Let's go to the mailbag.
First we'll look at my exchange with Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler. Last week, I wrote that Seiler was aligned with campaign consultant and lobbyist Judy Stern. Then I wrote about Stern's support for the police union in contract negotiations with Seiler's city. Seiler should have known about his friend Stern's position on the issue, especially since he cast the decisive vote to give police and firemen a 5 percent raise this year and another 5 percent over the next two years.
But Seiler sent me the following email questioning Stern's involvement and asked me who told me she played a role. I wrote back telling him that I had learned that Stern was furious with Charlotte Rodstrom's vote against the contract and asked him, "Did [Stern] ever speak to you about it?"
It was a simple question, right? Here's Seiler's reply:
Friday, April 16, 2010 11:19 AM
First, I suspect that thousands of citizens backed the police and fire unions contracts and thousands of citizens opposed the police and fire unions contracts, and I probably communicated with hundreds on both sides of the issue over the last fifteen months.
Second, I communicated with
hundreds of citizens about the potential and actual pension reforms in both labor contracts over the last fifteen months.
Third, I communicated with dozens of elected city and county officials throughout the state about our labor contracts, their labor contracts, the need for pension reforms, etc. over the last fifteen months.
Fourth, I communicated with a few rank and file members of the fire and police unions (very limited and non-specific unscheduled discussions, i.e. at city events, at ceremonies, etc.) about the labor contracts, employee morale, etc. over the last fifteen months.
Despite the foregoing, I don't have any recollection of ever discussing the labor contract terms with Judy Stern.
The only people, other than the dozen or so members of our
-- I also was copied this email from Patti Lynn, a Democratic activist from Tamarac who is one of the true-blue corruption fighters in Broward County. It concerns the groundswell among the political elite to appoint lobbyist Norman Ostrau as inspector general of Broward County, should that position be created. Lynn sent it to the entire Broward County Commission.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Perception is reality. Filling sensitive positions with those folks you already know due to ongoing business relationships may not be the best course of action. I am sure that Mr. Ostrau is a nice enough gentleman, but, let's get real here. His long standing affiliations with the lobbying communities of Broward and Tallahassee should preclude him from your short list of candidates to be Broward's Ethic Commission leader.
ETHICS. The people of Broward County would like their elected officials to be above reproach. If not, there must be someone in the county responsible for seeing that less than above-board conduct is swiftly contained and eliminated. The Ethics Commission leader must be prepared to do just that. Do you believe that Norman Ostrau is the very best candidate for this position? I, for one, am tired of the backroom deals, tainted politics, and pay-for-play.
The resignation of Howard Finkelstein from the Courthouse Task Force is yet another example of what is wrong in our County. If even half of his complaints are valid, then each of you, as a County Commissioner, Vice Mayor, or Mayor should take another look at how you are doing business. And I, as a taxpayer, should continue to examine the beneficiaries of each County Commission action.
Please consider your choices carefully. Some of you are term-limited, so perhaps a voter's opinion may not carry the weight that it should. You were elected to represent the people, not tell them what you think is in their best interest.
Thank you for your consideration,
I love these types of truth-to-power screeds. The county needs more people like Patti Lynn, yet she's on the outs with her own party. When Lynn was recently elected president of the Tamarac Democratic Club, the party chairman, Mitch Ceasar, staged a coup against her with his right-hand woman, Diane Glasser. I'll write more on that later, but it's disgusting inside stuff that further reveals how ethically bankrupt the Democratic Party is in Broward County, one of its key national strongholds.
Until the party cleans up its act, we're just going to get more of the kind of garbage Lynn is railing against.