Wednesday, September 12, 2007

FLORIDA DIGEST September 12, 2007

**IF YOU CAN'T ACCESS THE FULL ARTICLE, CONTACT US AT and we'll be happy to send the full article.


Hey, Florida!!!

Don't Forget! We need to hear from you!

Many of you haven't responded.....

Florida Red And Blue!!!!

Do your part to fight the right-wing state-wide anti-gay initiativeto amend the Florida constitution.

Friday, September 28, at the GLCC, Ft. Lauderdale - 11:45am to 1:30pm.

Michael and I promised to get a minimum of 10 people to attend thislow dollar boxed lunch - only $25 - to learn about Florida Red And Blue andthe multiple efforts to overcome this hateful amendment. Florida Red andBlue has already raised over $1 million, but our work is only beginning.

Will you support us with this? Every GLBT person in Florida needs to be apart of this effort.

Boxed Lunch Series
Friday, September 28
Noon - 1:30pm
Networking 11:45am
GLCC - Ft. Lauderdale

Send us an e-mail and let us know if you'll join us on the 28th.

And...... If you can't attend, we'll be glad to accept your check made outto "Florida Red and Blue."

Ray and Michael


The Palm Beach Post

Support declines for property tax measure, poll says

Palm Beach Post Capital Bureau
Wednesday, September 12, 2007

TALLAHASSEE - Opponents of a proposal to phase out Save Our Homes receivedgood news Tuesday when a new poll from Quinnipiac University showeddiminishing support for the measure.

But backers cautioned that while support dropped from 57 percent to 47percent since July, nearly one-third of Florida voters still were undecided.If one-half of the undecided voters voted for the proposed constitutionalamendment, that would still give it the 60 percent vote it needs to pass.

"I think this thing sells itself," said Gov. Charlie Crist, who supports theproposal. "Who doesn't want a property tax cut in Florida? All we have to dois frame it right and it will be fine."

Crist said Tuesday, as he has before, that he plans to campaign in favor ofthe measure, which voters will decide Jan. 29. Pollster Peter Brown said thehelp would be crucial.



Poll: Florida's 'super' homestead exemption won't get enough votes

By Linda Kleindienst
Tallahassee Bureau Chief
September 12, 2007


The Legislature's plan to change Florida's homestead exemption law is introuble, according to a new poll.

Less than half of the state's voters approve of a proposed constitutionalamendment on the Jan. 29 ballot that would create a "super" homesteadexemption to lower property taxes for many homeowners - well short of the 60percent needed for the measure to pass. And two-thirds of voters say theplan needs "a lot more' explanation.

The random telephone survey of 1,141 voters, conducted Sept. 3-9 by theQuinnipiac University, shows if the vote were held today, the homesteadexemption proposal would fail, 47-22 percent. The poll has an overall marginof sampling error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

"Opponents will be happy that the level of support has dropped from 57 to 47percent - 13 points short of the margin needed for passage," said Peter A.Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Polling Institute.


Ft. Lauderdale


ATTEN: To all Volunteers, Members and Prospective MembersM Project has planned a day of FUN, Planning, and Togetherness.

Where: Trade Winds Park
When: Sunday, September 23, 2007
Time: 10:00am-until

This Event is Entirely FREE to you. Check out the website for the very longlist of activities available:

FREE FOOD, Limited Free Transportation is available to and from the Park.(This is available, to our members who use public transportation and needTransportation TO and FROM the Park, please meet at the M Project House at9:15am so we are able to leave at 9:30am). We require you to call/email toRSVP for the event and transportation.

Thursday, September 20th, 2007 @ 7:00pm (Uncut Reality Group) is the day wewill plan the activities and get the total count of young men attending.

See you Thursday and Saturday for Loads of Fun!!


Contact Blue for more Information: 954 806 1103. Email:


From Equality Florida

"I'm with you! I'm with you!"

Dear Ray's List,

I just got a exciting note from Nadine, our executive director,after a meeting today with the Governor's office on theanti-bullying bill. Give it a read and then please take 5minutes tomorrow and call your legislator. You can cut and pastethe following link into your Web browser: to find out whoyour legislators are and how to contact them.

Brian Winfield

Begin forwarded message:
From: Nadine Smith
Date: September 11, 2007 6:32:16 PM EDT
To: Brian Winfield
Subject: "I'm with you! I'm with you!"

Hey Brian,

Please send a note out to our folks.

I just left a meeting with the Governor's staff on theanti-bullying bill and got a chance to talk to the Governordirectly.

We told him Florida can pass a strong anti-bullying bill withhis help and backing.

The Governor's message to us was direct and enthusiastic - "I'mwith you! I'm with you!"

David Barkey from the Anti-Defamation League drove home thesolid support of his organization for a fully inclusive billthat doesn't shy away from naming the most prevalent forms ofdiscrimination, including: physical appearance, sexualorientation, race, gender identity, disability....

We thanked the Governor's for his strong support of ouranti-bullying effort.

This year will be a tipping point for Safe Schools legislationand for everyone who has worked so hard for its passage -- nowis the time to dig in for the big push.

We often ask our strongest supporters to contact the Governor'soffice and the time will come soon for us to do that, but rightnow we want our supporters to call their legislators and tellthem that ending the epidemic of bullying in our schools must betheir top priority this session. Ask everyone to send us anemail at to let us know what your legislatorsaid.

Nadine Smith

Visit the web address below to tell your friends about this.

If you received this message from a friend, you can sign up forOur Center at:



35% of Broward residents don't speak English at home, Census says

By Tal Abbady
September 12, 2007

English-only speakers may feel their numbers shrinking in South Florida,according to new Census figures showing the area's growing linguisticdiversity.

