Thursday, January 31, 2008

FLORIDA DIGEST January 30, 2008

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New York Times

Florida's Primaries
0 delegates*

Candidate Vote % Delegates stripped by party
Hillary Rodham Clinton 856,944 49.7%
Barack Obama 568,930 33.0%
John Edwards 248,575 14.4%
Joseph R. Biden Jr. 15,426 0.9%
Bill Richardson 14,782 0.9%
Dennis J. Kucinich 9,535 0.6%
Christopher J. Dodd 5,402 0.3%
Mike Gravel 5,261 0.3%

99% reporting | Updated 8:12 AM ET

*The Democratic National Committee plans to penalize Florida Democrats forholding an early primary by stripping the state party of all its delegatesto the national convention. If the penalty is lifted, the state party willhave 185 pledged and 25 unpledged delegates.


57 pledged delegates

Candidate Vote % Delegates
John McCain 693,425 36.0% 57
Mitt Romney 598,152 31.1% 0
Rudolph W. Giuliani 281,755 14.6% 0
Mike Huckabee 259,703 13.5% 0
Ron Paul 62,060 3.2% 0
Fred D. Thompson 22,287 1.2% 0
Duncan Hunter 2,787 0.1% 0
Tom Tancredo 1,556 0.1% 0
Others 4,003 0.2% 0

99% reporting | Updated 8:12 AM ET
Because of the differences in how absentee and early-voting returns arehandled, some counties report an estimate of the precincts reporting basedon expected turnout.


New York Times

Map: How Florida's Counties Voted


Washington Post

Much Ado About Not Much

By Dana Milbank
Wednesday, January 30, 2008; A01


Cheering supporters? Check. Election returns on the projection screen?Check. Andrea Mitchell and Candy Crowley doing stand-ups? Check and check.In fact, the only piece missing from Hillary Clinton's Florida victory partyhere Tuesday night was a victory.

Yes, Clinton, as expected, beat Barack Obama by a wide margin in the Floridaprimary. But all the Democratic candidates had agreed months ago to boycottthe contest after the Democratic National Committee stripped Florida of itsdelegates to punish the state for moving up its primary date. The result wasa primary without purpose, a show about nothing.

But in a political stunt worthy of the late Evel Knievel, the Clintoncampaign decided to put on an ersatz victory party that, it hoped, woulderase memories of Obama's actual victory Saturday night in South Carolina'sDemocratic primary. "Thank you, Florida Democrats!" Clinton shouted to thecheering throng. "I am thrilled to have this vote of confidence."

It was a perfect reproduction of an actual victory speech, delivered at aperfectly ersatz celebration at a perfectly pretend location: a fauxItalianate palace with lion sculptures, indoor fountains and a commandingview of Interstate 595. The Signature Grand ("Elegant Weddings and GrandSocial Occasions") was also holding receptions Tuesday night for a pediatricpractice and for a group of optometry students, but the Clinton campaign wasthe biggest draw: It filled the Silver Palm Room, the Golden Palm Room andthe Emerald Palm Room.

But even some of the faithful in the hall doubted that the big margin forClinton, flashed on a projection screen, was an accurate gauge of the racehere. "Probably not," said Eleanor Forte, on the outer rim of thecelebration. "If they had campaigned here, it probably would have come outdifferently."

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Amendment 1 Property Tax Changes, approved

By Bill Kaczor
Associated Press
10:01 PM EST, January 29, 2008


A ballot proposal that would cut property taxes an average of $240 a yearfor primary homeowners passed Tuesday, easily getting the 60 percent vote itneeded.

With 71 percent of the expected vote counted, the proposed stateconstitutional amendment had 2,169,402 yes votes, or 64 percent, and1,203,329 no votes, or 36 percent.

Amendment 1 is unlikely to be the last word on property tax relief inFlorida, however.

Gov. Charlie Crist, who led the campaign to pass the proposed stateconstitutional amendment, said it's just one step in a process he comparedto a football game.

``This is the second play,'' said Crist, a former high school quarterback.``We've got to keep driving down the field to get into the end zone for ourpeople. This is just the start.''

more . . . . .



Complaints mar debut of voter check-in system in Broward

By David Fleshler
January 30, 2008

A new voter check-in system made its Broward County debut this election,causing long lines at some polls Tuesday as workers struggled with theunfamiliar equipment.

The Electronic Voter iDentification system, which resembles a computerizedcash register, requires elections workers to confirm voters' eligibility byswiping each voter's driver's license like a credit card.

The new machines were intended to bring speed and accuracy to the work ofverifying voter records, a process that nearly broke down in the 2004presidential election when the Elections Office tried to use a phone bankfor that purpose, Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes said.

