National Politics Reply

Donald Trump’s campaign, billed as self-funded, risks little of his fortune

“While the convoluted accounting is required by law — so that Mr. Trump’s companies do not make illegal corporate contributions directly to his campaign — it also means that Mr. Trump is in effect taking millions of dollars out of one pocket and depositing it into another.”


Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Donald J. Trump once boasted that he could someday be the only person to turn a profit running for president. He may be closer than anyone realizes.

Mr. Trump’s campaign spent just $12.4 million in 2015, according to disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission, millions less than any of his leading rivals for the Republican nomination. More than half of Mr. Trump’s total spending was covered by checks from his supporters, who have thronged to his stump speeches and bought millions of dollars’ worth of “Make America Great Again” hats and T-shirts. Continue reading…

Ted Cruz’s campaign spread false report in Iowa that Ben Carson was quitting race


Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz

As Iowa Republicans headed to the caucuses on Monday night, Senator Ted Cruz’s campaign left recorded messages for supporters with “breaking news” that Ben Carson would drop out of the race, and told them to “inform any Carson caucus-goers of this news and urge them to caucus for Ted instead.” Continue reading…

Hillary Clinton’s campaign resists releasing transcripts from Goldman Sachs speeches

In response to a question at Thursday night’s debate, Hillary Clinton said she would “look into” the possibility of releasing transcripts of her paid remarks to banking, corporate and financial services companies like Goldman Sachs.

But by Friday morning, it did not appear that much looking was underway. Continue reading…

On abortion, Kasich is no moderate


John Kasich

John Kasich

John Kasich is hoping for a candidacy-saving showing in New Hampshire on Tuesday by positioning himself as a pragmatic GOP budget-balancer, more moderate than his rivals. But on abortion, the Ohio governor is anything but moderate, signing a slew of restrictive laws that have closed nearly half his state’s clinics. Continue reading…

Clinton email scandal: Why it might be time for Democrats to draft Joe Biden


The Hillary Clinton email issue is developing into a real whodunit, complete with Clintonesque legal semantics. “I never sent or received any material marked classified,” she said with respect to the discovery of classified information on her private, unclassified email server. That surface denial nearly rivals Bill Clinton’s classic: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”

But this is no laughing matter. Continue reading…

Bush and Christie: Rubio is the new Obama


Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush

Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio

Chris Christie

Chris Christie

Jeb Bush and Chris Christie have a message for New Hampshire’s Republican voters: Marco Rubio would be President Barack Obama all over again.

The two are looking to tear Rubio down ahead of next week’s primary, hoping to derail the Florida Senator’s momentum after his strong finish in the Iowa caucus. And to do so, they’re comparing Rubio with the most recent first-term, charismatic Senator who won the White House.

“Why do we think it will be any different with a first-term U.S. Senator from Florida who, quite frankly, doesn’t show up to work anymore?” Christie said Thursday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“We’ve had seven years with a guy who was gifted, who could give a great speech,” Bush told NBC News’ Kelly O’Donnell. “But he’s divided the country, he has no leadership skills and I think we need someone now to fix the mess in Washington than just perpetuate it.” Continue reading…

Cultural Calendar Reply

On Stage At Riverside

Riverside Theatre presents the uproarious comedy, Over The River and Through The Woods from February 2nd to 21st. Nick, a single, Italian-American marketing executive from New Jersey, routinely visits his four grandparents every Sunday for family dinner since his parents retired and moved to Florida. When Nick announces he is being promoted and moving to Seattle, his grandparents are devastated and quickly concoct a series of hilarious schemes to keep Nick from leaving, including introducing him to the woman of his dreams! Visit for tickets.

Thursday, February 4

Southeast China is the title of the film that will be shown at the North Indian River County Library on Thursday, February 4th, at 3 pm. Free. Refreshments will be served.

Friday, February 5

The First Friday Gallery Stroll will be held on February 5th from 5 to 8 pm along and around 14th Avenue in Vero Beach. Here’s a preview, strolling from South to North: Continue reading…

Media Watch: Day 22 – Press Journal remains silent of FPL’s proposed rate increase 3

Press Journal remains silent of FPL proposed $1.325 billion rate increase


Jan. 31 screen shot of TCPalm.s home page. Dominated with FPL advertising, has yet to report the utility giant's proposed $1.325 billion rate increase.

