Saturday, January 26, 2008

FLORIDA DIGEST January 26, 2008

**IF YOU CAN'T ACCESS THE FULL ARTICLE, CONTACT US AT and we'll be happy to send the full article.


Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle, the Rev. O'Neal Dozier show support forMike Huckabee

By Anthony Man
Political Writer
January 26, 2008

Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee appeared Friday with two of BrowardCounty's most controversial political figures, Fort Lauderdale Mayor JimNaugle and the Rev. O'Neal Dozier, as he attempts to lift his standing amongRepublican voters.

The ordained Baptist minister and former Arkansas governor's newest backeris Naugle, a Democrat - which means he can't vote for Huckabee in Tuesday'sprimary - who often endorses Republicans.

The mayor generated national attention last year over an automated restroomon the beach. Naugle said one reason he wanted the self-cleaning toilet onFort Lauderdale beach was his belief that it would help cut down on sexualactivity in public restrooms. He maintained his stance even after the PoliceDepartment said it didn't have arrest records indicating a problem.

Naugle went on to say that gays frequent public restrooms to have sex andthat he would only use the term homosexual because many gays were unhappy.His comments sparked rounds of protests and counterprotests for and againstNaugle.

Huckabee said he was familiar with Naugle's version of events. "I appreciatethe mayor, and I appreciate his stand for wanting to have a community whereevery person could feel welcome and feel comfortable," Huckabee said.

more . . . . .


Charter school principal prepares to deploy to Iraq for 1 year

By Akilah Johnson
January 26, 2008

The principal walked into the first classroom at 8:45 a.m. He decided tostart with the sixth-graders and work his way down to the kindergartners.

Each time he stepped through the white doors decorated with red and bluestars, John Drag Jr., 45, suppressed his fears. On Monday, he'll leave hiswife and three children for a year and go to war.

The couple told their children last week. Thursday and Friday were Drag'stime to reassure his other children, all 250 at Broward Community CharterSchool West in Coral Springs, that he'd be all right. His mission in Iraq isrelatively safe.

"Because I'm a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, I'll be running a camp.I'll be right outside Baghdad International Airport," he explained. "I'llkind of be like a principal, but the kids will be a lot bigger."

Then he drew a rough sketch of Iraq on the board, marked the capital with astar and continued: "The best thing that you can do for me is study hard, dogood in school and not worry about me."

more . . . . .


Equality Florida Urges Legislators NOT to Support Gay Rights Bill

Express Gay News

GLBT groups clash over state anti-bias bills

Disagreement over transgender inclusion mirrors federal fight

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Gay political organizations are clashing over the best way to passGLBT-friendly anti-discrimination bills through the Florida Legislature. Thehead butting is taking on strategic tones similar to those that emerged lastyear in the fight over the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in the U.S.Congress.

Gay rights organizations are taking different stances on whether to supporta two-pronged effort that sends separate anti-discrimination bills throughthe Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate. If passed,House Bill 191 sponsored by Kelly Skidmore (D-Boca Raton) would banemployment and housing discrimination based on sexual orientation as well asgender identity and gender expression. Senate Bill 572, introduced by TedDeutch (D-Delray Beach), bans discrimination based on sexual orientationonly. Both bills are expected to go before the Florida Legislature duringthe spring session, which begins March 4.

There is little expectation that either bill will be successful in theconservative-dominated legislature. Last year, a similar bill that onlyincluded sexual orientation protections was not even read. Groups such asEquality Florida and the Palm Beach Human Rights Council have been active inseeking political support for the Skidmore bill. Equality Florida, however,a statewide GLBT political organization, has been lobbying legislators notto support the non-inclusive Senate bill.

"Our position is that we will not support a bill that leaves a portion ofour community behind," said Stratton Pollitzer, deputy director of EqualityFlorida. "We believe in a fully inclusive bill."

Pollitzer characterized the current Senate bill as "bad policy," and saidthat Equality is seeking either to find a state senator who will sponsor anentirely new inclusive bill or to convince Deutch to expand his bill toinclude gender identity and expression.

In September, Pollitzer told the Express that the organization would notwork against measures that do not include gender identity and expression andthat the group would work to make any proposed bills as inclusive aspossible.

