All public-service agencies should be forced by law or regulation not to encrypt radio communcations during routine or emergency operations. It should also be required that public-service agencies always provide radio monitoring access for any law-abiding citizen requesting it. This is necessary to stop the overabuse of radio encryption and undecodable proprietary digital by public-service agencies that are implementing it with new digital radio technology. So if the FCC or Congress does not make it illegal, then it will add to the wrong in America. Citizens should no longer be supportive to them because agencies have "crossed the line" by going to full-time radio encryption. It is something never done before in America until federal law enforcemant switched to full-time radio encryption in the early 1980s and some state and local governments started switching to full-time radio encryption in the early 2000s just so you cannot monitor your public servants.
This is noteworthy because it now involves local governments using full-time voice encryption. Of course, the federal government has the power to decrypt state and local governments. Of course, the military has always been able to use the most advanced encryption but even they do not overuse encryption. So it is shocking and objectionable to have America's law enforcement turn into un-American secret police.
The very idea that the government that is employed by the people and financed by the people would encrypt the radio system full-time is worse than paranoia, it is a government that is not trustworthy. There should be a legal precedent to file suit against the government for denying the people the right to listen to what their government knows is happening in your community.
Note that federal and local governments had the ability to use encryption long before digital when they used analog encryption that started back in the late 1960s. It is interesting to note that encryption was not overly used against radio monitors back then until the 2000s. In the past you could listen to the police or the feds before then using dial-tuning radios, even before radio scanners were developed in the late 1970s.
The history of listening
to police radios since the 1920s was part of what made America
great before radio encryption!
Of course, the police use cellphones or talk face to face to avoid using police radios. In the days before cellphones, the police used payphones and business or residential telephones at a scene to not be overheard over the radio. That is not the issue but one of the big issues is to know what is going on with the ability for you to instantaneously hear urgent real-time information about emergencies, hazards, crime sprees, description of suspects or missing person, accidents, etc. directly from your government services and not just delayed from the filtered news media.
Community involvement is lost without the extra set of eyes and ears.
The danger in all this is we now have the Department of Homeland Security (created during President George W. Bush's administration) setting rules for all law enforcement to follow and wanting to completely militarize the civilian police, thus making good cops do bad things without them realizing it.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said that if the military were deployed inside the United States in response to a terrorist attack, his department, not the Pentagon, would exercise overall control. This, in essence, will be a federal militarized police to further circumvent Posse Comitatus, and they want the ability to use it for political purposes.
This scheme of civilian Homeland Security control of the military is similar to the Gestapo that was a civilian-controlled police agency during Hitler's Nazi Germany. What the Hitler regime wanted was to be able to militarize law enforcement but not have it under the direct control of the military. He wanted a police force with military powers that could be used for political purposes to squash all dissent, to ferret out those who knew too much and eliminate them, to suborn, misdirect, to harass, to intimidate, and to spread fear of all those who had criticized the State.
Germany did not know what was going on until it was too late!
police and government services turning the state and local police into the federal police!
Now made worse because
President Bush and Congress passed the Military Commissions Act
of 2006 and the John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007 (H.R.5122).
That allows the President to declare a "public emergency"
and station troops anywhere in America and take control of state-based
National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local
authorities. It will actually encourage the President to declare
federal martial law!
President Bush signed both
into law on October 17, 2006 a day after US Armys newest
command, USARNORTH, reached full operational capability.
It is the undoing of the Insurrection Act (10 U.S.C.331-335) and the Posse Comitatus Act (18 U.S.C.1385) that enforced strict prohibitions on military involvement in domestic law enforcement.
Discreetly take pictures of any government or police activity and try to anonymously expose it to the public.
They have crossed the line by closing their radio communications and desiring to turn local police into a federal/global militarized police force. Too bad, that is why the links below were added to note bad police and federal law enforcement.
There is no radio scanner in the marketplace today that can decode and/or trunk track the following digital systems: Motorola ASTRO-VSLEP and Motorola iDEN, M/A-COM ProVoice, M/A-COM Open Skies, and M/A-COM EDACS Aegis, TETRA [European standard] and Tetrapol.
The USA standard APCO-25
that uses Motorola ASTRO-IMBE is the only non-proprietary digital
system in America. Current radio scanners can monitor that but only if no
encryption is used.
Note that non-federal (local and state) and federal governments additionally use Motorola iDEN (i.e. Nextel) radios to direct-connect as private, secondary, or backup radios along with their primary government radio systems to communicate. But Nextel is not reliable because it works off and on. Motorola iDEN uses proprietary coding that new digital radio scanners cannot monitor but it can be decoded with very expensive test equipment.
The City of New Orleans had a M/A-COM ProVoice radio system used for police, fire, and emergency services when Hurricane Katrina hit the area. Shame on the city government of New Orleans and on M/A-COM for allowing a radio system that citizens cannot monitor with a radio scanner.
During government hearings after Hurricane Katrina the police department chief said they will change to a APCO P25 standard to improve interoperability.
M/A-COM is a division of
Tyco and was formerly GE Ericsson.
When you no longer can monitor your government services then you lose confidence in them. It shows a lack of cooperation between the public servants and citizens. It creates another cause for failure in response to disasters.
A radio scanner that
cannot monitor government services results in information
deprivation, thus citizens will tend to be less supportive to
government. Information deprivation adds to civil unrest plus
false rumors. There is no public safety with public ignorance.
The trend of your government closing radio communications began way before 9/11/2001. It did not and would not have prevented 9/11, while terrorism is being exploited to justify closing more government radio communications to foolish citizens. What you should be aware of is to avoid communities that allow closed government radio systems because it indicates a dangerous unsafe area or an area that cares only about serving the elite, not you!
To find what radio system
local and state government is using go to:
There were erroneous reports that the city of Apopka Police Department was encrypting their police communications full-time. They can be monitored using digital P25 scanners.
Winter Park Police Department began encrypting all of their communications.
The City of Orlando is next and Orange County Sheriff's Office could be next.
That is wrong and counter public-service! Get a Sheriff or Police Chief that understands the benefits of openness. Until then, avoid doing business, living, or staying in the city of Winter Park, Florida. Take discreet pictures of any police activity.