Census data showing annual changes in key social, economic and housing characteristics indicate a sharp increase in the number of people who speaka language other than English.

Among Broward County's roughly 1.7 million residents, 35 percent over age 5speak a language other than English, compared to 26 percent statewide,according to Census data released today. Of those, just 21 percent said theyspoke English very well. In 2000, 29 percent of county residents over age 5spoke a language other than English at home, compared with 23 percentstatewide.

The increase follows a national surge in the country's linguistic diversity.About 8 million more people spoke a foreign language at home in 2006 thanthey did in 2000 - or roughly 20 percent of the nation in 2006 and 18percent in 2000.



Former Palm Beach County commissioner pleads guilty in fraud case

By Sally Apgar
September 12, 2007
West Palm Beach

Former County Commissioner Warren Newell pleaded guilty Tuesday toconspiracy to commit "honest services fraud."

Federal prosecutors said Newell used his elected position "to advanceventures and relationships in which he had a concealed financialrelationship."

Newell, a commissioner since 1992, faces up to five years in prison andfines of up to $250,000. He has also agreed to forfeit assets thatprosecutors said he gained through "his illegal activities."

Newell, 52, is scheduled for sentencing Jan. 11.

U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra initially set sentencing for Nov. 30. Hegranted the extension because Newell, according to his attorney, MichaelSalnick, is still giving information to prosecutors on illegal activities ofwhich he has direct knowledge.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, Newell could receive a sentencereduction if the information he supplies reaches what prosecutors call"substantial assistance."

Newell's guilty plea is the result of negotiations involving three secretdeals in which the former commissioner pocketed more than $500,000 disguisedas "personal loans" or "bonuses" from SFRN Inc., a civil engineering firm hehelped found but has since left.



Channeling Ken Jenne

Stephen Goldstein
September 12, 2007

Warning: "Ken Jennes" are everywhere in Florida.

Eight years ago, on Sept. 29, 1999, I wrote my first op-ed column as aspecial correspondent for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. In it, I arguedagainst establishing the position of "strong" mayor. At the time, theseven-member Broward County Commission appeared embarrassinglydysfunctional. So, a small cabal of politicos made the case that one personwith overarching power could whip the county into shape.

The (small d) democrat in me recoiled at the idea, especially because theproposed "strong" mayor was not term-limited. I said that we needed to checkany "potential for abuse of power and greed." I said that we needed to"break the mercenary grip of incumbency and cronyism" of insiders who "havegrown accustomed to passing the goodies of political influence around herelike trays of hors d'oeuvres."

What I didn't say in my first column was that all the arguments for the"strong" mayor were part of a carefully crafted, behind-the-scenes plot tomake Ken Jenne the most powerful elected official in South Florida -perhaps, in the state. I didn't have to mention him by name: Almost everyoneknew what the fix was. Ultimately, voters rejected the "strong" mayorproposal, but Jenne got all the power he needed as sheriff.

I don't kick people when they are down and had no intention of adding anymore heat and light to the public bluster over Jenne's political demise. Iactually thought that he was doing a pretty good job, and on more than oneoccasion, I told him that I thought he had found his niche. But thecoincidence/symmetry of my having written against Jenne's attempted powergrab almost eight years to the day of his fall from grace put me in one ofthose reflective states in which I try to make sense out of the senseless.And I have concluded that, without excusing Jenne's actions for a minute -How could anyone? - honest Floridians will own up to being almost asresponsible for his personal tragedy as he is.



The Miami Herald

Posted on Wed, Sep. 12, 2007

Housing expenses eating up incomes


Owning his share of the American Dream has forced Gustavo Frances toreconsider his career.

Frances, 28, a Broward County assistant public defender, watches each monthas the mortgage payments on his two-bedroom Miami condominium practicallydrain his paycheck.

Frances is part of a growing group of homeowners who spend at least half oftheir pretax income on mortgages, insurance, property taxes and otherhousing costs, according to Census Bureau figures being released today.

''I don't know how long I'll be able to continue doing what I like to do,''said Frances, who is thinking about going into private practice. ``I want tohelp people, but I may have to put that aside for my own financialbenefit.''

The latest numbers show that Broward last year had the nation'ssixth-highest percentage of homeowners who spent at least half of theirmoney on housing costs; Miami-Dade ranks first, topping all counties in thatcategory.


St. Petersburg Times

Governor: Slow down manatee decision

Threatened? Endangered? Status change may be put off.
Published September 12, 2007

On the eve of a landmark vote by the state wildlife commission to takemanatees off the endangered list, Gov. Charlie Crist asked commissioners topostpone their decision today.

"I want to be sure these wonderful, docile creatures are as protected aspossible," Crist said in an interview Tuesday. He said he was not tellingthe commission how long to delay the vote, but, "I don't want to hurry to adecision. ... I want to put the brakes on it."

Rodney Barreto, chairman of the Florida Fish and Wildlife ConservationCommission, predicted the board will do what the governor asks. He could notsay how long the delay might last.

The commission has spent more than a year working toward today's scheduledvote: preparing a biological status report, ordering staffers to prepare amanagement plan for the species and taking public comment.

The commission was poised to take the final step: take manatees off theendangered list, reclassify them as merely "threatened," and adopt amanagement plan to get them off the list entirely.

However, because a record 416 manatees died in Florida last year, andbecause there is still no reliable way to count how many are left, "Ibelieve a more prudent course of action at this time would be to postponeconsideration of the proposed change in the status of this species," Cristwrote in a letter dated Monday to Barreto.


[Send your comments about articles to]

No comments: