Thursday, September 07, 2006

FLORIDA DIGEST September 7, 2006


Bill's Filling Station under new ownership
Bar adds new amenities, plans to retain 'neighborhood' feel

Sep. 02, 2006

Bill's Filling Station, a 10-year-old gay bar in Fort Lauderdale, is under new ownership.

Former owner Michael Wright sold the bar Aug. 14 to Jackson Padgett and MarkNegrete, both of whom are gay, the bar's manager confirmed this week.

The bar has just added two new pool tables and new nightly specials,including three-for-one drinks on Wednesdays, said Chad Lynn, manager ofBill's Filling Station.

"We want to remain a neighborhood bar," Lynn said. "We've added some stuffto attract a bigger clientele base."

Lynn, who was also the manager under the previous owners, said he was kepton "to ensure continuity."

The bar is located at 1243 NE 11th Ave. in Fort Lauderdale.


If it looks easy for Storms, well, it is

The Republican hardly even campaigned in her primary and won. Voters in District 10 just love her.
Published September 7, 2006

BRANDON - She spent less than half as much as her opponent on the primaryelection. She didn't hire a consultant or tout a single endorsement on herWeb site. She spent campaign funds on pony rentals, a moon bounce and abluegrass band.

And when the votes were tallied Tuesday, Ronda Storms skipped to victory inthe Senate District 10 Republican primary against Sandy Murman, a woman witheight years of experience in the state Legislature.

That means trouble for Democrat Stephen Gorham, a 27-year-old Navy veteran
and political newcomer who faces Storms in November.


To the victors belong the scars
David Colburn
Special to the Sentinel

September 7, 2006

In the last 24 hours, Republican Charlie Crist and Democrat Jim Davis havebeen alternately celebrating their victories, examining ways to build on theelection results, and reviewing steps to heal the internal party divisionscreated by the contests. Despite their victories, neither came out of theprimaries unscathed.

As we've come to expect from past Democratic primaries, Davis and hisDemocratic opponent, state Sen. Rod Smith, took one another to task on anumber of issues, with perhaps the most telling attack coming from Smith. Heberated Davis' extended absence from his congressional duties as hecampaigned for governor during the past 18 months. Crist will almostcertainly take up Smith's criticism of Davis during the coming weeks.

But the charges and countercharges of Davis and Smith paled next to thepersonal and political attacks Tom Gallagher launched against Charlie Crist.Seldom in Florida's recent political history have Republican opponentstraded such barbs as the two candidates did in this primary.


Senate foes will spar on TV

Coming soon to a television screen near you: live debates between Rep. Katherine Harris and Sen. Bill Nelson, the incumbent she is challenging.

WASHINGTON - Running 30 percentage points ahead in the polls and sitting ona comfortable cushion of cash, Sen. Bill Nelson agreed Wednesday to twotelevised debates with his Republican challenger, Rep. Katherine Harris.

The controversial congresswoman clinched the Republican nomination Tuesday,but not without further denting her often chaotic campaign by pulling inless than 50 percent of the votes in the GOP primary, despite outspendingthree little-known opponents.

Harris spent the day thanking voters and juggling radio interviews, and hercampaign shrugged off suggestions that the primary results foreshadow aneven rockier quest to unseat Nelson. ''We're not concerned at all,''spokeswoman Jennifer Marks said. ``We're very pleased in a four-way racethat we had such a strong showing of support. We're excited and moving forward.''


Published: Sep 7, 2006

Yet again, most Floridians had no say in an important election - because they didn't vote.

Tuesday's primary had one of the lowest turnouts in state history - about 20percent of registered voters in Hillsborough County and statewide, accordingto preliminary results. And that's not counting 2 million or 3 millionadults who never bothered to register.

That lack of participation often is blamed on apathy - people just notcaring or seeing how it matters to them. Voters, however, aren't the onlyones to blame. People in power don't always want everyone to vote.