Chief of Police
500 North Virginia Avenue
Winter Park, Florida 32789-4386
Winter Park Police Officers Board Members
Winter Park Fire Rescue also began encrypting all of their communications.
That is wrong and counter public-service! Get a Fire Chief that understands the benefits of openness. Until then, avoid doing business, living, or staying in the city of Winter Park, Florida.
Chief of Fire Department
343 West Canton Avenue
Winter Park, Florida 32789
The City of Winter Park
Commissioner (Seat #1)
Commissioner (Seat #2)
Commissioner (Seat #3)
Assistant City Manager
Other reasons to avoid Winter Park:
June 1, 2006
A motorist in a convertible Porsche was shot in the stomach at an intersection by a man wearing a camouflage mask and outfit in an apparent random attack. Police said a silver car with four men pulled up next to a couple inside a Porche at Winter Park Road and Corrine Drive. A man in a camoflauge outfit and mask got out of the silver car, didn't say a word, and shot the driver of the Porsche. The men then fled the scene.
June 29, 2006
WINTER PARK, Fla. -- Lightning from storms sparked a fire at a 10,000-square foot manor home in Winter Park. The multi-million dollar home in Windsong is a luxury community in Winter Park.
July 5, 2006
WINTER PARK, Fla. -- Residents living near Lee Road and Albert Lee Parkway say a pack of wild dogs has killed several pets and is terrorizing their neighborhood.
May 26, 2006
A Winter Park home owned by Orange County Sheriff Kevin Beary is such a neighborhood eyesore that city officials cleaned up the lawn on the taxpayers' dime.
October 13, 2005
A former Winter Park, Fla., surgeon convicted in a murder-for-hire plot is headed back to jail for violating his probation.
July 17, 2005
Winter Park officials call the "bumps in the road" of running their electric utility since June of 2005 are adding up for some business owners and irritating some residents. Years of complaints about spotty service and frequent power outages spurred city leaders to buy out Progress Energy. The troubles countinue after Winter Park took over the existing system. Some customers who supported the buyout to get local control have been surprised to learn that a California call center handles their outage calls.
May 17, 2005
Winter Park neighborhoods are currently seeing a run on property prices. Winter Park average resale price hit just under $500,000, which is a 50 percent increase.
January 12, 2005
WINTER PARK, Fla. -- Winter Park could be the first city in the state to charge for pulling injured motorists from their wrecked cars.
August 13, 2004
Winter Park was especially hard hit by Hurricane Charley, cutting power and damaging homes. One huge tree fell into the bedroom of a Winter Park home. [I happen to know the homeowner who I worked with for over 3 years] In Winter Park, hundreds of large trees, mainly oaks, were tossed on their sides, cracking dozens of water mains. Fear of contamination caused city officials to advise residents to boil their water before using it for cooking or drinking. Storm victims who still did not have power waited in lines for as long as five hours for two bags of ice. At Winter Park Ice, a line of people wanting ice stretched the length of a football field. The people of Winter Park were especially upset because several expressed fear their electric provider, Progress Energy, is ignoring them because they voted earlier this year to buy back the system from the publicly traded company.
On April 28, 2006, the Winter Park Police Department (WPPD) became the first police department in Central Florida to have all law-enforcement officer radios fully encrypted.
You expand the number of eyes and ears in the streets of your community with scanner listeners. Encrypt everything and you lose that. The encryption also keeps out watchdog groups and media outlets who routinely monitor police activity through scanners.
Winter Park Police Chief Douglas Ball spent $1.5 million to overhaul the agency's communications technology from analog to digital radio. These changes gave the Police Department the ability to or not to encrypt its communications.
Chief Ball likes using bogus fear tactics in an attempt to justify something wrong by saying 'encryption provides a higher level of security that prevents the bad guys from being able to monitor us'. The system, Ball said, provides an additional line of defense against terrorism. 'Anybody who wants can go to Radio Shack and buy a scanner,' he said. 'If a terrorist wants to attack a community, they'd know where all the cops are.'
What Chief Ball said was total nonsense. For one, you do not know where all the cops are because there are many special police units plus off-duty officers besides regular patrol that do not say where they are over the radio.
this, all federal law enforcement agencies migrated to radio
encryption starting in the early 1980s decades before 9/11/2001.
That certainly did nothing to prevent the terrorist attacks.
The growing trend among law-enforcement agencies to encrypt communications is part of the national debate on how to balance safety against the public's right to know. The more public agencies clam up the more difficult it becomes for journalists and others to act as watchdogs. The news media monitor police and fire scanners for potential breaking news. The media gets about 75% of headline news from their scanners and the rest from viewer tip-offs. It leaves the Police Department to decide what information gets released to the media and the public.
It is not emphasized enough that any interest to encrypt communications has to be balanced against the role of watchdogs and the public's right to know. The problem is that if fewer people are listening and pointing out mistakes, it is easier to have a cover-up.
They should realize that many Police Officers, FireFighters, Paramedics, Dispatchers, Emergency Managers, Tow Truck Drivers, Community Groups use scanners to monitor others agencies and for better interoperability. First responders, off-duty firefighters, and other essential services in outlying communities cannot afford the departments $2,000 to $3,000 radios per person. Thus being able to monitor them by using cheaper radio scanners is a good thing.
Agencies going secret stand to lose more than they get. 'It's too bad,' said Rachel Baughn, editor of Monitoring Times. 'With scanner listeners, you expand the number of eyes and ears in the streets of your community. Encrypt everything, and you lose that. ' Monitoring Times is a North Carolina-based national magazine for scanner aficionados. Baughn's point is illustrated by an incident in March. According to media reports, a Texas man helped police capture two men wanted in the shooting of a state trooper after he had heard their descriptions over the scanner.
There are mostly honest people who want to hear Public Safety Agencies at work. But you could say there are more crooks in government than there are in the monitoring community!
Florida public-records and access laws need to change for openness of live public-safety radio transmissions since they do not address it, except when they are recorded or a transcript is made.
Other law-enforcement agencies in Central Florida are handling their upgrades to digital technology differently.
'We chose to encrypt the channels that are used for tactical operations,' said Sgt. Carlos Torres of the Orange County Sheriff's Office.
