Thursday, November 23, 2017
The Buzz
  • The Buzz
  • From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida Insiders on Tallahassee’s ‘bedtime bingo’ and sexually charged, frat house atmosphere

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Last week more than 200 experts in Florida politics, many or most with first hand, longstanding experience with the legislative process, participated in our latest Florida Insider Poll. Here are their comments, which we allow to be anonymous to encourage honest assessments.

The questions: Do you expect Jack Latvala to quit the governor's race (90 percent said yes)…Do you expect Latvala to resign from office (65 percent said yes)…Do you expect more legislators to be publicly accused of harassment or affairs? (97 percent said yes)…Are consensual extramarital affairs common in the capitol ? (92 percent said yes)…Who is more responsible for the culture in Tallahassee, legislators or lobbyists? (82 percent said legislators)…Are consensual extramarital affairs more common in the capitol than most workplaces? (92 percent said yes)…At Trump's one-year anniversary, how would you describe his performance? (4 percent said "excellent," 14 percent "good," 19 percent "fair," 13 percent "poor," 51 "terrible.")…Do you expect Trump to seek a second term (70 percent said yes)….Do you expect Trump will hurt Republican candidates in Florida in 2018 (76 percent said yes)….Would Trump win Florida against Hillary Clinton if the election were held today (52 percent said yes).

Here's what they said:

Republican: "The tallahassee culture is way overdue for a total transparency process..Otherwise , fewer individuals who really cares about the legitimate legislative/lobbying professions long term will want to be involved .."
NPA/Other It may sound quaint, but the sex-and-booze culture in Tallahassee relies on legislators who choose not to live up to basic values of decency.

Republican: I'm disgusted by the people sticking up for Jack Latvala — amazing how the indignance died down as he leaves his budget chairmanship. Likely not a coincidence. The power concentrated among a few (especially childish bullies like Jack) makes Tallahassee a breeding ground for harassment and corruption. But if they continue to circle the wagons around him then they get the leaders they deserve.

Democrat: Any Republican Candidate would beat Hillary Clinton in Florida today, and that most likely would include Donald Trump. She was worst candidate the Democrats have had in the past Century and that includes Michael Dukakis. Today, Donald Trump would not beat any other Democratic in Florida OTHER than Hillary Clinton and that includes your choice of Irv Slosberg or Buddy McKay or Jim Davis.

Can not answer your question about who is more responsible for culture Lobbyist or Legislators. It could be answered both or neither."

Democrat: While not condoning the behavior of any legislator or lobbyist involved in any extramarital affair, recent revelations seem more like a heighten state of political warfare then a quest for greater moral and ethical values. It would seem some folks have decided to risk mutually assured destruction.

Republican: Many of those who planned to fight the last war again in '18 by embracing Trump and Trumpism will wish they had retained their dignity and their reputations after they are gone.

Republican: (Tuesday) was no more an election on Trump than it was for Roy Moore or for Karen Handel
Democrat But Trump has only proven all of us fools every time

Republican: Jack Latvala will leave the governors race because he has no path to victory, none. But he will stay in the Senate and raise hell as he typically does and then off into the sunset. Legislators are to blame for this current situation because they are by definition the leaders we elect to go to Tallahassee to work for us. They fail us when they make these bad decisions. More than Trump, bad decisions in Tallahassee could hut the GOP in 2018. Trump on the other hand has a message, a growing economy, a good response to the hurricanes and a base of support. I would expect smart Republicans in primary elections to embrace that.

Republican: Part of the problem with the sex culture in Tallahassee is that Tallahassee is still way too remote. If we moved the capitol to Orlando, it would be closer to members' families and harder for bad things to happen closer to home. Additionally, because Orlando is a more of a real city, there are normal diversions and activities that would help sway members away from bad ones. Yes, it would be easier for Legislators to hide bad behavior and be invisible in Orlando, but bad folks would do bad things anywhere where good people would probably have less temptation in a location closer to their home.

NPA/Other: You should offer "not sure" on these — some of my answers are more or less based on a coin flip. This is what is called a "forced choice" survey.

Democrat: The "boys" culture in Tallahassee goes back at least to the 1980's and maybe longer. What were acceptable norms for better or for worse in the capital city are no longer acceptable as we become a more tolerant, respectful and sensitive society. Politicians and lobbyists need to start behaving like Tallahassee is a place of government and public service not a frat house for older adults.

Democrat: Trump is a cancer on the Republican Party, which is a good thing for Democrats, who are normally known for snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory. Trump is the best weapon Dems have right now!

Democrat: Trump collaborators will lose in the end, and that includes Republicans like Rick Baker who refuse to criticize the president for even his most outrageous, divisive comments. The same goes for legislators who have condoned or stayed silent the sexually charged atmosphere of Tallahassee. The Latvala accusations ring true for those who know him because nearly everyone has experienced his bullying. He will not survive this politically but he won't go down without a fight and will take a few people with him.

