June 21, 2017

Black lawmaker: I was called 'monkey' at Hollywood protest to change Confederate street signs

Jones Shevrin@PatriciaMazzei

A black state legislator says he was called a "nigger" and a "monkey" Wednesday by pro-Confederates who want Hollywood to keep three roads named after Confederate generals, including one of the founders of the Ku Klux Klan.

Rep. Shevrin Jones, a West Park Democrat, tweeted Wednesday that he was also told "to go back where I came from" at a protest outside Hollywood City Hall that resulted in the arrest of five people who interrupted a commission meeting. The board was not taking up the street names.

Pro-Confederate counter-protesters apparently showed up at the rally, leading to the incident recounted by Jones.

Jones wrote that he attended to protest to take down the signs, which run through the predominantly black Hollywood neighborhood of Liberia. The demonstration was organized in part by the Black Lives Matter movement and local pastors.

Lee Street is named after Gen. Robert E. Lee, who led the Confederate Army during the Civil War. Hood Street is named after Gen. John B. Hood, a division commander at the Battle of Antietam. Forrest Street is named after Nathan Bedford Forrest, a lieutenant general said to be the first Grand Wizard of the KKK, though Forrest later denied he held the position.

Jones' tweets are worth reading in full:

Continue reading "Black lawmaker: I was called 'monkey' at Hollywood protest to change Confederate street signs" »

June 15, 2017

Here's what Canova told media about Wasserman Schultz rematch

Canovamic

@amysherman1

Tim Canova announced a rematch against U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz Thursday at a meeting of the Broward County Democratic progressive caucus.

After his speech, the Nova Southeastern University law professor took a few questions from the Miami Herald and Sun-Sentinel about his second campaign, his January Facebook post about DNC staffer Seth Rich who was murdered, and about U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders who endorsed his 2016 bid.

Here is a transcript of part of the interview:

Question: “Last year she was at her most vulnerable ever and you couldn’t beat her six weeks after that [DNC email] scandal...”

Canova: “She was not at her most vulnerable ever. There was a presumption that she was maybe even going to be in a Hillary Clinton White House or cabinet, your premise Amy is a little bit off there. She was not at her most vulnerable at all.”

Question: “She faced the most public criticism and biggest downfall we had ever seen. You couldn’t beat her then...”

Canova: “I had a been candidate for less eight months -- three months before we did a poll that showed me down by something like 60 points. It was a remarkable achievement to come as close as we did.”

Question: “What will you do differently this time?"

Canova: “Announce a lot earlier.”

Question: “In terms of issues? strategy?”

Canova: “I will say this: the reason we came from so far behind was because of the issues in many ways. We knocked on a lot doors, we spoke to voters -- we learned what their issues were and it's not surprising that their issues were our issues. Most people want good jobs, they want economic security, they want health care and education -- that’s what we focused on -- that’s what we keep focusing on.”

Question: “What is it you’re going to do differently besides announcing six months earlier?”

Canova: “I didn’t say I was going to do a lot differently. I said we were going to keep focusing on the issues.”

Question: “[DNC staffer] Seth Rich -- do you still believe he was murdered because of the DNC leaks?”

Canova: “I do believe he was murdered -- yes. I am sure my opponent would also like to know who killed Seth Rich.”

Question: “But do you think he was killed because of the DNC email leaks?”

Canova: “I have no idea ... What I said on Facebook was that folks had suggested it and we should find out what happened. It's that simple.”

Question: “Do you think it has anything to do with the DNC?”

Canova: “I have no idea. I wondered what the DNC under Wasserman Schultz was capable of but I don’t know. That’s not the issues that I am focusing on. I know that’s the issue that Wasserman Schultz would like you to ask me, but that’s not the issue that I spoke about today.”

Question: “Have you talked to Bernie Sanders about your run this time and will he be involved?”

Canova: “No comment.”

