March 24, 2017

HUD Secretary Ben Carson visits a Broward Habitat for Humanity site

CarsonAP

@amysherman1

President Donald Trump’s housing chief, Ben Carson, visited the future site of a Habitat for Humanity site in Broward County on Friday — as the administration is proposing to slashing billions for affordable housing.

Housing experts say the cuts, should they occur, will hurt South Florida, one of the most unaffordable metro areas in the nation.

Speaking at the Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Pompano Beach, Carson praised the Habitat development that will include 77 homes.

“This project right here is one of the things that works because of public-private partnerships and how incredible they are at leveraging dollars,” he told the audience of local government officials and housing activists. “That’s how we become a success as a nation. The government can’t do everything, but the government can do things to get things started and then the private sector and faith community comes in and leverages that.”

Carson was confirmed by the Senate earlier this month as the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Carson’s visit comes as Trump has proposed slashing about $6 billion from HUD, a cut of about 13 percent. That includes eliminating funding for programs that help people buy or rent homes. Among them: Community Development Block Grant and the HOME Investment Partnerships Program.

Keep reading here about Carson and the "Rick Case Habitat Community" named for the automotive dealership owner who gave $500,000 for the project.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson to visit Broward while housing activists decry slated HUD cuts

BenCarsonRNCnighttwoAP

@amysherman1

President Donald Trump's housing chief comes to Broward today to promote a future affordable housing development while Trump has proposed slashing $6 billion from housing programs.

Dr. Ben Carson, Secretary of U.S. Housing and Urban Development, will speak at the Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Pompano Beach. The church is located near a future 77-home Habitat for Humanity development, the largest Habitat project ever in Broward.

Trump's budget proposal calls for getting rid of decades-long housing programs, including Community Development Block Grant and HOME Investment Partnership Program. Those cuts would be "devastating" to low- and moderate-income families in Broward, said the county's housing chief Ralph Stone.

"The Broward metro area is one of the least affordable housing markets in the nation," Stone told the Herald in a statement. "Only one in five moderate and below income families can afford to buy the median priced home. Also Broward is one of the worst markets for affordable and avaiabjr rental units. There is a defiency of over 70,000 low income rental units." 

The national Habitat for Humanity program sent the Miami Herald a statement criticizing the proposed cut:

"Federal housing programs currently reach about 1 in 4 income eligible households. With the proposed budget, many fewer would receive assistance, leading to even more families to choose paying housing costs over purchasing food, health care, and meeting other basic needs. ... Eliminating or reducing funding for these housing programs would exacerbate local housing shortages and increase the burden of housing costs on families in need of housing stability." 

South Florida lags behind other major metro areas in wages, making affordable housing out of reach to many residents.

See Carson's Truth-O-Meter record from PolitiFact.

 

March 17, 2017

Gov. Rick Scott visits Jewish school in Broward that faced bomb threats

Posnackcop

@amysherman1

Gov. Rick Scott visited a Jewish school in Broward County Friday morning that faced bomb threats twice earlier this year.

Scott toured the David Posnack school and neighboring Jewish Community Center in Davie.

"We gave him a tour of the campus and we were talking about the most recent bomb threats around the country at all of the different sites in the state of Florida and how we can deal with it," JCC director Scott Ehrlich said.

The governor didn't offer any new assistance in response to the bomb threats but Ehrlich said he expressed that Florida won't tolerate discrimination against any group including Jews.

Scott requested to visit the campus -- the event was organized by the Jewish Federation of Broward County, Ehrlich said.

Scott had previously visited the center in 2016 for a ceremonial bill signing related to a memorial in Tallahassee for Holocaust survivors. For that visit, Scott was accompanied by Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera shortly after he had a quickie Bar Mitzvah in Israel.

The Posnack school faced bomb threats Feb. 27 and March 7 and is one of the several Jewish institutions in South Florida that have faced bomb threats this year. So far in 2017, there have been 165 bomb threats to Jewish institutions in 38 states and three Canadian provinces, according to data compiled by the Anti-Defamation League through March 15.

Scott's press office did not respond to an email seeking comment. Scott's daily schedule did not reflect any additional events in Broward County.

March 14, 2017

Broward Commission delays action on resolution related to Trump sanctuary order

Trumpfortlaud

@amysherman1

Fearing that President Donald Trump will cut off funding to Broward, the county commission considered a resolution Tuesday arguing that it is in compliance with federal law and isn't a so-called sanctuary county for undocumented immigrants.

The commission tabled the vote after immigrant and Democratic activists called for its defeat and commissioners couldn't agree on the wording or whether such a resolution is necessary.

The resolution proposed by Mayor Barbara Sharief, a Democrat, stated that the county has never labeled itself a "sanctuary." The resolution called for the county attorney to take legal action if the county is denied federal funds based on immigration policies. Some commissioners argued that the resolution is unnecessary since the county attorney already has the power to defend the county if necessary. The commission didn't set a future date to revisit the resolution.