That agency has been upgrading its communications equipment to comply with a Federal Communications Commission mandate that all law-enforcement agencies move toward digital transmissions.
The Orlando Police Department encrypts only its SWAT team channels.
'We plan to eventually have the ability to encrypt all channels,' said Bryan Rintoul, OPD's communications manager. 'But it might just be on an as-needed basis -- for example, if we have an intelligence operation going on.'
There are some limited circumstances where encryption is critical but, in general, allowing the public access to routine traffic is one of those things that preserves our freedom. We all lose when government operates under a cloak of secrecy.
It might take lawsuits to stop them unless they realize the benefits of openness.
The State of Florida has changed their radio system to were you cannot monitor them! That is wrong and it deserves lawsuits against Tyco Electronics Corporation and the State of Florida. The Statewide Law Enforcement Radio System (SLERS) change was completed in the Central Florida area in May of 2006.
If citizens cannot listen to them, citizens cannot support them!
Avoid moving or traveling to Florida! Good advice from a Floridian that has lived in Florida for over 20 years who now wants out because Florida is changing for the worst.
Under former Governor Jeb Bush's (R-FL) administration, a bad and costly decision was made to replace Florida's digital Motorola Astro 800-MHz system open code partial-encryption with a digital Tyco M/A-COM EDACS ProVoice 800-MHz system that uses proprietary code and full-time encryption.
That means you cannot listen to the busiest state users of radio, such as the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), the Department of Transportation Motor Carrier Compliance (DOT), the Fish and Wildlife Conservation (includes Marine Patrol), the University of Central Florida police, the Florida National Guard, etc. In addition, federal, county, or city government agencies can use the Statewide Law Enforcement Radio System as third-party subscribers because Tyco Electronics Corporation will sale to any qualified government agency; Sheriff's Department, Police Department, Fire Department, EMS, Public Works, etc.
This new radio system, funded by taxpayers, was not needed. Long before this new radio system the FHP had a UHF/VHF radio system, when you pushed the button on the microphone and called dispatch they always heard the officer and there was a car to car frequency with a repeater and a switch to go direct around the repeater. They had interoperability via the regional channels to contact neighboring police departments and could monitor them, and vice versa, by enabling the scan feature on the radio. They had Motorola Secure Voice encryption for privacy whenever it was needed, but 95% of the time it was not needed so they operated in the clear mode. It was much simpler back then, and it worked everywhere, all the time!
Former Governor Jeb Bush thinks
the new SLERS he wanted is great and bragged about it being
totally encrypted using the fear tactic of terrorism to justify
the unjust. He wants every state in the US to have the same
secret police communications to build a police state. He also
boasted how the crime rate in Florida has gone down when the
truth is the crime rate in Florida is skyrocketing and how the
economy is doing great when it is getting worse for most people
now barely surviving from paycheck to paycheck.
Jeb Bush is planning to be Vice President of the USA then President of the USA. That could give him 16 years of top Executive power.
Maybe the next Governor will do the right thing by providing a method of openness so citizens can monitor their public-safety services in realtime. That would not be difficult to do if it is simulcast in the open, like NASA does with human spaceflights.
Plaza Level 5, The Capitol
400 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
Phone: 850-488-4441 or 850-488-2272 or 850-488-7146
Information Technology Services (State Technology Office)
4030 Esplanade Way
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0950
Joint Dispatch Oversight
Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles/Florida Highway Patrol (HSMV/FHP)
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC)
Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE)
Joint Task Force (JTF)
Chair, Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (HSMV)
Department of Transportation (DOT)
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC)
Department of Financial Services/State Fire Marshal (DFS/SFM)
Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE)
Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR)
Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
Department of Corrections (DC)
New FHP Radio System May Be
Putting Them In Danger POSTED June 21, 2006 by WFTV
ORLANDO, Fla. -- A new radio system may be putting Florida Highway Patrol troopers in danger. Their calls for help from Central Florida might be answered by someone hundreds of miles away. The multi-million dollar radio system is supposed to link every law enforcement agency around the state. Troopers in Central Florida just started using it and they said it is not working the way it should be. Troopers have written more than 100 complaints about the radios in just the past month. In fact, more than a few of them, afraid to appear on camera, have said they worry the radio could get one of them killed. In one case, a trooper in Longwood found his radio switching to Jacksonville. A trooper in Apopka was talking to Dundee. A trooper near Kissimmee was able to talk to Lakeland and Brooksville, but not his own headquarters in Orlando.
Every day, the dispatchers field calls from troopers in the Highway Patrol's Troop D, which covers six counties in Central Florida. But those troopers said their brand new radios seem to have minds of their own, switching to dispatch centers in other parts of the state and breaking a lifeline they depend on. Most state law enforcement officers ride by themselves, so it's crucial that we have that link to our dispatch in case something happens, said Trooper Kim Miller, Florida Highway Patrol. But one trooper didn't have that link when something happened to him in the middle of the night. Someone tried to run him over in DeLand. He tried to chase the suspect on foot, while calling for backup. But during the pursuit, his radio switched frequencies and he wound up talking to someone in Jacksonville. The radios were supposed to make it safer for troopers when they're called outside their usual district, so they can communicate with dispatchers who know the local roads and can send help if needed. But since Troop D came online just a month ago, dispatchers have logged almost a 150 complaints from troopers, afraid to appear on camera, who said their job's already dangerous enough. If their lives are in jeopardy, they wonder if backup will make it in time.
A state university police department switched to the M/A-COM system and decided not to replace the Motorola Astro mobile radios in their cars. They are having a lot of problems using the new portables on campus due to reception problems.
There are questionable
connections between Bush and M/A-COM (Tyco). Note there are some
M/A-COM systems also in Bush's Texas.
Subject: Re: FLA. STATE COMMS
1. The State of Florida contracted with Motorola in 1990 to develop
a wide area and standard communications system. At the time Motorola
offered AMSS (Automatic Multiple Site Switching) for wide area
however also advised the state that a newer technology was coming
(Smart Zone) which required less intervention on the part of the
users when roaming and also offered a new Digital product (Astro)
which they might be interested in.
The AMSS system was scheduled for cancellation so this made sense,
the Astro product was new and offered a new level of security that
the state became very interested in and therefore contracted to move
in the direction of a new Motorola Astro Smart Zone system.
