Wednesday, October 24, 2007

FLORIDA DIGEST October 24, 2007

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Broward Democratic Party Launches New Website
New tools and features designed to boost party awareness.

October 23rd, 2007

For Immediate Release
For more information, contact Mitch Ceasar, Chairman, Broward CountyDemocratic Party, (formerly the Broward County Democratic ExecutiveCommittee) at 954-423-2200 or email

(Plantation, FL) The Broward Democratic Party has launched a newsophisticated website,, designed to expand the universeof activists and donors within Broward County. The site, which highlightsthe county's clubs, candidates, and elected officials, also includesutilization of YouTube videos, podcasts, social networking, andword-of-mouth tools.

One unique feature of the site is that upon signing up for the mailing list,you can also simultaneously register for any of the 37 chartered Democraticclubs.

"We wanted a site that would help us attract young people, moreinternet-oriented voters and donors. Additionally, a rapid response featureis a necessary tool in today's political environment," stated Mitch Ceasar,Chairman of the Broward Democratic Party. "Broward is critical to theFlorida vote - and we needed our site to reflect our intensity," Ceasaradded.

The launch is part of a multi-phased marketing plan, which began with theparty rebranding itself as the Broward Democratic Party from the BrowardCounty Democratic Executive Committee.

The website was designed by Impact Politics, a political communicationsfirm.

About the Broward Democratic Party

The Broward Democratic Party is administered by the Broward DemocraticExecutive Committee and is a precinct-based organization that is governed byFlorida Statute 106, with membership recorded by the Supervisor ofElections. The objective of the Broward Democratic Party is to supplementthe state and national organizations of the Democratic Party and to secureefficient, able, and honest national, state, county and local government inaccordance with the principles of the national Democratic Party. Infurtherance of these goals, the Committee continuously endeavors to maintainand foster the high ideals of the Democratic Party. For more information,see or email


Palm Beach County School Board to weigh policy on blocking Web sites

By Marc Freeman
October 24, 2007

Every so often, controversies emerge over whether certain Web sites belongon Palm Beach County school computers. Soon, decisions to block or unblockthem may be made by a new group of district officials.

The Sensitive Topics Committee - middle and high school principals andadministrators from academic departments - is part of a proposed SchoolBoard policy concerning Internet security.

Board members today will discuss the proposal, which stems from a challengelast year over the blocking of so-called "gay-supportive" Web sites onSchool District-owned computers.

If approved at a future board meeting, the policy would establish formalstandards for blocking Web sites, an appeal process and the role of the newreview committee.

The district will continue to use a Web filtering system to block millionsof Web sites deemed inappropriate, said spokesman Nat Harrington.

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Wilton Manors: City extends protections for transgender workers
October 24, 2007

Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday night to add gender identity andgender expression to the city's nondiscrimination policy.

The policy already protects municipal employees based on race, nationalorigin, age, marital or veteran status, sexual orientation or medicalcondition.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation defines transgender peopleas those who feel an innate sense of gender other than their birth sex.

This includes transsexuals, cross-dressers and people who simply feel theirbiological sex fails to reflect their true gender.

Wilton Manors joins Oakland Park as the only cities in Broward County thatoffer protection to transgender municipal employees.

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Fort Lauderdale mayoral candidate wins lawsuit against rival

By Brittany Wallman
October 24, 2007


Failed mayoral candidate Dan Lewis said from the start that one of the menin the 2006 city election was bogus, put in the race to prevent Lewis frombeating longtime Mayor Jim Naugle.

Last week, he told his story to a federal jury, and jurors agreed in averdict that candidate Christopher Peer intentionally tried to harm Lewis'chances of winning, and should pay Lewis $790,500 to make up for it.

The jury found Peer liable for punitive damages of $657,000, ruling that hehad "specific intent to harm" Lewis. The jury also found that Peer shouldpay Lewis $16,000 for political campaign expenses, $7,500 in legal fees,$5,000 for injury to reputation, and $150,000 for lost earnings amounting tothree years of mayor's salary.

Peer, who represented himself in the trial, could not be reached for commenton whether he will appeal the verdict rendered Thursday.

But Lewis said he's not stopping now. He hopes to pursue the matter until hecan uncover how Peer got into the spring 2006 race in the first place. Lewisaccuses Naugle of that; Naugle has said it's not true.

