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September 03, 2015

Joe Biden, Debbie Wasserman Schultz to meet with Jews about Iran deal at JCC in Davie

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is facing one of the toughest decisions of her career: vote for President Barack Obama’s key Iran deal and risk alienating part of her base. Or vote against the deal, and risk having her loyalty questioned as head of the Democratic National Committee.

On Thursday, one of the Iran deal’s key supporters, Vice President Joe Biden, will meet with her and Jewish leaders in South Florida to push the president’s proposal at the David Posnack Jewish Community Center in Davie.

Wasserman Schultz, whose district runs from western Broward to Miami Beach, has not said whether she supports the agreement. But the Weston Democrat arranged the meeting, which suggests she wants the White House and Jewish leaders to hear each other’s opinions about the deal — even though by this point many have already staked out their position.

Wasserman Schultz turned down a Miami Herald request for an interview about the Iran meeting with Biden. Only a portion of the meeting, likely statements by Biden and Wasserman Schultz, will be public.

More here.

Florida black bear population rebounds, so state approves hunt

via @jenstaletovich

The hunt is on.

Despite months of protests and a lawsuit filed to stop it, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation commissioners on Wednesday took the final step in paving the way for an October bear hunt. Hunters will be allowed to kill up to 320 animals in bear country in four parts of the state.

The hunt will be the first in more than 20 years and narrowly passed after Commissioners Ron Bergeron and Robert Spottswood, who was appointed just this month, objected to hunt rules.

“You’re talking about an animal that’s an icon in this state,” Bergeron said at a field hearing that filled a Fort Lauderdale hotel ballroom with hunters in boots and conservationists waiving signs and carrying an oversized stuffed teddy bear.

First approved in April, the hunt has already drawn more than 1,900 hunters who have purchased an unlimited number of permits. Hunters will have at least two days starting Oct. 24 to kill bears in four populated areas in the Southwest Florida, North and Central Florida and the Panhandle. The hunt will be called off once the 320 quota is reached.

More here.

New manager of Miami-Dade city once accused of squandering Hurricane Andrew rebuilding cash

via @katielepri @CTeproff

Steve Shiver — the former Homestead mayor whom county auditors lambasted for squandering millions of dollars that was supposed to go toward rebuilding the city after Hurricane Andrew — is Opa-locka’s new city manager.

After a five-hour meeting interviewing nine candidates, the commission voted 3-2 on Wednesday afternoon to install Shiver, 49, as manager.

“It was almost a no-brainer,” said Opa-locka Commissioner Terence Pinder, highlighting Shiver’s past experience as a Miami-Dade County manager and Homestead mayor and councilman.

“It wasn’t very hard to see who the front-runner should be,” he added.

But what the Opa-locka commissioners didn’t talk about was how Shiver was nailed in a county audit for misusing county and city funds in a series of bad business deals connected to the city’s political elite. And they didn’t mention how he was part of an investment group that purchased a beloved Wild West theme park in the mountains of North Carolina, which the investors took into bankruptcy.

More here.

Jeb Bush on Donald Trump's line that he should speak English: 'I laughed'

@PatriciaMazzei

Jeb Bush went on ABC's Good Morning America Thursday to give his first impression of Donald Trump's suggestion that Bush speak more English and less Spanish.

"I laughed. I mean, this is a joke," Bush said.

Here's the relevant portion of his remarks:

I think Donald Trump is trying to insult his way to the presidency. It's not going to work. People want an uplifting, hopeful message.

People come to this country to pursue their dreams. Sometimes they start without speaking English but they learn English, and they add vitality to our to our country. 

And to say you only can speak English -- it's kind of ridiculous if you think about it. Are we going to close all the foreign-language classes?

Why would he have a contract with Univision for his beauty pageant? I mean, this is a diverse country. We should celebrate that diversity and embrace a set of shared values, and Mr. Trump doesn't believe in those shared values. He wants to tear us down. He doesn't believe in tolerance. He doesn't believe in the things have created the greatness of this country.

[...]

I laughed. I mean, this is a joke. I was in a press gaggle where people asked me a question in Spanish, and I answered it in Spanish. I was in a classroom -- La Progresiva High School -- where these young, beautiful kids all speak English, but they also speak Spanish. And one of them asked me a question in Spanish. I answered it. That's the reality of america. That's the goodness of America that's the kind of America we want. So part of it is, you laugh because it's so bizarre, but it's hurtful for a lot of people, and Mr. Trump knows this. He's appealing to people's angst and their fears rather than their higher hopes. 

Would he support Trump if Trump became the eventual GOP nominee?

"Yeah, I would of course. We need to be unified. We need to win."

The video clip below was cut by Bush's campaign. 

