Category Archives: Broward County

Mark Bogen is an excellent choice for Broward County District 2 Commissioner–Election Today (Yes, on a Thursday)

Primary Night with Charlie Crist and Annette Taddeo, Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six

Primary Night with Charlie Crist and Annette Taddeo, Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six

Dear voters of Broward County Commission District 2:

I know it’s a Thursday, but you have an election today for County Commissioner!

I encourage you to vote for Mark Bogen.

Mark is a well known condo/elder law attorney and he has represented the residents of Wynmoor and about half of century village for more than a decade. They absolutely love him. And because he didn’t think it right to ask older folks on fixed incomes for contributions, he spent an enormous amount of his own money in his effort to fulfill a lifelong dream of helping his neighbors and community in the capacity of an elected official.

He’s one of those rare good guys who enters public service without any motive other than thinking it would be neat to serve. He compliments this with a depth of experience and expertise that no other candidate in the race can offer.

Finally, one of my closest friends, Matthew Isbell, is the campaign’s field director, which might make me a bit biased, but there are numerous objective indicators of Mark’s excellence.

Because this is a December election being held on a Thursday, voter turnout will be virtually non-existent, (under 5,000 votes) so your vote really, really, really matters in this one.

You can learn more about Mark here.

To find out if you live in Broward County Commission District 2, look here.

To find your voting precinct, visit here.

To find out why in the hell there is an election scheduled between Thanksgiving and Christmas on a Thursday, visit here.

Thank you!

Today is Election Day, Vote!

Campaigning in Leon County during 2012 early voting

Campaigning in Leon County during 2012 early voting

Today is election day and everyone has done their job.

Thousands of volunteers from around the state have made phone calls, knocked on doors, pestered you to sign petitions and hundreds of others will be driving the disabled to the polls today as they have been for the last ten early voting days.

Absentee ballots were tracked and mailers (occasionally making accurate statements) were made and sent.

Prospective voters have been bombarded with television ads of democrats distancing themselves from Obama while posing with a gun and insisting they’ll defend the Second Amendment. Some republicans meanwhile, in apparent seriousness, explained that the “myth” of global climate change is “proved” false because God said he’d never flood the world again after Noah’s aquatic adventure in antiquity with two of every animal.

Debates were had on live television. . . Even a small portable fan famously did its job.

Attorney General Pam Bondi takes her campaign so seriously that, with Governor Scott’s blessing, she rescheduled the execution of Marshall Lee Gore so she could attend a political fundraiser.

Democracy in a free and imperfect society is not an inexpensive affair.

$473,137,991.31 has been contributed from 1,533 political organizations and committees during the 2014 Florida General Election cycle. Of that, $458,702,602.49 was spent. This is in addition to what the actual candidates and campaigns spent. If you wish to kill what’s left of your soul, you can find where the money came from and where it went by searching through the Florida Division of Elections database here. In county races, judicial races, soil and water conservation districts, and community development districts, you need to go to your local supervisor of elections website to track down their financial reports–a list of each county supervisor’s website by county in alphabetical order can be found here. For information about municipal (mayor and city commissioner) fundraising you will have to call the municipal clerk for your city as only some will publish those documents online.

Lots of money has been expended in fighting for your attention.

They chose their government with guns.  (Mass graves in the Bosnia Hillside. I traveled here in 1999.)

They chose their government with guns. (Mass graves in the Bosnia Hillside. I traveled here in 1999.)

Overseas, more than 160,000 U.S. troops are defending our safety, security, freedom to engage in very imperfect speech, and our right to vote from foreign and domestic threats.

There are ninety-five people who are vying to be responsible for those troops and who otherwise claim to have a vision for our nation’s future. They are running for the United States House of Representatives in 27 Florida congressional districts. If you happen to live in Florida’s Second Congressional District, I would particularly like to highlight the candidacy of moderate-Democrat Gwen Graham–an attorney and education advocate who happens also to be the daughter of popular former Florida Governor and Senator Bob Graham. You can visit her website here to learn more.

Five names will appear on the ballot for office of Governor, with a further five candidates available for election as write in candidates. These are the websites for the two major political candidates, Charlie Crist and Rick Scott.