When reminded of his comments, he said that he had had been misquoted. Atthe time, neither Pollitzer nor anyone from Equality Florida, however,contacted the Express for a correction.

Over the past few months, Equality Florida strategists have been meetingwith Senate legislative aides to tell them not to sponsor the legislation.Staying on message, Pollitzer said, the group urges senators not to supportthe Deutch bill.

At least two senators, Charlie Justice (D-St. Petersburg) and Steven Geller(D-Hallandale) confirmed that members of their staffs met with EqualityFlorida in recent weeks to discuss sponsoring the Senate bill.

"As I recall, there was an argument between different groups in the GLBTcommunity as to whether it was supported by the community," said Geller."If, in fact, it is controversial in the GLBT community, as a general rule,I would be less inclined to[co-sponsor] it."

Geller, the Florida Senate minority leader, noted that he rarely co-sponsorsbills. Justice said he consulted with his staff about sponsoring the Deutchbill, but has yet to make a decision.

"I have not decided not to co-sponsor it," he said.

Justice said he is weighing reports from both sides of the argument. He saidthat he would decide based on the merits of the legislation itself, ratherthat wait for a unified endorsement from gay organizations.

Both Geller and Justice have strong backing among gay voters. They said theyare supportive of the bills.

Last year, gay rights supporters split on whether to back the federalEmployment Nondiscrimination Act without gender identity protections. Morethan 300 organizations came together as a coalition called United ENDA thatopposed the bill without transgender protections. A few groups, such as theHuman Rights Campaign, supported ENDA in order to win sexual orientationprotections.

In the end, the U.S. House of Representatives passed ENDA without the genderidentity protections.

Rand Hoch, president of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, saidEquality Florida is sending the wrong message at a time when the backers ofthe bills are seeking to get sponsors from both sides of the aisle. Hochsupports the Deutch bill without the transgender protections. He said thetwo bills complement each other, and the goal is to get them throughcommittees to create a discussion about sexual orientation and genderidentity issues.

"I'm livid," Hoch said. "This is totally unacceptable conduct."

Hoch said he will continue to lobby lawmakers for support. Last week, henoted, the ACLU's gay and lesbian advocacy project decided to join Hoch insupporting the Skidmore bill regardless of Equality Florida's advice.

The ACLU will include the bill as one of its priority issues in the 2008session.


National Gay News

Out of the Closet Thrift Store
Opening Saturday in Wilton Manors


You Are Cordially Invited to the Grand Opening of the Out of the ClosetThrift Store and AHF Pharmacy. Saturday, January 26th, 2008 10:00 AM OpeningCeremony 2097 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors, FL 33305

Out of the Closet, the world's most fabulous thrift store, is a chain ofthrift stores in Northern and Southern California and now opening in BrowardCounty Wilton Manors are owned and operated by AIDS Healthcare Foundation(AHF), the largest specialized provider of cutting-edge medicine andadvocacy regardless of ability to pay.

Out of the Closet Thrift Stores generate income that helps fund the medicalservices AHF provides. In addition to regular retail operations, fourlocations including our Florida location offer free HIV testing andcounseling in a private area of the store. Out of the Closet thrift Storesgenerate 30,000 donations andnearly 1 million shoppers a year.

AHF Pharmacy is a non-for-profit pharmacy in which 96% of the profitssupport AIDS Healthcare Foundation's Domestic and Global HIV/AIDS preventionand treatment programs.

Councilman Galvin has served on the AHF Board of Directors since 2007.


From Victoria Lavelle

I want to personally thank everyone who assisted with my sensitive matterconcerning a routine traffic stop by a police officer with the Wilton ManorsPolice Department. I had a personal meeting yesterday with the Chief OfPolice, Mr. Richard Perez, and I'd like to commend Chief Perez for taking mymatter very seriously. We came to a peaceful resolution, Chief Perez hascommitted to the development of a GLBT diversity training curriculum for theWilton Manors Police Department and has also committed to participate in aneducational forum for the GLBT Community.