Miami Herald 2016 file photo

Tim Canova announces rematch against Wasserman Schultz in Broward

DWS CANOVA DEBATE a epf

@amysherman1

Tim Canova announced he will seek a rematch against U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz after decisively losing to her August, weeks after she hit a political low point after stepping down as chair of the Democratic National Committee.

“A year ago the eyes of the nation were on this race and the stakes were very high,” Canova said at a Broward Democratic progressive caucus meeting in Plantation Thursday night. “I say the stakes are still very high. We’ve got a president right now and a Congress, Republican dominated, that are pushing the most rabid inhumane radical type of agenda that I could have ever imagined.”

In 2016, Canova tapped into Bernie Sanders’ small donors and anger at the political establishment to raise about $3.8 million in the race for South Florida’s 23rd congressional district. A Nova Southeastern University law professor, Canova ran to the left of Wasserman Schultz by bashing her for taking money from corporate donors and big Sugar.

But Wasserman Schultz, first elected to Congress in 2004, drew support from Democratic heavyweights including President Barack Obama and focused on her long record supporting liberal causes such as abortion and gay rights. In August, she won by about 14 percentage points in the Broward/Miami-Dade district and then easily defeated Republican Joe Kaufman.

The question now is whether Canova’s prime opportunity to unseat Wasserman Schultz has passed.

Keep reading here.

June 14, 2017

Alcee Hastings endorses Andrew Gillum for Florida governor

Alcee2
 
@amysherman1
 
U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Delray Beach, has endorsed Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum in his 2018 race for Florida governor.
 
Hastings, who has served 13 terms, is the longest serving member of the Democratic Florida delegation and represents a heavily left-leaning Broward/Palm Beach district. Hastings chose Gillum over his former Congressional colleague, Gwen Graham, and Orlando businessman Chris King who are also running. This is the first endorsement by a sitting member of Congress from Florida in the race so far.
 
Here is Hastings' statement from the Gillum campaign press release:
 
“We live in historically troubling times, and last year's election result proved that the stakes are high. I feel it necessary to make my voice heard early in this process, so that Democrats and all Floridians understand what is at stake in the 2018 election. For the last 20 years, under Republican rule in Tallahassee, communities of color across the state have suffered from a lack of job opportunities, poor access to quality public education, and access to quality and affordable healthcare. As Democrats, we need to make significant changes, and in this spirit, I believe that Mayor Andrew Gillum is the right choice to lead our state.
 
“Mayor Gillum is an innovative pragmatic progressive leader that Florida desperately needs to confront our biggest challenges: attacking climate change, rebuilding our economy, protecting access to healthcare, and revitalizing public education. He has shown the courage to stand up for what he believes in, and he has never hesitated to give a voice to those who need one most. Floridians can trust Andrew Gillum to rebuild our state into one that works for everyone.
 
“There are outstanding Democrats that have announced or are mentioned as running for governor in our state.  My support of Andrew should not be construed as being against others.  I will vigorously support the Democratic nominee for governor and do all that I can to ensure that our state goes from Red to Blue in 2018."
 
This post was updated to reflect that Hastings is the Democratic dean of the Florida delegation.
 
 

June 13, 2017

Tim Canova to announce 2018 political plans Thursday

Canovamic

@amysherman1

Tim Canova, who lost a heated Democratic primary against U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in August, will announce his political plans for 2018 Thursday.

Canova, a Nova Southeastern University law professor and Hollywood resident, confirmed to the Miami Herald in a text Tuesday that he will announce his plans at a progressive caucus event at the Broward AFL-CIO office in Plantation at 6:30 p.m Thursday:

Canova wrote on Facebook  that he will speak at the event where he will be “making a big announcement on our plans for 2018, which will be live streamed on this page. You won't want to miss out!”

In September, Canova filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission so he could start fundraising in case he decided to run against Wasserman Schultz who represents a Broward/Miami-Dade district. But through April he hasn’t fundraised.

