A union has paid for a huge billboard expressing ‘no confidence’ in the embattled Broward County Sheriff months after he was heavily criticized over the Parkland massacre.
The yellow sign on Interstate 95 just north of Sunset Boulevard tells Florida Governor Rick Scott ‘there is no confidence in Sheriff Israel‘.
It was funded by the Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association, which in April passed a vote of no confidence in the Democrat supported by 534 of the 628 of voting members.
The Association wants Governor Scott to suspend or fire Israel. However Scott, a candidate for the US Senate, said he is waiting for the outcome of an investigation into the sheriff’s handling of Parkland, the Sun Sentinel reported.
The sheriff’s office failed to act on 18 warning calls about shooter Nikolas Cruz before he killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14.
The tips were among a series of what authorities now describe as the clearest missed signals that Cruz, who had a history of disturbing behavior, posed a serious threat.
Broward County is leading the state in enforcement of the new gun restrictions Gov. Rick Scott signed into law in March.
The Red Flag gun law, passed March 5, was written to allow local law enforcement to confiscate weapons from those displaying emotional problems, or posing a direct danger to others. This made Florida one of the select-few states to have such a law.
In the emotional weeks following the loss of 17 lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, many Floridians — in fact, many Americans — called for a strengthening of Florida’s gun laws.
A number of new gun restrictions were suggested and many passed, despite no connection to the mass shooting Feb. 14. A ban on bump stocks, and an extension of the waiting period to buy a gun were also passed, even though those components had no relevance in the Parkland shooting. (Other suggested ideas, such as banning high-capacity magazines, and banning sales to those on the terrorist watch list, also bore no connection to events in Parkland.)
With the Red Flag law now in effect, the Sun-Sentinel looked into how counties across the state were enacting the new legislation. The newspaper found that, while many had begun to use this new tool, Broward county far exceeded all others in the enforcement and seizing of firearms under this law. To date, Broward authorities have taken a confiscation action 34 times. The Orlando area was a distant second, with a total of just five cases.
Known For Partisan Attacks,
“Deeply wired into the intelligence community”
By James F. Tracy
Yet another harbinger of corporate news media’s continued demise is evident when a familiar mainstream journalist with admitted ties to US intelligence agencies plays covert roles in the issues and events he claims to report objectively on. The case of Kurt Eichenwald suggests how the CIA’s famous Operation Mockingbird is alive and well in the twenty-first century.
On December 16, 2015 FAU administrators terminated this author on pretextual grounds. Less than 24 hours beforehand the same school officials received an inflammatory email from Newsweek‘s Kurt Eichenwald, among the internet’s most avid gun control advocates and anti-Trump crusaders who boasts of being “deeply wired into the intelligence community.”
In the query, one of thousands of emails produced by FAU during discovery, the fiercely partisan Eichenberg more than subtly pressures the FAU administration on Tracy’s public speech concerning the Sandy Hook massacre event, further suggesting that Tracy is mentally ill, guilty of criminal harassment, and may pose a legal liability to the university.
Eichenwald’s email was received by the university’s chief public affairs officer and immediately forwarded to FAU President John Kelly, General Counsel David Kian, and Provost Gary Perry. Perry forwarded the email to Associate General Counsel Lawrence Glick and Vice Provost Diane Alperin. Less than 24 hours thereafter Alperin informed this author he would be fired.
On December 11, 2017, in a serious miscarriage of justice, a jury in West Palm Beach, Florida, ruled unanimously in favor of Florida Atlantic University and against former Media Studies Professor James Tracy, who was suing for reinstatement after his firing in 2016. The jury found that Tracy’s “controversial” articles on Memory Hole Blog were not a “motivating factor” in his firing, the only question they were required to consider. Of course, Tracy’s posts at “his conspiracy theory blog” were indeed the reason he was fired, but the jury was convinced otherwise by FAU’s legal team with assistance from the judge. The case centered around Tracy’s writings on the anomalies found in the reporting on the Sandy Hook “massacre” of December 14, 2012. His skepticism about the event was not to the liking of the university.
James Tracy with his attorney Louis Leo IV arriving at federal court. Image: Palm Beach Post.
FAU maintained that Tracy was not fired from his tenured position because of his blog posts, but because he did not follow the “rules” set out by “his bosses” at the government-run institution. FAU attorney G. Joseph Curley insisted that Tracy was not denied his First Amendment rights, but that he simply did not follow university procedure. “Professor Tracy doesn’t follow the rules,” Curley told the jury. “They’re rules that everyone else follows. He doesn’t play by the rules.” FAU cast the case as one of a “belligerent,” rebellious,” and “nonconformist” employee being let go for “insubordination,” instead of that of a tenured professor exercising his right to free speech.
FAU attorney G. Joseph Curley: “I could not be happier for FAU.” Image: Palm Beach Post.
FAU’s current “rules” require that faculty submit forms listing “outside activities” to be vetted for administrative approval, whether the activities are compensated or not. Tracy and other professors at FAU had argued that the policy is vague and confusing, constituting a form of prior restraint forbidden by the First Amendment, and leading to a climate of “fear and uncertainty” among the faculty. Aside from the fact that “outside activities” can reach into all aspects of a professor’s life and therefore be difficult if not impossible to list, such activities must not be subject to bureaucratic approval. And certainly, no tenured professor can be fired for not filling out a form, even at Florida Atlantic University.