Friday, April 29, 2016

Wasserman Schultz Stands Up for LGBT Americans


Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz
EQUALITY Act Presser – Transcript
Thursday, April 28, 2016

“We cannot sit back and just wipe our hands and say good job, it’s time to move on, because as Congressman Cicilline so accurately said, there is so much left to do, so many rights that are still not won.

“And then we watch them unraveling after the wonderful decision that’s been handed down, which was the right decision. We have bigoted, narrow-minded individuals who want to unravel and roll back that progress and roll back those rights.

“So we have to stand vigilant. We see what happened in Mississippi and in North Carolina. It is absolutely unacceptable. There is no right to discriminate. We can’t possibly codify discrimination into state, local, or federal law.

“We are asking for something very simple – the chairman of the judiciary committee to grant a hearing so that there can be a discussion about the proliferation of these laws and we can start to make sure that the overwhelming sentiment, which has become very clear of Americans across this country, which is that discrimination can be held against no one anywhere in the United States of America.

“We can stop that in its tracks and say enough, no further. We need to make sure that we continue the progress we’ve been making. Thank you very much. 

It is my pleasure to introduce Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney.”

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Commissioners Accept Initial Plans for New Convention Center Hotel and Expansion

Rendering of proposed Convention Center Hotel
Rendering of proposed Convention Center Hotel

Broward County Commissioners are moving forward with the process to expand the 

Broward County Convention Center and build a Convention Center hotel to attract more business to the area.

Developer Matthews Southwest Holdings presented plans for a twenty-four story, 800 room convention center hotel suitable for an AAA 4-diamond rating that would include retail space, restaurants, an intermodal transportation area and plenty of open space to take advantage of the Intracoastal Waterway. The hotel would meet requirements to be LEED Gold certified.

The initial plans provide a starting point to move the project forward with revisions expected throughout the process. Commissioners voiced various concerns about the design, parking availability, transportation, traffic flow and financing of the project.

"There are many aspects to this project.  We're building a hotel and expanding our convention center. As we move forward, we'll gather more information and make decisions accordingly," said Mayor Marty Kiar.

"Moving this project forward and building an iconic hotel and world class convention center is our stated goal. This is a good start," said Vice Mayor Barbara Sharief.

"We're doing this to attract convention business from other parts of the country and potentially the world. People do attend conferences throughout the year and we know that we're losing about $100-million annually as a result of not having a convention center hotel," said Commissioner Stacy Ritter.

"You got a lot of this right," said Commissioner Lois Wexler. "The one part that needs work is the financial piece. There are many more opportunities that we can pursue to make it more palatable."

"As you hope to achieve an iconic site, I think to make it a destination you'll want more than just a hotel and convention center. You'll want to continue business throughout the year, not just the tourist season. I think you'll really want to make it appealing to local folks. Your ideas are fantastic, I would just like to see more of a public component, especially along the waterway," said Commissioner Tim Ryan.

"When it comes to the design, there's more on the positive side than not. Transportation is going to be a big issue, because the goal is to get cars off of 17th street," said Commissioner Chip LaMarca.

"There will be a tremendous amount of economic activity and jobs created from this project. I would like to see enough outdoor space for events that will bring more people to the area. As we move forward, we'll want to look at every avenue to make sure we get this completed for the people of Broward County," said Commissioner Dale V.C. Holness.

"I look forward to working with the developer and moving the project forward with the flexibility to make changes as we gather more information and finalize the design and financials associated with the hotel and expansion. This is a good start," said Commissioner Mark Bogen.

"I know that we're looking for an iconic building and I don't think this design is iconic. As we progress, we might have to take a second shot at a different design. I think this is good, but you've shown us other work that I thought was better," said Commissioner Beam Furr.

