Posts Tagged ‘Miami Dade County’

Felonies in the voting booth? Miami-Dade prosecutors probe ballots cast by ineligible felons

Tuesday, August 14th, 2018

By Dan Christensen
Miami-Dade corruption prosecutors are investigating allegations that at least 275 ineligible felons voted illegally in the county’s November 2016 general election.
The post Felonies in the voting booth? Miami-Dade prosecutors probe ballots cast by ineligible felons appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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Miami-Dade’s Jordan wants to give wife of political ally $196K of county real estate for $10

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

By Francisco Alvarado
Miami-Dade Commissioner Barbara Jordan wants to give away three county-owned properties to a financially troubled non-profit company whose owner is married to her political ally, Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert.
The post Miami-Dade’s Jordan wants to give wife of political ally $196K of county real estate for $10 appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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After cruise line gripes, Miami-Dade scraps terminal bids – and $19 million in savings

Wednesday, December 27th, 2017

By Francisco Alvarado
A major cruise line strong-armed Miami-Dade County officials into killing the winning bid for a new terminal at PortMiami that would have saved $19 million in development costs so that the company could pick its own design and construction firms.
The post After cruise line gripes, Miami-Dade scraps terminal bids – and $19 million in savings appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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Village of Bal Harbour keeps residents in the dark

Monday, February 27th, 2017

Residents of Bal Harbour, one of the smallest municipalities in Miami-Dade County, continue to fight against the aggressive expansion efforts of the seaside town’s namesake shopping center, Bal Harbour Shops.
We first discussed the mall’s expansion plans — and the tactics of harassment and bullying it has employed to push them through — in a March 2016 piece entitled The Bullying of a Small Town.
In October, we detailed the last-ditch effort by the shopping center’s wealthy owners to remove political opponents from office, buy friends in Village Hall and impose their will of expansion on Bal Harbour’s residents and government.
Confident that overdevelopment will erode their town’s charm and exacerbate traffic nightmares, residents are pushing back on the Shops’ expansion hopes and advocating for sensible, thoughtful development.
In November, hundreds of residents opposed to the mall’s aggressive and unreasonable expansion plans signed petitions in support of charter amendments that call for responsible development and the protection of Village-owned property. The proposed charter amendments received more than enough support to be placed in front of voters for approval in a referendum.
Nevertheless, it appears Bal Harbour Shops’ tactics of harassment and investment of hundreds of thousands of dollars in a friendly, submissive government are now paying off, as Village Hall seems intent on blocking any challenges to the mall’s dreams of expansion.
Despite the widespread support for the proposed charter amendments and the lawful way the petitions were circulated and submitted, Village Clerk Dwight Danie has refused to accept them, effectively silencing scores of Bal Harbour voters.
Juan-Carlos “J.C.” Planas, Good Government for Bal Harbour’s attorney, claims that the Village has no grounds on which to refuse the petitions: “The Florida statutes have specific language on how to amend municipal charters. While municipalities can impose some criteria on the process if they so choose, Bal Harbour does

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Brandes urges Tri-Rail to hold off on controversial half-billion dollar contract, seeks inquiry

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

Saying he is concerned “it just doesn’t look right,” state Sen. Jeff Brandes, who chairs a key committee, said late Thursday he hopes the South Florida Regional Transit Authority does not award a controversial operations contract Friday that could be worth $511 million over ten years.
Brandes said he’s asking the staff of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development to look into the transit authority’s procurement process that led to this point, with five of six proposals being tossed on technical reasons and the authority then pushing a more expensive deal with the remaining bidder, Herzog Services.
Concerns about the deal were first reported earlier Thursday on, and on Brandes said he first learned of the deal and concerns surrounding it late Wednesday.
The transit authority said earlier Thursday it would not comment, due to rules requiring silence on the matter until the SFRTA Board of Trustees gets the presentation Friday.
Brandes said he hopes the transit authority board will postpone a decision for a few weeks. In the meantime, he’ll be gearing up his committee to look into it.
That’s no small matter for Tri-Rail. He said the SFRTA gets about $50 million a year in state subsidy. And that goes through his committee. That’s enough money essentially to cover the entire contract.
The Republican senator from St. Petersburg stressed that he’s not accusing anyone of of wrong-doing, and that he has no evidence of wrong-doing.
But he said that anytime a contract this big comes up there should be scrutiny, especially when the process essentially turned the competition into a one-bid deal, raising strong objections from the companies whose proposals were rejected in secret, for technical reasons, which they dispute.
“It just doesn’t look right,” Brandes said. “Here you have a $500 million, ten-year contract where you disqualify five of the six bidders, it

