Politics

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

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Inside The Campaign That Brought Down Daphne Campbell

What’s News In This Story?


UPDATED: August 29, 2018- Jason Pizzo defeated Daphne Campbell 54% to 46%.

Originally published: 5:00 AM, August 28, 2018

-Today, in northern Miami-Dade County today, voters go to the polls to decide whether Senator Daphne Campbell will get another four years in office.

-Campbell is one of the most controversial politicians in the state and is fending off a strong challenge from former prosecutor Jason Pizzo.

-An historic figure, Campbell is the first ever Haitian-American elected to the State Senate, but she has also been dogged with serious questions about her lack of ethics and is often at odds with her party on important issues.

-She’s been called a “bigot” by fellow Democrat, Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith and is suspected to be a secret Republican by the Miami-Dade Democratic Party.

-But many believe that she is still the favorite to win today because of her iconic position in the Haitian community. 

——Here’s Something Completely Different: ——

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

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

Interview: Jeff Greene Says He’s A “Good Billionaire” Who Can Bring Democrats Back To Power In Florida

What’s News In This Story?


–”There’s good billionaire and bad billionaires,” Jeff Greene told RISE NEWS. “I hope others will think of me as a good billionaire.”

—Here’s Something Else To Watch—

Opinion: South Dade Needs Rail Not More Buses

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Is Daphne Campbell Trying To Trick Republicans Into Voting For Her?

What’s News In This Story?


Updated: 8-9-18 at 3:19 PM EST (Campbell responds)

–Senator Daphne Campbell has been accused of illegally sending mailers to Republican voters in an attempt to trick them into voting for her, a Democrat. 

–Campbell says that it is her opponent Jason Pizzo who is behind the ploy. 

—–

Miami has a long and rich history of politicians playing dirty tricks on each other.

And signs are pointing to another example of that in 2018.

William Stuttgen is a registered Republican who lives in the Belle Meade area of Miami.

He’s retired and really dislikes his State Senator- Daphne Campbell.

He even has a campaign sign for Campbell’s opponent, Jason Pizzo in his front yard.

So when he received a letter in the mail last week that apparently came from a group of local Republicans that endorsed Campbell in the District 38 primary on August 28th, he was incensed.

Since no Republican or Independent registered to run in the general election in November, all voters in the district will be able to vote in the Democratic Primary.

Whoever wins in three weeks will be the district’s next State Senator.

And Stuttgen thinks that Campbell is using a classic dirty trick to get unsuspecting Republicans to vote for her.

“Someone got a list of the registered Republicans,” Stuttgen said in an interview at his home with RISE NEWS. “Pizzo didn’t do this. This is a Campbell thing.”

The chair of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party Juan Cuba said that they will be investigating whether Campbell is behind the flyer, as first reported by the Miami New Times:

Stuttgen said that the flyer was mailed to his house and had a stamp on it.

But it had no return address.

The name of the organization that claimed to pay for the flyer- “your Republican Neighbor” is not a registered political group in Florida and it is not clear where the money for the mailing came from.

It is also not clear how many people received the mailer.

Pizzo told RISE NEWS that his campaign has received another flyer from a voter in Miami Beach.

A Pizzo-supporting dark money group called FloridaStrong also said that have received a flyer from a voter who lives in Miami Beach that came from the same “your Republican Neighbor” group.

RISE NEWS canvassed six random houses on the street that Stuttgen lives on in Belle Meade.

None of the people we spoke to, including a registered Republican had received the flyer as of Sunday.

“Given my opponent’s unethical practices, there should be little doubt that she and her campaign coordinated this slate card,” Pizzo told RISE NEWS.

In a wide ranging phone interview that lasted nearly 45 minutes, Campbell denied the claims that she was behind the flyer.

She said that it was Pizzo who paid for the flyers to go out.

“He made it. It’s Christian Ulvert,” Campbell said of Pizzo’s political advisor. “I don’t have no money to do a slate. It’s them doing it. They’re so stupid.”

“Jason Pizzo can not take me down because I’m a people person,” Campbell said. “I’ve done so much for the communities I serve.

“Pizza wants developers from New Jersey to get rid of Haitians from Little Haiti,” Campbell said. “This is an attack on a black woman. I pray to God that August 28th that he gets his results. I leave Jason in God’s hands.”

On the campaign trail, Campbell has claimed that Pizzo is a secret Republican who wants to buy the election.

“I’m a proud Democrat,” Campbell said at a recent event in North Miami.

While Stuttgen is a Republican, he said that he is moderate on social issues.