While Canova has argued someone on the left should challenge Wasserman Schultz, he hasn’t made clear if that someone will be him or whether he will run for another office. Two possibilities: he could be joining an already crowded Democratic field for governor or running against U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, Florida’s only statewide Democratic office holder who is likely to face Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

Earlier this year, Canova delivered petitions to Nelson’s Coral Gables office to demand he take action to halt the Sabal Trail Pipeline.

Despite Canova’s loss to Wasserman Schultz by 14 percentage points in the August primary, his prolific fundraising showed he is a serious candidate. In his first race ever, Canova drew drew support from Bernie Sanders’ fans and raised $3.8 million.

Last year was the first time that Wasserman Schultz faced a challenge from the left in many years. She defended her seat when she was at her most vulnerable -- several weeks after she resigned as chair of the Democratic National Committee amid leaks of emails showing the party favored Hillary Clinton over Sanders.

In a Facebook post Tuesday, Canova expressed frustration with the Florida Democratic Party and said that it is allowing Wasserman Schultz to make welcoming remarks at the annual Leadership Blue gala. Canova directed some of his ire at party chairman Stephen Bittel, an ally of Wasserman Schultz.

“Why the party would want to promote the very personification of scandal, disgrace, and failure to open the gala says more about the incompetence and bad faith of Bittel and his leadership team than any lip service they've given in recent months and even recent days about remaining neutral and impartial in contested primaries.”

But Wasserman Schultz's spokesman David Damron said that Wasserman Schultz isn't speaking at the gala.

The Florida Democratic Party has not yet released a list of speakers -- other than headliner former Vice President Joe Biden -- and declined to comment.

Nelson will speak at the event, his spokesman Ryan Brown said.

This post has been updated to include information from spokespersons for Wasserman Schultz and Nelson.

June 12, 2017

Heather Moraitis, wife of State Rep. George Moraitis, to run for Fort Lauderdale city commission

@amysherman

Heather Moraitis, wife of Republican State. Rep. George Moraitis, announced she will run for Fort Lauderdale City Commission in 2018.

The current commissioner, former Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Bruce Roberts, is running for mayor against former City Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom and lawyer Jim Lewis.

The current mayor, Jack Seiler, is term limited and may run for Attorney General.

Technically city races are non-partisan however political parties typically play a role in campaigns behind the scenes. Moraitis lives in northeast Fort Lauderdale in a district that has been held by Republican city commissioners for many years. 

Moraitis, who is running in her first bid for public office, currently works for the YMCA as director of capital development and previously worked at Westminster Academy, a private Christian school in the district.

Development, traffic and crime are top issues in the district. The commission has also wrestled with how to respond to a growing homeless population that lives outside the main Broward County library in downtown.

 "I was born here, and we have raised our family here, so I want to make sure the special way of life that we enjoy can continue for all residents," Moraitis said in a prepared statement. "With over $1 billion in public infrastructure needs, congestion issues that will require smart solutions, and division over development, we can either work together to make things better, or kick the can down the road. I am running to make things better."

Moraitis' name recognition and expected ability to raise money due to her long roots in the district and her husband's political connections give her a leg up in this race. Caleb Hunter, a Republican who manages a few parks for Broward County, is also running. He filed in August and has raised $5,250.

For city elections, the primary is held in February 2018 if more than two candidates are running. If only two candidates run, they face off in March. Here are all of the candidates for city races.

 

 

 

June 05, 2017

BSO report criticizes response to Fort Lauderdale airport shooting

FLL Airportpeoplerunning

@chabelih @amysherman1

Poor communication by the Broward Sheriff’s Office and the Broward Aviation Department, along with other mistakes, following a deadly January shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, led to mass chaos for the estimated 12,000 people trapped at the airport, according the sheriff’s office’s draft report on the incident.

