Broward County Commission District 9 Community Forum

Commissioner Dale V.C. Holness conducted a Community Forum to inform his community about the economy and jobs,crimes and safety.
"though my district is full of wonderful, enthusiastic people who love their communities and their families, we have hard hitting issues"

He invited some powerful speakers like Broward Sheriff Scott Israel, Judge Giselle Pollack, U.S. Congressman Alcee L. Hasting Workforce One Employment CEO Mason Jackson Family Success Patricia West and Superintendent Robert Runcie
His District 9 Representing Fort Lauderdale, Plantation, Sunrise, LauderhillTamarac, Oakland Park, North Lauderdale and Lauderdale Lakes. They have the highest unemployment rate, the lowest high school graduation rate among boys, and the highest poverty rate with an income below $15,000.
The most household headed by single mothers, the highest renter occupied uni
Sheriff Scott Israel, discuss how his department and officers are helping the teens stay out of trouble, and how an arrest can destroy the kids from ever been able to get a good paying job. 
Judge Giselle Pollack, has been involved with the Judicial system for the past 25 years discuss how her court  will help and guide the people that have any addiction. If they successfully complete her court course they will have the case dismiss. The Misdemeanor Drug Court Program began in Fort Lauderdale September 9,2005, the program's sucessful completion rate averages 84% and the recidivism rate is 8%.
Superintendent Robert Runcie, is personally getting involved with some schools, to motivate and lead by example. "If any child fails in my school I fail that child"
They offer to stand by the community and help them in anyway they can to Build A Strong Community.

Memorial Day message, from Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Debbie Wasserman Schultz:
This Memorial Day, we are reminded once again of the great commitment and sacrifice of all those who’ve given their lives in service to our country. Since our nation was founded, brave Americans have answered the call to serve, doing so with honor and pride. We owe an immeasurable debt of gratitude to those who have devoted their lives and made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our way of life and ensure we live in a free and prosperous America.

On Memorial Day, while we honor those who have died in service, we are also reminded of the families who mourn for loved ones lost while serving in our Armed Forces. We must remain committed to these husbands and wives and sons and daughters. While our gratitude will never replace the people we have lost, we must make sure that we as a nation show them the respect and give them the support they deserve.Debbie Wasserman Schultz:
This Memorial Day, we are reminded once again of the great commitment and sacrifice of all those who've given their lives in service to our country. Since our nation was founded, brave Americans have answered the call to serve, doing so with honor and pride. We owe an immeasurable debt of gratitude to those who have devoted their lives and made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our way of life and ensure we live in a free and prosperous America.

On Memorial Day, while we honor those who have died in service, we are also reminded of the families who mourn for loved ones lost while serving in our Armed Forces. We must remain committed to these husbands and wives and sons and daughters. While our gratitude will never replace the people we have lost, we must make sure that we as a nation show them the respect and give them the support they deserve.

Misdemeanor Drug Court Graduation

Judge Gisele Pollack created the Drug Court Program, she is also the proud Judge that at the end of the program graduates her "Kids" as she calls them.
Most of the participants are between the ages of 18 to 25 years old. 

gp image.JPGThe Misdemeanor Drug Court Program (MDCP) began in Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Fla. on September 9, 2005. The goal of MDCP is to enhance public safety by curbing their substance use and reduce crime while improving the quality of our participants lives.
MDCP participants become whole, healthy, law-abiding, self-sufficient citizens who contribute to our community in a meaningful way. The program's successful completion rate averages, 84%. The program's recidivism rate to date is 8%.

photo 2.JPGFlorida Statue 397.334(1) establishes treatment-based drug court programs for persons charged with criminal offenses, who are assessed with a substance abuse problem. The programs, address the participant's substance abuse problem by providing treatment services tailored to the participant's individual needs. Persons are diverted from the traditional adversarial process. Upon successful completion of the program, the court dismisses the eligible criminal charges, pursuant to section 948.16 Fla Statutes.   

Story: Bina Fink

Lincoln Gabriel Diaz-Balart, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart Nephew Commits Suicide.

