Steve: Sue Wants Union Endorsements, But Can’t Get Them


As former state Sen. Steve Geller rolled up union endorsements in his county commission race, the incumbent’s campaign spin is that the endorsements mean little.

But if you believe the following story from Geller, incumbent County Commissioner Sue Gunzburger is fighting hard behind-the-scenes for union endorsements…unsuccessfully.

Geller says that when the Pembroke Pines fire fighters union was about to endorse him, Gunzburger begged them to interview her first.

The union “did interview her, and thereafter unanimously endorsed Geller, states a Geller news release.

The endorsement by the Pembroke Pines fire fighters is one of three early endorsements Geller announced this week.

He also got the endorsement of the Metro Broward Professional Fire Fighters and the Broward County Council of Professional Fire Fighters. Metro represents a number of cities including Hallandale Beach.

Geller earlier got an endorsement from the Hollywood fire fighters union.

The challenger now has early endorsements, which requires the unanimous vote of the union directors, from fire fighters in all the major cities in Gunzburger’s southeast Broward County Commission District 6.

Geller crowed about the endorsements in his news release: “It is unusual for any unions to early endorse against an incumbent. In this case, all the fire fighter locals that have been represented by both the incumbent and Geller have endorsed Geller.

Geller represented south Broward while in the state Senate and earlier in the state House. 

He is right. It is unusual for unions to endorse challengers rather than incumbents, but not unheard of.

I can already predict Gunzburger’s spin: The unions didn’t like her because she stood up to their demands.

The truth is that fire fighter unions, who can provide campaign volunteers because of the unique work schedule of their members, are among the most valuable endorsements. We’ll have to wait until the August, 2010 Democratic primary to see if they make a difference in this race.

17 Responses to “Steve: Sue Wants Union Endorsements, But Can’t Get Them”

  1. Sue Gunzburger says:

    No spin, Buddy. Here is what went on. The firefighters (Hollywood and County Council) endorsed Steve without even giving me the courtesy of an interview. I was rather disappointed as I have a very solid record of supporting all of Broward’s working families (including our fire fighters). In reality, this endorsement appears to be entirely related to Steve’s relationship with the firefighters because of some pension issues he helped with in Tallahassee. When I found out the Pines fire fighters were planning to endorse Steve without interviewing me (note: this was after the Hollywood and County groups already endorsed Steve), I asked them to let me meet with them first. They graciously arranged this, but the Pines group still went ahead and backed Steve.

    Like I wrote above: I truly understand their move. Steve really helped in Tallahassee with a big change in law that made their pensions significantly more valuable.

    However, if Steve is still lacking in more “new” news next month, maybe he can get you to repackage this two-month old item and write about the fire fighters endorsement yet again, and the month after that. How many more times are you going to run variations on this same story, Buddy?

    I’m going to win this election the old-fashioned way: by meeting voters and earning their support for another terms. I’m receiving very strong, enthusiastic support form voters everywhere I go in the district. That’s why I know we’ll win. Tonight, for example, I’ll be out with my three grandchildren marching in Hollywood’s annual holiday Candy Cane parade (and chatting with lots of constituents). Maybe I’ll see some of your readers there!!

    Sue Gunzburger
    Vice Mayor, Broward County

    FROM BUDDY: Thanks so much for your explanation.

  2. The Old Ghost says:

    Ms. Gunzburger says nothing about being rejected by many who know her best, the government employees in her district. Steve Geller has delivered not only for working members of unions but for all voters in South Broward. They will remember his hard work and Ms. Gunzburger’s inability to get anything done at the county commission when the election is held.

  3. Out With the Old! says:

    I find it funny that Gonesburger is on the blog claiming that you are running Geller’s P.R. Campaign. Especially since your blogs tend to be imformative and you do not interject your personal opinion without giving us a disclaimer. THis is especially funny to me since we know Little ROnnie practically writes any negative story that the “other” blog tries to pass off as news!

    Gonesburger is complaining that the unions are endorsing Geller because of his record. So she’s upset because Geller worked and represented his constituents in Tallahasee and he is now be recognized for that work. That’s a unique concept, actually doing what you are elected to do.

