Friday, November 09, 2007

FLORIDA DIGEST November 9, 2007

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Express Gay News

Manors Halloween festival draws big crowd
Event declared a rousing success despite some incidents

Thursday, November 08, 2007

For the revelers who came out to Wicked Manors Hell on Heels, the WiltonManors Halloween street festival, the night was an engaging mix of dragqueens, freaks and the obligatory ghouls and goblins.

The Wilton Manors Halloween street festival, which was held for the firsttime this year, took place on Wilton Drive in front of the Shoppes of WiltonManors. Revelers meandered into bars and restaurants for potent Halloweentreats - and tricks.

"It was phenomenal to see both sides of [Wilton Drive] packed with people,"said Robert Boo, development director of the Gay & Lesbian Community Centerof South Florida. "We got a lot more people than we expected."

Organizers called the festival a rousing hit. According to Wilton ManorsPolice, as many as 7,000 people showed up to strut in various personas orgawk at the costumed antics in the street and on the festival's main stage.

"It was a tremendous success," said festival co-chair Doug Cureton. "We werevery pleased with the turnout."

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U.S. House OKs national fund to insure against major disasters

By William E. Gibson
Washington Bureau Chief
November 9, 2007


Attempts by Florida legislators to contain the cost of homeowner insurancetook a long step forward Thursday when the House passed a bill to create anational fund to cover mega-disasters.

The 258-155 vote gave momentum to the long-running cause of poolingresources and spreading risk across the country to keep insuranceaffordable. Action now shifts to the Senate, where Democrats Hillary RodhamClinton of New York and Bill Nelson of Florida have introduced a companionbill.

"It sends a very strong bipartisan message to the Senate that we want themto pick up our bill and do what they need to do to pass it," Rep. Ron Kleinsaid minutes after the House vote.

The legislation faces strong opposition from President Bush and manyRepublicans in Congress who say a national fund would crowd the privateinsurance market. Critics say the bill could force American taxpayers tobail out Florida and other risky states when they get hit with hurricanes,earthquakes and tornadoes.

House sponsors of the bill, freshman Democrats Tim Mahoney of Palm BeachGardens and Klein of Boca Raton, said they want to create an orderly way tocover disasters partly to avoid massive federal bailouts, such the billionsof dollars spent to help the Gulf Coast recover from Hurricane Katrina.

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Miami Herald

Falling Fla. property values predicted in '08

Posted on Fri, Nov. 09, 2007

With the plummeting Florida economy and bleak signs it will worsen, thestate government's chief economists are estimating that property values forhomes and businesses will start to tick down statewide in 2008 for the firsttime in recent history.

The devaluation of existing properties -- nearly 3 percent -- would mark amajor about-face for Florida's real-estate-based economy, which sawdouble-digit increases in value from 2003 to 2006.

The forecast isn't completely dire, though, because new construction shouldadd about 2 percent more to the rolls, meaning the tax base would decreaseby just 1 percent.

Still, that could have far-reaching effects on citizens' tax bills andgovernment services:

. The state's schools would receive $233.7 million less than expected. Thatwould force legislators to cut spending on the classroom, add more statemoney to the school's piggy banks or raise property-tax rates.

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Miami Herald

GOP punishes Fla. for early primary

Posted on Thu, Nov. 08, 2007

The Republican National Committee followed its Democratic counterpartsThursday and slapped Florida with penalties for being the naughty boys ofthe presidential primary.

The RNC voted 121-9 to strip the state Republican Party of half of its 114delegates at the national party convention in Minneapolis next year becauseFlorida is choosing a presidential primary candidate a week before the mostof the rest of the nation.

Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer tried to persuade the national partythat while voters will choose a candidate in the Jan. 29 primary, delegateswon't actually be chosen until after Feb. 5 -- the date party officials setin 2004 as the earliest delegates could be selected.

It was a good try, but ''a pretty technical argument,'' said RNC ChairmanMike Duncan, and members didn't buy it.

Florida will be punished along with New Hampshire, South Carolina, Wyomingand Michigan.

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