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Ken Reecy named interim head of Florida Housing

Friday, January 13th, 2017

Ken Reecy has been named Interim Executive Director of the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC), according to a press release.
Cissy Proctor, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, announced the move on Friday. Reecy currently serves as the agency’s Multifamily Program Director.
“Ken has extensive experience and is committed to helping Florida families secure safe, affordable housing in communities all across our state,” Proctor said in a statement. “He has a strong understanding of the unique programs used to meet different needs for affordable housing in Florida and is a respected leader at the agency.”
The release added, “A national search for a permanent Executive Director is underway.”
Steve Auger, the previous executive director, resigned after a scathing audit of the organization, the steward of state and federal affordable housing money, disclosed lavish spending on events for lenders and board members.
Auger oversaw expenses for “a $52,000 dinner (for lenders) that featured filet mignon, broiled lobster tails and a bar stocked with deluxe brand liquors,” the audit revealed. 
The agency also put on a board reception, spending “$300 for a bartender, $425 for a pork carving station and $420 for a Spanish charcuterie station.” It also awarded nearly $443,000 in bonuses to its employees.
Last year, federal prosecutors OK’d a criminal plea deal to an alleged $36 million housing fraud that involved the FHFC.
Prosecutors had alleged 70-year-old developer Lloyd Boggio of Carlisle Development Group and others defrauded the government out of millions that went through the FHFC.
They did so by padding South Florida affordable-housing projects to get federal tax credits and grants, then keeping the excess, according to case documents.
The audit also noted the agency “did not require sufficient documentation from underwriting agencies to support their denial of mortgage assistance to some applicants” and “did not take adequate steps to ensure that electronic fund transfers were going to authorized recipients.”
The post Ken Reecy named interim head of Florida Housing

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More than just the presidency: 10 down ballot races in Florida to watch on Election Day

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

Presidential races get all the attention, but it’s the folks down ballot that make the real decisions.
In the Sunshine State, there’s no shortage of high intensity — and sometimes high drama — battles for office.
And we aren’t talking about the races for state House and Senate. There have been allegations of election fraud in a mayor’s race, dirty tricks in a superintendent battle, and fights over genetically modified mosquitoes.
Here are 10 down ballot races and referendums we think you should be paying attention when the polls close on Tuesday
Miami-Dade County Mayoral
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez thought he had it in the bag.
Going into the Aug. 30 primary, Gimenez was believed to have a leg up on his competitors. Internal polls showed him ahead of the Raquel Regalado and five other competitors, enough to avoid a run-off.
Then the results came in: Gimenez got 48 percent of the vote; Regalado came in with 32 percent. That wasn’t enough to secure the win, and set the mayoral hopefuls up for a rumble in November.
And what a fight it has been. Regalado filed a lawsuit to disqualify Gimenez because a technicality. The lawsuit, according to WPLG in Miami, claimed the Miami-Dade election office received a qualifying check, which was rejected by the bank.
A Miami-Dade County dismissed the suit during a hearing last week.
The lawsuit wasn’t the only thing hanging over the election. In October, a 74-year-old woman was charged with two felony counts of marking another person’s ballot. The Miami Herald reported the woman’s coworkers caught her illegally marking ballots for Regalado.
Regalado told the Miami Herald that she didn’t know the person and it had “nothing to do with” her.
An October poll, according to the Miami Herald, showed Gimenez beating Regalado by 22 percentage points.
Kissimmee Mayoral
A bloody primary between hopefuls Jose Alvarez, Art Otero and Freddy

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Donald Trump tells backers to ‘watch the polls’ — but signups slow

