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339 posts from July 2015

July 31, 2015

Miami City Hall gets one-day pass for not responding to you


For one day, Miami City Hall gets a pass for ignoring your emails and phone calls.

An electrical surge Friday morning at Miami’s police headquarters knocked out power to the building and shut down computer systems for the department and the municipal administration, according to city officials.

Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes said the power spike happened after midnight, and 400 NW Second Ave. went dark. Computers in the building went down. Police officers were still able to use their laptops, and 911 calls went to a backup center at the Coconut Grove firefighter training facility, he said.

The city administration keeps its servers at the police department and lost its connection as well. The public couldn't access documents and city employees couldn't accept calls at their office or emails to their city addresses.

City Manager Daniel Alfonso texted that the city was getting by “with difficulty.”

Llanes said the department was getting back online around 5 p.m., but emails and the city’s website were still down as of this posting.

Lift Cuba embargo, Hillary Clinton urges Congress

via @MrMikeVasquez @J2theLuna

Saying “America’s approach to Cuba is at a crossroads,” Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton called for an end to the 53-year-old Cuban trade embargo in Miami on Friday.

The former secretary of state’s chosen location of Florida International University was significant for two reasons: Clinton delivered the message in the heart of the Cuban exile community, which is divided over the issue, and did it at a college campus, where the crowd tilted younger and, according to polls, more likely to support lifting the controversial measure.

Her position would have elicited public outcry in the Miami of a not-so-distant past. But times have changed: Protests against Clinton were contained to a handful of people, many of them with the local Republican Party, outside the auditorium.

In her remarks, Clinton said her campaign is about bringing prosperity to the U.S. — but also to the citizens of Cuba, and “for the young entrepreneur in Little Havana, who dreams of expanding to old Havana.”

Though only Congress can lift the embargo, Clinton promised, if elected, to act on Cuba even if Congress doesn’t, by using her executive authority to loosen travel and other economic restrictions, including on telecommunications.

More here.

In Fort Lauderdale, Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton offer glimpse into what 2016 general election could look like

@PatriciaMazzei @AmySherman1

Forget the primary. For a moment Friday in Fort Lauderdale, it seemed as though next year’s general election had already arrived.

Democrat Hillary Clinton took direct aim at Republican Jeb Bush — who in turn made a pitch to the voters whose support he would need to defeat Clinton.

Clinton didn’t name Bush when she spoke to the annual conference of the National Urban League, a civil-rights organization that welcomed five 2016 presidential candidates. But she referred to the “right to rise” — the name of a political action committee raising money for him.

“Too often we see a mismatch between what some candidates say in venues like this, and what they actually do when they’re elected,” Clinton said.

“I don’t think you can credibly say that everyone has a ‘right to rise’ and then say you’re for phasing out Medicare or for repealing Obamacare. People can’t rise if they can’t afford health care. They can’t rise if the minimum wage is too low to live on. They can’t rise if their governor makes it harder for them to get a college education. And you cannot seriously talk about the right to rise and support laws that deny the right to vote.”

That last line, alluding to some of Bush’s policies as Florida governor, prompted a round of enthusiastic applause. Bush’s administration purged the voter rolls and shortened early-voting hours, two measures that disproportionately hurt African Americans.

“What people say matters, but what they do matters more,” Clinton said.

More here.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott highlights hospital infection problems

via @JeremySWallace

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is using new infection control data released this week by a consumer magazine to provide further justification of his call to create a commission to review the state’s hospital system.

On Wednesday Consumer Reports said St. Petersburg General Hospital, UF Health Jacksonville and Venice Regional Bayfront Health were among the 12 worst hospitals in the nation in preventing infections. The magazine looked at infection rates for MRSA and clostridium difficile, two of the most common and deadly types of bacterial infections in hospitals. The used dates from October 2013 to September 2014, the most recent data available.

“The news that three Florida hospitals are the worst in America for preventing infections is troubling and unacceptable,” Scott said in a statement to the media. “The study also further demonstrates the importance of the work being conducted by the Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding to shine a light on the services provided at these facilities.”

Scott wants the commission to investigate how taxpayer-supported hospitals spend their money, especially when it comes to lobbyists, political campaigns and advertising. The idea for the panel arose in April when the state was wrestling with a potential $1 billion budget shortfall after the federal government sought to end a program, called the Low Income Pool, which provides funding for state hospitals.

Continue reading "Florida Gov. Rick Scott highlights hospital infection problems" »

Urban Leaguers weigh in on presidential candidates

via @RosalindZAdams

Five of the presidential candidates addressed the National Urban League conference on Friday morning, speaking to a packed crowd who were eager to hear how they would address issues like criminal justice reform and closing gaps in health care and education.

Many of the attendees said they wanted to hear directly from candidates -- and they were still unsure of who they might vote for with the election more than a year away.

"I'm just listening to them all and trying to come up with my opinion. I'm very open at this point," said Jadira Hoptry, who works in financial services and came out to the conference from Fort Myers.

The attendees said over and over that racial and economic disparity issues were one their top issues that they hoped candidates would address.

"We have a crisis in our country that should have been solved at least 50 years ago, which is inequality," said Coreen Norville, 57, of Pembroke Pines. "It's not only in our schools, in banking and in the penal system. In every genre of our society, there is inequality."

She supports Hillary Clinton right now, and liked her speech but said for her it's more about the candidates proving their intentions behind their actions. "I've been around a long time -- I've seen that show before," she said. "I've taken that medicine before, and right now it's extremely bitter for me.

Continue reading "Urban Leaguers weigh in on presidential candidates" »

Did Jeb Bush win 60 percent of Hispanic vote in 2002?