 

September 02, 2015

'Is this what modern day fascism looks like?' Miami GOP congressman asks about Donald Trump

@PatriciaMazzei

Miami Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo has already suggested 2016 GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump may be a Democratic ringer candidate. Now he's questioning Trump's call that rival Jeb Bush speak English as a possible sign of "modern day fascism."

Curbelo, a Bush supporter, took to Twitter late Wednesday to lambaste Trump's remark to Breitbart News that the bilingual Bush should speak English "while in the United States."

 

Trump's campaign didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ted Cruz ventures to land of Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, looking to pick off Jewish -- and Cuban -- support

@PatriciaMazzei

The Republican presidential candidate holding a top-dollar fundraiser Wednesday evening in Miami's ritzy suburb of Bal Harbour wasn't named Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz came to South Florida to woo Jewish donors as Congress prepares to vote on President Obama's nuclear deal with Iran. And while he didn't hold any public events -- and doesn't plan to anytime soon -- Cruz said in a phone interview with the Miami Herald that he hasn't written off the state just because two of his rivals live here.

"We have tremendous support in Florida, and I have been very, very encouraged. We've been down to Florida quite a number of times," he said. "We have raised a great deal from Florida."

Last quarter, Cruz trailed only Democrat Hillary Clinton and Bush and Rubio in Florida fundraising, pulling in $317,000 from the state -- more than two other Florida residents, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Cruz said he's centered his attention on the conservative grassroots and, Wednesday evening, on members of the Jewish community "deeply concerned" about the Iran agreement, which Cruz called "catastrophic." The fundraiser was to take place at the home of the Falic family, the conservative supporters of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Weston Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Politico reported.

The Texan said he also hopes to appeal to Cuban Americans as the son of a Cuban immigrant, Rafael Cruz. Republicans welcomed the younger Cruz to the Miami-Dade County Lincoln Day fundraising dinner last year though that was long before anyone had jumped into the presidential race.

"The reception was breathtaking and really gratifying," Cruz said. "No doubt a significant part of that is our shared heritage."

Cruz doesn't speak Spanish well, while Rubio (who is Cuban-American) and Bush (who's wife is Mexican-American) do. And Cruz takes a much harder line on immigration reform.

He said what binds him to Miami's Cuban community is growing up as the son of an exile.

"Our family understands full well the price of freedom and indeed that is precisely why I ran for office," Cruz said. "Because as a child growing up in our home, my father would say to me over and over again, 'When we faced oppression in Cuba, I had a place to flee to. If we lose our freedom here, where do we go?'"

Frederica Wilson calls Iran-deal decision 'difficult,' says country is 'war-weary'

@PatriciaMazzei    

U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, a Miami Gardens Democrat, said Wednesday she's still undecided on whether to support President Obama's nuclear deal with Iran.

But Wilson, a big Obama cheerleader, sounded like she was leaning toward yes.

"I haven't made up my mind, but I can tell you that I represent a war-weary country, and I represent a war-weary district," she told reporters after a speech by Vice President Joe Biden at Miami Dade College's North Campus. "And whatever I decide to do it will be to end confrontations, to end war."

Wilson added that she's "listening to both sides" and called the decision "difficult."

"You're standing in the heart of my district. This is a needy district. People need to work. They don't need to go to war."

Donald Trump quiere que Jeb Bush hable inglés

via @learyreports

“I like Jeb. He’s a nice man. But he should really set the example by speaking English while in the United States.”

-- Donald Trump, as quoted today by Breitbart News.

"Experience should be in a luxury hotel of 400 rooms or more. Effective supervisory skills. Bi-lingual English/Spanish desired. Should be detailed and highly organized. Must have flexible availability."

- Trump International (Miami) job description.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

In Miami, Joe Biden gets feel for what campaigning again would be like

0207 biden miami 0903 ADD

@PatriciaMazzei

Joe Biden came to Miami on Wednesday and sounded — at times — like a politician with another campaign in him.

Speaking at Miami Dade College’s North Campus about making higher education more affordable, the vice president touched on the sort of themes — immigration reform, the economy and the middle class — that presidential candidates like to deploy from the stump.

Biden isn’t running right now. But he’s thinking about it. And his two-day trip to Miami-Dade and Broward, the most Democratic counties in the country’s largest swing state, only stoked the fire among reporters and political observers that a Biden 2016 campaign could be for real.

“It’s amazing how good the school is. Look at all the press you’ve attracted,” Biden joked to about 150 people gathered at MDC’s Science Complex. “Their interest in community colleges impresses me. I hope that’s what they’re going to write about!”

He also made a reference to people unafraid to fail — a line that referred to the courage of older students returning to college that nevertheless could apply to potential candidates weighing a run for office.

“People who aren’t willing to risk failure never succeed,” Biden said. At the end of the event, when a couple of reporters yelled questions about his plans, Biden didn’t respond. An unidentified man in the audience, though, let his own feelings known: “Run, Joe!”

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