Angelo Castillo Following Familiar Path


Just so you don’t get fooled again, meet the new new boss….same as the old boss:

Angelo Castillo, candidate for county commission.

Castillo is paying for his county commission campaign by tapping the same group of lobbyists who kept his predecessor Diana Wasserman-Rubin in office.

We know what happened to Wasserman-Rubin.  She spent years stained by allegations of ethics violations. Some accusations are still being looked at by authorities.

She decided not to run for re-election, leaving the field open for Castillo.

I’m not surprised by the fund raiser, one of several I’m told are planned. 

Castillo has a lot of good ideas. He needs to get elected to carry them out.

And that takes money. 

Neil Schiller’s 50-plus clients doing business with the county commission are ready to supply it….at a cost. 

Make no mistake.  For a few dollars, Schiller and his partner Bernie Friedman are buying access into Castillo’s office for their clients.

And who are these clients, who will get ushered into Castillo’s office while the average voter sits in the anteroom? 

A bank, a telephone company and two affordable housing companies, maybe seeking to build in your neighborhood.

There are two companies owned by developer Ron Bergeron, a waste company, architects, concessions at the airport, auto tag agencies, stevedores and fuel companies. The Diplomat project in Hollywood.

All of them are buying themselves a seat at Castillo’s table.

This is all legal.  It is the way we do business in Broward County.

Let’s call a spade a spade:  This is bribery.  Not illegal bribery, but bribery nevertheless.

Just once, it would be refreshing to see a candidate say “no” to the slugs of the lobbying crowd.

Unfortunately, not this time around.

27 Responses to “Angelo Castillo Following Familiar Path”

  1. Pines Resident says:

    You forgot to mention Judy Stern, a lobbyist, runs his campaign.

  2. Shevrin said no!!! says:

    Shevrin Jones, candidate for county commission has said no to “business as usual in broward county!”

  3. Steve says:

    It’s an unfortunate fact that any credible candidate is going to have to raise $250K for county commission seat…and guess where that money comes from?

    As long as we allow businesses to contribute to political campaigns in Florida, this is going to be the status quo.

  4. Lawyer says:

    Congrats Angelo! Best of luck! You’ll make a fine County Commissioner.
    Don’t worry about what Mr Nevins writes. He has his biases and his own agenda.

  5. Resident says:

    Lets be realistic. You need between $100,000 and $250,000 to run a county campaign. How else do you expect them to raise that money? The general public won’t except the couple of rare dollars. So how else do you expect to raise the money to run.

    Just take a look at Wishners Campaign report, and you see the same thing. Anytime someone raises over $50,000 you find this happening, and Wishner is close to $100,000 already.

    Until somehow a limit on the amount of money you can spend on a campaign is capped and/or it is funded soley from public funds (LOL) then things won’t change. Voters respond from money spent in campaigns, and campaigns cost money. Especially for negative campaigns.

  6. admin says:


    It is usually true that candidates need $100,000 t0 $250,000 to run for county commission.

    That rule was made to be broken.

    Kristin Jacobs defeated the incumbent Sylvia Poitier in 1998. Jacobs had just over $16,000 in contributions, while Poitier had more than $230,000!

    It also happened on the School Board several times in the past few years.

    Also remember that Angelo Castillo’s opponents will not have a great deal of money.

  7. Floridan says:

    I have seen Angelo in action. I have not always agreed with his vote, but it is clear that it is based on his thinking through the issue.

    Also, you might want to check Kristin’s latest campaign finance report.

    Why don’t you insinuate she’s corrupted by who donates to her campaign? Other than because of a complete lack of evidence.

  8. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Dear Buddy:

    You missed the mark with this post utterly, completely, entirely.

    If your problem is with Florida’s campaign finance rules, then you should say so. If you favor publicly financed campaigns, say so. I’ve raise that issue before. Guess what? People don’t care.

    They should. But they don’t care how campaigns get funded.

    This explains why campaign finance reform has gotten no traction at any level — local, state or federal.

    People do not care enough to change it.

    If they did officials would be forced to pay attention. It is not on the list of priorities for the average citizen.

    However, people DO CARE how their public officials VOTE. They care about that very much.

    And there I never given them reason to be disappointed.

    So let’s dispense with the BS and get to the real issue here. How do elected officials vote and why?

