Tuesday, August 15, 2017

State Sen. Lauren Book seeks restraining order to silence protester

Derek Logue peacefully protesting Lauren Book in 2015
This very blog has been cited as "violent stalking" by the Book crime family in her complaint. What a joke.

http://www.floridabulldog.org/2017/08/state-sen-lauren-book-seeks-restraining-order-to-silence-protester/

AUGUST 15, 2017 AT 5:21 AM
State Sen. Lauren Book seeks restraining order to silence protester

By Francisco Alvarado,FloridaBulldog.org

As Broward State Sen. Lauren Book prepares for her annual walk to raise awareness about child sex abuse, she wants to make sure one of her harshest critics is nowhere near her.

On July 26, Sen. Book filed a petition in Broward Circuit Court seeking a restraining order against Derek Logue, a 40-year-old Ohio man convicted of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl in 2001. Logue today is an advocate for registered sex offenders.

You won’t find Sen. Book’s petition at the county courthouse. A clerk in the Broward court’s domestic violence division told a reporter it is confidential. The reason: Florida Statute 119 says that any documents that reveal the identity, address or phone numbers of a potential crime victim are exempt from Florida’s liberal public records law.

Florida Bulldog obtained a copy of her petition from Logue.

Sen. Book claims she fears for her and her family’s safety following physical threats Logue allegedly made against her online and in person during two public events in 2015 and 2016. In addition to seeking to bar Logue from showing up at her annual walk events, she wants to keep him from coming within 500 feet of her home and her offices.

But Broward Circuit Court Judge Michael G. Kaplan rejected Sen. Book’s request for a temporary restraining order on Aug. 9, noting there was insufficient evidence showing she was in immediate danger. A hearing on her request for a permanent restraining order is scheduled for Sept. 1.

Sen. Book declined comment, but her father, prominent Tallahassee lobbyist Ron Book, told Florida Bulldog Logue has been harassing him and his daughter for roughly four years. “We had ignored his harassment because we don’t believe he is terribly relevant,” Book said. “He has little credibility.”

However, Book said the last straw occurred on July 8, when Logue tweeted “I think I found the official Laura Ahearn/ Lauren Book theme song” next to a link to a YouTube video for a song titled, “You Are A C—,” by Australian singer and comedian Kat McSnatch. Ahearn is executive director of Parents for Megan’s Law, a New York-based advocacy group for victims of sex crimes.

Ugly lyrics

Among its provocative lyrics is this ugly line: “Why don’t you shut that scabby c— mouth before I f— up your face.” The crude video also features an image of a tombstone that reads, “R.I.P. Annoying C—.”

According to Ron Book and Sen. Book’s petition, officials from several New York law enforcement agencies advised that Logue’s tweet was a credible death threat. “We were advised to contact local law enforcement and take steps to make sure that the encounters we’ve had with Mr. Logue don’t happen again. When you cross the line and threaten to f—k up someone’s face followed by ‘R.I.P.,’ that is a credible threat,” said Ron Book.

Logue dismissed the Books’ accusations as “a load of hogwash.” He claims the petition is an attempt to stop him from exercising his First Amendment right to speak out against their lifelong campaign against registered sex offenders.

“It is easy to make me look like the bad guy because I am a registered citizen,” Logue told Florida Bulldog. “You may not like my choice of words. I do cuss and I do call people the C word. She is offended by it, but I don’t care. It’s protected free speech.”

He added, “She is simply trying to prevent me from raining on her little parade.”

Sen. Book is the founder and $135,000-a-year chief executive officer of Lauren’s Kids, a non-profit agency that has collected more than $10 million in grants from the Florida Legislature to fund an array of educational programs to convince victims and children advocates to report child sex crimes. However, the effectiveness of the programs have come under fire as Sen. Book has used Lauren’s Kids to elevate her public profile.
Derek Logue at the Tribeca Film Festival to watch the "Untouchable" Documentary

The Plantation Democrat, who was sexually abused as a teen by her former nanny, also makes an annual trek on foot from Key West to Tallahassee to raise awareness for child sex victims. This year’s walk is scheduled to begin on Sept. 9.

In her petition, Sen. Book claims that in 2015 Logue traveled to Tallahassee and organized a group of sex offenders in an attempt to disrupt the final mile of her annual walk. “The workers were warned in advance and they were able to keep the walk peaceful with the help of the Capitol Police, the Tallahassee Police Department and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement,” the petition says.

A year later, Logue traveled to New York City to attend a screening of the documentary Untouchable at the Tribeca Film Festival to harass Sen. Book during a question and answer session, the petition alleges. The Books are prominently featured in the movie about the impact of sex offender laws on individuals convicted of sex crimes.

“During the question and answer segment, he became unruly enough that his microphone was cut off and petitioner was surrounded by New York Police Department officers to protect her,” the petition states. Sen. Book claims she learned of Logue’s July 8 tweet after being contacted by an advocate for Parents of Megan’s Law who saw it and who filed a report with the New York field office of the FBI.

A rally planned for Miami

The petition also noted that Logue’s website OnceFallen.com and a Facebook page he is affiliated with is promoting a rally planned for Miami in September: “The coincidence is palpable.”

In his response to the petition and during an interview with Florida Bulldog, Logue said he has participated in and helped organize demonstrations across the country against sex offender registry laws and other legislation he believes discriminate against sex offenders who have done their time. He has also been interviewed on the topic by CNN, HLN and Russia Today, as well as local and regional news outlets, Logue said.

He said the 2015 demonstration in Tallahassee was peaceful even though Lauren’s Kids officials tried to report him for not registering with the state of Florida for the event. “I am free to travel anywhere in the United States of America,” Logue’s response states. “In fact, I made it a point to contact the Leon County Sheriff’s office to confirm that I would not need to register as a sex offender to visit for less than 48 hours to engage in a peaceful demonstration.”

Logue said he attended the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival because he had been interviewed for Untouchable, but the footage did not make into the documentary. He did make a brief appearance halfway through the film during scenes of the demonstration in Tallahassee. He said he only learned the Books were also in attendance when he arrived for the screening.

Logue said the documentary’s director David Feige asked him not to be too nasty to the Book family and he obliged. He denies disrupting the question and answer session. “I asked her why she preaches that sex offenders don’t deserve second chances when her father is also a convicted criminal that got second and third chances,” Logue said. “She made a snarky remark, I laughed and sat back down.”

On Sept. 21, 1995, Ron Book pleaded guilty to four misdemeanor charges and was fined $2,000 following a criminal investigation that found he violated state law by funneling more than $30,000 in illegal campaign contributions to at least a dozen county and state politicians.