Campbell is a pro life, anti-gay marriage Democrat who has been consistently supported by one of Florida’s most conservative religious groups, the Christian Family Coalition.

“She thinks people vote party line and they don’t look at the names,” Stuttgen said. “This is lunacy.

Campbell has a long history of controversy and borderline criminal behavior.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, RISE NEWS uncovered that Campbell had used her personal connection to an FPL lobbyist to try to get power turned on at the house of her “mother” before her other constituents.

Stuttgen said that if Pizzo loses to Campbell, he will be leaving Miami for good.

—Here’s Something Else To Watch—

Opinion: South Dade Needs Rail Not More Buses

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.

What Would You Do?: Former Cuban Refugee Turns In Undocumented Girl Who Escaped ICE Custody

What’s News In This Story?


 

–A Homestead business owner is under fire for turning in a 15-year-old girl who escaped from a nearby jail for undocumented children.

The girl hid in the owner’s car repair shop for over an hour and begged not to be forced to go back to the jail where she claimed she was separated from her family.

Some say the business owner, a Cuban immigrant who came to the US in 1971, should have showed compassion for the girl and helped her escape.

—Next Story UP—

Opinion: South Dade Needs Rail Not More Buses

 

Opinion: South Dade Needs Rail Not More Buses

What’s News In This Story?


 

–Florida State Representative Kionne McGhee believes that South Dade should be served by a new rail line like it was promised back in 2002. 

In an op-ed video for RISE NEWS, McGhee lays out why he believes that state leaders and Miami-Dade Transit have failed the people he represents. 

——Here’s Something Completely Different: ——

Newly Reopened To The Public, Miami’s Iconic Freedom Tower Has Positioned Itself As An Ideas Hub

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Kids Are Suing Rick Scott So Florida Will Act On Climate Change

What’s News In This Story?


–A group of Florida young people are suing the Governor and other state wide officials over what they say is government inaction over climate change. 

-The suit, which was filed in a Tallahassee court on Monday, seeks to require the state to “adhere to its legal and moral obligation to protect current and future generations from the intensifying impacts of climate change…” 

-Florida Governor Rick Scott does not believe in man-made climate change

-The eight young people are between the ages of 10 to 20 and they come from various parts of the state.

-There is a nine member legal team that is backing up the suit on behalf of the kids and “Our Children’s Trust”, a group that has helped young people sue their state governments around the country. 

-Fort Lauderdale attorney Mitchell Chester is part of the legal team. 

-“We can’t delay anymore because climate change is a huge problem,” Levi Draheim, a 10-year-old plaintiff in the suit said. “We must deal with it right now and start reducing the emissions that are causing it.” 

Watch Another Story: Meet Miami’s Queen Bee And Her Backyard Insect Revolution

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Students Walk Out Of Miami Northwestern High To Draw Attention To Gun Violence

What’s News In This Story?


 

-The entire student body at Miami Northwestern High School in Liberty City walked out of class Tuesday morning to protest gun violence in their community.

-Students said that they walked out in order to bring the world’s attention to the deaths of young people in Miami’s inner city.  

-Kimson Green, a student at the school, was shot dead over the weekend during an outbreak of violence. 

-The students say that they want the world to give as much attention to violence in inner cities as it has to what happened in Parkland.

-The walkout was spontaneous, and occurred after the school organized a ceremony to honor Green. 

-Student leaders say that they plan on walking out again tomorrow.

—-

Watch Another Story: Meet Miami’s Queen Bee And Her Backyard Insect Revolution

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

Hundreds Of South Florida Students Expected To Attend Young Leaders Summit

What’s News In This Story?


-Over 500 South Florida high school and college students are expected to attend a summit for young leaders on Saturday.  

-Organized by young people, the day-long event will serve as a crash-course in politics for a generation deeply affected by the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. 

-The event will take place at two separate locations- one in Miami-Dade and another in Broward and will feature speakers involved in community organizations and political activism. 

-Representatives from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government will be on hand to teach organizing techniques and Jaclyn Corin, a prominent survivor of the MSD shooting and activist in the Never Again movement will give the keynote speech. 

-Event organizer Lina Fernandez said that she hopes the event will serve as a starting point for a “lifetime of activism” for those who attend. 

-Organized by young people, the day-long event will serve as a crash-course in politics for a generation deeply affected by the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. 

 

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez (C) poses with South Florida students during a March For Our Lives protest. Photo Credit: Nikita Leus, Coral Gables Senior High

In the aftermath of the shooting at Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland on Feb. 14, many wondered whether this time would be different.

It seems like it is.

Nearly two months on from that tragedy, the Never Again movement shows no signs of stopping, especially in South Florida.

