Information on the judges that are on my Nov 2018 ballot

Article about the judges that are on our ballot:

I decided NO to retain Judge Alan Lawson based on quote from this 2009 ARTICLE :

“The Governor is considering four nominees. Though we have more to learn about these nominees, we do know that Florida Right to Life, Florida Family Action, the National Rifle Association and the ultra right-wing American Family Association have begun to rally around the anti-choice Judge Alan Lawson.

Quotes from this article ARTICLE about Judge Lawson:


Religious conservatives and the National Rifle Association are backing 5th District Appeals Court Judge C. Alan Lawson ….. The Florida Family Policy Council, a conservative religious organization, sent members an e-mail headlined, “Gay activists and Planned Parenthood publicly oppose Judge Alan Lawson
….Equality Florida sounded its own warning to its members:  “The ultra right-wing American Family Association has begun to rally around Judge Alan Lawson … flooding the Governor’s office with calls, faxes, and e-mails. We cannot let the American Family Association decide the make-up of the Florida Supreme Court!”

I decided NO to retain Judge Allen Winsor based on quote from this ARTICLE:

“Mr. Winsor is a young, conservative ideologue who has attempted to restrict voting rights, LGBT equality, reproductive freedom, environmental protection, criminal defendants’ rights and gun safety,” the letter said. “He does not possess the neutrality and fair-mindedness necessary to serve in a lifetime position as a federal judge.”

We also should vote NO on Judge Allen Winsor to send a message to Bill Nelson that we support his decision to vote NO on Trump’s nomination of Winsor to a Federal District Court.  Details found HERE.  

I decided to vote NO to retain  Kemmerly Thomas based on this quote from this ARTICLE

A statewide gun control advocacy group is criticizing a decision by two judges to buy tickets to a fundraiser for a group affiliated with the National Rifle Association.  The Times/Herald reported that judges Clay Roberts and Kemmerly Thomas of the First District Court of Appeal confirmed they bought tables at the Sept. 15 event, a dinner and auction organized by “Friends of the NRA” that benefited the NRA Foundation, a public charity.

If you find it bizarre that the NRA Foundation is called a charity (as I did), here is a quote from this  ARTICLE :  NRA Foundation, is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization “designed to promote firearms ….”

Part of me wants to vote NO on any judge associated with the Federalist Society since the news has been very enlightening about Garsuch and Kavanaugh’s association with the Federalist Society and what that will mean to the country.  This is a quote from this ARTICLE

Judge Harvey Jay and Judge Stephanie W. Ray were both appointed to the First District Court of Appeal  by Governor Rick Scott.   Six of the judges Scott has named to appellate courts since taking office either list themselves as members of the Federalist Society or have been on the agenda to appear before one of the first two annual conferences of the Florida chapters of the society. Dorothy Easley, a past chair of the Appellate Practice Section of The Florida Bar, said most judges at the appellate courts appear to be making decisions based on the law, not the governor who appoints them.   says that Judge Brad Thomas was appointed by  Governor Jeb Bush.

We need legislators that will promote public education consistent with the Florida Constitution

What’s the deal with the State Legislators promoting charters? Is the end goal to privatize education? Let’s posit that there is a place in our education system for charter schools. Shouldn’t the local school board decide which funds should be spent in the neighborhoods? The school board is made up of elected officials from our community. They know the community.  For example,  taxpayers shouldn’t be paying a lease to a for-profit entity (that a state legislator is personally profiting from) while a school building is standing in need of repair.  The local school board (instead of state legislators) is better equipped to make decisions about allocating funds within our community  for new school buildings, repair of school buildings and/or leases for charter school buildings.

School choice (at this time) means giving taxpayer money to under-regulated charter schools and to private schools via vouchers.  “Charter schools are freed from many of the regulations that govern traditional public schools” is a quote from the Duval County Public School website.  That wording troubles me. I would prefer that the website be clearer by saying : Our legislators do not require charter schools to follow the regulations that they have imposed on our neighborhood schools.

If the regulations are valuable, then why aren’t the charter schools required to follow them? If the regulations are not valuable, then why are they being imposed on our neighborhood schools by our legislators?

My guess is that most citizens would NOT want  HB 7069 and SB 436 if they understood them. Am I wrong?

Thanks Richard Birdsall for these links explaining HB 7069.
A complete listing of what HB 7069 does from the Florida School Board Association:

A short interpretive analysis by the Florida PTA:

Valerie Strauss of WaPo’s “Answer Sheet” gives a high level political view of the issues surrounding HB 7069:

Jason Fischer and Aaron Bean voted for HB 7069 so they want the state legislators to decide which charter schools are in our communities rather than letting the local elected school board make that decision.  How can HB 7069 be constitutional based on Section 4 (b) of Article IX of Florida’s Constitution? Here is what 4 (b) says:

 The school board shall operate, control and supervise all free public schools within the school district and determine the rate of school district taxes within the limits prescribed herein.

Florida’s Constitution Article IX Section 4 (b) seems a great idea to me. The school board can best determine what charter schools are needed in their district. And the voters can vote school board members in or out IF we don’t feel they are making good decisions for our city.

Paraphrased from an ARTICLE  about the race between Kimberly Daniels and Paula Wright:  Daniels said that people voted for her because they want
1. prayers said out loud at the podium at public school events
2. teachers to be able to proselytize their own religion at the public school
3. taxpayers to fund unregulated charter schools
4. to  give taxpayer funds to private schools. 

Were those the reasons people voted for Kimberly Daniels instead of Paula Wright?  My guess is NO!  My guess is that it was something in those flyers (funded by Republican PACs) and NOT that voters supported bills like SB 436 .  My guess is that most people want their religion taught at home and at their religious institutions and NOT at the public school.  The public schools include people from a variety of religions as well as the non-religious.  This is the essence of SB 436 that Daniels and Bean and Fischer voted YES on:

Public schools (but not charter schools) must allow prayers said out loud at the podium at school events, and teachers must be allowed to proselytize their own religion at the school

Quote from this ARTICLE:

SB 436 will create a legal quagmire, as well as divisive consequences for Florida’s public schools. Our public schools are in no way devoid of religion. The First Amendment and federal law already provide students with the right to privately pray alone or in groups during non-curricular time, as well as pray to themselves at any time

The League of Women Voters have SUGGESTIONS for regulations for charter schools that will help prevent some of the abuses. Integrity Florida also has   SUGGESTIONS

We need legislators that are willing to incorporate those ideas into the laws that allow funding of charter schools. Even one of the promoters of charter schools is now calling for more regulation. You can read about that at this LINK

Jason Fischer and Aaron Bean are the reps for my district. They (like Kimberly Daniels) voted YES on SB 436 and HB 989. Fischer and Bean voted YES on HB 7069 while Daniels didn’t vote on that one. Is not voting as bad as voting YES if the end result is to let the bill pass?

Kimberly Daniels, Jason Fischer, and Aaron Bean also voted yes on HB 989. If HB 989 is a good idea, then why doesn’t it apply to any school that receives taxpayer funds? HB 989 doesn’t apply to charter schools or private schools that receive taxpayer money. Why not? HB 989 is about allowing the community to debate what books are used to teach the curriculum in the school.

public education

HB 989:
SB 436:
HB 7069: