Internet Attacks Chase Away Good Candidates


When a $90,000-plus job is up for grabs, you would think there would be a lot of takers.

Maybe not if it involves being savaged on the Internet.

State Rep. Marty Kiar of Davie walked into a county commission seat unopposed today.

“A county commission seat unopposed! Its amazing,” said another county commissioner.

Marty Kiar in Florida House

One reason for Kiar’s success is his own tireless campaign style, which created an image that he was unbeatable.

I believe another big reason is the nature of the Internet.

Candidates and public officials must deal with a relentless pounding from cretins who post anonymous attacks on the Internet.

You might say I’m a hypocrite since has such comments by anonymous posters.  Okay, I’m guilty as charged.  But I don’t have to like it.

This week I had a story published in the Sun-Sentinel and The Herald concerning problems with the cheerleading program at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Dozens of anonymous comments on the Internet brutalized my sources.They largely didn’t refute the facts in the story.  They preferred to smear the whistleblowers complaining about wrongdoing in the program, alleging everything from marital infidelity to financial problems — of course, without any proof.

Those types of Internet attacks have been likened to graffiti on a bathroom wall – which it is.  But the Internet has a much wider audience than something scrawled in a toilet stall. And it seemingly stays posted forever regardless of the truthfulness.

I’m no Luddite.  I believe the Internet is a wonderful tool, empowering millions who would otherwise have no way to be heard. Along with the good things come the bad. And again, I don’t have to like it.

Take County Commissioner Kristin Jacobs.

Jacobs is just a nice, average person trying to do the right thing.  I may be mistaken, but I don’t think she has ever had a dishonest thought. I view her as the closest thing to Goody Two-Shoes you’ll find in Broward politics. Still, she gets sliced-and-diced on the Internet regularly, especially since running for Congress.

Just look what happened to Stacy Ritter.  She spent the last four years being eviscerated by hyperventilating Internet writers.  The anonymous comments were usually long on passion, but light on facts.


Stacy Ritter Working Her iPad During a Democratic Club Meeting

The posters alleged corruption, along with all types of other personal flaws.

There was seldom any proof offered because almost all of what was alleged was untrue.

Ritter has never been criminally charged, although the State Attorney’s Office has been looking at her and others for years.  She remains part of a still “open investigation” into government wrongdoing.

Regardless, she won the Democratic nomination without opposition on Friday. That makes her re-election all but certain in her northwest Broward district, which is two-to-one Democrat.

Other leading Democrats sniffed around.  They decided they couldn’t beat Ritter.

It is a personal vindication for Ritter by those who have supported her since her first election in 1996—the voters.

Why Ritter wants four more years in the job is beyond me.  Its four more years of anonymous attacks on the Internet.

Ritter must have thick skin. But I can see why average people don’t want to be the subject of ferocious  Internet gossips.

That’s one reason why Kair didn’t have opposition.

That’s one reason why Ritter doesn’t have serious opposition.

And that’s one reason why there were too few good candidates when filing closed Friday.

22 Responses to “Internet Attacks Chase Away Good Candidates”

  1. touche says:

    Go whistleblowers at Margory Stoneman Douglas. You lifted the rock and all the roaches are coming out. To bad they are such cowards adn won’t sign their names to their vicious, wining and baseless comments

  2. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    Well, there is an old saying”if you can’t stand the heat, then get out out of the kitchen”.

  3. YAFOS says:

    Outstanding commentary Buddy. Lots of people agree with you. But kind of like “bad news is the only news” people just don’t care about what good people can do. They will look to find any and every flaw to discredit a person. That is what we have come to as a community, as a state, as a nation. It is so sad. I think Martin and Stacy are good people; I believe they have the interest of the people at heart. And there will be those that will of course respond to this by calling me some names. Shows how ignorant people have become. I appreciate your commentary today, though.

  4. John Fusaro says:

    Its difficult to impossible to topple the political machine that is at work in Broward. The system in place rewards the incumbent. It doesn’t matter what you have done in the past. Loyalty oath democrats and republicans vow to never run or vote against another like party member. So we the residents are usually stuck with the same candidate ever year. It doesn’t matter what they do in some cases.


    Difficult, yes. Impossible, no.
    Kristin Jacobs beat Sylvia Poitier, who was backed by the so-called political machine, with much less money.
    Stephanie Kraft beat Don Samuels for the School Board with little money, too. Samuels was backed by the business and political insiders. Kraft ended up in trouble years later, but she did come in as a reformer.
    I can give a few other examples.

  5. Jeanne says:

    Everyone remembers last election cycle where good, decent hard working volunteers where attacked and smeared by lies, innuendo and sport.

    Why would anyone want to put up with that?

