Monday, August 07, 2006

FLORIDA DIGEST August 7, 2006


Davis has diverse record from time at the Capitol


WASHINGTON -- A State Department official announced last month that Saudi Arabia would strip extremist material from school textbooks under pressure from the Bush administration.

Many Florida voters would be surprised to learn that Rep. Jim Davis, a Democrat from Tampa, might deserve a little credit.

Davis first introduced a resolution in 2002 demanding that the Saudi government revise its textbooks, which he saw as a root cause of extremism that produced most of the Sept. 11 hijackers. The bill went nowhere for four years, but Davis persisted until last December, when the House approved it with the help of Rep. Peter King of New York, the Republican chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.


So far, candidates fail to fire up evangelicals
John Kennedy
Tallahassee Bureau Chief

August 7, 2006

TALLAHASSEE -- Tom Gallagher insists he can still pull off a comeback win in next month's Republican primary for governor with his anti-abortion and pro-family views.

But the potentially powerful voting bloc of evangelical Christians that Gallagher is trying to drive to the polls is showing little interest in the race, many of its leaders say.

"I just don't hear a lot of buzz," said Bill Stephens, executive director of the Christian Coalition of Florida. "I really think there is not one person out there really coming across as the shining candidate [that] values voters get behind."

Steve Smith, a pastor at Orlando's large and politically active First Baptist Church, also said his congregation isn't rallying behind Gallagher's candidacy -- or anyone else's for that matter. Polls show Attorney General Charlie Crist leading Gallagher by as much as 31 percentage points and
holding a 2-to-1 advantage in campaign cash on hand.


Smith says working with GOP is key to success


TALLAHASSEE -- In six short years in the Florida Legislature, Rod Smith developed into a go-to guy on critical legislation affecting everything from schools to the court system to the controversy over Terri Schiavo.

His rapid rise in the state Senate was not surprising given that Smith is bright -- he served as an adjunct professor at the University of FloridaCollege of Law. As a glib-tongued trial lawyer, he starred in floor debates.And he arrived with the reputation of being one of the state's top
prosecutors, having sent Gainesville serial killer Danny Rolling to DeathRow.

But what is remarkable is that Smith, who is running for the Democraticnomination for governor, excelled in a legislative arena dominated byRepublicans.

Lawmakers and lobbyists say no one can dispute the fact that Smith has beenan impact player in Tallahassee.


Davis' 'Quiet' Diligence
By MICHAEL FECHTER The Tampa Tribune
Published: Aug 7, 2006

Indiana U.S. Rep. Tim Roemer took to the House floor in 1996 to complainabout the way Congress scheduled its business. It was nearly impossible, hecomplained, for a parent to fulfill his duties to his office and to hisfamily.

Roemer received a telephone call a few days later from a young Floridalegislator. Florida State Rep. Jim Davis was thinking about a run forCongress and had similar concerns for his 4- and 6-year-old sons.

Davis did run and succeeded in replacing Sam Gibbons representing District11, which then covered much of Tampa.

The call struck a chord with Roemer, who was impressed to find someone elsewho "wants to be public servant, but wants to be good father and goodhusband."


Storefronts shuttered on Fort Lauderdale beach as billionaire's big plan falters

By Brittany Wallman
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

August 7, 2006

FORT LAUDERDALE -- It has been almost a year since self-made billionaire Yitzhak Tshuva, owner of El-Ad Group, cast his sights on Fort Lauderdalebeach and sank some of his fortune there, igniting a buzz about a newcondo-hotel development.

But the boards covering the former Club Atlantis and Margarita Café remain.Blondie's Sports Bar is plated in metal shutters, closed. The Elbo Roomhasn't had much more than a paint job in years.

For the foreseeable future, residents and visitors following Las OlasBoulevard to its terminus at the ocean will see blight.

Redevelopment plans are officially on hold for the 5-acre block that servesas a welcome mat to the beach, where coconut palms and sand and sea convergewith beers in plastic cups, where a mere 2.2 acres sold for $56.3 million last October, because of what could be.


Many Dems still undecided on nominee for governor Jim Davis ahead in the polls, but Rod Smith argues he has a better chance of winning in the general election

By Larry Hannan
Monday, August 7, 2006

The last decade has been a really lousy time for the Florida Democratic Party.

