New School Board Member Learns Fast

BY BUDDY NEVINS

 

 

It didn’t take long for newly-minted School Board member Abby Freedman to discover the biggest impediment to improvement in our classrooms:

The staff.

 

Abby Freedman

No, not the teachers. Freedman believes rightly so that they need more resources and sympathy.

It’s the apparatchiks pushing paper without any accountability and the six-figure lifers in glass offices at the system’s headquarters.

One – this person will go unnamed – misled Freedman with faulty information before her first meeting this week.

Bad move.   Wrong person to pull that on.

Freedman reads the backup material.  She double checks.

And she has three sons and taught school.  She knows b. s. when she hears it.

“I was given the wrong information,” Freedman told Browardbeat.com. “A lot of that has gone on through the years.”

Freedman’s response?

“It’s like any business”, she said of the Board. “Its can’t be tolerated.”

Parents and taxpayers should like the sound of that.

Freedman is an impressive package. She offers a lot of promise.

She has a law degree and has been in business management.

Her entire campaign was self-funded. She spent $108,045.18 as of Nov. 1, taking not a dime from lobbyists or insiders doing business with the school system.

“I didn’t get in bed with anybody to win this. The only person I’m in bed with is my husband,” she said.

Parents and taxpayers should like the sound of that, too.

Despite throwing more money into the race than most people earn in a year, Freedman didn’t just buy her Northwest Broward District 4 seat.  She worked hard.

She knocked on doors…listening.  She spent almost every night at meetings…listening.  She hustled.

“I literally worked 35 pounds off,” Freedman said, laughing. “I’m happy with that.   Taking pictures now is great!”

But more important, Freedman heard what parents and taxpayers wanted from the public schools.

They wanted change.  They wanted a better education for their kids. They wanted more accountability, transparency and a better use of tax dollars.

“I’m dedicated to making a difference,” she said.

The chance for making a difference has never been better.  Freedman joins a Board with four recently-elected members who appear dedicated to improvements.

Members Patti Good  and Nora Rubert ask tough questions of the staff, a big adjustment for bureaucrats after years of a somnolent Board.  Members Katie Leach and Donna Korn watch the budget.

Those four, who all became Board member in the last two years, have been restrained by the budget problems and hiring a new superintendent.  But times are getting better.

I have faith that these four, along with Freedman, will finally make the Broward Schools something we can be proud of.  Superintendent Robert Runcie, who can count votes, seems to be moving in the direction of making some major moves.

Whether Freedman’s idealism can survive the snake pit that is the School Board is the question.

Will the politics and the lobbyists get to her?  Will she be able to shove aside the roadblocks erected by the entrenched staff that wants no one to rock their cozy boats?

It will be interesting to see.  But if anybody can do it, I’m putting my money on Freedman.

 



47 Responses to “New School Board Member Learns Fast”

  1. Real Deal says:

    I guess part of the point being made here is that unless one has a few hundred thousand to spend on a campaign, expect to be tarred and feathered as corrupt if a run for office is financed in the conventional and legal way.

    I guess the suggestion here is that unless you’re independently wealthy and can fund your own campaign, you are corrupt to accept funding from the business community. That conclusion is decided in advance. We need not wait for you to actually get elected and see how you perform. It is decided ahead of time, and curiously all of the elite few who can fund their own campaigns are instantly considered honest.

    Government by the elite rich is honest and by the working class forced to raise campaign funds is corrupt. That is the message.

    What a great signal to send to the many working class people who can contribute as elected leaders but, alas, are instantly considered corrupt by this line of thinking simply because they are not rich enough to fund their own campaigns.

    Such is the twisted nature of Broward thinking on ethics and government. Suddenly, elitism and wealth is an instant replacement for honesty and ethical credibility.

    FROM BUDDY:

    You raise the age-old question about wealthy individuals using their own money to fund their campaign. Rich folks can still be beholden to somebody — from their political consultant to their buddies at the country club. The key is that Freedman vowed she wasn’t beholden to anybody. We shall see.

    The Broward School Board is now a diverse economic mix of well-to-do and average income people. The wealthy folks, like Freedman and Katie Leach, have children in public school, although they could easily afford a private institution.

  2. Real Deal says:

    By the way my sincere best wishes go to Mrs. Freedman who by all accounts is outstanding and has great promise for success.

  3. Just Beachy says:

    Whether her idealism can survive the snake pit that the School Board is the question.

