Wednesday, March 11, 2009

FLORIDA DIGEST - March 11, 2009

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Great news for Oakland Park!!!
Both Anthony Niedwiecki and Suzanne Boisvenue won seats on the Oakland Park City Commission.

Steve Rothaus
Go to this link for the following articles:

-Gay activist Anthony Niedwiecki to become Oakland Park mayor
Broward law professor and gay activist Anthony Niedwiecki has won a seat on the Oakland Park city commission. I first wrote about Niedwiecki and his partner, Waymon Hudson, in 2007 when they led a campaign against Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Nagle. Here's the announcement about Niedwiecki's victory emailed by Dolphin Democrats: Anthony has won the election for Oakland Park City Commission! He also received the most votes in the entire election and will become the mayor of the city! Thanks for all of the support and help in winning this important election! - The Anthony Niedwiecki Campaign

-Gay Dolphin Democrats club meets 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale
Calendar item: Dolphin Democrats, Broward's gay Democratic club, meets 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Gay & Lesbian Community Center, 1717 N.
Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale.
Guest Speaker: Vice Mayor of Broward County, Ken Keechl
Call 866-478-8262 for information.
Michael Albetta - President
Linda Jain - Vice-Pres

-Poll: California voters evenly split on gay marriage
By Susan Ferriss, The Sacramento Bee
Four months after the passage of Proposition 8, a new opinion poll released Tuesday shows California voters almost evenly divided over same-sex marriage but significantly more accepting of it than just three years ago. "It's a general progression toward accepting same-sex marriage over time," said Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll.

-Martini Tuesdays celebrates 8th anniversary with party at Fontainebleau

-Art exhibit to promote HIV and hepatitis prevention awareness
From Broward County Health Department:

-International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association announces partnership with Cruise Lines International Association
Fort Lauderdale-based International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) announces a cooperative marketing and recruitment agreement with Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). Here's the news release:

-Gay Task Force presents 'Fruit Cocktail' comedy April 17 at Colony Theater
From the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:

Florida AIDS Walk - March 15, 2009
8:00 am Registration, 9:00 am Opening Ceremonies, 10:00 am Walk
Florida AIDS Walk Headquarters
Out of the Closet Thrift Store
2097 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors, FL
(954) 383-8007

Come join us for the Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade!
Safe Schools South Florida will be marching as a group and we would love to have you join us for the parade. Look for the Safe Schools South Florida banner. We might even have a float! So mark your calendar. Tell all your friends. And make history as part of Miami's first, big coming-out party, a one-of-a-kind, it-takes-all-kinds celebration you don't want to miss. Saturday, April 18, 2009 - Noon - The parade route will run from 5th to 14th Street on Ocean Drive, ending at the Miami Beach Pride Festival and Expo.

Historic Domestic Partnership Legislation Introduced
Sen. Eleanor Sobel (Hallandale Beach) has introduced a statewide Domestic Partnership bill (SB 1642). Equality Florida has been working closely with Sen. Sobel in preparing this historic legislation. The companion bill will be sponsored in the house by Rep. Richard Steinberg (Miami Beach). As a Miami Beach City Commissioner, Rep. Steinberg played a key role in passing Florida's strongest Domestic Partnership policy. The introduction of these domestic partnership bills comes at a time when public support is at an all time high for this legislation. The latest polls show 77% of Floridians in favor of extending benefits to unmarried couples.


Florida Gerrymandering
As you all know, every 10 years there is a national census. New legislative districts for both the Florida State House and the US House of Representatives are drawn up based on that census. But what are the guidelines in the Florida Constitution? Unfortunately, there is very little to prevent gerrymandering. That is why we need your help getting proposals for two new Amendments to the Florida Constitution on the ballot. What do we need? Volunteers to get 10,000 petitions signed in Broward County. Come to a short training session on Saturday, March 14 at Noon at the GOTV Center on Dixie Highway, get your script, do a quick role play, and take a stock of petitions to get signatures from your friends and neighbors.
Date: Saturday, March 14 - 12-1pm
GOTV Center - 1711 N Andrews Ave, Ft Lauderdale

Election Results - Broward County

Election Results - Palm Beach County

Go to the links for the following articles:

