Wednesday, January 17, 2007

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST January 17, 2007

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The Sun-Sentinel,0,4446557,print.story?coll=sfla-news-palm

Developers pour cash into stem-call campaign by county commissioner

By Andy Reid
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

January 17, 2007

Developers are picking up most of the tab for Palm Beach County CommissionerBurt Aaronson's campaign to support embryonic stem cell research.

Home builders and other real estate interests provided more than half of the$351,112 Aaronson's political committee has raised to try to force astatewide vote in support of the controversial but potentially lifesavingresearch.

While most individual contributions to Aaronson's group trickle in at the$10 to $50 range from retirees, the big money comes from developers -- someof whom benefited from Aaronson's help in the past or could need his vote inthe future.

In the aftermath of conflict-of-interest concerns that forced formerCommissioner Tony Masilotti from office, some question whether developers'donations to Aaronson's cause could be seen as a way to influence his votes.

"I think it's pay to play," said Lesley Blackner, a Palm Beach attorneypushing to change state law to give voters more control over developmentapprovals. "They want influence. They want a good relationship with a countycommissioner."


The Sun-Sentinel,0,2828927,print.story?coll=sfla-news-editorial

Carlton Moore

South Florida Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board

January 17, 2007

ISSUE: Official protests traffic stop, says police tarnish his reputation.

If Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Carlton Moore is so concerned about hisreputation's being tarnished, why doesn't he stop calling undue attention tohis recent indefensible actions?

Moore, who has been very busy lately implying that the Fort LauderdalePolice Department is racist, was pulled over and given a ticket on themorning of Dec. 3. The violation? Driving with a suspended license. Not justfor a few days or even weeks, mind you, but for 11 months!

Moore is well within his rights to challenge the police department forepisodes involving the city's minority community, and his calls forinvestigations are appropriate. But doesn't he realize that his whiningabout a traffic violation -- an infraction he acknowledges -- undermines hisown credibility?


House and Senate far apart on Citizens' role, state risk
By Dara Kam And Randy Diamond

Palm Beach Post Staff Writers

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

TALLAHASSEE - The opening day of a weeklong special legislative session withthe goal of lowering property insurance rates found lawmakers in the Houseand Senate deeply divided about the role government should play in bailingout insurers and homeowners.

The two key issues splitting the two Republican-controlled chambers: anexpansion of the state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. and thecreation of a super-catastrophe fund. The concepts are included in theSenate plan, and House leaders are balking at both.


The Washington Post,0,2382783,print.story?coll=sfla-home-headlines

Legislators clash, irate homeowners protest on opening day of session oninsurance

By Linda Kleindienst,
Mark Hollis and Kathy Bushouse Tallahassee Bureau

January 17, 2007

TALLAHASSEE · With homeowners across Florida demanding swift action, statelegislators opened their emergency session on soaring property insurancerates Tuesday, but clashed immediately on how large a tab taxpayers shouldhave to pay to help rebuild after a major hurricane.

Causing the early discord was a Senate plan that would place a $20 billionceiling on what private insurance companies would have to pay policy holdersto reimburse storm losses. Remaining claims would fall to Florida taxpayers,and would be paid for through a tax hike, cuts in the state budget, or aspecial fund.

The brainchild of Senate Democratic Leader Steve Geller of Hallandale Beach,the idea has been embraced by the Senate's Republican leaders andtentatively endorsed by Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, who has called theinsurance crisis the most urgent problem facing his two-week-oldadministration. The theory is premiums will drop and competition increase ifinsurers no longer have to carry expensive reinsurance -- insurance coverageinsurers buy to help pay claims -- to cover losses in the event of acatastrophe.

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