Hispanics Demand County Commission Seat


More than 24 percent of Broward County’s population is Hispanic, but there is no Hispanic on the county commission.

Hispanics want that to change.

They are pressuring commissioners to carve a Hispanic-access district during reapportionment.  The district would have enough Hispanic voters to make it easier for a Hispanic to get elected.

It is going to be hard.  Hispanics may make up a fourth of the county’s population, but they are spread out.

There is a pocket of Hispanics in Southwest Broward.  There is going to be extensive redistricting in Southwest Broward so does that mean a Hispanic district can be drawn?

Maybe, but the new district still may not elect a Hispanic.

Many Southwest Broward Hispanics are Republicans.  They can’t vote in a Democratic primary.   And the whole ballgame in almost every commission race is over in the Democratic primary.

Why? Because Commissioners keep those districts Democratic, so voters who can’t vote in the primary don’t count.  The partisan gerrymandering is expected to continue this year.

Short of the county commission districting fairly without regard to party affiliation, the answer is for Hispanics to develop a farm team of Democrats.  Other than Pembroke Pines Commissioner Angelo Castillo — he stumbled badly in his last race for county commissioner, but that district like the rest will be redrawn– there are few Hispanic Ds ready to run.

Here is an e-mail that was distributed to more than 100 Hispanic community and business leaders this week:

The 2010 census is shows that over 24% of all Broward residents are Hispanic.  Yet there is not one Commissioner serving that sounds or looks like us.  Every other community of interest in this county is represented EXCEPT Hispanics.  Now, we Broward Hispanics have two choices:

a)  We can stay away from this meeting and issue, which will guarantee that our community will not be represented, or

b)  We can show up and demand that at least 1 of 9 seats be districted so that a Hispanic can have a chance at winning.

By the way, that’s what the law requires whenever possible but not unless we demand it.  In particular, I’d like to see the Broward Hispanic Bar take an interest in this matter.  Having some legal representation will help us to fight for what is rightfully ours — a Hispanic district.  Don’t let our community be shut out for another ten years.

The choice is up to you.  So far about 25 caring Hispanics have chosen to attend.  100 are needed make the point clear.  Show up.  Make sure our interests are represented just like every other community is demanding for their own members.  Email your contacts.  Get the word out.


32 Responses to “Hispanics Demand County Commission Seat”

  1. Kaplan wants Dist 1! says:

    Buddy: keep it straight. They already have a “hispanic” seat in dist 8. They don’t vote and have NO solid candidates on their bench…their seat was won by a black with hispanic roots…tell the truth

    FROM BUDDY: The District 8 Southwest Broward seat was originally created a decade ago as a Hispanic-access seat. Since then, a large number of Caribbean blacks and African Americans have moved in and changed its demographics. The likely voters in a Democratic primary is currently around 50 percent black. It is essentially now a second black access seat and it is way too large. It must be cut and folks like Angelo Castillo hope it can be redrawn to enable a Hispanic to take it.

    By the way, nowhere in District 8 County Commissioner Barbara Sharief’s bio does it mention her “Hispanic roots.” She may have them. She is not advertising it.

    There is one group not being talked about in this debate — tens of thousands of whites of non-Hispanic heritage.

  2. Waaaa Waaaa says:

    How sad is it that the hispanic voting base is so pathetic in this County that despite their growing numbers they need a specific seat drawn for them. Since 2008 3 hispanic judges have lost reelection bids while 2 more barely won last year. Maybe the focus should be on rallying your base and creating a voting block instead of wanting a freebie.


    “Barely won.” I disagree.

    Judge Carlos Rodriguez won reelection 58 to 42 percent.

    Judge Carlos Rebollo won 51 to 49 percent. A closer margin, but again not razor thin.

    A Hispanic candidate can win — witness former Sheriff Nick Navarro — without having the game rigged. But the county commission should not rig the game against Hispanics, either.

