Key Democrats Promoting Taxes For Children





The campaign to continue the life of the shadowy multi-million dollar Children’s Service Council is being headed by a leader of the Broward Democratic Party.

Cynthia Busch, the first vice chair of the party, was paid $3,000 last month as the executive director of the political committee formed to save the Council.



Cynthia Busch


The political committee is called Citizens For Broward’s Children. The feel-good name of the group disguises its purpose — To get voters to reauthorize the Council’s ability to tax property owners up to $50 per $100,000.

Unless voters reauthorize the council in the November election, the government agency goes out of business.

By hiring Busch, the political committee is attempting to build influence among key Democrats. The group also has supposedly hired a former aide to County Commissioner Chip LaMarca to woo Republicans, according to one source.

In 2012, Busch ran against Mitch Ceasar for party chair. She lost, but by less than many who have challenged the long-time party boss– 340 to 242.

Now her job is to get voters to approve the continued existence of the obscure Children’s Services Council. The group has the altruistic, but hard to measure goal of improving the lives of underprivileged and troubled youths.

The council’s own survey has shown most people don’t know what they do or how they spend their $60 million-plus budget from property taxes.

About $9 million was spend on providing “effective family strengthening services to prevent child maltreatment.”

Other money ended up with the politically-connected, according to the website site Groups tied to County Commissioner Dale Holness and School Board Member Rosalind Osgood have gotten thousands of dollars for outreach in the minority community.

No surprise since the group hands out tens of millions of tax dollars annually with almost no public scrutiny.  The meetings are held in the Sunshine, but lightly attended. The local media, with the exception lately of, largely ignore the group.

Two interesting facts about the referendum:

  • The Council is asking to be reauthorized forever. There will be no further referendum.
  • The Council already is running a campaign that the Sun-Sentinel called “creative” and others call misinformation. It stated that voters are being asked to approve a tax of just 2 cent per $1,000. But nobody has just $1,000 worth of taxable property.

If reauthorized, the Council’s tax bill is really $50 per $100,000 or about $125 annually for a home valued at $250,000.

Campaign Manager Busch is not the only Democratic heavyweight working to reauthorize the Council. Fred Lippman, the former Democratic House member and pharmacist who is now chancellor of health professions at Nova Southeastern University, is playing a key role in campaign fund raising as head of the political committee.

The political committee is run out of the West Palm Beach offices of political consultants Cornerstone Solutions. The firm – this is its biggest campaign to date in Broward — was paid in June $5,000 for “research” and $5,000 for a “website,” according to the financial reports on file with the Elections Office.

Despite Busch and Lippman’s perceived clout, the group had under $55,000 in the bank as of last week. That is almost nothing when running a campaign in a county where between 400,000 and 500,000 voters expected to cast ballots.

That hasn’t stopped a handful of individual donors from giving. Über lobbyist Ron Book gave the most — $10,000. Property management tycoon James Donnelly forked over $5,000.

Private university queen Belinda Keiser donated $2,500 and an entity connected to Keiser University donated another $2,500. Insurance sales company owner Anita Byer gave $2,500. Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Nan Rich gave $500.

Meanwhile, numerous sources say that the CFB group is very worried that the public school’s $800 million bond request, on the same ballot, could harm the council’s chances for reauthorization.

“This is a big ask from taxpayers. For an average home, it could be $50 (a year) for the schools and $150 (a year) for the Children’s (Services) Council essentially forever. Voters may just sink both,” said a well-connected political consultant who asked their name not be used.


36 Responses to “Key Democrats Promoting Taxes For Children”

  1. Sam The Sham says:

    Another guilt laden, feel-good boondoggle. Please vote this DOWN!

  2. Misstep says:

    There is one reason why I will be votng no. Cindy and the CSC are creating a new permenant taxing district. That is just bad politics. They should have reauthorized on a mulit year commitment from the tax payers and moved on.

  3. FTL Voter says:

    Ellyn Bogdanoff, Justin Sayfie and other major Broward Republicans are also on board in support of the CSC. Sheriff Israel and former Sheriff Lamberti, too. Pretty broad support for keeping the CSC going.

  4. Ghost of McLovin says:

    Their taj mahal offices on Commercial are grander than many law offices

  5. vivi says:

    There is no reason why I vote yes, we don’t need more 800million taxes on resident.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Not sure Cynthia Busch or Fred (nova only gives to republicans) Lippman are key democrats. Truth be told Lippman and Nova are huge Rick Scott supporters as well as the Republicans in the Legislature. Scott gets three appointments in the overwhelming Democrat County of Broward to affect policy on children’s services. Its a bad bureaucracy created by Debbie Schultz that does nothing other than re-direct dollars and put on seminars of questionable value. Seems like it exists to feed a bureaucracy that reminds me of water control and drainage districts. Tasks that could be accomplished by existing institutions like the County, School Board.

