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Letter from the editor

This year’s theme: Images of black boys slain stoke a boiling point

Police in Ferguson, Mo., force protesters from the business district into nearby neighborhoods Aug. 11, 2014, in the wake of the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Dear Readers – In case you wonder why the images of black boys and men murdered and under siege dominate the pages of this year’s Southside Voter Guide for a second year in a row, it’s because history has taught us that brutal images inspire progress faster than words ever could. I am compelled to remind readers of an indisputable fact about the journey of black progress in America: Matt – make this bold sentence bold and red in the articleAs unpleasant as it is, violent images of oppression have always preceded major advances along the road to equality for African Americans. Recall, for example, that the bloody and brutal images of the civil rights movement fueled the moral uprising and active energy of American voters, which, in turn, gave President Kennedy the impetus needed to call for Congress to pass civil rights legislation. People of all ages - black, white and other - responded to the degradation that many of them would not have seen, had it not been for the media – TV and print – bringing images into their homes.

In 2013, Trayvon Martin’s face graced the cover of our Voter Guide. This year, you’ll see the names and faces of dozens of black males victimized in recent high profile killings, along with the chilling photos of police in military garb. This is our way of stoking the flame of dialogue, as well as spotlighting the voices and initiatives that are helping to channel resources to open the doors of opportunity for black men and boys. The latest research (see article at right) affirms the truth spoken by Frantz Fanon: “Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it.” For us, in this generation, our great “mission” is to redeem the strength of black men and boys in a society that often diminishes them, but which cannot reach its full potential without them. Yours in the struggle of progress,

Gypsy C. Gallardo, Publisher


Young Black Men Times More Likely Than Whites to Be Shot Dead by Police


By Stephen Crockett, Jr. - October 10, 2014 for

ccording to a ProPublica study, young black men are fatally shot by law enforcement at alarmingly higher rates than their white counterparts.   There are two sides in the debate surrounding the fatal police shooting of unarmed Ferguson, Mo., teen Michael Brown and still not many answers. There are those who believe he must have done something to have been stopped and ultimately shot to death by Police Officer Darren Wilson, and those who believe that police unfairly target and fatally shoot black boys. An alarming report reveals that the latter group just might be on to something. Federal data of fatal police shootings from 2010 to 2012, reviewed and analyzed by ProPublica, expose in grim numbers that young, black men are “21 times more likely to be killed by police than their white counterparts,” or as the Daily Beast notes, “In order for whites to have been at equal risk over those three years, 185 more— that’s more than one per week—would have had to have been killed.” According to the report, “Blacks, age 15 to 19, were killed at a rate of 31.17 per

million, while just 1.47 per million white males in that age range died at the hands of police.” The report also noted that from 1980 to 2012, 41 teens, 14 years or younger, had been fatally shot and 27 of them were black; eight were white; four were Hispanic and one was Asian. The report pointed out that mostly white officers have been responsible for the fatal shooting deaths of black boys, and noted that while black officers make up a little more than 10 percent of all fatal shootings, 78 percent of them involved young black men. According to the ProPublica finding:

“There were 151 instances in which police noted that teens they had shot dead had been fleeing or resisting arrest at the time of the encounter. Sixtyseven percent of those killed in such circumstances were black. That disparity was even starker in the last couple of years: of the 15 teens shot fleeing arrest from 2010 to 2012, 14 were black.” Power Broker | 7

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Though the ballot offers little to excite,

black voters are gearing up th for a recorD




ust as we have for the past five general election cycles in-a-row, black voters in South St. Petersburg are set to increase turnout once again in the November 2014 election. Yet community leaders are undeterred by the lackluster energy. They say the stakes are too high to lay off this year.

Leading the charge The largest force in effect on the ground in South St. Pete is from the Charlie Crist campaign – backed by Service Employees International Union, along with seasoned vote leaders such as Al White, Donnie Williams (and other members of the Nite Riders Van Club), and Kevin Johnson. Reportedly, Governor Rick Scott’s team doesn’t, and probably won’t, have any major backers in the field. Non-partisan efforts are heating up too. The League of Women Voters of St. Petersburg, along with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, the Links, and 2020 leaders, are organizing visits to 20 Southside churches, reminding voters to exercise their right, and handingout fact-filled Voter Guides. Leading the effort are June Peterman, Vonda Colquitt, Dr. Yvonne Williams,

Dr. Julie Kessel and Raechel Garafalo. Also joining in to promote-the-vote are Watson Haynes, Leroy Lewis, Eric Atwater, Doug Walton, and several other well-known names. Meanwhile the Yes on GreenLight campaign continues to gain traction, thanks to the leadership of – among others - Ken Welch, Rene Flowers, Wengay Newton and Darden Rice.

But the most powerful energy is coming from the Church Churches large and small are invoking members to remain vigilant at the polls this year. Pastor Louis Murphy, Sr. of Mt Zion Progressive says

“The message of Michael Brown’s death couldn’t be clearer: we must be active in not only deciding who leads our cities – by voting in every election – but in holding those we elect accountable to their commitments.” Chloe Coney, Co-Pastor of Spirit of Truth Ministries, agrees: “What God is saying to leaders in our community is to ‘Stay on the wall,’ do not come down. This is the time to break through to the next level in empowering our people, and eliminating vast income inequalities.”

Newest Insights about St. Petersburg’s Black Vote As of the Mayoral election last November, black voters have increased their vote count in each of the past five consecutive general elections (including Presidential, Mayoral and Midterm elections). For these three election types, growth in the black vote count was 2 to 3 times larger than the City’s black population growth rate (11.7% since the year 2000). MAYORAL ELECTIONS

Since 2005, the City’s black vote count is up 34% 9,452 7,037


African American voters in St. Petersburg accounted for 69% of all black votes cast countywide in the last Midterm election (2010), which is an even bigger share than the City’s 62% of the County’s black population.

Black voter turnout increases

MIDTERM ELECTIONS In 2010, the black vote count increased by 27% over 2006. 14,223 11,211

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS From 2004 to 2012, the black vote count grew 22% 26,152 21,478

Over the past decade, African Americans became a larger share of the City’s voting population – a trend that will probably continue over the decade, as the black population continues to grow faster than the white population. MAYORALS 2005 turnout: 22.7% 2013 turnout: 29.0% Increase: +6.3 points MIDTERMS 2006 turnout: 35.0% 2010 turnout: 44.2% Increase: +9.2 points PRESIDENTIALS 2004 turnout: 69.9% 2012 turnout: 75.1% Increase: +5.2 points Power Broker | 15

Settling the Question:

How big a factor were black voters in Mayor KrisEman’s election? Shortly after mayoral hopeful Rick Kriseman won the November 2013 election, unseating one-term St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster, Kriseman’s former campaign manager Cesar Fernandez and the Tampa Bay Times issued separate analyses concluding that the black vote was not as big a factor as some thought it would be. Fernandez tweeted, soon after election day, that Kriseman “did not need the African American vote to win, could have lost those precincts 45% to 55% and still have come out on top,” referring to the Southside’s majority-black precincts. Four days post-election, the Times reported: “Many believed that this race, like others before it, would be decided by black voters [ ] The Times review, however, showed that even when ignoring the 19 precincts populated by a majority of black voters, Kriseman still would have won, albeit by just more than 1,000 votes. That said, Kriseman’s wide margin of victory was clearly the result of his support from black neighborhoods — he won all 19 primarily black precincts.” But both analyses made a critical error in not counting African American voters who live outside of precincts where a majority of voters were black in the 2013 election. This excluded well over onequarter (28%) of black voters who cast ballots in that race. Power Broker

Then candidates Bill Foster, Rick Kriseman and Kathleen Ford answer community leaders’ questions at an Aug 14th 2013 forum that was one of several turning points that elevated Kriseman among black voters from last place in an Aug 4th poll to first place in the Aug 27th primary election.

If Fernandez and the Times analysts had counted all of the City’s black voters, using Fernandez’s same hypothetical scenario (with Foster winning a 55% majority of the total black vote), Kriseman would’ve lost the election by 500+ votes (close enough to potentially cause a recount). And since the City’s black electorate typically votes in a two-thirdsor-more bloc in Mayoral elections (such as it did to elect Mayors David Fischer, Rick Baker, Rick Kriseman, and even Bill Foster, in his first run in 2009), a more realistic hypothetical would be:

“What if Foster had won the black vote share that is typically for the community’s favored Mayoral candidate?” In that scenario, if African Americans had backed Foster for a second time, giving him 70% of their vote, Foster would’ve won the 2013 election by over 1,900 votes.

