Broward News

Lobbyists a Wedge Issue in Hollywood

Maybe Hollywood Commissioner Beam Furr is right that an ordinance to ban private commissioner meetings with lobbyists is "unconstitutional." But it's still a shrewd move by Mayor Peter Bober and Commissioner Heidi O'Sheehan to champion the legislation. Or rather, to force their less savory colleagues to effectively vote for lobbyists -- a demographic despised only slightly less than sex offenders and journalists.

Now in the next election, the challengers to those five pro-lobbyist commissioners can use the vote in their campaigns: Hollywood's been hosed by commissioners who favor lobbyists, and your commissioner is part of the problem.

Yes, as Bober said at yesterday's meeting, there is a perception of "backroom dealing" at Hollywood City Hall. But practically speaking, an ordinance is not the best way to address it. The best way is to stop backroom dealing -- and that simply calls for more responsible governance from the city commissioners. In other words, a conscience.

Keep an eye on campaign contributions. Not just those of Furr and Commissioners Linda Sherwood, Patty Assef, Richard Blattner, and Fran Russo, who all voted against restricting lobbyist meetings. Watch the campaign finance reports of whomever runs against Bober and O'Sheehan. Here's betting those candidates are bankrolled by lobbyists.