    The governor actually gets five of the appointments on the 12-member Board.

    The others not directly appointed by the governor are a School Board member (Robin Bartleman), the director of the health department, a representative of the state Department of Children and Families (technically works for the governor), the superintendent of schools(Robert Runcie), a county commissioner (Sue Gunzburger), a member of the judiciary (Judge Martin Dishowitz) and Council CEO Cindy Arenberg Seltzer.

  7. Volunteer says:

    I have worked with CSC for several years. I find CSC very helpful working with students who need more guidance. It is always easy to critize groups who are assisting teens and families in crisis. I would really like to see some of the people who are commenting tell us where they volunteer? It is unfortunate that two very large issues are on the ballot this time. The CSC and the School Board bond issues are both worthy causes. If you are that angry about what is going on then go out and do something instead of sounding off here. Sorry, I have to go. I have to meet one of those disadvantaged kids the CSC supports.

  8. Jack Moss says:

    The CSC has done a good job in providing many needed services to the children of our community. My concerns are two-fold:
    1. Administrative fees should be controlled .. the last I heard is that there is a staff of 65+
    2. This has become a partisan issue with fees going to Democrat partisans … not a good idea when Republican support is being courted.

    note to Buddy — can you find out the total number of staff and verify my number???


    The agency passes through tax money to non-profits, taking off a chunk for its bureaucracy.

    The number of employees and administrative staff should be an easy number to obtain. But the Council’s budget is a full-color collection of gobbligook which doesn’t have those numbers.
    Why isn’t their an easily obtainable salary figure for all the top staff on the Internet? What does the CEO get paid? What does the main staff get paid?

    They claim they spend very little for administration, but I would like to see a breakdown of that figure and exactly what each member of the staff is paid in verifiable figures.

    I did find many things in the budget interesting. Especially that the Council spends over $738,000 on “outreach” including $81,000 in Sun-Sentinel ads.

  9. Mike says:

    Ask the parents in Broward County who registered for VPK online how their experience was? Mine was horrible online. Took them two months to process online application.

  10. just the facts says:

    Theres a link for the annual reprot
    page 21 lists over $59 million dollars from brward property taxes, plus interest, grants and Other totalling over $1 million dollars.

    General admin runs them over $2million dollars a year
    Non-operating expenditures runs them $1.7+ millions dollars a year

    I am voting no

    this is more like a ‘feel good’ club for the ‘do-gooders’ and public servants that could not survive in private enterprise


    Again, using a broad category like “general admin” does not explain enough. It is a budgetary trick, or at the very least, opaque budgeting. It reminds me of the school system.
    What is each administrator paid? How many “administrators” are (hidden) in other portions of the budget? What are the job titles? What are the definitions of “operating” and “non-operating” expenses?

    A source has made available to me a more detailed budget with some very interesting figures.
    Salaries and benefits are $4.5 million or about 7.5 percent.
    Travel expenses are roughly $200,000.
    Auditors and consultants are roughly $80,000
    Legal expenses are roughly $31,000
    Telecommunications are roughly $41,000
    And the category of “Other General Administration” is $300,000.


  11. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    I support the work of the Broward County Children’s Services Council.

    The services they fund are essential to the well being of our community’s children including many with special needs. State funding cuts to children’s programs make having the CSC continue to serve our community all the more necessary.

    Go to their website to see what they do first hand, you will be impressed.

    The CSC makes responsible grant awards to able service providers. They monitor their own contracts to make sure that the public gets what we pay for. They utilize fair, open and equitable contracting rules which are, together with all their finances, independently audited on a yearly basis. Those audit reports are available for public inspection and that’s important because the audit reports tell us best if they are managing in ways that we can trust. I believe that they do.

    Broward County would be worse off without that funding source in place — by no means better off without them. Our children are are well served by the agencies funded by the CSC. I particularly like that they stay current with the changing needs of our community by regularly holding a Broward Youth Summit so that they can hear from all interested stakeholders how we can help our children even more.

    Because the CSC has operated in a dedicated, professional and responsible way, because they have earned the public’s trust, because they consistently provide important services to children in need on a fair, reliable and equal basis, I will be voting to reauthorize the Children’s Services Council.

    And I encourage every Broward voter to consider doing the same.