It should be noted that the state also agreed to be the beta for
Astro Smart Zone. The Smart Zone product had been offered for a few
years with PeMex in Mexico being the first system worldwide, Astro
was the new product, which required development. As anyone that has
been involved with software and beta testing, understands this stuff
is volatile and creates more problems than it fixes. The state again
bit off on this and agreed to this new product.
2. When the Astro system started to be born (circa 1993) covering
the Keys to the Dade/Broward line, Motorola devoted over 40 techs
and engineers full time mostly living in trailers and campers on
site at FHP Miami to address issues. At times firmware was being
replaced on a daily basis system wide in order to correct for timing
issues and Astro voice quality. Over time, this all became stable and
Phase I was handed over to the field.
3. The original system was 6 single site trunking systems covering
from Key West to the North at the following sites:
Site 1: Dredgers Key
Site 2: Big Pine Key
Site 3: Marathon Key
Site 4: Key Largo
Site 5: Flamingo
Site 6: Pinecrest
The Miami area site (Site 7) was the wide area simulcast site
required to cover the entire area of Dade County which was comprised
of the following sites; Coral Reef, Florida City, Cape Florida, DMS
Miami, DEP Miami, Mystic Point, Okeechobee Road, Pompano and later
added as part of Phase II, Lauderdale PD and Markham Park.
The first phase worked flawlessly during every possible test that
was thrown at it, the world trade summit of the Americas in 1995, a
couple of minor hurricanes and even a minor street riot with Elian
Users of the system always praised the quality, coverage and access
of the system. However, there was always an issue with the state
technology office at the time known as DIVCOM.
DIVCOM now known as DMS (Division of Managed Services) continuously
threw monkey wrenches into the Motorola system. During the buildout
of Phase I drawings were changed daily, books were changed hourly
and basically Motorola was seen as dragging their feet when in
reality they were barely able to keep up with the demands of DIVCOM.
4. When it came time to build out Phase II which encompassed the
Broward line north to Flagler County and the remaining 300 miles of
the Florida Turnpike the project costs were rising due mostly to the
demands of DIVCOM now DMS.
5. Motorola came in and upgraded all of Phase I to the newly
accepted APCO 25 IMBE voice coding standard as well as all the RF
sites for pennies on the dollar. This was needed to be compatible
with the new standard as it was implemented in Phase II.
6. Motorola added a second Zone to the system to cover from Ft
Pierce to the north for Phase II effectively making 2 radios systems
and merging them with a new product OmniLink which was a new
improved audio switch and computer network that allowed voice calls
to flow from the north (Phase II) to the south in Phase I.
7. Phase II was installed and turned over to the users, most of the
costs in this project were minimal (other than equipment) as
Motorola wanted to keep this customer very happy. As for equipment
pricing, the state had already negotiated a state contract that
allowed for discounts much higher than normal for
Motorola equipment and literally purchasing for pennies on the
The estimates which at one time were 180 Million for Phase I and II
were about 130 million dollars off base, yes DMS drove up costs due
to constant engineering, however the cost overruns were never that
high. Keep in mind the entire state of Michigan system was 187
million three years ago and that has a ton more sites than Florida and
many more subscriber radios as well!
Phase II sites are:
Site 09: Lake Worth
Site 10: Airplane only Site South
ZONE 2 DIFFERENT SYSTEM ID
Site 11: Ft Pierce
Site 12: Canoe Creek
Site 13: Airplane only Site North
Site 14: Orlando Simulcast (DMS Orlando, Apopka, Orange City,
Eustis, Lake County Corrections).
Site 15: Cocoa
Site 16: Barberville
Site 17: Ft Meyers (Single Site only restricted use)
8. JEB says PRIVATIZE! When JEB took office he wanted a few things
to happen, one was privatization that included someone contracting
to buildout the remainder of the radio network. Here is where things
The company that bid against Motorola was a startup born from a sell-
off of GE-Ericsson known as Com-Net Ericsson. They were legal types
that learned of the sell off and realized that it should be easy
money. GE saw that their radio business was floundering and sold it,
COM-Net was never able to secure capital however was still awarded
the contract to the new state system. Due to their inability for
capital, they were forced to sell the company only a few months later
to TYCO who rebranded the name as MA-Com under one of their business
9. The MA-Com system was scheduled for 36 months to full signoff and
featured 40 less tower sites than the Motorola design and re-used
frequencies more often meaning less channels per site. Also due to
an inherent flaw in GE/Ericsson/MA-Com design, simulcast, one of the
strongest platforms for Motorola is not implemented widely by MA-
Com. They opt for Voted Steered sites with few channels meaning a
user in say Bradenton may not hear a call from a user in say Bartow
even if they are on the same talkgroup! This is still all controlled
by computer, however much more programming is involved on this type
10. It should be noted that the Bush family name was associated with
the Com-NET corporation and this along with several closed door
negotiations forced Motorola to file lawsuits for violation of the
11. The MA-Com system goes beyond 1 year without any progress,
install or anything! In an expected move it was suddenly realized
that Motorola may have been right in the number of sites needed to
cover the state and a change order for an additional 40 sites hit
the desks of DMS engineers.
Now since the state signed a contract for 20 years of service, the
price was fixed so the loser here was MaCom since they underbid the
spec. The need for more sites came out of their pockets. They lost!
The only real place they make money on is subscribers, which in this
case are at just about full retail with little discount that makes
sense since they discounted the service of the system.
12. Latest news, the system is so far behind schedule that DMS is
finally taking action. Fines are being prepared for lack of
performance, which may total 5 million dollars to MaCom. At this time,
they should have installed all five Phases of the system that includes
a replacement of the Motorola Radios and infrastructure for Phase I
and II! This remains to be seen, however it would be a great sting.
13. As for the equipment purchases that you mention below, yes
you're correct, Jaguar or the 7100IP is the new subscriber that you
will use going forward. In some tests that were done on a
conventional Motorola and MaCom digital channel during a NATO event,
the radios had a major issue. They were deaf! Only a few miles from
the sites and they did not hear anything, that is not good. They also
failed to unmute for calls from a Motorola radio or another MaCom
radio more than 70% of the time!
