After her emotional speech Tuesday night at the Republican National Convention, Ann Romney resumed the campaign today with a visit to St. Petersburg where she cut the ribbon to open a new physical therapy playground at All Childrenâs Hospital.
During the event, she found some common ground with 11-year-old Seth Morano of Sarasota.
Seconds after the pieces of red ribbon had fluttered to the ground in the shady playground Seth leaned back in his wheelchair, tilted his head for maximum projection and shouted a short message.
Pension costs, meanwhile, are up significantly, in large part because investments by the cityâs two pension boards have underperformed expecta- tions.Experts have raised red flags about the city pension program before.In a stinging report last month, Moodyâs blasted Miami for ballooning pension and healthcare spending. The rating service warned that the combined costs could account for one-third of total spending by 2017 unless leaders make sweeping changes.
Florida has a national reputation for its Public Records Law. But a new study by the Center for Public Integrity and Public Radio International has given the Sunshine State a D in âPublic Access to Information.â
The State Integrity Investigation is the first attempt to look across all states at how good the system is for preventing political corruption.
The investigation graded each state on more than 300 indicators of accountability, transparency, and corruption risk. The indicators are divided into 14 categories, which appear on the report card.
Hear WLRN-Miami Herald host Phil Latzman's interview with Dan Christensen.
The State Integrity Investigation â a collaboration of Public Radio International, the Center for Public Integrity andÂ WLRNÂ inÂ MiamiÂ â is the first comprehensive look at state government Â for every state in the country. Whatâs working? Whatâs not working? How susceptible is the process to corruption?Â
Florida's government, overall, was given a C-minus for its integrity â not great, but still theÂ 18thÂ best in the country.
Powerful businessman Norman Braman is casting a long shadow over the Miami-Dade County Commission election. He's backing a slate of four candidates against four incumbents, ostensibly in the name of reform and good government.
Braman, a civic activist, Â car dealer and former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles football team,Â was the prime mover in the recall of former county mayor Carlos Alvarez. He was also a bitter but unsuccessful opponent of the Miami Marlins stadium deal. BramanÂ favors reforms that would limit spending and commissioners' political power.
Experts say the city of Miami will face âa battle every yearâ unless its leaders address structural problems with the budget. Hobbled by unimaginative leadership, passive management and petty political gamesmanship , the city careens from one budget shortfall to the next without fixing its fundamental fiscal problems.
Among the cityâs chief issues, according to experts: spending beyond its means, ballooning pension costs and failing to generate new revenue.Â Policy analysts say politics and poor decisions have madeâmattersâworse.
Monroe County, and four other Florida counties, Â have begun early voting for the August 14th primary. All five are protected by the 1965 Voting Rights Act.Â This means that any new voting law there must be cleared by the federal government.
Last year, state lawmakers passed a law reducing the number of early voting days.
âUntil this year, the state has refrained from implementing those changes statewide until it had pre-clearance to do so in the five covered counties,â explains Michael Masinter, a law professor at Nova Southeastern University.
Miami Herald South America bureau chief Jim Wyss on Venezuela, Colombia and the Summer Games
Forget the US election.Â
There may be an even more important presidential vote taking place in Venezuela this fall.Â
Miami Herald South America bureau chief JimÂ Wyss updates WLRN's Phil Latzman on HugoÂ Chavez's fight to keep his job against upstart opponentÂ HenriqueÂ Capriles. Also discussed: political strife in Colombia and Latin American countries tasting rare Olympic glory during the Summer Games in London.Â Â