Jan. 31 screen shot of TCPalm.s home

It has now been 22 days since Florida Power & Light President and CEO Eric Silagy wrote the Florida Public Service Commission announcing his company’s plans to seek $1.35 billion in base rate increases over the next three years. Heavily supported by FPL advertising, and the Press Journal have remained dutifully silent story. See related story. More…

Marco Rubio, and on-again, off-again champion of limited government 2


Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio casts himself as a champion of limited government and in a new campaign ad even depicts himself as a warrior against special interests.

But on issues including sugar subsidies, online gambling, spending on military contractors, telecom regulations, and taxpayer support to scandal-plagued for-profit colleges, Rubio has backed a sweeping and costly role for the federal government.

What is it about those issues that gets Rubio to act against his stated small-government principles? They’re all associated with powerful political donors Rubio has carefully cultivated over the years. Continue reading…

Santorum can’t name any of Rubio’s Senate accomplishments Reply


Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum had one job to do in his appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Thursday. He failed.

The former Pennsylvania senator, who dropped his presidential bid Wednesday, told co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski he was supporting Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign because the Florida senator is someone “who can work together with people.” But Santorum struggled to name one accomplishment Rubio has had in the Senate. Continue reading..

Apples, oranges, and half-truths Reply


“FPL’s practice of excluding franchise fees in its heavily advertised rates enables to company to continue claiming to have the lowest rates in the state. Factor in the franchise fee, and FPL’s claim becomes, well, a white lie.”


As Palm Beach Post staff writer Susan Salisbury reported this week, comparing Florida Power & Light’s quoted rate of $94.30 for 1,000 kilowatt hours to the rates of municipal utilities is truly like comparing apples to oranges.

Locally, FPL spokespersons and some in the press prefer to directly compare FPL’s advertised rate of $94.30 to Vero Electric’s rate of $119.58.  In these comparisons, FPL’s public relations specialists, and their allies in the press, are careful to avoid any discussion of franchise fees.  For example, customers of FPL in Indian River County, except those in Indian River Shores, pays an additional 6 percent in franchise fees, bringing their total FPL bill for 1000 kilowatt hours to $99.96. Those franchise fees are assessed by the Indian River County Commission. More…

Press Journal’s sister newspaper in Naples reports FPL’s proposed rate increase Reply

Press Journal and remain silent on the utility giant’s rate hike


Screen shot from the Naples Daily News. The Daily News released its story on FPL's proposed rate hike Jan. 19. The Press Journal has yet to report the story.

Screen shot from the Naples Daily News. The Daily News released its story on FPL’s proposed rate hike Jan. 19. The Press Journal has yet to report the story.


The Press Journal, whose publisher is married to a Florida Power & Light’s vice president of external affairs, is entering a 20-day news blackout on FPL’s proposed $1.325 billion rate increase.  Along with higher rates, FPL is asking the Florida Public Service Commission to allow it to earn an additional .5 as percent return on investment. If approved, FPL’s return on investment will increase from 11 to 11.5 percent.

As the Naples Daily News reported, FPL’s plan to increase rates will cost the average residential customer about $14 a month.

Naples Daily News


FAU Harbor Branch to host public forum on Lagoon health Reply


Harbor BranchThe Indian River Lagoon (IRL) spans 40 percent of Florida’s east coast and has an annual economic impact of $3.7 billion, supporting an estimated 15,000 full- and part-time jobs while providing recreational opportunities for more than 11 million people per year. Next week, FAU’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI) will bring this estuary of national significance to the forefront of local conversation by hosting a public forum on lagoon health.

The public is invited to attend this public outreach day of the 2016 Indian River Lagoon Symposium on Friday, Feb. 12 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at HBOI’s Johnson Education Center Auditorium, 5600 U.S. 1 North, Fort Pierce.

The forum, “Engaging the Public: It’s Our Lagoon!,” is centered on the Indian River Lagoon Council Meeting, which also will take place that day at 9:30 a.m. The event is designed to provide interested individuals with an opportunity to learn more about the plans of the IRL National Estuary Program, and how to become more involved in the various efforts of organizations along the lagoon.