Logue, who isn’t shy about owning up to his sex crime conviction, claims when he went to register in his home state in July, his registration officer told him someone claiming to be a state senator called to complain that he called her a c— and that she was offended by it. “I call a lot of people c—s,” Logue said. “I understand not everyone appreciates crude language. Yet, we elected a president that uses crude language and what not.”

Logue’s lawyer, Jamie Benjamin, did not respond to a phone message seeking comment. Sen. Book’s lawyer, Fort Lauderdale’s David Bogenschutz, said her role as a public official makes her a vulnerable target to threats of a violent nature.

“She and several law enforcement agencies believe [Logue’s behavior] crosses the line between what is protected by the First Amendment and threats that cause individuals to have legitimate concerns for themselves and their family members,” Bogenschutz said. “If it continues, and it has continued, we need the court’s intervention to draw the line for us.”

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A large chunk of Lauren's Kids money goes to public relations firm

Florida Bulldog has another hard hitting article on Lauren Book and the ethical concerns of funding her organization.

http://www.floridabulldog.org/2017/06/laurens-kids-funnels-3-1-million-to-politically-connected-public-relations-firm/

Lauren’s Kids funnels $3.1 million to politically connected public relations firm
By Francisco Alvarado, FloridaBulldog.org
JUNE 29, 2017 AT 5:25 AM

A nonprofit run by Broward State Sen. Lauren Book and lavished with millions of dollars in state handouts by lawmakers paid a Tallahassee public relations firm with considerable political clout $3.1 million between 2012 and 2015.

The payments by Lauren’s Kids to Sachs Media Group accounted for 28 percent of the charity’s $10.8 million in expenses, according to Lauren’s Kids most recent available tax returns. In the same period, the Florida Legislature awarded Lauren’s Kids – which employs Sen. Book as its $135,000-a-year chief executive and counts powerful lobbyist Ron Book, her father, as its chairman – $9.6 million in grants.

The nonprofit’s payouts to Sachs Media for 2016 are not publicly available. A spokeswoman for Lauren’s Kids did not respond to requests to view that information.

Florida Bulldog reported last week that Sen. Book, using a loophole in state conflict-of-interest rules, voted last month to approve a state appropriations bill that included $1.5 million for Lauren’s Kids.

Millions of taxpayer dollars flowed through the nonprofit to Sachs Media as it both promoted Lauren’s Kids and cultivated Sen. Book’s public persona as a survivor of child sex abuse. Critics say the domination of Lauren’s Kids by the senator and her lobbyist-father raises concerns that the work Sachs Media does is more about making her look good, not raising awareness about unreported cases of child sex abuse.

“There is nothing wrong with an individual promoting that they have done good work,” said Daniel Borochoff, founder of Chicago-based CharityWatch. “However, it would appear the father can pull some weight to push the organization in a direction that would be beneficial for the daughter. It is more likely for that to happen more so than helping kids.”

If that’s the case, then the Books and Sachs Media are abusing the public’s trust, Borochoff added. “Nonprofit money is supposed to be used for a public benefit and not to enhance the aspirations of the charity’s officers,” Borochoff said. “But sometimes there is an overlap and it can become a side effect for someone running a charity.”

‘Proud of our work’

Sachs Media founder and chief executive Ron Sachs did not return two phone messages seeking response to a list of detailed questions emailed to him on June 12. Instead, Sachs Media president Michelle Ubben provided Florida Bulldog with a written statement noting that the firm is “not currently engaged by Lauren’s Kids.”

“We are particularly proud of our work to help the Lauren’s Kids foundation develop sexual abuse prevention curricula for grades K-12, and to raise awareness of the signs of child abuse and public reporting requirements,” Ubben’s statement read. She referred specific questions about the firm’s work with Lauren’s Kids to the nonprofit’s spokeswoman and former Sachs Media account executive Claire VanSusteren.

“We have worked with Sachs in the past to raise awareness about child sexual abuse,” VanSusteren said in an emailed statement. “[Sachs] has, over the course of several years, completed communications work and engaged a variety of subcontractors related to deliverables for state contracts.”

A former news reporter and editor who did stints as spokesman for Florida governors Reubin Askew and Lawton Chiles, Ron Sachs founded his company in 1996, specializing in corporate branding, marketing and crisis management. His early victories included a 1998 campaign to inform voters on amendments proposed by the Constitution Revision Commission and helping repeal an automatic 20 percent phone rate hike tacked onto a bill in 2003.

Six years later, Sachs landed more than $130,000 worth of work from the Associated Industries of Florida, according to a 2011 Florida Trend article. The same year, Sachs Media was retained by an anonymous group of oil and gas producers called Florida Energy Associates to do a campaign promoting the removal of the prohibition on drilling in the state’s offshore waters.

Sachs Media has also counted the Florida Chamber of Commerce among its clients, producing a web-based public affairs program called “The Bottom Line.”  Another program, “Florida Newsmakers,” features one-on-one interviews with top state bureaucrats answering softball questions. According to an online database of state contracts, Sachs Media has also been awarded small and large media jobs by various state agencies.

For instance, the Florida Lottery paid Sachs Media $150,000 in February 2013 for an educational multimedia campaign. A year later, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs paid Sachs Media $3,720 for table throws stamped with the department’s emblem. The Department of Environmental Protection awarded the firm a $316,250 contract in 2014 to produce a public awareness campaign about the importance of sea turtle nesting beaches in Florida’s Panhandle.

Sachs media faced criticism

Sachs Media has faced criticism over its business practices in recent years. In 2014, the firm dropped a lawsuit it had filed against the family of a paralyzed Broward County man after a public outcry over Sachs Media’s heavy-handed tactics against its former client, who was left brain damaged by the car of a speeding Broward County sheriff’s deputy. Sachs had claimed Eric Brody’s relatives owed the firm $375,000 for four years of public relations and media outreach services.

A year later, a state audit of a $296,105 Sachs Media contract with the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs found that the agreement did not clearly establish the tasks to be performed by the firm, did not contain documentation requirements, did not sufficiently identify the activities or services to be provided and included three amendments for an additional $135,421.

“In general, the agreement had no scope of work or deliverable issues,” the audit states. “The amendments did not fall within the original scope of work and did not clearly establish the tasks the provider was required to perform.” (Ubben did not comment on the dropping of the lawsuit and on the audit’s findings.)

According to Sachs Media’s website, the firm was retained by Lauren’s Kids in 2007, the year the nonprofit was founded. “Lauren’s Kids engaged our firm to conceptualize and bring to life a breakthrough strategy that would get people aware, educated, and mobilized to prevent this dark, societal secret – child sexual abuse,” a statement on the website reads. “We branded the Lauren’s Kids Foundation and generated extensive, multi-year media coverage – including the cover of Newsweek – around an annual 1,500-mile walk for awareness throughout Florida.”

