Warning signs for Florida’s economy? — Dorian departs — Uncle Luke and Sen. Harris — ‘Oprah’s 2020 Vision’ tour – Politico
Good Thursday morning. It’s no secret that President Donald Trump’s main selling point for re-election will be the economy. So how it’s faring in his adopted home state? Well….
Jobs, jobs, jobs — Unemployment is low. Consumer confidence is strong. The economy is growing in part to continued population growth. But a new economic overview issued recently by state economists who work for the Florida Legislature shows a handful of potential weak spots.
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By the numbers — Florida’s growth slipped beneath the national average in early 2019. The wage gap between Florida and the nation is growing as the statewide average wage in 2018 fell to 87.4 percent of the national average. Home ownership rates remain below the state’s historical average. Economists assert that student loans and auto debt are affecting the ability of people to qualify for home loans. Rental costs are rising and “price pressure continues to build.”
Is it the economy? — Much of these data points, of course, may have little bearing on an election that could be waged on multiple fronts in Florida ranging from Venezuela to gun policy to immigration to Puerto Rico. But there are plenty of trends to remain focused on in the months ahead.
PORTRAIT OF DORIAN — Hurricane Dorian, which had threatened Florida for days, has made its way north. The Sunshine State avoided major damage from the deadly storm, which devastated the Bahamas and is being blamed for at least 20 deaths.
LONG ROAD — “Death toll rises to at least 20 in Bahamas from Hurricane Dorian,” by Miami Herald’s Jim Wyss, Jacqueline Charles, Nora Gámez Torres, Samantha Gross and Daniel Chang: “The death toll in the Bahamas rose to at least 20 on Wednesday as the catastrophic damage left behind by Hurricane Dorian came into sharper focus and the world mobilized to help the shattered islands. rime Minister Hubert Minnis confirmed that the death toll had spiked as emergency workers continued to assess the damage of the Category 5 monster, but he warned that “we expect this number will increase.”
KEYBOARD MOMENTS — “Marianne Williamson deletes tweet saying ‘power of the mind’ helped turn Dorian,” by POLITICO’s Caitlin Oprysko: Spiritual guru and self-help author Marianne Williamson on Wednesday posted and then deleted a tweet suggesting that the “power of the mind” helped turn Hurricane Dorian away from delivering a more dangerous blow to the United States.
WHO’S TO BLAME? — “An Oval Office mystery: Who doctored the hurricane map?” by POLITICO’s Caitlin Oprysko: Donald Trump’s affinity for Sharpies may finally leave a mark. A map that the president held up Wednesday indicating the possible paths of Hurricane Dorian carried an odd marking: Lumped onto the end of the “cone of uncertainty” — indicating areas the storm could hit — was a chunk of the state of Alabama.
BIG QUESTION — “Why are hurricanes like Dorian stalling, and is global warming involved?” by Tampa Bay Times’ Bob Berwyn: “Hurricane Dorian’s slow, destructive track through the Bahamas fits a pattern scientists have been seeing over recent decades, and one they expect to continue as the planet warms: hurricanes stalling over coastal areas and bringing extreme rainfall.”
COSTLY — “Hurricane Dorian missed Florida’s coast but targeted its tourism industry and other businesses too,” by Orlando Sentinel’s Gray Rohrer and Austin Fuller: “Hurricane Dorian didn’t slam Florida’s coast, but it likely put a dent in the bottom lines of the tourism industry, which was hoping for a robust Labor Day weekend. Tourism officials say it’s too early to estimate the economic cost in lost visits, hotel stays and other spending that visitors would’ve brought over the holiday, but it’s likely to be significant.”
ON THE WAY — “Military aircraft flee to Panhandle ahead of Dorian,” by GateHouse Media Florida: “Skies above Northwest Florida will be filled with more military aircraft than usual beginning Wednesday and possibly continuing through the end of the week, as they are repositioned from installations along the East Coast in advance of Hurricane Dorian, according to a release from NAS Pensacola.”
ONE STRATEGY — “Hurricane Dorian: Sheriff Billy Woods calls out ‘whiners,’” by Star Banner’s Joe Callahan: “Sheriff Billy Woods is rebuking citizens who criticize Marion County Emergency Management decisions that led to the closure of all schools for the entire week In a video posted on his agency’s Facebook page Tuesday night, Woods said he wanted to address the ‘whiners and crybabies that are out here.’”
LOVELY — “Hurricane Dorian: Watch out for snakes! Mosquitoes, too,” by Orlando Sentinel’s Stephen Hudak: “As if Hurricane Dorian’s winds and soaking rains weren’t enough deal with, Central Florida health officials now say people should be on the lookout for wayward snakes.”
BRING SAND — “Hurricane Dorian continued to erode beaches along Treasure Coast overnight Tuesday and Wednesday,” by TCPalm’s Max Chesnes, Ed Killer, Corey Arwood, Sara Marino, Will Greenlee and Miranda Moore: “The story of Hurricane Dorian in Florida is a story of the rise and fall of emotions. But, where the threat of wind and rain came and went, the storm itself left behind a tangible scar: hundreds of miles of coastline, weathered and eroded from a pounding sea.”
WINNING — “A rap legend ripped Kamala’s marriage to a white man. Then she won him over,” by POLITICO’s Christopher Cadelago: Luther “Luke” Campbell, the former 2 Live Crew frontman and “original bad boy of hip-hop,” absolutely torched Kamala Harris a few weeks after she announced her bid for president.
TO SOFLA — “Oprah Winfrey, still not running for president, kicking off ‘Oprah’s 2020 Vision’ tour in South Florida,” by Sun Sentinel’s Phillip Valys: “Oprah Winfrey, totally not running for president in 2020, nonetheless has a vision for America. The talk show queen and OWN network chief will kick off her ‘Oprah’s 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus’ tour on Jan. 4, 2020, at the BB&T Center in Sunrise.”
BIG ASK — “Rubio, Scott ask Trump to waive visa requirements for Bahamians,” by POLITICO’s Marianne LeVine: Florida Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott asked President Donald Trump on Wednesday to waive some visa requirements for citizens of the Bahamas, which was devastated by Hurricane Dorian. In a letter to Trump, Rubio and Scott requested that the administration make it easier for citizens of the Bahamas to seek shelter with their families in the United States, in the aftermath of the Category 5 hurricane that left at least seven dead and devastated much of the island nation.
First up — Beto O’Rourke is the first Democratic presidential candidate to back the idea of helping citizens of the Bahamas. In a Wednesday night press release from his campaign, he called on the Trump administration to waive visa requirements for those seeking to reunite with family members in the United States and he said the administration should grant temporary protected status to residents facing longterm displacement.
‘BETTER THAN EVER’ — “Trump cuts $17 million project at Florida Air Force base to pay for border wall,” by Miami Herald’s Alex Daugherty: “When President Donald Trump visited Tyndall Air Force Base in May, he promised it would be rebuilt “better than ever” after Hurricane Michael caused catastrophic damage. Four months later, the Department of Defense announced that a $17 million project to build a fire-rescue state at the base near Panama City will be put on hold to pay for a portion of a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, one of Trump’s signature campaign promises.”
CC: FLORIDA PANTHERS — “Trump administration sets forth changes to Endangered Species Act,” by Daily News’ Karl Schneider: “Should America put a price tag on the cost of saving the Florida panther? There are only 120-230 of these big cats left in the wild, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2017 estimate, and the population faces increasing pressures from habitat destruction.”
‘OVERBLOWN OR INACCURATE’ — “PolitiFact: Fact-checking President Trump’s falsehoods about Hurricane Dorian,” by Tampa Bay Times’ Amy Sherman: “The president typically serves as the public face of federal government advisories — providing sober facts and urgent warnings so Americans can make informed preparations. But as Hurricane Dorian threatened the east coast, President Donald Trump spread information that was overblown or inaccurate.”
JUMPING IN — “Hillsborough’s transportation tax has a new opponent: the Florida House,” by Tampa Bay Times’ Caitlin Johnston: “The Florida House of Representatives is joining the fight over the future of Hillsborough’s transportation tax. A lawyer for the chamber has filed a brief in support of a lawsuit that seeks to overturn the tax and is set to go before the Florida Supreme Court. House General Counsel Adam Tanenbaum asked the court to reverse a lower court ruling and eliminate the tax, along with the charter amendment that authorized it.”
