Home' South Florida Times : SFT 051415 Contents 4A | MAY 14 — 20, 2015 | SOUTH FLORIDA TIMES | SFLTIMES.COM
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DIRECTOR OF ADVERTISING
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Robert G. Beatty, Esq.
& BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
Andrea F. Robinson
Michele T. Green
Rober t G. Beatty II
From Ferguson and Staten Island to
North Charleston and Baltimore, our na-
tion has been moved -- to conversation and
debate, protest and action -- by images of
tragic encounters between law enforce-
ment and the communities they serve.
But as the President has made clear,
these issues are not new, and every mayor
(or former mayor, like me) can attest that
what we are witnessing in cities across
America is not only about policing.
This is also about opportunity.
Everyone should be empowered by the
country they call home. Unfortunately, in
America, too many young people are limit-
ed by the zip code into which they are born.
The President doesn't treat this conversa-
tion as one to be had only every few months
surrounding the latest tragedy captured on
camera and replayed on the news.
As the Director of Intergovernmental
Affairs for President Obama, I've seen first-
hand the steady, focused efforts he is taking
to expand opportunity for more Americans.
Since the day he took office, the Presi-
dent has worked to address these issues in
important ways: restoring economic secu-
rity to hard-hit American families; build-
ing stronger neighborhoods and commu-
nities; protecting and defending the civil
rights of all Americans; ensuring young
people have the opportunity to reach their
full potential; expanding access to college;
and expanding access to affordable, qual-
ity health care.
But our work is far from over.
Here are just a few specific examples
of the actions the President is taking, work-
ing in coordination at state, city, county,
and tribal levels.
In 2010, the President created the
Choice Neighborhoods program, which
has provided more than $300 million to
plan and implement the transformation of
high-poverty areas in sustainable, mixed-
income neighborhoods with services,
schools, transportation, and access to jobs.
It also expanded the neighborhood Stabi-
lization Program, which has provided $7
billion in funding to communities to man-
age vacant and foreclosed properties.
For every federal dollar spent, Choice
Neighborhoods has attracted seven dol-
lars of private and other investment and
has developed nearly 10,000 units of
mixed-income housing in 12 communities.
This is just one of the many ways this
administration is working to be a bet-
ter partner to local leaders working to
improve the quality of life in their com-
munities. In fact, in the past six years we
have initiated dozens of locally led efforts
reaching 1,234 communities to improve
economic conditions, schools, build busi-
nesses and make communities more resil-
ient against climate change.
One of these efforts built in partner-
ship with communities across the country
is "My Brother's Keeper" (MBK). This ini-
tiative launched last year to address per-
sistent opportunity gaps faced by boys
and young men of color and ensure that
all young people can reach their full po-
tential. And through the MBK Community
Challenge, more than 150 city, county, and
tribal leaders are joining with diverse
stakeholders to implement their own
strategies to help more young Americans
The President also signed an Execu-
tive Order to create the Task Force on 21st
Century Policing last year, part of the Ad-
ministration's efforts to strengthen trust
between law enforcement officers and the
communities they serve and protect while
enhancing public safety. The task force de-
veloped constructive, concrete proposals
that -- if adopted -- would make an impor-
President Obama also raised the maxi-
mum Pell Grant award to $5,775 for the
2015-16 award year -- a more than $1,000
increase since the 2008-2009 school year,
helping more than 8 million Americans a
year afford college. This year, the Presi-
dent has proposed new investments to
ensure the maximum Pell Grant keeps up
with the cost of inflation.
The most important path out of poverty
is a job, and American businesses have
added more than 12 million new jobs over
the last 62 months, the longest streak on
record. Our recovery from the Great Re-
cession was hardest for those who were
already struggling, but the President's de-
cisive actions have helped lift millions of
families out of poverty.
The Administration's measures, in-
cluding the Making Work Pay tax credit,
strengthening unemployment and SNAP
benefits, launching a rapid rehousing proj-
ect and expanding eligibility of the Child
Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit,
helped keep between 3.9 million and 5.7
million families per year out of poverty
during the recovery.
In fact, in 2013, more than 1.1 million
Americans were lifted out of poverty, led by
the largest one-year drop in child poverty
since 1966. This reduced the poverty rate
significantly, by a half a percentage point.
We're seeing real results. But there's
more work to do. The President knows that
expanding opportunity isn't just a moral re-
sponsibility for all Americans -- it's an eco-
nomic imperative for our nation. Here's why:
When children grow up in poverty, it
costs our nation half a trillion dollars in lost
wages, productivity, and other costs each
year, roughly the equivalent of 4 percent
The President likes to remind his team
that our time in the White House repre-
sents our best chance to do the most good
for the most people. And the best thing we
can do is continue to expand opportuni-
ties so that every American has the same
chance the President did -- to use their
talent, drive, and work ethic to determine
their own future. But this work can only be
done in partnership with individuals and
communities ready to make change in
their own neighborhoods.
That's what the President's been fo-
cused on since day one, and it's what we'll
be working on until the last day we're here.
And we need your help to get it done.
Director of Intergovernmental Affairs
The White House
was not able
to do their
trict school leaders are on edge. As a
school administration leader, school
board members usually struggle with
spending plans because they start with-
out any hard numbers. They usually use
last year’s numbers, and they make ad-
justments once they get hard numbers
from the governor’s office.
School districts start preparing for
their fiscal year July 1st
, and they must
approve a budget by September. They
operate each fall with a tentative bud-
get with money carried from the previ-
ous year. But this year, there is no budget
because the Florida legislature has not
settled on how much money schools will
get per student.
Late last year, state economists and
the governor’s office were projecting a $1
billion budget surplus, and some of this
surplus would be used to increase edu-
cational spending. It was projected by
the legislative leaders and the governor
that per student spending would be set
at $7,176; about $50 more than the record
high from 2007-08.
But, in February, the federal govern-
ment confirmed it would not renew the
Low-Income Pool funding. At this point,
the Florida legislature is facing a $2.3
billion hole, and it looks like the Florida
Legislature will be forced to cut appro-
priations starting with the school budget.
With the two Legislative Houses bare-
ly talking and angry with one another,
there is potential that nothing will get
done at a special legislative session from
June 1 to the 20th
. We can surmise that the
two leaders are talking to each other, but
there is very little information to confirm
Many pundits and political experts
are starting to blame Governor Scott for a
lack of leadership with the dysfunctional
Florida legislative session. Darryl Paulson,
retired professor emeritus of political sci-
ence at the University of South Florida St.
Petersburg says, Governor Scott is one of
the worse governors in the history of the
Professor Paulson states, “Governor
Scott’s tenure has been a string of heavy-
handed attempts to impose his rather
limited vision on the state. That has meant
restrictive voting laws, environmental roll-
backs and the stripping of Cabinet author-
ity. His leadership has been so inconsis-
tent, so flaky; you can almost say there has
been no leadership.”
As the special Florida legislative ses-
sion begins June 1, it will be necessary
for the governor to help resolve the stale-
mate in the two Houses. Without a budget
on July 1, the state would shut down, and
everything would come to a grinding
halt. The state budget funds schools, uni-
versities, hospitals, state governmental
departments, and even federal programs
like Medicaid and Medicare.
This has never happened in the state
before, and it is an unprecedented event.
Everyone in the state is on pins and nee-
dles, and both sides appear not to budge,
and are unwilling to compromise. This is
an ugly situation, and no one will win if
the leadership in the two Houses and the
governor don’t start talking.
Roger Caldwell, a community activist,
author, journalist, radio host and CEO of
On Point Media Group, lives in Orlando.
His book, The Inspiring Journey of a Stroke
Sur vivor, details the story of his recovery
from a massive stroke. He may be reached
So another inner city goes up in flames
after another young black man dies in the
custody of a police department. Is this
going to become the modus operandi
for the summer of discontent 2015? Is it
just another reason for the Obama ad-
ministration to investigate a local police
department and create a civilian police/
security force before his term is out?
When Ferguson burned
12 businesses during a riot,
the administration blamed
it on racism (which they
couldn’t confirm). Now Bal-
timore is run by black folk
– black mayor, black police
chief, black prosecutor, etc.,
etc., etc. So nobody can
Even when the black prosecutor is-
sued arrest warrants for three white
cops in the death of Freddie Gray, they
couldn’t blame it on racism, because
there were three black cops arrested as
well. So since racism couldn’t be blamed
for Freddie Gray’s death, why the riots?
Well, some folk blamed the youth riots
on the fact that school was let out early and
the city stopped all the public transporta-
tion, so the kids had nothing to do but run
around Baltimore like a bunch of locusts,
destroying everything in their path.
But one parent – just one parent out
of hundreds of parents – saw her son on
TV with a mask and hoodie, and ran out
to get him – to save him from himself and
from becoming another Freddie Gray. By
the end of the week, millions of people
across the globe watched Toya Graham
discipline her son.
My great grandson said watching Ms.
Graham smack her son was the best part.
It was also the best part for me because it
let me know that someone cared enough
about their children to teach them some
values. And then I heard one of the lib-
eral talking heads calling Ms. Graham’s
which had no meaning. Such an idiot.
But the real idiots were the so-called
protesters who pretended to care about
Freddie Gray dying, but proceeded to
burn approximately 350 businesses in
Baltimore – mostly small business own-
ers whose life savings went into their
The world watched Baltimore burn.
And for what? Even after the prosecu-
tor arrested the six cops responsible
for Freddie Gray’s death, the protesters
burned businesses which had no deal-
ings with Freddie Gray.
And to add insult to in-
jury, the talking heads on
the mainstream media TV
programs began to pon-
tificate about why the city
burned. Even Obama talk-
ed about racist cops, bad
inner city schools, little in-
vestments in the city (even
after his administration poured billions
Nobody even came close to talking
about the real problem – criminal ele-
ments, bad parenting, children having chil-
dren, little family values, absentee fathers,
little education, and absolutely nobody
taking responsibility for their own actions.
And the Obama administration again
takes the opportunity to make a good
thing out of a crisis. His new Attorney
General, Loretta Lynch, takes over for the
old Attorney General, Eric Holder and
nothing changes. Obama marches on
toward taking over the country’s police
forces so he can make good on his prom-
ise to create a civilian security force.
One wonders why a group of so-
called protesters would burn down a city
to make a point that has nothing to do
with the death of the black man in police
custody which supposedly was the rea-
son the protest started in the first place.
This is only the beginning. It will be a
long, hot summer.
Barbara Howard is a political con-
sultant, radio host and commentator and
motivational speaker. She is Florida State
chairwoman for the Congress of Racial
Equality (CORE) and Trade & Travel good-
will ambassador to Kenya. She may be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Baltimore burns – for what?
The news across the na-
tion has brought startling
images into our homes.
Almost everyone I
know was shocked last
month by the video show-
ing a South Carolina police
officer shooting to death an
unarmed man. If a citizen
had not been nearby with
a cellphone, who knows
whether we’d ever have
learned the truth about
Such horrific events have
caused many to ask whether
shoulder-worn police cam-
eras should be standard is-
sue in police departments
across the country.
Is this the next step in
I believe the time has
come to at least experiment
with the use of cameras in
the Police Department. I
hope to persuade the rest
of the City Commission to
include a pilot project in
next year’s budget.
Police body cameras
create transparency in
law enforcement by docu-
menting the interactions
between officers and civil-
ians. They can assist in the
collection of evidence and
witness statements as well
as address any concerns
about misconduct, use of
force or bias.
This simple device not
only protects citizens from
that type of renegade po-
lice conduct, but it also
offers protection to the
police officers from disin-
genuous accusations in-
tended to demean the men
and women who proudly
wear our uniform.
The Wall Street Journal
recently reported that
out of the 18,000 police
departments in this country,
about a third already
employ camera devices
on their uniformed police.
Broward Sheriff Scott Israel
wants to equip his deputies
with cameras, and the
cities of Hallandale Beach,
Pembroke Pines, Coral
Springs and Lauderhill are
all moving this direction.
A camera system does
come at a cost, and there
are those who may say
there may be rights to
privacy or inconsistent
results from their use that
might undermine their
President Obama has
announced his adminis-
tration will provide $20
million to help police de-
partments cover the cost.
The rest will take time and
I truly believe this is
the right thing to do and
the right time to do it. It
should be added to the
goals that the commission
City Commissioner, District 2
Body cameras for police. Is it time?
Florida district schools trying to
write spending plans with no budget
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