Republicans hold strong majorities in both the Florida Senate and House ofRepresentatives. The governor and all members of the Cabinet areRepublicans. The only Democrat to hold statewide office is U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.

But with approval ratings for Republicans down nationwide, Florida Democrats hope to start their rebirth with the 2006 elections.

The first challenge they face is determining whether U.S. Rep. Jim Davis,
D-Tampa, or state Sen. Rod Smith, D-Alachua, should be their candidate for

With less than a month to go before the Sept. 5 primary election, a large number of Democrats remain undecided on who will get their vote. Polls showDavis in the lead, although how big that lead is depends on which poll you look at.


Crist known as likable, skilled, with policy lag
By S.V. Date
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Monday, August 07, 2006

TALLAHASSEE - Four powerful hurricanes had just hammered the state, the insurance claims were piling up, and Gov. Jeb Bush and Chief FinancialOfficer Tom Gallagher were wading effortlessly through the arcane jargon of"reinsurance" and the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund.

Well into the discussion at that Nov. 23, 2004, Cabinet meeting, AttorneyGeneral Charlie Crist had a much more basic query:"What's the purpose of the Cat Fund?"

It was not a rhetorical question. Crist really wanted the state's directorof the fund, which provides subsidized reinsurance for property insurers, toexplain it to him.

The contrast could not have been more stark, either during that meeting or for voters in September and possibly November.


State's gay caucus organized, growing

Gay and lesbian leaders step into the political arena as well, working to mobilize voters.
Published August 7, 2006

TALLAHASSEE - The man approached from across the pool deck, as Sally Phillips waited for a drink with her partner Ercilia Albistu at the rooftop bar.

The man looked rumpled in a white shirt and maroon tie, and squinted hiseyes into the evening sun. He stopped next to the couple.

"I'm Sally," started Phillips, the president of the Hillsborough County Gay,Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Allies. She extended her right hand."Of course, I remember you!" said the man, grabbing her hand.

It was state Sen. Rod Smith, a Democrat running for governor.

Smith did remember her. He wanted to make sure she remembered him.


Stonewall Book Discussion Group Returns September 14

For Immediate Release

For further information call SLA at 954-763-8565

The Stonewall Library and Archives is happy to announce that its monthly GLBT book discussion group will return from its summer hiatus on Thursday,September 14, at 7:30 p.m. Jesse Monteagudo, author of "The Book Nook" andan award-winning authority on GLBT literature, will lead the discussions onthe second Thursday of every month. The first book to be discussed,appropriately enough, is "Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the GayRevolution," David Carter's history of the pivotal event in GLBT history(that incidentally gave SLA its name).

In addition todiscussing "Stonewall," participants will have the opportunity to discuss other topics of interest and to choose October's title. The Stonewall Library and Archives is located at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of South Florida, 1717 North Andrews Avenue, in Fort Lauderdale. Admission to the book discussion group is free and the event is open to the public.

Nate Klarfeld
Stonewall Library & Archives
954-763-8565 voice
954-763-8533 fax


The Stonewall Library & Archives and BlackOut Fest proudly present a screening of "Strange Fruit" on Friday, August 18th, 2006 @ 7PM at theStonewall Library & Archives, 1717 N. Andrews Ave. (Inside the GLCC), Ft.Lauderdale, FL. Suggested donation is $5.00

Set in the backwoods of Louisiana, STRANGE FRUIT is a dramatic thrillerdirected by Kyle Schickner. The story centers on the investigation of a hate- crime murder committed against a young black gay man. William Boyle, a prominent openly gay New York attorney, who happens to be a childhood friend of the victim, is called back to Louisiana to help solve the gruesome
homicide. Boyle agrees to return to his hometown, but is soon caught in a complex web of circumstances and cover-ups that jeopardize his career and puthis life in danger. Thwarted in his efforts both by racism from outside theAfrican-American community, and homophobia from within, Boyle faces mountingobstacles. In order to solve the mystery and stay alive, he must eventuallyface the personal demons he thought he had left behind.

The Broward County Commissioners, Cultural Affairs Division has generouslyfunded the Stonewall Library & Archives Movies for this fiscal year.

Nate Klarfeld
Stonewall Library & Archives
954-763-8565 voice
954-763-8533 fax