At many polls, the system worked as smoothly as a grocery store checkoutline. But since there were far fewer check-in machines than voting machines,the new devices created bottlenecks at some locations. And at some pollingplaces, would-be voters watched in frustration as workers puzzled over thenew equipment and placed calls to technical support staff.

At the voter-rich Century Village condominium complexes in Deerfield Beachand Pembroke Pines, long lines led many would-be voters to give up and gohome.

more . . . . .



Gay marriage not on ballot, but still an issue at polls Tuesday

By Anthony Man
Political Writer
January 30, 2008

Oakland Park

Supporters and opponents of the idea of a state constitutional amendment toban gay marriage were working the polls Tuesday.

The subject wasn't even on the ballot - and may never make it before Floridavoters.

But that didn't stop activists on both sides.

Florida Red and Blue, one of the statewide efforts formed to fight theFlorida Marriage Protection Amendment, had volunteers and staffers atseveral Broward polling places urging people to vote "no" if the issue makesit to the November ballot.

The organization is also trying to recruit a force of more than 2,000volunteers to work against the issue in the coming months.

more . . . . .


Express Gay News

Last-minute scramble for gay marriage ban
Deadline is February 1

TALLAHASSEE, FL (AP) | Jan 28, 10:50 AM

Supporters of the proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage inFlorida say they're receiving a huge rush of petitions as the deadlineapproaches to get the measure on the November ballot.

Florida4Marriage needs to gather another 27,000 petitions at the last minuteto be able to submit them to elections supervisors.

It's a last-minute scramble. The group thought it already had the necessary611,000 signatures for the measure. But two weeks ago, the group discoveredthat a miscount by Miami-Dade election officials left the measure short.

Florida4Marriage spokesman Nathan Dunn says that error won't sink theireffort.

Their deadline is February first.

But Larry Spalding with the American Civil Liberties Union says the proposedamendment isn't necessary because Florida already has a law that prohibitsgay marriages.


Human Rights Council of North Central Florida

After a four-hour marathon public hearing on Monday, January 28, theGainesville City Commission passed the Gender Identity Ordinance,which amends the city's antidiscrimination code to include "genderidentity" as a protected category against discrimination in theareas of housing, public accommodations, employment and credit.

The final vote was 4-3 in favor of the ordinance.

Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan and Commissioners Craig Lowe, Jack Donovan,and Jeanna Mastrodicasa voted in favor of the ordinance.Commissioners Ed Braddy, Rick Bryant and Scherwin Henry votedagainst it.

The definition of "gender identity" includes both one's genderidentity and gender expression.

"At the final public hearing, the majority of commissioners sawplainly that discrimination against transgender individuals was areal problem in Gainesville," said Bob Karp of the Human RightsCouncil of North Central Florida. He added: "Adding genderidentity to the city's antidiscrimination ordinance is an importantand historic step forward to make sure everyone in Gainesville istreated equally and fairly."

Human Rights Council of North Central Florida
PO Box 2112
Gainesville FL 32602


Ft. Lauderdale

BEAUTIFUL DREAMER on March 1st, 2008

On saturday March 1st, second annual Transgender social eventBEAUTIFUL DREAMER will take place at Cafe Pisa, downtown FortLauderdale. (one East Broward boulv., Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33301 )Cafe Pisa is an authentic Italian restaurant with rustic Italianvillage looks with gorgeous atrium. A multi level covered FREEparking lot is located right across the street from the restaurant.And there is a "Hampton Inn" just 250-300 feet away from the eventfor out of towners.

Beautiful Dreamer is scheduled to start at 7pm and will be activeuntil 2am. The event is open to all TG/TS/CD and their spouses,relatives, friends, as well as their admirers. We are gatheringtogether to enjoy a classy night full of fun, music, dancing, goodfood and entertainment. We will share the warmth of our specialcommunity in an elegant atmosphere.

Advance tickets are on sale on-line at for thesum of $55.00 ($65.00 at the door) Tickets purchased on-line will beredeemable at the door (on call basis)I would like to share with you what will the ticket price coverduring this special event.

The ticket gives you access to Cafe Pisa Restaurant as well as agreat entertainment and dinner.



Broward County



February 12, 2008 at ArtServe
1350 E Sunrise Blvd.

Adriane Reesey is a local community leader, and is currently employed withthe Broward County Sheriff's Office as a Community Involvement Specialist.For over 30 years, she has worked in corrections, law enforcement, and itsperiphery working toward understanding and equal justice.

