Category Archives: #SaveMiami

Change Agent Dane Best: Operation Snowball

I’m in the middle of final exams for what has been an incredible semester of learning here at the University of Miami and have largely been “radio silent” in recent weeks but just had to share this with you!

Nine year old Dane Best is my hero this week. He’s a totally normal kid from Colorado but he’s also a super-hero Agent of Change capable of fixing what the adults before him broke.

As a major snow storm travels across much of the United States Dane’s story sure is topical but also shows the impact young people are capable of having in their community, our country and the world. You see, Dane’s school visited his local City Hall in Severance, Colorado on a field trip recently and while there learned that (I am not making this up) his town had a nearly 100 year old law on the books that outlawed throwing snowballs.

Yep. You read that right. Snowball throwing in Severance has been against the law for almost a century.

At least until Dane came along and asked: why?

Now, Dane is not the first person to ask that question.

Or write a letter expressing their displeasure and requesting the law be changed.

Or to call City Hall about their silly law.

But he is the first person to do what was required to actually get such a ridiculous law changed: attend a City Commission meeting and ask, in person, that the law be abolished.

And what did the adults on the City Council do when presented with this logical concern from Dane? They voted unanimously, of course, to change the law and allow snowballs to fly through their town’s Colorado air.

It doesn’t matter how old you are. You can have a voice in your town.

Dane Best

9 Year Old Super Hero Change Agent from Colorado

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Perhaps the best part of the day, at least for Dane, was that right after the City Council meeting he and his little brother Dax were given the honor of throwing the first two legal snowballs in their town in nearly a century. And it just goes to show you what concerned citizens, even kids, can do if we set our mind to making our planet and the places we live better.

Hey, Dane, hit me up. Let’s attack this global climate change crisis thing together. You, me and our young friends all over earth so kids in the future can still be able to throw snowballs. I am pretty sure kids like us can fix the stupid things that adults have been doing for far too long to warm our planet with man-made carbon emissions and that brave agents of change like you can lead the way before it’s too late. In fact, I’ll bet you a snowball or two that you can get the adults in Colorado to enact laws to clean the air and outlaw carbon emissions in your state during our lifetime. Ready? Aim. Fire!

Florida General Election Recount

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Many have asked about the outcome of the recent Florida elections and true to our state’s proud history (think Gore Versus Bush and the “hanging chads”) of elections there will be a recount of this past Tuesday’s general election for several of offices likely including Florida’s Governor and Agricultural Commissioner and the U.S. Senate race between Scott and Nelson. What this leads to is anyone’s guess but Florida being Florida we’d not have it any other way in the Great State of Denial (I mean Florida).

Given the level of interest, I am going to share an outline and update that Jake Farmer prepared and gave permission to share that describes in detail what will likely take place and when:

2018 Florida Recount Update

Today in Florida we are preparing for the first automatic statewide recount in our history. Below is a brief description of the process that will be followed, which was placed into law after the election in 2000. There are no more hanging chads, and the process to determine a voter’s intent is pretty straightforward and contained in Florida Statutes Chapter 102.166.

There are two basic phases for a statewide recount: an automatic recount by machine and, if needed, a manual recount on under and over votes for the specific races under 0.25 percent. We expect by the weekend we will see the US Senate, Governor, and Agriculture Commissioner all in machine recounts, with the Senate and Agriculture Commissioner race headed to manual. (As of now Gov. Scott still leads the Senate race over Sen. Bill Nelson, but Nikki Fried has passed Matt Caldwell in the Agriculture Commissioner race).

As for the statewide races; we expect to see Senate District 18 (Dana Young vs. Janet Cruz), House District 26 (Elizabeth Fetterhoff vs. Patrick Henry), and House District 89 (Mike Caruso vs. Jim Bonfiglio) in a recount.

The process is outlined in the attached memo from the division, but in short, unofficial returns are due to the state by Saturday at noon. After those ballots are counted, any federal, state or multicounty race that is separated by 0.5 percent or less will automatically be run through the optical scan machines again. Typically with machine recounts, very few changes are typically found, but then again, no one has ever seen this done statewide.

The machine recount is due by 3 p.m. on Thursday, November 15th. Any race that is separated by 0.25 percent or less will automatically undergo a manual recount, which must be wrapped up by Sunday, November 18th.