U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart is a sitting Republican representative. The Diaz-Balart family is, perhaps, the most-politically powerful in Miami's Cuban-exile community.
His brother, Lincoln Diaz-Balart retired from congress after the 2010 elections. Another brother, Jose Diaz-Balart is a Telemundo host. A cousin of theirs is son and namesake of Fidel Castro, a prior uncle by marriage. A longtime family friend  U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, expressed her sorrow this morning in a radio interview during which she spoke of the toll of depression and suicide. 
The family's statement:
LDBIt is with infinite sadness that we announce the passing, on May 19, 2013, of our beloved son and brother, Lincoln Gabriel Diaz-Balart.
For many years, Lincoln Gabriel struggled with depression.
Lincoln Gabriel was a kind and loving human being. His love and compassion touched many lives during his 29 years.
We will remember him with profound love and devotion for the rest of our lives.
Lincoln, Cristina, and Daniel Diaz-Balart
Our Thoughts and Prayers for the Diaz-Balart family.

Story Bina Fink


photo 1.JPGphoto 3.JPGphoto 5.JPGThousands of students from  Broward County  come together for a
one-of-a-kind youth rally.  “Above the Influence,” the event   created
by United Way of Broward County Commission on Substance Abuse and the
Broward County Public Schools.  It is designed to help students and
teens  to resist peer pressure, violence and to stay away from  drugs.
  “Above the Influence” had  children from more than 40 different
schools, from kindergarten to 12th grade.  The bands march from the
Kathleen C. Wright (KC Wright) Administration Building to Huizenga

Judge Giselle Pollack, has been serving the Judicial Community for
over 25 years and was there to support and cheer the youth.

Kathleen Cannon, President and CEO of the United Way Of Broward
County, was thrilled to work together with the Superintendent of
Broward County Robert Runcie and the whole School Board.

“Above the Influence”  IT'S A STATE OF MIND. It’s about being yourself
and not letting negative influence get to you. Pressure to drink, do
drugs, be thin, discriminate against others, act violently, take
steroids, join a gang, or do anything that goes against WHO YOU ARE,
in order to fit in—that’s negative influence. And if you’re one of the
people who want to stay above it, you’ve come to the right spot. RISE

Story And Pictures by Bina Fink,

Orange County Sheriff’s Office Agent Honored by Anti Defamation League

Orange County Sheriff’s Office Agent Honored by Anti Defamation League for Hate and Domestic Terror Investigation   The ADL proudly honors Kelly Boaz, Orange County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Office Agent and Assistant Bomb Commander with the ADL Doris and Murray Felton Excellence in Law Enforcement Award for 2012. Past recipients of the Award include Sheriff Ric L. Bradshaw of the Palm Beach County Sheriffs Office, Sergeant Barry Mankes of the Miami-Dade Police Department and SheriffsTV own Captain Rick Wierzbicki(Ret) formerly of the Broward County Sheriffs Office Hate Crimes/Anti Bias Task Force. The ADL has trained over tens of thousands of federal, state and local agents on issues concerning domestic terrorism, hate crimes, and diversity. In 2008, Agent Boaz participated in the ADL’s two-day law enforcement symposium in Tampa on Global Terrorism, Domestic Extremism, and the Dark Side of the Sunshine State in cooperation with other federal law enforcement agencies. In 2012, Agent Boaz went undercover to investigate individuals suspected of being involved in domestic terrorism residing in the Orlando area. The suspects were involved in a motorcycle gang known for violence and Agent Boaz played the role of a associate biker. In the course of the investigation, Agent Boaz successfully detonated a explosive to prove his worth to their cause. The suspects also threatened to do bodily harm to other public officials. Due to the work of Agent Boaz and his back up team, the investigation publicly exposed the leadership and organization of a Florida based racist skinhead group. The investigation also led to the arrest of more than a dozen suspects aligned with the white supremacist movement. The ADL proudly recognizes Agent Boaz for all his efforts in preserving life and property.   

