Broward's Worst Politicians, Part I

With the August 24 election looming, I decided I'm going to do an occasional series wherein I denounce those politicians who should either be run out of office on a rail or never make it there in the first place.

Call them anti-endorsements.

My first choice for a lifetime far, far away from public service is Sunrise Mayor Roger Wishner. He thinks he's going to be able to raise enough money from his special interest pals to win the election even though he has screwed the public over and over again. Don't let him get away with it.

I once called Wishner a "man whore." I am not proud of it. Sometimes I even begin to almost regret being so harsh, but then Wishner, like clockwork, reminds me of why I was right.

This is a politico who's proven repeatedly that he's willing to sell out his office for campaign contributions, a well-heeled friend, or worse. The funny thing is, I never had that big of a problem with Wishner until one issue showed me his true colors: the Everglades Corporate Park.

Here was a guy who clearly sold out his city -- and a little piece of the Everglades -- to developers and Ruden McClosky lobbyist Dennis Mele. He took thousands in campaign contributions during a Ruden fundraiser and strongly backs the giant development, which would be an immediate blight on the west side of the Sawgrass Expressway.

There are certain make-and-break moments for politicians. Everglades Corporate Park broke any chance that Wishner could have credibility as a politician. But then he went off and did the Green Now thing, where he backed a stinking garbage dump in the city for a friend of his who actually hired his staunchest political ally, Sunrise Commissioner Don Rosen (another abject failure of a public servant).

If you judge someone by the company he keeps, Wishner would be classified immediately as slime. First, remember that he made the decisive vote to keep Russ Klenet on the city's payroll as its

lobbyist. That's right, Sunrise was in a good position to get rid of Mr. Stacy Ritter and Wishner got in the way of it. Perhaps even worse, he hired political pond scum Marty Rubinstein to help his campaign. Rubinstein, a former Broward School Board member, is perhaps the lowest breed of operative there is.

But then, in politics there has never been honor among thieves. Where Rubinstein is truly devious and insipid is in the realm of journalism. He runs a blog in which he pretends to be an honest observer but where he actually serves as a propagandist for politicians who pay him. He did it in a big-time way for the since-indicted Patricia Atkins-Grad, using every dirty trick in the book to try to character-assassinate her opponent, Patti Lynn. He blogged about her all the time, not bothering to tell his readers that Atkins-Grad was paying him.

Now he's on Wishner's payroll and doing the same thing, criticizing his chief opponent, Michael Ryan, at a regular clip, not bothering to tell people that he's working for Wishner's campaign (at least that I've seen). And all the while, he fawns over Wishner in his posts.

This isn't hardball; it's gutterball, pure and simple. Rubinstein is everywhere these days, at all kinds of neighborhood meetings, seemingly always pushing Wishner, acting like he's just a well-meaning citizen. He's not. Just a few days ago he was spotted putting fliers on cars at the National Night Out Against Crime celebration at the Civic Center. The guy is also on the payroll of Sunrise Commissioner Larry Sofield's campaign. He's also done consulting work for Broward County School Board candidate Travis Williamson (and didn't disclose the fact when he endorsed Williamson on his bogus blog). 

He's a busy guy -- and here's the kicker on Rubinstein. He's doing it all while collecting federal disability. He's officially not allowed to work a full-time job (I added italicized section after Rubenstein noted he's allowed to work some).

ADDED: Bottom line is that Rubinstein has no integrity as a political operative or a blogger and combines them in a way that is completely unethical.  

OK, feels good to get that off my chest. Carry on.

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Bob Norman
Contact: Bob Norman