Opponent Closing In On Wasserman-Rubin


County Commissioner Diana Wasserman-Rubin’s biggest re-election problem is perception.

There is widespread speculation that she is the target of a multi-agency investigation into corruption.

Fighting rumors is like trying to box against smoke.

Soon it looks like Wasserman-Rubin will have more substantial opponent –Pembroke Pines County Commissioner Angelo Castillo.

Castillo sees an opening in the rumors swirling around Wasserman Rubin. 

It is widely expected that Castillo will soon announce he is running for Wasserman Rubin’s southwest Broward County county commission seat.

I talked to Castillo over the weekend.  He was non-committal.

My view:

Wasserman-Rubin has been distracted by the extensive government probe into government conduct.  Agents are said to be looking into her throwing favors to her husband’s client, the community of Southwest Ranches.

She already paid a $15,000 civil fine in 2008 for violating state ethics laws related to voting for a grant for Southwest Ranches that her husband wrote.

Wasserman-Rubin has been largely uninvolved in recent months in the key decisions at the government center.

In contrast, Castillo is eager to move up to the county’s Government Center.  He would be involved. He has some really interesting ideas which he will unroll during a campaign.

He deserves consideration by every voter.

Castillo is a non-practicing lawyer who has spent a lifetime as a top government official, i.e., a bureaucrat.  He is currently president and CEO of Broward House, an AIDS patient housing facility and awareness center in Fort Lauderdale.

There are downsides to a Castillo campaign. One is his connections to lobbyist Judy Stern.  His wife works for Stern.

He immediately picks up all Stern’s enemies and that is an extensive list.

I’m convinced that although Stern would has ready access to Castillo, he is independent.

The second downside is opposition from Pembroke Pines Mayor Frank Ortis.  The two Pines pols are political opponents.

Some insiders believe that Ortis would find somebody to jump into the commission race just to thwart Castillo. 

Some say that Pembroke Pines Commissioner Iris Siple should consider the race.  

There is a Republican in the race–chain store administrator Christopher Max Ziadie.  But this is a heavily Democratic district and it would be the fight between Wasserman-Rubin and her Democratic opponents like Castillo that would most likely decide the outcome.

Meanwhile, Wasserman Rubin is no pushover.  She has been in office the School Board and then the commission in 2000 for almost two decades. She has a lot of friends.

It will be an interesting battle.

34 Responses to “Opponent Closing In On Wasserman-Rubin”

  1. Democrat says:

    Diana needs to leave.
    It is time for someone new

  2. the Truth is says:

    Angelo might be close to Judy Stern but that absolutely does not mean Angelo would take on her enemies. He does a great job of dealing with everybody fairly and honestly and he is very close to people that avoid or don’t deal or don’t deal with Stern. His Stern relationship has ZERO Effect on the way he governs, the decisions he makes or the business people and lobbyists he deals with. I would make the brazen comment that he is fair and close to probably most, if not all of her enemies. She is the one who chooses to have enemies in her world; her choice to do so has nothing to do with who Angelo deals with.

  3. Politico says:

    Wasserman-Rubin already got a free pass. It’s time she move on. I know I won’t vote for Castillo. The “Stern” stink factor is to great.

  4. Resident says:

    Why doesn’t Mayor Ortis run?

  5. Dump Judy says:

    If what “The Truth Is” says is accurate and Mr. Castillo recognizes that Judy Stern is trouble than why doesn’t he step away from her and state clearly that he disagrees with her slimy lowball political and lobbying shenanigans?

  6. the Truth is says:

    to Politico:

    IF you choose not to vote for Angelo, I implore you to come up with a better reason than you just came up, the Stern factor. Angelo’s opinions are not based on her and I can say this with a tremendous amount of knowlege of him and his politics. He is not influenced by her in his policy stances.

    Come up with a better reason, don’t sell your intellect short.

  7. SimpleMan says:

    In many respects Angelo seems like a reasonable choice. My only concern is that his misguided opinion that the Government in the Sunshine Law is too restrictive and should therefor be diminished speaks to acceptance of the good old Braward County tradition of backroom dealings for government business. I believe that the secret backroom deals have become so common around here that the perpetrators have forgotten that it is illegal and feel that they are entitled to secret power. Angelo should be more clear about what he means in his opinion of the Sunshine Law.