The system is encrypted full time; Motorola offered this as well
however they chose to equip only supervisors with encryption and
only FDLE with full time encryption.
Go to /freq/F2.html for more details on the State of Florida radio system.
In Florida, public records and access laws do not cover live radio transmissions. The Florida Sunshine Law needs revision or a new law is needed to preserve open-government radio communications, so that law-abiding citizens can monitor their public servants.
Former Governor Jeb Bush and some legislators in the State of Florida closed more of the Florida Sunshine Laws.
First Amendment Foundation
Florida Society of Newspaper
Fire Department Serving Disney World Plans To Encrypt Public Service Radio Communications!
August 9, 2005 by WFTV
Lake Buena Vista, Florida -- After a summer filled with tragedy at Disney World it will soon be much more difficult to learn about accidents and deaths at the theme park.
That is because the fire department that sends ambulances to Disney wants to encrypt all their radio transmissions. That means the public probably would not know when paramedics were called out to an incident. The fire chief at Reedy Creek said the move is largely about protecting information. Disney watchers said it is about protecting Disney from bad publicity. From Mission Space to Tower of Terror to Typhoon Lagoon, Disney has had a traject story come out of each this summer. A four-year-old died at Epcot in June. A 16-year-old collapsed at MGM-Studios last month. A 12-year-old died at the Typhoon Lagoon water park last week.
The public might not have heard much about the incident if a call for paramedics did not go out over the scanner. Reporters and others monitor those transmissions. But soon, those scanners could go silent. The Reedy Creek Fire Department plans to encrypt the transmissions so only staff can hear about the emergencies. Rick Foglesong, who wrote a book on the company, believes the Disney company wanted made the decision for encryption. "I think it's reasonable to believe that the company was responsible for the decision to scramble those transmissions," Foglesong said.
Reedy Creek is run by its property owners. Disney is, by far, the largest. Foglesong said the company has a history of being very controlling when it deals with accidents on their property and this may be another effort to control their image. The fire chief said they could begin encrypting sometime in the next three weeks to three months. Many Central Florida departments are moving toward digital transmissions. Reedy Creek has had the digital technology for five years, but only now is considering the change.
http://www.reedycreek.org/ Reedy Creek Fire Fighters Association Local 2117
Reedy Creek Improvement District is a public corporation in the State of Florida. This is a special tax district not with a mayor and council, but rather with five elected supervisors, much like some counties. Some would describe it as a "condominium" form of government, where landowners rather than residents elect their officials. All law enforcement is contracted to the Sheriff Departments of Osceola and Orange County in which the district lies.
http://www.state.fl.us/rcid/ moved to http://www.rcid.org/ Reedy Creek Improvement District
Several cities in Palm Beach County including the City of West Palm Beach, City of Palm Beach, City of Palm Beach Gardens, and City of Atlantis selected M/A-COM OpenSky as their new radio system. The estimated time of the unmonitorable system going online is summer of 2007.
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office wrongfully switched to full-time encryption!
The public had no input about the use of radio encryption. The Jacksonville City Council logs did not mention it. The citizens pay for these systems.
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office (JSO) pacified the local news media by making receive-only decrypting radios available for them. You can bet that members of the City Council can have a receive-only decrypting radio. But the average citizen cannot buy a receive-only radio from the city. The average citizen should be allowed to purchase a radio and listen, even if you could the cost would be well over $1,000 for a receive-only Motorola XTS-5000 programmed by JSO to decrypt them.
The best thing that should be done is for them to turn off their encryption!
501 E Bay Street Room 303
Jacksonville, Florida 32202-2975
Phone: (904) 630-2134 or (904) 630-2120 or (904) 630-7847
Fax: (904) 630-4741 or (904) 630-2107
Register a complaint about Jacksonville's local government at: http://ecare.coj.net/AddRequest.asp
Since the time (before July 2003) they went to encryption, crime is even worse in Jacksonville. Jacksonville and Duval County is considered the crime capital of Florida, leading the rest of the state with murders in 2006. A place to avoid!
Here is just one good comment for
why a citizen needs the ability to listen to public service radio
This was before they went to encryption!
Well I work at 21st and Haines it is a bad area. In the last
year and half there has been 3 murders committed within
a 100 yards of where I work. During a period around the
second murder, the guy that committed it was running
around shooting people (3) in the area. Did I hear about
this on the news, No!!!! I learned about the shootings
listening to the scanner, so armed with this info I was able
to take steps to stay away from this guy. I also hear
robberies in my area so I know to be on alert for some
clown with a gun.
A decision was made April 1, 2003 to use encryption technology with a new radio system for the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. Carol Hladki, chief of support services for the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, said the radios are part of a system that will connect police, fire and rescue services, city workers and the JEA. The encryption technology comes as part of the renovation of a radio system that has been in the works at a $41 million cost for towers and equipment. Installations of the new radios in police vehicles begin April 15.
Other issues, including what encrypted transmissions would be made available, are still under consideration. But it is possible there would be limited access. The encryption technology takes an 800-megahertz system and turns transmitted voices into unintelligible noise unless you have a radio with proper decryption, said Earl Hoffay, telecommunications supervisor for the city.
Times-Union editor Pat Yack said the ability to monitor police radio information is important to the news media. "Those communications have been open and accessible to people for years [decades and decades]," he said. "I would hope we would have [would keep] them available to us [the public]." Others are concerned prompt public notice of the actions of police, fire and other agencies will be curtailed, an issue that can change how the news media has access to information. "I don't know what the balance is," said Jim LaBranche, news director for WTEV TV-47 and WAWS TV-30 in Jacksonville. "I also worry about how much information they can keep away."
Ian Marquand, co-chairman of the Society of Professional Journalists Freedom of Information Committee, said "What we have said all along: if you lock the public, especially the news media, out of scanner traffic it's much harder for us to do our job." [The right to know what your government is doing around you.]
Al Elmore, a retired insurance man, is a ham radio operator who also uses a scanner. In the past, he said, people listening to police frequencies aided police with information.
A congressman pushing to require electronic voting machines to produce a paper trail is taking his case to the courts.
June 21, 2006
Wexler may take voting machines case to U.S. Supreme Court
By BRIAN SKOLOFF
Associated Press Writer
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Democratic U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler said Wednesday he was considering an appeal of a federal court ruling that said Florida could use electronic voting machines that don't leave a paper trail.
