Rise of Anonymous: Former Tallahassee Staffer Tells of Lying, Cheating, and Stealing at Capitol

Coming up on April 15 is a local conference on political corruption that will have among its speakers dubious former state Sen. Steve Geller, Broward County Judge Ken "Mr. JenJen" Gottlieb, and lobbyist/fake ethics champion Norm Ostrau.

With folks like that on board, there should be no shortage of corruption experts. Geller's political nemesis, Sue Gunzburger, who soundly defeated him in his run for County Commission, will also be on board. Broward County's future county attorney, Joni Coffey, will be a speaker as well. Others: 

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​Joe Centerino, Miguel De Grandy, Gail Dotson, Maurice Ferre, Shirley Gibson, Eric Hendon, Gerald Kogan, Ben Kuehne, David Levy, Robert Meyers, Tony Musto, Miriam Ramos, Irene Secada, Katy Sorenson, Merritt Stierheim, Alicia Valle.

The conference is being held at St. Thomas University and is being run by that school along with the Daily Business Review and the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics. Its title is "When Politics and Law Collide: A Symposium on the Interplay of Ethical Standards in the Public Arena." 

Some of the panel topics are unintentionally comical: 

-- South Florida's Climate of Corruption: Better Weather Ahead?  
-- The Appearance of Impropriety: Undermining the Confidence of the Public
-- Judges and Other Politicians: Learning From Each Other  
-- What Hat Do I Have on Today? Lawyers, Lobbyists & Elected Officials

They should have a special panel dedicated to Ilene Lieberman. They might call it "Michelson and Lieberman: What's My Name Today?" Or one for Stacy Ritter and Russ Klenet: "Husband and Wife: Earning From Each Other." 

No, seriously, the more talk on this topic the better.

-- Speaking of fake ethics champions, the following is a piece of correspondence sent to my office by a source claiming to be a former legislative staffer. It smacks of the truth, so I've decided to publish it. Perhaps it should be passed out as reference material at the St. Thomas ethics conference. 

There are no names in the document, except for House speakers that were provided for a time frame ('80s and '90s). There are no names of alleged perpetrators, which is probably for the better.
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TO: Bob Norman, The Broward Palm Beach New Times

Am traveling on business w/ an open evening. So, we'll try this one more time. You seem to be the only journalist who actually cares about exposing political corruption. 

During the 80's/90's I was a legislative staff member who watched in disgust as several FL legislators embezzled large amounts of both taxpayer and 
campaign funds. In Tallahassee, during Legislative Sessions, legislators often shared suites with others, so I observed many. (Speakers during my tenure were Ralph Haben, Lee Moffit, James Harold Thompson, Jon Mills, Tom Gustafson & T.K. Wetherall.)

Shameless Hypocrisy: Pious public preaching was done about "ethics" by the worst offenders. Staff members were commanded to use public funds to pay assorted personal bills. Categories such as "office furniture & equipment" hid a multitude of sins since "furniture & machines" were often moved to a legislator's personal business or home. Wives would use "their" keys to help themselves to supplies and equipment. 

"Travel." Not only did lawmakers charge their purely personal trips to their legislative accounts, they also "let the State pay for" their family members, especially adult children, airline tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, etc. A state Senator, who always claimed he was not like so many of his crooked colleagues, charged to taxpayers, frequent long trips in his Recreational Vehicle, filled with family, to state parks, for "research." 

Meals: Numerous often very pricey restaurant tabs were picked up by taxpayers. Legislators would take their entire extended families plus friends to 4-star eateries, use their legislative credit card, then instruct us to "just claim it was a business meeting." 

Phones: Before low cost cellular units, legislators had car phones rented with billable minutes. Monthly Bell South Mobility bill were over $200 ($2,000 a year). Ninety percent of calls were purely personal. One self-declared "Mr. Ethics" charged not one but two car phones (one for his wife) to the legislative office. To cover his tracks, he had the bills sent to his home, then brought them to the legislative office. 

Postage: Legislators and wives walked off with roll after roll of stamps and brought their personal packages in to be shipped, sometimes overnight ($80 in one case) at legislative office expense. The wife of an "ethics" preacher was a prolific abuser. 

Miscellaneous: One self-named "Mr. Law & Order" used campaign funds to pay a realtor's commission fee for a property he bought then instructed staff to claim on the report that the realtor had done a "campaign poll" for him. They all used both legislative and campaign accounts like their personal checkbooks, charging grocery and home improvement bills, pricey family gifts and more to taxpayers. It all added up. 

***In all those years, not one person, even from taxpayer and civic watch dog groups even asked to see the financial records. If they had, it would have taken less than 10 minutes of viewing the receipts (not the reports they produce themselves) to see how much blatant thievery was going on. 

Reporting Requirements. Candidates and lawmakers are "required" to report contributions, regular and in-kind, plus gifts from lobbyists, PACs, corporations and individuals. All on the "honor system," numerous items were under-valued or left off ("how is anyone ever going to know?"). Also one self-declared "ethics champion" reported every little gift he got (smokescreen) but not the big ones. They also got around the reporting requirements by "paying" for a portion of what they received so they could claim it was not completely free and therefore not a gift. Example: one had use of a rental car in Tallahassee for $300 less per month anyone else would pay. It was not not reported on his gifts list. 

Free Campaign Labor. Legislative staff were ordered to fill out all the campaign reports even though the candidates, their spouses or a friends, were listed as treasurer. We were also commanded to arrange and participate in political meetings, phone banks, precinct walks, mailings and sign postings all for no compensation (the State's paying you"). Most of us were willing to help on our personal time, but we were often angrily told that we were to work on political activities all day in the legislative office and to "just shut up" because, Mr. Ethics proclaimed, "everybody does it."

In general, while I did know some genuinely honest lawmakers, it was the least ethical ones who preached the loudest about "honesty." They sponsored/co-sponsored ethics bills then often sabotaged their own proposals behind the scenes. Those are the same ones who made assorted back room deals with "just-a-pal" lobbyists. They got (and get) away with it because no one is watching closely. 

Where is Common Cause and Florida TaxWatch? Who's checking the receipts on the expense accounts of highly placed public employees? 

Thank you.
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34 comments
jad
jad

All right, anonymous -- you have made quite a valid point. You may be correct that notice, of the commission of the crime (of grossly valued payments being made to account for the basis of the State’s pension pay-outs), must be given to the appropriate authority. However, I don’t believe that authority to be the administrator for Broward County. In fact, I don’t believe that any person in the county office (at the old Burdines building, thanks to the assistance of in-the-know Judge Grevior & his fellow travelers, which is now called the county governmental center,) would be the proper person. Worse yet, I don’t think that the State Attorney (Michael Satz), who would seem to be the proper party (since it is his office that would prosecute the misdemeanor charge lodged against the county commissioners for violating ch. 145, F.S.,), would be the most competent person to handle the complaint.

If I had not been so busy trying to draw up charges that could be investigated by the accreditation panel overseeing the county school board, a (more thorough) complaint against the county commissioners for accepting the gross amounts of unlawful compensation, (illegitimately granted by mere ordinance, criminally passed by the very-same greedy, overreaching persons that would benefit in the scheme) thereby acting contrary to sec. 145.17, F.S., sec. 145.16, F.S., sec. 125.64(2), F.S., & sec. 2.01 D of article II of the Broward County Charter, might have been done with more care in the preparation. Although I am waiting for a response from certain of the staff of the accreditation panel (which might make alterations to the complaint necessary), the complaint, against Dr. Till, Jim Notter, & the school board members, is really ready-to-go. That does free-up some time to move over to another matter (to the consternation of family & friends. Nevertheless, time is an issue and when the iron is hot -- you know the rest.). Anyway, I guess that it is never too late to revise the complaint against the county commissioners (and any other person that had a hand in the violation of Florida law), but it wasn’t & won’t be filed locally. The corruption is so thick here, that a complaint registered locally would basically have little to no effect.

I don’t know what the State will do (especially after reading the material provided by a former legislative staffer to Bob Norman), but it is, at least, worth the time & effort. If it can be proven that State officers decided to do nothing (more properly identified as NONFEASANCE), the inaction might make an opening for further investigation by the Department of Justice. In addition, maybe the feds (already stationed in this area) will step in, once they understand that crimes committed by public officials in that particular capacity of a public official, go unpunished in Broward County (ground zero for the Rothstein enterprising fraud). In addition, maybe the feds will look into the bond scam of that supposed 2-billion dollar obligation that we, the people, are being told is our debt (when, in reality, it is NOT a debt or obligation of the people if issued fraudulently). Who knows, maybe Charlie Crist, Alex Sink, & other politicos, supported by Scott Rothstein & his keepers, will eventually get their comeuppance, once these complaints arrive at the proper destination (NOT within the corrupted jurisdiction of THIS area), and can be properly investigated by an outside authority. Oh well -- here’s hoping!!!____________________________

P.S. -- I might as well admit that I had sent out some of this information on Pascua Florida Day (rather than on April Fool’s Day, when discovered, even though the State holiday was celebrated on both dates this year), because it was appropriate for the day, NOT the year-in & year-out foolishness practiced on ALL State days. But, like the school board complaint that was first written, it may not have been enough to convict, and might need to be reworded, in the manner of a complaint. Again -- here’s hoping (the process has begun)!!!

