Bondi: OJ’s “first wise decision in a long while”

Attorney General Pam Bondi offered a little backhanded compliment to O.J. Simpson, as the former guest of Lovelock Correctional Center has reportedly decided against relocating from Las Vegas to Florida.

“That is the first wise decision Orenthal has made in a long while,” Bondi said, referencing Simpson’s first name in a statement on Friday.

 A day earlier the AP reported that Simpson’s attorney Malcolm LaVergne said the former professional footballer and celebrity pitchman had “no immediate plans to return to Florida.”

Simpson had told Nevada parole officials he had planned to move to Florida once out of jail.

Released in October, Simpson, 70, spent nearly 10 years behind bars as part of a 33-year sentence for an armed robbery and kidnapping involving two sports memorabilia dealers in a Las Vegas hotel room.

In September, Bondi sought to stop Simpson from being able to relocate to Florida. Bondi later sought to see his prison records and to have additional conditions — an ankle bracelet to monitor his travel, a prohibition from alcohol and drugs and a requirement to report in person to his parole officer — placed on Simpson if he sought to travel into Florida.

“Floridians are well aware of Mr. Simpson’s background, his wanton disregard for the lives of others, and of his scofflaw attitude with respect to the heinous acts for which he has been found civilly liable,” Bondi wrote at the time. “The specter of his residing in Florida should not be an option. Numerous law enforcement officials in Florida agree with this position. Our state should not become a country club for this convicted criminal.”

Bondi also referenced allegations that Simpson killed his ex-wife, Nicole Brown, and her friend, Ron Goldman.

“Additionally, it bears noting that Mr. Simpson has a disturbing history of arrests and destructive behavior, dating back in California to spousal battery charges in 1989, to which he pled ‘no contest,’ prior to causing the gruesome deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman in 1994,” Bondi wrote Jones.

Bondi’s request resulted in a Twitter tirade from LaVergne, who advised Bondi that Simpson “can and will move to Florida.” LaVernge then added “None of your business.”

LaVergne also predicted that Bondi — who is currently not running for office and can’t seek reelection this year due to term limits — would “lose her seat next year.”

Hulk Hogan v. Scott: “Flat-out no” … for now

Clearwater resident Terry Bollea, better known as the retired professional wrestler Hulk Hogan, is already playing the politician.

Asked by celebrity media outlet TMZ if he will enter the U.S. Senate contest possibly take on Gov. Rick Scott, he gave the “no at this time” reply.

http://www.tmz.com/videos/0_l4iayc9l

“Right now, this moment, it’s a flat-out no,” said Bollea, adding that he’d run as a Republican despite once supporting President Barack Obama, said. When prodded if he’d ever change his mind, Bollea added, “I’m saying no in this moment.”

The contest is being pushed by prominent Republican strategist Roger Stone.

Bollea said he “doesn’t want to run,” that he has a great life on the beach, but has been fielding calls about running for governor, U.S. senate and mayor.

Pointing to President Donald Trump’s success and former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, another retired wrestler, Bollea predicted he’d win any contest.

“In the state of Florida, I got a feeling it wouldn’t be that hard,” he said.

By Jim Turner

No electricity? Relax…Florida pot operator opens shop in Puerto Rico

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Photo courtesy Knox Medical

Knox Medical Puerto Rico, affiliated with a Miami-based Florida medical marijuana operator, opened its first dispensary in Puerto Rico this week.

“This modern facility meets our high standards for compliance and quality of the patient experience. Starting today, Knox Medical will be offering an unrivaled level of service to more than 15,000 certified patients in Puerto Rico,” José J. Hidalgo, founder and CEO of Knox Medical and Cansortium Holdings, said in a press release.

The dispensary is located in San Juan, and Knox Medical’s cultivation and processing operations are in Barranquitas, according to the release.

Patients from Florida and other states visiting the island can purchase medical marijuana after presenting a valid MMJ ID card to the Puerto Rico Department of Cannabis, also per the release.

Knox Medical is one of 13 licensed medical marijuana operators in Florida. Its Florida grow operations are located in Winter Garden, and the company has dispensaries in Gainesville, Orlando, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Lake Worth and St. Petersburg.

