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Last Chance for Gillum Yard Signs

    Just finished knocking on 56 doors in Plantation with Mary O’Donnell!  Weather a little cooler.  Yay!

    I have a few more Andrew Gillum yard signs for whoever wants 1 or 2.

    Call and stop by to pick yours up.

    I’ll be canvassing in Hollywood later in the week.  Let me know if you’d like to walk with me.

    And if you’d like to help out at the West Regional Library Early Voting Site, contact John Ziegler at 954-232-3918 or johnjoeziegler@aol.com

    Alan
    9411 NW 10 Street
    Plantation, FL 33322
    954-472-6211

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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

Locations

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

Come and Get Your Yard Sign!

    Good afternoon, everybody!

    Just over two weeks to go before the most important Mid-Term Election we’ve ever seen!  If you have not yet gotten involved, now is the time.

    I have yard signs:  Vote Yes on Amendment 4 (the Rights Restoration Amendment) and a limited number of Andrew Gillum signs.  These are first come, first serve.  So call if you want one (or both) and stop by to pick it up.

    As for getting involved, I will be campaigning at the West Regional Courthouse on Monday and Wednesday from 10 AM to 2 PM.  Let me know if you can join me.

    And here is the notice sent out by John Ziegler, President of the Plantation Democratic Club:

    On Sunday, Oct 21Plantation’s Municipal Projects Director, Nicholas Forero 954-873-2266 <Nicholasbdp@gmail.com>, will again be running phone banks & door-to-door canvassing out of the Broward County Democratic Party HQ, 8302 W Sunrise Blvd # 203, Plantation 33322.

    Starting 7am-7pm, Monday, Oct 22-Sun, Nov 4, early voting volunteers are needed at our club’s canopy outside West Regional Library to distribute palm cards daily for 3-person, 2-hour shifts (7am-9am, 9am-11am, 11am-1pm, 1pm-3pm & 3pm-5pm & 5pm-7pm). 

    Contact John to RSVP for Early Voting outreach at <JohnJoeZiegler@aol.com>.


    Thanks for everything you are doing to turn Florida bluer than ever!

    Alan
    9411 NW 10 Street
    Plantation, FL 33322
    954-472-6211

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Don’t Leave Anything Blank!

    Hi, friends!

    In my message yesterday, I forgot to mention one very important point.  Each proposed constitutional amendment requires a 60% vote in order to pass.  That’s 60% of those voting for that proposed amendment.  That means that if you are against a proposed amendment, you must vote NO and not leave it blank.  Leaving proposed amendments that you are against blank makes it easier for those proposals to reach the 60% threshold.  SO, BE SURE TO VOTE NO ON ALL PROPOSED AMENDMENTS YOU ARE AGAINST!

    As I mentioned in my previous message, yesterday’s editorial in the Tampa Bay Times recommended a yes vote on Amendment 4, and no on all of the rest.  Their reasoning is sound and their explanations are very persuasive.  If you have not yet voted, read this editorial before you vote:

    Alan

    “The list of proposed constitutional amendments is long and confusing. Some have multiple parts. So here’s some easy advice: After voting yes on Amendment 4, vote no on all the others.

    All but two of the 12 amendments to the Florida Constitution on the November ballot were put there by the Legislature or by the politicized Constitution Revision Commission, and the disappointing result reflects the partisanship underpinning them and the lack of sound reasoning on why any of the proposals should be added to the Constitution.

    For its part, the Legislature put three tax-related amendments on the ballot as Republicans seek to make it harder to raise revenue in the future no matter what the need. The CRC squandered an opportunity that occurs only once every 20 years to propose meaningful reforms to the Constitution. Its amendments are a muddle of unrelated issues. Why, for example, should one amendment both ban vaping in the workplace and offshore drilling? This is just one example of the mess of these 11 amendments, and why voters should reject them all. (The Florida Supreme Court already threw off Amendment 8 for not being clear that it would have allowed the state, rather local school boards, to authorize charter schools without ever using the phrase “charter schools.”)

    Times recommends: Vote yes on Amendment 4

    Here’s a rundown, starting with the three that came from the Legislature.