  6. Real Deal says:

    I’m speechless. Can’t even form the words to react to this story.

  7. Ghost of McLovin says:

    Maybe now that Kiar has won unopposed, he’ll stop the ridiculous rhetoric about the Republicans. Last time I checked, there are thousands of registered Republicans in his district (including me). I hope he’ll represent all his constituents. PS It is pathetic nobody else ran.

  8. USA's most corrupt state = FL says:

    A new study by nonprofit Integrity Florida ranks the Sunshine State as the country’s most corrupt. […] The findings come on the heels of a February 2012 study which found Florida to be the fourth most corrupt state in the country, with New York taking the dubious honor at the top. That study used records as far back as 1976, while Integrity Florida used data from 2000 to 2010. […]

    Integrity Florida’s study here:

  9. Lamberti is garbage says:

    Broward deserves all the corrupt politicians because they do nothing to stop them. The FBI is the only hope.

  10. Mr. Jones says:

    Intelligent readers can see through most of the garbage.

  11. Anon E. Mouse says:

    The Shitty Activist, Robert Walsh finally wrote something worth reading, ”if you can’t stand the heat, then get out out of the kitchen”.

    Buddy, I did not know that the SS still printed anything from you. Good to know. On the subject of anonymous rants, the anonymous writers usually are the only people offering anything worth reading, especially in a rag like the SS, your stuff excluded. Everyone knows this, most of all the rags themselves. They allow it because it brings more readers than their own miserable writers do.

  12. I disagree says:

    Lets face it, yes Kiar worked his butt off walking door to door to give a huge sign of strength. He won not because others were afraid of bloggers but because of his tireless effots. On the other side how did he have the opportunity to run? Certain Commissioners didnt want it to go to Howard Berger and the seat just happened to be cut in a way to cause him to drop out.

    Many of our best and brightest politicians are rarely the subject of the bloggers. Mayors, Fischer, Bober, Ryan and Seiler are rarely discussed. Others like Kiar, Porth, Lori Parrish and others are rarely get hit by bloggers.

    Look at the ones who get hit by bloggers. They are usually one’s who subscribe to the theory of “if it is legal then it is right”.

    The bloggers did little in the end to harm Ritter, she will beat Sutton 70-30. Was it legal to take the Chait’s golf cart, yes, was it right? as many blogger point out, they dont think so. In hindsight she probably regrets her decision

    Look at Lois Wexler and Jennifer Gottlieb. Their campaigns are/were run by lobbyists Judy Stern and Barbra Miller/Neil Sterling. Is it legal for lobbysits to run campaigns for candidates they lobby later, yes it is, is it right? the bloggers seem to disagree.

    People who run for office and do it right will probably have minimal negative blog attention. On the other hand if people want to run for office on the premise that because certain conduct is legal then it has to be right, be ready for the bloggers to lump you in with corrupt scumbags like Joe Eggelletion and the like.

  13. Real Deal says:

    To 10:26 you sense that something is wrong with the current campaigning for office rules. It is very intriguing and then your thought process screeches to a halt.

    I do not chide but compliment in saying this. You’re right. There is plenty wrong. But stopping there is not nearly enough.

    Please answer come closer to an answer. Continue your thinking on this subject. What would you recommend be done that works for public and candidate? Think it through. You already know the answer. Just say it.

  14. Sidelines says:

    “Jacobs is just a nice, average person trying to do the right thing. I may be mistaken, but I don’t think she has ever had a dishonest thought. I view her as the closest thing to Goody Two-Shoes you’ll find in Broward politics. Still, she gets sliced-and-diced on the Internet regularly, especially since running for Congress”.

    gosh Buddy this is your take? I say just look at her voting record over the last 10 +/- years. Taxpayers didn’t always win out as the same contractors got jobs, change order after change order, and A/E’s got more projects again and again when those same A/E’s were the reason for the change orders and escalating costs. The BCC sat on selection committees for years (as did SBBC) and spent $7K or more a year of tax dollars on their catered lunches at “workshops”. Both activities ceased in the last couple of years as county coffers went broke and reported in news/blogs. sure she was a welcomed change after poitier, who for years had questionable dealings that always ‘went away’. I think the internet and access to online records at every turn has opened up their activities to more of us just curious how our tax dollars are spent. so when the same seasoned experts on county, city or SBBC have some unsavory comments made about their actions, they can’t always be dismissed as ‘attacks’. and a look see at their contribution filings shows the special and connected interests donating to them.

  15. RacistJackassOnly HiresBlacks says:

    You’re right Buddy that there is a lot of unsubstantiated, rumor mongering and just plain name calling out there.

    However, there is also a serious effort by people who care about their tax monies and special assessments not to let the thieves, sleazeballs and incompetents take us all for a ride.

