No Sunday Calendar Email March 31 (Website Reboot)

This website is recovering from a series of technical problems, including the registration of accounts apparently belonging to Russians (based on their .ru email addresses) and website overload.

While cleaning up after these issues, we’re taking the opportunity to do some housekeeping. Club leaders have not had an opportunity to update their event entries, so the calendar is probably slightly out of date.

The reboot will probably take about a week.

Vote Scott J. Brook for Mayor of Coral Springs on March 12

Quick story about why I will vote for Scott J. Brook to be the next mayor of Coral Springs, in the special election following the death of Skip Campbell.

My wife and I first met Scott at a Democratic organizing event when John Kerry was running for president. During a lull in the proceedings, when other attendees had broken off into caucuses we weren’t involved in, we struck up a conversation with Scott and he said one thing that always stuck with me: that the chance for Democratic victory would be stronger if “our side” spent more time saying positive things about John Kerry, rather than negative things about George W. Bush.

I think there was some truth to that. The Kerry campaign was the first one where we actively volunteered and had our heats broken, after W. was reelected despite lying us into war in Iraq. There were plenty of bad things you could say about George W. Bush, but perhaps we should have shown more enthusiasm for Kerry (an imperfect candidate, but aren’t they all?).

The reason I tell you that story about Scott is that it reflects his relentless positivity. For a cynic like me, it’s sometimes hard to take the way his biggest fans gush about him. But he is a fundamentally decent person, with the experience to lead as mayor because he has done it before.

After we ran into him at the Obama-Roosevelt Dinner, my wife Beth Anne went around the room telling anyone who would listen how she appreciated the way he had stayed involved in the community even when not in office through things like youth leadership programs. He also worked with the Parkland youth organizers following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

The other candidate I’ve heard the most about from other Democrats is
Nancy Metayer, who has a strong record as an organizer and activist. I just don’t think mayor is the right office for her to pursue. When the mayor election is over, I would rather see her pivot to run for an open city commission seat that will also be the subject of a special election. That one opened up with Dan Daley’s uncontested election to the State House, after Jared Moskowitz became director of the state Division of Emergency Management. Not only would Metayer be more likely to win a Commission seat, but that would be the right way for her to build experience if she wants to be mayor.

The Sun-Sentinel just gave its endorsement to Scott Brook, which I’ve excerpted below with a link to the full article (a very detailed analysis). Coral Springs voters can also view the video of a League of Women Voters Forum (debate).

Sun Sentinel

With Coral Springs in transition, Scott Brook best choice for mayor

With Coral Springs in transition, Scott Brook best choice for mayor

On March 12, Coral Springs voters will decide which of four candidates is best prepared to fill the big shoes left by the passing of former Mayor Skip Campbell.

Two of the candidates — Scott Brook, 54, and Vincent Boccard, 63 — have previously served as mayor. Both did a good job, though their terms were not drama-free.

The other two candidates — Nancy Metayer, 31, and Kurt Gardner, 36 — are well-meaning newcomers, but both lack the experience needed to lead the city through this time of change.

The mayor’s post is not the only seat in flux on the city’s five-member commission. Commissioner Dan Daley’s election to the Florida House of Representatives will soon open a second seat. And when you consider that a third seat was just filled by newcomer Joshua Simmons in November, you see the transformation taking place at City Hall.

The question is, who’s best suited to soundly lead the commission during this transition?

In weighing their choices, voters should be guided by the legacy of Campbell, who, before his sudden death in October, was known as a bridge builder and leader among peers. He spoke out against constructing a Taj Mahal-like city hall, spoke up for school resource officers in every school, and stepped up to lead a statewide initiative to ban the sale of military-style assault weapons.

Campbell’s stature is hard to match, but attorney Scott Brook comes closest. We endorse Brook for mayor.

Brook served on the commission, including a term as mayor, between 2003 and 2010. He says the top issue facing the city is what “residents consider to be high property taxes.” He wants to bridge the divide that erupted in late 2017, when the commission ignored a citizen’s outcry in raising property taxes 23 percent. Six months later, and without Campbell’s support, commissioners asked voters to raise taxes again via three bond referendums. All three were shot down, suggesting the commission was out of touch with its constituents.

“I would have held town hall meetings before making that decision. I doubt I would have put it on the ballot,” Brook said during a joint candidate interview with the South Florida Sun Sentinel editorial board. That said, though, “I trust that our government did the right thing.”

Read more:

Remember February 14, 2018

I hope that no member of our community lets February 14 pass without remembering the 17 deaths that followed when a maladjusted young man with an assault rifle invaded the halls of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Photo credit: Lorie Shaull

If you are lucky to have someone to love, I would not wish to deprive you of Valentine’s Day — we need more love in the world, and we should not allow anyone to steal it from us if we can help it.

Yet in honor of those who lost friends and family a year ago and will never experience February 14 the same way again, this is a good time to do something large or small to make a difference. The students and parents who turned to activism have made a real difference, even as much more remains to be done.

MarchForOurLives needs your voice, your vote, and your support.

Looks Like Our Votes Were Not Counted

My wife and I requested vote by mail ballots — then, just to be sure, delivered them in person to an early voting location rather than trusting the mail. We should be able to confirm that they have been counted on the “status of my vote” screen of the Supervisor of Elections office website (if you haven’t checked, do it now).

We entrusted our ballots to SOE staff on Oct. 28., but as of today they still  show as “received” — not tabulated, and not rejected.

(Update: On Friday, the status finally changed to tabulated.)

General election vote not counted

Yes, we were careful to sign and date the envelope, as required.

For comparison, you can see the tabulated line on my vote for the primary election.

Primary vote counted

Is it possible this is a website glitch and has nothing to do whether my vote is actually recorded? Sure, anything is possible, but the whole point of this website feature is to provide transparency and confidence in the election system.

After several days of obsessively checking this page of the website, Beth Anne went to the SOE office in Lauderdale in person. That’s after several phone calls weren’t returned. After taking her license, they said her vote had indeed been counted but that it “takes a couple of days” for that information to be reflected on the website.

A couple of days? We turned in our ballots on Oct. 28. Their system shows them as received on Oct. 30 — 9 days ago.

Yes, I know there are lots of other issues with provisional ballots and college students who requested but never received a vote by mail ballot. But we got our ballots, filled them out carefully, then hand delivered them — and still don’t know whether to trust that they were really counted.

Vote! Then Get Out the Vote!

The first thing every patriotic Democrat must do is vote! Early voting is still going on today until 7 pm in Broward County, with Tuesday coming up fast. Then do whatever you can to get everyone you know (and anyone else who will listen) out to vote.

How to vote? At the top of the ticket, that’s pretty simple. Since the Republicans for governor and senate are so closely aligned with Trump, you must vote for Andrew Gillum and Bill Nelson — and Democrats on down the ticket. For guidance on other races and amendment questions that can be more confusing, see my roundup of recommendations and comparison of recommendations on the amendments and the judicial races (from friends as well as the newspaper editorial boards).

Florida Amendments and Judicial Races: Summary of Voting Recommendations

This is a summary of how things add up when I compare recommendations on the 2018 Florida Constitutional Amendments, which is how we do ballot initiatives in this state. See also my roundup of voting recommendations from the Broward Democratic Party and various friends of BlueBroward, which includes links to several more detailed documents. I also included the recommendations from the Miami Herald and Sun-Sentinel newspapers.

I simply counted up the number of recommendations for and against each of these measures. I did the same for the nonpartisan judicial races. All of these experts agree you should vote yes on retention of the Supreme Court and Appeals Court judges whose continued service is up for approval.

In addition, most of the recommendations I’ve seen favor the Broward County question on transportation and YES on all the charter revision recommendations. Exception: Alan Ehrlich said no to the transportation question and Lori Gold said no to a couple of the charter revision questions (#4 and #5).

Compiling this list was part of my own preparations before completing my vote by mail ballot, which has been sitting on the kitchen table for a couple of weeks now. Voting for Andrew Gillum is a clear choice, as are most of the other partisan races, but making smart choices about the amendments and the judges is “phone a friend” time for me.

Continue reading “Florida Amendments and Judicial Races: Summary of Voting Recommendations”

Resources for Early Voting (Starts Monday)

Roundup of Ballot Recommendations

Here are the locations, based on this PDF from the Supervisor of Elections.

OCTOBER 22, 2018 thru NOVEMBER 4, 2018
7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Daily


African-American Research Library
2650 Sistrunk Boulevard (NW 6th St.)
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33311

Coral Ridge Mall (North or Northwest Entrance)
3200 N. Federal Highway
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33306

Davie/Cooper City Branch Library
4600 SW 82nd Avenue
Davie, FL 33328

Emma Lou Olson Civic Center
1801 NE 6th St.
Pompano Beach, FL 33060

Ft. Lauderdale Branch Library/Art Serve
1350 E. Sunrise Boulevard Room 130
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33304

Hallandale Beach Cultural Community Center
410 SE 3rd Street
Hallandale Beach, FL 33009

Hollywood Branch Library
2600 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood, FL 33020

