Volume 1 Number 11
March 15, 2004

Text-only Version


National Flag Foundation


Sir Winston Churchill said, “All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom; justice; honor; duty; mercy; hope.”

I would like to share a story that I believe exemplifies what Churchill meant.

Adam Rivero, an investigator in the State Fire Marshal’s Office, has been an Army reservist for 20 years.  He serves as a staff sergeant with the 320th MP Company from St. Petersburg.  Rivero and his friend, fellow Staff Sgt. Christopher Grilo of the 800th MP Brigade from Uniondale, N.Y., have made it a tradition that one of them carries a small American flag when they deploy.  The flag has been carried to 13 countries
since 1991.

“I decided to carry a flag in my wallet to be a constant reminder of who I was and to motivate others by pulling this flag from my wallet and proudly showing it at times when patriotism began to diminish,” Rivero said.  “I was proud of the fact that I love my country and being a soldier committed to its defense.” 

Each of us has a responsibility to protect and nurture the freedom that makes our nation strong.  

Those who voted last week in Florida’s Democratic primary carried out their responsibility.

Those who call or write their legislators to urge a change or support a proposal are carrying out their responsibility.

Those who take the time to serve on a jury are fulfilling their responsibility.

Rivero carried a flag. 

At only 3 inches by 5 inches, the soldiers wrote the name and date of operations on it — Saudi 91, Haiti 96, Bosnia 97/98, Salvador 99, Cuba Camp X-ray 2001, Kosovo/Macedonia  2001, Kuwait 2003, Iraq Feb 22, Baghdad May 10.

One of the flag’s last trips was to the site of the fallen World Trade Center towers.

“Like so many others,” Rivero said, “Sgt. Grilo and I are common people and I wanted a way to personally document the impact of military intervention towards the preservation of freedom and democracy throughout our world, in my lifetime and in the future.”

Rivero is back to investigating fires for the State Fire Marshal’s Office, and Sgt. Grilo remains on tour in Iraq.  Like looking for clues at fire scenes, Rivero is continuously looking for ways to support the country he loves.

“It is something that is precious to me,” Rivero said.

Freedom is precious and should never be taken for granted. 






Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher today joined forces with key legislative leaders to derail the bullet train, including House Speaker Designate Allen Bense, Senate Democratic Leader Ron Klein, and Representative Bob Allen. Representatives Dennis Baxley, Fred Brummer, Carl Domino, Andy Gardiner, Gayle Harrell, Ron Reagan, and David Rivera, and Senators Charlie Clary and Rudy Garcia also threw their support behind the effort. State Department of Transportation Secretary Jose Abreu was also present.

Last week, CFO Gallagher teamed up with Governor Bush to support both a legislative and grassroots effort to give Floridians the opportunity to repeal a high-speed rail.  Over the next 51 days, Bush, Gallagher and state lawmakers will pursue passage of a joint legislative resolution to place a constitutional amendment on the 2004 ballot repealing the high-speed rail initiative. Lawmakers need a three-fifths supermajority to place the amendment on the ballot.

“I applaud the leadership of lawmakers standing with me today who are also gravely concerned with the multi-billion dollar price tag associated with building a high-speed rail - a cost that will fall directly in the laps of Florida taxpayers,” said CFO Gallagher.  “In the face of mounting evidence, diverting billions of taxpayer dollars to implement a high-speed rail is simply unconscionable.”  CONTINUED



More than 1.7 million are covered by the state program, double the amount since 1998.

Governor Jeb Bush today signed KidCare legislation that will provide health care coverage to more than 90,000 additional children, ending the state’s current waiting list. The bill contains $25.2 million in state and federal funding, as well as provisions to ensure the program continues to serve the largest number of children for the longest period of time.

"Once this legislation is signed, letters will be sent to parents throughout the state telling them their children will now be covered under KidCare. I thank the Legislature for moving quickly to pass this bill, and for instituting thoughtful reforms that will ensure the program can continue to help Florida’s children," said Governor Bush. "This bill brings important discipline to a program that helps children who have no other health care options because they don’t have access to insurance coverage."

SB 2000 provides more accountability, greater fraud prevention and brings the program more in line with private insurance enrollment provisions. It also ensures KidCare recipients have access to dental services and removes the per year cap on benefits.

"I applaud Governor Bush and legislative leaders for their continued commitment to improving children's access to health care and to sustaining the financial viability and success of Florida's KidCare programs," said CFO Tom Gallagher. "Providing life-sustaining health care to the children of families struggling to make ends meet is one of the best investments we can make." CONTINUED


More photos


The Governor and Cabinet, acting as the Administration Commission, signaled a new direction in approaching responsible growth management at the March 9th Cabinet meeting in Tallahassee. 

While maintaining the critical state concern designation established in 1986, CFO Tom Gallagher, Agricultural Commissioner Charlie Bronson, Attorney General Charlie Crist, and Governor Bush unanimously agreed to consider a partnership approach in resolving the outstanding land acquisition, affordable housing, and wastewater concerns that dominate the Florida Keys. 

This partnership will encompass a focused approach to land acquisition, similar to the success achieved in acquiring land for Everglades restoration.  The Governor and Cabinet authorized offering up to 125 percent of the 1986 appraised value to acquire environmentally-sensitive land to relieve development pressures in the Keys.  They also approved the use of rate of growth ordinance (ROGO) credits unused in previous years to accelerate affordable housing developments.  CONTINUED






Last week, more than 2,000 students, teachers and parents gathered near the steps of Florida’s Old Capitol in a huge demonstration of support for school choice programs.  State leaders, including Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, praised those attending and promised to continue their support of vouchers for low-income families, disabled children and students trapped in failing schools.

“The results of education reforms enacted in 2000 speak for themselves,” Gallagher said.  “We’ve seen the number of ‘A’ schools grow five-fold and witnessed a 10 percent increase in the number of fourth graders reading on grade level.”    CONTINUED