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Nov. 15th, 2006


Victim Dies, Police Ask Public's Help

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Nov. 15 – The victim in Monday’s altercation at 620 West Tennessee Street has died, city police spokesman John Newland said in a released statement.

Tyrone Smith died from injuries sustained in a suspected altercation with at least one other person. Tallahassee Police are searching for two people in connection with the investigation: a white male in his early 20’s, approximately 6’0”, 150 pounds with a short “buzzcut” hair, last seen wearing a camouflage jacket, white tank top and jeans, and a black male in his mid 20’s, 5’7” with an athletic build, goatee and mustache, last seen wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and green hat. Both men left the scene in a dark late 90’s or early 2000 pick-up truck.

According to witnesses, one man struck Smith in the face and then fled. Police responded to a call of an altercation and found Smith lying in the street near Bullwinkle’s Saloon and Poor Paul’s Pourhouse, with injuries to his face. He was transported to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, where he later died.

The public is asked to notify Crime Stoppers at (850) 891- 4357 or the Tallahassee Police Department at (850) 891- 4200 with any information regarding the two subjects, the vehicle or the incident.

-- Ken Campbell

Copyright Tally Blue Journal 2006 All Rights Reserved.

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Nov. 14th, 2006


Police Seek Suspect, Witnesses

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Nov. 14 – Tallahassee Police have requested the public’s help in the investigation of an altercation at 620 West Tennessee Street on Nov. 13.

TPD were called to the address in response to the fight between two men. The police are looking for one suspect, an approximately 145-pound black male, 5’8”-5’10” in his late 20’s or early 30’s, last seen wearing a black coat and a black hat. Police are also asking that three witnesses who had left the scene prior to the police’s arrival to come forward and assist in the investigation.

Police believe the three witnesses were leaving Bullwinkle’s Pub when they saw the altercation.

Anyone with information on the case can contact Crime Stoppers at (850) 891- 4357 or the Tallahassee Police Department at (850) 891-4200.

-- Ken Campbell

Copyright Tally Blue Journal 2006 All Rights Reserved.

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Nov. 8th, 2006


Democrats Gain Control of Congress

Experts Examine Election
By Ken Campbell
Tally Blue Journal

Political scientists say projections of a Democratic sweep have many implications on the American political scene and while the war in Iraq may have been divisive issue among voters, the impact of recent political scandals as a campaign issue was evident in the comments of political experts across the country.

“Some want to argue that all politics is local,” Congressional expert Vincent Moscardelli said. “This year, it wasn't.”

Moscardelli is a professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Moscardelli saw yesterday’s Democratic sweep as evidence that Iraq might be “weighing down” some Republicans, but it doesn’t mean the nation has swung to the left.

“The country is still more conservative than liberal. A lot of the Democrats who beat Republican incumbents in both the House and Senate are pro-gun, anti-gay marriage, pro-life, and anti-higher taxes,” Moscardelli said. “[Democrat] Heath Shuler isn't going to win in that North Carolina district touting gun control and reproductive freedom. In Pennsylvania, where [incumbent Senator] Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) got blown out of the water, who knows how the race might have looked had the Democrats nominated an ardent pro-choice candidate.

“In Tennessee, [Democratic candidate] Ford basically had to run as a Republican even to keep it close” he continued. “By and large, I think we elected a lot of one-term congressmen yesterday, and probably several one-term senators too.”

The close Senate race in Tennessee was remarkable for another reason, campaign expert Anthony Nownes explained.

“This has become a reliably Republican state,” said Nownes, a political science professor at the University of Tennessee. “People are asking the wrong question; they’re saying ‘how did Tennessee not go Democratic?’ when the real question is ‘how did a Democrat do so well?’ It’s part of a trend that Ford could almost overcome but couldn’t quite do it.”

The selection of Democrats who sound like Republicans and avoid hot topics like abortion, gay marriage and immigration to run against incumbents may have been part of the plan, Nownes said.

“The Democrats have said, ‘we’re not going to abandon those [issues], but in places where we don’t think we can win on those issues, we have to recruit people who don’t talk about those things, think about those things, maybe not even agree with the party on those things,” Nownes explained. “The Democrats are learning they need to appeal to their base with Nancy Pelosi and people like Howard Dean, to show the base [they’re] valuable. At the same time, the rhetoric and the issues that they are tackling are mainstream.”

