If You Didn't Think the Broward League of Cities Was Evil...

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Commissioner Aronson at the Broward League of Cities.
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Back in the heyday
​UPDATE: Former Scott Rothstein partner Stuart Rosenfeldt has settled his $9 million clawback suit with the bankruptcy trustee for $1.6 million, according to the Sentinel. It's a convoluted situation. Apparently Rosenfeldt is going to pay the money out of a $4 million refund he's receiving from the IRS for overpaying taxes. The rest of the refund money will go to pay taxes he failed to pay in 2008 and 2009. I don't know, you read it

-- So now the cities are getting together -- via their "League" -- to stonewall adoption of the new voter-mandated ethics rules. 
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Calhoun
​​The Broward League of Cities, led by its director, former North Broward Hospital District Chairwoman Rhonda Calhoun and Coconut Creek Commissioner Lisa Aronson, is coming up with an alternative, mellower set of rules because the new ones, apparently, are just too harsh for them. 

Seriously, people don't know it's hard out there for a pol when they gotta keep ridin' on the dole. 

Aronson says politicians in smaller cities can't afford certain things -- like not being able to work as lobbyists on the side. What kind of a world would it be if elected officials couldn't get some scratch on the side as an influence peddler? 

And what's this about not accepting gifts? they ask. Apparently Aronson can't afford her own meals either. Apparently she hasn't thought of expensing some of her government-related outings to her city either (but that would leave a paper trail!).  

I'm going to one-up you, Lisa -- how about we just go ahead and get rid of all those pesky bribery laws too?*

Inside, read the incredible words of Aronson and Calhoun, who, to borrow a gimmick from another blog, are hereby named the Pulp's Knuckleheads of the Week. 
From the Sentinel (wife of the Pulp): 

The cities, using the Broward League of Cities, are drafting their own ethics code, hoping the county will pass it instead. League Director Rhonda Calhoun said there is no stalling.

"We were not in any way trying to skirt out of anything,'' she said Wednesday. But she said some things in the code, which was designed with county commissioners in mind, are unrealistic.

Calhoun said city elected officials on the League's board will meet Wednesday to discuss the alternatve version and to send a version to the cities for approvals. The League in early June would vote on a final version to give to the County Commission as a recommendation.

Coconut Creek Commissioner Lisa Aronson said city officials were hoping to loosen some of the restrictions on lobbying, for example, because some of them work as lobbyists and would no longer be able to represent clients in front of other city governments. The escape clause should be offered to the smallest cities, she said, because they might have the most trouble adhering to the code.

The gift ban, she said, is too strict. City officials don't make the $90,000-plus salary county commissioners do, she said, and can't always afford to pick up their own meals or event tickets.

"We spend a lot of time within our communities at meetings and functions,'' Aronson said, "and some people would even be offended if we were to turn down a bottle of water or offer to compensate them.''

*I stole that line from a source, whom I am officially thanking here.
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42 comments
Get rid of de Jesus!
Get rid of de Jesus!

And...now we have Debbie Eisinger at the helm of the BLOC! What a travesty! She is already pushing this issue because she lives on the public trough and has her entire life. Then, you have the moron Neal de Jesus at her side who Calhoun made the Chair of the ethics Commission who is the most unethical person in the county! you get what you vote for you morons!

City Activist Robert Walsh
City Activist Robert Walsh

Tell the League of Cities to start paying for these elected officals to go to there meetings and conventions. Here in Ft.Lau. we shelled out over 1300 bucks so one of our commissioners (dubose) could go to tallahasse,Denver ,etc. I mean why should the residents here in my town pick up the tab. Dumb,dumb move telling the residents that you blew all your travel monies going to functions from this group. Then get this he wants the other commissioners to give him more money to jet set around the state and country.

Patti Lynn
Patti Lynn

While we're on the subject of "self-serving" organizations, why don't we look at the Metropolitan Planning Organization ?? The group is composed of appointees from each city. I've been to 2 meetings and very few of the electeds understood what was going on. Most of the presenters were businesses that had a stake in converting to toll roads, making new roads, privatizing roads, etc. A company, with a pleasant sounding name, and a BIG supporter of Governor Scott, was a MAJOR presenter. He was called out by Commissioner Kristin Jacobs for his political ties and lobbying efforts. These are the people spending our tax dollars, privatizing our paid for roads, buildings, etc....all encouraged by the MPO...the transportation arm of local lobbyists. Folks, they're talking about tolls on 441, University Drive, and other high volume roads. YOUR roads...that YOU paid for!!!

Creekgirl
Creekgirl

Commissioner Aronson of Coconut Creek (and another Coconut Creek commissioner) is struggling with financial issues. This is why Commissioner Aronson is always volunteering to be the dais' representative (using local taxpaying dollars) to go on trips to Tallahassee or to meetings with the Broward League of Cities. She has said that her spouse is unemployed and her commisioner's salary is under $30K. No one could afford to live in Creek with an income under $50k unless you are a resident of Wynmoor or Township. So, she really must need those pesky ethics codes on free gifts/meals to go away.

UNotMe55
UNotMe55

What media person attending the Broward League of Cities meeting yesterday?

Was anyone there to see what they talked about?

Bet not.....

Score Keeper
Score Keeper

Listen up people. Whether it is the League of Cities, Council of Greater City Schools, Florida School Board Association, Florida Ethics Commission, Florida Bar Association, etc...they all have one thing in common; they are there to provide a network of ideas and people who have consistently created or exploited loopholes in the system to benefit themselves, while bilking the taxpayer (primarily) out of money.

Listen to the meetings or read the minutes of local government and school board meetings. They throw around the names of these organizations when they are looking to validate their latest capers.

These groups develop awards for cities (who pay membership fees of course) or individuals. These awards may as well be titled "Award for Achievement in the field of Excellence" because it really says nothing and really represents nothing. I do now that they will whip them out and hand them over to an elected, appointed or vendor whenever there is danger or fear of being exposed for wrongdoing to preempt any bad news. They literally beat the bad news to the punch.

People like Dinnen, Seiler, Lieberman, Ritter, et al know exactly how to use these "prestigious" organizations to bastardize reality. Why do government agencies (taxpayers) pay dues or fees to these organizations? Why is it not a group of currently elected or past-electeds who volunteer as a public service?

Just a current example. The school board of Broward pays the Florida Association of School Boards annual fees. Now they parade in the FASB executive director to pitch how "he" (FASB) can deliver the next Superintendent. Meanwhile, the board is almost waiting entirely on that group to bring in the next spineless rubber-stamper to keep the current model of waste and no accountability in perfect working order (pun).

Look closely at these organizations. See what they do. Ask what they are paid just for the privilege of allowing cities, electeds and school boards to be a part of their club. Then really ask what tangible services they provide to the taxpayers who foot the bill. No - not what services they provide for the government body - that is where the self-serving, loop-hole finding, award-creating shenanigans happen. What do they do for us???????

Fourwaysplit
Fourwaysplit

Pulp, when is Stuey Rosenfart going to be indicted?

Nathan Muir
Nathan Muir

Regarding the comment above: "public service was never meant to be an occupation."

You're wrong. There is no 'amateur ideal' in politics. It requires as much skill, historical knowledge, and dedication as any other profession.

The career bureaucrats, lobbyists, and lawyers need people like you to vote for wealthy know-nothings like Rick Scott. He is a great example of your 'it wasn't meant to be a profession,' thesis.

Diogenes6670
Diogenes6670

Frankly, I find the rationale published here for the League of Cities position abhorent and insulting. Public service is an honorable calling, but was NEVER meant to be an occupation. If any elected official is unable to afford water, coffee, a meal, or event tickets that are not offered to the general public free of charge (the acceptance of which under that circumstance is not prohibited by the County Code of Ethics), the elected official should simply say no. An educated public will understand, even applaud, that decision. If an elected official is embarrassed by having to "just say no," perhaps resignation is appropriate and a job that pays a living wage should be sought out.

PlayItAgainSam
PlayItAgainSam

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

Hollywood mayor asks FBI, state to probe anonymous complaints of graft, improper dealings at City Hall

It's sure getting interesting.

Town of Davie just hired their new Town Administrator, Richard Lemack, who was the former City of Hollywood Assistant City Manager and part of the City of Hollywood Police Dept.

A member of the Directors of the League of Cities, FL is a Davie Council member. This person brought up the Broward Ethics Ordinance for Municipalities and their employess at the Davie Council Meeting on 5/4. In a rather "unfavorable" commentary.

Town council meetings are available on the town website as video-on-demand.

Town of Davie just hired former Hollywood Assistant City Manager and Police Officer, Richard Lemack as their new Town Administrator.

SorryForTheRepost
SorryForTheRepost

Hey Pulp,

When are you going to take a closer look into BSO's Enterprise Technology Division? They're currently planning a disastrous server relocation move that they tout as a "backup location." All they are effectively doing is moving systems from a building in which they control to a building in which they don't control and are paying an exorbitant amount for. How exorbitant?

The cost of this move? First year: ~$400,000.

So while we're all suffering from the recession and BSO is laying off and cutting back, ETD (led by the corrupt Rick Carpani) is wasting tax payers money.

If you're interested in this as a story, please respond with your email address and I'll be sure to email you more in depth.

Le Peerman
Le Peerman

I have no problem with the Ethics Code. For myself only I doubt the County can come up with a Code of Ethics that will be stronger than my own but I can only speak for myself.Le

Christy
Christy

Remind me never to shave off my eyebrows and draw them in on my forehead.

anonymous
anonymous

The Rosenfeldt thing is insane! He pays a fine with stolen money, and in fact only pays a fraction of the stolen ponzi money back to the victims. So his crimes actually cost him "and his wife" ...Nothing. This is crazytown for sure. Adler's settlement was a joke, too. What do these guys have on Lichtman that they could take him to the cleaners like that?? Must be something! And the good 'ol Florida just lets them keep rolling along, no slap on the wrist. Why aren't people in the streets with pitchforks?

SuchCrap
SuchCrap

He overpaid in taxes from stolen (allegedly) money? What's wrong with that picture?

Interested
Interested

I thought Calhoun only worked for the League.

IrvingFeiner
IrvingFeiner

My babymama got a tax refund of $4,000,000.00 last year. Course she claimed 58,000 dependents.

HallandaleBeachBlog
HallandaleBeachBlog

I went to a lot of the Broward Ethics Comm. meetings in 2009 and 2010. Not all of them, not even half of them, but quite a lot, even video-recoding a few so I could better follow the discussion, and not have to write notes while trying to carefully listen.

Sometimes, I was the only Broward citizen sitting in the public area for the entire morning meeting at the County HQ. That's what informs my comments here -actually being there and hearing the discussion go back for hours between the appointed members and the staff,

At no meeting I personally attended did a single member of a city commission/council speak publicly against the general proposition that there needed to be one clearly-articulated standard that would fit all the people coming under the ethical supervision of the then proposed IG, not the elastic approach favored by some, Lisa Aronson, being the one cited above.

While from the point-of-view of local officials it may well appear that Broward County Commissioners were being intentionally spiteful in deciding that there needed to be a common standard that also included the cities, do we not, in fact, see laws and ordinances passed all the time that seek to make everyone equally accountable to one standard?And isn't having one standard infinitely easier than having to know what each city in Broward considers an ethics problem? The answer to that, of course, is yes.

Again, I DIDN'T attend all of the meetings, but I'm sure if a local official had shown up and argued for special treatment, we'd have all heard about it by now. We didn't!

It seemed to me at the time that Robin Rorapaugh largely convinced the more... well, let's call them recalcitrant members, i.e city officials themselves, that if they made exceptions for municipal officials, the exceptions would become an escape tunnel under the fence that would only grow until the entire fence just collapsed from being undermined by no foundation.

I checked the website earlier Wednesday night, http://www.co.broward.fl.us/et..., and saw that the verbatim transcripts were NOT currently online, even though that would help clarify who said what when.

I have copies of some of them, and even sent Bob Norman comments from one meeting last year that he used in a subsequent column about Comm. Stacy Ritter and some vitriolic comments that she made about Broward Coalition president Charlotte Greenbarg, not just someone I consider a trusted friend, but someone who is both admirable for her steadfastness and a role model for what more Broward residents ought to be: concerned people who pay close attention to the details.

That two of the members of the Ethics Comm., including the Chair, were appointees of the Broward League of Cities -the Florida LOC now being headed by Hallandale Beach mayor Joy Cooper- and yet they voted along with the other members in the final wording to make it unanimous, makes me wonder why there's now suddenly this Eleventh-Hour effort by the taxpayer-supported Broward LOC Crew to pierce the one-size-fits-all standard on ethics and be held to a different and clearly, much-looser standard that they decide.

This effort to carve out special rules and special treatment for municipal officials has got to be killed as quickly as possible!

Pulp
Pulp

Photo is corrected -- my apologies for the error.

Totally Blonde
Totally Blonde

Ethics are ethics. I don't believe and city official should be permitted to lobby in front of another city for anything. It just doesn't pass the smell test. As far as not accepting gifts I believe no city/county official should be allowed to accept any gift no matter how small or large. If they can't afford to go to functions than simply say you can't afford to attend and you'll be more respected for it then getting freebies or comps every place you go. You are a public servant, not royalty.

The Independent Man
The Independent Man

Here is the issue. The smaller cities pay their elected officials $500 per month. That figure in many cases has not increased since the 1960s when many of these smaller cities like Oakland Park and LBTS went from a Strong Mayor type of government to a Town Manager type of government. The politicians refuse to confront the voters with the fact they need to be paid for the amount of hours needed to do the job. They want to be seen as volunteers dedicated to giving back to the community without any need for filthy lucre. It's such a crock.We need to pay the elected officials a fair and commensuate wage and prevent any type of unethical behavior. The public and voters only have them selves to blame.

Patti Lynn
Patti Lynn

Ethics are ethics are ethics. Under no circumstances should any elected official be "exempt." I will go to County Hall to speak AGAINST any modification for municipal elected officials. The rules don't change as we cross city limits. If you don't like the rules, resign.Now I'd like to know where the funding for the League of Cities originates. It's time to eliminate one more lobbying group.

PlayItAgainSam
PlayItAgainSam

Tolls on 441 near the Seminole Hard Rock would help pay for the negative impact they are creating on the surrounding communities and municipalities. If you go through Hollywood around 62nd Av & Charleston(go east on Charleston to SW 64th, then south, the Tribe has put up international border crossings in all the streets of their area.

anonymous
anonymous

You're right on the money, Score Keeper. These organizations provide an illusion that they are watch dogs over their people, when in fact, with the Florida Bar, the lawyers pay dues for these organization to PROTECT them when they are involved in illicit business. They have nothing to do with protecting taxpayers or victims. They are often used to make it appear corrupt acts by their member are legitimate.

Diogenes6670
Diogenes6670

Please find me any substantiation for your claim that I'm wrong. I don't believe that you'll be able to. What "skill" is necessary to be an elected official, except the ability to convince enough voters to vote in your favor? "Historicalknowledge," sometimes referred to as "institutional knowledge?" That more often comes from career civil servants, and as a result term limits are a good thing. I agree that dedication is a key component, but in public service dedication comes with a cost -- insuring that all is done in the public interest, even at one's own personal expense. There is not a single, valid reason that any elected official should have her/his hand out for freebies. As for Rick Scott, fyi I didn't vote for him and nothing that he's done to date would get me vote for him in the future. It has more to do with policy than anything else, and certainly has nothing to do with his wealth. His inexperience in government was, to me, much less a factor than his imperial ways -- refusing to meet with newspaper editorial boards was a sure indicator of how he would govern. I hope that all those who voted for him now see the folly of having done so. I predict that he will be a one-term governor and will go down in history as one of Florida's worst. Alex Sink was a far better choice, and if the election was held today would, I think, most likely win.

PlayItAgainSam
PlayItAgainSam

Sorry for the strange type & re-type, seems DISCUS is operating strangely.

Bud Weiser
Bud Weiser

Hey! I was also at a lot of the meetings for the Ethics Commission. And like you, I thought that Robin Rorapaugh was the member who best represented 'the voice of the people.'

Don't think I was at the meeting you cited in which Stacy Ritter said bad things about Charlotte Greenbarg. I do remember a fake colloquy between Bill Scherer and Commissioner Wexler regarding something they called "sandbagging." It made me laugh because "sandbagging,' has an entirely different meaning to cops (with whom I am familiar.)

Concerning the 'verbatim transcripts not being online." Guess what? They're not verbatim. They are scrubbed over : buffed out to make the 'Electeds' sound more polished, and 'the public's" comments sanded down.

Both of us can appreciate the buttoned-down, professional way that the Ethics Commission Chairman, Neal deJesus, handled the meetings, and how he was shortly rewarded by the Powers That Be with a high-profile job over at the Sheriff's Office. (Fire Chief. Not sure what the Fire Chief does, but he would have a lot of people under him. At the LEO Affairs blog for BSO, a few commenters say that Neal de Jesus might run for Sheriff.)

Think
Think

They would fire you at channel 10 for that.

anonymous
anonymous

We know, but Rhonda didn't want her picture up there.

Horse Too High
Horse Too High

That is not the issue. Ethics is about promoting good behavior not telling people they can't have a lunch or do charity work. The ethics of lunch is this. No matter who I lunch with, no matter if they buy or I do, the work I do will be honest. There is no endebtedness associated with the purchase of a sandwich. There are lots of people that pay their own way and still are dishonest. You people miss the entire point of what ethics is.

The Independent Man
The Independent Man

This is how it works. I am hired to lobby OP for a zoning change for a client in(name a town). I get the zoning change. I get paid. Then (name a town) lobbyist comes to Oakland Park for a zoning change(or Whatever) and they get the zoning change. Then that lobbyist gets paid. It's the old quid pro quo.

Then all the elected officials go to the monthly Broward League of Cities dinner meeting and they wink wink and nod nod at each other. Wasn't that fun.

Horse Too High
Horse Too High

The same ethics that apply to regular people should apply to elected officials otherwise nobody will want to serve in office. If you do not want your officials accepting a lunch then don't accept one yourself because in your own sphere of influence that is unethical also.

PlayItAgainSam
PlayItAgainSam

The Seminole Tribe of FL has also blocked/blocaded all the local roads in their area of Hollywood west of the tpke betw. Stirling & Sheridan. Most people are even aware of it yet. It is unbelievable until you actuallly come upon it and see it.

Bud Weiser
Bud Weiser

"I pledge allegiance to the flag, of the United States of America, and to the REPUBLIC for which it stands....."

In a republic, we believe that policymakers are chosen by election, not through appointment. And tenure in office is important. Example: without Rep. Dante Fascell's efforts --over decades -- there would be no "Freedom of Information Act."

Arbitrary term limits for legislators makes no sense - you're ceding power to the permanent bureaucracy. (Careerist bureaucrats, lobbyists like Ron Book, behind-the-scenes powerbrokers like George Platt, Bill Scherer, and so forth. They cannot be voted "in" or "out.")

Some key bureaucrats have been around Broward for a very long time (Pete Corwin has been around for more than 30 years. Bill Scherer can tell you he's a 'go to' guy.)

Some societies have given civil servants a lot of power: like the Mandarins in imperial China, who were chosen through an examination system. They did not have 'elections.' Many of the Mandarins in the Imperial Court were also eunuchs, but never mind that.

Here in the good ol' US of A , we live in a republic All of this could change, of course.

No term limits for legislators! Now when it comes to certain executive positions, like the Broward State Attorney, (can't remember his name), well that gentleman has been in office for just about as long as J Edgar Hoover was. Perhaps you would like to send him an email about your enthusiasm for term limits, and why.

PlayItAgainSam
PlayItAgainSam

From what was said at the Davie Council Meeting, cities can "OPT OUT" of the "County Ethics Ordinance".

It is true?

Does anyone else see a problem with this, if true?

UNotMe55
UNotMe55

Channel 10 is not going to let him post inaccurate and incorrect information. They are afraid of lawsuits -- and there will be many

anonymous
anonymous

(Then we forgot to change the name on the bottom. Sorry for any confusion). We were way too busy with the facts regarding these morons.

The Independent Man
The Independent Man

Horse;You don't get it. I am not concerned about the sandwich. I am concerned about the quid pro quo of elected official/lobbyists trading favors between them selves. They get elected to these postions to enrich themselves.

SoFlaSkeptic
SoFlaSkeptic

"You people?" Who the hell are YOU, High Horse?

Elected officials are properly held to a higher ethical standard. Whether it's genuine desire to do public service our just a thirst for power, no one forces you to run for public office.

The people have every right to determine compensation for their elected officials and the rules by which they serve. If you don't like those rules our the compensation, don't run for office.

blotter
blotter

I don't know about that there sparky.

In my job I am not being entrusted with TAX DOLLARS that are to be spent with my constituents best interest at heart, I am trying to make my boss money so as to keep my ass in a job.

I hope you are not in anyway involved with running any city in this area as your comment was insufferable and moronic.

SoFlaSkeptic
SoFlaSkeptic

"Regular people?" I hope you aren't an elected official. If you are, I pity your constituents.

No wonder South Florida is a cesspool of politics. Elected officials have a sense of entitlement and no clue what it means to serve the public.

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