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The Broward County Commission Is A Nest Of Whores

I've decided to go with more blunt and truthful headlines ... can you tell?

The inspiration for this one is the passing of lobbyist Ron Book's initiative to bring more money to the county's bail bondsmen at the expense of our tax dollars. Book, who represents the bondsmen, has been working on the commission to curtail the successful pretrial release program so that more people have to pay bail. The disgusting part: Book is also employed by the county commission as a paid lobbyist, pulling in about $50,000 a year from taxpayers. Click here to read all about it.

I was the first to write about the pretrial issue last month -- and really hoped that my burst of reporting on the idiocy of the measure would shame the clowns on the commission into voting against it. Nah. They passed it anyway (read Dan Christensen's excellent piece in the Miami Herald here/Michael Mayo also weighed in).

I want to make clear that the bondsmen provide a good service and are to be respected. They're just looking out for themselves, which is understandable. Book, too, is just doing his job, as odious as it often is. And he's terribly good at it.

It's the county commissioners who swear to uphold the public's trust and, here, once again, they've failed miserably. Ilene Lieberman, Joe Eggelletion, and John Rodstrom, in particular, played the role of scurrilous dogs in this one. And can someone tell me how in the hell Diana Wasserman-Rubin, a do-nothing commissioner who sold out her seat to pad her husband's wallet in Southwest Ranches a few years ago, is still sitting on that dais? My God this place is a joke. I won't mention the mayor (she's gotten enough ink here lately). You might expect more from Suzanne Gunzburger, but why? She's got fleas like the rest of them. Gunzburger actually wrote an amendment to make it harder for judges to do their jobs (thank Christensen for that little nugget). Gunzburger just happens to be running against Steve Geller in what is anticipated as a brutal race for her seat. And this stinks of Gunzburger putting her campaign over her oath. Suddenly Geller is sounding a whole lot better as an alternative.

It should be noted that Kristin Jacobs and Lois Wexler provided the only votes against the measure, so good on them. 

Why would the commission sell out the public for Book? Well, he expends a good portion of the $50,000 that the county pays him each year for lobbying in Tallahassee on campaign contributions for the ... county commissioners. Then he turns around and lobbies them for his private clients. See how that works? A nice little corrupt circle, which is why most governments have ordinances outlawing the practice. He's also, as I said, very good at what he does, and commands huge political capital and huge amounts of political cash from his clients.

The public -- and those inmates -- never stood a chance.

-- Mayo gets two shout-outs on this post. Read his post on Judge Larry Seidlin's appearance on Good Morning America here. Diane Sawyer has lost the last shred of respect I still had for her. I like Mayo's "Cryin' Seidlin" nickname. May steal it.  

-- Things are so bad at the Sun-Sentinel that the City of Tamarac shut off the water in the newspaper's bureau in that town yesterday for failure to pay the bill, according to several sources.  

Okay, it appears to have just been an oversight. The water service was restored after a while, but not before some staffers -- there are only two reporters left in the bureau, so most of them are in advertising, etc-- had to flee the building to urinate at their homes or a nearby McDonald's.

There's got to be some symbolic value in that.

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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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