Chuck Todd (MSNBC) Chris Cillizza (Washington Post) Andrea Mitchell (MSNBC)
Alex Witt (MSNBC) Nora O'Donnel (MSNBC) John King (CNN) Karl Rove (FOX)
“I’m with Dave because he has shown, time and time again, a commitment to public safety and a desire to make a difference for Florida’s consumers. As the Clerk of Court in Alachua County, I am proud to endorse Dave Aronberg.”
-- Buddy Irby, Alachua County Clerk of Court
“I am supporting Dave Aronberg because of his experience and because he knows what it takes to keep the wheels of justice turning. Dave has been an outstanding Senator and I know he will be an equally outstanding Attorney General.”
-- Brent Thurmond, Wakulla County Clerk of Court
“It is with great pleasure that I endorse Dave Aronberg for Attorney General. Dave’s experience and his longstanding commitment to helping keep our courts running smoothly will serve the citizens of our state very well."
-- Richard Weiss, Polk County Clerk of Court
“Dave Aronberg has my support and my endorsement. His experience and understanding of our court system and how to keep it running smoothly makes him perfectly qualified to be our state’s next Attorney General.”
-- Tim Sanders, Madison County Clerk of Court
Endorsements from these countywide elected officials are especially meaningful to me since Clerks have a great interest in supporting the Attorney General candidate with the best experience and motivation for doing the job.
These endorsements continue to show the widespread support we are receiving in our race to become Florida’s next chief legal officer. Additionally, as of the last posted financial reports with the Secretary of State, our campaign is the financial frontrunner in the entire race - ahead of ALL other candidates from both sides of the aisle.
With this outstanding combination of financial strength and grassroots local support, we have the momentum in our effort to become Florida’s next Attorney General.
We are pleased that the following Clerks are endorsing our campaign:
“I want my chief legal officer to exhibit the highest level of integrity, have the courage to take tough stands and be an advocate for the people. That is why I'm supporting and voting for Senator Dave Aronberg for Attorney General.”
-- Bob Inzer, Leon County Clerk of Court
“I am proud to publicly endorse Dave Aronberg because he has the experience and the track record we need. Our Constitution calls the Attorney General the state's 'chief legal officer.' As Clerk, I am charged with making sure our courts run smoothly, and with Dave at the helm, I know he will remain firmly committed to seeing our courts open and accessible to all Floridians.”
-- Dale Guthrie, Jackson County Clerk of Court
“As County Clerk, my job is to ensure smooth and efficient operation of our courts. I can think of no better partner than Attorney General candidate Dave Aronberg. As an experienced lawyer and Senator, Dave will be an outstanding guardian for the rights of Florida’s citizens.”
-- Joseph Smith, St. Lucie County Clerk of Court
“It is with great pleasure that I endorse Dave Aronberg for Attorney General. Dave’s experience and his longstanding commitment to helping keep our courts running smoothly will serve the citizens of our state very well."
-- B. Hugh Bradley, Hardee County Clerk of Court
“I certainly and strongly endorse Dave Aronberg for Attorney General. Dave has the experience we need and the values we seek in our state’s chief legal officer. As a clerk of the courts, that means a great deal to me.”
-- Linda Cook, Washington County Clerk of Court
Union Members to Get Out the Vote for Broward County’s Mayor–
Mayor Keechl has been on the forefront of 32BJ SEIU’s campaign to boost wages and health care coverage for janitors and security officers. With this support, hundreds of janitors at Fort Lauderdale International Airport won a first-ever union contract with employer paid healthcare, paid vacation and job security.
“The Mayor is a long-standing supporter of SEIU’s efforts to raise industry standards and improve the working conditions of low-wage workers,” said Monica Russo, President of SEIU Healthcare Florida.
As part of its political program, 32BJ SEIU intends to mobilize its members to turn out voters in support of Mayor Keechl’s reelection.
With more than 120,000 members in eight states, including Florida, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service union in the country.
2010 Session Roundup
Confronting a mid-year deficit of $147 million and a projected $4.7 billion FY2011 shortfall, revenue and economic issues were a major focus for Florida lawmakers. The state's right-wing dominated Legislature also passed a series of divisive bills, including an extremely controversial effort endangering womens' reproductive rights, that will only serve to harm the state's working families and vulnerable populations.