Amendment 1. Passed by a largely party-line vote in the Republican-dominated Legislature, this measure would increase the current typical $50,000 homestead exemption — except for school taxes — by another $25,000 for homes valued above $125,000, prorated for any home assessed at $100,000 or more. This is effectively an unfair tax on business and renters, as they would certainly have to make up the shortfall for homeowners who would gain another tax break. And it’s another example of the Legislature leaving city and county governments in the lurch, forcing them to explain why tax rates might rise — just to maintain the same level of services — as the tax base falls. On Amendment 1, the Tampa Bay Times recommends voting No.

Amendment 2. The taxable value of non-homestead properties currently cannot rise by more than 10 percent a year, a constitutional cap that is set to expire on Jan. 1. This measure would make that cap permanent. Although it’s an easy crowd-pleaser for the Legislature to put on the ballot, the measure would deny local governments the full effect of rising property values, once again, hamstringing them. It is estimated that amendments 1 and 2 together would cost local governments $1.3 billion a year. If voters think their local taxes are too high, they can turn their local leaders out of office. On Amendment 2, the Tampa Bay Times recommends voting No.

Amendment 3. While it would be good to make it harder to expand gambling in Florida, this amendment is unfair. It would allow casino gambling in Florida only if voters — and only voters — proposed a constitutional amendment, which would then, of course, have to pass. That cuts out the other two means of placing amendments on the ballot, through the Legislature or the Constitution Revision Commission. On Amendment 3, the Tampa Bay Times recommends voting No.

Amendment 5. This measure would make it harder for future legislatures to raise or impose taxes by requiring a two-thirds vote rather than a simple majority. The likely effect would be to make it nearly impossible to raise taxes even in times of crisis. On Amendment 5, the Tampa Bay Times recommends voting No.

The next seven amendments were put on the ballot by the Constitution Revision Commission, and they all should be rejected.

Amendment 6. This measure includes three separate issues — raising the retirement age for judges from 70 to 75, banning courts from deferring to a state agency’s expertise on interpreting a law or rule, and a series of rights for crime victims. These are each big issues that should be considered on their own merits, not jumbled into one proposal. On Amendment 6, the Tampa Bay Times recommends voting No.

Amendment 7. This is another amendment that jumbles together three issues. It would make it harder to raise university fees by requiring super majority votes by a university’s board of trustees and the Board of Governors. It would require that death benefits are paid out to first responders killed in the line of duty (it’s already in state law) and add paramedics and emergency medical technicians to the list, and for the state to waive “certain educational expenses” for the post-high school education of their children. It would establish the Florida College System (which evolved from the community college system) within the Constitution alongside K-12 and State University System. The fee issue is the major stumbling block here, as universities are already strapped for cash, and this would make it far harder — requiring much more than a majority — to raise them. On Amendment 7, the Tampa Bay Times recommends voting No.

Amendment 9. This is the oddest combination of issues. It would prohibit vaping (the use of e-cigarettes) at indoor workplaces and ban oil drilling beneath waters controlled by Florida. Offshore drilling should be banned, but this strange juxtaposition of issues has no place in Florida’s Constitution. On Amendment 9, the Tampa Bay Times recommends voting No.

Amendment 10. This amendment would subvert local control by forcing every county to elect rather than appoint its sheriff, tax collector, property appraiser, supervisor of elections and clerk of courts — whether it wanted to or not. Those already are elected offices in most counties, but the choice should be theirs, not the state’s. Miami-Dade County, for example, appoints its sheriff. Other parts of the amendment are uncontroversial but also unnecessary. It would establish a counterterrorism office within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and add to the Constitution a state Department of Veterans’ Affairs. It would make permanent the Legislature’s recent practice of beginning sessions in even-numbered years in January, rather than March. All of those elements either already are or can be handled by state law and don’t need to be enshrined in the Constitution. On Amendment 10, the Tampa Bay Times recommends voting No.