Many people will leave the rest of the ballot blank. Consider not doing this. Importantly, we get to decide who our state’s chief prosecutor is–which is pretty neat!  Also, if you plan on voting for Amendment Two (medical marijuana legalization) than you had better stay in your voting booth long enough to vote for George Sheldon–because, in my opinion, if Pam Bondi is reelected she will do everything in her power to prevent the implementation of medicinal marijuana no matter the will of the voters or the will of medical practitioners!  These are the websites for the major political candidates for Attorney General, George Sheldon and Pam Bondi.

As respected political commentator Matt Isbell explains, as most real power over our daily lives is wielded by local government, it is important to focus on your local county commission races. His extensive analysis can be found here. Or, if you prefer to wait a day, it’ll probably end-up being cut and pasted on Politico, the Daily Kos, or the Huffington Post. He grew up in Cooper City, and really hopes incumbent commissioner, and part-time alleged cartoon super-villain, Jon Sims gets voted off his boyhood local council.

I have also prepared individual county guides in local, judicial, and special district elections for Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Leon counties.

In any event, whoever you support–everyone has done their job.

Now it is our turn to do our job.

Vote!

If you have trouble voting, call 844-FL-Votes.

Richard Junnier behind the scenes

In 2012, Attorney Richard Junnier served as Chair of the Leon County Democratic Party and Executive Committee. He practices law throughout the state of Florida, often on issues related to election and campaign finance law. His law firm’s website is www.JunnierLaw.com.

Rick Scott Rescheduled an Execution so Pam Bondi could go to a Fundraiser

Pieter Bruegel's ("little") Tower of Babel

Pieter Bruegel’s (“little”) Tower of Babel

In August, 2013, Governor Rick Scott rescheduled the execution date of Marshall Lee Gore from September 10th to October 1st.

Marshall Lee Gore raped, strangled, and stabbed Robyn Novick and dumped her body in rural Miami-Dade county. Marshall Lee Gore also killed Susan Roark after a chance encounter at a convenience store.  Susan Roark was 19.

Their names were Robyn Novick and Susan Roark.

Why would Governor Scott delay the execution of a teenage murdering maniac?  Was it because the Supreme Court was concerned that Gore was too mentally ill, thereby reducing his moral culpability and personal agency, (so the argument goes) to execute?

No.

Rick Scott delayed the execution of a rapist-murderer because on the day of the scheduled execution, September 10, 2013, Attorney General Pam Bondi had also scheduled a campaign fundraiser.

There was a conflict in her schedule you see–so she decided to change the date of what she presumably considered the less-important affair–the execution of the murderer of Robyn Novick, 30, and Susan Roark, 19.

It was her kickoff fundraiser, so perhaps she was concerned about the arrangements her wealthier supporters had made? Maybe she felt uncomfortable asking them to rearrange their calendars to accommodate an execution?

I wonder if the families of of Robyn Novick and Susan Roark thought it was inconvenient for themselves to rearrange their calendars to accommodate a political fundraiser? Or, instead, did they think it one further indignity for their loved one’s memory to endure?

It was a parting shot from the state of Florida expressing we don’t really care about you; we just pretend for the cameras. 

Governor Scott says he didn’t know the Attorney General’s reason when she asked for the delay.

I guess Rick Scott didn’t believe that the lives of  Robyn Novick and Susan Roark were even important enough to ask why.

But they were still going to kill somebody over it–provided they could agree on a convenient time.

As somebody who works and researches human rights issues, both domestically and in the field, I believe that a legitimate government should never kill its citizens. However, if there is going to be an execution, this is how it should take place.

Therefore, it’s not that I’m angry that this person lived for another three weeks; I would have been content to have let him breath until his natural death provided it be behind bars. I’m angry about why–this evil who was so evil he didn’t know he was evil–breathed the extra three weeks.

If you do support the death penalty and wonder why the Supreme Court allows appeal after appeal about the Constitution’s “cruel and unusual clause” and the “arbitrary application” argument–this is why.

Richard Junnier: Making a legal analysis of Fangate

After watching Charlie Crist accept the Democratic nomination for Florida Governor at his election night party, my friends and I fled the ruckus to a nearby hotel to enjoy a drink in privacy. Apparently we were not alone in this idea.

After watching Charlie Crist accept the Democratic nomination for Florida Governor at his election night party, my friends and I fled the ruckus to a nearby hotel to enjoy a drink in privacy. Apparently we were not alone in this idea.

