BY BUDDY NEVINS
City Manager David Rivera was clearly on the ropes before Tuesday.
The election results put him on the mat.
Sandy Welch won a seat on the city commission.
Welch has promised to be more skeptical of Rivera in the future. She beat the handpicked candidate of perhaps Rivera’s biggest supporter on the current commission — retiring Commissioner Marilyn Gerber.
A seat filled by a Rivera stalwart has become a seat filled by a Rivera maybe. It’s not good for the manager since there are at least two votes against him already on the five-person commission.
Rivera, accused by opponents of destroying the morale in City Hall and arrogance when dealing with the public, has a contract that runs until 2014. His Commission opponents have been reluctant to move to fire him. They don’t want the city on the hook for a big golden parachute payment.
But they hope with Welch aboard now, Rivera will use the next year looking for a new job.
Winning Miramar commission candidate Yvette Colbourne had the support of many Democratic activists and U. S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar. The city’s Democratic Club, however, attacked her in a last minute e-mail blast. beat Miramar Republican incumbent Troy Samuels.
She won despite the opposition of the Democratic Club….or maybe because of it. What is clear is that the Miramar Democratic Club just didn’t count in an election where only 4,387 voters cast ballots.
Sunrise Commission candidate Neil Kerch is ahead by eight votes at this writing after getting political advice from one unusual source.
Unusual to regular readers of Browardbeat.com.
Sam Fields, a frequent author of out-of-the-ordinary pungent commentaries on Browardbeat.com, helped Kerch. It is not as crazy as it sounds.
He ran twice for judge. Did I fail to add that Fields lost one of those judicial races and the second one was called off when the open seat closed?
But Fields also was a strategist on many successful campaigns in the 1980s and 1990s as part of the political machine put together by then-County Commissioner Scott Cowan. The two are childhood friend.
Kerch and Fields are both criminal defense attorneys and met in the courthouse.
I don’t usually believe endorsements mean that much. In this crowded race with a low turnout and seven largely unknown candidates, endorsements carried more weight.
Kerch had two that might have given him that eight vote advantage: Former Commissioner Sheila Alu and the Sun-Sentinel.
The Sun-Sentinel is a shadow of its self just a decade ago, but it surely could sway enough votes to make a difference in this small race. The paper’s nod to Kerch was a guidepost to voters who needed help wading through the candidate-crammed ballot.
Alu, a prosecutor, could have helped, too. She was in office a decade in Sunrise.
Kerch was lucky that more wasn’t made of Alu’s quitting before the end of her term. Thus, voters didn’t tie her endorsement to the estimated $120,000 cost of the special election that was triggered by Alu’s departure.
Since Kerch had 696 votes to second-place James Tabeek’s 688, there will be a recount. If history is any indication, recounts usually don’t change the final result.
So Kerch is most likely the next Sunrise commissioner. He has a whopping mandidate of 696 votes…and that’s what is really sad in the city of almost 90,000 residents.