Friday, December 29, 2006

FLORIDA DIGEST December 29, 2006

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Express Gay News

The top dozen South Florida stories of 2006
Local gay candidates win at the polls as Mark Foley scandal rocks GOP andmarriage foes suffer setback

Dec. 29, 2006

It was a year of gains-and losses-for the gay community in South Florida. Inthis issue, the Express reflects on the top dozen local stories that madeheadlines and turned our heads in 2006.

Anti-gay marriage measure fails to qualify for 2006 ballot (Feb. 3 edition) - Was 2006 the year the tide turned in the gay-marriage fight? Thispast year, Florida joined Arizona in handing anti-gay marriage amendmentproponents a defeat. Supporters of an anti-gay marriage amendment in Floridafailed to collect the 611,009 signatures required to qualify the measure forthe 2006 election ballot. When the Feb. 1 deadline arrived, the FloridaCoalition to Protect Marriage, the right-wing group behind the amendment,was 155,000 signatures short.

The group is now aiming to place the amendment on the 2008 ballot. But itwill face a higher hurdle in '08. In November, voters approved a measurethat requires 60 percent of the vote to approve state constitutionalamendments instead of the simple majority of 50 percent plus one vote thathad been the prior rule.

Meanwhile, a Zogby International poll conducted later in the year showed 51percent of Florida voters were opposed to amending the state constitution toban gay marriage.


The Sun-Herald

Year end number 6

2006 a tough year for landowners

* Booming land values, spiraling assessments, state insurance crisisconspired to make region an expensive place to live

It wasn't the perfect storm -- it was the perfect tsunami. By the time itcrested, taxpayers were awash in a crosscurrent of financial riptides.

Not-so-suddenly, Southwest Florida was an expensive -- in some cases, very expensive -- place to live.

That realization was, perhaps, most dramatic in Charlotte County, long regarded as an affordable coastal enclave.

In 2005, that bubble burst. In 2006, it evaporated completely.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Fri, Dec. 29, 2006


S. Florida home prices retreat; sales slow
Buying a home in South Florida is cheaper than it was last year. Pricing and sales remain weak as the market comes down to reality from its lofty levels.


South Florida home sellers dropped prices last month to combat a buyer'smarket that has taken firm hold of the real estate industry this year.

The median November sales price for existing homes declined 2 percent inMiami-Dade County over a year ago to $372,400, and 7 percent in Broward to$362,000, the Florida Association of Realtors reported Thursday. That markedthe second consecutive month with a price drop for Miami-Dade houses and thefifth for Broward.

The closely watched report offered the year's last look at a real estatemarket still adjusting to a post-boom era. Sales volume in single-familyhomes dropped in both counties for the 10th time in 11 months, with the paceoff about 24 percent from the end of 2005.


The Sun-Sentinel,0,2301047.story?coll=sfla-news-palm

New pumps divert Wellington's polluted stormwater away from Everglades

By Andy Reid
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

December 29, 2006

Beginning today, new pumps should start steering Wellington's pollutedstormwater away from the Everglades.

Days before the ball was set to drop on a New Year's Eve deadline imposed bythe federal government, the village and state water managers completed workon pumps that can redirect polluted runoff water to treatment areas insteadof dumping it directly into the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee NationalWildlife Refuge -- part of the northern reaches of the Everglades.

Decades of environmental objections over polluted water flowing to theEverglades led to lawsuits, which prompted the Dec. 31 deadline. The newpumps are located south of Southern Boulevard, near Flying Cow Road.

Now stormwater carrying pollutants washed off roads, lawns and the horsemanure-laden fields in equestrian-friendly Wellington can be redirected tothe South Florida Water Management District's 6,500-acre stormwater

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