May 27, 2016

Congressional Black Caucus endorses Debbie Wasserman Schultz

The political arm of the Congressional Black Caucus has endorsed U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz who is running against first-time candidate Tim Canova for a Broward/Miami-Dade seat.

From a press release:

"Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been a consistent and reliable leader and voice on issues of importance to African Americans and all Americans. As a Member of Congress, she has supported the Congressional Black Caucus’ agenda on issues such as voting rights, HBCU funding, fair sentencing guidelines, affordable housing, creating opportunities for minority-owned businesses, and lifting the people out of poverty and into the middle class to name a few. As leader of the Democratic National Committee, she has “walked the walk” with an unprecedented number of senior level African American appointments and policies that have provided historical opportunities for African American policy makers, operatives, activists and businesses. Under her leadership, both the 2012 and 2016 Democratic National Conventions have set diversity goals that meet and exceed levels of past minority participation. Her commitment to diversity is unwavering and the advances under her leadership are unquestioned."

It's not a surprise that Wasserman Schultz's colleagues in the House endorsed her -- she is the Democratic National Committee chair and has served in Congress since first winning her seat in 2004. But the endorsement gives her some good publicity during a week when there were news reports about whether some Democrats -- most notably Bernie Sanders who is backing Canova -- are hoping she is replaced as DNC chair.

But it seems unlikely Democrats would want to give that type of ammunition to Republicans this close to an election. Also in her favor: President Barack Obama won Florida both times while Wasserman Schultz was the chair, and he has endorsed her in her Congressional race. Plus Vice President Joe Biden is coming to Coconut Grove to fundraise for her in June. 

Canova announced earlier today that he was endorsed by the Democracy for America PAC, the group started by Howard Dean.

About 13 percent of the district's voting age population is black in Congressional District 23 which spans from Weston to northern Miami-Dade. South Florida members who are in the Congressional Black Caucus include Frederica Wilson and Alcee Hastings.

Broward Democrats hire deputy political director

The Broward Democratic Party hired David Metellus to serve as deputy political director and get out the vote coordinator.

Metellus has previously worked for U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz -- who is in a primary battle against Tim Canova -- and U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch. Metellus is a native of Coconut Creek.

Particularly in presidential years the campaigns have their own turnout operations and don't rely on county party groups. But the county's Democrats have a poor record of turning out in non-presidential cycles -- see Republican Gov. Rick Scott's victories in 2010 and 2014 -- and in primaries.

The Florida Democratic Party also has 12 field staff working out of the county party's headquarters in Plantation and an office in Pompano Beach. 

Tim Canova endorsed by Democracy for America PAC

Tim Canova has been endorsed by Democracy for America, the progressive PAC founded by former presidential candidate Howard Dean.

The PAC has also endorsed Bernie Sanders who is backing Canova in his Democratic primary battle against U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in a Broward/Miami-Dade district.

Canova got the endorsement "because he has spent his life challenging the power of Wall Street banks, multinational corporations, and the systemic political corruption that keeps them profitable at the expense of everyone else," said Jim Dean, chaor of the PAC. "From her vote in support of fast track authority for the job-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership to her unabashed protection of a payday lending industry that makes billions off the back struggling working families, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has aligned herself with the wealthy interests who are making income inequality worse in our country."

Democracy for America has raised $36.6 million to help elect 843 progressive candidates nationwide since 2004, according to a press release from the PAC. This cycle in Florida, the PAC also endorsed U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson who is running for U.S. Senate and Susannah Randolph who is running for Congress.

Canova's fundraising has picked up steam since Sanders announced on CNN last weekend that he supports Canova who has raised more than $1.5 million in his first bid for office. His fundraising prowess has helped land him interviews with national outlets including MSNBC and Fox News, increasing his exposure.

Wasserman Schultz, who is also the Democratic National Committee chair, raised $1.8 million through March. Her campaign has not announced how much she has raised since that date. Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine said a fundraiser he hosted in May raised $50,000 for her and Vice President Joe Biden will fundraise for her in June at the Coconut Grove home of Stephen Bittel.  

 

 

May 26, 2016

Hollywood lawyer Alan Koslow charged in money laundering case

Alan Koslow, a longtime politically connected lawyer in Broward, was charged with money laundering by federal law enforcement Thursday related to an FBI sting that involved counterfeit Viagra and narcotics.

Koslow will surrender June 2 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry S. Seltzer in Fort Lauderdale. Koslow, a former city of Hollywood attorney, worked for the Becker & Poliakoff law firm in Fort Lauderdale and was a lobbyist. The law firm was not involved in the crime, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Koslow, 62, of Hollywood, and Susan Mohr, 57, of Delray Beach, were charged by federal prosecutors with conspiracy related to laundering what they say was cash proceeds from illegal activity. Mohr will surrender May 31.

Here is what happened, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office:

Beginning in November 2012, Koslow met with two undercover agents from the FBI. During the course of several meetings that followed, the undercover agents explained to Koslow, and later to Mohr, their need to launder cash that was being generated from an illegal gambling business and from the unlawful sale of narcotics and counterfeit Viagra.

Koslow and Mohr agreed to accept the cash and then provide checks to the agents, for the amount of the cash minus a five percent fee, drawn on the business bank account of “Mohr2GoGifts,” a business owned by Mohr and located in Fort Lauderdale.

Both face up to five years in prison if convicted.

Koslow was Hollywood’s city attorney from 1990-93 until he resigned after it came to light that he had a relationship with a city secretary with whom he helped negotiate a lawsuit settlement. In 1994 he agreed to a 30-day suspension from practicing law after admitting he violated the rules of the Florida Bar.

He was later a regular force at City Hall, where he represented developers in many big deals. Koslow established Becker & Poliakoff’s first gaming division and represented slot-machine manufacturers.

