Sunday, January 27, 2008

FLORIDA DIGEST January 27, 2008

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


Primary results to help gauge Hispanic voters' strength
Primary to show growing influence

By Ruth Morris and Elizabeth Baier
January 27, 2008

In the weeks before the Florida primary, former New York Mayor RudyGiuliani appeared as the guest of honor at a Three Kings parade in Miami.Days later, Sen. John McCain stopped by an espresso counter in Little Havanato knock back an industrial-strength Cuban coffee and meet voters. OnFriday, Sen. Barack Obama treated online browsers to a Spanish-languagecampaign ad addressed to "cooks, construction workers and professionals,"telling Hispanic viewers "You're not alone."

"It's clear we have become a very important population in this country,"said Noris Brown, a Sunrise resident and native of Colombia. "There is amomentum. It's huge."

Latinos are the fastest-growing group of voters in the United States. But inFlorida, where many Hispanics aren't wed to one party or the other, theirsupport has even more weight - a swing vote in a swing state. Theirinfluence was highlighted Friday as four Republican candidates took turnscourting the Latin Builders Association, in Miami.

Come Tuesday, Brown, 48, will volunteer as a poll worker to help translateand answer last-minute questions from Hispanic voters. She's tuned into mostof the presidential debates and daily cable news shows as well asSpanish-language TV stations for election coverage. And as director of thenonpartisan Hispanic American Alliance, she's mailed hundreds of fliers withinformation about the candidates to Hispanic voters.

When the results come in primary election night, analysts will try to gaugeLatinos' political strength in this election. They will also try todetermine whether Latino voters are fired up about the choice of candidates,or shying away from a primary that, for the Democrats at least, is littlemore than a beauty contest.

more . . . . .


Meet Former US Senator and Candidate For President

Mike Gravel for a primary night gathering

Tuesday January 29th
Georgies Alibi
2266 Wilton Drive
Wilton Manors

The Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus is proud toco-sponsor a reception for Presidential CandidateFormer Senator Mike Gravel

He has stood up for full equality for the GLBT community!

In 1971, he filibustered the draft for 5 months to help end the Vietnam War!

He is most prominently known for his release of the Pentagon Papers, thesecret official study that revealed the lies and manipulations of successiveU.S. administrations that misled the country into the Vietnam War.

Wants to end the US occupation in Iraq!

1971, he waged a successful one-man filibuster for five months that forcedthe Nixon administration to cut a deal, effectively ending the draft in theUnited States. He is most prominently known for his release of the PentagonPapers, the secret official study that revealed the lies and manipulationsof successive U.S. administrations that misled the country into the VietnamWar. After the New York Times published portions of the leaked study, theNixon administration moved to block any further publication of informationand to punish any newspaper publisher who revealed the contents.



Clinton to attend South Florida fundraisers

January 27, 2008

The stumping will be on hold when Democratic presidential hopeful HillaryRodham Clinton appears at two fundraisers in Miami Beach tonight, said herspokesman, Mo Elleithee.

Clinton joined her Democratic rivals in signing a pledge not to campaign inFlorida because the state's primary is Tuesday. Democratic NationalCommittee rules forbid the state from holding a primary before Feb. 5.

"She won't be doing any campaigning," Elleithee said in a telephoneinterview Saturday night. "She is here strictly for fundraising."

Today's visit marks Clinton's first visit to Florida since she appeared at adebate last September in Miami, Elleithee said.

The private fundraisers are 6 p.m. at Lucky Strike Lanes, followed byanother at a private residence later that evening in Miami Beach, saidBroward Democratic Chairman Mitch Ceasar.

more . . . . .


Miami Herald

Tuesday vote on amendment a win-win for Crist

Posted on Sun, Jan. 27, 2008

Gov. Charlie Crist is in political heaven.

His face adorns dozens of billboards along Florida's highways. His tax-cutrallies make for lively TV ads. Riding on high poll numbers a year aftertaking office, he's returned to his favorite job, campaigning, to plug aRepublican politician's favorite cause, tax cuts.

But the Amendment 1 plan embraced by Crist has one problem: although mostvoters want the plan's bigger homestead exemption and limits on property-taxassessments, their support still falls short of the legal threshhold.

