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Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
Home country: United States
Current location: Bryan, Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 02:57 AM
Number of posts: 96,711

About Me

Retired/disabled middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

Tim Canova wants a state and federal investigation into why Broward County SOE destroyed ballots in

Tim Canova wants a state and federal investigation into why Broward County SOE destroyed ballots in 2016 race

South Florida law professor and 2016 Democratic congressional candidate Tim Canova is calling for a congressional investigation into why Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes destroyed all of the ballots in his 2016 primary race against Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Florida’s 23rd Congressional District.

Canova lost to Wasserman Schultz by 13 points in their bitter Democratic primary in the CD-23 race in the summer of 2016.

The revelation that Snipes’ office had destroyed all of the ballots came about only after both Canova and independent reporter Lulu Friesdat made several different public records requests over the past year for access to the paper ballots used in the August 2016 primary. Canova, a law professor at Florida International University, then iled a lawsuit against the Broward County elections head under Florida’s public records law this June after he grew weary of waiting for her to respond to his request to inspect the ballots in his August 2016 primary. The lawsuit revealed that Snipes ordered the destruction of all the ballots in October, several months after he made his initial request. According to election law, Snipes was required under federal law to maintain the ballots for 22 months, and voting experts quoted in a POLITICO Florida published on Friday maintain that there’s no question that Snipes’ office has broken the law.

“The ballot destruction raises serious questions: Why engage in this blatant lawbreaking? To cover up something worse? What has the Supervisor of Elections been hiding?” Canova asked in a statement issued Friday afternoon. “We demand state and federal investigations into the ballot destruction and prosecution of illegal wrongdoing.”

Read more: http://floridapolitics.com/archives/251908-tim-canova-wants-state-federal-investigation-broward-county-soe-destroyed-ballots-2016-race

State labor union re-elects top officers

This weekend, delegates to the Florida AFL-CIO 2017 Biennial Convention unanimously reelected Mike Williams as President and Andrew Spar as Secretary-Treasurer of the state federation, according to a press release.

Williams represents the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and Spar is with the Florida Education Association (FEA).

“I am honored that my union sisters and brothers have given me the opportunity to serve as President for another term,” said Williams, an electrician and Jacksonville native. He will begin his third term as President, having been first elected in 2009.

“The Florida AFL-CIO will continue to do what we do best, elevate the voices and shared values of the working people in our great state,” he added.

Read more: http://floridapolitics.com/archives/251966-labor-union-top-officers

Bill seeks to prevent drivers license suspensions in non-driving offenses

No one should lose their driver’s license over an infraction that isn’t related to driving.

That’s the premise of a bill (SB 1270) filed Friday by St. Petersburg Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes.

“It is time to address the growing problem of non-driving related license suspensions,” Brandes said in a press release announcing the bill. “Stop the madness and quit taking away people’s driver’s licenses for unrelated offenses, especially failing to pay fines and fees.”

The bill would prohibit suspending someone’s driver’s license for various offenses unrelated to driving – except for failing to pay child support.

Read more: http://floridapolitics.com/archives/251929-bill-seeks-prevent-drivers-license-suspensions-non-driving-offenses

State law strikes down Miami Beach minimum wage hike, says appeals court

In a win for business groups, a South Florida appeals court Wednesday said state law prevents Miami Beach from moving forward with a local minimum wage.

A panel of the 3rd District Court of Appeal upheld a circuit judge's ruling against the city minimum wage, which was expected to take effect in 2018.

The appeals court said a state "preemption" law bars local governments from establishing minimum wages. The Miami Beach City Commission last year approved an ordinance that set a minimum wage of $10.31 an hour to take effect in 2018, with the wage going up $1 a year to $13.31 on Jan. 1, 2021.

That is higher than the statewide minimum wage, which is $8.10 this year and will go to $8.25 in 2018. Opponents, including the Florida Retail Federation, the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, filed a lawsuit challenging the ordinance.

Read more: http://www.tampabay.com/florida-politics/buzz/2017/12/14/state-law-strikes-down-miami-beach-minimum-wage-hike-says-appeals-courts/

Florida Gov. and House speaker reach deal over lottery

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The administration of Gov. Rick Scott has reached a deal that should end a legal battle over the Florida Lottery.

The state's lottery department agreed last week to change a massive new contract that had been challenged by House Speaker Richard Corcoran. A copy of the new agreement shows the state is dropping a proposal to significantly increase the number of automated ticket machines around the state.

A judge in March ruled lottery officials lacked the legal authority to approve a 15-year contract worth more than $700 million. Attorneys for Corcoran had argued a contract with IGT Global Solutions was illegal because it exceeded the Florida Lottery's authorized budget. Attorneys hired by the Scott administration maintained it was legal.