I'd like to extend my thanks to Michael Rajner, Transgender Equality RightsInitiative, EQUALITY Florida, The GLCC of South Florida, The BHRI, VictorZepka, and the many other amazing GLBT Broward Organizations for theirsupport in this matter. I extend my gratitude and heartfelt thanks toCommissioner Joe Angelo, Mr. Richard Wiley (Captain of Administration forthe Wilton Manors Police Department), and the Chief of Police, Mr. RichardPerez of the Wilton Manors Police Department.

As your reigning Miss Florida FI 2008 my hopes are that this issuereinforces the strength of the GLBT Community and their commitment forequality for transgendered individuals. We have a strong voice for thetransgender community in South Florida and I encourage all transgenders andtheir friends to join in this journey for the greater of equality.

Sincerely Expressed
Victoria Michaels Lavelle


Volunteers Needed on Election Day January 29th 2008 7am-7pm to gathercandidate petitions for Mark LaFontaine, candidate for Florida State Housedistrict 92.

You do not have to live in District 92 to volunteer for Mark.

Please help us elect the First accountant and first OUT GLBT State Rep.

Please Call the Volunteer Hot Line 954-651-3147


The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council
Federal Political Action Committee Endorses Rudy Giuliani

The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Federal Political ActionCommittee has endorsed former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in Florida'sJanuary 29, 2008 Republican Presidential Preference Primary.

While the PAC recognizes that none of the Republican Presidential candidatesare as supportive of GLBT issues as their Democratic counterparts,Giuliani's record places him well above the other Republican Presidentialcandidates.

During his tenure as Mayor (1994 - 2001), Giuliani:
* signed into law a domestic partnership ordinance that, at the time, wasamong the most comprehensive domestic partnerships laws in the nation;
* established and funded a Hate Crimes Task Force that allowed the city tofully investigate and prosecute hate crimes;
* budgeted $1.5 million for New York City's GLBT Community Center'scapital campaign;
* appointed openly gay men and lesbians to high-level positions within hisadministration;
* participated in the annual New York City Pride Parade and held annualPride celebrations at the mayor's official residence, Gracie Mansion; and* urged President Bush to include domestic partners and committed same-sexlife partners in the September 11 federal victims' compensation fund.

In addition, Giuliani was one of the first Republican elected officials inNew York State to publicly support both federal and the New York State hatecrimes egislation. He was also one of the first Republican electedofficials in New York to support statewide legislation to prohibitdiscrimination based on sexual orientation.

As a Presidential candidate, Giuliani has spoken out in favor of theEmployment Non-Discrimination Act which would prohibit employmentdiscrimination based on sexual orientation nationwide. (However, it isunclear if he supports including gender identity).

Giuliani opposes amending the U. S. Constitution to limit marriages to thosebetween one man and one woman only and supports federal domestic partnershiplegislation which would provide basic legal protections for ourrelationships.

However, as more conservative Republican Presidential candidates have gainedsupport over the past several weeks, Giuliani has begun to downplay hisearlier accomplishments on behalf of the GLBT community.

If you are registered to vote in the Republican Presidential Primary, thePalm Beach County Human Rights Council Federal Political Action Committeerecommends Giuliani



Palm Beach Post

Plenty of Floridians believe state's in a recession

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 26, 2008

Once sizzling, now fizzling, the economy in Palm Beach County and theTreasure Coast is suffering one of its steepest declines in years.

While there's no officially accepted definition of a recession for statesand regions, for some, the sense of whether the economy is in a recessionstarts at home.

"Everybody's being affected by this economy," said Mildred Davila, 34, amedical assistant who lives in Boynton Beach. "People don't want to spendmoney."

Local businesses and consumers are padlocking their pocketbooks, said Gretavon Unruh, executive director of the Economic Development ResearchInstitute, a nonprofit think tank in West Palm Beach. "We are clearly in asevere downturn."

As for recession, "Is there any doubt?" asked Paul Emmet, founder of Duffy'sRestaurants Inc. That's not to say the chain is doing poorly. Just theopposite, said Emmet, who is not making cutbacks and is, in fact, makingcapital investments, such as new TVs in the sports bars. But double-digitgrowth driven by housing sales has slackened, and established competitorssuch as RJ Gators have fallen by the wayside.

more . . . . .