Commissioners will discuss the project again on May 10. Once the design plan is finalized, developers estimate that construction could begin in 2018 with a soft-opening in August 2020.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Wilton Manors to consider extending transgender health benefits for employees on April 26th

On Tuesday, April 26th, at the request of Commissioner Julie Carson, following a vote to authorize the permanent display of the Rainbow Flag on Wilton Manors symbolizing the diversity and pride and of the LGBT community and welcome LGBT tourism, the commission will discuss a motion to consider extending its employee health plan to cover the currently excluded needs for transgender employees or a transgender family member of a city employee.  Below are links to the agenda item.  The meeting begins at 7pm and the public is permitted to provide public comment for up to 3 minutes at the beginning of the meeting, but not at the time of the specific agenda item.  There may be some push back from 1 or 2 members of the city commission and some members of the public who would object to increasing the city budget to rightly address the needs of any potential employee, or their family member who needs access to this critical health benefit.  If you are the head of an LGBT organization, please attend and provide public comment on behalf of your organization to demonstrate the positive impact this health coverage.  Please also invite any of your staff or employees who are also personally affected by this issue.  If you are not located here and can't make it to the meeting, please provide Commissioner Carson with a letter of support on the importance of this coverage.  While the Rainbow Flag goes up in my wonderful city, I envision flag to be a welcoming symbol of pride for all communities that fall under the LGBT umbrella.

a. Discussion: Gender reassignment benefit options (Human Resources)

Michael Emanuel Rajner, BSW

Twitter: @MichaelRajner

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Eight South Florida high schools landed among the top 100 nationwide


Eight South Florida high schools landed among the top 100 nationwide in rankings by U.S. News & World Report. The schools are in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties. Two Broward County schools made the top 250: Weston’s Cypress Bay High was No. 243 and Pompano Beach High was 250. Both were listed among the top 25 in Florida.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Gov. Rick Scott holds event in honor of Holocaust memorial bill

Gov. Rick Scott held an event in Broward today that included a ceremonial bill signing related to building a Holocaust memorial in Tallahassee.
“The Holocaust is a stark reminder that evil exists in the world,” Scott said at the David Posnack Jewish Community Center in Davie.
There were several Democratic politicians and activists at the ceremony which is unusual for an event with the Republican governor, but this bill had wide bipartisan support: passed the Florida Senate unanimously and all but one House member voted for it.
Bill sponsors included State Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, who spoke at the JCC. Several additional Democratic legislators spoke including State Representatives Katie Edwards and Jared Moskowitz of Broward and State Sen. Maria Sachs of Palm Beach County.
Scott also gave the governor’s freedom award to Norman Frajman, a local Holocaust survivor who as a teenager survived four concentration and forced-labor camps. Frajman’s parents and younger sister died in the Holocaust and he now speaks to school groups and colleges about his experience.
Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera spoke about his recent visit to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Israel. He quoted Elie Wiesel, an author who wrote the book Night about his experience in a concentration camp: “Never shall I forget that night, that first night in the camp.”

Source Miami Herald

Photo Bina Fink 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Help elect Florida’s first openly gay Latino lawmaker

You are cordially invited.....

Tuesday, April 19th

6:00PM – 7:30PM

At the beautiful home of 
 Chuck Loring 

844 North Victoria Park Road
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304

Honorary Hosts 
Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Dean Trantalis
Representative Joe Geller
Representative Evan Jenne
Representative Shevrin Jones
Representative Richard Stark

Event Chairs 
Scott Bennett • Rodney White & Michael Williams • Phillip Dearborn •
Chuck Loring • Frederic Potvin & Brent Kelleher • Charles Hindmarsh

Event Hosts
Michael Rajner • Alix Ritchie & Marty Davis • Ron Mills
Dick Schwarz & Tom Massey • Meryl Friedman • Ken Evans
Jason King • Stratton Pollitzer • Dina Heffernan • Row Iliescu
Todd Delmay & Jeff Delmay

(Maximum contribution allowed per person or corporation - $1,000)

Interested in serving on our Host Committee?
Email to learn more

*UPDATE ON THE RACE - House District 49 leans Democratic in a Presidential election year. After a very strong fundraising push over the summer, both of Carlos' Democratic challengersdropped out and the Republican incumbent has decided to run in a different district rather than face Carlos. A brand new GOP opponent recently entered the race to challenge Carlos, and we need all hands on deck in support of his campaign. Carlos has the endorsement of Equality Florida PAC, Victory Fund, Florida Professional Firefighters, 14 House Democrats, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, and several more elected officials and community leaders. 


Thursday, April 14, 2016



Broward Sheriff’s Office Special Victims Unit detectives arrested a Coconut Creek police officer today on one count of custodial sexual battery and two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation.


