Blow To Gunzburger: Geller Gets Hwd. Fire Fighters Endorsement


Former Florida Senate Minority Leader Steve Geller got a big Labor Day gift today:  The endorsement of the Hollywood fire fighters in his campaign for the Broward County Commission.

steve geller two

Steve Geller

The endorsement is even a bigger deal than usual. Hollywood is the town that his opponent County Commissioner Sue Gunzburger has represented since the 1980s, first as a city commissioner and since November 1992 as a county commissioner.

He stole the endorsement of the Hollywood Professional Fire Fighters Local 1375 out from under her in the heart of her base!

The fire fighters closet to her have rejected her re-election in 2010.

Gunzburger says she was “surprised because the union never talked to her before endorsing Geller.  She blamed the early endorsement on Geller’s hiring of an ex-fire fighter union official for his campaign.

Regardless, the endorsement is a setback for her campaign.

This is especially true when you read the language of the endorsement letter signed by union President Russell Chard is very strong:

“Organzations such as ours face difficult decisions when two or more of our friends end up in the same political race. It can be like being asked to choose a favorite between your brother and your sister. . .Every firefighter in the State of Florida owes Steve Geller their gratitude for all you’ve done to carry our banner and champion our cause.  As a result, our communities enjoy a higher quality of protection involving emergency medical services, fire suppression and disaster management.

“In spite of the personal friendships involved, the best choice in this race was very clear.  On behalf of the men and women of The Hollywood Professional Fire Fighters, Local #1375 and by unanimous vote of our Executive Board, I am proud to offer you our full endorsement as you seek election to the Broward County Commission, District 6.”

Endorsements from fire fighters is coveted in politics.  They are the Rolls Royce of union endorsements, because along with support comes campaign help.

Because of the unique schedules of fire fighters they work long hours but follow that with days off they have time on their hands.  Some use that time to work on campaigns.

Hollywood has more than 200 fire fighters.  If only 5 percent pass out literature, walk door-to-door or work phone banks, that is 10 campaign workers Geller just picked up.

15 Responses to “Blow To Gunzburger: Geller Gets Hwd. Fire Fighters Endorsement”

  1. Why Unions Endorse says:

    The labor movement has gone from something essential in the early 1900’s to something no longer helpful in the 2000’s. Last century, managers free of any fair labor statutes treated their employees miserably. Unions helped bring dignity to the American workplace.

    Forget about labor’s involvement in organized crime and so forth, those are things that can happen in any group. The fact that so many union officials have been caught being corrupt is also not a factor. For every union or official that has done wrong, there are ten that have not.

    Today, with decades of well established law in place, the result is that unions are no longer necessary. That movement, except for government, is nearly dead. Companies have had to make product outside of the US for decades because the cost of union labor doesn’t allow them to be competitive. Unions used to care about the companies they worked for. But today the motto is more money for less work and better working conditions.

    Unions endorse the candidates they believe will give them raises. It has very little to do with their ability to serve the public well. It has to do with them serving their own interests well.

    So fear not Sue. Your not getting that endorsement is exactly why people should be voting for you. We do not have the money to spend on the luxury of union contracts and pensions anymore. Those things are bankrupting cities and counties all over the US. People know and you should not feel bad about it.

    Al Lamberti sold his soul to the PBA to get elected Sheriff and now look at the mess they’re in. And if people send Geller to replace you the same will happen.

  2. I.P. Freely says:

    This is going to be an interesting race. Probably the first I’ve voted on in a long time where I am truly undecided. Can’t wait to see how this plays out.

  3. The Old Ghost says:

    Steve Geller has the Big Mo. He’s on his way now. What did Gunzburger do to piss off the firefighters? They don’t believe she can win and neither do I once we know the truth about her.

  4. Hello Ron says:

    Well, apparently Ron thinks that labor endorsements should not receive any merit as you can see from the first comment above. You can tell by the long commentary. I am sure her campaign will send out flashing press releases if another union endorses her. That is, if she manages to get one.

    Sour grapes…

  5. Hills Activist says:

    The Hollywood Firefighters supported “Mayor Mara”, Cathy Anderson, Peter Brewer and Peter Hernandez in the 2008 city commission races …… and all of them lost. If that’s “the Rolls Royce of union endorsements”, the Rolls is pretty dented, rusty, old and burning oil.

  6. WTF ??? says:

    I cannot believe Russ Chard and the Hollywood Firefighters!

    Steve Geller is a self-serving, obnoxious, disgusting pig of a man.

    He has enriched himself through his decades of feeding at the public trough.

    He should be in jail for some of what he has done, but he excels are operating in gray areas and he is very slippery and slimy, so he just has never gotten caught.

    UNLESS! Maybe the Joel Steiger / Mutual Benefits / Russ Klenet thing will catch up with him just before the election.