In 2004, Wexler sued Florida's secretary of state and Palm Beach County's elections supervisor, alleging the state disenfranchised voters by approving the machines that don't create a paper record for use in a recount in close elections.
Wexler said he was considering asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case after the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected his claim in ruling Tuesday that paperless machines don't violate Floridians' constitutional rights.
Fifteen of Florida's 67 counties, including Palm Beach, use paperless touch-screen voting machines. The remaining counties use optical scan machines where a voter marks a paper ballot with a pencil and it is electronically scanned.
The appeals court acknowledged that a recount would differ in counties using touch-screen machines but noted it did not rise to the level of unequal treatment of voters.
The court found that "Florida's manual recount procedures do not deprive voters of due process" because the state has a technique for reviewing votes cast on the touch-screen machines even without a lengthy paper trail.
Wexler contends that the limited ballot summaries produced by the paperless machines are inadequate and do not provide enough detailed information to determine whether the voter made a mistake or the machine malfunctioned.
A state court dismissed Wexler's lawsuit in 2004. The 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach later affirmed the dismissal.
"Where it stands now is that although Florida law requires a manual recount in very close elections, in 15 counties that use electronic voting machines without a paper trail, no manual recount can be conducted," Wexler said. "The voters in those 15 counties are disenfranchised to a degree, certainly disadvantaged ... I believe that differential treatment of voters amounts to constitutional violations of equal protection and due process rights."
Secretary of State Sue Cobb said Tuesday that the ruling "reaffirms Florida's sound election processes and systems. Florida's voters can have every confidence in our election systems."
Arthur Anderson, Palm Beach County's elections supervisor, didn't immediately return a phone message Wednesday.
Palm Beach County took the national spotlight when disputes over dimpled, pregnant and hanging chads on punch card ballots held up a final count in the 2000 presidential election. Florida was eventually decided by 537 votes after the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in, handing the election to George W. Bush over Al Gore.
The state has since banned the punch cards and moved to all electronic voting machines.
U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, a Boca Raton Democrat, filed a lawsuit Jan. 16, 2004 in Palm Beach County against Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood and Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Theresa LePore, claiming the officials are violating their duties to ensure votes are counted accurately by not using machines with paper printouts.
Wexler, who said he wrote Hood and LePore over the issue several months before he filed the suit, wants printed duplicates of all ballots cast on the electronic voting machines used in 15 Florida counties. He said this is the only way to accurately recount ballots in a close race, and guarantee fair elections.
Wexler is not the only one focusing on the voting machines. Last week's special election for Florida House District 91, which is split between Broward and Palm Beach counties, fed the debate over the need for an official paper trail.
Ellyn Bogdanoff won that election by 12 votes, but there were 134 undervotes, or ballots that did not register a choice for any candidates.
Because all but the absentee ballots in that election were electronic, officials could not conduct a traditional manual recount. That prompted Palm Beach County commissioners to ask the state for the authority to retrofit touch screen voting machines so they produce paper ballots at a cost of $2.2 million.
To some extent, the debate has broken down along party lines. Many Democrats say a paper ballot is necessary to ensure the accuracy of the vote, while Republicans largely oppose the idea.
Wexler said his suit isn't based on partisan issues.
"There is nothing Democratic about it, and there is nothing Republican about it. This is as American as apple pie," he said.
Sequoia Voting Systems, which supplied the voting machines used in Palm Beach County, plans to seek federal certification for a printer by the end of March. Federal certification is required before state certification.
Kurt Browning, Pasco County elections supervisor and Legislative Committee chairman for the state elections supervisors association, said the organization opposes printers. "We just don't see the need for it," Browning said. "These counties have spent millions and millions of dollars on voting systems."
Some political leaders are
trying to ban paper recounts and paper printouts!
Remember the voting
irregularities in the Florida 2000 Presidential elections!
Politicians trying to stop free wireless Internet access in Florida.
Two bills backed by telephone and
cable companies, HB 1325, sponsored by Florida Rep. Frank Attkisson (R-Kissimmee)
and SB 1714, sponsored by Florida Sen. Mike Bennett (R-Bradenton),
would restrict or halt the locally provided Internet and
http://www.freepress.net/communityinternet/=FL also US Congress Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) wants a federal law!
http://computer.howstuffworks.com/wireless-network.htm Wi-Fi or Wireless Fidelity
Note the telephone and cable companies that are big money contributors to Rep. Frank Attkisson (Republican) of Kissimmee and to the other supporting politicians.
Free wireless access increases the value of public spaces just as street lights do. And just as street lights don't make other types of lighting obsolete, free wireless access in public spaces will not kill demand for access in private spaces. Economically speaking, these public services will provide positive competition with private enterprise. Yet we will not see it unless municipalities are free to experiment.
Competition is good for the economy, good for business and good for customers. Internet technology no longer is a luxury; it is a necessity for homes, schools and libraries. It can be an important economic development tool and helps cities cut costs. That's good for taxpayers. If the bill passes, local governments will be out of the telecommunications picture. That is wrong. Municipalities should be able to provide Internet-related services for the good of the community.
The legislation is backed by telecommunication giants that sell WiFi service themselves, such as Verizon Communications Inc. and Bright House Networks.
One of the bills recently sailed through its first committee -- with the help of a bunch of lawmakers whose districts include parts of Orange County.
Rep. Frank Attkisson (R-Kissimmee) is sponsoring the measure. Reps. Bob Allen (R-Merritt Island), Bruce Antone (D-Orlando), (R-Celebration), and David Mealor (R-Lake Mary) all voted for it.
One of the Senate bills hasn't been voted on, but it has local connections, too. The sponsor is Sen. Lee Constantine (R-Altamonte Springs).
