It's not often that the Pulp mentions Broward politics with a reference to an ethical decision. It's even rarer when mentioning the county mayor's office, which has seemed like a magnet for corruption the past couple of terms. Add Sue Gunzburger's name to that mix and, yeah, we're talking a once-in-a-lifetime post here.
But the mayor named Sue deserves some credit here: She has canceled the annual lobbyist ass kiss that was the mayor's gala, an event the Pulp has criticized for years as a dressed-up example of
Broward Town's pay-to-play system.
"It was a nice event, but I think the general public saw it differently," Gunzburger told the Sentinel's Brittany Wallman. "And perception is everything.''
In this case, the perception and the reality were the same -- the ball was financed by those with business in front of the county, meaning commissioners would ask for a favor from those who would some day be asking for a favor back. The ball had a history of unsavory connections that made it less a gala and more a meeting of the Legion of Doom, with ball gowns.
Take two years ago, when the title sponsor was none other than Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein, who put up $50,000. He was reportedly too sick to attend, so he sent his top lobbyist, Grant Smith, who got up to address the crowd. And why shouldn't he, considering the money his boss had put up to brownnose the Broward power structure?
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It doesn't seem like it could get worse for the ball having Rothstein as the main sponsor, but last year's event may have actually sunk the man who ran it. Then-Mayor Ken Keechl was in a tough reelection bid and facing accusations that he had abandoned his promises of cleaning up the office. Continuing the tradition of the lobbyist ball looked like he'd reneged on his promises of reform, and it may have helped to cost him his seat.
Whatever the reason for the event's cancellation, we'll regret the loss of one thing from the gala -- it provided a trove of photos of politicians cozied up with lobbyists, photographic proof of Broward's everyday workings.