• Advertisement
To advertise, place classifieds free ads by category in a forum as a new topic, or in the classified display ads section, or start a classifieds free blog.

Spat over 'Sexy Beaches' morphs into Florida Republican feud

Spat over 'Sexy Beaches' morphs into Florida Republican feud

Postby smix » Fri Feb 17, 2017 4:15 pm

Spat over 'Sexy Beaches' morphs into Florida Republican feud
AP News

URL: https://www.apnews.com/ed69b22e7ce4430d ... Gov.-Scott
Category: Politics
Published: February 17, 2017

Description: TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — What started out as a disagreement over taxpayers footing the bill for a version of Pitbull's "Sexy Beaches" video is now turning into a full-blown public relations war between Republican Gov. Rick Scott and the GOP-controlled Florida House. The two sides are at odds over whether Florida should spend money on tourism marketing and luring businesses to the state. In the past week, their feud has continued to escalate. The House is currently moving a bill that would shutter the two agencies that receive millions to pay for these efforts. Scott in the last few days has barnstormed the state where he has called out GOP House members by name for supporting the legislative proposal. On Thursday, he also announced that the Sunshine State attracted a record number of nearly 113 million tourists last year despite two hurricanes, the outbreak of the Zika virus and the Pulse nightclub attack. "I don't understand how anyone can look at Florida's booming tourism industry, and the more than 1.4 million jobs it supports, and vote to kill it," said Scott in a statement. "The legislation the Florida House is pushing puts more than 1.4 million jobs at risk and we cannot let that happen." Scott's political committee Let's Get to Work in the last few days has also paid for phone calls telling voters in a handful of GOP districts that their legislator was in favor of a bill that would "destroy our economy and lead to higher taxes." The Florida House has responded by releasing a scathing new video to YouTube that trashes Visit Florida, the agency that promotes tourism, and Enterprise Florida, the economic development organization that uses taxpayer money to offer incentives to companies that move to the state or expand their operations.



The video mentions the secret $1 million deal Visit Florida signed with rap star Pitbull which included him filming a new video of his "Sexy Beaches" song that included footage of Florida hotels and beaches. The House video also criticizes several economic development deals that went bust included the high-profile bankruptcy of Digital Domain, a visual effects studio that received $20 million of support. The Digital Domain deal was approved before Scott become governor. The video includes captions that say "no more foolish spending," ''no more handouts" and "no more corruption." GOP House members first saw the video Wednesday night during a closed meeting at a Tallahassee restaurant. House Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues initially said the meeting would be strictly social and that no policy would be discussed. Fred Piccolo, a spokesman for House Speaker Richard Corcoran, defended the meeting. He said it did not violate state laws that block legislators from meeting privately to discuss pending legislation. The private meeting was paid for the Republican Party of Florida. Over the last two years Scott has refused to raise money for the party. The dispute over money for Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida threatens to derail this year's legislative session, which starts in March. Top Senate Republicans say they oppose House GOP efforts to eliminate the programs. Sen. Jack Latvala, a Clearwater Republican and Senate budget chief, said Thursday on Twitter that the "investment in Visit Florida is obviously working. No time to take our foot off the gas now."
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1871341
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Florida House takes first steps toward killing Visit Florida, Enterprise Florida

Postby smix » Fri Feb 17, 2017 5:02 pm

Florida House takes first steps toward killing Visit Florida, Enterprise Florida
Miami Herald

URL: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/c ... 99604.html
Category: Politics
Published: February 9, 2017

