Local, Regional and National Politics …
Editorial Note: The Lehigh Acres Gazette will not endorse any candidates but will provide any opinion section space for the viewers of the Gazette to make their own decisions.
By Dara Kam The News Service Of Florida
Mirroring court rulings in other states, a Monroe County judge on Thursday struck down Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage, ruling that the voter-approved prohibition violates due process and U.S. constitutional protections against discrimination.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi immediately notified Circuit Judge Luis Garcia she intends to appeal the ruling, effectively putting it on hold. Garcia’s order would only apply in Monroe County.
Use with Permission By BRANDON LARRABEE THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA
In a highly anticipated ruling, a Leon County judge struck down a map of the state’s congressional districts drawn by the Legislature in 2012, potentially throwing the political future of the state into turmoil.
But the ruling, issued by Circuit Judge Terry Lewis, is virtually certain to be appealed and end up before the Florida Supreme Court, meaning that this year’s elections will likely proceed normally.
Legislative leaders were reviewing the ruling late Thursday, according to their offices. But a lawyer for voting-rights groups challenging the map said it was “very satisfying” to see Lewis’ opinion and said his side was ready for an appeal.
“We’re very optimistic that the Supreme Court will uphold the ruling,” attorney David King said.
Recently, I sat down with a local business owner and we discussed how revitalizing existing business areas can bring further economic growth to Lee County.
We can make our existing business districts communities safe, walkable, bikeable with shady trees, flowers, native plants, and appeal to tourists and residents. By doing this we can attract more business and improve what we’ve already invested in. Parking should be easy so residents can spend their money in our local stores and restaurants without worry. Streets need to be easily navigated. We want business and traffic to flow easily. Complete streets can be the goal. Gaps in sidewalks need to be closed. Seniors waiting for the bus or trolley should have shade and a bench to sit on. Who wouldn’t want to spend more time in an area with those features!
Larry Aguilar is fighting for his chance at a state representative seat — and he isn’t even on the ballot.
The Lehigh Acres Democrat is challenging the state Division of Elections for keeping him off the ballot for District 79 that incumbent North Fort Myers state Rep. Matt Caldwell and challenger Matt Miller qualified for.
The debate revolves around interpretation of state guidelines about what, exactly constitutes possession of a candidate’s qualifying documents — their placement in a post office box, or placement in a Division employee’s hands.
Aguilar first tried to qualify to be on the ballot through petition but didn’t get enough certified signatures.
By David Mark
Congressional Republicans and their allies are optimistic about finally ending the estate tax, paid by the inheritors of valuable property. Or “death tax” depending on your preferred term.
Rep. Kevin Brady, vying to become chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee in early 2015, is pushing legislation to permanently repeal the federal estate tax. The Texas Republican and other critics contend it’s fundamentally unfair to tax those inheriting property, because it has already been subject to taxation. In many cases, inheritors are forced to sell families homes, businesses and other assets just to avoid the huge tax bill.
And they argue the estate tax is the smallest source of revenue of any major tax in the United States.
Michael Dreikorn to challenge Benacquisto for senate seat
Michael Dreikorn has just announced his candidacy for the State Senate District 30. After withdrawing from the race for Southwest Florida Congressional District 19 on May 2 due to lack of campaign funds, Dreikorn now says he has gained thousands of supporters and has promises of more donations.
“I’m a fast learner,” Dreikorn said today.
After his victory last night in southwest Florida, Republican Congressional nominee Curt Clawson sent a special message to the Hispanic communities of Florida and the nation.
Curt Clawson, a businessman who was little known months ago in Southwest Florida, won a challenging GOP primary Tuesday to fill the U.S. House seat left open by the scandalous collapse of Trey Radel.
Clawson pitched himself as an outsider against more established candidates. He poured more than $2 million into television ads. In one, the former Purdue basketball player challenged President Barack Obama to a three-point contest.
April Freeman, Tuesday night was her victory party. No matter who wins. But now that she knows she’s going up against Curt Clawson, she’s ready to fight.
“I think Curt Clawson being a Tea Party chosen candidate and then taking government bailout money, laying off 1300 is a little bit of the Washington hypocrisy that’s been going on,” said Freeman.
Freeman calls herself the independent voice and fresh start for voters. Her supporters call her the next best thing to happen to Florida. Freeman has gained endorsements from State Senator Dwight Bullard as well as the Democratic Women’s Club of SWFL. Staying out of the limelight until now, Freeman says she’s ready for voters to hear her message loud and clear.
Another Southwest Florida lawmaker is in trouble with the law; State Representative Dane Eagle is facing drunk driving allegations.
Deputies say Eagle ran a red light around 2:00 a.m. Monday, leading officers to pull him over.
Officers say they’d been watching Eagle’s car for some time, after he first pulled out of a Taco Bell on West Tennessee Street in Tallahassee.
According to the arrest report, Eagle tried to make a left turn but almost hit the median. The officer following Eagle wrote he nearly hit one curb, veered, and then hit another curb while continuing to drive down the street.
After he was stopped, the officer said there was a strong smell of alcohol coming from the car.
When asked about running the red light, eagle said he thought it was yellow.