Republican: "Trump is setting good policies for the most part – he's just creating an environment that makes it almost impossible for those who embrace those policies to get elected in the future. His failure on Obamacare is staggering, although the Senators who disingenuously voted for repeal when they knew Obama would veto and are now refusing to do the same are more to blame. If the Republicans fail on tax reform and don't get their act together soon, next November will be worse than a ""shellacking"" for Republicans.

Regarding the shenanigans in the Capitol: sexual harassment is disgusting and all too common. However, the challenge is determining the veracity of the claims and remembering that people are innocent until proven guilty. Unfortunately, a lot of innocent people could end up getting hurt over this. Why do the people coming forward mostly do so during politically expedient times?"

Republican: Safe to say that some former and current legislators and lobbyist are losing sleep waiting for the next sex -scandal shoe to drop. There will be many many more. However these are merely manifestations of a wide spread cultural problem and lack of morals, ethics and integrity. Doubtful much will change however.

NPA/Other: Trump is the worst president in my lifetime and he shows no signs of maturing in office or learning from his mistakes. How can he learn from his mistakes if he believes he never makes mistakes. The sooner he leaves office, the better it will be for America.

Democrat: As strange as it sounds Latvala's troubles actually increase the chances that the Republicans win the 2018 Governor's race. That is because it clears the way for Putnam to be the GOP nominee, and despite the expected Democratic wave I would not bet against a fully funded Adam Putnam against a broke/bloodied Democratic nominee on the day after the Primary Election.

NPA/Other: For who is more responsible for the culture in Tallahassee I put the legislature, but certainly the lobbyists have a lot to do with the culture of Tallahassee as well. In addition, I think that going off to Tallahassee for 2 months and being away from family and working under intense pressure leads to more opportunities and temptations for many lawmakers (and lobbyists and staff) than the average workplace. In addition both politics and lobbying are about power and both have the same basic path to success – establishing and maintaining relationships – which often blurs the lines of professional behavior and good judgement. So I don't think that there are more "bad people" in the legislative and lobbying profession – but it is the environment they work in and the type of work they do that encourages and leads to more questionable behavior.

Republican: Latvala was never going to be the nominee anyway, and now that's even more a certainty. I don't expect him to resign his seat, but his race for governor is over. Tallahassee is rife with affairs – I bet the divorce rate among house members is higher than the average in Florida. And with interns and being away from home, the temptation for (the mostly male) legislators is real. Term limits have left the lobbyists in charge and the culture of Tallahassee is theirs. How's Trump doing ? So so. No signature policy achievements. He tried health care reform and it didn't happen. Now going for tax reform. He needs a win or the Republicans will go into 2018 without anything to campaign on.

Republican: The Who is responsible question is unfair. As the saying goes, it takes two to Tango.

Democrat: If St. Pete, Virginia, New Jersey, and Manchester are any indicator of what's to come in 2018, I think the Democrats have some soul searching to do for some better, more charismatic candidates. Why spoil the chance we may have to be relevant again?

Republican: History demonstrates that where there is an intersection of power and politics, there will be a sub-culture of infidelity or worse. That sub-culture in Tallahassee took a turn for the worst after the passage of term limits.

NPA/Other: The cesspool in Tallahassee has less to do with sex and more to do with personal ambition, greed and the quest for power.

Democrat: The silence among legislators, party leaders and community organizations about the sexual harassment allegations swirling around Tallahassee is disgusting. Both parties are worried about themselves and can't look past the politics to truly think about the inappropriate actions happening in our capital. We all know why women are afraid to come forward and right now–even today–the good ol' boys club in Tallahassee is pushing women and third party witnesses into silence and making them fear speaking out.

NPA/Other: Legislators should have principles in knowing they represent us. They are a public figure, and with this, comes a big responsibility. I believe we will see more and Republicans separate themselves from Trump in 2018. His low ratings, his narcissistic attitude and his focus on a base that does not represent all Republicans will hurt any candidate. Many Republicans picked Trump due to the Supreme Court. In future elections, this is not at stake.

Democrat: Who is more responsible for the culture in Tallahassee? Tough question because lobbyists fuel the game but ultimately it's the legislator or other officials who take advantage of their position.

Democrat: "Republican's are giving us their best Casablanca Captain Renault impression: I'm shocked, shocked to find that sexual impropriety is going on in Tallahassee! Give me a break, most of them have been playing bedroom bingo for years, and it's not just the men! I'd say it was a dirty little secret, it was dirty but it isn't a secret. They leave their spouses behind, travel to Tallahassee, where they are wined, dined and bedded. Every time I leave Tallahassee I feel like I need a shower.

Make no mistake, the take down of Sen. Latvala is a political assassination. Democrats may have a circular firing squad, but these GOP guys are in the Thunderdome.

The Trump administration was a one-off. The result of a perfect storm and tripped across the line by the FBI Director. After he is gone can we wipe him from history? The name we will never speak again.

There is a lot of talk about Trump driving the Democratic victories. While this might be the catalyst, it is not the entire story. Just like Trump wasn't just elected by supremacist and Russians, Democratic victories are the result of an energized and angry group of folks that are working together to take back their towns, counties, states and the nation."