-Activists Sallee, Niedwiecki, incumbent Boisvenue win Oakland Park seats
By Jennifer Gollan
OAKLAND PARK - Civic activists Anthony Niedwiecki and incumbent Suzanne Boisvenue prevailed Tuesday in the race for Oakland Park Commission. Anne Sallee narrowly edged William Sears in the race for Seat 1. "I'm excited and humbled by it all," said Niedwiecki, 41, a law professor at Nova Southeastern University. "We ran a good campaign.,0,1177720.story

-Vivid warning language may save lives, forecasters say
By Ken Kaye
When hurricanes, tornadoes and severe storms threaten, there's one message forecasters want residents to know: If they don't get out of harm's way, their lives could be in danger. For that reason, the National Weather Service plans to better describe the most perilous aspects of a storm, be they winds, rain or storm surge, and place them at the top of local forecasts.,0,7195240.story

-A 'Dangerous' departure for the Caldwell
Natural, everyday nudity - not the kind that waves sundry flesh in our faces, but the kind that's just there - can be a beautiful thing. I'm talking about people laying in bed talking in post-coital comfort or getting out of bed to dress for the day.,0,3598920.story

-Palm Beach County's new election chief ran smooth election
New chief also got the ballots counted in a timely fashion
By Andy Reid
A smooth Election Day and low voter turnout still resulted in slow vote results Tuesday night for Boca Raton, Delray Beach and Riviera Beach. New Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher was able to turn around quick results for smaller communities such as Haverhill, Lantana and even far-flung South Bay. But delays collecting ballots from cities with more precincts and delivering them to the county tabulation center left the results of some races still pending by 10 p.m.,0,6586090.story?track=rss

-Bruce Roberts, Bobby DuBose, and Romney Rogers win in Lauderdale
Posted by Brittany Wallman
The city's leadership was overhauled Tuesday by voters, who elected three new faces to the dais, and sent one sitting commissioner packing. When the winners are sworn in Tuesday, four of the five on Fort Lauderdale's City Commission will be new. Elected Tuesday: Bruce Roberts in District I, Bobby DuBose in District III, and Romney Rogers in District IV.

Miami Herald
Go to the links for the following articles:

-Rough patch ahead for I-595 commuters
OUR OPINION: Public-private road revamping could ease congestion
Interstate 595 commuters face a long rough patch when construction begins this summer on a huge $1.2 billion project to upgrade the road. In five years the aggravation will end when a new road with safer ramps and reversible express lanes is completed.

-Newcomers score Fort Lauderdale City Commission victories
Former Police Chief Bruce Roberts held a tight lead, and Romney Rogers and Bobby DuBose won Fort Lauderdale races Tuesday.
Former Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Bruce Roberts, who resigned his post last year amid a bitter budget fight, was poised to oust incumbent Commissioner Christine Teel in a close race Tuesday, joining two political newcomers elected to run Broward's largest city.

-Attorney General Bill McCollum blasted for TV message
A former campaign ad man for Attorney General Bill McCollum was paid $1.4 million to produce and televise a public service announcement on cybercrime.
Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum is starring in a long-running television ad promoting awareness about Internet predators that Democrats are calling a thinly disguised campaign commercial using state funds.

-Fort Lauderdale ex-police chief, 2 newcomers win commission seats
Former Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Bruce Roberts, who resigned his post last year amid a bitter budget fight, ousted incumbent Commissioner Christine Teel in a close race Tuesday, joining two political newcomers elected to run Broward's largest city.

-Florida lawmaker files bills that would legalize gay adoptions
As gay rights advocates and religious groups queue up in an effort to influence the outcome of a Miami appeals court case that will help decide whether gay people can adopt children in Florida, a state lawmaker has quietly introduced two bills that could render the dispute moot. State Sen. Nan Rich, a Weston Democrat who is co-chair of the Senate Children & Families Committee, has filed a bill to repeal the 1977 Florida law that prohibits gay men and lesbians from adopting children. A second bill would specify that judges would determine adoptions based solely on ''the best interests'' of children.

