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Crist campaign manager ditches job
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Crist campaign manager ditches job

Crist campaign manager ditches job
Photo Credit: WFTV
Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist announces his 2014 run for governor in St. Petersburg, Florida on Monday, November 4, 2013. Crist, formerly a Republican, will run as a Democrat.

Crist campaign manager ditches job

Charlie Crist's campaign chief has decided to leave before even taking the job.

The Tampa Bay Times is reporting Bill Hyers has left the new Democrat's campaign for governor before ever really signing on.

University of North Florida Political Science Professor Michael Binder says Hyers deciding not to manage Crist's campaign is a small setback but thinks Crist can overcome the hurdle.

"This isn't like it's two months before the election and things are going south."

Hyers was fresh off helping Bill de Blasio win the New York City mayoral race.

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The Latest News Headlines

  • In a surprise to many in his own party, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday postponed plans for a vote this week on a GOP health care bill, as internal divisions among Republicans burst into the open on the best way to overhaul the Obama health law, delaying any vote until next month at the earlies. Here is what’s next on the health care front: 1. No vote until after the July Fourth break. The plan from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was to have a final vote on a GOP health bill by this Friday at the latest. Instead, the new plan is to come up with some deals and secure the 50 votes needed for passage in July. “I think this is a good decision,” said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), who expressed optimism that a vote could take place the week of July 10. “We’re so close,” Perdue added. But one thing I’ve learned over the years is Congress only feels the pressure to act right before a vacation break – and that happens July 28. 2. Some not so subtle GOP messages. One thing that was striking were the statements issued by several GOP Senators – after the vote had been delayed – as several Republicans waited to publicly pronounce their opposition and concerns. For Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), it was the level of Medicaid spending. Maybe the biggest surprise was a tweet from Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) – who wasn’t on anyone’s radar – that he was opposed to the bill as it currently stands. To me, that’s a canary in the coal mine for broader GOP concerns about their health care bill. The Senate healthcare bill missed the mark for Kansans and therefore did not have my support. — Jerry Moran (@JerryMoran) June 27, 2017 3. Some Republicans sounding some odd notes. Along with the statement from Sen. Moran, another post-delay item deserves a note, from Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT). “The first draft of the bill included hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts for the affluent,” Lee said in a statement, which sounded more like something that a Democratic Senator might say, rather than a very conservative Republican. health111 4. Who can McConnell peel off on health care? While various GOP Senators said they opposed the Republican health plan, they also included the caveat that they don’t like the way it is right now. Things could change in coming days and weeks in order to get someone to vote “Yes.” But for Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV), his message in a telephone town hall to voters back in the Silver State on Tuesday night was that he doesn’t expect major changes in how the GOP bill would deal with the Medicaid program. “I do not believe that Ronald Reagan would have supported this health care bill,” Heller said. I’ll put him down as a “No” for right now. 'This just shows you they don't have the votes right now…and they can't count on mine going forward.' — Heller on GOP postponing vote — Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) June 28, 2017 5. But don’t declare the bill dead just yet. Remember, the House came back from several near-death experiences on health care in March and April, and still managed to get something approved in May. So, just because the Senate has thrown a tire does not mean that the entire bill is going into the Legislative Ditch. Speaker Paul Ryan said a few hours before the Senate got the chain wrapped around the axle that he wouldn’t bet against his Senate counterpart. The Majority Leader will be tested now, and we’ll see how Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) performs in the spotlight. Ryan: 'I would not bet against Mitch McConnell…I have every expectation the Senate will move this bill.' — Phil Mattingly (@Phil_Mattingly) June 27, 2017 Stay tuned.