    Candidates can accept campaign contributions, from legal sources, according to Florida law, because the cost of an effective campaign has to be financed. This is a practical political reality that viable candidates must confront.

    But their vote must always be cast independently, on behalf of the people, in accordance with their sense of duty and conscience, in accordance with how their thinking requires. I operate exactly this way and always have.

    Go look at my record and you’ll see. That’s the only proof that you or anyone else should need. I have a record. Go look at it.

    If you do, you will see that I consistently vote no when a proposal put before me makes no sense or is not good. I vote yes when it is good and makes sense. Who the lobbyist is — whether there is one — this plays no factor in my vote.

    It is always the merit of the item placed before me that either earns my vote or not.

    As to ethics, few have been as strong an advocate for ethics than me in this community. Or for intelligent procurement reform. I was the principal author of the county charter’s ethics provision. 92% of Broward residents voted in favor of that provision in 2002.

    Those words would not be in the charter had it not been for me. I am spearheading procurement reform in my own city. I have complete credibility to speak on this subject.

    Further, everyone that has something to say to me gets heard. Speak to anyone in Pembroke Pines and ask them. I don’t limit access to me based on who gave me a campaign contribution or not. There is no basis for that suggestion.

    And this business of throngs of unheard slugs waiting in my anteroom? Please. No such thing.

    If you want to write about pigs sloshing around in the mud, by all means do so. Go find yourself a pig farm and have your fill. You will not find me there.

    Best wishes,


  9. Resident says:

    Admin seemed to forget that when Jacobs first ran for County Commission she had Rodstrom promoting her. I am not exactly sure, but I thought Rodstrom is the one that got Jacobs to run. Rodstrom was not happy with Poitier, and worked very hard to get rid of her.

    Admin (Buddy) hasn’t forgotten anything.

    Yes, Jacobs had Rodstrom. She also had most of the Democratic machine and lobbying/business establishment against her. She still won with very little money.

    Castillo has most of the Democratic machine–what’s left of it — and the lobbying/business establishment with him.

  10. Duck...Duck... Goose! says:

    There you go again Angelo, another beautifully written response. Is this the way it’s going to be. Buddy calls out the obvious and you exquisitely explain it away. Call out…explanation…call out. Every one of your explanations, about your wife, Judy Stern and now the Lobbyists, come down to you telling us to believe you over our “Lying Eyes”. Well like someone said if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck don’t come to me crying when it $h%t$ on your patio.

  11. Dear Duck Duck: says:

    Dear Duck Duck:

    Here’s the thing about your point — I don’t require you to believe me.

    I don’t even try.

    I simply respond. What you believe, or choose to believe — all that is entirely up to you.

    Perhaps you will put the effort into looking at my record and seeing for yourself that what I’m saying is true. Perhaps you will go find people who actually know me, have worked with me, and find out that I’m a guy you can believe when he says someting. Perhaps you will and perhaps you won’t. That’s your choice.

    All I can do is respond to the legitimate questions that people might raise in connection with me. Why’s that? Well, I’m the one holding myself out for public office. So I’m the one with the duty to respond. People have a right to know what kind of person I am, how I think, how I operate.

    With respect to my friend Buddy, for whom I have great respect, the best source for those answers is always me. I respond. There’s no reason for guesses when it comes to me. Ask a question, get an answer. And notice that I don’t require you to hire a lobbyist to get an answer…no pun intended.

    Assumptions are easy to come by. Easy things are soothing, and there’s nothing more self-validating than an assumption. How perfect life would be for us all if our every assumption was true.

    But life isn’t that way, is it Ducky?

    Being open minded and verifying facts requires some effort. Expending that effort to find the truth is a big part what separates us as humans from lesser forms of the animal kingdom. Work, there’s no replacement.

    And yet, not everyone is willing to be open minded because it does require work. Even when they get a road map to the truth, like me pointint to my record. It
    s just so much easier for some to live as a captives of their own assumptions, guesses and gossip.

    But in fairness, if you notice, I don’t duck questions unless they’re undignified. Some, including many lobbyists, think that my doing that is bad political advice.

    I disagree.

    I operate under different rules of politics than they are accustomed to. And so far those rules work very well for me. Being genuine, being sincere, having a code of conduct, being unafraid, admitting when you’re wrong.