Democrat: In 2018, Republicans are going to wish Hillary Clinton had won the presidential election. It is impossible to overstate how much of a liability Trump will be to Republican House candidates, especially those in swing districts.

Republican: On who is more responsible for the culture in Tallahassee, its about 50/50

Democrat: The concern Republicans should have is that Dems are outperforming the polls which means there is an unseen but significant intensity deficit that will only continue to percolate and fester in the run up to 2018. Grab a surfboard.

Democrat: Lawmakers are responsible for their conduct and the culture of Tallahassee, period. Only 160 people get a vote in Tallahassee. They hold all the power, if only they would use it to put a stop to the reprehensible behavior we all know exists.

Democrat: The shift in suburban college graduates-evident last night-together with higher democrat voter enthusiasm spells trouble for Republicans

Republican: In more than 20 years, I've never seen the legislature (specifically the Senate) so distracted and on edge. Seems like many of them are terrified by what may come out next and just praying their own skeletons stay securely locked in the closet.

Republican: Most State Capitals are small towns with a dangerous mix of power, booze and college bars. Tallahassee might be a cesspool, but it is not unique.

Democrat: Trump will bring the Republicans down in Florida in 2018 much like what happened in Virginia last night. What happened in the VA House of Delegates was what should have Republicans petrified today. The only person Trump would beat in Florida today is Hillary because she is the only more unpopular pol than him America.

Democrat: Not a surprise to see Jeff Clemens fall from glory due to his predatory behavior. While most of his trysts were consensual (to my knowledge), the number of accounts that I heard both during his time in office and after his resignation are too many to count. He and a few other Senators/Reps were known for being "players" and one was even pranked for his proclivity to "chase skirts." The only surprise most of us feel is that it took this long for it to be reported. Even in the rare moments when it had been reported, it was quickly swept under the rug by deft political consultants or eclipsed by the "Florida moment" of the day.

Republican: Tallahassee is a dangerous combination of legislators hundreds of miles away from their families, lobbying rules that mean that the easiest way to influence someone is to entertain them, money, power, and alcohol…all in a tiny town where there's not much happening besides the colleges and the bar scene. Anyone who survives their term limits with their marriage intact should be applauded.

Republican: The Trump Clinton question isn't so easy to answer with just a poll. Clinton ran a horrible campaign and the 2016 cycle was like something out of a Sci-Fi novel. The elections last night I️ think are a better bellweather where the electorate is headed in to 2018. The fact that Trump can't make good on any of his campaign promises, the Robert Mueller investigation, we may see a president who doesn't finish his term. The Florida governors race is a mess and healthcare indeed does matter; if promises are made they need to be kept and not just talked about.

Democrat: The Times news coverage of the St Pete mayors race was extremely biased. That lowered the public opinion of the paper and was inconsistent with your history

Republican: Jack deserves to face his accusers, but the damage has been done anonymously and sufficiently to his gubernatorial prospects.

Republican: "Stick a fork in Latvala, he's done, but he's too stubborn to quit.

The legislators and lobbyists have a symbiotic relationship, and they both get what they want. It get's out of hand sometimes, and bullies like Latvala can be sexual harassers, but from what I've seen, it's all pretty consensual."

Republican: Big mistake thinking that this week's elections had anything other to do with bad candidates in the individual races. Trump would still beat Hillary because people don't like Hillary. Just like they didn't vote for Gillespie because they didn't like him, not because he was a reflection of Donald Trump.
Democrat: "With respect to the sexual peccadilloes of politicians, business persons, entertainers and sport figures they've been happening for a long, long time. The only major difference now is social media and everybody walking around with a camera.

Trump is a disaster and 11/7 should show that his lock on a reliable 35% base of support shouldn't be such an intimidating factor to reasonable Republicans. It will only get worse for Trump when his aides go to jail and Muellar wraps up his work."

Republican: Both the US House and Senate are up for grabs.

Republican: Stick a fork in Latvala, he's done. He'll stomp and harrumph, but he will not be able to escape the current atmosphere of intolerance toward sexual harassment. As for Donald Trump, setting aside the blood lust the media has for him, given the LOW bar going in, he has done better than expected.
Democrat: Regarding the harassment and affair stories coming out of Tallahassee, it should be pointed out that many people knew this was going on and did nothing. Male lobbyist who feign outrage now often played a role in facilitating much of the culture or actual incidents. It is no coincidence that young female lobbyist were sent to meet with male electeds who were known to have issues with harassment. It's not enough to behave correctly, if you sit by and let this kind of behavior happen, you are complicit and share some of the blame.

Democrat: The democrats have a great opportunity to change the paradigm, but they need to learn from Bill Clinton not from Bernie Sanders.

Republican: It's a shame it has taken this long to uncover this behavior in Tallahassee. It is a shame that women are still apprehensive of coming forward for fear of retribution, both personally and professionally. Shame on all of us!
Republican Democrats won a bunch of democrat leaning seats and are acting like they won the White House. By the 2018 elections they will be lucky if they don't lose more seats in the Senate and the House. As the President would say #MAGA.