BSO Case Number: 11-1604-002989
PIO Number: 16-4-14
Date: April 14, 2016
Time: 4 p.m.
Place of Occurrence: Coconut Creek
Jurisdiction: Coconut Creek


  • Two males, believed to be 13 years old at the time of the incident


  • Daniel Rush, 26, male, Coconut Creek

Description of Incident:

Broward Sheriff’s Office Special Victims Unit detectives arrested a Coconut Creek police officer today on one count of custodial sexual battery and two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation.

The officer, Daniel Rush, was taken into custody at approximately 4 p.m. at the Coconut Creek Police Department.

The accusations first came to light on Sunday, April 10 when one of the victims handed another parishioner a note while attending worship services at a church in Pompano Beach. The note included claims of sexual misconduct.

On Monday, April 11, the parishioner went to the BSO Pompano Beach district office to report the incident and turned the victim’s note over to a deputy. The case was assigned to the Special Victims Unit for further investigation.

Detectives spoke with the victim and learned that the allegations occurred in Coconut Creek. Coconut Creek PD was contacted and requested that BSO continue the investigation.

During an independent interview of the victim with staff at the Nancy J. Cotterman Sexual Assault Treatment Center, detectives learned that the sexual offenses occurred last year. A second victim was later identified. The second victim was interviewed Wednesday and told investigators Rush fondled him. Rush admitted to knowing the boys but denied the allegations.

Rush is the co-founder of a mentoring organization, Men of Virtue & Ethics. Due to the group’s association with other churches, detectives are concerned there may be more victims. If you have information about additional victims or believe your child may be a victim, you are urged to call BSO Special Victims Det. Ann Suter at (954) 321-4240. If you wish to remain anonymous, you may contact Broward Crime Stoppers at (954) 493-TIPS (8477) or online at
INVESTIGATORS: SVU Det. A. Suter, CID & Lt. R. Lorber, Sgt. S. Erdelyi, CID Pompano Beach, Coconut Creek

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s Campaign at Home

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Avoid Tech Support Scams

Tech Support Scams
Tax Fraud
Cybercriminals are no longer targeting victims solely through email messages and fake websites. They’re diversifying their tactics and contacting individuals by telephone, claiming to represent well-known software companies and offering to solve computer problems. These individuals may claim that they have detected viruses or other malware on your computer to trick you into granting them remote access to your computer, or paying for software you don’t need. The goal of these fraudulent individuals is to make money and access your personal files to steal your identity.
Once scammers have gained your trust, they may ask you to give them remote access to your computer in order to make changes to your settings that could leave your computer vulnerable; try to enroll you in worthless computer maintenance or warranty programs; ask for credit card information so they can bill you for phony services or services you could get elsewhere for free; trick you into installing malware that could steal sensitive data, like user names and passwords; or direct you to websites and ask for your credit card number and other personal information. Regardless of the tactics they use, their intention is to take your money.
If you get a call from someone who claims to be a tech support person, hang up and call the company yourself on a phone number you know to be genuine. A caller who creates a sense of urgency or uses high-pressure tactics is probably a scam artist.
How Can I Avoid Tech Support Scams?
  • Never grant a third party access to your computer unless you can verify that it is a legitimate representative of a computer support team with whom you are already a customer.
  • Never provide credit card or financial information over the phone, especially if you did not initiate the call or it is not from a known and trusted source.
  • Never provide a password over the phone. No legitimate organization will call you to verify your password.
  • If you receive a call claiming there is a virus on your computer, hang up!
Steps to Take if You Become a Victim
  • Update or download security software from a legitimate source and scan your computer. Delete any malware or viruses that may have been downloaded or installed through a third party.
  • Change the passwords for your computer, email and online banking/credit card accounts.
  • Contact your credit card provider and dispute charges for any bogus services rendered or purchases made without your consent.
  • Consider placing a fraud alert on your credit report if you shared personal and banking information with the scammer. Fraud alerts can be administered by calling one of the three major credit report agencies: Experian,Equifax or TransUnion.
For additional information, contact the department at 1–800–HELP–FLA (435-7352), 1–800–FL–AYUDA (352-9832) en EspaƱol, or visit

Friday, April 01, 2016



Hundreds of families will converge on Deerfield Beach this weekend as the Broward Sheriff’s Office and Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue, in partnership with the City of Deerfield Beach, host the Ninth Annual South Florida Beach Festival.



12:30 p.m., Saturday, April 2
Deerfield Beach Public Parking Lot
Adjacent to Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue Station #75
 200 S. Ocean Way, Deerfield Beach
Hundreds of families will converge on Deerfield Beach this weekend as the Broward Sheriff’s Office and Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue, in partnership with the City of Deerfield Beach, host the Ninth Annual South Florida Beach Festival.