Totally Blonde
Totally Blonde

Stacy Ritter must have learned to pad her expenses, campaign contributions, campaign expenditures, etc in Tallahassee! It sounds as though you're reading her campaign reports. She's been at this much, much longer than we all thought. What's the statute of limitations on state legislative campaign fraud?

skydove
skydove

Not to take anything away from Sharon Graham, who also, courageously, made excellent, hard-hitting points, but I'd give first place to Marchetti. His use of silence was very effective. After some of his most telling statements, he just stood there, looking straight at the people he was accusing. For someone with the presence to carry it off, that approach brilliantly emphasizes the gravity of a message and usefully helps everyone remember it.

KennyPowersSays
KennyPowersSays

To the Tallahassee tipster;

Since you are divulging anonymously, attach some names to these accusations. Otherwise they are useless. Of course you could be Bradley Manninged or Julian Assanged for this activity. If I had the info, I would take the risk.

Model Citizen
Model Citizen

Hey, Bob, did you see this article about Vicente Thrower in the SS?

Former Pompano Beach activist arrested in prostitution sting

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/ne...

You had a story about Thrower on November 22, 2010.

jad
jad

YO, anonymous -- Did you post (in response to Flori-DUH), as “anonymously yours,” in a prior article titled “Working Girls: Ritter and Lieberman Won’t Stop Trickin’”? If so, your comment about the law (about the maximum amount of compensation for county officials) not being applicable to Broward County because it is a charter county was answered, in that my response showed your comment to be wrong. Now, I will take the time to add some more information about the obscene salary received by our criminal county commissioners.

Please let me respond to your erroneous comment. You wrote, “Broward is a Charter County. Miami-Dade is not . . . salary is based on population in Charter Counties. I venture to say, if Broward is the most populated of Florida Counties that operate under a charter, they would get paid the most,” to try to tell me that I was mistaken in concluding the opposite (while using Florida law to explain that Broward County Commissioners have been and are continuing to receive an unjust compensation, when enriching themselves at the expense of the taxpayer, WHICH IS IN VIOLATION OF FLORIDA LAW).

Before my dissertation, please understand that you are wrong about Miami-Dade not being a charter county (for, indeed, Miami Dade County is a home-rule county). And, sec. 1.06 of article I of the home-rule charter for Miami Dade county (that was adopted in 1957, and subsequently amended) has identified the maximum amount of compensation for Miami-Dade County Commissioners to be “Each County Commissioner shall receive a salary of $6,000 per year payable monthly and shall be entitled to be reimbursed for such reasonable and necessary expenses as may be approved by the Board.” You also were wrong, with the misstatement that salary is based on population in charter counties, when it is not. Sec. 145.031(2), F.S., is clear that the law would not automatically apply to county commissioners of a chartered county. The only reason that the salary cap (of a maximum of $22,500 per year) applies to Broward County is because the county’s charter says so, in sec. 2.01D of article II of the county charter (which relates that “Commissioners’ salaries shall be determined and established in accordance with the general law of the State of Florida pertaining to compensation for Commissioners of non-charter counties”), not because of a mere salary chart in sec. 145.031, F.S. -- but, because the county charter (of sec. 2.01D) and Florida law (of sec. 145.031(1), F.S.,) are in agreement with the maximum amount of compensation to be paid county commissioners in Broward County -- which is $22,500.

You seem to think that just because an elected or appointed OFFICIAL tells you what they did was right, that, in itself, makes what they did right. Well, anonymous (or anonymously yours), that isn’t so here. Maybe in soviet Russia, or under a former dictator like Rumania’s Ceausescu, a totalitarian regime, or a fascist state -- but, NOT in any of the several, independent, sovereign States of the Union (of the United States of America), guaranteed “a Republican Form of Government” (by art. IV, sec. 4, U.S.Const.) A republican form of government is that which the law permits. It has a governance that can not be overcome by majority rule or WHATEVER AN OFFICIAL DICTATES (see Federalist Papers 10 & 11, and read the entirety for a more complete understanding of what our so-called leaders have REALLY been permitted, and what they are really getting away with). The law of the land (under a republican form of government) is a law that is generated from the charter document, which, (as already understood) in this case, is the United States Constitution (as “the supreme Law of the Land,” per art. VI, cl. 2, U.S.Const.) and the State Constitutions (per the allowance sensed to be granted in the Tenth Article of the Bill of Rights, U.S.Const.).