  • Hoping to fight what they’re calling an emergent problem, Jacksonville’s City Council has approved $1,467,289 for a pilot program to battle opioid addiction. The vote came with lengthy debate, as some Council members questioned the process by which the pilot program was put forward. The bill was filed for expedited consideration, with supporters saying they wanted to launch the program as quickly as possible because of the number of lives being claimed by opioid overdoses. Some Council members questioned whether the pilot program had been fully thought out, whether all of the needed pieces were in place, and whether they had thoroughly vetted the funding that would be put forward.  Ultimately, the fight for the pilot program won, with 16 votes. Councilman Danny Becton was the only vote against, while Councilman Matt Schellenberg and Councilman Aaron Bowman weren’t present.  “It is the first step in what will be a long journey, but doing nothing and continuing to repeat this folly is no longer an option,” says Councilman Bill Gulliford, who sponsored the bill.  The program aims to funnel relevant patients to an ER that partners in this program, to medically stabilize them. At this point, the program organizer says St. Vincent’s is “fully on board”, after UF Health pulled out of the program. The patient and that person’s family would then be connected to a “recovery peer specialist” and further community resources and treatment options. The intent is to keep users out of the “pipeline”, where they consistently go back to using potentially dangerous drugs, instead of staying clean. The program has residential beds to treat about 100 people per month, with the program lasting six months overall.  Dr. Raymond Pomm, with Gateway Community Services and River Region Human Services, will lead the program, and he told the Council he plans to review how the pilot is being implemented on a weekly basis with other partners. There was some question- led by Councilman Garrett Dennis- of whether Council should allocate the entire funding at once, or start with half and only give the balance after a three month status report. That effort was ultimately withdrawn, following Pomm’s concerns about the limits that would place on their ability to launch and work the pilot, as well as continuity of care.  JFRD Lieutenant Mark Rawley, who would also be involved in running the program, further says Pomm would be required to submit monthly funding requests, and that JFRD would not just be issuing the funding in “blank checks”. One amendment which was approved ahead of the vote puts financial oversight of the program in the hands of Jacksonville’s Chief Financial Officer, instead of with JFRD- although all indications are that the monthly requests and approvals will still take place.  The heat of the debate came as Becton urged other Council members not to be “guilt tripped” in to voting for the pilot, adding that he wasn’t satisfied with the documentation and planning that had taken place on the pilot up to this point.  “Only in government can you take this page right here [the bill] and give away $1.4 million on a hope and a prayer and guilt 19 Council members to death about people dying,” Becton says.  That sentiment was added on to by Councilman Reggie Brown, who questioned why this issue should be something the City tackles as an emergency, as opposed to other community needs and health concerns.  Councilman Tommy Hazouri turned that around, saying the Council “should be guilt tripped”.  “I’m guilty of not doing enough six months ago. This is an emergency because it’s an issue that we have not addressed,” he says.  JFRD and the Medical Examiner’s Office fielded questions from Gulliford about the rising human and fiscal cost of these overdoses and deaths. Both organizations are seeing a rise in overdose deaths- for JFRD, that means more money going toward Narcan and overdose transports; for the Medical Examiner it means serious space constraints, as more overdose deaths come in to their office. Gulliford says the trend is moving in the wrong direction, and action is needed now.  “The opioid epidemic is killing people from all walks of life, even white collar professionals who don’t fit the stereotype of drug addicts in seedy urban alleyways,” Gulliford says.  That was still not enough to satisfy some of the Council members, even though all but one would ultimately vote in favor. Those who spoke in opposition of the bill largely said they supported the concept of the fight against opioids, but not this specific bill.  “Think about this moment, because there are going to be others that are going to come up and ask for some kind of emergency. And I want you to think back- we did it for one, then we’re going to have to do it for somebody else because we are setting a precedent that it can be done,” says Councilman Reggie Gaffney.  Pomm says other organizations and even other states are looking at this pilot program as something to potentially model their own efforts after in the future. He says the Florida Department of Children and Families wants to follow the program, and the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association is thinking it could be a national model.  “It puts the Bold New City on the map for a different reason now- for saving lives,” says Councilman Jim Love.  Pomm hopes to have the program running within the next two months. He says as soon as the funding is available, he will move forward with hiring a few key staffers, but they already have the beds and some of the specialty services ready to go. There is no immediate plan for funding this program beyond the six month pilot, but Pomm and Gulliford say they intend to explore all available avenues, including the City, community partners, other grants, and the private sector.  Jacksonville’s Chief Financial Officer says the Administration supports tackling this problem.