    Hopefully, she will reverse this seemingly long lived reality and return idealism to the profesdion by encouraging teachers , staff and administrators to act in watsvthat are best for students, and build on hope through establishing positive outlooks focused on enhancing all student learning activities and instruction.
    It is not always in the what, but rather in the how!

  4. Chaz Stevens, El Genius says:

    Props to Freedman and her endeavor to help out our kids.

    As to Freedman’s efforts, it is important to remember her opponent was Rochelle “Shelly” Solomon.

    Solomon, who is a silver-spooned, Pinecrest educated, life coach and tennis instructor.

    Solomon, who gave money to every Tom Lauder, Dick Leggett, and Jane Tea Partier.

    Solomon, who seemed to have violated Florida Elections Law.

    Violated what, you say?

    Before I get to that, can I ask Lois to stop pulling down her top? Sheesh really…

    Ick.

    You see, good friends, Solomon, spent $7,500 at a local UPS store on “mailers”. This was the single largest expense of her campaign.

    All well and good I suppose, if all was well and good.

    I opine it wasn’t and isn’t, as I can’t find a single mailer that went out (Sept/Oct/Nov) with Solomon’s name and required disclosure on it.

    And my team looked high and low. We canvassed the district… We found some original mailers (mid summer), but not any from late in the election cycle.

    While I didn’t find any mailers, I did find the following:

    1. Right before she spent $3,750 (1/2) on the mailers, she paid Leggett (of coloREDBroward.com) $450 for “communications”.

    2. When I confronted Solomon on the telephone about this matter, she was absolutely dumbstruck as to these expenses — unable to fashion a coherent thought, reasonable excuse, or even string a complete sentence together.

    In the grandma’s vernacular, I done fucked her brains out.

    3. Solomon’s unofficial spokesmodel, my buddy Margate Commissioner Le Peerman, rose up in stern defense. However, neither Peerman nor Solomon have provided any data in defense of my allegation. It’s simple really — a copy of the mailing list and the piece that went out.

    Don’t tell me, “oh Shelly didn’t do that… Show me.”

    And by me, I mean the SAO.

    And what is my allegation? I alleged, in a complaint to the Florida Elections Commission, that Broward County School Board District #4 candidate Rochelle “Shelly” Solomon, in willful violation of Florida Statute 106.143, spent $7,500 on campaign mailers that weren’t directly attributable to her campaign. In the end, it is my position that Solomon paid others to do her dirty work.

    This complaint was also filed with Timothy Donnelly of the Broward State Attorney’s Office.

    http://www.myactsofsedition.com/2012/11/08/shelly-solomon-violation-of-florida-statute-106-143/

    Kick some ass Abby.

  5. Interested says:

    It looks like Korn now has a rival for babe of the board.

    FROM BUDDY:

    Always count on my readers to take the high road and bring up the vital issues facing the School Board.

  6. Chaz Stevens, El Genius says:

    Korn wins for the simple reason there’s a band named after her.

  7. Sam The Sham says:

    She sounds like a good public servant, one of the few. I hope it lasts.

    Buddy, one more thing remains in investigating this story…accountability. Freedman should go to Runcie and explain what happened and ask for his response. Will the employee be written up? Reprimanded? Counseled? Fired? Does this employee have a history of this? If Runcie takes no action, Freedman should inform him that is strike one for him. Two more strikes and she makes a motion to dismiss him.

    THAT is accountability, and if none of that happens, then Freedman turns out to be just one more in the “Old Girls Club” running the skool board.

  8. I know BS too says:

    I watched the meeting on TV yesterday and I didnt hear Abby take issue with anything or say she was not informed about any issues. Sure sounds like a lot of baseless allegations backed up by nothing.

    I read in the Herald that while all the other Board Members were sworn in by their spouses and children, she was sworn in by Israel. Was her family even there? If not, that is quite telling.

    FROM BUDDY:

    She said at the meeting that she preferred her children stay in school, rather than have the day off to see her swearing in.

  9. Chaz Stevens, El Genius says:

    @BS

    Quite telling? It’s quite telling to me you must be seriously baked.

    However…

    Props to you, as your statement is the quintessential example of “an utterly fucking irrelevant comment.”

    I’m willing to go as far as to say, “perhaps one of the top five irrelevant comments in the history of the Interwebs commentary.”

    You blow (pun!) Lois right out of the water.

    ***

    Now, perhaps you’ll start to understand why blog masters scoff/scorn/look down their collective noses at anonymous commentary such as yours.

    ***

    Congratulations to Freedman for keeping her little ones in school. She gets it.