    With that being said, he, as well as almost anyone I can think of, would be a better choice than the crooked Wasserman-Rubin, who feels entitled to steal after doing it in the open and getting away with it for so many years. A pox on her and her house.

  8. Frank C. Ortis says:

    I would like to correct some of Mr. Nevins’ comments: I have no animosity towards Vice Mayor Angelo Castillo. We are friends, always have been. We have a cohesive commission at Pembroke Pines. We may not agree on every item but that is how the system works. I am supporting Diana Wasserman-Rubin in her re-election efforts. She has served Pembroke Pines well. Angelo and his family are friends of mine and my family, and it will continue to be that way. I wish Angelo success in all of his endeavors.

  9. Feeling Crappy about Reality says:

    Diana is a good person. She is not a crook. i don’t believe she made votes for and/or steered deals to her husband. If anything, she showed poor judgement

    With that said, right or wrong, deserved or not, Satz is choosing (after ignoring almost everything else in this county for 100 years) to make some type of stand and is going to charge her. It is going to make her run for reelection impossible. it is sad but basically inevitable and reality needs to be faced here. she needs to step to the side if she is going to be charged.

    the sad thing is that 90 percent of the blame here really belongs to her husband, who should have looked out for his wife and said let me handle my business, honey and just recuse yourself. the projects were good enough in that area to stand on their own and would have passed anyway. Mr. Rubin used poor judgement to say the least.

    Ms. Wasserman Rubin, you didn’t deserve this.

  10. Just wondering says:

    the Truth:

    Is that you Judy????

  11. Floridan says:

    All this guilt by association is getting pretty lame. Let’s judge the candidate by their actions and their platforms.

    The truth is, anyone who is actively involved in Broward County politics (and politics in Broward County) is going to have plenty of friendships and associations. To pick and choose one or two to characterize the politician is not much better than a smear. And a lazy one at that.

  12. Dump Judy says:

    It is not a smear to state that Comm. Castillo should disassociate himself and his campaign from Judy Stern. It is people like her, Barbara Miller, David Brown, Neil Sterling, Beverly Stracher and their ilk that have brought Broward local politics down to the gutter level that it finds itself in. Just once I would love to see a campaign run without the sleeze factor that these “political consultants” bring with them. C’mon Angelo you are a big boy, you don’t need Dame (or is that Damn) Judy to win this seat.

  13. Politico says:

    @the Truth is says
    If his wife works for Stern, that’s enough for me. You sleep with dogs, you get fleas.

    @Dump Judy says: You said it all so succintly. Guess I don’t have stretch my intellect too much.

  14. Broward Reader says:

    Judy has the certain votes of Lois Wexler, who she goes on cruises with. She also vacations with John Rodstrom and has his vote. Angelo Castillo will give her a third vote on the commission?

  15. the Truth is says:

    Let me be clear.

    1) I am not Judy

    2) I know Judy and don’t like Judy

    3) In a perfect world, political campaigns would be run cleaner and on the issues. As we all know, it is not a perfect world.

    4) Angelo is not beholdent to Judy. He has his own mind. He listens to all on all issues. AGAIN, if you don’t want to vote for Angelo, do not be an idiot and not vote for him on his dealing with Judy Stern.

    5) He has strong opinions and doesn’t back down and in some cases, is not the most politically correct person. He is incredibly bright and understands his role as an overseer and government watchdog.

    6) The City Manager of Pembroke Pines, whether the powerbrokers in Pines want to come to grips with it, has put the Pines in a fiscally untenable situation. Angelo realizes this and doesn’t cowtow to being politically correct in his on point criticisms of an administration that has seen its better days and really need to step away and retire or a 3rd vote has to realize the liability the City Manager has become and fire the City Manager. Bring back Terry Stewart or Gary Shimun and get the ship back on track. The City Manager has a hard time admitting when he is wrong and has too much blind faith in his staff, a typical government staff mired in the muck who doesn’t adapt to change.

    7) The Charter Schools are great but from the perspective of a step back be honest vantage point, are putting an amazing strain on the City’s resources, as are the pensions.

    8) Whereas police and fire are important, they are given a pass in the City and elevated to a pedestal. They are also bankrupting the City. No one wants to admit it, though.

    9) Diana Wasserman Rubin’s biggest liability is her husband.

  16. Suffering Pines Resident says:

    to Frank C. Ortis:

    We have a great city.

    BUT stop blindly listening to the City Manager. Comm. Castillo and Comm. Iris and to a certain degree, Carl Shechter get it, when they don’t blindly follow the City Manager. The City Manager has miscalculated on a lot of issues and the Citys’ residents are now starting to suffer from his mismanagement. Please take the blinders off, Mayor Ortis.

    Have a good day.

  17. Politico says:

    @The Truth is says: “AGAIN, if you don’t want to vote for Angelo, do not be an idiot and not vote for him on his dealing with Judy Stern.”

    That’s the second time you have insulted my intelligence. Guess where I hang out. Hmmm Century Village maybe. When the subject comes up among my friends and acquaintences, I’ll be sure to tell them that one of Mr. Castillo’s supporters thinks I’m an “idiot”. Imagine that, someone who votes in every election called an idiot.

  18. the Truth is says:

    Sorry Politico:

    You sound like a one issue voter. Is that your mentality, you don’t like the campaign consultant so you don’t like the candidate. in that case, i wouldn’t like Obama because Axelrod is an idiot and I don’t like Axelrod, so does that mean I shouldn’t like Obama.

    Just because you vote in every election doesn’t make you an informed voter. Expand your intellectual horizons, especially when it comes to voting where a mind is a terrible thing to waste.

  19. Politico says:

    Hey Truth – Stick it up your ass!

  20. the Truth is says:

    to Politico:

    You sure sound like an intellectual type of person and voter. Are you part of the tea party?

  21. Politico says:

    Registered Democrat who is just sick and tired of the blah blah blah from small-minded local officials and their cadre of political hacks.

  22. County Mountie says:

    “The Truth” isn’t Judy, its Angelo. Seriously, as much as he posts on this blog, his silence today is deafening. I still like him, especially considering the option of returning a candidate to a seat in which she has already admitted to ethical lapses, paid a $15,000 fine (unheard of here in Broward County) and continues to act irrationally. I feel a little sorry for DWR, but the straw house is about to collapse.

  23. Resident says:

    Hey Truth,

    If you are not Judy, like you said, are you Angelo? You didn’t deny you aren’t Angelo, and you talk like it is you.

    If you read the Truth above thinking it is Angelo, it makes sense that it is him. I see that Angelo regularly reads this column and is a guest writer, so he could directly deny this. Silence can be quite loud.

  24. joker says:


  25. the Truth is says:

    to Resident:

    I am not Angelo, and as I indicated previously, I am not Judy. I like Angelo and I don’t like Judy.

    The reason I like Angelo is he doesn’t accept whatever is presented to him by his staff as gospel. He questions, prods and demands and because he does so, is sometimes erroneously labeled by his peers as brash and a troublemaker. To be fair, he brings alot of it upon himself because he at times, comes off as pompous and know it all-ish.

    I wish Angelo would sometimes tone it down but honestly, his calling out the City Manager is important. His asking for transparency is necessary and a job requirement. The City Manager managed fiscally and programatically for years as if there was never going to be a downturn. And to clarify this further, as a manager, administrator, the basic premise proceeded on a day to day, week to week, year to year, is that at any given time(s), things can go south, implode…and it has and now Pines is in a dire situation. The Manager and Flanagan, the Manager and Fekete have run Pines for years. The Commission that served with Fekete just deferred to him and Dodge. When times were good, their risk taking with the pensions, the schools, paying up front for work to get reimbursed by other governmental agencies…was shrouded and covered by the bountiful economic boon. It was mismanagement then but it didn’t stick out. Now, as things within the housing and jobs markets and banking industries…have market-corrected themselves, the economic boon scab that covered all of the manager’s mismanagement and risk taking has been torn off and it is bad.