Keep reading here.

 

Will Gov. Rick Scott appoint Republican to lefty Broward Commission?

Gov. Rick Scott has a rare opportunity to appoint a Republican to the liberal Broward County Commission but he hasn't said whether he will fill the seat.

Broward County Commissioner Stacy Ritter takes over as the county's tourism director June 5th replacing Nicki Grossman who is retiring. (Grossman departs just in time to celebrate getting the 2020 Super Bowl and avoiding the brawl over whether to call it a "South Florida" or "Miami" event.)

Scott's office hasn't said whether he will appoint a replacement -- he appears to be waiting for an official resignation letter from Ritter.

Any appointment of a Republican would likely only last a few months because the seat is up for election this year and the district leans left. 

Parkland Mayor Michael Udine, a Democrat, is the only candidate who has officially filed to run for the northwestern Broward seat.

Currently, there is one Republican on the nine-member commission: Chip LaMarca, who represents northeast Broward. Grossman told us it had been decades since the commission had more than one Republican on it at the same time.

May 25, 2016

Debbie Wasserman Schultz sided with medical marijuana proponents in a vote despite past opposition

DWSAPmug

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston, who has taken heat for her opposition to medical marijuana, quietly took a vote in favor of it last week.

In 2014, she opposed Florida’s constitutional amendment to allow medical marijuana — a rare position for a South Florida Democrat — that led to a spat between her and wealthy trial lawyer John Morgan, who bankrolled the amendment. A similar measure will appear on the ballot in November.

In the past, as a Democrat in a safe liberal district, Wasserman Schultz faced no political repercussions at the ballot box for taking a position out of step with her constituents. But criticism about her stances carry more weight this year because she faces a well-funded Democratic challenger: Tim Canova, who supports medical marijuana.

That’s why her vote related to medical marijuana last week has drawn some attention.

On May 19, Wasserman Schultz joined all but five Democrats in voting in favor of an amendment to allow military veterans’ access to state medical marijuana programs, as first reported by Marijuana.com. A directive currently prohibits Veterans Administration doctors from filling out forms for state medical marijuana programs or discussing the use of medical marijuana with patients.

Keep reading here.

May 24, 2016

Barney Frank to host fundraiser for Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Former Massachusetts U.S. Rep. Barney Frank will host a fundraiser for U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Fort Lauderdale May 31.

Frank was the first openly gay Congressman. The host committee includes some longtime gay rights activists in Broward including Ken Evans, who is Hillary Clinton's LGBT volunteer coordinator in Florida, Julie Carson, Wilton Manors' first openly gay city commissioner and Michael Albetta, who has served on the board of the Dolphin Democrats. Other host committee members include Ashley Walker, who ran President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign in Florida, as well as developers, lawyers and lobbyists.

The fundraiser will be held at Oceanland Investments on Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale.

Wasserman Schultz is in an expensive battle against Tim Canova in the Aug. 30th Democratic primary for Congressional District 23 in Broward/Miami-Dade counties.

Bagelsbernie

 

 

 

 

 

May 21, 2016

Florida Democrats name presidential convention delegates

@PatriciaMazzei

Quite a few South Florida Democrats, including some elected officials, made the Florida Democratic Party's list of statewide delegates to the July presidential nominating convention in Philadelphia.

The list of Hillary Clinton delegates includes Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief, Miami Gardens state Sen. Oscar Braynon, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jean Monestime, Coral Springs state Rep. Jared Moskowitz, activist Millie Herrera, former Weston state Sen. Nan Rich, consultant Freddy Balsera, former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, lobbyist Alex Heckler, fundraiser Chris Korge, former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez, Miami Beach state Rep. David Richardson, consultant Christian Ulvert and Hollywood state Sen. Eleanor Sobel.

The list of Bernie Sanders delegates includes South Miami-Dade state Sen. Dwight Bullard and North Miami City Councilman Alix Desulme

Delegates had previously been chosen from each congressional district:

Continue reading "Florida Democrats name presidential convention delegates" »

May 18, 2016

Civil war in Democratic Party? Wasserman Schultz vs. Sanders

Just as she wants to focus all of her energy on the other party, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is in the middle of a nasty brawl with one of her own party’s presidential candidates

The South Florida lawmaker, who chairs the Democratic National Committee, is openly fighting with Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a clash that came to a head after a violent melee at a state Democratic Party meeting in Nevada over the weekend where Sanders supporters threw chairs and threatened state party officials, using vulgar sexist language at times.

Wasserman Schultz criticized Sanders’ response as insufficiently critical of his supporters. He and his campaign manager, in turn, are escalating complaints that Wasserman Schultz has used the party machinery to help her friend Hillary Clinton. All this comes at the very moment Wasserman Schultz had hoped Democrats would start to unify and turn their attention to the Republicans and Donald Trump.

Read more here:

 


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/article78491327.html#storylink=cpy

 

May 05, 2016

Hillary Clinton to speak at Fort Lauderdale gala for Trayvon Martin Foundation

DEM 2016 Clinton

@PatriciaMazzei

Hillary Clinton will speak later this month at a Fort Lauderdale gala for the Trayvon Martin Foundation, created to honor the Miami Gardens 17-year-old who was shot dead in 2012 in Sanford.

The likely Democratic presidential nominee will keynote the May 21 gala for the third annual Circle of Mothers conference, which offers assistance to women who have lost a child.

The group was created by Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon's mother, who along with other mothers of children killed by gun violence have frequently joined Clinton on the campaign trail.

A $1,500 minimum donation to the foundation is required to attend the dinner. The three-day conference will be held at the Embassy Suites at 1100 SE 17th St.

Clinton came to South Florida last month to fundraise. She won the state's March 15 Democratic primary in a rout.