Sunday, March 25, 2007

FLORIDA DIGEST March 25, 2007

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Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

The Free Press

Explosive new vote fraud developments continue to rock Ohio and Florida
by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman
March 23, 2007

Breaking news in vote fraud cases in both Ohio and Florida are feeding afirestorm of controversy that is likely to continue escalating, with majorimplications for the 2008 election and the future of e-voting machines.

In Ohio, Jennifer Brunner, the newly elected Secretary of State, hasreceived two of the four resignations she requested from the Cuyahoga CountyBoard of Elections (BOE). The two Democrats on the Board, Edward Coaxum, Jr.and Loree Soggs, have complied with her call for their departures fromCleveland's scandal-ridden election authority.

However, Robert Bennett, who chairs both the Cuyahoga BOE and the OhioRepublican Party, has thus far refused Brunner's request. So has SallyFlorkiewicz, Bennett's fellow Republican on the BOE. Should they continuewith their refusal to resign, Brunner has threatened to hold publichearings, in the wake of which she could force the resignations.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that a criminal investigation isunderway which centers on the Cuyahoga BOE's conduct of the November 2006election. Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason has turned again to ErieCounty Prosecutor Kevin Baxter who recently won felony convictions of twoBOE workers for rigging the 2004 presidential recount for another criminalinvestigation. Baxter will be investigating "possible criminal wrongdoings"related to ballot security and the scanning of absentee ballots.

A Cleveland State University Center for Election Integrity study has exposedvarious election irregularities in Cuyahoga County in the 2006 election.Among the most egregious were the BOE's failure to secure the dual keys (onefor the Dems and one for the Republicans) required for the vote countingrooms; that they allowed shared computer passwords; and that they allowed anunexplained cable connection to the county's vote counting computer.



Pridelines Seeks Volunteers!

From Pridelines Youth Services

Please distribute

Great news! Pridelines Youth Services is growing in leaps and bounds.Overall youth participation is up 300%! We are offering tutoring 4 days aweek, we have an Internet cafe featuring 8 computers (thanks MTV LA)and weare preparing for our 12th annual youth GLBTQ prom!

Now is time for those volunteers that have been through our training to'come on in' and for those of you interested to 'come on down'!

Join us on Saturday, March 31st from 10am for coffee and bagels while wegive you an overview of how you can join the Pridelines Family. We are looking for people with skills or interest in the following:

1) Volunteer directly with youth in group
2) Finance Team--Business plan, accounting support
3) Adult Gala Steering Team
4) Special Event Team
5) Chaperoning Youth Prom
6) Website/IT Team
7) Grant Locating/Writing/Editing Support Team
8) Marketing Materials Team
9) Development/Donor Campaign

To RSVP call or write us at:
vivian marthell harry congdon
305 807 7304 786 281 2641

Thank you for your continued support -see you on Saturday!

vivian & harry
pridelines youth services


The Sun-Sentinel,0,2752908,print.story?coll=sfla-home-headlines

Former Gov. Bush denied honorary degree at UF
Associated Press

March 23, 2007, 6:26 PM EDT

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- University of Florida President Bernie Machen saidFriday he was ``tremendously disappointed'' with the school's Faculty Senatevote to deny former Gov. Jeb Bush an honorary degree.

The Senate voted 38-28 Thursday against giving the honory degree to Bush,who left office in January.

``Jeb Bush has been a great friend of the University of Florida,'' saidMachen, adding that the Senate's action is ``unheard of.''

Some faculty expressed concern about Bush's record in higher education.

``I really don't feel this is a person who has been a supporter of UF,''Kathleen Price, associate dean of library and technology of UF's LevinCollege of Law, told The Gainesville Sun after the vote.


March 24, 2007, 8:37PM
Jeb Bush gets Florida honor after snub

© 2007 The Associated Press

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Former Gov. Jeb Bush was snubbed for an honorary degreeat the University of Florida - but he can still call himself an honoraryalumnus.

The university's Alumni Association's Board of Directors passed a resolutionSaturday to make Bush an honorary alumnus. The move came on the heels of a38-28 Faculty Senate vote on Thursday to deny Bush an honorary degree.

The main difference between the awards is that the degree is given by theuniversity and the alumni association decides who receives honorary alumnistatus, said Steve Orlando, a University of Florida spokesman. Theassociation extends the honor to a handful of people each year.

"They might be in two different categories, but from the alumni perspective,we highly respect those that have been given or granted the status ofhonorary alumnus," said Leonard Spearman, president of the University ofFlorida Alumni Association.

