Crist and His Veto Pen

And The Vetos keep coming: 
* SB 682 -- because it limits nursing home inspection visits to one per year rather than one per quarter and because "facilities responsible for providing care to our most vulnerable citizens must remain under strict scrutiny."Download sb_682_veto.pdf
* SB 2512 -- because it reduces the professional development from 300 hours to 60 hours for reading teachers who teach students who speak English as a second language. "I am concerned that this reduction may impede these students' academic, social, and cultural progress,'' Crist said.Download sb_2512_veto.pdf
* HB 1395 -- because it alters the election procedures for the Coral Spring Improvement District, raise pay for board members and allows less competition when purchasing contracted services. Download hb_1395_veto.pdf 
* SB 1030 -- because it raises fees too high for non-criminal offenses to pay for police training programs. "While I support providing as many tools as possible for our police officers, I do not support doing it on the backs of Floridians who have committed non-criminal violations,'' Crist said. Download sb_1030_veto.pdf
* HB 7087 -- because it allows banks to raise late fees on credit card accounts from $10 to $25. "The citizens of Florida are already feeling the combined weight of an immense property tax burden, an escalation in insurance premiums and a sharp rise in energy costs,'' Crist wrote. "I do not support an additional burden on our citizens who are struggling financially." Download hb_7087_veto.pdf
When is he going to switch parties?

A Election '08 News Site:
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For Florida Election News See:
Political Talk For And By Political Junkies
Just Rumors The Rumor Mills

Broward slots bill become law

Gov. Charlie Crist on Wednesday signed 36 bills into law and allowed a bill that helps out Broward pari-mutuels become law without his signature. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Jack Seiler, a Wilton Manors Democrat, allows the four pari-mutuels in Broward to add an additional 500 slot machines and expand their number of hours.
Crist, who said he was opposed to the expansion of gambling while campaigning for governor, also signed into law a measure on instant bingo that Gov. Jeb Bush had previously vetoed. The legislation allows bingo halls to sell instant tickets, which are very similar to instant tickets sold by the Florida Lottery.
Crist also signed into law a measure sponsored by Sen. Steve Geller, a Hallandale Beach Democrat, that allows condominium terminations without approval of 100 percent of condo owners. Crist also vetoed a bill that would have placed a moratorium on the creation of off-site emergency departments until 2009.
Other measures approved by Crist on Wednesday: A bill that lets the owners of grocery stores and malls to bar petition signature gatherers from coming on their property. Crist said that while he was "sympathetic" to those who want be where citizens gather, he said the solution "cannot be to force all  grocers, shopkeepers and restaurateurs to acquiesce to potentially disruptive politically activity at their commercial establishments."
Crist also signed SB 2092, which will set school board member salaries by a state formula instead of forcing board members to adopt their salaries at a public meeting.

A Electon '08 News Site:
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Political Talk For And By Political Junkies
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Gov. Crist Vetos SB900 and more......

The veto pen got a workout Tuesday. Gov. Charlie Crist deep-sixed three more bills, including a priority of the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Republican leadership. The bill would have shortened the four-year window for submission of initiative petitions to 30 days.

"This provision significantly burdens the right of Florida citizens to propose amendments to the Florida Constitution by increasing the likelihood that voters, through no fault of their own, will be denied the opportunity to have their voices heard," Crist wrote in a veto message on SB 900 by Sen. Bill Posey of Rockledge.
Crist's veto is sure to win praise from a broad coalition of pro-initiative organizations that fought the bill, including Common Cause, the League of Women Voters, Florida PIRG, ACORN and People for the American Way -- not to mention left-leaning groups like the Florida AFL-CIO.
All three vetoed bills were sponsored by Republicans.
Crist also vetoed a bill sponsored by Rep. Faye Culp, R-Tampa, that he said bypassed an existing management agreement for operation of the Babcock Ranch Preserve in southwest Florida. And he torpedoed a bill by Rep. Ed Homan, R-Tampa, that Crist said made sweeping changes to Florida's Administrative Procedures Act, which regulates state agencies and bureaucrats.

The Progressive Majority: Why a Conservative America Is a Myth

For anyone interested in where the American public really stands on the big issues that distinguish progressives from conservatives -- including the issues at the forefront of today's political debates -- "The Progressive Majority: Why a Conservative America Is a Myth" offers hard facts and analysis based on decades of data from some of the nation's most respected and nonpartisan public opinion researchers. This is the evidence that political leaders have a mandate to pursue bold, progressive policies.
This report by the Campaign for America's Future and Media Matters for America shows that in study after study, solid majorities of Americans take progressive stands on a full spectrum of issues, from bread-and-butter economics to the so-called "values" issues where conservatives claim preeminence.

Michael Moore and ''SiCKO''

Save a Family's Home

Need Bloggers Help: Fairness for All Families

Hi Everyone,
I'm Nadine Smith, Executive Director of Equality Florida.
We are part of the Fairness for All Families the statewide coalition formed to beat the so-called Marriage amendment in Nov 2008. 
We are looking for bloggers to join the fight. If you are interested, please send me an email or give me a call at 813-817-6093.

Some Background
As you know, this traditional right-wing wedge issue is used to defeat progressives by driving conservatives to the polls.
The good news is their efforts are begin to fail. AZ became the first state to defeat a similar amendment that bans marriage equality, civil unions and would eliminate existing domestic partnership protections that seniors, police officers, firefighters, universities and thousands of other unmarried Floridians.

Polling shows the majority of Floridians believe the government SHOULD NOT make it harder to protect the people you love. This amendment takes away needed family protections and employee benefits.

We Can Win

More good news:, We Can Win in Florida. Not only is the country trending our way, the 2006 election cycle delivered the first defeat in AZ. Just as significantly, 5 other states including ultra conservative Virginia saw more than 40% of it voters reject the amendment. In South Dakota, 48% rejected the measure.