    I know that sounds corny to many of you. But there are lots of us out there. This one just happens to be running for the county commission in Broward. Whether I get there is also up to you. My life will go on either way.

    So, believe what you want my good friend. Only this. Never say you didn’t get the facts straight directly from me. I never want to see that duck you speak of poop on your own patio.

    Best Wishes,


  12. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Oh, I almost forgot.

    Please don’t call Buddy “lying eyes.” He’s only infrequently off base when making wild assumptions. But that doesn’t make him a liar. Only perhaps too busy (ahemmm) to place a phone call and ask a source the direct question that’s on his mind, even when years of training has taught him to do otherwise.

    I’m not hard to get on the phone. Even guys like Buddy, who have never contributed to any of my campaigns, get me on the phone all the time. Actually, I like Buddy very much, always have, and always enjoy our increasingly too infrequent chats.


    Best wishes,


  13. G.B. says:

    The ugly fact is that it takes money to run and win campaigns.

    The electorate does not contribute to these campaigns beyond maybe a few friends and family.

    So what are these candidates to do?

    While publicly financed campaigns, equally funded so that it becomes a fair contest where the best candidate wins, are a great idea but a pipe dream….what is a candidate to do to compete?

    Look at all these admirable candidates who say: “I’m not accepting money from the usual suspects”. How many have ever won their races?

    I say that it does not matter from whom you accept legal contributions.

    What matters is how you vote. It the vote has genuine merit, then what difference does it make if the proponent contributed to your campaign?

    If the vote is a bad vote, it is still a bad vote. I have seem many elected officials vote directly against proposals brought forward by their campaign contributors, yet little mention is made of these votes.

    It is wrong to brand a candidate or elected official bad because they accept campaign contributions from businesses.

    It is NOT wrong to criticize an elected official for voting for a bad proposal however.

    Judge them by how they vote and not from whom they accept totally legal contributions.

    Perception is NOT always reality.

    I’m just sayin’

  14. SimpleMan says:

    Put your record out there for us to look at. Send Buddy a list of your votes and positions on issues and let us compare that to your contributer base and supporters. I have an open mind.


    and this is why Angelo is one hell of a damned good elected official.

    I hope he gets elected with Steve Geller, a smart, tough, seasoned pro who lays it out on the line honestly and doesn’t shun tough questions and can explain every one of his votes and positions, whether one likes it or not.


  16. Herman WeePee says:

    If a lobbyist brings a good client/good project/fiscal savings to the table on an item, why shouldn’t an elected vote for it?? these items don’t get the attention they are due, because the press chooses to report only the bad apple items, which there are alot less of than good items.

    and angelo’s point on public financing and the public not being interested in it, is on point, which would just leave rich people who can pour their own money into a race, to be able to run a large campaign. by the way, do people who don’t go to the local church contribute to the local church..hmm, probably not….

    did pirtle build good schools at the school board? did zyzcovich design good schools?
    as much as it was obvious that these 2 connected firms probably got tooo much work and some of it could have gone to other fine firms, from what i can gather, they didn’t do inferior work, they did good work…and if they screwed up a job, they should be taken to task….

    the broad paint brush “all the lobbyists are bad and they only get the deals because they are connected” bullshit gets old. give them some credit for the good they do, also.

    don’t be an intellectual dumb-it-downer.

  17. Duck to Mr. Angels you read? says:

    Mr. Castillo:

    Other than the snarky attempt at humor that my above sign name suggests I am not a troll. I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to respond in a lengthy way to my post even though you could have easily dismissed it.

    I am open minded and I want to believe what you say, I just want you to understand that those on the outside like me feel impotent in the face of the insiders that seem to be supporting you. I know you need to raise money and you dont get it from outsiders so I understand. I just dont want you to have a tin ear to what people are thinking that look at all the corruption and are angry or disappointed by it. We feel like suckers. Look you have nothing to prove to us but our concern over your connection to Judy Stern, who whether it is fair or not, is a huge symbol of Broward’s toxicity is real and if it were not for that link you would be walking in right now with outsiders and insiders alike cheering you on.

  18. Floridan says:

    Mr Duck, if you consider yourself an outsider because you just want to sit back and let things happen, or you just want to jump up and down and yell when things don’t go you’re way, or you consider responding to a blog political activism, then it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    To the extent they are successful (and they are don’t have anything like a 100 percent winning record — just ask Debby Orshefsky), “insiders” know the issues, understand what is legally possible and what is not, and almost always are willing to compromise to advance their cause.

