BY BUDDY NEVINS
Former School Board member Don Samuels wants his northwest Broward seat back.
Despite Samuels weighty resume and obvious knowledge of the school system, the big money is staying on the sidelines until they see if the 800-pound gorilla will jump into the race.
Or should I say the gorillette.
Lauren Book Lim
Lauren Book Lim, 25, has a fresh face which would set her apart from any of the other candidates include Samuels. She also would have $100,000s, raised by her father, Ãƒ¼ber lobbyist Ron Book.
That’s a whole lot of bananas.
Nobody is going to pay attention to Samuels until they see what Lauren Book Lim is going to do.
She’s got some prior commitments before she makes a decision on whether to run. They include three fund raising events for Lauren’s Kids, her anti-child abuse advocacy group a big dinner at the Hard Rock, a golf tournament and her early April walk from Aventura to Tallahassee in return for pledges.
I wrote in the past that Lauren Book Lim could have a bigger impact on society by staying the head of her Lauren’s Kids. She already has gotten national exposure for the cause.
In recent weeks, I’m coming around. I’m starting to believe that Lauren Book Lim is exactly the kind of candidate the School Board needs, instead of a collection of retreads, educators and political hacks that usually run.
She could be part of a new generation of office holders in Broward. Hopefully she has novel ideas which could push the school system out of its morass and into the 21st Century.
On paper, Samuels is a good candidate, too.
During his long tenure, Samuels started drug awareness programs and made sure students had a voice by appointing students to advise Board members. He was a champion for vocational education.
Samuels now wants to use his mediation skills to stop the endless fighting between the teachers union and School Board. He wants to put more money in alternative education, because all kids are not college material.
He obviously would hit the ground running. He served from 1980-1992 and from 1994-1998.
That just might be problem. Samuels is old school. Being old school myself I actually worked next to reporters wearing fedoras when I broke in the business that in itself isn’t a bad thing.
But the School Board is broken. It needs fresh blood.
Not one of the candidates running has the potential of Lauren Book Lim. They are Jaemi Levine, Penny McArthur Madden, David “Dave Thomas and Stewart “Stew Jackson Webster in addition to Samuels.
Yes, her father is a lobbyist. He is controversial and surely no saint.
But the daughter is not the father.
I’m not willing to discount a candidate just because her father is the infamous Ron Book. I’m willing to listen and see what she has to offer.
Lauren Lim Book may turn out to be a dud. Or she just may turn out the most interesting and exciting School Board candidate in a long time.
One thing is for sure.
Lauren Book Lim will look at the school system with different eyes. Young eyes. Eyes unsullied by the phrase, “We’ve Always Done It This Way.