In Florida we only need 40% plus one to defeat this. More than 50% and we'd drive a stake through the heart of this as an anti-progressive wedge issue that uses gay people as bait.

What We Need:

Web-savvy advisors, blogtastic innovators, passionate progressives willing to shape our online outreach. Seniors are a fast growing online presence and young people own the web. These are key groups we need to reach, persuade and get to the polls in Nov 2008 and you can help.

Join the Fairness for All Families Team

If you are interested in being part of the team send me a quick email. You'll be in excellent company.

More than 110 coalition members and an impressive group of statewide leaders from are at the helm of the Fairness for All Families Campaign including:
Visit the website for a complete list.

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Fl NAACP President Adora obi Nweze
Fl ACLU Executive Director Howard Simon
Former AARP Leader, Bentley Lipscomb
Florida Alliance for Retired Americans, Barbara Devane
Florida Consumer Action Network, Bill Newton
Equality Florida Nadine Smith
The Commerce Group, Pamela Birch Forte
SEIU, Hirma Ruiz

Thanks for the work you do and I look forward to working with you.

or  call at 813-817-6093.

SB900: Another Prosective

When the Legislature is not responsive to voters or when industry lobbyists exert an undue level of influence on the political process, the ballot initiative process is the only tool Floridians have to directly address important issues.
Eliminating the citizens' ballot initiative has long been a priority for the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Associated Industries of Florida, the Florida Retail Federation and other big-business groups since the passage of the Class Size and the State Minimum Wage amendments, two amendments they vigorously opposed but were unable to stop at the ballot box. Senate Bill 900 represents another part of a multi-stage strategy to end the initiative process. Gov. Charlie Crist should veto it for its attempt to place unreasonable restrictions on signature-gathering -- for instance, a 30-day deadline for submitting signed petitions -- in an already harshly restricted petition process to get initiatives on the ballot.
Florida's Constitution is the most difficult to amend among the states with a ballot initiative, thanks to the 60 percent supermajority required for amendment passage, the mandatory supreme court review of ballot language, a strict single-subject rule, one of the highest numbers of signatures required for ballot placement and a requirement that signatures be gathered from at least half of Florida's congressional districts.
Florida PIRG and other members of the Save the Voters' Voice coalition believe that voters should have the right to amend their constitution. This avenue of direct democracy is important in Florida partly because there is no statutory initiative process allowing Floridians to create laws rather than constitutional amendment, but also because elected officials will not truly be accountable to the public through the power of the vote until we address large systemic issues like our flawed redistricting process and our campaign finance system.
Claims by legislators that citizens are cluttering up the constitution are largely a way to deflect attention from the fact that legislators amend the constitution almost three times as often as citizens through the use of legislative amendments not subjected to the same scrutiny.
We urge Gov. Crist to protect the ballot initiative by vetoing SB 900.
Ashwell is legislative advocate for the Florida Public Interest Research Group (, a non-profit public-interest advocacy organization.

Charlie Crist The Next Pro Environment Governor ?


 Governor Charlie Crist today announced California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as a keynote speaker at Florida's global climate change summit. The two-day conference will be held in Miami, July 12-13, 2007, at the Intercontinental Miami Hotel. Governor Crist invited interested individuals, organizations and media to register for the conference at
"At Florida's climate change summit, we will begin working on a plan to explore groundbreaking technologies and strategies that will place our state at the forefront of the growing world-wide movement to reduce greenhouse gases," Governor Crist said. "Governor Schwarzenegger is a tremendous champion of this cause, and I am honored that he will lend his expertise as we explore ways to overcome this monumental challenge."
"I applaud Governor Crist for facilitating this important discussion on one of the biggest problems facing our nation and world: global climate change. He is demonstrating the bold leadership necessary to achieve real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions," said Governor Schwarzenegger. "Our states can serve as a model for the rest of the country by fostering the development of new technologies and industries that expand markets, create new jobs and reduce energy dependence while protecting our environment. States cannot wait any longer; we must take action."
The Serve to Preserve Florida Summit on Global Climate Change will bring together policy makers, academics, scientists, environmentalists and the business community to discuss...
And Then he vetoed HB 7123

Crist vetoes energy bill

Gov. Charlie Crist has vetoed HB 7123, a comprehensive energy bill that Republican legislative leaders lauded as one of the accomplishments of the session. Crist, who is convening a summit on climate change next month, said in his veto letter that the legislation attempts to go forward in developing environmentally sound energy policies but that it goes backwards in other ways and does not represent a "unified" energy policy for the state.
"We can do better. We must do better,'' wrote Crist in his veto message.
Read The Veto Statement CLICK HERE 

Broward Democrats Re-Branded

June 20, 2007

For more information, contact Mitch Ceasar, Chairman, Broward Democratic Party, (formerly the Broward County Democratic Executive Committee) at 954-423-2200 or email

Broward County Democratic Executive Committee Rebranding Itself "Broward Democratic Party."

(Plantation, FL) The Broward County Democratic Executive Committee is rebranding itself the "Broward Democratic Party" as part of a new marketing strategy designed to enhance the way it communicates with voters. This initiative will serve to build recognition within the county as to what the party's role is, and strengthen public awareness about local, county, state, and national issues and candidates in advance of the next election.

"The use of the term 'Democratic Executive Committee' or 'DEC' is common throughout the country," stated Chairman, Mitch Caesar. "However, most voters don't recognize it or know that it is, in fact, the official county party."

"We want to call it what it is: the Broward Democratic Party."

Ceasar, who is also Democratic National Committee executive committee member, stated that this is the first step of an expanded communications strategy for Democrats, which will include an improved online presence and greater outreach to younger professionals."

"Broward County is vital to Democrats, and this next election has huge stakes for all Floridians. We're determined to be proactive and bring more people into the process," he said.