    Too often “outsiders” do not address the pertintent aspects of an issue, appealing to emotions rather than facts.

  19. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    To Duck and Floridan:

    I read both of your posts, and decided to sleep on it before writing back. The issues you raise significant but very misunderstood. I can tell that Floridan has a good grip on a lot of these concerns. And Duck, your worries are legitimate concerns that many residents share with me. There’s no tin ear here my friend.

    But while everyone is entitled to their own point of view, nobody is entitled to their own set of facts. For every situation, there is one clear and truly authentic set of facts. I want to share with you what I believe some of those facts are so that you can decide which are true and which are fiction.

    Sadly, Duck is right. Undeniably, there is a sense of toxicity in Broward.

    It’s terrible but the good news is that is coming to an end. I see signs that government is changing, even among those reluctant to see change happen, they feel forced to go along with it. It is the weight of governmental evolution that is bringing that change. Broward is still a very young community. We are growing through this phase, and will continue to mature.

    Trust me when I tell you that. This has been a hard time for residents in terms of public trust, but in time you will look back at this era as a time when we experienced growing pains. From it will come better government.

    If we organize ourselves right, we can keep government much more honest for many decades to come. There will always be work to do in that area. People are human after all. But it will get better. You’ll see.

    However, this lack of public trust — because I have so much respect for that issue — I can’t just sit back and allow that concern to be so directly linked to lobbyists without saying what needs to be said.

    That argument is overblown.

    Yes, I know that’s what many outsiders think. True, lobbying is a very complicated business. But the fact is that very few corruption cases, certainly none that we’ve seen locally, have involved any lobbyists. There’s a good reason for that.

    They’re not that stupid.

    I’m not saying it can’t happen, I’m not saying it hasn’t. I’m saying it’s exceedingly rare. To be a lobbyist, you’ve got to be a very smart and careful person. Much more than average. I know many of them. Believe me. They don’t need to break the law to make a living. They get by making strong arguments, as they should, on behalf of their clients.

    The job of public officials is to listen to them and to anyone else with a view, filter what they are told, decide, and vote honestly. That’s it in a nutshell. Those that follow that adivice do well, and those that don’t perform poorly. Voting records are held by government clerks for all to see.

    As to all this stuff said about Judy Stern, let me just say this. And she might get angry at my saying this. But Judy’s taken a lot of blog shots. She doesn’t want people to know this but the truth is she couldn’t care less.

    You should hear her laugh about it, she doesn’t even look a the blogs anymore.

    The more people write about her the more business she generates.

    That’s the thing about her business. Clients seek lobbyists that have a reputation for success. Judy has that reputation. All this attention paid to her amounts to free advertising. It puts a lot of money in her pocket.

    So, of course she’s not out there disputing what people say. Why should she?

    But as to the substance of it, anybody that thinks that she has politicians wrapped around her finger, doing whatever she says and so forth, that’s just crazy. I don’t know anybody that fits that mold. It’s just not true, go look at voting records. Ask them.

    Also, this business of me and Judy — because my wife used to work for her. All I can tell you is this.

    Judy Stern is a very smart and savvy political professional. She is extraordinarly talented. I respect Judy and few don’t. When we chat, we speak about government issues. Judy also helped me with my last campaign and did a great job. So did Lisa.

    I enjoy talking to her but I enjoy talking to a lot of people. I don’t run away from speaking to anybody on the basis of hype. I make my own judgments regarding people and make my own decisions as a public official.

    Our relationship is respectful, cordial and friendly, no different than most of my other business relationships.

    Elected officials converse with lobbyists because legitimate business interests are involved and these are important to the local economy. Jobs and economic prosperity hinges on the ability of officials to decide wisely. I speak those that call me. Those relationships are limited to business aside from the occasional small talk.

    Judy Stern, as far as I can recall, has not yet represented any item that has before me for a vote. For whatever reason, it’s just never happened.

    Now, for what it’s worth, I happen to believe that Judy takes a lot of shots, in large part, because she’s a woman — one of the very few truly successful ones in that business — a non-lawyer at that. Many of the boys secretly get pissed off if she wins over them. It’s also true that she can take the gloves off in a fight with the best of them. Guys don’t like getting slapped around by a woman.