Tax and Budget: Florida was hit disproportionately hard by the recession. Predominantly as a result of the burst of the housing bubble, the state lost almost 150,000 jobs and revenue plummeted 11.5 percent over the past year. As of April 2010, the state's unemployment rate reached 12.3 percent, one of the highest in the nation. The state's population and economic activity are decreasing as well.
Unfortunately, the $70.4 billion budget the Legislature approved does little to address the daunting economic and fiscal outlook. Legislators balanced the budget mainly through regressive cuts, federal Recovery funding, and gambling revenue.
- Cuts: The Legislature approved a wide array of cuts that mainly hit programs that assist low and moderate income Floridians, including: a 7 percent reduction in reimbursement rates to hospitals and nursing homes; the elimination of incentives to state workers to adopt foster children; cuts to funding for Health Start coalitions, which services at-risk infants and pregnant women, by $2.6 million; the reduction of the appropriation to Healthy Families, which aims to prevent child abuse, by $10 million; cuts of $10.5 million from state contributions to county health departments; a $5.6 million cut to development disabilities services; the reduction of public defender funding by 2.5 percent; the removal of almost $3 billion from the nonpartisan legislative office's budget; deep transportation trust fund cuts; and the reduction of state spending on a higher education scholarship program.
- Gambling: Gov. Charlie Crist signed SB 622, which allows the Seminole Tribe to operate card games in some of their facilities for the next 5 years and exclusive rights to operate slot machines outside of South Florida for the next 20 years. In return, the state will receive $435 million this year and approximately $1 billion over the next 5 years.
- Federal Funds: The budget relies on $2.3 billion in recovery funds and assumes $880 million in Medicaid assistance that the federal government has yet to enact. Ironically, while the Legislature seeks increased federal action on state fiscal relief, lawmakers advanced a resolution, SCR 10, that calls on Congress to amend the Constitution and add a requirement for a balanced federal budget.
- Corporate Tax Breaks: Conservative legislators successfully advanced SB 1752, dubiously entitled, "Jobs For Florida," which enacts $218.5 million in tax breaks and incentives to various industries over three years, including aerospace, biotechnology, entertainment, and boating. There are also credits in the legislation for companies that hire long-term unemployed state residents.
Health Care: In response to the exponential growth of unregulated pain management clinics and an effort to curb growing prescription drug abuse, lawmakers passed senator Dave Aronberg's "anti-pill mill" legislation, HB373, to prohibit a person from owning a pain clinic unless he or she is a physician with a license to practice in Florida, require clinic inspections, ban advertising of specific drugs, and limit the number of medications a clinic can distribute. As part of the budget agreement, state employees will now be required to contribute to health care plans.
Having cut health care funding for Florida families, the Legislature engaged in additional political posturing by approving HJR 37, which proposes a state constitutional amendment to prohibit laws "from compelling any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in any health care system." Floridians will consider this issue on the ballot in November.
Education: Education issues dominated this legislative session. SB 6, a radical effort to largely abolish teacher tenure was one of the most hotly debated bills this session. While Gov. Crist initially supported the idea, he eventually vetoed the legislation after tens of thousands of phone calls, letters and emails flooded his office. Other bills that were enacted included:
- SB 4 changes high school graduation requirements, shifts focus from current standardized testing to end-of-course assessments, and places tougher math and science standards as pre-requisites for graduation.
- Legislators considered higher education initiatives as well. Students in state colleges will experience a 7 percent tuition increase. SB 2126 expands tax credits to companies that offer college scholarships to low-income students.
- SB 2 proposes a constitutional amendment to ease classroom size mandates that were enacted in 2002. Voters will consider the measure on the ballot this fall.
- SB 206 permits school districts to have scholarship signing ceremonies to honor students that excel academically which are similar to events that are held for athletes.