  10. Hey Chaz says:

    Dont clap to loud I hear Dear Abby and the boys at Red Broward had a meeting on Monday to hug it out and clear the air.

  11. Springs says:

    Time will show Abby is not a very nice person and is very arrogant. You can buy a race, you can buy people, but you can’t buy respect. People do not like her arrogance and better than everyone else attitude. I agree with them. You can only get confrontational with her “I worked at the Pentagon” bull for so long. It’s great that she worked at the Pentagon, but she should have taken a people skills class along the way and learn how to tal kand deal respectfully with people. The article is displaying this same attitude by her own comments….

  12. Priceless says:

    Divorce means 50/50 split of marital property, alimony and child support. Lot more than 100k.

    Spend 100k to win a SB seat and get her out of your office.

    Making her Runicie’s problem, keep her out of the house and business for a lot less than a divorce

    PRICELESS….

    Disclaimer, just a random thought and a complete work of satire.

  13. Real Deal says:

    …no, actually I’m bring up the age old and very tired tar and feathering of those who fund their campaigns through donors because they have no choice. If they want to be elected they have to fund winning campaigns or they don’t get the chance to serve their community.

    Your assumption that the rich elite are more honorable than those who accept campaign contributions has no track record in truth whatsoever.

    I’d prefer to see a system funded by taxpayers that gives rich and poor the same amounts and makes them compete not on the basis of money but talent and ideas.

    FROM BUDDY:

    I totally agree with your position in the last paragraph. Unfortunately, I believe U. S. Supreme Court decisions would prevent this.

  14. Real Deal says:

    Government may not restrict the ability of private parties to make political contributions. But government can restrict the ability of candidates to accept private funds. The question is whether it can restrict candidates to only using taxpayer funds, and I believe that answer is yes.

    Government has used legislative authority to regulate campaign financing before, even in our own area, though arguably in some logically questionable ways.

    For example, Fort Lauderdale limits campaign contributions to $250 per person or entity when state law establishes a $500 limit.

    Many argue that this rule accomplishes nothing but make it harder for candidates to raise money and it does nothing to eliminate the “appearance” it was created to address. It may even protect incumbents from being replaced by voters by making it harder for challengers to run.

    Logic and motivation aside, the fact remains that the city had the legal authority to make such a law. So the question should turn on what other legal authority government has in the area of campaign finance reform, specifically in the area of taxpayer financing of campaigns.

    The larger question is in what ways can government establish a fund paid for by taxpayers that candidates are required to use, in the absence of or with heavy restrictions regarding private funds, in order to finance their campaigns?

    The societal benefits are obvious. First, we remove this thorny ethical appearance which in the experience of most sometimes but not always applies.

    Second, don’t kid yourselves. Taxpayers are paying for campaign donations already. That cost is passed along in the pricing of government goods and services by the private sector.

    Third, by creating a ready pool of campaign cash available to the general public willing and able to serve (there would have to be eligibility rules here to access the fund) more talented people who lack the “connections” to raise the cash needed to run a successful campaign might throw their hats in the ring.

    Last, the cost per person yearly would be negligible. If you believe in Buddy’s logic, it probably would save you money because we would be electing more “honest” officials.

    For certain, public financing would shift campaigning away from who can raise the most money and toward who has the most talent to lead and best ideas for our future under a leveled playing field.

    Wouldn’t that be a nice change?

    Here’s my question for Buddy.

    It is a recurring theme and conclusion in your writing and that of others that candidates who raise campaign funds in the private sector are inherently corrupt for doing so.

    There is no proof for that allegation yet the constant repetition of it helps convince the less strong minded that it’s true.

    This erodes public trust without so much as offering of an alternative, except in your case. You believe that the rich who fund their own campaigns are somehow more ethical than those who can’t.

    I suggest that is an elitist view that is equally unsubstantiated but you draw your own conclusion.
    The suggestion that rich people are more ethical because they can fund their own campaigns sounds pretty shocking to me.

    Good democracies seek the best leaders and depend on them to come forward and serve. So there’s ample reason to level the playing field and offer an alternative. Because without financing, campaigns can’t succeed in our society.

    Public financing of campaigns will achieve that outcome. The question is how it can be done.

    As a frequent reader of your post, I encourage you to interview elections lawyers and explore government’s legal authority to establish taxpayer funded campaigns by imposing restrictions on the candidate — not on private donors.

    Please tell us what you find. Educate us on the issue. Let us understand and question what you find. That’s how change occurs in our society. Through education.

    On the other hand, if you choose not to write tha story I will completely understand.