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

Donald Trump regularly warns his crowds to closely watch polling places to prevent Democrats from stealing the election. But his campaign has failed to enlist many to serve as official poll watchers in major population centers, according to spot checks by The Associated Press.
In some key regions, Democratic monitors will far outnumber Republicans on Election Day.
The Trump team seeks volunteers on his website to “Help Me Stop Crooked Hillary From Rigging This Election.” But it’s unclear what the campaign does with its list — voters in Arizona and Virginia who signed up were never contacted.
While specific rules vary from state to state, poll watchers generally are registered voters appointed by the campaigns to sit in polling places and observe. They can point out potential problems to election officials and, in some states, challenge whether a voter is actually eligible. But they cannot campaign for their candidates or confront voters themselves.
In many of the largest cities in battleground states, Democratic poll watchers are set to substantially outnumber Republicans. Even in Philadelphia, a place Trump has singled out as being at high risk of vote fraud, there has been no surge in Trump poll watchers. The city had a total of 4,200 signups as of last week — only about 480 of them from the city’s 119,000 Republicans.
“I’m handling everything, and I would say this is about average,” said Joseph DeFelice, the head of Philadelphia’s Republican Party. DeFelice said he is concerned about how Republicans are treated on Election Day in some overwhelmingly Democratic neighborhoods, but said he isn’t worried by the absence of more observers.
When roughly 1,500 Republican poll watchers volunteered for the 2004 election, “that was way too many,” he said. “The Democrats will have three to four times the number of poll watchers that we do.”
It’s not clear why

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Miami-Dade Commissioner questions value of $3.7 million Beacon Council subsidy

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

By Francisco Alvarado
An elected official’s recent inquiry into The Beacon Council, a private agency that is tasked with keeping companies in Miami-Dade and attracting new ones, revealed that 10 firms that supposedly received assistance in the past year have either zero presence or no employees based locally.
The post Miami-Dade Commissioner questions value of $3.7 million Beacon Council subsidy appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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Buying political influence in a small town in Florida

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

Bal Harbour, a small Florida village of under 3,000 residents in Miami-Dade County, is home to Bal Harbour Shops, one of the most upscale and expensive shopping malls in the country.
In March, we wrote The Bullying of a Small Town, an examination of the mall’s tactics of intimidation and harassment employed in pursuit of its financial interests.
Owned by Whitman Family Development, the Shops is in the lucrative business of luxury retail, attracting shoppers with high-end brands such as Prada, Gucci and Neiman Marcus.
Now, it seems, Bal Harbour Shops is also in the business of politics; its owners have poured tens of thousands of dollars into the Village’s upcoming elections in an effort to build a bigger shopping center.
For years, the Whitman Lazenby family — owners of the Shops — has aggressively pursued a $400 million expansion project that initially aimed to double the area of its upscale mall and add nearly 1,000 additional parking spaces.
Despite residents’ concerns that the Shops has failed to address the traffic nightmares that would result from the proposed expansion, the Shops and its owners have stopped at nothing to impose their will on the Village’s residents and government.
After its expansion plan met with resistance from residents and elected officials, the Shops and its wealthy owners began spending tens of thousands of dollars in what seems to be a last-ditch effort to remove political opponents from office.
The Whitman Lazenby family has disproportionately bankrolled the campaigns of two political newcomers with no experience in local government, David Albaum and Jeffrey Freimark, both of whom support the Shop’s expansion plans.
Albaum, a retired financial consultant, has raised a remarkable $37,100 in campaign contributions to date. For context, he has raised roughly 23 times more than his opponent.
Even more remarkably, $19,000 — over 50 percent of all contributions made to

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Zika test urged for pregnant women throughout Miami-Dade

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

The government on Wednesday recommended Zika testing for all pregnant women who recently spent time anywhere in Florida’s Miami-Dade County.
The county is the only area in the continental U.S. where mosquitoes have been spreading the virus since the summer. Testing is recommended for pregnant women who lived in — or visited — Miami-Dade since August 1, whether or not they have symptoms.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had previously urged testing for pregnant women who had been in one of the county’s Zika “hot zones.” On Wednesday, it extended the advice to the entire county.
New cases continue to come in from the Miami area “and we want to be cautious,” said the CDC’s Dr. Denise Jamieson. There have been more than 150 Zika cases in the county blamed on local mosquitoes.
Zika is mainly spread by mosquitoes, but can be spread through sex. Most infected people don’t get sick. It can cause a mild illness, with fever, rash and joint pain. But infection during pregnancy can lead to severe brain-related birth defects.
The new testing advice also extends to pregnant women who weren’t in Miami-Dade themselves, but had unprotected sex with someone who had been in the county recently.
The advice for travel to Miami-Dade has not changed: Pregnant women should postpone travel to the county if possible and stay out of the two remaining “red zones” — Miami Beach and an area just north of the Little Haiti neighborhood.
Until this summer, the only cases of Zika in the continental U.S. were connected to travel to areas with Zika epidemics, mostly the Caribbean and Latin America. Of the more than 3,900 cases to date, nearly 900 were pregnant women.
Dr. Neil Silverman, a UCLA professor of obstetrics, said doctors are probably already taking precautions with their patients who traveled to the Florida county.

