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Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by me, South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, April 5, 2010

As Diana Wasserman-Rubin goes buh-bye, will Angelo Castillo be the ethical White Knight to help slay Broward's corruption dragon?

The political shoe that's been floating out there in
the ether for months finally dropped today -with
a loud thud heard all throughout Broward
County
.

W
ith 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
wins.

The
Herald posted the story below online after
midnight this morning, the
Sun-Sentinel
at
3:01 a.m.

Map of Broward County Commission District 8 is here:
http://gis.broward.org/maps/webPDFs/CommissionDistricts/comdist8.pdf

-----

Miami Herald

http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/04/04/1563465/leader-opting-out-of-run-for-reelection.html

County commissioner opting out of run for reelection

By Amy Sherman

April 5, 2010

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.

ETHICS REFORM

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.''

NEW ADVOCACY

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.

POSSIBLE CANDIDATES

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.

-----

Broward Beat
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
http://www.browardbeat.com/castillo-running-for-county-commission/

See also:

Wasserman-Rubin Will Quit Commission; Castillo, Others Looking At Race
By Buddy Nevins
April 5, 2010
http://www.browardbeat.com/sources-wasserman-rubin-will-quit-commission/

and

Mayo on the Side
blog
Will Geller switch races to replace Wasserman-Rubin?
Posted by Michael Mayo
April 5, 2010

http://weblogs.sun-sentinel.com/news/columnists/mayo/blog/2010/04/will_geller_switch_races_to_re.html

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Hallandale Beach Blog is where I try to inject or superimpose a degree of accountability, transparency and insight onto Florida and local Broward County government and public policy issues, which I feel is sorely lacking in local media now. On this blog, locally, I concentrate my energy, enthusiasm, anger and laser-like attention on the coastal cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood and Aventura.

If you lived in this part of South Florida, you'd ALREADY be stuck in stultifying traffic, paying higher-than-necessary taxes and continually musing about the chronic lack of accountability among not only elected govt. officials, but also of city, county and state employees as well. Collectively, with a few rare exceptions, they couldn't be farther from the sort of strong results-oriented, eager work-ethic mentality that local residents deserve and expect. But seldom if ever see...

This is particularly true in the Broward County city I live in, the City of Hallandale Beach, north of Aventura and south of Hollywood and right on the Atlantic Ocean. Here, the "Perfect Storm" of years of apathy, incompetency and cronyism are all too readily apparent. Sadly for its beleaguered residents, HB is where even easily-solved, quality-of-life problems are left to fester for YEARS on end, because of myopia, lack of common sense and ineffective supervisory management. It's a city with tremendous potential because of its terrific location and well-educated populace, yet its citizens have almost become numb to HB City Hall's frequent outrages and screw-ups, the result of YEARS of the worst kind of mismanagement and lack of foresight. On a daily basis, residents and Small Business owners wake up and see the same old problems that have never being adequately resolved by the city in a logical and responsible fashion, merely kicked -once again- further down the road for others to solve in the future.

I used to ask myself, not always rhetorically, "Where are all the enterprising young reporters who want to show that through their own hard work and enterprise, what REAL investigative reporting can produce?" Hearing no response, I decided to start a blog of my own that could try to do some of these things, taking the p.o.v. of a reasonable-but-skeptical person seeing the situation for the first time with fresh eyes, and wanting questions answered in a honest and logical way that citizens have the right to expect.

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Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard)
Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard) wearing the teal-colored Miami Dolphins cap I gave her in January 2013 (in Stockholm) while recording her 2nd album, "The Grazing Grounds" at Sandkvie Studios in Visby, Gotland, Sweden. Also pictured here are sound engineer and co-producer Linus Larsson and musician/DJ/co-producer Mats Jönsson, April 12, 2013.Click the photo to see her videos, read my blog posts and Tweets about her and learn more about this dynamic and original talent with personality to spare!

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In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation

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"In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation." -South Beach Hoosier, 2007.