    We can only hope!

  7. Larry D in the Hills says:

    “Hills Activist” can’t be TOO active because he/she is wrong. The Hollywood Firefighters were the first group to endorse Heidi O’Sheehan for the Hollywood Hills Commission seat (not Pete Brewer) and she went on to win.

    Besides, if their endorsement DIDN’T mean anything, why would Sue want it so bad?!?

  8. Labor Is So Passe says:

    Let me get this straight. Steve Geller is lying down with the same unions who are bankrupting our cities with exorbitant pension and pay demands.
    I wonder what taxpayers will pay for this endorsement. I am a Democrat and I would never vote for anyone who kisses the ass of unions.
    Vote for Honest Sue Gunzburger.

  9. Beth The Bounty Hunter says:

    Sue G. needs to get off the commission no matter who or what!!

  10. Steve Geller says:

    Thank you, Beth.

    Would you please call me at my Law Office, 954-491-1120. I don’t know who you are or how to contact you, but you’ve seemed to be a reasonable person, and I’d like to talk to you.


    Steve Geller

  11. Russ Chard says:

    To all you haters out there, let me make this clear: Steve Geller has NEVER cast a vote in his political career that has or ever will add even ten cents to the financial benefits of myself or my members. As a county commissioner, he never WILL cast such a vote.

    What he has done is this: he’s made sure that firefighters have a legal right to know what hazardous conditions they face when they attack a threat to their communities; he’s made sure that illnesses and injuries incurred in the line of duty will be fairly compensated so that our families aren’t sacrificed because our members loyally performed their duties; and he’s ensured that the highest professional standards for our profession are implemented and enforced, thereby guaranteeing that communities have fire service professionals of the highest standards.

    Steve Geller has spent a career protecting US so that we can better protect the public. Neither he nor us have ever “profited” a cent from it.

    Our endorsement was based on only one consideration: who has the BEST record for maintaining and improving the overall quality of fire/rescue services in Hollywood and the rest of Broward County?

    Sue Gunzburger is a dear, longtime friend who deserves full credit for the service she has given the City of Hollywood and all of Broward County. I have nothing bad to say about Sue and I wish her well in every regard.

    However, politics often comes down to uncomfortable choices and, accordingly, the clear best choice in this race is Steve Geller.

    As the demand for emergency services increase while budgets decrease, the person best equipped to find a functional balance is Steve Geller. We repeat our full and unreserved endorsement for his election to District 6 of the Broward County Commission.

    –Russ Chard
    The Hollywood Professional Fire Fighters.

  12. Why I Can't Vote For Geller says:

    All this is interesting but there are reasons why I can’t vote for Geller even though Sue Gunzburger also has some faults.

    Steve Geller was the state’s point person on insurance and during his time in Tallahasee nothing in the area of insurance could take place without him. The state of insurance in Florida is like the aftermath of a train wreck. I hold him responsible as the point person.

    Steve Geller was the point person on gaming in Tallahasee. The state of gaming in Florida is also much like the aftermath of a train wreck and likewise I hold him responsible as the point person.

    It seems to me that someone like Geller, who was the state’s highest elected Democrat, should be running for something more consequential than county commissioner. But he’s chosen this office to run for, I believe in order to further pad his law practice and I find that reprehensible. Hollywood, Hallandale, those areas are so messed up that they require a full time commissioner. At least Sue offers that.

    Plus you have this Mutual Benefits thing and so many other ethical clouds hanging over Geller’s head. That he’s anti-environment, pro-developer, just in it for his own financial interest. He’s being nice to constituents now, but we remember how he acted when he was in power. He can’t stand regular people. Besides, he’s a pompous, self-absorbed blowhard.

    Sue has a wierd personality, that’s true. But she is sharp as a tack and rich enough not to care about the impact of her vote, she just votes as she sees best nobody scares her. All this considered I would much rather have Sue than Geller.

  13. Why I Will Vote For Geller says:

    Fiction: “Steve Geller was the state’s point person on insurance and during his time in Tallahasee nothing in the area of insurance could take place without him. The state of insurance in Florida is like the aftermath of a train wreck. I hold him responsible as the point person.”

    Fact: Steve Geller was not the point person. In a Legislature that is overwhelmingly dominated by Republicans (during a session where no Democrats were given Chairmanshipss in the Senate), it’s absurd to say that Geller was the point person. Geller was part of the discussion, yes, but he used his influence to try and make the bill as palatable as possible. Under Republican leadershp, the solution would’ve been to let insurance companies charge whatever they wanted to, to make a profit. Geller was able to ensure that prices would not be out of control and that new insurance companies would find FL attractive to do business. Unfortunately the national economy has prevented that from happening…Not Geller.

