Monday, October 30, 2006


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Posted on Mon, Oct. 30, 2006


Last Crist-Davis debate is today

The contenders to replace Gov. Jeb Bush will face off tonight in anhourlong, televised debate eight days before voters go to the polls.


The question looming over the second and last televised debate tonightbetween the candidates for governor is not whether Democrat Jim Davis willsay the three little words, but how many times.

''Stay the course'' -- hurled as an accusation against his opponent -- hasbecome Davis' main line of attack against front-running Republican CharlieCrist. Davis uttered the phrase nine times in last week's hourlong debate,arguing that Crist represents the status quo and will fail to reversesoaring property taxes and insurance rates.


For Crist and Davis, it's time to play hardball
Chris Matthews moderates tonight's debate.
Published October 30, 2006

Chris Matthews is a motor-mouth interrogator whose in-your-face interviewstyle has been parodied everywhere from Saturday Night Live to the pages ofthis newspaper.

But ask him about the grumbling from some in Florida that his gregariouspersonality might overshadow the gubernatorial debate he is moderatingtonight, and the host of MSNBC's Hardball offers a simple promise.

"Five words: If I can do it, I'll ask questions that are just five wordslong," he said Friday, calling from his office in Washington, D.C. "The twocandidates are going to be the stars of this night. My job is to make surepeople see as much of them as possible and learn as much about them aspossible. I want people who watch this program to walk away saying, 'I thinkI know these guys now.' "


October 30, 2006

South Florida

Panel to discuss progress of gay rights movement

A group of local activist will discuss "40 Years Later: How Far has theLesbian/Gay Rights Movement Come?" during a panel discussion today.

The discussion will be from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Main Library, 100 S. AndrewsAve., Fort Lauderdale.

The event, part of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender History Month,is sponsored by ArtsUnited, the Stonewall Library and Archives and BrowardCounty Libraries Division.

It is free and open to the public. For more information call 954-357-7348.


Florida Today - Our view: We recommend a no vote on Amendment 3

Follow the money to understand why Amendment 3 to the Florida Constitutiondeserves a "no" vote.

Placed on the ballot by state lawmakers, the measure makes it harder forcitizens to change the state Constitution by requiring future amendmentsreceive at least 60 percent approval, instead of the current simple 50percent plus 1 majority.

That would raise the bar on the citizen-petition process -- which is alreadyonerous -- so high it's virtually impassable.

Legislators say the tougher threshold is needed so the Constitution isn'tsullied with supposedly specious citizen initiatives -- such as the infamousmeasure to protect pregnant pigs passed in 2002.


Two seem cut from same cloth in some ways, but patterns split
By Michael C. Bender

Palm Beach Post Capital Bureau

Monday, October 30, 2006

Sharing a debate stage, Tim Mahoney and Joe Negron cut similar figures. Justfive years apart in age, each stands taller than 6 feet with dark hair andwhite skin bronzed after stumping under the Florida sun.

Both share aggressive campaign styles, too.

Democrat Mahoney runs on adrenaline, eager to point out problems in theRepublican-led Congress and to trumpet successes in his business career.

Republican Negron's confidence brims from an outpouring of support from thestate and national GOP and a history of battling through other bruisingcampaigns.


Most voters dislike FCAT use

But they don't know the positions of the gubernatorial candidates on useof the test.

By THOMAS C. TOBIN, Times Staff Writer
Published October 30, 2006

Most Florida voters don't like how the state uses a standardized test tograde schools. But ask them which candidate for governor would changethings, and they are far less certain.

Fifty-nine percent of voters in a St. Petersburg Times poll said they opposehow the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test is administered as thecenterpiece of a strict accountability system for public schools. The numberwas even higher in the Tampa Bay area.

In other words, they agree with Jim Davis, the Democratic candidate forgovernor. But only 36 percent said they trust Davis to handle the task ofimproving public schools.


Broward voters unlikely to expand mass transit, newspaper poll says

By Michael Turnbell
Transportation Writer

October 30, 2006

Broward County commuters often complain about getting stuck in traffic, butwill they buy a sales tax proposal that promises to ease their commutingwoes?

On Nov. 7, Broward voters will be asked to increase the county's sales taxto 7 percent from 6 percent to pay for a broad, if somewhat vague, plan toexpand mass transit.