    Funny, how come we are now seeing Gonesburger around town? Where has she been before. Funny how us little people are all of a sudden important, when we are needed. Well you might’ve forgotten about us, the voters, but we haven’t forgotten about you, and we will remind you of that when we vote you OUT of office!

    Now let’s clue little Ronnie and all of his alias to bring up all the lies to smear Steve Geller.

  4. T. R. says:

    Geller’s only campaign seems to be to get union endorsements. I don’t vote based on the self interest of firefighters or police officers, but my own self interest and who I think is best for this community. I’m not sure that someone beholding to a union is what is needed, especially since firefighters are very well paid already.

  5. Why Unions Endorse says:

    Labor unions only care about one thing. Doing less work for more pay and better working conditions. If Charles Manson promised that to them in bucket loads, they’d be running him for county commission. They really don’t care about anything other than how that official will reward their members in return for their support.

    Sue Gunzburger has been a voice of fiscal reason. That is good for residents but not necessarily good for unions. Is it better to have a union endorsement in a race than not? Sure. It helps. Is it essential to winning that race? No, actually there are very few in unions anymore or that live where a candidate is running.

    In that sense union endorsements boil down to window dressing. But I am actually more proud that Sue is well thought of by the unions even though they chose to endorse Geller, who must have promised them more of our tax dollars in return.

    Make no mistake, that’s how it works with unions.

    You promise them to tax the people to give them higher salaries in return for their endorsement. Geller made that promise, sue didn’t and that’s why Geller is endorsed by those unions. It is most certainly not based on who they think would be better for the county. It’s who they think will be better for them.

  6. Geller Ducking THE Question says:

    Geller has been ducking THE question. We need to hear the answer to THE question, straight up, with no bullshit, from Geller:

    Q: Broward residents don’t want county commissioners who are lobbyists or use their elected office to help them make a living in private life. If elected, will Geller continue to lobby within Broward County? Will he appear as an advocate before any city commissions in Broward? Will he continue to represent developers and land use clients among other government clients within Broward? Will he pledge not to do that: Yes or No.

    The Answer to this question will determine how I and thousands vote in this election. And there is no middle ground here.

    He’s got to answer the question “Yes. absolutely yes, I will not do it” otherwise it is “no.”

    Which is it Steve? Answer THE question.

  7. Resident says:

    All I can tell you is that better Union benefits means higher taxes to residents and businesses. Someone has to pay for them. The State Legislature has regularly traded requiring more expensive local Union benefits (for votes and endorsements), resulting in higher local taxes (which they don’t care because they are not responsible for).

    So while the Unions may do great work and provide a needed service, giving into Unions and overriding local governments into forcing them to pay more works against the people.

    Now who should you vote for. Someone who is balanced and tries to keep costs down, or someone beholding to a group (Unions) that clearly results in higher taxes.

    Just be aware that Union people do work campaigns and vote, and therefore if they support/vote to increase their benefits they are also voting to increase their own taxes (among everyone else too).

  8. Geller Is A Tool says:

    Geller sold out to Mutual Benefits ponzi scheme. He sold out to the gambling crooks and the insurance industry. He cost taxpayers millions in his payoffs of mandated benefits to union bosses. Now they reward him with endorsements.

  9. disenchanted says:

    anyone with half a brain knows the firefighters are very political, wait till these towns find out what they really owe in annual pension costs, its will be bust time and it is not far off. can towns support a 20 year employee at 80 thousand for life with medical benefits. look at what hollywood just agreed too, amazing, doesnt plantation and coral springs have volunteer firefighters…

    FROM BUDDY: Plantation does have volunteer fire fighters. Lauderdale-by-the-Sea has volunteers, too, and it has been a lively political debate in that town.

  10. Ron: Change your writing style says:


    you’ve got to change your writing style. When you keep writing the same thing using the same words, everyone that reads this recognizes you.

  11. Russell R. Chard says:


    I consider Sue Gunzburger a longtime friend, but someone pointed out her above statement and it simply is not correct:

    Steve Geller has never had anything to do with voting on The Hollywood Firefighters’ Pension System in any manner whatsoever. As a former Hollywood City Commissioner, Sue knows that the commission is the only elected body that has the ability to “significantly increase the value” of our pension via collective bargaining. Nothing Geller ever did as a legislator in Tallahassee ever “increased the value” of our pension by one red cent.

