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Commissioner Ritter's Bunker Mentality

Stacy Ritter seems to be retreating deeper and deeper into perhaps the only place that takes her seriously as a politician anymore.

No, it's not her bedroom closet but a place even more suspended from the real world, a place where voter ignorance isn't a problem but a path to victory. It's the Kings Point Condos, the political heart of Tamarac, which itself is the heart of political corruption in Broward County.

Ritter has made multiple trips to Kings Point of late to rally the troops. Or is she trying to rally herself? Whatever it is, she's obviously starting to worry that the truth about her conflicts of interest with her lobbyist/husband and the fact that she's under criminal investigation are starting to seep even into deeply propagandized mindmeld of Democratic (note big D) Tamarac.

So she goes there and tells the senior citizens to basically not believe anything they read and instead just trust what she says.

Kings Point itself is where former Tamarac Commissioner Marc Sultanoff holds court. He's one of the five commissioners who voted for the housing project pushed by the dirty developers, Bruce and Shawn Chait. He's also part of the ongoing state criminal investigation. Also prominent at the condo is Norma Goldstein, who was such a good political organizer for Ritter's campaigns that the commissioner put her on the county payroll as an assistant. Her assistant in what, we're still trying to figure out.

Ritter has made a few visits lately to Kings Point to give speeches to the party faithful. There she laments that she's a misunderstood corruption fighter. (Somehow people got it mixed up and think she's corrupt!). And she blames her problems, including that pesky state corruption investigation that's digging into her business, on the media.

Inside I've posted a couple of videos with highlights from her visits (which were posted by Ritter's own camp), but first I want to say another thing about those condos, not just Kings Point but also Wynmoor, Century Village, and the rest. If the overall voter turnout is as low as some think it will be, then they could carry the day. And if that happens, then it looks like it might be a bad day for real reformers like School Board candidate Nick Sakhnovsky. His opponent, Jennifer Gottlieb, is of course another darling of the condos.

Another scenario would be that the people in Broward County have truly had enough corruption, have taken the time to find out the truth, and will come out in big numbers and vote the bastards out on Tuesday.

Talk about a fantasy.

Click inside for the vids, with summaries, if you're so inclined.

This is from last month. Note that it's Sultanof who introduces her ("This is our lovely lady, Stacy Ritter," he says). She talks about her sister's wedding ("55 years old, never been married, never been asked. Yep, wow, huh? I know people say, 'What's wrong with her?'") and briefly complains that the wedding destroyed her vacation plans. "So I'm stuck here in July in Florida which really isn't a great place to be in the summer," she grouses. Poor Stacy, she has to stick out the Florida summer like the rest of us stupid plebes this year. I know she's used to those long and luxurious European vacations.

She points out her assistant Norma Goldstein, of course. She talks about the fact that she Tweets (you can read her Tweets here; she needs followers). She talks about the internet and how people are Tweeting each other (which she thinks sounds gross).

She somehow refrains from talking about how unfairly she's being treated until a vague reference at the end. "I don't like all the crap we have to take, but I love this job."

Fast-forward a month to this past Wednesday and she was back again. Oh, and before I forget, here's a link to Tom Francis' post on the Juice blog about her trip to Kings Point last year when she tried to explain away her lobbyist/husband Russ Klenet's work with Ponzi schemer Joel Steinger, the $100,000 renovation of her home, and her vote on a bill pushed by Klenet aimed at protecting Steinger from regulators.

Here's the video:

Here again Sultanof introduces her, but this time, Ritter starts right off on the defensive, immediately attacking the media, telling the seniors that they won't find out what's going on "in the papers." Message: Don't listen to what the media is saying; I'm the only one who will tell you the truth.

Then she told a ridiculous version of the way that ethics reform came to be, taking all kinds of credit that she doesn't deserve. She doesn't mention the commission's attempts to kneecap the work of the ethics commission at all. That would be part of those lies told in the papers. She defended the "Ritter Amendment" that, if passed, will outlaw anonymous complaints and complaints based on newspaper reports and allow the inspector general to go after citizens who make false complaints.

Ritter also touts the fact that her amendment -- along with a ballot question from another investigated commissioner, Ilene Lieberman -- will put city officials under the inspector general's power as well.  

"Honestly there have been more city elected officials that have been arrested than county elected officials that have been arrested," said Ritter. "And I think that faith in government in general at the local level is at a low point and everybody needs to say, 'Yes, we want to be inspected, we want to be investigated by the inspector general.'"

I have some theories about why Lieberman and Ritter -- the two greatest foes of ethics reform -- want the cities under the thing, but I'll withhold comment until further reporting has been done.

There's more of her defense of her amendment, but it's tiresome. "I am quite frankly at the tender age of 50 sick and tired of reading rumors about what I do and do not do. I am sick and tired of the innuendo that I read in certain publications about what I do and what I do not do. And I would much rather answer your questions either privately or here today than have you believe what is rumor and innuendo. Because unfortunately these days, it seems the only thing that sells papers is rumor and innuendo."

At least she's cleaned up her act a little when it comes to media bashing -- she used to talk about how one certain publication's only useful purpose was as a place to find a "good penis enlarger." Guess the blue stuff doesn't work on the condo circuit. 

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman

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