Monday, September 03, 2007

FLORIDA DIGEST September 3, 2007

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Ft. Lauderdale

NAACP/Faith Press Conference - Wed 9/5/07 5:15PM @ City Hall
Join us for a press conference and prayer vigil as communities of faith come together in a message of Healing and Unity.

Supported by: Inclusive Faith groups and denominations, NAACP, Campaign to End AIDS, UNITE Fort Lauderdale

Wednesday, September 5, 2007, 5:15 PM
City Hall Plaza - 100 N. Andrews Ave - Fort Lauderdale

Marsha Ellison, NAACP
Rabbi Harold Caminker
Archbishop John Joseph Reid
Archbishop Bruce Simpson
and others

Following the prayer vigil, please join us in attending the City Commission meeting at 6:00 PM.

If you attend the press conference, the prayer vigil, and/or the Commissioners meeting, Please wear red or a red ribbon in support,

If interested in participating as a speaker or support, please contact: Jeff Black

For more information, visit:


Tallahassee Democrat

Article published Sep 3, 2007

Florida Democrats demand DNC recognition of primary
By Bill Cotterell

With its 27 electoral votes and diverse demographic mix, Florida has alwaysbeen a battleground state in presidential politics - but the Sunshine Statestruggle has started a lot earlier in the current campaign.

Both state parties are embroiled in high-stakes internal arguments withtheir Washington headquarters, with wide-ranging national implications.

And Florida has an enormous side bet in its Jan. 29 primary. It's astatewide public referendum on a property-tax reduction initiative that issending shock waves throughcity and county governments.

''All of this could suppress Democratic turnout, particularly if there's disillusionment among party activists,'' said Lance deHaven-Smith, aprofessor of public administration at Florida State University and veterananalyst of Florida politics. ''That would not just affect the presidentialnomination but could make the tax amendment easier to pass.''

It all started when Gov. Charlie Crist took office last January and agreedwith leaders of the Legislature that the Florida presidential primary - heldin March since its inception in 1972 - could only be important if it iscloser to the Iowa caucuses and primaries in New Hampshire and SouthCarolina. They settled on Jan. 29, defying rules of both parties thatpenalize big states with loss of delegates to the national convention ifthey vote before Feb. 5.

The Republican National Committee proposes to cut the state's 114-votedelegation by half. Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer initially said he'dgladly ''watch the convention from the piano bar of the Holiday Inn'' in St.Paul, but changed his mind this month and decided to fight for full seating.

The rules and bylaws committee of the Democratic National Committee lastweekend spurned the state party's explanation that Jan. 29 was force-fed bya Republican governor and Legislature. Fearing that a waiver for Floridawould touch off a leapfrog race in Wyoming, Michigan and other states eagerto jump ahead of Feb. 5, the DNC gave Florida 30 days to come up with adelegate-selection process that complies with national rules.

At stake: all 210 Democratic delegate votes in Denver next summer. That's adecisive prize, if there is a close convention.


Tampa Tribune

Primary Boycott Spurs Backlash
By WILLIAM MARCH The Tampa Tribune
Published: Sep 3, 2007

TAMPA Dissension and bitterness surfaced among Florida Democrats on Sundayin the wake of pledges to boycott the state's primary campaign by theleading presidential candidates.

Several leading Florida Democrats said the boycott, stemming from Floridamoving up the date of its presidential primary, is likely to hurt Democrats'chances in Florida during the 2008 election.

At least two - both South Florida state senators - announced they arewithdrawing their support for presidential candidates because of theboycott.

"I do not intend to support any candidate in Florida that won't campaignhere in Florida," said Senate Democratic Leader Steve Geller of HallandaleBeach, who said he's canceling plans to endorse John Edwards next week.

The candidates "slapped the voters of the state in Florida in the face,"Geller said.

Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Parkland, said he's withdrawing his support for BarackObama.

"When you're coming for our money, not our votes, I resent that, and I thinkthe voters resent that," he said.

Florida fundraisers and campaign staffers for Edwards, Obama, HillaryClinton and Bill Richardson, however, said their candidates expect tocontinue raising money in Florida, even as they halt campaigning.

They disagreed with those who say the boycott will hurt Florida fundraisingand offered mixed opinions on whether it will hurt the party's nominee in2008.


Herald Tribune

Top Florida Democrat sees the bigger picture
Alex Sink's focus is on finances, not politics

TALLAHASSEE -- After enduring years of Republican domination in Floridapolitics, Democrats have a foothold in the Capitol with Alex Sink as thestate's chief financial officer.

But while Florida's Cabinet members have routinely used their statewideposts as public megaphones for political agendas, Sink says she is focusedon the jars of beans scattered around her office. They are reminders of lastyear's campaign, when the former bank president was criticized as littlemore than a "bean counter" without political experience.

As the person in charge of overseeing the state's payroll, contracts andinsurance industry, she proudly wears the label.

"I'm a little bean counter, banker nerd," she said in a speech last month.


The Palm Beach Post

Sorry, Charlie: New act needed to solve state's problems
By Palm Beach Post Editorial Board
Sunday, September 02, 2007

Charlie Crist has made politics look easy. The most affable politician wasfollowing Jeb Bush, one of the most arrogant. On his way to winning lastyear in a landslide, Gov. Crist said all the right things about loweringtaxes and insurance premiums. After taking office, it would be easy: Followthrough on those promises; actually listen to good bipartisan advice onissues such as the environment, education and child protection that Gov.Bush had approached with ideological rigidity; and rely on an ample budget.

But what looked easy now looks hard. Beginning this month, Gov. Crist facesproblems that affability alone won't solve.THE BUDGET:

The housing bubble allowed Gov. Bush to cut taxes for the rich and increasethe state budget. But the housing bubble has burst, and the Legislature willmeet this month in special session to deal with a $1.5''billion hole in thebudget that was approved last spring. Reserves will fill roughly a third ofthe deficit, but the rest will come from real cuts.

The tight budget deficit threatens all kinds of things that had boosted Gov.Crist's popularity, such as reimbursement for victims of the Department ofChildren and Families' neglect and support for crime prevention programs inthe Department of Juvenile Justice. It threatens cuts in programs that helppeople. Gov. Crist will need more than a smile to get through this andpossibly another budget cut next year.PROPERTY TAXES:

It was easy and popular to promise savings, particularly since free-spendinglocal governments made easy targets. What in the world had they done withthe bonanza of tax revenues from the historic run-up in property values? Butthe first rollback ordered by the Legislature didn't produce anywhere near asignificant tax cut for most homeowners. And it will be very difficult topass a constitutional amendment in January that would result in more cuts -including $7.1''billion to education over five years.

Gov. Crist and lawmakers had promised not to take money from education.


Broward Schools study providing cheaper housing for employees
By Jean-Paul Renaud
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
September 3, 2007

Broward County school officials are considering the unique idea of providingaffordable housing to employees, which some hope could offset high housingcosts they say deter teachers from working in the county.

"Retention of existing school teachers is economically critical," states areport to be presented to the School Board for discussion on Tuesday. "Toprotect the educational system and to sustain Broward County Public Schoolsinto the future, a districtwide housing plan for its teachers and otheremployees is necessary."

Some educators, however, say affordable housing exclusively for schoolemployees would do little to retain the county's teacher corps.

"They're making determination on where people should be living," said PatSanteramo, president of the Broward Teachers Union. "[Teachers] should beable to live wherever they want to live and afford it."

The idea: Donate public land to a private developer in return for affordablehousing rented out exclusively to school employees.


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