Saturday, November 17, 2007

FLORIDA DIGEST November 17, 2007

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The New York Times

U.S. Acts to Bolster Supply of Water for Atlanta

November 17, 2007

ATLANTA, Nov. 16 - With only a few months of readily available drinkingwater remaining for Atlanta, federal biologists on Friday allowed Georgia tokeep more water in a reservoir that supplies the city and elsewhere in thenorthern part of the state, a decision that reduces flows to Florida.

The action, by officials at the Fish and Wildlife Service, will allow newrainfall to pool in Lake Lanier, northeast of Atlanta, a body of water thathas been rapidly shrinking in the worst drought to hit the Southeast in 100years.

Georgia, Alabama and Florida have been fighting for the water in Lake Lanierfor more than 17 years, jockeying for the right to use it for drinking,power, recreation and wildlife preservation.

Now, with the lake shriveling to historically low levels, that fight hasintensified, and experts predict that without significant rain, Lanier couldnot only be dry within a year but also reach the end of its readilyavailable storage of water in as little as 66 days.

Facing the real prospect of running out of drinking water for four millionpeople in the Atlanta region, Georgia officials had been pressuring the ArmyCorps of Engineers, which built Lake Lanier and manages the lake and itsdam, to reduce the water it sends downstream. But the corps is required bylaw to release flows that are adequate to safeguard two species of federallyprotected mussels and an endangered sturgeon.

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The New York Times

In Florida, Addicts Find an Oasis of Sobriety

November 16, 2007

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. - Whitney Tower, 56, a scion of the Whitney, Vanderbiltand Drexel fortunes, squandered his trust fund and sold family treasures tosupport a $1,000-a-day heroin habit before landing in a tough-love facilitynear here seven years ago and never leaving. "If I went back to New York I'dbe dead in two weeks," he said.

In some ways Mr. Tower, who spent three decades in and out of treatment,remains a creature of his pedigree. He favors foppish linen suits and dropsnames of the fast crowd he once ran with.

But his social life these days is dinner at home with sober friends who havesettled here in what experts consider the recovery capital of America. He isstudying addiction counseling, and he works as an unpaid intern at a localdrug treatment center.

Delray Beach, a funky outpost of sobriety between Fort Lauderdale and WestPalm Beach, is the epicenter of the country's largest and most vibrantrecovery community, with scores of halfway houses, more than 5,000 people at12-step meetings each week, recovery radio shows, a recovery motorcycle cluband a coffeehouse that boasts its own therapy group.

Recovery communities are springing up outside the walls of rehab centers foralumni seeking the safety in numbers.

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Jenne's journey: from pinnacle of power to jail

Posted on Fri, Nov. 16, 2007

Ken Jenne, once a celebrated politician with hopes of being governor, willspend his first night behind bars at the Federal Detention Center in Miamiafter being sentenced on Friday to one year and one day on corruptioncharges.

The former Broward County sheriff surrendered immediately to federalmarshals after U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas rejected Jenne's bidfor probation following his guilty plea in September to fraud andtax-evasion offenses.

''I know that my actions are at fault here . . . and I take responsibility.What I did was wrong,'' Jenne, 60, said, standing stiffly in a dark blue,pinstriped suit before the judge. ``I hope now I will be forgiven by thiscommunity and by my family.''

Dimitrouleas may have been swayed by the dozen political heavyweights andfamily friends who urged him for compassion.

''I think he could have been governor one day,'' the judge said of Jenne.``But I don't think the book is closed on Mr. Jenne. I think we'll see Mr.Jenne come back and continue his good work.''

His last words to the fallen political figure: ``Good luck to you, Mr.Jenne.''

Thanks to the way the judge sentenced him, Jenne may be eligible for releaseafter 10 months in prison. But that was little solace for a man who devotedmore than three decades to public service: His once-stellar reputation wasforever sullied when investigators undercovered evidence proving he hadexploited his position as sheriff for personal gain.