Description: TALLAHASSEE — In a rebuke of Gov. Rick Scott, the Florida House on Wednesday took its first step toward killing two state agencies charged with promoting tourism and economic development, two of his chief priorities. Dozens of local economic development agencies and tourism promoters packed a committee room in Tallahassee for two hours warning lawmakers that shuttering Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida would hurt tourism, their industries and ultimately, the state economy. Among those was Ed Caum of Island Paradise Charters of New Port Richey, who warned that without Visit Florida small companies like his will struggle to reach visitors because they don’t have the marketing might that the marketing agency provides. “I think we will lose thousands of jobs,” Caum said. But backed by House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, Republicans on the Careers & Competition subcommittee voted for a bill that would kill both agencies, block counties from spending local hotel tax money on stadiums for sports franchises, and end tax credits for film makers. It passed by a 10-5 vote. State Rep. Paul Renner, R-Jacksonville, called the vote a principled stand to get back to the “secret sauce of prosperity.” “At the most basic level, incentives are fundamentally unfair to the millions — the vast majority of Floridians who work hard and try to run a business and will never see one dollar of government incentives,” he said. Dozens of tea party activists testified that they opposed taxpayer handouts to private businesses. “It is corporate welfare,” said Alexander Snitker, a New Port Richey man who has in the past has run for statewide office as a Libertarian Party candidate. The bill still has a long way to go, with more committee stops in the House. The Florida Senate appears apprehensive about dismantling both agencies. Even it if got passed in both chambers, Scott would have a chance to veto the bill. Even so, Mark Segel of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation, said it was “unacceptable” that lawmakers were sending a message that it might not be willing to compete with other states and cities for businesses. He said that hurts local communities where incentives might be available because state lawmakers have created the perception that nothing is available. “The perception is that there is no way Florida is going to be competitive; we’re not going to get our opportunity,” Segal said. Bill Talbert of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau warned that by retreating on marketing, Florida could lose tourists. “At the end of the day it’s about jobs,” Talbert said. State Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, has criticized the spending of both Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida, but stopped short of endorsing eliminating both agencies. He said he wants to “recast” them, not eliminate them like the House. Earlier on Wednesday, Brandes held a hearing that suggested Enterprise Florida hasn’t lived up to its promise of being a 50-50 partnership between the state and private industry. An audit showed that while taxpayers gave the agency $25 million, the private sector gave just $4.8 million this year. Scott has fumed about the Legislature’s opposition to a pair of agencies he says are key to Florida’s economic turnaround since 2010. On Tuesday Scott vented for 15 minutes with reporters, calling into question Corcoran’s motives and warning that the state’s economic health was at risk. Scott proposed a budget last week that calls for $85 million for Enterprise Florida to give tax incentives to companies to relocate and grow in Florida. He’s also called for continuing record funding — $76 million — for Visit Florida. House Republicans (and some in the Senate) have criticized both Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida. Corcoran said last week that he has no intention of giving Scott what he wants for either because he considers them corporate welfare. “There won’t be any incentives in the budget,” Corcoran said last week. Both Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida have faced major upheavals over the last 12 months. Both agencies have pushed out highly paid CEOs and been warned by Scott to clean up their finances and their overall transparency. Enterprise Florida was faulted by auditors for overspending on office space, management and travel expenses plus for lacking proper financial controls. Visit Florida, meanwhile, has come under fire for some spending more than $5 millions to advertise the state on a race car, with a British soccer team and in a music video with pop star Pitbull.





Capitol battle is on over funding Visit Florida, Enterprise Florida and more
Miami Herald

URL: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politic ... 56469.html
Category: Politics
Published: February 2, 2017

