Florida’s minimum wage will increase from $7.25 to $7.35 per hour effective June 1, following a ruling by a judge in Leon County that state officials violated the Florida Constitution by not raising the minimum wage on Jan. 1, due to a rise in the cost of living. The National Employment Law Project and Florida Legal Services sued the state over the issue. Workers who are paid partly in tips will see their minimum base pay increase to $4.29 per hour.
Florida paid the unemployed a maximum benefit of $275 per week, one of the lowest of all states in the nation. Thanks to Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican-controlled Legislature, out-of-work people will now see that amount reduced by 11.5 percent. They will also get that pittance for 23 weeks instead of 26 weeks. It was yet another hit on workers on behalf of corporations.
Palm Beach County
Mayor Thomas Masters and the other Riviera Beach city commissioners will vote on a proposal to end dry boat storage at the city-owned marina. The city has offered the service since 1982. Over the objections of boat owners, they say the marina loses money each year and it is no longer cost-effective.
UNFIT TO SERVE?
David Katz, a controversial lobbyist and former Boynton Beach city commissioner, will serve on the city’s Charter Review Commission. Katz had been accused of violating the city’s lobbying rules, which prompted an ongoing investigation by state and federal authorities. Mayor Jose Rodriguez was peeved when Commissioner Bill Orlove nominated Katz and he criticized City Manager Kurt Bressner for submitting Katz’s name.
Palm Beach county commissioners have voted to enact tougher ethics rules for county offices and agencies. They also passed a measure that allows newly appointed Inspector General Sheryl Steckler to begin work immediately. Steckler’s office will audit and investigate public agencies for fraud and corruption. The position was created after County Commissioners Tony Masilotti, Mary McCarty and Warren Newell were charged with corruption within the last three years.
Corey Rogers Seltenright, 30, was been arrested in connection with a hit-and-run accident that left a motorcyclist in critical condition. It happened Sunday, April 15, on Interstate 95 near Hallandale Beach Boulevard. According to witnesses, Seltenright, of Fort Lauderdale, was traveling northbound on I-95 when he ran into the back of a motorcycle driven by 42-year-old Ytzhak Hartzy of Aventura. Seltenright fled the scene but was pursued and then cornered by witnesses a short distance away, police said.
Broward Sheriff’s Office detention deputy Wonza Moore, 48, was arrested at her workplace and charged with allegedly bringing contraband into the Broward Main Jail. Moore is accused of sneaking items inside for an alleged boyfriend, 36-year-old Rasuul Mustafa. Hollywood police arrested him in October on attempted murder charges. It is unclear if the alleged relationship started after his arrest or if it had been ongoing previously.
Director Christopher Dorsey and the Dillard High School Jazz Band won the prestigious 16th annual Essentially Ellington Jazz Band Competition and Festival held in New York at the Lincoln Center. Wynton Marsalis announced that Dillard was the winner and presented them the $5,000 top prize.
In the early 1990s, Lauderdale Lakes became the first majority black city in Broward County. Soon after that, a majority of blacks were elected to the city commission. The city positioned itself as a diverse and progressive metropolis. Then the stupidity began. There were rumors that taxpayer money was being squandered and worse. Commissioners John Billingsley and David Shomers railed against mismanagement and cronyism, to no avail. Today, sadly, the city is relying on the mercy of the state just to pay its bills because it is broke. If only someone had listened.
The once mighty Miami Herald has laid off 15 people and eliminated 37 other vacant positions in continuing downsizing and cost-cutting moves. This week, the newspaper informed readers that its Action Line feature will be discontinued after more than 40 years. Action Line has served readers by investigating complaints and concerns on their behalf.
The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office has cleared Joseph Marin, a rookie Miami police officer who shot and killed unarmed DeCarlos Moore in July 2010. Prosecutors say the shooting was justified. Marin was in training with another officer when they pulled Moore over, suspecting he was driving a stolen car. Moore was walking to the back of his car, as ordered, when he turned to retrieve a pair of sunglasses. Marin shot and killed him, saying he thought Moore had a weapon. Marin should be fired. This is America, not Russia. Even if someone possesses a weapon, that does not justify killing him or her.
Daniel Alberto Barros, 22, has been arrested for allegedly impersonating a police officer. Authorities said Barros was driving a car with red-and-blue lights when he pulled over a woman near Southwest 137th Avenue and 26th Street in Miami-Dade County. He flashed a gold badge and accused the woman of speeding, police said. Suspecting he was not an officer, the woman called her stepfather, who is a police officer. The stepfather arrived at the scene and tried to talk to Barros, who sped off and drove into a bank drive-through lane. The stepfather held him at gunpoint until Miami-Dade police arrived.