Mike Gravel: Having The Most Fun Of Them All

PROPERTY TAX PLAN FAR FROM SHOO-IN



At first glance, opponents of a $9.3 billion property tax slashing plan

on the Jan. 29 ballot appear to be a dollar short, and if not a day
late, running out of time.

Subtract time off for the holidays, and organizers have less than a
month to convince Floridians not to vote themselves an average $240
windfall — and defy a cheerfully centrist governor with stellar
approval
ratings.

Gov. Charlie Crist and supporters at "Vote Yes on 1" came out of the
starting block with a war chest of $1.5 million from the Florida
Association of Realtors. By the end of last week, Florida Power & Light

generated an additional $250,000 and the Florida Medical Association
paid a house call with a $50,000 check. Outdoor advertisers piled on an

additional $66,000.

Yes on 1 flooded the state with hundreds of thousands of fliers last
week targeting voters who are already receiving absentee ballots. The
barrage also includes a recorded phone message from Crist.

"Hello, this is Governor Charlie Crist. I am calling you today because
property taxes are out of control. The system is broken but you have
the
power to fix the system and lower property taxes for all Floridians,
guaranteed by law."

The Florida Education Association launched its opposition campaign
earlier in the week with $300,000, but it beat proponents to the punch
with a flier sent to its 137,000 members.

"Don't forget, the Republican Party of Florida also has access to $20
million," quipped Bill Phillips, a spokesman for the Public Education
Defense Fund political action committee, one of the measure's chief
opponents. "We as an individual group, and even with the other groups
collectively, can't hope to raise as much as the governor."

But don't underestimate the might of a 1 million-member coalition that
includes teachers, government workers, the Service Employees
International Union and veteran campaigners like the League of Women
Voters, opponents warn.

Floridians may be very fond of Charlie Crist, but they grew up
respecting their teachers and venerating the uniformed army of public
servants who protect their homes, fight their fires and dress their
wounds, Phillips said.

"The polls repeatedly show that the trustworthiness of police,
firefighters, teachers and nurses is always high," Phillips said. "We
like those odds."

The opponents' message is dire. Pass the amendment and schools will
take
a $2.7 billion hit over the next five years. While schools are
declining, the streets will become more dangerous when police,
firefighters and paramedics lose their jobs.

"Amendment 1 not only makes a bad tax system even worse for middle
class
Floridians, it will mean devastating cuts that put our public schools
and public safety at risk," screams the FEA flyer.

Crist doesn't buy it.

During the last economic slump, before local governments reaped
billions
from rising property values and the growing real estate bubble, vital
services survived, Crist said.

"Five or six years ago, before we had the run up, guess what?" Crist
said. "They still had firefighters and police. This argument just
doesn't hold water."

Crist even goes a step further. He argues that blue-collar workers,
including government employees, are the ones who will benefit the most
from a tax cut.

Opponents counter with a question of their own. Why would a firefighter

vote for a $240 tax break when it could cost him his job?

"That would be like the chicken voting for Col. Saunders," said Doug
Martin, a spokesman for AFSCME, the government workers union.

Opponents say other factors will offset the money disadvantage, not the

least of which is a new constitutional barrier that requires all ballot

questions to pass with a 60 percent majority.

The complicated nature of the proposal also works in their favor,
opponents say.

At Crist's urging, lawmakers put the measure on the ballot at the end
of
a raucous special session in October.

Legislators pitched it as a vehicle for doubling the homestead
exemption
for homes worth more than $50,000, but that feature would not apply to
school taxes. Another provision, strongly supported by the real estate
industry, is "portability."

That would allow homeowners to keep the accrued 3 percent annual
assessment cap savings from Save Our Homes, when they move.

The measure also would give a Save Our Homes-like 10 percent assessment

cap for commercial and non-homestead property. The cap would sunset in
a
decade and then require voter approval again to continue.

Businesses would also get a $25,000 exemption on the taxes they pay for

such things as equipment and other "personal tangible property."

It's a dizzying array of complicated provisions that don't easily fit
on
a bumper sticker.

Former Panama City Beach Mayor Lee Sullivan, who is heading a petition
drive for another property tax cutting measure in November 2008,
recently suggested that Crist and his supporters are giving voters too
much to consider.

Sullivan's proposal is being championed by House Speaker Marco Rubio.
It
simply calls for capping all taxes at 1.3 percent of the property's
just
value. Sullivan and his group, "Cut Property Taxes Now," are rushing to

gather the 611,009 signatures they need before Feb. 1 to reach the
November 2008 ballot.

One of the biggest selling points is its simplicity, Sullivan said.

"Can you imagine how many pages it's going to take to describe that
thing?" Sullivan said of the competing plan.

Conventional wisdom says that the more complicated a ballot question,
the more likely it is to fail. Early indications are that voters are
already struggling with the language.

When Leon County Elections Supervisor Ion Sancho sent out 5,700
absentee
ballots last week, the phones at his office began lighting up. Most of
the two dozen callers wanted someone to explain the ballot language,
Sancho said.

Some wanted a hint on which way to vote.

"We started getting calls right away," he said. "It's a huge question."

Taking up most of the ballot page, the question is just under 500
words.

While polls show voter support for the measure has yet to top the magic

60 percent, a recent survey suggests opponents are up against more than

a popular governor. If the polls are correct, voters are angry about
pocketbook issues like taxes.

Some 20 percent of Florida voters put taxes and government spending at
the top of their list of the most important issues in a recent poll
Mason Dixon conducted for Leadership Florida. That's a dramatic
reversal
from only a year before, when 18 percent said public schools were most
important.

"Floridians are becoming more disenchanted with the way things are
going
in the state and with government itself," said pollster Brad Coker.

Whether that signals a growing tax revolt remains to be seen.

"When their own pocketbooks get stressed, people get angry with
government," said University of South Florida political scientist Susan

MacManus.

THE AMENDMENT

Voters will decide Amendment One Jan. 29. It requires 60 percent
approval for passage. If passed, it's estimated it will cut property
taxes (and the revenue to local governments) statewide by $1.27 billion

in 2008, including $161.3 million from schools.

Over five years, it's projected to cut taxes $9.31 billion, including
$1.56 billion less for schools.

Here's what it proposes:

Increases the homestead exemption by $25,000 for homes worth more than
$50,000. The exemption does not apply to school taxes. The average
exemption would rise by about $15,000, with a $240 average savings.

Makes accrued Save Our Homes assessment protections "portable" to new
homes when homesteaders move. The total protected amount is capped at
$500,000. And homesteaders who move to a house of lesser value take a
pro-rated portion of their tax shelters.

Businesses would get a $25,000 exemption for personal tangible
property,
usually things like equipment. This would wipe thousands of businesses
off the tax rolls who pay more in bookkeeping than they owe for the
tax.

All commercial and non-homestead property would be protected by a 10
percent annual assessment increase cap. This provision sunsets, or
expires, in 10 years. It does not apply to school taxes.
 


  
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The Night Before Christmas, 2007



T'was the night before Christmas, and all through Iraq,
The soldiers were huddled, and under attack. 
Back in the capital, the White House was quiet;
Kind of makes you wonder, why there wasn't a riot. 

Who had time to worry about those poor beleaguered troops;
When Homeland Security had us jumping through hoops?
There was no time to wonder if Iraq was a scam;
Because now Iran was the next sacrificial lamb.

Vietnam, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, the history was vast;
Couldn't the people learn from the lessons gone past?
How could a nation have a foreign policy so creepy?
'Tis what happens when you elect a man, with a very small peepee. 

The new trial of OJ promised more drama;
The showdown of vapidity from Hillary and Obama. 
Breathless sensationalism from O'Reilly and the rest;
Another election where the clueless are put to the test.

But the story was the same, all round the nation;
The natives were spellbound, flipping the station.
The remote was gripped, in their chubby hands with care,
In hopes that reality shows soon would be on air.

They laid back in the recliner, zoned into the box;
For "Family Guy," "Desperate Housewives," and more shit from
FOX.
They had no time for reflection, or critical thought;
Of the despair and destruction their warmonger had wrought.

When out on the lawn, arose such a racket;
I jumped from my bed, and grabbed for my jacket.
I ran down the staircase, to the ground floor;
Just in time to see Santa, breaking in my door.

"Hey Pal," I called out, "Didn't you read the book?
You're supposed to come down the chimney, in ashes and soot."
"Well", he exclaimed, "I must take a pass;
"Cause I get can't get down there with my big, fat ass...

"Cinnabon, Krispy Kreme, and what about stuffed crust?
I've been trying to diet, but it's been a great bust.
I read Aktins, Protein Power, and also The Zone;
McDougal, and Pritiken, and yet I have still grown.

"That's why I've got this pipe clamped in my teeth;
With the smoke curling round like a new Christmas wreath.
That last time I quit smoking; I gained so much weight;
My arteries were blocked, and my cholesterol tempted fate.

"You think this job is easy, working only once a year?
What do you think will happen, if they find out I'm queer?
Romney and Huckabee will pull the knife from the sheath;
And doom me to Hell, with great gnashing of teeth."

