Two Important Stories

The first is basically just a brief by Breanne Gilpatrick in the Miami Herald, but it's essential to understanding government in Broward County. It's so short I'll include it here:

Potential Broward county commissioners who lobby other local governments won't need to worry about giving up their side jobs, after the county's Charter Review Commission rejected a proposed referendum to ban the practice.

The ballot measure, which died in a 10-7 vote, would have prevented commissioners from lobbying Broward's School Board, cities and hospital districts on behalf of a private client, but not for the county itself.

County Commissioner Sue Gunzburger urged the government reform panel to approve the proposed ban on Wednesday.

''If I'm selling widgets and I go to the city of Hallandale Beach to sell widgets on behalf of my client,'' Gunzburger said, ``I think I have a lot more influence because at one point Mayor [Joy] Cooper might want to come to the County Commission.''

Supporters also pointed out that county commissioners making $92,000 a year probably don't need to moonlight.

But opponents said they didn't want to exclude potential commission candidates.

''We need to look at how we might affect someone's profession and how we might prohibit a certain profession from participating in the process,'' said Charter Review Commission member Hazelle Rogers, who is also a Lauderdale Lakes city commissioner.

Several commissioners have used their clout as commissioners to lobby other municipalities and it has always stunk. Wish I had the time to track down the votes and see which commissioners had their appointees strike down this good rule, but all I have now is Hazelle Rogers, one of the worst politicians in the county. The Lauderdale Lakes commissioner was appointed by Josephus Eggelletion, who, surprise, has done his share of sleazy lobbying on the side. Note to Rogers: Influence peddling is not a "profession." You get what you vote for, Broward.

The next must-read story is this one by Jim DeFede. Not just because it's his first attempt at long-form journalism in years, but because it's an interesting story about Shawn Labeet, a dangerous SOB who should have been jailed a long before he killed a Miami-Dade cop and shot three others in September.

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Bob Norman
Contact: Bob Norman