  3. RA says:

    Buddy: There you go again…pushing your favorite son, Angelo Castillo…isn’t that ironic..boot out the person who beat Angelo, so Angelo can have a seat? Ha, you’re amazing Buddy…I thought we knew u to b much more objective…I think we all agree there should be a Hispanic on the board, so how do you do it without penalizing the “large number of Caribbean blacks and African Americans” that are also in SW broward?


    Angelo Castillo is not my favorite son. He lost his last county commission election, running much worse than either of the two Hispanic judges. He has yet to prove himself outside of one Pembroke Pines district.

    That said, he appears at this point to be the most prominent Hispanic Democratic politician in Southwest Broward.

    Sharief will have her seat after redistricting. It will just be one-third smaller because her district is too big due to all the growth. The Hispanics are hoping to take those thousands of residents Sharief must lose and combine them with other voters from other districts to create a new Hispanic-access district.

    Please see my previous post on this subject.

  4. Kevin says:

    There’s no way to draw a majority Hispanic voting-age population district in Broward with 9 commission seats. If they went to 11, they could probably do it Also, recent Supreme Court decisions frown upon intentionally creating “influence districts” where the pop might be something like 30%-40%.


    I agree, although I haven’t worked the figures. You probably did.

    Hispanics are too spread out.

    As far as increasing the size of the county commission, it won’t happen unless a court orders it. A large commission has worked so well in Dade!

  5. Privacy 101 says:

    No where in this article does it say that the Hispanics already had their representation with former County Commissioner Diana Wasserman-Rubin, who is currently criminally charged.

    You are right. Some Hispanic believe Wasserman-Rubin wasn’t a true test of their voting strength because she had a Jewish name from her Jewish husbands.

    All this ethnic jockeying is tiring. I say, vote for the best candidate regardless of their heritage.

  6. Reading between the numbers says:

    Rodriguez spent over 100k of his own money to win by 9 points over a challenger as you reported rarely if ever even stepped foot in Broward and was outspent by a significant margin

    Rebollo won by 1600 votes again outspending his opponent by a large amount of money.

    Lets face it if it was not for the media blitz exposing the fact many that these Judges were being opposed by Anglos merely because of their heritage they may have lost. It is doubtful that had these two been the only incumbent judges on the ballot they could have won.

    This is not to discredit these two candidates, they are very good Judges. I just think it shows that Hispanics as a voting block have very little impact.

    FROM BUDDY: Rodriguez won by 16 points. $100 K isn’t really that much for a countywide race.

    Bottom line, both won.

  7. Anonomyte says:

    @ Waaaaa Waaaaa:

    Just to reiterate a succint post.

    “How sad is it that the hispanic voting base is so pathetic in this County that despite their growing numbers they need a specific seat drawn for them. Since 2008 3 hispanic judges have lost reelection bids while 2 more barely won last year. Maybe the focus should be on rallying your base and creating a voting block instead of wanting a freebie.”

    I feel the same way.

    Anyone who didn’t know Diana Wasserman Rubin was the first hispanic county commissioner has had their head under a rock.

  8. Stan says:

    Actually, it’s pretty easy to create a Hispanic minority/majority district.

    If you start in the SW corner of the county and build out, it’s not hard to create a district with the required 194,229 residents that’s 44% Hispanic and 23% African American.

  9. Rage Against The Machine says:

    I guess next we are going to have to elect a Jewish woman, that will end all the corruption in Broward county!

  10. Fred says:

    The biggest challenge facing the Hispanic community is voter turnout.

    For example, in last August’s Commission District 8 primary, Black turnout was around 21%, while Hispanic turnout was a little over 6%.

    Between those turnout numbers and the likely Black/Hispanic mix in any minority district in SW Broward, it’s going to be very difficult to elect one of their own.

  11. Floridan says:

    It would be nice to know who the email was from.

    Broward’s Hispanic population is quite diverse, and includes Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Colombians, Mexicans, Brazilians (if you want to count them) and plenty of others, not all of whom have the same political outlook.

  12. huh says:

    I thought we had an hispanic county commissioner but she is facing criminal charges?

