Alu: We Need A New Courthouse


Broward County is in dire need of a new Courthouse.


The media who have written negatively about this issue has gotten it completely wrong. 

I work in the courthouse from morning to night, five to six, sometimes seven days-a-week. 

I can tell you that the courthouse is ridden with vermin*, mold, and plagued with elevators which are over a half century old. When an elevator part breaks, which occurs on a daily basis, more often than not the parts have to be custom made because the elevators are so old that the parts are not manufactured any longer.  This can shut an elevator down for several months. 

 The present Broward County Circuit Courthouse is a building that was never intended to last fifty years. The experts who have looked at it have said that it will never withstand another hurricane.  The Courthouse is regularly plagued with plumbing leaks, roof leaks, caved in ceilings and other problems of every kind imaginable.  It should have been replaced twenty-five years ago. 

Shame on all of the columnists who have attacked the County Commission for authorizing the financing and construction of a new courthouse.

 The Commissioners who voted to fund the new courthouse showed real leadership.  This is a representative democracy.  Construction contracts have never been submitted to a voters’ referendum. 

Did the public ever vote on financing or building the Sunrise arena, financing or building a new runway at the airport, a new Supervisor of Elections building, or any other of the countless public works projects, which the County has undertaken? 

The only reason that the bond issue went to a referendum previously was because the County was seeking to have the courthouse built with public funds, which would be outside the 10-mil cap.  In order to finance the courthouse in that way, state law required that the County go to a referendum.  When the public was not willing to finance the courthouse in that fashion, the County decided to seek another funding mechanism. 

This time, the debt will be inside the millage cap. Regardless of what the voters may think, the undeniable fact is that we do need a new courthouseand we need it badly. 

We do not need it for aesthetics.  We need it because the present building is unsafe. 

People who work there regularly, and this includes judges and public defenders, as well as prosecutors, and their staff, frequently get sick from the mold. Indeed, the County is presently being sued due to damage inflicted on people by the ever-present courthouse mold.

 This tired, dangerous, and obsolete building presents countless other perils, not the least of which is that we have prisoners, many unshackled, walking through the building, mixed in with general population, including victims, judges and attorneys. It is only a matter of time before there is an incident. 

A new Broward Circuit Courthouse is long overdue.

I commend the County Commission for its willingness to do the right thing in the face of unwarranted criticism from the press. 

 The County Commission is supposed to think for itself and act accordingly, and not blindly follow what the press or what the current mood of the people may dictate. The Commission is supposed to do what it thinks will be best for the public and for the future of our County.

That is, after all, what leadership is about? 


Sheila D. Alu

Sheila is the assistant deputy mayor of Sunrise and an assistant state attorney (prosecutor) who works in the downtown Fort Lauderdale courthouse.

*Obviously the great, great, great, great, great, great grandchildren of the rats who infested the media room of the courthouse I worked in during the 1970s.  It was the same courthouse.  If we left our lunches on our desk when we left the office  to cover a story, they were raided by rats….and that was almost four decades ago. 

39 Responses to “Alu: We Need A New Courthouse”

  1. An ASA says:

    Alu has done so much to tear down those who work in the courthouse. Now she wants a new building.
    She should keep her big mouth shut and do her work for a change.

  2. Bill PD says:

    My case load is in the hundreds. I can’t find alternative treatment programs available for my clients, many whom are mentally ill. At the same time, the liberal county commission puts a new courthouse above all other needs. I wonder whether the criminals are my clients or the county commissioners.

  3. No Nonsense says:

    Not follow what the current mood of the people may dictate. Wow, and she’s an elected official. There’s only one of two outcomes to that belief: A chapter in “Profiles in Courage” or the title of ex-commissioner. Too bad JFK is dead

  4. disenchanted says:

    good story ms alu, the courthose is in a word we used in the military a real cluster ———- put whatever choice word u like there. buddy in my 30 plus years in the courthouse i never saw or heard of rats, the 4 legged kind, being present, perhaps the fact they seemd to hang out in the press room had something to do with this.

  5. Blue Man Scoop says:

    T”he only reason that the bond issue went to a referendum previously was because the County was seeking to have the courthouse built with public funds, which would be outside the 10-mil cap.”