 

 

 

Hannity hearts DeSantis

An endorsement from President Donald Trump is probably the biggest coup for a Republican candidate trying to garner support from conservative, base voters in a statewide primary election.

But a resounding thumbs-up from conservative icon Sean Hannity is arguably a runner-up.

And that’s what U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis scored, with Hannity, who has a condo in Naples, telling the Palm Coast Republican, “You’re going to be my future governor, I hope,” during a radio interview.

DeSantis is facing up against state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, whose amassed a considerable campaign war chest as he serves up Florida OJ at his “Up and Adam” breakfasts throughout the state. House Speaker Richard Corcoran is toying with a run for governor, and former state Sen. Jack Latvala, a Clearwater Republican who is facing possible criminal charges after resigned last month amid investigations into sexual harassment, is still in the race.

Putnam’s made a noticeable pivot to the right as he gears up for the August primary. And we’re not usually keen about endorsements. But the support of Trump and Hannity could translate into considerable dosh and being onstage with Trump couldn’t hurt, either.

 

Tagging every yard of UCF’s undefeated season

UCFplate-logo.pngA group of Florida lawmakers, including one pursing a specialty license plate for his own alma mater, want the state’s motor vehicle agency to be the latest to proclaim the University of Central Florida undefeated Knights as college football’s “national champion.”

State Reps. James Grant, R-Tampa, Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando, Amber Mariano, R-Hudson, and Chris Latvala, R-Clearwater, are pushing a proposal (HB 1359) that would add “UCF National Champions” license plate to the more than 130 specialty tags already available from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

“A UCF license plate is the perfect way to commemorate our undefeated Knights for achieving this historic milestone,” Guillermo Smith said in a press release.

Guillermo Smith, Latvala and Mariano are UCF alumni.

“We can argue statistics and strength of schedules, but you can’t argue a perfect, undefeated season,” Mariano said in the release. “We are the true College Football National Champions, and our season made a big statement to the CFP that their current system is not working. I am so proud to be an Alumna from the best University in the world! Go Knights and Charge on!”

The measure would also revamp the specialty license program, an annual exercise in the state Legislature, by capping the number of different designs available at one time to 125 and to boost the required number of pre-order plates from 1,000 to 3,000 for a new tag to be allowed on the road.

The proposal also would make an Auburn University license plate — along with tags for Florida Lineman, Florida State Beekeepers Association, Rotary, Beat Childhood Cancer, Florida Bay Forever and Bonefish and Tarpon Trust — available for pre-order.

Grant, who along with Tallahassee public-relations guru Kevin Cate, have been working to get Florida to offer the Auburn University plate.

“Nobody wanted Auburn to beat UCF more than me,” Grant, an Auburn University grad, said in the press release. “However, UCF beat the team who beat the team also claiming to be national champions — Alabama — a team with a long history of making up national championships.”

Cate’s CateComm and Sean Hartman of Orlando designed the pseudo national champion plate.

Gov. Rick Scott on Jan. 8 signed a proclamation declaring UCF national champions following their 34-27 victory over Auburn in the Peach Bowl.

As with Scott’s proclamation, those pitching the Knights as national camps point to Auburn having defeated the Georgia Bulldogs and Alabama Crimson Tide. Alabama topped Georgia to conclude the NCAA’s four-team playoff invitational.

UCF finished sixth in the Associated Press’s final poll of the season.

By Jim Turner.

Bipartisan passion for Dreamers

IMG_2516Tallahassee insiders have long joked that there’s a dumpster outside of the nation’s Capitol reserved for memorials passed the state Legislature.

But that didn’t stop Florida state Sen. René García, a Hialeah Republican who was born in Cuba, from making an impassioned plea to Congress to do something to address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. The Obama-era policy protects from deportation individuals who were brought, as children, to the U.S. illegally by their parents.

President Donald Trump announced in December he was terminating the policy, which could put 800,000 DACA recipients in danger of deportation.

Sen. Daphne Campbell, a Haitian-born Miami Democrat, is sponsoring a memorial (SB 882), which sends a message to Congress to do something to protect the hundreds of thousands of children who entered the country when they were kids.

Tuesday’s debate about the memorial came amid discussions in Washington about immigration reform, and raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents throughout the country, including in Florida.