Meanwhile over in Broward: "Five years after buying ATM-style voting machines, Broward County began another election changeover Tuesday. County commissioners agreed to buy new voting machines that use paper ballots and to turn over to the state almost all of the county's 4,500 touch-screen machines. The switch won't be cheap. While the state will foot most of the bill through federal aid, almost $10 million in county money is also needed." "Broward County to scrap touch-screen voting machines in 2008".

Carlton Moore's Son Imprisoned For Life

Carlton Moore's Son Imprisoned For Life

Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Carlton Moore recently made the news  for intervening on his son Forrest's behalf during a run-in with police at a bar in the Himmarshee district. What you didn't know is that his oldest son, Martin B. Moore, was recently sentenced by the feds to life in prison for running crack cocaine.
U.S. District Judge Richard Smoak handed down the brutal sentence on May 30 for the 29-year-old Martin, who was caught in January in Panama City with bag full of crack and has a history of drug charges in Broward County. The feds found that the cocaine came from a kilogram deal that went down in Atlanta with a supplier known as "Bleed."
As much as I abhor the crack trade, I don't think anyone should have to spend the rest of their life in prison for a bag of rocks. The federal sentencing guidelines are criminal in that regard. And somehow knowing this makes me respect the commissioner more than I did. The guy has been going through hell and yet he keeps plugging away when most people probably would have crumbled.
posted on The Daily Pulp


Palm Beach Post -- June 20, 2007
by George Bennett

As if determined to uphold Palm Beach County's reputation for election
controversy, frustrated county commissioners Tuesday raised the
possibility of defying Florida's new ballot ''paper-trail'' law because
they say the state isn't providing enough money to pay for it.

The commission was scheduled to vote on accepting a $5.1 million state
grant to replace paperless electronic voting machines with optical
scanners that read paper ballots. But commissioners put off the vote
a week and asked their legal staff to research what would happen if the
county flouts the new law.

The defiant talk arose after Elections Supervisor Arthur Anderson said
switching to a paper-based voting system will cost county taxpayers
million on top of the money the state is providing.

Anderson's figure includes about $4 million for additional scanners and
other equipment beyond what the state is purchasing and $2 million to
print paper ballots for each countywide election.

Secretary of State Kurt Browning, a former elections supervisor,
questioned some of Anderson's estimates and said the state never
contemplated paying the entire cost for the new voting system.

With commissioners already bristling at a state-ordered 7 percent cut
the county's property tax revenues, Commissioner Mary McCarty accused
legislators of ''hypocrisy'' for mandating elections changes but
requiring counties to pay much of the cost.

''I'd just like to call their bluff on this,'' McCarty told her

McCarty and other commissioners said afterward they weren't making an
idle threat.

''I want to take a look at it. I seriously do,'' said Commissioner Jeff

``[State legislators] are underfunding what we need to have a

Said Commission Chairwoman Addie Greene: ``I'd like to know what
going to do if we don't buy the new equipment. ...Will they put all the
commissioners in jail?''

Palm Beach County was the home of the 2000 presidential ''butterfly
ballot'' and then was the site of some early controversies and
litigation over paperless voting.

Recognizing the county's place in election infamy, Gov. Charlie Crist
traveled to West Palm Beach last month to sign the bill that outlaws
most paperless voting and requires paper optical-scan ballots at all
polling places by next fall.

For Palm Beach County and 14 other Florida counties that use paperless
systems now, the legislation provides $27.9 million to buy optical

''Gov. Crist has every confidence that Palm Beach County will comply
with the new law,'' Crist spokesman Thomas Philpot said Tuesday.

U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Delray Beach, who has spent years opposing
electronic voting and who helped persuade Crist to support the
paper-trail legislation, noted that commissioners pledged more than $3
million in county money in 2004 to create a paper trail.

''Palm Beach County has previously committed itself to a paper trail
they need to follow through. ... They need to keep their word to the
voters,'' Wexler said.

The state's $5.1 million grant is enough to buy one $6,000 ballot
scanner at each of 768 precincts and 15 early-voting sites in the


U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar Draws Opposition From 2 Sides

Belle Glade City Commissioner Ray Torres Sanchez says he'll challenge eight-term U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, in next year's Democratic primary. And Republican Marion Thorpe, has notified the state Division of Elections he plans to run on the Republican side.
Hastings aide Fred Turner said Hastings will ramp up his campaign if he has to. Hastings raised nearly $1 million against Democratic challenger Keith Clayborne in 2004 and won with 74.2 percent.
"There's no reason to use a scalpel when a sledgehammer will work just as well," Turner says of Hastings's campaign philosophy .

The End Of PIP Insurance And No-Fault Insurance

Here's an interesting Podcast from the Chris Chiari campaign for House
District 91 down in Broward and Palm Beach counties:

The Florida Motor Vehicle No Fault Law which requires motorist to
acquire Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and requires insurance
companies to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles if an insurance
policy has lapsed is set to sunset (expire) on October 1, 2007.

What that means for us is that there could be an increase in uninsured
drivers on the road and the costs of any accidents caused by these
drivers will shift to taxpayers and specifically to those injured in
such accidents.

You can hear a PodCast from the Chiari Campaign on this issue here:


Crist allows gambling bill become law

Gov. Charlie Crist, who during his campaign last year insisted he was against the "expansion" of gambling in the state of Florida, has for the second time this week allowed
         a   gambling bill to become law.  Crist allowed SB 134 to become law Friday "without his signature."
The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Larcenia Bullard, allows cardrooms at dog tracks, horse tracks and jai-alai frontons to also stage a game of dominoes for money. Earlier this week Crist allowed another gambling bill to become law without his signature. SB 752 expands the pots used in poker games at cardooms

Broward To End Water Restrictions

Recent rains moved South Florida residents closer to eased water restrictions on Thursday. But the continued drop of Lake Okeechobee has state officials considering "backpumping" storm water into the lake, despite pollution concerns.

