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Monday, January 10, 2011

Guess what disgraced know-it-all pol came out from under his rock to sound off on Arizona shooting, in his typically condescending way? Larry Smith

Just when you think the myopic drive-by analysis of last week's shooting in Arizona can't get any worse... 'out from under a bubbling crude" comes disgraced former South Florida congressman Larry Smith, a longtime bête noire of mine and the well-deserved object of ridicule among most of the savvy Floridians I knew in Washington, D.C. for the 15 years I lived there, on and off of Capitol Hill.

Do I even have to ask you to guess which local print reporter propped-up a rock to get the opinion of someone convicted of betraying the public's trust?
Exactly.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Broward Politics blog
Former congressman says heated rhetoric must be tamed
By Anthony Man
January 10, 2011 01:59 PM
http://weblogs.sun-sentinel.com/news/politics/broward/blog/2011/01/former_congressman_says_heated.html


My favorite -NOT- part of the above blog post? This insipid nonsense by Smith
:
Watching television on Sunday, “I was cheering [Dupnik.] He’s a guy who’s got guts. He’s not attacking the symptoms. He’s telling you what the solution is.”
Oh, right, the partisan sheriff is the hero, even though he's already admitted on Fox News that he has no proof of anything he's said thus far. In most places, even most parts of Florida, THAT would be called reckless, but in Larry Smith's world, that's stand-up and holler.
No wonder Dupnik's in law enforcement with a mind like that!

And did you notice what's NOT mentioned in the Broward Politics blog post?


More recently from my perspective in Hallandale Beach, Larry Smith was dumped as a Tallahassee lobbyist for the City of Hallandale Beach, in part for not being very forthcoming or accessible with information in a timely fashion.

Then-HB Commissioner
Bill Julian literally begged his colleagues on the City Commission to give Smith some scraps after tossing him aside.

It was quite an embarrassing spectacle!

One I watched with great amusement.
I especially liked the part where Smith acted like he didn't know why he lost the account.

LOL!

Those of you who are pals of this shape-shifting character Smith, don't even bother to waste your time and energy sending me comments about this miscreant, as they will never see the light of day on this blog.


To me,
Larry Smith has proven to be the very bad guy I always suspected he was -even before he got caught!

In the minds of many well-informed people I knew in Washington, he'd have kept doing what he was doing if he hadn't been convicted of "tax
evasion and lying to election officials about the use of campaign funds to pay gambling debts."

Some of those people include his former staffers, the real people I felt sorry for after the scandal broke.

They had no idea they worked for a crook.

Oh sure, you can argue that if not for him getting prosecuted, South Florida would've been spared the indignity of ever having Peter Deutsch represent part of Broward in Washington, and maybe his golden-haired staffer Debbie Wasserman-Schultz would've had a less public role in society.

Who knows, maybe even one where she actually had to compete on an even playing field instead of from one of the most-gerrymandered congressional districts in Florida, which quite un-necessarily cuts this small city of under three square-miles in half, just so she can get all the residents east of U.S.-1, plus dipping down into Aventura; which really ought to be part of what was the Carrie Meek/Kendrick Meek/Frederica Wilson experiment in democracy with a small "d."


Meanwhile, HB residents who actually live closer to Pembroke Pines are represented by a congressional district based in Liberty City, Overtown and Opa-locka -while Aventura is represented by someone from Pembroke Pines- w
hich is to say, poorly represented, even if it hadn't been the Meek inheritance.

After all, how many times did you ever see Frederica Wilson in Hallandale Beach at a public event before the late August primary?

That's actually a rhetorical question, since nobody I know among the well-informed EVER saw her.
Just her yard signs
.

Personally, to me, forcing the obsequious and full-of-himself Peter Deutsch on D.C. was crime enough, though perhaps not an indictable one, as Deutsch did nothing to improve Broward's reputation on Capitol Hill in D.C. for small-minded, myopic devotees for all things reflexively anti-Castro, pro-Israel and pro-well-to-do retirees living upon the generosity of heir grand-children's taxes.

Yes, the home of the worst possible use of the pejorative, 'Condo commandos.'


