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.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Dan Krassner of Integrity Florida re signs of positive momentum for ethics reform/anti-corruption solutions in Florida; Are revanchist elements of Broward County Commission -like Lois Wexler & Barbara Sharief- going to succeed in weakening County's hard-earned ethics code that County & municipal officials (and Broward/Florida League of Cities) have fought hard against for years because they found serious ethics rules incompatible to their personal behavior & lifestyle?; @IntegrityFL

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief appears before ethics commission 
Commission agrees to move forward with allegations Sharief broke the law submitting financial forms filled with mistakes  
Reporter; Carlos Suarez, csuarez@local10.com 
Aired April 25 2014 

Uh, oh!
I guess it's a good thing that the appearance of impropriety doesn't matter in Broward County!!!




This afternoon my overflowing email transom included the following bit of good news from Dan Krassner of Integrity Florida, while below it, I have some well-chosen comments of my own regarding the latest efforts by the revanchist element at the Broward County Commission and Broward League of Cities to fight meaningful accountability for "public servants" in this corrupt county:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Dan Krassner <dan@integrityfl.org>
Date: Fri, Apr 25, 2014 at 1:15 PM
Subject: Momentum for anti-corruption solutions


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Momentum for Anti-Corruption Solutions

   

The Florida Senate has now passed three major ethics reform bills and the Florida House of Representatives has passed one major ethics reform bill during the 2014 legislative session. Both chambers are expected to take further action in the remaining days of the legislative session, that concludes on May 2, to complete their work on the following anti-corruption measures:

1) SB 846 - Governmental Ethics

On March 26, the Florida Senate passed SB 846 by Senator Jack Latvala unanimously by a vote of 38-0.  The bill was amended by a House committee and is ready for a floor vote in the House, currently on the 2nd reading calendar.  If the House passes the amended SB 846, it would need another vote in the Senate to go to the governor.  If the Senate amends the current House language on SB 846, then the House would need to take an additional vote on the bill if it has new language before it would go to the governor.  There is no House companion bill but House Ethics and Elections Subcommittee Chair Representative Kathleen Passidomo and State Affairs Committee Chair Representative Jim Boyd are driving this initiative in the House.  
SB 846 contains the following:

*    Allows the Florida Commission on Ethics to independently begin investigations when officials fail to file financial disclosure reports;
*    Requires lobbyist disclosure at the state's water management districts;
*    Requires annual ethics training for elected city officials; and
*    Applies portions of the state ethics code to Enterprise Florida and Citizens Property Insurance.

2) SB 602 and HB 571 Residency Requirements for Local and State Candidates and Public Officers

Today
, the Florida Senate passed SB 602 by Senator Jack Latvala unanimously by a vote of 39-0.  The bill includes new residency requirements for local and state candidates and public officials.  The House would need to take action on this measure next and the House companion is HB 571 by Representative Ray Rodrigues. 

3) SB 1632 and HB 1237 Ethics Code for Special Districts


Today, the Florida Senate passed SB 1632 by Senator Kelli Stargel unanimously by a vote of 38-0.  The legislation amends the definition of agency in the state code of ethics to specifically include special districts.  Under the bill, special districts would be required annually to disclose online their ethics codes, budgets, taxes assessed and audits.  The House companion is HB 1237 by Representative Larry Metz and that bill is on today's Special Order Calendar in the House.

4) SB 1328 and HB 1385 Independence of Inspectors General

On April 23, the Florida House of Representatives passed HB 1385 by Representative Dan Raulerson unanimously by a vote of 114-0.  Presently, agency heads are able to appoint and remove their own inspectors general, which creates built-in conflicts of interest.  Under the bill, the agency inspectors general, under jurisdiction of the governor, would report to the governor's chief inspector general.  The state senate would have new oversight to confirm the governor's chief inspector general.  The chief inspector general would make the appointment and removal (only for cause) decisions for the agency inspectors general.  The bill's Senate companion is SB 1328 by Senator Jack Latvala and that measure passed its final Senate committee on April 22.  The full Senate has received SB 1328 for consideration.  HB 1385 is in Senate messages.


