Rick Scott

I’m A Convicted Felon Who Got His Rights Back And Made History. We Need To Make Sure All Have That Same Chance

Steven Shulman is an insurance broker, real estate investor and the founder of a nonprofit charity that saves the lives of pets in distress, Animal Care Now. He grew up in Miami Beach and served two years in prison after being arrested for possession of quaaludes. He received his civil rights back in the 1980s and has become an advocate for convicted felons who have been denied the same privileged he has received. Shulman just released a memoir of his life called, My Uncle Gloria.


 

I’m a convicted felon.

Back in April 1981, I made a mistake in trusting an acquaintance.

That mistake got me arrested, convicted, and sentenced to five years in state prison for possession of methaqualone.

After completing two years in prison, two years parole, and being released from all government supervision, I applied to Florida’s office of executive clemency to have my civil rights restored.

I was lucky.

The process only took me a few years.

I have done incredibly well with my life because I was afforded a second chance.

In 1988 I had all my civil rights restored, including: the right to vote, travel abroad, perform jury duty, hold public office, and be employed in certain government organizations.

Since then I’ve created a great life for myself.

Steven Shulman during a period where he was using a lot of drugs.

I’m a successful insurance broker, real estate investor, published author and  founder of a nonprofit charity that saves the lives of pets in distress.

I hold the proud distinction of being the first convicted felon to be issued a real estate license in Florida, and the first convicted felon in Florida to be issued an insurance license.

I made a mistake when I was young.

I served my time.

And I have done incredibly well with my life because I was afforded a second chance.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to deal with a governor like Rick Scott.

There is of course a massive irony in all of this.

He’s a man with absolute dictatorial power who routinely denies people their right to vote after they’ve paid their debt back to society.

Scott doesn’t care if people turn their lives around.

He wants to keep them as second-class citizens- forever.

Shulman receiving his wife as a visitor while he was in prison.

25% of Florida’s black population is currently unable to vote due to prior felony convictions.

And right now, there’s more than 1.8 million people with felony convictions who have been permanently disenfranchised and cannot vote.

There is of course a massive irony in all of this.

In 1997, Scott’s healthcare company was charged by the federal government with the largest Medicare fraud in history.

Scott resigned as CEO during the investigation, pled the fifth 75 times when questioned by government attorneys, while the company pled guilty to 14 felonies and paid $1.7 billion in fines.

Scott lied his way out of criminal prosecution and a felony conviction.

Shulman showing off his book, “My Aunt Gloria” at Books & Books in Coral Gables.

He could easily have ended up as one of the millions of Floridians who are currently without their full civil rights restored.

But justice looks different for millionaires.

On November 6th, as Florida voters, we have the chance to change that.

We can take this issue out of the hands of politicians and give our fellow citizens their right to vote.

You’ll be amazed with what they do with it, if given the chance to be treated like everybody else.

Take it from my experience.

I was given a second chance and I made it count.

Others deserve the shot I got.

Vote for Amendment 4.

——Here’s Something Completely Different: ——

Meet The Three Frenchmen Who Are Taking Over Miami’s Culinary Scene

RISE NEWS is South Florida’s digital TV news network. Sign up for our awesome email newsletter to make sure you never miss a story!

Have a news tip about this topic or something completely different? Send it to editor@risenews.net.

A Conservative Case For Fighting Big Sugar In Florida

A few weeks ago, I went to visit my grandfather at his home as he recovers from surgery.

While visiting, he showed me a newspaper article about Governor Rick Scott’s reluctance to address the sugar industry’s practice of dumping produce runoff into various bodies of water along Treasure Coast, notably the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers.

This runoff has, according to the Miami Herald produced a toxic, blue-green algae that has closed beaches, killed fish and oysters, and produced hazards for civilians who rely on the water for drinking and recreation.

To quote Brian Mast, a candidate for the Republican primary in Florida’s 18th Congressional District who uploaded video footage of the green algae on his Facebook account:

“This is the water that we fish in. This is the water that our children play in, that we wade in. This is the water that touches our beaches. This is the water that we go boating in. This is our way of life here, and it’s literally…it’s being destroyed.”

That last sentence in Mast’s statement may perhaps be the most important of all, as there is more than one accurate context to state it in.

Of course, the locals’ way of life has been affected.

They can no longer be guaranteed access to safe drinking water, as Lake Okeechobee, the source of the runoff (its water is used to irrigate the sugar cane crops), provides drinking water to West Palm Beach, Fort Meyers, and the entire Lower East Coast metropolitan areas.

The Caloosahatchee River is also a source of drinking water for Fort Meyers.

With fish dying, it has become more difficult for fishermen to work their trade.

With the beaches closed, one of the defining features of the Treasure Coast will be altered.

However, another context must be taken into account when discussing how someone’s way of life could be changed: jobs.

On a local scale, businesses that either distribute water from the now-polluted sources or rely on fishing in order to function will be forced to either find an alternate source of water and fish or shut down, causing many people to lose their jobs.

This, in turn, will result in reduced tourism (which will already be facing reductions due to the closure of beaches) due the reduced number of businesses, which will only lead to further business closures and job losses.

A field used for growing sugar in Florida. Photo Credit: Josh Hallett/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

A field used for growing sugar in Florida. Photo Credit: Josh Hallett/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

On a state, national, and international scale, large corporations that rely on the Treasure Coast for part of their business will be forced to increase prices due to reduced supply.