    It’s so much more fun for reporters to drone about circular issues that carry a some ethical spin.

    I realize you enjoy writing those stories even if they are pointless. I must admit that occasionally I even find some of them amusing. But well short of thoughtful.

    FROM BUDDY:

    Any argument about campaign contribution limits is meaningless as long as the courts have allowed the rich to create committees and spend whatever they want in campaigns. Fort Lauderdale limits the spending of candidates but it can’t stop anybody from funding a committee and spending any amount of money influencing the results of an election.

    Government can restrict campaigns from accepting money beyond a certain level. Governments can’t restrict free speech and spending money on campaigns through committees or other vehicles has been equated with free speech in court decisions.

    Public campaign contributions already exist on a presidential and state level. You see how well that has worked out. Candidates often just choose to ignore the public funding and use their own money or the money they collect.

    I am not alone in believing campaign contributions corrupt candidates. I am joined by numerous public interest groups. The corroding influence of campaign contributions is the prime motivation behind public campaign funding. Do you believe that businesses and lobbyists would give so much money if they didn’t think it bought them access and influence among the electeds?

    And I have never suggested rich people are more ethical than poor people. No group has a monopoly on ethics. I quoted a School Board member and said her comment sounded good. I do believe, however, that if you take no money from lobbyists or businesses than every vendor ideally has a equal chance.

    I say ideally because there is no perfect system.

  15. Odd to say the least says:

    First of all the sceremony was about 2 hours. I am sorry but it seems odd that on the occasion of their mother doing something great like being elected to the school board the Freedman’s would not want to share this moment as a family? Seems very odd that all the other elected board members shared such a special day with their kids and spouses. Reads to me like Ms. Freedman is very cold and aloof about her family. Was her husnband even there? How shallow was she to show she is a big shot to get sworn in by Scott Israel. If he lost, who would have sworn her in Ritter?

    Sorry but something about excluding ones family from a major mailestone in the life of the mother and wife seems odd.

  16. Da Fundz says:

    Buddy is partially correct about Real Deal’s idea.

    It’s true that Supreme Court decisions have ruled out laws that try to prevent ADDITIONAL funds from entering a campaign. However, there is a certain minimum amount of campaign funding that is necessary in order to get the candidate’s message out, and beyond that point each additional dollar becomes less and less effective.

    Nothing prohibits a taxpayer-funded system in which taxpayers give all qualified candidates the same minimum amount of campaign funds, and then the candidates use that “pump-priming” money to battle it out from there. Such a system would effectively level the playing field and would also pass constitutional muster.

    OK, Chaz, how’s that for a substantive anonymous comment? ;-)

  17. Le Peerman says:

    Real Deal,
    Well said.
    Chaz,
    The election is over, Ms Freedman won. The defense of Shelly you speak of from me was because I respect you too much to have watched you smear a candidate WITHOUT proof. My endorsement of Shelly was because she came to Margate and spoke with Margate people. She was at every event and spoke to parents and teachers. Margate has been ignored by the SB and my desire is to have someone that will represent Margate as well as the Coral Springs and Parkland schools are. I wish Mrs. Freedman well and will as I always do with newly elected officials, watch and see what happens.
    Just out of curiosity why were the papers you received back from elections ethics redacted?
    Happy Thanksgiving.
    Le

  18. John Henry says:

    Another “highly educated attorney” elected to public office in Broward County. More of the same-ole, same-ole. LOL. She seems to mean well but I don’t trust any of it for a second. As a lawyer, she knows how to play the “Broward Politics” game.

  19. Point of clarification says:

    Unless she is registered by another name, Mrs. Freedman is not a member of the Bar in Florida. So she is not really an attorney or lawyer, as such titles imply she has the ability to practice in the Courts of the State of Florida. In reality she is someone who merely showed up to class and earned a Juris Doctorate.

  20. Chaz Stevens, El Genius says:

    @Le

    Kiddo, here’s the deal.

    1. You keep talking about proof. I agree. Have you asked Shelly Solomon for such proof? Seems to me, if Solomon wants to head off the criminal investigation by the Broward SAO, she’d be running to them/you/me with the data. I asked Solomon for the documents. She never returned my various emails.

    2. Did you ask Solomon about this expenditure? Did you see the mailing list? Did you see the creative piece? As the self-proclaimed “campaign law Nazi”, you sure seem to take a lot by face value.

    Detente. Trust, but verify.

    3. You like to say “do you have a picture.” Well, my dear, lack of a picture doesn’t mean a crime wasn’t committed, just means no one had their camera phone up and running at the time.

