2 Broward Cities Plant Seeds Of Secession
TAMPA - The seeds of secession have been planted in the sandy soil of South Florida. Discontented by what they perceive as a Capitol snubbing, the mayors of two small Broward County cities have raised the battle flag of rebellion, pitting, once again, north against south. North Lauderdale, a five-square-mile city of about 42,000 in the center of Broward County, may become the cradle of a new resistance. The city commission there recently passed a resolution on forming two Floridas: north and south. North Lauderdale wants to be in the south. So does Margate, a Fort Lauderdale suburb of about nine square miles. The city commission is set to vote on the secession resolution Wednesday. The commission's agenda is full of mundane business. There are employee recognitions, motions to close roads, resolutions to put projects out to bid.The 25th item on the agenda is this proposed resolution: "Supporting severing the ties of Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties from the state of Florida and establishing their own 51st state of the federal union of the United States; providing for conflicts; providing for severability; and providing for an effective date." 'Stealing Our Lunch Money' In a written statement issued by the city Wednesday, Margate Mayor Jack Brady, who is proposing the resolution to the commission, says: "We believe South Florida has many different issues than those in North and Central Florida and yet we all get put into the same frying pan together. ... Local officials are the closest to the people and we have to do what is right for our citizens." They argue that much of the state's tax revenue comes from there, but little is spent there. The release states that during a recent visit to Tallahassee, North Lauderdale Commissioner Rich Moyle told legislators: "Last year you beat our cities up, and this year you are stealing our lunch money. How are we supposed to run our cities?" Moyle said there was no response. Gov. Charlie Crist was told of the resolution Tuesday. All he could muster by way of a response was a chuckle. Meanwhile, other municipalities and counties are being asked to join in the resolution. If At First You Don't Secede. ... Secession in this state is nothing new. Disgruntled residents of the Sunshine State have toyed with the idea of splitting from the state or their respective counties on several occasions. In 1982, the U.S. Border Patrol set up a gateway checkpoint to the north of the Florida Keys to look for drugs and illegal immigrants. There were traffic jams and talk of rebellion. Key West residents, reveling in the tourist-drawing controversy, hoisted the Conch Republic banner in Mallory Square on April 23, 1982. The mayor of Key West was chosen as first prime minister of the Conch Republic. War was declared on the United States, and there was a good-natured clubbing of a Navy sailor. The club was an old loaf of Cuban bread. The rebels then surrendered and applied for $1 billion in federal foreign aid. In 2003, Cape Coral, in Southwest Florida, considered breaking off from Lee County, named for Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. The seat of Lee County is Fort Myers, a city with Civil War ties. New age rebel leaders wanted to name their county Grant, after Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. Cape Coral's population of 119,000 complained about everything from election dates to libraries, toll bridges and taxes. They got no respect, they said. The last time secession succeeded in Florida was in 1925, when Gilchrist County broke from Alachua County over road-spending and cow-fencing laws.
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