Conexión Miami / Curbelo, Ros-Lehtinen and redistricting

Progreso Weekly is keeping a close watch on the ongoing redistricting battle in Florida. After several tries allowing the politicians to draw a fair map (and failing!), last week Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis gave tentative approval to a new congressional redistricting map drawn by plaintiffs in the case that has the potential to unseat at least three incumbent congressional candidates. Two of the three candidates are from south Florida: Representatives Carlos Curbelo (District 26) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (District 27). Especially in the case of Curbelo, it looks like Annette Taddeo has a real shot at taking him out.

Heroin on the riseheroin

Florida went after the sale of illegal pills in 2011. “Florida became the epicenter of prescription drug diversion because of a proliferation of unscrupulous pain management clinics called pill mills,” a 2014 progress report from the Statewide Task Force on Prescription Drug Abuse & Newborns states. Statistics now show we’ve had success controlling this problem. But while focusing on pills, another very dangerous drug has resurfaced. According to the Center for Disease Control, heroin use has exploded in the past decade: among those 18 to 25 it has more than doubled, and overdose death rates have nearly quadrupled. Nine of every 10 heroin users also use other drugs and an estimated 45 percent of U.S. heroin users are also addicted to prescription painkillers.

What’s Xavier Suarez running for?

County commissioner Xavier Suarez had a campaign dinner Saturday night. Attending was a crowd of elected officials, former elected officials (some who were even accused of corruption), and those who want to be elected. After the event everyone is still asking themselves what Xavier is running for… Suarez has said he may run for mayor of Miami-Dade. But suddenly others are reporting that Commissioner Suarez might even run for mayor of Miami Beach. Xavier has an apartment in Club Atlantis, a Miami Beach condo. We think that Suarez wants to run for mayor of Miami-Dade, but is not sure he would win. And he does not want to give up his current seat of power. In other words, Xavier Suarez likes being an elected official – no  matter the post.

Museum with an indoor jungle

PHIL_HOMEPAGE

The website Curbed Miami reports that “to accompany the upcoming exhibit Philodendron: From Pan-Latin Exotic to American Modern, which explores “the Pan-American cultural exchange that reshaped the gardens, interiors, buildings, and material culture of the U.S in the 19th and 20th centuries” the Wolfsonian-FIU Museum has commissioned a pop-up, indoor jungle for its lobby. Debuting October 16th, the jungle will have four installations created by teams of artists and designers, becoming an immersive entrance to the show upstairs.” The Wolfsonian is located on Washington Avenue in Miami Beach. It is worth the visit.

medicaid-logo_1Record number turn to Medicaid

A record more than 4 million Floridians — about 20 percent of the state’s population — will have health coverage provided by Medicaid this year, the state-federal program helping low-income families, the elderly and disabled. The Palm Beach Post reported that “the federal Affordable Care Act has helped swell the number getting help,” adding, “eligible people formerly unenrolled have been signing up in droves, as part of a general, national focus on health care. The increase comes even as the state’s unemployment rate drops sharply, suggesting that while Floridians may find work, it could be low-paying, without health benefits, forcing them to turn to the state for help.”

Gun rights flourish in Tally

In spite of the recent massacre in Oregon and all other gun-related deaths being reported around the country, gun-rights measures are flourishing in Tallahassee. The Orland Sentinel recently reported that under bills moving through the Legislature, Floridians could carry handguns openly in public and on college campuses, and prosecutors would have the burden of proof in “stand your ground” cases. The bills have drawn a clear partisan divide, with a few exceptions, as Republicans largely side on lessening restrictions on the Second Amendment right to bear arms as Democrats fret over the public-safety implications of allowing more guns in public places.

Dark group backing Marcodark money

There’s a group in Florida that goes by the name of Conservative Solutions Project. It’s a non-profit with close ties to Marco Rubio. Where there money comes from? Your guess is as good as ours. But it has raised $16 million already and we are told there’s more coming. And they just started running a TV spot titled “American Dream.” It has been very cleverly produced where it shines a positive light on Mr. Rubio without ever endorsing him, therefore falling under the IRS code for not-for-profits.

Dolphins fire coach, should fire the owner

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen H. Ross
Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross

The Miami Dolphins, the area’s professional football team, last week fired its head coach, Joe Philbin. In his place they put an inexperienced assistant coach on the team who served under Philbin. After Philbing the team fired their defensive coordinator, Kevin Coyle. Both firings were well deserved. But in our opinion, the main problem lies with the team owner, billionaire Stephen M. Ross. Mr. Ross would like to run his team like one of his real estate ventures – from afar and using the rules of the “free market.” Mr. Ross, in our opinion, may be a Dolphins fan, but he has NO idea how to run a football team.

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Progreso Weekly, founded by Francisco G. Aruca, is an independent publication with a progressive view.

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