This My View was originally published with the Tallahassee Democrat.

The organizers of the Oct. 15 gubernatorial debate have accused Charlie Crist of breaking the rules. From a legal standpoint, that simply isn’t true.

A contract is an agreement courts will enforce. To be enforceable, the agreement must be made for a legal purpose (no drug deals), must be mutually agreed to by people (yes, this includes corporations) with capacity (incorporated or 18, sober, and sane) and must include “adequate” consideration (you can’t sell your Ferrari for $1, but you can for $1 and a rug, for reasons better left to a future article). Though not ideal, some contracts can be made orally, while others, like the sale of property, must be written.

A person enters into a contract when he has “accepted” an “offer.” If a person is sent a contract but sends back a signed altered version of it, it is a “counteroffer” and thereby necessarily rejects the original contract. The second person may reject the counteroffer, accept it, or respond with another counteroffer. Under certain circumstances, the second person may accept the counteroffer through omission or inaction.

That is likely the case here:

The organizers sent both the Crist and Rick Scott campaigns an identical debate agreement, which stated that no electronic devices could be used, “including fans.” This was the organizers’ “offer.” Scott’s campaign accepted the offer and the Crist campaign signed the agreement but added the statement “With the understanding that the debate hosts will address any temperature issues with a fan if necessary.”

Florida law would treat the Crist’s altered contract as a “counteroffer” and therefore a rejection of the organizers’ offer. Assuming that the Scott campaign knew about the counteroffer, and the various parties, including the Crist campaign and the debate’s sponsors and organizers began to rely on the agreement by expending money and resources toward promoting and preparing for the debate, the Scott campaign effectively “ratified” the Crist campaign’s “Fan Amendment” through its inaction to object.

(If the organizers failed to notify the Scott campaign of the counteroffer, than the Crist campaign was still entitled to the fan and the Scott campaign’s attorney is also likely entitled to an animated conversation with the debate organizers.)

This new agreement allowed for Crist to have his fan if he felt the temperature warranted it, and created a duty for both Crist and Scott to appear for the debate. When only Crist appeared, Gov. Scott (in my opinion) was in breach of contract.

Moreover, had he not finally changed his mind after a fun but uncomfortable seven minutes, Scott may have even been liable for the damages caused to the debate sponsors, organizers and the media outlets that spent good money traveling to an event promising two candidates.

Finally, the obligatory caveat. I have seen and read what appear to be the relevant documents, but there may be other applicable documents I am unaware of, so please don’t confuse this My View for a proper legal memorandum.

Richard Junnier is the immediate past chair of the Leon County Democratic Executive Committee and also has served as its special counsel for campaign finance and election law. He practices both election law and contract law throughout Florida. Contact him at rjunnier@junnierlaw.com.

You Can Make all those Damn Political Phone Calls and Mailers Stop by Voting Early

As you can see from this picture, I am obviously non-partisan.

As you can see from this picture, I am obviously non-partisan.

Adventure Lawyer’s cocktail party factoid of the day:

If you vote early or return your absentee ballot, all those annoying calls from politicians and political parties and other groups will stop within about 24 hours.

This is because at the end of each day the major political parties request and receive files from each supervisor of elections so that the candidates in each party can update their databases which track which voters have already voted. If you have already voted, they take your name out of their call list because there is no longer an incentive to contact you.

So you have the power to stop those harassing calls today!

Vote Early!

The Division of Elections maintains a list of statewide early voting sites here.

All early voting sites are listed in Spanish here.

Because sometimes the Division of Elections database is slightly out of date, here is where you can vote early by each county in alphabetical order.

Alachua County

Baker County

Bay County

Bradford County

Brevard County

Broward County

Calhoun County

Charlotte County

Citrus County

Clay County

Collier County

Columbia County

DeSoto County

Dixie County

Duval County

Escambia County

Flagler County

Franklin County

Gadsden County

Gilchrist County

Glades County

Gulf County

Hamilton County

Hardee County
Note: Finding the info on this site requires an advanced degree in cryptology from MIT, so, to save you the hassle, Early Voting is at the Supervisor of Elections Office, Monday October 20, 2014 through Saturday November 1, 2014, 8:30am – 5:00pm.)