Remember that (besides those OFFICIALS belonging to the federal government) all STATE OFFICIALS take an oath (under art. VI, cl. 3, U.S.Const.,) -- and the Ninth Article of the Bill of Rights, U.S.Const., among others, is a part of that oath, of which is recognized that “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” Rights, anonymous -- those rights belong to the people, who are those free and natural beings recognized in sec. 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment, NOT MERE PERSONS, but PEOPLE who are either born or naturalized (NOT a corporate entity). No matter how you read art. I, sec. 8, cl 4, U.S.Const., you can not mingle a corporate entity (into the citizenry) to be a person that is recognized as a naturalized person. So, there are inalienable & fundamental rights held by the people, of which those rights, under a republican form of government, can not be diminished or denied. I would say one particular right is to property, which includes money. (Read the Declaration of Independence & art. I sec. 2 of the Florida Constitution’s Declaration of Rights.) If money is property, and the people are unjustly taxed or doubly-taxed, I would say that the right of the sovereign people (which includes my right, as one of the free-and-natural-born of the sovereign-people) to hold onto my property has been disparaged (diminished) and/or denied. Paying a compensation to an official, just because that official wills it is a violation of my rights to retain my own property, since the official receiving payment takes that payment out of taxes exacted from the citizenry -- that means residents & citizens of the area, like ME.

Here in Florida, the laws are formulated to abide by and comport with both the U.S. Constitution and the State of Florida Constitution (NOT any of the other, several, independent, sovereign States, or ruled territories, or District). All laws MUST comport with these charter documents that rule the jurisdiction or be NO law at all. So, I take umbrage at your remarks, anonymous. The main reason that I find disagreement with what is being touted as the debt of the citizenry, or the obligation owed county officials, is that it does not accord with the State Constitution and comporting Florida laws. Therefore, we, the people (which includes yours truly) should NOT be taxed -- NOT for an entitlement that only exists in the addled minds of the board of commissioners!!

The county commissioners should NOT be receiving a payment of $94,000 per year in compensation (plus building up their retirement benefits on that amount). I feel this way about the compensation of which the elitist commissars in Broward County feel a sense of entitlement -- to which I fervently OBJECT to their receipt of ill-gotten gain, as well as make an objection to see that our public servants have transformed themselves into a master-class (wherein the people are now ruled by such a classless bunch of self-seeking-celebrity). It has to be a sense of entitlement that the county commissioners possess, because the county commissioners have no right, under the law, to any amount other than a maximum of $22,500!!! Since we’re talking about how I feel about paying unlawful compensation & illegitimate debts and constantly being told that the State & county are broke, when it isn’t so, let’s talk about that 2-billion dollars in debt that the OLIGARCHS want us to believe that we owe.

I feel the same way about the manufactured debt of 2-billion dollars, that no citizen should have to pay (since the issuance was not according to constitutional mandate), as I do about that extra compensation being handed over to each and every one of the commissioners in Broward County. That 2-billion dollar money-laundering scheme, where moneys were paid to favored contractors and used to buy swampland is not an honest obligation owed by the citizens of this great State of Florida. The money to pay that debt should come from those that benefited. And, any official or public servant that expects a pension should be denied any pension for the role played in the money-laundering scheme, that has brought discredit to the State and made people’s investments worthless (if invested in these worthless Florida bonds). Why should every body in the State of Florida suffer from the actions taken by our greedy commissioners, school board members, & State officialdom (or is it dumb officials, or is it merely dumb-acting officials, that are really sly as foxes -- or is it weasels?)?

Please excuse me -- I just got a little off track. Sometimes my thoughts jump around when I realize how much abuse the people have suffered, from the theft of their moneys & their goods. I think of how much retribution, from these officials, has been visited upon the innocent -- merely for questioning the misspending, and I get a little out of sorts. Anyway, as I have been trying to tell you anonymous, or anonymously yours, or whatever other name or names you go by, when misinforming about the commissioners’ charter status, YOU ARE TERRIBLY WRONG.

The truth of the matter can be found in ch. 125, F.S., and the correct interpretation of that particular governing law. I explained the difference between Part II and Part IV of ch. 125, F.S., in an earlier article (of April 1, titled “Working Girls: Ritter and Lieberman Won’t Stop Trickin’”). That was done because it seems that incompetent lawyers (which are the only type that the county is really interested in hiring) for Broward County have tried a “Chicago” Billy Flynn on the citizenry with nothing more than a razzle-dazzle act, where the citizens would become so blind, as not to be able to see the law as written, even if right before their eyes. Along with this song & dance, the people become so bedazzled by the sophist logic of the lawyering class (that are employed as sharp-tongued, ill-witted public servants in our city halls, governmental centers, & courts of justice), with the droning oratory of “what is or what is not a charter county?” -- that the people want to be let alone, and accept that the county is whatever is vouched-for by the ever-lying sophisticated lawyer (doing his or her duty as a pimped-out public servant).