Bill Number: HB 1325
Time: 11:40 AM
Reading Number: 3
Session Sequence No: 394
Floor Actions: Passage
Yeas - 71 Nays - 41 Not Voting - 8
Y-Adams Y-Allen Y-Altman Y-Ambler N-Anderson N-Antone Y-Arza Y-Attkisson N-Ausley Y-Barreiro Y-Baxley N-Bean N-Bendross-Mindingall Y-Bense Y-Benson N-Berfield N-Bilirakis Y-Bogdanoff Y-Bowen Y-Brandenburg Y-Brown Y-Brummer -Brutus N-Bucher Y-Bullard Y-Cannon Y-Carroll Y-Clarke -Coley N-Cretul Y-Culp N-Cusack N-Davis, D.. N-Davis, M. Y-Dean N-Detert Y-Domino Y-Evers N-Farkas -Fields Y-Flores Y-Galvano N-Gannon N-Garcia -Gardiner N-Gelber N-Gibson, A. Y-Gibson, HH. Y-Glorioso Y-Goldstein N-Goodlette N-Gottlieb Y-Grant N-Greenstein Y-Grimsley Y-Harrell Y-Hasner Y-Hays -Henriquez Y-Holloway N-Homan N-Hukill N-Jennings Y-Johnson Y-Jordan N-Joyner N-Justice N-Kendrick Y-Kottkamp -Kravitz Y-Kreegel Y-Kyle Y-Legg Y-Littlefield Y-Llorente Y-Lopez-Cantera N-Machek Y-Mahon Y-Mayfield Y-McInvale N-Meadows Y-Mealor Y-Murzin Y-Needelman Y-Negron Y-Patterson -Peterman Y-Pickens Y-Planas Y-Poppell N-Porth Y-Proctor Y-Quinones Y-Reagan Y-Rice N-Richardson Y-Rivera Y-Robaina N-Roberson Y-Ross Y-Rubio Y-CH-Russell N-Ryan Y-Sands Y-Sansom N-Seiler Y-Simmons N-Slosberg N-Smith N-Sobel -Sorensen Y-Stansel Y-Stargel N-Taylor Y-Traviesa N-Troutman N-Vana N-Waters Y-Williams Y-Zapata Y-The Chair: Russell
Y=Yea N=Nay -=Not Voting
S2072 GENERAL BILL/CS/CS by General Government Appropriations; Communications and Public Utilities; Constantine; Bennett; (CO-SPONSORS) Campbell; Baker; King; Alexander; Crist; Wise; Posey; Rich; Villalobos; Hill; Haridopolos; Dawson; Bullard
S1714 GENERAL BILL by Bennett; (CO-SPONSORS) Campbell; Baker; King; Alexander; Crist; Wise; Posey; Rich; Villalobos; Hill; Haridopolos; Dawson; Bullard
December 04, 2004
Pennsylvania Gets New WiFi Law
In a victory for Verizon Communications, a measure in a new Pennsylvania law will make it harder for cities to build high-speed Internet networks that compete with major telecommunications providers. The measure, part of a broad telecommunications law that was signed by Gov. Edward G. Rendell (D-PA), has been watched closely by telephone companies and cities across the country.
State governments, especially Florida, proposing new laws to keep the news media away from certain police operations and other methods of law enforcement censorship from the public.
2001 H 1437 [died] Relating to
Public Records/Communication Systems by Randy Ball (R-dist.29)
2001 S 1762 [died] Relating to
Public Records/Communication Systems by Bill Posey (R-dist.15)
1999 H 141 [died] Relating to Law Enforcement Agencies/Operations by David D. Russell, Jr. (R-dist.44); (co-sponsors) Byrd (R-dist.62); Feeney (R-dist.33); Bense (R-dist.6); Argenziano (R-dist.43); Putnam (R); Fasano (R-dist.45); Waters (R-dist.51); Cantens (R-dist.141); Valdes; Alexander (R-dist.66); Jones (R); Sorensen (R-dist.120); Hart (R-dist.57); Wallace (R-dist.47); Flanagan (R-dist.68); Goodlette (R-dist.76); Fiorentino (R-dist.46); Murman (R-dist.56); Harrington (R-dist.72)
1999 S 166 [died] Relating to Law Enforcement Agencies/Operations by Criminal Justice; Virginia 'Ginny' Brown-Waite (R-dist.10); (co-sponsors) Bronson (R-dist.18); McKay (R-dist.26); Horne (R); Grant; Carlton (R-dist.24); Cowin (R-dist.11); Klein (D-dist.28); Kirkpatrick; Latvala (R-dist.19); Sullivan (R-dist.22); Forman; Casas; Campbell (D-dist.33); Lee (R-dist.23); Silver (D-dist.38)
Those bills died but you can bet they will try again sometime in the future.
Virginia 'Ginny' Brown-Waite
(R-FL), the main person that pushed for news media censorship,
became a U.S. Congress Representative in 2002. She was a former
Florida State Senator, Hernando County Commissioner, and
Legislative Director in the New York Senate.
Stop Florida phone rate increases!
http://www.fcan.org/ Florida Consumer Action Network
phone companies got their rate increase, cancel your service with
the phone company's Public Switched Telephone Networks (PSTN) and
switch to companies that offer Voice over IP (VOIP) on broadband
networks. You can still use your old phone and fax machine on
VOIP with gateway routers or analog telephone adapters.
Sipphone.com offers the best money saving deals for VOIP phones.
Basic phone bills would jump by up to 60 percent a month under proposals from the three biggest local telecommunications companies in Florida, a rate hike allowed under the new state law. BellSouth, the No. 1 local provider in the state with 48 percent of the market, said it would raise residential rates by up to $3.50 a month over two years. No. 2 Verizon would boost rates by $4.61 a month over the same period; No. 3 Sprint's increase would be $6.86 a month. Business rates would see similar increases.
BellSouth, Sprint and Verizon submitted their proposals for review on August 27, 2003, to the Florida Public Service Commission, whose members have 90 days to approve the changes.
http://www.psc.state.fl.us/ Florida Public Service Commission
Florida 2003 Senate Bill
654 signed into law by Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL)
I am not related to Florida House Rep.(R-FL of Winter Garden). He has lost my vote.
