October 20, 2016

Broward GOP voter nixes idea for car race on election day


Republican voter Aaron Nevins has nixed his idea to hold a car race on a major Broward road on election day, an event he proposed because he said he didn't want to vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

Nevins, who formerly worked for state Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale and his the son of political blogger Buddy Nevins,  had sought to close a portion of U.S. 441 on Nov. 8th to hold an amateur car race. But it was clear that the Broward Sheriff's Office was not keen on his proposal and it looked unlikely he would get approval. Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes vowed to fight any proposal to shut down a major road on election day.

Nevins said his proposal drew support as well as detractors.

"I had someone local contact me, they wanted to lend me their Tesla for the race.  I had someone out in Texas who wanted to bring a mustang in.  I had a sign company offer to donate barricades and such. Lots of people wanted a "minivan" circuit. 
There was support building, but also there was stiff opposition from the local leadership and a lawsuit in the horizon," he said. 
"I respect a lot of the local elected and appointed officials who reached out and asked me to reconsider. So in the spirit of cooperation with those officials, I decided to withdraw my notice at this time." 
Hat tip to @browardpolitics for reporting that Nevins' had withdrawn his proposal for a race.


October 19, 2016

Broward prosecutors won't charge anyone for early posting of election results

Broward voters brenda jwr


Broward prosecutors announced Wednesday that no one will be criminally charged for posting election results before polls closed on primary night.

VR Systems, a contractor for the Broward Supervisor of Elections, took responsibility after results from early voting and absentee ballots were posted about 20 minutes before polls closed Aug. 30.

It is a felony to release results while voters are still casting ballots. However, assistant state attorney Timothy Donnelly concluded that while results were negligently posted early, there was no evidence that it was intentional.

“There is insufficient evidence that anyone purposely intended to post any election results prior to the closing of the polls, in violation of the criminal statutes...,” he wrote in a memo released Wednesday. “It is unfortunate that some results were reported early and other election results were delayed and reported late. Parties have promised to take measures to insure that this does not happen again.”

Keep reading here.


October 14, 2016

GOP voter seeks to close major Broward road on election day


A Republican voter in Broward wants to shut down a stretch of a major roadway on election day for an amateur road race because he is discouraged about his choices for president.

Aaron Nevins, a former aide to State Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff and son of political blogger Buddy Nevins, sent a letter to the Broward Sheriff’s Office Thursday seek to close part of U.S. 441 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 8 (hat tip Sun Sentinel).

“The major candidates aren’t very compelling -- I’d like to do something else that day,” said Nevins who said he won’t vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. “I’m the type of person who normally would be at the polls, go in and advocate usually for a Republican candidate. Right now I don’t think that’s exciting so I’d rather spend the day racing.”

While BSO didn't deny Nevins' request, the agency has sought so much additional information from Nevins that it appears it would be tough for him to pull it off.

Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes denounced the proposal to close part of the busy thoroughfare on election day.

“I will do everything I can to stop it,” she said.

Nevins wants to close a 1.5-mile portion of 441 north of State Road 84. The stretch is in unincorporated Broward and goes through part of Broward’s black community -- a key voting bloc for Democrats.

From Nevins’ press release:

"Today we mailed by certified letter a notification to Sheriff Israel of our intent to host this race, which is the right of any Floridian under the law,” said Aaron Nevins, president of Painted Dog Productions.  “I look forward to working with Sheriff Israel pursuant to his duties under Florida Statute 549.02 to ensure the safety of our community as we shut down 441 and Davie Blvd. Extension for this race."

Florida Statute 549.01, enacted in 1905, gives all Floridians the right to notify the sheriff of their intent to host a race. sheriff allowed to charge $2 per deputy, per day to have deputies to assist us.

“Florida Law says it is our duty to notify the sheriff and we have fulfilled our requirements under the law to host this race.” said Nevins. "I look forward to working with the sheriff to take reasonable steps necessary to protect the public during this race."

The race will last from 7:00am to 7:00 PM on Election Day, November 8, 2016 and will likely result in the closure of Davie Blvd Extension, as well as 441 in both directions.

A BSO lawyer sent back a response to Nevins Friday afternoon seeking more than one dozen pieces of additional information including a diagram of the course, a list of participants, a crowd control plan and a copy of permits.

Nevins said that he chose 441 because it is in unincorporated Broward. A separate statute allows cities to regulate such races within their jurisdictions and it has more stringent criteria that Nevins said he couldn’t meet.

He denied that the road closure will block voters’ access.

“There is plenty of opportunities for people to vote,” said Nevins, who plans to vote by mail or at an early site. “My goal is to go out on election day and have a fun time. I don’t think this is going really block people.”

