Sunday, November 18, 2007

FLOIRDA DIGEST November 18, 2007

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Foster care program to help children with unique needs

By Julie Levin
Special Correspondent
November 18, 2007

Foster children dealing with unique needs soon will have a new place toturn.

The National Youth Advocate Program, through a contract with ChildNet, willoffer what's known as enhanced foster care.

"It's for kids that have some kind of a behavioral issue, something that isgoing to make them more challenging to work with," said Katie Warner, thedirector of program development in Broward County.

The local focus right now is on recruitment.

Warner said the Plantation-based agency is currently training potentialfoster parents and hopes to open the first three homes by March.

more . . . . .


Today: Sunday - Nov. 18

Dignity Palm Beach, religious and social club for lesbian, gay, bisexual and Transgender Roman Catholics, 5:30 p.m., St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 100 N. Palmway, Lake Worth. Free. Call 561-309-0088.


Miami Herald

Assistant public defender apologizes

Posted on Sun, Nov. 18, 2007

A few weeks ago in court I made a comment that can only be interpreted as offensive. While the comment itself does not bear repeating, I feel compelled to discuss the consequences it wrought and the subsequent introspection I have undergone as a result.

I say to people who were offended or hurt that I am truly sorry for any pain I inflicted. They have a right to expect a higher standard of conduct from someone who has been a member of our legal community for more than 20 years.

Though I never intended any harm by my remark, the level of insensitivity it demonstrated cannot be excused.

As an assistant public defender I have had the opportunity to represent citizens from all walks of life and from every conceivable background.

I have made it my life's work to defend the poor and oppressed, to make certain they received the same quality of representation and legal services afforded the more affluent regardless of race, color, creed or sexual orientation. The notion that all people should be treated equally is not only the cornerstone of our system of government and the driving force behind the office to which I have dedicated my professional life, it is also an ideal that I have tried to uphold my entire career. Because of these beliefs, I have always held myself to a high standard of behavior, and in this case, to my disappointment, I failed to live up to this standard.

Tragically, the gay community is still openly discriminated against, even by some of our civic and religious leaders. I find it impossible to imagine what it must be like to belong to a group that is constantly criticized, condemned and denied equal treatment under the law. How can we as a society claim that all people are created equal when such blatant prejudice is not only tolerated, but in many instances actually encouraged?

It has taken this unfortunate mistake on my part for me to realize how easy it can be to disregard the feelings of others.

No matter how open-minded we think we are, it is often too easy to forget that what we say is as important as what we do.

BRIAN G. REIDY, Fort Lauderdale


St. Petersburg Times

Allen resigns from House
Fellow Republicans had pressured him since his conviction on a sex charge.

Associated Press
Published November 17, 2007

TALLAHASSEE - State Rep. Bob Allen resigned Friday after being convicted of agreeing to pay $20 to perform oral sex on an undercover police officer in the men's room of a Titusville park.

The Merritt Island Republican submitted his resignation to House Speaker Marco Rubio, who had been pressing Allen to resign since Nov. 9, when a Brevard County jury found him guilty of soliciting for sex.

Allen was sentenced to six months of probation and fined $250 Thursday, when he also filed an appeal. He could have received a maximum of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

"Due to the requirements of my family and private life, and in order to seek justice in the upcoming appeal process, I regretfully would like to inform you that I will need to resign," Allen wrote in the letter to Rubio, R-West Miami.

Allen was known for trying to pass tougher public lewdness laws since being elected in 2000. He had been planning to run for the Florida Senate next year.

His resignation will go into effect Feb. 15 or when a replacement is elected. Gov. Charlie Crist is expected to order a special election in Allen's Space Coast district.

Florida Republican Party chairman Jim Greer had joined Rubio and other GOP leaders in calling for Allen's resignation after he was convicted.

Rubio said then that it was impossible for Allen "to represent responsibly the citizens of his district." The speaker, though, had no comment on the resignation Friday, said House spokeswoman Jill Chamberlin.



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