Found Not Guilty, Former Mayor Is Back






Beth Talabisco, the former mayor of Tamarac who was found not guilty of corruption charges earlier this year, is scheduled to be appointed to the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority next week.

It’s the second amazing comeback in recent days in the scandal surrounding the crooked Broward developers Shawn and Bruce Chait. Also found not guilty of corruption charges, Mitchell Kraft was due to get an appointment as a Code Enforcement attorney earlier this week.

Broward County Commissioner Stacy Ritter, who represents Northwest Broward, appointed Talabisco.

Although the authority appointment is usually routine at the Broward County Commission, this time it is not a sure thing. The current holder of the transportation authority seat is 18-year authority veteran Jim Cummings. He said to be lobbying commissioners hard to stay.

Ritter says she has nothing against Cummings, a retired builder, but it’s “time for a change…I believe Beth is very qualified for the job,”

Talabisco would represent the West Broward commuters on the authority, a group that rarely hears from anybody but the eastern corridor business community, Ritter says.

Cumming lives in Fort Lauderdale.

The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority governing board consists of appointees from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties. It currently has 10 white male members, thus Talabsico would be the group’s only woman.

The authority runs the Tri-Rail commuter train, a system facing dynamic changes. There are plans to move the commuter train to the Florida East Coast Railway tracks from the western rail corridor.

The authority appointment is for four years.



5 Responses to “Found Not Guilty, Former Mayor Is Back”

  1. What a loss says:

    Jim Cummings is an important member of the SFRTA/TriRail Board with a lot of institutional knowledge that is important during this time when the new Executive Director is still settling in and there are many important projects of theirs moving forward. It is important for that board to have folks from the business community that can help protect its autonomy from the State which has wanted to take over their operations.
    I wish Beth well in her restart in political office but this replacement is not in the region’s best interests.

  2. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    The downtown Ft Lauderdale has done nothing but sit on their hands and lobby for public benefits for decades while investing their local profits elsewhere unlike other business groups in Miami Miami Beach Palm Beach County. It should embarrass them nearly all the new projects are by Miami Miami Beach New York developers.

  3. An Observation says:

    This makes questionable sense.

    Forget that while Talabisco was found not guilty since much of her potential problems were related to how she got elected, she has absolutely no experience in transportation matters. Also, that Ritter’s cozy relationship with Talabisco stems from before she was elected.

    talabisco was never on the Broward MPO nor involved in any committee that dealt with transportation that I can find. Actually I can’t figure out where her expertise lies.

    Far better choices with years of transportation experience would be Tamarac Mayor Dressler (member MPO for 8 years), Sunrise Commissioner Sofield, Weston Mayor Stermer (past chair of the MPO) and Lauderhill Mayor Kaplan (past chair of the MPO, past chair of the Florida MPOAC, past chair of SE Florida Transportation Council and past chair of the national Association of MPO’s and a lot more). I did some simple research to find far more qualified people.

    But I don’t think Ritter personally likes any of these people, and its election time. Makes you wonder who to vote for?

    I am sure there are a lot of others as well and this just seems to be some sort of “wash my back” relationship. Right now Cummings if far better to continue.

  4. Correction says:

    There are no plans to move Tri-Rail from the western tracks to the eastern corridor. There are plans to extend the existing service to the eastern corridor. That is the reason it is called Coastal LINK.


    Of course the tracks aren’t going to be moved. Who wrote that?

    The plans are to move some of the service to the east through expensive rail links. I would assume most of the service will be moved east.

    Let’s go over some of the economics of the existing Tri-Rail, which the media gives too little coverage given its impact:

    The budget of the authority is roughly $96.4 million annually. Of that — this is the important figure — $83 million is from federal, state and local tax money.
    The system only receives $13.4 million from fares.

    Basically all of us who drive cars and never ride the Tri-Rail are footing the bill. That’s roughly $19 for each of the 4.4 million annual passengers.

    This system now wants to spend more than $800 million to build “links” to the eastern corridor. I believe most of the commuter traffic will be moved east, leaving the western stations pretty, pretty, pretty empty.

    Broward voters: Wait for the promises to be made that an additional 1 cent sales tax for Broward County will pay for the commuter rail. Miami-Dade voters passed such a tax and almost every promise made to them was broken.

    Again, this is a rail service few will ever use.

    Yes, the eastern communities are growing. Many are moving in because they want to live near their jobs…not to commute on Tri-Rail. The bulk of the population will continue to live west of Interstate 95 with few benefits from Tri Rail.

  5. Correction says:

    Tri-Rail takes the equivalent of one lane of traffic off I-95 everyday, so even if you don’t ride it, you get the benefit of a less congested and safer trip. Also, Tri-Rail gets thousands of people to work and school each day, so they can be productive taxpaying citizens. That’s the payoff. Not everyone can afford to or are able to drive a car. It’s either unsafe clunkers or public transit for many commuters.

    The three crossovers are mostly being paid with federal and state grants that would go elsewhere, and the cities where the stations will go will be asked to help pay, probably with the new tax revenue they will receive by having commuter stations in their downtowns, which will spur development and a better environment and quality of life, also a plus for everyone, whether you use Tri-Rail or not. Or maybe we should be one of the few major metro areas in the country without a normal commuter rail system. Now that’s a marketing tool!