The forum is free and open to the public.  Registration is required and closes Wednesday, Feb. 10.  To register, visit

For more information, contact Carin Smith at 772-242-2230 or, or visit

Full-page Bush ad takes aim at Rubio Reply

Bush Ad


If Marco Rubio’s so great, why do so many Florida leaders prefer Jeb Bush?

That’s the message that will greet readers of New Hampshire’s Union Leader on Wednesday morning, courtesy of a full-page ad paid for by the Bush campaign that features an open letter from eight of the 10 most recent Republican speakers of the Florida House. Continue reading…


County reimburses Tim Zorc more for travel expenses than all other commissioners combined 5


Travelin' Tim Zorc

Travelin’ Tim Zorc

Last week, Inside Vero reported that in the past two years the County has reimbursed Commissioner Tim Zorc $18,539 for travel and travel related expenses. That story prompted questions from readers about how Zorc’s travel expenses compared to those of the other commissioners.

According to records provided by the County’s finance department, in 2015  Zorc was reimbursed more for travel and travel related expenses that the other four commissioners combined.



2015 travel reimbursement for members of the Indian River County Commission:

Tim Zorc – $11,579.64

Peter O’Bryan – $5,132.18

Bob Solari – $1,638.00

Wesley Davis – $1,097.91

Joe Flescher – $1,039.91

Healthy Start Coalition launches new educational campaign for healthy babies in Indian River County Reply


The Indian River County Healthy Start Coalition, in a mission to continually enrich the community with programs and services offered to enable every baby born here to receive a healthy start, is launching a new educational campaign. The campaign, which is a result of a children’s needs assessment and a community needs assessment which were completed by the Health Council of Southeast Florida in 2014 and 2015 respectively, identifies and prioritizes the top objectives for baby wellness and includes Getting Healthy before Pregnancy, Drug Free Pregnancies, Safe Sleep Practices, Benefits of Breastfeeding, and Communications with Your Baby.

The committee that oversaw the assessments consisted of representatives from a wide array of area organizations, in addition to the Healthy Start Coalition, that included the Indian River Medical Center, Visiting Nurse Association, Sheriff’s Department, Justice Department, Building Department, County Health Department and many others. Each of the top objectives, play an integral part in the healthy growth of babies from infancy through the first three years of their tender lives. Continue reading…

Under revised open-carry bill, Florida lawmakers could carry concealed guns into legislative meetings 1


Florida’s 160 lawmakers could inconspicuously pack heat in the state House and Senate chambers and legislative meetings, under a provision tacked on to a controversial open-carry handguns proposal that’s expected to pass the Florida House on Wednesday.

The amendment by Rep. John Wood, R-Winter Haven, was one of almost two dozen proposed changes that representatives vetted — and a handful they approved — during three hours of debate that stretched past 9 p.m. Tuesday over two high-profile gun bills.

The measures alter how 1.4 million people with concealed weapons permits in Florida can carry handguns. Continue reading…

Legislators weigh whether change will gut Florida public records law or end abuses Reply


In a debate that could reshape how the state handles its Sunshine laws, Florida lawmakers are swiftly advancing a bill that proponents say will crack down on “economic terrorists” that are abusing state law by extorting money from governments through frivolous and misleading public records requests.

But opponents say the solution is an overreaction that will “gut” the state’s open records laws and permanently cloud its Sunshine Law tradition. They warn that the bill removes the only tool the public has to seek redress when government officials violate the state’s public records laws and have offered a compromise that is being rejected. Continue reading…

Legislators refuse to tighten regulations on short-term rentals Reply



Rep. Debbie Mayfield

Rep. Debbie Mayfield

Several years ago, State. Rep. Debbie Mayfield supported legislation preventing municipalities from further controlling the proliferation of short-term rentals. Now under pressure from constituents in Indian River County, Mayfield introduced a bill in the current legislative session that would have tighten registration requirements for the so-called vacation rentals operating in residential neighborhoods.