Hendry County

Hernando County

Highlands County

Hillsborough County

Holmes County

Indian River County

Jackson County

Jefferson County

Lafayette County

Lake County

Lee County

Leon County

Levy County

Liberty County

Madison County

Manatee County

Marion County

Martin County

Miami-Dade County

Monroe County

Nassau County

Okaloosa County

Okeechobee County

Orange County

Osceola County

Palm Beach County

Pasco County

Pinellas County

Polk County

Putnam County

St. Johns County

St. Lucie County

Santa Rosa County

Sarasota County

Seminole County

Sumter County

Suwannee County

Taylor County

Union County

Volusia County

Wakulla County
Note: Apparently the Supervisor of Elections website wants to keep its early voting program a secret. Early voting will be at the SOE Office, 3115‐B Crawfordville Highway, Crawfordville October 25 ‐ November 1, from 8:00 am ‐ 7:00 pm.

Walton County

Washington County

Broward County Guide to Non-Partisan Municipal, County, and Special District Elections

Richard Junnier behind the scenes

Remember to vote early.  Here is a list of all Early Voting Sites in Broward County.

Thank you for visiting the Adventure Lawyer’s “Broward County Guide to Non-Partisan Municipal, County, and Special District Elections.”

This guide is intended to help undecided voters throughout Broward County identify relevant information relating to potentially otherwise unknown candidates when deciding which individual most deserves your vote. It lists all candidates for each contested municipal, judicial, and special district board election appearing on the November 4, 2014 ballot.

Using the Guide

Campaign Websites

Directly under each candidate’s name is a link to their campaign website or their campaign Facebook page.  If a candidate has both, the link generally attaches to their website which will then contains its own link to their campaign Facebook page, if they have one. If I was unable to find a candidate campaign website or a campaign Facebook page, there will be the statement “No Website Found.”

Campaign Finance Records

Campaign Finance Reports for municipal elections are recorded with each municipal clerk.  The Clerks for Cooper City, Coral Springs, Dania Beach, Hallandale Beach, Lauderhill, Margate, Pompano Beach, and Wilton Manors post their candidates’ campaign finance records online. Clerks for Lauderdale Lakes, Oakland Park, Tamarac, and West Park apparently do not. Judicial and Special District candidate campaign finance reports are recorded at the Broward County Supervisor of Elections. For some of the these races the Supervisor posts an updated link to these records (such as in judicial races) and in others the Supervisor does not.

Directly under each candidate’s link to their campaign website or Facebook page, or the words “No Website Found,” is, when available, a link to each candidate’s most recent campaign finance report as of October 10, 2014. This link is titled “Latest Campaign Finance Report.”  If I was unable to find a posting of their most recent (or any) posting of the candidate’s campaign finance report, instead of a link, you will find the statement “No Campaign Finance Information Found.”

Because whether or not their campaign finance reports are published timely by third parties is beyond the reasonable scope of responsibility of the candidate, it may be appropriate not to hold their status of “No Campaign Finance Information Found” against them.

Political Affiliation

Except for judicial races, the political affiliation of each candidate, as recorded by the Broward Supervisor of Elections, is stated next to the name of each non-judicial candidate.  Though these are non-partisan races this information is provided for voters who are strongly affiliated with a particular political party and wish to vote for members of that party in local non-judicial offices.

In a very few instances I was unable to confirm a candidate’s voter registration status, and therefore, their party affiliation (if any). For those few candidates the words “Could Not Confirm Voter Registration” appear in place of their party affiliation. In almost every case they are probably registered, they just may not have updated a name change or they may have a name submitted for the ballot that is different from their legal name–such as when someone gets married, takes her spouse’s last name, but keeps her maiden name for election purposes due to its familiarity with voters. Also, sometimes, their name has simply been misspelled in the database.

In other words, consider not penalizing the candidate just because we couldn’t divine the universe of possibilities when looking up candidate names through the database.

For those candidates stated as “NPA,” that simply means that their voter registration states that they have “No Party Affiliation.”

Incumbency

Some voters believe that incumbents should be retained if they perceive that the current Commission or Board is doing a good job as a whole. Conversely, dissatisfied voters  may wish to “vote the bums out” (though please consider first making sure that the incumbent on the ballot hasn’t been the one trying to solve the problem.) Therefore, if a candidate is an incumbent, it is so stated next to their names.