Amendment 11. This amendment, among other things, would allow lawmakers to make some changes to criminal laws retroactive. Some gun-rights groups see this as a way to ensure that the revised Stand Your Ground law, which requires prosecutors, not defendants, to meet the burden of proof in pretrial hearings, could be applied retroactively. Other elements of the amendment would repeal a nearly century-old provision in the Constitution barring immigrants who aren’t eligible for citizenship from owning property in Florida. It also would erase a constitutional amendment ordering the construction of a high-speed train that voters already voted to repeal. Those final two elements are house-keeping measures, but the proposed retroactivity of criminal law changes makes this a non-starter for the Constitution. On Amendment 11, the Tampa Bay Times recommends voting No.

Amendment 12. This amendment would prevent the governor, Cabinet members, agency heads, state lawmakers and local elected officials from getting paid to lobby their former colleagues for six years after leaving office. Judges would also be banned from lobbying the Legislature or executive branch for six years. Although this amendment would move toward stopping the revolving door from elected office to paid lobbyist, it puts an unfair six-year burden on those who might otherwise consider public office and would be good candidates. It doesn’t belong in the Constitution. On Amendment 12, the Tampa Bay Times recommends voting No.

Amendment 13. The proposal would outlaw betting on greyhound racing by the end of 2020, though it would allow tracks to continue some other pari-mutuel offerings. Whatever your view on dog racing, its disposition doesn’t belong in the Constitution. On Amendment 13, the Tampa Bay Times recommends voting No.”

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Would You Like a Yard Sign?

    Good afternoon, everybody!

    Less than 20 days to go until the crucial Mid-Terms!  So it’s time for me to mention Amendment 4, the Rights Restoration Amendment.  Just to remind you, Amendment 4 would restore the right to vote to the more than 1.4 million Floridians who cannot vote because of a prior felony conviction.  IT’S TIME:  VOTE YES ON 4.

    The Tampa Bay Times recommends: Vote yes on Amendment 4, no on all of the rest.  So I’m not the only one saying 4 and no more!

    I believe that this is the most important amendment on the November 6th Ballot.  If you agree and would like to help out or donate go to the Campaign’s website:

        https://secondchancesfl.org/

    I have Yes on Amendment 4 yard signs.  If you would like one, just call me and stop by.  And if you have not yet seen the story that was in the New York Times, check it out:

        https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/26/magazine/ex-felons-voting-rights-florida.html

    I will be knocking on doors on Saturday and Sunday for Amendment 4 and for Andrew Gillum.  Would you like to walk with me?  Let me know.

    And I will be back at the West Regional Courthouse from 10 AM until 2 PM on Monday and Wednesday, October 22nd and 24th, campaigning and collecting more universal background check demands on gun purchases.  Please let me know if you can join me on either or both days.

    Alan
    9411 NW 10 Street
    Plantation, FL 33322
    954-472-6211

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Finally, Some Good News

    Good evening, friends!

    Here’s some good news:  The Florida Supreme Court ruled yesterday that Florida’s next Governor and not Rick Scott will replace the three Florida Supreme Court Justices who are facing mandatory retirement on January 8, 2019.  As if it wasn’t already crucial that Andrew Gillum be elected Governor on November 6th!

     Although voter registration has ended for this cycle, I continue to go to the West Regional Courthouse on Monday and Wednesday from 10 AM to 2 PM to campaign for our winning team of Democratic candidates and for Amendment 4, the voting rights restoration amendment, and to collect vote-by-mail requests and universal background check demands.  At the Courthouse yesterday, Melinda and Henry Ossorio and Marsha Eisenberg helped to collect 28 vote-by-mail requests and 28 universal background check demands.  I will be there again this Wednesday, October 17th and then again next Monday and Wednesday, October 22nd and 24th.  Please let me know if you can join me.

    Let me share two articles about the Supreme Court decision with you.  First:  https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/10/florida-supreme-court-rick-scott.html

    And second, the following (Thanks to Elaine Schwartz for forwarding this to me!):



 

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Recommend “Yes” Vote on amendments 4, 9, and 13

(For backup, download explanations and references on all Amendments, and why I recommend a “Yes” vote on amendments 4, 9, and 13:  amendments_florida_2018 )

Ripe with confusion are 13 Florida Constitutional Amendments on the November 6, 2018 ballot. Amendment 8 is on the ballot but won’t even be tallied.  Other Amendments contain multiple, unrelated issues, and/or are misleading, and/or do not belong in a Constitution. According to Ballotpedia.org the average question on Florida’s ballot requires 20 years of U.S. formal education to read and understand.

