Sunday, January 13, 2008

FLORIDA DIGEST January 13, 2008

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Washington Post

Giuliani Talks About Insurance in Fla.

The Associated Press
Saturday, January 12, 2008; 8:30 PM

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani saidSaturday that his experience as New York City's mayor during the Sept. 11,2001, terrorist attacks is a big reason why he supports a national insurancebackup fund.

"Maybe I feel more strongly about this because of what I went through asmayor. I don't even know how to describe Sept. 11. I don't know ifcatastrophe is even the right word," Giuliani said. "There's no possible waywe could have gotten through that alone. No possible way."

A national catastrophe fund is a top federal priority for Gov. Charlie Cristand two Democratic congressmen from Florida, Ron Klein and Tim Mahoney, havea bill that passed the House which would create a the backup fund in hopesof making property insurance more affordable and accessible.

"I more than most realize how important it was to us to have federal help,federal backup," Giuliani said during a town hall meeting at a seniorcenter. "Look, it's going to be there because of the kind of people we are.We might as well try to organize it in a sensible way."

He spoke about familiar themes before taking questions _ fighting terrorism,limiting medical malpractice lawsuit awards and improving health carethrough private competition.

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Property tax-cut fate hard to call, with only two full weeks before vote

By Linda Kleindienst
Tallahassee Bureau Chief
January 13, 2008


It was supposed to be a no-brainer. Give Florida voters a chance to cuttheir taxes and they will, case closed.

But with just over two weeks before the fate of Amendment 1 is decided, thefuture - and the impact - of the much-heralded tax-cut package on the Jan.29 ballot is murky.

Special interests have lined up on both sides, but many homeowners have beenleft in the middle, still wondering how to vote and whether their propertytaxes will drop as state politicians promised.

Polling to date shows public support hovering just below the 60 percentneeded for passage.

Compared to previous constitutional amendment battles - such as high-speedrail, Everglades cleanup and slots - the fight over the tax package has beena relatively low-profile affair.

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Forwarded from Michael Rajner

The Bradenton Herald

Sunday, Jan 13, 2008

Posted on Fri, Jan. 11, 2008
Manatee boy has AIDS; mother charged


BRADENTON, FL - Authorities say a Bradenton mother knew how to keep her 3-year-old son from contracting HIV from her at birth.

Cecelia Ann Sliker, 36, had taken such steps for her first son, now 6, who was born after she was diagnosed with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, Manatee County Sheriff's Office reports said.

But Sliker's youngest son has tested positive for AIDS because she failed to take steps to prevent transmission at birth, amounting to felony child neglect, according to sheriff's reports.

Some time before giving birth to her first child, Sliker was diagnosed with HIV, the sheriff's report said. With the first child, Sliker followed up on care and medication for the child's health.

"This child did not become infected with the disease," the sheriff's report said.

Bradenton pediatrician Catherine Giangreco said that is often the case with expectant mothers who take steps to prevent transmission of HIV to their children.

Giangreco said pregnant women with HIV are given a specific regimen of anti-viral medicine before birth that is extremely effective in preventing ransmission, which usually occurs at birth when bodily fluids of mother and child mix.




Early presidential primary voting begins Monday in Broward County
Presidential primaries, state property tax issue on ballot

By Michael Turnbell
January 13, 2008

Ready to show your support for the Democratic or Republican presidentialnominees or have a say in how much property tax you want to pay?

Starting Monday, you'll have your chance.

Early voting for the Jan. 29 primary begins Monday and continues throughJan. 27, with 16 sites scattered throughout Broward County open seven days aweek.

And even though few presidential candidates actually have ventured intoFlorida - most Republicans will be in South Carolina until that state's Jan.19 primary, and the Democrats have pledged not to come here at all - BrowardCounty Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes says she expects voter interestwill be strong.

Snipes predicts close to half of Broward's 888,000 registered voters willcast ballots in the primary. That's up considerably from the 17 percent whovoted in the last presidential primary in 2004, when there was no GOPcontest.

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Former Wilton Manors Municipal Judge Francis D. O'Connor, 78

By Brian Haas
January 13, 2008

Francis D. O'Connor, former Wilton Manors municipal judge, attorney andpatriarch of a family of attorneys, died Friday at his home. He was 78.

Known as "Frank" to most who knew him, Mr. O'Connor's health had been indecline since he had a stroke in December 2006, said his son TerrenceO'Connor.

Mr. O'Connor was born in Chicago. He moved to South Florida as a young manand lived in the Fort Lauderdale area for more than 50 years. The MarineCorps veteran graduated from the University of Florida College of Law andwas admitted to the Florida Bar in 1957. In 1960, he formed the law firm ofMorgan, Carratt and O'Connor, PA, in Fort Lauderdale with two colleagues.

Two of his sons, Terrence and Michael O'Connor, are attorneys with the firm.

Terrence O'Connor said his father was a Wilton Manors municipal judge forabout five years in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He said he was tough anddemanding, but practical. He recalled visiting his father's court as a childand marveling at the way his father dealt with minors.

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Miami Herald

Fire union assails Giuliani

Posted on Sun, Jan. 13, 2008

Rudy Giuliani's plan to ride in a Miami-Dade firetruck in Sunday's ThreeKings parade has outraged some firefighters who say the presidentialcandidate has ''lied'' about his 9/11 record because he did too little toequip and protect emergency workers.

The controversy -- unwittingly set in motion by County Commissioner RebecaSosa -- has politically pitted firefighters against one another inMiami-Dade as well as in New York. To quiet the feud, the IAFF's localMiami-Dade chapter, 1403, will cover its numbers on the union-ownedfiretruck by draping it with an American flag.

Giuliani's campaign said he will probably ride in the truck and walk besideit with firefighters.

The campaign responded to questions about his record with a statement thatstressed his generous spending on New York emergency management agencies. Italso dismissed some firefighter attacks on his mayoral record as a partisansmear linked to the Democratic-leaning International Association of FireFighters union, which released a popular but questionable YouTube video andwebsite calling the Republican's leadership an ``Urban Legend.''

Jim Riches, a recently retired New York firefighter featured in the union'smedia, told The Miami Herald that Giuliani doesn't deserve to go anywherenear a flag-draped firetruck.

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Miami Herald

Florida still critical for Democrats

Posted on Sun, Jan. 13, 2008

Forget what you've heard about Florida's primary not making any differencein the Democratic nomination process. So what if candidates are boycottingthe state?

Here's why Florida's Democratic primary on Jan. 29 will likely matter: Onemillion -- maybe two million -- people will go to the polls. The names ofeight Democratic candidates will be on the ballot. The votes will betallied, and the results will be announced.

''It has to have value because someone is going to win and someone is goingto lose, and whoever wins is certainly going to claim it,'' said Democraticpollster Tom Eldon, who has been surveying likely primary voters. ``Unlessthe media boycotts the race, Florida will have an impact.''

In a race in which Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have split the winningsso far and could do the same in Nevada and South Carolina, Florida willserve as the largest testing ground yet. It also will deliver the last boostof momentum before a 22-state voting blitz on Feb. 5 that is likely tosettle the nomination.

''If this continues to be as close and roller-coaster-like as we're seeing,there will be a strong message that comes out of Florida,'' said the state'sDemocratic Party chairwoman, Karen Thurman. ``After Iowa and New Hampshire,I didn't see headlines about the number of delegates that the candidatesgot. It's been about the winner.''

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Miami Herald

Romney leads McCain in Michigan, poll shows

Posted on Sun, Jan. 13, 2008

Mitt Romney leads John McCain days before a potentially pivotal Republicanprimary in Michigan, with Romney's business experience and home-state tiesapparently helping in a state where the economy is taking center stage,according to a new McClatchy-MSNBC poll.