With June on pace for above-normal rainfall, South Florida Water Management District officials on Thursday said that before the end of the month, they could move Broward and Palm Beach counties from once-a-week yard watering to twice a week.

"We don't want to keep people in [restrictions] any longer than we need to," said Terrie Bates, assistant deputy executive director of water resources.

Still, this year's drought has persuaded the district to consider imposing less stringent but year-round restrictions, an idea the board agreed to fast-track on Thursday. If approved, those restrictions would limit watering to three times a week, during the morning and evening hours, drought or no drought.

The year-round idea could go before the board as soon as July 12, with the new rules starting in September.

As of Wednesday, an average of 4.46 inches of rain fell this month throughout the district, which stretches from Orlando to the Keys. That was 1.25 inches above normal.

That rain, though, has not been enough to stop Lake Okeechobee water levels from dropping to an all-time low, straining South Florida's backup drinking water supply and the water used by growers in the Everglades Agricultural Area.

Without enough storage areas to hold rainwater, managers have turned to the idea of backpumping. That involves redirecting water that falls on agricultural land back into the lake, boosting water levels that can later be used for irrigation, but also dumping fertilizers, pesticides and other pollutants into the lake.

David Reiner, president of the Friends of the Everglades, said the potential environmental harm outweighs the benefits of storing water.

"We are dead-set against them backpumping dirty, filthy, polluted water," he said.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services estimates the economic impact of this year's drought could hit $1 billion, said Nelson Mongiovi, the department's marketing director. Backpumping should be considered to ease the strain on Florida's second largest industry, he said.

"We need water," Mongiovi told water district governing board members Thursday. "There's a price associated with not putting it there."

The district has been talking with state environmental regulators, which would determine whether to start backpumping.

"It is going to come back ... unless we are extremely lucky," board member Michael Collins said. "We are going to have to look at it again."

More pollution in the lake fuels the creation of more of the damaging muck that coats the bottom of the lake, Reiner said.

The district has been taking advantage of the drought by using bulldozers to scrape muck off exposed lakebed and on Thursday agreed to spend $9 million more to keep digging.

"It's just going to create more muck for them to clean out later," Reiner said. "There is no sense in saving that water."

Backpumping might help agriculture, but putting more pollution in the lake also hurts fishing grounds, which translates to more economic hardship for fishing guides, bait shops and hotels near the lake already suffering during the drought, said Jamie Furgang, Everglades policy associate for Audubon of Florida.

"We have to also think of the economic impact of backpumping water into Lake Okeechobee," Furgang said. "There's a lot of different factors at play here."

The lack of water storage is among the reasons district officials are considering allowing residents to resume watering more often. Water levels in residential canals that restock urban well fields are up and with nowhere else to store it, the district has been dumping water into the ocean.

"Our goal is, hold as much of it as we can, but not risk flood protection," said Cal Neidrauer, a consulting engineer for the district.

Afternoon thunderstorms are expected through the weekend, nurtured by a tropical disturbance in the northwest Caribbean on Thursday, said National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Dixon.

The chance of rain was forecast to be 60 percent today and 50 percent on Saturday and Sunday.

The lake on Thursday measured 8.91 feet, 4 feet below normal.

Without above-normal rainfall this summer, the district projects a worse water shortage next year that could drop the lake to the 5-foot range.

"Very scary," Neidrauer said.

Staff Writer Ken Kaye contributed to this report.

Andy Reid can be reached at or 561-228-5504.

A Complete Guide To Florida Tax Reform 101

* For a online PowerPoint Slide Show on the Joint Tax Reform Visit
 Following key committee votes Wednesday, lawmakers are poised to pass a sweeping $31.6 billion property tax reform package today.
Budget committees in both chambers on Wednesday passed a trio of bills to roll back rates and set up a new property tax structure.
Both chambers could conclude their work as early as today as they take up measures that would roll back tax rates to 2006 levels and cap them at the same level as personal income growth. That proposal passed with only a single dissenting vote in committees Wednesday.
More controversial, the members must decide whether to ask voters as early as January to amend the state constitution to eliminate a popular property tax cap for most homesteaders in exchange for higher homestead exemptions. That measure passed committees on party line votes.
The amendment calls for the elimination of Save Our Homes for about 75 percent of homesteaders. They would receive higher homestead exemptions of up to $195,000 for a $500,000 home.
A potential deal breaker is an estimated cut to local school revenues. That showdown is expected to take place in the Senate, where Republicans hold a slimmer majority.
Since the bills were made public Monday, Democrats have railed against the constitutional proposal, which they say make deep cuts in local governments, including a more than $7 billion cut in local property tax revenue for schools over the next five years.
"Florida is already near the bottom in per-capita student spending," said Sen. Dave Aronberg D-Greenacres. "I didn't get elected to come up here and drop us down to the 50th."
Local government officials said they support tax relief, but the constitutional amendment would take such a big bite out of their coffers that they would have to cut vital services and lay off employees, including police and firefighters.
They also said the amendment, which would cut taxes by $16 billion over five years, doesn't help taxpayers who need it the most — businesses, owners of second homes and renters — and suggested the new tax breaks for homeowners would eventually evaporate.
"Short-term gain, long-term pain," said Rep. Jack Seiler, D-Wilton Manors.
Republicans led by House Speaker Marco Rubio acknowledged the local tax cut, but said lawmakers will be required to pick up the slack.
"All this does is says you'll have $1.5 billion less in property taxes," Rubio said. "It puts pressure on the Legislature to come up with the $1.5 billion to hold them harmless. We're going to ask state government to do what we've asked local governments to do."
If legislators want voters to address the issue during the presidential primary on Jan. 29, they'll need a separate vote of at least 30 members because it takes a higher threshold to add an amendment for a special election. Otherwise, the vote would take place during the 2008 general election.
Sen. Mike Haridopolos, R-Indialantic and chairman of the Senate Finance and Tax Committee, said he's confident the Senate has the votes to send the issue to members in November, but said Democrats may succeed in keeping the issue off the Jan. 29 ballot.
"If we have to wait till November, the people will still get the right to vote," Haridopolos said. "It would, however, postpone implementation of the homestead exemption, which is unfortunate."
On Wednesday, Port St. Lucie Vice Mayor Jack Kelly told a House committee that not enough time has been spent to analyze the implications for bonds and other fiscal responsibilities approved by an overwhelming majority of local taxpayers.
"Why do we need to do this so quickly?" Kelly asked members of the House Policy and Budget Council. "Why couldn't we come back next year and spend more than 10 days to, I hate to use these words, shove it down our throats?"