My initial door canvassing plan, besides asking voters to show up and support all Democrats on the ballot, was to recommend “Vote yes on 4” but nothing more, consistent with the Tampa Bay Times. My plan has changed a little.

At one of the first doors I knocked on, the voter (an employee of the Seminole Tribe of Florida) asked me about Amendment 3, which I wasn’t planning to mention. Another voter felt strongly in favor of Amendment 6 (modeled after California’s Marsy’s Law) that would supposedly expand victims’ rights.

After careful review, besides a “Yes” vote on Amendment 4 (voting restoration), I decided to mention “Yes” on Amendment 9 (bans near off-shore drilling) and “Yes” on Amendment 13 (ends dog racing), if I have the voter’s attention.

I was not planning, and I will not, argue a “No” opinion to voters on goofy, unreadable, or deceptive Amendments. But I do want to show that I understood the issues and the voter’s concern, if I am asked about another Amendment.

For any other Amendment, I take the passive approach of damnation by not mentioning it. I think the rest, except for 4, 9, and 13, are all bad, but I want to make sure a voter votes and gets through the ballot, whether or not they vote the right way on the gobbledygook.  If voters are slightly suspicious, the 60% required vote for passage will prevent most of the bad Amendments from passing. The best warning I can give is to say, “take the time to carefully read your vote-by-mail ballot.” If a voter asks about another Amendment, I say briefly what it is about, and move on.

Based on my research in amendments_florida_2018, Amendments 4, 9, and 13 are easy “Yes” votes and should be easy to understand. Most voters, and all major groups, already support Amendment 4, and when they see 9 and 13, those will be obvious “Yes” votes.

Amendment 4 is very important and beneficial to society because it will automatically restore voting rights to felons (except not murderers or sex criminals) who have completed their sentences. With some 1.5 million citizens who have completed their sentences and cannot vote, Florida is last in the nation in voting restoration. Florida has a long history of suppression of Black voters, even for ridiculous and made-up reasons just to prevent voting. Anti-voting laws for Blacks were intentionally written into the state Constitution after the end of slavery. The League of Women Voters of Florida, which, along with all other major organizations supports Amendment 4, shows data that post-release recidivism rates are reduced by automatic rights restoration. Vote “Yes” on 4.

Most voters immediately understand and support Amendment 4, so you may not have to explain it, and Amendment 9 (bans near-offshore drilling) and Amendment 13 (ends dog racing) are clear. Voters will see that there is an anti-indoor-workplace-vaping part of Amendment 9, which is weird. But it is so necessary for us in Florida to put a ban on near-offshore drilling, to protect our beaches, that we should just hold our noses on indoor -workplace-vaping, and vote “Yes” on 9.  Amendment 13 is also an easy “Yes” vote, which will end wagering on dog racing because dog racing is cruel. Isn’t horse racing cruel? Yes, sometimes, but that’s no reason not to vote “Yes” on 13. Does this belong in the Constitution? No, but the legislature has not acted on it. How many more Greyhounds have to die before the legislature gets around to it?

Voters think that Amendment 3 gives them the right to vote on casinos, but it effectively does the opposite. Amendment 3 dis-empowers the local vote on gambling and/or the Legislature, because any new gambling would have to be approved by a statewide petition drive, and statewide vote, as a Constitutional Amendment. Not likely.

The Tallahassee Democrat explains, “Amendment 3 purports to put citizens in charge of any expansion of gambling, but it’s mainly a sop to Disney, which opposes all casino gambling, and the Seminole Tribe, which doesn’t want any competition for its gambling operations.” Amendment 3 is supported by the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, the Broward Democratic Party, and the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida. From the beginning of time, Democratic groups in South Florida have voted for anything that mentions gambling. The League of Women Voters supports Amendment 3 but for the opposite reason, because “the League has held a consistent position against gambling”!  Don’t drink the Kool-Aid on Amendment 3. Is it worth the time no explain to voters? No.