Trump issued an executive order in January directing the Attorney General's office and the Department of Homeland Security to cut off grant funding from local jurisdictions that shield undocumented immigrants from U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement. Broward expects to get funds this year through the U.S. Department of Justice funneled through the state. The grant criteria states that the county must prove it complies with Section 1373 of federal law which essentially bans governments from restricting federal access to information about a person's immigration status. Broward officials argue that the county already complies with the law.

There is no definition in federal law of sanctuary cities or counties which has left some communities scrambling to avert any such label. The Center for Immigration Studies, a group that favors restricting immigration laws, named six counties in Florida including Broward that have policies “limiting cooperation with ICE specifically by placing conditions on honoring immigration detainers.” (Miami-Dade County was previously on that list until the county changed its policy in response to Trump.)

Broward County never declared itself a sanctuary county but landed on that list because the Broward Sheriff's Office issued a policy in 2014 stating that personnel would only honor ICE detainers when they are accompanied by a warrant. That policy was issued following federal court rulings.

Broward officials are lobbying against a Florida house bill which passed a committee March 13 seeks to crack down on jurisdictions that pass such sanctuary policies. 

“Broward County has never adopted any law, any regulation, any practice, any custom — at all — limiting our cooperation with ICE officials, the federal government or anything having to do with enforcing federal policy,” said Edward Labrador, the county's intergovernmental affairs director, in Tallahassee Monday. 

In February, the Broward County Commission passed a resolution honoring diversity without mentioning sanctuary cities or counties. Some local governments in South Florida have passed or proposed resolutions declaring their facilities "safe zones" for undocumented immigrants.




 



March 10, 2017

Miramar mayor proposes 'safe zone' policy in response to Trump immigration enforcement

Messamandclinton

@amysherman1

Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam has proposed that the city create a "safe zone" for undocumented immigrants in response to President Donald Trump's immigration ban.

Messam brought up his proposal during a March 8 commission meeting to require federal immigration agents to have a warrant to enter city-owned facilities and voluntary pre-kindergarten schools for immigration enforcement purposes.

"We want to make sure that our parents at least, regardless of their immigration status, that is one less fear that they have -- in regards to the prospect of their child being disrupted due to what we have seen going on across the country," Messam said at the meeting.

The commission didn't vote on his proposal but no one objected to Messam's request for city attorneys to draft the resolution. It wasn't clear when the commission will vote on the resolution but the next meeting is March 29.

The city resolution follows a vote earlier this week by the Broward school board to become a safe zone for immigrant students and their parents and the Miami-Dade school board plans to vote on a similar resolution March 15. Broward County approved a resolution showing support for diversity without mentioning immigration enforcement or creating any sanctuary policy. 

Such safe zone policies being pursued by Broward politicians, many of them Democrats, are in response to immigration enforcement actions and promises by Trump

The safe zone policies may not lead to any practical changes for federal officials because many such facilities aren't known for immigration raids -- U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement already has policies that generally protect school sites from enforcement actions. But the policies allow politicians to go on record opposing Trump's immigration plans.

Messam, the son of Jamaican immigrants, was elected in 2015 as mayor in Miramar, a city where about 44 percent of the population is foreign born. A Democrat, Messam was a surrogate to Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign in Florida and South Carolina.

Photo by Gregory F. Reed of former President Bill Clinton, center, and Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam, right, attending a September meeting of faith and community leaders at the Miramar Cultural Center and a tour of city hall.

March 08, 2017

Broward schools won't let ICE agents in without a warrant

  Attachment-1

via @KyraGurney

Broward County schools will become a safe zone of sorts for immigrant students and their families under a resolution passed on Tuesday by the school board.

In what supporters called a first-of-its kind action in Florida, the School Board of Broward County took several steps intended to protect the children of undocumented immigrants who face increasing fears of deportation under more aggressive immigration enforcement policies implemented by the Trump administration.

Immigrant families “wanted to know that we had their backs, and now with this resolution we have their backs,” said Robin Bartleman, the school board member who proposed the measure. “We weren’t afraid to stand up and say we’re going to protect our children.”

The resolution came in response to concerns voiced by residents, who told board members that many immigrants have started taking extra precautions to get children to school. Some now walk children to school, instead of driving, to avoid any infractions that could get them pulled over and deported. Others have begun sending their children to school with copies of immigration paperwork tucked in backpacks.

The resolution states that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents cannot enter schools or the sites of school-related activities like sports games and field trips without a warrant, and that any requests to access a school or get information about a student will be directed to the school district attorney’s office.

More here.

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Fernandez, SEIU Florida

March 07, 2017

Jewish day school in Davie hit by another anonymous phone threat

Jewish Cemetery Damage
via @harrisalexc

A Davie Jewish Day School was evacuated for two hours Tuesday after a phone threat against the school, the latest in a nationwide series of anonymous telephoned threats to Jewish schools and community centers this year.