Miramar Branch Library
2050 Civic Center Place
Miramar, FL 33025

North Regional Library/BC
1100 Coconut Creek Boulevard
Coconut Creek, FL 33066

Northwest Regional Library
3151 University Drive
Coral Springs, FL 33065

Nova Southeastern University
(Huizenga College of Business)
3301 College Ave. Room 1048 & 1049
Davie, FL 33311

Oveta McKeithen Recreational Complex
445 S.W. 2nd Street
Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

Parkland Recreation and Enrichment Center
10559 Trails End
Parkland, FL. 33076

Supervisor of Elections at E Pat Larkins Community Center
520 Martin Luther King Boulevard
Pompano Beach, FL 33060

Supervisor of Elections at Lauderhill Mall 
1519 NW 40th Ave
Lauderhill, FL 33313

South Regional Library/BC
7300 Pines Boulevard
Pembroke Pines, FL 33024

Southwest Regional Library
16835 Sheridan Street
Pembroke Pines, FL 33331

Sunrise Civic Center
10610 W. Oakland Park Blvd.
Sunrise, FL 33351

Tamarac Branch Library
8701 W. Commercial Boulevard
Tamarac, FL 33321

West Regional Library
8601 W. Broward Boulevard
Plantation, FL 33324

Weston Branch Library
4205 Bonaventure Boulevard
Weston, FL 33332

Wilton Manors City Hall
2020 Wilton Drive
Wilton Manors, FL 33305

Roundup of Voting Recommendations

Every election, I find myself seeking out voting recommendations from people who are smarter and better informed than I am — particularly on the judicial races and those long lists of amendments and other ballot measures. Here is a roundup of what has been shared with me.

See also: a summary of recommendations on the amendments.

Continue reading “Roundup of Voting Recommendations”

Gwen Graham Needs to Run for Governor (Not “First Woman Governor”)

I was very impressed by Gwen Graham’s recent appearance at the Broward Democratic Party’s monthly meeting. That’s why I was so distressed to see her making what I believe is a serious tactical mistake at the Florida Democratic Party conference held this weekend at The Diplomat in Hollywood.

At least on Friday night, she appeared to be running for “First Woman Governor of Florida” rather than just running for governor. I hope she rethinks that.

Too many pink balloons.

The Friday night event centered on a series of receptions sponsored by each of the Democratic candidates or statewide office, all held at the same time, which made it possible to hop from room to room for those (like me and my wife Beth Anne) who had friends in multiple campaigns. One of the first things we saw, when we walked into the hotel was a sign saying “Women for Graham,” with an arrow pointing the way down the hall to the event. Funny enough, the sign was being held by a man.

Upstairs, there were a series of additional directional signs pointing to her event, all labeled “Women for Graham.” Did that mean men weren’t invited? Surely, that wasn’t the intention. I thought maybe that just meant those were the signs they happened to have the most of, and they needed to deploy them to get the people to the right ballroom, since she hadn’t captured one of the locations closer to the entrance.

But we walked into the Graham reception just in time to see her up on stage surrounded by women supporters and pink balloons. I am sure she talked about other important issues, besides the gender of the candidates, but I didn’t stick around to listen to the rest.

For the record, I like women candidates when they are the best candidates. Last time around, I voted for Nan Rich as the more authentic Democratic candidate for governor and was disappointed that the powers that be were so determined to anoint former Republican Charlie Crist as the “can’t lose” candidate.

On the other hand, spending too much time running for “First Woman” in any office has not proven to be a winning strategy. Both Alex Sink and Hillary Clinton made that mistake from time to time. Hillary was at her best when she treated the subject with humor, as when her campaign created a plastic “woman card” to counter the trope about “playing the woman card.” Barack Obama famously avoided campaigning for “First Black President,” perhaps downplaying the importance of race to a fault — but winning in the end.

For Gwen Graham to hold “Women for Graham” events would be a smart way of engaging women who are particularly passionate about electing women candidates. I’m just disappointed that she made that the theme of a event for Democrats from across the state where she should have been making her case to everyone, even the men — which was what every other candidate was doing Friday night.

Gwen Graham remains one of the candidates with the best chance of winning the nomination. In reality, I don’t think she is a one-note candidate. As I mentioned, I was impressed by her appearance at the Broward Democratic Party where she addressed a wide range of issues and stayed to answer everyone’s questions, including some moderately hostile ones.

(Update: At the state party dinner Saturday night, the pink signs were gone, or at least not as prominent, and Graham’s message was broader, more like what she delivered at the Broward party meeting.)

I can’t help thinking she got talked into this “Women for Graham” focus by someone who underestimated her appeal to all Democrats. Whether it could be a strategy for winning the nomination, I don’t honestly know. But in the long run, I think it’s a trap. To actually win the governorship, she will have to run for governor, not woman governor, and win votes from all Floridians, even the men.