SEIU to Speak Up for Cabdrivers, Criticize Uber, at Broward Commission Meeting (UPDATE)

Categories: Broward News

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via Uber
Update: Uber has responded to SEIU's criticisms.

"Insufficient service plagued neighborhoods for decades before Uber," spokesperson Taylor Bennett tells New Times. "Today, trips originating in underserved areas have been growing faster than ever in South Florida, because residents simply didn't have another option before Uber. The fact is, Uber is the most affordable and reliable choice for transportation across all neighborhoods."

As for the claim that Uber doesn't service those with disabilities, Bennett says, "The Uber app is built to expand access to transportation options for all, including persons with disabilities and we are constantly innovating our platform and operations to meet that demand. Uber has been lauded by the blind and visually-impaired community for increasing their freedom and mobility, and the Uber app is fully VoiceOver iOS compatible and uses every feature of the iPhone."

Original post: Broward commissioners are expected to decide if they're going to add ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft to their taxi regulations and laws. For its part, Uber has said it will cooperate with the county, though that may be a dubious promise.

Cabdrivers have already expressed frustration over Uber operating while ignoring the county's regulations, and they are afraid the playing field will be continue to be uneven if Uber and Lyft are allowed to operate with impunity. And now the SEIU Florida Public Services Union is jumping into the debate, announcing that it plans speak on behalf of cabdrivers at a 2 p.m. commission meeting today.

See also: Uber and Traditional Cab Companies Continue Fight Over Regulations in Broward

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Fans Push to Memorialize Overlooked Batman Creator Bill Finger With NYC Park Bench

Categories: Broward News

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Courtesy of Athena Finger
Bill Finger (center) died alone and penniless, according to his biographer.
As we wrote in a recent cover story, the tale you've been hearing your whole life about the creation of the world's most famous comic hero is bogus. Bill Finger, the quiet and shy writer who came up with all the major elements behind Batman, was never truly credited for his creation. Instead, the Caped Crusader's original illustrator, Bob Kane, walked away with the bragging rights -- and financial windfall -- related to the Dark Knight.

But, as our recent feature examined, a dedicated pro-Finger following online has been pushing to raise the late writer's profile. Their latest idea is for a commemorative bench in New York City.

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Koch Brother-Owned High School Forms Polo Team, Will Practice at Wall Street Farm

Categories: Palm Beach News

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Heather Moreton/Wikimedia
One of the first high school polo teams is getting started at a high-priced high school owned by one of the billionaire Koch brothers -- and the students are going to practice at "Wall Street Farm."

Palm Beach resident William Koch, younger brother of the Republican kingmakers Charles and David (and no slouch himself when it comes to filling political coffers), started Oxbridge Academy in 2011, a $25,000 per year prep school where students "fall in love with learning." But what's the point of paying all that dough for a private school in West Palm Beach if you can't play the county's favorite pastime? Well, that question will no longer haunt the minds of deep-pocketed parents with the establishment of Florida's first high school polo program and only the third in the entire nation, reports the Palm Beach Post.

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As Cuban Embargo Fizzles, the Battle for the Cigar Industry Smolders

Categories: Longreads

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Illustration by Ryan Wood
True to its name, Nicaragua's Puro Humo cigar festival is hazy as hell. The smoke is thick enough to slice. Flames flicker and fade in the darkness. Figures drift through the fumes. Grinning businessmen gnaw on smoldering cigars. Bow-tied waiters scurry in the half-light. And beautiful women in sequined dresses shimmer in the smog like oracles of Delphi.

Tonight, their prophecy couldn't be more positive.

"Tobacco production has surpassed sheer industry, transforming the entire way of life here in this part of Nicaragua," a female MC in a tight black dress tells the crowd. "Tonight, we would like to proclaim to the whole world that we are now number one in the global tobacco industry!"

See also: The End of the Embargo Could Kill Miami's Cuban Cigar Industry

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Fort Lauderdale Primary Election Is Tuesday

Categories: Politics

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Could Arnold Abbott be the reason Seiler is ousted as Mayor?
Fort Lauderdale's Municipal Primary Election is going down this Tuesday, February 10, which will have residents hitting up the polls to decide if they've had enough of Jack Seiler and want a fresh face representing them or if they're going to stick with the establishment and let it ride. It's a race that will be closely monitored thanks mostly to the City of Fort Lauderdale having had a rough patch recently with all the negative national press on the homeless feeding ordinance fiasco.

But there are also a couple of other races Fort Lauderdalians will be deciding on. Namely, District III Commissioner, which has three candidates battling it out for an open seat.

Here's a closer look at the candidates to help you figure which way you can vote.