Painted Dog Productions is a company Nevins formed that hasn’t previously done anything. Nevins works as a political consultant for local races in the state.

For the record, he drives a black Honda CRV.

October 06, 2016

Broward emergency center's AC went down for hours before Hurricane Matthew


Think that the Broward Emergency Operations Center would be the coolest, most comfortable building to await the storm? Think again.

At about 7 a.m., the air conditioning chiller went out in the center in Plantation. It took the contractors a couple of hours to get to the center.

A lizard was found in a chiller but Broward Mayor Marty Kiar would not pin the blame with certainty on the animal.

“It was a gecko -- that was not necessarily the reason the AC went down,” Kiar said.

The rest of the equipment -- such as computers -- are fully functional so the lack of AC doesn’t affect the ability of the county to help the public, Kiar said.

Shortly before 11 a.m., Kiar said that the county's public works director Tom Hutka told him that the AC had been fixed.

"We should be fine going forward," Kiar said.

It must be coming back slowly however because it still feels very steamy inside.

Emergency director Miguel Ascarrunz said that a generator can't rectify the chiller situation.

"It's the chiller that went kaput," he said.

The EOC is the main building where about 300 workers from the county and cities prepare for and respond to the storm.

This post has been updated


September 30, 2016

Voter at Broward Hillary Clinton rally: 'This time is for overcoming the second ceiling'



Broward Democrats have waited nearly a year to hear Hillary Clinton at a major public rally in their county.

They waited in line as the thunder cackled and ignored suggestions from police officers to seek shelter elsewhere inside or return to their cars. This was a fired-up and heavily female crowd that wasn't going to miss their chance to hear Clinton.

The crowd included first-time voters, immigrants from the Caribbean, Muslims, Jews -- and a feminist wearing a Miss Piggy t-shirt.

Here is a snapshot of what they said:

Rukhsana Ayyub, a 62-year-old Coconut Creek voter, emigrated from Pakistan when she was 23.

"I have a message for Trump," said Ayyub, who works for a nonprofit. "I am an immigrant. I am a Muslim. I am proud to pay my taxes."

Ayyub said she found Trump's comments about a Muslim registry "very disturbing."

"We all have demons, discrimination inside but Hillary Clinton is encouraging us to be better humans," she said.

American voters shattered the first ceiling by electing Obama, she said.

"This time is for overcoming the second ceiling," she said, reeling off a long list of countries including in the Third World already led by women.

Pepper Thompson, 56, a retired school librarian from Coconut Creek wore her "Miss Piggy" t-shirt to send a message to Donald Trump. (A former Miss Universe, Alicia Machado, said Trump called her Miss Piggy.)

"I wanted to show Donald he can throw insults around but he is the one who is sexist, racist...," she said.

Thompson was thrilled that Clinton was appearing in Coral Springs.

"I've been dying to see her," said Thompson, who has been volunteering to register voters.

Kathryn Kvech, 39, pulled her four children -- age ranging from 5 to 12 -- out of school early to hear Clinton.

"I am raising my children to be kind people," said the Coral Springs stay-at-home mother and Democrat. "Hillary promotes kindness."

Marilyn St. Julien, a black voter from Tamarac, said that Clinton needs to "keep doing what she is doing" to turn out black voters.

"She sympathizes with blacks,  Black Lives Matter, stuff like that," said St. Julien, a 48-year-old nurse.

Black voters will ultimately turn out for Clinton, she predicted.

"Everybody I know are for Hillary," she said.

Some black voters said they have no doubts that on Nov. 8th, black voters will turn out for Clinton.

"I love everything about her," said Maureen Fuller, 58, of Margate who works at Walmart and is originally from Jamaica. "I like her experience. She will always be for women and looking out for us. When the day comes to vote black people will go out and vote for her."

Miami Herald photo by Pedro Portal 


September 29, 2016

Hillary Clinton campaign: 'Trump’s business with Cuba appears to have broken the law'




A day before her visit to South Florida, Hillary Clinton's campaign pounced on the Newsweek article that concludes Donald Trump's company violated the U.S. trade embargo with Cuba.

“Trump’s business with Cuba appears to have broken the law, flouted U.S. foreign policy, and is in complete contradiction to Trump’s own repeated, public statements that he had been offered opportunities to invest in Cuba but passed them up," said Clinton advisor Jake Sullivan in a statement. "This latest report shows once again that Trump will always put his own business interest ahead of the national interest - and has no trouble lying about it."

Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts paid at least $68,000 to a consulting firm in late 1998 in an attempt to give Trump’s business a head start in Cuba if the U.S. loosened or lifted trade sanctions, according to the front-page Newsweek report, titled “The Castro Connection.” The consulting firm, Seven Arrows Investment and Development Corp., later instructed the casino company on how to make it look like legal spending for charity.

The news could hurt Trump's efforts to win the Cuban American vote in Miami.

Clinton speaks in Coral Springs Friday afternoon where she is courting Democratic voters including blacks and Hispanics. It's unclear if she will use her speech to bash Trump about the embargo. In 2015 while in Miami, Clinton announced her support for lifting the embargo.

- with Patricia Mazzei



September 28, 2016

Cory Booker to attend Clinton fundraiser in Broward

FullSizeRender (15)@PatriciaMazzei

Miramar Vice Mayor Barbara Sharief will raise money for Hillary Clinton's campaign Saturday, with U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey headlining the event.

Booker is a top Clinton campaign surrogate, especially in the African-American community. With polls showing Clinton running head-to-head against Donald Trump in Florida, her team has stepped up its outreach to black voters, airing radio and TV ads aimed at drawing them to the polls.

Donors must contribute at least $250 to get into Sharief's fundraiser, though tickets at that contribution level were limited, according to an invitation obtained by the Miami Herald. Other donation levels are $500, $2,700 and $5,000.

September 20, 2016

Trump camp says it has 3 offices in Miami-Dade, 2 in Broward


Donald Trump's campaign will inaugurate three Miami-Dade County field offices Tuesday, along with a second one in Broward County, his team said.

As part of a statewide "Trump Tuesday" plan to mobilize supporters and volunteers, the campaign will open offices in Miami, Hialeah and West Dade, and in Coral Springs. Trump had already set a campaign location in Fort Lauderdale.

His campaign has trailed far behind Hillary Clinton's in ground operations, though it's been moving quickly to catch up under new Florida chief Susie Wiles. A Huffington Post reporter recently toured Trump offices across the state and found little going on in them yet.

Below is the list of offices provided by the Trump campaign:

Continue reading "Trump camp says it has 3 offices in Miami-Dade, 2 in Broward" »

September 09, 2016

Broward to offer maximum early voting hours

Voting (1)


Broward County will offer the maximum number of early voting hours in advance of the presidential election -- longer than initially planned.

The county will offer early voting from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Monday, Oct. 24 through Sunday, Nov. 6.

A brochure on the website of the Broward Supervisor of Elections states that early voting hours will be from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. for two weeks.

The Miami Herald had asked Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes if she planned to keep those hours after Miami-Dade County announced it would offer the maximum 168 hours of early voting. Snipes' assistant told us in an email today that "early voting hours will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for a period of 14 days."

There had been some discussions among Democrats about whether the county needed the maximum number of early voting hours.

Sen. Chris Smith, who lost his race for County Commission, said he spoke with Snipes about early voting during the primary which drew only 16 percent turnout -- the lowest in the state.

"I mentioned to her the general will be much different and she needs to maximize the hours," Smith said. "She said she was looking into it."

Election supervisors have until Oct. 9th to set the hours. Statewide early voting doesn't have to begin until Oct. 29.

There were long lines during the 2012 election which prompted a change in state law to allow more early voting hours. Broward has about 1.1 million registered voters -- including the highest number of Democrats in the state -- so it is expected to turn out in large numbers for the race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Election day is Nov. 8th, but it's possible that half or more of voters will cast ballots before election day at early voting sites or by mail.

- Patricia Mazzei contributed to this article


Trump campaign to hold 'Day of Action' in Broward Saturday


Florida's bluest county will see a whole lot of Donald Trump campaign action Saturday.

The campaign for the Republican will open it's first Broward County office in Fort Lauderdale, organize volunteers at multiple fast food and coffee shops across the county and bring a campaign RV to a Haitian community event. 

The "Day of Action" includes organizing volunteers in multiple Broward cities to go door-knocking, according to an email sent to the Broward Republican Executive Committee. Door-knocking is also planned in Hispanic neighborhoods in Miami-Dade County.

A Trump campaign RV will stop by the Haitian Community Resource Fair at Franklin Park, 2501 Franklin Drive, in Fort Lauderdale from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.

The Trump campaign will hold a grand opening of its first South Florida office on Saturday afternoon at 800 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale at 1 p.m.

The Trump campaign also plans to open an office at 1401 University Drive #301 Coral Springs on Sept. 13, according to an email sent to Broward Republicans from Dolly T. Rump, the Broward County chair for Trump campaign. The grand opening will be held from 5-8 p.m.

In total, seven Trump offices are expected to open soon in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.