October 01, 2015

Davie police say they will provide security at Hillary Clinton event - but not as much as Secret Service asked for

Davie police will provide some security for Hillary Clinton’s visit to Broward College Friday but not the amount of personnel that the Secret Service asked for, a Secret Service spokesman told the Miami Herald Thursday.

The New York Times reported earlier today that Davie police refused to provide security.

From the Times: “An assistant police chief who attended an interagency meeting to prepare for the visit announced the news that the city would not provide security. The Secret Service officials who were at the meeting did not take it well, and promised to name names about the episode if ever called before Congress, according to one of the people at the meeting, who was not authorized to discuss the private session.”

William Cachinero, an assistant special agent in charge of the Miami field office for the Secret Service, said that the Secret Service asked Davie police if they could supplement security. Clinton already gets Secret Service protection since she is a former First Lady but the Secret Service wanted extra protection for her public campaign organizational meeting at Broward College in Friday afternoon.

The Davie police “said they would not be able to have the bodies that we required, they will have people there but not in amount we wanted,” Cachinero said. He said he didn’t have any specific numbers to give the Miami Herald regarding the number of personnel the Secret Service wanted Davie to provide compared to what the police department will actually provide.

The Secret Service had already asked the Broward Sheriff’s Office and Broward College to also provide security -- and both will, he said. Nearby Florida Atlantic University will also provide security.

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September 29, 2015

UPDATED Florida state senator from Broward wants Joe Biden for president

@PatriciaMazzei

State Sen. Jeremy Ring of Margate has a favorite presidential candidate: Vice President Joe Biden.

Biden hasn't decided if he's running. But a political committee hoping he will, Draft Biden, touted Ring's endorsement in a statement Tuesday listing Democratic Party "leaders" who back the VP.

"I, like countless other Americans, share our profound hope that Vice President Biden chooses to run for President," Ring said in the statement.

"In his 35 plus years in public office, the Vice President has shown great political and individual strength. He has never wavered far from his working class roots and progressive beliefs. The Vice President has proven that he is the most experienced, approachable, and sincere candidate to lead the free world. I am proud to support Joe Biden as the next President of the United States."

UPDATE: Ring told the Miami Herald in a telephone interview that his Biden endorsement has been in the works for a while, given that the state senator was an early Biden supporter in 2008. Ring is also friends with the vice president's brother Frank, who lives in Palm Beach County.

Ring praised Biden's experience and noted that the Draft Biden effort is essentially a campaign in waiting -- and "no one has told them to stop."

"The vice president just inspires me -- his strength after personal tragedy, but also that whenever there's been gridlock in Washington, it's the vice-president that works with Republicans," Ring said. "He speaks from his heart. His lines don't sound poll-tested and rehearsed. Sometimes that leads to gaffes, but I'll take gaffes over someone who's not genuine, who's robotic."

Hillary Clinton and Republicans like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Ring added, are struggling because they don't sound real enough.

"Bernie Sanders, who I don't think is electable in the general election, has at least demonstrated that people are hungry for an alternative" in the Democratic primary, Ring said. "I'm certainly not a Donald Trump supporter by any means, but he is resonating, and he's resonating because he's not coming off as a robot."

September 27, 2015

Hillary Clinton heads to Broward College

@PatriciaMazzei

Hillary Clinton will swing by Broward College at 2:30 p.m. Friday for a "grassroots organizing meeting," her campaign said Sunday. Blue Broward, of course, is the heart of Florida Democratic politics.

The Democrat will be in South Florida for three big-money fundraisers. Her campaign had said the candidate would hold a public event in Fort Lauderdale; it will actually take place in Davie, at Broward College's Hugh Adams Central Campus B. George Mayer Gymnasium.

"During the event, Clinton will lay out the case for her campaign and directly ask supporters to get involve," the campaign said in an advisory to reporters.

Members of the public can sign up to attend here.

September 25, 2015

Broward Election Supervisor Brenda Snipes won't say whether she is seeking final term

Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes who filed for re-election Monday isn’t ready to say yet if she wins if this will be her last term.