    How is this possible. Property values are lower, which means the millage will have to be higher to collect the same ammount of money. If they couldn’t do it within the cap then, how can they do it now with lower values and higher millage?

  6. gonzo says:

    she is the most disgusting public figure in broward county this century. she has not earned the right to comment on anything. everything she does results in drama, drama, drama. her personal inadequacies stick out more than varicose veins and branch out to the local community like a fast moving plague. please, buddy, don’t give her your forum, sam fields is bad enough but i would rather read his crap 6 times a day for a year straight then read one paragraph written by her on any subject!

  7. gonzo's conscience says:

    my conscience has kicked in and i have to come to grips with sheila maybe not being the worst public official in broward this century; sheila alu is tied (A dead heat) for the worst public official in broward with Mike Satz! Please, bloggites, weigh in and vote, it is your responsibility as an american citizen to cast a vote, i know it is tough, this is an extremely close case and multitudes of arguments can be made for both of these horrors disguising themselves as public officials being the worst. think long and hard before you cast your vote!


    Gee Sheeeela, how long has it been since you were in the spotlight? were you craving some attention/drama? So, you work 5, 6 sometimes 7 days! I dont know if what your doing is considered work, you know what I mean..winkwink

  9. Voter says:

    I vote for Sheila Alu as the worst public official. She has accomplished nothing. At least Satz put Wasserstrom & Eggelletion in jail.

  10. alert says:

    I know Plantation was trying to take her insurance(LOL) WHEN SHE FRIST RAN.then there was the weather vane in western her election is in november and she needs to be vocial again,like she is a public voice and cares after her election she will not be seen in 4 years,also Shiela the county cant have it bothways the public voted down the referendum,and now the county voted a new courthouse with out public approval,since they went the frist time to the public they should have to return with a revised addition and have to explain to the public the new version have a vote and bring it to the public.
    In listening to some of the other blogs it could sure be used for humanitarian purposes rather then attornies having plush offices

  11. Sam Fields says:

    Mr. Gonzo,
    Please do not put me in the same catagory as Ms. Alu. People tell me I am smarter and I’m a better lawyer.
    I got that wrong. I tell people I am smarter and I’m a better lawyer.
    People love me for my mind. I know it is not my good looks because I do have a mirror.
    Please don’t insult my writing on Buddy’s blog. It takes many hours to write such crap.
    I am nothing like Ms. Alu. I can still go to dinner with Judge Ana Gardiner if anybody has her number?

    FROM BUDDY: This is obviously not the real Sam Fields. (He is not this funny. Only kidding Sam).

  12. The Worst? says:

    The worst? Seriously? And your only tie is Satz? Come on. You bloggers should do better than that. Have you seen Deerfield Beach politics? Closer to Alu’s home have you seen Sunrise? Which raises a question : Which one of you is Don Rosen or Marty R?

  13. Nosebleed Seats says:

    Alu is wrong about the media nad right about the County Commission. The County OCmmission was correct to decide to build a new courthouse, it’s their responsibility to provide that facility and the current courthouse is pathetic. To allow the current situation to remain would demonstrate no leadership. Sometimes elected officials have to ask the people what they want and sometimes they have to tell them. This is where the County Commission failed and why the media is correct. All the condesending crap put forward by Lieberman/Michelson, Ritter/Klenet, and Keechl/hair products is insulting to Broward County taxpayers. Stop treating us like idiots and go about doing your jobs in a respectful way that don’t make all of you look like pompous whores. The media got that right, but so did Alu.

  14. Corrupt says:

    Ms. Alu is surely not the worst. She has fought corruption in Sunrise. Nosebleed Seats named some candidates. Ilene Lieberman/Stuart Michelson & Stacy Ritter/Russ Klenet. They are a part in so much of the bad stuff going on. There are others like Mayor Ken “I can spend my campaign money anyway I want” Keechl. What about Phyllis “I suddenly got money after being a welfare cheat” Hope. What about Stephanie Kraft and Diana Wasserman Rubin, who both got their husbands jobs. There are so many possibilities.

  15. News Conference? says:

    What happened at the Big Satz announcement that he is going after the local misdeeds?