In addition, Sen. Book and her cause have been featured by Nancy Grace, USA Today, Lisa Ling, Jane Velez-Mitchell and various local media outlets due to Sachs Media’s public relations work, the website states.

Sachs Media was also involved in helping Sen. Book market and promote her autobiography “It’s OK to Tell” and her annual walk from Key West to Tallahassee, as well as producing billboards, public service announcements and a curriculum for grades K-12 about child sex abuse prevention. The curriculum features web-based video lessons starring Sen. Book and reading materials that recount how she was sexually abused by her nanny during her teen years.

In 2015, Sachs Media conducted an online survey for Lauren’s Kids that found more than one-third of female respondents and one-fifth of male respondents had admitted to being sexually abused as children. However, the accuracy of the online survey, which national polling experts dismiss as being unreliable and inaccurate, could not be verified because Sachs Media declined to provide its methodology and backup data to Florida Bulldog.

The payments

Here’s the breakdown of Lauren’s Kids payments to Sachs Media as detailed in the nonprofits tax returns:

  • $670,032 for “public relations.” That accounted or 33 percent of Lauren’s Kids’ $2 million in expenses that year.
  • $957,977 for “program support,” or 63 percent of Lauren’s Kids $1.5 million in expenses.
  • $579,772, or 20 percent of expenses.
  • $966,100 for programming support. Sachs subcontractor, The POD Advertising, was paid $349,800, with both accounting for 28 percent of Lauren’s Kids expenses that year.


The owner of a Miami-based public relations firm who requested anonymity said the amount of money Lauren’s Kids has paid Sachs Media is shocking. “It’s pretty outrageous that a PR firm is billing that much to a nonprofit,” the owner said. “Usually, you are taking on charities on a pro-bono basis or providing them with a significant discount.”

Sen. Book, a Plantation Democrat, and Ron Book did not respond to requests for comment. However, Lauren’s Kids spokeswoman VanSusteren defended the work performed by Sachs Media, noting the campaigns have taught Floridians the importance of openly discussing child sex crimes.

“We have received countless calls and messages from parents, educators and law enforcement officers sharing stories of children coming forward and disclosing abuse thanks to our curriculum program,” she said. “At the end of the day, nothing is more important than protecting childhood. That’s what it’s all about.”

For example, she said, Sachs managed content production and communications related to a Lauren’s Kids public awareness campaign called “Don’t Miss the Signs” developed in partnership with the Florida Department of Children and Families.

She claimed that reports of abuse to the DCF hotline rose by 30 percent during the campaign and that Lauren’s Kids has received positive feedback from numerous teachers and police officers about the “Safer, Smarter” curriculum Sachs Media produced. In her statement to Florida Bulldog, VanSusteren included testimonials from unidentified teachers and guidance counselors.

One was from a self-described educator at James M. Marlowe Elementary School in New Port Richey who said, “I love the fact that it’s simple and easy to implement. I love the fact that there isn’t a lot of prep time needed for the lessons.”

Yet, the testimonial said nothing about the curriculum’s effectiveness in preventing child sex abuse.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Surprise! Lauren Book exploits legal loophole to give herself $1.5 MILLION dollars

$1.5 MEEEELION Dollars!!!!
Another great expose' from FloridaBulldog.org finds Lauren Book voted to give herself over $1.5 Million of Florida's taxpayer bucks to continue to run her organization. Conclict of interest, anyone?

It should be noted that Lauren Book is still listed as the CEO of Lauren's Kids as of June 27, 2017, so it seems she hasn't even stepped down as she claims. Here's a 2016 contract with the state, posted in the FB.org comment section.

http://www.floridabulldog.org/2017/06/using-ethics-loophole-sen-book-votes-to-give-her-nonprofit-1-5-million/

JUNE 22, 2017 AT 5:19 AM
Using ethics loophole, Sen. Lauren Book votes to give her nonprofit $1.5 million
By Francisco Alvarado, FloridaBulldog.org

Broward State Sen. Lauren Book voted “yes” last month to approve a state appropriations bill that included $1.5 million for Lauren’s Kids, the nonprofit she founded and leads as its $135,000-a-year chief executive officer.

A gaping loophole in Florida Senate ethics rules allowed Book to cast her vote despite her apparent conflict of interest. The same loophole also meant she didn’t have to disclose her conflict publicly.

Senators are forbidden by ethics rules from voting “on any matter” in which they or an immediate family member would privately gain – except when it comes to votes on the annual General Appropriations Act. Abstaining senators must also disclose the nature of their interest in the matter, according to the 335-page Florida Senate Rules and Manual.

“Legislators are allowed to vote on issues that may benefit their profession,” said Ben Wilcox, research director for the nonpartisan watchdog Integrity Florida. “But it becomes questionable when it is a direct appropriation to an entity that a legislator controls and that would directly benefit that legislator.”

Lauren’s Kids, whose chairman is prominent lobbyist Ron Book, the senator’s father, has in a just few years become one of the Florida Legislature’s most favored private charities. Since 2012, Lauren’s Kids has bagged more than $10 million in taxpayer-funded handouts.

Gov. Rick Scott went along with the latest $1.5 million appropriation for Lauren’s Kids while approving Florida’s $83 billion 2017-18 budget earlier this month.

How that appropriation came to be is a story itself. Lauren’s Kids only asked for $1 million.

Where did extra $500,000 come from?

But more than six weeks after the Florida legislative session ended, nobody is answering questions about how Lauren’s Kids snagged that additional $500,000. Not Sen. Book. Not Ron Book. Not Sen. Bill Montford, the Tallahassee Democrat who sits on the education appropriations subcommittee and sponsored a funding request for $1 million on the nonprofit’s behalf on Feb. 22. And not Rep. Jeanette Nunez, R-Kendall, who sponsored the bill in the House. Each did not respond to detailed requests for comment.

Lauren’s Kids spokeswoman Claire VanSusteren, however, provided a written statement on June 12 summarizing how Lauren’s Kids intends to use the funds and defending the organization’s mission to increase reporting of child sex–abuse incidents.

“There is no investment greater than in our children’s safety, and research shows that school-based education is an extremely effective vehicle for prevention and early intervention,” the statement read. “Lauren’s Kids is proud to partner with Florida educators to help arm students with knowledge about personal safety and accessing help.”

VanSusteren did not respond to a follow-up list of questions emailed on June 15 that again requested an explanation of how Lauren’s Kids’ funding request got bumped up from $1 million to $1.5 million between April 27 and May 8. That’s when House and Senate members went into conference committees to hash out the final budget bill. Sen. Book was a conferee for the appropriations conference committee on health care and human services. Montford was a conferee on the committee for education.