Republican: When I first went to work in Tallahassee in the Capitol, it was suggested I avoid Adams Street after 5pm. I'm glad I listened to that advice. Not much good happens after dark on Adams Street. Lobbyists and Legislators are both responsible for the culture in the Capitol, but ultimately, legislators hold the power, and in my view, are the supposed "adult" in the relationship. As for Jack, I think he should have the right to face his accusers. Certainly, I understand the challenges for a woman who fears for herself, but publishing the allegations without attribution to the source means its open season for people to make false allegations without any consequence. Unfairly tarnishing the reputations of people is also a bad thing. As for Jack, I do think he's put himself in this position because he is gruff and can be known to treat people poorly. Public service is a privilege… I guess I just don't understand why so many think the legislature is just a big fraternity party. Their work is serious, and most take it seriously. It's the few who don't understand boundaries that are sullying the institution. I suppose people are human and we all have our weaknesses and flaws. I've gotten past judging people, and simply just pray for them. Until I'm perfect, that's about all I can do.

Republican: In elections, it's the Economy Stupid and the Stock Market is Roaring!

Republican: People like to sensationalize stories regarding elected officials and this issue has been blown way out of proportion. Most members are ethically solid individuals and only a small minority are casting a bad image for the people who are doing all the can to help serve their community.

Democrat: When someone is elected to the Legislature they assume they are smarter, wittier, sexier and vetter because they hold public office. Some people are power fuckers. They gladly associate themselves with elected officials.

Republican: "On who's responsible the culture in Tallahassee, I think the system in general is responsible. Legislators are just here for 8 years or so and – while ultimately responsible in theory – there is little chance of changing the culture in such a short time. Lobbyists are there for one reason: government impacts their client's operations or business and without lobbyists, they have no voice. The size and scope of government is ultimately to blame. With more government you need more lobbyists and they need more money to open more doors in Tallahassee. Wash, rinse, repeat.

On The Record: ""The bigger the size & scope of government, the more power Legislators have. And power is the ultimate aphrodisiac."" – John Wehrung, Republican Strategist"

Democrat: Jack Latvala hired the lawyer that guilty people hire. To call for clear and convincing evidence against him is calculated. He and his Women can't produce clear and convincing evidence of Latvala's dispicable sexual harassment because he always makes sure there are no witnesses and that women are trapped alone with him with no way get help. He is a disgusting, evil predator and he is fighting this because it is one more way to abuse and try to humiliate women.

Republican: Whether Sen Latvala can clear his name will not really matter, the fact that he has to continue to deny the allegations will derail his campaign and dog him the rest his term. He will twist in the political winds nuancing the definition of sexual harassment just like President Clinton did trying to explain what "is" meant

Republican: Regarding the Sen. Latvala poll questions — you asked if we expect him to resign or drop out of the Governor's race — I said no, because I think he will fight until the very end. However, I think that he should resign/drop out of the race since this issue has become a huge distraction — I point to the "Fred Lippman" hearings years ago.

Republican: Tallahassee is a hive of scum and villainy. Until Joe Negron announces that Jack isn't coming back as Budget chair, everyone knows that this "investigation" is going nowhere. Joe doesn't want Jack airing HIS dirty laundry, but unless he strikes while he can, this becomes an ongoing cancer eating the Senate from the inside out.

Democrat: "As an attorney, I am offended by Latvala being removed as Appropriations chair based on nameless complaints. What happened to a presumption of innocence, or the right to face one's accusers? It was completely appropriate for Negron to appoint a committee to investigate; it was inappropriate to remove Jack before the investigation, especially when based on newspaper reports of nameless figures. It's also clear to all of us that Jack sent the letter requesting to be removed because Negron had told Jack that Jack would be removed, and offered Jack the chance to send a face-saving letter.

I am afraid that there will be a full fledged morals police investigation, where women in burkas and men with beards and turbans will investigate, and demand that all people who have committed infidelities be stoned to death. If two consenting adults do something, why is it the business of the press or public? If two legislators have an affair, is that newsworthy? Why?

I believe that there have been legitimate cases of sexual harassment in Tallahassee that should be investigated and punished. However, not all cases involving sex between Legislators and lobbyists are harassment. I know of several cases that have resulted in marriage. Sometimes there are predatory legislators. They should be punished. Sometimes there are predatory lobbyists. There have been both male and female predators, although the males are far more common. I don't believe that there are simple bright line rules. I am afraid that this wildfire will sweep through the legislature, and destroy many people that don't deserve being destroyed."

Democrat: Harassment of all types became acceptable with the election of Trump until grope revelations by the few gave a backbone to the many.
Republican It's been fascinating to watch the discussion around sexual harassment and affairs focus solely on the Florida Senate, as if the Florida House doesn't have its own issues. In fact, the House also has a member running for statewide office who isn't exactly blameless himself, just ask his staff. The problem with Tallahassee isn't limited to one thing, but it's a boys club and it's so far removed from the daily lives of said boys (i.e. their wives and families), that lawmakers feel at liberty to do as they please. They stay up late, smoke cigars, drink and think they're frat boys again, but with actual power. Many have for decades and they'll continue to do so because they can get away with it, particularly with the continued demise in local news coverage that pays little attention to Tallahassee.

