Update: Commission Candidate Lobbies Commission




Broward commissioners and lobbyists are so close the county had to establish ethics laws to separate them.

But a lobbyist running for county commission?

That takes a special kind of chutzpah.

Apparently State Rep. Joseph Gibbons has that chutzpah.



Joe Gibbons

Joseph Gibbons in state House




Gibbons is campaigning for county commission.  He is also registered to lobby at the commission for a check cashing firm (Amscot) and a renewal energy consulting company (Ameresco).

His role as lobbyist should not be a surprise. That’s what he does for a living, working for the Akerman law firm’s Tallahassee office specializing in “local government advocacy.”

Is it cynical to believe Gibbons got his job at Akerman because he is in the state House?  After all, he is non-lawyer working for a law firm.

Gibbons has a lot of supports including among the Tallahassee crowd that are helping him.

“Joe has been a solid, active Democrat in Tallahassee who has worked on both sides of the aisle,” according to one Capitol regular who has followed Gibbons’ career.   “I have watched.  When he gives his word you can take it to the bank and he is not scared to mix it up.

Even without the lobbyist label, Gibbons is a flawed candidate.  There are questions whether he actually lives in Broward.

He is married to a Jacksonville woman. Because of this, Gibbons had his Homestead Exemption pulled in 2010, renewing it a year later.

Gibbons managed to throw off that baggage against opponents who labeled him “Jacksonville Joe.”

The living arrangements – working in Tallahassee with a wife in Jacksonville – obviously doesn’t disturb several legislators and county commissioners.  They are holding a fundraiser for him this month.


Takes One To Know One


Again, no surprise.

Four of the these pols on Gibbons fund raising host committee have had their residency questioned, too.

State Reps. Perry Thurston, Jim Waldman and Commissioners Stacy Ritter and Lois Wexler allegedly lived outside their districts in the past.

Like Gibbons.

The residency may not resonate with voters.

Being a lobbyist does.

Just ask former state Sen. Steve Geller.

When Geller ran for the county commission in 2010, he was slaughtered by a relentless ad campaign branding him a lobbyist.  Which he was.

Commissioner Sue Gunzburger beat Geller.

Ironically, Gibbons is running for the same commission seat that Geller couldn’t win. The seat will be open next year because Gunzburger is term limited out.

Will history repeat itself?

I wouldn’t bet against it, especially since Gibbon’s opponent is Beam Furr.

Furr is as far from a lobbyist as a candidate can get. He’s a librarian at Flanagan High School and a former Hollywood City Commissioner.

On one side voters have Gibbons, a lobbyist. He’s the ultimate insider running for a commission criticized as being too close to insiders.

On the other side we have Furr, a former commissioner and librarian.

The lobbyist versus the librarian.

I can see the ads now.


Gibbons lobbyist registration listing on Broward County’s website  (click to enlarge):


Gibbons registration



10 Responses to “Update: Commission Candidate Lobbies Commission”

  1. Just Saying says:

    Hmmm … let’s look at the names of the sleazy politicians in your article … Joe Gibbons, Perry Thurston, Jim Waldman Lois Wexler, Steve Geller. The common link between all of them: JUDY STERN!!

    Does lobbyist Stern ever field a candidate who isn’t a full-blown sleaze with corruption concerns?

  2. Seth Platt says:

    Some young professionals including myself are hosting young professionals networking event in support of Beam Furr on June 20 at YOLO’s O Lounge in Fort Lauderdale. Event details can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/259028107572788/

    I am supporting Beam because he is a man of great character, he is passionate about education and the environment, and is in politics for all the right reasons. Please come by and meet a great candidate for County Commission Beam Furr. Once you meet Beam, you can’t help but like him.

  3. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    Even considering the carp that goes on in this county, what’s going on with Gibbons beats it all.

    But never underestimate the ignorance and/or blind lemminglike quality of too many voters.

  4. Scoop on Gibbons says:

    To add a few points brought out by a recent SS article…

    1) He married his wife in 2008 and had twins in 2009, at no time has any of them lived in Broward County, residing in Jacksonville.

    2) At the time Gibbons had his homestead in Broward pulled, he also was getting a homestead in Jacksonville at the same time.

    3) He openly admits he spends most of his time “down south” away from his wife and kids. Great role model of parenting there…

    4) Even a better example of good parenting is not only Daddy Joe away from his kids most of the time Mrs Joe has a job half way across the State that she is at during the week.

    Honestly, if I were Mr. Furr at every event I would ask Gibbons “Hey Joe it is 745 on Tuesday do you know where your kids are? What did they have for breakfast? How was their day? What was did they do in school today?

    Who is raising his kids nannies?

    Seriously, they should do a reality show on this couple.

    It is unfortunate enough in the minority community that many underprivileged kids have no relationship with their fathers, now this guy has means and goes out of his way to not be with his kids. Why did he even have kids in the first place?



  5. Independent says:

    The County needs to make a law that prohibits lobbyist that represent the County on a State or Federal level from working in front of it. You shouldn’t be able to lobby governments you represent in your elective capacity. Joe represents areas of Broward and it should be a conflict of interest.

    After all, lets say the County Commission says NO to his client, what do you think Joe will do in the State when the County goes to him for something for the County?

    The answer, NO. Paybacks a bitch.

    Or, they say YES so Joe says YES. You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. Then it is the public that is hurt. I guess hurting the public is a lot easier and more profitable.

  6. no kidding says:

    I’m with Charlotte – astute observation and comment on Broward voters. If thse that even bother to vote, and do some homework o candidates, they will get what they get. Good or bad.
    Its only June and 14 months to primary in August 2014. ANYTHING can happen

  7. Interesting says:

    That fundraiser for Gibbons is hosted at a hotel on FTL beach. All of the old timers associated with Judy Stern are on the host committee with the exception of Mayor Seiler. A fundraiser in FTL without the Mayor who served with Joe in the House excluded from the Host Committee, hmmm…. Looks like the rumors may be true of a Seiler-Stern split over her daughters calling out the Mayor as a woman hater.

  8. On The Beam says:

    Gibbons has done nothing for Hallandale Beach or his constituents since he was elected. All he is is a sure vote of the gambling industry

  9. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    Thanks no kidding. I wish it weren’t so. You’re so right on; anything can happen. And at the worst possible time.

  10. Give It Up Already says:

    Isn’t the highly paid Inspector General supposed to investigate this type of thing? What’s the point of having an Ethics Ordinance if it doesn’t address this basic residency requirement? I’m sick of these recycled politicians who refuse to go away and insist on living off the taxpayer. Good riddance to bad rubbish.