Wilcox said Sen. Book should be forthcoming about the additional $500,000 Lauren’s Kids received. “At the very least, she should be as transparent as possible on how that funding was decided,” he said. “It already doesn’t look good to the public given it is a dicey relationship for her in the first place as a sitting legislator who is also a recipient of taxpayer dollars.”

Lauren Book, 32, is a freshman legislator from Plantation. She assumed office just seven months ago after running unopposed and has quickly ascended the state’s political ranks. She is the Democratic Leader Pro Tempore and chairwoman of the Senate environmental preservation and conservation committee. She also sits on the appropriations, health policy and rules committees. Her father’s clients contributed significantly to her campaign and political action committee.

In March, Sen. Book told Florida Bulldog she was advised by Senate counsel “that it is proper that I do not abstain on these matters unless the funding directly inures to my benefit, which it will not.” Sen. Book, who was sexually abused by her nanny in her early teens, said she resigned from the board of directors of the foundation that raises money for Lauren’s Kids and that her salary was restructured to “ensure that no public dollars were used to compensate me for my work.”

At the time, Sen. Book said the Florida Department of Education requested that the Legislature provide $1 million in funding for Lauren’s Kids to continue its “Safer, Smarter” curriculum, a program that teaches students, teachers and parents how to spot signs of child sex abuse and the importance of reporting sex crimes against children.

The curriculum is made available to children at all grade levels in public and charter schools in all 67 Florida counties, but school districts are not required to teach it. For instance, Indian River County Public Schools and Orange County Public Schools do not use the “Safer, Smarter” curriculum, according to spokespersons for both districts. Miami-Dade Public Schools, the largest school district in the state, uses “Safer, Smarter” at only 80 out of 392 schools, said spokesman John Schuster.

“The curriculum is implemented as classroom guidance lessons facilitated by the school counselor or school social worker,” Schuster said. “The counseling professionals choose the classes where the students will receive the curriculum.”

Data lacking on curriculum results

Schuster said Miami-Dade Public Schools does not track or have any data confirming that the “Safer, Smarter” curriculum has resulted in the reporting of child sex-abuse incidents that would otherwise go undetected. “These reports are made directly to the Department of Children and Families and are anonymous,” he said. “We have no access to this reporting information.”

In VanSusteren’s June 12 statement, she defended Lauren’s Kids work by citing an unverified and questionable  2015 poll the organization commissioned that concluded one in three girls and one in five boys will be victims of sexual abuse by the time they graduate 12th grade. By applying those statistics to the overall public schools student population in Florida, there are “at least 540,000 child victims currently enrolled Florida’s K-12 schools,” the statement read.

VanSusteren insisted 95 percent of child sex abuse is preventable through education and awareness, and that the “Safer, Smarter” curriculum works. “Students who receive education about personal safety and accessing help in unsafe situations are three times more likely to speak up if they are being harmed,” VanSusteren said. “The funds allocated to Lauren’s Kids during fiscal year 2017-2018 will be used to continue our work to bring life-saving resources to Florida classrooms – as recommended in the Department of Education budget, as well as the Governor’s budget.”

However, the Florida Department of Education did not make the funding request for the curriculum, said department press secretary Audrey Walden. She explained the Legislature and the governor must first approve the funding and the department then disperses the funds to Lauren’s Kids and other nonprofit groups that get state money. Organizations must apply to the department and provide a breakdown on how the funds will be spent.

In its March 31 application, Lauren’s Kids stated it would spend $800,000 to print and distribute educational materials and maintain two websites associated with the “Safer, Smarter” curriculum; $100,000 to produce a digital conference; and two separate $50,000 expenditures for an evaluation survey, online training modules for teachers and principals and an educational fair.

“Please note that the department does not require schools to use the curriculum referenced,” Walden said. “It is implemented in schools at the discretion of each school district.”

According to an online legislative database used to track the Lauren’s Kids appropriation, Sen. Montford sponsored a $1 million funding request the same day that Kelly Mallette, governmental affairs director for Ronald L. Book P.A., lobbied the subcommittee on behalf of Lauren’s Kids and three other nonprofits the firm represents.

Montford, who is also the chief executive of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents, has sponsored previous funding requests for Lauren’s Kids. He sits on the appropriations, health policy and rules committees alongside Sen. Book.

According to Montford’s 2016 campaign finance reports, Ron Book, his wife Patricia and his law firm each gave $1,000 to the senator’s re-election effort. Ronald L. Book P.A. also contributed $2,500 in 2014 to a now-defunct political action committee chaired by Montford.

On the House side, the re-election campaign of Rep. Nunez, who sponsored a $1 million funding bill on behalf of Lauren’s Kids, also got $1,000 contributions from Ron Book, his wife and his law firm. Montford and Nunez did not respond to four messages left with their legislative assistants the week of the June 5-9 special session.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Would it surprise you if I pointed out that Ron Book was a major contributor to the racist/ sexist disgraed ex-senator Frank Artiles?

Well if you are shocked by this revelation, you must be new to this blog. frank Artiles WAS a state senator until his recent resignation. Why did he resign? Read on...

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/article146227009.html

Spotting her at the Governors Club Lounge in downtown Tallahassee around 10:30 p.m., Artiles, who had been drinking, confronted [Senator Audrey] Gibson: “Audrey, stop being a bitch on my bills and I’ll stop being a fucking asshole on yours.”

His words would mark the beginning of the end of his Senate career.

By the end of his tirade, Artiles had called Gibson a “girl,” Senate President Joe Negron a “pussy” and Republicans who had elected Negron “niggas.” By the end of the week, Artiles had resigned, succumbing to pressure from a Senate overcome by the scandal...

[Sen. Perry] Thurston got Artiles to apologize to Gibson for saying “fucking asshole” and “bitch,” which Thurston himself hadn’t overheard. But Gibson stormed off to the restroom — and out of the club — without the apology from Artiles that Thurston sought for everything else he had heard Artiles tell her, including “niggas.” Both Gibson and Thurston are black.

Past midnight, Thurston telephoned Senate Democratic Leader Oscar Braynon of Miami Gardens, who is also black, to fill him in. Thurston told him he had invited Artiles to apologize to Gibson on Tuesday morning. Artiles never showed.

Braynon thought of immediately reporting Artiles to Republican leaders. But he and Thurston gave Artiles two more opportunities to apologize: Tuesday morning on the Senate floor, and Tuesday afternoon at the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development.

Artiles didn’t want to say sorry...

Thurston emphasized the tirade was not Artiles’ first controversy. Two years earlier, a college student accused Artiles of punching him at Clyde’s & Costello’s bar. In 2014, then-outgoing Rep. Doug Holder joked he wanted to will Artiles a punching bag — a reference to a previous scuffle between Artiles and another lawmaker’s aide. Thurston suggested other incidents “are perhaps not so well documented.”

In short, Sen. Artiles has a reputation of being a racist, sexist bully. Well, I don't know if Ron Book is a sexist or racist, but he is a bully, so it is no shock that Ronald L. Book PA donated $4000 to Sen. Briles. [Also notable, GEO Group, Ron Book's client, donated $6000.] Sometimes you CAN judge a man by the company he keeps.

https://votesmart.org/candidate/campaign-finance/53702/frank-artiles#.WRZz_-vyvIU


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Lauren Book Ethical Concerns part 2: Driver's Tags

Florida Bulldog is doing a great job so far of exposing Lauren's lack of ethics while in office. The comment section already contains comments by Book foundation sock puppets, however.

Lauren Book claims she has stepped down from Lauren's Kids, yet she's STILL listed on the BOD at the Laurenskids.org website.

http://www.floridabulldog.org/2017/05/laurens-kids-racks-up-six-figure-donations-via-auto-tag-registration-renewals/

MAY 4, 2017 AT 5:34 AM
Lauren’s Kids racks up six-figure donations via auto tag registration renewals
By Francisco Alvarado, FloridaBulldog.org

In January, Broward County car owners who received their auto tag renewal notices also got a special message from Lauren’s Kids, the nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing child sex abuse and founded by freshman State Sen. Lauren Book.

Inside the envelopes, colorful flyers bearing Lauren’s Kids logo wished vehicle registrants a happy birthday while segueing into an ominous stat: “Yet shockingly, 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys are sexually abused before their 18th birthday.” 

That bit of data was followed by a sales pitch. “But there is hope — 95 percent of abuse is preventable through awareness and education. Celebrate your birthday by donating to the Lauren’s Kids foundation and honor the kids in your life.”

Of course, the advertisement includes a disclaimer in small italicized words that the Broward County tax collector’s office, which sends out the notices, is not endorsing Lauren’s Kids.

Drivers with February birthdates weren’t the only ones to find the Lauren’s Kids flyer in their motor vehicle registration renewal envelopes. Broward residents who received renewal notices in March and April also got the insert. Those automobile registrants whose notices are mailed this month are going to get the flyer too, says Paul Rowe, operations manager for the Broward tax collector’s office.

In fact, more than 6 million vehicle owners across Florida likely will have received the flyer stuffed in their auto tag renewal notices by year’s end. For the past seven years, Lauren’s Kids has been part of an exclusive club of charitable organizations approved by the Legislature that are allowed to hit up Florida drivers and vehicle owners for donations via auto tag and driver’s license renewal notices. But none of the other 43 nonprofits on the list has come close to Lauren’s Kids’ haul during a four-year period from 2013 through 2016 — $572,850, according to figures provided by the Florida Division of Motor Vehicles.

The department also contributes to Lauren’s Kids via the sale of specialty license plates approved by the Legislature in 2013. According to its most recent tax records, Lauren’s Kids received $294,653 from the DMV in 2015.

Lauren’s Kids’ success has been made possible by the organization’s aggressive marketing strategy to stuff as many auto tag renewal and driver’s license renewal envelopes with flyers requesting contributions and urging people to buy its specialty tag. The practice raises concerns among ethics watchdogs that government resources are being used to help a private organization raise funds without a public benefit. While the motor vehicle department administers annual auto tag renewals, individual county tax collector offices are responsible for mailing out the notices to vehicle owners.

Conflict of interest?

And now that Book is a state legislator, her nonprofit’s participation in the auto tag renewal raises the possibility of a conflict of interest. “In a perfect world, she would not do it,” said Beth Rosenson, a University of Florida political science professor who teaches government ethics. “It’s an accountability issue that raises questions in constituents’ minds. It leads people not to trust government.”

Ben Wilcox, research director for the government watchdog organization Integrity Florida, echoed Rosenson. “It may be technically correct,” Wilcox said. “But I don’t think it will look good to the public.”

A Lauren’s Kids insert in a Florida Department of Motor Vehicles registration renewal.
In an email response to questions about the inserts, Book dismissed the criticisms. “First of all, none of what we do markets the foundation and you seem to miss the purpose of our messaging,” Book said. “Awareness and education is our focus. Redundancy of message is a part of that.”

She also sees no conflict, Book added. “I have been advised that the work of the foundation may continue as it has for years educating the public and raising awareness about childhood sexual abuse,” she said. “Furthermore, the program is approved by Florida law.”

The Plantation Democrat, whose father Ronald Book is a powerful lobbyist and president of Lauren’s Kids, said she resigned from the board of directors of her nonprofit’s fundraising arm to “add an additional (but entirely unnecessary) layer between myself and the foundation.”

“I derive no personal benefit from public tax dollars except knowing that these monies are being used to save lives, raise awareness and prevent childhood sexual abuse,” she said.

In 2010, the Florida Legislature approved a bill adding Lauren’s Kids to a list of charitable organizations eligible for donations through auto tag registration applications and renewals, as well as driver’s license applications and renewals. The charities are listed on a form with a box next to each organization that the recipient can check off to receive a voluntary contribution. The legislation also allows Lauren’s Kids and the 43 other authorized nonprofits to include inserts promoting their cause in the renewal notices.

According to a 2010 legislative bill analysis and fiscal impact statement, the legislation authorizing Lauren’s Kids placement on the list was sponsored by then-state Rep. Marcelo Llorente from Miami and current Senate President Joe Negron. In order to qualify, Lauren’s Kids was required to submit an application to the motor vehicles department, along with a $20,000 check to “defray the costs of reviewing the application and developing the check-off.”

In addition, Lauren’s Kids had to submit a financial analysis and a marketing strategy outlining the anticipated revenues and planned expenditures to be derived from the voluntary contributions.

DMV passes the buck

However, after nearly four weeks of repeatedly requesting documentation about Lauren’s Kids participation in the program, motor vehicles spokesperson Alexis Bakofsky told Florida Bulldog there was none. “The department does not place Lauren’s Kids educational materials in driver license renewal mailings or have information regarding Lauren’s Kids educational materials being placed in auto tag renewal mailings from tax collector offices,” Bakofsky said. “You may want to contact a Tax Collector office for any additional information.”

Bakofsky did provide Florida Bulldog with a spreadsheet detailing how much money each of the 44 organizations received in fiscal years 2013-2014, 2015 and 2016. In those years, Lauren’s Kids received $161,936, $213,517 and $197,397, respectively. Only one other group has been able to raise a six-figure sum. Support Our Troops collected $108,791 in fiscal year 2013-2014.

The money raised through the renewal notice program is in addition to other funding Lauren’s Kids receives, including $8.5 million in state grants since 2012.

Sen. Book referred specific questions about the program to Lauren’s Kids communications director Claire VanSusteren, who did not respond to a list of 11 questions about the inserts despite four requests for comment via email and voicemail during a two-week period in March.

