BY BUDDY NEVINS
Question: When does Olga Maria Gonzalez-Levine morph into Olga M. Levine?
Answer: When she is running for office in Broward County.
Levine is the latest judiciary candidate to find a Hispanic name is toxic. This time the name is her own, not her opponent.
The Florida Bar knows her as Olga Maria Gonzalez-Levine, working in the Broward Public Defender’s Office.
The Supervisor of Elections got the short version Olga M. Levine.
Olga Levine sounds vaguely eastern European. The name sounds like a woman who eats blintzes and kreplach, not black beans and rice. It sounds like somebody who could be living in Century Village, not Little Havana.
That’s just the point, isn’t it.
Levine appeares to believe that her Hispanic name is a determent at the polls.
She is running in the crowded County Court Group 26 race against incumbent Judge Lee Seidman.
As if Seidman isn’t wacky enough, his latest moves against Judge Susan Lebow is a new low.
Seidman can campaign because he has four opponents. Lebow’s hands are tied by the Code of Conduct which restricts her because she has no opponent yet.
For instance, Seidman went to the Broward AFL-CIO endorsement interviews over the weekend. Lebow couldn’t attend.
Seidman reportedly told listeners that he wasn’t running for re-election, but was switching seats.
Seidman’s tactic of not challenging Lebow until the last possible moment is beneath the dignity of the bench. It is a tactic of a political trickster rather than a judge.
I don’t know what Seidman is worried about anyway. With four opponents, he has a very good shot at being re-elected.
Of course, all these judicial candidates might switch to other races between now and when filing closes in late April.
I don’t know if Levine is looking at any other races. She did not return an e-mail for comment.
Levine is part of a sad history of Broward candidates avoiding a Hispanic heritage.
Circuit Judge Marina Garcia Wood dropped her middle name when she ran at the urging of political consultant Tony Garguilo.
The late Tony G was right as he usually was. Wood won.
Wood ran in 2006. I hate to say it, but Broward hasn’t grown up yet.