Sign the petition to the Tribune Company, and tell them not to sell to the Koch Brothers

What if your local newspaper was little more than a Tea Party mouthpiece? This could happen to the Orlando Sentinel and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel if we don't move fast.
Sign the petition to the Tribune Company, and tell them not to sell to the Koch Brothers.
Protest Koch Brothers La TimesThe Koch Brothers are chief architects and funders of the extreme right wing political machine. They're behind corporate front group "think tanks" like the Heritage Foundation and the CATO Institute. The Kochs are also the largest funders of the Tea Party movement and are notorious peddlers of falsehoods about Medicare, Social Security, worker’s rights, climate change, and more.


State Director of Florida Hispanic Outreach for the Republican National Committee, has defected to the Democratic Party

Pablo Pantoja, who previously served as the State Director of Florida Hispanic Outreach for the Republican National Committee, has defected to the Democratic Party.
Citing the GOP's "culture of intolerance," Pantoja confirmed his party change in an email sent Monday to Florida Nation. Pantoja also drew reference to a much-maligned dissertation from the Heritage Foundation's Jason Richwine that sought to discourage non-whites from immigrating to the United States on the basis that those groups have lower IQs. Richwine resigned from his post at Heritage last week.
"I have wondered before about the seemingly harsh undertones about immigrants and others," Pantoja wrote. "Look no further; a well-known organization recently confirms the intolerance of that which seems different or strange to them."

Charlie Crist Supports Marriage Equality for Gay Couples

On May 8, 2013, former Florida Governor Charlie Crist posted on Facebook:

“Some great news: On Tuesday, Delaware became the 11th state to allow marriage equality. And just a few days ago, Rhode Island adopted a similar measure, which followed victories last fall in Maine, Maryland and Washington. I most certainly support marriage equality in Florida and look forward to the day it happens here.”

This is a change from Crist’s position in 2006 when as Governor he signed a petition to help place an anti-gay marriage amendment on the ballot. The measure passed with nearly 62% of the vote in 2008. Today, polls show a dramatic shift in public opinion with a clear majority favoring equal access to marriage for gay couples.

“His position on this issue reflects the evolution of Florida voters,” stated Nadine Smith, 
Executive Director of Equality Florida. “The clear majority now supports full legal recognition of marriage equality and that support is growing rapidly regardless of political party, age or religious identification.”

A poll released by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute found that Florida outpaced all other Southern states with 54 percent of Floridians surveyed favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally.

A March poll by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling found 75 percent of Florida voters favor allowing gay couples to legally marry or be allowed to form civil unions that provide the same protections as marriage. Only 23 percent said there should be no legal recognition of a gay couple's relationship. Among Republicans just 25 percent opposed legal recognition of a gay relationship.

Tell Gov. Scott to veto HB 7083

In the final days of the legislative session, the Florida legislature passed a bill that increases Florida’s chances of executing innocent people. It curtails chances for people to challenge a death sentence, taking away safeguards that have helped some of the 24 people exonerated from Florida’s death row prove their innocence.

Plus, if Governor Scott signs the bill, he’ll be required to sign death warrants for 13 inmates within 30 days!"

Take ACTION at link!
Don’t Make our Death Penalty System Even Worse

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida is a non-profit, non-partisan membership 

Stop the Koch brothers from buying the news

Right-wing extremists and tea party megadonors Charles and David Koch want to take over nine newspapers owned by the Tribune Company, including the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune.
Stop the Koch brothers from buying the news.
The Koch brothers are famous for their right-wing ideology and their bankrolling of ultra-conservative, union busting organizations. Now they want to buy up influential print newspapers, turning reliable media outlets into their own versions of Fox News.
We rely on our local newspapers for smart, unbiased reporting and thorough investigations about what's happening in our communities. And we count on well-researched and untainted endorsements of political candidates on the editorial pages.
If the oil-billionaire Koch brothers take over these papers, we can expect a lot of changes at these reputable papers.