Representative Pelosi (D- Calif.) and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean are seen by many as the liberal wing of the Democratic party, but election expert Barbara Sinclair, a professor of American Politics at the University of California- Los Angeles, thinks that this mainstream approach would continue when Congress resumes session.

“The House Democrats have agreed on a modest set of legislative objectives. There will be oversight hearings, but I think the party leadership are going to keep pretty careful control of things. There aren’t going to be any witch hunts,” Sinclair said. “They now have some political capital, and they don’t want to squander it.”

According to unofficial election results every Democratic House, Senate and gubernatorial incumbent won their race.

“This wasn't a ‘throw-the-bums out’ election,” Moscardelli said.

Sinclair and Nownes believe that the war in Iraq is only one issue that independents had in mind when they cast their ballots for Democrats.

“It is in a sense a referendum on President George Bush and how the Republicans have run the Congress in the last two years,” Sinclair said. “In addition to Iraq, there’s a lot of nastiness in Washington D.C.; nothing is getting done.”

“People see Iraq as part of a bigger picture” Nownes said. “I think it’s a primary issue, but I don’t think it’s the only one. There are also scandals and corruption; it was not a pretty picture for a lot of people.”

Moscardelli believes the new Democratic majority has two years to win over conservative independents for it to be what some pundits are calling a “sea change” in American politics.

“If Iraq is still weighing down the Republican ticket in two years, some of these Democrats will be able to hold onto their seats,” Moscardelli said. “If this were truly a "sea change" in opinion and attitudes, we’d expect almost all of yesterday's Democratic winners to hold onto their seats in two years.”

Still, Sinclair thinks the political landscape has changed.

“This is a pretty big swing,” she said. “It’s going to have considerable impact.”

Nownes believes that while the midterm elections aren’t even official yet, both parties are setting their sights on the 2008 election.

“There’s a lot that can happen between now and 2008,” Nownes said. “Even in huge Democratic victory like this you have some pretty serious signs that Republicans are still popular in the places they need to be popular to win presidential elections.”

Copyright Tally Blue Journal 2006 All Rights Reserved.


Nov. 7th, 2006


All Over But The Counting

Election Day 2006
By Ken Campbell
Tally Blue Journal

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Nov. 7 -- Floridians braved the elements in Tallahassee on Election Day 2006 to cast their ballots in the general election.

Polls opened at 7 a.m. around the city beneath gray skies and cold rain. Volunteer poll workers at one precinct said that there was a bit of a “morning rush” of voters on the way to work, but that after 9 a.m. voters were “trickling in.”

Many believe that weather was also a factor in the slow turnout, but as skies cleared, lines grew at the polls. By 4 p.m. Janet Olin, Assistant Supervisor of Elections was pleased with the turnout.

“We were hoping for 65 to 80 percent voter turnout,” Olin said. “We’ve got just below 50 percent right now, and with the absentee and early voting it’s more like 60 or 65 percent.”

According to the county Supervisor of Elections there are 143,495 registered voters in Leon County, but the Department of State Division of Elections list 143,482 voters.

Campaigning kept up throughout the day across the city, as both Republican and Democratic campaign staffers phoned their members and reminded them to get out and vote.

“We’ve called about 500 people so far today,” Joe Froio, a sophomore at Florida State University said. Froio, a Republican volunteer, said this was his first campaign. “I’m a Political Science major. This is what I want to do.”

Since the Sept. 5 primaries Froio estimates the GOP has called “about 2000” registered Republicans each day across the state in a variety of races.

A few blocks west at the Democratic headquarters volunteers were paging through lists of registered Democrats, calling and offering rides to the polls and urging their faithful to get to the polls. Volunteers on both sides waved signs at busy intersections and claimed cars that honked as they passed.

Candidates were also evident in the city. Democrat Jackie Pons walked down Monroe Street shaking hands and waving at drivers, carrying a large sign that read “I am Jackie Pons”. Pons is running in a three-way race with Patricia Sunday and Rosemary Palmer for superintendent of Leon schools.

Gabriel Johnson, Jeffrey Sly, and John Maloney, the three candidates on the Clean Leon ticket for Ochlockonee River Soil & Water Conservation Commission were outside the County Courthouse, sporting hand painted signs and speaking with voters about what the Commission does. All but Maloney face incumbents.