HOWEVER -- this is the TRUTH. Broward County is a home-rule county, as is Miami-Dade County, which counties had commissions prepare the documents prior to the vote of the electorate. Since this is the way that these counties formed their home-rule, the only way to change what is written is by amendment to the charter. A change to the Broward County home-rule charter (started under a commission, lead by executive director Ken Jenne) can not be accomplished by the passage of a simple ordinance. This is different for a county that passes an ordinance to put a charter before the electorate. In those counties (which adopt by ordinance, under the “Optional County Charter” plan of Part IV), the commissioners are not under the gun of sec. 145.031, F.S., and the salaries of commissioners can be through passage of a simple ordinance, per sec. 125.83(4), F.S., of Part IV of ch. 125, F.S. Broward County is NOT of that category. Broward County’s (“self-government”) charter was adopted under Part II of ch. 125, F.S. So, the charter must be amended, under sec. 125.64(2), F.S., if the commissioners want to receive more than the maximum allowable under the law, which maximum is $22,500.

Please review art. VIII, sec. 6, Fla.Const., & scroll down past subsection (g), to footnote 3, which is a restatement of art. VIII, sec. 11 of the 1885 Constitution for the State of Florida, as amended. Within that particular section of the former Constitution, you can see that art. VIII, sec. 11(3), 1885 Fla.Const., mandated the home-rule charter of Dade County first be prepared by a Metropolitan Charter Board, wherein “once adopted by the electors, may be amended only by the electors of Dade County.” Therefore (as specifically addressed in sec 1.06 of Miami-Dade County’s charter), the amount of moneys paid commissioners can only change with amendment. This is also true about the Broward County home-rule charter, because home rule was established by a board (like the Metropolitan Charter Board). So, county commissioners must accept the maximum amount of compensation, as is prescribed by sec. 2.01D of Article II of the county’s charter restriction, which is to receive the amount registered in sec. 145.031(1), F.S. (which is a maximum of $22,500 for a county of over one million).

Do you realize, anonymous, that we may not be the only ones paying into these excessive salaries, but our county might be forcing innocent taxpayers in other counties to pay the over bloated salaries of our county commissioners. This is the way that it works -- sec. 145.141, F.S., addresses deficiencies, as that amount that would have to be reported to the Department of Financial Services, which insufficient revenue would then have to come out of the general revenue fund of the entire State. Doesn’t that anger you? Why should all of the taxpayers have to pay a debt that was a scheme that enriched a favored few in Broward County and, at the same time, actually took away from the citizens of all of the other counties? Because of the actions taken in Broward County, many of the smaller counties might have gotten less of a revenue stream, while Broward County received a lion’s share (which was not shared with the taxpayers, but went into their bloated paychecks to pay for the commissioners’ greedy qualities).

Should the scheme be continued? Do you believe that there is no way to stop such a farcical goings-on, or are you more willing to admit to understanding the law now? If so, acknowledge that the commissioners can be held accountable. Sec. 145.16(2)(a), F.S., has prohibited county commissioners from trying to manufacture a law to save their arses, and forbids State Legislators from trying to intervene to save the arses of any county official. Moreover, since sec. 145.17, F.S., strictly and explicitly denies any supplemental compensation, as ch. 145, F.S., is the only Florida law that establishes “the sole and exclusive compensation of the officers whose salary is established therein for the execution of their official duties,” it is an incontrovertible, indisputable fact that the Broward County Commissioners are acting contrary to Florida law, and each and every one of them should be arrested for the commission of a first degree misdemeanor and should pay back the overpayments. As well, any and all persons retired on the exaggerated numbers of compensation in Broward County should have to pay back all of the moneys received in excess of that $22,500 permitted salary and, if found to have been involved in a felony when accepting the exaggerated income or being involved in the (RICO) enterprise, lose all benefits of retirement.

jad
jad

Thank you for posting that column. Everyone should copy and paste Charley Reese’s final column (for the Orlando Sentinel), and e-mail to 10-friends, with a very polite request to each recipient to e-mail to another 10.

While there does exist real debate on the issue, let’s see if (what has been called) the hundredth monkey effect is applicable!!!

anonymous
anonymous

Charley Reese's final column for the Orlando Sentinel...He has been a journalist for 49 years. He is retiring and this is HIS LAST COLUMN.

Be sure to read the TAX LIST at the end.

This is about as clear and easy to understand as it can be. The article below is completely neutral, neither anti-republican or anti-democrat. Charlie Reese, a retired reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, has hit the nail directly on the head, defining clearly who it is that in the final analysis must assume responsibility for the judgments made that impact each one of us every day. It's a short but a good read.

WORTH THE TIME. Worth remembering! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 545 vs. 300,000,000 People

by Charlie Reese

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don't propose a federal budget. The President does.

You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations.. The House of Representatives does.

You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.

You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.

You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a President to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits. only The President can propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House? John Boehner. He is the leader of the majority party. He and fellow House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want. If the President vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts -- of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red.

If the Army & Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan it's because they want them in Iraq and Afghanistan ...

If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way.

There are no insoluble government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like "the economy," "inflation," or "politics" that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.

They, and they alone, have the power.

They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses.

Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees...

We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

Charlie Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper.

What you do with this article now that you have read it... is up to you.This might be funny if it weren't so true. Be sure to read all the way to the end:

Tax his land, Tax his bed, Tax the table, At which he's fed. Tax his tractor, Tax his mule, Teach him taxes Are the rule. Tax his work, Tax his pay, He works for peanuts anyway! Tax his cow, Tax his goat, Tax his pants, Tax his coat. Tax his ties, Tax his shirt, Tax his work, Tax his dirt. Tax his tobacco, Tax his drink, Tax him if he Tries to think.

Tax his cigars, Tax his beers, If he cries Tax his tears.

Tax his car, Tax his gas, Find other ways To tax his ass.

Tax all he has Then let him know That you won't be done Till he has no dough.

When he screams and hollers; Then tax him some more, Tax him till He's good and sore.

Then tax his coffin, Tax his grave, Tax the sod in Which he's laid...

Put these words Upon his tomb, 'Taxes drove me to my doom...'

When he's gone, Do not relax, Its time to apply The inheritance tax.

Accounts Receivable Tax Building Permit Tax CDL license Tax Cigarette Tax Corporate Income Tax Dog License Tax Excise Taxes Federal Income Tax Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA) Fishing License Tax Food License Tax Fuel Permit Tax Gasoline Tax (currently 44.75 cents per gallon) Gross Receipts Tax Hunting License Tax Inheritance Tax Inventory Tax IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax) Liquor Tax Luxury Taxes Marriage License Tax Medicare Tax Personal Property Tax Property Tax Real Estate Tax Service Charge Tax Social Security Tax Road Usage Tax Recreational Vehicle Tax Sales Tax School Tax State Income Tax State Unemployment Tax (SUTA) Telephone Federal Excise Tax Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax Telephone Recurring and Nonrecurring Charges Tax Telephone State and Local Tax Telephone Usage Charge Tax Utility Taxes Vehicle License Registration Tax Vehicle Sales Tax Watercraft Registration Tax Well Permit Tax Workers Compensation Tax

STILL THINK THIS IS FUNNY?

Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, & our nation was the most prosperous in the world. We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

What in the heck happened? Can you spell 'politicians?'

I hope this goes around THE USA at least 545 times!!! YOU can help it get there!!!

GO AHEAD. . . BE AN AMERICAN!!!

Guest
Guest

Things have changed so I'm not able to post during the work day. So Looks like I'm here nights and weekends. It seems tonight it's the All That Glitters.....Show solo performance. This is for Therealyaz..Any Arrests Today?

Guest
Guest

Received this e-mail and I find it very scarey that this could be happening.This is it. The Tea Party Republicans are threatening to shut down the entire government on Friday unless we surrender to their outrageous demands.

Their ransom list? Repealing health care reform, defunding Planned Parenthood, silencing NPR, slashing public education…they even want to cut assistance for homeless veterans or else they’ll shut down the government.

The world is watching our next move. Will we cave to the Tea Party’s disgraceful act of political extortion or will we fight back with the full force of our grassroots strength?

These Tea Party Republicans are redefining chutzpah.

They’re threatening to close the government down unless Congress enacts their radical agenda that will cost 700,000 American jobs. But this fight isn’t just about numbers.

It’s about keeping teachers in our classrooms, cops on our streets, medical researchers in our labs, and preserving housing assistance for homeless vets.

The radical Tea Party fringe thinks they can blackmail us into giving in to their agenda.

Instead, with the eyes of the world watching, let’s take them on with everything we’ve got.

Steve IsraelDCCC Chairman

P.S. The world is watching our next move. Will we cave to the Tea Party’s disgraceful act of political extortion by threatening to shut down the government? Or will we fight back with the full force of our grassroots strength? --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Guest
Guest

Talk about an Ethics Topic...There's been no calm before the Storm!

Guest
Guest

I'm sure the corruption is still going on(I assume he's talking about when Jeb was in charge, I could see his wife stealing stamps) and worse.....They have chief Crook Scott now to turn a blind eye to what seems to be status quo and business as usual. Shame on those Republican Bastards!

DeathFrog3
DeathFrog3

I wonder if Rick Patterson from Citi will be in attendance to hear Mr. Jen Jen.

Based on the earlier post it seems to me that Mike Marchetti should be a speaker at the event.

Is it really surprising that politicians are hypocrites? They have been fucking the public for years.