Democrat: It was one of the first, sad realizations when I started in this process in 2007 — many of the male legislators treated legislative session like Spring Break. I guess it is just something that you start to become desensitized to, which certainly does not make it right. In that same vein, bearing witness and saying nothing because it is so common isn't right either. Term limits have alleviated some of the foolishness, but I am pleased that people are coming forward and speaking truth to power. No one is sorry until they get caught, and those that participate in this bad behavior will/soon will clean up their act when they see others losing their positions of power as a result.

Democrat: Who is more responsible for the culture in Tallahassee – legislators or lobbyists? Takes two to tango, and there's a whole lotta tangoing going on.

Democrat: "Finally we are seeing the start of Trump's effect on elections nation-wide. He is an official who was elected by a minority of voters and who is now controlled by an even smaller minority. The majority (Democrats, Independents, and Anti-Trump Republicans)is awakening from its post-election coma and asserting itself. If candidates are passionate about what they are FOR (such as better and more jobs, a safe environment in which to live, quality education, and modern transportation systems) rather than just bashing the other side, the trend we are seeing now will continue and intensify.

BTW Mr. Trump has nowhere to go. He is like a rat in a shrinking cage. The Mueller investigation is rounding up his minions with nearly airtight cases and asking them whether they want to save Trump and go to prison for a very long time or if they will give him up and receive a shorter sentence. These men fully realize that Trump would (and will indeed try) to throw them under the bus at the first opportunity. He cares only about himself and money. Thus they have no loyalty to him either, and they will sing like nightingales. This includes Jared Kushner. This is not a possibility or a probability but a certainty."

Democrat: I hate to be critical but the one question that I struggled with is "Who is more responsible for the culture in Tallahassee" and the choice was either legislators or lobbyists and there should have really been a third choice of "both" and "many more". Because that is the real answer to the question. The Capitol in Tallahassee is nothing but a huge power hungry pressure cooker jungle between lots of animals: the parties, the leaders, the lobbyists, the legislators, the governor, the agencies, the staffs, and the powerful companies and special interests and the millions of dollars in campaign contributions. Sadly those "money managers" always get their way over the poor average voters of this state.

Republican: House of Cards playing out in real life for Spacey, The Donald, Tallahassee city and county governments, FSU greeks, and of course, those in the upper and lower chambers at 402 South Monroe Street. A complete and utter sh-t show.

Democrat: Hillary was so discredited by the constant barrage of negative, untruthful disgusting adds by the right wing conspiracy group, the Russians, and Trumps campaign itself, that it would be impossible to wipe away the tarnish so quickly.

NPA/Other: "Regardless of whether you like or dislike Pres Trump's agenda, all should be concerned by his lack of seriousness for the job. He seems wholly unprepared and unwilling to do the heavy lifting (briefings, reports, etc) to become adequately knowledgeable to make weighty decisions. He has the attention span of a child, and no interest in governing. Great for TV ratings, but bad for our standing in the world.

Trump is destroying the honorable Reagan/Goldwater conservative movement in the Republican Party and replacing it with nationist populism – the odious antithesis of the Republican Party that Ronald Reagan stood for. Sad for our nation. Sad for the Republican Party. Sad for the conservative movement."

Democrat: Too many people, mostly Republicans, believed Trump would "pivot" to "Presidential." Now everyone must see how absurd that hope was. With Florida elections always decided between 52 and 48%, enough D's who didn't think Hillary was "pure" enough and Independents who value decency, would vote differently today in the blinding glare of hindsight.

Democrat: 2018 is going to be a wave year for Democrats IF we can identify the right candidates. Additionally, we should be looking at any issue campaigns we care about for 2018 (TRANSPORTATION!). If you take Pinellas County as an example, every single referendum and charter amendment passed. Penny for Pinellas passed with 82% of the vote! Most under reported story in Tampa Bay this morning. Need to fund transit, schools, ect? 2018 won't be your typical midterm.

Democrat: "Latvala will eventually drop out because he will be out of moey. I doubt he resigns unless absolutely forced.

The whole culture of the town is ripe for bad behavior. Too much power in too few hands, with no checks on anything, and a lifestyle mostly paid for with someone else's money. It needs a hard reset, and if Virginia is a harbinger, might get one in 2018. Yes, lobbyists are to blame, but the real accountability falls on those the voters entrusted with their voice.

Clinton was a mess, but Trump doesn't win without Comey letter and the circumstances of the last ten days of the election. If voters were choosing today, after a year of Trump, Clinton pulls it out.

Trump will be felt in Florida, especially down the ballot, where there is less information. How much depends on the Democratic Party and the two legislative caucuses.

Trump won't be able to help himself in 2020.