Description: TALLAHASSEE - Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida House are now in open warfare over two of his biggest priorities. As the Republican governor sharpened his criticism of the Legislature for threatening to cut tourism marketing spending and job incentive programs, the Florida House retaliated Thursday by proposing a bill that would completely eliminate entire agencies charged with carrying out Scott’s goals. The House, led by Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, rolled out a massive 172-page proposal that would abolish the state’Why won’t the state tell us what’s in Pitbull’s secret file?s economic development agency, Enterprise Florida, and the state’s tourism marketing arm, Visit Florida. But the far-reaching bill goes even further. It eliminates sales tax exemptions for filmmaking and would bar professional sports teams from using millions of dollars from future local hotel bed taxes to fund new stadium construction or renovations. The bill quickly drew the ire of Scott, who was in Orlando at an Enterprise Florida board meeting and touting the state’s economy. Scott said anyone who would propose such cuts doesn’t understand how business works. He sternly warned that eliminating Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida would undercut Florida’s economy and risk future job creation. Usually hewing close to a scripted line, Scott struggled to express his frustration with the House. “If we don’t fund these things, it will ... it can’t ... it’s not logical,” Scott told dozens of corporate executives who make up the bulk of Enterprise Florida’s membership. Scott later acknowledged that he takes the whole issue “personally” because of how important job creation is to him. The job incentive packages and Visit Florida have been critical to helping Florida create more than 1.2 million private sector jobs since he was elected in 2010. Corcoran shows no sign of backing down. He has long opposed government providing tax breaks to businesses, sports teams or filmmakers. He has repeatedly called it “corporate welfare” and says there’s no evidence they work. Economic development should be more about using tax money to improve things like education and public infrastructure — factors that play a bigger role in helping companies decide where to relocate and have a broader impact on the public, he said. He’s not alone. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Paul Renner, R-Jacksonville, said the legislation is part of a bigger philosophical statement that House Republicans believe in. “It’s about what the proper role of government is,” said Renner, adding that the state would save $200 million a year if the bill is passed and implemented. It gets its first hearing Wednesday when the House Careers & Competition Subcommittee meets. Thursday’s actions come days after Corcoran compared the spending practices of both Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida to an insect infestation. He said that as he and other House members have dug into the spending of both agencies, it’s been akin to turning on the lights in a kitchen and seeing cockroaches everywhere. In the last year, Scott has ordered reforms of both Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida to rein in spending. In the last year both have come under increase scrutiny for spending issues. An audit in May 2016 of Enterprise Florida showed the agency was top heavy with management, spent too much on office space and lacked internal controls to prevent financial mismanagement. That audit came after Scott announced that CEO Bill Johnson was being replaced. Florida does not have a traditional commerce department like many other states. Florida created Enterprise Florida 20 years ago to be a quasi-governmental entity with a 64-member board of directors that runs it like a private business. About 90 percent of its operations are funded by taxpayers. Visit Florida is coming off rough year, too, only with worse publicity. The agency was roundly criticized for hiding a $1 million contract with Miami musician Pitbull to promote Florida beaches in music videos. The agency has also spent $1.2 million to advertise with a British soccer team and is paying more than $2.8 million for a Le Mans-style car racing team. Tourism groups rallied to defend Visit Florida, saying its marketing efforts are needed. “Visit Florida helped grow the local tourism development counsels and made tourism stronger,” said Russ Kimball, general manager of the Sheraton Sand Key and vice president of the Pinellas County Tourism Development Council. “We need that state brand to get tourists to consider Florida first before we can get them into Pinellas County.” Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said Enterprise Florida has been a “great partner” in helping bring jobs to the region. “It would be terribly shortsighted on the part of the Legislature to kill this agency,” he said. “I don’t care what the Koch Brothers’ playbook is, come be a mayor for a day and see the positive impact Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida have had on our communities that you supposedly represent.” Buckhorn referenced the role the billionaire Koch brothers’ companies have played in the backlash against corporate incentives in Florida. A spokeswoman for Koch Companies Public Sector testified last month before a Florida House committee that “Koch fully supports continued legislative efforts to end corporate welfare programs.” Scott, however, has allies in the Legislature who can help. Senate Appropriations Chair Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, told the Herald/Times on Thursday that killing both agencies would be “the dumbest idea I’ve heard in my time in the Florida Senate.” Later told of Latvala’s remark, Corcoran said, “A tremendous intellectual argument on his part.”