  13. Tombstone courage says:

    I guess I’m filled with blanks on this one. I think the best canidate should win over anything else. I do think there is a need for some understanding for other cultures and their communities. Which I don’t believe we have withl some of our elected officials. We bow down to the folfs that vote. THE SUPER VOTERS and they dictate what happens in our communities. Good bad or indifferent.So if it is white or black hispanic or jewish that are the super voter the are in control.

  14. Lamy says:

    Ana Gardiner for County Commish!

  15. Ann says:

    Ana Gardiner?

    That’s just what the ethically bankrupt Broward Commission needs!

    A judge who resigns last year rather than appear before the Judicial Qualifications Commission to answer questions about an inappropriate relationship with a prosecutor.

  16. omg really !!! says:

    Ok one latin county commish is crooked so they all must be ??? HUH?? How many all over the stae including the Governor is a crook stealing from schools and medicare and taxpayers. The Govenor doesn’t look latin to meThen county commish they don’t look latin. I can speak for my city someone of culture on our dias what a joke. Half the population would have to move or qeal over lol. There HUH seems to me that there are more white crooks in politics than those of culture. HUH?? I guess that would be because people or culture know how to stay out of dirty politicial pockets HUH HUH!!!

  17. omg really !!! says:

    Stratcher BEV
    None of these sound latin to me huh

  18. Pines Resident says:

    The numbers in dis 8 show that 65% of the August primary vote was Black or Caribbean. That is a black district. Also Miramar is the third largest city but only has one commissioner. Pines has three, Hollywood has two, Fort Lauderdale has four, Weston has one. The cities with only one commissioner elected from there are at a political disadvantage.

  19. pbm says:

    My take is that many of these Hispanics are turned off by elections for four important reasons: 1) they tend to transfer the corruption that has been rampant in their own countries to the U.S. and figure what’s the use, 2) many of them are finally educated, also known as first-generation graduates, and have falsely developed an “I Know It All” attitude, which is a sentiment strong enough to squash anyone,[btw,one particular nationality that comes to mind, mind blogging as it can be, seems to suffer from this attitude illness more than others and that contributes to drowning many in huge numbers], 3) many are legal residents, but not yet naturalized citizens, thereby rendering them unable to vote, 4) they may be at work during the hours the polls are open and don’t request an absentee ballot.

  20. huh says:

    A little testy OMG Really, the point is there was an hispanic county commissioner this is not something new and the only reason she is no longer on the commission is b/c she is facing criminal charges. Hence, duh, there has been and would be an hispanic on the commission without affirmative action. Have a nice day OMG–Really

  21. omg really !!! says:

    Well I can say I am cultural. I can also say that that I have a dregree and english is my first language . Pbm is right corruption in a person country can truly turn them off to politics. Funny thing I was born and raised here in the United States of. America. I can say I don’t know it all but would like to truly change it all. Yes I vote every election. Yet we still all sit her and say what does it matter it seems that the corruption always wins. Who pays for that in the Rothstien case ? Who pays for it in the school boards case ? Who pays for lobbyist or dirty developers or dirty politician? I don’t know it all but I do know one thing I would trust John Gotti before a lawyer or a politician in this town.

  22. RA says:

    The racial ovetones in these comments are sickening…yes, everyone believes Broward’s population should be reflected on the county commission….but its clear there is a faction that wants to make this hispanic vs black and its disgusting…both are minority groups with similar stories fighting for representation

  23. Ann says:

    Actually, Pines Resident, the current registered voter makeup of Commission District 8 is:

    32.3% White
    29.2% Black
    28.6% Hispanic
    10.0% Other

    2010 Population numbers currently for District 8, which are what are used to draw new districts show that blacks account for 23.7% of the population, hispanics 21.2%.

    District 8 is certainly a minority district, but calling it a black district is a stretch. It is only that because of the wide disparity in voter turnout between the two groups.

    Pines Resident at 7:59 a.m. is saying its a black “political” district for Broward. He meant that black likely voters dominate the election. Likely voters is all that really counts in a campaign. Registered voters mean nothing in this case because most don’t vote.