I wish this "staffer" would come clean with names, dates and some verifiable information.

One thing about campaign finance is that you dont get receipts with the reports. If you did these half of these politicos would be in jail.

Nucky Thompson
Nucky Thompson

April 15th is also the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic . Can I suggest another panel topic. " Broward School Board : Rearranging the deck chairs."

Dr. Licky
Dr. Licky

I wonder if it is the strong Florida sun or the drugs being added to our drinking water. But surely something is affecting the cognitive skills of Floridians who continue to vote for and then sit back and watch our local, district, county and state government rape, destroy and help deteriorate this state.

I am adding Jennifer Gottlieb to the Dr. Licky suicide watch list.....more like hope list....alongside Governor Rick Scott. You have earned your spot Jen, congratulations. I understand K Mart is having a sale on handguns. The NRA will also give you a coupon to buy one, get one. I urge you both to take advantage. And Jen, someone in your mob connected family can show you how to hold and point the gun at your head.

Corruption, Incompetence, Pill Mills, Financial rape.....we got it all down here. And in case any of you missed it....

SB 736 ENACTED:

1) Teachers will have 50% of their evaluations based on student’s standardized test scores (FCATs).

This is effective immediately and impacts every teacher. Anyone who does not teach Reading or Math will receive a score based upon a calculation of all the teachers. So, to be clear, teacher’s salaries, their ability to be re-hired for one more year, their colleagues’ jobs and the opening or closing of your school itself all fall on the shoulders of that child taking that one test, that one day. How’s that for high stakes for the teachers?

2) This Merit Pay Bill was a moneyless bill.

Legislature admitted they have no money to fund the merit pay. (Yet they still claim they are ‘rewarding effective teachers!’)

3) New standardized tests will be created for every course taught- bill states 1,000 new tests to be created.

Important to note: The State does not fund the creation of these new tests. Each new test is estimated to be between $1M – $1.5M. Taxpayers will be burdened with this mandate.

4) All new teachers, hired after July, will be placed on a one-year contract which must be renewed annually.

Teachers must earn the right to be re-hired every year. This goes for seasoned, veteran teachers who move from one FL District to another FL District as well. They will fall under this rule.

5) In 2014, all Florida teachers will have two choices. Lethal injection or bullet (couldn’t resist!)

All FL teachers must choose either to: A) stay with their current contracts and accept the high probability of never receiving another raise again; or, B) opt to go on the one year contract which must be renewed every year contract.

How’s that for job security?

6) Effective July, teachers will no longer be paid at a higher rate for a Masters Degree even if it is earned in the subject they teach.

7) Effective July, teacher seniority is eliminated. This will be important when layoffs occur. No more Last In, First Out with layoffs. Soon, we’ll have armies of underpaid newbies driven by data in order to retain their underpaid job.

I hasten to add a few more important points. Most of FL’s 67 School Districts have already discussed a longer workday for teachers. Pay will remain the same. Florida teachers already receive $5,700 less per year than the national average; and $6,300 less than its neighboring state, Georgia. Florida has had a difficult time recruiting teachers for the past five (5) years already.

Can you hear the stampede of teachers flocking to Florida now? All of this will really solve the recruiting problem, won’t it? But, I digress.

OTHER EGREGIOUS FL LEGISLATION IMPACTING OUR CHILDREN, OUR SCHOOLS

8) Unions are not permitted, now by Florida law, to collect teacher’s dues from their paychecks.

9) Governor Scott proposed a bill which will order 105,000 state employees (including teachers) to endure mandated urine/blood drug tests. Guess he found money for that. Note: FL Governor owns Solantic Clinics.

10)Governor and the Republican legislature advanced another bill which will attempt to split the Florida Supreme Court into two courts and give the Governor the sole power of appointing FL Justices.

11) Governor last week proposed putting all FL Judges on merit pay–the more cases they take and clear, the more money they will make. (Imagine the dynamic this will set up? )

12) FL Governor invoked his emergency powers to order an immediate rollback of payment for the developmentally disabled. (Autistic, Down’s Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, all developmentally disabled — impacting an estimated 40K individuals minimally.) This is sickening–he invoked an emergency order Friday to stop payments and reduce theiralready insufficient funds another 15%.

13) FL Gov informed the State he is expanding the Charter School program. The new bill will allow Charter Schools far fewer restrictions to become a charter. They can bypass the School Districts/School Boards entirely and they can be given a 15 year contract.

At the same time they take away job security, seniority and bargaining rights from teachers, this Governor and legislature crafts 15 year “stability” contracts for charter schools along with our tax dollars.

Merit Pay with no money attached. Strip seniority, bargaining rights, security for public school teachers who teach 95.5% of the children in this state. HOW DOES ANY OF THIS IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF PUBLIC EDUCATION?

Anonymous
Anonymous

Not useless at all - great insight into the process. Excellent investigative tip that those who preach the loudest may be the most productive targets for investigation. Another excellent tip that the small gifts are a smokescreen for omitted large gifts. Only problem I see is that there's no Bob Norman living in Tallahassee.

jad
jad

That list above contains many Miamians. Why is it so important that they get together now -- after the scams have been going full force, for so long)? Are they just jealous after reading about the method that the Broward County Commissioners used to avoid the restrictions on the maximum amount of salary permitted by FLORIDA LAW (which, last time I looked still trumped a simple county ordinance)? Do they want to know how the county commissioners in Broward County flaunted the law to give themselves compensation, which includes a salary of $94,000 per year, plus an illegitimate basis for the contributions made to the retirement/benefits package? I wonder if the county commissioners in Miami-Dade County, who have the same restriction as Broward County, in that it takes an amendment to the county charter (NOT AN ORDINANCE) to elevate the fee schedule, want to get more of the details (on how to scam the system & pull the wool over the eyes of the citizenry AGAIN)?

Are the persons from Broward County going to give the details of how to break the law and get away with it (as long as nobody from the State Attorney’s office or BSO is watching)? Those poor Miami-Dade County Commissioners only receive a $6,000 salary. They must be pretty envious of those Broward County Commissioners, that are restricted in the same way as they are, yet are receiving oodles & oodles of cash each & every year (that also elevates the retirement pay). Yeah -- they’re getting together to discuss ethics -- how to act like they’re ethical, while violating the law, and even, if caught, just ignoring what has been proven!!! They are all a bunch of unethical b*st*rds. Why even bother -- unless, of course, they need public funding for their get togethers, and this would be a perfect time for them to harmonize (AGAIN AT PUBLIC EXPENSE).

Gator
Gator

So nice of the staffer to wait 20 - 30 years to produce this [useless] communication -- some would say he was an accessory to the fraud going on.

jad
jad

I just heard about the indictment of Marci Novack, and wanted to see if that was also being covered. I wonder what that says about our coroner’s investigation and the conclusion drawn by the Fort Lauderdale Police Department about that uhm-hmm “accidental fall”?

Christy
Christy

Agree, his timing, strength of voice, eye contact was impeccable. I think we need to change Broward County to Marchetti County.

anonymous
anonymous

1) I did not post as "anonymously yours."2) Rather than the diatribe here on a blog, why don't you, as a concerned citizen, send this information to the county administrator? Put it in official form and mail it (or email it.) Plus, I'm sure that if you signed your real name to that letter, it would be taken very seriously. 3) I hope you do what I suggested in #2. I would love to know the county's answer and the outcome. The would be required, I believe, to answer your concerns.

KennyPowersSays
KennyPowersSays

Everyone who is not a Tea Party member, should canvass their neighborhood in search of a Tea Party neighbor. They are easy to spot. Just read the bumper stickers on their vehicles. They will have window decals with parroted lexicon phrasing. Knock on their door and if one answers the knock, ask them about their affiliation. If they admit to Tea Party membership affiliation, pummel them.

Guest
Guest

Ieant to say Shame on those HYPOCRATE Republican Bastards!

Virgil is a douche
Virgil is a douche

Maybe Lamdirti, wheeler, Benjamin and little Lamdirti can provide security for the event.

anonymous
anonymous

Broward is a Charter County. Miami-Dade is not. That's the difference. Check an earlier blog response to one of Pulps articles. Someone explained it, but I dont remember how it read. In any case, salary is based on population in Charter Counties. I venture to say, if Broward is the most populated of Florida Counties that operate under a charter, they would get paid the most. If you are unhappy about the pay scale, talk to one of your State reps. They can change it.

Eduardo Especial
Eduardo Especial

You mean "series of falls."

I would fully expect FLPD to reopen their investigation. Or actually to start one. Perhaps they don't need to, and state murder charges can simply be brought. Oh, yeah, I forgot, we're talking about Satz's office there. Never mind.

Christy
Christy

Joshua Perper, medical examiner sure missed that call.

"The [new] information which [police] provided me is very solid," he said. "There is no question it is a homicide."

"Perper's new findings come a day after federal prosecutors announced in court they believe the wife of Ben Novack Jr. helped plot his murder and his mother's death so she could lay claim to the family's multi-million-dollar estate".

http://articles.sun-sentinel.c...

anonamoose
anonamoose

Miami-Dade is also a charter county.

Bubba
Bubba

Who is Satz, what does a Satz do for a paycheck? Why does everyone else investigate except Satz?

Virgil Starkwell
Virgil Starkwell

Did any of you guys watch Jersey Shore. Where can I get my hair done like Pauly D?

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