A New Perspective 10-16 2004 Endorsements

Golden Gate Gazette

October 16, 2004

Since 1992, it has been a policy of The Gazette to endorse candidates and issues that will be appearing on the election ballot. This year’s column appears sooner than normal due to early voting, which begins Oct. 18.
Some readers say they find the endorsements a service to them; others get upset. The endorsements are derived from research or familiarity with the candidates, their work in the community, their responsiveness, and the way they conduct themselves in public.
Agree or disagree, get out and vote.
There aren’t very many local elections this year, so the column would have been shorter than in years’ past. However, with the ease of getting an amendment on the ballot, there are eight ballot amendments to cover.
As to local races, we have Estates resident Linda Hartman running against the more experienced incumbent Jack Winters for the Mosquito Control District. Hartman has been so active in the Golden Gate and Estates issues, that she deserves a shot at representing this community on the board. What she lacks in experience will be made up in her contact with the local residents, and bringing a better understanding of Mosquito Control to the area through her presence in the community.
The Golden Gate Fire Commission race is a great event. All three candidates have a passion for the fire service. Two of them, Chuck McMahon and Rob Stoneburner, are more active in their community and have a good handle on public input.
McMahon, the incumbent, secured the endorsement of the Republican Executive Committee. During his time on the board we have seen him stand up for his opinions and fight for change; however, his inability to gather support from the other commissioners has made him less effective.
The fire district’s budget has nearly doubled in the past few years and the job requires a business head with the ability to crunch numbers and make it through the big budget maze. Rob Stoneburner, who is new to politics, is a good businessman, has strong, long-time ties to the community, and might be more persuasive on the board.
In other community activities, Stoneburner has shown he will stand up and voice his opinion, and will probably have a better time at persuading other commissioners to help him get things done.
Matt Johnson, the third candidate is a union firefighter and although sincere in his pursuit, will soon find himself pulled between firefighter issues and public issues. It is not a good mix.
The District 3 County Commissioner race pits incumbent Tom Henning against political newcomer Julie Uresti. While Uresti may be more pleasant to look at and deal with, she can’t compare when it comes to knowledge of the issues that affect our community, nor provide the know-how to get things done for our community. Henning has been extremely active in our community and knows our issues. He won’t have a learning curve to overcome and will hit the road running.
In the race to replace Congressman Porter Goss, Connie Mack is the best candidate. He stays close to the conservative values that most of this area tends to lean toward and probably won’t bring any unexpected surprises.
The U.S. Senate race pits Mel Martinez against Betty Castor. Castor’s heart seems to be in the right place, but I don’t think we can afford her solutions. Mel Martinez has strong support throughout the Senate and will probably be more effective at getting things done for this area without venturing off into new grand government solutions that we would regret later.
Finally, George W. Bush is the better candidate for President of the United States. We need his constant unwavering stand as this county goes forward to eradicate the cancer that exists in the world.
He is a more convincing leader to other countries, as everyone knows he means what he says and he does what he says. Without him in command, I fear the upheaval that would follow, as terrorists would be free to explore new opportunities with someone less resolved in protecting American citizens.
Now the Amendments.
Amendment 1. Parental Notification of Abortion of a Minor. Vote Yes. Any parent will vote yes on this. Those opposing claim it could slow necessary medical procedures and violate privacy rights. Parents ought to have the right to violate their child’s privacy.
Amendment 2. Constitutional Amendments Proposed by Initiative. Vote Yes. This amendment slows down the process of getting a Constitutional Amendment placed on the ballot. It will allow citizens more time to research issues. As you can see, there a bunch of amendments that most you probably haven’t heard of. Now you’re supposed to vote and make an intelligent decision.
Amendment 3. The Medical Liability Claimant’s Compensation Amendment. Vote Yes. It is a start in helping to bring medical costs in line. This amendment says a patient will receive 70% of the first $250,000 in damages awarded from a medical malpractice suit where the attorney will be paid by contingency fees. The patient must receive 90% of the amount awarded over $250,000, exclusive of reasonable and customary costs. It will be less lucrative for attorneys to go after cases for the wrong reasons. This will save us quite a bit of money in insurance costs.
Amendment 4. Authorizes Miami-Dade and Broward County Voters to Approve Slot Machines In Pari-mutuel Facilities. Vote No. This amendment would allow more gambling and all of the social problems that go with it. It would tarnish the rest of Florida’s clean family image.
Amendment 5. Florida Minimum Wage Amendment. Vote No. This amendment will establish the minimum wage in Florida at nearly 20 percent above the federal level and ties the minimum wage in Florida to the consumer pricing index, which can increase annually. If a wage increase would help, why not double it? The logic on this doesn’t make sense.
Amendment 6. Repeal of High Speed Rail. Vote Yes. This program will cost Florida taxpayers $25 to 30 billion dollars, and won’t benefit our area. It shouldn’t have passed the first time. It can now be taken away.
Amendment 7. Patients Right to Know About Adverse Medical Incidents. Vote Yes. This allows patients to view a doctor’s malpractice incidents and adverse judgments. This will work to keep the doctors clean, while Amendment #3 will work on the attorneys. Both will benefit the consumer.
Amendment 8. Public Protection from Repeated Medical Malpractice. Vote No. This amendment prohibits medical doctors with three or more incidents of medical malpractice from being licensed to practice medicine in Florida. Some fields of medicine have higher rates of medical malpractice suits than others. A blanket prohibition isn’t appropriate. If amendment # 7 is passed, patients can determine for themselves, whether or not they wish to use a doctor for medical services.

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