Miami Herald

Black Democrats struggle between Clinton, Obama

Posted on Sat, Jan. 26, 2008

At 9 a.m. Friday, after the two children had left for school, Guylene Berryhoped to decide in the quiet of her Miami Lakes home. She had tried before,given Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama time and energy, pondering thepromises, but the choice hadn't gotten any easier.

Host of Koze Fanm, a Haitian radio program, Berry changed her mind in thecar on her way to vote early. And again when she stood in line.

''I voted for Hillary Clinton today. I am a single mother, so her views onemployment, universal healthcare and the housing crisis appealed to me. Butthis was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made,'' says Berry, 35,who cast a vote for the first time on Friday. ``On the one hand, I wanted tovote for a black American, a man who would give my children hope. On theother, women's issues are close to my heart.''

That conversation has played out among black voters in churches andchatrooms, among families, friends and sometimes even among strangers asClinton and Obama emerged as front-runners for the Democratic presidentialnomination.

Even the four board members of the Florida Courier, a small Florida weekly,were debating who was the most promising candidate for the national blackagenda.

more . . . . .


Houston Chronicle

Campaign notebook: Clinton wants to restore all of Florida's delegates

From wire reports
Jan. 25, 2008, 11:01PM

WASHINGTON - In a bit of political theater, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton andthe Florida Democratic Party clamored to restore convention delegates thathad been stripped by the national party.

At stake: 185 delegates in a state where Clinton leads almost 2-to-1.

The presidential candidate said Friday - just four days before Florida'sprimary - that she wants the convention delegates from Florida and Michiganreinstated. The national party eliminated all the delegates from thosestates - more than 350 in all - because they broke party rules againstholding their primaries before Feb. 5. All the major Democratic candidatesalso made pledges not to campaign in those states before their primaries.

Clinton could claim most of the Michigan delegates because she won thatstate's primary after the other major candidates pulled their names from theballot.

Sen. Barack Obama's campaign manager accused Clinton of pandering.

more . . . . .


Los Angeles Times,1,5343195.story?track=crosspromo

Florida's midsection key to GOP hopefuls

The fast-growing central part of the state is known to be more ideologicallydiverse and less predictable.

By Seema Mehta
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
January 26, 2008

LAKELAND, FLA. - Linda Ivell is an ardent supporter of President Bush, leadsthe state Republican women's club and has met all of the major GOPpresidential candidates. Yet the effervescent 53-year-old real estate agent,who lives in this former citrus and phosphate mining hub in central Florida,simply can't make up her mind about whom to vote for Tuesday in Florida'scrucial presidential primary.

"I honestly don't know," said Ivell, who is torn by the candidates' appealsas conservatives on economic, national security and social issues.

"The thing I want most," she said, "is someone who will speak the truth."

Undecided Republicans like Ivell living near Interstate 4, the east-westcorridor that divides the Sunshine State, could tip the scales Tuesday. Andthey are being heavily wooed by the leading candidates.

Compared with other parts of the state, GOP voters in the cities and suburbsalong the I-4, a 132-mile stretch of highway that links Daytona Beach andTampa, are more ideologically diverse and less predictable. They are ahodgepodge of the factions -- business people, retirees from the Northeastand the Midwest, military veterans and social conservatives -- thatPresident Reagan united under the conservative banner in the 1980s.

more . . . . .


Miami Herald

Crist blitz could save tax amendment

Posted on Sat, Jan. 26, 2008

Voter support for the property-tax-cut amendment falls short of the victorymargin in a new Miami Herald poll, but undecided voters, a weekend ad blitzby the governor and a large turnout of Republicans could send it over thetop.

''The property-tax amendment appears headed to victory,'' said Tom Eldon,pollster for Schroth, Eldon & Associates, which conducted the statewidesurvey of 800 likely primary voters. ``The continuing television campaignfeaturing Charlie Crist and the lack of a visible opposition campaign couldmake a difference.''

As a constitutional amendment, the measure needs 60 percent voter approvalto pass. The poll showed that 55 percent support Amendment 1, while 30percent oppose it. Another 14 percent are undecided, and that group isevenly split between Democrats and Republicans.

The three main features of the proposal, placed on the ballot by theLegislature in October, would increase the homestead exemption, givehomeowners the ability to transfer their tax savings to a new home and givenew tax breaks to businesses and nonhomestead property.