  16. New Courthouse for Officials (Trials) says:

    I agree with Alu. Lets get a new courthouse. With all the prosecutions of the locals we will need stadium seating as well. Unfortunately, it will all be over in federal court.

    Someone raised Hope — whatever happened with her little FBI boat. No one thought anything of that, huh?

    Someone raised Deerfield, something is gonna happen there soon, cant you just sense it.

  17. Sunrise? says:

    You mention Sunrise — oh, gotta see Chaz’ piece and please watch the video. Priceless:

  18. Bova says:

    Oh oh Sunrise
    You are bright like a supernova
    And ask the watching eyes?
    Which of your met at Bova?

    To the victors come the spoiled
    Look more closely
    To see what was fried and bioled
    at the table with Feeley

  19. alert says:

    That sounds like justice the commission overriding the will of its constiuents,they have no problem telling frist responders they have to cut 50% of there budget,but we could build a big courthouse because some attorney wants a bigger 328 MILLION DOLLARS

  20. Charley Varrick says:

    Agreed the courthouse is a dump but $328 million..give us taxpayers a break please. My tv needs replaced , we are in an economic downturn , maybe I should get a 100 inch plasma , what do you think Sheila ? With one Alu wrestling in a planter with a tv journalist and another bitching about the need for a multi multi million dollar new courthouse its time for the Broward voters to say “you say Alu, I say goodbye”

  21. New Courthouse for the People says:

    All these people saying Broward doesnt need a new courthouse, should work there. It is a disgrace.

    Elevators work occassionally

    No technology apparatus

    Sick building to say the least. Maybe talk to those who work there day in and day out OR if you are opposed to this plan, go work there for a month. Or, ask the jurors who have had to switch courtrooms because the room or building is sick

    Busting at the seams

    At some point, just gotta suck it up. Maybe it is a shame Alu wrote the piece because rightly or wrongly much written is about the messenger. But, the reality is, between lawsuits over the sick building and workers who will tell you it is time to go and the fact that it will blow over in the next big hurricane, at some point electeds just gotta lead.

    I suspect it would have been more politically expedient to kill this plan. It was tougher to do this and take the inevitable barbs of those uneducated on the issues.

  22. Get Real says:

    The 328 Million quote is OUTRAGEOUS. And lets keep in mind if they quote 328mm it will cost us 500mm by the time the construction is completed. Not saying the building is NOT necessary but can we PLEASE find someone, someone honest, with expertise in this field. When large developers like Donald Trump build a building they take cost and time overruns out of the hide of the contractors and subcontractors. As a point of reference to the 328mm quote, Sam Zell (Pres of Equity Residential) bought THREE buildings in NYC (NEW YORK CITY!!!!!) for 475mm. They happen to be residential and The Courthouse will be a SPECIAL PURPOSE BLDG to accomodate inmates; but still one is 38 stories, one is 32 stories and the third one is 26 stories. All in NYC. History has proven that politicians are not capable of doing Real Estate deals without getting ROLLED. Bring in some consultants/experts from California or Canada, or anywhere that have NO TIES TO THE CURRENT ELECTED OFFICIALS/LOBBYISTS/FUNDRAISERS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Just build it right... says:

    I have practiced law in that courthouse for 27 years. Its bad. Really bad.
    That being said, I just ask that when the new courthouse is built use some common sense:
    1. install escalators everywhere.
    2. over install elevators
    3. put lights above the elevator which indicate the direction of the elevator (to find out the direction of north wing elevators, one needs to interview the passengers when the door opens)
    4. create interview rooms for lawyers next to each courtroom with the clear understanding that they will not be taken over as offices by the court bailiffs.
    5. design an inside area with plenty of room for long lines to go through security.
    6. don’t make the political payoffs too obvious with construction, design, legal work, etc.
    7. save a TON of money by having four judges offices being served by one judicial assistant. thats right. with computers,email, technology judges don’t need their own assistant. One j.a. in a kiosk with a four judge suite.
    8. install moving sidewalks like in airports. right now its a 1.8 mile walk from the old wing to the north wing. with the new courthouse it will be over seven miles. a moving sidewalk will get people places faster too.
    9. realize that one day the clerk will only need six people on staff because there will not be paper pleadings in the future. the clerk should get a small space with the understanding it will shrink.
    10. close sixth street and put a round-about in front of the new building.