As I've mentioned here before, Deutsch blew everyone's mind when he hired a college student to be his number one staffer, overseeing all the others.

Not a college grad graduate, mind you, an actual college student.



If you haven't read my prior post on him, you probably wonder what causes my animus towards Larry Smith.

Well, here it is, nice-and-simple: in my opinion, he cost American military personnel their lives because of his over-weaning ego and smugness by refusing to do the right thing when it was necessary.

And I was right there in the congressional room when it all happened, less than three feet from the State Department's representatives, who begged him and others to show some vision and leadership.
Larry Smith wasn't up to the task!

So how do you you like that for an answer?


The particulars of the bill of indictment regarding my animus towards Larry Smith are described pretty well in this mid-May 2010 email re Ron Book I sent out to some very interested parties throughout South Florida and the rest of the state.
Rather than write something new, I'll just go with this:


A few weeks ago, Ron Book's contract was NOT renewed by the City of Hallandale Beach -during the Florida Legislature's annual session no less!

That it was done in a very unprofessional way is par for the course in this very poorly-managed ocean-side city, but to do so during the Legislature's session only proves how truly myopic HB City Hall is.

I was already planning on writing about this subject later this week, but since you have sort of pre-empted me a bit, I will give you a few details.

Book's firm was hired by the city to replace former city lobbyist Larry Smith, the former South Broward congressman, a man I came to loathe after watching him in action up close for years while I lived and worked in Washington, D.C., and was spending LOTS of quality time on Capitol Hill.

(I was even there in the Rayburn Building on a fateful day during the reign of Bush 41, where during a long and torturous Foreign Affairs mark-up, Larry Smith voted against the State Dept.'s plan to sell certain missiles to Kuwait, because State and the Pentagon were afraid that Iraq would invade.

Well, we all know how that ended up, but what you and most South Floridians don't know -because nobody in South Florida's news media ever reported it- was that
Larry Smith said that he was against the plan it because he knew the missiles would be used against -wait for it- Israel. Really.

So
Smith and a couple of other super pro-Israel members of the Foreign Affairs Comm. -back when Dante Fascell was Chairman- voted it down.

FYI: The photo of Dante Fascell at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dante_Fascell is the very painting of him that hangs in the House Foreign Affairs Comm. Chambers.

I used to think about Larry Smith's foolish vote every time I heard about an American casualty during the First Gulf War, which since I lived in Arlington County, meant that I knew lots of people affected by that war.)

A few months ago, Book's firm was planning on sending some pertinent docs down to the city, but when they called, the person on the other end of the phone at HB City Hall said something along the lines of, "Uhh... don't you guys already know?"

Book's firm found out after the fact that WEEKS earlier, the city had decided they were history. Why? That's a very good question.

Perhaps someone in South Florida's professional news media might some day think to ask Mayor Joy Cooper that question, especially now that they know.

I'll have more details on my blog soon, including the name of the person who had to tell Ron Book that he and his firm had been canned during THE most important time of the year in Tallahassee, but had never even been given the courtesy of a personal phone call to get the news.

That's just a snapshot of everyday life in Hallandale Beach under the Joy Cooper and Mike Good regime.
-----

Seriously, how much better-written is this nuanced Herald article below by Paul Anderson than a contemporary version of the same congressional redistricting fight would be by Patricia Mazzei? It's not even close.

When this article was written in 1982, when I was still at IU, the State of Florida had 15 House seats in Congress, with my having grown-up in the 1970's in North Miami Beach, part of the 13th, represented by William Lehman. It was one of the two most-Democratic-leaning seats in the entire country
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_House_of_Representatives_elections_in_Florida,_2010
The state now has 25 House seats and will have a total of 27 for the 2012 congressional elections as a result of the most recent federal census.
-----

Miami Herald

INCUMBENTS DEFEND REDISTRICTING DEAL

By Paul Anderson, Herald Staff Writer
May 30, 1982

In the end, Tom Gustafson was all alone.

For months, Gustafson, the boyish-looking state representative from Fort Lauderdale, had been counted among the leaders of the state House. His opinion was a key element as Broward's new legislative and congressional districts were proposed.

