Politics

Ann Romney
11:02 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Ann Romney Visits St. Petersburg Hospital

Ann Romney discussed her ordeal with multiple sclerosis during her stop at All Children’s Hospital.
IowaPolitics.com

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 Children’s 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.

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Human Trafficking
1:19 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Amtrak Works With Feds To Fight Human Trafficking

Amtrak is partnering with the DOT and the DHS to combat human trafficking.
Glenn D Flickr/Creative Commons

Two federal government agencies are teaming up with Amtrak to fight human trafficking.

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman announced the new partnership Thursday.

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Dispatches From the Swing State
10:00 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

How To Drink To A Presidential Debate

Key West's "Smallest Bar" is 72-square-feet of cash-only drinks and customer abuse
Patrick Farrell Miami Herald

Key West's "Smallest Bar" is 72-square-feet of cash-only drinks and customer abuse. "No, I'm not from here," says bartender Dean Humfleet, "I have all my teeth."

Politics
1:26 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Citizens Hikes Rates And Jettisons Thousands Of Policyholders

Damage from Hurricane Andrew in South Miami, 1992.
HAM guy/flickr

The effort to shrink the number of homes insured by the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance is accelerating into high gear.

The Office of Insurance Regulation approved the company’s rate hike request this week.

At the same time, more than 200,000 Citizens customers are being contacted by private insurance companies that want their business.

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10:22 am
Wed October 3, 2012

Bogged Down: Miami Politics Weighs Down Finances

Lead in text: 
We discovered a fresh take of what's really happening down in Coconut Grove—City Hall is trapped in a death spiral of inertia and bad mistakes and some are pointing to worker compensation.
  • Source: Miamiherald
  • | Via: The Miami Herald, Kat McGrory
Pension costs, meanwhile, are up significantly, in large part because investments by the city’s two pension boards have underperformed expecta- tions.Experts have raised red flags about the city pension program before.In a stinging report last month, Moody’s 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.
State Integrity Investigation
8:00 am
Wed October 3, 2012

State Integrity Investigation Day 5: Soft Money And Deep Pockets

A lobbyist can't buy a legislator dinner, or even a cup of coffee. But a lobbyist can hand over a check for thousands of dollars.
Images_of_Money Flickr

Florida has one of the strictest rules in the country for lobbyist gift-giving: an absolute ban.

And the state has one of toughest laws for campaign contributions: a $500 limit.

And yet, there’s a contradiction that everyone in Tallahassee seems to know about.

A lobbyist cannot buy a legislator dinner, or a cup of coffee, or a bottle of water. But a lobbyist can hand over a check for hundreds of thousands of dollars in a “CCE.”

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State Integrity Investigation
7:57 am
Wed October 3, 2012

State Integrity Investigation Day 4: Clouds Over The Sunshine State

TooFarNorth Flickr

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 “Public Access to Information.”

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.

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State Integrity Investigation
7:54 am
Wed October 3, 2012

State Integrity Investigation Day Two: A Method

  • Hear WLRN-Miami Herald host Phil Latzman's interview with Dan Christensen.

The State Integrity Investigation – a collaboration of Public Radio International, the Center for Public Integrity and WLRN in Miami – is the first comprehensive look at state government  for every state in the country. What’s working? What’s not working? How susceptible is the process to corruption? 

Florida's government, overall, was given a C-minus for its integrity – not great, but still the 18th best in the country.

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Braman commission
2:43 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

Activist-Tycoon Braman Targets Miami-Dade Commissioners

Norman Braman

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,  car dealer and former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles football team,  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. Braman favors reforms that would limit spending and commissioners' political power.

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Miami Herald
8:30 am
Mon October 1, 2012

Inertia And Politics Keep Miami In Constant Financial Crisis

Miami City Hall in the Coconut Grove neighborhood.
Dtobias Wikipedia

Experts say the city of Miami will face ‘a battle every year’ 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 city’s chief issues, according to experts: spending beyond its means, ballooning pension costs and failing to generate new revenue.  Policy analysts say politics and poor decisions have made matters worse.

Romney in Miami
9:09 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

In Miami, Romney Connects With His Segment Of Latinos

Hundreds braved punishing heat and humidity at El Palacio de los Jugos for a glimpse of Mitt Romney.
Credit Rick Stone / WLRN

Mitt Romey made a stop at El Palacio de los Jugos, or the Palace of Juice, to reach out to Republican Latinos.

El Palacio is a popular Latino spot located on Coral Way in Miami.

Romney was met with an excited crowd at the event. However, experts will probably tell you that this isn't exactly a sign that Romney has a lock on the Hispanic vote.

In fact, polling shows that he doesn’t. With Latinos as a whole, Romney is doing best with South Florida's Cuban Republicans.

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Dirty Politics
9:06 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Campaign For State House Seat In Miami Becomes Ugly Personal Fight

Credit MyFloridaHouse.gov

One of the ugliest primary races in the state is going on here in South Florida.

Gus Barreiro and Alex De la Portilla, both former Republican state lawmakers, are battling it out for a Florida House seat in Miami.

Their race has become a messy fight with a series of slurs against each man’s moral character.

They also have quite a bit in common.

Both men come from political families, as well as a past as state lawmakers in the Florida Legislature. 

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Early Voting
8:32 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Florida Starts Early Voting With Dual Election Laws

Early voters line up in Aventura, Nov. 2008
digitalshaman/flickr

Monroe County, and four other Florida counties,  have begun early voting for the August 14th primary. All five are protected by the 1965 Voting Rights Act. 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.

“Until this year, the state has refrained from implementing those changes statewide until it had pre-clearance to do so in the five covered counties,” explains Michael Masinter, a law professor at Nova Southeastern University.

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Election 2012
4:00 pm
Mon August 27, 2012

Isaac Doesn't Drench Party Plans For Florida Delegates At RNC

Dr. and Mrs. Steve Zieman
Gina Jordan

Even as events were cancelled because of the weather, Florida’s delegates to the Republican National Convention managed to stay busy Monday.

The Florida delegation started the party Sunday night with a convention kickoff at Tropicana Field. Then, buses brought them back to their hotel for another reception.

Steve Zieman from Gulf Breeze in the Panhandle drank a beer and smiled after getting an update on Isaac. He almost didn’t make it.

“I had to decide whether or not the storm was really going to go on that course,” Zieman said. “But I wanted to support America.”

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Latin America Politics
2:20 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

Chavez Faces Toughest Test In Venezuela Election

After a battle with an undisclosed form of cancer, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has pronounced himself healthy enough for reelection.
Credit cc-by Valter Campanato - Agencia Brasil.
  • Miami Herald South America bureau chief Jim Wyss on Venezuela, Colombia and the Summer Games

Forget the US election. 

There may be an even more important presidential vote taking place in Venezuela this fall. 

Miami Herald South America bureau chief Jim Wyss updates WLRN's Phil Latzman on Hugo Chavez's fight to keep his job against upstart opponent Henrique Capriles. Also discussed: political strife in Colombia and Latin American countries tasting rare Olympic glory during the Summer Games in London.  

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