Endangering Reproductive Rights: In the waning days of the session, Florida conservatives followed the lead of other right-leaning states and passed severe restrictions to womens' reproductive rights. HB 1143 would force a woman to pay for and view an ultrasound before seeking an abortion, unless she signs a form that states that the decision not to review the ultrasound was made of her own free will, without "undue influence from any third party." The bill would also ban most private insurance companies from funding abortions. Sen. Nan Rich stated, "It is actually... the ultimate insult to women. It is saying that women can't... use their own judgment as to what they want to do with their bodies." Gov. Crist still has the opportunity to veto the bill.
Homeless Hate Crime: Attacking a homeless person in Florida can now be deemed a hate crime and might get you a tougher sentence if you're found guilty.
Governor Charlie Crist signed the bill that increases penalties against attackers who target the homeless. Gov. Crist signed the bill (HB 11) on May 11th. It adds homeless people to an existing hate crimes law that increases penalties for attacks motivated by a victim's race, color, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, mental or physical disability or advanced age.
Insurance: The Legislature additionally enacted legislation benefiting the commercial and property insurance industries. SB 2176 deregulates several insurance lines and excludes them from the rate filing and approval process. SB 2044 expedites the process in which property insurers apply for rate increases up to 10 percent and limits the time homeowners have to file a claim following a storm.
Traffic Safety: HB 325, a bill that sets guidelines for a network of red-light cameras to help enforce traffic laws, was the result of years of legislative attempts to address road safety.
Protecting Children: HB 119 places statewide restrictions on former sex offenders from loitering or prowling within 300 feet of a place where children congregate and approved controversial rules limiting where ex-offenders can live.
Protecting Seniors: The state's Chief Financial Officer, Alex Sink, has prioritized the financial security of Florida's seniors and created the Safeguard our Seniors (SOS) Task Force. The group recommended a bill that passed the Legislature this year. SB 2176 protects seniors against manipulative insurance practices and annuities fraud.
Campaign Finance: The Legislature approved a bill, HB 1207, to allow leaders in the House and Senate to operate campaign accounts to raise and spend unlimited amounts of cash, but the bill was ultimately vetoed by the Governor.
- Ethics: Rep. Keith Fitzgerald remarked, "[t]he biggest problem we have in this state, after the economy, is the collapse of confidence... in the political system." After several political scandals in past years, Florida lawmakers considered a number of ethics bills, including HB 243, an effort to revamp legislative, lobbying, and consulting ethics rules, and HB 587, a bill that would have addressed certain conflict of interest issues, but the Legislature failed to act.
- Public Service Commission (PSC) Transparency: To add accountability to PSC operations and address close relationships that have developed between the commission and utilities that it is responsible for regulating, lawmakers introduced HB 565, but the bill died in committee.
"Councilman Galvin has a strong commitment to education, a passion for public service and will be a real fighter for women’s rights and equality for everyone," said Parrish. "I am proud to endorse him and am confident he will represent us well in Washington, D.C.”
“I am honored and humbled to have Lori’s endorsement,” Galvin said. “Her energy and attention to providing great public service are great examples to follow and are values I will take to Washington.”
Lori Parrish was elected Broward County Property Appraiser in 2004 and re-elected in 2008. Before serving as Appraiser, Parrish served four years on the Broward County School Board and in 1988 was elected to the Broward County Commission where she served three times as Chair and was re-elected in 1992, 1996 and 2000.
Galvin is a City Commissioner in North Miami. He was first elected in 1999, was a classroom teacher in Miami schools and has a Bachelor's Degree in Education from Florida International University. Today Scott is Vice President of Education for the non-profit Junior Achievement of Greater Miami where he recruits and trains corporate volunteers to bring lessons of finance and community to area students.
Galvin also served two terms as President of the Greater North Miami Chamber of Commerce and currently serves on the Board of the Florida Marlins Foundation and the international Board of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation – the largest provider of HIV/AIDS healthcare.
Galvin faces eight other candidates in the August 24th Democratic primary to succeed Congressman Kendrick Meek who is running for the U.S. Senate. Nearly one in five voters in district 17 are in Broward County. The Broward County portion of the district includes the communities of Hollywood, Pembroke Pines and Hallandale.
Broward County Mayor Ken Keechl, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and U.S. Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Ted Deutch held a public briefing Monday morning with County officials and scientists to get an update about the response to the oil spill.
Mayor Ken Keechl, created a group of county officials who are regularly meeting to prepare for and potentially respond to the oil spill in Broward.
