Rick Stone has been a journalist in Florida for most of his career. He's worked in newspapers and television but believes that nothing works as well as public radio. He and his wife, Mary Jane Stone, live in Broward County.
We Floridians might as well have been voting on different planets during the November, 2012, election. Some of us waited in line for eight or nine hours. Some were in and out of the polling place in eight minutes.
Turnout percentages ranged from the mid 50s to the mid 80s. Depending on where you lived, you had a greater or lesser chance of being forced to vote by provisional ballot, and a greater or lesser chance of that ballot eventually being discarded uncounted.
Twenty-three years ago, Nelson Mandela came to Miami, stumbled into a quagmire of Cuban exile politics, got exploited by racial equality organizers and left South Florida a little better than it was before.
Google's new Internet-safety program for school kids made its Florida debut recently in Cooper City. A lunchroom full of Pioneer Middle School students were shown the sometimes-complicated guide to going online and coming back in one piece.
The Internet is as much a part of school life today as three-ring binders and Dewey Decimal card catalogs were in an earlier time. The only difference: Old-time school artifacts did not moonlight as entertainment and communication media and certainly carried no risk of ruining, or even ending, young lives.
Jackson Health System wants to go after formerly uninsured individuals now receiving coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Because insured customers have increasingly been choosing hospitals with snazzier facilities, Jackson is asking Miami-Dade County voters to raise their own property taxes to cover a top-to-bottom remake of the hospital system.
If the referendum passes on Tuesday, JHS will issue bonds to raise $830 million for the renovations. The bond debt would add about $50 to the average county taxpayer's yearly tax bill.
Miami residents will be voting in a mayoral election on November 5, and it looks like Mayor Tomas Regalado will skate to an easy win. Except for three unknown challengers, the popular Regalado will be alone on the ballot.
Let's start with a smaller story about wasted words. Barry University political science professor Sean Foreman is editing a collection of articles by big city professors about mayoral campaigns in their own cities.
It's for a book he's writing called "The Keys to City Hall." Foreman wrote the Miami mayoral story himself. It starts like this:
It's official. No more texting and driving in the state of Florida.
Gov. Rick Scott was in South Florida on Tuesday to sign SB 52, legislation championed by Sen. Nancy Detert (R-Venice) for the last four years.
Under the new law, Florida will join a large majority of states in prohibiting texting while driving. As a secondary offense, however, drivers must be stopped for a separate alleged traffic violation before being ticketed for texting while driving.
After an 8 1/2-hour public hearing, Miami-Dade County commissioners found a way to keep its library system essentially intact early Wednesday morning while also not raising taxes.
In July, commissioners voted to hold the line on taxes, but that meant laying off firefighters, abandoning plans for a no-kill animal shelter and cutting hours, services and jobs from the library system. In the weeks that followed, all three became hot issues, but it was the libraries that dominated Tuesday night's public hearing. Librarian Jennifer Lopez said patrons would be devastated.
The calls to boycott Florida grew louder and more widespread on Friday after Gov. Rick Scott reiterated his support for the broad self-defense law that was key to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin case.
Scott told demonstrators occupying the state capitol on Thursday that he will not submit the Stand Your Ground law to a special legislative session for revisions despite demands by activists, elected leaders and at least one prosecutor earlier in the day.
Ever since a car crash that left him a quadriplegic 12 years ago, 50-year-old Ronald Fulton has been making the best of bad situations.
His experience as a patient led him to found a healthcare advocacy organization called You Are Knot Alone. Life in a wheelchair turned him into a campaigner for disability rights who also advises Miami-Dade County commissioners. But for one thing in his life, there is no upside: the loss of his nephew, Trayvon Martin.
The benefits will be substantial for those who get them, but the beneficiaries of the U. S. Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Federal Defense of Marriage Act are just a small subset of Florida's LGBT population.
They are the couples with marriage licenses from states where same-sex marriage is legal. Until now, DOMA prevented them from receiving tax breaks, Social Security, pension considerations and myriad other benefits that the federal government extends to married couples.
The sun, the Earth and the moon will align this weekend to leave a supermoon shining on a king tide.
But it’s all a little less spectacular than it sounds. At least, now it is. A few years down the road -- if the climate change people are right -- the king tide may be something to dread. But, right now, it’s just an incremental enhancement of an ordinary event.
Miami-Dade County's Community Relations Board -- peacekeeper for the last half-century among the region's raucously contentious cultures and between the people and the police -- is getting ready for the aftermath of the George Zimmerman trial in Sanford.