  12. Dem. says:

    Don’t care about anything Angello “drunk” advocate against the LGBT community has to say. Angello is a puppet to the sheriff and his wife Lisa “nasty” Castillo is close to being the most hated in BSO. Tied for first is the Sheriff, Scum-Berger, Goldberg, Stone, Periera, Diperna, and many more. Angelo. Nobody cares about anything you say. It’s your usual bullshit.

  13. Dear Angelo says:

    I saw on LinkedIn you are now Executive Director of Strategic Planning? Does that mean you are the head blogger in charge? For the taxpayer’s sake lets hope you are not paid by the word.


  14. Due Diligence Matters says:

    @just the facts

    Thank you Buddy for in-depth reporting (above comment) on the real admin charges for this feel good boondoggle of a non-profit

    the agencies that benefit kids and disadvantaged will still get their funds, and probably more, by eliminating the ‘broker fees’ by this group

    I am voting NO on this and NO on $800,000,000.00 in school bonds

  15. Daniel Reynolds says:

    Buddy, The original vote to authorize the CSC had no sunset provision. The only reason this is on the ballot is an anti-abortion state senator found out the CSC in his district had a contract with Planned Parenthood for certain (non-abortion) services and passed legislation requiring all CSC’s to reauthorize.


    Every one of these special districts should have regular sunset provisions. Sunset provisions require the agencies to have a certain degree of accountability to the public.

    Regular sunset provisions should include the CSC and such special districts as the water management districts. Actually, the county could do all of these jobs.

  16. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    The sunset provision doesn’t bother me either. I have no problem with the argument that sunset provisions provides accountability, though at some point if the need is a constant one, we may not need to vote on it over and over. But your point for new districts is certainly well made.

    Following through, if accountability is now the question in front of us then we need to ascribe seriousness to the process of accountability. Otherwise, it’s us not being accountable.

    Let’s look at what the organization has done during their first term of authorization. Let’s take stock, let’s conduct an objective inventory of those accomplishments.

    And then make a determination as to on the merits about whether we are better off going forward with them or not. I’ve done that. I’ve looked at what they’ve done and I have reached my conclusion. I think they make our community better and have shared that conclusion in a responsible way.

    Do your own homework. Form your own conclusion. Be a responsible citizen and vote your view based on some thoughtful basis.

    Fair enough?


  17. Fed Up with Broward Corruption says:

    #12 – right on target.

    VOTE THIS GARBAGE DOWN….it is simply a hidden tax to profit some politician.

  18. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    The CSC is just another quasi-government agency that takes tax payer money, pays political hacks and sends some money to others who may actually do some good. The list of free loaders and political fixers as opposed to educators and scholars and intellectuals tell the tale of who is really benefiting from this ripoff.

  19. Terry Snowden says:

    Forced ‘charity’ through mandatory taxing is a perversion. Where, as here, a ‘charity’ wants to have a ‘right’ to force contributions gives it no incentive to prove its worth. I note all those who wrote in with all the flowery superlatives extolling the benefits of this organization did so in the most general of feel good terms. It reminds me of the boiler room telephone call lingo of the phoney PBA phone calls I frequently get. Because the usual suspect politicos appear the only vocal advocates is a red warning flag.

  20. Right On Count says:

    @Count LF Chodkiewicz
    And let’s add Angelo Castillo as one of those political hacks. The only thing worse than his self important grandstanding is the fact that he and his wife are getting paid inflated salaries by the BSO for political patronage jobs that in reality we don’t need.

  21. Cindy Arenberg Seltzer says:

    As the CEO of the Children’s Services Council of Broward County I welcome the opportunity to answer any questions you or your readers may have. CSC has always been committed to operating with transparency and accountability. The proposed program budget available from our splash page provides extensive detail on the agencies we fund and the impact they have had on the children and families they serve.

    We also maintain the same commitment to keep administrative costs low as was established by Jack Moss during his 8 year tenure as a board member.

    Buddy, I will give you a call to set up an opportunity for you to come and see our environmentally friendly building, review our budget and ask any questions you would like about our operations.

  22. Susan Goldstein says:

    You are all so wrong about the CSC. I have followed them closely since inception. They are a key component to maintaining the highest level of livability in Broward.

    If you had a situation where you needed an after school program for your kid in order to keep your job, or a family member with developmental disabilities who was on the State APD waiting list of more than 20,000 people for 5 years, and you could not work because you had to care for them, you would appreciate the programs they provide. Or if you knew of a family that needed assistance to get on their feet from a job loss, substance abuse issue or domestic violence and their children were suffering as a result, you would expect someone to step up to the plate to protect these most vulnerable children who could not help themselves, or through no fault of their own were put in harm’s way. Otherwise they might be out on the streets getting into trouble, prostituting themselves, looting your homes or worse. Look at comparable cities in other states. I am proud of our CSC.