But his House colleagues on the conference committee negotiating the lines of the state's 19 congressional districts had cut a deal with the Senate without Gustafson's approval.

As he angrily described it later: "They gave up Broward for the rest of the state. And we'll have to live with it for the next 10 years."

Gustafson contends that the compromise district ignores the needs of Broward residents and panders to the political interests of incumbent U.S. Reps. E. Clay Shaw, the Fort Lauderdale Republican, and Dan Mica, the West Palm Beach Democrat.

Among other problems, Gustafson complained, the district lines split nine cities, including Coconut Creek, Dania, Hacienda Village, Hollywood, Lauderhill, North Lauderdale, Plantation, Sunrise and Tamarac.

Gustafson tried to make amendments. The committee, meeting in Tallahassee just over a week ago, voted them down time and again.

Gustafson said he didn't know until later that people chuckled at him and made sarcastic comments about his attempts. He insisted it didn't matter. "I was doing what I believe was right," he said.

Right or not, Gustafson simply didn't realize what he was up against.

A series of interviews indicates that Broward's new congressional districts are the product of a three-way deal between incumbents Mica and Shaw, plus Democrat Alan Becker, a hopeful in the new South Broward seat.

Becker and Shaw worked together although they opposed each other in the 1980 general election for Shaw's existing District 12 seat.

During negotiations, Shaw had the support of his longtime friend, state Sen. Jim Scott (R., Fort Lauderdale), chairman of the Broward legislative delegation and minority leader of the Senate.

Becker got Sen. Jack Gordon (D., Miami Beach) working on his side, mainly so that any proposed changes in Broward would not affect the districts of incumbent Dade Congressmen Dante Fascell, William Lehman and Claude Pepper, all Democrats.

With the consent of all involved, a Coral Gables attorney named Mark Deutsch, a good friend of Becker's, drew Broward's final district lines.

It's somewhat ironic that Gustafson disputed Deutsch's work in the end. Earlier this year, Gustafson hired Deutsch to help
draw proposals for new state House and Senate districts.

Gustafson paid Deutsch $1,500 out of his own pocket, he said, "because he's the best numbers man around ... But I only used his House and Senate maps. The congressional ones were obviously gerrymandered."

Deutsch won't trade charges with Gustafson for the record. He'll only discuss the details of the districts as he drew them and the House and Senate eventually approved them:

* District 14, with Mica as the incumbent, is shared with southern Palm Beach County. In Broward, it includes the cities of Coral Springs, Margate and Parkland; North Lauderdale and Tamarac west of Florida's Turnpike; Coconut Creek west of Lyons Road and north of Sample Road; and Lauderhill and Sunrise north of the Middle River Canal.

That section of Broward is marginally Democratic but considered safe for Mica, who tends to vote conservatively. There was a deliberate effort to move at least two major bastions of liberalism, Century Village in Deerfield Beach and Wynmoor Village in Coconut Creek, into Shaw's district, where they'll be swallowed and won't give Mica trouble with a more liberal primary opponent.

* District 15, with Shaw as the incumbent, is the only district fully within Broward. It contains the cities of Deerfield Beach, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Lauderdale Lakes, Lighthouse Point, Oakland Park, Pompano Beach, Sea Ranch Lakes, Fort Lauderdale and Wilton Manors; the easterly portions of Coconut Creek, Hacienda Village, Lauderhill, North Lauderdale and Tamarac; Sunrise east of University Drive; Dania and Hollywood north of the Dania Cut-Off Canal, and about a third of Plantation. Conservative district

The district is slightly more Democratic than Republican by party registration, but it is considered generally conservative and an easy one for Shaw to keep.

It also was deliberately drawn to include Port Everglades and three of Broward's four airports -- Pompano, Executive and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International -- because Shaw serves on the House Public Works and Transportation Committee.

Gustafson pointed out that the southern boundary also conveniently picked up Shaw's Dania Farm Nursery, a wholesale operation where Shaw has a family home that he uses while visiting the district.