Jenne's wife, Caroline, wept throughout much of the sentencing hearing inthe federal courthouse in downtown Fort Lauderdale, where a who's who ofBroward Democratic politicians sought mercy for their friend. Outside thecourtroom, Jenne's wife appeared relieved as the mood seemed to lighten forher and dozens of her husband's supporters. Several were backslapping eachother.

Prosecutors in the case would not comment. But the U.S. attorney's officeexpressed disappointment with the sentence because it was seeking harsherpunishment -- two years in prison.

U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta issued a statement Friday: ``We believethat a higher sentence would have been more appropriate. . . . If as acommunity, we believe that public corruption and white collar crimes causeas much harm as violent crime, we must insist on significant terms ofimprisonment for public and corporate criminals.

``That said, today Ken Jenne, the former Broward County Sheriff, is injail.''

After a temporary stay in the detention center in Miami, Jenne will servehis term of one year and one day in a minimum-security facility. The judgerecommended the Federal Bureau of Prisons assign him to a prison camp ineither southwest Miami-Dade County or upstate in Marianna.

The judge acted at the request of one of Jenne's lawyers, who said outsidecourt that he had hoped to steer Jenne to one of those facilities to assurehis safety.

In addition to prison time, Jenne received one year of probation and a$3,000 fine.

Because his sentence is more than a year, Jenne qualifies for automatic gaintime worth 15 percent of his sentence, his lawyer said. Under federal prisonrules, he could shave up to 55 days off his term, meaning his sentence wouldactually be 10 months. Had he been sentenced to a year, Jenne would have hadto serve the full year.

''The judge did a very kind thing to send him to prison for a year and a dayas opposed to just a year,'' said Jenne's attorney, David Bogenschutz.

Indeed, in the end, Jenne received a relatively lenient sentence for awhite-collar criminal ensnared in a corruption scheme. The judge imposed theminimum sentence under sentencing guidelines recommended by the court'sprobation office, which ranged from 12 to 18 months.

Had Jenne not cut his plea deal in September, prosecutors would haveindicted him on 26 to 28 counts of fraud, tax evasion and other corruptionoffenses, Bogenschutz told The Herald. And had he been convicted at trial,Jenne could have spent years in prison.

A former powerhouse legislator, Jenne resigned as sheriff in September afteradmitting he took tens of thousands from BSO vendors, lied on his taxreturns and abused the public trust.

Jenne's mixing of his professional and personal life first came under thescrutiny of state and federal authorities in 2005. Ultimately, theydiscovered Jenne received about $84,000 in unlawful payments from BSOcontractors and others.

As part of his plea deal, Jenne agreed to pay ''in the neighborhood of$46,000'' in back taxes, interest and penalties to the Internal RevenueService, court records show.

Friday's sentencing hearing, lasting more than three hours, includedtestimony from people ranging from some of Broward's most politicallyinfluential to a rehabilitated crack addict.

They crowded into the federal courtroom to seek leniency for the formersheriff.

One of the first witnesses was Kelly Patrick, who said she was a formercrack addict Jenne had helped save by getting her into a treatment program.She showed pictures of how she looked when she was addicted, saying that shenow helps counsel other drug addicts at the jail.

Former Broward sheriff and Florida attorney general Bob Butterworth said thejob of sheriff is a ''24/7'' post. He said the cost to Jenne's personal lifewas heavy.

''He literally almost gave his life doing it. My hat is off to him,'' saidButterworth, who today heads Florida's Department of Children and Families.

Jenne's son, state Rep. Evan Jenne, D-Davie, also weighed in for his father.

''I beg you, judge the man on his whole life,'' Evan Jenne said. ``There areso many people who have spoken about the good things he's done and his yearsof public service.''

Dr. Mack King Carter, pastor of Mt. Olive Baptist Church, brought up ananecdote about his mother. Years ago, she watched San Francisco Giantsslugger Willie Mays on TV. He stepped up to bat and struck out four times.

''My mom said that he shouldn't be playing baseball, that he wasn't anygood,'' Carter said. ``But a few months later, in July 1961, Willie hit fourhome runs. How do we balance a life of four strikes and four home runs?''