VanSusteren provided Florida Bulldog only with a copy of Lauren’s Kids 2015 tax return, which states Lauren’s Kids spent $449,785 to “develop an educational piece regarding protecting children against sex abuse that is included with all vehicle registration renewals… the goal is to reach as many individuals with direct messaging as possible.”

The tax return also states “that over 6 million individuals will read the material this year.”

In addition, Lauren’s Kids reaches another 50,000 individuals in December of each year through a “targeted program [that] occurs in driver’s license renewal offices” that provides “educational materials on how to better protect our children from predators and pedophiles.”

Broward County’s Rowe told Florida Bulldog that Lauren’s Kids was added administratively in 2011. “We don’t advertise it to participating charities,” Rowe said. “It’s up to the organizations to submit a request for the inserts to be included.” Only two other nonprofit organizations have asked to include inserts in renewal notices besides Lauren’s Kids, he added.

“Outside of those three, no one else has done it,” Rowe said.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Nepotism defined: Lauren Book is poised to legally steal another $1 MILLION taxpayer dollars


Did anyone honestly think that Lauren Book would go through her campaign without engaging in a little nepotism. Now that Bimbo Book is a state senator, she can just raid the coffers from the inside. No doubt she won't recuse herself from the appropriations committee.

Interestingly, even though Lauren Book claims to have resigned from her puppet post at Lauren's Kids, yet she's STILL listed as the CEO on her website

As reported in the Miami Herald:

"For example, Lauren’s Kids, a non-profit founded by Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation, to promote awareness of and to prevent sexual abuse against children, is eligible for another $1 million from taxpayers. Nunez is the sponsor of the project (HB 3261) and its lobbyist, Ron Book, is the senator’s father.

The nine-page project application says that most of the $1 million would be spent on printing of materials, curriculum fulfillment, storage, travel and videography. Other expenses include $75,000 for consultants, $55,000 for an executive director (listed on laurenskids.org as Ivette Diaz) and $35,000 for a communications director (listed as Claire Van Sustersen, aka Horseteeth). The application says Lauren’s Kids, which is overseen by the Department of Education, will seek an additional $3 million to $10 million in public money in the next five years."

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article141701034.html#storylink=cpy

Someone should photoshop this, that expression is priceless. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Like Father Like Bimbo Daughter: Lauren Book's senator seat already getting warm with ethics issues

The rotten apple does not fall far from the rotten tree.

http://www.floridabulldog.org/2017/03/ms-book-goes-to-tallahassee-sees-no-conflict-voting-for-laurens-kids-or-dads-clients/

MARCH 20, 2017 AT 5:28 AM
Ms. Book goes to Tallahassee, sees no conflict voting $ for Lauren’s Kids or dad’s clients

By Francisco Alvarado, FloridaBulldog.org

Freshman Broward State Sen. Lauren Book says she won’t abstain from voting on matters involving clients of her father, powerful lobbyist Ron Book. Similarly, she sees no conflict of interest in voting on measures to funnel millions of taxpayer dollars to benefit her non-profit charity and political launching pad, Lauren’s Kids.

Book, a Plantation Democrat, offered her thoughts on the issue of personal voting conflicts in an email exchange last week with Florida Bulldog.

“No,” she said when asked if she plans to abstain from voting on any matters involving Ron Book’s clients. “In ALL matters, I will vote my conscience and in what I believe is best for my district, for Broward County, and for the people of the State of Florida.”

Sen. Book also said that Lauren’s Kids would again seek significant state funding during this year’s legislative session that began March 7. Does that mean she will abstain from voting on bills to authorize funding for her organization?

“No. I have met with the Counsel of the Senate and have been advised that it is proper that I do not abstain on these matters unless the funding directly inures to my benefit, which it will not,” Sen. Book said.

Lauren’s Kids, however, pays Sen. Book a six-figure annual salary for serving as its chief executive. In 2015, her salary was $135,000 – a $20,000 increase from 2014, according to the charity’s federal income tax returns.

“My salary is not paid for with any state funds,” said Sen. Book. “I derive no personal benefit from public tax dollars except knowing that these monies are being used to save lives, raise awareness and prevent childhood sexual abuse.”

Sen. Book said that to make certain her salary includes no state dollars, she “restructured my employment to ensure that no public dollars were used to compensate me for my work” once she declared her candidacy. She declined to elaborate on how she accomplished that restructuring and that separation.

Sen. Book did say, however, that she resigned from the board of directors of the Lauren’s Kids Foundation “to add an additional (but entirely unnecessary) layer between myself and the Foundation.”

Lauren’s Kid’s tax return for 2015 – the latest available – shows the charity received more than 83 percent of its $4.5 million in total revenue that year from the state. Since 2012, records show, the state has contributed more than $10 million to Lauren’s Kids.

The Florida Department of Education has requested another $1 million in funding for Lauren’s Kids for Fiscal Year 2017-18 “so we can continue to educate children and families to prevent abuse and help survivors,” said Sen. Book. “I might add, the DOE would only recommend funding if as experts they believed the curriculum was of significant benefit to our children.’’

Ron Book as landlord

Lobbyist Ron Book, the senator’s father, is the unpaid president of Lauren’s Kids. Yet he also makes money from Lauren’s Kids. According to the 501(c) (3) organization’s 2015 tax return, he paid himself $61,651 for renting space to Lauren’s Kids in his Aventura office.

Ron Book, who is also on the charity’s board, collected $63,175 in rent from Lauren’s Kids in 2014, according to that year’s tax return.

Ron Book declined to comment.

On Wednesday, March 22, Sen. Book will face one of the first ethical tests of her nascent political career. As a member of the Florida Senate’s health policy committee, she will be evaluating five bills to establish the rules and regulations for the state’s medical marijuana industry.

While some patient and industry advocates argue the state should open up the market to competition, four of the bills discourage participation by more cannabis providers beyond the seven companies already licensed to manufacture a non-psychoactive, non-smokable form of the drug under a restrictive medical marijuana program set up by the Legislature in 2014.

Among the Florida licensed providers is a joint venture between Homestead-based nursery Alpha Foliage and Surterra, an Atlanta-based medical marijuana company that employs the senator’s father Ron Book as its Tallahassee lobbyist.

While government watchdogs said Sen. Book should abstain from voting on any matters involving her father, she told Florida Bulldog she has no intention of doing so because Florida law and Senate rules do not prohibit it.

“As I stated above, I will follow the letter and spirit of the law in how I vote and how I conduct my business,” she said.

Conflict questions loom

Still, questions about Sen. Book’s potential vote conflicts involving both her father’s 100-plus clients and Lauren’s Kids loom large.

