Sunday, October 21, 2007

FLORIDA DIGEST October 21, 2007

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


The New York Times

Top GOP Candidates Woo Florida Activists

Filed at 3:44 a.m. ET
October 21, 2007

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- In a night when the top Republican presidentialcandidates repeated the messages they've delivered elsewhere, Mitt Romneytried to capture the attention of Florida activists Saturday by surroundinghimself with local supporters.

The other leading GOP candidates took the stage alone at the event organizedby the state party, but Romney brought his wife, his oldest son, Florida'sagriculture commissioner, two congressmen and a former state party chairmanwith him.

And he won enthusiastic applause by saying he wouldn't punish Florida formoving its presidential primary to Jan. 29 in violation of national partyrules that call for the state to be stripped of half its delegates.

''The nomination is going to be decided by Floridians,'' Romney said. ''Andby the way, I think I'm the only person running for president on our sidethat has said that if I'm the nominee I will make sure that all 114 Floridadelegates get seated at that convention.''

But the candidate who is leading Florida polls, former New York Mayor RudyGiuliani, clearly did the best job of firing up the crowd of 3,000.

more . . . . .


Serasota Herald Tribune

Crist criticism comes from his own party


ORLANDO -- Gov. Charlie Crist is one of the most popular governors in thenation, with approval ratings soaring during his first 10 months in office.

But the very stances on the issues that have made him so widely popular inthe state are causing strains within the Republican Party where the faithfulare questioning -- maybe not so subtly anymore -- where Crist is leading theparty and if it is in the best interest of the GOP.

While speaking before more than 1,000 Republicans at a GOP rally in Orlandoon Saturday, Crist elicited deafening applause as he stepped to the podium.But when Crist started talking about avoiding partisanship and urgedRepublicans do more about global warming, the applause faded, turning politeat best.

At a time when property taxes and property insurance are huge issues, Cristchose to defend his efforts to tackle global climate change to a mostlyhushed crowd.

"Some are surprised to see Republicans leading on this issue," Crist said."Actually, there is nothing surprising about it."

more . . . . .


St. Petersburg Times

'Injustice' to Stanton incited him to run

John Mandujano is counting on voters to be progressive.
By LORRI HELFAND, Times Staff Writer
Published October 21, 2007

The firing of former City Manager Steve Stanton continues to fuel JohnMandujano's campaign for the Largo City Commission.

The termination, which Mandujano calls "discrimination," first motivated himto be a city leader. And he's the only candidate for the Nov. 6 election whohas opposed Stanton's firing.

"I was raised that if I see an injustice it's your responsibility to speakup and try to make it right," said Mandujano, 52, who faces off against ViceMayor Harriet Crozier for Seat 5.

At last week's last candidate forum, Mandujano criticized Crozier for votingto give Stanton a raise months before firing him.

Crozier, 63, has not brought up Stanton in her campaign, but maintains thatcommissioners made the right choice. Instead, she has touted her experienceas a city leader and her advocacy for the city on various boards.

more . . . . .



Some Broward County governments decide not to cut tax rates as much as statewanted
Not everyone will get relief promised by Legislature

By Scott Wyman
October 21, 2007

More than one in 10 Broward County property owners will soon discover theywon't receive the savings the state promised from city governments.

Broward's second largest city, Pembroke Pines, and six smaller communitiesrefused to cut taxes as much as the state wanted. Five other citiesconsidered flouting the tax relief plan and then approved the lower rates.

Only two of the county's 31 cities went further than the state sought.Sunrise joined Fort Lauderdale in giving millions in extra relief to itstaxpayers.

The changes will be detailed on individual tax bills mailed out next month.They add $12.5 million in savings to the $44.7 million that the county andother cities agreed to earlier in the budget process. Overall, propertyowners in Broward will pay about $50 million more than they did last yearbecause of increases in school taxes.

In addition to Pembroke Pines, the communities of Lauderdale Lakes, LazyLake, North Lauderdale, Pembroke Park, Sea Ranch Lakes and Southwest Ranchestook advantage of a little-known opt-out clause in the law to avoid thecuts. Their decision is raising the ire of legislators, who last week begantheir second special session this year on tax relief.

more . . . . .



Leave lake levels alone, expedite dike repairs instead

South Florida Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board
October 21, 2007

ISSUE: Despite persistent drought, feds still talk about lowering Lake O'slevels to protect dike.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers couldn't possibly have chosen a worse timeto announce plans to keep Lake Okeechobee's levels about a foot lower thannormal year round, to protect against a catastrophic breach of its agingdike.

