Thursday, September 06, 2007

FLORIDA DIGEST September 06, 2007

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Fort Lauderdale commissioners rebuke Naugle, reaffirm 'respect for
By Brittany Wallman
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
September 6, 2007

Fort Lauderdale

The city reaffirmed its respect for "diversity" Wednesday, minutes beforethe Commission chambers erupted in civic chaos, with shouting and arguingover homosexuality.

The controversy ignited by Mayor Jim Naugle's continued comments aboutgays - about bathroom sex, HIV and AIDS, bathhouses and sex clubs andpornography and sin - have ripped the community apart for two months.

Commissioners met Wednesday for the first time since a summer break.Commissioners wanted to clear the air, after two months of heated debatethat saw their mayor interviewed on national television about the clash overthis city's gay culture.

Commissioner Cindi Hutchinson said she hoped everyone had a good summer.

"I know it was eventful," she said, turning toward Naugle.

Hutchinson said she wanted the city to pass a resolution to reaffirm itsrespect for all people. Commissioner Christine Teel said she's been silentduring the controversy, but not because she backs Naugle. She said peopleshouldn't be labeled, and elected officials shouldn't make comments thatintentionally hurt people.

Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom walked out when Naugle started talking,saying she'd return when he was done.

And at the end of the night, the commission passed a resolution reaffirmingthe city's respect for "diversity of all groups."

The resolution says that the city "would condemn any statement or actionthat shows disrespect for any segment of our population or that violates OurValues" and that the city has a diverse population of "varying races,ethnicities, religions and sexual orientations."

The mayor voted in favor, after he had the words "and families" added to aline that voices support for the county's tourism bureau marketing the cityto "diverse groups." Now it reads "diverse groups and families."

Naugle said he was glad the resolution passed, because he wants the countyto market to families and stop putting ads for gay guesthouses on thetourism Web site that he said link to photos of nude men in bed together.

"I have not engaged in gay-bashing or any hate speech," Naugle saidWednesday.

After the city meeting, the chambers erupted in shouting and banter aspeople on both sides of the controversy exchanged words. Two uniformedpolice officers stood watch.

The Rev. O'Neal Dozier said he was there to support Naugle.

"I speak for God,"said Dozier, of Pompano Beach's Worldwide ChristianCenter. "God sees homosexuality as an abomination. It is something thatcauses him to want to vomit. That's what the Hebrew text says. It is justthat ungodly and just that nasty."

A few feet away, a gay couple, Waymon Hudson and Anthony Niedwiecki,purposefully stepped closer to each other, arm in arm.

The city's resolution did not go as far as many in the gay community hadhoped. They wanted a full censure of Naugle.

Hours before the resolution was voted on, a group of gay clergy in clerics'robes stood with the local NAACP president at a news conference outside CityHall to denounce the mayor for his comments, and to pray for him.

The Right Rev. Grant Ford of Sunshine Cathedral said the mayor should notuse his post for moral judgment.

"In all these years as pastor, I have never wanted the mayor's job. So itcomes as a surprise that he wants mine," he said.

A day earlier, a group of clergy spoke at City Hall in Naugle's favor afterissuing a news release saying they "stand firmly in support of MayorNaugle's decision to ban homosexual activities in Broward, and his reasonsfor doing so."

Naugle is not, in fact, advocating a ban on homosexual activities.

Brittany Wallman can be reached at or954-356-4541.


Bathroom sex issue is with thrill seekers, not homosexuals
September 6, 2007

Mayor Naugle sees the news about the U.S. senator caught soliciting sex inthe men's room and finds vindication.

However, it is not homosexual men, as that senator himself says, that is theproblem but heterosexual men who are after a thrill of illicit sex outsideof marriage.

In many of the Internet's popular sex chat rooms, there are all sorts ofstraight men advertising themselves as bisexual or straight but on the "downlow," needing discretion concerning their homosexual sexual encounters.

So, Mayor Naugle has some truth in what he says, but it may be these men whoare also boosting the statistics for sexually transmitted diseases.

Why not gay men? They probably know about the dangers of tea-room sex andthey probably have other venues and methods.

Bruce Hogman
Fort Lauderdale


Florida needs to preserve its clout in 2008 presidential primary
South Florida Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board
September 6, 2007

ISSUE: Democratic candidatesto shun Florida primary.

So much for making every vote count.