* District 16, which has no incumbent, is shared with about 140,000 residents of northwest Dade County. In Broward, it includes the cities of Cooper City, Davie, Hallandale , Miramar, Pembroke Park and Pembroke Pines; Hollywood and Dania south of the Dania Cut-Off Canal; and Plantation and Sunrise west of University Drive and south of the Middle River Canal.

The district is overwhelmingly Democratic. Deutsch said it has fewer blacks than any other congressional district in the state -- less than 5 per cent -- and has the second highest concentration of Jewish voters.

Each district, following the mandate created by the 1980 census, contains slightly more than 512,000 people.

Shaw's role

Shaw, who had an aide in Tallahassee to represent him during the final hectic hours of negotiations, described his role as "providing encouragement where it was needed."

He dismissed Gustafson's arguments as "silly fights" and said he was "very pleased with the results of the process."

Shaw added: "Broward was, I think, shortchanged in that we have the population to justify almost two complete congressional districts ... But given the set of circumstances that we had to share the South Broward district with nearly 150,000 people from Dade, I think the Legislature did a terrific job."

If nothing else, Shaw and others -- including state Rep. Larry Smith (D., Hollywood), who is running against Becker -- are glad the House and Senate were able to settle the districts after five months of bickering.

By law, if the Legislature hadn't been able to draw the congressional districts, the task would have fallen to the court system and political considerations would have disappeared.

Broward's lines, which had been one of the chief obstacles in the state, no longer were an issue after a meeting early that Friday afternoon in Scott's office in the Senate Office Building. Gordon and Shaw's aide met with Scott while Deutsch waited outside -- anxious until he saw smiles as they emerged from a conference room.

Smith and his closest allies, including state Sen. Ken Jenne (D., Hollywood), signed off on the Becker-Mica-Shaw plan later when they became convinced that it was the only way to get a map out of the Legislature. Original lines Smith had pushed for Gustafson's original lines for the South Broward district, which basically used State Road 84 as the main northern boundary. The key, to Smith, was that both Becker and announced-Republican challenger Maurice Berkowitz live north of State Road 84 in Plantation.

Deutsch's plan moved the boundary.

Jenne said he was called in by House leaders to speak to the different factions after the conference committee approved its compromise map that afternoon and, once he saw it and talked to the major players, became convinced there was little that could be done.

"I told Larry that he should be satisfied. 'You can still win the district, and you want a map, so let it go,' I said," Jenne recalled.

Jenne disagrees with Gustafson's argument that Democrats gave Shaw an easy district.

The compromise "gives Democrats five out of six Gold Coast congressmen for certain, and I think that's a pretty good arrangement," he said. "And I think that we can win the 15th -Shaw's new district- with a strong enough candidate."

Two Democrats, Clerk of Courts Robert Lockwood and former U.S. Rep. Edward Stack, have said they will challenge Shaw this fall, but neither are particularly pleased with the way the 15th District looks.

Probably the most pleased with the whole arrangement is Becker, who kicked off his campaign in his tailor-made district in a big way last week.

Taking advantage of the makeup of his district, he sent out 20,000 letters with a strong pro-Isreal message soliciting funds from active Jewish voters.

It includes a letter of endorsement from former U.S. Sen. Richard Stone and a pamphlet that shows pictures of Becker on a recent trip to Israel.-

------

Twenty-eight years later... there's exactly ONE competitive congressional district in all of South Florida, the one that Allen West won, which is why the House reps are largely on automatic-pilot, and don't really care what you think, esp. DWS, which makes it easy for her to be away from the district so much, working on enhancing her party position elsewhere in the country, doing fundraising and glad-handing favors for other Dem incumbents.

Until the two constitutional amendments passed in November, the House members knew that it was their seat indefinitely unless something queer happened.
Now it has.

1 comment:

  1. I love your column! Very refreshing to meet intelligent life down here in South Florida. I live in North Miami Beach, where the City Council is the laughing stock of Miami-Dade County. I had no idea Hallandale had its share of buffoonery, too. Please visit my blog when you have a chance and post a message if you like! www.votersopinion.com

    ReplyDelete

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