Your hands look a little dirty, Rick Scott: As Florida Gov. Rick Scott asked President Obama to declare a state of emergency over the funky green algae-infested waters of the Treasure Coast, he pulled a "Thanks, Obama" and put the blame for the environmental catastrophe on the federal government. Scott says the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers is in charge of monitoring and discharging brackish water from Lake Okeechobee into rivers and estuaries that go to the coast. "The federal government has ignored proper maintenance and repair to this structure for more than a decade and has put our state in this vulnerable position," Scott says. What he fails to mention is that for decades, the policies of Florida's legislators have gutted water pollution regulations, which allowed the agriculture and sugar industries to make Lake Okeechobee their own sewer. This week's round of the blame game solved little as residents get angrier at what the Miami Herald is calling "Playa Guacamole."
Shady business in our Sunshine State: U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, who represents parts of Orlando in Congress, was indicted on 24 federal counts regarding allegations that she used a fake scholarship called One Door for Education to gain $800,000 from donors. Brown is adamant that she's innocent. Officials allege she used the money for lavish receptions, golf tournaments, personal expenses and a luxury suite at a Beyoncé concert. We hear some members of the BeyHive gave up paying the electricity bill to save up for nosebleed seats; we can only imagine how much it costs to see Queen B up close.
We feel you, Baton Rouge, St. Paul and Dallas: The Pulse shooting that killed 49 people last month made Orlando feel a little closer to people hurting after the tragic deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, two black men fatally shot by police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota respectively. That pain increased after a gunman killed five police officers during a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Texas. But there were glimmers of hope in this summer of perpetual mourning: Last weekend, the young people of Orlando held their own Black Lives Matter protest, and Orlando Police Chief John Mina and some of his officers joined the march to protect protesters. OPD isn't perfect and tensions exist, but Sunday night was a start.
#SitInForThe49: Almost a month after Pulse, protesters held a sit-in at U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio's Orlando office asking Florida's Republican senator to take a stand on gun control and against homophobic legislation. At press time on Monday, Robin Harris, one of the leaders of the coalition of local groups sitting in, said protesters planned to stay inside the building at 201 S. Orange Ave. for the next 49 hours in honor of those killed on June 12, who were mostly LGBT and Latino. We don't know how this one will turn out, but check our website for more information.
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