The key question on politicians' minds: Will the spill reach South Florida shores?
The answer: It's anyone's guess.
Authorities and forecasters says the spill is still days away or may never get here. It all depends on the winds and Gulf currents.
``At this point we don't have a defined threat,'' U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Jim Fitton said.
While South Florida is bracing for the potential of oil reaching our shores -- which would be a major blow to tourism -- officials hope the oil spill is stopped before it hits Florida.
``Let's hope they can cut it off,'' Nelson said at the briefing, held at the Broward Emergency Operations Center in Plantation.
The massive oil spill erupted after the April 20 explosion on the drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, killing 11 people. BP owns the leaking well in the northern Gulf of Mexico.
Monday, the spill was about 80 miles from the ``loop current,'' which gets its name from the fact that it loops around the eastern Gulf toward the Keys. The current then travels up South Florida's east coast.
If the oil enters the loop current, it could take about 10 days to hit the Keys and even longer to reach Miami-Dade and Broward, said Igor Kamenkovich, a professor at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.
``It's highly unpredictable,'' said Kamenkovich. Any major changes in wind or weather patterns such as a cold front or a hurricane could change the forecast, he said.
Broward Emergency Management Director Chuck Lanza said he had been told by state emergency management officials that it could take 20 to 30 days to reach Florida.
Port Everglades has identified sites to set up booms if the oil reaches Broward.
Richard Dodge, professor and dean at Nova Southeastern University's Oceanographic Center, called for using dispersants to protect coral reefs even though that could hurt fish. Florida has about 84 percent of the nation's reefs.
``It's a trade-off,'' he said.
Broward's tourism director Nicki Grossman said hotels are fielding hundreds of calls a day, but so far only some dive groups have canceled reservations. But if perception becomes reality and oil reaches Broward's shores, it could translate into a loss of $10 million a day for hotel, boating and fishing businesses in the county.
``About one-third of the business we do every day we would lose because the beaches would be unavailable for recreational purposes,'' Grossman said in an interview.
The $10 million figure would probably rise if losses to restaurants and shops are factored in.
U.S. Representative Ted Deutch
19th District, Florida
Requests the honor of your presence
On the occasion of his ceremonial swearing in to the
111th Congress of the
U.S. House of Representatives
Monday, May 17, 2010
Tamarac City Hall
7525 NW 88th Avenue
Tamarac, FL 33321
9:30am Swearing In Ceremony
10:30am Tamarac Office Opening
Refreshments to be served
R.S.V.P. to Theresa Brier at Theresa.Brier@ mail.house. gov or at (954) 597-3990
Broward County Mayor Ken Keechl will talk later this afternoon about the county's plan to deal with the Gulf oil spill, should it threaten our shoreline.
Along with him will be staff from emergency management, Port Everglades, environmental protection and growth management.
Keechl had said Tuesday that he’s monitoring the oil spill.
“At this point I think it’s important that we recognize that there’s not an exigent emergency facing Broward County, but we need to carefully monitor the situation, and that’s what we’re doing.’’
Keechl said county emergency management staff are participating in daily statewide conference calls with state and federal agencies to discuss the status of federal efforts to contain the slick.
We certainly agree with Mr. Crist and Mr. Gelber that anti-corruption laws need to be strengthened. But we can't embrace the idea of hauling legislators back to Tallahassee this year to do it in a special session. Politics and precedent argue against it.
Mr. Crist has made a dramatic break from the Republican Party to try to salvage his U.S. Senate campaign. A call now from the governor for the GOP-led Legislature to prove its commitment to fighting corruption would be considered a political stunt. Mr. Crist and Republican leaders might waste time trying to outmaneuver each other instead of collaborating on the most effective ways to crack down.
And Mr. Gelber is a Democrat running for attorney general. That would add another distracting political subtext to a special session on corruption.
Lawmakers did pass at least one anti-corruption bill — from a Democratic rival of Mr. Gelber's for attorney general, Sen. Dave Aronberg of Greenacres — that would let counties hike penalties for official misconduct. The Legislature should have done more, but it also neglected other critical issues.