Mayfield’s HB1287 died in the House Business and Professions Subcommittee yesterday, where a majority of the members were concerned it would create extra regulations. Facing sure defeat, Mayfield pulled her bill, which was scheduled to be heard yesterday. More…

IRSC volleyball team named academic all-stars Reply

The IRSC Volleyball team receives the annual Skull Award as the 2015 Academic All-Stars, with team members earning an average 3.41 GPA.

The IRSC Volleyball team receives the annual Skull Award as the 2015 Academic All-Stars, with team members earning an average 3.41 GPA.


Members of the Indian River State College Volleyball team were named Academic All-Stars for achieving the highest grade-point average for any athletic team at the College during the Fall 2015 Semester. The 15-member team earned an average 3.41 GPA.

“The ‘Academic All-Stars’ designation recognizes the importance of academic achievement for athletes, and I’m proud to see our volleyball team receive this academic honor,” said IRSC Athletic Director Scott Kimmelman. Continue reading…

ORCA releases report on algae blooms in canals leading to Lagoon Reply

Known as ‘Kilroys,’ monitoring devices provide ‘new and eye opening information’


Newly installed monitoring devices measure nutrients in the Lagoon and in canals and tributaries leading to the Lagoon.

Newly installed monitoring devices measure nutrients in the Lagoon and in canals and tributaries leading to the Lagoon.

ORCA’s Kilroy systems deployed in canals that discharge into the Indian River Lagoon have provided scientists with some new and eye opening information. Significant algae blooms are occurring in the tributaries and canals. These algae blooms are then carried into the Indian River Lagoon where they die and contribute to the nutrients and muck found in the lagoon. The first event that ORCA scientists noticed occurred in the C24 Canal during a comprehensive study of that canal funded by Scott’s Miracle-Gro.

“The breakthrough has to do with the number and frequency of algae blooms that we are seeing in the canals.” said Dr. Edie Widder, ORCA’s CEO and Senior Scientist. She explains, “This was unexpected because the traditional view has been that watersheds carry nutrients off the land from agriculture and urban lawns, gardens and septic tanks and out of canals and tributaries into the lagoon where they fuel algae blooms. But what we are seeing is that significant blooms are occurring in the fresh water canals.” More…

Boil water notice continues through today 2


Vero Beach Water and Sewer Utility Director Rob Bolton, left, and water treatment plant operator Jeff Howard inspect the city’s reverse osmosis water filtration system

Vero Beach Water and Sewer Utility Director Rob Bolton, left, and water treatment plant operator Jeff Howard.

Vero Beach Water and Sewer Department Director Rob Bolton issued a press release yesterday advising customers of the City’s water system to continue boiling all water used for drinking and cooking through today, Feb. 3.

Results of tests taken Monday did not show any contamination of bacteria, according to Bolton. He stressed that the boil water notice will remain in effect until a second day of test results are received showing no contamination. Those results, Bolton indicated, should be available sometime this afternoon.

The boil water notice was triggered after Sunday evening’s three-hour power outage to half the City’s 34,000 electric customers, including the water treatment plant. According to Bolton, who reported to the City Council yesterday, backup generators at the water treatment plant kicked in at the time power was lost, but back up batteries for an automated power switch failed. With the failure of the power switches, critical pumps were left with out power, causing the water pressure in the system to drop.

Bolton said the battery powered power switching system was jested just three weeks ago. A new system, he said, has now been installed.

According to City Manager Jim O’Connor, the power outage was triggered by a problem in a transformer at the City’s power substation located south of Sate Road 60 on 58th Avenue.

Iowa is nice, but caucuses are no way to pick a president Reply



ADEL, Iowa — Iowans are quite simply the nicest humans on Earth. But their antiquated caucuses are a lousy way to kick off a presidential election.

Candidates and media hordes descend on this state every four years, and voters cheerfully stoke the charade that their caucuses are some kind of shining example of democracy. I once accompanied a menacingly colossal New Jersey Teamster knocking on doors in zero-degree weather. We woke up a woman who, still in her bathrobe, insisted we come inside and let her make us bacon and eggs even though she didn’t care for the Teamster’s candidate. Continue reading…

Mayfield’s HB 579 seeks answers to the wrong questions 1


“Unlike Donald Trump, who has four times bankrupted his companies to avoid paying creditors, Vero Beach has no such option. As a member of these FMPA power projects, Vero Beach is a party to bond covenants that protect investors from being ‘Trumped.’ Anyone who seriously believes passage of HB 579 will in any way aid in the sale of Vero Electric to FPL is asking the wrong questions and settling for the wrong answers.”


Rep. Debbie Mayfield

Rep. Debbie Mayfield

Though unwilling to report on Florida Power & Light’s proposed $1.325 billion rate increase, the Press Journal this weekend managed to offer its readers more than a little misinformation about the issues underlying State Rep. Debbie Mayfield’s effort to “reign in” the Florida Municipal Power Agency.

Reading reporter Isadora Rangel’s story on the status of Mayfield’s proposed legislation made me wonder if Rangel is being coached by Press Journal columnist Larry Reisman. Rangel wrote, “A House committee unanimously approved her (Mayfield’s) bill to reign in the Florida Municipal Power Agency.” What does the reporter/pundit mean by her use of the phrase “reign in?”

Collectively, municipal utilities served by the FMPA now charge an average cost per month for 1000 kWh of $114.63, compared to an average cost of $129.69 for the state investor owned utilities, including Duke Energy and Florida Power & Light. More…

…and the wisdom to know the difference Reply


Editor’s note: This commentary was first posted January25. Given the unwillingness of the Press Journal and the island weekly to inform their readers of the high and mounting cost of Indian River County’s internecine legal battles, the facts revealed here are worth repeating. 


All of one sentence, the “Serenity Prayer,” a well-known entreaty written by the insightful 20th Century theologian Reinhold Hiebuhr, says about all that needs to said about seeking peace, both without and within. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Admittedly, peace, harmony and contentment are loosing their currency in a society increasingly inclined to celebrate and honor singular achievement. We can yield to this trend, continuing to see ours as a dog-eat-dog world where the advancement of one person, company, or group must come at the expense of another, but we do so at our own peril. More…

City to review three proposals for developing diesel plant site Reply

In a meeting open to the public, City officials with gather Wednesday at 10:30 to consider three proposal for developing the old diesel plant site in downtown Vero Beach. Two developers believe the site is ideal for a microbrewery and restaurant. A third developer is proposing to create an art center.

In a meeting open to the public, City officials with gather Wednesday morning at 10:30 to consider three proposal for developing the old diesel plant site in downtown Vero Beach. Two developers believe the site is ideal for a microbrewery and restaurant. A third developer is proposing to create an art center.


City officials will meet Wednesday morning at 1o:30 to review and rank three competing proposals for developing the 1.64 acre old diesel plant site in downtown Vero Beach. The meeting is open to the public, and will be held at City Hall in the second floor training room.

After investing hundreds of thousands of dollars on environmental remediation, the City might now be able to recover its costs, and allow for an idle property in the central city to become a viable, taxable commercial enterprise.  Three bidders, each with different vision for the property, have submitted offers of $660,00, $650,000 and $625,000. All three offers include environmental contingencies, though City Manager Jim O’Connor said he believes any additional cleanup on the site will cost no more than $30,000.

According to O’Connor, price is only one factor in the City’s decision about which bid to accept. Equally important, he said, are considerations about what kind of development would best benefit downtown and the larger community. City officials will also consider each developer’s track record and ability to complete their propose projects.

Developer Guy D’Amico, who offered $660,000, proposes to create a boutique distillery and tasting bar.

Ross Power, who offered $625,000, envisions a space to showcase arts, hold cultural events, antique fairs and international independent film festivals. Power’s plans also include a gourmet café.

Like D’Amico, Michael Rechter, of Fort Lauderdale, is proposing to develop the site as a microbrewery and taproom, with a restaurant and beer garden.

All three proposals are available to the public for review. For more information, contact the city clerk’s office at 772-978-4700.

Vero Beach Utilities customers under boil water notice Reply

July - Water.1Following a power blackout affecting half the city’s electric customers Sunday, Vero Beach officials issued a precautionary boil water notice. Included in the effected area of the outage was the city’s water treatment plant. City officials are advising that all water used for drinking or cooking through Wednesday should be boiled.

