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Deutch, Scott join chorus demanding firing of former principal who questioned Holocaust

Casting doubt on whether the Holocaust took place not only cost a Boca Raton high school principal his leadership post, but created waves in Washington, D.C.

A day after Palm Beach County school administrators reassigned William Latson from his onetime job as principal of Spanish River Community High School for comments he allegedly made about the Holocaust, Florida Congressman Ted Deutch chimed in.

School officials said Latson made a “grave error in judgment in the verbiage” Latson used in April 2018 when responding to a mother’s inquiry about Holocaust education at the high school.

“I can’t say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event because I am not in a position to do so as a school district employee,” Latson wrote.

School officials said Latson was counseled after his comments were reported, and that “he also spent several days at the United States Holocaust Museum to increase his personal knowledge.”

Despite the efforts, “his leadership has become a major distraction for the school community,” and Latson was reassigned to a district position, officials said.

But in a press release issued Tuesday, Deutch took umbrage at the words used by both Latson and district officials.

Deutch, the founder of the Task Force for Combating Anti-Semitism, said he was “shocked” that the high school principal couldn’t say that the Holocaust “is a factual, historical event.”

“And I cannot believe the school district labeled this incident and the principal’s leadership a ‘distraction,’” Deutch said.

As a result, Deutch said he wants to make Holocaust education a bigger priority at the national level.

“My Task Force, together with Senator Jackie Rosen and her colleagues in the Senate, and Elan Carr, the Administration’s Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating anti-Semitism, will make Holocaust education a national priority,” Deutch said in the release.

“Holocaust denial feeds anti-Semitism, which leads too often to violence and death, here in America and around the world. Bold steps are required – by all of us – to ensure the history of the Holocaust and the Nazis’ efforts to eradicate the Jewish people are never questioned – anywhere,” he added.

On the other side of the aisle, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott also called for the firing of Latson, not just his reassignment.

“There is no excuse for what he expressed. There is no excuse for holocaust denial. There is no excuse for anti-Semitism of any kind,” Scott tweeted.

The Washington chatter may have prompted the Palm Beach County school district to schedule a press conference about the matter.

Palm Beach Superintendent Dr. Donald Fennoy said Tuesday afternoon he will address reporters at the Fulton-Holland Educational Services Center in Palm Springs at noon tomorrow.

Meanwhile, state Rep. Randy Fine, a Palm Bay Republican who is Jewish and who was one of the first legislators to demand that Latson be fired, continued to pile on.

— By Ana Ceballos.

 

 

Gruters — author of FL ban on “sanctuary” cities — takes immigration on the road

After successfully pushing the controversial bill that bans so-called “sanctuary cities,” the head of Florida’s Republican Party is planning a statewide “listening” tour on immigration.

Sen. Joe Gruters, who doubles as chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, announced Monday that plans are in the works to hear from Floridians on immigration, a strategic issue in for the GOP heading into the 2020 presidential election.

“I don’t believe we should ever compromise when it comes to enacting common sense policies that promote public safety and uphold the laws of the land,” Gruters said, in a press release touting the Sarasota Republican’s visit to the U.S.- Mexico border .

Democrats, beware: “I want to hear straight from Floridians and listen to their ideas on what additional reforms they’d like to see the legislature address next session,” Gruters added.

On June 14, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the “sanctuary cities” bill (SB 168), sponsored by Gruters and state Rep. Coyd Byrd, who will take part in the “listening tour.”

The new law is designed to force local law-enforcement agencies to fully comply with federal immigration detainers and share information with federal immigration authorities after undocumented immigrants are in custody.

Under the law, local governments would be required to “use their best efforts to support the enforcement of federal immigration law.”

Opponents have argued, in part, that the bill will lead to increased detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants, including people stopped by police for minor offenses.

The release from Gruters, a Sarasota Republican, says the “immigration tour” dates and locations are coming soon.

— By Jim Turner.

Que estaba pensando? De Blasio: “I learned from that mistake.”

After getting a drubbing from fellow Democrats after he quoted Che Guevara — apparently unknowingly — during a rally for Miami airport workers earlier today, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio said he’s sorry.

During an interview shortly before 6:30 this evening , CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked De Blasio where he picked up the Spanish-language phrase, “Hasta la victoria siempre,” which means “Until victory, always!”

“That’s an honest mistake and I do apologize for it,” De Blasio said, after Blitzer played a clip of De Blasio speaking the quote, which drew a loud roar of support from the striking airport workers at the rally.

“The folks there … took it as just an affirmation of the strike,” De Blasio explained. “I do apologize because I didn’t understand the context, and I certainly did not mean to offend anyone.”

But Blitzer pointed out that Che Guevara is a figure despised by many of the Cuban-Americans who populate Miami.

“I understand the sensitivities. I learned from that mistake,” De Blasio said.

 

Post-debate “oops” moment: De Blasio channels Che — in Miami

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It’s typically una cosa buena to show off your Spanish-speaking creds in Miami.

But not so much for New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, who sparked outrage after he reportedly quoted Marxist revolutionary and guerrilla leader Ernesto “Che” Guevara earlier today.

“The eyes of the world are on Miami-Dade and on this airport,” De Blasio said at a rally in support of employees protesting poor working conditions at Miami International Airport. “Hasta la victoria siempre!”

The Spanish phrase — Until victory, always! — has long been associated with Guevara, from his purported “farewell letter” to Cuba.

De Blasio’s comments quickly drew condemnation, and Florida Democrats demanded that the presidential contender apologize.

Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo (@TerrieRizzo) tweeted:

“Mayor Bill DeBlasio does not speak for Floridians or the Florida Democratic Party and he would be wise to apologize.”

State Sen. Annette Taddeo blasted De Blasio on Twitter, saying she was “utterly disgusted.”