Why won’t the state tell us what’s in Pitbull’s secret file?
Miami Herald

URL: http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/opn- ... 50108.html
Category: Politics
Published: December 2, 2016

Description: Visit Florida used a secret contract to hire Pitbull, otherwise known as Armando Christian Perez, to promote Florida tourism.
Somewhere in Tallahassee, locked securely inside a government office, is an explosive, top-secret file that only a few select operatives have ever seen. It’s so sensitive that even lawmakers haven’t been allowed to peek at it. These protected documents have nothing to do with an imminent ISIS threat, the Zika outbreak or the alarming rise in sea levels in Florida. The subject of the confidential file is a 35-year-old man named Armando Christian Perez. Otherwise known as Pitbull, Mr. 305 himself. Last year a state agency, Visit Florida, hired Pitbull to do some tourism promotion. Because the hip-hop star was paid with public funds, many people reasonably assumed that the details of his deal would be openly disclosed. The state refused. Visit Florida CEO Will Seccombe stated that Pitbull’s contract included “proprietary trade information” and therefore was exempt from a public-records request. Pitbull’s contract ended in June, but the file remains unpublished to this day. It’s significant as part of a policy of secrecy that has annoyed incoming House Speaker Richard Corcoran, a fiscal conservative who wants to slash Visit Florida’s funding. One touchy issue is how the agency spends state money. Since 2009, Visit Florida’s annual budget has swollen 169 percent, from roughly $29 million to $78 million. In addition to recruiting Pitbull, Visit Florida sponsors a Le Mans race car team and a soccer squad in England. The benefits to tourism that flow from such exotic marketing are difficult to quantify. In August, Visit Florida made an exception to its closed-book ways by revealing that, for the second straight year, it has spent $1.25 million to put its logo on soccer jerseys worn by the Fulham Football Club in London. What’s the connection to Florida? The owner of the Fulham soccer team is Shad Khan, a major donor to Gov. Rick Scott. Khan, who also owns the Jacksonville Jaguars, lives in Naples. Tourism officials say he gave them a really good deal on the logos. Maybe British soccer fans will flood to South Beach because of those enchanting jerseys, or maybe they’ll come for the same simple reason that other tourists do — to escape the cold and the rain. Maybe even more of them would come if we could persuade Pitbull to drive a Florida race car around a soccer field a dozen times. It’s impossible to know the true value of such promotions if we can’t find out what they cost. The governor insists all the big spending is paying off. Tourism jumped about 29 percent from 2009 to 2016, up from 82 million visitors a year to about 106 million. This rebound has coincided with the steady recovery of the U.S. economy, though Scott gives most of the credit to Visit Florida. But like another of his expensive pet projects — Enterprise Florida, with its ludicrous giveaway incentives to lure corporations — Visit Florida is facing fire in the Legislature. Nobody’s been able to get a line-by-line accounting of how the tourism agency allocates its hefty budget. An audit initiated by the governor found no wrongdoing, but it urged Visit Florida to operate more transparently. The deal with Pitbull got lots of attention because, well, it was Pitbull — and also because the terms were kept quiet. Florida has hired celebrities before, but taxpayers knew how much money was being shelled out. In the late 1970s, the citrus commission was paying Anita Bryant $100,000 to sing the glories of orange juice (she lost the gig after campaigning to repeal a Miami-Dade gay-rights law). In 1994 the state cut a controversial $1 million deal with Rush Limbaugh to rhapsodize about OJ on his radio show (he lost the gig after juice sales stalled). It’s unclear whether it was Pitbull or tourism officials who demanded that his contract fee remain confidential. Labeling it “proprietary” undoubtedly irked lawmakers such as Corcoran, already skeptical of Visit Florida’s budget. After Pitbull signed on, he went right to work. His promotional efforts included a hype-rich Miami Beach video for his Sexy Beaches single, and a live concert from Bayfront Park for a national TV audience on New Year’s Eve. Over several months, he also posted Visit Florida’s #LoveFL hashtag on Twitter and Instagram. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the rap star promoted sun and fun in Florida 17 times to his many millions of followers on social media. When Visit Florida’s Seccombe raved about Pitbull’s tourism impact, he used Trumpian extremes such as “huge,” “incredible” and “extraordinary.” Those same words would probably also apply to the size of Pitbull’s paycheck. We don’t know for sure, because it’s a state secret.
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1871341
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Pitbull reveals Florida paid him $1M for 'Sexy Beaches' video to promote tourism

