BY BUDDY NEVINS
Maybe only the Governator can pry $500,000 out of South Florida business types in the midst of a recession.
Maybe its Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Hollywood smile. Maybe its that movie start glitz.
But when Schwarzenegger breezed through Fort Lauderdale last week, gabbing and shaking hands at the home of lawyer Scott Rothstein, he left with a cool half million in campaign contributions.
The money was for Schwarzenegger’s pet project Proposition 11.
Rothstein, lobbyist Ron Book and a handful of other deep-pocketed pals handed out the money “at the posh Fort Lauderdale home of well-connected attorney and Republican backer Scott Rothstein, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Prop. 11 would take responsibility for redrawing legislative district lines away from the California Assembly and Senate and give it to a 14-person bipartisan commission.
The totals Schwarzenegger collected are mind blowing. It is a vivid illustation of why Rothstein has become such a force in Republican politics in just a few years.
The Contra Costa Times gave these amounts:
*$250,000 from Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler, the law firm.
*$50,000 from Ashbritt Inc., the Pompano Beach disaster recovery firm represented by Book.
*$50,000 from Randy Perkins, the Parkland resident and CEO of Ashbritt.
*25,000 from Book.
*$50,000 from The GEO Group, PAC of Boca Raton. GEO group founder George C. Zoley was a Bush pioneer, raising at least $100,000 for the president.
*$25,000 from AutoNation, a nationwide firm of auto dealerships founded by businessman H. Wayne Huizenga.
*$25,000 from Eastern Waste System of Pompano Beach, whose principal Michael Marzano of Hillsboro Beach also gave money to Hillary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani and Bill Richardson.
There was more in smaller amounts.
Why mess in California politics?
Local Republicans give money to Schwartenegger in the hope the California governor will help them out in future Florida and national races.
Daniel Mink of Plantation, an owner of Renato Watch Co., along with Rothstein, was quoted by the Los Angeles newspaper as having a more civic minded reason.
“It sets a precedent for (California) to have a fair process regardless of who’s in power, said Mink, who gave $5,000.
Redistricting is vitally important in politics. Where lines are drawn to create the districts determine whether a Democrat, Republican or independent can win the seat.
So if you want fairness, why not give money to set up a non-partisan redistricting group in Florida?
Republicans control the Florida Legislature, while Democrats control California’s redistricting effort.
So you probably won’t see these Republican heavy-hitters pay the same attention to changing Florida redistricting as they have in California.