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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Broward cities need tougher ethics laws, not self-serving pols like Gary Resnick & Debby Eisinger, whom we need like more bad restaurants, more ruined-views of the beach... -NOT at all!

Broward cities need tougher ethics laws, not self-serving pols like Gary Resnick & Debby Eisinger, whom we need like more bad restaurants, more ruined-views of the beach... -NOT at all!


Or, in terms that residents in my part of traffic-gridlocked southeast Broward County particularly well understand, whom we need like more creeps who illegally park in disabled parking spaces.
Like former Hallandale Beach Comm. William "Bill" Julian, who turned doing something morally contemptible into an art form while he was in office.


His years of serial illegal and appalling behavior with respect to this easily-understood law, one so simple that even children know what's right and what's wrong, is one that I and so many other HB citizens have observed first-hand dozens and dozens of times, and have described here on the blog numerous times in the past, complete with photos.


(All you have to do is do a simple word search for "Julian" in the search box at the top of the right column.)


But as we know so well in this county and this part of Florida, unrepentant pols like Julian seemingly have no qualms about using their perceived power to try to get away with completely inexcusable behavior until they're finally caught by people in authority who don't care who they are.


In part, because pols like Julian know that they generally have little to fear from South Florida's current press corps, whose dedication to strong and intensive coverage of local government news, is clearly much weaker than it is in other parts of the country -though less and less so there, too- despite giving it lip service on their editorial page.


Safe in his foreknowledge that under Police Chief Thomas Magill, the Hallandale Beach Police Dept.'s many years of unwillingness to ticket him and treat him like they would any other citizen would continue -despite how obvious his behavior was, with his name clearly evident on the dashboard- the bitter proof of Julian's unrepentant and unethical behavior is not just his complete unwillingness to admit his behavior and apologize to the public, which has STILL never taken place, but rather that Julian actually dares to run again this year for the City Commission this coming November -after being rejected in his re-election in 2010 and coming in third in a three-way race- and imagines that the question of his moral unfitness for office and general incompetency won't come up.


As if we had all developed a case of collective amnesia about Julian's YEARS of clownish, churlish and uninspiring behavior, on and off the dais. 
We haven't.


Given what I've written here so many times in the past in this space about the need for stronger ethics rules in Broward County and the creation of an Inspector General's office, as well as the need for those more-stringent rules to have full effect in Broward's thirty-SOMETHING municipalities and grand duchies, I draw your attention now to something truly eye-opening that ran in the Sun-Sentinel last weekend, which many of you out there in the blogosphere may well have missed due to holiday planning or football bowl game-induced slumber.


South Florida Sun-Sentinel
County ethics law already changing Broward's city governments
By Ariel Barkhurst, Sun Sentinel
11:11 PM EST, December 31, 2011

The strict Broward County ethics code goes into effect for city leaders on Monday, but it's already having an impact on how elected municipal officials approach their jobs.

Pembroke Pines Mayor Frank Ortis said his consulting business had to give up some Broward County clients, since the new definition of lobbyist incorporates some of what he does.

Oakland Park Commissioner Suzanne Boisvenue resigned her positions with the Broward League of Cities and the county's trash contract management board because "those meetings are full of lobbyists," and she doesn't want to get in trouble with the new requirement to report contact with contractors, vendors and lobbyists.

Many mayors and commissioners say from now they'll takes notes if anyone approaches them about city business in case the conversation might qualify as contact with a lobbyist, even if the conversation happens at a grocery store or a movie theater.

When the strict code goes into effect Jan. 2, it will bring a "new normal" to the way city officials operate, said Jacob Harowitz, a partner with Goren, Cherof, Doody & Ezrol, P.A., a firm that provides legal services to many local cities.

"It's going to be very easy for us to get into trouble with this new law," Boisvenue said. "I support it, but it's going to be very easy to get tripped up."

The law was demanded by voters in November 2010. In Broward County, 15 city, county or school board members or their family members have been charged with or imprisoned for public corruption crimes in the past three years.

The code forbids taking anything — even a mint — from lobbyists, contractors or vendors; taking gifts greater than $50 in value from anyone at all; sitting on or influencing selection or evaluation committees within the city; and lobbying other governments in Broward County.

The code means officials have to document how much they make at their day jobs, every time they raise money for charity and every time they meet with a lobbyist, vendor or contractor, and it means getting 8 hours of ethics training every year. Most of the rules apply to elected officials' close family members, too.

Most city officials have opposed the code at every step and fear it will impede their ability to govern.

The Broward County Commission voted on Oct. 11 that the rules they've labored under since August 2010 apply to city officials, too.

Officials tried to block or water down the ordinance by arguing it would lead officials to resign, keep them from raising money for charities, deter people from entering politics, isolate politicians from residents and reporters and create opportunities for prosecution of officials for petty, accidental violations, such as accepting a cup of coffee from a lobbyist.

"I know what's right; I don't need an ordinance telling me what to do," Ortis said in May.

Since the Oct. 11 vote, there has been plenty of hand-wringing as municipal leaders educate themselves about the new rules.

"I think the county commission kind of threw out the baby with the bath water," said Wilton Manors Mayor Gary Resnick.

Good communication between residents and officials is going to be harder, he said.

"You have to be so careful now about everything," Resnick said.

A few cities, Wilton Manors and Hillsboro Beach among them, have placed charter changes on their Jan. 31 ballot to supersede the new ethics law.

The changes ask voters whether elected officials should be subject to Florida ethics law in their day jobs, rather than the Broward County law. That would mean leaders in those cities don't have to disclose how much they make in their primary employment, and they can keep lobbying if that's part of their job.

"It makes sense in these smaller communities to do this," said Resnick, who sometimes has to lobby in his job as a partner with Gray Robinson, P.A. "There's a limited number of people willing to volunteer their time."

Most officials have gone to seminars put on by city attorneys in the past few months to brush up on the code's implications.

Some have been frightened by their education.

"I've already seen people backing off from being involved in charity," said Cooper City Mayor Debbie Eisinger.

"There is still a lot of confusion," said Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler.

Some, though, think the rigor of the new law is a good thing.

"As an elected official you live in a fish tank now," Boisvenue said. "Everyone can come and see what you're doing and how big your fins are. There's never a time you're not an elected official."

Reader comments at:


After reading this, I immediately thought of two separate things I'd read before that dealt with Gary Resnick's longstanding unhappiness with increased scrutiny on behalf of the public good.
Did you?

The first was from just over two months ago:


South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Broward Politics blog 

Live blogging: The Code of Ethics passes unanimously

By Brittany Wallman 

October 11, 2011 02:55 PM 


That particular blog post included many delicious tidbits re lawyer/lobbyist/mayor  Resnick, of which the most prominent was:
Wilton Manors Mayor Gary Resnick is being used as an example of a lobbyist who will be in violation of the Code of Ethics if it passes as-is.
The Code says a politician cannot lobby 'across,'' meaning lobbying in other City Halls in Broward.
That's what Resnick does, Commissioner Lois Wexler said. Resnick's in the audience.


This particular Broward Politics blog post followed by four months a previous Brittany Wallman post that also dealt with stricter ethics laws in Broward and once again, Gary Resnick found a way to shine.
That is, if by "shine," you mean found a way to put a verbal noose around his own neck thru his self-serving choice of words.
I do.



Broward Politics blog
Wilton Manors' Resnick: New ethics code would cause mass resignations
By Brittany Wallman June 8, 2011 08:06 AM
If the politicians in all the City Halls have to live with Broward County’s new ethics code, some of them just might quit.
That’s what Wilton Manors Mayor Gary Resnick warned the County Commission on Tuesday, as he and other city officials asked for a more lenient set of ethics rules for the 150 elected officials in Broward’s 31 cities than the ethics code that applies to the nine county commissioners right now.
Read the rest of the post at:
http://weblogs.sun-sentinel.com/news/politics/broward/blog/2011/06/wilton_manors_resnick_new_ethi.html


So here's a great question I deliver on a silver platter for South Florida's news media.
Why don't you all ask lawyer/lobbyist/mayor Gary Resnick to publicly give you the names of any Broward municipal elected officials who have resigned if this was as ONEROUS as he claims?

