Winners & Losers

This week’s biggest Winners & Losers

Who’s up and who’s down in the Sunshine State?

The culture wars in the Sunshine State have now expanded to the esoteric field of higher-education accreditation. On Thursday, Gov. Ron DeSantis and other state officials announced they’re suing the feds over a law “that requires public (colleges and universities) to submit to private accreditors to qualify for federal funding,” saying it’s “unconstitutional because it gives unelected academics unchecked power over public institutions.” While it’s not immediately clear what the state’s damages are, the message is clear: Nobody puts Florida in a corner. While it’s too early to predict a winner and loser, add this to the growing list of the governor’s court battles.


Osmany Estrada -

Former President Donald Trump’s arraignment in Miami on charges of mishandling classified documents brought out a variety of demonstrators, with Osmany Estrada among them. You probably know him as “Pig Head on a Stick Guy.” He’ll now forever be a part of history: The “LiBERTAD” cap he wore during the protest outside the federal courthouse was acquired for display by the HistoryMiami Museum. Alas, they turned down the pig head.

Peter Licata -

This round of musical chairs to decide who holds the Broward County Public Schools superintendent seat has ended. Dr. Peter Licata, a longtime administrator for Palm Beach County schools, got the gig. His predecessor, Vickie Cartwright, was in the role for only 18 months. Her predecessor resigned in disgrace. Yipes. Broward parents and guardians have to hope Licata changes the negative trend that has plagued the district and its leadership in recent years.

Joel Potts -

Joel Potts’ case marks a victory for all teachers interested in keeping assault rifles in their cars. The St. Lucie County teacher was fired from his job for leaving an AK-47 on the center console of his truck in a school parking lot. However, an administrative law judge ruled that gun regulation is left up to the state – not school districts. The school board has the final say – but for now, it’s a win.


Jon Shirey -

The leader of the firefighters’ union in Disney’s quasi-governmental special district praised its new board members after DeSantis took it over and remade it. Now a new administrator there has reopened negotiations on a labor contract that would have brought pay raises and more employees. While Jon Shirey and his union butted heads with Disney when it ran the show, it seems like their fight isn’t over – even with a new sheriff in town.

Clovis Watson Jr. -

Alachua County’s sheriff said he would not seek reelection after only one term in office. Clovis Watson Jr., a former state representative, has had a rough ride as the county’s top cop: He recently lost lawsuits brought by three employees “who claimed their rights were violated when facing termination and suspension,” the Gainesville Sun reported. More recently, prosecutors “issued dozens of subpoenas to former and current sheriff’s office employees as part of an ongoing investigation.”

Andrew Warren -

DeSantis suspended Hillsborough County’s elected state attorney, citing his “decision to sign pledges with prosecutors around the nation against pursuing abortion and transgender cases.” Andrew Warren, a Democrat, tried getting his job back in federal court, to no avail, then lost again this week at the state Supreme Court, which said he waited too long to press his case there. Assuming his federal appeal fails, a hearing in the GOP supermajority-controlled Senate may be the last step, so it’s likely curtains for him.