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

 

 

February 10, 2017

Broward Mayor Sharief, Lieutentant Governor Lopez-Cantera discussed axed Port-Cuba deal

Carlos Lopez-Cantera 0621

@amysherman1

Broward Mayor Barbara Sharief and Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera met Friday and discussed Port Everglades projects and why the port pursued an agreement with Cuba and then axed it. 

In January, port officials in Fort Lauderdale planned to sign a memorandum of understanding with Cuba but cancelled it after Gov. Rick Scott threatened to cut off funding to any Florida port that does business with Cuba. The agreement would have covered future cooperation and could have led to joint marketing studies and training.

Sharief said she explained that the agreement was "benign."

The Port-Cuba agreement was one of many topics that Sharief, a Democrat, and Lopez-Cantera, a Republican, discussed Friday morning at her Pembroke Pines office.

Sharief said they discussed putting Port Everglades "on the governor's list for priority in terms of what the President Trump administration has said about moving major port projects and capital improvement project to the top of the list." 

While campaigning, Trump promised to invest $550 billion in infrastructure.

Sharief and Lopez-Cantera also discussed funding plans for the C-51 reservoir project and the county's request for state funding for the northbound ramp off Pat Salerno Way near the Sawgrass Mills mall.

Sharief said this was her first individual meeting with Lopez-Cantera and that he sought the meeting. His schedule showed that he also planned to meet with Miami-Dade County Commissioner Esteban Bovo.

After Fort Lauderdale airport shooting, Broward may push for ban on guns in government facilities

FLL Airportpeoplerunning

@amysherman1

One month after the mass shooting at the Fort Lauderdale airport, Broward County Commissioners will discuss a resolution Tuesday to oppose legislation that would allow guns at government facilities.

The resolution doesn't specifically mention airports but the sponsor, Commissioner Steve Geller, said he opposes State Rep. Greg Steube's bill to allow conceal carry permit holders to carry guns in airports, one of multiple proposed bills to expand where guns may be allowed.

Here is the text of the resolution:

"The Board supports legislation allowing local governments to regulate firearms in government owned buildings and facilities. The Board further supports legislation prohibiting the possession of firearms, weapons, and ammunition in substance abuse programs, mental health programs, and sexual assault treatment facilities.

The board opposes legislation allowing individuals with concealed-weapons licenses to open-carry firearms on college and university campuses; at state legislative and cabinet meetings; governing board meetings of counties, cities, school boards, special districts; and in courthouses."

The County Commission previously approved it's state legislative program which included statements on gun regulations, however Geller's resolution would make opposing certain bills about guns a priority for county lobbyists.

The Democratic-dominated County Commission located in the most left-leaning county in Florida doesn't typically carry weight in GOP-dominated Tallahassee on partisan issues such as gun control. However, Broward officials may have more of a bully pulpit this year after an Army veteran opened fire in baggage claim at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Jan. 6th, killing five and injuring six others. 

And Geller says he believes there is common ground with some senators, many of whom previously served in local government, who oppose efforts to allow guns in certain settings such as local government meetings.

Local government meetings "get very heated and to permit people to come in packing to me sounds absurd," said Geller, a former state senator. "What is it -- an attempt to intimidate elected officials?" 

The shooting has also renewed the debate about the city of Fort Lauderdale allowing gun shows at War Memorial Auditorium in Holiday Park. The City Commission has continued to support allowing the shows, the Sun Sentinel reported. 

- With Kristen Clark

Those hot congressional town halls? Don't expect many in South Florida

@PatriciaMazzei

Over the past week, a string of town-hall meetings held across the country by Republican members of Congress have drawn hordes of constituents angry about repealing the Affordable Care Act and the GOP's embrace of President Donald Trump

But if South Floridians want a similar forum to vent to their Republican lawmakers, they're out of luck.

The only local member of Congress who plans to hold open meetings soon is U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, a Boca Raton Democrat, who's got two scheduled -- in Wilton Manors and Pompano Beach -- Saturday. Democrats just haven't been getting the same sort of protests as Republicans at their public events.

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio has no town hall planned, a spokesman said, noting that the Senate is still in session. (Progressive activists say they will nevertheless stump outside his Doral office Tuesday to ask him for one.) Neither does Miami Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. No in-person town halls are scheduled either for Miami Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo, though he hopes to let constituents call into a "tele-town hall" in late March, a spokeswoman said. 

A spokeswoman for Miami Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart refused to admit the congressman isn't holding town halls.

"The Congressman is constantly traveling the district and meeting with constituents, but we do not publicize his schedule," Katrina Valdés said in an email.

When pressed if that means no public events without pre-screened attendees, she added: "He has countless meetings with constituents and constituent groups while traveling the district. Our office is in touch with those who he will be meeting with."

More than 200 pro-Obamacare protesters showed up last Saturday at a town hall for Republican Rep. Gus Bilirakis in Palm Harbor, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

February 09, 2017

Congressmen Curbelo and Deutch expand bipartisan climate change caucus

Climate Time 01 EKM

@amysherman1

A bipartisan climate change caucus launched by two South Florida members has added four new members including U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, a Democrat from St. Petersburg.

U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Miami, and U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, announced Thursday that the caucus now has 24 members and is evenly split between both parties. Both Curbelo and Deutch represent coastal areas that are impacted by climate change.

The other new members are David Reichert, R-WA, Earl Blumenauer, D-OR and Don Bacon, R-NE.

Curbelo has been a leading Republican voice speaking in favor of finding solutions to combat climate change.

The mission of the caucus is to explore options that address the impacts and causes related to climate change.

“We have a lot of work to do on this issue, and coastal communities like mine in South Florida are counting on us to come together and have productive discussions about what we can do to mitigate the effects of climate change and make our nation more resilient,” Curbelo said in a statement. “The caucus has such a diverse group of members that each brings unique perspectives to the table. I’m confident that together we can work on bipartisan solutions that will unleash a new era of American innovation and protect our environment, infrastructure, homes, and livelihoods.”


Deutch said in a statement: “Across the country, Americans understand the urgency of climate change. Whether they see rising tides in Fort Lauderdale, intensifying tornadoes along the Central Plains, or worsening droughts affecting farm production, Americans are starting to feel the impacts of climate change to their homes, their livelihoods, and their wallets. They want action from their elected officials, and I’m proud that this Caucus offers a space to develop bipartisan solutions.”