As lawmakers enter the final week of the legislative session, Integrity Florida encourages Senate President Don Gaetz, House Speaker Will Weatherford and their colleagues of both political parties to continue to strengthen our state's ethics laws. Now is the time for bold anti-corruption solutions. Integrity Florida remains optimistic that our legislative leaders will deliver on their ethics reform promises.
Sincerely,   



Dan Krassner
Co-Founder and Executive Director
Integrity Florida


Ben Wilcox
Research Director
Integrity Florida

 
Integrity Florida is a nonpartisan research institute and government watchdog whose mission is to promote integrity in government and expose public corruption.  More information at www.integrityflorida.org
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-----
Below, my hastily-written email of yesterday, which has been slightly edited from what I originally sent out:

There's nothing in this Sun-Sentinel article about the fact that Broward County Comm. Lois Wexler and her longstanding campaign of crocodile tears about her getting hungry or thirsty at post-election Broward Elections canvassing meetings, and not being able to get some taxpayer-paid for freebies like donuts and some coffee as is often done for the lower-paid staff who have be present during their non-work hours. 

As I've stated before, this dilettante of a career politician who is paid $92,000 a years in salary needs only to stop at a retail store or restaurant beforehand and PAY for her own water, soft drink, coffee or food and bring it with her to the site of something that she doesn't even have to be at if she doesn't really want to be.

Wexler's own lack of planning beforehand and being hungry or thirsty at somepoint while sitting down in a chair in some County warehouse facility is HER problem, not OURS, and certainly not one that needs to be resolved by weakening hard-earned laws that, to me, are not so accurately described below as much as 
broadly hinted at.

Instead, Wexler's pathetic and never-ending cri-de-coeur for goodies has become the Trojan Horse that has allowed other interested parties in this very corrupt county to attempt to get their nose in the door and get things they want specifically excluded.

For instance, Comm. Barbara Sharief thinking that she shouldn't have to publicly explain/disclose who her own relatives are and the positions they hold that may bear upon some public policy or vote.
In short, she doesn't want to have to publicly report some potential conflicts that having her relatives on the public dime might entail.

It's galling to me that after all these years, there has not been a single reporter in South Florida who has gotten the "mayor" to publicly say why she persists in this childish and selfish effort of hers on this particular issue.
Perhaps it's because she realizes full well how badly and off-putting it will sound to the public -and to voters- so instead she just hints and sighs loudly at meetings about the unfairness of it all.

Sharief never ever gets drilled on this question by a reporter like she would in most parts of the country by a journalist who's willing to pin her down and force her to explain herself. 
Instead, she prefers to pout and infer that she's misunderstood. 

No, when she consciously refuses to account for herself, that's not a simple misunderstanding, that's HER own conscious refusal to publicly enunciate HER own position.
That's HER fault, not the public's!

Why does nobody ask her why she thinks elected officials' families deserve to escape appropriate scrutiny?
Talk about someone who has publicly taken a nosedive because she's betrayed many local resident's hopes that she'd be a reformer.
Instead, Sharief's own words and actions have spoken volumes -all you have to do is look right in front of you.

But then many of you already know that because I was highlighting Sharief's abject failure the past two years, esp. on the issue of the HB CRA, per those frank emails of mine that many of you received, as well as my blog posts of a few months ago while the South Florida media was completely ignoring the fact that the very Broward County commissioner who actually represents that part of the HB community on whose behalf tens of millions of dollars in CRA funds were, effectively, burned -with no tangible results to show for it- had actually been a hindrance to HB citizens like me and many of you who wanted an independent audit by JLAC that would scrupulously investigate where the money had really gone.
Commissioner Barbara Sharief was NOT someone who was helping us.

It's very simple: IF you're not actually helping to increase reasonable public scrutiny, oversight and accountability of government, you're hurting the effort to do so.
Comm. Barbara Sharief has made her choice and it's NOT the side she ought to be on -the taxpayers side.

-----
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Ethics law declared too strict - Elected officials seek to loosen gift ban, other rules in law demanded by voters
Brittany Wallman, Staff writer
April 23, 2014
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/broward/fl-broward-ethics-code-20140422,0,6390406.story






































































In case you're new to my blog and don't know yet what sort of city Hallandale Beach is, I think this answers that question:

"Laws and Constitutions go for nothing where the general sentiment is corrupt."
-New York Times, September 22, 1851

"Why do they need that in the Broward County charter?"
-Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper at April 2, 2008 HB City Commission meeting, in discussing possible inclusion of Broward County Charter Review Commission's proposal for Ethics Commission to deal with Broward County Commission, on November 2008 ballot.

Six YEARS after the county's voters had overwhelmingly passed an amendment to the County charter requiring its adoption, the Broward County Commission had yet to live up to its legalresponsibility. 
That's why!

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