Since the 2000 presidential election, Democrats have whined incessantlyabout the "uncounted" votes they claim cost Al Gore the presidency.Apparently, though, making votes count isn't as important in Florida anymore.

The Democratic National Committee last month threatened to ban Florida'sdelegates to next year's convention if the state goes ahead with its primaryon Jan. 29. Talk about disenfranchisement.

And now, Democratic candidates that had no problem coming to Florida toraise many millions of dollars for their campaigns have signed pledgessaying they'll shun the state's primary. The hypocrisy in this dispute hasraised the bar really high.

The Republican Party isn't being as heavy-handed, but it's not far behind.The GOP says it may penalize Florida Republicans by taking away half thestate's convention delegation.

Florida was right to leap frog other states. The state is politicallyimportant and the earlier primary date forces candidates to address issuesof importance in the Sunshine State. And if Florida dollars are going tohelp decide elections, then our votes should, too.

Moving big media states like Florida to the front of the pack furthermagnifies big money politics. But big money campaigns aren't anything new.And the Democratic and Republican parties have had plenty of time to addressthe influence of big bucks campaigns, or to create a rotating system ofprimary states to end the madness. They just haven't cared enough doanything about it, until now.

Here's a pledge that all Florida political donors should sign, Republicansand Democrats, and that both parties ought to enforce: Every dollar donatedfrom Florida ought to be spent campaigning in Florida. If the nationalparties want to protect the primacy of New Hampshire and Iowa, fine. But letthose states' voters finance the primary campaigns in their own localities.It's easy to embrace tradition when it's being subsidized by someone else.

That said, the GOP-dominated Legislature, which must be enjoying theDemocrats' spectacle, ought to slide the primary back a week. That would putus in competition with other states, but, in the end, none of those canrival Florida as a political epicenter.

A reprieve is unlikely, and that's a shame because what ought to matter mostis making sure Florida gets as much punch as possible in 2008. The biggestloser in a divided primary will be Florida's clout.


Fort Lauderdale: Naugle supporter ignores order to take down banner
September 6, 2007

The woman who was ordered to remove the banner she tied up supporting MayorJim Naugle said she has changed her mind. It's not coming down just yet.

Elaine Schulze, of Small World day care, had strapped up a banner that read"Thank you Mayor Naugle from the children of Fort Lauderdale."

She said she supports Naugle in his fight over comments he made about gaysand sex in public restrooms.

A city code inspector showed up late last week saying the city had gotten acomplaint about her banner.

Schulze initially said she would comply with the city's order, but after hersituation received publicity and she was swamped with phone calls, shechanged her mind, saying "I will take my banner down when this city takesdown all the rainbow flags."

City code compliance officer Adam Feldman confirmed to the Sun-Sentinel thathe was the employee who told Schulze to take it down. His supervisor, DebbieHernandez, said banner signs are not allowed in Fort Lauderdale, except incases where the owner pulls a permit for a banner announcing a special eventor promotion.


Jenne faces prospect of prison at Nov. 16 sentencing
By Paula McMahon
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
September 6, 2007

Former Broward County Sheriff Ken Jenne left federal court on Wednesdaybarred from voting or holding public office, unable to own a gun andrequired to submit to random urine tests.

It was a humiliating end to a 35-year career in public service that madeJenne the county's top law enforcement official and a political powerhouse.

Jenne pleaded guilty on Wednesday and could be in federal prison beforeThanksgiving: His sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 16 before U.S. DistrictJudge William P. Dimitrouleas. He is free on $100,000 bond and needspermission to travel beyond Key West and Fort Pierce.

Jenne looked humbled but stoic as he stood in court and listened toprosecutors recite more than 14 pages detailing his misconduct since 1998.

After denying any misconduct for years, Jenne apologized to Browardresidents in brief remarks later outside the federal courthouse in FortLauderdale. He would not answer questions but said he made mistakes and tookresponsibility for them.

"My errors in judgment cost me the job I loved and permanently tarnished areputation for honesty and integrity that I worked a lifetime to build,"Jenne said. "While this may be the worst day of my life, I am grateful forthe love and affection my family continues to show me."

Jenne, 60, of Dania Beach, pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraudconspiracy and three counts of income tax evasion. He also admitted heabused the public trust - that taxpayers should have been able to count onhim not to use his elected office to enrich himself.