Meek To Clinton: I'm In I'm Out Now I'm In

Whew, Who can keep track, on Thursday Kendrick was set to endorse Clinton during a Friday conference Call around 3:30pm in the afternoon, by 4:00pm the call was canceled.
And Today we are reporting this:
Congressman Kendrick Meek is supporting New York Sen. Hillary Clinton for president.
Here's his statement furnished by the Clinton campaign:
"Senator Hillary Clinton is the Democratic candidate with the perfect blend of leadership, talent and intellect to lead our nation in a new direction. It is my honor to endorse Senator Hillary Clinton to be our next president," Meek said.
"I am pleased to accept Senator Clinton's offer to serve as her Senior Advisor, and will work to help her win this campaign. Where Hillary Clinton needs me, I will go and deliver her message of hope and opportunity to all Americans. Ending the war in Iraq, tackling the inequities in our health care system, breaking our dependency on foreign oil - that is Hillary Clinton's agenda and I will work tirelessly to help her achieve these goals."

Crist: PIP Insurance Can Wait

So Can KidCare 

Talk of another special legislative session in the fall, the third one this year, surfaced in the Capitol on Tuesday. Gov. Charlie Crist said he did not support legislators distracted by two other unresolved issues, the expiration of minimum mandatory personal injury (PIP) car insurance and changes to the KidCare health insurance program, in the special session starting today.
"It's important that we stay focused on this historic tax cut," Crist said. He said the other issues are more properly addressed in "September or October."

Gov. Throws Insurance Insiders to the Wolfs

Gov. Charlie Crist yesterday signed an insurance bill that freezes rates for Citizens Property Insurance Corp. customers another year, until 2009, but he vetoed $600,000 budgeted to fund a 19-member commission (nine of whom were going to come from the insurance industry) whose sole focus was to shrink the state run insurer.
please contact his office at 850.410.0501.

Crist continues to send the message that he will get the Florida insurance industry under control - and that includes the industry 'organisers', including the lobbyists.

GOP Prez Contenders Dis Hispanics in Orlando

GOP Prez Contenders Dis Hispanics
All of the Republican presidential contenders have turned down an invitation to speak in Orlando to the nation's largest gathering of Hispanic elected officials, at a time when their constituents are poised to be a powerful force in the 2008 election.

Clinton's Florda Endorsements Falling Apart

On Saturday I spoke with a source within the Kendrick Meek campaign, that said that Meek's would NOT be endorsing Clinton.  On Monday Clinton announced she would be appointing Debbie Wassermann Schultz and Alicee Hastings as her State Co-Chairs.
The editorials have been brutal. Clinton Cancled a Confernece call with Florida Reporters on Friday
Clinton's Florida Endoresments are in shambles

Clinton Leading With Women 2 to 1

The consistent lead that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York has maintained over Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois and others in the race for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination is due largely to one factor: her support from women.
In the most recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, Clinton led Obama by a 2 to 1 margin among female voters. Her 15-point lead in the poll is entirely attributable to that margin. Clinton drew support from 51 percent of the women surveyed, compared with 24 percent who said they supported Obama and 11 percent who said they backed former senator John Edwards of North Carolina.

Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale Skirts Property Tax Cuts

Fort Lauderdale -- A delegation from Broward County's real estate industry implored state Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, on Thursday to push for the deepest possible property tax cuts during next week's special legislative session.

Several of the 15 real estate agents and others who work in related areas told Bogdanoff that the escalation in property taxes during recent years has helped choke their business -- and threatens more far-reaching damage to the regional economy.
"I thas to be made affordable again. That is the issue," said Diane Hedges, an agent with Coldwell Banker in Fort Lauderdale.

Bogdanoff promised change was coming from Tallahassee. Although the tax cuts might not be as great as some would like, she assured the group that "we're going to see some reductions in taxes in this next tax bill."

Her answers contained so much of what the real estate representatives wanted to hear that they applauded her at the end of the session and the organizer said he came away confident that relief was imminent.

Bogdanoff was critical of what she regards as excess local government spending during this decade's real estate boom. Rapidly increasing property values generated what she termed a windfall, allowing local governments to sharply increase spending.

She said it's possible to live on less. "All you have to do is go back to college and think of how creative you got to make that $25 last until Sunday."

Such sentiment resonated with the real estate agents. When her income goes down, Hedges said, "instead of going out to dinner three times a week, we go out once a week. They can do the same thing."

Miramar Mayor Lori Moseley, immediate past president of the Broward League of Cities, wasn't there. But she had a different perspective later Thursday.

"Along with these cuts automatically will go cuts in services. There is no way around that. That's where the money is spent," she said.

Tom Wolf, an agent with Re/Max Alliance in Fort Lauderdale, said broad reform is needed to produce more equity in the system. People who have lived in homes they have owned for a long time have been protected from the higher taxes driven by increases in property values because of the Save Our Homes system. That caps growth in the taxable value of homesteaded property to 3 percent a year.

Wolf said that means longtime, older residents -- who are the most frequent voters and command the most respect from local politicians -- don't have any incentive to complain about increasing government spending.

"The whole tax structure is skewed to the voting population," he said. "Unfortunately, the younger population doesn't vote as much as they should."