Postby smix » Fri Feb 17, 2017 5:17 pm

Pitbull reveals Florida paid him $1M for 'Sexy Beaches' video to promote tourism
Fox News

URL: http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/20 ... urism.html
Category: Politics
Published: December 15, 2016

Description: Rapper Pitbull released his $1 million contract with Florida's tourism marketing agency via Twitter Thursday, two days after the House speaker sued to find out details of the agreement that included the production of a video for the song "Sexy Beaches." Pitbull tweeted "FULL DISCLOSURE - FLORIDA" with a link to the 11-page agreement to produce the "Sexy Beaches" video for Visit Florida and to promote the hashtag #LOVEFL on his social media sites and during concerts. House Speaker Richard Corcoran filed a lawsuit Tuesday in an attempt to have details of the contract disclosed. Visit Florida refused to say how much it paid the rapper, whose real name is Armando Christian Perez, or details of the arrangement, saying it was a trade secret. Corcoran found that unacceptable, saying taxpayers should now how Visit Florida was spending its money. "It is unfortunate that it took litigation to lift the veil of secrecy on this particular contract," Corcoran said in a statement released by his office. "This was a long unnecessary journey through claims of trade secrets, threats of prosecution, and corporate welfare paid for by taxpayers." A lawyer for Pitbull let the tweet speak for itself. "There will be no further comment from the Pitbull camp," Leslie Jose Zigel said in an email. Visit Florida didn't immediately return an email and a phone call seeking comment. The video features images of women frolicking in the surf and sand as well as pictures of iconic Florida hotels such as Miami Beach's Fontainebleau and the pink Don CeSar Hotel in St. Pete Beach. It ends with an image of #LOVEFL written in the sand. The song includes lyrics like, "I want to go somewhere exotic/Let the sun massage my body/Meet a sexy stranger in the lobby." The video has nearly 10.7 million views on YouTube.
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1871341
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Florida tourism spending is (pit) bull | Opinion

Postby smix » Fri Feb 17, 2017 5:40 pm

Florida tourism spending is (pit) bull | Opinion
Sun Sentinel

URL: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/opinion/fl- ... olumn.html
category: Politics
Published: December 18, 2016

Description: For those who have accused me of being part of the liberal (bleep, bleep) slime (bleep) media, I want you to know I have found an ultra conservative Republican I like. The man is Richard Corcoran, the new speaker of the Florida House. He is also a man who thinks the state spends way too much money promoting tourism. What really got Corcoran steamed was the secret contract Miami rapper Pitbull had with Visit Florida, the state's tourism promotion agency. Your tax dollars were going to Mr. Bull to help promote Florida, but Visit Florida — which received $78 million this year — didn't want people to know what Pitbull was being paid. Trade secrets, we were told. Corcoran said that was a bunch of bull — without the pit. That led to a lawsuit, which led to Mr. Bull himself telling the world he received $1 million from the state for a music video called "Sexy Beaches," supposedly promoting Florida, as well as displaying the hashtag #LoveFL at least once during concerts, and doing a few other touristy things. Visit Florida CEO Will Seccombe and two other agency hot shots have lost their jobs over this, but you still won't get your $1 million in tax money back. Corcoran doesn't think the Visit Florida money is well spent. He also voiced one idea I've mentioned for years — mainly, people will come to Florida no matter how much or how little we advertise. "Not one single [piece of] evidence is out there to suggest that there is a correlation between the amount of money we spend on advertising and the amount of tourists," Corcoran said. I was curious, however, what we got for the $1 million we paid to Pitbull, so I checked out the lyrics to "Sexy Beaches." Just a sample:
Little mama wanna turn it up
Little mama wanna burn it up,
Little mama wanna live it up,
Well, little mama better give it up