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Man Jumps Into Canal and Drowns Running From Broward Deputies (UPDATE)

Categories: Broward News

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Wikimedia/CZmarlin

Update (Tuesday 2:30 p.m.): Broward Sheriff's Office has identified the man who drowned early Monday morning as Gerdle Moise, 27, of Margate.

Original post: A man jumped into a canal and died after running away from Broward Sheriff's Office deputies as the officers stopped him and a friend to ask them questions. The BSO deputies were patrolling the area of McNab Road and Andrews Avenue on Sunday evening following a string of burglaries that had been reported.

According to BSO spokesperson Dani Moschella, the officers spotted the two men around 11:15 p.m., riding on bikes. The men were wearing dark clothing, and their bikes had no lights on them. The men, who stopped for the officers for questioning, were carrying flashlights.

But as the deputies questioned them further, the deputies found one of the men with an unusual number of coins in his pocket and someone else's ID. The other man was carrying a small woman's coin purse in the waistband of his pants. The first man seemed to cooperate with the deputies. The second man bolted as soon as the officers turned to ask him questions.


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Doubts About PBSO Handling of Seth Adams Shooting as Family Reveals New Evidence

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Photo by Tony Webster via Wikipedia Commons
The 2012 shooting of 24-year-old Seth Adams at the hands of a Palm Beach Sheriff's Office deputy has received new interest as a civil investigation by the family's attorney has renewed doubts about the police narrative of what led to the fatal encounter.

PBSO's story is that Sgt. Michael Custer, in undercover attire, was doing surveillance at the One Stop Garden Shop in Loxahatchee, which Adams' family owns and where Adams himself lived in a trailer on the property. Adams returned home after a night out and asked Custer what he was doing there. Words were exchanged, and, according to PBSO, Adams lunged at Custer, trying to choke him. Custer got away and warned Adams to get on the ground. But Adams reached for something in his car, which Custer feared could be a gun, so he shot Adams four times in the stomach and chest area, killing him. But there wasn't a gun -- Adams was completely unarmed.

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DraftKings, Fantasy Sports Giant, Targeted by Class Action Lawsuit for False Advertising

Categories: News

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YouTube.com screen grab
Chances are good that you or someone you know is a sucker for fantasy sports -- pretending that real-life players are on your imaginary team and competing against friends' teams based on how the real players fare in weekly performances.

This time-killing hobby for sports obsessives has ballooned in recent years like a ballplayer wolfing down steroids, thanks largely to online venues that pay out money to winners. By 2020, the fantasy sports industry is expected to pocket $31 billion in player fees.

But recent legal troubles may slow some of that growth. South Florida is the scene of one legal challenge against a big fantasy player. In late January, a class-action lawsuit was filed in federal court charging that one of the new industry leaders misleads players with false claims.

See also: Despite Tragedy, the Gracida Family Remains a Dynasty in the Game of Kings

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What Does the Coming Supreme Court Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage Mean For Florida?

Categories: LGBT News

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Photo by Monica McGivern

Last week, it was announced that the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals will not move forward with Florida's gay marriage case until after the U.S. Supreme Court decides the issue nationally, which likely won't be happening until some time in June.

SCOTUS is set to hear and rule on four cases it took up -- from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee -- that challenge whether a state has the right to ban same-sex marriage.

But wait. Wasn't the same-sex marriage thing in Florida settled this year? Didn't the state start allowing same-sex couples to get married on January 7? Didn't Lance Bass just host a mass gay wedding in Fort Lauderdale last week? What does Florida have to do with those other states? What is going on? Why isn't this thing over?

Yes, a lot of us are probably confused by it all. But no worries. We're on it.

New Times spoke with attorney Steven Kramer, founder of Kramer Law of Orlando and Tampa and a legal expert on same-sex marriage issues, to get his expert legal analysis and get to the bottom of what this all means.


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Naked Bill Cosby Statue Will Be Unveiled in Florida This Month

Categories: News

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Courtesy of Cory Allen Contemporary Art

Bill Cosby has fallen far and hard from his days as America's Dad. Dozens of women have emerged to tell stories about how the comedian allegedly drugged and raped them or fondled them. The victim list includes at least one West Palm Beach woman.

And now, a sculptor is sharing his vision to symbolize Cosby's fall from grace, in the creepiest way possible: with a new statue.

The sculpture is titled Fat Albert Cries for Dr. Huxtable. It depicts a naked Cosby as Dr. Huxtable from The Cosby Show. He's old; he's fat; he doesn't look very happy.

And the only thing keeping the world from seeing his Little Huxtable is a tiny weeping Fat Albert hovering over his privates like a fig leaf.

You can see the statue below, though it's NSFW. Or, at least, not safe to look at before lunch.

See also: West Palm Beach Woman Accuses Bill Cosby of Drugging, Raping Her


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