elginjones3web.gifREPUBLICAN RESOLVE
Jacksonville-based State Rep. Jennifer Carroll is serving as chair of Bill McCollum’s African-Americans for McCollum steering committee. There is a quiet effort to have McCollum announce her as his gubernatorial running mate in an effort to cut into Rick Scott’s widening double-digit lead in the primary polls. The campaigns of Scott and McCollum, the candidates for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, have both decided against any increased efforts to attract the 60,000 black Republicans in the primary. Both camps plan to court the black vote in the general election, which may be too late. This comes as a federal appeals court in Atlanta ruled Aug. 6 that portions of Florida's public campaign financing law were unconstitutional. The law provides for public matching funds to candidates who agree to limit their campaign spending. Scott, a multi-millionaire, is funding his own campaign to the tune of over $35 million so far and has exceeded the state’s $24.9 million cap for gubernatorial campaigns under the law. McCollum was slated to receive public matching funds to offset Scott’s spending. Scott filed suit challenging the law and the court has now blocked McCollum from receiving the public dollars. To write off the black vote in a close race is ill-advised, particularly for McCollum, who trails Scott by 11 to 16 percentage points, depending on the poll. McCollum clearly needs a campaign “hat trick” but his campaign advisors appear to be using a decades-old model in their strategizing, which means, of course, they won’t give too much thought to Carroll.

Palm Beach County

On Monday, Au. 9, Trina Turner was sentenced in the 2008 death of her daughter, Tori Ramsey, a passenger in the vehicle Turner was driving while drunk. The vehicle crashed, killing Ramsey. Turner was sentenced to a year of house arrest and she must wear an ankle monitoring device. Her driver’s license will be permanently revoked and, for next five years, she must also serve one night in jail on the anniversary of the accident. She will also be on 15 years of probation.

Be careful when you go fishing. Jose Guadalupe Barrientos, 41, was caught breaking into cars belonging to people who were fishing nearby on Sat., Aug. 7. Barrientos was spotted burglarizing vehicles in an area along the Southern Boulevard Causeway in the town of Palm Beach. As he fled in his own vehicle, a fisherman followed and called police. He was tracked down in the parking lot of a shopping center a short distance away and arrested. This type of crime is increasing, so be watchful. Book ’em, Dano!

Sarah Ann Thompson, 33, a former Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office deputy, was sentenced to six months in jail on Monday, Aug. 9, for using a police informant to purchase prescription oxycodone pain pills for her. The Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office said Thompson used the informant at least three times in January and February.

Broward County

Broward Schools Superintendent Jim Notter said this week that the district expects $55 million in stimulus money and, as a result, 334 of the 555 laid-off teachers will be rehired. The district is trying to balance a budget that has a $130 million deficit. Pat A. Santeramo, president of the teacher’s union, has complained that Notter was trying to close that budget deficit on the backs of teachers.

The meltdown is underway in the city of Pompano Beach and it will undoubtedly lead to more criminal investigations. The Broward Sheriff’s Office is already investigating missing records. Alex Medina, senior staff member of the Office of Housing and Urban Improvement, was fired on Aug. 2 for allegedly violating numerous personnel policies. Medina was also accused of disclosing information about an ongoing audit to a city contractor.

The status of Djuna Robinson and Leslie Rainer, two teachers accused of sprinkling holy water on an atheist colleague last April, remains in limbo. With school scheduled to start in just over a week, Rainer has been assigned to a classroom back at Blanche Ely High School but Robinson has not. The investigation into allegations they “mentally abused” students by making various remarks remains open.

The non-profit Mango Festival committee has elected a new slate of officers that consists of individuals previously associated with the group. Terry Scott is the new president, besting Norman Edwards in the vote tally. The group organizes the annual Mango Festival in Deerfield Beach, which has been mishandled in recent years. This year’s event ended in disaster and was cancelled. Many patrons and vendors have not been issued refunds and the event may never recover.

Miami-Dade County

Lee Willie Dejesus, 23, of Homestead was formally charged with murder on Monday, Aug. 9, in the death of his 2-year-old son. Dejesus said he was teaching his son boxing lessons. He hit the toddler several times in the head, torso and shoulders, leaving him in a coma, last month. Doctors removed the child from life support on Thursday, Aug. 5, and he died.

The race for the open Miami-Dade County District 8 commission seat, which is being vacated by Katy Sorenson, has finally heated up. The candidates are Lynda Bell,  former mayor of Homestead; Jason Cutter; Eugene Flinn; Pamela Gray; Albert Alvarez; Daniel Marmorstein; Obdulio Piedra; and Annette Taddeo. Bell has sent out mailings with a photograph of herself and Sorenson at a ribbon-cutting ceremony years ago. The caption reads, “Mayor Lynda Bell and Commissioner Katy Sorenson working together to improve our quality of life.” From the mailing, you would think that Sorenson is supporting Bell but that’s not so. Sorenson told me this week that she did not authorize the mailing and that she is not supporting any of the candidates in the primary. It is unclear if the mailing violates any campaign laws. Sorenson said she has been fielding calls about it.

Elgin Jones may be reached at EJones@SFLTimes.com