Thoughts on the continuing Burnadette Norris-Weeks ethics problem in Broward County: Thru her actions, attitude and behavior, Broward SOE attorney Norris-Weeks has come to personify the worst unethical excesses of Broward County's pay-to-play culture and the insider's sense of entitlement that pro-reform pols and citizens have fought hard to eliminate.
Since last Spring when I took advantage of the Ultra Music Festival being downtown to also take some photos for the last time of what was then left of the partially-destroyed Miami Herald building from directly in front of One Herald Plaza -a building overlooking Biscayne Bay that I had been in dozens and dozens of times from the 1970's thru the mid-'90's when visiting The Miami News, but which by this time was also missing some of the letters from its iconic sign- I've been meaning to write something about what I have long sensed is the real lack of backbone and community engagement and push back among many of Broward County's current and in some case well-known civic groups and their leadership that, in the abstract, ought to be doing MUCH MORE publicly to lead the fight to make Broward's future better for everyone.
Not least, among those in civil society who actually follow the letter and spirit of the law, especially ethics laws meant to provide transparency to the public and inspire trust in institutions by them.
Push back by actually taking people to task by putting their feet to the fire and publicly embarrassing them or shaming them when their unchecked egos, ambition and sense of entitlement to go off the charts the way that Burnadette Norris-Weeks has clearly done the past few years, given that in the current environment, with our present collection of sleepwalking news reporters, she has absolutely no fear that the South Florida news media would ever hold a mirror or TV camera up to her, and show it to the public to inform them and educate them about her behind-the-scenes dealings.
As would happen in most though not all parts of the U.S. -or at least used to.
So, to better understand this vexing issue involving one Broward insider's ego and over-the-top sense of entitlement, I've posted this collection of information in reverse chron order, most recent at top.
@CityEthics @CityJournal MT @Buddynevins More blowback fm #Broward pols & citizens re SOE lawyer's #ethics problems http://t.co/3x7fLe0vDJ …— HallandaleBeachBlog (@hbbtruth) June 10, 2015
Black males left out of Broward charter review http://t.co/o4T5x5HlHm / Britt— Broward Politics (@browardpolitics) June 12, 2015
Other than the fully-engaged reaction from Sunrise's mayor, I'm unaware of anything by the people who ought to be The Usual Suspects.
Just silence from The Broward League of Women Voters, The Broward Workshop, The Broward Alliance CEO Council, or even the Good Government Initiative at the University of Miami, under former Miami-Dade County Comm. Katy Sorenson, who was long known as the most pro-reform supporter of strong and effective ethics on that ethically-challenged and corrupt group that seems to be on perpetual probation for crimes against taxpayers and common sense.
How much of this is because of business and political connections, large and small, and how much of this is because of race, and the fear of being taken apart publicly for simply saying the facts aloud while the local news media largely averts its eyes for whatever reason?
That latter point is something that Buddy Nevins references above in his June 5th account of Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes appalling performance the past few years and the public criticism of her that has only grown MUCH LOUDER.
Up to a point.
And that point in my opinion is the same one that explains the silence now on Norris-Weeks.
Commissioners won’t say much of this publicly because of politics:Its politically incorrect to attack one of the few black office holders in Broward.Perhaps more important, Democrats – eight of the nine commissioners — fear they would be alienating their base in the African American and Caribbean American community if they publicly condemn Snipes.Another aspect of this whole matter that I have written about a lot in recent emails but not yet here on the blog concerns the selection by crony capitalism-loving Broward Comm. Dale Holness of Burnadette Norris-Weeks to the Broward Charter Review panel for the second time in a row: why does #SoFL have so many more unethical and incompetent political and government officials than other areas of the U.S. its size? Especially among African-Americans?
Is it the lack of a large enough pool of educated, Middle Management types who DON'T depend on the public payroll for their personal & professional advancement?
You don't have to be a political junkie or news junkie to realize that #SoFL and #Broward are lacking in the very type of people who in most parts of the country actually make up a good portion of the middle management of well-run companies that actually manufacture tangible consumer and industrial goods, instead of selling the hope of sand, surf and sun to visitors.
Also, how is it that in the year 2015, the Broward Workshop,with all the access to resources and media professionals they have, do NOT have a Twitter feed?
Their charming and always-helpful Exec. Director, Kareen Boutros, is someone whom I like, after first meeting her at the previous edition of the Broward Charter Review meetings in 2008, but it's time for them to get into the 21st Century.
I'm grew up and was educated in South Florida in the 1970's, but still I continue to be #dumbfounded and #frustrated by what is tolerated and passes for "Normal" around here that would simply NOT be acceptable behavior and conduct in the rest of the U.S. then or now.