If you can tell a lot about a man from where he gets his money, then Sheriff Al Lamberti is a friend of the working man: recently, he's been both shootin' and bowlin' to collect contributions for his reelection campaign.
He also handed out BMW-friendly bumper stickers to a bunch of bluehairs at a Greek taverna. Covering all the bases, we guess. In fact, the only demographic group he doesn't seem to be actively courting is New Times readers.
But Scott Israel, who breezed through the primary to challenge Lamberti for a second time, is implying that Lamberti's department cajoles its own deputies to shell out for the boss man.
On Saturday, when you might expect a sheriff to be giving safety briefings on the then-approaching Tropical Storm Isaac, Lamberti was staying out of the rain at Diamond Strike Lanes in Pompano Beach. The event: a $30-a-person bowling fundraiser. Unfortunately, last-minute storm preparations (and a lack of $30) kept the Pulp from attending the event, but it seems like a success.
"It was a great deal for bowlers & an important cause," wrote one supporter on Lamberti's heavily trafficked Facebook page. "Thanks for the invite Sheriff Al, but I have a funeral to go to," said another.
Elsewhere on Facebook, Israel was stirring up trouble with talk of internal contributions within the BSO. On August 23, he published an "open letter to the men and women of BSO," saying, "I want to go on record as stating that I would never allow any employee to contribute money to a future campaign of mine." He continued:
I was extremely disappointed to hear that members of command staff held a recent fundraiser for the Sheriff whereby members of the agency were invited to attend via their personal emails. BSO employees began to immediately ponder: what happens if I don't contribute? Will I remain in my current position? Will I lose out on the next opportunity for promotion? Any practice that allows for individuals to be intimidated into contributing money out of fear of reprisals must be eliminated.I have been contacted by many individuals and asked if I were going to hire certain individuals and remove other individuals from high ranking positions. Often times specific blogs were cited as the source of information... I assuredly will make some changes and take the agency in a different direction. That has to happen. I have never had any discussions with any individual regarding being invited to join my staff, nor have I ever discussed having a current BSO employee being asked to leave the agency.
Both candidates list many contributions from the "law enforcement" sector, which likely includes some current and former colleagues.
Israel has also taken a different tack, enlisting the support of dozens of bail bond agents due to personal friendships in the industry. It's rumored, perhaps on those "specific blogs" Israel cited above, that he'd seek to weaken or dismantle the court-run pretrial release program to put more people into the hands of bond agents.
An incumbent is simply liable for some kinds of accusations that a challenger doesn't have to deal with -- for example, the ins and outs of how Lamberti runs his department when he's not off rolling a clean strike at the bowling alley. And some of the higher-ups in the BSO owe every ounce of their livelihood to Lamberti, so we'd expect to see them donating in force.