A Miami Herald poll found that 55 percent of voters support the amendment;30 percent oppose it and 14 percent are undecided. For an amendment to pass,state law requires a margin of approval of 60 percent.

A Maxon Dixon poll this week of likely voters had similar results: 51percent in favor, 36 percent opposed, 12 percent undecided.

What does that mean for the ambitious governor?

more . . . . .


Miami Herald

Early primary a double-edged sword

Posted on Sun, Jan. 27, 2008

Florida's experiment with hosting one of the earliest presidential primariesin the nation has been a resounding success -- and a colossal disaster.

Republican voters got themselves a real-live, high-stakes campaign.

Candidates barnstormed the state, lured a national media horde, and took onissues dear to Florida like Cuba and hurricane insurance. On Tuesday, voterscould seal the fate of the GOP's nomination.

''It's nice that Florida is not just a spot on the map,'' said Jose Casas,36, who drove nearly 100 miles to Sarasota on Saturday to get RepublicanMitt Romney's autograph on his blue dress shirt. ``We're a battlegroundstate.''

But for Democrats, moving up the primary date without the blessing of thenational party triggered a backlash that, despite the most diverse field andan edge-of-your-seat race, deprived voters of seeing the candidates inperson and left them wondering whether to bother going to the polls.

First, the Democratic National Committee stripped Florida of its delegatesto the nominating convention, making the Jan. 29 vote just for show. Thenthe major candidates ceased campaigning in the state, except to collectchecks behind closed doors.

more . . . . .


Houston Chronicle

This isn't Iowa anymore: Florida is mini-map of U.S.
Biggest test for candidates so far falls in a diverse, less-partisan state

Jan. 26, 2008, 11:07PM

MIAMI - Military vets in the Panhandle. The most influential Hispanic blocin the nation. Transplanted New Yorkers living near evangelical Christians.Midwestern retirees on the west coast. And a history of troubled elections.

The profile of Florida reads like a mini-map of the United States, a mosaicof races and ethnicities, ages and incomes. It's a glitzy gateway to LatinAmerica and a next-door neighbor to Alabama. Its cities boast soaringskyscrapers while tiny nearby towns are dotted with shotgun shacks andunpaved roads.

This is the backdrop for the biggest 2008 presidential primary yet in thenation, on Tuesday, a vote that will provide the first real test of how acandidate will play on the national stage.

"It's America in miniature," said Brad Coker of Mason-Dixon Polling &Research, who's been polling in the state since 1984. "It's maybe a littlemore rightward tilt than the U.S., but it's probably the closest thing to acomplete profile of the country than any other state that has voted up tillnow."

State's appeal cools
A high-growth state since the invention of air conditioning, Florida'sappeal may at long last be cooling. Census figures show that the state -still the fourth-largest in population - slid in 2007 from the fourthfastest-growing state in the country to the 19th.



Who would win or lose if Amendment 1 passes

January 27, 2008

The proposal on Tuesday's ballot to amend Florida's constitutionalprovisions on property taxes will become law if 60 percent of state votersapprove it. Staff Writer David Fleshler explains what would change and whowould win or lose if the measure passes:

Current homeowners
Longtime homeowners would reap the largest financial benefit from Amendment1. It would increase the homestead exemption from $25,000 to $50,000,although that would not cover school taxes. And a home would have to beworth at least $75,000 to obtain the full benefit. The increased homesteadexemption would be worth $274 to the typical Palm Beach County homeowner and$308 to the typical Broward homeowner. More important, Amendment 1 wouldvastly increase homeowners' ability to use Save Our Homes, theconstitutional provision that caps annual increases on taxable value ofowner-occupied homes at 3 percent. Over the years, this cap has allowedlongtime Florida homeowners to build up an enormous percentage of propertyvalue that's exempt from taxes. Currently this benefit is not portable, so aperson who moves to a new home loses any accumulated Save Our Homesbenefits. Amendment 1 would allow up to $500,000 in accumulated Save OurHomes tax exemption to be transferred to a new home.

For example, if the owner of a $400,000 home, with an accumulated Save OurHomes exemption of $300,000, moved to a house valued by the propertyappraiser at $800,000, the new house would be assessed at $500,000 for taxpurposes. This would be retroactive to homes sold in 2007.