Lawmakers didn't get started on slowing the unsustainable increase in the state's Medicaid program. They didn't impose a surcharge on cigarettes that would have raised tens of millions of badly needed dollars for health care. They didn't increase the state's commitment to renewable energy.
If special sessions were called every time the Legislature failed to act on important issues, its part-time members might never get out of Tallahassee.
Special sessions should be reserved for the most pressing matters. Last year legislators had little choice but to meet in one special session to close a huge budget gap that had opened up in midyear. They also were smart to meet in another to approve state funding for commuter rail ahead of a deadline to qualify for a federal high-speed rail grant.
As important as it is to target official misconduct, it doesn't rise to the same urgency. And a special session on corruption in a highly-charged election-year atmosphere could turn into a political circus.
We urge whoever succeeds Mr. Crist as governor next year to take up this crusade and press the passage of good ideas, including some from Mr. Gelber. We — and Florida's 20 state attorneys — especially like his bill that would make it a crime for officials to hide their financial interest in something they vote on.
By the time of the next regular legislative session, the election will be over, and the new governor will be setting the tone for his or her administration. The timing will be much better for making real headway on cleaning up government in Florida.
Copyright © 2010, Orlando Sentinel
The Broward School Board met yesterday. And if you guessed that they were talking about the budget, then you’d be right.
In lengthy budget workshops, the Board has—so far—come to a consensus on several money-saving ideas to help make up the $130 million budget shortfall expected next school year.
To summarize the consensus of what the board will do: cut costs at the central area office by $5 million; stop paying $2.9 million for employee gym memberships; eliminate the over the counter medication benefit, which costs $200,000 and eliminate life insurance payments, which costs $300, 000; and stop printing pay stubs.
Also, the Board wants to raise your local taxes by $25 per $100,000 of a property’s taxable value or $50 per $250,000 in taxable value. The Legislature gave the district the ability to increase its local tax roll to make up the budget gap.
"We've got no revenue stream. None," School Board Chairwoman Jennifer Gottlieb said.
They said no to closing another area administrative office, which would save the district $284, 000 by eliminating an area superintendent and his or her secretary. Last year, the district cut one area office. Cutting another office so soon could hurt the services provided to the district’s 260 schools, the board decided.
“I think they are being stretched very thin considering the amount of work for a district this size,” board member Phyllis Hope said. Board member Kevin Tynan agreed but said it should considered for the 2011-2012 school year.
“Certainly perception is sometimes reality, and the perception is that government is top heavy,” Tynan said. “ But like everything, if you have to have a plan for slowly shrinking instead of drastically lopping off a department.”
The board gave a thumbs up to eliminating printed paystubs moving instead to electronic notification. The savings: $35, 000.
And when it comes to cutting/reducing sports, the board told staff to do more research. The suggestions varied from eliminating all varsity sports to reducing all sports and extracurricular activities, to cutting high school boys and girls golf, tennis water polo, and boys volleyball.
A 20 percent cut across the board would save $660, 000. The other idea is to further reduce middle school sports, which were reduced from seven sports to four. Intramural sports and community athletics would take up some of the slack.
The consensus reached: Cuts are OK but eliminations are not. They don’t want to end programs that kids can get scholarships through, as in debate programs, music programs or sports, regardless of how small the golf team is compared to football.They haven’t gotten to the weighty issues of furloughs and high school scheduling changes.
Broward County Mayor Ken Keechl has scheduled a news conference on Thursday, May 6th at 4:00 p.m. at the Broward County Emergency Operations Center located at 201 NW 84th Avenue in Plantation.
He will be addressing Broward County’s contingency plan as it relates to the Deepwater Horizon Oil spill in the Florida Gulf. Mayor Keechl will be joined by members of Broward County Emergency Management Agency, Port Everglades, and Environmental Protection and Growth Management.
If you have any questions please call Kimberly Maroe at (954) 357-8053 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Wendi Oppenheim, South Florida teen and Pine Crest junior, takes recognized Bisphenol-A research to the Broward County League of Cities following meeting with Broward County Commission: Argues for Passage of The Broward County Toxin Free Toddlers and Baby
After presenting her findings to the Broward County Commission in April, Mayor Ken Keechl and District 8 Commissioner Diana Wasserman-Rubin advised Oppenheim to share her presentation with the League of Cities in an attempt to ensure each municipality’s endorsement of passing The Broward County Toxin Free Toddlers and Baby Act.
