George Barley, chairman of Save Our Everglades Alliance, gave Republican nominee for governor Jeb Bush his first endorsement from an environmental group Wednesday. Barley headed a petition drive that would have required sugar growers to pay a penny a pound to finance the Everglades cleanup, but the state Supreme Court threw the proposed constitutional amendment off the ballot. Barley, who owns a real estate business in Orlando, said the group was composed of people involved in the petition drive. At a news conference in Tallahassee, Barley criticized Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles for supporting the Everglades cleanup plan approved by state lawmakers this year because the public will pay a major portion of the costs. "It is Mr. Bush who will bring a fresh approach and an open mind to the crisis in the Everglades," Barley said. Bush said he didn't plan to release an environmental platform less than two weeks before the general election.
Labor leaders blast Bush
Florida labor leaders denounced Republican Jeb Bush at a news conference in Tallahassee Wednesday. Marilyn Lenard, president of the Florida AFL-CIO, accused Bush of urging Florida manufacturing companies "to set up sweat shops in Mexico" when he served as the state's secretary of commerce in 1987. Gov. Lawton Chiles has actively created jobs in Florida, the labor group said. Bush called the accusation "absolutely ridiculous" and said the Chiles campaign is merely making another attempt to distort his record.
Forum on casino amendment
A community forum will be held 7 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Enoch Davis Center, 1111 18th Ave. S, St. Petersburg, to discuss the Limited Casinos amendment on the ballot in the Nov. 8 general election. The forum is sponsored by Citizens for Excellence and Profound Change, and is open to the public. For information, call Abdul Karim Ali at 867-7067.
Rodham says Mack is afraid to debate
MIAMI _ Democratic challenger Hugh Rodham charged Wednesday that Republican U.S. Sen. Connie Mack refuses to debate him because he is afraid voters will discover how conservative the incumbent really is. Rodham, sporting a new mix of anti-Mack rhetoric and humor, blasted the first-term senator for his failure to meet in a public forum. "Is it dirty politics, is it mud-slinging, is it anything else to want to have a dialogue with the junior senator from this state?" Hillary Rodham Clinton's brother asked members of Democratic Power, a political organization for women. "So he can come before the good people of the state of Florida and say: "I voted against women and I'm proud of it. I voted against children and I'll do it again.'
" But Mack's campaign says the senator offered to debate Rodham at the Bull Snort Forum, a political club in Jacksonville, on Nov. 4. But after receiving no response, Mack withdrew the offer.
Florida governor's race is world news
Republican Jeb Bush has helped turned Florida's race for governor into an international media affair. Journalists from around the globe have been calling the Bush campaign seeking interviews and making requests to travel with the former president's son as he tries to unseat Democratic incumbent Lawton Chiles. At last count, news organizations from Great Britain, Denmark, Japan, Germany, France and several Latin American nations were interested in the race. "It's the Bush thing, I gather," said Bush's press secretary Cory Tilley. "It's out of control." Bush's brother, George, is running for governor in Texas against Democratic incumbent Ann Richards.
_ Compiled from staff, wire reports