Outlier Candidates

For the vast majority of candidates, the only information the Guide provides are their names, party affiliation, and, when available, links to their campaign websites or, as of October 10, 2014, their latest campaign finance reports.  Occasionally, however, there is an outlier candidate worthy of special attention.

Sometimes, it’s a positive highlight members of the general public may not commonly know: Coral Springs Mayoral candidate Walter “Skip” Campbell is a former state senator and statewide attorney general nominee, and is an unusually highly qualified candidate. Barry L. Moss  is the only Democratic candidate running in a four way race in wildly liberal Pompano Beach’s Seat 5 race.

Unfortunately, other times, a candidate may have a noteworthy unorthodox past or demeanor, that those who do not often pay close attention to local politics may not be aware: Wilton Manors City Commission incumbent Ted Galatis made national news by screaming racial epithets during a road rage incident. Though everyone’s favorite unusual candidate seems to be Wilton Manor’s Christopher Warnigwho is 22, been involved in the gay porn industry, and has been twice arrested for impersonating a police officer, and who reportedly responded by buying a bulletproof vest with campaign cash. Not to be outdone, a third Wilton Manors candidate, Boyd Corbin, who I guess just enjoys dressing as a KKK member while assaulting his would-be constituents, well–just yikes! Elsewhere in Broward County, incumbent Cooper City Commissioner John Sims seems to be a venerable cornucopia of hate and alleged domestic violence.  He is so disliked, that the data director of one of the statewide campaigns took the trouble to detail and publicly publish a strategy to ensure he never becomes dog catcher let alone wins reelection. 

Some candidates simply seem clandestine. Walnut Creek CDD Seat 4 candidate, A. Munju, short for Ali Noor Munju, has no website and no campaign finance reports available. In some very low profile races, candidates think they have a chance of winning through the coin-toss model of voting. His opponent, Nicole Stames-DiCorpo, seems to be following precisely the same strategy.

In the event that a candidate may be an outlier, a small note is made beneath their name, campaign website link, or phrase “No Website Found,” and their Latest Campaign Finance Report or phrase “No Campaign Financial Information Found.” The representations and accusations are not my own, so I include a link to news reports (and one Youtube video) in citation of the statements made. In these cases, I hope you will do further research on your own.

All statements are intended as statements of opinion and are not statements of fact. I have done my best to exclude negative nonsense.

Media Coverage

When available, I offer a link to the Sun Sentinel’s analysis of each race.

The "parking lot" at Pier 66, Hollywood, FL

The “parking lot” at Pier 66, Hollywood, FL

Broward County Non-Partisan Municipal Races
(In alphabetical order by city)

Cooper City

City Commission, District 1:

Michael J. de Miranda REPUBLICAN 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

John Sims (Incumbent) REPUBLICAN 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report
Caution: Controversial due to his racist Obama Facebook statuses and also someone on Youtube has put together a montage of his other objectionable behaviors. Anybody looking for a field strategy to unseat him may find it here. 

 Coral Springs

The Sun Sentinel’s coverage of these races may be found here.

Mayor:

Walter “Skip” Campbell DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report
Particularly High-Qualified Candidate: Former State Senator and Democratic Nominee for Florida Attorney General

Tom Powers REPUBLICAN 
Website Not Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report
Caution: Mr. Powers is considered by some to be a particularly controversial conservative candidate.

City Commission, Seat 4:

Lou Cimaglia DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Howard Irwin Melamed DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

City Commission, Seat 5:

Joy Carter NPA
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Andy Holz REPUBLICAN 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Laurette Homan REPUBLICAN 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Dania Beach

 City Commission (elect two)

Charles Camacho Jr. DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Bobbie Grace (Incumbent) DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

James Ridgely III (Withdrawn but name will appear on ballot) NPA
Latest Campaign Finance Report
Caution: Ineligible to serve due to 1989 felony conviction.

Marco Salvino Sr. REPUBLICAN 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Rae Sandler NPA
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report
Caution: She was escorted out of a commission meeting for being disruptive; you can decide if this was warranted by watching here.

Hallandale Beach

Sun Sentinel Coverage of these races can be found here.