He was pleased with Bogdanoff's description of proposed changes to the state constitution to grant large-enough exemptions in property values that 70 percent of people would be better off than under the existing Save Our Homes system.

The real estate industry did well during the booming market in the first half of the decade. Now, its representatives say, they're suffering.

"It went from busy to slow to downright nothing," said Joe Roberto, of Roberto & Associates title and closing services. "It's scary."

Bogdanoff said the real estate industry feels the problem more acutely than most, but it is not alone in seeking tax relief.

"The people in this state -- and my BlackBerry is going off every 10 seconds -- are saying they want tax reform."

Anthony Man can be reached at or 954-356-4550.

Celebrating Anita Bryant: The Mother of Gay Rights

Anita Bryant in 1977: "I know that homosexuals cannot biologically reproduce children; therefore, they must recruit our children"
In 1977, singer Anita Bryant successfully campaigned to repeal a Dade County ordinance banning discrimination against gay men and lesbians. [The recently called home Rev. Jerry] Falwell came to South Florida in support and two years later created the Moral Majority. Jim Bakker, Pat Robertson and Phyllis Schlafly quickly joined Falwell in becoming outspoken opponents of gay rights.
"This is where they all had their stage debut," said Jack Rutland, executive director of the Stonewall Library & Archives and organizer of the exhibit "Days Without Sunshine: Anita Bryant's Anti-Gay Crusade…"
"In a completely unintended way, Anita Bryant was about the best thing to happen to the gay rights movement," said John Coppola, exhibit curator and former head of exhibits at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. "She and her cohorts were so over the top that it just completely galvanized the gay rights movement."
Rutland goes so far as to call Bryant the mother of the gay rights movement…
Bryant, now 67, declined to comment when contacted at her Anita Bryant Ministries International Inc. in Oklahoma City.
That's probably because Anita herself hasn't fared so well.
Singing from the age of two, Bryant became Miss Oklahoma in 1958 and was a second runner-up in the 1959 Miss America beauty pageant. She had three big pop hits: "'Til There Was You" (1959); "Paper Roses" (1960); and "In My Little Corner of the World" (1960). In 1960, she married Bob Green, a Miami disc jockey, with whom she eventually raised four children. She became a spokeswoman for the Florida Citrus Commission in 1969, and nationally televised commercials featured her singing "Come to the Florida Sunshine tree", and opining that "A day without orange juice is like a day without sunshine".
…concerns over homosexual recruitment of children inspired the name of Bryant's political organization, Save Our Children. Among Bryant's assertions during the campaign were "As a mother, I know that homosexuals cannot biologically reproduce children; therefore, they must recruit our children" and "If gays are granted rights, next we'll have to give rights to prostitutes and to people who sleep with St. Bernards and to nailbiters."
Bryant was also a pioneer on the receiving side of getting "pied," as the YouTube video above shows. Before she took that pie in the face during an anti-gay press junket, such tactics were rare. So anyone who enjoyed seeing Ann Coulter pied should really thank Anita for leading the way.
But Anita's fortunes took a dive after she spoke out.
Her contract with the Florida Citrus Commission also was allowed to lapse because of the negative publicity generated by her political campaigns, the resulting boycott of Florida orange juice, and, at least reportedly, because of her divorce.
Her marriage to Bob Green failed at that time and in 1980 she divorced him. She married her second husband, Charlie Hobson Dry, in 1990, and they have tried to reestablish her career in a series of small venues. Commercial success has been elusive, and they have left behind them a series of unpaid employees and creditors. They filed for bankruptcy in Arkansas (1997) and in Tennessee (2001).

Hastings, Meek, Wasserman Schultz endorse Clinton


The Clinton campaign has snagged an endorsement from Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz - named by the Washington Post as a coveted one - and Alcee Hastings and kenrick Meek.
Sen. Clinton has a conference call scheduled for 3:40 to announce "another major Florida endorsement."

Clinton Way Ahead In Florida Polls

 Among Democrats, Clinton gets 34 percent, with 16 percent for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, 13 percent for former Vice President Al Gore and 11 percent for 2004 vice presidential candidate John Edwards. 
Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, undeclared and still largely unknown in the 2008 presidential race, has moved into second place among Florida Republicans, passing Arizona Sen. John McCain, and trailing New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic leader, by 3 percentage points, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani leads among Republican primary voters, with 31 percent, down from 38 percent on April 26. Thompson gets 14 percent, up from 5 percent April 26, while McCain gets 10 percent, down from 15 percent. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gets 8 percent and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich gets 7 percent, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.


Meek to endorse Clinton


Democratic U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek of Miami is expected to endorse Hillary Clinton for president.
An endorsement from Meek, who is black, would boost Clinton's street credibility. And it would represent a setback for Barack Obama, running to be the first black president of the United States.

Broward County Hurricane Preparedness

Broward County Partners with Sun-Sentinel News in Education To Produce Hurricane Preparedness Curriculum for Schools

Broward County Board of County Commissioners has partnered with Sun-Sentinel News in Education (NIE) to produce a hurricane preparedness curriculum for Broward County students in grades 5-12. The curriculum in "Hurricane Ready. Set. Safe." is school board-approved and benchmarked to the Florida Sunshine State Standards.
The program will provide 160,000 students with a full-color, tabloid-sized student workbook containing important hurricane preparedness information and activities for students and parents. The workbooks will be distributed to teachers this month. Hurricane season begins June 1 and continues through November.
Curriculum content promotes planning and preparedness for Broward County families, to ensure they are ready, set and safe during a storm. Content for the workbook was developed by the Sun-Sentinel NIE team, the Broward County Public Communications Office and the Deerfield Beach Disaster Survival House. The Disaster Survival House is home to Hurricane Warning!, a non-profit, 501(c)(3) education program that teaches hurricane and disaster mitigation, safety and preparedness to children, families, individuals, seniors, students, businesses and trade personnel.
The curriculum incorporates scientific information about hurricanes and how they are formed, information on scientific occupations related to weather and emergency management, planning and preparedness checklists, evacuation and shelter information, and safety tips for pets and the elderly. Also featured is a guided "tour" of the Disaster Survival House, which features a hurricane laboratory, examples of window protection and wind tunnel demonstrations, hurricane tracking, flooding, storm surge, lightning, generator safety, safe room and disaster preparedness planning.
Students and their parents are also encouraged to attend Broward County's Hurricane Preparedness Expo, Saturday, June 2 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Broward County Emergency Operations Center (EOC), 201 NW 84th Ave. in Plantation. The Expo will feature exhibits and demonstrations by County agencies and other emergency response partners, tours of the EOC and Emergency Mobile Command Vehicle, prizes and giveaways.
For more information on hurricane preparedness, call 954-831-4000, or visit For more information on the Disaster Survival House, call 954-429-0830.