Snipes, a Democrat, told the Miami Herald today that before she leaves office she wants to implement prepaid absentee ballots which will begin in 2016 and online voter registration which the state Legislature determined won’t start until 2017.

Secretary of State Ken Detzner attempted to thwart online voter registration and claimed that it could lead to "forces of evil" disrupting the 2016 presidential election but Gov. Rick Scott signed it into law.

In 2003, Gov. Jeb Bush appointed Snipes to replace Miriam Oliphant after she botched the 2002 primary. Snipes then went on to win her next three elections easily.

Snipes, of Lauderdale Lakes, will face Hollywood political consultant and Democrat David Brown who lost a race for the supervisor’s position in 2000. He has raised about $15,000.Two other Democrats filed to run in July but have raised no money: Rubin Young and Willie Floyd Roberson. (No Republicans have filed to run in the left-leaning county.)

Snipes has had a contentious relationship with the Broward County Commissioners who fund her office. Voters can expect Brown to criticize Snipes for some of those problems she has had with commissioners including criticism she faced after her contract attorney, Burnadette Norris-Weeks, donated money to a county commission candidate who ultimately lost.

Snipes asked the Florida Bar for an opinion regarding whether a contract attorney can give money to candidates. The Florida Bar told the Miami Herald that any such query is confidential and would not provide any information about it. However Snipes said that the Bar told her that there was nothing in state law that prohibited Norris-Weeks from donating to candidates.

Asked if she plans to change any of her office rules as a result of the Florida Bar’s advice, Snipes said “I haven’t made any flat decisions. Burnadette and I did talk about it. I don’t think she will be making those contributions to whomever she may have contributed to before.”

September 22, 2015

Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes files for re-election

Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes filed for re-election Monday and will face other Democratic challengers.

Snipes, a Lauderdale Lakes resident, told the Miami Herald in April that she planned to run in 2016 but that wasn’t official until she submitted the paperwork which allows her to start fundraising.

In 2003, Gov. Jeb Bush removed Miriam Oliphant from office after she botched the 2002 primary. Bush appointed Snipes who then went on win her next three elections easily.

Snipes will face Hollywood political consultant and Democrat David Brown who lost a race for the supervisor’s position in 2000. He has raised about $15,000.Two other Democrats filed to run in July but have raised no money: Rubin Young and Willie Floyd Roberson. (No Republicans have filed to run in the left-leaning county.)

Snipes has had a contentious relationship with the Broward County Commissioners who fund her office. Voters can expect Brown to criticize Snipes for some of those problems she has had with commissioners including criticism she faced after her contract attorney, Burnadette Norris-Weeks, donated money to a county commission candidate who ultimately lost.

September 09, 2015

Sen. Chris Smith to run for Broward County Commission

State Sen. Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, will take on Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness in what will be the most competitive race for a seat on the nine-member board.

Smith, who faces term limits next year, filed his paperwork to run this week. He faces the unusual challenge of running against someone with a similar name on the ballot.

Christopher Lavon Smith -- the senator -- will face Robert D. “Chris” Smith in the Democratic primary along with candidates Milagro Canizares and McKinley Williams. The black majority district is overwhelmingly Democratic -- no Republicans have filed.

“Last time I beat a Chris Smith,” said senator Smith referring to his 2012 victory over Christopher Chris Smithmyer. “I’ve beaten Chris Smiths before.”

As longtime elected officials in Broward, both Holness and Smith are well-known in the district and will be able to rake in a lot of donations from those who do business with the county.

Holness has raised about $125,000 while the other candidates have not listed any donations so far.

Holness, a former Lauderhill city commissioner who now lives in Plantation, won his county seat in 2010 after Commissioner Joe Eggelletion was convicted of corruption. (Remember the money in the golf bag?) Holness was the first Jamaican-born person elected to the county commission and is a real estate agent and mortgage broker.

Smith, a lawyer, served in the state house for eight years and now faces term limits in the senate next year.

Many former state legislators have won seats on the Broward County Commission. Next year, former state senators Nan Rich and Steve Geller -- both Democrats -- are also running for separate seats.

District 9 spans parts of several cities including Fort Lauderdale, Plantation, Sunrise, Lauderhill, Lauderdale Lakes, Tamarac, Oakland Park and North Lauderdale.