Over the last decade, she has been both visible and active as a politicaland community leader.She is the current Chair of the Human Rights Board, Director of the BrowardCounty Crime Commission, and has recently served on the Fort LauderdaleCommunity Services Board.

A member of the Broward Democratic Executive Committee, and the DolphinDemocratic Club, she recently received the "Humanitarian of the Year" awardpresented by former Attorney General Janet Reno.

Adriane has been a poll worker for the Broward County Supervisor ofElections, and remains vocal regarding civic duty, responsibility, andcommunity outreach efforts and voting.

She has stepped up to the challenge of restoring confidence in the communityand having its voice be heard in the election process.

Adriane will run an election office dedicated to free and fair access,serving all voters of Broward County equally, regardless of politicalaffiliation.

Upon her election, she will work tirelessly to encourage greater communityparticipation through community outreach and education.

Adriane Reesey Campaign
PO Box 1593, Dania Beach, Florida 33004


Ft. Lauderdale

Stonewall Library & Archives to Host Weekend of ContemporaryItalian Culture


In conjunction with ArtsUnited's ArtExlosion, GITA and Babilonia magazine,Stonewall Library & Archives will present "Collòquio," an exciting weekendof contemporary gay Italian culture February 9 and 10.

On Saturday, February 9, at 3:00 pm, at Stonewall, screenwriter IvanCotroneo will screen his award-winning film, Ginger and Cinnamon. Mr.Cotroneo will also speak about the film and will be available for questionsafter the screening.

On Sunday, February 10, at 2:00 pm, at ArtServe, 1350 East SunriseBoulevard, the weekend will continue with a panel discussion includingCotroneo; Matteo Bianchi, who will read from his short story, "Cher, Upon aMidnight Clear" and Babilonia magazine journalist Valerio Bartolucci. Mr.Bianchi will also screen five of his short films: I'd Like to Know aboutLove; Cheesecake; Golden Hays; I See Things; and Divine Punishment. Thefilms will be shown in Italian with English subtitles.

The weekend's events are free and open to the public.

Stonewall Library & Archives is located at 1717 North Andrews Avenue in FortLauderdale. Our mission is to collect, preserve, organize for use anddisplay materials related to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender cultureand history; support related research and sponsor cultural and educationalprograms.

This program is sponsored by Stonewall Library & Archives and is supportedby a generous grant from Comcast in recognition of Comcast's commitment tothe communities where its customers and employees live and work.

Funding for this organization is provided in part by the Broward CountyBoard of County Commissioners as recommended by the Broward CulturalCouncil.

For further information, please contact:
Jack Rutland, Executive Director
Stonewall Library & Archives


From Joe Van Eron
Dania Beach Tourism Council


They will use $21.6 Million(+) of our hard collected funds to underwriteHilton's losses, with No guarantee of additional marketing $$ for thesurvival of Broward's Small Hotels !!


Miami Herald

Hilton to hotels: Help out, it's good for you

Posted on Tue, Jan. 29, 2008

A mammoth convention-center hotel will drive enough new meetings to BrowardCounty that hotels should support building their new competitor with apledge of more than $7 million in lodging taxes a year.

That was the message Broward County officials delivered to roughly 50hoteliers and other executives from the local tourism industry gatheredMonday to hear a pitch for the proposed 1,000-room headquarters hotel.

The audience crowded into a conference room at the Broward tourism bureaumostly listened to the presentation and did not debate the proposal byHilton and its partners to build the $415 million facility on waterfront bythe county convention center.

But a few questions touched on an issue that helped doom past attempts tobuild a hotel for the convention center: whether adding such a largefacility would bring too many rooms into the market and force rivalproperties to cut rates.

''Are we at risk of going backwards in terms of market competition?'' askedJeremy Marquard, group sales director at the Westin Diplomat, aprivately-owned hotel in Hollywood with roughly the same number of rooms asthe proposed Hilton property.

Broward officials said enough large groups would use the new headquartershotel that surrounding hotels would come out ahead once the facility opened.And they said Hilton will be under pressure to keep rates high in order tosatisfy its landlord, Broward County, or risk losing the contract to runwhat would be Fort Lauderdale's largest hotel.

''They can't give away the house,'' said tourism director Nicki Grossman.

Ted Ratcliff, the Hilton executive in charge of East Coast hotels, warnedthat Broward faces too much competition nationally for conventions to notsupport a headquarters facility for its center.


Hoteliers should be less worried about ''a Hilton at the property than forthe other cities that are talking to the business that would use thisfacility,'' he said.

Though Broward had hoped Hilton and its partners could borrow enough moneyon their own based on revenue projections for the hotel, Wall Street'scredit crisis has forced the county to pledge $7.2 million a year in hoteltaxes to bondholders, officials said. That money would be used if the hoteldoesn't meet profit targets.