    ***

    Now, about the SAO. I’ve got a *great* relationship with them. In fact, just recently, I got a call from someone in charge over there, reiterating the positive aspects of the cases we’ve worked together. I was told, “we [SAO] like dealing with you [me] because, unlike 99% of the complaints we receive, yours are filled with facts and figures.”

    I was told to keep ‘em coming.

    As you know, I’ve got three elected officials removed from office, and at the moment, the SAO is knee-deep in three more cases spawned from my efforts. So I’m willing to believe they’ll take my “supposed circumstantial” based complaint and run with it.

    In the end, if Solomon did no wrong, then she’s got nothing to worry about.

    But, on the other hand, if it’s as I believe, then she should be shitting herself silly. If, for no other reason, then I’m not going to give up. I’m all in.

    I can smell blood in the water.

    Happy Holidays to you and yours…

    Your pally
    C

  21. Chaz Stevens, El Genius says:

    @Le

    Sorry, forgot to answer your question about the redaction.

    1. I’ve got a hold card I’m, er…, holding. A surprise if you will, call it an early XMas present.

    2. Suffice it to say, it’s full steam ahead for the Florida Elections Commission with regards to my allegations against Shelly Solomon.

    Again, if Solomon has nothing to hide, then she’s got nothing to fear.

    I believe, however, that’s not the case.

  22. Chaz Stevens, El Genius says:

    @ Da Fundz says:

    I’d have preferred a sprinkling of f-bombs… A female anatomical reference… And a dick joke.

  23. Jonh Jacobs says:

    Chaz enough is enough. You’re like a mentally ill person that doesn’t know when to walk away.

  24. Le Peerman says:

    Chaz
    1. No I haven’t this is your case not mine. I am a believer that one is innocent until proven guilty.
    2. No again your case not mine and I am the self-proclaimed campaign SIGN nazi meaning if you can not read the code on where you can and can not put campaign signs in my city then maybe you should not be running for office(case in point do not put them on church or temple property)
    3. Again innocent until proven guilty but a phone call or an email from you would have been nice, I had thought you respected me enough for that. I am known for making mistakes and very well could have but we will never know since I did not deserve from you at the very least the same treatment you gave Shelly when you received the information about her.
    Let’s review some of the information. I am the one who told Shelly to get help from both parties as it was a non partisan position. I know Chris Leggett to be a good guy and not who you have claimed him to be(not saying he is or isn’t just saying I do not know him to be Red Broward)(I did meet Tom for the first time at early voting and yup I kissed him) A “well connected” Democrat took the information that Shelly paid a Republican and set about a smear campaign based on that fact alone.(Hypocrite party of 1) You got involved and my concern was and still is that you were being used. Maybe you are, maybe you aren’t point was that I was not reading the Chaz Stevens that I have come to have respect for and that is why I started the discussion with you about it.
    Good luck with your future endevours.
    Le

  25. Real Deal says:

    As you explain, since you yourself have thought through the issue, arriving at the inevitable dead end that results so frequently from complaining about a “problem” without offering a solution, then I invite you to do one of two things about this concern of yours with campaign finance.

    Either propose a solution or just shut up about it. Admit we’re forced to live with it and stop your bellyaching. One or the other.

    But to keep harping on an issue with no solution is boring.

    Worse, to take sides by suggesting that rich people who self-fund their own campaigns for office somehow hold an ethical advantage over their working class counterparts, who are forced by necessity to raise money from the private sector, is laughable.

    And this notion that if you raise money from the private sector, it must avoid contact with government vendors and their representatives is equally ridiculous. Who do you think has any interest in campaigns? And why shouldn’t they?

    Last, I think your legal analysis has holes in it and I suspect you don’t want to do the work to interview election lawyers and get their views on this subject just so you can keep harping on with this topic that’s so easy to write about. Admit it. You just don’t want to do the work.

  26. Real Deal says:

    “Da Fundz” above seems to justify my view over that of the Great Nevins that public financing can in fact be done constitutionally to level the playing field and create a more ethical structure for campaign financing.

    So it sounds like the gauntlet has been thrown on this issue. Reporters can’t hide behind this circular issue anymore.

    Is his view legally correct, Buddy? Will you take on the story seriously, speak lawyers who know, and write about the subject substantively?

    What are you so afraid of? Do you think your well heeled friends won’t like you as much?