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Broward County administrator quits after 16 months on the job
Deal with commissioners includes six months' severance

By Scott Wyman
October 24, 2007

Pam Brangaccio's rocky tenure at the helm of Broward County government endedTuesday just 16 months after it started, doomed by a lack of trust among herbosses on the County Commission.

Brangaccio will receive almost $150,000 in severance pay under a deal sheworked out with Mayor Josephus Eggelletion. Commissioners were scheduled togive Brangaccio her first performance review, and her decision to quit savedher from brutal public criticism and the prospect of being fired.

Brangaccio, 51, struggled to adapt to running the $3.6 billion operationwith 6,000 employees. Although she delivered record budget cuts to pay forstate-mandated property tax relief, she was plagued by management problemsat Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

In the end, commissioners agreed, by a 6-3 vote, to accept her resignationand pay her the six months of severance she would have received if she hadbeen fired. She made $232,500 a year under the contract she received whenshe began work in July 2006.

Brangaccio said she wanted to stay longer but decided to leave after aMonday night conversation with Eggelletion. "It's definitely the best thingfor the county," she said.

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Housing slump has South Florida condo investors heading for the exits
Suits mount as condo investors seek money back

By Jennifer Gollan
October 24, 2007


When Jennifer Wigand put down a deposit in 2005 for a condominium in amulti-use development called Veranda at Plantation, she hoped to quicklysell it and use the profits to help pay her law school loans.

Then the housing market plunged. Wigand said she wasn't worried because thedeveloper had promised she could back out any time and her money would bereturned. But in July, when she asked to take part in that program, Wigandsaid she was told it had been canceled.

Like an increasing number of buyers in South Florida, Wigand last monthfiled a lawsuit to get out of the deal. Last week, 20 other buyers inVeranda joined her suit.

"I was disappointed that the developers and their agents went back on theirword," said the 24-year-old Fort Lauderdale resident. "I just want my[$39,200] deposit back."

Ken Simigran, president of builder WestCity Partners, Inc., declined tocomment on the buyback program, but insisted, "Our contract is very clear.We have delivered on everything we were supposed to perform on."

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Florida takes educational leap into 21st century

October 24, 2007

About time for evolution

Florida's public education system has finally evolved to the point whereevolution can be taught. Welcome to the real world, Florida.

Proposed science standards say public school students need to learn aboutevolution, one of the "big ideas" that need to be taught as part ofin-depth, hands-on learning. It's all part of a plan to improve scienceeducation, which is woefully lacking in Florida, and get students ready fora technology-based workplace.

Most scientists don't even think evolution is debatable. But you can be surethere will be folks, perhaps even legislators, demanding that creationismand "intelligent design" and whatever else should be given equal time. Ifthey want to have that debate, fine, but keep it out of science classes.

That debate is better left for political science and philosophy classes.
Science must be about science.


The Miami Herald

Struggling together to stay above water

Posted on Wed, Oct. 24, 2007

In years past, the water-management plan for Florida and neighboringSoutheastern states was pretty simple: Heavy rains during the summer wetmonths provided ample water for the dry winter months. Now, arecord-breaking drought throughout the region is forcing Florida, Georgia,Alabama and nearby states to rethink that too-easy equation. While somestates -- such as Florida -- have been better at dealing with the crisisthan others -- such as Georgia -- it is important to remember that we're allessentially in the same boat.
No need to point fingers

The best solutions will come from water conservation, public awareness andmore-frugal management of growth and natural resources. There is little tobe gained from blaming others and delaying water-control initiatives. Yet,there was Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue last week asking for an injunctionagainst the Army Corps of Engineers to slow the release of river water intoAlabama and Florida.

While Gov. Perdue was quick to point an accusing finger, Georgia has beenslow to recognize the severity of the drought. Georgia only belatedlydeclared a state of emergency and, even then, hasn't initiated seriousindoor water-use restrictions. Earlier this month, Stone Mountain Park nearAtlanta planned to build a 1.2 million gallon mountain of snow -- until theeffort was called off at the last minute.

Georgia and Alabama have been especially hard hit by the drought that beganlast year. Searingly high temperatures and a record-low rainfall this summermade the drought much worse. Historically, neither Georgia nor Alabama hasdone a good job of developing policies to mitigate against drought, nor havethey spent enough time preparing their populations for inevitable watercrises.

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The Miami Herald

While Democrats stay away, the Republicans play

Posted on Wed, Oct. 24, 2007

Looking at some recent decisions by the Democratic Party, state andnational, I'm reminded of what Abba Eban, the eloquent Israeli ambassador tothe United Nations, used to say about the Palestinians: ``They never miss anopportunity to miss an opportunity.''

