the ether for months finally dropped today -with
a loud thud heard all throughout Broward
With it, an opportunity to make Broward's civic
society and troublesome County government more
accountable and transparent to the beleaguered
taxpayers it purports to serve, will get the fair
chance it's been largely denied of late.
Since I've written about him here any number
of times before, it's not exactly much of a secret
that I'm a fan of Pembroke Pines Commissioner
Angelo Castillo, and have been hoping that,
regardless of what decision DWR made this Spring
about her own political future, he would endeavor
to throw his name into the ring and enter the
District 8 Commission race, a district which
includes a sliver of northwest Hallandale Beach.
Well, now that my hope has actually become
a reality, in the coming days and weeks, I hope
to share with you here some thoughts on which
of the many savvy, common sense ideas of his
I believe can make a positive difference in
resolving Broward's very frayed social and
ethical nerves and short-sighted economic funk.
You can laugh if you like, but I think that the
positive difference that one good man with
foresight, integrity and conviction can make
at a time of great political crisis, will, in the
long run, be proven out when Angelo Castillo
The Herald posted the story below online after
midnight this morning, the Sun-Sentinel at
Map of Broward County Commission District 8 is here:
By Amy Sherman
Broward County Commissioner Diana Wasserman-Rubin will announce at the end of Tuesday's commission meeting that she will not seek reelection due to her struggle with Parkinson's disease -- and not because of the investigation by the Broward State Attorney's Office into her business dealings.
Wasserman-Rubin, 63, has been a trailblazer in Broward politics. She was the first Hispanic School Board member elected countywide and, later, the county's first Hispanic mayor. But the Southwest Ranches resident has been the subject of rumors for months that she would step down or not seek reelection due to her health or the investigation that appears to relate to her husband's grant-writing work.
By stepping aside, Wasserman-Rubin will leave her Southwest Broward commission district -- which includes portions of Pembroke Pines and Miramar -- the only one with an open election contest this fall. Pembroke Pines City Commissioner Angelo Castillo, a Democrat, is expected to jump into the race and face Republican Christopher Max Ziadie, a Toys `R' Us manager from Pembroke Pines.
In January, Broward State Attorney's Office spokesman Ron Ishoy revealed that his office was investigating ``the business dealings of Commissioner Wasserman-Rubin and that subpoenas have been issued.''
The subpoenas seek records over a 10-year period involving Richard Rubin, the commissioner's husband. Rubin has done planning or grant-writing work for several Broward cities, though he no longer does work in the county. In 2008, Wasserman-Rubin paid $15,000 civil penalty and restitution for violating state ethics laws after voting for a grant her husband wrote.
She has said she did not know he would earn extra income, and that she routinely supported such projects within her district.
The news about the current Wasserman-Rubin investigation coincided with renewed interest in Broward ethics reform after the September arrests of County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion, School Board member Beverly Gallagher and former Miramar City Commissioner Fitzroy Salesman -- all charged in separate federal corruption probes.
Eggelletion pleaded guilty and was sentenced last month to more than two years in prison, Gallagher pleaded guilty last month and awaits sentencing in June, while Salesman's trial is underway.
Wasserman-Rubin said she had not spoken to prosecutors about their investigation and said her decision to not run for reelection to the $92,000-a-year job was unrelated to that case.
She said she was diagnosed with Parkinson's about six years ago. She shared the news with family members and friends but not publicly because she felt she could still perform her county job.
But Wasserman-Rubin said that as her symptoms became more obvious, she decided it was time to focus on her health. She said her doctor ``felt I would feel better if I didn't have the pressure I had with this particular job.''
She said she wants to become an advocate for Parkinson's treatment and research. The disease is a neurodegenerative brain disorder that typically progresses slowly, according to the National Parkinson Foundation.
"There is no advocacy for Parkinson's in Broward,'' said Wasserman-Rubin, who hopes to help establish a place where those with the disease or their caregivers can turn for support.
She said she would fully participate in her job until the November election.
Wasserman-Rubin, who was born in Havana and moved to Florida as a teenager, fell into politics.
When a seat opened up on the South Broward Hospital District board in 1984, then-Pembroke Pines Mayor Charles Flanagan wanted to appoint his lawyer, Jeff Wasserman. But when he heard then-Gov. Bob Graham wanted to appoint a woman, Flanagan asked Wasserman's wife at the time -- Diana -- to apply.
"My first reaction was, `What do I know about healthcare?' '' she told the Miami Herald in 1988. She applied -- and got the spot.
In 1988, Wasserman-Rubin was elected to the School Board. She won a spot on the County Commission in 2000 and was chosen by her peers to serve as the county's first mayor -- a largely ceremonial post -- in 2002. She remains the only Hispanic on the nine-member commission, which includes one other minority: Al Jones, who is black.
Wasserman-Rubin's announcement allows other potential candidates enough time to jump in before the official qualifying period in June. The news is expected to lead to a flurry of political activity to fill the seat in a district that leans heavily Democratic and is split among whites, blacks and Hispanics.
Pembroke Pines City Commissioner Angelo Castillo is president of Broward House -- an agency that serves people with HIV and AIDS. Castillo has close relationships with the key voting bloc of Democratic retirees in his city, and was easily reelected in March.
Barbara Sharief, a black woman and owner of a home healthcare business who lost a race against Wasserman-Rubin in 2006 and was elected to the Miramar City Commission last year, has also been mentioned as a potential candidate.
County Commission District 8 includes portions of Weston, Southwest Ranches, Miramar, Pembroke Pines, Pembroke Park, Hallandale Beach and West Park.
Castillo Running For County Commission
By Buddy Nevins
Pembroke Pines Commissioner Angelo Castillo didn’t wait long – about seven hours to be precise.
Castillo filed to run for the seat being abandoned by Diana Wasserman-Rubin just before 2 p.m. on Monday.
Read the rest of the post at
Wasserman-Rubin Will Quit Commission; Castillo, Others Looking At Race
By Buddy Nevins
April 5, 2010
Mayo on the Side blog
Will Geller switch races to replace Wasserman-Rubin?
Posted by Michael Mayo
April 5, 2010