Legislators Must Take Up Ethics Reform


Only one thing could unite the badly-divided Broward Legislative Delegation: Disgust with the Broward County Commission.

Legislators’ revulsion at the commission is understandable.

Anybody with a sense of decency is sickened by commissioners maneuvering for 10 years to avoid ethics reform.

The latest:

Commissioners engineered a phony legal excuse to kill ethics reform. They want to stop voters from even having a chance to vote on the reforms.

I was on vacation or I would have commented earlier.  I’ve been commenting for a decade on this commission’s failure to police itself.

The commission is a cesspool of influence peddling.

Ilene Lieberman?   Printed reports say she was behind the move to kill the ethics reform.

No surprise since Lieberman had the chutzpah to actually become a lobbyist after being elected to the commission. 

The rest of the commission followed her lead like lemmings.

Ethics Reform Needed

No commission in Florida needs a lesson in ethics more than Broward’s.

Bribery. Money laundering.  Voting benefits for relatives. Pushing no bid deals for their lobbyist friends. Taking money to lobby their fellow government officials. Having relatives who do business with the county. Looting campaign contributions. 

Nothing is too much for this grubby little group.

The biggest disappointment in the vote to kill the proposed ethics rules earlier this month was Sue Gunzburger, who long supported ethics reform.

She first voted to kill reform. Then Gunzburger flip-flopped and said she was against any legal action to stop the reform.

Gunzburger e-mailed me:

“An obvious question is why did I vote for allowing the County Attorney to pursue a declaratory judgment action. The answer is simple: I made a mistake. The mistake I made was to have relied on the County Attorney’s advice. I freely admit I own that vote, but it was a mistakeWe need to quickly pull the plug on this sham lawsuit.

Gunzburger’s vote was a mistake morally and politically. 

Morally, it was a sellout of everything she said she stood for.

Politically, the vote allowed an opening for her Democratic primary opponent Steve Geller.

The major thrust of Gunzburger’s campaign has been that sometimes-lobbyist Geller is ethically challenged.  With her vote, he had an opening to parry that thrust.

He e-mailed supporters this week:


I was shocked last Tuesday when the Broward County Commission unanimously voted to file a lawsuit asking a judge to strike the work product of the Broward County Ethics Commission, and to prevent it from becoming law or being put on the November ballot so that all Broward voters could express their will.  The fact that this vote passed unanimously, with everyone, including my opponent voting for it, shows how dramatically out of touch she is with public sentiment.  In an effort to reduce the political fallout of her vote to kill the ethics reforms, Mrs. Gunzburger issued a statement in which she tried to take the position exactly opposite of the vote she had just cast. The Commission is now on a long summer vacation and will return to consider this issue once more on August 10th which will be their last chance to vote to pass it or let it go to the voters in November. I call on all the residents of District 6 and all who are concerned about cleaning up our County government to demand that she vote for the package presented by the Broward County Ethics Commission.

Ethics is the major issue in the Geller/Gunzburger race because of  years of inaction by the commission. 

Time For The Legislature To Act

The legislative delegation must actat the first opportunity.

Democrats like state Rep. Ari Porth and Republicans like state Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff both had ethics reform proposals in the last session must get together.  They must do something.

The business community is sick of the pay-for-play atmosphere at the commission.  Voters are tired of the scandals.

Years ago, the late Mayor John Lomelo turned Sunrise into a kleptocracy. 

Lomelo shoveled bribe money in his pockets in return for making a handful of lobbyists the gate keepers for approval of anything in Sunrise. He ended up in prison.

Sound familiar?

But Lomelo delivered unsurpassed city services, built an unparalleled utility department and annexed acres of undeveloped land which later became the city’s tax base.

And the county commission?

The airport expansion remains uncompleted.  Meaningful mass transit, which has been talked about for three decades, isn’t even in the planning stages.  There is no blueprint on how to cope with growth in the future or agreement on how to pay for services today.  

John Lomelo was ethically challenged.but he delivered.

The county commission is just ethically challengedand now it’s time for legislators to shove some ethics down the commissioners’ throats.

11 Responses to “Legislators Must Take Up Ethics Reform”

  1. Floridan says:

    Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff . . .

    The same person who is bought and paid for by the insurance industry?

  2. nottinamazesme says:

    Years ago, when we were in the “boom”, I wish they would’ve addressed the building a southern Broward east to west major artery. All we’ve got is the Sawgrass up north and 595 in the center. The trip from U.S. 27 to the beach is over 40 minutes, which is ridiculous considering it could take 1/2 that time with a major thoroughfare for the thousands of families living in South Broward. What did they do instead? Entertain nonsense and waste money rather than taking an assessment of what the people needed, getting a plan put together, and seeing the plan through completion. Hopefully the next commission will see things differently.

  3. G.B. says:

    Geller is the proverbial pot calling the kettle black.

    Sue Gunzburger stood to gain nothing by that vote unlike some of her colleagues.
    She is not a lobbyist.

    If Geller is genuinely willing to forgo his years of feeding at the public trough, it is only because he figures he has enriched himself enough already.

    The more he makes of this the more people will remember the Shakespeare quote: “methinks thou dost protest too much”.

    Geller was “shocked”? Really now.

    This will ABSOLUTELY not hurt Gunzburger.

    If anything, it will call more attention to Geller’s own years of gray-area, sleazy lobbying.

  4. Ethical One says:

    Why do you think Momma Stern is trying to get her republican turncoat daughter elected to replace Bogdanoff? To kill any ethics reforms on lobbying.

    Do you think it’s a coincidence that a Tea Party candidate from Orlando entered Barbie Stern’s race to try and reduce the Republican vote?

    Momma Stern’s power and money are made lobbying the County Commission. Do you think she is going to hurt her business or her friends on the Commission?

    If Barbie Stern gets elected, Momma Stern would appear to control Dist 91, Rep Gibbons, Rep Thurston and Rep Jenne. Momma Stern will most likely call in some favors with others in the Broward Delegation, to water down or kill ethics reform.

    Rumor around town is that Momma Stern is the person who leaked all the anti Norm Ostrau information to the press to hurt his credibility.

    Watch Momma Stern and her Commission friends are either going to kill ethics reform or make sure its watered down and secretly controlled by lobbyists.

  5. Steve Schwinn says:

    The Turnpike goes east west along the county-line and essentially serves as the southern east-west artery.

  6. nottinamazesme says:

    Steve Schwinn:
    Why couldn’t S. Broward get an east-bound entry ramp off I75 onto the Turnpike? And why can’t the Turnpike have an extension past the Calder Racetrack running east? As it is, people traveling east from Southwest Broward have to fight the traffic and drive close to 20 to 30 mins. to hop onto the Turnpike at Red Rd. In that amount of time, they could be sitting on the beach if they wanted to. Besides, this would apply to folks residing in Miramar, parts of Hollywood, Southwest Ranches, Weston, Davie or Cooper City. Do we not count?

  7. declare your conflict says:

    Buddy, don’t you know that Rep. Porth was the co-sponsor of Bogdanoff’s bill? And that Bogdanoff’s bill would have passed had she kept her ego in check and played nice with her peers in the Senate… oh, and isn’t that the same Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff that employs your son? you’ve declared that conflict in the past, why omit it now???

  8. Gimme a break says:

    Hey G.B. why don’t you get your facts straight. It is Gunzberger and her family who have benefited off of my taxpayer dime for years and years. She is the one whose family bench business has made her millions while she was a commissioner. Her fellow commissioners awarded her company the contracts. That is what I call sleazy! You’re going to talk about Geller’s ethics. Gimme a break!

  9. Fact Check says:

    Nobody would ever confuse Geller with someone ethical. Like he should be saying anything on ethics. Geller is a lobbyist and is as arrogant as they come!

  10. Yaki says:

    I say vote out ALL the incumbents on the Broward Commission…and don’t let them stay there sooooo god-damn long!!!! Gunzburger needs to go already…geeeeze. Go home Sue… PA-LEEEESE!

  11. Need a new face says:

    It’s clear that our commission needs new faces. Faces that aren’t connected to any of the sitting commissioners or their lobbyist friends. I like Shevrin Jones for District 8.