Below is a copy of an email that I sent Friday morning to Broward County Commissioners Suzanne Gunzburger, Barbara Sharief and Chip LaMarca, along with Broward's Inspector General John W. Scott, with a cc to Robert Wechsler, one of the national voices for ethics and transparency in local and state government in the U.S. at cityethics.org, where he blogs on what's going on -or isn't- at http://www.cityethics.org/Blog-RobWechsler
I later sent a copy of it to selected people I know in Broward, South Florida and Tallahassee who have a strong interest in the issue of stronger ethics at the local level in Florida, where most of the corruption currently exists for the most obvious of reasons -opportunity, lack of oversight, morally-compromised and beholden city attorneys, and lack of adequate press coverage.
The same group whom I sent a copy of my previous posts last Sunday about Wilton Manors mayor Gary Resnick and Cooper City mayor Debby Eisinger, whom in my opinion, thru their own words and actions, have come to personify the anti-ethics reform crowd in this county.
Apparently, nothing can be allowed to stand that threatens their perceived power in their respective fiefdoms.
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! http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2012/01/broward-cities-need-tougher-ethics-laws.html
From my perspective, to put it bluntly, this issue will go a long way towards deciding, before this year's elections, whether or not Broward County's civic activists and organizations are actually prepared to 'walk-the-walk' and get actively engaged, or whether it will be yet another completely uninspiring example of them collectively taking-a-powder, and shying-away from the issue and opportunity to both say and do the right thing for the larger Broward community.
In other words, being a real 'player' in the community who has earned their reputation from actually doing something more than sending out press releases, holding press conferences or taking the side of the real estate/development and business establishment in every fight.
And do I even have to mention here how laughably preposterous objective and well-informed people here view individuals and groups who continually and blindly take the side of the local Broward Democratic Party's top honchos, and the way the party does business?
Especially given what a laughingstock so many of them have made of themselves over the past ten years, given how dependent so many of them are on lobbying local, county and School Board officials?
They are walking-and-talking conflicts-of-interest, unable to separate the personal from the professional and hoping to deal with others with a similar personality.
In my opinion, there are a lot of civic, professional, ethnic community and business groups in South Florida, and Broward County in particular, that want to be taken seriously by the public at large and the press corps, but who seem to have gotten a little too comfortable over the past few years sitting on the sidelines, when it would've been better for everyone involved to have had them actively engaged on community issues that were outside their usual or parochial bailiwick.
I've mentioned the name of some of them to those of you whom I communicate with fairly regularly, and as you more regular readers to the blog know, I was personally less-than- thrilled at the apathy shown in Broward by some of these same groups when the official Florida Senate congressional and legislative redistricting meeting finally hit town.
Nobody had the foresight to actually host a pre-meeting get-together so that open-minded citizens could get an overview of what they would later see presented, and what other options were reasonable that were in compliance with the FairDistricts requirements that Florida voters overwhelming approved.
Instead of seizing the opportunity that was just sitting there, these Broward groups, individually and collectively, did NOTHING.
Simply put, it's time for them to get off the sidelines and cowboy up, or risk becoming superfluous to what takes place in the future.
I'm not the only one who's paying close attention to see who does what.
Per Brittany Wallman's to-the-point Broward Politics blog post of Thursday,
Wilton Manors' Resnick seeks to undo parts of new ethics code, on Jan. 31 ballot
I merely reiterate to you all what I wrote Sunday -
Broward cities need tougher ethics laws...
Having read her story that included this newest grab-bag of excuses offered up by Mayor Resnick, I will make arrangements next week to try to speak to you all for just a few minutes to let you know why I believe that standing silent in the face of this frontal assault on the new ethics rules is a losing proposition for everyone in Broward County who wants this area to not obly have a higher Quality-of-Life, but a higher quality of civic life, too.
Lower standards might be why some businesses choose to relocate to some foreign countries, but lower standards and the perception that some municipal elected officials in Broward have an upside-down understanding of what public service is, should never allow that to become SELF-SERVICE.
But that seems to be exactly what Mayor Resnick desires for himself.
Me, I don't think the people of his city or this county actually owe him a certain economic position in life, nor do I believe that a city should be allowed to simply opt-out so that that their mayor and his pals can ignore laws he finds personally constricting economically.
I know what side of this ethics fight that I'm on, and having attended those early morning Broward Ethics Comm. meetings, I'm equally happy if not more so to let everyone I know learn what sorts of characters are behind this effort, and the sorts of damnable, self-serving excuses that are being trotted-out to try to justify this insulting end-run around a standard that actually means something.
Mr. Scott, IF you need a Broward citizen to make a formal complaint to you in order to get your office officially involved in this matter, I'm only too happy to volunteer.
Frankly, given what I've seen and heard first-hand from attending those Ethics Comm. meetings, often dumbstruck at the transparent early attempts by some members to water-down anything that had any teeth to speak of, it'll be my pleasure.
Since I wrote this on Friday and Monday is a holiday, I'll post any received email comments, official or otherwise, later in the week to give people some time to formulate their own thoughts. But you're welcome to respond here on the blog, too, of course.