Will Bondi meeting with Trump lead to job, and opening on Florida Cabinet?

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, speaking at last summer's Republican National Convention
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, speaking at last summer’s Republican National Convention

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s scheduled meeting today with President-elect Donald Trump could lead to a job in the new administration — and a coveted opening on the state’s Cabinet.

Bondi has waited and watched as Trump has filled the two highest-profile legal jobs in his administration, with Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general and White House counsel Don McGahn.

As she readied for her Trump Tower meeting today, speculation on a possible Bondi post now centers on the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, the nation’s drug czar.

Bondi has been outspoken in urging state and federal action against prescription drug addiction, an approach Trump also talked about on the campaign trail.

Bondi is term-limited, with just over a year left as attorney general. If she leaves sooner, Gov. Rick Scott gets to appoint her successor.

Serving as interim-attorney general could be a good stepping stone for anyone looking to capture the Cabinet post outright in the 2018 election.

Among possible Bondi replacements are Pete Antonacci, now executive director of the South Florida Water Management District, but a former Scott general counsel who the governor earlier also tapped to serve as an interim Palm Beach County state attorney. Antonacci was former Democratic Attorney General Bob Butterworth’s top deputy for years.

“He serves at the pleasure of the governing board (of the SFWMD),” district spokesman Randy Smith said Thursday, relaying what he said were Antonacci’s comments when asked about the attorney general post. “And he loves his job.”

Other names in the mix: Bondi’s current chief-of-staff, Kent Perez, state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, R-Miami, former Department of Economic Opportunity chief Jesse Panuccio, Tom Grady, a Scott neighbor in Naples and former head of Citizens Property Insurance Corp., and legislative leaders, Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, and House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who both are considered long shots because they’d have to surrender top posts as lawmakers.

 

Does population surge mean Florida will be parched?

Will Florida have enough water for surging population?
Will Florida have enough water for surging population?

With Florida’s population poised to climb by 15 million people in coming decades, demand for water – already one of the state’s scarcest resources — is poised to spike 54 percent if development goes unchecked, a new report shows.

The agriculture region east of Lake Okeechobee already is one of the state’s biggest users of water. But as the site of big residential developments already approved in Palm Beach County, the demand will intensify by 2070, analysts said.

A similar threat to the availability of fresh water also exists across Central Florida and in Southwest Florida, where thousands of new homes are planned in areas once considered off-limits to development.

“I agree that the situation does look dire,” said Ryan Smart, president of 1,000 Friends of Florida, which joined with the Florida Department of Agriculture and University of Florida’s GeoPlan Center in preparing the report.

“But I take hope in the fact that there are relatively simple things that we can do as Floridians, to dig us out of the hole,” he added.