In Florida and across the country, those in authority are making votingharder, not easier. Big money political machines are being used to boost thepower of extremes on both the left and the right, with the vast middle oftenleft out. Even seasoned politiciansspeak wistfully of the dwindling time they get to spend with the people they represent.


Both candidates court black community as governor's race heats up

By Linda Kleindienst and Jeremy Milarsky
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

September 7, 2006

TAMPA · The first day of the post-primary run for governor found Republican
Charlie Crist already taking steps to align himself with the governor he
hopes to replace and Democrat Jim Davis looking to mend fences after a
divisive campaign.

Davis won with fewer than half the Democratic votes, edging out chief rivalRod Smith and three minor candidates after a bitter primary in which chargesof favoring special interests and disrespecting civil rights were slung backand forth.

Sugar farmers bankrolled a nearly $5 million anti-Davis campaign aimed atblack voters, focusing attention on Davis' 1990 vote while a statelegislator to deny compensation to Freddie Lee Pitts and Wilbert Lee, twoblack men wrongly convicted of killing two white gas station attendants in
Florida's Panhandle.



The Next Generation, a project of Lavender Writes, the Broward County Cultural Division, the Broward County North Regional Library and Border Books & Music, presents an ongoing free workshop for gay and lesbian adults who want to learn how to write fiction or improve their knowledge and writing skills. The course will meet online, with free computers available
at the Broward County Libraries for people who do not have access to computers at home.

Students will learn about the elements of fiction, write short stories or novel chapters and critique drafts of work for other students, which will provide feedback for students while helping them learn to evaluate and improve their own fiction. This is an interactive class. Students will
post drafts of their work and participate in discussions of fiction wiring and problems and questions as they arise.

The course is organized as a Yahoo Group and meets weekly. Assignments and discussions are due once a week, but students can participate at a time and date that is convenient for them. The class is ongoing during the year. Students can participate for the entire year or for a shorter time. Students will also have opportunities to read their work at Open Mic readings during the year.

The course is open to new and established writers. A working knowledge of Microsoft Word and the Internet are required. Attendance is limited to keep class size small. Students will be accepted on a first-come basis. Additional students will be accepted during the year as space become available. Pre-registration required at

For more information or to register, contact Lavender Writes at:

Please contact us at rays.list@comcast.nety for full article


Uneducated kids imperil state growth, report says

Most Florida youths skip college and can't fill jobs of boomers, a study warns.
Dave Weber
Sentinel Staff Writer

September 7, 2006

A generation of poorly educated children unlikely to get college degreesthreatens Florida's ability to create a competitive work force and mayweaken the state's economy, a new report being released today says.

Many Florida students are not academically prepared for college, most willnot attend and many who do will struggle to pay, says the nonpartisanNational Center for Public Policy and Higher Education in Washington. Florida has one of the lowest high-school graduation rates in the country,with only 56 percent of students completing high school in four years,according to the center's latest assessment, released every other year.

Less than a third go to college, with fewer earning degrees, the report says.


Crist, Davis look to mend party fences
Gubernatorial candidates to shore up support

By Aaron Deslatte capital bureau
Originally posted on September 07, 2006

TALLAHASSEE - Two weeks ago, Republican Charlie Crist stopped by a meetingwith black Republicans in Jacksonville where he touted a civil rights casehis office prosecuted against a Perry hotel operator who had kept blacksfrom swimming in the pool.

The Republican Party "is a big tent, and it's got to stay that way," thegubernatorial hopeful said to big applause.

Two days earlier, Democrat Rod Smith had opened a new front in his primarycampaign by questioning the civil rights credentials of opponent Jim Davisin an infamous case where the eventual Democratic nominee had voted againstcompensating two black men wrongfully placed on death row.

A mailer sent out a day later by the sugar industry put the attack moresuccinctly: "Davis voted to deny justice." It was a jab that stung all theway to the polls.


Lethal-injection debate continues across state


GAINESVILLE - While Gov. Jeb Bush has started signing death warrants againin Florida, don't expect serial killer Danny Rolling or other Death Rowinmates to be executed anytime soon.