The Southside Voter Guide 2014

Stats on the Strength of the Black Vote for Kriseman Not since the 2001 general election that seated Mayor Rick Baker for his first term, and never in the City’s history had the black vote count been as high in a Mayoral election as it was in November 2013. The 9,452 American Americans who cast ballots in 2013 was the highest number in a Mayoral election in at least 20 years, besting even the 8,900 black voters in the 2001 race between Rick Baker vs Kathleen Ford race, and the 8,850 who voted in the 1997 David Fischer vs Bill Klein race. An estimated 74% of the City’s African American voters - nearly 7,000 strong -sided with Rick Kriseman.

For perspective... • Kriseman won 4,372 more votes than Foster in precincts that had a majority of black voters, equal to 70% of his total margin of victory • Kriseman won an estimated 4,465 more black votes than Foster citywide, equal to 71% of Kriseman’s total margin of victory • Kriseman won an estimated 6,963 black votes, equal to 110% of his total margin of victory

Power Broker | 17


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Living Memorial for Thomas “Jet” Jackson A


or the first time in St. Petersburg’s history a public building was named for an individual who is still living: Thomas “Jet” Jackson, whose name now graces the place formerly known as the Wildwood Park Recreation Center on 28th Street South.

By Kip Curtis

Thomas “Jet” Jackson got his nickname from Coach Joseph Johnson when he played high school basketball in the late 1950s. “They started calling me that and I guess is just stuck. I was fast.” He was also dedicated to a life of service. “I guess that was my assignment,” he said. Jackson began working part-time as a lifeguard for the City of St. Petersburg in 1960 and then went back-and-forth between college and helping out his mother for four years until he began working full time for the City Parks and Recreation division in 1964. He has worked there ever since. Jackson said “When I first began working for City Parks and Recreation I saw so many kids running around the city with nothing to do. It just got to me, and I felt there was a need to help them, to help people.” Fifty years of helping. When asked what he’d learned in all that time, Jackson said he learned to listen.

You’d be surprised listening to people. Being a listener. I really learned that soulfully. People just want you to hear them out. Sometimes just listening to a person they can answer their own question. Power Broker | 20

After just a few minutes in conversation with Jackson, I could understand why State Rep. Darryl Rouson nominated him for the unique honor a living memorial. “Mr. Jackson’s whole life has been about service to others,” said one of the many support letters to City leaders on Jackson’s behalf. “Even now, he cares for his family, his church and the larger community. There are few finer and more caring men.” And, as it turns out, this is not the only memorial to Jackson in the City. Among the art pieces decorating the Campbell Park Recreation Center, there is a silhouette near the door on the outside wall. That is Jackson as well. Jackson says it’s all an amazing honor. “In my wildest dreams, I never thought they would name a building after me. And I’m grateful for the honor, but it’s not about me. It’s about doing work to make St. Petersburg a better place for people to live.” At age 70, Jackson says he’s got his eye on retirement. After fifty years with the City, “I’m ready,” he says. He has more than earned it.

New Report

Dismantles Supreme Court Argument Against The Voting Rights Act

By Alice Ollsetin │ - August 2014 (Edited for space) As a result of the Court’s decision, the Justice Department may no longer deploy federal observers to the formerly covered states to deter and report race-based voter suppression. Civil rights advocates say that the loss of this federal monitoring program will result in “a substantial increase in voter intimidation.”

Just over a year after the Supreme Court ruled that the nation has made so much progress on voting rights that key legal protections are no longer needed, a coalition of civil rights groups released a report documenting hundreds of voter discrimination and suppression cases. “Voters will be more vulnerable this November than they have been in decades,” said Barbara Arnwine, Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Contrary to the Supreme Court’s assertion, voter discrimination is still rampant.” The report, released this summer on the 49th anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act, counted 332 cases in the last two decades in which voters successfully sued for violations of their rights, or the U.S. Department of Justice blocked a state or county attempt to change voting laws in unconstitutional ways. They counted another 10 instances in which aggrieved voters settled out of court. Tellingly, the majority of the violations happened in a small handful of states — Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina — that were covered by the very Voting Rights Act formula that the Supreme Court ruled outdated and unconstitutional.

Vice-Chair Leon Russell of the NAACP added: “When I attended hearings [on voting rights] in Florida and Mississippi, we saw long lines created intentionally, either by not having enough polling places in certain areas, or not having enough machines.” The report comes on the heels of another study debunking the main justification used for the controversial voting laws in question: fraud. Harvard Professor Justin Levitt surveyed more than a billion votes cast in elections across the U.S. from 2000 through 2014, and found only 31 credible instances of voter impersonation; and many of them were never confirmed and prosecuted. With Republican-controlled states currently fighting the Obama Administration in court over voting laws, and claiming they need measures to combat voter fraud, the Harvard study is only the latest to find that such fraud is nearly non-existent. And the kinds of fraud that are more common–like fake absentee ballots, vote buying, fake registration forms, voting from the wrong address, and ballot box stuffing– would not be prevented by a voter ID law. Still, the myth persists.

Let’s talk about what ails us Black women more likely to be victims of domestic violence The NFL is only the tip of an iceberg

“Since September 2006, law enforcement authorities have pursued 50 domestic violence cases against NFL players, including one for murder and at least five allegations of assaulting or choking pregnant women,” according to an October 2nd report by USA Today.

It’s a bigger problem than most of us know, and yet, we rarely hear about action being taken in the community. Charles Ellison called it our “dirty little secret,” in a recent article on domestic violence against African American women (for

Stats like this, and the recent parade of news indicting one after another pro football player for abuse, give the impression that assaulting women is more common in the NFL than it is across America.

He may be right on target. It’s time to talk about what ails us.

If you or someone you know may be a victim of domestic violence, But that’s not true. An analysis the organization called this summer by FiveThirtyEight. CASA (Community Accom found that NFL players’ rate of arrests for domestic violence are tion Stops Abuse) is on far lower than national averages for call 24-hours a day at men in the same age range (45% 727-895-4912. And if you lower). suspect that a loved one The NFL may be the tip of an is being abused, rememiceburg, but below the water’s ber that survivors of surface, a lot of women are suffering in silence. As we pointed out domestic violence need in the August 2014 edition of the lots of help, especially Power Broker magazine, abused black women die at 3 times the rate from family, friends, of white counterparts; and 30% coworkers and profesnearly 1 in 3 - sisters have suffered sionals. violence at the hands of intimate partners.



(From To Be an Anchor in the Storm, A Guide for Families and Friends of Abused Women by Susan Brewster)

Black Women’s Roundtable calls on NFL to lead new national dialogue

1 Believe her. Most battered women don’t lie or exaggerate their abuse. 2 Recognize that emotional abuse is truly abuse. 3 Open ears; shut mouth. You can’t listen when you are talking. 4 Respect her decisions; don’t judge her. Don’t give advice; giving advice tends to

Following a September meeting with NFL executives, representatives of the Black Women’s Roundtable said the meeting “productive,” but just a start. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell did not attend, though the roundtable invited him to a sit-down after the League announced a domestic violence advisory panel that didn’t include a single woman of color.

things families & friends can do

take away her power.

Melanie Campbell, CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and convener of the understand not just the words she speaks, roundtable, said the group will but what she is attempting to convey to continue to work with the NFL. you – the meaning between the lines. “We asked a lot of questions, and Be a mirror. Reflect her statements did a lot of listening,” Campbell back to her. This lets her know you are told the Washington Post. The really listening and trying to understand women also challenged the NFL her. to seize the opportunity to lead change on this critical issue. Speak only for yourself, not for her. Express only your feelings and observaRev. Marcia Dyson, CEO of the tions, not your beliefs. Women’s Global Initiative, who Support without controlling. Control also attended, said “We came as women who want be healers for yourself, not her. a hurting community in a crisis called domestic violence and sexual Be patient. Trust can’t be forced. abuse. We refuse to let our men be the poster boys for acute violence If she lives in south Pinellas toward women which is systemic, County, give her CASA’s number, 727895-4912. Elsewhere else in Florida call not only in America but around the 800-500-1119. world.”

5 Ask open-ended questions. Ask her to clarify what you don’t understand. Try to 6 7

8 9 10

Power Broker | 25

Voter Guide 2014

Election Day must reflect the spirit of “Law Day”: the still unmet need for justice for the poor Lisa L. Brody, Esquire


n May 1, 1958, President Eisenhower proclaimed Law Day to honor the rule of law in the creation of our nation. Three years later, Congress followed suit, permanently establishing May 1st as Law Day, and calling on all Americans to celebrate the legal spirit that guided the framers of our Constitution and Declaration of Independence, and to rededicate themselves to the ideals of “equality and justice for all.” As we draw near to an election day that could transform the future of the law in Florida, I urge every reader to reflect the spirit of Law Day in this and every Election Day. Florida voters not only face controversial ballot amendments such as medical marijuana in this November 4th election, but the next man elected as Governor could appoint as many as four Florida Supreme Court justices. As an attorney, I see clearly how the legal process has contributed to the freedoms that many of us now take for granted. But I also recognize that inequities still exist, in part because they are enforced by legal processes Power Broker | 26

and laws that still disproportionately and negatively impact our community. Every day of the week, families lose their housing needlessly because they lack solid legal counsel; consumer scams target the elderly and low-income who do not now their rights and protections; and predators - such as negligent landlords - knowingly violate the law. The poorest among us are routinely unable to obtain legal representation in the face of crises such as eviction, foreclosure, domestic violence, workplace discrimination, termination of subsistence benefits or medical assistance, and loss of child custody. As a legal services/public interest attorney for over 18 years, I can attest that lack of legal representation – especially when in need – can reverberate into every facet of life. Poor legal counsel – or none at all can dramatically affect the outcome of a case; and I’ve seen unaddressed legal problems compound health problems, compromise one’s ability to work, and spiral families into financial ruin.

For a diabetic on a fixed income, a reduction in food stamps could result in severe health risks. As for a mom in an abusive relationship, the inability to get legal help, leaves her and her children at risk.

“Lacking legal counsel to raise their meritorious defenses, low-income people often don’t get the opportunity to be heard; and sometimes get hurt in the process.”

So as we think about whether to vote, or for whom, resolve that “yes,” you will exercise your prerogative to help decide the future of the law in Florida; and “yes,” you will represent not only yourself in that voting booth, but the many who are voiceless. As our beautiful City of St. Petersburg continues a very meaningful discussion on the reduction of poverty with initiatives such as the 2020 Plan, I am optimistic to see so many community leaders supporting a vision that could reduce poverty substantially by the 2020 Census. But we must remember to include access to justice as a part of that discussion.

Lisa Brody is a Managing Attorney at Bay Area Legal Services, Inc. and Project Director of its Health & Justice Project.

Juvenile Welfare Board Community Councils Matter! Since 1945, the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County (JWB) has been improving the lives of children and families through programs, partnerships and advocacy. But, they can’t do it alone. That’s why the work of JWB’s Community Councils is so vital. Three Community Councils (South, Mid and North) serve in an advisory capacity to JWB, helping to identify critical needs that impact children and families in their communities and develop solutions. The results? Increased innovation, resources and reach that ultimately means stronger families and stronger communities. As leaders of JWB’s Community Councils, we invite you to join us. Together, we can strengthen Pinellas County’s children and families. Because all children matter!

Pastor Martin Rainey

Pastor Harold Paxton Mid County Chair

Ms. Carrie Hepburn North County Chair

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The Wage of Voting is Power, Or Not! Michael Brown – a clear case of death by self-disenfranchisement


OTE as though your life depends on it! If you are a black male, that is too often true. The recent murder of the unarmed black, 18-year old Michael Brown, by a white Ferguson policeman, was quickly framed by the depressing reality of extreme racial imbalance in the city’s governing power structure. While the City of 21,000+ is largely black (the Census shows 69%), the mayor is white, five of six City Councilpersons are white, and by one report, only three of the 53 City police officers are black. In short, though the City is overwhelmingly African American, power remains fully under white control. And as media point out, in the April 2014 City election, only 1,484 voters cast ballots, out of the 12,096 registered to vote. Thus, the murder of Michael Brown might cynically be called an example of death by self-disenfranchisement. In the racist dynamics of occupying troops - known as cops - Ferguson’s black community seems to have gotten exactly what it non-voted for......

plus tear gas, pepper spray, and yes, missile-launchers. Few clearer examples exist of how powerfully a non-vote guarantees that the non-voters best interests will not be served. Rev. Martin Luther King’s 1967 essay “Where Do We Go From Here?” cautioned that the power of the vote is the key to “realized strength:”

“The future of the deep structural changes we seek ... lies in new alliances of Negroes, Puerto Ricans, labor, liberals, church and [others].....We must become intensive political activists. Necessity will draw us toward the power inherent in that creative use of politics.”

Sadly, most of today’s black voters don’t know the war stories of when white and black leaders worked together to apply King’s vision of active and “creative politics” to get things done. But they ought to, because those stories offer a playbook of strategies. Take Charlie Crist’s current dilemma, and notice how it parallels, almost precisely, the situation African American leaders faced in the 1982 New York Governor’s race. Crist in 2014, just like Mario Cuomo then, is precariously close to losing the November 4th contest, due to indifference and disdain for Crist among some strident Democrats. And Crist, like Cuomo did, has turned to the black community for help, making it no secret that African American voters are indispensable to victory. Back in 1982, black leaders seized the opportunity. Long marginalized in the power structure, and taken for granted by officials they helped elect, Cuomo’s race gave African American and Hispanic voters the rare opportunity to leverage their vote. Especially since the prospect of the arch-conservative agenda of New York Mayor Ed Koch oozing into New York State’s progressive momentum was unacceptable to leaders in the State Black and Puerto Rican Legislative Caucus. Today’s black voters should take a page from their book. Four Caucus leaders, all seasoned politicians, combined their voter-turn-out expertise to snatch Cuomo’s fading victory out of the jaws of conservative defeat. Their minority coalition not only “delivered the vote” – using the tools of voter registration and mobilization - to give Cuomo a commanding victory, they also reached “terms” on what Cuomo would deliver for their communities. We, like generations past, should do the very same thing. That 1982 Caucus coalition focused

mobilization efforts in heavily minority areas such as northern and central New York State; West-Indian Brooklyn; and Spanish and East Harlem. We should do the same in areas like South St. Petersburg and Greenwood area, and East Tampa on the other side of the bridge. And today’s black leaders should know that the Cuomo coalition didn’t rely on campaign trail promises. They set expectations and ensured they were kept. After that 1982 election, black and Latino strategists convened a meeting with the Governor-elect to present the slate of experts they wanted named to key posts. Cuomo obliged. Their slate– which included me – secured the positions of four of the first black or Latino state agency heads ever to be named in New York, as heads of Housing and Community Renewal; Social Services; the State of New York Mortgage Agency; and the New York Division of Youth. Our vote still has that power, especially in the current gubernatorial contest; and the prophetic and pragmatic voices of Dr. King and Frederick Douglass still hold true: King said: “And so we will have to do more than register and more than vote; we shall have to create leaders who embody virtues that we can respect.” And Douglass in 1857, speaking to our still-enslaved ancestors, said “Power concedes nothing without demand; it never has and it never will.” Since Michael Brown was gunned down, 3,287 residents of Ferguson have registered to vote. That community is just awakening to its strength, but we in St. Petersburg already understand our power. So whether you care for Charlie Crist or Rick Scott, or don’t, vote regardless, in honor of Michael. Power Broker | 39



Statewide early voting begins, Some counties begin early voting sooner. Contact your county supervisisor of elections for early voting dates in your county

Wednesday, October 29 Deadline to request an absentee ballot for the general election.Your request must be received(not postmarked) by October 29.

Saturday, November 1

Statewide early voting ends. Some counties extend early voting through Sunday, November 1. Contact your county supervisor of elections for early voting dates in your county.

Tuesday, November 4

General Election

From Emmett Till to Michael Brown








By Gov. Ted Strickland and Judith Browne Dianis


amiliarity breeds contempt; and as we watched the events in Ferguson, Missouri unfold, there was a vulgar familiarity about them: the grieving family, protesters, and police in gas masks and military garb, all seemed locked in a story as old as America itself – the story of implicit bias, black pain, disenfranchised communities and systemic racism.

Michael Brown was killed by a police officer when he was stopped for walking in the middle of a street. Witnesses say Brown put his hands up and said “Don’t shoot” to Officer Darren Wilson. The police, however, have remained quiet on Wilson’s version of events, choosing instead to make the victim the focus by releasing grainy video of the teen allegedly haranguing a store keeper over a pack of pilfered cigars.