    The case of Lauderdale Lakes is the perfect example. You have an unqualified, corrupt City Manager in Jonathan Allen, who is purposely fudging the budget numbers that he is submitting to the County while looking for help. He is running a second Ponzi Scheme and raiding special restricted funds in order to preserve his position. The City Commission, led by his college fraternity brother is looking the other way and allowing it to happen. They could care less about the taxpayer. On top of that, Allen has laid off 21 employees, 17 of which were white. He continues to violate normal HR and Procurement procedures and policies (Just ask the Broward County OIG).

    Should people turn a blind eye and let these dirtbags rob their cities and counties and violate every rule of ethics in the book? The answer is a resounding NO! Some good people may feel uncomfortable by the new tactics being employed on the Internet but they are necessary to drain the swamp in Broward County and rid ourselves of the Allens,
    Eggelletions,Salesmans and Jennes!

  16. Get over it, Real Deal! says:

    Enough with the speechlessness, Real Deal! Disagree @ 10:26 probably isn’t thinking the words you are trying to put into his / her mouth. So tell us, from your OWN mouth, what you think the “answer” is.

  17. Look in the mirror says:

    Buddy, if no one commented on this blog you would have nothing. You are part of the problem, as you admitted. Your articles stir up the untruths and lies spun about others unfairly, people comment and make up lies. Since the words are written and on the internet some believe they are true and the lies take on a life of their own and people believe. It’s insidious.

    You don’t like it when your favorites are blasted so you write how unfair it is, but you will get your stories and opinions from comments on other blogs like JAAblaw. Many have been trashed on that blog and you buy into it. Maybe now you will be more careful when you jump on the bandwagon and attack candidates, lawyers and politicos who you don’t personally know and who you glean info on from bloggers and commenters.

    Free speech vs. hurting or destroying innocent people’s careers and lives.

  18. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    You know Buddy.

    I’ve made a successful blogging career out of calling people names…

    Sh*tbird, F*cktard, and my personal recent favorite, filing a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics wherein I called Connick Mack a “butt nugget”.

    And it’s this sort of stuff that catches me “heat”… My so-called “5th grade mentality.”

    Nonsense easily countered with the question — “how many corrupt elected officials have you had arrested and removed from office.”

    What many folks don’t comprehend is the extensive research I put in behind the scenes. When I present my case to the authorities, I’ve done very considerable due diligence.

    As the previous commenter mentioned, L’ Lakes is a bad place. I’ve invested hundreds of hours learning about it. So, shouldn’t I be allowed a little leeway to call Allen a “f*** weasel”.

    He is, you know…

    So stay tuned, as later this summer, I expect a new round of cretins to be arrested from my efforts.

  19. Toothless Ethics Commission says:

    Ethics commission admits it needs teeth to enforce laws

    TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Commission on Ethics will ask the Legislature for the authority to impose higher fines on public officials who flout the rules and the teeth to go after those that don’t pay up.The frustrated panel, which penalizes public officials who break ethics laws, is unable to collect about $100,000 in unpaid fines due to a law that prevents it from enforcing fines after four years.Incoming Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, has publicly touted the need for ethics reform, sparking hope that next year’s legislative session might yield stronger laws. Ethics reform is consistently shut down by lawmakers, some of whom owe fines and benefit from keeping conflict-of-interest laws weak.Case in point: Commissioners expressed frustration that they can no longer go after Rep. Erik Fresen, a Miami Republican who still owes a $1,500 fine from 2004.”Any elected official who owes a fine and doesn’t pay, ought to be embarrassed about it,” said Commissioner Linda Robison, a Pompano Beach attorney.

  20. Caryl says:

    just because someone does put a name to a post, does not mean they’re not a cretin. for instance, the idiot blogger who thinks he’s a genius, is nothing more than a bully with a fifth grade mentality. just watch how he’ll go off on me now. even on this blog, this megalomaniac is compelled to let you know how wonderful he is. but has he told you about the two years he spent to no avail to bring pam davis
    of the deerfield beach housing authority

  21. Caryl says:

    As I was writing…… he said he had facts about pam davis to bring her down yet HUD and the state attorney’s office found absolutely nothing. Yet this cretin idiot
    proclaims that he won, a la.Charlie Sheen. now he even admits that he’s a recovering alcoholic. that excuse is supposed to account for why he was arrested for breaking probation
    in his repeated violence case. he was also court ordered to see a doctor.

    This cretin dishes it but he can’t take . give a blind man 100 darts and surely a couple will be a bullseye.

    this is an angry ugly man inside and out and the fact that you and others give him creedence bode well for none of you.

  22. Tartan says:

    Caryl,Not to worry. All frogs eventually get stung by the Scorpion.