“For the past nine years, BSO deputies and firefighters have helped make the Surfers for Autism (SFA) event a success for the kids and their families,” Sheriff Scott Israel said. “We’re honored to be part of such a great event and great cause.” What had humble beginnings almost a decade ago has morphed into a three-day, family-oriented festival centered on giving 200 children with autism and developmental delays the opportunity to surf just like any typical Florida youngster. The three-day beach festival will feature live music, stand-up paddleboard mania, food trucks and more. The surf event takes place on Saturday.

SFA events are free for participating families and also serve as a fundraising mechanism. Money raised is used to fund future events and to further advance research and advocacy. For more information, visit

Governor Rick Scott signed the following 14 bills into law.

Governor Rick Scott signed the following 14 bills into law.
Voter Identification – This bill expands the list of acceptable forms of identification for voter registration applicants to include certain information.

Reciprocal Insurers – This bill creates an alternative process for a domestic reciprocal insurer to distribute unassigned funds to policyholders.

Mobile Homes – This bill revises provisions relating to mobile home park tenants and owners.

Insurance Guaranty Association Assessments – This bill revises the assessment process for the Florida Workers’ Compensation Insurance Guaranty Association.

Divers-Down Warning Devices – This bill expands the types of signal devices used by divers.

Funeral, Cemetery, and Consumer Services – This bill revises provisions within the funeral, cemetery, and consumer services code.

Fraudulent Activities Associated with Payment Systems – This bill provides additional consumer protections against fraudulent activity at gas stations.

Solid Waste Management – This bill revises solid waste management programs within the Department of Environmental Protection.

Persons with Disabilities – This bill protects individuals with autism or an autism spectrum disorder during encounters with law enforcement.

The Retail Sale of Dextromethorphan – This bill prohibits the sale of products containing dextromethorphan to minors.

The Prescription Drug Monitoring Program – This bill exempts nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and rehabilitative hospitals from reporting certain information to the prescription drug monitoring program.

Security System Plans – This bill revises public records exemptions related to government agencies’ security systems.

Contraband Forfeiture – This bill revises the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act.

Service of Process on Financial Institutions – This bill authorizes financial institutions to establish a sole location or agent for receipt of service of process.

To view a copy of the transmittal letter, click HERE.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

On Transgender Day of Visibility, DNC Chair Speaks Out Against Republican Anti-LGBT Efforts

Photo credit, Christ Dilts / DNC

On Transgender Day of Visibility, DNC Chair Speaks Out Against Republican Anti-LGBT Efforts

The Republican Party just can’t help themselves. From North Carolina, Mississippi and now Arkansas, elected officials are finding ways to deny LGBT individuals of their right to full and equal protection under the law.

In celebration of the Transgender Day of Visibility, DNC Chair Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz is calling on GOP lawmakers and elected officials to end their divisive, discriminatory campaign to erode legal protections for members of the LGBT community.

On Wednesday, the Mississippi legislature passed the “Religious Liberty Accommodations Act,” an anti-LGBT bill that fosters bigotry under the guise of allowing people, businesses or religious organizations to refuse service to members of the LGBT community. The bill goes as far as allowing businesses and organizations to impose “sex-specific standards or policies” on behavior.

That same day, Arkansas’ Republican Attorney General asked the state Supreme Court to review a Fayetteville ordinance, saying that the ordinance conflicts with a state law prohibiting localities from passing their own laws to prohibit discrimination against the LGBT community.

DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement:

“Instead of tearing down the walls that divide, the Republican Party is erecting new barriers of bigotry. The Republican-dominated Mississippi legislature passed a horrific, so-called religious liberty bill that promotes intolerance. Religious liberty should never be used as a license to discriminate. This bill can be too broadly interpreted, and can be used as justification for county clerks to deny marriage licenses for same-sex couples or for businesses to fire LGBT employees solely based on their orientation.

“Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is equally wrong for appealing a decision backing Fayetteville’s anti-discrimination ordinance. Apparently Fayetteville voters learned something in kindergarten that the AG hasn’t – it’s wrong to bully or harass people for their differences. Arkansas should not follow North Carolina’s disgusting example. 

“As we celebrate the International Transgender Day of Visibility, we need to recommit ourselves to fighting against the discriminatory laws that Republican-controlled legislatures have passed or are trying to pass. Our nation has worked too hard to distance ourselves from the ugliest chapters in our history when discrimination was codified by our laws. We cannot move forward as a people or as a nation if we design laws that seek to diminish or demean people because of who they are or who they love.” 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Dick Colon, one of the White House Boys, walks through grave sites near the Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Fla. Several men who suffered abuse and severe beatings believe the crosses mark the graves of boys who were killed at the school, victims of punishments that went too far.

Legislation sponsored by Senator Arthenia Joyner (D-Tampa) authorizing interment compensation for the families of deceased victims of the Arthur B. Dozier School for Boys and the creation of a memorial in memory of the deceased children was signed into law by the governor on Wednesday.

The bill, which took effect immediately upon the governor’s action, was sponsored in the House by Rep. Ed Narain (D-Tampa).

“This law finally ends a tragic chapter in Florida’s history,” said Senator Joyner. “It buries the dead with dignity, and establishes a permanent reminder so that the atrocities the children endured at Dozier are neither forgotten nor repeated.”
First opened in Florida in 1900, the Dozier school operated until its closure in 2011. Segregated until 1968, the school constructed in Marianna to “reform” a young offender so that he could be “restored to the community with purpose and character fitting for a good citizen” kept scarce records of the fate of boys it housed but rumors abounded of brutal treatment within its walls. Many of the boys, some of whom were sentenced to Dozier for minor infractions such as truancy or “incorrigibility,” were subject to physical and sexual abuse, and a number of them died on the premises.
A final report issued earlier this year documented the findings of a University of South Florida forensic team which led an investigation into the deaths and unidentified remains interred on the school grounds. The research team found and excavated 55 graves, positively identifying seven remains, and presumptively identifying 14 through DNA evaluation. Work to identify additional remains is expected to continue.
SB 708/HB 533 authorizes up to $7,500 to the family of a victim for reimbursement of burial and grave marker expenses. It also establishes a “Dozier Task Force” headed by the Secretary of the Department of State to recommend the creation of a memorial and permanent site for the re-interment of unidentified or unclaimed remains.

For More info on the tragedy read from NPR Here

President Obama Grants Commutations of Floridians

Henry Claude Agnew – Miami, FL
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base; Southern District of Florida
Sentence: 262 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release (November 24, 2003)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on July 28, 2016.

 Marvin Bailey – Hollywood, FL
Offense: Conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine and cocaine base; aiding the travel in interstate commerce to promote the distribution of cocaine; possession with intent to distribute cocaine; Southern District of West Virginia
Sentence: Life imprisonment; $25,000 fine (June 19, 1997)

Carmel Bretous – Miami, FL
Offense: Conspiracy to import at least five kilograms of cocaine; importation of five kilograms of cocaine; conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms of cocaine; possession with intent to distribute five kilograms of cocaine; Southern District of Florida
Sentence: 235 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release (November 6, 2001)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on July 28, 2016.

   Dexter Lanoyd Dickens – Panama City, FL
Offense: Conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of a mixture or substance containing cocaine; distribution of a mixture or substance containing cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school (four counts); principal to distribution and possession with intent to distribute a mixture or substance containing cocaine; distribution and possession with intent to distribute a mixture or substance containing cocaine; possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing cocaine; Northern District of Florida
Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (December 17, 2004)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on July 28, 2016.

   Andrew Lee Holzendorf – South Bay, FL
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine base; Northern District of Florida
Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (November 14, 1996)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on July 28, 2016.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016



Broward Sheriff's Office missing persons detectives are asking for the public’s help in locating an elderly man who suffers from dementia.


Broward Sheriff's Office missing persons detectives are asking for the public’s help in locating an elderly man who suffers from dementia.
Donato De Sanctis, 83, was last seen around 9:15 this morning at his residence in Lauderdale Lakes. He has gray hair, blue eyes, is about 5 foot 5 and weighs approximately 140 lbs. He was last seen wearing green shorts, a dark green shirt and white shoes and is driving his gold 2004 Chevy Impala with Florida tag 049MKT.
Anyone with information on De Sanctis’ whereabouts is asked to contact Missing Persons Unit Detective Chris Blankenship at 954-321-4268 or BSO’s Communications Duty Officer at (954) 764- HELP (4357).