  27. Springs says:

    Why would Scott Israel swear in Abby Friedman over her husband or a family member???? Lee Peerman is correct, Shelly was an excellent Candidate and did reach out to everyone. Abby was very arrogant and according to the above post, why would she have been teling people she is a Lawyer when she is NOT!! She is a liar and must have gotten her lying skills from Scott Israel. What would she hope to accomplish having Scott Israel swear her in???

  28. Chaz Stevens, El Genius says:

    @Jonh Jacobs says:

    Tell you what. When you have a single corrupt politician removed from office, I’ll then listen to what you have to say.

    I’ll factor in your comments about my methods.

    Hell, I might even let you buy me lunch.

    Until then, eat me.

  29. christine says:

    @Le and #24

    Relax you guys! You are just witnessing a very public slow decline into madness. Hey, go get the popcorn!

  30. Plain Language says:

    To Springs: They are friends and she asked him. That is the reason.

  31. Da Fundz says:

    @ Real Deal – It’s correct, but you need to think through the implications. As the advocate, that’s your job – not Buddy’s.

    Example – suppose, arguendo, that Chaz decided to file as a candidate for Governor because he honestly felt that there weren’t enough f-bombs, female anatomical references, and dick jokes in the public debate. Then Chaz would get taxpayer funding to get his campaign started. The state can’t censor Chaz or substitute its judgement for that of the voters – who knows, maybe frequent female anatomical references are exactly what Floridians want in a Governor! And if the state tried to censor Chaz anyway, that would be unconstitutional, and the state would wind up paying Chaz even more…

    Any limitations on who can get taxpayer financing have to be “viewpoint neutral” – in other words, they can’t censor unpopular viewpoints, and the limitation must be neutral, reasonable, imposed for a legitimate reason, and not a pretext for censorship.

    One example of a constitutionally valid limitation might be to limit taxpayer campaign funding to those who qualify for it by petition. For each 1,000 valid signatures of registered voters, the candidate gets a certain amount of public campaign financing. Each voter would be limited to signing a campaign finance petition for only one registered candidate per race, per election cycle.

    In the above scenario, the effects of the practice of using paid signature-gatherers would then have to be considered. And so on. Much additional thought is needed in order to come up with a workable proposal.

  32. Springs To Plain Language says:

    I don’t buy it. There is something wrong when your husband doesnt show up and you ask someone that’s not even in office to swaer you in. I just want top notch people on the School Board and don’t feel Abby Freeloader is a good choice. She is arrogant and too full of herself for me and many others. It’s okay, everyone will see what she is about and come next election we wil mount a a massive campaign against her to get her out. THAT”S THE REASON!!!

  33. Chaz Stevens, Freakin' Jenius says:

    @du funds

    I like your thinking. I can see it now.

    Vote for Chaz. He’s pro-tit!

  34. Real Deal says:

    I agree with the petition requirement and there’s nothing wrong with paid signature gatherers. How a voter ends up signing a petition is irrelevant to me. The fact that they signed it is relevant. Their signature means they want a certain person to run for office and receive public money to fund that campaign. If enough of them do it, that’s good enough for me.

    The real point I’m making is actually more basic than that.

    I’ve become sick and tired of all the complaining, Monday morning quarterbacking, bellyaching, holier than thou, bullshit cry babies constantly throwing rocks at those who actually come forward and try to DO something for this community. They are the ones in the arena and all we seem to do is chuck turds at them from the cheap seats.

    Nevins has been writing campaign finance stories for decades. It’s always the same thing — oops, here comes so and so and he’s taking money from lobbyists, therefore his mother didn’t raise him right.

    He must have written 200 stories about any number of people saying the same thing. All of it bullshit.

    After 200 stories, somebody should stand up and challenge him to propose a solution or shut the fuck up about it! That’s what I’m saying. Circular repetition of the same story without solutions is nowhere, dude. Get it?

    FROM BUDDY:

    People have been telling me to shut up for decades. You are an amateur compared to them because they attached their real name to the complaints to the the Sun-Sentinel.

    Reformers for years have been trying to come up with a solution to the undo influence caused by campaign contributions. They haven’t, yet they still criticize the system.

    I don’t believe the contributions can be stopped. So the only answer is total, instant transparency of contributions on the Internet. No set reporting dates or hiding money until after the election, which can be done now. If you accept the money, it must be reported within 24 hours. At least transparency would give voters an additional tool to judge their candidates.

    But such transparency won’t get through the Legislature in the near future. By the way, I’ve written this for at least a decade but apparently you missed it.

  35. Plain Language says:

    Springs — you asked a question and got an answer. If you don’t want to believe the answers then don’t ask the question. Your candidate lost and Freedman won. Get over it and move on. Being a sore loser makes you useless even to yourself.