It gets better.
And the mama is like wow
And the booty's like bang, bang, bang

And then more classic lines...
You can't save me, babe, it's too late
I'm looking for a freak, not a soulmate
Sexy beaches, hotels

Maybe lyrics like that are the reason Visit Florida tried to keep this whole thing out of public view. In case you are interested — and you should be, since it's your money — Visit Florida also spent $1.2 million to advertise with Fulham Football, a British soccer team. For that, we get Visit Florida on the team's jersey, and the logo on the stadium roof, which is in the the glide path of Heathrow Airport. So all those big spending millennials flying over the stadium will immediately decide to spend big bucks in Florida. Now, I have nothing against Mr. Bull. He is very popular, and does seem to truly love Florida. But in a state where we we have crumbling school buildings, and — as you read on the front page — we spend a pittance on mental health, tourism spending does seem a tad much. I think I can help with a very cheap tourism campaign that will probably be as effective as what is costing millions. I figure people come to South Florida for beaches, nightlife, and maybe a couple of days in Orlando. The biggest reason they come is the weather. If you turn on the news, you will see record cold and snow everywhere, while we have sunshine and the 80s. So my tourism campaign would have a simple motto: "Turn on the TV, see the weather elsewhere. Then come to Florida." It will work, folks. And that's no bull.
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1871341
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Maxwell: Zika? No sex? Suddenly, Florida politicians panic

Postby smix » Fri Feb 17, 2017 6:20 pm

Maxwell: Zika? No sex? Suddenly, Florida politicians panic
Orlando Sentinel

URL: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/ ... olumn.html
Category: Politics
Published: August 6, 2016

Description: I've never been under the impression that Florida politicians care much about the health of the people who live here. They refuse health care for the poor. They defund clinics. Heck, just last week, Florida officials voted to allow more cancer-causing agents into the state's water supplies. Yes, more. If you like leukemia, you're living in the right state. Even constant talk about Zika seemed to drift beneath their radar. Until last week. It all changed with a single worldwide headline: "Tourists urged to abstain from sex in Florida." Now we have a problem. You see, Florida officials fear that if visitors can't enjoy a little rumpy pumpy while visiting the Sunshine State, they may stop visiting, period. State leaders, after all, view sex as one of the Sunshine State's biggest selling points. That's why Visit Florida gave rapper Pitbull a pile of your tax dollars (they won't say how big) to create a video called "Sexy Beaches" … to, um, stimulate their desire to visit. In the video, women danced in thongs. Pitbull ogled them. And viewers were told to come to Florida so they could "meet a sexy stranger," view "booties like bang, bang" and "do all the wrong things you like." At least I don't think they were talking about mini golf.

pitbull-sexy-beaches.jpg

Yet now, Public Health England has issued a travel warning, urging Europeans to avoid getting pregnant during or after recent visits to the Sunshine State. And the CDC urged pregnant women to avoid Miami's Wynwood district. The London Telegraph telegraphed: "Sex ban recommended for British tourists in Florida after Zika outbreak." Suddenly, people started rethinking their vacations — and Florida politicians decided they needed to take this seriously. Maybe the threat of children born with microcephaly didn't concern them. But the idea of Disney having low occupancy rates sure did. Every politician in this state quickly morphed into the Amity Island mayor from "Jaws." Sure, there were scary, disease-infected mosquitoes. ("A large predator that supposedly injured some bathers.") But Gov. Rick Scott told everyone that our beaches are open for business. Amity, as you know, means "friendship."
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1871341
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)


  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to Government


Mobile Device
  • 1
  • FREE CLASSIFIED ADS
    Free Classified Ads
    There are 3 ways to advertise - your choice: you can place free ads in a forum topic, in the classified display ads section, or you may start your own free blog. Please select the appropriate category and forum for the ad content before you post. Do not spam.
    Caveat emptor - let the buyer beware. Deal at your own risk and peril.
  • Advertisement