    The Manager is overpaid (his private firm ruse instead of being a city employee is descpicable and just wrong), his staff answers to him blindly and he is unfortunately given a pass by the majority of the commission, with the semi-exception of Commissioner Shechter (and obviously Comm. Castillo and Comm. Iris don’t give him a pass). the problem is a 3rd vote is needed to get rid of him and until then Pines will continue to slide behind their peer cities.

    Because of the aforementioned, as long as Angelo is not beholdent to Stern, I personally don’t care at all if he deals with her, because in the Pines, he gets it and fights to correct it. I don’t judge my neighbors by their friends.

    Finishing up with the Pines, there is more and more disappointment with the realization that Comm. McCluskey, who used to be a tiger behind the microphone when he wasn’t elected as a city commissioner, has bought into the City Manager Dodge’s mantra and spell once he was elected. The Mayor is a good man but a lost cause when it comes to the City Manager which is a shame because the Mayor is a good man but he just doesn’t want to come to grips with the inescapable realities of where the City Manager has taken the City.

    If you watched the last meeting, it was Comm. Castillo who corrected the record as to what the true fiscal reserves of the City are, not the shell game presentation by the City Manager and his finance director.

    And to finish up, the City Manager has pushed out some great assistants (Terry Stewart and Gary Shimun, for example) and made sure when they were there, there roles were diminished because they didn’t drink the cool aid and just buy carte blanche into what he, the City Manager, decreed. They are missed and ironically, very much needed back in the Pines.

  26. Politico says:

    @Truth “I don’t judge my neighbors by their friends.”

    Oh well, I do.

  27. the Truth is says:

    to Politico:

    Well, that is why you are what they call a
    “NUMNUT”. the fact your vote counts as much as people who think clearly, thoughtfully and just don’t dwell on one issue, is very scary.

    maybe we need to come up with voting by mail in addition to weighted voting where thoughtful, thinking peoples’ votes count more than uninformed, silly voters such as yourself. my vote should count at least double yours. capiche? now go read the national enquirer the rest of the day.

  28. Beth The Bounty Hunter says:

    I thought this article was about DWR but seems to be about Judy Stern….Buddy you need to write more about her but you two are friends. When Dump Judy wrote about lobbyists he/she left off a BIG ONE Ron Book. Diane still has many, many friends and constituents and doesn’t have a mean or corrupt bone in her body.

  29. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    the Truth is says:
    You sure sound like an intellectual type of person and voter. Are you part of the tea party?

    Either you’re a fan of sarcasm or you just shatnered in from another Galaxy.

  30. the Truth is says:

    to Beth the Bounty Hunter:

    you are right, it should be about DWR; yes, she has many friends and doesn’t have a mean or corrupt bone in her body (Read my comments above, #9)…


    if she is going to be charged, it is going to be very difficult for her to win. She will be fighting an uphill Public Relations battle.
    Reality is she married her husband, had blind faith in him, and is now in the predicament he put her in..

    Reality is she will an almost impossible mountain to climb and would be beat by a credible opponent with no baggage. It is horrible but it hard to rationalize any other outcome.

  31. the Truth is says:

    @Chaz Stevens, Genius:

    ummm, what do you think? hmmmm….let’s dwell, Chaz,….have I Shatnered or am i a fan of sarcasm? …..What do you think, Spock? ….uh, you want me to call Dr. Spock and leave you alone..okay…

    the Tea Party are looooooooooooonatics…racists…..morons…but don’t discount their ability to alter, change, fuck up some elections, FOR THE WORSE….

    Richard Belzer is GOD!!!

  32. The Great Seer says:

    Diana Wasserman-Rubin is broke and sick. Her house is for sale and she has a serious illness which causes her to miss a lot of work.

    Steve Geller will see that she is easy pickings and switch to this race. Angelo Castillo, seeing Steve Geller jump in this race, will stay in Pembroke Pines.

    This will all be done with the help of Judy Stern, who is working on Steve Geller’s campaign.

    That is my prediction.

  33. the Truth is says:

    to Beth the Bounty Hunter:

    FYI: my comments were made as “Feeling Crappy about Reaility”. Poor Diana.

  34. Right Wing Reactionary says:

    Diana broke? She’s been sick for years, but broke? At $95,000 per year plus what Richard brings in as a consultant, along with the county health plan to boot, she must be a graduate of the Ken Jenne school of finance.