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In a continuing focus on “Elevating the Dialogue,” the South Florida Times is now providing local news  videos on its website, SFLTimes.com. In addition to my other duties, I am now also the newspaper's online video correspondent.  This major development allows readers to see the subjects of our news reports, in their own words, speaking about the in-depth issues we cover.  Wherever you find “See the video at SFLTimes.com” included in an article, this means you can go to our website and see the related video.

Across the nation, so-called tea party protests were held on tax day, April 15. The events were organized at the urging of conservative radio and TV commentators like Rush Limbaugh, and supported by Republican Party officials. What a joke. The Republicans have zero credibility when it comes to fiscal matters. For them to put on this sham is indicative of the party's deterioration. Where were the protests during the previous eight years of former President George W. Bush's administration, when they were in control? Most taxes are levied at the state and local levels, and this brainwashing didn't work. Many of the locally elected officials who participated in the rallies consistently raise taxes and fees for services on residents. The Republican Party is in decline, and instead of participating in these ridiculous stunts organized by radio hosts, they should formulate counter plans on healthcare, the economy, taxes and future prosperity and security. If one goes back to 1992 when Bill Clinton was elected president, the Republicans did just that with their Contract with America. Four years later, they wrested control of the Congress from the Democrats for the first time in 44 years, and Rep. Newt Gingrich became speaker of the House. Clinton's scandal-marred presidency is nevertheless seen as an overwhelming economic success, but many of those appropriations came out of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. As the loyal opposition, they developed a plan, which in the end played an important part in the fruitful economic times we enjoyed during President Clinton's terms. The Republicans have abandoned the party's core issues. Instead of any visionary agendas, they have been reduced to joining charades like last week's political minstrel shows: It's embarrassing.

A bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Ron Reagan of Bradenton is speeding through the state Legislature. It would allow municipalities to install surveillance cameras on state roads to catch motorists who run red lights. Dozens of cities already have the cameras, but they are fixed only on city-owned streets, or private property. The cameras are expected to generate a windfall of more than $100 million in annual revenue in its first year. At the present, a traffic ticket for running a red light carries a penalty of $150. Under the proposed legislation, $30 of that fee would go to the state, with $120 to the municipality. Politicians smell this money, so expect it to pass.

South Florida Times Circulation Coordinator Robert Beatty II has announced that the newspaper is expanding its distribution once again. The newspaper is expanding into hundreds of new locations throughout Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties. This effort requires dependable delivery associates. Anyone interested in joining the newspaper's distribution team should contact Robert Beatty II at 954-356-9360.

Palm Beach County

Lake Worth city commissioners unanimously approved a contract to hire Susan Stanton as the new city manager. Stanton will receive an annual salary of $150,000 plus benefits, a $500 monthly car allowance, $100 a month for a cell phone, $7,500 in moving expenses and $2,000 for temporary housing. Stanton's name used to be “Steve,” when he worked for the town of Largo, Florida. During his 16 years on the job there, he eventually worked his way up to the city manager's position, but was fired after he informed council members in 2007 of his intention to get a sex change.

Broward County

At the request of Deerfield Beach city employee Wayne Adams, prosecutors in the Broward State Attorney's Office are reviewing whether or not former city of Deerfield Beach Human Resources Director Marva Gordon committed any crimes by way of her unauthorized expenditures. Gordon resigned on March 30 amid a city investigation into her use of city funds to place ads in the journals of organizations with which she was affiliated. Broward Sheriff's Office district chief Jay Fernandez reviewed the matter and determined no crimes had been committed. Now, prosecutors are involved. Gordon's department was allocated $10,000 annually to place job vacancy ads, but she allegedly used some of those funds to place congratulations and best wishes ads in her sorority and high school reunion group journals in her native Panama.  Watch the Video

The Feb. 27 election process in which the Rev. Josh Brown of Hallandale Beach was voted in as president of the Broward County chapter of the Democratic Party's Black Caucus was determined by the organization's grievance committee to be invalid and, therefore, void. According to party official Daisy Black, who chairs the Black Caucus' grievance committee, Alan Brown of Lauderhill remains president. But that has not stopped Josh Brown from soliciting funds in the name of the group, and that could be a problem. This mess has gone on too long, and the state party should have stepped in at the outset. Now we have money involved, and it will surely get nasty.   Watch the Video

The Beat 103.5 on-air radio personality Prince Markie Dee, who was one of the original members of the Fat Boys rap group, and his Labor of Love for Hip-Hop Stars & Athletes organization, are hosting an event to find a bone marrow donor for Baby Jasmina, a six-year-old New York girl afflicted with leukemia. The event will take place this Sunday, April 26, at the 163 Street Mall, located at 1205 NW 163 St. in North Miami, from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Professional athletes and recording stars like Sean Kingston, Ricky Williams of the Miami Dolphins, Ricky Davis of the Miami Heat, Trick Daddy and others will be on hand. There will also be free food, drinks, autograph signings, celebrity photo sessions and a raffle for two Orlando vacations. Watch The Video

Thaddeus Hamilton, the Plantation attorney and commissioner on the Broward Soil & Water Conservation District, has announced his candidacy for state Agriculture and Consumer Services commissioner. Hamilton is well known in Broward County, but will have to work to get name recognition in other counties throughout the state. He is the third black person to announce a run for statewide offices, following Dr. Marion Thorpe and U.S. Congressman Kendrick Meek, who are both running for the U.S. Senate as a Republican and a Democrat, respectively.

Miami-Dade County

On Tues., April 21, Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Dennis Moss reduced the number of police officers who act as sergeants-at-arms for county commissioners. He has also implemented a new rule that prohibits officers from chauffeuring commissioners around in patrol cars. Commissioners get an $800 monthly vehicle allowance to use their own cars.