"But wait a minute, " I sputtered, "You can't be Gay;
You have to be straight—it's the American way."
"Oh come on," he replied, "who else but fruits...
Wear red velvet, fur collars, and black leather boots?

"You must be clueless, or been living on Saturn…
Look at my reindeer, did you not notice a pattern?
If you think Dasher and Prancer, are names for a boy;
You should be drinking eggnog with Sigfried and Roy!" 

Shocked and dismayed, my head it was aching;
Feeling quite weak, my legs they were quaking.
"Aren't you done here? Can't you move on next door?
I've got my fill, I can't stand any more"

"Well no," he replied, "I hate to sound cosmic;
But next door gets nothing, because they're Islamic.
I've made out my list, and I've checked it twice,
You aint a Christian—you're lower than lice.

"Peace on earth, happy tidings, and goodwill to you,
Unless you're a God damned Hindu, Buddhist, or Jew.
We spread the gospel, and we tell it well;
Side with us now, or you'll end up in Hell."

"No wait," I cried out, "that just isn't right..."
But he kept right on walking, away from my sight.
He whistled for reindeer, and they pulled up out front;
He climbed into the sleigh, with a guttural grunt.

He reached on the dash, where some CDs were strewn
Inserted a disc, with a Broadway show tune.
Santa looked back at me, and said with a yell;
"Convert 'fore it's too late, or you'll burn up in Hell."

I bolted upright, and woke up in a sweat;
Was it just a nightmare that hadn't happened yet?
The ghost of Christmas future, or just my imagination…
The destiny of mankind, or wicked hallucination?

Whatever happened to ole Silent Night?
And loving one another, doing what's right?
The season of harmony and peace thereof,
Can't we just live it with acceptance and love?


I wish you a holiday season filled with good friends, happy reunions,
and stimulating conversations - and a New Year of hope, healing, and
highest good.  Please pray for peace.  

RM-

Legal Notice:
The holiday greeting and wishes for a Happy New Year contained in this
 email/blog are extended from  ("Wishor"), to you
("Recipient"), subject to the following terms and conditions:

This greeting is extended without obligation, implied or implicit, best
wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible,
politically correct, gender neutral, celebration of the secular summer
solstice
holiday only.   Any similarities to religious and/or national
holidays is purely coincidental. 

This greeting may be accepted in the context of the traditions of the
religious beliefs of your choice, or secular beliefs of your choice,
regardless of sexual orientation or operating system preference.  However,
such acceptance by the recipient does not imply any endorsements or
consents by the Wishor.

My wishes for your emotional state, financial success, and freedom from
disease apply to the generally accepted calendar year 2008.  Any other
calendars of choice from other cultures or sects are subject to
availability.

This greeting is subject to further clarification or withdrawal, is
revocable at the sole discretion of the Wishor, and is non transferable.
  The Wishor implies no promise to actually implement any of the wishes.
  The extent of the holiday spirit experienced will be determined by
the effort recipient puts into it.  The claims described are for
illustration purposes only.  Your results may differ.  These statements have
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law. 

"Christmas" "God" and "Jesus" are registered trademarks of
the Amway Corporation; all rights reserved. 


-----------------------------------------------------------------
Please pass this along to others who may appreciate it!

Join us for Christmas Eve with the Sunshine Cathedral

Join us for Christmas Eve with the Sunshine Cathedral
at the AuRene Theatre of the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, December 24th, at 10:00 pm.
Christmas 2007
FREE admission (an offering will be received)
The Sunshine Cathedral will be honored to have the Sunshine Cathedral Music Ministry, the South Florida Pride Wind Ensemble, the Fort Lauderdale Gay Men's Chorus, and the Lambda Chorale joining their talents to make our Christmas Eve celebration extra special.
 
 
Gloria
Gloria


  
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Proposed gay marriage ban unneeded, insulting



South Florida Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board


ISSUE: Gay marriage ban headed for vote.

Let's call this proposed state constitutional ban on gay marriage exactly what it is: unneeded, divisive, and a transparent attempt to get out the ultra-conservative vote.

And it's also one gigantic example of overkill.

Florida law already forbids gay marriage, but that's not nearly enough for the folks at Florida4Marriage.org, which claims it has enough signatures to put the proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage on the November ballot. According to the group, there must be a constitutional amendment to guarantee a permanent prohibition.

Who are they kidding?

This is one of the oldest political ploys going — get a good red meat issue on the ballot to bring out ultra conservatives who might otherwise sit at home on election day. Maybe scare some people and get a little fear out there. The only thing surprising about this is there isn't a group — yet — that's trying to get an amendment banning flag burning onto the November ballot in Florida.

