By Tony Marrero for Tempa Bay Times – TAMPA — Vocal crowds of demonstrators making weekly visits to the Tampa office of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio have gotten the Miami Republican booted from the building. The owner of Bridgeport Center, a gleaming, nine-story office center at 5201 Kennedy Blvd., notified Rubio’s office on Feb. 1 that it will not renew its lease. The reason: The rallies have become too disruptive to the other tenants and a costly expense for the company, said Jude Williams, president of America’s Capital Partners. “A professional office building is not a place for that,” Williams said. “I understand their cause, but at the end of the day it was a security concern for us. Rubio is now faced with the prospect of going without a brick-and-mortar office until a new location can be found.
By Alex Harris And Lance Dixon for Miami Herold – Protesters held colorful signs and chanted messages like “We want a leader, not a creepy tweeter” and “Hey hey, ho ho. Donald Trump has got to go.” Many said they were standing in support of Muslims, minorities and people they felt were at risk because of Trump’s recent executive order temporarily banning travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries. Late Saturday, that order was tied up in the courts. Lawrence Otremba, and his husband, Chris Busby, have been together for 18 years and got married as soon as it was legal. Busby said he was grateful for the hard work of activists that came before him and he wanted to use his privilege to speak up for others.
By Richard Luscombe for The Guardian – At first glance the quiet town of Live Oak seems an unlikely venue for a stand against Big Energy. But in recent weeks it’s become a centre of opposition A north Florida river that attracted the state’s first tourists a century before Walt Disney’s famous cartoon mouse is emerging at the centre of a fight against a contentious 515-mile natural gas pipeline that many are calling America’s next Standing Rock. One section of the so-called Sabal Trail pipeline is being laid beneath the crystal waters of the Suwannee river, whose pure mineral springs were once fabled to cure anything from marital strife to gout.
By Staff of Water Protector Alliance – Hundreds of water protectors gathered in peaceful protest singing and praying. Water trucks needed to drill under the river were blocked for hours. For the first time in history Suwannee River State Park was closed due to capacity. Suwannee County Sheriffs, Florida Highway Patrol, Fish & Wildlife Commission and State Park Rangers arrived in large numbers. No arrests were made and no one was hurt. The Floridan Aquifer, water quality, and ecology are being threatened. Communities have mobilized and are on the move, STAND NOW FOR CLEAN WATER!
By Kate Bradshaw for Creative Lofting Tampa Bay – Temperatures were dipping into unfriendly territory Saturday afternoon as sports fans flocked to the events at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. At nearby Lykes Gaslight Park, members of Tampa’s homeless community were gathered for hot coffee and bagels, courtesy of the group Food Not Bombs. There were no altercations, no illicit substances, no bad behavior—unless you count that, according to the City of Tampa, that coffee and bagels were illegal. Why? Because you have to have a special permit in order to offer free food to the needy in city parks.
By Fred Grimm for Miami Herald – The leaked recording should have been political dynamite. Except it only confirmed what solar energy advocates already knew: Florida’s electric utility monopolies had engineered a ballot initiative composed of mendacious doublespeak. Amendment One, an unseemly misnomer entitled “Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy Choice,” was no more than “political jiu-jitsu,”…
By Mark Joseph Stern for The Slate – On Tuesday, Florida voters kicked Jacksonville prosecutor Angela Corey out of office. Corey garnered just 26 percent of the vote in the Republican primary. Her rival, Melissa Nelson, defeated her by a 38-point margin. Nelson is reform-minded but also touts a National Rifle Association endorsement. She will run unopposed in November. Corey is widely known as one of the cruelest and deadliest prosecutors in America. She is infamous for vigorously prosecuting Marissa Alexander, a black woman who fired a warning shot into a wall during an altercation with her abusive husband.
By Katie Pohlman for Eco Watch – The East Coast Greenway will stretch from Calais, Maine, to Key West, Florida, a 2,900-mile distance. The project will provide non-motorized users a unique way to travel up and down the East Coast through 25 cities and 16 states. Walkers, cyclists, runners and other active-transportation users will be able to travel on a continuous, firm and paved greenway with a route specifically designed to give travelers a traffic-free experience, East Coast Greenway Alliance, the non-profit organization behind the project.
By Christine Baniewicz for Truthout – Nothing particularly alarming seemed to transpire in the Florida State Capitol building during this January’s Senate floor hearing of Florida SB 86. No vocal dissent cropped up between senators, and there was no public testimony – just a wall full of little green lights flicking on as every legislator in the chamber voted the bill through. However benign in appearance, that wall of green lights signals an alarming violation of Floridians’ First Amendment rights.
By Zahra Hirji for Inside Climate News – South Florida, home to one of the country’s most fragile water systems, could be the nation’s next fracking frontier. The Florida House of Representatives voted 73-45 on Jan. 27 to approve abill that opens the door to fracking by 2017 after the state studies the environmental and public health risks. Next, the bill requires state regulators to draft rules governing the practice, which could begin in 2018 or 2019. This is the third time in three years the Florida House has passed a version of this bill.
By Valerie Strauss for The Washington Post, A battle over Florida’s public education system may be reaching a tipping point, with school superintendents revolting against the state’s school accountability system and editorial boards of major newspapers now weighing in on their side. One, the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, is warning against the collapse of that system. The Florida Association of District School Superintendents issued a statement on Sept. 25 saying that superintendents have “lost confidence” in the current accountability system for students and schools, which is based on the scores students receive on the controversial Florida Standards Assessments. The superintendents called for a suspension of the accountability system and a full review.
By EarthFirst! – Six people were arrested today for demonstrating against the celebration of the 450th anniversary of the Spanish invasion of so-called Saint Augustine, Florida.Arrestees are being held at the St Johns County Jail with misdemeanor charges. So far, three have been released. The support team does not have enough support to bond out all arrestees. Tribal elders and the Council of the Original Miccosukee Simanolee Nation Aboriginal Peoples called for resistance demonstrations months ago. The Council asked Saint Augustine city officials not to glorify the rape, torture, displacement, enslavement, and genocide that accompanied European colonization but they were repeatedly ignored.
By Bruce Wright in Gulf Coast Greens – This movement is a grassroots movement from the bottom up of Homeless, formerly homeless, and their supporters in Florida. This is a movement, a coalition forming to answer and struggle with those who would criminalize folks simply because they are homeless. It is a movement in several cities uniting around this idea of fighting back and not allowing the non-profit industrial complex “sell out” the homeless community simply because these non-profits don’t want to “rock the boat” and lose their funding. This movement’s cities include St. Petersburg, Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando, Jacksonville, Lakeland, Sarasota, Brooksville, and Gainesville. It includes homeless folks who have been criminalized by the system and ”left out to hang” by non-profits that do not have the guts to stand up to power on behalf of the homeless.
An employee of Florida’s environmental protection department was forced to take a leave of absence and seek a mental health evaluation for violating governor Rick Scott’s unwritten ban on using the phrases “climate change” or “global warming” under any circumstance, according to a complaint filed against the state. Longtime employee Barton Bibler reportedly included an explicit mention of climate change in his official notes from a Florida Coastal Managers Forum meeting in late February, during which climate change, rising sea levels and the possible environmental impact of the Keystone XL Pipeline were discussed. On 9 March, Bibler received a formal reprimand for “misrepresenting that ‘the official meeting agenda included climate change’”, according to a statement from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (Peer).