If my party plays its cards right, and that is a big if, we might look back on the election of Donald Trump as the true beginning of the renaissance for Democrats in Florida, and around the nation."

Republican: "Extramarital affairs in Tallahassee? You really didn't think these guys took the job for the $30,000 salary, did you?

In all honesty, it's long past time to clean up the legislator – lobbyist culture in Tallahassee."
Republican Both lawmakers and lobbyist are to blame for the over sexed culture in the Capitol

Republican: The culture of sexual harassment is wrong anywhere, but especially in our state Capitol. However, it is impossible to defend yourself against anonymous allegations. Steps must be taken to protect any women who come forward. At the same time, anonymous complaints in a politically charged atmosphere that cannot be refuted directly set a very dangerous precedent.

Democrat: I want to add to my comment about the Hillary v Trump question as follows: as time passes and the emotions go away, historians will make her a hero as they explain how undeserving of the criticism and abuse she received. It may take ten years as it did for president Truman or 15-20 years as it did for President Hoover, but Hillary's qualities and contributions will ultimately be recognized.

Democrat: I hate to be critical but the one question that I struggled with is "Who is more responsible for the culture in Tallahassee" and the choice was either legislators or lobbyists and there should have really been a third choice of "both" and "many more". Because that is the real answer to the question. The Capitol in Tallahassee is nothing but a huge power hungry pressure cooker jungle between lots of animals: the parties, the leaders, the lobbyists, the legislators, the governor, the agencies, the staffs, and the powerful companies and special interests and the millions of dollars in campaign contributions. Sadly those "money managers" always get their way over the poor average voters of this state.

Republican: The President will marginally hurt the Republican candidates in Florida. If Florida reacts like Virginia, the President was instrumental in encouraging Democratic turnout.

Democrat: "Jack is from the same generation as me…his one accuser – Molly Wilson – said that Jack was demeaning to her…Hello, he's demeaning to everyone!…that's just his nature…as for mentioning kids and you can't use them as a crutch, he'd say that to a male staffer as well…he's a tough taskmaster which is why he has a good bit of turnover annually…but he is fair…regarding some who call him a predator – not true – fake news!…he likes woman, as most of us do (from my generation, not sure about the current generation!), and we all talk about women, just like women talk about men…has he made some comments that might offend some women, that's certainly possible…is it sexual harassment, maybe, maybe not…Jack is intimidating person…but I've never known (I've known him since BEFORE he was elected to office) him to purposely embarass a women…he will take out his anger on anyone, but in that situation, he's an equal opportunity person – we all get it from time to time…Pam Bondi is right, the accusers will have to come forward…I believe Jack, if held to the ""clear and convincing legal standard"" will be okay…I think his lawyers advice of an ex-law enforcement officer as the investigator and an ex-judge as the final arbiter is correct and appropriate…no woman should ever be harrassed!…
Trump, is doing quite well, despite what many people think…he shouldn't text, but that's his way of getting around the Mainstream Media, which consistently tilts to the left and works hard to make him look bad (e.g., NBC News said it was a ""shocker"" to see NJ and VA go Dem…really?…both Dem's were expected to win…if a Repub had won either, that would have been a shocker…he will run again, and he'll win…I know that the Dem's wil try and be better organized, but nationally there is no titular head, no strong nominee on the horizon, and the Dem's still play class warfare and identity politics…plus they can';t just be against Trump, they have to be for something, and it probably has to be something that Obama isn't involed with, because he's a lightning rod for the right"

Republican: He needs to drop out of the Guv's race. Focus on clearing name. Before this is over, there will be dead bodies all over the field ( not really dead, but you get the analogy ). I fear there is more to come. If you punch Jack, he will punch back 10 times.

Democrat: Last one is the hardest. Trump would beat Clinton in a likely 2018 electorate. But, she would likely prevail with the electorate of 2016.

NPA/Other: Want to understand the current wave of sex scandals in Tallahassee? Politics is Hollywood for ugly people. Take people who would never otherwise rate a right swipe on Tinder, elect them and give them a little power, isolate them in a distant town with 20,000 co-eds and hundreds of desperate lobbyists, and you have a recipe for what is playing out now. There are many, many sitting legislators who have succumbed to temptation. If Harvey Weinstein created an inflection point where all the #metoos come out of the woodwork, the upper ranks of both chambers will be gutted.

Republican: "Latvala – Let's be honest, Jack is kind of an asshole to everyone, not just women. In fact, I'd venture to say that if he's not an asshole to you, he probably really really doesn't like you. To further my point, I'd say that Jack is five times harder on men than he is on women. However, these allegations regarding sexual harassment and intimidation, true or not, politically based or not, will probably end his campaign.

Sex in the Capitol – the political industry is incestuous at best. We all know that recent press breaks haven't even scratched the surface of what's out there."

Democrat: The fact that the women who've accused Jack Latvala of harassment are too scared to come forward speaks volumes about the culture in Tallahassee.

Democrat: If Democrats were wise they would sit back, grab some popcorn, and allow Latvala and Corcoran to drag each other down. Corcoran needs to be careful exposing other legislators since there is plenty he has done in the shadows of the Capitol.

