Sunday, October 28, 2007

FLORIDA DIGEST October 28, 2007

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Dade execs' bonuses poorly tracked

Posted on Sun, Oct. 28, 2007

Miami-Dade County's mayor said they don't exist, but records show they do:bonuses, paid over the past five years to hundreds of county employees --including a few who were later fired or pressured to resign over deepproblems in their departments.

''Our employees do not enjoy bonuses, stock options, 401k's with employer contributions, paid getaways, expense accounts and other corporate perks,''County Mayor Carlos Alvarez wrote in a July letter to The Miami Herald,defending county workers' pay.

But records assembled by the county over three months reveal nearly 400payments to executive-branch employees totaling more than $1.5 million sincethe beginning of the 2002 fiscal year.

Alvarez himself received one for nearly $10,000 when he was county policedirector in 2002. Other large bonuses went to administrators who were on thebrink of retirement or had taken other jobs.

The bonuses are barely noticeable in the $10.7 billion spent on payrollduring the same five-year span -- ''an infinitesimally small number,''County Manager George Burgess said.

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The Miami Herald

Lack of hopefuls doesn't stop party

Posted on Sun, Oct. 28, 2007

What the Florida Democratic Party's annual convention lacked in presidential candidates, it made up for in funny hats.

Straw hats, witch hats, and, of course, donkey hats stood out in a folksy,partisan sea of Bush-bashing buttons, homemade campaign signs, and abirthday cake for presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton.

But the millinery didn't wash out the frustration that infused the gatheringSaturday of about 2,600 activists and kept another 400 registrants at home.

The Democratic National Committee has declared that the Jan. 29 presidentialprimary won't count, citing its rules that only four smaller states can votethat early. All of the candidates -- except for the biggest underdog of themall, Mike Gravel -- have sworn off campaigning in Florida.

''The party bosses have barred them from campaigning here, except forprivate fundraisers,'' said U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, eliciting jeers from thecrowd and touting his lawsuit against the national party.

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St. Petersburg Times

The toast, roast of the parties

By ADAM C. SMITH Times Political Editor
Published October 28, 2007

ORLANDO - People often ask incredulously whether Hillary Clinton can reallywin the general election with her polarizing image. Given the damage to theRepublican brand these days, my assumption has been yes, she can.

Leaving the Florida's Republican Party's "Presidency IV" convention lastweekend I wondered about that. In two days with thousands of hardcore partyactivists, I heard only two words that revved up the surprisingly subduedcrowd: Hillary Clinton.

State Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer exhorted the crowd to unite behindthe eventual nominee: "If not, ladies and gentlemen, we shall watch HillaryRodham Clinton sworn in on the Capitol steps as the next commander in chiefof our United States armed forces."

He might as well have said Osama bin Laden would raise his right hand andput his other on a Bible, the roars of disapproval were so loud. Nothingguaranteed a crowd reaction for presidential contenders and other speakersbetter than invoking the name of New York's junior senator.

So I'm flummoxed on this question of Clinton's electability.

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