About a hundred turn out for gun show in Fort Lauderdale

Event held at War Memorial Auditorium draws a small crowd in wake of debate

Existing federal law allows potential gun owners at events like the gun show to bypass the system and purchase a gun without a background check or a cooling off period.
Despite tragic events fueled by gun violence, like the Sandy Hook School Massacre, the NRA is out of touch with most Americans
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Colorado Democrats Brings Their Elections Into The 21st Century

Conventional wisdom has it that whatever radical new idea California embraces, the rest of the nation is sure to follow–eventually. Well, watch out California, because Colorado is in a heated competition with you for Trailblazer status.
On Thursday, the Colorado Senate passed the Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act, which had already cleared the House. The centerpiece of the bill is a ballot-by-mail provision that will send a ballot to every Colorado voter, whether they use it or not. For those who choose to vote in person instead, a certain number of early voting sites will still be open. The change, however, is set to not only save substantial sums of money, but also to improve voter turnout rates. In other vote-by-mail states the turnout rate is at least 5 percentage points above the national average.

The most controversial part of the prospective new law is the provision for same-day voter registration. Republican state senators–none of whom voted for the bill–framed it as an invitation to voter fraud. However, as Senator Mike Johnston, D-Denver, pointed out, validation of registrations already happens instantly because of advances in technology. Presumably, Republicans have heard of such technology, but cling to the current 29-days-before-an-election deadline because they so enjoy being relics of the past. Or possibly they object to the fact that same-day registration increases turnout by 7 to 14 percentage points, potentially increasing Democratic margins.
Although no Republican senator supported the voting rights bill, plenty of their fellow party members participated in writing it. As Sen. Angela Giron, D-Pueblo, said Thursday:
“It’s a technical bill that was written by the county clerks. They’re the ones who know, and they’re the ones who are going to be held accountable every day when people come in to register and vote in county elections. I trust that.”
Those county clerks are both Democrats and Republicans; their action tends to prove that if the partisan politicians would get out of the way, the people’s business could be done. All that remains is for the legislation to go back to the House, to iron out technical points, and then be signed by Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper.
Other groundbreaking laws that have come out of Colorado recently are the sweeping new gun control regulations that Hickenlooper signed into law in March; approval of in-state tuition rates for undocumented students, signed last week; and the decriminalization of marijuana, signed last November.
What sets Colorado’s initiatives apart from California’s is that the GOP in the Golden State is on life-support. Without a heartbeat, it doesn’t provide much opposition. As ABC News recently asserted, California is essentially a one-party state. In Colorado, presumably, the Republican Party still has a fighting chance to avoid extinction, if they’d only stop seeing the future as the enemy and figure out how to work with the kind of change embodied in Colorado’s new legislation. As a report commissioned by the Republican National Committee recently said:
“This trend in early, absentee and online voting is here to stay. Republicans must alter their strategy and acknowledge the trend as future reality, utilizing new tactics to gain victory on Election Day.”
Whether the GOP gets on board or not, states like Colorado and California are forging ahead. And, all kidding and all competition aside, the Democrats in these states are pulling in the same direction. For the GOP, the message is becoming clearer and clearer: get on board with the concept of change–including embracing voters rather than excluding them–or be left at the station!





-HB 1159: Creating an expedited process for new nursing beds for certain communities, including The Villages retirement community in central Florida. 

-HB 1159: Allowing Miami Children's Hospital to offer 10 obstetrics beds. 

-HB 1159: Creating a prescription drug monitoring database

-HB 1159: Requiring insurers who offer IV cancer drug coverage to also cover oral cancer medications

-HB 1129, requiring medical care for newborns who survive botched abortions and penalizing abortion providers who don’t provide medical care for infants born alive after a failed abortion.

-SB 1520, gradually revamping the state's system of billing counties for Medicaid care.

-SB 1844, revising enrollment period for the Florida Health Choices Program, a marketplace program linking up Florida residents with health plans. It includes $900,000 for the program. 

