Tuesday, June 03, 2008

FLORIDA NEWS Tuesday June 3, 2008

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-U.S. Rep. Ron Klein goes to bat for Fort Lauderdale Stadium
Some local politicians and tourism officials aren't ready to relinquish the tradition of spring training at Fort Lauderdale Stadium and have asked a congressman for help.

-Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle and Broward County Mayor Lois Wexler said Monday they are hoping the Federal Aviation Administration can be persuaded to reduce the $1.3 million annual payment to an airport fund for the upkeep of adjacent Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. The fee is up from the $70,000 to $120,000 a year the Baltimore Orioles typically pay because the stadium sits on airport land. http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/broward/sfl-flzspringtrain0603sbjun0

-Feuding Democrats should view state's slate as half-full by Michael Mayo
Diana Pittarelli, a Hillary Clinton delegate from Hollywood, joked on Monday about her upcoming trip to the Democratic National Convention in Denver.
"I'm thinking just my top half will go and my bottom half can stay home," Pittarelli said. Give her credit for having the right attitude about the party's 50 percent solution to Florida's early primary mess.

-Hope for the Everglades: Small changes can revive River of Grass
When construction workers filled a canal, tore out roads and prepared the land in this corner of the Everglades for a major restoration project, something unexpected happened: Nature rebounded, even before the real restoration begins. Today, native plants sprout in what was once a canal.
Black bears prowl the pathways. Wood storks and other wading birds swoop into fresh ponds. Best of all, some highly endangered Florida panthers have turned up on the work site, among them four breeding females, one with kittens. State officials have long thought that if they could get the water right — re-creating something closer to the ancient Everglades — the River of Grass would regain its natural splendor. Endangered species would thrive.
And native plants, wildlife and shellfish would flourish all the way to Florida Bay.

-Gas prices push Tri-Rail ridership to record high
Record gasoline prices continue to attract commuters to mass transit as Tri-Rail attracted its highest monthly ridership ever in May, officials announced Monday. The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, which runs the commuter trains, said 371,798 passengers boarded last month, the highest ridership recorded in a single month since service began in 1989. The trains carried an average of 15,343 passengers a day weekdays in May, a 22.4-percent jump over the same month last year. Average gas prices Monday were $4.03 per gallon in Broward County and $4.06 per gallon in Palm Beach County, the highest recorded prices for both counties, according to the American Automobile Association.

-New mosque in Boca seeks to convey image of peace

Miami Herald
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-Aid sought for homeless sex offenders
The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida asked Gov. Charlie Crist on Monday to convene a task force that would address the issue of convicted sex offenders who are homeless. About 30 to 40 convicted sex offenders across the state, mostly in South Florida, can't find homes, according to the Florida Department of Corrections. The number is expected to grow. The problem goes back to 2005, when several South Florida cities passed laws prohibiting convicted sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of places where children convene, including parks and schools. State law requires 1,000 feet. The strict local ordinances left some sex offenders with few choices to live, including a small colony of men living under the Julia Tuttle Causeway in Miami. The letter said that living restrictions were ``not effective in protecting the community.'' ''In short, these regulations have had the unintended consequence of jeopardizing, not protecting, the public welfare,'' the letter stated. The request came in a letter sent to the governor, signed by ACLU of Greater Miami President Carlene Sawyer and ACLU of Florida President Jeanne Baker. A Crist spokesman said on Monday that the governor had not yet received the letter.

Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty

-FADP works for restorative justice in the form of effective alternatives to the death penalty. 18 months without a bureaucratic killing in Florida may be coming to an end. We will be posting a list of vigils for the July 1st scheduled execution of Mark Schwab. We will also be updating the Florida vigil list on the FADP website. If you are planning a vigil in your area, please let us know so we send out the info to other Florida activists. Stay tuned. FADP will be posting a new "TAKE ACTION" on our website. Please take a moment to register you views on Florida's Death Penalty and upcoming execution with the only person that decides whether or notto sign Death Warrants...Gov. Charlie Crist.
Gov. Charlie Crist
The Capitol
400 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399
PHONE: 850-488-7146
FAX: 850-487-0801
EMAIL: Charlie.Crist@myflorida.com

From Transgender Equality
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-Please Plan to attend the Pride South Florida picnic this Sunday at Huddy Park in Wilton Manners from 12 - 5 pm to support TERI as we learn of the results of our recent bid for a $2500 grant. We need as many TERI members and supporters as possible to show PSF and the local community who we are!

Fort Report
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-Primary woes bug both sides of aisle
Amid all the anguish over the Florida Democrats' mess, it's easy to forget Florida Republicans have their own delegate problems. Florida was the center of the political universe for Republicans because the candidates did not boycott the Sunshine state. But the Republican National Committee still penalized Florida Republicans for scheduling a primary earlier than allowed by the national party. And unlike the Democrats, the national GOP gives no flexibility to take action on a delegate penalty until the national convention. As of now, the Florida GOP stands to have half the say on its nominee as delegates from most every other state. Florida Democrats had zero votes until this weekend, when the national party agreed to seat the full Florida Democratic delegation, but with only half votes for each delegate.
Still, state Republican Chairman Jim Greer has little doubt the issue will be resolved at the convention, which runs Sept. 1-4 in Minnesota.
Presumptive nominee Sen. John McCain, in fact, has approved a full delegation for Florida. "The senator's been very clear that he wants all the delegates seated, and I have on a regular basis had in-depth discussion with the RNC, " Greer said. "I am confident that Florida is going to have 114 delegates and 111 alternatives. ... I've booked that many rooms, I've ordered that many credentials."

-Who knew the rules really did matter?
Folks keep asking: Who were the dummies responsible for Florida's early presidential primary, anyway? That would be your friendly local member of the state Legislature. The vote in the state House was 118 to 0.
The vote in the state Senate was 37 to 2. Democrats were for it. Republicans were for it. The governor was for it. Everybody was for it back in 2007, when the Legislature did this. Now and then, you will hear a Democrat claim, "We didn't want to! It was those mean old Republicans!'' But this would be more convincing if the votes were not 118-0 and 37-2. (The two "no" voters were Republicans.)


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