    FROM BUDDY: Some good ideas here, some controversial and others very expensive.

    Escalators are costly, but move large numbers of people quickly in smaller buildings compared to elevators. The Miami-Dade criminal courts have them and the current Broward courthouse has them on the first two floors.

    I can hear the judges screaming from here about the proposal to cut back on their judicial assistants.

    What benefit is there in closing Sixth Street? The area is already jammed without closing more streets. The jail has to be serviced daily with large trucks bringing food, laundry, etc. There are also hundreds of police cars and buses going in-and-out of the jail every week with prisoners.

    The real fix would have been to move the courthouse nearer to Interstate 95 and build it on a large vacant parcel with more security and better traffic patterns. The downtown power structure freaked out at the idea they would lose the courthouse, so the idea went nowhere.

  24. Winston Churchill says:

    I have been reading these posts, largely by idiots, in response to Ms. Alu’s thoughtful and intelligent posting. First of all, most of you people are beyond help. But the person who wrote under the name of “get real” (post #22) is really beyond stupid! This blogger is suggesting that Broward County should get help from the people who do consulting in California? INCREDIBLE!!! the Peoples Republic of California, with a debt 10 times the size of some 3rd world countries??? just incredible! where do idiots like you come from?
    Plus Don Trump hasn’t built anything in quite sometime. He just rents his name out, but you don’t know that because you are an idiot.

  25. alert says:

    The people that are uneducated on this issue is the courthouse crowd,it was your group that decided to go to the publis,so according to you the uneduated people is the courthouse crowd for going to the public in the frist place,because according to you the county commission could have passer it then,something stinks to high heaven on this deal,frist you went to the public they said no,then they thumb there nose after we pay the freight.your right the courthouse crowd is uneducated on this issue,
    besides three years after the vote was turned down according to you they let you stay in that building for all that additional time,and it looks like you will be there a few more years until it is built,if they are so worried about your saftey and your health and safety from at a hurricane is at risk why dont they move you to a temporary building

  26. Hardly Alert says:

    Alert: Uneducated? Check your spelling, punctuation, grammar, capitalization, sentence structure … and your opininons … before calling anyone else in the universe uneducated. Seriously, you lose the force any (mindless) argument you want to make when you demonstrate a written capacity less than a 3rd grader.

  27. get real says:

    @ winston churchill

    You’re NUTS !!! Mentioning the words Alu, Thoughtful and Intelligent in the same sentence proves it. Secondly I know all about the Trump Organization. Obviously you stand to benefit somehow if they build a new courthouse so you are part of the PROBLEM. I was referring to the private sectors influence on Broward County officials and you are referring to the public sector of CA. The fact that you dont understand the difference is what scares me about the prospect of a new courthouse. What did I read an hour ago, the School Board handed $290k they shouldnt have ??? …BC has no business trying to do a 328mm project without strong outside impartial management. BTW your post has the least substance of any posted here, we’ll draw our own conclusions….

  28. alert says:

    Haedly alert you are an ignorant fool,I am sure you are one of thesecourt house clowns.who could not win there embrassing arguement so you have to take personal venomous pot shots,You are truly a loser and uneduated,again clown you lose.This is typical of these courthouse types,they think they are above you then snub the public in the nose after this silly 328 million dollar project was turned down by the public,The elite did not like the results so they went behind the publics back,
    Coward represent it to the public rather then do it behind there backs .
    Talking about 3rd grade thats the way this courthouse deal was made.

  29. Hardly Alert says:

    Alert: That was so funny. I mean, really, you proved my point.

    At any rate, you win. You are smarter, had the more persuasive argument, and obviously are so well-informed. I just hope you never get picked for a juror — given your keen intellect and laser focus on uncovering the facts, you would be dangerous for everyone. Oh yea, the other reason I hope you do not get picked for a jury, the courthouse is a disaster and you might have to eat your words once you are there for a few weeks.