Some death penalty experts say executions in the state are likely to bedelayed until the courts decide whether the lethal injection method is crueland unusual punishment. The courts face complicated questions over the hemicals used in the procedure, the people giving those chemicals andoversight of executions, said Deborah Denno, a Fordham University law
professor and expert on lethal injection.

"There are many aspects of the procedure that are problematic," she said.

Bush last month signed a death warrant for convicted cop killer ClarenceHill, setting his execution date for Sept. 20. A spokeswoman for Bush saidhe wanted to spur the courts into deciding Hill's challenge of the lethalinjection method of execution.


Is Crist win sign of shift for GOP?

Charlie Crist could be on the way to giving a more moderate face to the state Republican Party.
Published September 7, 2006

The incoming leader of Florida's Republican Party, Charlie Crist, lost notime Wednesday announcing the support of current GOP boss and Florida's mostpopular politician, Gov. Jeb Bush.

Just 15 hours after capturing the GOP nomination for governor, Crist toldabout 40 supporters at his St. Petersburg headquarters that he would spendtoday hop-scotching the state with Bush, who had remained neutral in theprimary between Crist and Tom Gallagher.

"The Jeb Bush era has not ended," Crist said. "It still exists and it's important to me."


Two days after small primary, Palm Beach County one of last in state to report

By Andy Reid
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

September 7, 2006

With bubbles long fizzled from campaign party champagne, Palm Beach Countyvote-counting lumbered into a second day Wednesday while candidates andparty leaders clamored for faster results from Supervisor of ElectionsArthur Anderson. Complete vote totals were not expected until today.

Anderson said accuracy remains his priority and concerns about the pace ofhis tabulation process were "grossly distorted."

Candidate Kelly Skidmore had to wait until about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday todeclare victory by a little more than 200 votes in her race for the District90 state House seat.




The Religious Science Center for Spiritual Living is joining hearts with churches and organizations across the world to celebrate 11 Days of Global Unity & a Season of Forgiveness with free events every day including an Interfaith Celebration, twice daily peace meditations, and culminating with a Peace Concert presenting various artists.

September 11th opens 11 Days of Global Unity & a Season of Forgiveness and will be memorialized with an Interfaith Service at the Religious Science Center celebrating our connection as a global community and breathing forgiveness where there has been bitterness and pain. Celebrants are from Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, Christian and New Thought traditions.

Peace meditations will be held daily in the Religious Science Center at noon and 7:30 pm offering a place of reflection and restoration on individual, community and global levels. Everyone is welcome regardless of religion, race, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

WHO: Religious Science Center for Spiritual Living
WHAT: Celebrating 11 Days of Global Unity & a Season of ForgivenessWHEN: September 11 - 21, 2006; all evening events begin at 7:30
COST: All events are free of charge.
Please contact us at if you would like the full


St. Petersburg Times
For battered Davis, worst lies ahead
By ADAM C. SMITH, Times Political Editor
Published September 6, 2006

How can U.S. Rep. Jim Davis possibly beat charming Charlie Crist, the telegenic, lavishly funded Republican gubernatorial candidate who stuck to the ideological center throughout a sometimes bruising GOP primary?

A) He probably won't.

B) But there's way too much material for Democrats to work with to chalk this up as a foregone conclusion yet.Davis emerged as the Democrats' wounded Democratic nominee Tuesday.He had underestimated Rod Smith's strength from the start, saw his 20-point primary lead evaporate, and now faces an even tougher - much tougher - general election campaign.

What won't work well for Davis is trying to cast Attorney General Crist as a right winger out of step with average Floridians. Advocating higher teacher pay, sticking with the class-size reduction mandate and sounding ambivalent on restricting abortions, Crist has campaigned much more like a general election centrist than a Republican primary conservative.


St. Petersburg Times

Gallagher latest victim of Nice Guy; Davis next?
By HOWARD TROXLER, Times Columnist
Published September 6, 2006

In a simpler and more efficient world, things would have worked out like this.