“Why send them back to a country that they have never known? Would we be having this discussion if the kids came from Norway or a similar country where the inhabitants are mostly white?” Campbell, said, referring to Trump’s reported characterization of her homeland and African countries as “shitholes.” Trump allegedly said the U.S. should welcome more immigrants from nations like Norway.

Garcia, who is running for Congress, weighed in after the committee heard from supporters of the memorial, including a handful of foreign-born students advocating on behalf of their DACA-eligible friends.

Patrick Ariel Sabillon said he moved to Texas to be with his father after “multiple dead bodies were found in my elementary school” in Nicaragua.

“I can’t explain to you guys the anxiety, the sadness, the fear and the anger that the immigration crackdown has brought to our communities,” Sabillon, a 20-year-old Florida State University student, said. “People are worried about going to the market.”

Sen. Doug Broxson, R-Gulf Breeze, said he thought it was “inappropriate” to consider the memorial while Congress is debating the issue.

But García said that’s exactly why the Legislature needed to send Congress a strong message of support for Dreamers, who, he said, are exactly the kind of immigrants the nation wants.

“You went to school. You did your part. You did your job. You stayed out of trouble . and yet now, because of politics, you (face the) potential of being deported,” he said before the committee’s 3-2 vote in favor of the proposal. Broxson and Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, voted against the measure.

“The Dreamers are those that understand what it is to be an American. The Dreamers are the ones that are dreaming to have a better life … not only for their families, but for their communities. That’s why it is so critical that we send this message back. That’s why it’s so important that we say stop. Stop with the Democrats, with the Republicans.”

Congress to has to act, García said.

“Can President Trump sign an executive order? Absolutely… But it has to be Congress that has the intestinal fortitude, Democrats and Republicans … and put aside the next election cycle and fix it once and for all.”

It’s unlikely the House will approve a similar measure. The chamber on Friday passed a controversial plan that would ban “sanctuary” cities in the state.

Black lawmakers condemn Trump’s alleged “s—hole countries” comment

image1(1)A host of legislative Democrats joined together Friday morning, condemning alleged comments by President Donald Trump, in which he reportedly questioned why the United States should accept immigrants from “s—hole countries” like Haiti, El Salvador and countries in Africa.

During a news conference in the Capitol this morning, members of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus also called on Governor Rick Scott to take an even stronger stance in his rebuke of the president.

“We are appealing to all elected officials, to stand united with us in our demand for an open apology from President Trump to the American people. We are a nation of immigrants,” state Sen. Daphne Campbell, a Miami Democrat who was born in Haiti, said at the presser, adding that Trump’s remarks reeked of racism.

According to numerous reports, the president also suggested that the U.S. should welcome more immigrants from countries like Norway.

“It appears President Trump does not have an issue with immigrants. He has an issue with immigrants of color,” Campbell said.

The event took place hours after early morning tweets from the president, in which he denied making the remarks. Trump, however, did not specify what he said at Thursday’s White House meeting centered on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, the Obama-era policy that focused on children who are brought into the U.S. illegally by their parents or guardians.

“Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country. Never said “take them out.” Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings – unfortunately, no trust!” the president tweeted.

Late Thursday, Scott released a statement calling Trump’s remarks wrong after Campbell called on the governor to denounce his pal Trump’s alleged comments.

Florida is home to more Haitians than any other state, and Trump’s decision to end temporary protective status for Haitians could affect nearly 30,000 Haitians now residing in the Sunshine State.

Sen. Perry Thurston, chairman of the black caucus, called Trump an “ignorant bigot.”

“He’s embarrassing and he’s a disgrace to the presidency,” Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale, said. “We understand Donald Trump, believe me. We will stand with our brothers and sisters from Haiti, African and all other bleephole countries in fighting Trump’s racist views that creep into his policies.”

The outcry over the president’s remarks comes just days before the Monday holiday celebrating the late civil rights icon, Martin Luther King, Jr.

Former Senate Minority Leader Arthenia Joyner, a Tampa Democrat and civil rights leader, said that young people need to understand that the civil rights fight isn’t over.

“You might be living good and making good money, but baby nothing has changed in that regard. It’s time to demand respect, and demand that the people we elect stand up beside us and with us, and respect us,” Joyner said.