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Who watches the low-income housing watchmen? (Part III)

Monday, October 10th, 2016

Now that the ink is dry on a federal criminal plea deal that put an end to a $36 million housing fraud, what will legislators do now to make sure it doesn’t happen again?
To recap, federal prosecutors had alleged 70-year-old developer Lloyd Boggio of Carlisle Development Group and others defrauded the government out of millions. They did so by padding South Florida affordable-housing projects to get federal tax credits and grants, then keeping the excess.
Last month, Boggio pleaded guilty and agreed to turn over his Coconut Grove mansion and an initial $2 million in cash to begin making amends.
This waste of taxpayer money happened because a key watchdog agency seemingly fell asleep at the switch: the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC), led by Steve Auger, its executive director.
Court records tell us “FHFC authorized the allocation of (the) tax credits and grant monies,” which raises the question of how no one at the agency had an inkling they were getting swindled.
But the corporation was created by the state Legislature, which means it should answer to some pretty powerful people. The following lawmakers should be outraged their own constituents got screwed and should demand answers:
— Jack Latvala, the incoming Senate Appropriations chairman. He formerly headed the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development, which had oversight of the agency.
Several years ago, Latvala’s feud with Auger nearly cost him his job. Also, Latvala already is loaded for bear over municipal utilities’ storm preparedness, for one example, so the agency should tread lightly if he starts asking questions—which he should.
— State Sen. Anitere Flores. She also represents part of Miami-Dade and has the ear of Senate President-designate Joe Negron.
— State Reps. Jose Felix Diaz and Carlos Trujillo. The money that was heisted was supposed to go toward housing for Miam-Dade’s

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Growers: Bromeliads aren’t to blame for Zika in Miami Beach

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

Just over a month ago, Miami Beach Botanical Garden was home to over 2,000 colorful, water-trapping bromeliads, some featuring red flowers that burst like fireworks from dark green spirals. Identified as breeding grounds for mosquitoes that carry Zika, they’ve all been pulled out, leaving shallow depressions in flower beds and exposing irrigation lines.
Walking through the quiet haven in South Beach recently, executive director Sandy Shapiro pointed to where spiky yellow leaves once topped a block of stone at the entrance gate and where thick leaves with purple speckles would have served as camouflage for a 3-foot iguana sunbathing at the edge of a small pool. Only mulch fills those spaces now.
“It’s been disastrous,” Shapiro said at a meeting she hosted Sept. 20 to calm gardeners and growers angry about recommendations to uproot bromeliads to stop the spread of Zika.
City officials pulled all bromeliads from the 2.6-acre garden in South Beach, as well as from medians and parks, at the end of August. They also recommended all Miami Beach residents and businesses do the same, because mosquitoes can breed in water trapped by bromeliads’ cylindrical centers, formed by leaves growing out in spiral patterns. Residents elsewhere in South Florida also have followed suit.
The garden is within the large portion of Miami Beach, a 7-mile-long barrier island, that Florida health officials believe is the only current area of active Zika transmission.
The state’s bromeliad-growing community has reacted with dismay, saying bromeliads have been scapegoated and that instead of fueling Zika fears, the city could be adjusting landscaping practices to make bromeliads less hospitable to mosquitoes.
Bromeliads aren’t the only plants that trap water in their leaves, and growers say debris like lawn clippings that fall into gutters, flower pots or other items that collect water are as much to blame for providing organic materials

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More Miami-Dade mosquitoes test positive for Zika

