BY BUDDY NEVINS
Marty Rubinstein, the maverick School Board member who lost his job after voting to fire a controversial superintendent, died Sunday.
No age or cause was immediately reported by the family. Previous newspaper stories said that Rubinstein was 54 in 2004, which would make him roughly 62-years-old.
A Sunrise civic activist and Democratic Party Executive Committee member, Rubinstein was the manager of computer returns and repairs at BrandsMart USA when he lost a bid for the Sunrise City Commission in the early 2000s.
With two children in public school, Rubinstein had an interest in the School Board and made that his goal. He was an active on the Banyan Elementary School PTA and various school system committees when he beat Phyllis Hope in 2004 for Board seat representing west Central Broward.
A fighter who was not part of the downtown Fort Lauderdale power structure, Rubinstein challenged the status quo at the Board. He rocked the boat.
About half way into his term, he started acting strange.
That’s when he revealed to me that he was seriously ill:
ILLNESS WON’T STOP SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER
South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL) – Saturday, May 22, 2004
Author: BUDDY NEVINS POLITICS
Myasthenia gravis creeps into lives like a thief in the night, robbing vision and coordination.
Although the autoimmune disease is rarely fatal, for a politician it can be a killer. Myasthenia gravis, which is also called MG, is hard to hide and easy to misunderstand.
With eyelids drooping and slurred speech, the victims are sometimes mistaken for drunks. Or fools.
A fighter, Rubinstein battled the disease and did some of most memorable work after being stricken.
By 2006, Rubinstein had had enough of Superintendent Frank Till. He became the swing vote to fire him, despite threats from Till’s supporters among the downtown crowd that they would destroy him at the polls.
As the reasons for his vote, Rubinstein cited the school system’s multi-million dollar purchase of a swamp, the construction of schools where they were not needed, Till’s mismanagement of the school’s finances and Till’s refusal to listen to parents.
“Staff did not do its job and Dr. Till did little,” Rubinstein said.
But the business community did what it promised. It threw its support to Hope, running a second time, and defeated Rubinstein’s re-eleection in 2006.
Later, a statewide Grand Jury agreed with Rubinstein that the school system under Till was mismanaged and out of control.
“Even knowing the results of the election, I would still have voted to fire Till. That’s at least one of the legacies I leave to Broward County,” Rubinstein wrote after his defeat.
Out of office, Rubinstein became a political consultant and a blogger.
Rubinstein wasn’t rich. He wasn’t part of the downtown Fort Lauderdale crowd of insiders that control the School Board. He was just a parent who fought to make our school’s better. He wanted to make a difference….and he did.
We need more like him.
Here is the announcement on Facebook by his family using Marty’s Facebook page:
Hello all. I am sad to announce that dad is no longer with us. He fought with all his might until the very end. He got to hear some of the prayers that were said before he left us, so he knows he was loved by all of us. Funeral plans to be announced tomorrow morning. Thank you all. – Amanda, Diane &Nicole
RIP Marty Rubinstein
Sept 24, 1949 – Aug 19, 2012
It seems like the prayers aree working. We spoke with the lead oncologist working on dads case. He says that all dad needs to do is hold on as best he can and he can get through this. So I would like to keep the prayers going and help him make it happen. He is doing beautifully and appreciates every bit of support coming from everyone. Mom, Nicole and I are also very thankful for the love from everyone. Thank you all! Let’s get dad better!
Hello this is Amanda. We are hoping for some good news tomorrow and I’m sure dad would greatly appreciate some extra prayers at this time. He is fighting very hard and we are doing the best to stand behind him 100% of the way. All your love and support is (as always) truly appreciated. He misses everyone very much and hopes to be better soon.
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Services are 3:15 p.m. Tuesday, August 21 at the Star of David Cemetery and Chapel, 7701 Bailey Road, North Lauderdale.