Feel-good Amendment 6 deceptively appears to  protect victims’ rights, but the League of Women Voters of Florida argues, “Victims’ rights are already protected in the Constitution, and this amendment would eliminate an existing provision that victims’ rights do not interfere with the constitutional rights of the accused.” This is a very comfortable “No” vote, and Amendment 6 is opposed by all major groups, but unfortunately some voters will drink the Kool-Aid.

Two other Amendments, 11 and 12, may look good to some progressive groups but, in my opinion, are bad. The Miami-Dade Democratic Party and the ACLU of Florida (but not the Broward Democratic Party and not the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida) support Amendment 11, which might allow some criminal justice reforms to apply retroactively which might shorten prison terms and might save taxpayers’ money by reducing prison populations. Which is why Florida Tax Watch also supports 11. (Amendment 11 also cleans up obsolete, unenforceable language in the Constitution, by preventing the Legislature from preventing non-citizen ownership of property and removing Bullet Train language, which was already repealed.)

But the true results of feel-good Amendment 11, specifically the retroactive sentencing changes, are unpredictable. Florida Today staff explain that, “Gun rights groups support [Amendment 11] in hopes that will make retroactive a change to the “stand your ground” law that put[s] the burden of proof on the prosecution instead of defendants in pre-trial hearings.”  A sentenced gun murderer might later claim a reduced sentence in future revisions to Stand Your Ground gun laws. Don’t drink the Kool-Aid.

The Miami-Dade Democratic Party supports Amendment 12, which would lengthen the ban on lobbying by elected officials to 6 years, from 2 years presently. That’s excessive and out-of-step nationally. Don’t drink the Kool-Aid. We should slow down the political revolving door but we don’t have to slam it shut. Lobbyists are part of the political-ecological web and provide information to legislators. Amendment 12 is opposed by the Broward Democratic Party, the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida, and Florida Tax Watch, and you should, too.

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”

This is How Alan Ehrlich is Voting

    Hi, everybody!

    (This message represents my opinion alone and does not represent the view of any political party, club, or other organization.)

    With the understanding that what is on my ballot may not be the same as what’s on your ballot, this is how I am voting in the November 6th Mid-Term Election:

    United States Senator…………………………………..Bill Nelson

    Representative, District 23……..Debbie Wasserman Schultz

    Governor………………………………………………Andrew Gillum

    Attorney General…………………………………………Sean Shaw

    Chief Financial Officer…………………………………Jeremy Ring

    Commissioner of Agriculture……………..Nicole “Nikki” Fried

    State Representative, District 98…………….Michael Gottlieb

    Yes for Retention………………………… All Justices and Judges

    Circuit Judge, Group 38…………………Stefanie Camille Moon
    Circuit Judge, Group 46……………..Maria Markhasin-Weekes
    County Judge, Group 9……………Tanner Channing Demmery
    County Judge, Group 19……………………………Allison Gilman

    Plantation Mayor……………………………………Peter S. Tingom
    Plantation City Council, Group 1………………….Eric Anderson
    Plantation City Council, Group 2………………..Denise Horland
    Plantation City Council, Group 5………………………Nick Sortal

    Broward Soil and Water, Seat 2……………………..Richard Leys

    Constitutional Amendment No. 1………………………………No
    Constitutional Amendment No. 2………………………………No
    Constitutional Amendment No. 3………………………………Yes
    Constitutional Amendment No. 4………………………………Yes
    Constitutional Amendment No. 5………………………………No
    Constitutional Amendment No. 6………………………………No
    Constitutional Amendment No. 7………………………………No
    Constitutional Amendment No. 9………………………………No
    Constitutional Amendment No. 10…………………………….No
    Constitutional Amendment No. 11…………………………….No
    Constitutional Amendment No. 12…………………………….No
    Constitutional Amendment No. 13…………………………….No

    Broward County Transportation Tax…………………………..No

    Broward County Charter Amendments…………………..All Yes

    Should you wish to know why I am voting as I am, call me or ask me the next time we see each other.  You don’t have to agree with my choices or vote the same way, but please vote!

    Alan

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