Friday, September 16th, 2016

More mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus have been found in the Miami Beach area.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced Friday it detected Zika in one mosquito sample from a small area in Miami Beach. The mosquito sample was located in the same area where four other samples tested positive for Zika.
Miami-Dade County submitted 375 additional mosquito samples since the first positive mosquito poll was discovered. Those 375 mosquito samples tested negative for Zika.
According to the Department of Agriculture, the positive pool was collected in Miami Beach within the current zone that has been treated for local transmission.
There were 823 cases of Zika infections in Florida as of Thursday. According to the Department of Health, 77 of those were locally transmitted cases and 86 involved pregnant women. The Florida Department of Health noted 10 of those were “out of state cases,” or not Florida residents.
The DOH is conducting 20 active investigations, and is continuing door-to-door outreach and targeted testing in Pinellas, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties. State health officials said they still believe transmissions are occurring in two Miami-Dade communities — Wynwood and Miami Beach.
The Department of Agriculture’s announcement came just hours after Gov. Rick Scott announced he was setting aside $10 million to fight the spread of Zika. So far this year, Scott has set aside $36.2 million for the program.
The money will pay for mosquito surveillance and abatement; training for mosquito control workers; boosting laboratory capacity; and the purchase of Zika prevention kits, Scott announced.
The announcement also came just days after Scott traveled to Washington, D.C. to push lawmakers to pass a $1.9 billion funding package to combat the spread of Zika. He met with legislative leaders including House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and members of Florida’s congressional delegation to press for

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Who watches the low-income housing watchmen? (Part II)

Friday, September 16th, 2016

Earlier this week, I wrote about “a South Florida swindle” that resulted in 70-year-old developer Lloyd Boggio copping a plea and agreeing to spend his golden years in a federal pokey.
Federal prosecutors allege Boggio, Matthew Greer and others defrauded the government out of as much as $36 million by padding affordable-housing projects to get federal tax credits and grant monies, then keeping the excess.
Boggio, co-founder of Carlisle Development Group, also agreed to turn over an initial $2 million in cash and the keys to his opulent Coconut Grove mansion.
Boggio personally pocketed $7 million. Greer at one point was Carlisle’s CEO.
Now, Boggio, Greer and the others who were involved in the fraud have all pleaded out, and the story will probably start losing steam.
And while the criminal side of this story may be ending, the story about the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC) should just be getting started.
There’s one “plea” yet to be made: A plea for an explanation from Steve Auger, the corporation’s executive director, and Barney Smith, its board chairman.
See, this whole swindle was aided and abetted, one might say, by the inaction of the corporation, which is supposed to act as guardian of the money that passes through it.
So gentlemen, how did this happen? Somebody has to explain the morass at the agency that allowed this.
The statement of facts for Boggio’s plea deal states that “FHFC authorized the allocation of tax credits and grant monies based on development costs … Generally, a development with higher construction costs would receive more tax credits and/or grant monies.”
That raises the reasonable question: Shouldn’t a high-dollar project have received a high level of scrutiny?
That is, wouldn’t it seem logical to have vetted these projects beforehand rather than having the feds spend who-knows-how-much on investigation, prosecution and court costs?
In fact, we know

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Who watches the low-income housing watchmen?

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

A South Florida swindle that involved stealing money intended to put roofs over poor folk’s heads is spinning to an ignominious close.
Lloyd Boggio, once the head of the affordable-housing developer Carlisle Development Group in Miami, copped a plea Monday rather than face the full extent of the accusations against him.
Those accusations are that he was one of several people who schemed to “pad construction costs of rental apartments (for lower-income residents) to generate higher government-issued tax credits for (the company) and its investors,” as the Miami Herald put it.
In other words, both a heist on Uncle Sam and the poorest among us. Boggio now faces sentencing on just one count of money-laundering, with sentencing guidelines suggesting 7-9 years in the pokey.
But this isn’t just a story about some private company’s wrongdoing. It also raises questions about the state government watchdog that was supposed to prevent frauds like this in the first place. We’ll get to that later.
Federal court filings lay out prosecutors’ case against Boggio, which he short-circuited by pleading guilty.
Boggio co-founded Carlisle with lawyer-businessman Bruce Greer and ran it till 2007, when he hired Greer’s son, Matthew Greer, to take over as CEO. Greer’s mom, Evelyn Greer, was mayor of Pinecrest, a suburban village in Miami-Dade.
Matthew Greer was CEO till 2012. Prosecutors refer to his tenure as boss as the “conspiracy period.” He pleaded guilty back in September 2015 with the proviso that his prominent parents got criminal immunity.
During his CEO days, in which Boggio served as a consultant, the company “built several low-income housing developments in Miami-Dade County and elsewhere,” according to court records. Carlisle would apply for federal tax credits and for grants through the Florida Housing Finance Corp. (FHFC) to pay for the building costs.
“FHFC authorized the allocation of tax credits and grant monies based on development costs,” the fact statement for the plea

