elgin_jones_web_13.jpgPRIVATIZED HEALTHCARE?
Gov. Rick Scott has ordered a study to determine the feasibility of doing away with all public hospitals, clinics and healthcare providers in the state. Scott is a former executive of a private hospital chain and that has raised suspicions about his motives. Regardless, privatization of public healthcare is a bad idea that, if implemented, will leave poor people at the mercy of profit-seeking corporations. Scott says it could save the state money but don’t bank on it.
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TRAFFIC CAMERAS
Citing invasion of privacy and fairness concerns, members of the Florida House’s Economic Affairs Committee have voted to ban red light cameras. Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami, co-sponsored the bill. The measure will now go to the House floor for a vote and may suffer defeat due to the amount of money some cash-strapped cities are making from the controversial cameras.

MINORITY MAJORITY
The latest U.S. Census numbers show minorities are now a majority population in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Palm Beach County remains a white majority but it, too, is quickly losing ground to blacks, Hispanics and Asians. The shift in South Florida’s racial make-up will influence elections, federal funding and how voting districts will be drawn.

LOCAL WORKERS
­Publicly funded construction projects are underway in countless neighborhoods throughout South Florida. Residents of those immediate areas are increasingly complaining that contractors are not hiring them to work on those projects. It is unfair to upgrade a community with new development and then refuse to employ residents from that area to work on the projects. Weak-kneed local politicians are not inclined to enact requirements that a certain percentage of these projects include local labor and that’s a shame. Nevertheless, the idea has taken hold in other places around the country. In San Francisco, for example, Mayor Ed Lee has implemented an ordinance that requires contractors to hire between 20 to 50 percent of local workers on city-funded projects.

­­Palm Beach County

SICKO PREDATOR
Fede Datilus, 33, of Lantana was convicted of molesting and impregnating a 9-year-old child. The victim carried the baby to term, giving birth in 2010. Datilus was sentenced to life in prison, plus five years.

ELECTION MIX UP
Amid controversy, Jeri Muoio has been sworn in as West Palm Beach mayor. The election results were contested after it was learned that 224 residents were not allowed to cast votes in city elections due to a mix-up. Voters in the Haverhill community were mistakenly excluded from the municipal election because they were listed as being residents of unincorporated Palm Beach County. Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher admitted the mistake, but certified the election anyway.

McCARTY RELEASED

Mary McCarty, the 56-year-old former Palm Beach County commissioner who was convicted on public corruption charges in 2006, has been released from federal prison. McCarty will serve six months in a halfway house.

Broward County

FORECLOSURE SETTLEMENT
The Fort Lauderdale-based law offices of Marshall C. Watson reached a $2 million settlement with the Florida Attorney General’s Office related to its foreclosure practices. Watson is one of three law firms under investigation for allegedly submitting false affidavits and loan documents in foreclosure lawsuits. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced the settlement but has not said what was uncovered in the probe.

OLIPHANT’S JOB
The Broward School District is reviewing the process used to hire Miriam Oliphant as a high school guidance counselor. Oliphant is the former Broward County Supervisor of Elections who was removed by then Gov. Jeb Bush for incompetence. Oliphant, a former school board member, was hired at Dave Thomas Center in Coconut Creek in January over 55 other candidates. Superintendent Jim Notter is reviewing the process to ensure it was fair and impartial after questions surfaced about the $75,000 position.

COLLEGE LAYOFFS

Kaplan University has closed it virtual education school located in Hollywood, which offered online courses for sixth through 12th grade. The Washington Post-owned university has transferred operations to its Portland, Oregon, facility. Some 88 employees will lose their jobs as a result.

FIRE SERVICE TALKS
The city of Deerfield Beach is in discussions with the Broward Sheriff’s Office to provide fire and rescue services to the city. It is part of City Manager Burgess Hanson’s overall plan to contract city services out to governmental agencies and private firms.

Miami-Dade County

FALSE DENTIST

If you needed false teeth, hopefully you didn’t go to this guy. Angel Nolasco, 75, was charged with practicing dentistry without a license after one of his patients couldn’t stop bleeding after having a tooth pulled. The patient was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital for treatment and it turned out Nolasco was not licensed to practice, police said.

FUGITIVE ARRESTED
U.S. Marshals arrested Ryan Hubbard, 32, in Ohio. He has been charged with two counts of attempted murder. He allegedly shot two people outside the ritzy Carpaccio Restaurant in Bal Harbour Shops last week. Several witnesses identified Hubbard, of Miami Gardens, as the man who fired the shots and then jumped into a waiting car that sped away, police said. The victims suffered non-life threatening injuries. Police are asking anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 305-471-1900.

PLAYER’S DEATH
The man who killed a University of Connecticut football player from South Florida has been sentenced to 18 years in prison. John Lomax III, 22, pleaded no contest and has been sentenced in the 2009 death of Jasper Howard, a Miami native. Howard, a cornerback on the University of Connecticut football team, was stabbed to death during a fight at an on-campus party. Howard grew up in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood and attended Miami Edison High School, where he was a standout cornerback.

Elgin Jones may be reached at ejones@sfltimes.com