The David Posnack Jewish Day School was also evacuated for a bogus bomb threat on Feb. 27, part of a fifth wave of such threats across the country in two months. The U.S. Justice Department and the FBI announced a civil-rights investigation into the threats, but declined to discuss whether they were coordinated.

Davie police, who characterized it as a bomb threat, gave the all clear around noon.

The JCC Association of North America sent out a written statement confirming multiple community centers were threatened with “either emailed or phoned-in bomb threats overnight and this morning.”

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported community centers were threatened in Milwaukee, Maryland, Oregon, New York, Alabama, Toronto and Ontario. Seven Anti-Defamation Leagues offices also received threats, according to JTA.

On Tuesday, U.S. Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio sent a letter to the administration asking for “swift action” to deter the anonymous phone threats. It was co-signed by every senator and sent to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director James Comey.

“We are concerned that the number of incidents is accelerating and failure to address and deter these threats will place innocent people at risk and threaten the financial viability of JCCs, many of which are institutions in their communities. Your Departments can provide crucial assistance by helping JCCs, Jewish Day Schools and Synagogues improve their physical security, deterring threats from being made, and investigating and prosecuting those making these threats or who may seek to act on these threats on the future,” the senators wrote.

--ALEX HARRIS

Photo credit: Wilfredo Lee, Associated Press

March 03, 2017

Florida Jewish leaders meet to discuss bomb threats

DWSBrowcollegejewishmeeting

@amysherman1

South Florida Jewish leaders gathered in Broward Friday morning to strategize with law enforcement following a series of bomb threats nationwide that have forced evacuations of Jewish Community Centers.

On Friday morning, the FBI arrested Juan Thompson, 31, in St. Louis in connection to at least eight of the threats in a few states not including Florida. Thompson, a former journalist, allegedly made the threats to harass a woman. Authorities don’t believe he is the perpetrator behind the bulk of the threats nationwide.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, who organized the meeting at Broward College was grateful an arrest was made but said other perpetrators are still at large.

“I have been assured by our FBI, local law enforcement by all of the law enforcement involved in these investigations that this is being given the highest priority,” she said.

Leaders of Jewish schools, centers and synagogues held a closed-door briefing with the FBI and local law enforcement agencies to discuss security preparedness. The media was then allowed to watch the public portion of the meeting during which leaders discussed ways that they are already working with government agencies to combat anti-Semitism including trainings for law enforcement about hate crimes. Leaders called for the Jewish community to speak up when they see hate crimes directed at Muslims or other groups and to work together with people of all faiths to combat bigotry.

Keep reading here.
 

March 01, 2017

Andrew Gillum, candidate for Florida governor, will speak to Broward Democrats

Gillumdncap

@amysherman1

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum who announced this week he will run for Florida governor in 2018 will speak to Broward Democrats Saturday night.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will deliver the keynote speech at the county party's annual fundraising dinner.

Other speakers including U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, Florida Democratic Party chairman Stephen Bittel and Broward Mayor Barbara Sharief.

Former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, another contender for the 2018 governor's race, is expected to attend the dinner. Gillum became the first major candidate to announce for the governor's race but Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and trial lawyer John Morgan have all but announced. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is a potential contender.

Gillum, 37, has been in the spotlight more in the past year after he spoke at the Democratic National Convention and took on the gun lobby in Florida. But he isn't well-known among average voters in South Florida.

About 350 Democrats have bought tickets to attend the "Obama-Roosevelt dinner" at Hyatt Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale.

Broward has about 600,000 registered Democratic voters -- the largest contingent in the state. A key challenge for the county party is to find a way to drive up turnout in 2018 -- in past cycles Broward voters have shown scant interest when the presidential candidates aren't on the ballot.

February 23, 2017

Debbie Wasserman Schultz vows to fight Trump on immigration

 

 

Dws for amy

@amysherman1

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz vowed to fight back against President Donald Trump’s immigration orders and criticized Miami-Dade county commissioners for caving to Trump on sanctuary cities.

Wasserman Schultz, a Weston Democrat, met with city and county officials in Broward on Thursday morning after she held a closed-door briefing with federal immigration officials from multiple agencies including Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Wasserman Schultz sought the ICE briefing to gain more clarity about the administration’s immigration plans, but said she walked away with scant information.

“In my 24 years in office I have rarely had a more evasive briefing than the one I just had,” she told local government officials who met with her at a city of Sunrise government building.

Keep reading here.

Photo by the Sun Sentinel. U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, left, discusses President Donald Trump's new immigraiton policy with Pembroke Pines Mayor Frank Ortis, Sunrise Commissioner Joey Scuotto and Broward County Commissioner Nan Rich. Anthony Man Sun Sentinel