Charlie Crist says he's the "people's governor." He can do the people's
business — and uphold their voice — by vetoing Senate Bill 900.

The measure, authored by state Sen. Bill Posey, would throw up several
high hurdles designed to block citizens' proposed constitutional

Though the Rockledge Republican invoked his mother's name in branding
his bill the "Beatrice T. Posey Truth in Petition Act," there's nothing
American, apple pie or "mom" about this.

By imposing tight submission deadlines and fueling revocation campaigns
before a vote even occurs, SB900 chips away at the democratic process
and the people's right to petition their government.

Posey's measure gained traction in the waning days of the Legislature,
getting a significant push from the Florida Chamber of Commerce. The
bill backers duly noted the passage of sketchy constitutional
ranging from pregnant-pig protection to the massively expensive
class-size reduction program.

Explaining his eponymous bill, Posey says his mother once signed a
petition with the understanding that he had supported it. When she
learned otherwise, she was upset that she could not revoke her

Floridians may be reasonably concerned about cluttering their state's
Constitution. To raise the bar, voters last year approved a 60 percent
requirement for passage of future amendments.

But Posey and the chamber are going too far with their "reform."

For starters, a 30-day deadline for submitting signed petition
guarantees the employment of more professional signature gatherers —
necessarily a good thing.

The revocation provision further politicizes and gums up the process.
it stands now, if people don't like a ballot measure, or change their
mind anywhere along the way, they can just vote "no" on Election Day.

Ultimately, that's what's at stake here: the people's right to direct

When lawmakers like Posey want to amend the Constitution, they do so
simply by placing their amendment on the ballot. In fact, the
Legislature accounts for 80 percent of ballot measures.

SB900 is nothing more than a back-door bid to chill the people's
petition process. If Posey & Co. truly want to fairness and equity,
they, too, can go out and collect 611,000 valid signatures, just like
the citizens they represent. Meantime, Crist should veto SB900.


- Require petition forms to be submitted to election supervisors within
30 days of being signed by voters.

- Give voters 150 days to revoke their signatures.

- Require election supervisors to make revocation forms available.

- Make petition circulators wear "prominent badges" identifying them as

- Take effect Aug. 1.

Stuart News Editorial

Murders rose from 15 to 21 in Broward's six largest cities in 2006

By John Holland
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

The number of murders in Broward County's six largest cities jumped 37 percent last year, but overall crime figures remained flat or slightly down, according to FBI statistics released Monday.

Fort Lauderdale recorded the biggest increase in violent crimes per 1,000 residents, with murders, rapes and aggravated assaults all climbing in 2006. There were 21 killings in the city, compared with 15 a year earlier, while the number of property crimes dropped slightly.

The annual FBI report on crime nationwide tracked only cities with populations over 100,000, meaning just six cities in Broward and none in Palm Beach County made the list. The figures mirrored a nationwide trend that showed violent crime rose slightly last year, while thefts and other nonviolent offenses dropped.

READ MORE.........

Keith Olbermann

Today's Video 06-06-07

Keith Olbermann
The Nexus Of Politics And Terror Part 2
is now availabe at :
If you missed
The Nexus Of Politics And Terror Part 1


Rep. Bogdanoff's Latest Insurance Company Giveaway Hurts Us All
By Christian Chiari
State Representative Ellyn Bogdanoff has once again demonstrated that she favors a government in the dark on behalf of special interests and ideologues over open government on behalf of the people. This time her champion is none other than the insurance industry and its desire to do away with personal injury protection insurance (also known as PIP).
As highlighted in an editorial in a recent edition of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Rep. Bogdanoff's latest maneuver, designed to stall any attempts to renew the state's no-fault insurance law, will result in increased insurance company profits at the expense of taxpayer dollars.
For months now, I have been talking about Rep. Bogdanoff's preference for government in the dark on behalf of the special interests. And I am glad the Sun-Sentinel is putting Rep. Bogdanoff on notice that such abuse of our government will not go unnoticed or unchallenged.
With her actions to undermine PIP, Rep. Bogdanoff has pulled off a triple play against the people of Florida. She is managing to help big insurance, hurt average Floridians and pursue her policy of government in the dark all at the same time. For her and her insurance company friends, it's a good day. For the rest of us it's trouble.
By undermining efforts to reform PIP and instead allowing it sunset, Rep. Bogdanoff is ensuring that hospitals and taxpayers will be picking up the cost for uninsured motorists who are injured in an accident. The end of no-fault insurance will also add to the backlogs in our county courts by opening the system up to more frivolous lawsuits.  Without fault any one involved in an accident will be able to sue. These costs have hospitals and our courts concerned that they will not be able to provide the services we need. Meanwhile, local governments, whose budgets are already stretched to the limit, will be forced to pass costs of maintaining these services on to the taxpayer.
Because injured workers traditionally recovered lost wages under PIP, Rep. Bogdanoff's actions will put further stress on our local economy and on family budgets that are already strained by the rising cost of living in South Florida.
Bogdanoff's latest trick demonstrates her allegiance to the insurance industry. The Sun-Sentinel was right on point when its editorial accused her of "carrying water for the special interests." But by carrying water for the insurance companies, Rep. Bogdanoff  is leaving the rest of us high and dry.
By putting up obstacles to the real PIP reform that we need, Rep. Bogdanoff is ensuring the death of no-fault insurance and personal injury protection insurance in the state. It's just a sneaky way to give the insurance companies what they want.
It is a shame that with so many other legislative priorities this year, Rep. Bogdanoff chose to spend her time further obstructing the legislative process.