Right after the 2004 election, the boss of the Republican Party of Florida would have put Tom Gallagher, Charlie Crist, and Katherine Harris in the same room and locked the door.

"Tom,'' the party boss would have said, "you're going to be governor, like you wanted to be back in '94.'

"Charlie, you're going to be U.S. senator, like you wanted to be back in '98, and like your mentor Connie Mack.

"And Katherine, you're going to be ambassador to Fiji. Jeb's got it all worked out with the White House. So start packing.''

But there was no boss like that around. So when 2006 came, Crist and Gallagher ran against each other to be the Republican nominee for governor.


It's Davis vs. Crist for governor
By Brian E. Crowley

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 06, 2006

ST. PETERSBURG - Charlie Crist rolled over Tom Gallagher to win the Republican nomination for governor while Jim Davis fought back a late surge from Rod Smith to capture the Democratic nod Tuesday.

Speaking to hundreds of cheering supporters in St. Petersburg, Crist immediately launched into the general election campaign, calling on the Democratic nominee to join him in two statewide debates.

Crist, the state attorney general, also called for Republican unity: "I invite those who supported Tom to join our campaign." And repeating his favorite campaign slogan, he said as governor he would call for "less taxes, less spending, less government and more freedom."


Posted on Wed, Sep. 06, 2006

Okeechobee levee in danger of collapsing, flooding area

Los Angeles Times

PAHOKEE - It's been the backyard hill that children rolled down, with a popular hiking path above canals and cane fields stretching to the horizon. The grass-covered ridge affords townsfolk a soothing breeze off the broad, shallow waters of Lake Okeechobee.

Now the levee circling Florida's largest lake looms as a landmark of potential disaster. The crumbling, 70-year-old earthen barrier known as the Herbert Hoover Dike has been called "a grave and imminent danger" that could breach during a hurricane and inundate the 40,000 people living and working in its flood path.

In April, engineering experts forecast a 1-in-6 chance of the dike's failure this hurricane season, a report that prompted Gov. Jeb Bush to urge federal authorities to speed up repairs and local agencies to draft evacuation plans for residents living south and east of the 700-square-mile lake.

The alarm bells have evoked the death and chaos that ensued a year ago in New Orleans, when Hurricane Katrina's deluge broke through a similarly weakened levee holding back Lake Pontchartrain.

The New Orleans scenario is unlikely here, because the territory surrounding the dike is sparsely populated, flat and above the lake level, unlike the below-sea level urban neighborhoods inundated by Lake Pontchartrain.

But this area has seen its own hurricane disaster. A 1928 storm blew Okeechobee lake water over the surrounding communities, killing more than 3,000 people and leading to the dike's construction.


The New York Times

September 7, 2006

Democrats See Chances to Gain in Florida

MIAMI, Sept. 6 - Gov. Jeb Bush is leaving office because of term limits, and Florida Republicans' new Senate nominee, Representative Katherine Harris, is perhaps the party's weakest here in decades. So the state's hobbled Democrats see a rare opportunity to regain some of the ground they have lost in this swing state over the last 12 years.

The going will be rough. Governor Bush's popularity will almost certainly help Attorney General Charlie Crist, who in Tuesday's primary became the Republican nominee to succeed him. And the State Legislature, controlled by Republicans since 1996, will stay that way. Republicans now hold every statewide office except for that of Senator Bill Nelson, who now faces a challenge from Ms. Harris, and all but 7 of Florida's 25 seats in the House.

Yet Democrats believe they can capitalize on national anger toward Republicans this year, and on local concern about home insurance rates and education policy, including what many see as an overemphasis on standardized testing. They are hoping that social conservatives will be kept at home on Election Day by Mr. Crist's moderate positions: he supports stem cell research and civil unions for same-sex couples, and, though against abortion, has said he would not support new restrictions on it.

Republican dominance notwithstanding, Florida has more registered Democrats, who number 4.2 million, than Republicans, at 3.9 million, according to the Division of Elections.