The widespread power outage, which lasted several hours, was triggered by a problem with a transformer at a substation on 58th Avenue just south of State Road 60.

Vero Beach now has its own version of the ‘Drudge Report’ 3



Vero Report home pageYesterday, Vero Beach and Indian River County residents began receiving an announcement of the launch of the Vero Report, a new website offering aggregated news of Vero Beach and Indian River County.

Depending on your perspective, Vero Beach and Indian River County is either blessed, or cursed with many disparate sources of news and commentary. The Press Journal, Vero Beach 32963/Vero News offer extensive print circulation.  News coverage presented by these two local news giants, which are at times biased and limited in their offering, is supplemented and occasionally contradicted by Bea-isms, InsideVero, Lemmon Lines, the Vero Communique, and Vero Vine.

At InsideVero, we see the introduction of the Vero Report as a positive development. For those who want to be better informed, and who would rather not drink days after day and week after week from the same biased well – be it the island weekly or the Press Journal — the Vero Report can serve as a hub of news and as a community square.

Following is the full text of yesterday’s announcement of the launch of the Vero Report. More…

Turner’s proposed Code change to be considered Feb. 16 3

Editor’s note: At its meeting Feb. 2, the City Council allowed Pilar Turner’s proposed change in City Code to be moved on to a public hearing. That public hearing is set for Feb. 16.


“The only question is how Mayor Jay Kramer will vote. In his run for the County Commission, Kramer is walking a tightrope suspended between the interest of Vero Beach and those of a County set on weakening the City in any way it can. Let’s hope Kramer joins Old and Winger in protecting the interests of his current constituents.”


Pilar Turner

Pilar Turner

Scott Stradley

Scott Stradley

 Jay Kramer

Jay Kramer

At Tuesday morning’s City Council meeting, Councilwoman Pilar Turner plans to propose a change in City Code that could lead to a Utilities Commission dominated by members who are not residents of the City and who do not even life within the service territory of Vero Electric, much less the service territory of the City’s water and sewer utility.

Without question, Turner’s proposal will in the short-term result in a Utilities Commission lead by a chairman and vice-chairman, neither of whom are residents of Vero Beach. More importantly, the long-term consequence of Turner’s proposed quick fix to Scott Stradley’s residency issue could be still more outside influence in decisions of importance to the residents and taxpayers of Vero Beach. More…

Referendum, not legislation, is answer to Vero Beach’s representation issues Reply

Editor’s note: Barry Moline, Executive Director of the Florida Municipal Electrical Association, wrote guest commentary published on today in which he argues Vero Beach can address the issue of representation for customers outside the city limits by holding a referendum on forming an independent utility authority. 


After reading Laurence Reisman’s recent column about proposed legislation aimed at the Florida Municipal Power Agency, I feel compelled to offer some facts and the historical perspective his column lacked.

FMPA is a not-for-profit organization composed of a group of cities that operate electric utilities. Contrary to Reisman’s assertions, the genesis of the proposed legislation affecting FMPA is an unresolved local issue in Vero Beach. Continue reading…


A Good Read: What Republicans should say Reply

“People need relationships and basic security before they can respond to economic incentives.”


For a few decades, American and British conservatism marched in tandem. Thatcher was philosophically akin to Reagan. John Major was akin to George Bush.

But now the two conservatisms have split. The key divide is over what to do about the slow-motion devastation being felt by the less educated, the working class and the poor. Continue reading…

Tampa Bay Times endorses Jeb Bush for Republican nomination Reply

Jeb Bush is the best choice for Republican nomination

“We know Bush’s strengths and weaknesses, and we are confident he is the most thoughtful, principled and energetic candidate in the Republican field.”


It’s time to stop treating the election of the next president of the United States like a game show without serious consequences. After more than a year of constant fundraising, meaningless opinion polls and reckless rhetoric from so many candidates, voters finally will make their voices heard starting Monday in the Iowa caucuses and eight days later in the New Hampshire primary. For Republicans fighting for both the soul of their party and the White House, the best choice is former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Continue reading…