  • For weeks, Jacksonville City Councilman Bill Gulliford has been holding community meetings to talk about what he calls an opioid crisis in the city. Now, he’s taking action. Gulliford has filed a bill that would establish a six month pilot program which was outlined during his community meetings.  “Try to give some solution to this recycling and cycling and recycling we do, where we respond, we transport, we get them to the hospital, we stabilize them, we put them back out on the street, and the process starts all over again, because we haven’t addressed the addiction,” he says.  The program is a partnership with River Region Human Services, Inc. to provide specialized services aimed at reducing addiction and dependence on opioids. This is done by transporting patients to UF Health- who has already given a tentative agreement- where they can be medically stabilized. A “recovery peer specialist” would then work with the patient and family, talking about further treatment and community resources.  The patient will be screened for mental health or other services they need specifically, and further treatment would take place through River Region or Gateway Community Services.  Gulliford says the program specifically targets one of the problems that leads to recurrence of overdoses, which is a lack of follow up after patients are medically discharged.  “What we’re doing isn’t working,” he says.  Under the proposed legislation, the City would fund the program, at $1,467,289 for the full six months. The funding goes toward residential and outpatient services, medication, transportation, physician fees, and more.  Gulliford hopes, if they’re successful, that the program could be expanded to other emergency rooms. He says that would be a big cost, so he would look for state funding.  While there would be a large price tag to bring these services to more ERs and to do so on a continuous basis, Gulliford says it’s a worthwhile balance against the drain we’re currently seeing on emergency resources and first responders. There’s also a steep human cost.  “We could maybe start reducing the number of deaths, because ultimately that’s what happens, is they die,” Gulliford says.  The pilot program and funding request is formally being introduced to the City Council Tuesday. Gulliford is requesting emergency approval, which means a final vote could take place at the end of the month.
  • Nearly $10 million in grants and tax rebates have been approved by the Jacksonville City Council, in the latest effort to breathe new life in to Downtown Jacksonville. Earlier this year, the Downtown Investment Authority signed on to plans to redevelop the Laura Street Trio and Barnett Building. The developers expect to spend around $90 million on the overall project, and in exchange, they sought two $4 million Downtown Preservation and Revitalization Trust Fund grants- one for the Trio and one for the Barnett building- as well as $1.8 million in what’s called a REV grant, which is a rebate on property taxes brought in as a result of the new construction. The DIA approved that request, and on Tuesday, the City Council followed suit.  “Congratulations, this one has been a very long time coming and is an important step forward for our City,” Council President Lori Boyer said after the funding was approved. The plan is to renovate the dormant Downtown buildings, while also adding parking and a new hotel. The Laura Street Trio- collectively the Brisbee Building, Florida Life Building, and Marble Bank Building- would get a signature restaurant, a rooftop bar, a small market, and retail office space, among other things. The Barnett Building would get apartments and commercial office space.  The Council vote appropriates one of the $4 million grants, but commits the City to appropriating the balance in the future. Paying out the funding is subject to the completion of the construction work.  The Mulasky Group and SouthEast Group are behind the plans for the project.
  • A Pennsylvania judge has upheld the sentence of a Bucks County man who pleaded guilty to an attempted rape charge in 2013. >> Read more trending news Frank Yeager, 33, was sentenced to prison for up to 20 years and later appealed, contending that his lawyer did not question whether his confession was legal. Yeager revealed he regarded his search for potential rape victims as “full time work,” police said. He wrote in a note, “I truly enjoy the hunt and cannot wait for my prize.” He compiled a list with more than 200 names, addresses and personal information about targets, according to Lehigh Valley Live, and was was fixated on raping real estate agents. Judge H. Geoffrey Moulton Jr. upheld Yeager’s sentence and portrayed him as a full-blown psychopath who was obsessed with rape, Penn Live reported. >> Related: Lawyer recorded telling rape victim Trump will deport her if she testified, indictment says Yeager plotted for five months to rape a real estate agent by luring her to a property, and even waited in the home for her with the lights off. Read more here.

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