County officials hope they'll only have to commit the $7 million a year forthree years, before the bonds are refinanced, but the pledge could remain ifWall Street isn't satisfied with the hotel's performance.

Though commissioners have approved the broad outlines of the proposal,Hilton narrowly beat out Marriott for the site.

Marriott continues to quietly fight the deal, with some commissionersquestioning the hotel-tax pledge.


Officials said their models show only a catastrophic downturn in Browardtourism would require the county to use hotel taxes to pay off loans on theproject. Key studies on the hotel's economic impact are expected this week,with a final commission vote slated for later this year.

Grossman initially declined to allow media to attend Monday's briefing, thenagreed to open the meeting after The Miami Herald objected.

Some hoteliers asked whether the $7 million could be used to promote Browardas a vacation destination. Grossman said county commissioners have notagreed to that.

She expects Broward to designate part of a $26 million hotel-tax reserve forthe Hilton project, money currently devoted to building a newspring-training facility for the Baltimore Orioles and for beachreplenishment.Susan Stern, director of sales at the Hampton Inn in Plantation, said shesaw the hotel as a magnet for more hotel guests.

''I'm all for this,'' she said. ``I think it's wonderful because you'regoing to bring more business to the county.''


Broward County Commissioner Addresses Water Issues - Wednesday, January 30,2008

- Water Resources and Effective Conservation Programs Take Center Stage -

How can business leaders and elected officials work together to ensure aplentiful, clean, drinkable water supply for now and in the years to come?What can be done now to prevent a water crisis? What barriers exist tofinding new water supplies? What will happen if we simply run out?

Broward County Commissioner Kristin Jacobs will participate in two separateevents during the month of January to address a myriad of issues concerningSouth Florida's dwindling water supply.

"I believe in public outreach, I want to get the word out. Our waterresources are finite and we are approaching the day when our supply will rundry," said Commissioner Jacobs, who proclaimed her year as Broward CountyMayor in 2005 the "Year of the Environment" and has implemented innovativeand award-winning water conservation programs, such as NatureScape Broward,Know the Flow, and Water Matters. She is also a member of the South FloridaWater Management District's Water Resource Advisory Committee.

On Monday, January 28, Continuing Legal Education (CLE) International willhost an event titled "Growth and Water Supply" at the Kravis Center for thePerforming Arts, 701 Okeechobee Blvd. in West Palm Beach. CommissionerJacobs will participate in a panel discussion beginning at 1:30 p.m. on thetopic of "Local Government and Regional Water Management." The Commissionerwill address the need for coordination between policy makers and waterofficials and the importance of developing and implementing public educationcampaigns on water usage and conservation. Other panelists include ShannonEstenoz from the South Florida Water Management District and Palm BeachCounty Commissioner Karen Marcus. For more information contact Caroline Kentat 303-865-3120, ext. 109.

On Wednesday, January 30, beginning at 7:30 a.m., Commissioner Jacobs willbegin the dialogue on "Elected Officials and the Business Community WorkingTogether to Solve the Water Crisis." The forum takes place at the TowerClub, 100 S.E. Third Ave. in Fort Lauderdale. The featured guest speaker isSteve Seibert, the Executive Director of the Century Commission for aSustainable Florida. Florida Representative Jack Seiler will close theevent. Cost to the public is $20.00. Please call 954-524-3113 to register.

For more information on Broward County's water resources and waterconservation programs please visit or call954-519-1270.


It is with Great saddens, that I report the passing of Mark Finkelstein,Mark passed away Sunday afternoon. Please let Percy Johnson, Mark's LifePartner know your expressions percy_johnson@ bellsouth. net. Mark was theformer Sectary of the Dolphin Democrats and current Treasurer of theGreater Fort Lauderdale Democratic Club and a Precinct R33 Committeeman forThe Broward Democrats

Ron Mills
Area Leader 9
Broward Democrats


Miami Herald

Florida approves property tax cut

Posted on Wed, Jan. 30, 2008

Florida voters gave themselves a tax cut Tuesday, deciding that about $240in property-tax relief is better than none in a campaign season cloaked ineconomic woe. Voters approved Amendment 1 by a 64-to-36 margin, with themost expensive real-estate region in the state, South Florida, giving itresounding approval.

It is a major victory for Gov. Charlie Crist, who pushed the issue, raised$4.4 million to finance a statewide campaign, and became the face in a blitzof TV ads.

''Floridians are concerned about the economy, so I think a tax cut isimportant to them,'' said Crist as he celebrated the primary victory of JohnMcCain in Miami. ``I'm pleased for the people of Florida.''