City Commission, Seat 1: 

Gerald Dean DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Ann Pearl Henigson DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Chuck Kulin DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Anthony Sanders (Incumbent) DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

City Commission, Seat 2: 

Leo Grachow (Incumbent, appointed) DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Keith London DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Lauderdale Lakes

Lauderdale Lakes does not appear to publish its candidate’s campaign finance reports, you can call the Clerk directly about this at 954-535-2705.

The Sun Sentinel’s Coverage of this race can be found here.

City Commission, Seat 2:

Sandra Davey DEMOCRAT 
Website

TeAndre Warrior Gomion DEMOCRAT 
Website

Beverly M. Williams DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found

Jeffery L. Williams DEMOCRAT 
Website

Lauderhill

The Sun Sentinel’s coverage of this race can be found here.

City Commission, Seat 4:

Hayward J. Benson, Jr. (Incumbent) DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

William Cossio DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report
Caution: An unusual candidate; you can find his “Go Fund Me” site here.
Note: Candidate may wish to review (Sections 106.143(3) and (5), F.S.) in relationship to his use of his party affiliation stated on his website.

Denise Grant DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Kelvin G.Haynes DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Margate

City Commission, Seat 2: (Decided by August 26, Special Election)

City Commission, Seat 3:

Anthony Caggiano DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Edward A. DeCristofaro DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Lesa Peerman (Incumbant) DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Oakland Park

Oakland Park does not appear to publish its candidate’s campaign finance reports, you can call the Clerk directly about this at 954-630-4300.

The Sun Sentinel’s Coverage of this race can be found here.

 City Commission (elect two):

John Adornato III (Incumbent) DEMOCRAT 
Website

Steven Arnst REPUBLICAN 
No Website Found
Caution: Opposed lifting housing restrictions disproportionately effecting gay people.

Shari McCartney (Incumbent) REPUBLICAN 
Website

Pompano Beach

The Sun Sentinel’s Coverage for this race can be found here.

City Commission, District 1: 

Barry Dockswell (Incumbent) DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Angela Lee Hill REPUBLICAN 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

City Commission, District 2:

Charlotte Burrie (Incumbent) DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Thomas Terwilliger REPUBLICAN 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

City Commission, District 3:

Kenneth Alan Campbell REPUBLICAN 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Rex Hardin (Incumbent) DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report

City Commission, District 4:

Beverly Perkins DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Edward W. Phillips DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report
Caution: According to the Dolphin Democrats Mr. Phillips opposed marriage equality and gay adoption during his endorsement interview.

Shelton Pooler DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Whitney Rawls DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

City Commission, District 5:

John D. Bynoe REPUBLICAN 
No Website Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Roger Gingerich REPUBLICAN 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Barry L. Moss DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report
Insider’s tip: Many Democratic political leaders and strategists are particularly excited about this candidate.

Joan McConnell REPUBLICAN 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Tamarac

Tamarac does not appear to publish its candidate’s campaign finance reports, you  can call the Clerk directly about this at 954-597-3505.

Mayor:

Harry Dressler (Incumbent, appointed) DEMOCRAT 
Website

Mike Gelin DEMOCRAT
Website

City Commission, District 2:

Michelle J. Gomez (Incumbent, appointed) NPA
Website

Stewart Webster DEMOCRAT 
Website

West Park

West Park does not appear to publish its candidate’s campaign finance reports, you can call the Clerk directly about this at 954-989-2688.

Sun Sentinel’s Coverage for these races are available here.

City Commission, Seat 1: 

Thomas Dorsett (Incumbent) DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found

Ronald Bell DEMOCRAT
No Website Found

City Commission, Seat 2: 

Kristine Judeikis DEMOCRAT
No Website Found

Reeta Nielly-Mills DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found

Ruby Seymour-Barr DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found

Wasn’t the analysis of these West Park races useful? 

Wilton Manors

The Sun Sentinel’s Coverage for these races are available here.

Mayor: 

Doug Blevins DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Boyd Corbin DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report
Caution: Yikes! To learn more about him on his website he encourages you to click his “Arrest” tab. Electing someone accused of anti-gay hate crimes as Wilton Manor’s next Mayor would be an interesting direction for the City to go in.

Gary Resnick (Incumbent) DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

City Commission (elect two):

Justin Flippen DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Ted Galatis (Incumbent) REPUBLICAN
If he has a website for his reelection, it’s buried under a slew of bad publicity and search engines were unable to find it.
Latest Campaign Finance Report
Caution: This is the Commissioner who thought it was okay to use the “N” word in a road rage incident. He apologized but refused to resign.