Maloney, a third year student at FSU College of Law, is studying environmental law and wants to work on advocacy whether elected or not.

“Regardless of the results, we’ve already won,” Maloney said. “We got [the Commission] to change their minds on Wakulla Springs, and just with that we’ve won.”

The pollution of Wakulla Springs and Munson Slough, a tributary of Lake Munson, spurred both Sly and Maloney to action.

“You don’t have to have the government do things all the time,” Sly said. The three have centered their campaign events on water clean-ups, cleaning up 15 sites since August.

“We’re going to keep working on the clean-up,” Maloney said, even if they lose.

Early voting stopped on Saturday at the courthouse, and by 5:30 p.m. a line had formed of voters dropping off mail-in ballots that otherwise would not be counted. Election rules state that ballots must be received by the time the polls close this evening.

As the polls closed, Democrat Jim Davis’s gubernatorial campaign was confident.

“We’re optimistic tonight that majority of Floridians turned out to vote for change in Tallahassee,” staffer Josh Earns said. Davis was watching the returns in Tampa, in front of “a large American flag, with two huge projection screens showing the returns,” Earns described.

Repeated calls to Davis’s Republican opponent Charlie Crist’s campaign offices in Tallahassee and Palm Beach were not answered.

Copyright Tally Blue Journal 2006 All Rights Reserved.


Nov. 6th, 2006


Democrats Rally At Old Capitol

Davis Stumps On Steps
By Ken Campbell
Tally Blue Journal

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Nov.6 – Jim Davis, Democratic candidate for governor, addressed a crowd of 200 sign-waving supporters on the steps of the Old Capitol, urging Floridians to vote in tomorrow’s general election.

Representative Davis (D-Fla.) spoke about property taxes, insurance premiums and educational reform as part of his last day of campaigning across North Florida.

“It’s great to be in Tallahassee,” Davis said. ”It already feels like home.”

Davis is running in a close race against his Republican opponent, state Attorney General Charlie Crist. Davis referenced the advertising monies the Republicans have spent in Florida since the race began.

“Charlie Crist is running more TV ads than any candidate in the entire United States of America,” Davis said. “After all the slime and deceit and deception, tomorrow is our day. After $40 million spent by Charlie Crist in this campaign, in a poll that came out last night, Charlie Crist and I are now even in this race for governor.”

The most recent SurveyUSA poll showed Crist with a two percentage point lead of 49 percent to Davis’ 47 percent. Due to the margin of error, the poll states, “the contest should now be re-classified as a toss-up.”

Davis said he wants to remove special interests and lobbyists from the capital, which he believes will cut property taxes and lower insurance rates for Floridians.

“We need a governor who’s going to do what Charlie Crist has refused to do for four years, to stand up to this powerful insurance lobby. Our state is not for sale, at any price,” Davis said. “We lower insurance premiums under our plan by as much as 40 percent. We’re going to repeal these special interest tax breaks.

“We’re going to have a one billion dollar property tax cut for next year for every property owner, every homeowner, every renter and every business owner,” Davis continued. “We’re going to lower taxes in the state of Florida.”

A visiting group of Pensacola fourth graders stood shoulder to knee with local Democratic officials surrounding Davis. The students, Davis said, “wanted to see how democracy works.

“Every child in school, including these fourth graders, are not just God’s children, they are our children,” Davis said. “Starting next week, we’re going to get to work; we’re going to end the use of the FCAT as a political weapon against our children, our teachers and our schools.”

Former Tallahassee mayor Scott Maddox also spoke during the hour-long rally.

“We’ve got record increases in property taxes across the state, and they say stay the course” Maddox said. “They’re using the FCAT as a weapon against our children, and they say stay the course, they sent our men and women to fight a war under false pretenses thousands of died and they say stay the course, I’m here to tell you, they’re fixing to get a course correction.”

Chanting “Davis” and “Change the Course”, the crowd waved signs during the rally and cheered honking traffic, at one point booing loudly at a driver who shook a Crist sign at them.

“Wouldn’t you know it’s a BMW?” Maddox commented. “Must be a lobbyist.”

Copyright Tally Blue Journal 2006 All Rights Reserved.