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Sunburn – The Morning Read Of What’s Hot In Florida Politics – 7.19.21

More than 100 people came to St. Petersburg to call for state help with red tide and dead fish. Image via AP.

Ed. Note — As Peter continues to address the serious health issue with his wife, Michelle, the staff of Florida Politics also goes on to assemble Sunburn for you, our loyal readers and fans. Please, join us all in sending healing thoughts, prayers, and good wishes to Michelle and Peter as she begins the long road to recovery. Thank you for your support. God bless.

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Happy Monday.

Believe it or not, “The Happiest Place on Earth” is the tagline for Disneyland, not Disney World. But try telling that to Orlando, which is about to snag as many as 2,000 high-paying jobs away from Disney’s California HQ. That made for many good weekends in Central Florida.

Faith Based Events

But it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows this weekend. Unfortunately, the pandemic is still alive and well.

The delta variant is spreading like wildfire among the unvaccinated population. In Florida, hospitalizations numbers shot up 73% since mid-June after six months of decline. The state now has the fourth-highest hospitalization rate in the country, so maybe hold off a couple of weeks before ordering some “Don’t Fauci my Florida” swag.

The South Africa Olympic Team is the first to show signs of COVID-19.

Florida isn’t alone. Three Texas lawmakers, two South African Olympians, and the U.K. Health Secretary Sajid Javid are all sidelined after testing positive.

But it’s worse in Missouri, where ICUs are filling up with young people. Some experts are even predicting the winter there — and other states lagging in vaccinations — could be worse than last, and some scientists say our chances of ending the pandemic are fast slipping away. The Show-Me State might need to become the Show Me Your Vaccine Passport State to get over the hump.

Speaking of vaccine passports, Florida’s ban may be on the way out.

A panel of the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the CDC’s cruise guidelines are rules — not suggestions — kneecapping Florida’s law banning cruise companies from requiring proof of vaccination to board.

The court decision probably put a damper on Gov. Ron DeSantis’ and Attorney General Ashley Moody’s weekend, but the folks at Norwegian Cruise Lines, which sued to overturn Florida’s ban in a separate case, are jumping for joy. Some of their future passengers are probably breathing a sigh of relief, too.

If their planning to board a ship on the Gulf Coast, however, they might not want to do much breathing. There’s a massive red tide outbreak in the Tampa Bay area and there’s no sign it’s slowing down.

It’s bad enough that more than 100 protesters spent their Saturday marching along the St. Petersburg waterfront calling on DeSantis to declare a state of emergency. Meanwhile, the City of St. Pete has moving workers from other departments to help remove hundreds of tons of dead fish from the bay — they even had to bring in a backhoe to get a 400 lb. grouper out of the water last week.

While notable, the Red Tide protest pales in comparison to what’s going on in Miami, where demonstrations in support of a free Cuba are entering their second week. Some have even decided to take their show on the road, boarding buses to Washington to call on President Joe Biden to intervene.

Let’s just hope they steer clear of Nationals Park, where America’s pastime collided with … well, America’s other pastime when three fans were shot during the sixth inning of Saturday evening’s game against the Padres.

Matt Gaetz is persona non grata in Anaheim.

The bad weekend streak continues for U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz. An Anaheim “America First” rally he was scheduled to appear alongside U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was canceled over “public safety concerns.” Still, he did post one of the best finance reports in Congress last quarter, so maybe another dose of so-called cancel culture will give his campaign account (or legal defense fund) another shot in the arm.

Even though the Anaheim Event Center is only a few miles down I-5 from Knott’s Berry Farm, we can confirm that Gaetz was not the man arrested for climbing the park’s 300-foot tower.

On a happier note, the Tallahassee Democrat pulled in the Florida Society of News Editors Gold Medal for its deep dive into the poor state of kids’ health care in the 32304 ZIP code. The subject matter may be a downer, but it’s nice to see good work recognized. If you missed it last year, stop what you’re doing and give it a read — it holds up.

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While industries recover after more than a year of pandemic, one of the state’s top communication firms is thriving — with a significant jump in national and international stature.

Moore, headquartered in Florida with locations in Colorado and Louisiana, moved up six spaces in the list of leading communications and PR firms nationwide, according to industry rating firm O’Dwyer’s.

In addition to climbing from No. 55 to No. 49 nationally, Moore, specializing in crisis counsel, public affairs, health care and other issues, also jumped 11 spots to No. 186 in the world.

As Moore gained prominence, they also grew in revenue. Globally, fee income in the industry declined by 4% in 2020 — a result of COVID-19. At the same time, Moore’s income increased by 7.3%.

Karen Moore and Terrie Ard guided Moore to new heights, despite the pandemic.

Even during a pandemic, our team’s dedication and diligence helped take this agency to even higher levels of success and historic growth,” said Karen Moore, Moore’s founder and CEO. “I attribute this to our team, culture and client success. And I believe our clients value and appreciate knowing they are partnering with one of the best in the nation.”

The numbers from O’Dwyer’s get even better: Moore is Florida’s No. 1 firm in the specialty areas of Public Affairs, Health Care, Education and Agriculture. Moore also ranks nationally in various key industries: No. 6 firm in the nation for Public Affairs; No. 6 firm in the nation for Education; No. 9 firm in the nation for Agriculture and No. 24 firm in the nation for Health Care & Medical Public Relations.

Representing both Fortune 500 companies and small organizations, Moore  has  been recognized for its business growth and culture by Inc. 5000 as a Fastest Growing Company and Best Place to Work.

 — SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —

@ryanstruykUS coronavirus cases/day via @CNN: Right now: 30,887 cases/day, 7 days ago: 18,489 cases/day, 14 days ago: 13,562 cases/day, 21 days ago: 10,525 cases/day

@MattLargey: By tomorrow, Texas will have doubled the number of people hospitalized for COVID in less than 3 weeks. We’re back at levels not seen since late April. Positivity rate now above 10%, which hasn’t happened since Feb. 24th.

@TB_Times: Florida’s COVID-19 surge can be seen at Tampa General Hospital. It now has 40 infected patients, more than double two weeks ago. Every patient on a ventilator is unvaccinated and between the ages of 35 to 55.

@SenPizzo: I’m taking the first 5 people in my district to lunch if they get vaccinated this week. If we reach 50 people, I’ll babysit (at the office) the first parent(s) who needs a day off. If we reach 100, I’m cooking, cleaning and doing laundry for someone.

@ShevrinJones: I’ll cook the collard greens and mac&cheese —- count me in!

@SenatorMenendez: Not a surprise, just a painful reminder that we need to stop relying on temporary immigration fixes. Congress must seize the moment and any and all opportunities to finally provide a pathway to legalization for millions of undocumented immigrants.

@AGAshleyMoody: The border crisis created by @JoeBiden makes our communities less safe and puts us all at risk.    I am proud to stand with @GovRonDeSantis today at the southern border. We must secure our nation and protect our communities.

@MaryEllenKlas: A spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety told the @MiamiHerald that states are sending troops “at their own expense,” and there will be no reimbursement. Gov. @GregAbbott_TX would not commit to reimbursing Florida for travel expenses associated with the mission.

@DuboseforFL: Today, we honor the man who showed us the path to peace and reconciliation. We celebrate his life and his achievements, his tireless fight for equality, justice, and freedom for all. Through a remarkable life that included two decades of imprisonment on Robben Island, former South African President Nelson Mandela taught us how to stand up for what is right and respect individual dignity. He was — and continues to be — an inspiration and role model.