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Florida residents outside Zika zones express pesticide fears

Monday, September 12th, 2016

Backlash over aerial spraying of the insecticide naled in South Beach is prompting other Florida residents to question how it’s used.
Miami-Dade County plans another spraying of naled early Sunday over South Beach, the first place on the U.S. mainland where the Zika virus was isolated in mosquito samples. The first round of aerial spraying in Miami Beach was completed early Friday.
The Naples Daily News reports that the Collier Mosquito Control District is receiving an increasing number of calls from residents who want the county to stop using naled.
Palm Beach County residents also have been questioning the pesticide’s use. One Palm Beach County mosquito control official told The Palm Beach Post that his department relies on U.S. regulatory agencies for assurance that the pesticide is safe.
Republished with permission of the Associated Press.
The post Florida residents outside Zika zones express pesticide fears appeared first on Florida Politics.

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Jack Cory: Florida’s greyhound racing industry deserves protection

Sunday, October 11th, 2015

Florida was the first state to officially sanction greyhound racing in 1931 and for almost 85 years it’s been an enjoyable source of entertainment for Floridians as well as visitors to our state.
Just as importantly, greyhound racing track owners have made billions in revenue and made a big contribution to Florida’s economy over the years. Greyhound tracks and other pari-mutuel facilities enjoy a state-created monopoly, meaning they aren’t forced to compete in the open marketplace. Tracks not only are protected from competition, they have received hundreds of millions of dollars in tax benefits.
When attendance at greyhound tracks began to dip some years ago, the Florida Legislature gave track owners the right to offer card rooms at their facilities to increase revenue. Florida voters later allowed facilities in Miami-Dade and Broward counties to add slot machines to their gaming offerings.
Those enhancements were added only because of the track owners’ continued commitment to their underlying business: greyhound racing.
Despite the promise to keep racing, many track owners now want the Legislature to allow them to get rid of greyhound racing while keeping the card rooms, and in some cases slot machines. They want to create small casinos that will dot Florida’s landscape from Pensacola to Miami and everywhere in between. That’s  despite the state’s constitutionally mandated prohibition of casino gaming, with the exception of Indian gaming controlled by the federal government.
The Florida Greyhound Association, an organization of owners, trainers and breeders across the state, opposes such efforts. Clearly those small business owners would be put out of business if millionaire track owners are allowed to end greyhound racing simply because casino gaming is the next pot of big money. Many of our members are multigeneration owners, trainers and breeders. They love their greyhounds — and love racing.
Asking the Legislature to end greyhound racing,

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Jeff Kottkamp: Breaking the cycle of generational poverty

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

On the opening day of the 2014 Session in the Florida House of Representatives, then Speaker of House Will Weatherford spoke at length about an issue that few leaders in government talk about — generational poverty. During his remarks, Speaker Weatherford noted “There will always be poverty — the kind that results from temporary setbacks: job loss, foreclosures, or unexpected challenges … but there’s a far greater and more dramatic problem for some of our Floridians. They’re stuck in generational poverty — the persistent, year after year oppression and hopelessness that starts with grandparents, is passed on to parents and continues to their children.”
Nearly 1 million children live at or below the poverty line in Florida — roughly defined as having an annual income of about $24,000 for a family of four. Research suggests that most families need about twice that amount simply to meet their basic needs. In just three counties in South Florida nearly 500,000 children live in low-income or impoverished homes (including an astonishing 48% of children in Miami-Dade County). According to the Urban Institute, one in six newborns in our country is born poor.
Poverty is a big enough problem — but as Speaker Weatherford noted the cycle of generational poverty is a deeper, more troubling problem. There are families in Florida that have never known life outside of poverty. It is within this deep dark hole of generational poverty that we see some of society’s biggest problems: teenage pregnancy, high school dropouts, dependency on drugs, unemployment, and incarceration. And each of these problems comes with a hefty price tag. Florida spends over $2 billion a year just on prisons.
There is an effective and cost-efficient way to break the cycle of generational poverty. In fact, that cycle is being broken every day in after-school programs like those

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