  36. Chaz Stevens, El Genius says:

    Hey Buddy.

    Is it considered poor form on BB to call someone a twat?

    What’s the general overall process for doing such?

  37. Real Deal says:

    Buddy that’s the problem with you and your reporter friends.

    Instead of aiming the problem at the LEGISLATURE where it belongs, you aim it at the CANDIDATE who is caught in this web of campaign finance rules.

    You blame the victim for the rape you believe occurs with campaign finance rules instead of pointing out that the rapist is the monster in this story.

    And you do it knowingly. Worse, you now say it’s more honest when the rich finance their campaigns!! As if to add jolt of insanity to a brew already steeped in hypocrisy.

    It is unadulterated bullshit.

    And what’s with this transparency rant? All campaign contributions are already reported on the internet. What are you talking about? PACS and such? I’d reform those to make them more transparent without trampling on speech, but again the villain there is the LEGIALATURE not the candidate.

    Why not just report the thing the way it is, so people are not confused about where the problem truly lies? Why intentionally misdirect reader attention from the target of the problem? Do you actually enjoy that, and if so what corrupt part of you triggers that enjoyment?

    Write the fucking story right. Identify the right VICTIM and CULPRIT. You owe us that.

    I am also saying that solutions should take a greater role in your writing since you are a critic, and rightfully so of government.

    You say that public financing of campaigns is unconstitutional. That is clearly untrue. You have been challenged to interview experts and report honestly on the question. Yet you seem reluctant.

    Only two reasons could explain that motivation. One, it would piss off your rich friends. Or two, you simply want to preserve your favorite circular rant against candidates.

    Either way, it’s ethically corrupt of you. And anonymous or not, I’m calling you out on it.

    FROM BUDDY:

    I never said that public financing of campaigns is unconstitutional. I also never said it was more honest when the rich finance their campaigns.
    And transparency exists, but not instant transparency that would tell the public who is giving to campaigns in near-real time. Not in three-month reporting periods. Not after the campaign is over. Within 24 hours.

    Some cities do not post the contributions online. And cities are where perhaps the biggest problems of undue lobbyist influence occurs, in my opinion. After all, isn’t it a couple of small cities that are contesting the Broward ethics law.

    So you can rant anonymously. I have experience and facts from Tallahassee to city hall to back up my opinions. And I sign my opinions.

  38. Real Deal says:

    PS — For ANY of you who believe “culture of corruption” only applies to government and not to the PRESS or the PRIVATE sector, you are living in a fantasy land.

    The media is steeped in corruption and more of your hard earned money is grafted away in the private sector in one day than all the graft in government over a year combined. How do you end up paying more for this private sector graft? Higher prices for goods and services than anybody should have to pay. Lower returns on stock. It’s really that simple.

    Notice how there are no news stories on that revelation…

    FROM BUDDY:

    There are plenty of news stories on private corruption. I will just point out one: Wal-Mart and its bribery scandal in Mexico, now expanded to include other countries.

  39. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    Uh, the subject was the time-dishonored practice of school district staff giving board members incorrect information.

    It deteriorated into a mud fight.

    So, here’s the lesson activists who’ve been pushing the elephant up the hill for years have learned: Staff always has said the board members and superintendents change, but staff remains. That’s the culture that’s so toxic.

    I hope this time the board members and superintendent will prove staff wrong. The carrot is the bond issue that they want to get passed for renovation, technology, etc. The stick is the ire of old war horses who will make sure the public knows whether the culture has really changed.

    As Buddy says, stay tuned.

  40. Da Fundz says:

    @ Real Deal – Private sector corruption is harder to find due to a lack of transparency. There is no open records law that applies to privately held businesses.

    Private sector corruption is indeed widespread, though, and journalists are certainly working on it – just go over to Rolling Stone and read Matt Taibbi’s excellent work!

  41. Words of Wisdom says:

    Oh, and you think the Broward “ethics law” is a glorious piece of legislation. Something Jefferson would cract, perhaps. Please. The few decent ideas in there don’t overcome the need for a near total rewrite. Bring any number of those sections before a judge and they get struck down. Legally, the county ethics law is a joke and any lawyer will tell you so.

  42. Real Deal says:

    None of that has anything to do with the honest candidate running for office who you routinely malign for legally raising funds necessary to run campaigns.

    You should collect your valid experience and ideas and aim them at the legislature. Not at candidates. That is my point, it is a valid point, and it is unfortunate that you refuse to acknowledge it.