The report, released Friday, assessed the agency’s response to the January 6 rampage by war veteran Esteban Santiago. He has been charged with emptying 14 rounds of ammunition into the airport’s Terminal 2 baggage claim area, killing five and injuring six others.

About 2,000 officers from different departments across South Florida responded to the incident, creating a massive influx that led to havoc at the airport and confusion about who was in charge. According to the report, the airport became an “impassible parking lot” after officers abandoned their vehicles.

Keep reading here.

Mitch Berger may run for Florida Attorney General if Jack Seiler doesn't

@amysherman1 

Mitchell Berger, a prominent Democratic donor, says he will consider running for Florida Attorney General if Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler decides not to run.

“If he says ‘no’ I will certainly think about it,” Berger said. “I’m trying to get Jack to do it. He would be the right person -- he would have my support if he is going to do it.”

Berger founded Berger Singerman law firm in 1985 and lives in Fort Lauderdale. He has hosted several fundraisers for national candidates including Bill Clinton, John Edwards, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

While the 2018 governor’s race has drawn multiple Democratic candidates, so far no well-known Democrat has announced for Attorney General. Pam Bondi, the current attorney general and a Republican, is term limited.

Seiler, who is term-limited as mayor, told the Miami Herald in May that he is in no rush to decide whether to run and will make up his mind this year.

Foreclosure lawyer Ryan Torrens who lives in Odessa is the only Democrat to file so far. On the Republican side, former Hillsborough Circuit Judge Ashley Moody filed to run and has the backing of Bondi and State Rep. Jay Fant of Jacksonville also filed.

Berger said it would be “tragic” if the Democrats don’t have a viable candidate for attorney general.

“It’s the most important position in the cabinet other than governor’s position,” he said. “The attorney generals have stepped up on environmental issues throughout the U.S. and stepped up on immigration issues in the U.S. Our attorney general is absent.”

 

May 15, 2017

Adam Putnam brings his campaign for Florida governor to Broward

Putnam Broward w Swindell EKM

@amysherman1

The tony Fort Lauderdale beachside hotel where Adam Putnam campaigned for Florida governor Monday was entirely different territory from the historic Polk County Courthouse where he debuted his candidacy last week, surrounded by crates of Florida oranges and the sounds of a marching-band fiddle.

In Broward, the most liberal county in the state, Putnam knew to offer the sort of business-friendly message that binds Republicans together.

“Whether you grow up in downtown Pompano or in a small town in the middle of the state like where I’m from we need to have a job climate in Florida that doesn’t require you to leave your town to find a decent career,” Putnam said at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66.

Keep reading here.

Miami Herald photo by Emily Michot of Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam speaking with Bob Swindell, with the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, and Jose Basulto, with Memorial Hospital System.

May 08, 2017

Mayor Jack Seiler continues to mull Florida Attorney General bid

Jack_seiler.JPG_2_1_I5752Q4L

@amysherman1

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler said he is in no rush to decide whether to run for Florida Attorney General in 2018 and will make up his mind at some point this year.

Seiler said he spoke with Democrats about the possibility of running while in Tallahassee in recent days for his daughter's law school graduation.

Seiler said he initially thought he would have to reach a decision by the spring but doesn't feel pressure to do so now that no one has announced on the Democratic side. (State Rep. Jay Fant, a Jacksonville Republican, filed May 5th and there are several other potential contenders on the Republican side.)

"The campaign starts the day you announce your decision -- I don't need to have a 15, 16, 17-month campaign if I don't have to," Seiler said Monday. "I have time to make a more educated and informed decision. I am looking at all the factors: Can a Democrat win statewide? Can a Democrat win in an off-year?"

Seiler, who is term-limited as mayor, is also weighing the impact of President Donald Trump's presidency on his chances and whether Seiler can win as a moderate. If Seiler jumps in and faces a competitive Democratic primary, he could take heat from the LGBTQ community over his stance on same-sex marriage.

Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi is term limited.