New Sheriff in Town? Israel, Granteed Line Up to Face Lamberti in Next Election

Categories: Politics
Lamberti and Israel
Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti got a "soft" start to his current term: He was already sitting in for former Sheriff Ken Jenne, ousted early on fraud charges, and ran unopposed in the Republican primary. What's more, nobody paid attention to Lamberti on Election Night -- a certain African-American community organizer stole the show.

His bid for reelection in 2012 may be similarly overshadowed by the presidential race. But the campaigning here on the ground in Broward is sure to be eventful leading up to that. Declared Democratic challengers right now are Scott Israel -- a former Fort Lauderdale cop who lost to Lamberti in 2008 -- and Louis Granteed, a lower-profile Hollywood assistant chief who seems to have garnered the early support of several condo commandos from West Broward.

The mudslinging has already begun. Israel has not stopped criticizing Lamberti since the previous campaign. He issued what Lamberti called an "absurd" accusation that the sheriff's January move to ban body piercings, visible tattoos, and gold teeth in the department was a retaliation against the mostly-black jail officers who stood behind Israel in the 2008 race.

An Israel supporter posted a message to the cop discussion board in May, asking people to post only positive stories about him. That didn't work so well, with officers chiming in about how Israel was "a nightmare on the street" and other accusations, including an attempt to cover up a shoplifting scandal and missing internal-affairs records.

Yesterday, another post on the forums surfaced claiming "breaking news" about the other contender, Granteed. The poster, "Republican Source," claimed inside information that Lamberti had arranged with Hollywood Vice Mayor Patty Asseff to allow Granteed to raise campaign funds "on-the-clock." The allegation being that Lamberti thinks Granteed could slow the rise of his likely opponent, Scott Israel. These are serious allegations and were mixed with a fairly even split of denial and agreement.

Factually, what does that give us? Not much at this point. But just browse the forums and past news stories to learn that nobody's going to run in this race with a squeaky-clean public perception, especially among gossip-prone law-enforcement officers. We're looking to provide interviews with both early contenders down the pike. So while you're debating John Huntsman or Mitt Romney, keep half an eye on the Broward sheriff's race. In the Wild West of Broward, after all, the sheriff is still the most powerful guy in town.

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The Dirty Dozen of 2008If only we could fit all the bums in...By New Times staff Thursday, Dec 18 2008

Not surprisingly, Broward and Palm Beach counties had more than their share of backroom deals, slimy alliances, ego trips, and moral shilly-shallying this year. So many scoundrels, so many liars, so many wimps and turncoats. So many bums stalking our backyards in 2008, in fact, that New Times considered expanding its annual Dirty Dozen list. Each gets a rating on our Dirt Meter, with one being merely nauseating and 10 for downright despicable.

Scott Israel In the wide open, five-candidate race for the Democratic nomination for Broward sheriff that raged last summer, Scott Israel distinguished himself as the most desperate, unscrupulous option. The police chief of tiny North Bay Village had been a lifelong Republican, an affiliation he hoped would earn him an interview with our GOP governor. In the fall of 2007, Crist needed an interim replacement for Sheriff Ken Jenne, who pleaded guilty to corruption charges. But Crist didn't even give Israel an interview before he appointed Al Lamberti. Then Israel changed his party registration to Democrat. Presumably, after selling that part of one's political soul, it's easier to part with what's left. Israel hired a ruthless campaign adviser in Judy Stern, and then embarked on a fundraising drive that included vendors who served the Broward Sheriff's Office, suggesting that he learned nothing from Jenne about the danger of mingling contracts with political favors. Flush with campaign dollars, Israel's name was plastered all over Broward, though not on the malicious literature aimed at his rivals. One hit mailer portrayed former federal prosecutor Bruce Udolf, a Southwest Ranches resident, as a hayseed. Another contained a cartoon likeness of Wiley Thompson, an African-American, wearing a bow tie (a brilliant attempt to suggest Uncle Tom sell-out to black voters and black Muslim to paranoid white voters). Israel won the primary. But his dirty games backfired. In a general election where Barack Obama's candidacy drove high Democrat turnout, droves of voters cast ballots for Republican Lamberti. Israel made a deal with the Devil, and he learned a hard lesson in how the Devil gets his due. Dirty Meter reading: 6 (Anything higher is like dancing on a grave.)

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