    And if you only want posts from those who wish to identify themselves, in this most vindictive place we call Broward, change your post policies and see what happens. Your comment section will instantly dry up.

    My being anonymous makes my points no less valid. Or yours any less silly.

  43. Chaz Stevens, El Genius says:

    Dear Springs.

    You are full of shit…

    I’ve got a picture of Freedman’s husband, 2nd row, 2nd seat in… Also, I’ve heard the first Freedman acknowledged was her husband’s support.

    You know, the same husband that was in the audience.

    Try not to just make shit up as you go along.

  44. uh huh says:

    Yeah, Chaz just like you had the nichols dic pic. Show em if you got em. Did Abby take you to lunch yet or was that only for important members of the media like Lauder and Leggett.

  45. christine says:

    Hysterical conversation…making an issue of whether her husband was in at the swearing in or not….getting Israel to swear her in was a smart, savvy, political move.

  46. Sam The Sham says:

    Thank you Charlotte G. I think the staff is the real issue here.

  47. Simpleman says:

    I’ve been a school district employee for more than twenty years, and I can tell you something about the staff problems and how they came about, and then I will offer some advice on how to fix them. First, let’s all agree that for many years, especially from when Till was hired, the Board was out of control and operated under hidden agendas. When the Boards’ hidden agendas conflicted with existing policies or sound business practices, staff was coerced, pressured, bribed, and otherwise manipulated to circumvent any rules, policies, or established procedures that got in the way. Any staff members that brought attention to the growing malfeasance were either moved out or quickly quieted through threats and intimidation, while those who cooperated with the hi jinks were promoted. In this environment, a culture developed that valued the ability to work around rules, procedures, and legal requirements. Rules, procedures, laws, any institutional controls were all seen as impediments to getting things done. Under Notter, the culture grew worse. Eventually, the dominant culture in School District Management grew to be one that scoffed at rules and laws and arrogantly did as they pleased. High integrity, professional, honest employees were not valued, often punished, and usually marginalized. When layoffs came, the same corrupt managers who bankrupted the system were put in charge of the layoffs. Of course, these people being who they are, they used the layoff procedure to target their enemies and eliminate dissent. Many of these management people are still in place, still operating the same way, and still believe they can operate with impunity. Hopefully, they are wrong about that and justice will be served on them. For some it will be a quiet goodbye, but for others, especially those who aided and abetted the crooked Board Members like Gallagher, Kraft, Gottlieb, and all the others who served on the board with them, justice should come in the form of subpeonas, handcuffs, and guilty verdicts dispensed in front of reporters and cameras.
    Putting blame on staff was a typical practice of the old corrupt board. They would ask for lies and then hide behind the lies when questions were asked. Now, there are people in upper management who have lost their mentors in crime, the Gottliebs, Krafts, and Gallaghers, and now find they have much to hide, who will continue to lie, prevaricate, mislead, and manipulate, because it is the only way they know how to operate. The task for the new Board Members and Mr. Runcie is to see through the smoke and mirrors to identify the old regime of liars, facilitators, and apparatchiks and then eliminate them. While it is clear that there are many administrators who being tainted by their participation in the recent escapades have to go away, there are still many competent, professional, honest employees on staff, many of whom had been marginalized under the old regime, who having been against the malfeasance as it was occurring could be counted on to do the right thing going forward. In my not so humble opinion getting rid of the entire first and second level of management and installing some of the former naysayers and whistleblowers in their place would make the district a better place.
    My advice to the new board and to Mr. Runcie is to look at the decisions and actions taken in the past that hurt the district then look at who made those decisions and get rid of them. Then look at who is left that was not part of the old regime, who may have been opposed to those decisions, who have demonstrated integrity, competence, and professionalism and reward them. I myself have suffered under a regime of malfeasance, incompetence, corruption and have been embarrassed by the decisions of my so called superiors. I have seen countless great ideas get squashed when they conflicted with hidden agendas, and I want to see a day in my school district where integrity is valued over loyalty and competence is measured by what you know and do rather than just who you know, and where the measure of success is getting something done within the letter and spirit of the laws that govern us rather than just getting it done.
    If the school district is to ever be successful in creating ethical, competent future leaders it needs to practice the highest ethics and competencies in its own business. Honesty, integrity, ethics, excellence, etc are not just a way of doing things or just slogans, they are a way of being, they are who you are. The way you do one thing is the way you do everything. And in the future, if you see the same faces in the same high places around the district, you will know that there will continue to be more of the same, because around here, personnel is policy.