirty campaign activities.” Read more

CORPORATE WELFARE — “Torrey Pines no longer a burden on Port St. Lucie taxpayers,” by the TC Palm’s Nicole Rodriguez: “Taxpayers no longer are subsidizing the once-faltering Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies.And they’ll be off the hook as long as home development in the city remains steady. The 2016-17 budget year is the first since the Great Recession that taxpayers haven’t had to cover the cost of the $70 million Torrey Pines project. Rather, public-building impact fees on new single- and multi-family homes — as originally planned — covered the roughly annual $3.7 million cost. Taxpayers were left to subsidize the project since 2010, when impact fees dried up with the recession. Impact fees up until last year covered only about $18.7 million of the project’s total cost, according to city documents.” Read more

LESSON LEARNED — “Brevard Schools suing over botched EDR software deal,” by Florida Today’s Caroline Glenn: “Following unsuccessful settlement talks, Brevard Public Schools is suing Harris School Solutions over a failed software deal that has already cost taxpayers $5.9 million, the district announced Monday. Purchased from Educational Data Resources back in April 2013 under former Superintendent Brian Binggeli, the EDR software was supposed to replace the school district’s outdated software for managing payroll, human resources, finances and contracts. Four years later, the district has received less than half of the $8 million package. ‘Our case is simple: We paid for a product we didn’t receive, and we want our money back,’ Superintendent Desmond Blackburn said in a press release Monday.” Read more

BIG FISH — “Limited goliath grouper harvest considered,” by the Panama City News Herald’s Katie Landeck: “As goliath grouper populations appear to rebound in South Florida, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) is considering allowing a limited harvest of the humongous fish. The current FWC proposal, which could be changed based on public input, would limit the harvest to 100 goliath grouper a year under a tag system. The tags would be given out via a random drawing and could cost at much as $300, with the proceeds going to fund goliath research. The fish could be caught only via hook and line, would have a slot of 47 to 67 inches, there would be no commercial harvest, and anglers would not be able to target them during the spawning season. The harvest would only be in state waters. ‘This would not be expected to impact stock sustainability and have minimum impact to the dive community,’ said FWC Marine Fisheries Management Direct Jessica McCawley.” Read more


CRIME FINGER — “Is pointing a ‘finger gun’ at a cop a constitutional right? An ex-con just found out,” by the Miami Herald’s David Ovalle: “Bad action-movie dialogue and a finger gun pointed at a cop don’t qualify as protected free speech just yet. A judge has ruled that a Florida law used to arrest a man accused of threatening a Hialeah police officer is perfectly constitutional. The judge joined two others in Miami who have ruled that the misdemeanor law does not infringe on constitutionally protected free speech. ‘‘True threats’ to injure persons are not protected by the First Amendment,’ Miami-Dade County Judge Maria Ortiz wrote in her order earlier this month. She ruled in the case of Alex Romero, an ex-con with ‘305’ tattooed on his right eyelid who is accused of threatening an off-duty Hialeah police officer picking up her daughter at daycare. Prosecutors say Romero pointed a finger at her like a pistol and blurted ‘Officer Hernandez, I got you now!’” Read more

RIP KOD? — “King of Diamonds Landlords Sued for Foreclosure After Allegedly Defaulting on Mortgage Payments,” by Miami New Times’ Jerry Iannelli: “Running a bar where musicians like Justin Bieber lay out $75,000 in cash might not actually be a sound business model: The club’s landlord was sued last Monday for allegedly missing payments on its $5.3 million mortgage, and the neon-purple building is possibly facing foreclosure.” Read more

— “Suspect in Florida officers’ killings said: ‘I’m innocent,’” by the AP:Read more

— “Statewide prison lockdown lifted, visitations allowed again,” by the Miami Herald’s David J. Neal: Read more

— “Police: Bookkeeper-in-training steals Daytona motel’s $18,000 deposit,” by the Daytona Beach News-Journal’s Patricio G. Balona: Read more

— “Local city makes list of most dangerous places,” by the NWF Daily News staff: Read more

— “No one hurt after plane emergency lands on a Florida highway,” by APRead more

— “Realtor finds human remains at Groveland property, deputies say,” by the Orlando Sentinel’s Ryan Gillespie: Read more

— “White supremacist who hid in South Florida headed for trial in FBI murder sting,” by the Sun Sentinel’s Paula McMahon: Read more

— “Scientists monitoring big blob in Gulf,” by the Naples Daily News’ Chad Gillis: Read more

CHANGE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN — “40-cent bet rakes in $259,573.34 at South Florida horse track,” by Sun Sentinel staff: “A small bet was a big winner Saturday at Gulfstream Park, when 40 cents turned into a $259,573.34 bonanza. The way the wager works is this: A racegoer buys a Rainbow 6 ticket for pocket change. Each ticket has six numbers — one for each of the last six races of the day. Each number represents a horse in the race. A jackpot is paid out only when a single ticket has all six winners. And on Saturday, a ticket with the winning combination of 1-2-7-7-8-3 hit the jackpot. In the final race Saturday, horse number three Miss Maserati won to complete the winning Rainbow 6 ticket.” Read more

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

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