    Fiction: “Steve Geller was the point person on gaming in Tallahasee. The state of gaming in Florida is also much like the aftermath of a train wreck and likewise I hold him responsible as the point person.”

    Fact: Geller was not the point person on gaming. He is considered a national expert on gaming legislation in the country. Geller tried to pass a bill that would’ve ensured that all compacts would be negotiated between the Legislature and Indians. Unfortunately, Speaker Rubio who was so anti-gaming, he refused to hear the bill in the House and it did not pass. That is why the Governor negotiated the ill advised compact that we have to deal with today.

    “Hollywood, Hallandale, those areas are so messed up that they require a full time commissioner. At least Sue offers that.” I like to point out that Hollywood, Hallandale and those other areas got ‘messed up’ under Sue’s 26 years of “public service”. I think I’ve had enough of a full time commissioner who has personally steered millions to her husband and friends.

    Fiction: “Plus you have this Mutual Benefits thing and so many other ethical clouds hanging over Geller’s head. That he’s anti-environment, pro-developer, just in it for his own financial interest. He’s being nice to constituents now, but we remember how he acted when he was in power. He can’t stand regular people.”

    Fact: Let’s talk about the mutal benefits issue. What clouds? What did Steve Geller do? He was not and has not been under investigation by the S.E.C., F.B.I., or F.D.L.E. He did not receive a subpoena and he was not called as a witness. He did not receive any profit from the principals involved. The only connection he has is he introduced them to lobbyist Russ Klenet (the truth is Steve Geller introduced the principals to a few lobbyist, they chose to go with Russ). Steve did receive campaign contributions from the principals, but they also lived in his district and the amount of campaign contributions he recieved was minimal compared to what they gave to other politicians. (Congressman Jim Davis received campaign donations from Sami Al-Arian…does that make him a terrorist?) Geller never sponsored and/or authored a bill that benefited the principals of mutual benefits and the only bill he voted for was a bill that determined who would regulate mutual benefits which passed overwhelmingly in both houses in the Legislature.

    While Geller was in office, he worked hard for his constituents. He advocated for “smart growth” which calls for responspible development that takes into consideration the impacts of the enviroment. He went out of his way to go into the community and take care of the needs of the people he represented. Perfect example the last bill he passed which mandates insurance coverage for children with autism, which was a huge issue facing the people in his district.

    Sue is so rich she doesn’t care about the impact of her vote. That’s been the problem with Sue. She doesn’t care about the impact of her decisions on the people she represents. It’s time to get someone who cares about us….Steve Geller is that person!

  14. You Cannot Hide says:

    You can’t hide from the facts. Whoever it was that talked about Geller being the key person on insurance and gaming is correct. In the Senate that was Geller’s job and both sides of the aisle dependend on him for that. This is the way that the Insurance companies wanted it also. He was the point man. So let’s not be running away from what’s true.

    Besides, Geller has said it himself a hundred times in public and I’m sure it’s on video. “I am the point person on insurance and gambling.” And yes, those areas are in terrible shape right now, and yes, those constituencies have always played prominently in Steve’s campaign financing. They still do.

    As to Mutual Benefits and Geller, I personally don’t think he was stupid enough to break a law in that situation then again who knows. To be sure he was cunning enough to get some cash out of it for his campaign and he probably made some good personal business countacts out of the deal.

    The thing is he was absolutely smart enough to figure out that these folks were up to no good. Yet he chose to play with them anyway and herein lies the rub with Geller.

    The kind of guy that we should want to elect to serve us in public office should sense the stench of these people from a mile away and stay away from it. Not Geller. Pretty consistently he seems oddly attracted to that odor and that’s a real problem with him.

  15. Let's clear the facts says:

    How could Geller have been the point person on insurance and gaming when the legislature is controlled by Republicans? Was Geller part of the conversation in dealing with insurance…yes. To say he was the point person is ridiculous. Learn the facts: the point people on insurance was Sens. Atwater and Posey.

    AS far as the gaming issue goes, I’ve been to many events where Geller spoke. I’ve been to his town hall meetings and time and time again he has stated that he is on of the foremost experts in the country regarding gaming legislation. He never said nor claimed to be the point person on gaming. The gaming compact was negotiated by the Governor’s office WITHOUT the consent of the legislature. Last time I checked, Geller was not nor has ever been the Governor. Let’s not bother with something as important as facts and truths!

    Your comments regarding Geller and Mutual Benefits are slanderous to say the least. You have no facts to show Geller was related to the Mutual Benefits scheme so you make assumptions and rumors as to what you believe he did. I don’t care what you believe he did, unless you can show evidence and proof, maybe you should stop posting and do some actual research.

    Once again, Sue Gunzburger has had 26 years to make a difference…her time is up. Time for someone who will do the job the people of South Broward want their elected officials to do! A vote for Steve Geller is a vote for South Broward!!!