  30. alert says:

    the only thing that is a disaster is the rip off the citzens of this county.This is so typical we need 328 million in this rip off,because we have sniffles,but it is okay to cut the frist responders but by 50 % ,people who scrafice there lives,I did sit on jury duty twice and the only thing I could tell you is that I handed in my slip ,she nastily told me to sit down and wait for my number to be called,while siting their a judge who will be nameless went through the motions and left.
    Once again your lack of intelligehnce is pathetic,frist i did not say I was against the courthouse,I said your hyporite buddies went to the public they were turned down,they should have to go back to the public if the piblic approves so be it.
    What do you care that you spend 328 million dollars with a high unemployment rate.The only dangerous one is you,and it shows how little you care,just rip off the public,spending 328 million without public arrival after you went to the public once before,now thatis dangerous.great work ace

  31. Hardly Alert says:

    Alert: I get it. You are anti-lawyer, anti-courthouse (cuz you werent treated nicely) and anti-spelling/grammer check.

    Sometimes, a leader has to lead. People wanted to keep the apparatus of racial discrimination in place, and some leaders said they would lead on the issue.

    People were against desegregation of schools, and some leaders said they would lead on the issue.

    The fact the people reacted negatively does not mean they reacted correctly.

    You may be right about the cost number (and if you and I ever agree on anything, it will be that we had better watch the self-dealing and cost overruns like hawks). But you again lose the force of your arguments when you liken the conditions in the courthouse to a few sniffles. You have not taken ANY time to educate yourself on the issue.

    So, we need the new courthouse. We can argue about costs and the extent of what is necessary, but there is no question is needed. Just like good leadership is needed.

  32. Vinnie Grande AKA "Gonzo" says:

    Hey Vinnie Grande AKA “Gonzo”

    Why don’t you tell the good people on this blog why you hate Alu so much? Tick Tock Tick Tock… must be horrible waiting for that 6 AM knock at the door.

  33. alert says:

    apparently you are with the typical non sense,for 328 million that you ramroded to the taxpayers these uneducated ,uninformed fools have to start bring up discrimination,race cards and everthing else,including the kitchen sink,to attempt to justify spending 328 million dollars,no sometime a leader has to rip off the taxpapers and you are right just because they decided to rip us off the public doesnt mean they are leading correctly,yes we will disagree the taxpapers are discriminated against,we asked you ,we said no,we freight the bill,come back with a proposal state your case,and let the taxpapers decided instead of all your mouth breathing nonsense.if you state your case to the public and explain your actions I am sure they would vote in your favor rather then the last time you put it on the ballot and did nothing.
    You could insult my grammer or spelling,but you wont stop my voice from an elitus like your self.
    it is apparent the court house crowd is afraid of the publio

  34. Hardly Alert says:

    Alert: I dont insult your spelling and grammer — I raised only because you choose the term uneducated to go after anyone who disagrees with you (despite your refusal to admit that you have done nothing to research the underlying issue). It is unusual to have on Buddy’s blog the swill from the usual Sun-Sentinel commenting crowd. Go back over there and spew your venom at the world and government and taxes and whatever else sets you off.

  35. Winston Churchill says:

    Sheila rules. even the Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald editorial pages agree with her.

  36. Franklin Roosevelt says:

    sure it helps there newspapers get access to court info,if they make nice

  37. alert says:

    what setd me off is your selfish ignorance,cut the Sheriffs budget 50%,give out furlough days to hard working middle class workers,cut the parks and recreation days,close the libararies,screw frist responders.But we will vote in a 328 million dollar courthouse after the public told us to take a hike,so we will go in the backdoor tell the public to shove it because you elitus think that the public is uneducated.
    The only underlying issues is that you stuck it to the public and you couldnt care less that you did it.
    it is a pitythat the county employees will get a fourlough day on feb 15,enjoy your lobbyist courthouse

  38. Rick Aron says:

    The voter already spoke when the voted against the new court house. To go around the publics backs is a slap in the face to every american and what this country is suposed to stand for.

  39. Absconder says:

    Well you want to talk about jobs for artists to the tune of $610,000 in the NEW* courthouse; well, what about spending that money on exterminators who could use some business getting rid of the rats. I mean real rats not the two legged kind. We can vote them out! Or can we? We voted against a NEW* courthouse and we’re still getting that jammed down our throats, aren’t we?