Fort Report
Go to the links for the following articles:

-Florida among worst in U.S. for homeless kids
By Kate Santich
Florida has one of the highest rates of homeless children in the nation, with as many as 50,000 kids living in shelters, motels, cars or doubled up with another family. A detailed report released Tuesday by the National Center on Family Homelessness found Florida ranked 46th out of 50 - 50 being the worst - for its sheer number of homeless children.,0,1778800.story?track=rss

-Retiring shuttle may doom 38,200 Space Coast jobs
By Robert Block and Mark K. Matthews
Shuttle Discovery is set to launch from Kennedy Space Center at about 9:20 tonight, leaving only eight more scheduled missions before NASA retires the fleet in 2010 -- and devastates the Space Coast economy. Figures released by NASA this week predict the retirement of the shuttle will result in the loss of at least 3,500 jobs at KSC. Some industry officials say the number could be as high as 10,000. The best-case scenario would result in the loss of about 9,870 other jobs in the surrounding community; the worst-case number is 28,200.,0,295591.story

-Florida lawmakers' ardor for property tax relief cools
By Alex Leary
The property tax debate kicked off Tuesday in the Legislature with all the vigor of years' past. But even ardent supporters are lowering expectations.

-Gov. Charlie Crist opposes raid on Florida prepaid tuition assets
By Amy Hollyfield and Steve Bousquet
Gov. Charlie Crist on Tuesday shot down a budget-crisis solution being discussed by lawmakers to tap the reserves of the popular Florida prepaid college tuition program.

-Florida lawmakers consider ban on bestiality
The act of bestiality is a step closer to becoming illegal in Florida now that a Senate agriculture committee voted to slap a third-degree felony charge on anyone who has sex with animals. Florida is one of only 16 states that still permit bestiality -- a fact that animal-rights activist and Sunrise Sen. Nan Rich learned to her horror when a Panhandle man three years ago was suspected of accidentally asphyxiating a family goat that he held by the collar while engaged in a sex act.

-Klein out of senate race?
U.S. Rep. Ron Klein reportedly has decided not to co-sponsor the Employee Free Choice Act, a top priority for labor, despite supporting it a year ago. That certainly sounds more like a congressman gearing up for re-election in a competitive House district than a congressman gearing up for a competitive Democratic U.S. Senate primary.

-Sink weighs in on McCollum ad
Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, the only Democrat in Florida's Cabinet, doesn't pick fights with her Republican colleagues. But she offered a measured criticism of Attorney General Bill McCollum's $1.4 million ad campaign to raise awareness about on-line sexual predators.

-Florida Muslims visit Tallahassee to meet lawmakers
More than 100 Florida Muslims came to the capital Tuesday to meet lawmakers on Florida Muslim Capitol Day. The visit prompted House Majority Leader Adam Hasner of Delray Beach to speak on the Capitol steps, questioning the group's leader, Ahmed Bedier.

-Florida House Democratic leader exhibits a low-key style
Some fellow politicos say the new House Democratic leader, Franklin Sands, needs to do much more to `rally the troops.' As a scrum of reporters jostled for sound bites after the governor's annual address last week, House Democratic leader Franklin Sands hung back, despite an aide's suggestion that he join colleagues holding court.

-Meek has steep hill to climb to Senate
For the most part, the field to replace retiring Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) has been slow to develop. Two of the most popular figures in Florida politics - former Gov. Jeb Bush (R) and Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink (D) - decided not to run. Rep. Allen Boyd (D-Fla.) also decided against a bid. Gov. Charlie Crist (R) is seriously considering jumping in but won't make any announcement until May, at the earliest.

-Developers' dream, Florida's nightmare
When a Treasure Island developer wanted to fill acres of Taylor County wetlands and dredge a 2-mile canal through an aquatic preserve, the Florida Department of Community Affairs objected. The state's growth management agency stood firm after the local county commissioners caved, and the canal and marina were scrapped. The developer still seeks to destroy 44 acres of wetlands to build hundreds of condominium units, a hotel, commercial space and a golf course.

-Obama schools plan lauded in South Florida
President Barack Obama announced an education plan for all ages, from early childhood to training for an older work force. Many in South Florida applauded it.
President Obama on Tuesday outlined his vision for transforming public education by increasing the number of charter schools, paying teachers based on performance and even lengthening the school year. The plan, which addressed education for all ages, drew praise from many South Florida educators and parents.

-Drop in Property Taxes Imperils Everglades Plan
South Florida's steep drop in property values threatens to claim another victim: the governor's $1.34 billion plan to buy U.S. Sugar Corp. for Everglades restoration. Property values are expected to drop 12 percent statewide in the 2009-10 budget year, but in the 16 counties that make up the South Florida Water Management District, property values will drop at least 14 percent, early state estimates show.


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