A event planned for Saturday hopes to take the energy and anger seen throughout the country and turn it into real political power.

An all day “Young Leaders Summit” will be held at Miami-Dade College’s Kendall campus and at Atlantic Technical College in Coconut Creek.

The identical events are meant to be a crash course for young people who want to get engaged in political activism and will feature representatives from prominent local political organizing groups and others like Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

“Young people everywhere want to do something about the pervasiveness of gun violence and our culture of gun use but do not know where to begin,” event organizer Lina Fernandez said in an interview with RISE NEWS. “The Summit acts as an education in movement building, an opportunity to learn about the difficult, important work that happens behind the scenes and empower students to create spaces and events of their own.”

The organizers think that at least 500 young people will attend.

Photo Credit: Juliana Carrasco, New World School of the Arts

Only high school and college students can go.

Representatives from various political groups and candidates for political office will also be there so young people can sign up to volunteer for campaigns.

Helping support the summit are groups like: Defeat the NRA, The Resistance School, Harvard Kennedy School, Students Demand Action, Women’s March Miami, League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade, Dream Defenders, Indivisible, the Giffords Center, Moms Demand Action, and the Center for American Progress.

While the motivating factor behind the conference is gun control, the skills that students will learn there can be applied to other struggles.

“We want more than anything else for the students to spend the day Saturday learning about how to get engaged, how to use their voice, how to organize, and take those skills and apply them to whatever movement they are passionate about, not just today’s gun reform battle,” Will Breslin, an organizer for the event said.

According to the organizers, the summit will feature various breakout sessions led by famed political organizer “Marshall Ganz from the Harvard Kennedy School, Indivisible southern regional organizer Whitney Roberts, Maggie Thompson from Generation Progress Action, Katherine Philips and Chase Hardin from Giffords, MJ Wright from Moms Demand Action, Ricky Junquera from Sierra Club, Philip Agnew from Dream Defenders, and more.”

While the event only lasts one day, the hope from the young people putting it together that it will create something long lasting.

“I hope the conference helps create a culture of activism and civic engagement in Miami and in Miami-Dade Schools,” Fernandez said. “I want the students who planned walkouts all across Miami-Dade county last month, and the thousands that attended these events, to continue in their work. I hope the Summit provides a clear next step for student leaders who participated in the national walkout and March For Our Lives but don’t know where to go from there.”

—-

WANT TO GO?: 

Young Leaders Summit
Saturday April 7, 2018 – 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Miami Dade Location

Miami Dade College – Kendall Campus

11011 Southwest 104th Street, Miami, FL 33176

Broward Location

Atlantic Technical College

4700 Coconut Creek ParkwayCoconut Creek, FL 33063

—-

Who Will Be There?: 

Speakers During Opening Ceremony:
MJ Wright, mother of a pulse victim
Jaclyn Corin- survivor of MSD shooting, student activist in the Never Again movement

Breakout Session Leaders/ Other Speakers:
Ricky Junquera- Sierra Club
Claris Chang- Harvard Kennedy School
Benjamin Clayton- Harvard Kennedy School
Marshall Ganz- Harvard Kennedy School
Anjali Rodrigues- Harvard Kennedy School
Anna Doty- Harvard Kennedy School
Kate O’Gorman- Harvard Kennedy School
Katherine Phillips- Giffords Center
Chase Hardin- Giffords Center
MJ Wright- Moms Demand Action
Whitney Roberts- Indivisible
Maggie Thompson- Generation Progress
Christian Smith- Generation Progress
Charlene Mack- Leadership for Educational Equity
Phil Agnew- Dream Defenders
Mike Hill- Unite Here

Candidates/ Campaigns In Attendance: 
CD-26- Debbie Mucarsel-Powell
CD-27- Ken Russel
CD-27- Jose Javier Rodriguez
CD-27- David Richardson
CD-27- Kristen Rosen Gonzales
CD-27- Matt Haggman
CD-27- Mary Barzee Flores
SH-105 – Javier Esteves
SD-38 – Jason Pizzo
Gov – Andrew Gillum
Gov – Gwen Graham
SH-113 – Kubs Lalchandani
CD-26 – Demetries Grimes
SH – 103 – Cindy Polo
SH – 112 – Nick Duran
SD-40 – Annette Taddeo

 

WATCH ANOTHER STORY- Is This The Happiest Place In Miami?

 

RISE NEWS is South Florida’s digital news magazine. Follow us on Facebook to make sure you never miss a story!

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

 

Cover Photo Credit:  Nikita Leus, Coral Gables Senior High.

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