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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

When, if ever, is the sleepwalking South Florida news media going to demand that Broward County Comm. candidate Marty Kiar publicly answer questions about how his one precinct in Davie was the one placed in District 1? The silence on this matter is positively deafening, but the questions WON'T go away



Above, the middle two pages of the Martin Kiar for County Commission direct mail sent out recently that includes petition forms to get him on the ballot. In Hallandale Beach, after the city had a policy forever of accepting  petitions in lieu of a nominal fee for city candidates, the City Clerk's office has suddenly said that it no longer could accept them because there's no basis for them under current law. April 24, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier. 
When, if ever, is the sleepwalking South Florida news media going to demand that Broward County Comm. candidate Marty Kiar publicly answer questions about how his one precinct in Davie was the one placed in District 1? 
The silence from him on this matter is positively deafening, but the questions WON'T go away.


It's now officially less than 27 weeks until Election Day 2012.


In the six months since Florida state House member Martin "Marty" Kiar first publicly announced that he was going to run for term-limited Broward County Commissioner Ilene Lieberman's District 1 seat in November, AFTER the Florida Senate District he had his heart set on running for was redrawn by the state legislature in a way that would've proved particularly nettlesome for him by including much more of Palm Beach County, as an interested bystander who can't vote for or against him, I've waited patiently for Kiar to fully explain something pretty fundamental to the people of Broward County.


Waited patiently... and then some.
Just like many of you reading this post.


But now that it's less than 27 weeks and with no sign that he is going to do the right thing on his own, I feel that I need to ask this publicly?
Just when-oh-when is Kiar going to level with everyone in the area and fully explain to the public's satisfaction at a press conference -with serious reporters who show-up fully-prepared like Michael Putney- how the particular Davie precinct he lives in came to be the only one in the city carved-out in such a curious way that he's able to run for Lieberman's seat?


Not answered via a Tweet or via a publicist's press release, and not answered via a private telephone conversation with Broward Democratic Party head Mitch Caesar or to one of Kiar's 
supporters or godfathers in the community who think he's a swell guy, and then relayed to the public and news media.
Not at a press avail, but a real live press conference.


At a press conference when questions are asked and logical and reasonable answers are expected in response, without some intermediary choosing which questions get asked.


It's hardly an encouraging sign of getting to the entire truth of the matter -with all the facts revealed- much less, a sign of responsible enterprise journalism, that as of today, May 2nd, the Miami Herald has yet to even mention in print anything at all about Kiar actually going to the Broward County Government Center and signing-in to talk to Comm. Lieberman about redistricting.


Given that sad fact, you'll hardly be surprised when I tell you that the Herald has also yet to print anything at all about Kiar's lone Davie precinct being placed in County Commission District 1 at the County Commission's December 13th meeting.
Really.


Even more embarrassing for the Herald, despite the upcoming election and the matters coming up before the Broward Commission so far this year, here we are one-third of the way thru the year and there has NOT been a single article penned by an actual Herald reporter mentioning either Kiar or Lieberman.


The one thing that has appeared in print this year in the Herald about the curious Marty Kiar map was one of those shared pieces by Brittany Wallman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and that was mostly about former Commissioner Ken Keechl running from another District, and didn't even appear until January 19th, five long weeks after the December 13th meeting that decided the matter.
http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/01/19/2598173/suddenly-defeated-broward-commissioner.html


Why was the Herald completely sleeping on this subject of Broward redistricting, just like they completely took a siesta on Lieberman's curious involvement with the stacked Broward County Courthouse Task Force a few years ago, which I wrote about here frequently?


You'll recall that the Herald's 'reporting' at the time, as such, consisted of small and insignificant semi-articles that were exactly the sort of one-sided, pro-new Courthouse pieces that the Broward legal community, esp. the judges, desperately wanted to see, with zero serious discussion of the costs and justification, much less, the issue of the County Commission going directly around the back of Broward taxpayers to push it thru.
Try to find those sycophantic Herald articles now!


You'll sooner find buried treasure at the former site of Pirate's World in Dania.


But then regular readers of the blog will recall that one of my many complaints in my December and January emails and subsequent blog posts here to Herald publisher David Landesberg and Executive Editor Rick Hirsh, concerned the Herald's feeble and non-existent coverage of Broward's redistricting, even while they were putting stories about Miami-Dade's on the front page.


It seems awfully curious to me that for an area that likes to claim that it's politically sophisticated and not a political or media backwater, this fundamental fact of how the Kiar map came into being out-of-nowhere has been allowed to go on and on, with Kiar just skating on this like he's Hans Brinker.


Especially considering how much Kiar's loyal supporters love to pepper blogs, both popular and obscure, with comments about how different he is from the other pols in this county, where a general culture of cronyism, corruption and short-cuts had already left its scars visible even before I returned to South Florida in late 2003.


To me, given who Kiar is and what he has done, and what we need in Broward now, he's the wrong person in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Kiar is going to be only 35 this year and has been in political office since he was 29, a few years out of law school.


What else has he done with himself?
Where else has he lived?
What has he experienced that's out of the norm?
Where's any evidence that he has anything other than the usual Broward Democratic  point-of-view on the proper role of government?


Based just on the publicly-available facts, Kiar's has been the very definition of a parochial and sheltered existence, the personable son of the town's mayor and city attorney.


It's all very well if small coal towns in rural Pennsylvania or Ohio or agricultural towns in Missouri find that sort of insularity comforting, maybe even heartening, but for Broward County to change and become what it needs to be in the 21st Century, in my opinion, it needs MORE serious responsible people who've actually lived elsewhere and seen different ways of doing things, and who have a personal track record of doing something tangible to make a positive difference, to boot.