- HB 239, relating to practice of optometry. The bill will allow optometrists to start prescribing oral medications and reflected a compromise between optometrists and ophthalmologists. It allows optometrists to go beyond prescribing "topical" medications, such as drops and creams. - SIGNED BY GOVERNOR


- SB 2, relating to ethics. The bill makes changes to state ethics law, such as barring elected officials from taking advantage of their positions to get taxpayer-funded jobs. Also, it includes blocking lawmakers from lobbying state agencies for two years after they leave office.

-HB 569, relating to Florida Election Code. The bill makes changes to the campaign-finance system, such as eliminating a type of political funding vehicle known as "committees of continuous existence," or CCEs. It also ups limits on individual contributions to candidates.

-HB 7013, the elections bill that allows county supervisors to increase early voting days, among other things. 


-SB 1108, giving parents of exceptional students more say in their education

-SB 1076, the CAPE bill, attempting to tie educational goals to the job market


-HB 623, relating to wine. The bill would allow the sale of wine in 5.16 gallon canisters which can be tapped like a keg, allowing easier sale of wine by the glass in restaurants and bars. Florida is one of only a couple of states that still requires wine to be sold in gallon or smaller wine bottles.

-SB 160, requiring the Department of Health to waive license fees for veterans

-HB 423, creating a sales tax break on dyed diesel fuel used by commercial fishermen, shrimpers, oystermen and clammers. 

-HB 347, allowing craft distillers to sell small amounts directly to consumers. 


- HB 7015, relating to expert testimony. The business-backed bill that would tighten standards for expert witnesses in lawsuits. It would lead to Florida adopting the same standards that federal courts use in deciding whether expert testimony will be admitted.

-SB 1792, making changes to the medical malpractice lawsuit rules, including tightening requirements for expert witnesses. 

- HB 55, relating to deceptive and unfair trade practices. The bill would require that customers give demand letters to auto dealers at least 30 days before filing lawsuits. Dealers could avoid litigation if, within that 30-day period, they pay the amounts sought in demand letters, along with surcharges of $500 or 10 percent of the amounts of damages claimed.


-HB 7083, speeding up the death penalty appeals process

- SB 92, relating to searches and seizures. The bill will restrict the use of unmanned aerial drones by law enforcement. It bars law enforcement from using the automated surveillance aircraft unless a judge issues a warrant, there is a "high risk of terrorist attack" or officials fear someone is in imminent danger. SIGNED BY GOVERNOR

-HB 1355, closing a loophole in an effort to prevent people who are mentally ill but have committed themselves for treatment and then left from purchasing guns. 

-SB 964, preventing a convicted rapist from suing for parental rights if a child is conceived as a result of the rape. 

-SB 390, prohibiting businesses from claiming to be veterans service organizations when they're not

- HB 95, relating to charitable contributions. The bill says that if a Ponzi schemer gives money to a charity, later that charity won't have to surrender the money after a criminal prosecution, if it took it in good faith.

-HB 217 requiring check cashing companies to report checks over $1,000 to the state to try to prevent workers compensation-check cashing scams.

-HB 15, preventing protests at funerals 


-SB 1852, setting out spending from the National Mortgage Foreclosure settlement

-HB 87, a bill aimed at speeding up the foreclosure process.


- HB 155, relating to electronic gambling devices. The bill outlaws the types of electronic games used in Internet cafes, effectively shutting down the controversial industry. Lawmakers rushed to pass the bill after raids on Internet cafes across the state, charges of racketeering and illegal gambling and the resignation of Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll because of her past ties to the industry. SIGNED BY GOVERNOR

-HB 7007, contained an elimination for three years of the sales tax on manufacturing equipment, a key issue for Gov. Rick Scott. 

-SB 406, the three day sales tax holiday on some items in August. Passed as part of a broader economic incentives bill.

-SB 342, which allows someone with a homestead exemption to rent their property out for 30 days without losing their homestead exemption


-SB 1036: extending foster care to age 21, rather than 18 as is currently the case. It also has some independent living training language, and provides training and support for foster parents.  The bill was named the Sen. Nancy C. Detert Common Sense and Compassion Independent Living Act. 