As of today, six months later, there have been exactly ZERO resignations.
I believe that is the exact opposite of MASS RESIGNATIONS, correct?
So why no follow-up?


Gary Resnick is yet another example of a Broward pol who remains remarkably aloof and  tone-deaf with respect to both the appearance and reality of ethical conflicts, and compounds that by thinking that by being ballsy, nobody would notice and take his words seriously.
I not only noticed, I remembered that verbal noose he put around his own neck.


And frankly, I felt it was time to give it a good yank right about now.


Perhaps you all in the South Florida press corps might want to actually ask Mayor Resnick if his intuition and powers of observation while up on the dais are equally inaccurate and inept, or whether he simply misunderstood the depth of the public's dis-satisfaction with what has been going on in this county for years, with all the self-dealing and crony capitalism.


And while you're at it, don't forget to ask anyone who does resign -if ever because of this legislation- what their problem was with following the will of the people.

As for Gary Resnick, perhaps he might understand it better in terms he understands.


On November 4th, 2008, Resnick was first elected mayor of (the diminutive People's Republic of) Wilton Manors, despite the fact that he garnered only 44.25% of the total mayoral vote, receiving 2,349 votes, while 2,959 voters opposed him. 
Roughly 603 more voters in Wilton Manors opposed him than supported him, but he was still considered the "winner."
He seemed to understand THAT part of the simple math.

That same day, on the question of Broward County Charter Amendment 8, 57.30% of all Broward voters that day -322,974 to be exact- said YES.
That's a clear majority.

So why does he have such a hard time understanding what THAT vote of 38 months really meant, and why does he and so many of his pals at City Halls across this county like Cooper City's Debby Eisinger think they're irreplaceable, and above the scrutiny, when the preponderance of evidence I've seen after eight years suggests that most Broward municipalities are NOT particularly well-managed, and are certainly NOT responsive to taxpayers?


For the record, also, not mentioned in the Barkhurst article from last Saturday is that Sam Goren and his law firm made money from not just individual Broward cities, but also from the Broward League of Cities -which is to say, from Broward taxpayers in member cities- who tried to audaciously kill this overdue legislation with their (Debbie Eisinger's) letters to area charities that basically threatened them to put pressure on Broward commissioners -or else.

Would love to see something at the Sun-Sentinel or Herald or local TV create an easily understood chart or graph, that shows exactly how much Broward's cities have paid to the Broward League over the past five years.
For the cities involved, it's like free money, but it's not, is it?
Nope!

It's real money that continues to be mis-spent on lobbying and legal efforts to keep the average citizen taxpayer in Broward at heel -and at a disadvantage.
With Sam Goren's help.

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#HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy

Thumbs up! What a night we had! #HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with a very elated Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy at his Victory Party, held at Leo Anato's Atelier3/AT3 on Harrison Street & S. 19th Avenue, Hollywood. AT3's great environment and the amazing variety of food prepared by chef Kevin Dreifuss, former owner/chef of ENDS MEAT restaurant, was SUPERB! November 8, 2016

Esther Chuang, Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2015

Above, perhaps my most-favorite photo ever of Esther, which is saying something considering what seems like the THOUSANDS that I've actually seen of her, from all over the world. But despite the fact that you can't actually see it here, trust me, her amazing smile and inner and external beauty are there. This photo is an even more amazing achievement when you know the backstory of what it took for Esther to get to the top of the mountain, since it's NOT for the faint of heart. Next time you see her, ask her about that! Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on her birthday, July 10, 2015. That's the Christ The Redeemer statue way out in the horizon on the top of another mountain, to the left of her head. �� In case you forgot what the Christ the Redeemer statue looks like, up close, here's another Brazilian beauty to connect-the-dots for you: Gisele Bündchen, aka @Gisele.

Abençoado por Deus e bonito por natureza!✨ ������

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Before I was a Hoosier, I was an NMB Charger, Class of 1979.

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.