Carter also spoke about several baseball Hall of Famers and how they oftenstruck out when they went to bat. Yet over a lifetime, they had a goodbatting average, some as high as .400.

''Judge, I'm asking for a little hall of fame justice in this case,'' Cartersaid.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Axelrod, who prosecuted the high-profile casewith Pat Sullivan, stood before the judge and dismissed the analogy.

''This is no ballgame, judge,'' Axelrod said. ``And .400 isn't a good numberfor public officials. That number should be 100 percent.''

Axelrod again urged Dimitrouleas to sentence Jenne to the maximum term underthe sentencing guidelines -- 24 months.

''Jenne betrayed the public trust,'' Axelrod said. ``He has two sides tohim, the dedicated public servant and the man who abused his power andbetrayed the public trust.''

Late Friday afternoon, Evan Jenne said his father ''was in good spirits''when he talked to him by phone.

The younger Jenne said he plans to ship his father a stack of books to helphim pass the time. First up: The Histories, the 5th Century B.C. account ofthe Greco-Persian wars by Herodotus, the so-called ``Father of History.''

''That's a couple of weeks,'' Evan Jenne said. ``I'm not worried about him.He'll get through it.''


Tallahassee Democrat

Poll: Not enough voter support to pass tax relief

By Jim Ash
Article published Nov 16, 2007

Most voters support a $12 billion property tax relief proposal that willappear on the Jan. 29 ballot, but not enough to enshrine it in the stateconstitution.

A Mason-Dixon poll released Thursday showed 56 percent of likely voterswould support the measure, just 4 points shy of the required 60 percentmargin required by law.

The survey showed 22 percent of voters are opposed and 22 percent undecided.

"If it were a simple majority vote, I think it would pass today," saidpollster Brad Coker. "Getting it over 60 is going to take some work."

Mason-Dixon surveyed 700 likely voters from Nov. 12-14. With the margin oferror at 3.8 percent, the measure still falls just shy of the mark necessaryfor passage.

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Florida Times Union

Florida primary may benefit from shaky caucuses in Iowa

The Times-Union
November 16, 2007

It's a pollster's worst nightmare.

This year's Republican and Democratic Iowa caucuses have been forced to takeplace so early that not only will the Jan. 3 caucuses conclude the holidayseason, but they will also happen on the same day that one of the top BowlChampionship Series college football games airs on national TV.

Instead of the usual screening question of, "Are you likely to vote?"pollsters and politicians may be asking, "Are you likely to be in town?" or,"Given the choice, do you plan to go out in the freezing cold to the localcommunity center and choose between candidates, or would you rather stayinside your warm house and watch the Orange Bowl on TV?"

Wow, what a mess.

This is why the polling of the Iowa caucuses is of little importance so far.Although it's still relevant for serious discussion, even hardcore politicalobservers like Iowa talk-radio pundit Republican Jamie Johnson see theirstate's two caucuses as more of "a winnowing out" of weaker candidates thana crowning of a sure-thing nominee.

Of course, Iowa hasn't always been the dead-on indicator of eventualpresidential nominees, anyway. In fact, until the years of the Bush-Clintondynasties, Iowa often proved to be a poor predictor.

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St. Petersburg Times

State's gaming deal a winner, experts say
The Seminole pact may deliver over time.

By STEVE HUETTEL, Times Staff Writer
Published November 16, 2007

Is the state's deal to expand gambling at casinos owned by the SeminoleTribe of Florida a jackpot or bust for taxpayers?

The initial payoff looks like a pittance compared with revenues in bigIndian gaming states like California and Connecticut. Florida parimutuelsscoff that the $100-million minimum the first year won't even offset thestate's tax losses as tribal casinos cut into their business.

But Indian gaming experts say that considering their weak bargainingposition, state officials cut a fair deal this week that should pay off ifthe tribe aggressively expands its casinos to leverage new slot machines andcard games like blackjack.