-SB 718, overhauling the state’s alimony laws, including eliminating the concept of permanent alimony. It also would have created new legal standards based on the lengths of marriages and would set limits on the percentages of monthly income that could be awarded in alimony based on the lengths of marriages. VETOED BY GOVERNOR


-SB 1770, setting up a clearinghouse to push Citizens Property Insurance policies into private companies, restricting Citizens coverage in some cases, giving the company an inspector general and changing how its leaders are appointed.

- SB 1842, relating to health insurance. The bill would make insurance-regulation changes as part of carrying out the federal Affordable Care Act. In part, it would temporarily rely on the federal government to do rate reviews for many insurers.


-SB 1472, putting in review benchmarks for power companies that want to collect money from customers in advances of building new nuclear generating plants. 

- HB 4001, relating to Florida Renewable Fuel Standard Act. The bill would lift the 2008 state law requiring gasoline sold by a terminal suppliers or wholesalers to be blended with ethanol. The Florida Renewable Fuel Standard Act was created to attract the ethanol industry to Florida, but repeal supporters argued the requirement damages engines and drives up fuel and food costs.


-SB 52, banning texting while driving except when stopped.

-HB 7125, keeping local governments from using red light cameras to ticket people for not stopping before turning right on red.

- HB 7059, which repealed a 2012 law that required foreigners to have a special international permit to drive in Florida. The 2012 law caused confusion among tourists, such as Canadian snowbirds. SIGNED BY GOVERNOR

-SB 606, creating the Northeast Florida Regional Transportation Commission, passed unanimously.


-SB 50 guaranteeing people the right to speak before local government boards and commissions. 


-HB 655, to keep local governments from setting their own policies on forms of compensation like earned sick leave. 


-HB 7065, setting up a process for Everglades cleanup

-HB 999, a wide-ranging permitting bill


-SB 674, requiring many animal shelters and animal control agencies to keep records about how many animals they euthanize and make the records available to the public. 

-SB 142, removing the word "retardation" from statutes in favor of "intellectual disability."



Several bills aimed at expanding health care coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act
Several bills aimed at increasing oversight over assisted living facilities


-HB 867, the so-called "parent trigger" bill that would have given parents the ability to petition school district about a turnaround plan for failing schools.

-HB 1279, a bill overhauling the Florida High School Athletic Association


-SB 306, giving the Miami Dolphins the ability to get a local hotel tax increase and use it to renovate a stadium. Setting out a process for other facilities to get state money for rehabs.


-SB 1832: Rolling back motor vehicle registration fee increases, lowering the cost by $12. In turn, the bill would eliminate a premium tax credit that out-of-state insurers pay based on payroll in Florida. 


-SB 1932: Changing the default retirement plan for state employees who don’t select a type of retirement plan to the defined contribution system and shortening the vesting period for those workers who choose the defined contribution plan, rather than the defined benefit pension plan. 

-SB 1216, pre-empting wage theft regulations to the state.


-HB 761, SB 752, making certain agricultural operations that use alternative energy technology eligible for capital investment tax credits

-SB 140, exempting short term rentals of cars used for 6 hours or less as part of a car sharing service from the rental car surcharge. 


-SB 1350, changing sentencing guidelines for juvenile offenders to deal with Supreme Court rulings preventing life sentences for certain juveniles.

-HB 797 preventing police from searching cell phones of arrestees without a warrant. (A Supreme Court ruling during the session essentially did the same thing, however.)

-HB 159: Increasing the amount of oxycodone and hydrocodone one may be in possession of before being charged with trafficking and reducing prison terms in some cases, therefore, for possession of prescription painkillers. 

-SB 874, prohibiting open parties where minors are in possession or are consuming alcohol. 


-HB 715: Allowing 64-ounce growlers to be filled up at brewpubs. 


-HB 589: Officially creating in statute the position of State Poet Laureate and providing for how the poet shall be chosen

-SB 634, re-enacting a ban on loud car stereos

-HB 58, a bill barring foreign legal systems from being honored in American family courts