September 02, 2015

Protesters expected at Joe Biden meeting about Iran at Davie JCC

Activists protesting the Iran deal are expected outside a meeting between Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, and Jewish leaders in Broward Thursday morning.

Wasserman Schultz, who is also the Democratic National Committee chair, helped arrange the meeting which will take place at the David Posnack Jewish Community Center in Davie. She is undecided about how she will vote on the Iran deal later this month.

Only a portion of the event will be open to the press -- likely statements by Biden and Wasserman Schultz and it’s unclear if they will take questions.

The protest is being led by Americans United Against the Deal, a group of activists who oppose the deal.

On Wednesday, Biden will give a speech about higher education at Miami Dade College and attend a fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee at the home of Stephen Bittel in Coconut Grove.

September 01, 2015

Will Senator Eleanor Sobel run for Hollywood mayor?

Hollywood Mayor Peter Bober recently announced that he won’t seek re-election next year, fueling speculation that potential candidates include Democratic state Sen. Eleanor Sobel.

Sobel says she will delay a decision about whether to run until March.

(Hat tip to browardbeat.com for posting Bober’s letter and the gossip about Sobel.)

Sobel would be a strong candidate for mayor because of her long ties to the city where she lives and once served as a city commissioner. Sobel is well-known among voters because she also served in the state House, Broward school board and now the senate.

But Sobel is no shoe-in for the Nov. 8, 2016 election.

City Commissioner Patty Asseff, a realtor, told Naked Politics that she will run for the open seat. Technically the race is non-partisan but it will end up with some partisan undertones if Asseff runs against Sobel. Asseff's chancs can't be dismissed in this left-leaning city because she has support in her district after winning it twice in a row and has been outspoken about preparing her city for climate change which could draw her some Democratic voters.  

In a press release, Sobel was vague about her future political intentions:

“I have been receiving a number of inquiries about this seat.  Given my love for Hollywood, my years of service to this community and the fact that I am term-limited from the State Senate, I certainly understand the inquiries. However, given my work as a Chair of a vital Senate committee and the critical nature of the upcoming special session, I am forestalling any decision until after the legislative session is completed in March.”

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August 20, 2015

House prepares to reject Senate congressional district changes

@JeremySWallace

The Florida House is preparing to reject the Florida Senate’s plan to create an East Hillsborough County-based Congressional district championed by Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon. Instead the House is pushing a new plan that makes changes to South Florida, particularly in and around Sunrise.

House redistricting leader Rep. Jose Oliva, R-Miami, submitted a new amendment to a base plan the two chambers are working on that strips Lee’s proposal to most of eastern and southern Hillsborough into the 15th Congressional district, now represented by U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland.

Instead Oliva’s plan returns the map to the original plan, which would shift 150,000 southern Hillsborough residents into the 17th District, represented now by U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota. That in turn would force Sarasota County to be split into two Congressional districts for the first time in decades. The southern half of Sarasota County would be represented by U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, a Republican who lives in Okeechobee County.

But Oliva's plan has additional changes, particularly for South Florida.

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August 14, 2015

End of an era in Broward: Mitch Ceasar is no longer Dem chair -- at least for now

Earlier this week Mitch Ceasar temporarily stepped aside from his position as Broward Democratic chair to run for county clerk of courts.

Ceasar, who was first elected chair in 1996, is running for the seat being vacated by Howard Forman who is retiring. By temporarily resigning, Ceasar has ceded his party position at least through the August 2016 primary.

“It’s an extension of my community activities and as a lawyer for 35 years and a practicing lawyer -- one who actually goes to the courthouse -- I have a good perspective,” Ceasar said.

Ceasar has also been a lobbyist in the past although he said he currently doesn’t have any lobbying clients.

While Ceasar, a longtime lawyer from Plantation, is well-known among party activists his race for the clerk position is no slam dunk because he will have to campaign to become known among the general electorate. Ceasar has been elected party chair by the Democratic Executive Committee five times but some of those races have been divisive battles and he doesn’t have the support of all activists. The party group has faced criticism for low voter turnout in non-presidential years.

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