The governor has raised more than $3 million from real estate agents,Florida Power & Light and other business groups to promote the amendmentthrough TV ads, mail brochures and automated phone calls. He will devote theweekend to campaigning for the measure and getting the vote out around thestate.

more . . . . .


St. Petersburg Times

Tax-cutting amendment first to face 60 percent requirement

Associated Press Writer

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- If it took only a simple majority to passAmendment 1, the property tax-cutting proposal on Tuesday's ballot, itsbackers would be more confident of victory.

But in 2006, at the urging of Legislative leaders and business interests,voters adopted a measure that made it harder to amend the FloridaConstitution by requiring 60 percent approval at the ballot box. Thatamendment won with 58 percent - good enough under the constitution's oldsimple-majority requirement.

Now those same legislators and business groups are pushing the tax-cutmeasure and it may be the first victim of the 60 percent threshold. A recentpoll by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and The Florida Times-Union showedthe amendment winning 45 percent to 34 percent among likely voters, with 21percent undecided.

"There's a certain irony in politics, and this is a classic example of it,"said Sen. Jim King, R-Jacksonville.

He sponsored the 60 percent requirement in the Republican-controlledLegislature and now he's supporting Amendment 1.

more . . . . .


Miami Herald

Property tax amendment facts and figures

Posted on Sat, Jan. 26, 2008

Facts and figures on Amendment 1, a property tax relief proposal on the Jan.29 presidential primary ballot:

Taxpayer Effect

- Homestead exemption: Increases from present $25,000 to $50,000 for primaryhomes valued at $50,000 and more except for school taxes. Average savings:$240 per year.

- Portability: Allows primary homeowners to take their accrued Save OurHomes benefits - a 3 percent annual cap on assessment increases - with themwhen they move up to $500,000 in property value. Savings: Only homeownerswho moved in 2007 and subsequent years would save and amounts would varydepending on the values of their new and old homes.

- Tangible Personal Property: Exempts the first $25,000 in value.

more . . . . .


Miami Herald

Dave Barry: Miss Kumquat gets our vote

Posted on Sat, Jan. 26, 2008

On Tuesday, millions of Florida voters will head for the polls. BeingFloridians, many of them will become confused and drive into buildings,canals, cemeteries, other Floridians, etc. But some will actually make it tothe polls, where they will cast ballots that will play a crucial role in thepresidential election. Or, in the case of Democrats, not.

It turns out that the 2008 Florida Democratic primary doesn't count. Floridawill be sending the same number of delegates to the 2008 Democraticconvention as Uzbekistan. This may seem unfair, but there's a simple,logical explanation: The whole primary system is insane. Consider theprocess so far:

First, Iowa held ''caucuses,'' in which Iowans gathered in small groups atnight and engaged in some mysterious Iowan ritual that for all we knowinvolves having intimate relations with corn. Right after that, Wyoming hada primary, but it was only for Republicans, because Wyoming Democrats(apparently, there are at least two) will hold their primary on March 8.Most of the candidates ignored Wyoming and focused on the New Hampshireprimary, except Rudy Giuliani, who's following a shrewd strategy, originallydeveloped by the Miami Dolphins, of not entering the race until he has beenmathematically eliminated. After New Hampshire came Michigan, where theballot listed all the Republicans, but only certain Democrats -- includingChris Dodd, who had already dropped out if the race -- but not includingBarack Obama or John Edwards.

After Michigan came the Nevada caucuses, in which Hillary Clinton got morevotes but Barack Obama got more delegates. (If you don't understand how thatcould happen, then you have never been to a casino.) Then came the SouthCarolina Republican primary, which of course was not held on the same day asthe South Carolina Democratic primary, which was Saturday. Then comesFlorida, in which Republican voters will elect some delegates, although thetotal will only be half the number Florida was originally supposed to get.Meanwhile, Florida Democrats, as I mentioned, will have the same impact ontheir party's nomination as if they fed their ballots to ducks.

I am not making any of this up: This is our actual primary system, except (Ihope) the part about the corn. We're selecting candidates for the mostimportant job in the world via a process that's less rational than the oneused to choose Miss Kumquat of Pasco County.

more . . . . .


[Send your comments about articles to]

No comments: