Michelson’s Opinion Challenged In Sunrise


Sunrise City Attorney Stuart Michelson’s opinion that Mayor Roger Wishner can run in a no-lose election in the fall is being challenged by twenty year-old city records.

Michelson says that if  Wishner runs for mayor and loses, he can go back to being a city commissioner without an election. 

Wishner can’t lose!

Not so fast, says Commissioner Sheila Alu, who has found old city records she says proves her point.


Stuart Michelson


The original minutes from 20 years ago indicates that at least one member of the commission never intended to allow no-lose elections.

Michelson’s reasoning is: 

Wishner is just a commissioner holding the mayor’s job temporarily.  He was deputy mayor and was elevated when former Mayor Steve Feren resigned.

Thus, Wishner is really a commissioner acting as temporary mayor.  He never gave up his old commission seat and can go back to it if he loses the 2010 mayor’s election, according to Michelson.

Alu and others aren’t buying it.

First of all, Michelson and Wishner are thisclose.  Michelson has done private legal work for the mayor.

(To be fair, he has also done private legal work for Alu.  It is just a cozy little club at Sunrise City Hall!) 

Some say that the state Resign-to-Run law would require Wishner to give up his rights to the commission seat if he ran for mayor. Michelson disagrees.

The original minutes from August and September 1990 say this: Then-Deputy Mayor Steve Effman “stated there there should not be a choice of going to end of term or being elected.

It appears that Effman didn’t want a no-lose election possibility. That is exactly the choice Michelson is claiming Wishner has.

I suggest that Effman, also a lawyer, come to the next Sunrise meeting and explain exactly what commissioners intended 20 years ago when the law was written.

I also say that Wishner should voluntarily give up his right to be a commissioner if he loses the mayor’s race.until the law can be cleared up.

Sunrise shouldn’t have no-lose elections.

9 Responses to “Michelson’s Opinion Challenged In Sunrise”

  1. Resident says:

    So let me get this right. Michelson believes that if a Commissioner wanted to run for Mayor, the State Resign to Run law requires that Commissioner to resign to run, unless he is also serving as Mayor because of a city law and he is not actually the Mayor. That makes no sense, and is inconsistent with prior cases.

    But Michelson reasons that City Law trumps State Law and since Wishner is not actually the Mayor, but temporarily holding the position, he does not have to Resign to Run cause he already holds the job. But if he not actually holding the position of Mayor, he must resign to run. That is the state law.

    Sorry but the State Law controls. If Wishner files for Mayor, and doesn’t resign from the Commission Seat, the court will immediately remove him from office. If he correctly files the resignation, then he can stay in office up to the election.

    Can’t wait for this to happen cause it will be covered in the Press. Also, it will make for bad press for Wishner running for Mayor. Not the way you want to run a campaign with everything else going around in Broward. May even lead to Michelson’s firing if Wishner loses cause he will have caused this avoidable problem.

  2. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    >> Thus, Wishner is really a commissioner acting as temporary mayor.

    Buddy. You got that right… Wishner is definitely acting… And doing a very poor job at it to boot.

    The smart money is on Alu… Dumb and Dumber don’t stand a chance against her.

  3. sunrise resident says:

    Michelson makes decisions based on the politics of the moment. He should be fired and replaced by a real city attorney.

  4. Friends "In-deed" says:

    What a mess. It always hard to tell a friend there is another side to the story, especially where the result would be unpopular with the friend. But, it is not because Michelson is scared of being fired. If he told Wishner you should resign the seat now held by Sofield, Sofield would be happy, and Alu and Scuotto seem to be saying that is what needs to be done. No one would fire Michelson or be upset (or at least not 3 votes upset).

    See, this is about being long term friends and probably the belief that Wishner is gonna win the Mayor’s race anyway, so all a big nothing. However, some have been saying that if Michelson is wrong on the interpretation of the resign to run law (leaving charter aside), then maybe Wishner, even if he wins mayor race, could be in trouble of losing his seat, or maybe removed from the ballot if fails to resign timely even before the election. If that happens before the mayor election, sofiled may be out. If Wishner unseated after election, who knows what happens then. Maybe Feren can get the case as judge and rule on it?

    So there is an interesting scenario here.

    Sofield, who has been raising money from all the usual suspects and using the usual campaign suspects, could be faced with the prospect of running against Wishner if Wishner loses the August race or is kicked off ballot for Mayor because he didnt resign the original seat.

    Goes like this. If Wishner lost, Sofield would be booted by Wishner, leaving Sofield actually still a candidate for the seat then held by Wishner. They could be running against each other. Or, Sofield could switch races and run against Alu. Or, he could take all that money and wait to run against Rosen or Scuotto.

    Here is my bet though because you know Wishner has thought this all out having been up there for a long time (and benefitted from playing cards close to vest with the Feren resignation): Wishner waits to the last minute before supposed to resign to run deadline (which is before the qualifying period for the Mayor race) to see who else has announced. If no one who is a threat has announced or no big money raised for that person (even though they could announce a week later), Wishner ends this debate by resigning the sofield seat. This way he looks like he is being straightforward in his approach and being responsive to the criticism. Says something like “I dont need to resign under law or the charter, but understand the concerns of the people. Because this seat does not need the stigma of doubt, I will resign”. Then, too late for anyone who could ever be a threat to him in the Mayor race to move quickly.

  5. Grudgingly says:

    Sheila is a horror, true horror, the ultimate horror…on this issue, though, she is right.

  6. Power to the People says:

    Friends “In-Deed”, your bet is a smart one. Two of the City Commissioners are ready to back a candidate “to be named” once the resign to run deadline has been reached. Their backers are ready to knock on doors and start returning the city to prominence with a new Mayor at the grass roots level.

    The alliance started last year after the appointment of Sofield. The money to oust Wishner as mayor is waiting silently on the sidelines.

    The people not the special interest groups will elect the next mayor of Sunrise.

  7. Resident says:

    The problem is that there is not a person on the Commission I would want as Mayor. So you better find someone else.

  8. Lawman says:

    Michelson got his job because of politics. Why would anybody expect him to give an opinion that wasn’t totally political and will stand, unless somebody challenges it in court? He would end up with more fees for defending his own opinion.

  9. More of the Same says:

    Power to the People: Would be nice to think there is a candidate out there who is true grass roots and who could be beyond the constant wonderment of what the angle is, but sounds trite and without any traction. Wishner has raised a ton of money from the special interests in the City. They will not go quietly. The people are so used to this kind of treatment and behavior, it is a kinda “battered voter syndrome” — we want to get away, but the power disparity and the trap doors make it impossible, so much so that we just begin to expect the latest abuse of process as if we somehow called this upon ourselves. Oh sure, those on the outside understand differently, but for those living the experience, it is just a side story of a larger story that seems inevitable. I hope you are right that there is an inspiring candidate but I think it is no more than a mythical sighting.