    Some disagree with that view, others think it’s right on. You decide. Some like her style, others don’t. You decide.

    In the meanwhile, she’s very busy representing clients and has the unusual luxury, even in these tough times, of deciding which clients to accept and which to reject.

    Few lobbyists can say the same. That much is indisputably true.

    As to my wife, allow me to say for the last time that Lisa was a top notch government professional long before I met her 22 years ago. By then, she was already a member of Mayor Koch’s legislative staff in NYC. She’s highly respected in her field. Go ask Buddy if you don’t believe me.

    When the time came for her to leave her job at the county, she decided to go learn how to run campaigns. It was always interest of hers. Judy gave her that opportunity and she decided to take it. Judy is, without a doubt, one of the very best in that business in Florida.

    Lisa’s not a lobbyist and her work for Judy was part-time. It’s a tough business by my wife is a tough lady. That employment relationship has ended. Lisa is now running my campaign full time.

    That’s all there is to say.

    Bottom line: Nobody controls how I vote. That’s all that matters.

    Best wishes,


  20. Duck to Mr or Ms. Floridian...WTF? says:

    You’re kidding right. Of what was expressed in my long question post to Mr. Castillo, you get upset over my labels of insiders/outsiders. Really? Your’e kidding right.


    I don’t personally like Ms. Stern’s antics but I respect her skills.

    There are times when her heavy handed campaign antics have cost her candidates in their elections runs, but she has won more than she has lost.

    When she lobbies an issue, you have to check what she tells you very closely. She can exaggerate (misconstrue) the facts.

    She is bright and tough.

    She spreads alot of lies and falsehoods and makes up stuff about people.

    hmmm…it is what it is.

    Angelo is not influenced in his governing of Pembroke Pines by Judy Stern, no way…He also has the ability to think independently, and doesn’t buy blindly into what the City Manager is saying, like the Mayor and McCluskey.

    He would make a good County Commissioner, period.

    p.s. Gunzbuger, gotta’ go…voters from her district, PLEEEEEEAAAASE VOTE HER OUT!!!!

  22. New Times says:

    These are New Times for Stern and Co. She has never had to deal with the media attention she is dealing with now. The press is not giving a pass anymore to people like her and Barbra Miller who run campaigns for those they then lobby. All I heard say was the his wife was his campaign manager. I have not heard that Stern will not have some role in the campaign. He would be a fool not to use her in some campacity as the person above said she does win.

  23. youarekidding says:

    Youre kidding, right? I was with you until the comment that Ms.Stern is attacked because she is a woman. Dude, you blew it. She is evil. Like alot of lawyers and lobbyists. But she hurts people on purpose. For fun. If you and your wife (who has to hear alot of the Stern shi*t in the office want to play this game, ok.) Keep it up and a Mayor’s son is gonna take your seat away.The guy is pretty impressive and making headway with city and county commissioners if the downtown rumors can be trusted.just saying.

  24. Floridan says:

    Duck: Of what was expressed in my long question post to Mr. Castillo, you get upset over my labels of insiders/outsiders.

    The foundation of your argument was that there was a difference between insider and outsiders.

    You seem to imply that insiders are corrupt, tea partiers outsiders are not.

    My point is that this is a flawed anaylsis.


    to youarekidding:

    i gotta go get something to eat. when i get back, i am going to school you, for you are not that bright.

  26. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Dear Youarekidding:

    I was asked a question, and I provided an answer. It was my best honest answer based on what I see and what I believe.

    You have a different view. OK.

    As to who you or others vote for, that’s their business. I have no control over that. All I can do is operate honestly on my own terms. You all have to do the same. I don’t hold back from saying something that I think is true because “somebody out there might not like it.”

    That’s not how I operate. And that’s why in my last election, in a very diverse district, with very discriminating people, I got 88% of the vote. It’s because I don’t play by the traditional rules.

    If you didn’t like my answer, that’s OK. You have that right. And if you want to vote for somebody else, that’s also OK and within your rights. But nobody tells me how to think or answer questions. That’s my right. And I don’t change my views because I might lose a few votes. Where I come from, they have a name for guys like that…

    Best wishes,


  27. Interesting says:

    I think I saw Judy Stern at George Platt’s fundraiser last night with a big envelope of checks for Angelo. I must be wrong because she isnt involved in his campaign.