Sunday, November 13, 2011

Harmful Messages from the Media

Girls get a harmful message from media:
"Like drawing back a curtain to let bright light stream in, Miss Representation (90 min; TV-14 DL) uncovers a glaring reality we live with every day but fail to see. Written and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the film exposes how mainstream media contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America. The film challenges the media’s limited and often disparaging portrayals of women and girls, which make it difficult for women to achieve leadership positions and for the average woman to feel powerful herself.

In a society where media is the most persuasive force shaping cultural norms, the collective message that our young women and men overwhelmingly receive is that a woman’s value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality, and not in her capacity as a leader. While women have made great strides in leadership over the past few decades, the United States is still 90th in the world for women in national legislatures, women hold only 3% of clout positions in mainstream media, and 65% of women and girls have disordered eating behaviors.

Stories from teenage girls and provocative interviews with politicians, journalists, entertainers, activists and academics, like Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Margaret Cho, Rosario Dawson and Gloria Steinem build momentum as Miss Representation accumulates startling facts and statistics that will leave the audience shaken and armed with a new perspective.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dania Beach Activist Makes a Difference

David Clark is an activist in Dania Beach who has been working to get his city to change how campaigns are financed.  After a lot of hard work, he got an ordinance he initiated passed by the commission.  The commissioners were not happy about it; basically they were shamed into passing it. 

At the meeting they pontificated with the usual noise about how nothing that they are given changes how they vote yadda, yadda, yadda.   Anyone with even a few functioning brain cells knows that if donations didn’t influence commissioners there wouldn’t be any corporate or lobbyist donations.  Duh!

Well done David!!!

Here’s what it does:

“The attached Ordinance would only permit natural persons to make contributions to any candidate for the office of Mayor or City Commissioner. 

The Ordinance would prohibit all entities and organizations (including, but not limited to, corporations, LLC’s, sole proprietorships, banks, labor unions, political committees and unincorporated associations) from making campaign contributions to any candidate for the office of Mayor or City Commissioner. 

Additionally, the Ordinance would make it unlawful for any candidate for the office of Mayor or City Commissioner to accept contributions from any entity or organization. 

Definitions have been included to further define the entities and organizations that are prohibited from making campaign contributions to candidates for local office.” 

 (From a memo to the commission from David M. Wolpin and Anthony Soroka on behalf of Weiss Serota Helfman law firm.)
To read the entire ordinance go to: and click on the items on the very top of the page. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Posted on Citizen's Right to Speak

Jeff writes about "The Citizen's Right to Speak" and concludes:

If citizens are not respectful of the commission, it's because they don't trust or respect the commission. But building an environment of mutual respect starts at the other end — with the public officials.

Read his entire article here:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The 3 Minute Rule

During Tuesday’s meeting Commissioner Ben Preston brought up something that has been a bone of contention for me for years - the uneven application of the rules covering the three minutes the public is allowed to address the commission.

A person has three minutes only, to speak his or her piece. This might be at the beginning of the meeting if applied for in writing in advance. It might be in reaction to a public hearing item on the agenda, or at the end of the meeting without prior notice.

What happens in reality is the three minute rule is flexible depending on who you are and who you know. The mayor is supposed to enforce the rule; the city clerk times the speakers and notifies them when the time is up.

Often the speaker wants to say a few more sentences or maybe more than a few; that is when the mayor and her hammer come into it. She is supposed to end it there and then and get the speaker to sit down. If they are stubborn the BSO officer escorts them away from the mike.

However, depending on the situation, the three minutes can be 4 or 6 or more. The most frequent transgressors are the mayor’s favorites. When one of her pets or a favored lobbyist gets up to speak and runs a little over she gives her famous helpless eye squint and shoulder shrug and with a wave of her hand allows the extra time.

Contrast that with what happens when an “ordinary” resident, or one out of favor steps up to speak and the buzzer sounds the end; many people are allowed to finish a thought or sentence but, depending on who they are, others are not even allowed this courtesy. To these un-favored, Noland’s reaction would have listeners believe that civilization as we know it would come to an end if an extra 5 seconds were permitted. She jumps right in at the sound of the buzzer and if her curt “Sorry, time’s up” doesn’t do it she can get downright nasty and personal, taking up far more time than the speaker wanted to begin with.

Commissioner Preston’s apology to the other commissioners for asking that one of his constituents be given a little more time was accepted by the Mayor without even a hint of irony. Not one of the commissioners spoke up to say that they had all done the same thing at one time. He was left feeling that he had indeed done something wrong, and that isn’t right.

I urge the commission to think about this, I urge the commission to apply the rules evenhandedly. I urge the commission to recognize that all residents have the same rights to their three minutes and to the application of the exceptions to the rule. What you do for one, you must do for all. Fair’s fair.