Democrat: The issue is not whether sexual relationships are consensual. The issue is whether they result from disparities in power. A young female employee might "consent" to a relationship because the predator is in a position of power over her. She needs to keep her job to feed her family. Or she worries that she will not get another job if she refuses because she will become known as someone who is not loyal. We all need to be sure the word "consensual" is not used in connection with sexual harassment! It is not relevant.

Republican: can gov scott distance himself from potus to be elected senator? nope!

Democrat: Many lobbyists have more influence than legislators because of the way the system works. Lobbyists can dictate what legislative leadership dictates to rank-and-file legislators. But in the final analysis, legislators are more powerful because they are the ones who interact with the voting public. if they chose to take a stand on principle, regardless of the consequences for themselves, they could change the system.

Republican: "Re your question, Who is more responsible for the culture in Tallahassee?

I'll reply with a quote from CA pol Jesse Unruh – If you can't eat their food, drink their booze, fuck their women and vote against them in the morning, you are in the wrong business. We all face temptation all the time and sometimes even I resist….lol. Tallahassee is a bi-partisan cesspool and has been for quite some time. Tallahassee is also in the middle of nowhere and nobody watches what they are doing…..so they are like college freshmen and go nuts. Not all of them, of course. There are some really honorable and genuine legislators and lobbyists in both parties and they may even be the majority, but let's face it – we all know what goes on; but this is news to the public."

Democrat: For many it's no surprise that Latvala is facing this challenge. The Weinstein effect probably has something to do with it, but I feel declaring for governor is what truly made him vulnerable. I think this is a classic case where karma will prove to be a real bitch.

Republican: Latvala is doing a disservice to our party and to the body of the Senate by not resigning. There is no path for him to win the nomination.
Democrat to blame lobbyists or legislators for the culture that exists isn't an appropriate question. The culture of Tallahassee and the process is a reflection of the times with blame everywhere. I believe the sexual thing has been around for a long time and will always be a factor. Power is a sexual attractant to some and always has. I remember things getting out of hand in the late 80's and corrections occurred as they will now. There has always been some hounds and whores. What may be different now is the larger number of female lobbyists and empowerment of them to more effectively not put up with crap. Twenty years ago a woman had to be rugged and mean to be not be predator bait in the capital. That has changed but unfortunately the predators still are out there, just not usually as bold as they were. It is sad that all sides can't recognize the history of personal destruction created with illicit activity, consensual or not.

Democrat: "I can't speak about Tallahassee other than hearsay, so will leave that up to those who really know the scoop!

Re Donald Trump: Trump is not only terrible, he proving to be the worst President in American history. His nastiness & mean-spiritedness, transactional approach to governance, & complete lack of principles (even Republican ones)— coupled with what appears to be an astounding ignorance of history & international relations — are beyond anything we have ever seen. This would be appalling in any elected official, much less the President of the United States! He is doing incredible damage to both our country & our international standing. The overwhelming results of the elections on Tuesday, the high turnout, & the virtual sweep everywhere but in Republican bastions show that except for the hard core, voters are rejecting Trump & what he stands for. Democrats are incredibly motivated and independents are moving away from Trump. I believe the same is true in Florida, certainly based on what we see here on the ground."

Democrat: We are witnessing a breakdown in the mutually assured destruction theory of not outing sex scandals in Tallahassee.

Republican: There is only one person in the US who would lose to Donald Trump – today, tomorrow or the day after – and that is Hillary Clinton.

Republican: I said before the 2016 election that people will elect an as over a crook. That hasn't changed in a hypothetical recreation of the 2016 race. Trump does not hurt Republicans more than any first-term President in a mid-term election. The sad part about the accusations concerning Sen. Latvala is that it actually takes women back a step (unless it is proven that he was seeking sexual favors for special treatment which I don't think happened). Did Jack Latvala block a female lobbyist from leaving a booth and yell at her inappropriate or curse words? I'm sure he did because he acted that way with everyone with whom he had a disagreement. To categorize that behavior as sexual harassment vs. just being an ass is an inappropriate accusation. Granted, if the facts change or people become public, my opinion could change, but my guess is, from what I've read, that women didn't appreciate being treated like men which is unfortunate.

Republican: "It is too soon to tell how Trump will affect GOP candidates in FL in the 2018 cycle. If he gets a tax package, health care reform and looks like he is getting things done in DC, 2018 might not be a bad year for GOP candidates. Keep in mind polls in the last week show that the American public holds both political parties in low esteem. It is too early to tell what will happen in 2018 and also if Trump will run for another term. Stay tuned…

Tallahassee: (legislature) has always been a cesspool of bad behavior. Don't forget that when the legislature banned fundraising during session we saw the Chairman of the Committee with jurisdiction over telecom issues having an affair with an industry lobbyist (90's). What about the Banty Rooster selling watches and jewelry out of his briefcase during session… The list goes on. … Through the years you have seen an assorted group of characters on both sides of the political aisle. Unfortunately, some of these folks escaped Tallahassee and went on to serve in other elected offices….."