This, in turn, will result in reduced incentives to purchase their products by consumers, and perhaps further job losses.

The cycle continues from there.

In addition, for Florida in particular, reduced tourism will result in reduced outside investment, further hindering economic growth.

Think about that for a moment.

When you hear reports about pollution and the environment, you probably have a reflex to associate it with liberalism and the Democratic Party.

But that is not always true, and in this case, it’s not.

Conservatives and Republicans do indeed have a legitimate reason to consider this case a problem from an ideological standpoint.

Why?

Because private enterprise of all sizes, be it a one-person lemonade stand that relies on the water to make its lemonade to a multi-national fishing corporation, is being negatively affected.

If the conservatives of the Republican Party truly cared about their own platform, they ought to demand that Governor Scott take action in order to prevent the actions of one local industry from damaging other industries not just across the state, but across the country and perhaps across the world.

The Republican Party is supposedly the party of businesses, and perhaps it is time it acted like it.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Kathleen Conklin/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Petition Campaign Wants Publix To Ban Florida Crystals And Domino Sugar After Toxic Algae Starts Washing Up On Beaches

An online petition campaign has garnered nearly 8,000 signatures in an effort to get Publix supermarkets to ban “big sugar” companies from its stores.

The campaign comes in the aftermath of an unusual outbreak of toxic blue-green algae that has washed up on the shores of beaches in Palm Beach and Martin counties in Florida.

The petition was launched by Ohana Surf Shop, a small business in Martin, FL and it hopes to make a big change.

From the Change.org petition:

“We are asking Publix Supermarkets to please stop carrying products from Florida Crystals, Domino Sugar and all of their subsidiaries. Florida Sugar is responsible for the largest eco-disaster this state has ever seen. Our beaches are closed due to toxic algae as a direct result of Florida Sugar’s blatant disregard for any and all EPA regulations. The releases of Lake Okeechobee fresh water is killing our estuaries, wild life and causing sickness and 2 deaths, directly related to the discharges.  They are killing our economy and our way of life.  Small family businesses are in distress and closing down daily. Being a Florida company, we hope that Publix will do the right thing and get their sugar from other sources.”

Ohana Surf Shop has also called for the impeachment of Florida Gov. Rick Scott over the lack of government action in handling the algae bloom problem, which many believe is caused by the release of high levels of nitrates, often found in farming (sugar and other crops).

Tourism could be affected by the algae blooms.

Nerissa Okiye, who is the Marketing and Tourism Director for Martin County, told WPTV that she has been fielding questions from people who had placed trips to Martin County before the algae blooms began.

She told WPTV that “When they’re seeing this, it puts a hesitancy. Do I want to go there?”

As we’ve previously reported, the algae has been known to cause rashes and hay fever like symptoms in people that it has come in contact with, and nausea and vomiting in people who ingest it.

According to the Ohana Surf Shop Facebook page, there is a planned protest for this Saturday (July 2) at 10 AM at Stuart Public Beach.

This is a developing story. Stay with RISE NEWS. 

WATCH: Ohana Surf Shop owner confronts local leaders on algae blooms

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Rick Scott Is Apparently A Petulant Man-Child With Really Thin Skin

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is apparently very thin skinned and unable to take public criticism well.

Scott, the governor of the nation’s third largest state spent actual money on a web video bashing Cara Jennings, a woman who screamed obscenities at him during an ill-fated trip to a Gainesville Starbucks earlier this week.

“You cut Medicaid so I couldn’t get Obamacare,” Jennings yelled at Scott in a video that quickly went viral. “You’re an asshole. You don’t care about working people. You should be ashamed to show your face around here.”

Now Jennings is not exactly a random person. She is a former city councilperson in Lake Worth and a longstanding activist who isn’t afraid to push the envelope.

But instead of just letting go of the awkward encounter, Gov. Man-Child decided to bring out the knives to hack at Jennings in a web video.

And it is rather incredible.

“You may have seen this video of a terribly rude woman at a coffee shop cursing and screaming at Governor Scott,” a smarmy voice over guy says at the start of the video.

For the next minute, the video tries to discredit Jennings as a “anarchist” who refused to recite the pledge of allegiance.

Seriously. He couldn’t have spent time doing anything else?

Anyway, all we could hope for is that Donald Trump will just double down and pick Scott as his running mate. They would spend half of the campaign sending out Tweets and Facebook videos attacking random people they meet at Starbucks.

Watch:

 

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us!

Cover Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

“You’re An Asshole”: Florida Gov. Rick Scott Meets Another Happy Constituent

Poor Rick Scott.

He sold his soul to the devil a few weeks ago when he endorsed Donald Trump and now he can’t even walk around Gainesville in peace.

Of course, that’s what he gets for being a total prick.

Cara Jennings, a woman donning a green shirt at a Starbucks in the aforementioned Central Florida college town ripped into Scott after she saw him standing in line to suck the blood of the barista. (Or he might have been getting “coffee”. Sure.)

“You cut Medicaid so I couldn’t get Obamacare,” Jennings yells at Scott in a video that is quickly going viral. “You’re an asshole. You don’t care about working people. You should be ashamed to show your face around here.”

After an aide failed to calm Jennings down, Scott and his merry little band left the store without him even getting his coffee.

It is perfect.

WATCH:

 

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us!

Cover Photo Credit: stephen bender/ Youtube (Screengrab)

Scroll to top