The Scott administration had appealed the March ruling, but it is expected the appeal will now be dropped.

(short article)

Prosecutors oppose ex-congresswoman's fraud sentence appeal

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Federal prosecutors are opposing ex-U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown's request to remain free on bond while she appeals her fraud sentence.

Acting U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow filed the motion Sunday in U.S. District Court.

Seventy-one-year-old Corrine Brown was sentenced to five years in prison and three years' probation for fraud and lying on her tax returns about a purported charity for poor students she used as a personal slush fund.

The once-powerful Democrat was ordered to surrender in January.

Read more: http://www.tampabay.com/florida-politics/buzz/2017/12/17/prosecutors-oppose-ex-congresswomans-fraud-sentence-appeal/

Florida citrus could finally see federal relief money

WASHINGTON – It appears disaster aid for Florida is on the way.

Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, said on Twitter that House leaders have agreed to $81 billion in emergency spending for hurricanes. The package includes $3.8 billion for agriculture losses.

Florida lawmakers in both parties had grown frustrated with a lack of relief money following Hurricane Irma, particularly for the state's citrus industry, which was already hard-hit by greening disease.

Rep. Vern Buchanan‏Verified account @VernBuchanan

Great news for FL: just got out of a meeting with House leaders -- significant disaster relief is on the way!

New bill includes $81 billion in emergency aid for hurricane recovery including $3.8 billion in assistance for agriculture. #sayfie

Rep. Tom Rooney, a member of the appropriations subcommittee on agriculture, released a statement:

The bill released today fully-funds my request to help Florida farmers recover from the storm, providing a total of $2.6 billion to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make direct payments to producers who've suffered hurricane-related crop losses this year. This has been a trying time for all of the state's farmers, ranchers, and growers who have been working tirelessly for months to recover from the devastation caused by Irma throughout Florida's Heartland. I am glad to say we finally cleared the first major hurdle by securing this funding in the latest disaster supplemental bill. I am grateful to House Leadership for working with me and all of the industry stakeholders in Florida to support this funding and for their commitment to getting this bill approved before the end of the year."

(short article)

Former Grovetown city clerk pleads guilty to federal crimes

Former Grovetown city clerk Vicky Capetillo pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court, admitting she stole from the city from 2011 through 2016.

Capetillo, 60, pleaded to theft from a federal program and money laundering. As part of the plea deal she agreed to forfeit $891,721, the total amount authorities believed she took from the city’s coffers, IRS Special Agent Jeff Hale testified Monday.

In 2015 alone, she deposited more than $186,000 in cash into her own bank account, money that she stole from the city, Hale said.

Capetillo used different schemes. One that netted her more than $756,000 in cash was using customers’ accounts to steal cash payments for city services. In September 2014, she took $13,5000 from funds the Federal Emergency Management Agency gave to Grovetown to compensate for damages from the 2014 ice storm, Hale said.

Read more: http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/2017-12-18/former-grovetown-city-clerk-pleads-guilty-federal-crimes

Plant Vogtle decision nears as calls to cancel grow

Experts including a former member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and a former U.S. Justice Department antitrust attorney gave reason after reason this week why the Plant Vogtle expansion should not continue if ratepayers have to pay for all of it.

The Public Service Commission’s own staff analysts agree.

But throughout three days of testimony, the five-member regulatory board repeatedly signaled its support for the budget-busting, delay-plagued project.

Among them was PSC vice chairman Tim Echols, who has made his pro-nuclear stance clear for months, including in an opinion piece he wrote for the Wall Street Journal in August. At the Vogtle hearing Tuesday, he allowed that public opinion seemed opposed to the project.

Read more: http://savannahnow.com/news/2017-12-15/plant-vogtle-decision-nears-calls-cancel-grow

Charlottesville police chief retires after criticism over white nationalist rally

The first African-American police chief of Charlottesville, Virginia, abruptly retired Monday, about two weeks after a scathing independent review criticized his "slow-footed response" to violence at a white nationalist rally this summer.

In a brief statement, the city did not give a reason for Chief Al Thomas' departure, which was effective immediately.

"Nothing in my career has brought me more pride than serving as the police chief for the city of Charlottesville," Thomas, 50, said in the statement. "I will be forever grateful for having had the opportunity to protect and serve a community I love so dearly."

Earlier this month, a former federal prosecutor hired by the city released a report that was sharply critical of Thomas and other law enforcement officials.

Read more here: http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/news/nation-world/article190386519.html
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