Consider the Florida Democratic Party's upcoming state convention thisweekend in Orlando. They'll be regaled at their Saturday night ''Victory '08Dinner'' by the ever-popular Steny Hoyer, a big draw and crowd pleaserwherever he goes. Don't know him? You're not alone, although, as Housemajority leader, Rep. Hoyer is a bigwig in Washington. Also speaking to theD's will be Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, a smart guy but hardly ahousehold name.

Not a name like Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Richardson, Dodd or Biden. But noneof them will attend the Democratic state convention thanks to DNC ChairmanHoward Dean and the ''Four-State Pledge,'' which evidently makes all thecandidates quake in their boots. The pledge is a kind of politicalpromissory note that prohibits any Democratic contender from campaigning inFlorida until after the Jan. 29 primary. They can, however, come to Floridato hold fund-raising events. But can't talk to local media.

This is about as colossally stupid as politics can get. We've all heard of''pay to play,'' but this pledge takes it to a new and dizzinglyunacceptable level. Think about it. Even as Republican presidentialcandidates routinely ply the state -- Rudy Giuliani had his umpteenth caf├ęcubano at Versailles last Friday -- no Democrat can set foot here for thenext 3 ½ months unless it's behind closed doors, which open only to payingcustomers.

Bill Clinton came to Miami for a rally Sunday night that was open only toHillary contributors. National media could attend, but Florida media werenot invited.Hillary's spokesman, Mo Elleithee, told The Miami Herald thatthey were simply complying with ''the letter and spirit of the pledge wesigned.'' He added that Hillary won't campaign in Florida, ''nor will we besending any surrogates to campaign in Florida.'' Then what, pray tell, isBill if not Surrogate No. 1? At least the pledge prevents Hillary'strouble-prone younger brothers, Hugh and Tony, from campaigning in thestate. Hugh, you may recall, once ran a disastrous campaign here for theU.S. Senate. Then went on to leverage some profitable last-minute pardons asbrother-in-law Bill left office.

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The Miami Herald

Progress stalls on property tax talks; deadline looms

Posted on Wed, Oct. 24, 2007

Despite the Legislature's do-or-die deadline to get a property tax amendmenton the ballot in the next six days, progress stalled Tuesday as criticspounded an ambitious House plan to cap tax assessments on business property.

The 5 percent cap passed the House overwhelmingly Monday, even thoughlawmakers had few details about the impact it would have on the economy,business competition and local government revenue.

The cap would limit the yearly increase in assessments on commercialproperty and second homes, which now have no such protection.

To get a constitutional amendment before voters on the Jan. 29 ballot, theLegislature must pass a property tax cut measure by a three-fourths vote ofeach chamber no later than Monday.

Senate leaders spent Tuesday studying the impact of the business propertycap and released estimates from legislative economists that the plan wouldlead to $13.4 billion in lost revenue to cities and counties over 10 years,with $5.8 billion of it coming from schools.

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Ft. Lauderdale



Join the HRC South Florida Committee each month to network with other GLBTprofessionals and to learn about HRC in South Florida!

Thursday, November 1st
@ Side Bar at Himmarshee Bar and Grille
210 SW 2nd Street
Ft. Lauderdale, FL

For more information or directions call/email (954)524-1818

Club Blue - $10
Suggested Donation

It is held on the first Thursday of each month!


Ft. Lauderdale

The 2nd Annual HRC
Winterfest Boat Parade Party!

Saturday, December 15th

For tickets and sponsorship information please visit:




Wicked Manors Block Party October 31st"

WILTON MANORS, FL - The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of South Florida(GLCC), Wilton Manors Business Association, Wilton Manors Main Street andthe City of Wilton Manors announce cash and prizes for the Wicked ManorsBlock Party 2007 - Hell On Heels! -our city's First Annual Halloween eventon October 31st, totaling over $5000. Prizes will be awarded for the greatcontests. You are invited to enter any or all of them including:

· Pet Contest: First Place will win $50 CASH along with FabulousPrizes totaling over $150; Second Place and Third Place prizes will beawarded. Pet contests begin at 8pm.

· Pet/Owner Look-A-Like: First Place will win $50 CASH along withFabulous Prizes totaling over $150; Second Place and Third Place prizes willbe awarded.

· Body Art: First Place will win $50 CASH along with Fabulous Prizestotaling over $250; Second Place and Third Place prizes will be awarded.Contest begins at 8:30pm.

· Celebrity Look-A-Like: First Place will win $250 CASH along withFabulous Prizes totaling over $500; Second Place and Third Place prizes willbe awarded. Contest begins at 9pm.

· "Drag On The Drive" WALK OFF Contest: First Place will win $250CASH along with Fabulous Prizes totaling over $500; Second Place and ThirdPlace prizes will be awarded. Contestants must be lined up for the WALK by9:30pm.

· Scariest Costume: First Place will win $500 CASH along withFabulous Prizes; Second Place and Third Place prizes will be awarded. Thefinal two contests will begin at 10:30pm.

· Best Overall: First Place will win $1000 CASH along with FabulousPrizes; Second Place and Third Place prizes will be awarded.

We will also have a "Drag on the Drive" Walk-Off contest and a Lord and Ladyof Wicked Manors contest. All contestants must be registered at least onehalf hour prior to the contest. The parade of contestants will be during theopening ceremony at 7pm and the winners will be announced at 11pm. Lord andLady must raise dollars-for-votes prior to the event and throughout theevening. The person who raises the most money will win $1000 in cash andprizes. You must visit the website to enter

· Lady Of Wicked Manors: First Place will win $500 CASH along withFabulous Prizes totally over $1000.

· Lord of Wicked: First Place will win $500 CASH from Bottoms andTops along with Fabulous Prizes totally over $1000.

This party is open to everyone and admission is free. There will be over 50vendors on the street including FOOD CONCESSIONS. Come hungry! "Visit theRED BULL TENT and get your commemorative 'Hell on Heels' T-Shirt. Thisshirt will be a collectors item and you will be able to say - I was at theFIRST EVER Wicked Manors Block Party" commented Bobby Kyser, Co-Chair (andowner of Petals Panache). "We will also be selling shirts prior to the eventat various businesses on the drive and at the GLCC."

"In addition to Misty Eyez, our Mistress of the Dark & Emcee Extraordinaire,we will have dance music by the fabulous G.I.R.L. ( ntertainment by various DIVAS from our community that we all know andlove!" stated Doug Cureton, Co-Chair (owner of What's the Scoop).

For information on how you can purchase a vendor space, contact Bobby Kyserat (954) FLOWERS (356-9377). Volunteers are needed to help with the eventand will receive a free T-shirt. Contact Nicole at the GLCC at 954-463-9005or for more information about volunteering.


St. Petersburg Times

Bullying costs school $4M

Parents of a student at Hillel School of Tampa sue after a bully breakstheir son's arm.

By COLLEEN JENKINS, Times Staff Writer
Published October 23, 2007

TAMPA -- After a bully attacked Danny Heidenberg at Hillel School of Tampa,his parents complained to the principal of the Jewish community day school.

When the bully broke 12-year-old Danny's arm in January 2004, they sued.

On Monday, a Hillsborough jury ordered the school to pay $4-million forfailing to keep Danny safe.

Now 16, he has permanent nerve damage in his left hand and likely won't beable to follow in his surgeon parents' footsteps. The verdict sends a strongmessage to schools, the family's attorney said.

"Schools have to wake up to the point that bullying is serious andsupervision is serious," said David Tirella, an attorney with Cohen, Jayson& Foster. "They allowed a bully to escalate."

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Palm Beach Post

Beating death prompts protest

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

TALLAHASSEE - Hundreds of protesters marched to a downtown federalcourthouse Tuesday to demand that federal officials complete aninvestigation into last year's death of 14-year-old Martin Lee Anderson.

Anderson's parents, Gina Jones and Robert Anderson, led a contingent of atleast 700 activists, some of whom traveled all night from South Florida toattend the rally.

They marched through downtown past the Florida Supreme Court and theCapitol.

Anderson, who was black, died after being beaten and pummeled by Bay Countysheriff's boot camp guards as a nurse stood by without intervening.

Criminal charges were filed against the eight boot camp workers, some ofwhom were captured on videotape beating Anderson.

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Candidate for State Senator

Thursday, October 25, 2007
5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Enjoy Hors d'oeuvre's and Wine

664 N. Federal Highway Ft. Lauderdale 33304


No Donation necessary to attend, but all contributions are welcome. $500.00 maximum per person. The purchase of a ticket for, or a contribution to the campaign fund raiser is a contribution to the campaign of Ken Gottlieb

Political Advertisement paid for and approved by Ken Gottlieb, Democrat, for State Senate, District 31


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