Ben Wilcox, research director for the government watchdog organization Integrity Florida, noted that because Florida has a citizen legislature that allows members to have outside employment, the bar is set low when it comes to ethical requirements.

Florida’s weak Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees says that state officers “may not vote on any matter that the officer knows would inure to his or her special gain or loss.” It does not prohibit such votes. Rather, the code says vaguely that officers who vote to benefit themselves or a relative “shall make every reasonable effort to disclose the nature of his or her interest in a public memorandum” that can be filed up to 15 days after the vote.

Sen. Book, nevertheless, could face questions when it comes time to vote on an appropriations bill that would include Lauren’s Kids, which advocates against child sex abuse.

“You are not supposed to vote on something that has a direct benefit to you personally,” said Wilcox. “That is where she may get into some trouble if her organization is getting an appropriation from the Legislature.”

Wilcox said Book should also be mindful about voting on matters favorable to her father’s clients. “She should be sensitive to the appearance of a conflict of interest,” Wilcox said. “Even if it technically is not a conflict, it raises questions in the public’s mind and causes the public to lose confidence in government.”

Since founding Lauren’s Kids 10 years ago, Book has seemed on a trajectory for public office. In addition to appearing before the Legislature to lobby in favor of laws that crack down on sexual predators and child abusers, Book has led an annual walk from Key West to Tallahassee to raise awareness for child sex victims that receives statewide media coverage. She’s also written two books, including one for children, about her own experience being sexually abused by her former nanny. Book and her father had a starring role in the recently released documentary about Florida’s sex offender laws called Untouchable.

Book, 32, decided to run for the Senate seat previously held by Eleanor Sobel, who left the Legislature in 2016 due to term limits. After raising more than $1.5 million through her campaign and her political action committee, Leadership for Broward, Book automatically won the seat when no one filed to run against her. A Bulldog analysis of her 2015 and 2016 campaign finance reports and her father’s client list show she received $35,000 from 15 entities that employ Ron Book.

Clients and contributions

Of that amount, her campaign received $1,000 apiece from two of Surterra’s owners, Michael Havenick and Alexander Havenick, who is also vice president and general counsel for Southwest Florida Enterprises, a company that owns several pari-mutuels in the state, including Magic City Casino in Miami. Southwest, four affiliated companies and four other Havenicks also each gave the $1,000 maximum to Sen. Book’s campaign.

According to 2016 lobbyist compensation reports filed with the state, Ron Book’s law firm was paid between $40,000 and $80,000 by Surterra to lobby the Legislature. Ron L. Book P.A. also received approximately $30,000 from Surterra to lobby the executive branch.

Lauren’s Kids has also been the beneficiary of millions of dollars in state funding. According to the organization’s 2014 tax return, Lauren’s Kids received $2.7 million in state grants. Its 2015 tax return shows the nonprofit got $3.4 million that year from Florida’s Department of Education. In 2016, records show, the Legislature awarded Lauren’s Kids $1 million.

Florida’s Department of Motor Vehicles also contributes to Lauren’s Kids via the sale of specialty license plates approved by the Legislature. Lauren’s Kids, which got its specialty tag in 2013, received $294,653 from the DMV in 2015, tax records show.

Further, the DMV allows Lauren’s Kids to insert a brochure asking for donations in every auto tag renewal notice mailed to Florida residents. Lauren’s Kids is one of several nonprofits eligible to insert their brochures under the specialty tag program.

Beth Rosenson, a University of Florida political science professor who teaches a course on ethics in U.S. politics, said in an interview that Book might derive a benefit from her father’s earnings as a lobbyist. “Parents always help out their kids,” Rosenson said. “Let’s say she had a medical emergency or something in which she needed money so her father’s financial situation is not something that is totally separate from hers.”

Rosenson said Sen. Book’s potential for conflict is analogous to President Donald Trump and his sons, who have taken over the Republican billionaire’s companies while he’s in the White House. “In a perfect world, she would realize that her relationship with her father raises questions of conflict of interest,” Rosenson said. “So ideally, yes she should recuse herself.”

When it comes to Lauren’s Kids, Integrity Florida’s Wilcox said even if Book’s salary is not being paid with state funds, she should still abstain from voting on matters involving her nonprofit. “In an abundance of caution, that is something she may want to reconsider,” Wilcox said. “While technically it may be correct, I don’t think it will look good to the public.”

Monday, March 13, 2017

Senator Lauren Book wants to take away parental rights of registrants who only viewed CP

I knew it would only be a matter of time before Lauren "The Bimbo" Book would start writing ill-designed public policy. (It should be noted that Lauren is on the Appropriations committee, which is the committee that passes bills determining how the state's money is spent. You can bet there WILL be a conflict of interest in regards to funding for special interests tied to the Books; if this idiot survives a single term without an ethics violation?)

To get involved and stop Book's proposal, visit the Florida Action Committee. (I disagree with their advice, however, about not mentioning your status as registered citizens. Hiding in the shadow fuels bad stereotypes.)

https://floridaactioncommittee.org/call-action-sb-1558-authored-senator-lauren-book/

CALL TO ACTION!!! SB 1558 authored by Senator Lauren Book.
by Florida Action Committee | Mar 6, 2017 | Articles, Featured Articles | 6 comments
This is a horrible bill!

Child Exploitation; Revising the offenses that may be investigated and prosecuted by the Office of Statewide Prosecution; revising the types of offenses committed by a child in the custody of the Department of Children and Families which require the department to provide notice to the school superintendent; revising the type of offenses that create a rebuttable presumption of detriment for judicial determinations related to contact between a parent or caregiver and certain child victims, etc.

Among a number of things this bill seeks to do is remove parental rights of parents convicted of viewing child pornography even if the child was not the victim!

It empowers Department of Children and Families to make this call. We all know the horrific track record of DCF and how many children have died in their custody and control or oversight.

TELL YOUR LEGISLATORS THEY DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT NOR THE EXPERTISE!

Why is Florida going backwards? The COSOMB has just released new guidelines which actually says it’s important for parents to have contact with their children. They have rethought a position which was widely held for many years in Colorado, and now they have realized it is detrimental to the family as a whole. Not just the returning registered person but to the very children who were denied access to their parent.
There are high profile ATSA members on this COSOMB who are consultants to the SMART office… I think they know far more than legislators in Florida who seek only to continue to punish a population who is of the least likely to reoffend and have  contact offense.

TELL OUR LEGISLATORS WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Jean Zeeb: Lauren Book's column misleads about sex offenders

This article isn't perfect (I'm not keen on the "unscrupulous men" comment and the appeal to polygraphs (junk science). Still, this column debunks Lauren Book and her victim industry propaganda.

http://www.gainesville.com/opinion/20170104/jean-zeeb-column-misleads-about-sex-offenders

Jean Zeeb: Column misleads about sex offenders

Wednesday
Posted Jan 4, 2017 at 2:00 AM
By Jean Zeeb Special to The Sun

In Lauren Book's Dec. 11 column, she wrote about the dangers that sexual predators pose to children and admonishes parents to be suspicious of staff at youth-serving organizations. We all want to protect children, so how could such a column be objectionable? Because it is alarmist, misleading and mostly false.