You have to wonder what Florida4Marriage and other such groups are afraid of. And what are they trying to protect us from? If they really are concerned about the sanctity of marriage, let these groups do something about the divorce rate — that's a much bigger threat to marriage than two gay people in love.

The Florida Constitution should not be the place for zealots to turn to when they want to advance their cause.

The folks promoting the constitutional gay marriage ban are insulting not only gays, but voters of all political ilk who can tell a real issue from a ruse.

Unfortunately, it will take up valuable time, and space on a ballot. It never should have gotten that far.

BOTTOM LINE: Amendment isn't needed, and looks like a political play.


AMEN

Florida Primary: By The Numbers

THE NUMBERS - DEMOCRATS
Barack Obama, 21 percent
John Edwards, 19 percent
 
------
THE NUMBERS - REPUBLICANS
Rudy Giuliani, 28 percent
Mike Huckabee, 21 percent
Mitt Romney, 20 percent
John McCain, 13 percent
Fred Thompson, 8 percent
------
 
OF INTEREST:
Clinton has long held a large lead among Democrats in Florida. Matching his rapid rise elsewhere, Huckabee has shot into the GOP contest after registering in single digits until recently. He leads his competitors among white evangelical voters. Besides a huge advantage among women, Clinton leads strongly among men. More than half of Republican voters say they could well change their minds, while less than half of Democrats say that is so.
------
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted from Dec. 12-18 and involved telephone interviews with 397 likely Democratic primary voters and 397 likely Republican primary voters. For each, the margin of sampling error was plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.
------
 
 