Former Gov. Jeb Bush is courting Hispanic voters to build momentum for his presidential run, pointing out that he relied upon the demographic during his gubernatorial campaign.

"In my re-election in 2002, I won the majority," he told Telemundo’s José Díaz-Balart in Spanish during a July 27 interview. "I won more Hispanic votes than Anglo votes, 60 percent in the state. It can be done."

Bush has some advantages over most of his GOP rivals when it comes to Hispanic voters: He speaks Spanish fluently and his wife, Columba, is a native of Mexico. But did he really win re-election as governor with 60 percent of the Hispanic vote, higher than his percentage with white voters? We decided to revisit the polls and find out.

See what Joshua Gillin of PolitiFact Florida found.

Super PAC supporting Marco Rubio details $16 million in big-money donations


The outside political action committee supporting U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio in his presidential campaign raised $16.1 million in the first half of the year, with four big donors making up the bulk of that, according to just-filed campaign finance records.

The filing with the Federal Election Commission covered contributions that came in during the first half of the year to Conservative Solutions PAC, a political organization formed to support Rubio’s campaign for president.

Topping the list at $5 million was Miami auto dealer Norman Braman, who has a long history of friendship with and support of Rubio. Braman’s support for this campaign has been known for months, even if the total he may ultimately contribute is uncertain.

The current filing shows three donations -- $1.5 million, $1.5 million, $2 million – with one each in April, May and June.

Lawrence J. Ellison, chairman and chief technology officer for tech giant Oracle, gave $3 million in two donations, in May and in June. Ellison was recently listed No. 3 on the Forbes 400 magazine list of the richest people in American.

Continue reading "Super PAC supporting Marco Rubio details $16 million in big-money donations" »

TMZ: Marco Rubio wants people as 'fired up' about Planned Parenthood babies as about Cecil the lion

via @learyreports

Marco Rubio told TMZ that people should be more "fired up" about the babies shown in Planned Parenthood videos as they are about the Cecil the lion. He said the same thing a few days ago on Twitter:

Super PAC backing Jeb Bush reveals list of major donors, led by Coral Gables billionaire

via @lesleyclark @NickNehamas

Coral Gables healthcare mogul Mike Fernandez topped the list of major donors to a super PAC backing former Gov. Jeb Bush, with a $3 million contribution.

Nearly two dozen donors gave at least $1 million to Right to Rise USA, which accepts unlimited donations and reported in a filing Friday that it raised more than $103 million in support of Bush’s bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

In addition to the Cuban-American Fernandez, the major donors include Rooney Holdings, Inc., of Tulsa, Okla., which gave $2 million.

California investor William E. Oberndorf, a board member of Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education, contributed $1.5 million.

San Francisco investor Helen O. Schwab, wife of financier Charles Schwab, also contributed $1.5 million.

American Pacific International Capital, Inc. contributed $1.3 million and North Palm Beach-based Nextera Energy, Inc. gave $1 million.

Other million dollar donors included Republican mega-financier Al Hoffman, the founder and former chairman of WCI Communities Inc.; hedge fund billionaire Louis M. Bacon; Raul Rodriguez, president of Miami-based Clinical Medical Services, Inc.; and Hushang Ansary, a former Iranian ambassador to the United States whose wife, Shahla Ansary, also gave $1 million.

The numbers demonstrate the former Florida governor’s extensive network in Florida, with Right to Rise raising about $29 million in the state — the most of any state. Bush’s family roots in Texas also show, with $17 million raised from the state.

More here.

National Urban League: Jeb Bush


Jeb Bush refused the engage in cross-fire with Hillary Clinton when he took the stage Friday as the fifth and final 2016 presidential candidate to address the National Urban League in Fort Lauderdale. Clinton had alluded to Bush in her earlier remarks, but Bush stuck to his script -- which included praising each of the contenders who preceded him by name for showing up. (His campaign did respond to Clinton on his behalf.)

Bush was interrupted several times by mild applause, and a few people stood up at the end, but the only candidates to receive full ovations were Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

DIDN'T GET THE 'JEB!'-NOT-BUSH MEMO: National Urban League President Marc Morial introduced Bush as someone "from a family that is no stranger," who is "looking to win the trifecta."

HE'S GOT JOKES: "I'm pleased to see the other candidates here as well –- Secretary Clinton, Governor O'Malley, Senator Sanders and a good man who's bringing a lot of wisdom to the Republican side, Dr. Ben Carson," Bush said. "By the way, I am very glad he will likely make it into the top 10 for next week's debate. Before that thing's over we might just need a doctor. Just sayin'."

LEARNED HIS LESSON: Bush didn't mention his infamous 1994 remark when he was asked at a debate for governor what he would do for African Americans. "Probably nothing," he said at the time. But he nevertheless alluded to the moment on Friday, noting his loss in that race.

"I went through a period of what some might call 'self-reflection' but I referred to it as 'listening and learning," Bush said. "I converted to my wife's Catholic faith. I went to family courthouses where there were cases of children abused or neglected. And parents trying but unable to meet their obligations because of barriers -– language, skills, or otherwise -– that held them back."

HAT TIP: Bush praised the Democrat sitting in the White House, an unusual move for a GOP presidential candidate that earned him applause: "When President Obama says that 'for too long we've been blind to the way past injustices continue to shape the present,' he is speaking the truth."

APPLAUSE LINE: "We should not be wasting times agonizing over the easy calls," Bush said. For example? "Fourteen years ago, when the question was whether to keep the Confederate flag on the grounds of the Florida State Capitol, I said no, and put it in a museum where it belongs."

'RESTORATIVE' JUSTICE: "In this country, we shouldn't be writing people off, denying them a second chance at a life of meaning," Bush said. He didn't bring up support for mandatory minimum sentences known in Florida as 10-20-Life.