Greater Ft. Lauderdale Democratic Club

Greater Ft. Lauderdale Democratic Club will meet Feb 10, 2011 at 6pm

  • Ft. Lauderdale City Hall 8th                                                                                                                                                                     100 N. Andrews Ave
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301

Please join us!

Fair Districts Fight Continues

This is forwarded material from Ellen Freidin, who led the fight for redistricting reform – one of the few good things that came out of the November election and now something our state leaders seem determined to undermine.

Here’s Ellen:

Wednesday, Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel analogized our state officials to third world dictators where government does what it wants regardless of the will of its people. He was writing about the fact that the Secretary of State’s office had taken steps to thwart the application of our new redistricting standards— yes, the ones we worked so hard to pass, the ones that are now officially part of the state constitution. He was also writing about the fact that two members of Congress are being joined by the Florida House of Representatives in a lawsuit where they are essentially arguing that the citizens do not have the right to tell legislators how we want districts drawn.

The fight for fair districts is not over. Apparently Florida officials cannot respect the fact that Amendments 5 and 6 got 63% of the vote and are now part of the Constitution that they have sworn to uphold. And they are spending taxpayer money to undo what the people of Florida overwhelmingly voted for. Read the articles below to get a feel for what is going on and the outrage in the press.

I am writing to assure you that the FairDistricts team has not stopped fighting and we hope you will remain a part of our lean mean fighting machine! We have set up a new organization called FairDistricts Now, Inc., are gathering the best redistricting lawyers and experts we can find, and are continuing to energize our grassroots coalition members and organizations. Many of them are already speaking out though letters to the editors, press releases and op-eds. Dan Gelber is aggressively and skillfully heading up our legal team.

I promise you that we will not stop until the final maps implementing our reforms are approved. But we will continue to need your help.
I will keep you posted! (Don’t forget to read below)

With best regards,

Ellen Freidin
FairDistricts Now, Inc.
2665 South Bayshore Drive
Suite M-103
Miami, Florida 33133
305-606-4300 mobile
305-432-9497 office

League of Women Voters leader presses to implement redistricting reform
By Anthony Man January 25, 2011 12:54 PM – Palm Beach Post

Pamela Goodman, former presidnet of the League of Women Voters of Palm Beach County, is pushing back against a move by Gov. Rick Scott’s administration to slow implementation of the redistricting reform passed last year by Florida Voters.

The amendment, added to the state Constitution in November by the voters, is aimed at reducing political gamesmanship when congressional, state Senate and state House districts are redrawn to reflect population changes uncovered in the every-10-years census.

The party in power invariably draws districts to give it advantages and hurt the minority party.

Under former Gov. Charlie Crist, the state had submitted regulations to the U.S. Department of Justice. Gov. Rick Scott’s adminstration withdrew those regulations, drawing howls of protest Tuesday from Fair Districts Now, which called it an abuse of power. Continue reading “Fair Districts Fight Continues”

Howard Finkelstein Guest Speaker

Public Defender Howard Finkelstein will be the guest speaker at Greater Fort Lauderdale Democratic Club’s January 13 meeting at 6:00. They meet at City Hall at 201 N. Andrews Avenue in Fort Lauderdale (2 blocks north of Broward on Andrews Ave.). Honorable Finkelstein will be discussing whether constitutional officers of Broward County, Sheriff, Property Appraiser, Clerk of the Courts, State Attorney and Public Defender, should be appointed rather than elected as they currently are. The issue is on the political radar screen in 2011. Come join us for an important issue affecting government and our rights.

The Sweep of History Versus Personal Realities

After months of feeling disappointed that too little “Yes We Can!” progress was coming out of Congress and the White House, we once again have many a pundit telling us that in historical terms, President Obama has gotten and extraordinary amount accomplished in a relatively short time. Blogs and opinion columns chiding Obama supporters for being too impatient have been coming out for months now.

Personally, I run hot and cold on these. I can see where the analysis makes sense when Obama is compared against other presidents by historians and others who claim to understand the Big Picture better than I do. On the other hand, I look at the supposedly historic accomplishment of passing health care reform legislation and see that not all that much reform has taken place. As a self-employed person trying to afford health care reform, I’m struggling to pay the premiums on a policy that provides minimal benefits beyond protection against catastrophic illness. I’ve seen no relief and see little evidence that further implementation of the law will do anything to either cut my costs or improve my choices. Maybe it qualifies as a foot in the door for reform, but that’s only worthwhile if there will be further progress to follow.

Still, the last couple of weeks have been encouraging. In the very last hours of the Democratic majority in Congress, we’ve seen a burst of productivity — and some signs that Obama may prove more aggressive in the next two years of his presidency. I hope so.

Here are a couple of accounts of what’s happened and what may be to come from the Atlantic Monthly.

The Most Productive Lame Duck Since WWII — and Maybe Ever

It didn’t just feel like the lame duck session of Congress got an unusual amount done. It’s a fact, say congressional observers.

The Return of Barack Obama, Economic Populist

As he heads to Hawaii, Obama sounds like he’s looking for a fight.

The Opportunity Created by Fair Districts Redistricting Reform

While most of us had little to celebrate Tuesday night, there was one bright spot: The Fair Districts Florida redistricting reform succeeded with the passage of Amendment 5 and Amendment 6. This was not a partisan victory, for all that opponents tried to paint it as a liberal plot. Democrats threw more organized support behind it because they potentially have more to gain. Still, the upside is only a potential, with no guarantees.