The rise of the economy as an issue and Romney's new strength after twolosses underscored how volatile the campaign has become as the partygrapples to find a new leader and direction for the post-Bush era.

No winner has yet to gain a bounce into the next contest, and in Michigan,11 percent of likely primary voters were still undecided, a bloc big enoughto swing the vote in any direction. Even among those who say they support acandidate, 39 percent said they still could change their minds.

Likely voters in Michigan rank the economy and jobs their top concern, wellabove some of the other issues that had dominated much of the Republicandebate nationally for months, such as national security and terrorism, taxesand government spending, moral issues, and illegal immigration.

That's little surprise in a state with an ailing auto industry and thenation's highest unemployment rate. But it also could be a sign of ashifting political landscape as the rest of the country also starts to seewarning signs of an economic slump.

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Palm Beach Post

Postage not listed on first batch of absentee ballots

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 13, 2008

Whether you make the trip to the polls or mail an absentee ballot this year,you're probably going to wait in line either way - that, or pay a little bitmore for postage than necessary.

When the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections sent out the first batchof nearly 4,000-5,000 absentee ballots, there was no indication of the exactamount of postage needed to return them. Unless voters went to the postoffice, there was little way to tell the correct price, leaving somescratching their heads.

The postage price to send an absentee ballot is 97 cents or $1.14, dependingon the district.

Jupiter residents Valerie and Richard Cadmus received their absentee ballotsa few weeks ago. Their first reaction was to slap a stamp on the envelopeand put it in the mailbox, but Valerie Cadmus didn't want to risk theirvotes not making it to the election office.

"Neither my husband nor I are stupid, and when it says first class on here,you do it," said Valerie Cadmus, who decided to send her husband to the postoffice, just to be certain her votes would be counted. "If we got confused,what about other people?"

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Palm Beach Post

Everglades project can ease harm of climate change, scientist says

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 13, 2008

CAPTIVA - Global warming means South Florida faces a future of erodedcoasts, flooded barrier islands, mud-clogged bays, dying coral reefs, swathsof dead mangroves and saw grass, and shorelines reeking with blooming algae,a University of Miami scientist warned environmentalists Saturday.

But Harold Wanless offered one glimmer of hope: Restoring the Everglades canpostpone some of the damage - but only if it's done right. That meansrecreating enough of the marsh's natural flow to rebuild eroded peat, whichcould hold back the salt and protect South Florida's drinking water supply.

"Everglades restoration is more important than ever," Wanless told hundredsof activists, engineers and state and federal leaders at the EvergladesCoalition's annual conference. Even so, he said Florida faces a grim fate ifscientists' worst fears are realized about the melting of glaciers inAntarctica and Greenland.

"We have set into motion a monster," said Wanless, who chairs theuniversity's department of geological sciences. "I wish I was writing you anovel. But unfortunately this is, as far as we can see, very real."

Wanless' presentation cast a brief pall over the four-day Evergladesgathering.

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Palm Beach Post

A green opportunity grows as the nation strives for energy efficiency

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 13, 2008

Tommy Boroughs was a law student at Duke University in the late 1960s whenhe saw North Carolina transform its economy from one based on tobacco,textiles and furniture to one based on technology, ideas and innovation.

Boroughs, who is now the executive director of the Florida EnergyCommission, said it took local and state government, as well as the businesscommunity, to create what's now known internationally as the ResearchTriangle Park.

"They put money behind it, and they worked the plan," he said.

And Boroughs said Florida can transform itself into a "low-carbon" economy:One that builds clean-emissions businesses and promotes renewable energy.

"Let's focus on building an industry here and play it strategically, notjust for the quick hit," said Boroughs, a former president of the OrlandoUtilities Commission. "You want to draw those businesses that will drawothers, and to do that, you have to cooperate."

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