I have been a sex offender therapist for over 20 years, treating well over 1,000 juvenile and adult sex offenders. For longer than that, I have worked with adults who were sexually victimized as children.

Book states that we must be vigilant for sexual predators who work in youth-serving capacities. She wrote that "the average sexual predator will offend against 117 children in his or her lifetime." This is an old trope, discredited decades ago.

Among sex offenders, there are those with child victims and those with adult victims. Those with child victims are further divided into two categories: child molesters and pedophiles.

Child molesters generally have one or two victims (verified by polygraphs), and these are children with whom they have close contact (e.g., as stepparents, babysitters, etc.). Child molesters are generally heterosexual, and are primarily interested in adult partners, but at one time or another victimized a child.

Pedophiles, on the other hand, are primarily (and often exclusively) attracted to children. While there are pedophiles who fit Book's description of "117 victims," such pedophiles are rare. Most are introverts and isolated from society. Though some act on their sexual desires, others do not.

"Sexual predator" is not a clinical term, but a legal one based primarily on statute. In Florida, the difference between being labeled a "sex offender" or "sexual predator" has little to do with the actual crime, and more to do with when the crime was committed and the presiding judge's whims. Any adult convicted of a sex crime against a child after Oct. 1, 1993, if the judge so deems, can be labeled a sexual predator.

In Florida, the definition of "adult" and "child" is a moving target. In terms of victims, anyone under the age of 18 is considered to be a child. Unlike 40 other states where the age of consent is lower, Florida's age of consent is 18.

When it comes to offenders, children as young as 14 who may have "experimented" with neighborhood kids, can, and regularly are, convicted of sexual offenses as adults. Since their victims are almost always younger, they are considered especially dangerous, as they have "targeted" such young victims and are thus labeled "sexual predators."

Here are a few other examples from my caseload: An 18-year-old high school student has sex with a 16 year old from school. He is convicted of a sex crime against a child, must drop out as he cannot now be around "children," and his hopes of joining the military after graduation are dashed. Instead he is labeled a sexual predator for his entire life. Had he done this in Georgia, where the age of consent is 16, no crime would have been committed.

A 22-year-old man meets someone in a chat room who claims to be 20 and posts a stock photo of a woman roughly that age. The conversation turns sexual and they exchange photos of their genitals. Her parents discover the photos and call the police. He is arrested and convicted of sending material harmful to a child and labeled a child sexual predator. She was 14 years old, though he had no way of knowing this.

A 23-year-old man goes to a dance club and picks up a woman at the bar. She goes home with him and they have sex. Three weeks later, he is arrested on a child sexual battery charge. The "woman" was 17 and used a fake ID to get into the bar. When she bragged about her sexual encounter with her school friends she was overheard by a teacher, who was mandated by the state to report the crime. The man is now convicted and labeled a sexual predator.

I do not mean to imply that there are not true child victims, children sexually exploited by unscrupulous men. Nor do I want to minimize the harm done to children by a trusted adult, such as a stepfather. Children are profoundly harmed by such activity. The countless heartbreaking stories that Book is likely privy to, and that I myself have heard in my offices, point to the devastation wreaked upon their lives.

But it is important to look with a more critical eye than Book is using. By using alarmist terms and discredited statistics, the complexity of the problem is obscured. When the term "sexual predator" applies alike to young men with "consenting" partners as it does for pedophiles, the term is, in effect, meaningless.

Book casts suspicion on the vast majority of well-intended adults who work with children. Most adults working with youth are altruistic men and women deserving of our appreciation.

- Jean Zeeb is a licensed mental health counselor and a clinical member of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers. She works with sex offenders and victims of sexual abuse in North Central Florida.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Ron Book, head of Miami-Dade Homeless Trust, brought ZERO donations to the homeless registrant camp

If there is one day out of the year that opens the hearts (and wallets) of charities, it is Christmas. Charities around the globe see an increase of donations around this time of year. In turn, charities tend to do more hands-on work this time of the year. Those of us at the Anti-Registry Movement are hard-pressed to think of a more desperate situation for registered citizens than the ongoing homeless crisis in Miami. Currently, a homeless camp sits deep in an industrial park in Hialeah, a place with no running water or toilets. The nearest store to gather supplies or to use a flushing toilet is about a fifteen minute walk away if you are healthy enough to walk. (One man at the camp is an 84-year-old man in a wheelchair and cannot reach these stores without assistance.) 

The Anti-Registry Movement, with assistance from Women Against Registry's Florida chapter, visited the camp and brought some underwear, socks and other supplies to the camp on Christmas Eve. Derek Logue of ARM even camped out at the homeless camp to better gauge the need there. While there, Mr. Logue observed other local charities bringing food to those at the camp (noting we were the only group bringing other supplies this day). These charities were not identified outside of being connected to local churches.

However, there is one charity, one that is the most connected to Miami's homeless, and that is the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust. Once again, Ron Book was conspicuous by his absence. He was nowhere to be found Christmas day. Go ahead, check out their Facebook page and see for yourself. And barely a day later, the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust was given an additional $30 MILLION to "expand services."

The Anti-Registry Movement has a far smaller budget because we aren't funded by lobbyists, corporations and millionaires; we are a network of regular folks who share a desire to abolish the registry. ARM raised $900 to bring the homeless camp in Hialeah, delivering brand new socks, underwear, camping goods and hygiene products to the camp. This so-called Homeless Trust, with their multi-million dollar budget, brought NOTHING to the camp.

Ron Book hasn't done anything to help the camp in so long, only a handful of folks even know the name Ron Book, much less the fact he is responsible for putting them there. The residents of this camp are too busy trying to survive to do anything about it. It isn't like they can leave on their own, either-- pretty much every resident there is wearing an ankle monitor and on parole. Don't expect a dime of the Homeless Trust money to be used on them, either, even to buy an 84 year old man an electric wheelchair.

Why do they call this organization a 'Trust" if you can trust those in charge to do the right thing?

You can read a detailed report at the Miami camp by clicking on the link below:

http://sosen.org/blog/2016/12/29/christmas-at-the-camp.html

These are pictures from the current Miami Homeless Camp:





Those at ARM even had the opportunity to visit the site of the original homeless registrant colony under the Julia Tuttle Bridge ("Bookville"). There isn't any sign of the original camp-- even the iconic messages "We R Not Monsters" and "They Treat Us Like Shit" were painted over.