State Sen. José Javier Rodrigues also slammed the presidential hopeful in a tweet followed by this post from Javier Estevez, a Miami Democrat running for the state House:

De Blasio’s gaffe gave a boost to Republicans, who’ve been busy painting Democrats — in Miami for two nights of debate that will wrap up this evening — as a bunch of socialists.

 

 

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Watch it: Deutch rocks “singer-songwriter” caucus

Congressman Ted Deutch has a stellar rep for his efforts to protect musicians’ rights to their intellectual property.

Keeping his playbook up-to-date, Deutch, a piano-playing Democrat whose South Florida district includes portions of Broward and Palm Beach counties, this week announced he and U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, an Alabama Republican, are relaunching the congressional “Songwriters Caucus.”

“The caucus will serve as a forum for Congress to engage with America’s songwriters and explore policy issues that affect their often-unrecognized contribution to the music industry,” a press release issued by Deutch’s office reads.

We caught up with Deutch via text to find out who’s at on his list of favorite singer-songwriters.

“Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, Taylor Swift (yes, really), Ed Sheeran” Deutch responded.

“Lennon and McCartney!” he added later.

We dug up this old clip of Deutch, a former state senator, tickling the ivories during his initial run for Congress in 2010. (Warning: The audio and video quality of the clip stinks, but the piano playing don’t.)

 

Here’s the rest of the press release:

“Congresswoman Roby and I share an appreciation for music and the talented artists who write the songs we love. But these hard-working artists may not always get the recognition and compensation they deserve,” said Congressman Deutch. “We’ll lead this caucus to explore the industry from the songwriters’ perspective, to educate our colleagues about the issues facing the American songwriting industry, and to consider legislative options for ensuring a fair system for these artists.”

“I have a deep appreciation for the hardworking artists who create the songs and music so many Americans know and love,” said Congresswoman Roby. “I am thrilled to work alongside my colleague, Congressman Deutch, on the bipartisan Songwriters Caucus to ensure that these men and women are properly compensated and recognized for their creative work. Together we will tackle the many issues facing our songwriting industry in effort to improve the system.”

About all that hype over Boeing’s move … much ado about not much?

Boeing’s relocation of its Space and Launch division headquarters from northern Virginia to the Space Coast will be more aspirational than material when completed later this year, as few actual jobs are tied to the move.

“We’re not sharing numbers now, but it will be a small number of senior divisional leaders and support staff,” replied Dan Beck, a spokesman for Boeing Defense, Space & Security, on Wednesday.

Transplanted workers, who will start moving this summer, will occupy a Boeing facility already in Titusville, Beck added.

Seattle-based Boeing, which for six decades has maintained a presence at Cape Canaveral, noted in a release that the move won’t impact company space operations in California, Texas, Alabama, Colorado and Louisiana.

Still, the move was heralded by Florida officials as a testament to the Sunshine State being a leader in innovation and job growth.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a release he expects the move will “bring increased investment to the Space Coast,” while state Rep. Randy Fine, a Republican from Brevard County, in the same release said, “Florida families will benefit from this great news.”

Frank DiBello, president and CEO of Space Florida, said the move “solidifies Florida’s position in becoming the global leader in space exploration.”

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott declared in a release that “it’s no surprise that Boeing chose our great state.”

And U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio described the announcement as Florida continuing “to be a leader in space exploration and development.”

State Rep. Tyler Sirois, a Merritt Island Republican, called the move “the latest example of Florida’s resurgent commercial aerospace industry.”

In its release, Boeing noted the timing comes as the company increases a partnership with U.S. Air Force partners at Cape Canaveral and with the 45th Space Wing at Patrick Air Force Base.

“Expanding our Boeing presence on the Space Coast brings tremendous value for our commercial and government space programs,” said Jim Chilton, Space and Launch senior vice president, in a company release.

— By Jim Turner.

 

Q-Poll: Floridians high on getting high

pot exclamation pointFlorida voters are at an all-time high for allowing grown-ups to have small amounts of weed for personal use, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released today.

The poll found 65 percent of voters statewide support legalizing small quantities for adult use, while 30 percent disapprove.

Republicans, however, aren’t as keen on green: They’re split 48-48 percent, according to the poll results.

Meanwhile, more than three-quarters of Dems — 78 percent — back the bud, showing that the partisan divide isn’t limited to guns.

The survey also found voters support the sale of legal marijuana in their community by a 61-34 percent margin.

Here’s the crosstabs:

18. Do you support or oppose allowing adults in Florida to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use?

                                                               WHITE......
                                                               COLLEGE DEG
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Support              65%    48%    78%    72%    69%    62%    64%    68%
Oppose               30     48     19     24     28     32     30     28
DK/NA                 5      4      3      5      3      6      6      4
 
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    Hsp
 
Support              89%    70%    63%    52%    71%    61%    66%    66%    68%
Oppose               10     24     34     40     26     32     29     30     30
DK/NA                 1      5      3      8      3      6      5      4      2
 
 

19. Would you support or oppose the sale of legal marijuana in your community?

                                                               WHITE......
                                                               COLLEGE DEG
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Support              61%    46%    74%    66%    63%    60%    63%    64%
Oppose               34     50     23     29     33     35     33     31
DK/NA                 4      4      2      5      4      4      3      5
 
                     AGE IN YRS..............    WHITE.....
                     18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    Hsp
 
Support              83%    64%    60%    50%    65%    62%    64%    53%    65%
Oppose               17     28     35     45     30     34     32     44     32
DK/NA                 1      8      5      4      5      3      4      3      3
 

 

The poll of 1,279 Florida voters was conducted from June 12 – 17, with a margin of error of +/- 3.3 percentage points, including the design effect.