Vote History Y=Yea N=Nay -=Not
Florida House Members
Y Adams N Fiorentino Y Mealor
Y Allen Y Galvano Y Murman
Y Altman Y Gannon Y Murzin
Y Ambler Y Garcia Y Needelman
N Anderson Y Gardiner Y Negron
Y Antone - Gelber Y Patterson
Y Arza Y Gibson, A. Y Paul
Y Attkisson N Gibson, H. Y Peterman
Y Ausley - Goodlette Y Pickens
- Baker Y Gottlieb Y Planas
Y Barreiro N Green - Poppell
Y Baxley - Greenstein N Prieguez
Y Bean Y Harper N Quinones
Y Bendross-Mindingall Y Harrell Y Reagan
Y Bense - Harrington Y Rich
Y Benson Y Hasner Y Richardson
- Berfield Y Henriquez Y Ritter
N Bilirakis Y Hogan Y Rivera
Y Bowen Y Holloway Y Robaina
Y Brandenburg Y Homan Y Roberson
Y Brown Y Jennings Y Ross
N Brummer Y Johnson Y Rubio
Y Brutus Y Jordan N Russell
N Bucher Y Joyner Y Ryan
Y Bullard N Justice Y Sansom
Y Byrd Y Kallinger Y Seiler
Y Cantens Y Kendrick Y Simmons
N Carassas Y Kilmer N Slosberg
Y Clarke Y Kosmas Y Smith
N Cretul Y Kottkamp Y Sobel
Y Culp N Kravitz N Sorensen
Y Cusack Y Kyle Y Spratt
Y Davis, D. Y Littlefield Y Stansel
Y Davis, M. Y Llorente Y Stargel
N Dean Y Machek Y Troutman
N Detert Y Mack Y Vana
Y Domino Y Mahon N Waters
Y Evers Y Mayfield N Wiles
Y Farkas Y McInvale Y Wishner
Y Fields Y Meadows Y Zapata
Florida Senate Members
Y Alexander Y Dockery Y Peaden
N Argenziano N Fasano Y Posey
Y Aronberg Y Garcia Y Pruitt
Y Atwater N Geller N Saunders
Y Bennett Y Haridopolos Y Sebesta
Y Bullard Y Hill Y Siplin
Y Campbell Y Jones Y Smith
N Carlton Y King Y Villalobos
- Clary Y Klein N Wasserman Schultz
Y Constantine N Lawson Y Webster
N Cowin N Lee Y Wilson
N Crist N Lynn Y Wise
Y Dawson Y Margolis
Y Diaz de la Portilla N Miller
Florida Public Service Commission members and other regulators enjoyed drinks, food and more at an oceanfront Miami Beach resort, paid for in part by phone companies seeking the biggest local telephone rate increase in state history.
A lavish four-day convention attended by utility regulators and industry managers listed among its sponsors three phone companies now asking the commission to approve rate hikes.
While not illegal, industry watchdogs say it gives the appearance of impropriety and of being unethical.
"These are the same people who are supposed to sit as unbiased judges of the rate increases," said Florida Utility Watch President. "It's outrageous."
The convention also featured golf outings and Latin dance instruction, tennis, a private beach, deep-sea fishing and a boat tour of the homes of Al Capone and Elizabeth Taylor.
A Public Service Commissioner and 2002 President of Southeastern Association of Regulatory Commissioners said there's nothing wrong with utilities helping to pay for such a conference, but the state kept no record of it and referred all offers of funding to the Wyndham Miami Beach Resort, where the meeting was held.
Nearly a dozen utility firms were listed as corporate sponsors. It included BellSouth, Sprint and Verizon that have urged the PSC to boost phone rates.
BellSouth, Sprint and Verizon are pushing for rates that would boost average monthly bills for basic phone service anywhere from $3 to $7.25 per month during the next four years and another 20 percent every year after that.
Neither the Southeastern Association of Regulatory Commissioners nor the Public Service Commission kept records of corporate donations, they said.
Attorney General Charlie Crist asked the state Supreme Court January 7, 2004, to overrule the Public Service Commission's approval of a rate hike for the state's three biggest local phone companies, automatically putting off any increase for now.
The appeal follows a decision in December by the PSC to allow Sprint, Verizon and BellSouth to increase basic residential rates as part of a broad restructuring of the way local phone service is regulated.
In the short-term, if the Supreme Court allows the PSC's decision, BellSouth customers could see rates go up by $3.14 in the next three years, Verizon customers would see a $4.73 increase over three years and Sprint customers would have rates go up by $6.86 over four years. The increases are the largest for local phone service in recent state history.
The Republican-controlled Legislature passed and Gov. Jeb Bush signed into law last year a bill letting the phone companies seek the increase from the PSC.
But Crist argues that consumers' best interests weren't taken into account and that there's no guarantee they will ever see any benefit. "This is not free market," Crist said. "This is kind of jam-it-down-your-throat-market and it's wrong. And it shouldn't stand."
Crist said he also was asking the PSC to reconsider its decision but a change by the panel in its unanimous ruling in favor of the restructuring was unlikely.
Crist said the law requires "revenue neutrality," and that the increase consumers will see goes against that. "I think (the PSC) misinterpreted the law," Crist said. "A $355 million increase is anything but revenue neutral."
The Legislature's consumer advocate in utility and phone rate cases, Public Counsel Harold McLean, is supporting Crist's motion. "The citizens of Florida were neglected in this case," McLean said.
Florida developers and lawmakers want to take your land for private use instead of just for public use.
Remember that former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL) was a developer from Miami.
Bill 1513: Relating to Consolidation & Recordation of Lands
1ST ENG by Gayle Harrell (R- Dist. 81); (CO-SPONSORS) Kevin Ambler (R - Dist. 47)
Bill 2548: Relating to Consolidation & Recordation of Lands
1st ENG by Senate Committee on Comprehensive Planning; Michael S. "Mike" Bennett (R - Dist. 21))
died but you can bet they will try again sometime in the future.
Committee on Comprehensive Planning
Chair: Steven A. Geller (D - Dist. 31)
Vice Chair: Daniel Webster (R - Dist. 9)
Nancy Argenziano (R - Dist. 3)
Michael S. "Mike" Bennett (R -Dist. 21)
Larcenia J. Bullard (D - Dist. 39)
Walter G. "Skip" Campbell, Jr. (D - Dist. 32)
Lee Constantine (R- Dist. 22)
Bill Posey (R - Dist. 24)
http://www.wfsu.org/ CAPITAL REPORT coverage of Florida's Legislative Session.
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Florida House Representative
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Page revised November 12, 2006