Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby and other Republican Party leaders in Congress appear to be fiddling with the people, once again. This week, they made it clear they would filibuster a bill that intends to offer low-interest loans to U.S. automotive manufacturers. Oversight is needed, but it’s funny how they didn’t raise a whisker a few weeks ago when the filthy rich Wall Street robbers came calling for their billions. The Republicans are clearly setting a double standard, likely because they associate the automotive industry with working-class people and unions. Whether we like it or not, the American style of free-market capitalism has been brought to its knees by greed and a lack of oversight. As a result, we are now forced to take socialist steps to save this country financially. Everyone in Congress should get with it, so they can turn their attention to helping the people, because this divisive class politics is getting old. You would think from the thrashing the Republicans took in the last election, they would have learned better, but I guess not.
NO TEENAGERS ALLOWED
Palm Beach County commissioners passed the first of two required votes that, if approved, would restrict people under the age of 21 from entering nightclubs that serve hard alcohol in certain areas of the county. The ban would exempt members of the military and faces a final vote on Dec. 16.
Gov. Charlie Crist appointed Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Jorge Labarga, a native of Cuba, to the Fourth District Court of Appeal this week. Crist has appointed several Hispanics to judicial positions, but it’s time to examine the number of black people who have been passed over the judgeships, particularly in Broward. Crist’s predecessor, former Gov. Jeb Bush, appointed more blacks and Hispanics to the bench than any other governor, and that will be hard to beat, but Crist should at least try.
Former Fort Lauderdale District III City Commissioner Carlton Moore has revealed which of the four announced candidates for his old seat he is supporting in the March election. The candidates are Pamela Adams, Bobby DuBose, Nadine Hankerson and Cameron Mizell. Moore is supporting Adams, which is no surprise, but this could be shaping up to be one good race.
BAD CHECK SCAM
William Douglas wrote nearly $1 million in bad checks for goods or services since October, according to authorities. He was arrested and charged on Monday, but why it took so long is the question. He wrote checks for all sorts of things, including a car, and one $933,000 check for a down payment on a $9 million house located in the 100 block of Northeast Fifth Avenue in Boca Raton. He is facing multiple charges, and is being held in the Palm Beach County Jail on $15,000 bond. Let’s hope they don’t accept a check from him to post bail.
OH NO, BSO
Investigators with the Broward Sheriff’s Office have closed out a complaint alleging that deputies falsified documents and submitted them to a judge to obtain a man’s personal Internet and phone records. The Internal Affairs complaint was filed by city of Deerfield Beach employee Wayne Adams. BSO detectives falsely claimed Adams was distributing child pornography over the Internet so they could convince a judge to grant them subpoenas for his records. BSO says the actions didn’t violate any of the department’s policies, which is hogwash. If lying, falsifying records, and presenting false information to a court of law does not violate policies, then they need to change their policies.
While a number of party insiders said they wanted change in the Broward Democratic Party, it was not to be. Chairman Mitch Ceasar and most of the top brass were reelected to their posts this past Sunday. However, they did vote to kick Lauderhill precinct committeeman John Labriola out of the party, and even escorted him from the facility after the vote was announced. Labriola was sent packing due to his support of Republican John McCain for president and Republican Al Lamberti for Broward Sheriff. This is odd, as President-elect Barack Obama is reaching out to Republicans, and calling for an end to party politics.
FAT LEGAL CATS
Fort Lauderdale City Manager George Gretsas has surrounded himself with senior staffers who are also lawyers. Even though they have no authority to provide legal advice, wait until you see the salaries they earn. A new mayor and slate of commissioners will be seated in March, and you can expect Gretsas to be on the hot seat about his high-priced staff and other issues crippling morale in city hall.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office has obtained an arrest warrant for 52-year-old Lorna Elizabeth Armstrong of Tamarac for grand theft. Authorities accuse her of opening tax preparation businesses at the beginning of the year, and then altering the returns to have her clients’ overpayments directly deposited into her own personal bank account. So far, investigators said, three victims have come forward with similar complaints about Armstrong and her Smart Taxes, Inc. business in Tamarac. Their losses have totaled more than $10,000 for their 2006 tax returns, and police believe there may be others who have unknowingly been victimized.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle, along with Miami-Dade Clerk of the Court Harvey Ruvin, and other organizations are holding a Seal and Expunge event that will provide information for ex-offenders about restoring their rights. The second chance seminar will include instructions on how to seal past criminal records and expunge court files. It will take place at Mas Canosa Park, located at 250 SW 114th Ave. in Sweetwater, on Wed., Dec. 17 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. For additional information call the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Community Outreach Division at 305-547-0724.
ACCUSED KILLER SOUGHT
Police are looking for 34-year-old Dwayne Luke, who is the suspect in the shooting death of Kenneth Johnson, 39, as he sat in the passenger seat of an SUV on Tuesday of this week. Authorities say Luke had argued with the driver of the SUV, and followed him back to his parked vehicle, where he fired one shot that hit and killed Johnson. The incident took place in the 1300 block of Northwest 3rd St. in Fort Lauderdale. An arrest warrant for first-degree murder has been issued for Luke, who is still at large. Police are asking anyone with information about his location to call Crime Stoppers, anonymously, at 954-493-8477.
MORE BAD NEWS
Office Depot, based in Boca Raton, announced plans to close 112 stores and several distribution facilities in the U.S., but the specific list of stores slated to be shut down has not been released, and no information was released on the number of possible job losses. It is expected to be considerable. Whew!
BACK IN THE BUSHES?
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is making no secret he is considering a run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by retiring Sen. Mel Martinez, who has announced he will not seek reelection. Even though the Democrats won Florida in the last presidential election, and Jeb’s brother, President George W. Bush, is out of favor over his abysmal record, Jeb Bush would be a tough candidate to beat in the Senate race.