A 1-percent increase in the sales tax would cost the average consumer about$45 a year.

Commuters like Bryan Daniel of Fort Lauderdale, say the idea of a moreefficient bus system sounds great. But he doesn't have confidence in countygovernment, which would control the $260 million for improvements the taxwould bring in each year.

Daniel holds a number of jobs, including officer manager for a mortgagebroker and part-time owner of a catering company. He has taken mass transitin the past but stopped because the service was inconvenient and notfrequent enough.



South Florida Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board

October 27, 2006

Vote YES on Amendment No. 1

Amendment 1 is a much needed budgetary fix for the way the FloridaLegislature handles the state's finances. Voters should choose YES.

The proposed constitutional amendment limits the amount of one-time revenuethat can be appropriated to pay for ongoing expenses to 3 percent of theoverall revenue in the state's general fund. It's a reasonable cap that'slong overdue.

The limit still provides enough money for lawmakers to craft budgets, and itwill help curb an unsettling practice. State lawmakers have too often reliedon nonrecurring revenue from one-time sources, such as profits from the saleof assets or settlements, to cover the costs of year-to-year expenses.

The Legislature can't seem to break the habit and has asked for help fromthe public. The correct response should be an enthusiastic YES.



South Florida Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board

October 30, 2006

Vote NO on Amendment No. 6

Florida's property tax crisis requires a nuanced solution. It's unwise forFlorida voters to approve one vague and much too narrow solution in lieu ofbroader changes. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board urges votersto reject Amendment 6.

This constitutional amendment would double to $50,000 the homesteadexemption for low-income seniors. It sounds tempting, but voters must sayno.

For starters, the amendment doesn't define "low-income." Presumably, thedefinition will be left to the Legislature, and who knows how they willclarify the thresholds for qualification?

More importantly, the solution to soaring taxes from increases in propertyvalues lies not in one narrow solution. The menu of reforms should include abroader increase in the value of the homestead exemption, or permitting thetransfer of exemptions when people move.



South Florida Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board

October 30, 2006

Vote NO on Amendment No. 7

Proposed constitutional Amendment 7 is a good law for the Legislature toconsider. But it's a bad amendment to carve into Florida's bedrock legaldocument.

Amendment 7 would give a discount on the ad valorem tax on the homestead ofa disabled or partly disabled veteran who is older than 65 and whosedisability is combat-related. The amendment's wording specifies that thediscount be equal to the percentage of the veteran's permanent disability.

The intentions behind this proposal appear worthy, and combat veteranswho've made sacrifices for this country are surely entitled to suchconsideration.

But writing this measure into the state Constitution creates inflexibility.Better for such a proposal to be approved as law by the Legislature.



South Florida Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board

October 30, 2006

Vote NO on Amendment No. 8

Floridians should oppose placing new, constitutional restrictions on thegovernment's power of eminent domain. The South Florida Sun-SentinelEditorial Board recommends a NO vote on Constitutional Amendment No. 8.

The amendment would expand on what the Legislature did earlier this year,when it enacted a law spelling out that governments cannot take privateproperty deemed "blighted" and transfer ownership to a private developer.

That law is already too restrictive of government's legitimate power tocondemn blighted property for redevelopment. The Legislature should revisitit to permit condemnations of truly blighted areas, but only as a lastresort and with just compensation.

But first it must narrow and clarify the definition of "blight." Over theyears that definition has expanded to include almost anything a privatedeveloper and a local government might covet for profit and to increase thetax base. That's abusive and wrong.

The proposed amendment would prohibit any and all condemnations of privateproperty for the purpose of transferring ownership to another privateentity. However, exceptions could be made by three-fifths votes of bothhouses of the Legislature.


Article published Oct 30, 2006

The reason for Amendment 4
Survey shows state funding vital in effort to deter teen smoking

Florida voters should take note of a federal survey indicating that a longdecline in smoking in the United States has stalled. On Election Day,they'll have a chance to do something about it.

The Nov. 7 ballot includes a proposed amendment to the Florida Constitutionthat would require the state to spend 15 percent of its annual proceeds fromthe 1997 tobacco settlement on programs designed to deter teen smoking.

The amendment initiative comes at a critical juncture in the battle againstan addiction that kills 400,000 Americans every year and causes immeasurablesuffering among their friends and families.


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