Gibbons Makes Waves

Gibbons' ways sway voters, lawmakers

High energy has helped state Rep. Joe Gibbons sell himself to Broward voters throughout his political career.

State Rep. Joe Gibbons, right, with Rep. Perry Thurston, is considered a rising force.
State Rep. Joe Gibbons, right, with Rep. Perry Thurston, is considered a rising force.
State Rep. Joe Gibbons doesn't stand. He bounces.
As he talks, the first-year legislator and Hallandale Beach Democrat shifts his weight to the balls of his feet, bobbing up and down and gesturing with both arms.
After all, Gibbons, a salesman turned business consultant, made his career using an energetic pitch to make a tough sell.
He sold himself to Hallandale Beach voters in 2003 to become only the second black commissioner in Hallandale Beach's history -- the first since 1979. He did it again three years later, when voters tapped him to be the first African American to represent his majority white legislative district.
And this spring, the style worked well in Tallahassee where the first-year legislator managed to bring money back to his district in a tight budget year and push one bill through the Republican-dominated Legislature -- tough to do as a Democratic novice.
He also made a strong first impression by turning heads in a crowd of outstanding freshmen. And he had lawmakers in both chambers talking about his potential before the legislative session even started.
The secret, colleagues say, stems from the energy and enthusiasm that push him to appear at almost every meeting, press conference and community event. And they say his future success depends on how he combines that energy with additional legislative experience.
Gibbons, 58, was born in Harlem in 1948, and grew up watching the violence of the 1950s and 1960s.
''You saw gambling, drugs,'' Gibbons said. ``You saw the whole thing.''
As a child from what he describes as ''a very no-money'' family, he knew he'd need a scholarship to attend college.
So he took to running. His 4-minute, 13-second mile helped him win an academic-athletic scholarship to Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., before he returned to New York for his master's degree in public administration.
As an adult, Gibbons channeled his competitive urge into business, then politics.
He ran unsuccessfully for the Hallandale Beach City Commission in a 2001 special election. He tried again in 2003 and won.
Then, less than three years into his four-year term, he decided to run for an open seat in the Florida House.
Gibbons knew selling himself to voters would be difficult. House District 105 stretches from Hallandale Beach to Pembroke Pines, and nearly 60 percent of the district's registered voters are white. The district also includes the historically Jewish subdivision, Century Village, and people told him he could not win against a Jewish opponent.
He sought advice from leading members of the state's Black Caucus, pulling them aside during the hectic 60 days of the 2006 legislative session.
Among them: State Sen. Al Lawson, a Tallahassee Democrat from a district where two-thirds of the people are white.
''He was so positive, so full of energy,'' said Lawson, who also is the Senate's next minority leader. ``He acted like he was ready to run the 100-yard dash.''
In the election, just 331 votes separated him from his only opponent, fellow Democrat Henry Rose. And although he lost in almost all of his Pembroke Pines precincts, his pitch won over enough voters to send him to Tallahassee.
There, the supercharged, fast-talking state representative lives by one mantra: Make sure the boss sees you working.
In January, that meant flying up for the early days of the insurance special session, even though he doesn't serve on the Legislature's insurance committees and didn't need to be there. He said he attends as many of Gov. Charlie Crist's press conferences as possible to watch the popular state executive in action.
Senate Minority Leader Steve Geller joked that Gibbons is like the ``Energizer Bunny.''
''He's always working,'' said Geller, a Hallandale Beach Democrat whose district overlaps with Gibbons'. ``He doesn't seem to get tired that easily.''
Gibbons did clash with lawmakers when it came to passing some of his bills.
For example, lawmakers in the House Business Regulation Committee knocked out a bill that would have required restaurants to post a warning if they cook with trans fats.
But in debates, Gibbons is not a ''back-row bomb thrower,'' who attacks Republican legislation simply because he's a Democrat, said state Rep. David Rivera, a Miami Republican and one of House Speaker Marco Rubio's top lieutenants.
''He's not out to make political points for the sake of making political points,'' Rivera said. ``He's out to establish public policy.''
That attitude helped another one of his proposals clear the Legislature, even though it was unpopular with some Republicans.
The bill makes it a second-degree misdemeanor for parents to leave their young children alone in the car for more than 15 minutes.
''I told him I didn't think it was necessary to criminalize accidental behavior,'' said state Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff, a Fort Lauderdale Republican.
But when House leadership voted to keep the bill and several other Democratic proposals off the House calendar in the final week of the session, Gibbons didn't complain.
He simply told Rivera and other House Republicans that he understood.
After Gibbons left, Rivera remembers telling his fellow Republicans, ``You know what? We should bring the bill to the floor just because he was so nice about it.''
The proposal kicked off almost an hour of debate, but it passed the House 67-46.
Gibbons said he doesn't know how long he'll stick with state politics. If the right opportunity comes along, he said it's possible he would leave before term limits push him out after eight years.
In Hallandale Beach, his decision to leave so early caught some of his fellow commissioners off guard, Mayor Joy Cooper said.
But before he bounces to the next opportunity, he said he wants to persuade voters he's a strong state representative. He compares the process to being a professional football player.
''If he wants to be an NFL player, he can't just be a college player. He needs to be an outstanding college player,'' Gibbons explains. ``I have to be outstanding at this level before I even think of anything else. I can't just be a regular state representative. I need to be an outstanding state representative.''