Hallandale Beach Blog -A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt., public policy, sports scene and pop culture of the U.S., South Florida and Europe, especially the UK and Sweden. In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura. 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.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Poor Maurice Ferre - He never imagined his political career would end with him losing to the likes of a no-talent like Kendrick Meek; The lasting ethical lessons of the late Bill Sadowski, the FL pol who might've fundamentally changed FL for the better if he'd ever been elected Governor

Above, August 24, 2010 photo of Maurice Ferre for U.S. Senate poster on A1A in Hollywood, FL by South Beach Hoosier.At some point over the past three days, Maurice Ferre must've surely wondered to himself: "How did it happen that my political career ended losing to the likes of a no-talent like Kendrick Meek?"

How could he not?


Once upon a time, if you has asked "the experts" around the Sunshine State which Hispanic-surnamed Florida politician was most-likely to get elected to the U.S. Senate first, the vast majority of them would have said Maurice Ferre, hands down, even if they didn't like that prospect personally.


Mel Martinez?
Who the hell is that?

But fate, circumstances and reality intervene and... well, things don't always work out the way you thought they would, and many people who thought it would happen for Ferre at least twenty-five years ago now see it will never happen.

I got to wondering about that not long after I'd voted on Tuesday in the Florida Democratic primary over at the Hallandale Beach Cultural Center, and was on my way up to Hollywood to see what was going on up at Hollywood Beach, since it was so dead outside the polls in HB.


In a just a few minutes I was up at the Hollywood Cultural and Community Center on State RoadA1A/South Ocean Drive and Azalea Terrace, which is connected to a Broward County Library Reading Room, un mignon of a library.
(Extra credit if you're reading this now and recall that "Mignon" was the name of Lisa Douglas's dog the first year she and Oliver lived in Hooterville in the fabulous "Green Acres," one of my all-time favorite TV shows.)


It was while walking around the center and looking for something interesting to shoot besides the sweating campaign workers milling around that I first spotted the Maurice Ferre campaign sign taped to a post, the first time I'd seen one anywhere in Southeast Broward County.
Which is telling of how things have gone.

And it was then and there that it hit me how Ferre must feel after all his years in politics and that famous line of T.S. Elliot finally crashing down upon him: Not with a bang but a whimper.



All August 24th, 2010 photos below by South Beach Hoosier.









Sometimes, when I see how clueless everyone in Tallahassee seems to be to the reality of the bleak economic circumstances of this state and the lack of strong articulate leadership, some of it a direct result of their ill-informed and backwards policies, I think about what if... Bill Sadowski hadn't died in that plane crash in 1992, and was governor now?

Instead, we have in Gov. Charlie Crist, the most self-involved and selfish governor since my family moved to this state in 1968, a person for whom ambition is, for now, a substitute for a well-developed personality, though in that regard, as we all know to our regret, he has much in common with far too many elected officials in South Florida, who long ago gave up the ghost for serving others before themselves, as well as many who now seek to gain office locally.

The myopic political hacks with their palms out-stretched who are like kudzu to our civic dreams and responsibilities, forever getting themselves entwined in places they don't belong.

In my mind, none of Crist's wannabe replacements are half the caliber of a Bill Sadowski.

Instead, we have myopic, self-involved, genuflecting, flawed mental midgets as far as the eye can see.
Quel dommage!

St. Petersburg Times
The legacy of Bill Sadowski
By Martin Dyckman
March 21, 2004

TALLAHASSEE - Whenever someone writes about how much lobbyists spend to influence the Legislature - as my colleague Lucy Morgan did this month - the winers and diners plaintively insist that they don't discuss actual legislation over good food and drink. It's only about getting to know one another, they say.

That's probably true. But it misses the point.

As the lobbyist and legislator perfect their friendship, it's awfully easy for both of them to forget who's not at the table. You have to suspend belief in human nature to accept the notion that this doesn't matter when the time comes to vote.

Not a workday goes by during a session without at least one major lobby hosting a luncheon, cocktail reception or dinner. The biggest by far is the grand garden party Associated Industries stages at its palace just a few doors from the governor's mansion on the evening before the Legislature convenes. Thousands of people go to see and be seen, and to take note of which lobbies are paying for it.

The late Frank Trippett, this newspaper's first bureau chief in Tallahassee, captured the significance in his 1967 book, The States: United They Fell:

"By providing and financing lavish entertainment (liquor, women, breakfasts, lunches, dinners, banquets, balls) the true constituency establishes itself as the host at the state Capitol. It dramatizes its position as the well-spring of bounty and power and affluence, and by casting the Legislature in the role of guest it dramatizes through the social charade the command which it exercises over the Legislature in other substantial ways . . . By accepting the role of guest the Legislature similarly dramatizes its actual role as an intimate and affectionately subservient adjunct of the true constituency."

Once in a while there are legislators who don't play the role. One of the best of them was Bill Sadowski of Miami, who served in the House from 1976 to 1982, when he chose to leave so that he could watch his children grow up, and who died in a plane crash in 1992 while serving as Gov. Lawton Chiles' secretary of community affairs. He was only 48.

He had never allowed the lobbyists to buy him meals or drinks, but that didn't mean he disrespected them. To the contrary, he wrote a 16-point creed for legislative service in which respect for the right to lobby was high on the list.

Lobbyists were perfectly welcome in his office but he thought it was better for everyone if they kept the relationship at arm's length. He brought his family to Tallahassee every session and went home to them instead of to the party circuit. Invited to the home of an old friend who had become a lobbyist, he refused to go until his wife, Jean, persuaded him that taking a bottle of Grand Marnier would set it right.

"He felt like there's a place for lobbyists, but you don't have to do wining and dining," she explained the other day.

If you were to ask the veteran lobbyists, I think they'd tell you they never met a legislator they respected more than Bill Sadowski.

And here's an encouraging sign about the future of your Florida House of Representatives. On the second day of the session, Majority Leader Marco Rubio, R-West Miami, put on every member's desk a copy of the 16 principles that Bill wrote in 1982 for freshman members of the Miami-Dade delegation.

These are some of them: "Always respect another person's right to hold their own views . . . Avoid taking a position on an issue until you have talked to persons on both sides of the issue . . . Do not rely on others to adequately educate you on an issue. They will frequently have a bias . . . Public office is a public trust, both legally and conceptually. Never violate that trust . . . Your family is a source of strength and a point of real world contact. Preserve and protect that strength at all costs . . . You have two constituencies: one that elects you and one that you serve. The one that you serve consists of all the citizens of Florida . . . You are a politician in a democracy. Take pride in that. Use your office to generate public debate on important issues of the day."

Rubio, who never met Sadowski, said he was impressed by the creed because "They're great ideas." This matters because Rubio, 34, is in line to be House speaker for the two years beginning November 2007. He couldn't find better advice on how to use that power.

Though he supports term limits, he acknowledges that "one of the things you lose is access to mentors . . . to individuals who are grounded in the system." He particularly regrets that few legislators seem to take the time to know each other as people before they find themselves doing battle across a committee table. Sadowski's creed speaks to all that.

Because of term limits, there are no House members and only four senators who were here when Florida's affordable housing act was named for him, posthumously, in honor of his efforts to enact it. Let's hope his creed guides them as they vote on whether to let the governor kill the trust fund and siphon off the money.

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