But this Save Our Homes benefit, known as portability, would perpetuate asystem that many people find unfair, in which the owner of a house pays amuch lower tax bill than a neighbor in a similar home simply because he orshe bought earlier. And it means a longtime homeowner moving into a biggerhouse could get a huge tax break, but someone buying a more modest firsthome would not.

Some people question the constitutionality of Save Our Homes, and critics ofAmendment 1 say the portability provision could make it harder for Save OurHomes to stand up in court.

more . . . . .


Miami Herald

Early voting ends Sunday in South Florida

Posted on Sun, Jan. 27, 2008

Early voting ends Sunday in South Florida. In Miami-Dade and Browardcounties, voters can go to most local libraries and local city hall officesto cast ballots.

In Miami-Dade, polls will be open from 1 to 5 p.m. In Broward, polls will beopen from 1 to 4 p.m. To see a list of locations in both counties, and look under Voter Resources.

Residents who plan to vote on Tuesday must go to their assigned pollingplace, which is listed on their voter information card. Voters are requiredto bring a photo ID that contains a signature.

Election results will be available at during thecourse of Tuesday evening.


Palm Beach Post

Crist ends speculation, endorses McCain

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 26, 2008

ST. PETERSBURG - Ending months of speculation about whether he would wadeinto Florida's Republican presidential primary, Gov. Charlie Crist tonightgave his endorsement to John McCain.

The state's highest-profile Republican made the announcement at thebeginning of the Pinellas County Republican Party's Lincoln Day dinner,calling McCain onto the stage to stand next to him.

"We have a lot of great people who are running for president this year whowould all do well," Crist said. "But you have to think about, as it comes toTuesday, who you're going to vote for and who you're going to support and Ihave been thinking about it a lot. And I have to tell you after thinkingabout it as much as I have I don't think anybody would do better than theman who stands next to me."

Crist's endorsement came a day after McCain was endorsed by U.S. Sen. MelMartinez.

Polls show McCain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney locked in aclose race as Tuesday's winner-take-all primary approaches.


Miami Herald

Is South Florida headed for recession?

Posted on Sun, Jan. 27, 2008

Justo Luis Fernandez isn't feeling the urge to splurge amid the currenteconomic gloom. The 53-year-old Miami car-rental agent expects to use moneyfrom the federal government tax rebate deal worked out last week for life'sbasics.

''I'd spend it on my household -- on the things we need,'' Fernandez said.``Things are tight and pretty rough.''

Ask the average South Floridian what he or she will do with the expectedwindfall from Washington, which would run from $300 to $600 for mostworkers, and the answer isn't to rush out and buy a new iPod or a case ofchampagne. Many people, bracing for a rough ride amid talk of a recession,say they'll pay down credit-card debt, buy some gas or put it toward therent.

The stimulus package hastily cobbled together in Washington comes as theeconomy has taken a bleaker turn in recent days and aims at putting someextra cash in consumers' wallets as well as providing a psychological boost.

Subprime mortgage woes have continued to spread, sending shock waves intothe credit markets. Banks, hammered by widening losses, have pulled back onlending, and nervous bond investors have made credit scarce for businessesand consumers. The credit crunch, in turn, could spark job losses andfurther curtail consumer spending.

more . . . . .


Palm Beach Post

Schools set for weeks of FCAT-only lessons as exams approach

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 27, 2008

Say goodbye to field trips, assemblies and teacher training half days.Starting Monday, it's all FCAT all the time for most Palm Beach Countystudents and teachers. The annual FCAT "blackout" is upon us.

"We're in crunch time," said Santaluces High Principal Kathleen Orloff.

The first round of testing starts with writing on Feb. 12. During the weeksleading up to it, principals follow a simple rule: If it can't be tied toimproving test scores, forget about it.

Superintendent Art Johnson started the annual distraction-free periodseveral years ago as a way to ensure students and teachers focused on theFlorida Comprehensive Assessment Test.

"We have a once-a-year, high-stakes test in the state of Florida and a lotrides on it," Johnson said. "We know that time on task is a critical part ofdoing well. It's difficult to have time on task if any of the keypersonnel - teachers, students, administrators - are off campus."

more . . . . .


[Send your comments about articles to]

No comments: