BY BUDDY NEVINS
Ken Jenne should be back next week to his former kingdom, Broward.
But the one-time political king no longer wears a crown.
The former sheriff pleaded guilty to corruption charges 10 months ago.
He is scheduled to be released from Miami Federal Detention Center on Monday, September 29.
No word on what Jenne will be doing once he is out. The rumors range from lobbyist to law clerk.
As David says in the Bible: “How The Mighty Have Fallen
I met Jenne in 1974. He was sitting on a couch in the living room of a house at a party thrown by another South Florida journalist. We talked about his vision for a better Broward.
The county government at the time was bought and sold. County officials took money, almost openly. There were few libraries, almost no parks, a decrepit bus system, no unified policy for the environment and no land use planning.
As a prosecutor, Jenne was instrumental in cracking the culture of corruption.
That’s particularly ironic.
He knew Broward had to change. He wanted to help change it.
Leaving the prosecutor’s office, he was named the director of a group voters created to form a new government system.
In the early 1970s, Broward government was more suitable to the rural past. He shaped a new, more professional government with the powers to handle the urban future.
A bus system was created. A county library and park system was formed. There was some control — not enough in my opinion — over development.
Jenne went on the county commission, then the state Senate.
At times in the 1990s, he was one of the second most powerful Democrat in Tallahassee after Gov. Lawton Chiles.
He steered state money to Broward. He enabled parks, roads and libraries to be built. One of his major achievements is the downtown Fort Lauderdale public university campus.
As sheriff, he had a vision for Broward that I believe was correct. He consolidated many smaller police agencies under the Broward Sheriffs Office.
No doubt the towns that he brought into BSO have better police services today.
Jenne leaves a legacy. It is a legacy he talked about back on that couch more than 30 years ago — better services, better amenities for the public.
Unfortunately due to his mistakes, all many will remember is his fall.