  
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Fire At The White House

Yesterday afternoon, the White House confirmed that a quickly contained blaze isolated to a storage room utility closet on the third floor of the Eisenhower Executive Office building destroyed the following records:
all records pertaining to:
All Executive Branch internal correspondence since January, 2001 
All RNC computer servers, back-up servers, and archival back-ups 
The original Downing Street Memo and associated notes 
Valerie Plame and the White House investigation of the leak
 (W.H. UPDATE: no records of Valerie Plame investigation destroyed as there was no investigation) 
Bandar Bush 
God's personal correspondence with President Bush including those related to the invasion of Iraq 
No-bid Halliburton contracts 
War crimes committed by U.S. contractors in Iraq 
Troop body armor tests and procurement orders 
Jessica Lynch 
The pulling down of the Saddam statue by non-Iraqis 
All unaccounted for money in Iraq 
The "troops" fault to not guard the weapons stockpile in Iraq 
Abu Ghraib 
Scuttling of the original Abramoff investigation, by the President 
Federal court appointees and their qualifications and records 
Extraordinary rendition 
Negroponte's activities in Iraq 
Judith Miller's embedded reporting and using her influence to override generals 
Bombing Al-Jazeera television 
"Mission Accomplished" 
Bribing and threatening of journalists and planting of stories in the U.S and Iraq 
Stopping the NY Times from revealing White House secret spying on Americans 
Jeff Gannon/Guckert 
De-baathification and the breakup of the Iraqi army 
Swift Boat vets 
Terror alerts 
Bumper sticker and T-shirt slogan monitoring 
Florida 2000 voter suppression 
Florida 2000 election over-votes 
Bush v. Gore court papers 
Richard Clark's warnings about abandoning anti-terror and a returning to the military-industrial profiteering of the cold war 
Pre 9/11 domestic spying 
The Vice Presidents Energy Task Force and all meetings dividing up Iraq's oil fields pre 9/11 
Bush's vacation records 
Enron and all related activities during California's "energy crisis" 
The accompanying Gray Davis recall and Ken Lay meetings 
The Congressional records relating to passing legislation with last second changes, midnight votes, and the minority excluded from committee meetings. 
The Missile defense shield 
The U.S. national debt and holders of the debt 
The Healthy Forest legislation and associated crop yields 
The Clear Skies legislation and new acceptable levels of toxic emissions 
Able Danger and the post-it notes hiding Mohammad Atta 
The "Bin Laden determined to Strike in U.S."  PDB 
All copies of "My Pet Goat" 
Extrication of Saudis after 9/11, especially Saudis named "Bin Laden" 
The 9/11 commission 
All confiscated video tapes from 9/11 showing impact with Pentagon 
Bush and Cheney's joint un-sworn "conversation" with the 9/11 commission 
Library checkout and Amazon shopping records of every American 
Bin Laden's actual location after he "escaped" from Tora Bora 
Yellowcake documents from Niger 
Curveball 
Colin Powell's United Nations speech 
Ahmad Chalabi 
Attempts to dismantle PBS 
Using FCC's fines to quash dissent 
The IRS collection of political affiliations 
Using American troops as speech props for Presidential speeches 
Diebold 
Ohio voter suppression 
Terri Schiavo and the emergency session of Congress 
Questioning the full faith and credit of the United States to scare people into dismantling Social Security 
Payola related to the Medicare bill 
Targeting and surveillance of peace lovers as terrorists 
Hurricane Katrina 
Oil profits and tens of billions of dollars of general fund giveaways to oil companies 
Multiple consecutive tours of combat for National Guardsmen 
The $200 million bridges to nowhere 
New Orleans levies 
Harriet Miers nomination to the Supreme Court 
Bill Frist and the FEC and insider trading 
Alito and the Vanguard Fund 
Bob Ney of Ohio and Coingate 
Duke Cunningham of San Diego and related bribes and treason 
The U.S. Attorney firings of the U.S. Attorney who prosecuted Duke Cunningham and who was pursuing the investigation to the White House. 
Tom Delay's redistricting in TX and using anti-terror assets to track down legislators 
Tom Delay's ethics violations 
Jack Abramoff 
NSA wiretapping without warrants 
The failing grade from the 9/11 commission 
Data mining and reading your mail 
The 5 million missing emails
also destroyed were all records related to:
Bush's cocaine use and failure to take the ANG drug test 
Bush's drunk driving 
Bush's Texas Air National Guard service 
Bush's Arbusto stock sale, Saudi bailout, and lack of SEC follow-up 
Bush's insider trading at Harken and Bush 41's quashing of the investigation 
Bush's stealing of a public stadium from the taxpayers of Texas 
Cheney's Wyoming residency papers 
Police response to Cheney shooting a man in the face after drinking 
Push-polling smear on John McCain during the 2000 Republican primary 
All original video masters of Steven Colbert's Press Corps dinner roast
Countless other records and computer systems were apparently stored in the 3 foot by 3 foot utility closet, the content of which shall be revealed as destroyed as necessary pending any future investigations.
BREAKING: word that the Constitution of the United States was inexplicably consumed by flames in its nuclear blast-proof storage case by a glowing ember that apparently drifted from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and into a thermal exhaust port that lead directly to the Constitution. No plans to reconstruct the document are pending. 
: : :
UPDATE:
Also confirmed destroyed:
All records of clients of the DC Madame 
All IMs and emails between Republican congressmen and underage Congressional staffers 
Secret Service records of all people having meetings with the President and Vice President since January 2001 
All recorded promises, affirmations, and statements by Democratic Congressional leaders to hold the Administration accountable 
: : :
UPDATE 2
Continuing reports of records stored in the third floor closet and subsequently destroyed also include all records pertaining to:
Pat Tillman 
Free Speech zones 
Iranian Nuclear Program National Intelligence Estimate 
Guantanamo 
FEMA staged news conferences 
New Orleans reconstruction contracts 
and 
Administration banning of U.S. meat companies from inspecting all of their meat
: : :
UPDATE 3
Still more records reported completely destroyed include all items relating to:
Alberto Gonzales' memory (and "meeting" with Ashcroft in hospital) 
De-listed superfund toxic waste dump sites 
The original Nixon Tapes 
"Missing" Weapons of Mass Destruction from Iraq 
Bernard Kerik's Homeland Security application form
 
and tragically 
Joe Lieberman's Democratic Party membership card
: : :
UPDATE 4
Apparently the quantity of records destroyed was a result of a broken water pipe that has been scheduled for repair since 2001. As the sprinkler system was not functioning, the Blackwater employees hired to guard the records could only throw more records onto the flames in an attempt to contain them.
Additional records from a neighboring closet presently unaccounted for that are believed to have been destroyed in the fire now include items related to:
All subpoenas issued by the U.S. Congress to White House employees 
Walter Reed facility maintenance 
NASA's evidence of global warming (redacted and sealed by the administration) 
Looting of the Native American Trust Fund 
Forensic reports from 2001 anthrax attacks against key Democrats and media 
Dubai Ports deal 
Under-funding of Russian loose nuclear materials security programs 
Guidelines for putting American citizens on no-fly and terror watch lists 
The Vice President's red phone that directly connects the Vice-President's office to the on-air Fox news desk
 (possibly salvageable)

Coral Springs school fundraiser with lesbian called off

 

 

 
 
 
 