Quotes on Coral Ridge pastor, the Rev. D. James Kennedy
September 6, 2007
What they're saying

"Dr. Kennedy was a preacher who was committed to evangelism and culturalrenewal. He was a courageous leader who stood for Christian and moralprinciples and never flinched from God's call on his life. I consider himone of my mentors and a good friend. He activated a new generation ofChristian leaders."

- Mathew Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel in Orlando and dean of LibertyUniversity School of Law in Lynchburg, Va.

"I'm sure when he got to heaven, some gay person took his hand and said,'Come on in.' I'm sure he was humbled when he walked in the gates.

"He spent too much time and energy in all the wrong places; that's the sadirony. How many people have walked away from God because of his message,that because you're homosexual, you can't go to heaven?"

- TheRev. Jerry Stephenson, with the Atlantic Institute Counseling Center ofFort Lauderdale, which counsels gays

"Dr. Kennedy's passion, conviction and influence make up the essence of aleader that all of us aspire to be. His legacy is firmly planted in thiscommunity and around the world."

- Pastor Troy Gramling, Flamingo Road Church, Cooper City

"I do feel Rev. Kennedy was a negative force, in our community and in ourcountry ... in its move toward intolerance and the idea that democracyshould be run by one particular component of our many citizens. I'm sure,regrettably, there will be other people who take up his banner."

- The Rev. Gail Tapscott, Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Lauderdale

"Dr. Kennedy has been described as the most influential evangelist that youmay never know. Evangelism Explosion is the first Christian ministry to bein every nation and every territory of the world. It's taken on a life ofits own. It's not about him. It's about the power of the gospel and thelife-changing power of Christ."

- Gary Cass, of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, Fort Lauderdale

"He was a good organizer around the wrong principles. He taught a biblicalnear-literalism, and he wanted to run the government along lines of theBible, as he understood the Bible. That's no way to run a democracy.

"He is gone, but his ideas and books will be picked up by others. I'mdistressed to think his ideas would become the law of the United States."

- The Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director, Americans United for Separationof Church and State, Washington, D.C.

"He called us back to the highest principles and values as a nation. Whenyou were with him, there was a quiet dignity about the man. Yet when hespoke to moral and spiritual challenges, he was bold and courageous. He wasa quality man."

- Pastor Tom Mullins, Christ Fellowship, Palm Beach Gardens

"I'm sorry he never had a chance to learn the truth and he went to his gravea deliverer of misinformation with terrible consequences. Fundamentalism hasa chance to grow up and stop scapegoating people who are different and dealwith the real issues. There are evangelists stepping up to the line saying,'Poverty is important. The environment is important.'"

- Mel White, author of Religion Gone Bad: The Hidden Dangers of theChristian Right

"Dr. Kennedy influenced tens of thousands of people to be bold and specificabout their faith. He reminded us all of our moral and civil obligation tosociety. He reminded us that issues are attached to morality. I admire andrespect him, and I know his legacy will continue to change lives."

- Pastor Bob Coy, Calvary Chapel of Fort Lauderdale

"We believe that a person should be remembered for the totality of his orher achievements and sins. Kennedy undoubtedly helped many people andinspired them to become better human beings. Unfortunately, he also leavesan ignoble legacy of intolerance that divided South Florida, destroyedfamilies in the name of family values and relentlessly assaulted the U.S.Constitution."

- Wayne Besen, executive director of Truth Wins Out, a gay advocacyorganization in Miami Beach

"He was not only a historic leader, but also an inspiration and mentor. Iremember being at lunch with him one day, when he used silverware to sharethe gospel. He pointed to the knife on a napkin, forming the letter 'I.' Hesaid, 'That's what every religion except Christianity asks: What must I do?'Then he placed his fork over the knife, making a cross. He said,'Christianity is the only religion about what God did to reach man, and makea way for us to be with him.'

"A lot of people are welcoming him in heaven today because of his ministry."

- Janet Folger, director of Faith2Action, Dania Beach

"This is a bittersweet occasion. You can't argue that he was an effectiveand strong leader. He built a large church, a couple of schools and a TVministry. You also have to recognize that his vitriolic rhetoric againstsame-gender-loving people caused needless suffering. "

- The Rev. Durrell Watkins, director of worship, Sunshine Cathedral of FortLauderdale, which ministers to gays and their friends


Oakland Park: Ordinance expanding anti-bias policy advances
September 6, 2007

Commissioners agreed unanimously Wednesday night to add gender identity andgender expression to the city's anti-discrimination policy.