    The state does not identify local needs nor do they fund them adequately. Maybe because these kids don’t have a high paid lobbyist providing a voice on their behalf or making large contributions to elected officials. And neither does CSC.

    There are numerous programs funded by CSC that help children transitioning from school to work for foster kids, disabled kids, and other at risk populations. This money is so much more well spent than the dollars you send to the school board, your drainage districts, and even the extravagant hospital districts. If you compared the dollars going to political hacks, CSC would be at the bottom of the list.

    Many of you have no idea of the scope of services the CSC provides. I am happy that those of you commenting on the work of this fine organization do not need the services they provide, but if you or a close family ever did need this type of help, it would be there. CSC does an incredible job of maximizing their revenue, helping to pull federal dollars for local programs, and getting matching funds from all the service organizations they fund. They are accountable for each and every dollar they allocate and have outcomes and data for every program and every child that participates in a a program they sponsor. Their partnerships with community organizations like ARC Broward, Dan Marino Foundation, After School Programs (ASP), and countless others give children who have been dealt a difficult hand, the assistance and opportunities to become independent, productive citizens.

    They have become the central networking hub to prevent duplication of services in Broward by competing organizations and have created an environment where all of our community organizations work together, and assist and respect one another. Broward has become a model for the entire state and is the envy of many other counties because of our Children’s Services Council. I know people that have moved here for the disability services and your home values have increased because of the CSC. There are no tax dollars better spent than the one half of one percent that you pay in your real estate taxes to fund the CSC. I support a vote in the affirmative unequivicolly.

    Thank you for letting me vent.


    Susan Goldstein, who wrote these very thoughtful comments, is a former Republican state House member from Broward.

  23. Interesting says:

    The only people who seem to come out in support of CSC are electeds, political insiders and their own paid staff.

    Ms. Godlstien, shall I guess that CSC funds programs you work for or support? This is the whole problem, it appears based on the series of articles by Daily Broward the only charities that get priority for money from CSC are those pet projects by political insiders.

    I would be interested if Ms. Seltzer addressed the issues raised by Daily Broward if she is so transparent. I would like to hear why a charity tied to dale holness was given money for tv and they have nothing to do with television.

  24. Terry Snowden says:

    It is revealing to note that the only commentators who are defending this forced charity are the politico takers who use at as a bargaining chip to feather their own agendas. The notion of forced charitable contributions by taxation is a disingenuous idea

  25. Freedom says:

    I don’t understand why to support one agency people find it necessary to bash another.

  26. Ron Mills says:

    Buddy, Susan is a old school Republican we used to have here in South Florida, sensible and mostly non partisan, her own party turned against her, and redistricted her out of her seat. I still have a great deal of respect for Susan Goldstein

  27. just asking says:

    @Cindy Arenberg Seltzer
    “…Buddy, I will give you a call to set up an opportunity for you to come and see our environmentally friendly building, review our budget and ask any questions you would like about our operations.”

    See – that is EXACTLY the problem at CSC. It is not ‘your’ environmentally friendly building.
    It is ours. The Taxpayers. She may be the president/ceo, but she did not ‘make’ the money to have the offices in that building. Neither did the other seven on the ‘management’ team pictures on page 3 of the annual report.

    Didn’t OUR collective Broward tax dollars fund the site and building purchase from Nico Development Inc. in 2009 for $8,000,000.00? Did we get a good deal? Let’s take a look.

    Nico Development is Woodland Estates (look it up at
    Woodland Estates bought the property at 6600 W Commercial in August 2005 for $3.182 million – no building – just a site with a lot of trees that were torn down (environmentally friendly, right) that you can see on the 2005 aerial on
    In July 2008 the same property with trees only was sold by Woodland Estates to Nico Development (same owner\officers in both companies remember) for $5,280,000.00. (look it up on

    Side note – wonder who did the appraisal for csc and taxpayers? Probably the same companies that work for the school board of broward and broward county where tax payers overpay for site and buildings.

    Where did the money come from to buy the site and build the building? The annual budget of CSC? The county? Lots of soft costs that I can’t tabulate. Probably a few million – the architect, the engineers, etc.. And then of course the hard costs. Those are the construction costs – building material, labor, overhead and profit. Don’t forget the overhead and profit. Not sure who the general contractor of record was. I could find out with a little digging.
    Just wondering – Mr. Beeson has a GC license for years and years and a construction company. Wonder if he built it? (Mr. beeson’s contractor license can be looked up at
    So us taxpayers and CSC have an environmentally friendly building (after they cut down all the trees to make room for it) that is just under 32,000 square feet on a 2 acre site.
    And luckily our generous annual contribution of TRIM tax dollars since the initial extension of a $500,000.00 line of credit for FY 2001 after the voters approved the creation of
    FY 2002 $ 23,925,608

    FY 2003 $ 28,764,971

    FY 2004 $ 38,313,381

    It keeps getting bigger every year.
    No wonder they built the ‘Taj Mahal’ that an earlier comment stated.
    And they want the voters to continue to fund this sham of a non-profit? Really?