TEAMWORK — “Mayhew calls FHCA ‘critical’ partner for Hurricane Dorian prep,” by POLITICO’s Alexandra Glorioso: Gov. Ron DeSantis’ top health care policy official praised a close working relationship with the Florida Health Care Association, the state’s largest trade group for nursing homes, today for aiding in the evacuation of 1,820 residents ahead of Hurricane Dorian.
RETURN TO SENDER — “U.S. government wants Jackson Memorial to repay $412 million in Medicaid payments,” by News Service of Florida’s Christine Sexton: “Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital got hundreds of millions in Medicaid dollars that it shouldn’t have received between 2010 and 2014, auditors say, and now the federal government wants the money back.”
— WHERE’S RON? — Gov. DeSantis will be in Tallahassee and is scheduled to hold a press conference at the state emergency operations center to discuss Hurricane Dorian.
BAD LOOK — “Lawmakers target anti-poverty programs after paid trips to Disney,” by The Center for Public Integrity’s Jared Bennett: “In December, the Foundation for Government Accountability hosted public officials from across the country in Orlando. The scene: Walt Disney World’s Swan and Dolphin Resort, an ocean-themed oasis with palatial fountains next to a lake lined with palm trees.”
MORE TO COME? — “‘Hundreds’ of names hidden in still sealed Jeffrey Epstein-related documents,” by Miami Herald’s Julie K. Brown: “A tentative schedule has been set to roll out potentially thousands of pages of documents that could reveal more names of people allegedly involved in the late financier Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking operation.”
OFF THE MARKET — “Tom Petty’s ex-wife buys rockstar’s childhood home,” by Gainesville Sun’s Andrew Caplan: “Tom Petty’s first wife, Jane Benyo Petty, has bought the late rock ‘n’ roll legend’s longtime childhood home, property records show. The 1,300-square-foot Gainesville home, located at 1715 NE Sixth Terrace, sold for $175,000 on July 31. Documents relating to the sale were previously hidden on the property appraiser’s website.”
THE OTHER RANKINGS — Fall means college football, but it also means that it’s college ranking seasons. The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings of more than 800 colleges and universities were released Wednesday. Of note: University of Miami was 49, University of Florida was 68, and Florida State University was 208. The U.S. News and World Report rankings, which many schools often tout since they are broken into categories such as top public universities, are slated to come out next week.
FUN WITH PROCUREMENT — “A Pasco roofer and school official had an affair. Corruption investigation of $1.5 million school roofing job followed,” by Tampa Bay Times’ C.T. Bowen: “Kevin Ryman, a prominent Zephyrhills building contractor and an appointed Pasco County planning commissioner, carried on an intimate relationship with the former purchasing director for the Pasco County School District and was suspected of colluding with another contractor to win a $1.5 million school roofing job in 2017, according to public documents.”
‘CAPRICE AND EMOTION’ — “Parkland killer’s legal team wants prosecutor tossed over ‘worse than Ted Bundy’ comment,” by Miami Herald’s David Ovalle: “Defense lawyers for Nikolas Cruz want to boot Broward State Attorney Mike Satz off the case for refusing to even entertain waiving the death penalty — and because they say he called the Parkland school shooter “evil; worse than Ted Bundy.”
— “Tallahassee police recovers stolen Chris Jericho championship wrestling belt,” by Tallahassee Democrat’s Jeff Burlew: “The Tallahassee Police Department says it has in fact recovered professional wrestling star Chris Jericho’s championship belt, which he reported stolen on Sunday after a quick visit to town.”
— “Bricks of cocaine wash up on Florida beaches from Hurricane Dorian waves,” by NBC News’ Minyvonne Burke: “More than a dozen bricks of cocaine washed up on two Florida beaches Tuesday from waves churned up by Hurricane Dorian, police said. At around 8 a.m., a Melbourne police officer on foot patrol at Paradise Beach Park was alerted by a beachgoer that something suspicious appeared to have washed ashore.”
— “Sarasota votes to decriminalize small amount of marijuana,” by Herald-Tribune’s Billy Cox
— “Panic on Navarre Beach caused by conflicting water quality reports,” by Daily News’ Ashleigh Wilde
BIRTHDAYS: Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) is 83 … Enrique Padron
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