The top sto­ries last week

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Opinion -

Irela Bagué, pres­i­dent, Bagué Group

There can be no bet­ter out­come from Florida’s gu­ber­na­to­rial elec­tions than hear­ing Gover­nor-elect Ron DeSan­tis say that his pri­or­ity will be to fo­cus on water qual­ity and Ever­glades restora­tion. As a for­mer water man­ager who helped to kick off Ever­glades restora­tion over 18 years ago, I have en­dured the long de­lays of progress. Ever­glades restora­tion is all about water qual­ity, quan­tity and tim­ing and our new Gover­nor can en­sure that the back­log of projects gets the fed­eral fund­ing nec­es­sary to be com­pleted and move Florida for­ward.

Gary Resnick, mayor, Wil­ton Manors

With this elec­tion, Wil­ton Manors will have an all gay and les­bian city com­mis­sion. Ap­par­ently we’re not the first but when you con­sider only a few years ago, we could not marry or adopt chil­dren in Florida, it shows how far we’ve come in a short time. It also demon­strates that com­mu­ni­ties are much more ac­cept­ing of di­ver­sity. As long as we’re qual­i­fied and do the job, our sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion should not af­fect res­i­dents’ sup­port.

Marty Kiar, prop­erty ap­praiser, Broward County

Amend­ment 2 was passed by 67 per­cent of Florida vot­ers in the midterm elec­tion. This amend­ment keeps in place an im­por­tant cap that lim­its the in­crease in value a non-home­steaded prop­erty is taxed on to 10 per­cent a year ex­cept for the school por­tion of the tax bill. These prop­er­ties in­clude com­mer­cial prop­er­ties - such as small busi­ness prop­er­ties, va­cant land, rental prop­er­ties and sec­ond homes. By pass­ing Amend­ment 2, a $90 mil­lion tax in­crease on 175,000 prop­er­ties in Broward County was averted for next year alone and those prop­er­ties will con­tinue to en­joy the pro­tec­tion of the 10 per­cent as­sess­ment cap.

Kath­leen Can­non, pres­i­dent, United Way of Broward County

Can you imag­ine spend­ing half of your monthly in­come on rent? That’s the sad re­al­ity for many fam­i­lies in Broward County, the most cost-bur­dened metro area in the en­tire coun­try, ac­cord­ing to a Har­vard study. That’s why I’m so glad that Broward vot­ers ap­proved the af­ford­able hous­ing trust fund this week. FIU re­searchers es­ti­mate that Broward needs 100,000 new af­ford­able hous­ing units, and this fund will be used ex­clu­sively on hous­ing projects and pro­grams – hope­fully low­er­ing the cost of hous­ing for hard-work­ing fam­i­lies and help­ing to pre­vent ad­di­tional home­less­ness in our com­mu­nity.

Ghenete "G" Wright Muir, at­tor­ney, Re­al­tor, LGBTQ advocate

An­drew Gil­lum gloom hit us hard. His can­di­dacy got so many peo­ple more en­gaged in lo­cal pol­i­tics and he came very close to be­com­ing Florida’s first Demo­cratic gover­nor in 20 years. A per­sonal thanks to Mayor Gil­lum and his sup­port­ers for mo­bi­liz­ing the elec­torate and giv­ing a voice to the voice­less. On a brighter note, Broward now has Judge Jackie Powell and Judge Ste­fanie Camille Moon, two new Black women on the bench. Across the coun­try there were also many in­spir­ing firsts: Mus­lim and Na­tive Amer­i­can women were elected to Congress, as well as an openly gay gover­nor.

Anna Fusco, pres­i­dent, Broward Teach­ers Union

Florida is of­ten the butt of elec­tion jokes. Is it any won­der? We over­whelm­ingly sup­ported to ban off­shore drilling, but sup­ported a Gover­nor can­di­date plan­ning to con­tinue past poli­cies that have pol­luted our water­ways and de­nied cli­mate change. Is it any won­der? Vot­ers passed lo­cal ef­forts to in­crease school taxes to give raises to ed­u­ca­tors, but backed a Se­nate can­di­date who as gover­nor se­verely cut ed­u­ca­tion bud­gets. Is it any won­der? Now we are fac­ing a re­count in sev­eral races, partly be­cause the Su­per­vi­sor of Elec­tions found a lot of un­opened ab­sen­tee bal­lots but doesn't know how many. Is it any won­der?

Nan Rich, mem­ber, Broward County com­mis­sion

I’m ex­cited that Broward County vot­ers passed two im­por­tant ini­tia­tives on Elec­tion Day: the Transportation Sur­tax and the Broward County Af­ford­able Hous­ing Trust Fund, which passed with 73 per­cent of the vote! The suc­cess of these ref­er­enda is due, in no small part, to a strong coali­tion of com­mu­nity part­ners, in­clud­ing busi­ness and ed­u­ca­tional lead­ers, non-prof­its, mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, and other advocates who came to­gether to ed­u­cate vot­ers. Af­ford­able hous­ing and transportation im­pact ev­ery­one, and it will take an equally strong al­liance of stake­hold­ers to en­sure that these bal­lot vic­to­ries are ef­fec­tively im­ple­mented, re­sult­ing in an im­proved qual­ity of life for our com­mu­nity.

Scott Is­rael, sher­iff, Broward County

As Sher­iff, I be­lieve in giv­ing peo­ple sec­ond chances. I also be­lieve ev­ery­one who has the right to vote should be el­i­gi­ble to ex­er­cise that right. Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, not per­ma­nent pun­ish­ment, pro­duces a far more pro­duc­tive cit­i­zenry and also drives down the re­cidi­vism rate. In fact, stud­ies show in­di­vid­u­als whose vot­ing rights have been re­stored are three times less likely to re­of­fend. Amend­ment Four re­stores the vot­ing rights of non-vi­o­lent felons who have ful­filled their sen­tence. I hope they will use this new op­por­tu­nity to be pro­duc­tive cit­i­zens and not do any­thing that might jeop­ar­dize those rights again.

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