BY NIRVI SHAH, nshah@miamiherald.com
 
A fundraiser for the band at a Coral Springs high school went down -- in flames -- before it ever began.
The band at Taravella High had hoped to raise money by charging $5 for autographs of Deerfield Beach firefighter Dani Campbell, one of two contestants left standing on an MTV reality show about a bisexual woman searching for love.
But when school district spokesman Keith Bromery learned of the Monday afternoon effort, he prodded other school district officials to take a look at the show -- A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila -- online. The result: the fundraiser was canceled.
Bromery said it doesn't matter that the show involves bisexuality. It does matter that it involves sex, however.
''The episode that I saw was a woman in various degrees of undress laying prone on a bar with guys drinking shots out of her belly button,'' Bromery said. ``Does that answer your question?''
He said he had never heard of the show before Monday.
An organizer of the fundraising effort said word about Campbell's appearance had spread throughout the state and autograph seekers were expected from as far away as Key West and Orlando.
The show is among the top 15 shows on cable and one of MTV's most popular. It features Internet sensation Tequila, a bisexual woman who has built a MySpace network of more than two million friends. All season, she has been searching for her true love, whittling a cadre of 16 men and 16 women to one of each gender.
Campbell, a lesbian, was going to appear at no charge at the band fundraiser. She is a self-described ''futch,'' not totally feminine but not totally butch.
One episode featured Tequila giving Campbell's grandmother a lap dance.
Tila makes her decision, between Campbell and Bobby Banhart of New York, on Tuesday night.
''This person, whoever pulled the rug under this event...if they had known who I am they wouldn't have done it,'' Campbell said, adding that she hopes that students see her as a positive role model.
``They think it's a remedy I've come up with for how to be positive. I want everybody to be as confident as I am, and as positive as I am. This goes for anything -- gay, straight, black, white.''

Capt. Adam P. Snyder

 

Hometown: Fort Pierce, Florida, U.S.
Died: December 5, 2007 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Unit: Army, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.
Incident: Died Dec. 5 in Balad, from wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered a makeshift bomb in Baiji.

Cindi Hutchinson Wants Fort Lauderdale to become an "All-America City"

Seven-year City Commissioner Cindi Hutchinson held her kickoff fund-raising event Monday night, towards her run for the mayor's seat in spring 2009.hutchinson150.jpg

(Mayor Jim Naugle can't run for mayor again in 2009 because of term limits that started in 2000 and set a max of three three-year terms.)
Hutchinson is the only announced candidate in the race. Hutchinson said her family, friends, supporters and her fifth-grade teacher came together at Brasserie Plaza on Las Olas Boulevard Monday night to kick off her run.
Fifth grade teacher? Yes, Sister Vivian Gomez, principal of St. Jerome Catholic School, was her teacher back then. But she had no secrets to tell. Hutchinson was reported to be a pretty good
kid, and always up for a challenge.
 
The candidate said she had a "great time,'' to the background music of the Ares Flores Symphony from Fort Lauderdale High School.
She talked to the crowd about wanting Fort Lauderdale to become an "All-America City" before the city's 100th anniversary in 2011.
"We have a lot to showcase, and that award and recognition will instill pride in our residents and reinvigorate our sense of community,'' she said.
She reminded the crowd that she made the motion in 2003 to fire former City Manager Floyd Johnson, during the budget crisis. She mentioned her support of campaign finance reform and lobbyist registration, and a new part of City Commission meetings where residents can sound off. She said she wants to resolve traffic problems, help get power lines buried, and bring about economic revitalization along east-west roadways like State Road 84, Davie Boulevard, Sunrise Boulevard, Oakland Park Boulevard, and Commercial Boulevard.
And she reminded the crowd that she's a native Fort Lauderdale resident.
 
"I am Fort Lauderdale,'' she said.
City contributions are a maximum of $250. Hutchinson will have to raise more than she raised for her district seat; this race calls for citywide advertising.
Click here to read what the city charter says about eligible candidates for mayor:
 
 
Continue reading "Hutchinson kicks off mayoral campaign" »
 
For More on Cindi Visit http://OurCindi.com


  
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Despite Media Pounding Sen. Clinton's lead remains very large and deep

In a  Quinnipiac poll released this week Clinton is still way ahead 
Despite Oprah Winfrey's support for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton has overwhelming leads, especially among women, in Democratic primaries in three critical swing states, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to Quinnipiac University's Swing State Poll, three simultaneous surveys of voters in states that have been pivotal in presidential elections since 1964.
 
In each state, Clinton is seen as the best candidate in either party to handle the immigration issue. By substantial majorities, almost 4 - 1 in Ohio and Pennsylvania, voters favor immigration reform that emphasizes stricter enforcement of laws against illegal immigrants rather than integrating illegal immigrants into American society.
And 20 to 25 percent of voters in each state would vote against a presidential candidate who disagreed with them on immigration policy, even if they agreed on everything else.
"These Democratic primary numbers are a good indication that despite the tight three-way race in Iowa, the fight for the nomination is not very close and that Sen. Clinton's lead remains very large and deep," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
 
"The vast majority of voters think the primary focus of immigration reform is about stricter enforcement rather than integrating illegal immigrants into American society - although that is slightly less true among Democrats than voters overall," Brown added.
"There are also a significant number of voters who say immigration could be a deal-breaker in their presidential vote."
A look at the primaries shows:
  • Florida: Clinton tops Obama 53 - 17 percent among all Democrats and 56 - 13 percent among women. Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards gets 7 percent.
 
 
 


  
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Party Remains Committed to January 29 Primary

 

The Florida Democratic Party remains committed to participating fully in the state-run Presidential Preference Primary on January 29, 2008. We strongly urge all Florida Democrats to get out and vote in this fair and open election.
 
 

About Ron Paul

Here is what some progressives are saying about Ron Paul. 
Ron Paul is not a conservative? Ron Paul is more liberal on civil rights than many liberals? Really? Ok, here's what I got on him:
  • Ron Paul is for the government making health care decisions for pregnant women. Says who? Says Ron Paul.
  • Ron Paul is for says illegal immigrants shouldn't even get taxpayer funded medical care when needed. Oh and guess what? If Ron Paul had his way, children born IN THE UNITED STATES to illegal immigrants would NOT be American citizens. He wants to end birthright citizenship. Check it out, hot off his own campaign website.
  • While he opposed the Federal Marriage Amendment, he is a key supporter of Defense of Marriage Act, and the chief sponsor of a legislation that would remove from federal courts the jurisdiction to even decide if DOMA is Constitutional.
  • Ron Paul was one of the only 33 members of Congress to vote against the renewal of the Voting Rights Act in 2006, and believes 1964 Civil Rights Act violates the Constituton.
  • According to Ron Paul, the separation between Church and State has "no basis in the Constitution..." As the title of that article BY RON PAUL indicates, he also believes there is a "war on religion" in America.
How about that for being so good on the issues?  Let's keep going
  • Ron Paul opposes the Kyoto treaty.
  • Ron Paul believes all tax cuts are good.
  • Ron Paul would drain out social security by cutting the money collected on social security taxes, so that "young people can invest" it elsewhere.
  • Ron Paul wants to repeal the Brady bill, introduced legislation to repeal the assault weapons ban even before it expired in 2004, thinks you should be able to carry handguns on national parks, and end our membership in the Untied Nations, because the UN somehow wants to get your guns. All laid out on his website for you.
  • Ron Paul believes parents ought to be able to home school their kids and that those kids should get diplomas without ever having to adhere to pretty much any public standards.
Please. Ron Paul is a conservative through and through. The thing you can say about him is he is an old style conservative. He truly hates government, and he is not dishonest about his conservatism, and he is no neo-con. But he's a conservative, period.



  
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Advancement Project Seeks Florida Voter Protection Advocate

LOCAL VOTER PROTECTION ADVOCATE: FLORIDA
Advancement Project (DC) seeks a temporary, part- or full-time, Local Voter Protection Advocate for Florida. The Local Voter Protection Advocate ("LVPA") will join our 2008 Voter Protection Program, which is part of our Power and Democracy initiative. Through our non-partisan voter protection work we will focus on sustained pre-election activities and solutions in order to permanently break down barriers to voting in advance of the 2008 election cycle and beyond. The Florida LVPA will be Advancement Project's on-the-ground eyes and ears in key counties, including Broward, Duval, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Orange, and Palm Beach.
The duties of the LVPA include: (1) identifying and organizing community groups and stakeholders into a "Local Voter Protection Coalition;" (2) helping the coalition build relationships with local election officials in order to identify and prevent problems with voter registration and election administration; (3) anticipate barriers to voter registration and voter participation by reviewing the registration process of 2006 and 2007; (4) working with local groups to encourage adoption of Advancement Project's voter protection model into their voter registration and community voter education activities, including providing technical support to local allies, as needed; and (5) working closely with Advancement Project's legal staff to address and remedy barriers to voter participation. 
The LVPA will be expected to use organizing, coalition building, and community problem-solving skills to remove barriers to voter participation and foster structural change toward a racially just democracy. More specifically, the LVPA will:
  • Identify community partners and build a working voter protection coalition.
  • Trouble shoots and provides advice on voter registration and participation barriers.
  • Assist with voter registration verification efforts.
  • Monitor/challenge purging practices.
  • Monitor/challenge plans for Election Day practices (in advance), e.g., provisional ballots, ID requirements, polling place staffing and preparation.
  • Attend coalition meetings with election officials.
  • Perform Election Day monitoring.
  • Work with Communications Department to maximize public impact of voter protection activities.
  • Assist in drafting voter protection publications, toolkits and other materials for public dissemination to racial justice advocates and for Advancement Project's website.
Qualifications
Candidate must have strong writing and interpersonal skills and some knowledge of legal issues, as well as a proven commitment to racial justice. A college degree is required; a law degree is helpful but not necessary. Fluency in Spanish, coalition experience, and voting rights knowledge are pluses. Extensive travel within Florida is required. Salary based on experience. To
 