Republican: Jack is toast. But he's just the tip of the iceberg.

Republican: ….if there was one scintilla of evidence that Trump colluded w/ the Russians or anyone else, articles of impeachment would be drawn by now, and the trial underway. Trump will survive relatively unscathed, and be more purposeful than ever. The dynastic duo of Trump haters DEM&GOP have only themselves to blame for his empowerment, Americans have a basic sense of fairness, and when the aristocracy and their fellow haters in the media, gang up with no evidence, Trump wins again; and the swamp will surely lose.

Democrat: Moral decay.

This months Florida Insider were:

Abel Harding,  Alan Stonecipher,, Jason Altmire, Scott Arceneaux, Donna Arduin, Dave Aronberg, Roger Austin, Ryan Banfill,Christina Barker, Rodney Barreto,Ashley Bauman,David Beattie, Alan Becker, Geoffrey Becker, Samudl Bell, Allan Bense, Wayne Bertsch, Ron Bilbao, David Bishop, Barney Bishop III, Poe Bob, Katie Bohnett, Anthony Bonna, Paul Bradshaw, Bob Buckhorn, Bill Bunkley, Brad Burleson, Dominic M. Calabro, Bernie Campbell, Al Cardenas, Reggie Cardozo, Betty Castor, Kevin Cate, Jim Cherry, Case Chip, Ulvert Christian, Alan Clendenin, Kelly Cohen, Brad Coker, Matthew Corrigan, Brian Crowley, Ana Cruz, Justin Day, Richard Denapoli, Pablo Diaz, Arlene Dibenigno, Victor Dimaio, Doc Dockery, Paula Dockery, Brett Doster, Kirsten Dougherty, Ryan Duffy, Barry Edwards, Johnson Eric, Kirk Erik, Perez-Verdia Evelyn, Alia Faraj-Johnson, Peter Feaman, Cesar Fernandez, Mark Ferrulo, Damien Filer, Mark Foley, Kirk Fordham, Brian Franklin, Towson Fraser, Ellen Freidin, John French, Jack Furnari, Wayne Garcia, Josh Geise, Dan Gelber, Steve Geller, Richard Gentry, Julia Gill Woodward, Susan Glickman, Brian Goff, Jose Gonzalez, Adam Goodman, Bob Graham, Joe Gruters, Stephanie Grutman, Ron Gunzburger, Corbella Gus, Ralph Haben, Mike Hamby, Marion Hammer, Mike Hanna, Chris Hartline, Bill Helmich, Ann Herberger, Max Herrle, Mike Hightower, Don Hinkle, Jim Holton, Jim Horne, Cumber Husein, Erin Isaac, Aubrey Jewett, Rimes Jim, David Johnson, Jeff Johnson, Ausman Jon, Eric Jotkoff, Doug Kaplan, Joshua Karp, Henry Kelley, Omar Khan, Mcdougal Kim, John Konkus, Chris Korge, Jeff Kottkamp, Kartik Krishnaiyer, Campbell Kristy, Zach Learner, Bill Lee, Jackie Lee, Alan Levine, Bethany Leytham, Al Maloof,
Javier Manjarres, Roly Marante, William March, Beth Matuga, Stephanie McClung, Darrick D. McGhee, Nancy McGowan, Clarence McKee, David Mica, Jon Mills, Pete Mitchell, Lucy Morgan, Ana Navarro, Pat Neal, Nikkie Lowrey, Meredith O'Rourke, Maurizio Passariello, Slevin Patrick, Alex Patton, Brandon Patty,Darryl Paulson, Anthony Pedicini, Jorge Pedraza, Rockie Pennington, Kirk Pepper, Sean Phillippi, Fredrick Piccolo, Gretchen Picotte, Ron Pierce, J.C. Planas, Van Poole, David Ramba, Susannah Randolph, Marc Reichelderfer, George Riley, Franco Ripple, Terrie Rizzo, Monica Rodriguez, Jason Rosenberg, Jason Roth, Sarah Rumpf, Ron Sachs, April Salter, Rashid Sam, Steve Schale, Tom Scherberger, April Schiff, Watson Screven, Kathleen Shanahan, Bud Shorstein, Alex Sink, Bob Sparks, Jones Stafford, John Stemberger, Mac Stipanovich, Amber Stoner, Richard Swann, Nancy Texeira, Grigsby Thomas, Phillip Thompson, Cory Tilley, Scarritt Tom, Tillison Tom, Greg C. Truax, Frank Tsamoutales, Jason Unger, Karen Unger, Greg Ungru, Erin Vansickle, Ashley Walker, Peter Wallace, John Wehrung, Andrew Weinstein, Susie Wiles, Mike Williams, Gregory Wilson, Rick Wilson, Leslie Wimes, Jeff Wright, Zachariah Zachariah, Christian Ziegler, Mark Zubaly, Edie Ousley, Scott Peelen, Hunter Conrad, Monica Russo.

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