If Army Corps officials had looked out their helicopter window, they'd haveseen South Florida's backup water supply so parched, its cracked, blackbottom is laying bare ancient Indian artifacts. At such historic lows, it'shard for many to even fathom a time when the lake will once again be flushwith water, and experts say it may take years for it to return to its oldlevels.

When it does, the region can only hope the corps will pull its head out ofthe muck and see the danger in its plan to tamper with the lake's levels toa dangerous degree. The Army Corps' plan would only exacerbate the threatposed by droughts like this one, leaving less water available to replenishunderwater drinking supplies and refill irrigation canals.

The Army Corps does have well-founded concerns about the deterioratinginfrastructure of the Herbert Hoover Dike, whose earthen walls are sovulnerable to rupture that a water management district study said it posed a"grave and imminent danger" to the 40,000 people living nearby. Thesolution, though, is not to stick with a level-tampering system thatthreatens other key sectors, namely the agricultural industry that helpsprop up the state's economy and the water supply that feeds the entire SouthFlorida region.

The answer, instead, is for the Army Corps, and the federal governmentfunding it, to take advantage of the lake's low levels and expediteessential repairs to the dike. That would require the Army Corps, which hasa poor track record of repairing New Orleans' levees, to toss out a timelineestimating repairs to high-risk areas to be complete by 2017 and the entiredike to be fixed by 2025, and work with some urgency.

There's no excuse to take that long to respond to life-threatening concerns,especially if it means leaning on other threatening tactics to buy time.

BOTTOM LINE: Expedite repairs instead.


The Miami Herald

Key West Fantasy Fest in full swing

Posted on Sun, Oct. 21, 2007

Key West's decadent Fantasy Fest kicked off this weekend with an event toselect the decadent 10-day festival's king and queen.

Key West residents Chris Lippa and Mary Lou Hoover were crowned festivalking and queen late Friday, selected because they raised the most funds forAIDS Help Inc., a nonprofit that provides support and counseling for HIVpatients.

The ceremony capped nearly two months of fundraisers conducted bycandidates, who amassed more than $200,000. Since 1989, coronation contestshave collected almost $2.6 million.

The festival continues through Oct. 28 with more than 30 masked balls,street parties, marches and costume contests.

Fantasy Fest's traditional highlight is a parade down Key West's Whiteheadand Duval streets that attracts more than 60,000 revelers.


The Miami Herald

Clinton camp: Fundraiser no breach of boycott

Posted on Sun, Oct. 21, 2007

Former President Bill Clinton's speech Sunday to about 2,000 people indowntown Miami will be one of the largest events of the presidential primaryrace in Florida.

But don't expect to see it on television.

Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign says allowing media coverage of herhusband's appearance would violate her pledge not to campaign in Florida,which trampled national party rules when it moved up its March primary toJan. 29.

The event at the James L. Knight Center will be the first test of theloyalty oath taken by Clinton and other Democratic candidates to the fourstates authorized to hold the earliest primaries and caucuses.

''Florida is an important state in which we intend to campaign aggressivelyin the general election, but we are going to stick to the letter and spiritof the pledge we signed,'' said Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee. ``We willnot be campaigning in Florida, nor will we be sending any surrogates tocampaign in Florida.''

more . . . . .


The New York Times

Not All Are Pleased at Plan to Offer Birth Control at Maine Middle School

October 21, 2007

PORTLAND, Me., Oct. 19 - Carissa Porcaro, a student at King Middle Schoolhere, did not hide her feelings about the Portland school board's decisionto let the independently operated clinic at her school provide girls accessto prescription contraceptives.

Wearing a sticker with the words "I'm against giving out birth control"written in black marker, Carissa, 13, said she did not think the schoolshould make the drugs available. Her mother disagrees.

"She thinks it's really good," Carissa said after school on Friday. "I thinkit's stupid because what people are saying is that it's O.K. to be sexuallyactive."

Two days after the school committee voted 7 to 2 in favor of addingprescription contraceptives to the services offered at the health clinic,the issue continues to draw fervent support and ardent opposition in thiscity of 64,000, the largest in Maine.

"I think it's a great idea," said Cathleen Allen, whose son is enrolled atKing. "Someone is finally advocating for these students to take care ofthemselves."

more . . . . .


[Send your comments about articles to]

No comments: