Tuesday, October 30, 2007

FLORIDA DIGEST October 30, 2007

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Wilton Manors: Halloween block party scheduled Wednesday
October 30, 2007

The city, the Gay and Lesbian Community Center, the Wilton Manors Business Association and Wilton Manors Main Street will host Wicked Manors, aHalloween block party, Wednesday along Wilton Drive.

The event will begin at 5 p.m. with trick-or-treating along the entirelength of Wilton Drive. The adult block party begins at 7 p.m, with aperformance by drag queen Misty Eyes. The block party will be along thedrive between Seventh and 11th avenues and last until 11 p.m.

Other events include contests for pet costumes, tattoo and body art,celebrity look-alikes, and a drag queen runway walk. Participants areencouraged to keep to this year's theme of "Hell on Heels."

Parking will be available at Hagen Park, 2020 Wilton Drive; RichardsonHistoric Park, 1937 Wilton Drive; and Fort Lauderdale High School, 1600 NEFourth Ave. A free trolley service will be available to all sites throughoutthe night.

The block party is free and open to the public. Call 954-463-9005.




Gay Men's Chorus and Barbara Cook make for musical magic
October 30, 2007

Congrats to Todd Wiley and the Fort Lauderdale Gay Men's Chorus on theirwonderful concert on Oct. 22. We're so lucky to have this group of supremelytalented singers right here in Broward County.

The fact that Barbara Cook was the special guest certainly speaks to themusical caliber of the organization. It was a full house at the Au-ReneTheatre, and the love and admiration between the chorus, Ms. Cook and theaudience made for an electrifying evening. What a special night.

Vickie Schwisberg

Coral Springs




Light turnout so far for Election Day in southwest Broward

By Sallie James and Anthony Man
Political Writer
8:31 AM EDT, October 30, 2007


Officials expected a light turnout when polls opened Tuesday, and a lightturnout is what they've gotten so far.

Today is primary election day for almost 13,000 Republicans in parts ofDavie, Pembroke Pines and Miramar.

They're going to the polls, along with Republicans from Collier County, topick a Republican candidate to replace state Rep. Mike Davis, R-Naples, whodied last month.

At the Pembroke Lakes Recreation Center in Pembroke Pines, only two peoplehad cast votes by 8:15 a.m.

"It's light," said precinct clerk Barbara Graff. "Only the Republicans arevoting because the one Democrat is running unopposed. On the Republicanside, there are four [candidates]," Graff said.

Matt Hudson, Gerald J. Lefebvre, Christopher Spencer and Eric Zichella wantthe nomination to take on Democrat Linda McDonald.

Zichella is from Pembroke Pines. The other three are from Collier County,where about two-thirds of the district's Republicans live.

The race has been compressed into just a few weeks because of Davis' death.In its closing days, negative attacks, some funded by outside politicalgroups, began arriving in voters' mailboxes.

So far, interest has been low. In Broward, the Supervisor of ElectionsOffice had requests for only about 400 absentee ballots.

Democrats don't have a primary. The general election between the Republicannominee and McDonald is Nov. 20.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today.

To check on your polling place, www.browardsoe.org and click on "MyPrecinct" under the heading "Election Information" or call the Supervisor ofElections office at 954-357-7050.

Anthony Man can be reached at aman@sun-sentinel.com or 954-356-4550. Read the Broward political blog every weekday at www.sun-sentinel.com/browardpolitics




Lamberti faces big challenge in Broward sheriff's race

Posted on Tue, Oct. 30, 2007

When newly appointed Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti runs for office nextNovember, he has to make a key decision -- and whatever that decision iswill be a major gamble.

He can run as a Republican in Democratic-dominated Broward -- a feat fewpoliticians have successfully pulled off.

Or he can switch parties, weather the criticism and take his chances in whatwould likely be a tough primary.

''Does he stand a chance? Yes,'' said pollster Jim Kane. ``Does he have agreat chance? No. It's a bad year for Republicans.''

Gov. Charlie Crist appointed Republican Lamberti sheriff last week.

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Ft. Lauderdale

Forwarded from Stonewall Library & Archives

She's the girl with the hair and she's coming to Stonewall

Join us on Friday, November 2, at 7:00 pm, at Stonewall for THE BRIDE OFFRANKENSTEIN (1935), this month's selection in Stonewall's monthly filmseries "The Lavender Screen: Cinema Classics." In this new series,Stonewall will explore films directed or written by LGBT artists.

THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, directed by James Whale, is the exception to therule that sequels are never better than the films from which they are born.Often regarded as a blatant gay allegory, Bride is an often imitated horrorclassic and on a deeper level, a complex view of obsession, being"different" and social isolation.

Much can be read into the film from Whale's own life. Throughout the 1930'sWhale was one of Hollywood's few OUT artists, freely acknowledging hisrelationship with producer David Lewis. His refusal to "play it straight"inevitably cost him his career and he worked only sporadically aftercreating BRIDE in 1935 and SHOW BOAT in 1936. The talented Whale diedmysteriously in 1961 and was immortalized in the book and film GODS ANDMONSTERS.

Film screening at Stonewall, 7:00 pm. Suggested donation $2.00.

The mission of Stonewall Library & Archives is to collect, preserve,organize for use and display materials related to gay, lesbian, bisexual andtransgender culture and history; support related research and sponsorcultural and educational programs.

This program is sponsored by Stonewall Library & Archives and is supported by a generous grant from Comcast in recognition of Comcast's commitment to the communities where its customers and employees live and work.

For further information, please contact:
Jack Rutland, Executive Director
Stonewall Library & Archives


Forwarded from ArtsUnited - Fort Lauderdale

ArtsUnited will feature the paintings of Orlando artist Dawn Rosendahl in a solo exhibit at the Stonewall Library and Archives from November 5 through 30, 2007. The gallery is located at 1717 North Andrews Avenue in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The exhibit opens with a reception to meet the artist from 6:30 to 8:00 PM on Monday, November 5th.

Dawn Rosendahl has been creating art in one form or another since she was achild.

Her interests in archeology and anthropology are reflected in much of her work. Dawn was intrigued by the symbols and ornamentation of civilizations lost. As a sculptor and mold/ model maker for Walt Disney World, she continued to be influenced by architectural ornamentation.

Rosendahl uses the human form to compare and contrast curves of muscles to those of scrolls and ornamentation. In some of her paintings, she blends human form into the ornamentation itself.

The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public. Refreshments willbe served at the reception. Funding for this art series has been provided by Comcast.


You are cordially invited to a
Buffet dinner and campaign briefing on


the bi-partisan effort to defeat the so-called Florida MarriageProtection Amendment

Thursday, November 1
7:00 PM 9:00 PM

At the home of Sandra and Bob Steen
603 Kensington Place, Wilton Manors

Suggested minimum contribution of $25
Checks payable to: Florida Red and Blue
For more information or to R.S.V.P. Sandy Steen
Thursday, November 1
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Checks payable to: Florida Red and Blue and hand them in at the dooror contribute on the web at www.floridaredandblue.com

Contact Sandy Steen at (954) 566-4165 / (954) 829-4165 or

Florida Red and Blue (www.floridaredandblue.com) is an independent,non-partisan campaign organized solely to defeat the proposed â?oMarriage Protectionâ? Amendment. The campaign is an unprecedented coalition ofleadership from around the state of Florida â?" Republicans, Democrats,Independents, business leaders, religious leaders, elected officials, andorganization directors who have the sole objective of winning.

Florida Red and Blue is run by a diverse, non-partisan Executive Board whosemeetings and decisions are transparent to all supporters. Florida Red andBlue is a research-driven campaign which will hire and rely on experiencedprofessionals. Florida Red and Blue is not under the control of anyestablished group and will disband as soon as practical after the election.

Florida Red & Blue raised over $1.3 million for the campaign to defeat thisamendment. Please join us at this wonderful event to learn more about thecampaign and our progress to date. We look forward to seeing you there!


The Washington Post


Tropical Storm That Killed 20 Hits Cuba

The Associated Press
Tuesday, October 30, 2007; 11:20 AM

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Tropical Storm Noel slogged across Cubaon Tuesday and drew closer to Florida after causing flooding and mudslidesthat killed at least 20 people elsewhere in the Caribbean.

Forecasters projected the storm would emerge over water on Wednesday nearCuba's Cayo Coco resort area, turn northeast toward the Bahamas andstrengthen. The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami warned people insoutheast Florida to monitor the storm.

Noel had been forecast to hit Haiti hardest but veered toward the DominicanRepublic, apparently catching residents off guard Monday.

"We didn't know that it was going to be like this, it took us by surprise,"said Guarionex Rosado as he left his home in La Cienaga, one of SantoDomingo's most affected neighborhoods.

The Dominican Republic's entire power system crashed early Monday, plunging9.4 million people into the dark for about two hours, said Radhames Segura,vice president of the state-owned electric company.

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The Washington Post


Lawyer: No Charges for Tasered Student

The Associated Press
Tuesday, October 30, 2007; 9:38 AM

ORLANDO, Fla. -- A University of Florida student who was shocked with aTaser after persistently questioning Sen. John Kerry will avoid criminalcharges by apologizing and complying with terms of a voluntary 18-monthprobation, authorities said Tuesday.

Andrew Meyer, 21, yelled "Don't Tase me, bro!" as he scuffled with officersduring the campus speech last month. In letters to the university, itspresident and the campus police department, he apologized, attorney RobertGriscti said.

"I made the decision to supersede the rules, and for that I apologize,"Meyer wrote. "I should have acted calmer and obeyed the directives of theofficers. If I had, none of the subsequent issues would ever have arisen."

State Attorney William Cervone said Meyer agreed to conduct himself "in afashion that demonstrates his ability to behave appropriately and withoutviolating the law" during 18 months of probation.

"If he is successful in doing so, the case against him will be closedwithout formal court action," Cervone said in a statement.

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Rough surf, possible tropical storm watch for S. Florida

Associated Press
9:31 AM EDT, October 30, 2007

A tropical storm watch for parts of southeastern Florida may be issuedTuesday as a weakened Tropical Storm Noel could pass close to the state overthe next few days.

The National Weather Service has issued high surf advisories for Miami-Dadeand Broward Counties and a flood warning for coastal Palm Beach County asNoel churns off the coast of the Bahamas. Waves were already pounding theregion's beaches Tuesday morning. Forecasters said the storm's rains wouldlikely miss drought-stricken Georgia, Alabama and other states in theSoutheast.

Forecasters predict winds as high as 40 mph today in parts of Palm BeachCounty, but emergency responders said this morning there has not been anyserious wind-related damages over the last few hours.

Palm Beach county Fire Rescue did respond to downed power lines at twolocations in West Palm Beach, 436 45th Street and 4105 Greenwood Ave.

At 8 a.m. Noel's top sustained winds were near 50 mph, down from 60 mphearlier in the day, according to the National Hurricane Center. It wasmoving west near 12 mph, but was expected to turn away from Florida onThursday or Friday and speed into the open Atlantic.

Tropical storm-strength winds extended 175 miles from the storm's center,mainly to the north. Above-normal tides and heavy rains were expected in itspath into the Atlantic.

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Gov. Crist to 'campaign like the dickens' for tax-relief plan

By Joshua Hafenbrack
10:20 AM EDT, October 30, 2007


Gov. Charlie Crist today pledged to put his popularity on the line bycampaigning hard for a new constitutional amendment to cut property taxes,making stops around Florida to tout a package that goes before voters Jan.29.

"This is going to fire up Florida's economy," Crist said at a Capitol newsconference Tuesday morning. "We're going to campaign like the dickens tomake sure people understand the truth about how good this will be forFlorida families, which is a wonderful, wonderful thing."

On Monday, the Legislature passed a property-tax amendment that allowspermanent homeowners to transfer their Save Our Homes tax cap savings whenthey move, a popular measure called "portability." It also increases thehomestead exemption by about $15,000 and gives businesses and secondhomeowners a 10 percent cap on annual assessment increases on part of theirtax bills.

The measure must gain approval from 60 percent of voters in the specialelection Jan. 29, which is also the date of Florida's presidential primary.

Crist is making stops today in Jacksonville, Port St. Lucie and Orlando.Missing from the list: South Florida, where many legislators had pushed fordeeper tax cuts that were tailored to help different groups, such aslow-income seniors and new and recent homebuyers.

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Homeless sex offender sues to live in mother's Miramar house

By Georgia East
October 30, 2007


A registered sex offender, living in his car since his release from prisonin September, today will ask a Broward judge to let him move into hismother's rented house.

Because there is a school within 2,500 feet of the home on Acapulco Drive,Miramar ordinance bars Lee Chang from living there. In August 2005, the cityjoined dozens of other municipalities around the state in prohibiting anyoneconvicted of a felony sexual offense from living that close to a school, daycare center, public school bus stop, park or playground.

Chang, 25, was found guilty in July 2005 of lewd and lascivious battery forengaging in sexual activity with a child age 12-15. He was sentenced to 30months in prison and 12 years of sex offender probation.

"The people I'm representing aren't predators," said Chang's attorney, ChrisMancini, who said his clients fall more into the Romeo-and-Juliet category.The problem with many sex offender laws, said Mancini, is that they treatoffenders and predators the same.

Today, he plans to argue before Broward Circuit Judge Pedro Dijols the sexoffender laws are unconstitutional and violate due process.

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Fort Lauderdale boat show a success for many vendors

By Tom Stieghorst
October 30, 2007

Amidshowers and what some described as light attendance, vendors at theFort Lauderdale International Boat Show said they did at least as well aslast year, a victory in the current economy where many prospective buyersare weighed down by a home or condominium they can't sell.

"It was a surprisingly good show for us," said Jeff Lichterman, president ofAllbury Bros. Boats. "We've been slower than normal for the past sixmonths."

Lichterman said he took seven orders, some of them subject to change, andhad two or three other buyers who wouldn't commit at the show but may do soin the coming weeks. He said that orders picked up even before the boat showstarted. Allbury builds outboard boats ranging from 20 to 27 feet atfactories at the Port of Palm Beach and in the Bahamas.

Also doing well was MarineMax. Regional Vice President Chuck Cashman saidhis sales force focused on the lifestyle, not the economy. "People stillwant to enjoy themselves," said Cashman, who said sales were ahead of lastyear, when MarineMax sold more than 100 boats. The five-day show closedMonday. Both Cashman and Lichterman stressed that buyers preferred new 2008models over discounted 2007 boats.

Several long-time vendors said attendance seemed to be off from past years."Some of it is the first-time buyer not even venturing out," said KevinMahoney, regional sales manager for Monterey Boats, which sell locallythrough Arch Creek Yacht Sales in Riviera Beach.

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The Miami Herald


Lawmakers failed to make substantial change

Posted on Mon, Oct. 29, 2007

In the end, the pollsters won.

Legislators decided that the best way to tackle property-tax reform is to dowhat pollsters said Florida voters wanted: an easy-to-understand increasedhomestead exemption and the ability of homeowners to take their tax savingswith them when they move.

To do that, lawmakers jettisoned much of what they said and learned aboutproperty taxes after months of study and many hours of public hearings: thatFlorida's property tax system is an inequitable, burden-shifting mess.

The result is a constitutional amendment that asks voters on Jan. 29 tobroaden the burden placed on the already disadvantaged taxpayers -- ownersof new and non-homestead property -- but provides a relief valve tolong-time homeowners, $240 to most homeowners and predictability tobusiness.

It doesn't reform the tax structure. And that's because voters want it thatway: They like the Save Our Homes system -- which has distorted the taxstructure.

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The Miami Herald


Broward can have visionary transportation plan

Posted on Tue, Oct. 30, 2007

The inability of South Florida's local governments to implement acomprehensive regional public-transportation solution results in an indirect''tax'' to residents in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.According to the Texas Traffic Institute's 2007 urban mobility report, SouthFlorida drivers waste an average of 50 hours and 35 gallons of gas a yearstuck in traffic.

Broward County's proposed Metropolitan Transit Authority's (MTA) charteramendment is a step in the right direction. It was developed by thetransportation subcommittee of the county's Charter Review Commission. Itconcluded that the lack of political leadership and a dedicated fundingsource are the two major impediments to fulfilling Broward's commitment to acomprehensive, regional, multimodal public-transit system.

The public-transit system should provide everyone with mobility throughoutthe county and South Florida, at a reasonable cost and adequate fordifferent environmental and social needs.

The subcommittee's initial proposal calls for the creation of the MTA, whichwould operate as a separate division of county government. It would begoverned by an appointed board and plan, operate and coordinate a regionalpublic-transit system. The MTA would have the authority to pursue local,state and federal legislation, including dedicated funding sources, to meetthe regional transit needs of Broward residents.

The subcommittee concluded that an MTA would be the first step in creating aregional public transit authority, which would consist of a merged SouthFlorida Regional Transit Authority, Broward County Transit, Miami-DadeTransit and Palm Tran.

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Florida Today


Sen. Nelson pushing for speedy ruling on primary

By Bill Cotterell
October 30, 2007

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said Monday he is seeking an expedited ruling on thefederal lawsuit he and U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings filed against the nationalDemocratic Party, challenging penalties against Florida for moving itspresidential primary date to Jan. 29.

Monday was the deadline for Democratic National Committee Chairman HowardDean to file his response to the suit. Nelson's complaint contends that theDNC's decision to strip Florida of 210 national nominating convention votesviolates the voting rights of state residents.

In addition to the loss of delegates to the 2008 Denver convention, the DNCaction prompted major presidential candidates to stop campaigning in thestate.

Nelson announced in Orlando that he is filing a new motion in the suit onWednesday, seeking a quick ruling. U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle hasbeen assigned to rule on whether the DNC can be forced to recognize resultsof the state presidential primary.

After a weekend state convention at Walt Disney World, the state party'sexecutive committee on Sunday adopted a ballot for the primary featuringeight Democratic candidates.

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The Palm Beach Post


Thoughtful tax reform? No, political chicken

Palm Beach Post Editorial
Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Property-tax reform in Florida came down to one day and one reality: TheSenate's way or no way.

Last week, the Senate refused to consider a House proposal that gave more tomore taxpayers. Monday morning, the Senate approved its plan and went home,making clear that Senate leaders would rather place nothing on the Jan. 29ballot than let the House dictate changes.

Monday afternoon, House members complained that they didn't have enoughtime, that the numbers weren't final and that the numbers they saw werewrong. They didn't know how the Senate arrived at the numbers. They askedfor reconsideration of their ideas.

But the Senate had set the agenda. Senators gushed over their plan becauseit follows Gov. Crist's philosophy: It keeps things simple. The plan hasfour points:

1) It doubles the $25,000 homestead exemption, rejecting a House plan thatwould have spread resulting tax cuts more fairly. 2) It allows portability,the one thing House members couldn't go home without, since it allows peopleto take their Save Our Homes benefit when they move. 3) It reduces theintangibles tax on business, something both chambers support. 4) It capsnon-homestead taxable property value at 10 percent annually, a cap so highthat snowbirds, business owners and landlords would benefit only if there'sanother housing bubble.

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The Palm Beach Post


Ballot language for new property tax amendment

Palm Beach Post Staff Report
Monday, October 29, 2007

TALLAHASSEE - Lawmakers who stressed the importance of a proposal simpleenough that voters would both like it and understand it have summarizedtheir plan in a ballot summary of 533 words.

The quality of the summary matters, as lawmakers learned when a Leon circuitjudge tossed an earlier proposal off the ballot for a "misleading andconfusing" summary.

Here is the ballot "summary" that will appear on the Jan. 29 ballot:


PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTIONS; LIMITATIONS ON PROPERTY TAX ASSESSMENTS - Thisrevision proposes changes to the State Constitution relating to propertytaxation. With respect to homestead property, this revision: (1) increasesthe homestead exemption for levies other than school district levies and (2)provides for the transfer of Save-Our-Homes benefits. With respect tononhomestead property, this revision (3) provides a $25,000 exemption fortangible personal property and (4) provides for limitations on assessmentincreases for specified real property that is not homestead property forlevies other than school district levies.

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New Broward sheriff is long on experience, short on politics

Michael Mayo
News Columnist
October 30, 2007

He's been a police chief before but never a politician. All that changesnow for Al Lamberti, 53, appointed interim Broward Sheriff on Friday by Gov.Charlie Crist. Besides heading an agency with 6,300 employees and an annualbudget of $710 million, Lamberti has to worry about facing voters next year.

I sat down with Lamberti for a 75-minute interview Monday, and thedifferences between him and predecessor Ken Jenne couldn't have been morestriking. Jenne, who resigned in September before pleading guilty to fourfederal felonies, was the ultimate political animal. Lamberti has alwaysbeen a cop, starting as a detention deputy in 1977 and rising through theSheriff's Office ranks.

We met at the North Lauderdale district headquarters. District Chief LouisCavallo brewed us some espresso and left us alone in a conference room. Nohandlers, no entourage. Lamberti took a seat at the side of the table.

"You don't want to sit at the head?" I asked. He shrugged, told how he didthe same thing in September when he held his first command meeting as actingsheriff. When somebody asked why he wasn't at the head, he replied, "I canhear just as good from here."

Lamberti talked about his plans to run as a Republican in a mostlyDemocratic county and his 2004 bout with throat cancer, in which he wasgiven a 50 percent chance of survival. Forced to take 14 months off, he nowlooks at the bright side: It allowed him to spend more time with his son,Nicholas, then 10.

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Southwest Florida's News-Press


Gay marriage ban pivotal issue in 2008
Democrats focus on defeating amendment

By Bill Cotterell
news-press.com Tallahassee bureau
Originally posted on October 30, 2007

LAKE BUENA VISTA - A constitutional amendment banning gay marriage inFlorida is certain to get on the ballot but will lose at the polls if enoughvoters become worried about its impact on heterosexual couples, campaignstrategists told delegates to the state Democratic Party convention Sunday.

"This amendment really has to be the focal point for all Democrats inFlorida for 2008," said Nadine Smith, executive director of EqualityFlorida, at a briefing on the amendment campaign. "The reason this will beon the ballot has nothing to do with protecting anyone's marriage andeverything to do with turning out the most conservative voters in Florida."

Later, about 3,000 party activists wound up a weekend convention with aspirited panel discussion of the 2008 outlook in what both parties concedeis a key battleground state. Democrats were upbeat and optimistic, despitethe absence of all but one presidential candidate - ex-Sen. Mike Gravel ofAlaska -because of a national party edict that has stripped Florida of its210 votes at next summer's presidential nominating convention.

In addition to the Democratic National Committee penalty for Florida's Jan.29 primary - a week ahead of the allowed date - major presidentialcontenders signed a pledge not to campaign in the state.

The party's state executive committee formally adopted the list of eightcandidates for the Jan. 29 ballot, ignoring a brief effort to add formerVice President Al Gore.

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