It’s all too familiar, from the blaming of the victim to the community outcry, and is yet another example of how this nation has long devalued the lives of its black citizens. Instead of healing, the streets of Ferguson were full of tear gas and militarized police. In the place of justice, there was anger, reminiscent of scenes we have seen before.

Fifty-nine years ago this August, 14-year-old Emmett Till was murdered for allegedly whistling at a white woman. (Photo of Emmett’s body above)

His death and open-casket funeral revealing the boy’s brutalized body caused a national outcry, demonstrating how African Americans were viewed as less than human in many parts of our society, and that those who kill them would likely go unpunished.

But the killings of Emmett and those like him, for infractions small or imagined, didn’t start 59 years ago. These killings and the divide they illustrate are rooted in 400 years of oppression. Michael Brown is now part of a tragic legacy. You’ll also find Trayvon Martin there. You’ll find New Yorker Eric Garner there, choked to death by police this August for asking why he was being harassed. There’s John Crawford, killed by police the same week as Brown for holding essentially a toy gun. Ezell Ford’s death last month either came from resisting arrest or lying face down in the street, who you believe - the Los Angeles police or Ford’s mother.

“A 2012 study revealed that police officers, security guards, or self-appointed vigilantes extra-judicially killed at least 313 African Americans that year alone. This means a black person was killed at the hands of a “security” officer every 28 hours.”

But these dire fates are not inevitable. They are the result of generations of inequality, devaluing the lives of African Americans to the point where we invest little in economic equality, education and the other policies that create opportunity.

Police departments must reflect the communities they serve and hire people willing and able to interact, partner, and problem-solve with the community.

The anguish of Ferguson is partially explained by the system its residents have been living under -- a political and law enforcement structure that neither reflects nor represents them.

We don’t have to accept the hand dealt us by systemic racism. We can pledge to make this story far less common, and refuse to remain familiar with the controlling structure of fear.

In Ferguson and other towns across America, the keys are community policing and political empowerment. Ferguson is more than 60 percent black, yet only three out of the police force’s 50 officers are black, and the city government is also mostly white.

Hiring practices, building trust and relationships and proper training are paramount to preventing such horrific incidents and increasing public safety. To solidify these changes, the community must engage and organize, both with its leaders and in the process of electing and holding those leaders accountable.

The police should protect and serve all people, yet for too many communities of color, police are an occupying force, indicting residents by the color of their skin, not differentiating between them and the criminal element they seek.

Strickland was the 68th Governor of Ohio, and is now president of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Judith Dianis is a veteran civil rights attorney, and Co-Director of the national Advancement Project.


In 2012 alone (the year Trayvon died), 313 African Americans were killed by “security” officers. These are just some of the highest profile faces and cases.

Michael Brown

John Crawford

Ramarley Graham

Darrien Hunt

Eric Garner

Trayvon Martin Power Broker | 43

Why Being My Brothers Keeper Matters By Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick Published May 6, 2014 (Edited for space)

As a black man, my heart aches over the disproportionate numbers of men and boys of color left back by schools, left out of jobs and caught up in crime. As a black public official, I am struck by how little appetite there seems to be among law makers to deal with the root causes of this. So, I am encouraged by President Obama’s leadership in his “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative. We all know the statistics. Disproportionately more African- and Hispanic- American boys are in poverty, ill-nourished and without adequate health care; more stuck in achievement gaps or in underperforming schools; more subject to school discipline; more “disconnected,” as the social scientists say, from college education and jobs; more victims of violence or in jail.

“We also know how interconnected these calamities are, how poverty, for example, connects to school readiness, or how critical good fathers are to growing boys into responsible men. And yet we listen to the statistics and the news reports with a measure of resignation, as if these realities are beyond our capacity to care about and to solve.

The president has wisely engaged us all. His initiative brings business and philanthropic leaders together with policy makers, educators, faith leaders and law enforcement, to consider how to save boys and men of color.

through demonstrated savings in prison or remedial costs. And, like the president proposes to do, we pay attention to measurable results, adjusting as we go, with a commitment to ending programs that don’t work.

A comprehensive approach is inherently ambitious, but it is the right approach. The task force is charged to consider the whole picture, the combination of challenges and opportunities presented by personal behavior and related policy affecting an at risk population, to stop doing what isn’t working and to scale what works.

I am pleased to report that we are getting results. For the first time in decades, achievement gaps in our schools are shrinking. The dropout rate has been cut in half. In our targeted cities, overall crime victimization is down significantly, with a 25 percent drop in homicide and a 19 percent drop in aggravated assaults.

Everyone is at the table because everyone has a stake in the outcome. Our economy needs the creativity of young men of color. Our society needs the contributions of young men of color. Our communities need peace and a reason to hope. America is in the midst of the most profound global competition in centuries, and we need everybody on the field ready to play.

We need people caught up in their own cycles of self-destruction or even violence to break that cycle, and a combination of personal responsibility and targeted programming can help them do so. As we charge young men of color to break their destructive cycles, we as policymakers can help by breaking a few of our own. President Obama’s initiative will give young men who work hard and play by the rules a chance to succeed. That’s good for them and for America.

In Massachusetts, we have taken a similar approach. We have taken a number of collaborative, “publicprivate” measures to close the achievement gap in our schools and to prevent crime among young men who are known high risks. We have better aligned our community colleges to provide the job training our businesses need their prospective employees to have. One high school in Boston has formed a partnership with the community college across the street to create a clear pathway for students to high demand careers, supported by mentoring and after school opportunities. We have even engaged new financing tools, such as social impact bonds through the private sector, where the state pays local community-based agencies for better outcomes

My father was old-school. He believed, like countless other black fathers, that being hard on his son was the only way to prepare him for the harsh realities of being a black man in America. He was a creature of his times and also of timeless truths. But he, again like countless other black fathers, was also transferring his pain to another generation. That is a destructive cycle and it must also be broken. It is brave, and inherently risky, for any president to undertake to do so. It might be that only this president could. This opinion piece originally ran in the Bay State Banner.

Power Broker | 45

Who’s on the


A round-up of the races you decide on November 4th 2014

By Kip Curtis

FEDERAL RACES U.S. HOUSE DISTRICT 13 Though this seat does not encompass South St. Petersburg, it does house roughly 28,600 African American voters in Pinellas County. St. Petersburg Republican Congressman David Jolly is running a lopsided campaign for House District 13 against Libertarian Lucas Overby. Jolly is the Republican lobbyist who squeaked by Democrat Alex Sink in last fall’s special election to win the seat vacated in the passing of Congressman C.W. Bill Young. Jolly has positioned himself as the voice of experience who understands the legislative process. Overby, a commercial diver who has not held office previously, argues for smaller government and less government regulation. There is no Democrat in the race. The Democratic candidate Ed Jany, whose name will still appear on the ballot, withdrew from the race on September 22nd. There is also a “write-in” option. Power Broker | 44

STATEWIDE RACES GOVERNOR’S RACE The media focuses on the two major party candidates (incumbent Republican Governor Rick Scott vs Democrat and former Governor Charlie Crist), but your ballot shows three others as well: Libertarian Adrian Wyllie, who supports “less government and more freedom”; a Miami economist and independent, Farid Khavari; and Glenn Burkett, a registered Democrat running as an independent. African American officials, activists and media nearly unanimously agree that Goverwnor Scott has the worst record of any Florida Governor of the past four decades on policies that disproportionately impact the black community. Not only is Scott on the outs with the state’s Black Legislative Caucus, but his policies have made times leaner and life tougher for African Americans on a dozen fronts – from eliminating ex-offender voting rights to reduced spending on minority-targeted education, workforce development and business development initiatives. Former Governor Crist, though distrusted by some for positions he took during his Republican days, is the practical pick for a large majority of African American voters in this year’s race. Crist has enough of a track record in kept promises (including African American judicial appointments and restoration of ex-offender voting rights) to be credible in his current platform, which supports an increase in the minimum wage, increased investments in minority businesses, and stronger diversity in state appointments.

ATTORNEY GENERAL Incumbent Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi is running neck-in-neck with Democratic challenger George Sheldon. Libertarian Bill Wohlsifer is running a distant third. Bondi is a conservative who believes in strong drug law enforcement and has taken public stances against human trafficking. Sheldon, a former state legislator, assistant attorney general, and former Secretary of the Department of Children and Family Services, just sued Governor Scott for failing to reveal $200 million in financial assets. Wohlsifer would make the Attorney General’s office hands-off on civil liberty matters.

CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER The CFO race pits Republican and incumbent Jeff Atwater against Democrat William “Will” Rankin. Atwater has raised $3.6 million, 100 times more than Rankin’s $36,000. This office oversees state contracts and insurance rates – which fell just in time to strengthen Atwater’s re-election race. Rankin says Atwater hasn’t done enough to protect state workers.

COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE The Commissioner of Agriculture oversees everything from delivering school lunches to certifying gas pumps, as well as overseeing the state’s agricultural industry, which dominates the central and north Florida economy. Incumbent Republican Adam Putnam has raised $2.7 million to fund his re-election campaign. Putnam, who spent 10 years in the U.S. Congress, is challenged by Democrat Thaddeus Hamilton, 36-year veteran of the U.S.

Department of Agriculture, who has reportedly raised a pittance compared to Putnam.. Hamilton’s state filings show him defending his failure to file financial reports by set deadlines. He has no campaign web site.

COMPETITIVE STATE HOUSE SEATS All six of the Florida House districts in Pinellas County are up for election this year and every incumbent has a challenger. Depending on where you live in Pinellas County, you will have one of these six on your ballot. It may be worth noting that Republican candidates as a block have failed to show up for several legislative forums in recent weeks. In House District 65, newcomer and Medicare opponent Republican Chris Sprowls, a former prosecutor, is challenging incumbent Democrat Carl Zimmerman, a veteran high school teacher who teaches journalism and opposes Greenlight Pinellas. Sprowls has gained in fundraising and in the polls, showing a six-point lead over Zimmerman in mid-September. In House District 66, incumbent Republican Larry Ahern is challenged by the daughter of former State Senator Mary Grizzle, Democrat Lorena Grizzle. Ahern leads in fundraising and polls. Grizzle, a special education teacher from Largo, promises to expand Medicaid and reinvest in public education and says Ahern has opposed both while in office.


voter guide

Who’s on the Ballot? Cont’d In House District 67, Longtime City of Clearwater employee and union president, Democrat Steve Sarnoff is battling the son of State Senator Jack Latvala, Republican Chris Latvala for Ed Hooper’s vacated (term limited) seat in House District 67. Latvala has raised ten times as much campaign money as Sarnoff. Neither man has held public office. Polls are inconclusive. In House District 68, Democratic incumbent Dwight Dudley is challenged by another famous name, son of recently passed Representative C.W. Bill Young, Republican Bill Young, who has never held public office, but is gaining in some polls. In House District 69, Republican incumbent Kathleen Peters is challenged by Gulfport attorney Democrat Scott Orsini for the District 69 seat. Media reports reflect Peters as a frontrunner; she’s raised over $200,000 to Orsini’s $36,000. In House District 70, Democratic incumbent Darryl Rouson is challenged by independent Philip Garrett. Though Garrett has gained a small foothold of support, Rouson is expected to win re-election by a large margin.


Republican Ed Hooper is a termlimited Florida House member working to remain in public service by bringing his well-known name and reputation as a Republican team player to the Pinellas County Commission.

He is running against outgoing Largo Mayor and former Largo City Commissioner Democrat Pat Gerard, who has a solid record of service to the Pinellas County community and a host of endorsers in the African American community, including Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch and School Board Member Rene Flowers.


Incumbent Rene Flowers, who is credited with improving district policy on school arrests, drop-out prevention program funding, and community engagement - is challenged by write-in candidate and budding community activists Irene Cates whose name will not appear on the ballot, but whose signs and outreach have peppered District 7 neighborhoods.

UPPER PINELLAS COUNTY RACES (DISTRICT 4 - SINGLE MEMBER) This district has the fewest African American voters in the County, but has two races on the ballot that impact 4,330 black voters and their families: • PINELLAS COUNTY COMMISSION – Media reports pit Dave Eggars, exiting Mayor of Dunedin and one of the architects of that City’s revitalized downtown, against Mark Weinkrantz, an airline pilot and Air Force veteran and Marcus Harrison, and two other candidates who haven’t fared well in forums or the news – Carl Forkman and Marcus Harrison. • SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER Robin Wikle announced early retirement from the School Board in 2013 leaving an open seat this November. Former Tarpon Springs Mayor and substitute teacher, Beverly Billiris is pitted against Children’s Foundation Chair, Ken Peluso for this seat on the School Board.

To realize every child’s promise! “I want to continue this important work for you and ask that you re-elect me to the Pinellas County School Board.”  Member, Pinellas County School Board


 Board Member, R’Club/Louise Graham

Representative Darryl Rouson

 Chair, Pinellas County Urban League Guild  Former Chair, AMIkids Pinellas  Former St. Petersburg City Councilwoman

St. Petersburg City Councilmembers Newton, Foster, Kornell and Kennedy

 Founded and Chaired St. Petersburg Affordable Housing Committee

Gulfport City Commissioner Michael Fridovich

 Former President, Florida League of Cities

Pinellas County Commissioners Ken Welch and Janet Long |

 Board Member, National League of Cities

You know René will do more to help our children succeed!

René FLOWERS You know

Pinellas County School Board | District 7

Vote Early or on Election Day: Tuesday, November 4, 2014 P.O. Box 10826 St. Petersburg, FL 33733 (727) 657-5680 Political advertisement paid for and approved by René Flowers, non-partisan, for Pinellas County School Board, District 7.

Pinellas Realtors Organization Pinellas Classroom Teachers and Support Personnel (PCTA-PESPA) SEIU Stonewall Democrats Pinellas County Veterans Association NOW AFL-CIO West Central Florida Labor Council

“I’m helping working families

by making sure our kids have good schools and we create new jobs.”

Pat Gerard


A Local Democrat Mayor

Standing Up for Pinellas Families

Political advertisement paid for and approved by Pat Gerard, Democrat, for Pinellas County Commission, District 2 | GER1501


General Election November 4, 2014

• Voter Registration Deadline – October 6 • All voters can vote by mail. All eligible mail ballots are included in final election results.  To vote at your convenience, request a mail ballot by visiting or by calling (727) 464-VOTE (8683).  Ballots can be returned by mail or dropped off at any drop-off location, but must be received by 7 p.m. Election Day.  • Early Voting has new days, hours & locations. NEW Days and Hours (Varies by County) October 20 – November 2 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. Daily

Locations - Supervisor of Elections Offices: • 13001 Starkey Rd., Largo (Starkey Lakes Corporate Center) • 315 Court St., Room 117, Clearwater (Courthouse) • 501 1st Ave. N., St. Petersburg

NEW Additional Locations: • Centre of Palm Harbor, 1500 16th St., Palm Harbor • Gulfport Neighborhood Center, 1617 49th St. S, Gulfport

• On Election Day, voters must vote in the precincts in which they live. Precinct, voting districts and polling place information can be found on your current voter information card or online by selecting “Find Your Precinct” at www.votepinellas. com. • To avoid delays, bring photo and signature ID to the polls and make sure the Elections Office has your current name, address and signature. Deborah Clark Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections

The League of Women Voters of Florida



Water & Land Conservation

• Water & Land Conservation Official Ballot Title: Water and Land Conservation Dedicates funds to acquire and restore Florida conservation and recreation lands. Synopsis: Amendment 1 requires 33% of net revenue collected from the documentary stamp tax (applied primarily to real estate transactions) to go to the Land Acquisition Trust Fund, a fund established in 1963 to purchase land for parks and recreational purposes. Currently, the Legislature has the authority to determine how much funding the Land Acquisition Trust Fund receives year-to-year. The Financial Impact Estimating Conference reports that the amount of state revenue that would go to this Trust Fund under Amendment 1 is $648 million in 2015-16 and could grow to $1.268 billion by 2034-35, when the amendment would expire. Since 1998, voters in 24 states have approved 79 laws creating $28 billion in new funds for land conservation. A vote YES would: • Provide a long-term funding mechanism for environmental conservation without a new tax • Remove reliance on yearly legislative funding for conservation projects • Enhance publicly held recreational lands, possibly contributing to economic growth through eco-tourism A vote NO would: • Not establish a long-term funding mechanism for environmental conservation • Retain the Legislature’s ability to make budget decisions year-to-year

