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4 posts from July 28, 2013

July 28, 2013

Race, the ‘crazyroots’ and the 2014 elections


The year began with Republicans talking minority outreach.

But seven months have passed and now a new poll shows Republicans generally view President Barack Obama less favorably than George Zimmerman, the man who shot an unarmed black teen from Miami Gardens in a case that African-Americans nationally view as racial.

“The African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that — that doesn’t go away,” Obama said the Friday before last, disclosing that he had felt the sting of racial prejudice and profiling.

“Those sets of experiences inform how the African-American community interprets what happened one night in Florida.”

Hispanics, too, have a different historical experience from non-Hispanic whites when it comes to another issue: immigration.

Continue reading "Race, the ‘crazyroots’ and the 2014 elections" »

Rick Scott likely on safe ground backing Stand Your Ground


Gov. Rick Scott doesn’t want to change Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law, and public opinion polls and even Democrats indicate the Republican might be on safe political ground.

The self-defense law became central to the nation’s political debate over guns after a jury found George Zimmerman not guilty in last year’s shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old from Miami Gardens.

A group of liberal-leaning protesters has occupied the governor’s office lobby calling for immediate changes to Stand Your Ground, echoing calls from activist and MSNBC host Al Sharpton.

But the exact role of Stand Your Ground in the verdict is unclear, and a new poll released last week showed 50 percent of Floridians support keeping the law intact, 31 percent want it changed and only 13 percent want a full repeal.

Though the poll was conducted by a Republican-led firm, Viewpoint Florida, the findings jibe with four other nonpartisan Florida surveys that have shown even greater support for the self-defense law, which gives a person more rights to use deadly force without having to retreat first in a confrontation.

The three Democrats who have the best shot at facing Scott in next year’s election say the law should be modified — not repealed — but they aren’t making Stand Your Ground a top issue, either.

“I don’t think it’s the litmus test for the election,” said former state Sen. Nan Rich, the only major announced candidate.

“There should be a discussion about it,” said Rich, who met Saturday with the Dream Defenders in Tallahassee. “But it’s not a litmus issue.”

More here

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/07/28/3525649/gov-scott-on-safe-ground-with.html#storylink=cpy

A message from Newtown to Hialeah in wake of mass shooting: 'Our hearts are broken'


Sandy Hook Promise, the nonprofit organization formed in the wake of the December mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., weighed in Sunday on the Hialeah shooting Friday night that left six people and the gunman dead

Our hearts are broken. Our spirit is not. Sending prayers and condolences to the victims and families of the Hialeah, Florida mass shooting. Another tragedy that invites us all to reflect on what individual and collective changes we can make as a nation to save lives. Together we can. Join the conversation at SandyHookPromise.org.

Miami-Dade mayor calls tax-rate hike plan political 'misstep', faces heat over budget cuts


Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, the man who seemed prescient when he opposed an unpopular property-tax rate hike that hastened his predecessor’s ouster, didn’t see the political backlash coming when he proposed a tax increase of his own.

So intense was the outcry against Gimenez’s plan this month that he began backtracking just a day after unveiling his 930-page budget, surprising even top county administrators with his snap decision to reduce the hike.

Five days later, the mayor reversed course completely. He abandoned the rate increase altogether, calling it a “misstep,” and framed his new position as a sign that he listens to the people.

“People say I’m a flip-flopper,” Gimenez told the Miami Herald in an interview. “The thing is, hey, if you have to own up to it, the sooner, the better.”

The mayor justified his initial rate hike by saying reflected the cost of providing public services in Florida’s largest county. “I’m a pretty good administrator,” he said repeatedly, “but I’m not a magician.”

When he realized he didn’t have the political support to push the increase through, he cut his losses and acknowledged his miscalculation.

But his detractors — and suddenly there are many more of them — paint a much dimmer picture of Gimenez’s striking evolution on the tax rate, which will now remain flat and could force up to 400 employee layoffs, 22 library closures and the elimination of six fire and rescue trucks.

More here.