The 25-year deal puts Florida "in the same league as the biggest states,"said Steven Light, co-founder of the Institute for the Study of IndianGaming Law and Policy at the University of North Dakota. "You can't justlook at the immediate future. It's a very lucrative deal for the state inthe next few years."

Florida would get at least $100-million for the first year, half of whichwould come when the Interior Department approves the agreement, called a"compact." The state would receive minimum payments of $125-million in yeartwo and $150-million the following year.

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Daytona Beach News Journal

Allstate under fire about rates

Tallahassee Bureau Chief
November 16, 2007

TALLAHASSEE -- Pointing to a new law designed to cut property-insurancerates, state regulators Thursday grilled Allstate officials about proposalsthat would lead to major rate hikes for many homeowners.

Four Allstate companies are seeking statewide increases ranging from 27.4percent to 43.4 percent, arguing they need higher rates to make sure theycan remain solvent in the hurricane-threatened state.

"The bottom line is, we're talking about financial solvency and havingenough money in the bank to meet the promise we made to customers to paytheir claims," Allstate spokesman Adam Shores said.

But a panel of regulators was openly skeptical of company officials'arguments during a nearly three-hour public hearing.

Deputy Insurance Commissioner Belinda Miller said she expected a quickdecision on the proposed increases and was "not satisfied" with some of theAllstate explanations.

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Miami Herald

Florida schools collecting data on bullying

Posted on Fri, Nov. 16, 2007

On the TV show The Simpsons, schoolyard bully Nelson is known as thebiggest, Burliest kid in the fourth grade, with a trademark laugh of triumphover his prey.But in real life, students are getting harassed in much subtler ways:through text messages, e-mail and MySpace pages and vicious social circles.

In response to growing alarm about new types of bullying and how easily itcan be hidden, Florida school districts for the first time are collectingdata on bullying.

In Broward, 871 incidents were recorded of students victimized by classmateslast school year. And though that may sound like a large number, the figureprobably doesn't tell a complete story.

''First of all, we know that the numbers probably don't reflect the realproblem,'' said Amalio Nieves, who works in Broward's office of preventionprograms. ``That's part of our whole program: recognizing when our kids arebeing bullied.''

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St. Petersburg Times

Another coal-to-gas plant canceled

November 15, 2007

Southern Power, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company, and theOrlando Utilities Commission pulled the plug Wednesday on their jointventure to build a 285 megawatt coal gasification plant slated for theStanton Energy Center near Orlando. Uncertainty over carbon regulationprompted its withdrawal, said a release from the company.

Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle, know as IGCC, produces less smogand acid rain pollutants, but it produces just as much carbon dioxide, agreenhouse gas, as a traditional coal plant. Experts say that IGCC, whichturns coal into a compressed gas before combustion, is the best platform forcapturing carbon. But capturing the carbon and storing it, perhaps in salineaquifers deep underground, remains unproven in Florida.

Tampa Electric canceled its plans for a second IGCC plant at its Polk PowerStation in October. If Gov. Charlie Crist or Congress puts a price oncarbon, IGCC could become prohibitively expensive, utility executives worry.

-Asjylyn Loder, Times staff writer


Miami Herald

'Yuck factor' aside, Dade wastewater plan a model

Posted on Fri, Nov. 16, 2007

Miami-Dade's new water deal was hailed Thursday as a milestone and a model.Water managers signed off on a complex agreement to keep the county's tapsflowing over the next two decades, thanks largely to an infusion of recycledwastewater.

Eric Buermann, chairman of the South Florida Water Management District'sgoverning board, said the deal -- which could turn the state's biggest wateruser into its biggest wastewater recycler -- will benefit a regionstruggling to deal with its second serious water shortage in a decade.

''This is probably the largest permit, and because of that, probably themost important thing we will ever do,'' said Buermann, a Miami lawyer.``This represents a major investment by Dade.''

The 20-year permit, which includes unprecedented provisions linking futuredevelopment to construction of $1.6 billion in wastewater treatment systemsand deep wells, also sets reuse and compliance standards that water managershope will be adopted by utilities across the region.

