Florida’s high court asked to reject Everglades oil drilling plan

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Opponents of an oil drilling proposal for the Everglades have taken their case to the Florida Supreme Court, asking for a review of a lower court’s order that the state issue a permit for the controversial project.

Broward County and the city of Miramar filed papers asking the court to review a decision by the First District Court of Appeal telling the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to issue a drilling permit to Kanter Real Estate LLC.

The company, which represents the family of banker and developer Joseph Kanter, proposes to drill an exploratory well in the Everglades of western Broward County about five miles west of U.S. 27 and 10 miles south of Alligator Alley, nearest to the city of Miramar.

The basis of the request for review is unclear. A short document submitted by the county and Miramar says the lower court’s ruling “expressly construes a provision of the state constitution and expressly and directly conflicts with a decision of another district court of appeal or of the Supreme Court on the same question of law.”

The proposal sparked intense opposition among environmentalists and local governments. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection denied the permit. But a state administrative judge ordered the permit to be issued, finding that the land in question was already degraded and that the project would not pose a threat to water quality.

During the administrative hearing, the company’s expert testified that there was a 23 percent chance of finding oil, considered high by industry standards, and if oil were found, it could be possible to extract 180,000 to 10 million barrels.

The company defeated an appeal to the First District Court of Appeal. Now the county and Miramar have asked the state Supreme Court to step in. That court has the option of taking the case or not.

— Sun Sentinel

Kraft day spa video to be released after case resolved, judge says

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The public won’t be seeing videos of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft allegedly receiving sex at a Jupiter day spa until his case is resolved, a circuit court judge said.

In an order issued Tuesday, Judge Leonard Hanser ruled that Kraft’s right to a fair trial trumps the media’s request for the videos to be released immediately.

However, the videos — which reportedly show Kraft paying for and receiving sex acts from spa employees — will be released as soon as a trial jury is selected, a plea agreement is reached, the state drops the charges or the court determines Kraft’s right to a fair trial won’t be at risk, Hanser said.

Kraft, 77, is one of 25 men charged with soliciting a prostitute, a second-degree misdemeanor, after Jupiter police said the men were caught on surveillance-camera video paying to have sex with employees at the Jupiter spa. The billionaire businessman, a part-time Palm Beach resident, is charged with two counts of solicitation and has pleaded not guilty.

A hearing Friday regarding Kraft’s request to suppress the video may change Hanser’s decision.

For now, though, the videos are sealed “to prevent a serious and imminent threat to the administration of justice,” Hanser wrote.

“While we believe that Mr. Kraft’s fair trial rights were not jeopardized by the release of the materials, we respect the court’s decision and look forward to the release of the material in the near future,” said Mark Caramanica, an attorney representing media, including The Palm Beach Post, in filings to make the videos public.

Hanser’s order indicates that he agrees the videos are public record and that he did not agree with Kraft’s attorneys’ argument that the videos violate his right to privacy.

— The Palm Beach Post

LA street to be renamed Obama Boulevard, with festival where he once campaigned

LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles road will officially be renamed in honor of former President Barack Obama on May 4, City Councilman Herb Wesson announced Tuesday.

Along with the unveiling of the road’s new name, the councilman will host a street festival with music performances, vendors and food trucks at the intersection of the new Obama Boulevard (currently Rodeo Road) and West Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

The name change was first suggested by Wesson in 2017. In his proposal, Wesson noted that Obama held a campaign rally at Rancho Cienega Sports Complex on Rodeo in 2007 when running for president.

Rodeo Road — not to be confused with Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills — is a 3.5-mile residential street in the predominantly African American Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw neighborhood. The street intersects with King Boulevard, “creating one of the most significant African American points of interest in the country,” according to the street festival event site.

Obama Boulevard will further establish a “presidential row” that includes Washington, Adams and Jefferson boulevards.

The President Barack Obama Boulevard festival will include appearances by artists Doug E. Fresh, Yo-Yo, BJ the Chicago Kid and Battlecat. Afterward, Wesson, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., and other city leaders will gather for the street name unveiling.

— Los Angeles Times

Netanyahu seeks to name new Golan Heights settlement after Trump

TEL AVIV, Israel — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that he wants to have a new community on the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights named after U.S. President Donald Trump.

Israelis “were deeply moved” by Trump’s decision to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, Netanyahu said in a video statement while visiting the area with his family during the Jewish holiday of Passover.

“Therefore, after the Passover holiday, I intend to bring to the government a resolution calling for a new community on the Golan Heights named after President Donald J. Trump,” he said.

Netanyahu is currently talking to potential coalition partners in order to form Israel’s next government, after he won the Israeli general election earlier this month.

The Arab world has rejected Trump’s March decision to recognize Israel’s claim to sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which Israel seized from Syria in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. It annexed the territory in 1981, though this move has not been recognized internationally.

— dpa