Earlier this week, the Vermont House of Representatives approved legislation that would restrict the use of Bisphenol-A. Similar Toxin Free Toddlers and Baby Acts have also passed in Canada, three New York counties, the City of Chicago, as well as by the State Legislatures of Minnesota, Connecticut and Wisconsin. This bill is currently pending in three other states: California, Maryland and Washington.
Pine Crest student Wendi Oppenheim sat down with NBC 6 WTVJ right before presenting her recognized BPA scientific research to the Broward County Commission. Oppenheim argued for the passage of The Broward County Toxin Free Toddlers and Baby Act.
Research has shown BPA causes negative health effects, which include, but are not limited to, cancer, obesity, diabetes, reproductive health issues, and immune complications.
“I hope the League of Cities will consider my BPA research findings as well as other scientific data which support a ban on BPA, and begin to take the necessary steps to protecting the children of Broward County from this dangerous chemical,” Oppenheim said.
Broward County joins a handful of counties in the Country that have created a comprehensive plan to address the damaging effects of climate change. Today, Broward County Commissioners approved the Broward County Climate Change Action Plan that provides recommendations for adapting to rising sea level changes, protecting water supplies from salt water intrusion and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Altogether, 126 recommendations are detailed in the plan. Sixty-five of those recommendations are initiatives that are already in place in Broward County. The complete report is available at www.broward.org/climatechange.
“The influence of climate change is already being realized, requiring aggressive mitigation in order to reduce the magnitude of these impacts and ready adaptation to respond to the changes that are occurring now,” said Broward County Commissioner Kristin Jacobs, who chaired the Task Force. “We did not concern ourselves with why climate change is occurring or who is to blame. Instead we focused on finding solutions to the rising sea level, the threat of a contaminated water supply, the impact of climate change on building codes, insurance and a variety of scenarios that we will face going forward.”
The report forecasts dramatic changes in sea level anywhere from 24 to 48 inches in Broward County by the end of the century. Hurricanes are expected to be less frequent, but stronger with more rainfall than what we’ve experienced in recent history. Planning experts calculate that a one foot rise in sea level would currently impact 1934 homeowners, 182 businesses, with a total property value worth $469 million.
Recommendations in the plan include:
· Create an Office of Sustainability (Sustainability/Climate Program.) Establish a Sustainability/Climate Program to oversee the implementation of County energy and climate change policies, initiatives, and sustainability programs.
· Support a Regional Collaborative Climate Action Plan consistent with the ratified Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact recently signed an agreed upon by Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach Counties.
· Update the County Comprehensive Master Plan to address and adapt to climate change impact in the future including limiting density of development in low-lying areas, promotion of transit oriented corridors, incorporating climate change factors when approving land use changes.
· Incorporate Climate Change Adaptation into Public Infrastructure Planning. Ensure that adaptation to climate change impacts are incorporated into the planning, siting, construction, replacement and maintenance of public infrastructure.
· Protect Water Resources. The action plan includes a series of recommendations to ensure that the existing water resources and water infrastructure are protected including the development and implementation of alternative water supply strategies and programs to meet future demands and mitigate future water shortages.
· Provide Outreach and Education. Provide broad community outreach and education about climate change actions to include mitigation and adaptation strategies and the expected cost of inaction; and embrace allies in promoting green public education.
“Additional actions will be required if we are to demonstrate real effectiveness and climate preparedness over the next several decades. These actions will serve to ensure the economic vitality of the County, the livability of our community, and the preservation resources of our environmental resources that are so vital to our economy and general quality of life,” Commissioner Jacobs said.
The Climate Change Task Force Plan is the work of the Broward County Climate Change Task Force, which was approved by Commissioners in June of 2008. The 25-member task force was made up of scientists, environmental experts, community members, business owners, and county staff. Their stated mission was to develop a countywide Climate Change program to mitigate the causes and adapt to the consequences of climate change and, if appropriate, advise on its implementation.
For more information please visit www.broward.org/climatechange.