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Palm Beach Post

Killer, slain boy's family wait as courts say yes, no to execution

Palm Beach Post Capital Bureau
Friday, November 16, 2007

RAIFORD - When a federal judge decided Wednesday to stop the execution ofthe man who raped and killed 11-year-old Junny Rios-Martinez Jr. 16 yearsago, "it was a kick in our butt," Junny's sister Kellie Goldacker said.

Thursday didn't go any better for her family, even though the day startedwith a federal appellate court ruling that the execution of Mark Dean Schwabcould go forward that night.

"My mom was so emotional this morning, she couldn't make a decision aboutwhat to do," Goldacker said Thursday.

The family knew there was a good chance the U.S. Supreme Court would staythe execution again, as it had in a case in Mississippi while it considersappeals of two death-penalty cases in Kentucky. All of the appeals involvethe constitutionality of the method of execution, lethal injection.

Even so, about 50 relatives of Junny's, including the 15 scheduled towitness Schwab's execution, headed to Florida State Prison in Raiford, wherethe state's Death Row inmates are housed and executed.

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Former Broward County sheriff jailed a year and a day
Former Broward sheriff jailed year and a day, fined $3,000

By Paula McMahon
November 17, 2007

In what could be the hardest fall from grace in Broward County's politicalhistory, Ken Jenne, the former sheriff and once the most powerful man in thecounty, will spend the next 10 months in federal prison.

The 60-year-old Democrat was sentenced Friday to a year and a day in prison,ending a two-year public corruption investigation. With time off for goodbehavior, he could be free by September. He must pay a $3,000 fine and willbe on supervised release, similar to probation, for another year after he isfreed.

Jenne wept at times during the three-hour sentencing hearing, apologized forhis actions and said he hoped that he could one day regain some of hisonce-stellar reputation. He said he wished he could turn back time and makedifferent decisions.

"In all of these apologies I feel inadequate, I feel hollow. Whatever I saywill always be insufficient," Jenne told U.S. District Judge William P.Dimitrouleas before he was sentenced.

"I know that my actions are at fault here," Jenne said. "I hope that somedayI will be forgiven by this community and my family."

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Justice for former Broward Sheriff Ken Jenne leaves a bitter taste

Michael Mayo
News Columnist
November 17, 2007

He disappeared through a wood-paneled door along the side of the courtroom,escorted by two federal marshals. Ken Jenne was off to prison. Not nextyear, next month or next week. Immediately.

"Good luck to you, Mr. Jenne," U.S. District Judge William P. Dimitrouleassaid.

It was stunning and sad, seeing Broward County's former top cop led awayFriday.

But it was also a little enraging to see the way justice plays out for thepowerful and connected.

Sitting through the show that was Jenne's sentencing hearing, with itsparade of power brokers testifying on his behalf, I had the distinctimpression that if this were you or I, we might not have gotten the samecourtesies.

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Fall from power to prison hurts, former inmate says
Former inmate tells of prison regimen

By Paula McMahon
November 17, 2007

Going from being the boss to being a prisoner isn't easy.

But for people like former Sheriff Ken Jenne, who are accustomed to being incharge and managing people, the adjustment can be particularly challenging.Jenne, who was convicted on federal corruption charges, was sentenced Fridayto a year and a day and will now likely serve his time at a minimum securityfacility.

"They put those leg irons and handcuffs on you, and they don't treat youlike you are a nice person," said Jesse Briggs, the wealthy, colorful ownerof the Yellow Strawberry beauty salon on Las Olas Boulevard.

Briggs, now 65, served about three years in federal prison for giving agun-silencer to a Broward hit man. He did most of his time in the federalprison near Coleman in Central Florida.

Jenne's defense lawyers suggested he serve his time in a minimum-securitycamp in Miami or Marianna. U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas agreedto recommend placement in one of the two prisons. However, the federalBureau of Prisons will make the final determination after a review.

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Airport expansion deserves study, but don't drag it out like Broward did

November 16, 2007

ISSUE: FAA proposes plans to expand Palm Beach International Airport.