In deciding not to give Bush an honorary degree, some faculty members citedconcerns about Bush's educational record in respect to the university. Somesaid his approval of three new medical schools has diluted resources. Healso has been criticized for his "One Florida" proposal, an initiative thatended race-based admissions programs at state universities.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sat, Mar. 24, 2007
Crist's push for paper ballots runs into resistance over funding

WASHINGTON --Gov. Charlie Crist testified before a congressional panelFriday that Florida, which just can't seem to shake a reputation for votingmishaps, is entering ''a new era'' in voter confidence by moving towardpaper ballots.

But while Crist exuded confidence in Washington, his quest for $30 millionto junk most of the touch-screen voting machines in 15 counties and replacethem with optical scan machines faces an uncertain future.

Florida lawmakers have yet to consider his proposal and both chambers havethus far refused to put the money in their budgets.

''The issue is whether you fund what looks like a mistake,'' said HouseSpeaker Marco Rubio, a West Miami Republican, adding, ``I don't know why[the counties] gave into temptation to buy these touchscreen machines andlistened to the lobbyists for the companies who sold these.''


Crist's testimony came as federal officials are also looking at legislationto require paper trails for voting machines across the United States -- amove prompted in part by 18,000 so-called undervotes in the contestedSarasota congressional district.


Crowd came to praise Stanton

A few opponents were outside City Hall for the ex-city manager's appeal ofhis firing.
Published March 24, 2007

LARGO - What a difference three-and-a-half weeks can make.

When Steve Stanton arrived Friday night to ask the Largo City Commission forhis city manager job back, he didn't duck in a side door.

He walked to City Hall's front door looking every bit the celebrity in ablack suit, pink dress shirt, plaid tie, dark sunglasses and a shy grin.

Supporters shouted "He's here!" and "Good luck, Steve!" as they hopped onbenches to get a better look. They parted like the Red Sea to let him pass.

"It's very kind," Stanton said after entering City Hall and encountering athrong of reporters, including national media outlets CNN and Newsweek and acrew from Jon Stewart's The Daily Show. "It's nice to see people coming outto show their support."


Richest owners get biggest tax break on homes
Others paying disproportionately more after caps on property values

By Josh Hafenbrack and John Maines
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

March 25, 2007

Palm Beach County's rich are reaping a disproportionate share of the taxbreaks from the voter-approved Save Our Homes law aimed at helping longtimeresidents stay in their homes, a South Florida Sun-Sentinel analysis ofproperty records shows.

The biggest beneficiaries: an elite class with homes worth an average of$1.8 million. Their palatial homes and waterfront mansions comprise only 4percent of Palm Beach County's stock of homesteaded properties, but they getone-fifth of the financial benefit of the tax-cutting Save Our Homesconstitutional amendment.

For these 10,962 homeowners, almost half their property values go untaxed,according to the paper's analysis. By comparison, another group ofhomeowners with $194,000 average property values sees less savings -- 35percent off their taxable value.

The reason: the county's most expensive homes, clustered on Palm Beach andother barrier islands, have appreciated faster than those in middle-incomeneighborhoods during the six-year housing boom.


Tax plan finds weak support
The controversial idea clears a hurdle; the House vote will be tough.

Published March 24, 2007

TALLAHASSEE - House Republicans on Friday approved a controversial plan toslash or eliminate property taxes by giving voters in each of the state's 67counties the option of paying more sales tax.

"For too long, government has been taking and taking and taking," said Rep.Trey Traviesa, R-Tampa. "Today's vote was about government giving back."

But the proposal, which has been changing amid a cross fire of criticism,emerged from the House Budget and Policy Council vote lacking the support tosurvive on the House floor.

Democrats on the council voted in unison against the measure, saying that itshifts an even greater share of the tax burden to businesses, renters andsnowbirds.

Even some Republicans who voted in favor of the plan expressed doubts abouthow it would work.


The Washington Post

Magnate's Decisions Stir Controversy
Ave Maria University's Beginning Is Marked by Tension of Provost's Firing

By Alan Cooperman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 25, 2007; A03

Domino's Pizza magnate Tom Monaghan is using a large slice of his fortune tobuild a Catholic university in southwest Florida, exciting conservativeCatholics with his dream of an academically first-class institution that isalso solidly orthodox.

But along the way, he has produced lots of controversy -- first over hisplan for a surrounding town in which contraceptives would not be available,then over his insistence on transplanting a successful law school fromMichigan to the new campus on the edge of Florida's Corkscrew Swamp.

Last week, Monaghan caused consternation even among ardent supporters bysummarily firing, then quickly rehiring, a renowned Jesuit priest who is afriend, former student and English-language publisher of Pope Benedict XVI.

The sudden dismissal of the Rev. Joseph Fessio as provost of Ave MariaUniversity sent shock waves through conservative Catholic circles, where heis revered as a defender of orthodoxy. It set off the first-ever studentprotests at a school that is supposed to be a paragon of obedience toauthority.