To be honest, I don't personally consider signing your name onto legislation in Tallahasse that's practically written by the special interests, whether Democratic or Republican, and parrot talking points to be substantial, esp. when you never have to deal with the responsibilities of being in the majority and actually produce something, rather than playing the role of irritant.


To me, Kiar seems very... well, almost like a caricature of the typical Broward politician in the year 2012 -the familiar connections to the same powerful people and the same knee-jerk loyalties to the system that produced them.


(Except in his case, right now, Kiar has the burden of appearing to me to be both unformed and underwhelming, not unlike the worst and most troubling aspects of deceitful Hallandale Beach City Comm. Alexander Lewy, who not only lacks Kiar's personable friendliness, but who continues to mistake his own overweening ambition as a substitute for a personality, and who continues to tell people whatever he thinks they want to hear. Lewy's always playing the angles.)


I'm sorry, but I don't think that in the year 2012, given the stakes, you can't just vote for someone for political office because of their pleasing personality, otherwise, when tough and unpopular decisions need to be made, and they need to be persuasive with both their colleagues and the public in explaining why there's still more pain ahead, why would they suddenly show backbone and resolve when they've always used personality, not logic, to get things done?

In my opinion, however smart, clever or friendly Kiar may be, he doesn't really add anything
to the mix that is the Broward County Commission that's currently missing.
Another lawyer?
Really?


Broward County desperately needs elected officials and agency chiefs with vision who aren't  satisfied with the smug, status quo mediocrity we see all over the place here. 
It needs people who will perform genuine oversight over county spending and demand real accountability that doesn't give the benefit of the doubt to people (and their cronies) who always think that appropriating more money is the right answer.


Today's news tells the sad tale and why what I've said is true:


South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Auditor: Broward too loose with 'other people's money'
By Brittany Wallman, Sun Sentinel
6:37 p.m. EDT, May 1, 2012
Broward County loosened controls on the public purse to the point that checks were paid with no documentation proving they should be, the county's independent auditor found.
The weak oversight of what one commissioner called OPM – Other People's Money – was so alarming, County Auditor Evan Lukic said he didn't wait to conclude his audit and immediately notified top county leaders.
Read the rest of the article at:
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/broward/fl-broward-financial-alarm-20120501,0,3573544.story


Reader comments at:
http://discussions.sun-sentinel.com/20/soflanews/fl-broward-financial-alarm-20120501/10


From my perspective, it's hard to shake the notion that Kiar is part and parcel of the same get-along gang that operates between Broward Blvd., the beach, and the County Courthouse that got us all into this mess in the first place, a crew that is NOT at all trusted or respected by well-informed Broward residents precisely because of how often their interests have taken priority over the community's, with the new County Courthouse debacle being Exhibit A.


Where was Marty Kiar's voice on that issue? 
Or, more recently, the Bank Atlantic arena bailout for the Florida Panthers?


Fact: There is no public record of Kiar saying anything on behalf of Broward's beleaguered taxpayers on these two issues involving millions and millions of dollars.

And seriously, not to laugh out loud here while I write this, but when you think about all the genuine problems this county has to solve in transforming itself into a dynamic area with a well-balanced economy that's NOT so dependent on hospitality-related jobs, and then look at Kiar's campaign lit above, and see that "supporting worker rights" is the second thing he lists, wow, it just shows all over again his very poor judgement and how myopic his world view really is.

Preserving the county government  bureaucracy as it is, and the money-train pension system that Broward taxpayers are slowly being strangled by at the county and city level, is NOT what most Broward voters are in favor of.


There's nothing there about increased accountability, more transparency or better efficiency.

Tell me if this sounds at all familiar:
A party functionary who occasionally made faux claims to reform is elected, grows to love power so much that they are quickly blind to their own numerous flaws and become even more part of the dysfunctional system... Ann Murray.
'Nuff said.


Even with term limits, Broward County taxpayers don't need more young career-politicians-in-training getting burrowing into the system when they are 35, especially ones who've done so little of genuine significance and are NOT associated with any innovative ideas or ways of thinking.
More defenders of the status quo are precisely NOT what we need more of on S. Andrews Avenue.


-----

BrowardBeat
State Rep. Marty Kiar’s Future in Limbo Because of Redistricting
By Buddy Nevins
December 4, 2012

BrowardBeat
Gerrymander! County Commission Carves Out A Seat For State Rep. Marty Kiar
By Buddy Nevins
December 16, 2011

Red Broward blog
Marty Kiar Met Ilene Lieberman Just Hours Before Redistricting Vote
December 19, 2011

*****Reader "Independent" has it right when they wrote in response:
"However, if you watch the meeting, Lieberman submitted right at the end a new map, which is posted, and with no public input. The hand drawn map was written specifically for Kiar, and it couldn’t pass cause it the district would be way too large. Then they worked out the Ritter-Lieberman-Jacobs Amendment. And then it appears she voted against her own agreed amendment."

BrowardBeat
Martin Kiar: I’m Running For Commission
By Buddy Nevins
January 3rd, 2012

BrowardBeat
Lauderhill’s Kaplan Drops Out of County Commission Race  
By Buddy Nevins
January 5, 2012

Miami Herald 
Naked Politics blog
Rep. Martin Kiar will seek Broward County Commission seat
By Steve Bousquet of Tampa Bay Times
January 17, 2012

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