In the event of a manual recount, the only ballots that will be scrutinized are those where there were either too many or too few candidates selected for the specific race at stake (meaning under or no vote cast in the race and overvotes, meaning more than one decision was indicated or some other error).

The 67 canvassing boards will send their final vote totals for the manually recounted races to the state by November 18th at noon.

The state Elections Canvassing Commission, made up of the governor and two members of the Florida cabinet selected by the governor, will certify the results in a 9 a.m. meeting at the state Capitol on November 20th.

I’ve Done All I Can. Now I Need Your Help.

VOTE

November 7th will be two years since the day I woke up in 2016 shocked to learn that Donald Trump had been elected President of the United States.

The news was so devastating, the threat it represented (since manifested) to our environment and to the decency of America, so profound that it brought me to tears. Yes, I will admit that I cried often that day and the two days that followed. And I can tell you that I was not alone. Many of my friends and acquaintances were also in shock and tears and it was not the “good” type of shock that happens when you first eat a bite of freezing cold ice cream, but the pain of the loss of a loved one. Like when my grandmother, Grandby, passed. It was simply horrible.

November 2016 was a very cruel month but it was also an educational time for me too. It taught me that politics is dirty and filled with surprises and that, yes, some of them are painful and confusing. How could science, decency and honesty not be embraced by voters?

November 2016 was also motivational for me in a way that only fear can truly motivate. The fear that our environment would be sold and destroyed by those only interested in living in the past, supporting the politics of polluters and developed until nothing was left is, to say the least, motivational. The fear that women would be marginalized or worse (and as it turns out, it was far worse than I could have guessed at 17 years of age).

And so it has been two years since those tears fell and the shock that had set in turned into anger and then to motivation. I could not vote in 2016, but now I can. And I most certainly will.

With the United States 2018 election now upon us I want you to know that I’ve tried very hard to encourage people to vote. Like really, really hard.

I’ve written more blogs, attended more rallies, supported and consulted with and for more prominent candidates than I can recall. These last two years have been a blur of talks and speeches and writing and videos and nearly all of it has been centered on trying to motivate others to help me fix what’s broken. To take back this land of yours and mine. Much of that work has happened between classes, at night and on weekends and none of it do I regret. In fact, the social sacrifices or what-not that I’ve made are small compared to the importance of what we face on November 6th and beyond.

The responses I’ve received from people all over the world to my blogs and other posts not only means a great deal to me but inspires me. To those that have forwarded or reposted my work by the now tens of thousands, or those hundreds of thousands that that have read them, thank you.

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To the esteemed people and organizations that believe my little voice means something, thank you. To The Years Project and David Gelber, as well as Joel Bach, Kiara Richardson, Joshua Futtersak and Karen Shakerdge, thank you for caring enough to come to Miami to film and then post a video that 811,000 people and counting have viewed. If you’ve not seen or shared it please consider doing so today: https://www.facebook.com/YearsOfLiving/videos/979016338965704/.

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To Jon Favreau and Dan Pfeiffer from Pod Save America, and to HBO Television, thank you for featuring youth activists in your premier show last month, myself included, and for exposing our concerns about the importance of this election to your millions of viewers and followers. And speaking of ice cream, thanks for hosting our segment at Dasher & Crank, and for the amazing treats they serve.

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And to The Sierra Club, Darren Aronofsky and Sandy Haddad, thank you for believing that 14 other kids and I have something worthy to say and sharing our message in such an artistic way with now millions of views much less some pretty cool tags from the likes of Mark Ruffalo, Amy Schumer, Barbra Streisand, and everyone else. If you’ve not seen Darren’s videos of my friends and me for The Sierra Club, for you really, please consider checking these two out as a start:

https://www.facebook.com/chromista/videos/2225636057684827/

https://www.facebook.com/chromista/videos/444848999372071/

I’ve only recently become old enough to vote but I’ve done everything I can think of these last two years to make a difference. To inspire and motivate others to vote, especially youth. To fight back.

And.

Now.

It’s your turn.

I understand that we are all busy with school, work, family and on and on. I understand that the weather could be an issue (excuse?) and that traffic sucks. But I also understand that voting is not only our right but our obligation and I need you to please make it a priority this year. I have seen and heard from thousands of people these last two years and what I have seen mostly is the pain and confusion you felt, as did I, on November 6th, 2016. I’ve stopped counting the number of people who have asked me “what can I do, Delaney?.”

The answer is simple.

Don’t suffer in silence.

Vote.

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