Several gay, lesbian and transgender activists attended the meeting insupport of the ordinance. No one spoke against it.

The policy bans discrimination against transgender municipal employees. Thecity already protects employees based on race, religion, sex, nationalorigin, age and disability.

More than 100 governments nationwide offer some form of protection totransgender people, including Lake Worth, West Palm Beach and Miami Beach.

Oakland Park commissioners will vote on the second and final reading of theordinance later this month.


Special budget-cutting session slated to start Sept. 18 officially scrubbed
Aaron Deslatte
6:56 PM EDT, September 5, 2007

Facing a disagreement over how to trim $1.1 billion in government spending,the Florida Legislature's presiding officers on Wednesday officiallyscrubbed a special budget-cutting session slated to start Sept. 18.

House Speaker Marco Rubio and Senate President Ken Pruitt said in astatement that "while there has been tremendous progress, there is stillwork to be done."

"We remain confident that an agreement will be reached and that we will havea fall special session," they wrote.

Just not in two weeks.

A growing number of lawmakers quietly grumbled last week that Gov. CharlieCrist needed to get more engaged in deciding where to slash Florida's $71billion budget.

Crist earlier Wednesday had announced his office would make its ownbudget-cutting recommendations this week and spoken confidently not to be"too concerned" that the chamber hadn't officially issued its call for thespecial session.

Spokeswoman Erin Isaac said Crist was "very disappointed" with the delay,and that "he will continue to work with the Legislature to work through thischallenging task."

Lawmakers said they simply needed more time to review the specificreductions Crist will recommend as soon as Thursday.

"It's more important to make sure we have successful special session, thanjust to have a special session," said House budget chief Ray Sansom,R-Destin.

"I'm very appreciative the governor is going to come forward withrecommendations. That shows real leadership on his part. I know the House isgoing to look very seriously at what he has to say."

Crist has said he hoped lawmakers would spare classroom spending and publicsafety from cuts.

The Senate had proposed an across-the-board percentage-based cuts in stateagencies likely to hit education and social services the hardest becausethey're the biggest-ticket items, while the House had wanted to target itscuts.

Crist wants to construct a "blend of those" approaches.




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Naples Daily News

Brent Batten: Candidates finding a way into Florida
By Brent Batten
Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Miami will be teeming with Democratic presidential hopefuls Sunday ascandidates converge for a televised Spanish language forum on Univision.

In the days and weeks after, leading candidates Barack Obama and HillaryClinton have fundraisers scheduled elsewhere in the state.

For politicians who've pledged not to campaign in the Sunshine State, that'sa lot of time in the Sunshine State.

The Democratic frontrunners are exhibiting their qualifications for highoffice by managing to pledge one thing and do the opposite.

Clinton and Obama are among the candidates to sign the so-called Four StatePledge that has emerged from the debate over early primaries. It seeks topreserve the primal role Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada havein the early nominating process.

Candidates signing the pledge agree not to "campaign or participate in anystate which schedules a presidential election primary or caucus before Feb.5, 2008,'' with the exception of those four.

Florida, which moved its primary up to Jan. 29, is therefore off-limits tothe candidates, or so it would seem.

The pledge explicitly states that it doesn't pertain to "activitiesspecifically related to raising campaign resources such as fundraisingevents or the hiring of fundraising staff.''


The Miami Herald

There's a new sheriff in town

On his first full day as acting sheriff, Al Lamberti did what he does everymorning: Get his 13-year-old son ready for school.

''You know what the neatest thing is, dad?'' his son Nicholas asked him.

'I can go to school this morning and tell everyone, `You know what? Thesheriff made me breakfast.' ''

The standing-room-only crowd greeted that moment with applause and laughterWednesday at the Broward Sheriff's Office headquarters.

Lamberti, a 29-year veteran, was appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist to takeover the BSO temporarily following the resignation Tuesday of Sheriff KenJenne amid criminal charges.

He says he wants the job permanently.

''I'm here to try and make a change for the better,'' he said.

''I started from day one here. I started in detention. I worked in the mainjail . . . to come 29 years and be sheriff, I'd say yes, I'd love to doit,'' he said at his first press conference as interim sheriff.



The Miami Herald

Posted on Thu, Sep. 06, 2007
An ethics lapse, a call for dismissal

With an ethics scandal over free use of a luxury car and the police unioncalling for his dismissal, Miami Police Chief John Timoney is in thecross-hairs of the worst crisis since he arrived here in 2002. Thecommission and city leaders, however, mustn't be precipitous in theirjudgment. If there is a question about whether Mr. Timoney should stay orgo, he should be judged on his overall record as chief.

