The editorial board at the Miami Herald has chimed in for Scott Israel, one of the two Democratic contenders in what may be the most important and underreported primary election in Broward this year, for county sheriff. The Sun-Sentinel hasn't made an endorsement.
The Herald sides with a time-tested candidate in Israel, who ran against Al Lamberti and lost in 2008. His opponent, Louis Granteed, is a first-time candidate and career Hollywood cop.
But the editorial board isn't exactly gushing with praise for Israel, nor does it present a strong argument for its choice. Instead, we get exactly two sentences in his favor.
"Mr. Israel's experience as a chief of a police agency, albeit for a small city, plus his decades with a larger, more complex urban agency give him an edge in this race," the paper writes after a few tit-for-tat paragraphs about the biographies of both candidates.
The only other sentence in favor of Israel: "To his credit, Mr. Israel is concerned about the lack of diversity in Mr. Lamberti's upper ranks."
Other than that, it's a level-headed comparison of stats. Israel was a Fort Lauderdale cop. Granteed was a Hollywood cop. Both say they want to bring change to the department. Yawn.
The endorsement mentions the story of the serious sexual-harassment allegations against Louis Granteed. In a noble strain toward fair and balanced, the paper also chooses to mention a controversy for Israel: that his last campaign failed to pay back $10,000, which he fronted from his pocket.
Among the things that have been said but not substantiated in blog comments and conversations: that Israel stole cologne on duty and the subsequent investigation was purged from FLPD records. That he's sleeping through the campaign this time around. That Granteed is a straw candidate put up by Lamberti's people, or that he's a serial racist/sexist/Hollywood cop (well, one of those, we know). This is the kind of dirt that people talk about in the absence of compelling stories in an election. The ho-hum endorsement doesn't help.
In usual fashion, it also doesn't mention fundraising: who's taking money from whom. And damn, do we want to know what the deal is with all those bail bondsmen.
In the end, the Herald does an exceedingly fair and reasoned job of standing behind Israel. But the lack of a strong opinion echoes the overall "blah" nature of this race so far. We're less than a month away from the August 14 primary, people. Wake up.
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