  28. Ana Gomez-Mallada says:

    Just vote no! Let’s see an audit of the money they have spent on actual services for children first. When the list comes out (and it is unlikely to do so) THEN just vote NO!

  29. Rico Petrocelli says:

    Buddy, thanks for allowing Susan the opportunity to set the record straight, and to let others see it’s value.

    While I do not agree with the way they (CSC) spend ALL of their monies (Holness Article), especially some you have written about (and others) for the most part, like Susan says they do provide a service, and safety net for Children and parents

    Rico Petrocelli
    Former Councilman
    City of Plantation

  30. just asking says:

    I just checked the broward county recorder site. That’s where the sales, deeds, liens and NOC’s get recorded. Guess what? After buying and flipping the 6600 W Commercial property, the owner of the property WAS the general contractor (Master Builders) for the construction of the Childrens Services Council building for Borward County. Sweet deal. The notarized NOC (notice of commencement) from 08/05/08 is posted on the county recorder site. There was no arms length transaction on this deal. Likely little oversight as well or any questioning and audit of the costs both had and soft to taxpayers. If any indication, the taxpayers “overpaid” like they do for everything else the county does.

    Not sure if this convinced you to vote no but this public records search convinced me.

    Thanks Buddy for allowing all to doublecheck these facts from your forum here.

  31. Joseph Miller says:

    The sponsor of this bill was Debbie Wasserman Schultz who could only pass it in Tallahassee by making a deal with the R’s to give Jeb Bush the Governor at the time, appts to this BROWARD board. Miss Little Debbie who chairs the DNC did her usual suck up to the R’s to pass a bill. Thanks Deb for sticking to your principles.

  32. Real Deal says:

    Recipe for killing any good idea:

    1. Say it sucks even though you have facts that say otherwise. In fact don’t even read the facts it will only waste time better spend on saying it sucks.

    2. If someone shows you the facts then say they suck.

    3. If they insist that you look at the facts yourself, say they really suck. Then attack their character and family members.

    4. All other unrelated hateful miserable nay saying people and agendas, please feel free to join in. We love your company.

    5. Develop conspiracy theories whether based on facts or not as these always add extra spice to the conversation. And it keeps people from paying attention to facts. Facts are not our friend.

    6. Feel free to ask for audit reports but keep saying no even before you read them and no matter what they end up saying. Just keep saying no because no.

    7. Never let them see that your real agenda is just to say no so other people can be as cheap and miserable as you are. That way, added misery in the world will make you feel better. Fight for your right to make others miserable.

    8. No matter what facts are brought to light, keep being stubborn because stubborn people win and facts only get in their way.

    9. The only children that matter are my own and even there the jury is out. Other people’s children can die for all we care because that’s good public policy.

    And finally,

    10. When in doubt, start at 1 and work your way down to 10 again.

  33. Ha Ha Ha says:

    #32 – best BrowardBeat comment EVER!!

  34. Paging Charoltte says:

    Please read, reread and, finally, read number #32 again. Someone is stealing your secret sauce for staying relevant.

  35. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    #34: But the Grand Jury said I was correct and even added some interesting suggestions, didn’t they?

    And the Feds said I was correct when they arrested Beverly Gallagher who recently got out of a Federal prison.

    And the District’s internal auditors have produced finding after finding about the waste and lies.

    Learn to read Grand Jury, Florida Auditor General and Office of the Chief Auditor’s reports.

    And learn how to spell my name.

  36. Just One Vote says:

    @Charlotte Greenbarg –
    you have many many supporters even if they didn’t know you personally or had an email to tell you

    taking the pulse of most of broward its clear taxpayers have had enough.

    not sure – well wait till voting day whether august primary or nov ballot.
    the $800,000,000.00 for schools will fade away on the vine by a resounding NO
    the Childrens Council will see the spigot shut off by a big NO
    and voters across the state will decide the ‘Big Races” that dems in broward can’t engineer by fraud.

    How many posts on this bplg? Maybe 50 or 75? Even if all supported this handout on the tax bill, its not enough to keep them funded.

    So the malcontents critizing here will demean and belittle. More fiscal prudence by all asking for tax dollars may have made voters be more generous.