And it caused backers as well as critics of Monaghan's project to questionwhether his decision-making style, honed in the business world, iscompatible with his self-appointed role as university chancellor.


Oakland Park
South Florida Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board

March 25, 2007

Being a good mayor should be top priority

For a few days, maybe a few weeks, there will be a certain kind of notorietyfor Larry Gierer. As the new mayor of Oakland Park, he is the first openlyHIV-positive mayor in Broward County, and the first openly gay mayor of hiscity.

But very soon, as it should be, Gierer will get attention, and praise, andcriticism, for the way he handles governance in Oakland Park.

Gay issues will be on his agenda, and Gierer says he feels a responsibilityto show that somebody with AIDS can live a productive life. But he will alsoget a chance to demonstrate his abilities at handling issues that affect allcitizens of Oakland Park.

Gierer has faced intimidation and bigotry, and the fact he has become mayorof a city of 40,000 is a testament to his determination. Eventually, ifpeople put his sexuality and health status in the background and just referto him as an effective public official, that will be the biggest complimentof all.


Event's tips soak in after restrictions on water use
By Jennifer Gollan
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

March 25, 2007

Davie - At age 12, Chad Hollender is ready to do his part -- from takingshorter showers to shutting off the tap when he brushes his teeth -- toensure there's plenty of water today and tomorrow.

Apart from rethinking his personal hygiene routine, the boy from Cooper Cityhas decided his family needs to add native plants like a Jamaica caper treeand an orange Geiger tree to the yard of their home.

"They can help the environment, and they're beautiful," he said afterhearing that plants native to Florida require less water than theirnon-native counterparts. "I didn't know there was a drought and thatsprinklers use a lot of water."

Chad was among an estimated 4,000 people who turned out Saturday to soak upadvice on how to cut water consumption and observe other pro-environmentalpractices during Water Matters Day. Representatives from dozens of municipalutilities and government agencies were on hand to dole out advice onefficient lawn-irrigation systems, the frequent use of native plants andother methods for conserving water.

The event, held at Tree Tops Park and sponsored in part by Broward Countyand the South Florida Water Management District, took on renewed importancegiven the water use restrictions imposed on South Floridians as of Thursday.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sat, Mar. 24, 2007
Broward leaders rethink plan for new jail

Facing a daunting $62 million construction price tag for a planned jail,commissioners are taking a closer look at why Broward's jail population hasgrown and if there are better ways to use the dollars spent on detention.

Commissioners say they'll talk Tuesday about whether to ditch plans for anew 1,000-bed jail. They won't make a final decision, but the majority ofthe commission wants to explore alternatives.

''We are going to re-look at it,'' Commissioner John Rodstrom said. ``Thevast majority of people in that jail are not committing crimes that shouldwarrant a long stay. There are probably better ways to deal with thosefolks.''

For years, public defenders and anti-prison activists have argued thatlocking up nonviolent offenders only crowds jails and does little torehabilitate defendants or improve public safety.

Now, budget constraints are pushing county commissioners to second-guessjail expansion. Twenty five cents of every county tax dollar goes toward thejail. And Census figures released this week showed that Broward's overallpopulation growth slowed last year.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sat, Mar. 24, 2007
2 principals to guide troubled Boyd High

A day after a cafeteria fracas sent 15 people to local hospitals, twoveteran principals were tapped Friday to turn around troubled Boyd AndersonHigh School in Lauderdale Lakes.

Acting Broward School Superintendent Jim Notter appointed RayfieldHenderson, former principal of Dillard and Miramar high schools, and JoyceFerguson, longtime Hollywood Hills High principal, to address issues such asdiscipline problems and sagging test scores.

''We need to get Boyd Anderson back to where it was as fast as we can,''Notter said.

The pair will replace Principal Kevin Sawyer, who resigned in January,citing health reasons.He had been on the job only a few months.

Because there is so much work to be done at Boyd Anderson, Notter said theschool needs two veterans who can focus on the job's different aspects.


Special school programs for blacks: racist or essential?
The Pinellas board's depositions for an upcoming trial turn on the question
of access vs. outcome.

Published March 25, 2007

For decades, school districts have organized around a simple idea: Whateveryou give to white students, give it to black students, too.

Put both groups of students in the same schools. Expose them to the sameteaching. If they struggle, give them the same help.

In the Tampa Bay area and across the nation, this was how educators atonedfor the long-ago sin of relegating black children to inferior schools.

Now, in a class-action lawsuit that has Pinellas County's top educators onthe defensive, the plaintiffs say the policy of equal access has failed theschool district's 20,000 black students.

Black kids, they contend, will need uniquely tailored programs if thedistrict ever hopes to erase an education gap that has them lagging behindevery other ethnic group in school performance.


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