Broward Politics: Past County Commissioners Made A Difference

 

BY BUDDY NEVINS

 

 

 

The handful of seniors at a reunion on Sunday once helped decided the future of Broward County. 

Now concerned with Medicare and Social Security, they once spent their time choosing where roads would be build. Or what land to save as parks.  Or how many books to buy for the libraries. 

But as these former Broward County commissioners from as far back as the 1970s partied, one thing appeared clear: These retirees are were not ready to ride off into the sunset.

Every one still seemed vigorous.  Every one was still brimming with ideas. Every one still cared. 

The get together for yesterday’s commissioners was at the sprawling Southwest Broward home of former County Commissioner Lori Parrish (1988-2004). On invitations Parrish called the event YGTBOTBI, initials that stood for You’ve Got To Be Out To Be In.  

I was invited because I covered all the other invitees for the Fort Lauderdale News which morphed into the Sun-Sentinel. 

I witnessed how this crew shaped today’s Broward.

Just one example: 

Guest Robert Huebner (1971-74) was not only a commissioner but helped draft the county charter governing how Broward operates today. He continued his influence for decades after he left the commission as the law partner of E. Clay Shaw, the Fort Lauderdale mayor and congressman, and as a lobbyist. 

In his 80s today, Huebner is no longer a registered lobbyist. Others at the party continue to stay relevant. 

Parrish is a prime example. She is holding two political fund raisers at her home in the next month. 

George Platt (1979) remains a mover-and-shaker through his lobbying practice at an age when others are playing shuffleboard. He is registered to represent 20 clients in Fort Lauderdale.

Howard Forman (1977-88) says he will run for Clerk of the Court again next year. 

John Hart (1989-96) has been involved in promoting transportation and civic engagement since leaving the commission.

Jim Scott (2001-2006) continues to be a vital link between Broward and Tallahassee with unmatched value. GOP leaders honor Scott because he was a Republican senator when Democrats dominated the state capital decades ago.

The list goes on. 

 

Former County Commissioners at reunion. From left, Jack Moss (1973-79), John Hart (1989-96), Robert Huebner (1971-74) and Scott Cowan (1983-2000)….

 

 

 

From left, George Platt (1979), Lori Parrish (1988-04), Jim Scott (2001-06), Lois Wexler (2005-16) and Howard Forman (1977-88), peering over Wexler.  Not in the picture but at the party: Sue Gunzburger (1992-2014) and Ilene Lieberman (1997-2012).

 

I know. I know. 

All these people had flaws.  

I know about their flaws, having chronicled many of the mishaps, and fumbles.  

But I’ve mellowed since Huebner and I walked the corridors of the old Courthouse, where the Commission met fifty years ago.

I now understand what is most important about these folks former lives:

They jumped out front when it would have been easier to stay behind-the-scenes.  They became involved when it would have been easier to let the next person do it.

Every one of these former commissioners tried. 

They tried to help Broward. They tried to make a difference.  

And they did. 

  



9 Responses to “Broward Politics: Past County Commissioners Made A Difference”

  1. Jack Moss says:

    Buddy … I was elected in 1972. In my first two years on the commission, we passed an open housing ordinance, created a county-wide bus system, a county-wide library system, authorized fluoridation of the water supply, and put the Charter on the ballot, created Impact Zoning, etc. … under Republican leadership!

  2. Lori Parrish says:

    Thanks Buddy. It was great to catch up with everyone.

  3. John Gargotta says:

    Thanks for making Broward County a better place to live. I have been a resident since 1976 and seen tremendous growth in commerce but also I am enjoying the recreational activities in the parks that you initiated.
    John Gargotta

  4. Angela Waiters Eniola says:

    My father would have been a part of this distinguished group of movers and shakers.
    RIP dad Boisy Waiters. You made a difference. First black elected official in Broward county.

    FROM BUDDY:

    Boisy Waiters is indeed part of Broward’s history — the county’s first black elected official.

    Waiters won a seat on the Dania (It was called simply “Dania” back then.) City Commission in 1966. He had run twice before unsuccessfully, but the Voting Rights Act in 1965 and a black registration drive by Waiters paved the way for his victory.

    He served six years and as a contractor, built homes for low-income families and advocated for affordable housing.

    Waiters died of a heart attack in 1977 after collapsing while addressing the commission. He was only 51.

  5. Rightwinger says:

    Thank goodness Howard C Forman will be coming back to the Courthouse. We are waiting, could be sooner than we had thought. More Criminal charges we found with foreclosure paperwork. Also criminal offenses back in the 80,s and 90,s. Great to know the real Howard C Forman will be coming back. This Madam Clerk is an
    Imposter. Won’t work next election.

  6. Count. LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Broward has the WORST, DUMBEST. UNCULTURED, IGNORANT, DEVELOPMENT IN POST WW II FLORIDA. While OTHER COUNTIES BUILT MUSEUMS UNIVERSITIES LIBRARIES PLAYHOUSES N THEATRE ww hsve NOTHING BUT A HOCKEY STADIUM

  7. Pink Pony says:

    I agree Rightwinger…. Howard C Forman we want to see you back in the Clerk’s office, and yes sooner would be better. Need to bring that office back to order…. Madam Clerk everything goes FULL CIRCLE it’s a matter of TIME!!!

  8. Jim Duncan says:

    Buddy. As a young city planner, I had a ringside seat during the 1970s watching Broward County become a national model for urban governance. Your party guests were instrumental in making that happen. Two others who contributed greatly during that period were Anne Kolb and Ken Jennie.

  9. Remembering says:

    Can’t this bunch be blamed the overdevelopment of the county?
    Partially, especially those developer toadies like Cowan.
    It must be said that Florida has some of the toughest property rights laws and the county would have been sued up and down unless many of these concrete canyons were approved. In many cases this bunch’s hands were tied.
    Cowan, shame on you. Parrish and Forman and some others at least tried to moderate the effect of building

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