Sunrise Looks Brighter After Electoral Overhaul

Categories: Broward News

My apologies for the commenting problems; they seem to be continuing this morning. I have no idea why some of the comments have gone through while most don't. The tech folks at NT headquarters worked on it yesterday, and we'll see if they can finally get it working when they get up this morning (they're in Phoenix).

For the first time ever, I used the Facebook page to communicate about the Pulp. I only linked the page here one time, but if there's ever a major malfunction, it's the only back-up plan we have. Just a small fraction of readers are on there now, so if you haven't yet, click here and friend that baby up.

(As I'm writing this, two people have managed to get through, but the thing is still blocking most commenters.)

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You know, with all the talk about Ken Keechl losing his seat, we've neglected to talk about another once golden-seeming mayor in Broward County -- Roger Wishner of Sunrise. On Election Day, Wishner lost his second election in three months, and he'll be leaving the City Hall building in March.

Like Keechl, Wishner lost support among the informed voters after he made a lot of dubious decisions. He took lobbyists' cash and backed the monstrous Everglades Corporate Park to be built on the west side of the Sawgrass Expressway, and when he tried to bring in an unpopular dump (imagine that) for a friend, it blew up in his face.  

And just like Keechl, Wishner didn't go down without a ridiculous and unfair attack ad on his opponent, Larry Sofield, that may have backfired. See it inside. 

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​The ad is OK until you get to the white print. There Wishner's campaign alleged that Sofield got his seat on the Sunrise commission "the insiders way... by getting appointed. So it's no wonder he ignores us and listens to his insider buddies who have showered him with special interest campaign cash since he took his seat."

Here's the kicker: Wishner was the very insider who put Sofield on the commission. As mayor, Wishner voted to appoint Sofield for his old seat after he left it to take the mayor's spot from Steven Feren, who resigned his office when he was elected judge. Sofield was one of 15 applicants for the job and was chosen by a unanimous vote on the second ballot.

And the notion of Wishner attacking someone for taking special interest money is ludicrous. Wishner is a guy who hasn't seen a campaign check he didn't like. This time around, he took contributions from lobbyist Ron Book, Wayne Huizenga, Miles Forman, lobbying firms Ruden McClosky and Becker & Poliakoff, Terry Stiles, lobbyist Dave Ericks, the Corradino Group, lobbyist Bill Laystrom, Calvin Giordano, Minto Communities, the Panthers, and Wannado City, among others.

It's true that Sofield accepted contributions from many of those same players (he actually outraised Wishner $49,000 to $27,000 as of the last report). I'm assuming Wishner didn't have an electioneering committee fund him more money (the ad above doesn't appear to have a disclaimer). He's used them in the past.

Perhaps the special interest wounded most by Wishner's ouster will be Stuart Michelson, AKA Mr. Ilene Lieberman. Michelson was given a no-bid contract as city attorney that has been well-criticized here and across Broward's media landscape. New Mayor Mike Ryan (who beat Wishner in August) has made it his top priority to go through a bidding process for the position.

Michelson will be in the running, and he had no better ally than Wishner. We'll see how that rolls, but one thing is certain: The new attorney shouldn't be chosen until Sofield takes his seat in March.


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