As the Federal Aviation Administration and Palm Beach County dig into thedebate on whether and how to expand the Palm Beach International Airport,important lessons can be learned from a similar battle waged to the south.

Broward County took no less than 20 years to settle the future of FortLauderdale-Hollywood International Airport's growth plan. And even with theBroward County Commission's summer decision to lengthen the southern runway,opponents are still screaming in protest.

Palm Beach County can expect its own monster fight. Already, theneighborhoods closest to PBIA are lining up against any plan to expand therunways, arguing that the noise is already too much to bear and an expansionwould hurt their home sales.

It's hard to feel much sympathy for people who knowingly move next to anairport, then complain about noise and home value. But to be fair, many ofPBIA's neighbors moved in long before the airport became the high-volumetravel hub it is today, and FAA officials have an obligation to hear out allthe critics' concerns and mitigate them as much as possible.

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More bad news on AIDS

November 15, 2007

ISSUE: Health officials release new statistics on an old problem.

Call it a new statistic on a sadly familiar story: 1in 22 bisexual and gaymen in Florida have the AIDS virus, an infection rate that dwarfs any othergroup. The rate is even higher in South Florida. Unfortunately, that's nosurprise.

High HIV/AIDS rates are nothing new in South Florida. Gay or straight,black, brown or white - it really doesn't matter. The persistent presence ofthe AIDS virus gives this region an unwanted distinction as one of thenation's epicenters for the disease.

Credit the Florida Department of Health with crunching the numbers in areport that is the first of its type to try to quantify the impact of thedisease on gay men. The estimates paint a particularly disturbing trend inthe black community statewide, where the infection rate among black bisexualand gay men is a startling 1in 12 rate.

Some AIDS activists already have quibbled with the state's estimates,insisting that the study may have underestimated the amount of HIV/AIDSamong gays. The figures may not be perfect, but they are alarming,nevertheless.

Unfortunately, they also point out a deadly disconnect: not enough gay menpractice safe sex. The excuses are many - whether it's the abuse of partydrugs to the cavalier attitude that new medications have made HIV moremanageable - but they simply don't make sense given the risks associatedwith unprotected sex.

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The Miami Herald

The Ken Jenne Case - Timeline


From National Center for Lesbian Rights

With the holidays fast approaching, NCLR is wrapping up the 2007 calendarwith a few more events. We remain committed to fighting for our basicrights-through the ongoing fight for marriage equality, or through ourunwavering commitment to ensuring justice for LGBTQ youth. These events areevidence that while we have accomplished a great deal this past year, thereis still a lot of work to be done. We sincerely hope you have theopportunity to join us and give thanks that NCLR is still fighting the goodfight!

Warm regards,
Eleanor Palacios
Events Manager

Miami, FL
SAVE Dade's 2nd Annual Champions of Equality Reception
Wednesday, November 28, 2007 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

SAVE Dade will be hosting a reception in honor of the historic actions ofthe Mayor and Commissioners of the City of Miami Beach who approvedLGBT-friendly legislation.
Northern Trust Bank of Florida

In Downtown Miami


Miami Herald

Moving to equality for gays

Posted on Sat, Nov. 17, 2007

The U.S. House recently passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA),a historic milestone in the long march to full equality in this country.

In Florida, gay people and our allies have had our own long history leadingto this day. We've made advances, but seen some of that stripped awaybecause of dishonest, inflammatory attacks.

Everyone who took part in these campaigns for equality should recognize therole that they played in the victory. Every time we campaigned for fairnessand stood up for the right to live without discrimination and unequalprotection of the laws, we added a stone to the path of full equality. Thispaved the way to ENDA's passage.

Of course, the journey is not yet completed. The sense of pride andaccomplishment that came with ENDA's passage was bittersweet. The House'sversion did not include the protections based on gender identity for whichPeople for the American Way has fought. This is a painful reality groundedin political calculation and strategy.

We must use our influence and momentum to continue working for equalopportunity and protection from discrimination for all. There's more work tobe done.

JORGE MURSULI, Florida director,

People For the American Way, Miami


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