Wednesday, December 20, 2006

FLORIDA DIGEST December 20, 2006

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The Miami Herald

Posted on Wed, Dec. 20, 2006


Crist picks 'fixer' Bob Butterworth to sort out DCF
A former Broward sheriff and state attorney general will tackle one ofFlorida's most daunting jobs: the Department of Children & Families.


TALLAHASSEE - In one of his boldest moves as he forms his newadministration, incoming Republican Gov. Charlie Crist tapped formerAttorney General Bob Butterworth -- once state government's most prominentDemocrat -- to head Florida's long-troubled child welfare agency.

''They don't come any finer; the best attorney general Florida hasever had,'' Crist, the state's current attorney general, said Tuesday.

''He is a great public servant,'' Crist added. ``Most importantly,he's my friend. I have followed some great public servants in the officesthat I have held, and following Gen. Butterworth was a difficult task.''


The Sun-Sentinel,0,3254231.story?coll=sfla-news-editorial

South Florida Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board

December 20, 2006

ISSUE: Rather than pump waste into the ocean, it will be injected into adeep well.

Some in Delray Beach and Boynton Beach still question whether the humanwaste being pumped into the ocean through their treatment plant's outfallpipe really is killing off a nearby reef. Which is kind of like stickingyour head in the sediment, given the convincing evidence at hand.

But both southern Palm Beach County cities deserve kudos for not lettingthat skepticism get in the way of doing the right thing. In the process,they are very likely saving a popular South Florida diving reef and settinga responsible example for similar plants in Palm Beach, Broward andMiami-Dade counties.

Injecting the treated waste 3,500 feet below ground through a new $17million deep injection well will surely cost Delray and Boynton ratepayers.


The Washington Post

The Big Needle Stops Dripping

By Andrew Cohen
Special to
Tuesday, December 19, 2006; 2:29 PM

"Good enough for government work," it turns out, simply isn't good enoughunder the Constitution when it comes to the manner in which lethalinjections are carried out from sea (Florida) to shining sea (California)across the country. Last week, the deadly procedure that is supposed to beclinical (but is too often imprecise) took two more blows -- one from ajudge and one from a popular governor. It is not too hyperbolic to say thatwe have seen the end of lethal injection as we have known it.

Or not known it. I'm sure that the vast majority of the people who actuallytook the time to read U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel's relatively shortruling Friday in Morales v. Tilton learned for the first time not just howshoddy death penalty procedures are but how stubborn prison officials andstate attorneys have been in refusing to fix them short of an explicit courtorder to do so. They've known, or should have known, these bureaucrats, thatthey needed to do much, much better when carrying out society's ultimatepunishment. And until now they have done nothing-- with a sneer


The Miami Herald

Posted on Wed, Dec. 20, 2006


Hollywood OK's land giveaway to developer
Hollywood commissioners will give away land downtown to become 'partners'with former state Rep. Ken Gottlieb on a redevelopment project.

Hollywood commissioners agreed in principle Tuesday to give away land thatcost downtown taxpayers $6.3 million to a development group led by formerCity Commissioner Ken Gottlieb to build condos and town houses in a blightedarea.

Acting as the board of the downtown Community Redevelopment Agency,commissioners voted 4-2 for the deal with Gottlieb in Metro-Hollywood, whichwould be built on Dixie Highway between Adams and Washington streets.


The New York Times

December 20, 2006

Public Universities Chase Excellence, at a Price

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - If there is any goal that the University of Florida haspursued as fervently as a national football championship for the Gators, itis a place among the nation's highest-ranked public universities.

"We need a top-10 university, so our kids can get the same education theywould get at Harvard or Yale," said J. Bernard Machen, the universitypresident.

To upgrade the university, Dr. Machen is seeking a $1,000 tuition surchargethat would be used mostly to hire more professors and lower thestudent-faculty ratio, not coincidentally one of the factors in themuch-watched college rankings published annually by U.S. News & WorldReport. This year, that list ranked Florida 13th among public universitiesin the United States.


Suit asks to see inside vote machine
Published December 20, 2006

TALLAHASSEE - A Leon County circuit judge is considering whether to force aprivate voting machine company to reveal the inner workings of its machines.