• Not place language in the Florida Constitution relating to environmental conservation where it would be difficult to modify or remove


Medical Marijuana

• Medical Marijuana Official Ballot Title: Use of Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions

Synopsis: Amendment 2 allows individuals with debilitating diseases, as determined by a licensed Florida physician, to purchase and use medical marijuana. During the 2014 session, the state passed legislation to allow for the medical use of “Charlotte’s Web,” a strain of non-psychoactive cannabis. Amendment 2 would legalize all forms of marijuana for medical use but states that no insurance company or government agency can be required to cover its cost. Additionally, Amendment 2 prohibits operation of a car or boat while under the influence of marijuana and allows workplaces, schools and public spaces to ban marijuana from their facilities. Currently, 23 states have laws allowing the use of medical marijuana. A vote YES would: • Provide for the legal use of marijuana for medical purposes by people with debilitating diseases • Maintain the current prohibition on marijuana use for recreational purposes • Require the Department of Health to monitor centers that distribute marijuana for medical purposes and to issue ID cards to patients and caregivers

A vote NO would: • Not affect the current prohibition on marijuana use in Florida • Maintain the status quo enforcement of current marijuana laws • Not place language in the Florida Constitution relating to medical marijuana where it would be difficult to modify or remove


Judicial Appointments

• Judicial Appointments Official Ballot Title: Prospective Appointment of Certain Judicial Vacancies Synopsis: Amendment 3 would require a Governor to prospectively fill vacancies on the Florida Supreme Court or a district court of appeal when a justice or judge: (1) reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70, (2) fails to qualify for a retention election, or (3) fails to secure a majority of votes during a retention election. Since 2001, the 26 Judicial Nominating Commissions (JNCs) for the Supreme Court, district courts of appeal and trial courts have been comprised solely of gubernatorial appointees. All judicial appointments must be made from a list of judicial applicants screened by a JNC. The Governor must select a nominee from that list. In 2006, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that JNCs could begin the interviewing process prior to a judicial vacancy occurring, but an appointment could not be made until after a justice’s or judge’s term expired; and because it is possible for a term to end on the same day that a new Governor takes office, the Court’s 2006 opinion can be read as authorizing the newly sworn-in Governor to fill those vacancies. In a situation in which a judicial vacancy is created on

the first day of a new Governor’s term, Amendment 3 authorizes the outgoing Governor – rather than the new Governor – to appoint the successor. A vote YES would: • Invalidate court interpretations of the Constitution as to who has the authority to fill vacancies • Enable an outgoing Governor to make appointments to the courts • Possibly shorten the time of a judicial vacancy A vote NO would: • Ensure that a newly sworn-in Governor will fill prospective judicial vacancies • Keep language relating to judicial appointments out of the Florida Constitution, where it would be difficult to modify or remove • Continue to allow vacancies to exist for up to 120 days, possibly creating workload issues in courts

How and Why We Amend the Florida Constitution The amendments on this year’s ballot are proposed changes to the Florida Constitution. Proposed amendments must pass with 60% of the vote to become law. Here are 3 of the ways an amendment may be placed on the ballot:

1. Proposal by Legislature: An amend-

ment may be proposed by joint resolution and passed by 3/5 of each house of the Legislature. 2. Constitutional Revision Commission: Every 20 years, a commission is appointed by the Governor, House Speaker, Senate President, Supreme Court Chief Justice and Attorney General to propose Constitutional amendments, which are then voted on by citizens. 3. Citizen Initiative: Citizens may place an amendment on the ballot by collecting signatures from 8% of the number of voters who cast ballots in the most recent presidential election. To qualify for the 2014 ballot, 683,149 signatures were required. Power Broker | 53

e v i F High on!

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lic ions b u ndat P e e p m r fo w.pcta com n Re

ww ectio al El r e n Ge 2014

The Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association and the Pinellas Educational Support Professionals Association are asking all Pinellas County residents to make public education a top priority whether you vote by mail, vote early, or vote on November 4th. This Election is not just about 2014, it is about the future of public education in Florida. Elections have consequences for the health and well-being of children and working families. As educators and support

staff members in Pinella County, we have a stake in ensuring the success of our schools. We need your support for candidates that stand up for public education in our community because our students and their futures are too important to remain silent. On November 4th, it’s imperative that we make sure our voices are heard by voting for candidates who support our children and public schools. High Five for Public Education!

RECOMMENDED CANDIDATES CHARLIE CRIST for Governor (D) GEORGE SHELDON for Attorney General (D) JACK LATVALA State Senator, Dist. 20 (R) JUDITHANNE MCLAUCHLAN for State Senator, Dist. 22 (D) CARL ZIMMERMANN State House, Dist. 65 (D) LORENA GRIZZLE for State House, Dist. 66 (D)

STEVE SARNOFF for State House, Dist. 67 (D) DWIGHT DUDLEY State House, Dist. 68 (D) SCOTT ORSINI for State House, Dist. 69 (D) DARRYL ROUSON State House, Dist. 70 (D) KEN PELUSO for School Board, Dist. 4 (NP) RENÉ FLOWERS School Board Member, Dist. 7 (NP)

Paid political advertisement paid for by PCTA- PESPA Fund for Children and Schools, independent of any candidate

Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association & Pinellas Educational Support Professionals Association Candidate Endorsement Guide

Governor, Cabinet & Senate

Charlie Crist for Governor (D)

George Sheldon for Attorney General (D)

Jack Latvala Judithanne McLauchlan Florida Senator, for Florida Senate, Dist 20 (R) Dist 22 (D)

Pinellas County School Board

Ken Peluso for School Board, Dist. 4 (NP)

RenĂŠ Flowers School Board Member, Dist. 7 (NP)

Florida House of Representatives

Carl Zimmermann State Representative, Dist. 65 (D)

Dwight Dudley State Representative, Dist. 68 (D)

Lorena Grizzle Steve Sarnoff for State Representative, for State Representative, Dist. 66 (D) Dist. 67 (D)

Scott Orsini for State Representative, Dist. 69 (D)

Darryl Rouson State Representative, Dist. 70 (D)

Visit the PCTA-PESPA at 650 Seminole Blvd., Largo, FL 33770 or call 727-585-6518

Why Are We Losing Our Boys? Join us for our

Education SympoSium OCTOBER 28, 2014

5:30 to 7:30 p.m. SPC Seminole Campus

Join us as we continue our discussion about the alarming gender gap in education. In this panel discussion, we will focus on how the gender gap is prevalent in all ethnicities, socio-economical environments and in all classrooms. Our notable panel will offer insight and solutions to engage our boys in education.



Boys earn 70% of all D’s and F’s. Boys are 3x more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. Boys make up 80% of high school dropouts.

Let’s generate awareness together.

Dr. Julie Kessel, President

Voter Guide 2014

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. The League is a grassroots organization, formed in 1920, and has a presence in every state. The League is strictly nonpartisan and does not support nor oppose any candidate, political party, or political position. However, the League is very political and strongly advocates for issues consistent with its study and action guide and principles.    The League’s signature educational activities include its work hosting candidate forums, registering voters, and publishing its annual Voter Guide. Visit our website,, for more information about your local League. To access our Voter Guide, click on the “Voter Guide 2014” button.

Join Us. We Make a Difference. 233 3rd Street North, #100 St. Petersburg, FL 33701 727.896.5197

• Develop minority businesses • Raise the minimum wage to $10.10 • Fight against voter suppression • Reverse Rick Scott's cuts to education • Make college more affordable • Expand access to health care • Automatic restoration of voting rights • Diversity in state appointments





EARLY! Learn more at

Political advertisement paid for and approved by Charlie Crist, Democrat, for Governor.