Essentially Amendments 5 and 6 promise to eliminate the worst abuses of gerrymandering, as the game is played to protect incumbents and promote one political party over the other. The more bizarre salamander-shaped districts stretching up and down the coast, or from one coast to the other, should go away. We shouldn’t be naive enough to expect that the legislature won’t still try to play games with redistricting, but at least the game will have rulebook, enforced by the courts if need be.

The rules say districts should be compact and follow city, county, or natural boundaries where possible. Opponents claimed it would be “mathematically impossible” to meet these requirements. In practice, it will not always be possible to make a district both compact and to follow city borders, for example, given that some cities have odd-shaped borders, too. But to pass muster, the new districts will have to reflect some reasonable effort to follow these guidelines.

That means the whole game board for the 2012 elections will be shaken up. I take some comfort in the fact that the heavily gerrymandered District 22, where Republican Allen West is about to become the Congressman, ought to be among the first to go. Whatever new district is drawn may still be favorable to Republicans, but perhaps not as much so.

Meanwhile, some Democrats who have enjoyed relatively “safe” districts will find themselves facing more competitive races in 2012. Other districts may not necessarily be better or worse for either party, but they will still be different, and Democrats who want to win in them will have to introduce themselves to new constituencies.

I look forward to the shakeup, and it’s one of the things we need. I’ve heard the argument that Democrats will benefit because we have the advantage in voter registration. But party registration does not always tell the tale of how people vote, and independents are often the ones who cast the deciding vote. We have an opportunity, but no guarantees.

Volunteer Now, Save the Blame Game Until After the Election

There is a time and a place for everything. If you want to argue about what Obama has done wrong or, locally, what Mitch Caesar & Co. have done wrong, how about we have those arguments later? There are elections to win now, with a lot at stake.

I confess to sitting on the sidelines a lot this season, distracted by business and personal issues. But I’m making time at the end to work on behalf of Congressman Klein, whose reelection faces a serious challenge. Republican / Tea Party nut Allen West is well funded and could win (some polls put him ahead, although within the margin of error).

On the other hand, if Dems actually go out and vote we have a chance to win the Governor’s office and Attorney General and hold the line on important Congressional races like Klein’s, which are still very winnable.

We could actually come out a little bit ahead, at least on the state level, if we work for it.

Probably, there will be serious setbacks, as all the pundits tell us. And I look forward to some long philosophical discussions about what went wrong, and maybe even some action about changing things. But what we have a chance to change, right now, is the outcome of this election.

Klein Campaign Get Out the Vote Locations In Coral Springs

Please help Klein campaign Sean Phillippi volunteer coordinator staff these new locations in Coral Springs. If you happen to have time today (Sat. Oct. 23), the phone banking location below will be open until 7 p.m. The threat from Republican/Tea Party candidate Allen West is very real, and this is a campaign where you can really make a difference.

Sean Phillippi
Mobile: 954-415-0647

Through this week, there will be phone banking from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (possibly longer some days) from this office location:
5571 N. University Drive, Suite 101
Coral Springs, FL 33076

This is an office suite arranged for by Nick Steffens of the Coral Springs / Parkland Democratic Club. It’s in a complex at the intersection of Westview Drive. Turn onto Westview headed east and turn right into the parking lot. Sign on the door says Vision Global Realty Group.

Also being used nights and weekends:

Andrew Weinstein Law Office
1515 University Dr., Suite 103
Coral Springs, FL 33071

Try to call Sean first to let him know you want to help and which location you should report to.

Alternately, talk with Sean about getting a virtual phone bank account to make calls from home.

In Coral Springs, Roy Gold for Mayor; Re-elect Commissioner Bruck

I’ve pretty much known all along I would vote for Roy Gold for Mayor, but Wednesday’s candidate’s forum confirmed for me that he is the right choice. I’m biased for a number of reasons, including the fact that he hired me to set up and manage his website, But he also comes across as someone sincerely dedicated to community service and responsible management of city government. I believe he offers the strongest leadership our city could have at this point.

Roy’s opponent, James Gleason, is a Republican who lists the Broward Tea Party as one of his Facebook friends. Read into that what you will. The race is theoretically non-partisan, and the Coral Springs Commission has a reputation for functioning in a relatively collegial, non-partisan fashion. But there are some weird dynamics here I don’t like at all. Gleason comes across as sharp, aggressive, and forceful (obnoxious?), and does have a base of support. He may have a chance of winning.

Roy has a long list of endorsements, including Congressmen Klein and Deutch and State Reps. Porth, Kiar, and Waldman. I think he’ll do fine in the end, but I encourage you to actively support him just to make sure.

In one of the other Commission races, the contestants are both Democrats: Commissioner Claudette Bruck and challenger Mark Gendal. I probably would have voted for Gendal if he had run against Republican incumbent Vince Boccard, but I see no compelling reason to support him over Claudette. I don’t know her well, but the only knock against her seems to be that she’s kind of quiet during commission meetings. But my impression is that she quietly gets things done, and she handled herself well in the debate, with strength and confidence.

Amendment 4

I have carefully considered the many opinions offered. I must go with my moral compass on this one. I think the amendment came about as a result of abuses by big business. It is a statement that something unfair is going on. As such, no matter how unwieldy it appears to be, there may be options to streamline its effects after it is passed that will also address the abuses that brought about its creation.

For this reason, I am voting for it and am encouraging others to also. It is noteworthy that powerful developers vociferously oppose it.

Grover Lawlis, M.D.