    Let me repeat that: Steve Geller has never voted on our members’ wages or benefits and as a County Commissioner, he never will. The same applies to the Pembroke Pines firefighters because they are also under a municipal pension system.

    Sue may have gotten confused because the county’s firefighters are under the Florida Retirement System, but we are not.

    Sue is correct that we did not conduct a political screening. After knowing both candidates for 25 years, it seemed ridiculous to think we were going to learn something “new” about either of them in a ten minute interview, so we elected to not waste everyone’s time and energy.

    Our unanimous endorsement was based solely upon who we felt would be the most effective commissioner for Broward County. Anyone suggesting otherwise has never spoken to me about it, so their writings are pure speculation being crafted to support their own agenda.

    Thank you for the opportunity to respond.

    Russell R. Chard, President
    The Hollywood Professional Fire Fighters, Local #1375

  12. Sal DiGallo says:

    I’m not happy with either candidate. At least Gunzburger is not a paid lobbyist.

  13. Thank you Mr. Chard says:

    Thank you Mr. Chard for correcting the truth. I can’t help notice that Sue and Little Ronnie Gonesburger play down Union Endorsements and make the claims the Unions are part of the problem, not the solution. At the same time, I noticed that Sue wasted no time in bragging about the one union endorsement she did get. So what is it Sue, are waste of time or beneficial? Do you like unions or do you hate them? Make up your mind?

    Let’s also be clear…Steve Geller is not a lobbyist no more than Ron Gonesburger is a lobbyist for Lori Parrish’s Office. Steve Geller is a land use attorney. He represents his clients in front of city commissions. He works with in the paramaters of the zoning laws that those city’s create. Just like Little Ronnie is an attorney in the Property Appraisers office and works around the rules set by his mother who serves on the county commission.

  14. Truthiness says:

    Hmmmm, so Russ Chard carefully parses his explanation by noting Geller didn’t do anything in Tally to help the Hollywood fire fighters …… cuz they aren’t on the state FRS pension. I take it to mean Geller did do something to help increase the value of fire fighter pensions for those in the state FRS plan.

    And David, you carefully explain that candidate “Steve Geller is a land use attorney. He represents his clients in front of city commissions.” Wow! So you openly admit GELLER IS A LOBBYIST FOR THE BIG DEVELOPERS who overbuilt Broward with tons of condo high-rises and sunk us deep into the real estate collapse that has destroyed our local economy and the values of our homes for many years to come. Thanks for clearing that up for us.

  15. Tommy the Fry Cook says:

    To “Truthiness”:

    I think the only “parsing of words” that “Russell R. Chard” did was to be respectful of GONESburger instead of calling out her comment for what it is: BULLS**T.

    She loses either way:
    (a) either she lied to make it sound like Geller caved in to the firefighters and gave them big benefit increases so the public will think he’s just a bagman for the unions; or
    (b) after 25+ years of service on a municipal and county level, she STILL hasn’t got a clue about how employee benefits are granted.

    By the way, she’s got me curious: if Geller voting to increase FRS benefits is a “bad” thing (let’s assume he did, although she doesn’t say how or when), how many wage, pension, and other benefit increases did SUE support while serving as a Hollywood and Broward commissioner??

    If she’s criticizing Geller for doing what she did herself, her comments weren’t just “B.S.”, they’re deceitful and hypocritical as well.

  16. David Brown says:

    To: Ron or Sue or whoever posted anonymously above as “Truthiness says:” rather than have the courage to use their real name as I do the rare times I post anything,

    I did not make that post. It was obviously made by someone who is engaged in a continuing effort to try to twist and spin the truth on this blog and others in an attempt to smear Steve Geller’s public service and professional life. Only Steve’s opponent can benefit from such negative campaign tactics.

    When Steve first ran for the Florida Senate in a Special Election in 1998 his Republican opponent’s campaign manager told the press that his candidate, Ellen Bogdanoff, would win because their plan was to “distort Steve’s record and suppress Steve’s vote”. Well, they tried every negative approach they could, including sending a mailing that said that Steve was supported by “murderers, rapists and violent criminal”. Obviously trash.