    If the commission is absolutely fair, they will draw the district based on population, not on voters registration or likely voters.

  24. @Ann says:

    The “other” is mostly Caribbean which tends to vote Black by the way. Buddy is right. If that district is drawn compactly and with communities of interest in mind which means favoring the ethnic majority living there, it should not be an issue.

  25. Oodles says:

    How many of the Hispanics are illegals? Every time I go into Home Depot, I feel like I’m seeing a bunch of folks rounded up by la Migra.

  26. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    So just an hispanic person can represent hispanics effectively. Seeking elected office the person who retains that commission seat represents all, repeat all peoples. To say that one demographic should trump another ethnic race is bias. So one group who out numbers another group in a certain area should lead that district, I think not. This type of rationale is absurd.

  27. Kevin says:

    Deal Readers,

    Just to clear up some of the stuff I have seen here, let me tell you about the confusing jurisprudence on creating “majority (fill in the blank) districts. I just got finished teaching a whole class on Voting Rights at FIU:

    1. In 1986, in the case Thornburg v. Gingles, the Supreme Court said that the creation of majority-black or majority Hispanic or majority-American Indian districts is required to ameliorate past wrongs if the following three things are found: (a) whites vote as a group to block minority candidates of choice; (b) minorities (Hispanics, Blacks, or American Indians…. with the proviso that you cannot combine these categories) vote for their own candidates of choice; and (c) it is possible to draw a majority “X” district.

    The election of Diana Wasserman-Rubin countywide in School Board elections in the 1990s and the election of several Hispanic judges countywide seems to argue against (a) above.

    2. One cannot create “majority-minority” districts which have to sole purpose of lumping minorities into one district to right past wrongs. Thus, Stan’s idea of creating a district which combines Hispanics and Blacks in SW Broward to create a “majority-minority” district would not hold legal water.

    I could go on and on…. but I will not. Disclaimer: I am only reporting what the SC has said in the past 25 years; I am not defending it!

    Kevin Hill.

  28. omg really !!! says:

    Well its good to see good juices flowing in a nice healthy debate but omg really is is white hispanic jewish african american greek irish ect…. I would like to see the best man or women straight or gay blue or purple it doesn’t matter to me I would like to see everyone being treated fairl wether you african american or latin or white or jewish ect… I just thought being devils advocate on a different side would for a change..so angryno ,hostle not at all LAUGHING MY ASS OFF YES!!! Cuz REALLY OMG IS….. White !!! But does show that racial seperation is still alive and that needs to change.

  29. @ omg says:

    The adults are talking, please go back to the other room and watch cartoons.

  30. Evil Democracy says:

    Unfortunately, racism is absolutely alive and well in our country and our society endorses it. Proof: In the USA we have special months, days, or events to honor specific groups, but we don’t honor the other groups. And this isn’t a white thing. Do we have any of the following? Korean, Muslim, Native American, or Italian history month?

    Inevitably, the minute we as a society isolate one group to honor it alienates the rest of the groups. Bottom line, we need to all get passed the different cultures, colors, or religions and realize that our constitution ensures that we all are just equal humans. No better or worse then the other, and we would all be better off if we all just started respecting that we are all different, but equal!

  31. Rattlesnake Jake says:

    To “@ OMG says:”

    Wow! How profound and intellectual! You are exactly the person that “Evil Democracy” appears to be talking about. Intellectually inferior so you disrespectfully lash out at others in an inmature manner to hide your shortcummings. And you don’t even provide a screen name to be loosely identified by because you are ashamed of yourself as well. Pathetic! If you are going to throw around insults at least ask your high school sibling to help you out. Otherwise try some “your momma” jokes. They are available online for free and I think you could handle the cognitive ability required to comprehend the punch line. Not to mention they are a step above the ridiculousness you dribbled from your cock pocket!

  32. TMJ says:

    Oh I get it now, not equal rights,SPECIAL RIGHTS. I don’t think so.