State Department Is Moving Into the Freedom Tower

Categories: Politicks

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Photo: MiamiTom | Wiki Commons CC2.0
After a 41-year hiatus, the federal government is moving back into the Freedom Tower. At least on a part-time basis.

The U.S. Department of State has reached an agreement with Miami Dade College, current owner of the iconic building in downtown Miami, to use portions of the tower as its Americas media hub. The State Department won't be setting up full-time in the building. Instead, it will use it periodically conduct interviews, meetings, and as a home base for U.S. diplomats engaging with Spanish-language media.

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Rick Scott Proposes Tax Cuts for Cell Phones, Cable, and Textbooks

Categories: Politicks

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Rick Scott unveiled his proposed budget today, and it contains $673 million in tax cuts at a time when the state is sitting on a $1 billion surplus. Interestingly, those cuts would most likely save the middle class some dough by lowering taxes on their cell phone and cable bills, and also gives college students a bit of a break by exempting textbooks from the state sales tax.

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Raquel Regalado Took On the Establishment; Now She Wants to Run It

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Photo by Marta Xochilt Perez
Regalado on the set of her weekly TV show, Esta Semana con Raquel.
The Spanish-language radio station La Poderosa (670 AM) broadcasts from a large, square concrete-and-glass building on SW 27th Avenue in Little Havana. The building's cafeteria, Bocadito Express, is a poorly lit, one-room blue-collar spot on the ground floor where area workers drop in for cafecitos and medianoche sandwiches.

Raquel Regalado walks in wearing an elegant beige dress suit, tall brown leather boots, and a Louis Vuitton scarf around her neck. With her long auburn hair and porcelain features, she could be a European actress. But the man behind the counter doesn't glance twice -- Regalado is a regular.

In heavily Cuban-accented Spanish, she orders two croquetas, which the café worker loads from behind the warm glass onto a small plate. Regalado then promptly heads for a seat at the back of the room.

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Marco Rubio May Decide on Presidential Run This Weekend While at the Delano

Categories: Politicks

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Marco Rubio and around 300 of his biggest supporters and confidants entered the swanky Delano Hotel on South Beach today. By the time they leave tomorrow, they may have a better idea of whether Rubio will run for president.

In fact, according to the Miami Herald, Rubio has already told aides to "prepare for a presidential campaign."

One thing is for sure, Rubio definitely wants people to know that he's thinking about running for president.

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Bill Filed in Tallahassee to Toughen Penalties for Drivers Hitting Bikers

Categories: Politicks

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Photo by C. Stiles
A "ghost bike" left in memory of Christophe LeCanne, another cyclist killed on the Rickenbacker.
The last time a hit-and-run driver killed a cyclist on the Rickenbacker Causeway, it sparked a new law in Tallahassee: the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act, which toughened penalties against drivers who flee fatal accident scenes.

This week, yet another cyclist is dead and another is seriously injured after an allegedly drunk driver plowed into them on the Rickenbacker. And coincidentally, a legislator has just filed another bill in the Florida House that would add new protections for cyclists.

See also: Another Cyclist Killed in Rickenbacker Causeway Hit-and-Run

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Two Cabinet Members Want an Independent Investigation of Rick Scott's FDLE Ouster

Categories: Politicks

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Rick Scott knows a thing or two about emergency damage control. This is the same executive, after all, who survived his company getting hit with the biggest Medicare fraud fine in history, escaping with a golden parachute and a path into politics.

Last night, Scott showed his finest scandal-ducking form again as pressure boiled over about his ouster of ex-FDLE chief Gerald Bailey. With two of his own cabinet members now calling for an independent investigation into Bailey's claims that Scott tried to pressure him into politically motivated moves, the governor snuck out a back door rather than face reporters -- then sent out a carefully worded, two-page response to the media.

See also: Rick Scott Lied About Ousting Florida's Top Cop Over Political Fights

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North Miami Beach Bans Offensive Mug Shot Targets but Stops Short of Firing Police Chief

Categories: Politicks

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via NBC6
Another police controversy, another case of cop unaccountability.

North Miami Beach officials apologized Tuesday for city police using mug shots of black men for target practice. In what seems to be a national trend, however, no cops were held accountable for the incident.

"It's real sad," said Lisa Kelly, the mother of one of the men whose mug shot was shot up by North Miami cops. "I'll be back here if you kill my son."

See also: North Miami Beach Police Caught Using Photos of Local Black Men for Target Practice


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Carlos Curbelo's Spanish SOTU Response Was a Weak-Sauce English Translation

Categories: Politicks

via YouTube
Watching freshman Miami Rep. Carlos Curbelo deliver the Republican Spanish-language rebuttal to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, one could only wonder: Where the heck was Sen. Marco Rubio to hand his homeboy a tall drink of water?

You might recall Rubio took a break from his response to Obama's 2013 State of the Union address to wash his palate with some thirst-quenching, high-quality H2O. A visibly parched Curbelo sure could have used one of Rubio's water bottles for his prime-time debut.

Except for a few major details concerning Cuba and immigration, the cotton-mouthed congressman nervously orated what was essentially a translation of the English-language rebuttal -- given by another rookie federal legislator, Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst.

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Jeb Bush's First Fundraiser Hosted by Exec Whose Firm Ripped Off Florida Taxpayers

Categories: Politicks

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As Jeb Bush's all-but-certain run to the White House ignites for liftoff, one of the biggest lingering questions is whether he'll hit any serious turbulence over his decades of sometimes questionable financial dealings since leaving Tallahassee.

Well, it didn't take long for Bush's first financially tied mini-scandal. Last week, Jeb hosted his first big fundraiser since making his presidential bid semi-official. His host for the big money event? A corporate exec whose firm was once investigated for bid rigging in Florida while Jeb was governor.

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Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez Faces Ethics Fine for Lying to Public

Categories: Politicks

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The Miami-Dade Charter's Citizens' Bill of Rights prohibits local politicians from lying to the public under the "Trust in Government" clause. Yet the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust has never actually targeted an official for breaking that trust in government. Well, until now.

Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez has been hit with two separate violations of the clause after he lied to the public about loans he provided to a convicted Ponzi schemer. Yep, someone in local government is getting punished simply for lying to the public.

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