BY BUDDY NEVINS
A lot of people in politics spend a lot of time watching Judy Stern.
She’s the sometimes-political consultant, sometimes lobbyist who some love. And some just love to hate.
Now her rivals lobbyists are worried that Stern could have four good friends on the Broward County Commission after next years election. That would gave her an advantage over other lobbyists when soliciting business. We’re talking thousands and thousands of potential dollars.
Here is the math that Stern’s rivals are using:
Stern is a long-time pal of Commissioner Lois Wexler. And last year, she helped get Commissioner Tim Ryan elected.
Next year she will be helping the county commission campaigns of Pompano Beach Mayor Lamar Fisher and state Rep. Joe Gibbons.
If they win, that’s four.
That’s potentially four votes at the commission for her clients.
The thought sends chills through the other lobbyists.
One person who should be watching all this is Sheriff Scott Israel.
Israel and Stern had a falling out after his 2008 losing race, which she managed.
The sheriff depends on the county commission for his budget.
I can guarantee this: Stern is at the Government Center all the time. The more commissioners she has easy access to, the worse it will be for Israel.
Because when she is whispering in commissioners’ ears, she won’t be saying nice things about the sheriff.
Building Her Rolodex
Katie Edwards at a House committee meeting earlier this year.
Katie Edwards is building a network of friends in city halls in her district the old fashioned way: By helping them get elected.
The freshman Democratic state representative from Plantation, Edwards is helping Plantation Commissioner Bob Levy’s re-election with campaign strategy and advertising. In 2011, Edwards worked on the campaign of Plantation Mayor Diane Veltri-Bendekovic.
This is nothing new. Former County Commissioner Scott Cowan helped office holders in the 1980s with their campaigns and in return got their support.
Cowan is also involved in the Plantation race. He’s helping with Plantation Commissioner Pete Tingom’s re-election advertising.
He also showed up at a recent fund raiser for Jeff Holness, along with Mayor Bendekovic. Holness is running against former Commissioner Jerry Fadgen.
Fagen is a Republican and his winning back the seat is one of the goals of the Broward GOP. Holness has support among many Democratic activists, like Barry Harris and Cynthia Busch.
Scott Cowan shakes hands with Barry Harris with Jeff Holness in middle.
Who’s Side Is He One?
Lauderdale Lakes financial quagmire has put it at odds with Broward County. While it tries to straighten out its books, the city has been slow in paying for police protection from the Broward Sheriff’s Office. County commissioners fear that the county eventually will have to bail out the Lauderdale Lakes.
So two commissioners have called for a state audit.
Enter über-lobbyist Ron Book. He is now registered to lobby for Lauderdale Lakes at the County Commission and in Tallahassee.
That’s funny since Book is the county’s lobbyist in Tallahassee, too.
So will he be lobbying for an audit or against an audit?
“If this city has the money to hire a county lobbyist, maybe the city should consider paying its overdue bills to BSO,” one county commissioner told Browardbeat.com. “If it has discretionary dollars to hire a lobbyist to kill an audit maybe it should give some relief to its residents instead, especially considering its 9.5 millage rate.”
Ron Book and his daughter, Lauren Book
Breakfast With Bagpipes
While mentioning Ron Book, I can’t ignore his daughter Lauren Book who will be named Humanitarian Of The Year at next month’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Gala.
Lauren is chief executive officer of Lauren’s Kids, an advocacy group and resource for child abuse survivors.
The St. Patrick’s Day Gala is one of the longest running political events in Broward. This is its 63rd year.
It is popular with the courthouse crowd because judges are forbidden by the cannons of judicial ethics from attending political gatherings. But they can go to a St. Patrick’s Day celebration.
So it usually draws a good number of judges.
And where judges go, the lawyers are sure to follow.
Along with the other pols.
The shindig is organized by the non-profit Emerald Society of Fort Lauderdale.
The guy behind it this year is Michael Ahearn. He’s a lawyer and local political consultant who is close to Mayor Jack Seiler of Fort Lauderdale.
So maybe it isn’t a surprise that this year’s Irish Person of The Year is Seiler.
And the Honorary Irish Person of the Year is Circuit Judge Dale Ross. Ahearn handled Ross’ re-election last year.
There are other awards, too.
So if you want bagpipes and step dancing with your Danish, write EmeraldFTL@gmail.com. It’s St. Patrick’s Day, 9:30 a.m. at the Bahia Mar Resorts on Fort Lauderdale beach.