The South Florida Times will publish a commemorative special section on politics in its Oct. 25 edition. idents being given priority. This publication will provide candidate profiles, and comprehensive coverage of the contest between Democratic incumbent President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney, as well as statewide and congressional races.
The special section will put particular focus on local races in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties, including judicial, sheriff, school board, county and municipal contests. Candidates are urged to email their contact information, along with a brief bio and high-resolution photos, to our editors at News@SFLTimes.com . For more information, please call 954-356-9360.
A federal judge has temporarily struck down Gov. Rick Scott’s ridiculous drug-testing requirement for impoverished people who apply for welfare, food stamps and certain other types of public assistance. Scott’s plan also required applicants to pay for the testing. The judge ruled it may constitute an unreasonable search and seizure. However, the bulk of public funds and assistance goes to lobbyist, private contractors and state employees. If Scott was truly concerned with drug use, he would require his own staff to submit to random drug testing, as well as himself. Then he can move on to vendors and contractors.
Palm Beach County
Sections of Palm Beach County remain flooded from Hurricane Isaac. Streets are under water and the South Florida Water Management District still has pumps deployed to help drain off the water, particularly in western sections of the county. The Palm Beach County Mosquito Control division is at work as well, spraying pesticides over hundreds of thousands of acres.
Delray Beach Police Officer Frank Umbriac remains on administrative leave after being accused of having sex while on duty with an intoxicated woman whom he was investigating over a disorderly complaint. The woman says she was forced into it. DNA tests confirmed the sexual encounter but prosecutors with the Palm Beach State Attorney’s Office decided against filing criminal charges due to the woman’s changing account of what happened. The city police department’s Internal Affairs Division is investigating.
Two teens were fatally shot and six other people injured at a party in Newcomb Hall at the Riviera Beach Marina. The violence erupted at the Sweet 16 party. Riviera Beach Mayor Thomas Masters and police are investigation and are urging anyone with information to call them at 561-845-4123 or Crime Stoppers at 800-458-8477.
FEEDING THE NEEDY
Boynton Beach Mayor Woodrow Hay and the city commissioners approved a measure proclaiming September as Hunger Action Month. The city will join the Feeding South Florida organization to secure food for the poor though its network of pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and home
Broward Schools Superintendent Robert W. Runcie has suggested that sabotage by employees may be contributing to bus transportation problems in the district’s Transportation Department. Thousands of children are not being picked up on time or have been left without transportation to and from school. Transportation director Chester Tindall cited other issues that he says contribute to the chaos. He too has speculated that intentional disruptions may be to blame. However, absent facts to support the allegations, any talk of sabotage is unfortunate, if not reckless.
Marcus Griggs, 39, a prosecutor with the Broward State Attorney’s Office, was arrested and charged with strangling his wife. Sunny Isles Beach police say officers responded to the couple’s apartment where his wife Erinn Thompson told them he beat, kicked and choked her during an argument. Thompson, a Miami-Dade prosecutor herself, admitted hitting Griggs in the head several times after finding text messages between Griggs and another woman, police said. Griggs left the apartment. Thompson said she did not want to press charges. Griggs turned himself in days later and is charged with domestic battery by strangulation and simple battery. He is suspended from his job without pay.
David Golt, director of Broward Schools’ Special Investigative Unit, which is the district’s police department, may have to defend his hiring practices. Several women have pending discrimination complaints alleging age, race and gender bias after they were laid off, or not rehired, in favor of white males. One instance is former Pembroke Pines police officer Richard Barber, who has a controversial past. Barber is the school district’s range master and investigator. In 1995, while working for the Pembroke Pines force, he fired a shot into a van he had pursued through a residential neighborhood. The bullet hit a 15-year-old passenger in the head, causing brain damage and blinding him. The van belonged to the teenager’s parents. An internal investigation determined Barber acted negligently. A grand jury reached the same conclusion but did not recommend criminal charges against him. Barber was hired over several women.
BSO STERIODS SCANDAL
New details have surfaced about the steroids scandal involving more than two dozen deputies in the Broward Sheriff’s Office. No one was disciplined for allegedly obtaining steroids through fraudulent means, or at least so we thought. Stay tuned.
FLORIDA CITY GAMBLING
Florida City Mayor Otis Wallace and city commissioners have taken the first steps towards approving a racetrack or jai alai and casino. Fort Myers Real Estate Holdings’ application to build a horse racing track was rejected and that issue is still in court. Now the company may apply for a dog racing or jai alai permit or both. City officials have rezoned 25 acres for the project and hope to have the facility completed by next year. It would be located near the end of Florida’s Turnpike, just before the entrance to the Florida Keys. The company and city officials hope it would become a major tourist attraction.
The James E. Scott and the Carver Homes projects were known for violence and squalor. When the Miami-Dade Housing Authority decided to demolish those public housing units, about 1,200 residents were forced to find other places to live. It caused an uproar and years of legal battles. More than 10 years later, those dilapidated projects have been replaced with the attractive low-income North Park at Scott Carver development. It is a mix of single-family homes and townhouses with modern amenities. The $84 million development is now accepting applications for tenants, with the displaced former residents being given priority.
Yet another former employee has filed a lawsuit against the city of Homestead over his firing. Sergio Purrinos, who was let go by the City Council in 2010, filed suit in Miami-Dade Circui Court. Purrinos’ lawsuit follows those of former Assistant City Manager Johanna Faddis and former City Manager Mike Shehadah.
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