Apply: Applicants should send their resume with a list of three references and the phrase "FL Local Voter Protection Advocate" in the subject line, to Jennifer Maranzano at: jmaranzano@advancementproject.org or fax to: (202) 728-9558. Deadline: Applications accepted until position filled. Position needs to be filled as soon as possible.



  
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Is Freda Sherman Stevens Running a Scam On Broward Democrats

update: 01-08-08
Candidate Freda Stevens Responds:


Ron:

Happy New Year! This is the type of dialog that should have occurred before you published anything about me. Can we agree, everyone deserves a fair chance?

As to your questions:

1) Yes, I was invited to speak at the Davie/Cooper City Republican Club meeting. However, I did not attend. Instead, I attended the Davie/Cooper City Democratic Club Meeting. I did not want to continue speaking at the GOP meetings knowing that my decision was to change parties. I changed my party after notifying members of the Republican party. When given candidate questions, I simply could not support the Republican position on issues such as (Marriage Amendment, War In Iraq, stem cell research, etc..). The Republican party recommended a consultant who offered me pictures in the Black Republican Magazine, endorsements, a possible job in the future, and money to stay in the race. Honestly, I do not know if he was really speaking on behalf of the party or just puffing smoke. In either case, I had to be true to who I am inside. My convictions simply would not allow me to go along to get along. I maintain some friendships in the Republican party; but, it was just not for me.

2) Why Dem vs. Republican? or Why do I fit in the Dem Party vs GOP? The answer is simple. The democratic party is all I know. I was an active democrat for 14 years. We are talking about a difference of 14 years as a democrat to 3 years as a republican. It's like living in Florida all your life and then going away to college. Eventually, one will come back home.

On the issues:
I believe in equality for all. I endorsed fairness for all families and joined Florida Red and Blue prior to your blog. I believe we can really Leave No Child Behind by ensuring private schools are held accountable, too. If we must have choice then let's give parents a BETTER CHOICE FOR A BETTER EDUCATION! GAACS created a program called A+ Platinum School Program which is an answer to the No Child Left Behind debacle. As a educator, I believe it is wrong to siphon money from any scored public school and give it to parents to send their children to an unrated private school. All schools receiving state/federal funds should be held accountable for the education of Florida's children. I support middle class families that work long hours but still can not afford healthcare. I believe there should be healthcare for all. My mother takes 15 pills a day and pays over $400 a month in health insurance. I believe the taxpayers should come before corporations, lobbyists, and special interest groups. We must fund social security and stop the Republican agenda to privatize everything. It sets an unfair balance. I believe the War in Iraq is one of the greatest forms of genocide in our nation's history. We must bring our troops home immediately. The president has asked for enormous amounts of money to fund a war that should have never began. We should protect the American people from real terrorists by funding our first responders. 9/11 happened in New York not Iraq! We need open, fair, and honest government; as well as fiscal responsibility on the part of our president. These are just some of the reasons I am a democrat.

Thank you for asking the questions and giving me a "fair chance to respond".

Freda
Freda Stevens
phone: 954.802.3553
freda@fredastevens.com

A challenger to state Rep. Evan Jenne (D) Dania is, in fact, running a scam.
Freda Sherman Stevens had planned to run against Jenne as a Republican, the party she is registered in.
But she decided instead to challenge Jenne within the Democratic Party, after switching parties.

The Supervisor of Elections Office said her party affiliation wasn't clear because of duplicate registrations under slightly different names..She had a Democratic registration listing her her as Freda Sherman-Stevens - with a hyphen in her name -- and a Republcian registration listing her as Freda Sherman Stevens with no hyphen.

Mary Cooney, director of public service at the Elections Office, said Sherman Stevens sent in a request, dated Nov. 16, to change her Republican registration to Democratic. The office received that request on Nov. 19.



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