Bob Norman's Pulp

Broward Politics: Turning Red Into Blue (and a Weather Babe Exclusive)

You want to hear some political B.S.? 

Just listen to Broward County Commissioner Stacy Ritter when she opens her mouth to talk. Here's what she said yesterday during a discussion about the new courthouse: 

​RITTER: "Every time someone on this dais says the voters voted down the courthouse, I'm going to remind everybody that the voters never voted on this particular project. In 2006, the voters voted against a $450 million bond which has nothing to do with the current courthouse project which this board approved last year."

See? The voters were only against a bond to pay for a new courthouse -- not against paying for the a new courthouse directly with their tax dollars. Plus, the courthouse that the commission pushed through costs only $320 million -- hardly an expense at all. So stop this crazy talk about people voting down the courthouse.

Here's a little syllogism: 

Anyone who uses that argument is a charlatan. 
Stacy Ritter uses that argument. 
Therefore, Stacy Ritter is a charlatan.

It's a good thing the commission now has some people on it who challenge such bunk. We don't know how Chip LaMarca will turn out, but so far, he's doing just fine, a huge improvement over Keechl. Here's what he said to Ritter after she made her asinine statement. 

LAMARCA: "The voters did vote against a $450 million project. What I've always said is the courthouse is a mess. The courthouse needs rebuilding, rehabbing, a lot of work. It's a bad situation, but the bottom line is this board prior to where we are right now could have put this out to the voters, could have said: Listen, put a new ball initiative out there and say it's $320 million... It's great marketing, and put it back out to the voters. The fact is it's not our money. We didn't make it, but we spend it." 

It's a good thing there are three Republicans on the board now to bring balance. Of course, two of those Republicans -- John Rodstrom and Barbara Sharief -- are now Democrats, but hey, welcome to Broward County, where red is blue. All three right now are adding some common sense to offset the air-headed madness permeated by the self-entitled Dems sitting on the board. 

-- NPR weighs in on Florida's "Oxy Express," with mentions of our esteemed sheriff and Gov. Rick Scott's head-scratching opposition to the prescription pill database.  

-- Inside, we shift gears to a woman many claim to be the hottest weather babe in town.

The weathercaster in question is Julie Durda, a former San Francisco 49s cheerleader and contestant on The Bachelor who is now a full-time employee at WSVN-Channel 7.

Durda is a minor sensation. Here she is getting low with Flo Rida. 

And she recently engaged in a "Superman and Superwoman Challenge" at Billy Budd. Here's the video: 

It was a nice plug for Billy Beck Training Center in Sunrise, especially when Durda said, "Billy and his staff know their stuff; they helped me take my fitness to a whole new level." But here's the catch. Durda's husband, Brian Francis, works on that staff as a trainer for Billy Beck. Maybe there should have been a little disclaimer, eh? 

Ah, that's just a journalism misdemeanor. Just two weeks after that segment was filmed, Durda, under the name Julie Francis, filed for divorce after just nine months of marriage. Her lawyer, by the way, is former Sunrise Mayor Steven Effman. 

Watch out, Julie -- Effman has a very sordid history when it comes to his female divorce clients. I'll conclude this post with a passage from the Sun-Sentinel in 2003, when Effman dropped out of a state House race due to a sex scandal. 

The report was so descriptive -- written by former news columnist Buddy Nevins -- I had to include the brunt of it:

​[Effman] pleaded guilty to a Florida Bar complaint Friday, admitting he had inappropriate relationships with three divorce clients. He agreed to be suspended from practicing law for 91 days. 

Effman earlier signed an out-of-court settlement which paid $470,000 to a fourth law client who said he forced her to have sex, but she was not part of the Bar complaint.

In sworn statements to the Florida Bar obtained by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Effman is portrayed as a serial harasser who turned his law office into a playground for his sexual fantasies. 

Clinton and Monica Lewinsky were pikers compared to Effman. It's all there in black and white. 

Distraught women came to Effman in one of the most emotional periods of their lives. They wanted his help to gain custody of their children. They wanted his help to get money and property that was rightfully theirs. 

These women needed guidance. They needed advice. They needed comfort. 

What the women got were leers, suggestions, pawing, sex.

I will not mention the women's names. Effman has made them suffer enough. 

"He offered to give me a massage. And he massaged my neck and then his hand went down the front of my dress," testified one woman about a meeting in Effman's law office. 

This woman said, "The first time that it went completely towards a sexual act, I felt like I had no choice... I felt like if I said anything against him, either he would quit as my attorney and he could possibly get me fired from my job."

Another woman was asked by a Bar attorney: "Did Mr. Effman lead you to believe that by having sexual relations with him he would do a better job on your case?"

"Yes," was her answer.

She became pregnant. 

"What did he tell you when you told him you were pregnant?" she was asked. 

"He was not helpful in any way," she testified. "He said, well, you're going to have to go and take care of that... And I did."

She got an abortion. 

"He didn't offer to help me with that expense," she said. "He didn't console me in any way."

And, the women testified, in the ultimate act of titanic gall, Effman billed them for the time they were in his office having sex. 

"He billed me for the time I was in his office, regardless of what we were doing in there," a woman testified. 

"Your belief is you were billed for having sexual relations with him?" she was asked.

"Uh-huh... yes," she said. 

Effman is repentant in his testimony.

"I want to clearly apologize for this conduct," he testified. 

"I acknowledge that I had inappropriate personal and intimate relationships with the [three women]," Effman told the Bar. "They began during my representation of these women and continued, in the case of [one woman], for over a year after the representation ended." 

That long-term relationship ended only when Effman's wife, long-time west Broward political insider Barbara Effman, "overheard me speaking to [her] on the cell phone," he told the Bar.

Seriously, what's a lawyer got to do to get disbarred around here?    

Follow The Daily Pulp on Twitter: @TheDailyPulp.

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Bob Norman
Contact: Bob Norman