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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Parimutuel poll calls casinos a tossup
By ADAM C. SMITH, Times Political editor
Published August 26, 2007
A new poll paid for the parimutuel betting industry shows Floridians are divided on whether it's a good idea to allow casino gambling on Seminole Indian Tribe reservations.
The poll of 800 voters says 44 percent disapprove of Gov. Charlie Crist entering into a compact to allow slot machines at existing tribal gambling dens and 42 percent in favor, with 14 percent undecided. The poll, with a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points, was taken Aug. 16-20.
The Mason-Dixon survey was sponsored by a group of tracks that call themselves the Florida Fair Deal Alliance, and who may view the slot machines on tribal lands as competition.
Jones says gambling expanded under Bush
One longtime supporter of the gaming industry in Florida is state Sen. Dennis Jones, R-Treasure Island, who doesn't buy the talk that former Gov. Jeb Bush fended off expanded gambling in Florida: "Under Jeb Bush we went from 5,000 to 13,000 lottery terminals, the largest expansion of gaming in the history of this state," Jones said in a Political Connections interview airing today on Bay News 9.
Jones also said that he'll vote against the tax reform ballot initiative on Jan. 29, and that he expects this will be an especially tough election cycle for Republicans.
"We are the majority party in Florida. ... Some people will say we didn't do enough for insurance in January, they don't think we did enough during the regular session, they didn't think we did enough for the property tax session," said Jones in the interview that airs at 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. and any time on Channel 342 (Bay News 9 on demand).
Business group to support amendment
Jones may oppose it, but we can add Associated Industries of Florida to the business interests supporting the constitutional amendment on property taxes. The group officially announces its endorsement today.
"This super homestead exemption could be the shot in the arm Florida's real estate market needs. It will release the lock-in effect that Save Our Homes has created, and allow Floridians to purchase a new home or sell their current home," said Barney Bishop, president and chief executive of the group. "In addition, we anticipate this new economic activity will jump-start increased spending on home renovations and construction, which have been a leading factor in promoting a strong Florida economy."
Sembler wants troops to stay in Iraq
St. Petersburg developer and top GOP fundraiser Mel Sembler is jumping on a new political cause: discouraging the country from pulling out of Iraq. He's one of the major fundraisers for Freedom's Watch, the pro-Bush answer to MoveOn.org, which has launched a TV ad campaign aimed at encouraging support for continuing the effort in Iraq. Sembler, a former ambassador to Italy and Australia, is also chairman of the Scooter Libby legal defense fund.
Don't expect a penthouse view
Florida Democrats are hoping that if they buck the Democratic National Committee rules on the Jan. 29 primary they ultimately will escape penalties when a nominee emerges and takes over the party and the convention planning. But here's one thing to think about: the committee still controls which delegations get which hotels at the Denver convention.
So where might the Florida delegation - and Florida political writers - stay in Denver? "Maybe you guys should think about getting your own rooms," state party chairwoman Karen Thurman quipped to reporters last week.
Candidates to appear at union conference
Where big unions gather, Democratic presidential candidates usually do too. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers will hold a national conference at Disney World Monday and Tuesday, and Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Dennis Kucinich will be there, too, along with Republican Duncan Hunter.
Democrats says charity should get money
The Pinellas Democratic Party went on the offensive last week, challenging Pinellas Republican Party chairman Tony DiMatteo to return $2,240 in contributions Angelo Cappelli gave in 2006 and early 2007 to the local GOP. Cappelli, who lost a bid for state House District 52 last year to Bill Heller, was arrested recently and charged with stealing over $100,000 from a deceased client when working for SunTrust Bank.
Democratic Party official Toni Molinaro said the money should be given to the Pinellas County Community Foundation, the group that was to be the beneficiary of Cappelli's alleged victim's cash. "If we are going to rid our community of political corruption, the place to start is to return ill-gotten gains," Molinaro said in a statement.
"That was between Angelo and the charity," responded a dismissive DiMatteo.
Adam C. Smith and Steve Bousquet contributed to this week's Buzz.