Residents and city leaders should ask: Is the police department better orworse under Chief Timoney? Is the city more or less secure? Are we safer nowthan five years ago? Has his leadership been a factor in falling crimerates? From our vantage point, the answer to each of these questions wouldbe resoundingly in the affirmative. Mr. Timoney has delivered what hepromised: reforms in the department, more training for officers, higherstandards, better crime-fighting techniques, positive results in ourcommunities.

Please don't misunderstand. Chief Timoney has made some colossal mistakesfor which he should be reprimanded and punished. The latest was hisyear-long free use of a car from Kendall Lexus. The chief now says thatdecision was ''boneheaded'' and ''stupid.'' He is right. Commissioner MarcSarnoff says that if the chief apologizes in writing, donates the value ofthe car to charity and accepts a two-week unpaid suspension, he wouldsupport Mr. Timoney in keeping his job. That's a fair offer.

Besides having made his share of mistakes, the chief has a temper, and hecan be a bully.



The Miami Herald

Posted on Thu, Sep. 06, 2007
Jenne pleads guilty, apologizes

In April 2001, Ken Jenne was in a jam: A decrepit house he owned in LakeWorth needed to be demolished because it had serious code violations.So the Broward County sheriff asked his developer friend, Philip Procacci,and a sheriff's office lawyer to handle the problem.

Procacci and the lawyer appeared on Jenne's behalf before Lake Worth codeenforcement officials, and the developer later paid to have Jenne's housedemolished at a cost of more than $8,000.

Within months, Jenne had apparently returned the favor: approving twobuilding leases between BSO and Procacci that would cost taxpayers millionsof dollars. Jenne never repaid Procacci for the demolition work, nor did hereport the $8,000 on his income tax return.

This mixing of personal and official business was revealed in a courtdocument Jenne signed Wednesday as he pleaded guilty to corruption chargesin federal court in Fort Lauderdale.



The Miami Herald

Posted on Thu, Sep. 06, 2007
Brutal cuts still not enough

Although Broward school district officials have cut 800 bus stops, hiredfewer teachers and trimmed individual school budgets for photocopies,supplies and overtime, they may have to find even more ways to lower costs.A state proposal suggests that Broward may have to cut $73 million from itsbudget -- about $35 million more than the school district already plannedfor. The district won't know for sure what the damage will be until aspecial legislative session is held later this year.

The cuts are the result of a $1.1 billion shortfall in the state's budget.

''One of our greatest fears is that with the uncertainly in Tallahassee, wehave to prepare for, in essence, the worst-case scenario,'' SuperintendentJim Notter said.

But he isn't quite certain what that scenario will be.

''When you look at the cuts, we're cutting to the bone,'' he said. 'We're in`what the heck is deeper than serious?' '' if the budget is cut further.

When the district's budget office surveyed board members about the programsthey hold sacred, Stephanie Kraft said she wants music and arts programsspared, including one that incorporates theater into lessons for elementarystudents.


Costly plan would end dumping of treated sewage off S. Florida coast
By David Fleshler
September 6, 2007

The six pipes that discharge treated sewage into the ocean off southeastFlorida would be eliminated under a proposal by the Florida Department ofEnvironmental Protection, ending an environmental embarrassment in a statethat takes pride in its beaches and coral reefs.

The proposal has gone to Gov. Charlie Crist for approval. It could sharplyraise sewer rates in Broward and Miami-Dade counties and, to a lesserextent, in Palm Beach County, with one estimate putting the average increaseat nearly $20 a month. Utilities would be forced to invest in elaboratesystems to treat and distribute the wastewater for such uses as irrigatinglawns and golf courses.

State environmental officials say the cost would be worth it because itwould generate a new source of fresh water in a region that desperatelyneeds it, and eliminate a source of pollution suspected of harming coralreefs.

"The weight of evidence on coastal water quality and coral reef health callsinto question the environmental acceptability of continuing ocean outfalldischarges," states a report from the department submitted to the Governor'sOffice.

About 300 million gallons of treated sewage a day is discharged throughoutfall pipes in Delray Beach, Boca Raton, Pompano Beach, Hollywood andnorthern and central Miami-Dade County.


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