That narrow question has broad implications for the often tense relationshipbetween public officials that run elections and private companies whosemachines actually count the votes.

State law in Florida and elsewhere protects the insides of voting machinesfrom the public eye in deference to voting machine makers, who say suchinformation amounts to a company's trade secret.

But the disputed Sarasota congressional race between Democrat ChristineJennings and Republican Vern Buchanan is challenging that law.

In a hearing that started Tuesday, attorneys for Jennings argued thatbecause there are questions about the results of the election, the public'sright to know how the machines work trumps the commercial privacy concernsof the voting machine company.


Orlando Sentinel,0,997844.story?coll=orl-opinion-headlines


Putting parties aside
Our position: Butterworth might be just the person to untangle troubled DCF.

December 20, 2006

Politicians give lip service about bipartisanship and "reaching across theaisle," but Republican Gov.-elect Charlie Crist is actually doing it in abig way with his appointment of Bob Butterworth to head the troubledDepartment of Children & Families.

Mr. Butterworth, former Florida attorney general and still one of thestate's most influential Democrats, is an inspired choice. Mr. Butterworth'sreputation as a public servant is unmatched, having served as Broward Countysheriff, circuit judge and as the state's longest-serving attorney general.

And he will need every bit of that experience to tackle the problems at DCF.It's clearly the hardest job in state government, protecting Florida'syoungest, poorest and sickest residents.


The Miami Herald


Expert: Machine setup caused Sarasota `undervote'
An election-systems expert told a judge that it's unlikely that nearly13 percent of Sarasota voters chose not to vote in a congressional race.
Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE - An MIT political-science professor who is an expert onelection systems testified Tuesday that it's statistically unlikely thatnearly 13 percent of Sarasota voters chose not to vote in a SouthwestFlorida congressional race.

A more likely conclusion to explain the unusually high ''undervote''is that something went wrong in the preparation of voting machines, theexpert, Charles Stewart, told a judge during a hearing over whetherChristine Jennings' campaign can get access to computer codes used toprogram the electronic touch-screen voting machines.


The Palm Beach Post

Shaw reflects on political beginning, end
By Ron Hayes

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

WEST PALM BEACH - Clay Shaw, who recently lost his bid for a 14th term after26 years representing Florida's 22nd District in the U.S. House ofRepresentatives, found some comfort Tuesday in the wit of another greatloser.

After leading Britain through World War II, Prime Minister Winston Churchwas defeated for reelection in 1945, Shaw recalled.

"This may be a blessing in disguise," the ever-supportive Mrs. Churchilltold her spouse.

To which Churchill quipped: "Well, it's a damned good disguise."


Voting Machine Glitch Likely, Expert Testifies

Published: Dec 20, 2006

TALLAHASSEE - Computer malfunction is likelier than voter confusion ordisgust over negative campaigning to account for the thousands of so-calledundervotes in the District 13 Congressional race, a Massachusetts Instituteof Technology political science expert testified Tuesday.

Attorneys for Democrat Christine Jennings and a group of 11 voters argued inLeon County Circuit Court that Election Systems & Software should hand overthe source code that runs the paperless electronic voting machines used inSarasota County in November.

Only by analyzing the computer code inside Sarasota County's voting machinescan it be determined whether a software bug ate the 18,380 votes missingfrom the election, Dan Wallach, a computer scientist from Rice Universitywho specializes in voting technology, said in court.


The Sun-Sentinel,0,7362278.story?coll=sfla-home-headlines

Broward School Board backs bonus pay plan for teachers, despite unionprotests

By Douane D. James
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

December 20, 2006

As if there wasn't enough riding on the FCAT.

This year's round of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test will helpdetermine which Broward County teachers receive incentive pay ranging fromroughly $1,800 to $3,500 each.

The School Board voted 6-3 Tuesday to approve a controversial newperformance pay plan, despite protests from the union for the teachers whoare supposed to profit.

The district faced a Dec. 31 deadline to send its proposal to Tallahassee ormiss the chance to grab its share of the state's $147 million of bonusmoney.

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