Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Commentary by Thomas hits Florida Legislators on Gambling proposals

The Orlando Sentinel’s Mike Thomas had an excellent piece yesterday about the proposals that FL Legislators are making to bring a multitude of Las Vegas Casinos to Florida. He makes a strong and compelling case why this is bad public policy for the people of Florida.

“The newest plan to save Florida involves turning it into Nevada….Line the state with casinos, rake in the billions and live tax-free ever after. It's enough to make the conservatives in Tallahassee swallow their principles and sit down to deal. It spares them from making responsible choices about taxes and budgets. It would double down on everything that is wrong with Florida.”

Thomas goes on to describe the decay and misery that gambling has brought to Las Vegas and the fiscal mess that Nevada is facing because they have relied so heavily on predatory gambling revenue.

“Nevada relies on Vegas growth, Vegas tourism and Vegas sales taxes to pay the bills.  Now, just like here, people are bailing out, and Nevada is losing population. Foreclosures are so rampant that an economist predicted it will take 20 years for the real-estate market to recover. Nevada has a 13 percent unemployment rate, the second-highest in the nation behind Michigan. The Las Vegas school district is looking at firing 2,000 teachers. Residents in Vegas are 50 percent more likely to commit suicide than people in the rest of the country….Vegas is a mess. It's going to be an even bigger mess over time as gambling proliferates across the country, sucking away all but the high rollers from the Vegas strip. And now a growing number of Florida legislators want to emulate the Vegas model.”
We still have a chance to let our Florida elected officials know that we do not want the state delving more into the predatory gambling industry. Research is clear: casinos lead to increased addiction, increased bankruptcy and increased crime. And they will decimate the surrounding small businesses which are already struggling to survive.

Read the full column by Mike Thomas on OrlandoSentinel.com HERE.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Orlando Sentinel Devotes Column To Criticizing Mistaken Photograph in FFPC E-Newsletter

gay-women1Last week the Florida Family Policy Council’s weekly E-Newsletter contained a story about yet a third South Florida activist judge who illegally approved a homosexual adoption in direct defiance of Florida’s law which prohibits the arrangements. The photo in the news piece we ran (red and blue shirts on left) was obtained from an online article about a different South Florida Judge who approved a different improper homosexual adoption.

Orlando Sentinel “Taking Names” Columnist, Scott Maxwell, on an apparent slow news day, managed to devote an entire column just to criticizing and judging our motives as an organization for the use of the mistaken photo before getting the facts. Maxwell did ask FFPC President John Stemberger if he had a justification for use of the wrong photo in an e-mail and Stemberger sent back the following e-mail response:

“Scott, a day after the e-newsletter was sent out it was brought to my attention by one of my own staff members that this was not a picture of the actual couple in question in the Herald story but was a photo which was associated with an earlier story on a different gay adoption story. See (warning some graphic content on this site) http://bossip.com/58859/the-gays-win-a-round/ I would be happy to issue a correction and an apology if you or someone else felt it was warranted. I have received no complaints on this till now. If you are going to do a piece defending the position that Florida’s law on homosexual adoption needs to be changed that is fine but do not focus on the straw man of our admittedly boneheaded mistake. Let me know if you would like to see an apology and or a correction issued. John Stemberger

Unfortunately, because Maxwell gave no deadline, the publishing of the column and Stemberger’s explanation missed each other by only several hours. Maxwell’s column which was published on Wednesday February 3, 2010 was his usual name calling hit piece accusing the FFPC of “dirty tactics”, “deception”, “intolerance” and “fear mongering” for not using the actual photo of the lesbians involved in the story (see photo with gray shirts). Maxwell also never really addressed the merits of the debate or why he thinks homosexual adoptions are a good idea and are just as good as adoptions by both a father and a mother.  (see previous BLOG post from last year below for detailed discussion on this debate)

After receiving Stemberger’s explanation and correction, Maxwell himself never apologized for his irresponsible and judgmental rant against the FFPC but did blog on Stemberger's correction (see http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_local_namesblog/2010/02/stemberger-wrong-pics-of-gay-couple-was-mistake.html) Unfortunately, he also never bothered to quote at all from the explanation given and again tried to put the FFPC in a bad light even after knowing the facts of both of our mistakes.
FFPC President John Stemberger has issued the following statement of apology:

“I would like to offer my sincerest apologies to Melanie Leon and Vanessa Alenier for the mistaken photograph used in reference to the homosexual adoption story we published last week. The use of the photo was a clear mistake on our part and was not intended to demean either of you or other gay identified persons. Please accept our apology.”