The proposal was placed on the ballot by the Legislature in October toanswer the call for tax cuts from homeowners, businesses, and investorssqueezed by mounting real-estate costs as property values rose. It saveshomeowners about $240 a year by increasing the homestead exemption anaverage of $15,000, gives homeowners ''portability'' -- the ability totransfer their tax savings to a new home -- and gives new tax breaks tobusinesses and, to a lesser extent, non-homestead property.

But passage of the plan is only the first phase of what the governorpromised would be ''just the start'' of a prolonged push to lower propertytaxes. On Wednesday, the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission will considerother tax-cut ideas, including replacing the property taxes for schools witha sales tax on services.

more . . . . .


Palm Beach Post

Tax cut's decisive approval defies odds, dismays counties

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Floridians gave themselves a property tax break Tuesday.

In an overwhelming show of support, voters followed the lead of Gov. CharlieCrist, approving his recommended $9.2 billion property tax cut package knownas Amendment 1 as well as the Republican presidential candidate he endorsed,John McCain.

64%Voting yes on the amendmentCounty-by-county breakdown,7A36%Voting no onthe amendment voting no because they didn't think they would be able to keepthe Save Our Homes cap, which limits increases in assessed value to 3percent a year.

In the end, none of it seemed to matter. The statewide results didn't dipbelow 60 percent all night.

The proposal achieved about 67 percent approval of Palm Beach County votersand about 70 percent in Martin and St. Lucie counties.

Crist, who was the head cheerleader for the amendment, has said it wouldhelp reignite a sluggish real estate market and provide needed tax cuts toeveryone.

more . . . . .


Sarasota Herald Tribune

Slot machine proponents hit jackpot in Miami-Dade County

Article published Jan 29, 2008

Slot machine supporters hit the jackpot Tuesday as Miami-Dade County votersapproved the installation of the devices at three pari-mutuel facilities,with tax dollars from gambling funneled into a state education fund.

According to complete but unofficial results, more than 242,000 or 63percent of county voters approved the slot machine measure and 37 percent ornearly 142,000 were against it.

County voters shot down a referendum for Las Vegas-style slot machines in2005, so Tuesday was their second chance to weigh the pros and cons ofintroducing the devices at Miami Jai-Alai, the Flagler Sports andEntertainment Center dog track and Calder Race Course, which featureshorses.

Izzy Havenick, a slots supporter whose family owns the Flagler facility,said bringing expanded gambling to the area was a dream of his father FredHavenick, who died in June 2006.

"This must be what it feels like to win the Super Bowl," said Havenick, 30."My father died with this dream and we're just happy we can make it possibletonight. We're going to come through on every commitment we made and wecan't wait to give back to the community."

more . . . . .


Daytona Beach News-Journal

January 30, 2008

Abortion protest at church serving as polling place angers voter

Staff Writer

ORMOND BEACH -- Prince of Peace Catholic Church makes its opposition toabortion clear with rows of white crosses commemorating aborted fetuses andtwo banners stating, "Pray for the innocent . . . 4,000 babies aborted dailyin the USA."

Amy Murphy-DeMeo, 52, of Ormond Beach believes in freedom of speech andreligion but thinks the church's political activism made it an inappropriateplace to vote in Tuesday's election.

"It's just the principle of the thing," she said. "I have a God-given,taxpayer right to vote without (the polling place) trying to influence me."

Murphy-DeMeo said the church left up the white crosses a week after the 35thanniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalizedabortion. She noted many people decide their vote solely on a candidate'sabortion rights position.

To uphold the separation of church and state, Murphy-DeMeo said theelections department should stop using churches for polling places.

more . . . . .


Florida Today

Don't disturb manatees, officials warn

January 29, 2008

With 10 manatees already dead from the cold this year in Brevard, statewildlife officials say they'll ticket people who get too close to huddlingmasses of sea cows and scare them out of canals or other warm water havens.

Harassing, feeding or in any way altering the endangered species' behavior,whether intentional or unintentional, is a 2nd degree misdemeanor,punishable with about $300 ticket.

"Just watch them, and don't disturb them," said Ann Spellman, a marinemammal biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission."Disturbing them puts them at risk, and I don't think anybody means to dothat."

In some Brevard canals where manatees have been gathering by the dozens thisweek, kayakers have paddled right up to the endangered species, Spellmansaid, scaring juvenile manatees away from the warm water canals, Spellmansaid.

Manatees need water at about 68 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer, she said.Cooler water can make manatees, especially younger ones, susceptible tofatal diseases.

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