From my heart to yours:

why I changed parties and urge you to vote your conscience By Rev. Dr. Manuel Sykes positions that my community and personal values do not uphold.


t became high profile news when, early this October, I changed my life-long party affiliation from Democrat to Republican. That painful decision, and my choice to meet with Republican Governor Rick Scott, resulted from a sequence of events that our community needs to understand. As many readers know, I encountered hostility and public attack by local Democratic party leaders when deciding to run for a Congressional seat where the Democrats urgently needed a candidate. This rebuff demonstrated the lack of respect and genuine inclusion within a party whose mantra is equality and diversity. The actions of party leaders left me disappointed in the contradictory nature of what is said versus what is practiced by this party, at least locally. As a minister of Christ, my actions must be informed by my understanding of God’s purpose and principles. For this reason, and for the continuing ministry to those I serve, my choice to change parties was finalized when I secured the commitments of several local Republicans to work toward new solutions in resourcing the needs of the poor. They showed an overwhelming willingness to work together toward common ground – an attribute that appears lost in my former party. But my party change did not come with my endorsement of our Republican Governor. I cannot give blanket endorsements to candidates of either party; and this Governor holds

I urge that every voter invest their vote, armed with a full knowledge of the candidates’ positions. And by all means, stop giving your vote away out of unanswered loyalty to a party. For me to tell others how to vote is to commit the same insult as those who think they know what is best for us. Instead, I offer my own guidelines for this process, from Matthew 25:

31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory….32 All the nations

will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them…. 33 He will set the sheep on His right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom…35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry…38 or naked…. 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison…?’ 40 And the King will answer… ’Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

Power Broker | 61

What you need to know about


1. 2. 3. 4.

Medical decisions should be made by doctors and patients. Many doctors have found that medical marijuana can help people who are sick and suffering from HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis and other ailments. Yet, politicians have made it a crime for doctors to recommend marijuana to their patients -- they can lose their medical license and even go to jail. Supporters of Medical Marijuana include: The American College of Physicians, Institute of Medicine, American Public Health Association, American Nurses Association, American Academy of HIV Medicine, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Lymphoma Foundation of America, American Medical Student Association, and the state medical societies of New York, Rhode Island and California. A few of the many editorial boards that have endorsed medical access to marijuana include: Miami Herald, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Orange County Register, USA Today, Baltimore Sun, and The Los Angeles Times. Medical marijuana is now legal in 20 states and the District of Columbia.

On November 4th vote:

• The petition for medical marijuana was signed by over 1.1 million people in Florida and is now on the ballot as Amendment 2. • 7 out of 10 voters surveyed across all parties support Medical Marijuana in Florida. • Politicians have made it a crime for doctors to recommend medical marijuana to their patients, forcing the people of Florida to put it on the ballot as an amendment. • This is NOT a legalization of recreational marijuana and is ONLY for people who have debilitating diseases and conditions.

Paid for by People United for Medical Marijuana, 20 North Orange Avenue, Suite 1600, Orlando, FL 32801

Amendment 2 is about the rights of patients I’ve spent my entire life fighting for peoples’ rights. Florida’s Amendment 2 is about patients’ rights. While I wish that no individual would experience the suffering necessary to qualify for access to medical marijuana under this measure, someday that patient might be you or a family member or friend. From my tenure as president of the NAACP Florida State Conference, I’ve learned that Floridians are incredibly compassionate when they learn about the injustices around them. The notion that many sick and suffering individuals in our state must fear criminal punishment for seeking the doctor-recommended treatment they need is one such injustice. Far too many Floridians face the sad reality of having to break the law in order to secure a natural substance that can alleviate symptoms from debilitating medical conditions. For some patients, medical marijuana is the only treatment that allows them to go to bed at night or eat a meal in the morning. For others, it’s the only effective medicine that allows them to sit up or get dressed on their own. For many, it’s the only remedy that can reduce the use of heavy prescription pills with dangerous side effects. Under current laws, however, they are committing a crime for seeking relief from their suffering. I firmly support the notion that medical decisions should be made

solely by doctors in consultation with patients, not by politicians. If my doctor recommended that I undergo a specific treatment, I would want the ability to pursue that option. I would want my neighbors, friends, and family to have that option too.

As caring individuals, we should support Amendment 2 to guarantee all Floridians that fundamental right.

While I know that the medical marijuana amendment would benefit our entire state, I can’t help but consider the benefits Amendment 2 would have on minority communities. At a time when the African-American community is disproportionately impacted by conditions such as certain cancers, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, diabetes, and sickle cell anemia, we must make sure all therapeutic options are available to patients. The science has clearly shown that certain individuals suffering from debilitating diseases can greatly benefit from the use of medicinal marijuana. As a state, we are fortunate to have this opportunity to improve the quality of life for those who need it the most. Now is the time to put an end to the needless suffering of patients regardless of their race, gender, or social status. Adora Obi Nweze is President of the Florida State Conference of the NAACP. Power Broker | 63

Through its Citizen Scholar Program, The Bishop Center at USF St. Petersburg bridges com-munity work and coursework. Endowed by Wally Bishop, a cartoonist, and his wife Louise, a philanthropist and lover of the Arts, the Bishop Center for Ethical Leadership and Civic En-gagement promotes creative opportunities for students to develop into ethical, effective leaders by connecting civic activities to classroom outcomes. The Bishop Center offers academic courses, as well as corporate workshops and seminars that help participants understand the challenges, opportunities, and rewards of ethical lead-ership. Dr. Bill Heller, Director Dr. Judithanne Scourfield-McLauchlan, Co-Director David O’Neill, Program Specialist

The Sanderlin Center is a proud sponsor of the 2014 Southside Voter Guide

Habitat for Humanity Hits

300 By Kip Curtis


abitat for Humanity celebrated the completion of its 300th house in Pinellas County this past summer, helping a young woman who had donated more than 250 hours to build homes that helped other families realize their dream of home ownership. Well, as of this year, that faithful Habitat volunteer – Tamara Harrell – saw her own dream come true, as the Habitat family provided the with financing, blueprints, and volunteer labor to build a home for Tamara’s family. The new homeowner is also a nurse and single mom of two. She moved into her new home in June and, has nothing but praise for the Habitat for Humanity program designed to get her there. According to its website, since 1985, Pinellas County Habitat for Humanity has engaged volunteers and leveraged financing to put low-income people into their own homes. The agency requires a show of commitment to the program through minimum volunteer hours, but then they provide home buyer financing at 0%, along

St. Petersburg City Councilmember Wengay Newton, new Habitat homeowner Tamara Harrell, and the City’s Deputy Mayor Dr. Kanika Tomalin, celebrating Habitat’s 300th home and Tamara’s 1st.

with volunteer labor and construction site management. Habitat’s impact was punctuated by the presence of Jane Dunaway, the very first recipient of a Habitat home in Pinellas County in which she still lives, who attended the 300th house ceremony at Tamara’s new home. Dunaway told Tampa Bay Times reporter that she has seen great improvements in the Habitat program over the 29 year that she had been involved. “Each home has gotten bigger and better.” She marveled at the new home Ms. Harrell and her children were about to occupy. Tamara is very excited about her new house and even more excited to report that right next door is an empty lot on which her sister will soon build her own Habitat for Humanity house. Tamara’s sister is currently completing volunteer hours on other Habitat projects, volunteering time to qualify for their financing program. When she has completed that program, the siblings will be neighbors.

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Florida Public Services Union stands together for the rights of workers organizing for a living wage. Currently, at least 25% of the City’s own employees don’t make enough to make ends meet. That’s why we are bargaining to make St. Pete an example for fair pay that lifts all boats in our community.

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Ersula Odom Published by National History Book Publisher: African Americans of Tampa “I am totally enjoying this journey,” said author Ersula Knox Odom, whose latest book – African Americans of Tampa - will release in stores throughout the region on November 24th 2014. “I got to peek into the past and capture names and faces of wonderful people whose stories should be remembered.”

African Americans of Tampa will be released just in time for holiday gift giving by Arcadia Publishing, a leading history publisher with a catalog of more than 8,500 titles in print and hundreds of new titles released each year. Arcadia is best known for its iconic “Images of America” series, which chronicle the history of small towns and downtowns across the country, captured in unique pictorial format.

“Tampa has a fascinating past that has been wonderfully documented with one exception: African Americans. This culturally rich community is virtually invisible in the eyes of history,” says Odom. Her book corrects that deficit, capturing milestones like Tampa’s population explosion and building during the early 1900s, requiring the skills and talents of African Americans, who provided labor and entrepreneurship in massive numbers. The book also features lived history of African Americans – through narrated photography - of blacks in significant roles through the decades, from Power Broker | 76

Tampa’s wilderness era to its boom years, and the first and second Seminole Wars and beyond. The archive-rich tome lays out the story African American soldiers captured Fort Brooke during the Civil War and those who fought in the Spanish-American War, through the journey of black residents who endured Jim Crow, desegregation, and racial unrest, yet thrived as entrepreneurs. Rarer still, African Americans of Tampa spotlights the contributions of black Cubans to Tampa’s world-renowned cigar industry. Where can you purchase a copy? Odom says “The book will be available wherever books are sold,” including Barnes and Nobles, several museums, Reader’s Choice Bookstore in St. Petersburg, and other retail outlets. It will also be available on the author’s website - “”www. Odom is a legacy writer for Sula Too. She portrays Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune in a production dedicated to her legacy. In addition, she is a longtime member of the Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival planning committee, and a member of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society. Odom also serves as the Smart Family historian, and host of KEPX Radio’s “Princess Memories,” and is the author of At Sula’s Feet. She is a graduate of Eckerd College and lives in the Tampa Bay area.

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Little Shop of Horrors October 15, 2014 - November 16, 2014 Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe in Sarasota Ready for some “digestibly raw fun”? Don’t miss this charming, tuneful, and hilarious show that spoofs the 1950s-era B-movie sci-fi flicks. One of the longest-running Off-Broadway shows of all time, Little Shop of Horrors, features a lively Motown rock ‘n’ roll score about an extraterrestrial plant with a man-eating appetite. Its tendrils of enjoyment and scariness are sure to capture you.

TyRon Lewis Annual Health & Fitness Expo Saturday, October 25, 2014 at 10:00AM 1327 MLK St. So. in St. Pete 727-824-5670 Workshops & presentations, HIV testing, blood pressure screening and food provided by UHURU Food & Pies.

Fight Breast Cancer - NFL Event Day Saturday, October 25, 2014 10:30AM Moffitt Cancer Center, 12902 Magnolia Dr. in Tampa You’re invited to attend this special event to celebrate health and learn more about how you can reduce your risk for breast cancer or find it early. The event is free and open to the public. Registration is required. To pre-register call 1-888-MOFFITT and dial extension 5.

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Party for Marty Saturday, October 25, 2014 at 6:00PM Mainsail Conference & Event Center, 5108 Eisenhower Blvd. in Tampa 727-820-0100 Celebration of Marty’s remarkable five-year service to the Florida Holocaust Museum as Board Chair, and his leadership within the Tampa Bay Community. Enjoy live music, dinner, dancing and diversions! The evening benefits the FHM and the Martin H. Borell Scholarship to underwrite admission fee to the Museum for schools who might not otherwise be able to attend.

Hillsborough County 2014 Freedom Fund Dinner Saturday, October 25, 2014 at 6:00PM Hilton, 211 Tampa St. in Tampa

Affordable Care Act Workshops Wednesday, October 29, 2014 & November 13, 2014 at 6:00PM PCUL, 333 31st St. N. in St. Pete

The Open Enrollment period for 2015 coverage is November 15, 2014 to February 15, 2015. Attend this workshop to learn more about the Affordable Care Act

Domestic Violence Educational Forum

Monday, October 27, 2014 from 6:00PM to 8:00PM Pinellas County Justice Center, 14250 49th St. No. in Clearwater 727-464-3341

The general public is invited to attend a Domestic Violence Educational Forum hosted by the Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller. The forum will consist of an informational panel of speakers from the Haven and Casa domestic violence shelters, the Largo Police Department, and Ken Burke, Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller. In addition, volunteer lawyers will be available to provide free legal advice on injunctions and family related matters.

African American Health Forum Saturday, November 1, 2014 from 7:00AM to 2:00PM Johnnie Ruth Clarke Center in St. Pete 727-459-3478 Participate in the Midtown Wellness Walk, get free health screenings, and participate in workshops/talks.

Kissy Simmons Saturday, November 1, 2014 at 7:30PM David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa TV and Broadway star Kissy Simmons started her career on the stages of the Straz Center before wowing audiences as Nala in The Lion King for nine years. See this Florida native complete the circle of life as she returns to the Jaeb Theater in her cabaret revue as part of the Straz Center Cabaret Series.

BLUE Ocean Film Festival & Conservation Summit From: Monday, November 3, 2014 Sunday, November 9, 2014 Downtown St. Pete Sand Sculptures, Giant Inflatable Whales, Dancing Sea Creatures, Acclaimed Authors and More Educational Fun. The BLUE Ocean Film Festival & Conservation Summit will be bringing oceans of free fun to downtown St. Pete. Kids of all ages will be able to take part in special film screenings, conservation and education exhibits and activities, and even tour a working research vessel.

General Election in Pinellas and Hillsborough Tuesday, November 4, 2014 from 7:00AM to 7:00PM Pinellas & Hillsborough County or

FIGHTING GOD ... A Story of Redemption Saturday, November 8, 2014 at 7:30PM - Sunday, November 9, 2014 at 5:30PM HCC MainStage Theater HCC, 2001 No. 14th St. in Tampa Fighting God tells the story of two brothers, Quincy and Elton, who witness their mother’s tragic death as children. Despite the fact that this traumatic event has altered the faith of one brother and strengthened the other, Quincy and Elton go on to defy the odds by becoming successful lawyers. Quincy and Elton’s morals and character are unexpectedly tested as they take on a high profile case that could lead to ultimate success or total devastation. Watch as both brothers come face to face with the very thing that took their innocence as children, and threatens to change their lives forever. Power Broker | 79

Hillsborough Community College PreLaunch and Fashion Show

Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 5:30PM David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N Wc Macinnes Pl. in Tampa Price: 35.00 Belinthia Berry | 813-253-7413 | | HCC’s Institute for Corporate & Continuing Education presents a Pre-Launch and Fall Fashion Show for HCC’s Women’s Institute, Harnessing the Power & Spirit of Women Conference 2015!

One Drop of Love Saturday, November 8, 2014 at 7:30PM David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa Price: $37.50 Produced by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, this extraordinary one-woman show by Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni incorporates filmed images, photographs and animation to tell the story of how the notion of ‘race’ came to be in the United States and how it affected her relationship with her father. This show is a moving memoir that takes audiences from the 1600s to the present, to cities all over the U.S. and West and East Africa, where both father and daughter spent time in search of their ‘racial’ roots. Funny and provocative, One Drop of Love is a spellbinding and honest journey into the heart of finding one’s place in the world and in the complicated microcosm of one’s family. Power Broker | 80

KEM 2014 Promise to Love Tour - Part 1 with Special Guest Joe Saturday, November 15, 2014 at 8:00PM David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N Wc Macinnes Pl. in Tampa Price: $55-$79.50 Tickets on sale now.

Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast Tuesday, November 18, 2014 at 7:00AM The Coliseum, 535 4th Ave. No. in St. Pete Price: $25 per person ($30 at the door) 727-895-9622 | The YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg invites you to the highly anticipated 13th Annual Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast featuring Rick Kriseman, Mayor of St. Petersburg, as you’ve never seen him before, as he shares an inspirational address about our faith, our youth, and our tomorrow. Local clergy and community leaders will also lead the audience in reflection and prayer for our children, families and community.

Shopapalooza by LocalShops1 Saturday, November 22, 2014 from 10:00AM to 7:00PM South Straub Park in Downtown St. Pete Our biggest event of the year brings together over 120 locally owned shops, restaurants, art galleries, service providers, and community organizations offering great shopping discounts! No tickets necessary, but register in advance to be entered in a special raffle! Admission is FREE!   This is a familyfriendly event.

Cirque Dreams Holidaze Friday, November 28, 2014 at 8:00PM The Mahaffey Theater in St. Pete In Cirque Dreams Holidaze, Broadway director Neil Goldberg re-imagines the holiday season with more than 300 costumes, 20 acts and 30 performers from 12 countries showcasing an endless variety of imaginative, heartpounding and gravity-defying feats you have to see to believe.

Glitz and Glamour Holiday Celebration Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 7:00PM Magnuson Marina Cove in St. Pete Price: $45pp Elegant dining, dancing, and live entertainment graciously await you. The Pinellas County Urban League has been in existence since 1978 and since that time has continued to advocate for the health, welfare and betterment of our community. Sponsorship packages available.

Black Nativity Sunday, December 7, 2014 - Sunday, December 21, 2014 Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, 1646 10th Way in Sarasota WBTT presents this joyous holiday gift to the community. It’s a celebration of the Nativity story with gospel, blues, spiritual, and Christmas music, paired with the poetry of Langston Hughes and the creativity of WBTT. Children and adults of all races and backgrounds will be enthralled by this high-energy, theatrical wonderment. Black Nativity is not included in the season subscription.


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Power Broker October 2014  

The Oct 2014 Southside Voter Guide covers all the newest insights about African American voters and activism in South St. Petersburg with fe...

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