    Such tactics didn’t work then and they won’t work now. Steve Geller has the right to be proud of his record representing South Broward residents. He began by legislating greater safety at carnival and fair rides after the tragic death of a young girl and his last bill passed now requires health insurers to cover the needs of autistic children. In between he fought for working families, funding for environmental projects, Florida’s Bright Futures educational scholarships, increased funding for K-12 schools and teachers and a great deal more that has helped to improve the daily lives of Steve’s constituents and all Floridians.

    Cheap shots, straw men, Glen Beck type spin and distortions won’t work against Steve Geller. The residents of South Broward know full well that Steve has been an energetic leader for them and for change and that is exactly what we need to add to the Broward County Commission.

    Beware! I am certain that you will soon see another negative comment about me or Steve from some fictitious name. I just hope they don’t then attribute it to an over-zealous campaign supporter. No one will fall for that. Just remember. Steve has not published anything negative about his opponent on his web site, or anywhere else. Can’t say the same for his opponent.

  17. David Brown-noser says:


    How dare anyone out there make fun of Steve after all he has been through!

    Steve was term-limited out of his House seat. Then he was term-limited out of his Senate seat in 2008. It really cut into his ability to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars each year as a lobbyist if he can’t leverage his elected office into cash. $600,000 a year in lobbying fees doesn’t go nearly as far as it used to. He has two kids and a wife to support. And Steve needs to eat, too. A lot. Food doesn’t grow on trees, you know, it costs money! Especially when you have to buy so damn much of it every day! It isn’t nice to kick Steve when he’s down and going through a hard time because he cannot get enough lobbying jobs without holding an elective office. Steve’s high-rise developer partner had some projects go bankrupt. His “racino” gambling clients are struggling. They barely have enough to pay Steve his lobbying fees. And all you people who bash him here care about is “good government” and “ethics.” What’s wrong with you people? HE’S A HUMAN!

    What you don’t realize is that Steve was recognized as the world’s biggest expert in Tallahassee on insurance, land use, law, quantum physics, endocrinology, submarines, fingerprints, Hindu ritual, high speed trains, Big Macs, whining, animal husbandry, log cabins, gaming, all-you-can-eat buffets, yatzee, 11th century Norse mythology, famous blowhards, puff pastry, tsetse flies, doo-wop groups of the 1950s, and so much more. We’re lucky he’d even deign to look at us, let along be willing to rent an apartment in the district and pretend to move half-way across the county just to run for this seat.

    But all you do is write a bunch of anonymous crap about him. Not like our campaign. We never attack our opponent Sue GONESburger and post under fake names.

    But Steve’s record isn’t good enough for you. You want to distort his record by using facts and truth. You want to say how he was friends with felons and ponzi schemers and Joe Eggelletion. You know who made allegations like that before against his opponents? Mao and Stalin and Ellyn Bogdanoff and Ferdinand Marcos. And Marcos’ wife had lots of shoes. And do you know who else wears shoes? Sue GONESburger, that’s who!!! And she’s just like Stalin and Mao and Nixon and Bogdanoff because ….. well …. because it sounds really menacing to say she is. And unlike our opponent, we would never attack her by name. We’d never call her GONESburger (okay, we would do it…. but we’ll deny doing it, and that’s ALMOST the exact same thing as not doing it at all).

    Little Ronnie GONESburger!!!

    Oops, I did it again. Wait, I mean, “Tommy the ‘Out with the Old’ Fry Cook” did it. Not me. Not David Brown-noser. I’d never do it. You’ve got my word on it, or my name isn’t Joe Isuzu.

    LEAVE STEVE ALONE! You people are lucky he’s willing to represent you losers. He doesn’t even live in your district, but Steve is willing to represent you anyways if you will just fawningly recognize his unquestionable genius! LEAVE STEVE ALONE! And I’m talking to you, Little Ronnie GONESburger!!!

    STEVE DOESN’T DESERVE THE ABUSE. So I repeat, in our campaign’s entirely positive and non-anonymous Geller/Brown way you can trust: DON’T LISTEN TO SUE GONESburger AND LITTLE RONNIE!!!

    Leave Steve Alone, Please!!! I mean it!!