Lillie Harris DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Scott Newton (Incumbent) DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Naomi Ruth Parker DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Sal Torre DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Christopher Warnig DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report
Caution: Worked in gay porn and was twice arrested for impersonating a police officer.

Kimber White DEMOCRAT (Has withdrawn from race, but name may still appear on ballot)
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Sunset at the pier in Deerfield Beach

Sunset at the pier in Deerfield Beach

Broward Countywide Non-Partisan Elections

Broward Soil & Water Conservation District, Dist. 4

Gineen Maria Bresso REPUBLICAN
No Website Found
No Campaign Financial Information Available

Douglas Russell, Jr. DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found
No Campaign Financial Information Available
Note: Mr Russell is endorsed by the Democratic Nominee for Florida Agriculture Commissioner.

Fred Segal (Incumbent) DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found
No Campaign Finance Information Available
Note: Mr. Segal is very active in the community and has a long track record of volunteerism.

17th Judicial Circuit Runoff

I will not disclose the political affiliation of judicial candidates.

Group 16

Dennis Bailey
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Rhoda Sokoloff
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Broward County Court Judicial Runoff 

I will not disclose the political affiliation of judicial candidates.

Group 27:

Ian J. Richards (Incumbent)
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Claudia Robinson
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Broward County Non-Partisan Special District Elections

Monterra CDD

Seat 5:

Scott Barrocas DEMOCRAT 
Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report
Particularly High-Qualified Candidate: He is a Realtor and the Commission Aide to Broward County District One Commissioner Martin David Kiar.

Tina Forssten NPA
No Website Found
No Campaign Finance Information Found

Kevin Wilke 
NPA
No Website Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Seat 2:

Susan Elaine Kooiman DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Peter Rost NPA
No Website Found
No Campaign Finance Information Found
Possible Caution: Supported the controversial Cooper City Walmart being planned at Stirling and Pine Island Road.

Plantation Acres Improvement District

(Pick three)

Louis (Lou) Flanigan DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found
No Campaign Finance Information Found

J. Gary McAlpin REPUBLICAN
No Website Found
No Campaign Finance Information Found

Jennifer E. Nieset DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report 

Edward N. Szerlip REPUBLICAN 
No Website Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Walnut Creek CDD

Seat 2:

Bette R. Clein DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found
No Campaign Finance Information Found

Betty Ross REPUBLICAN
No Website Found
No Campaign Finance Information Found

Seat 4:

A. Munju (Short for Ali Noor Munju) DEMOCRAT 
No Website Found
No Campaign Finance Information Found
Possible Caution: May be a real estate speculator which could, but may not necessarily, present multiple conflicts of interest.
Possible Caution: Seems to have multiple aliases.

Nicole Stames-DiCorpo REPUBLICAN
No Website Available
No Campaign Finance Information Found

Recommendations for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit and Broward County Judicial Bench

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The article below was posted prior to the primary elections held on August 26, 2014. Only two of Broward’s judicial elections require a runoff on November 4, 2014. Those two judicial races are Group 16 of the 17th Judicial Circuit and Group 27 of the Broward County Judicial Bench.

For Group 16, I recommend Rhoda Sokoloff for the reasons stated originally (my comments remain available below) when I very narrowly decided to recommend one of her former opponents.

For Group 27, I continue to recommend  Ian J. Richards for the reasons stated originally which are also still available below.

First, there are no poor candidates in this election field.

There are no kooks, crooks, clearly-unqualifieds, or those suspected of corruption. (Though there is one incumbent in the news, and that is discussed below.) Each candidate evidences excellence, appears sincere, and has demonstrated varying levels of community commitment.

My recommendations lean toward candidates with a high volume of court experience, previous judicial experience (meaning incumbency), and whose public service has demonstrated a compassionate heart, attention to detail, and who evidence the capacity to transcend prejudice and heuristic through treating people and cases as unique and individual. I believe that these attributes optimally maximize the potential for consistent, albeit always imperfect, fairness.

When determining the varying levels of these qualities in each candidate I reviewed news reports, both traditional and social, solicited colleagues’ anecdotes, and, when available, I reviewed the candidate’s websites.

I did not consider the political affiliation of any candidate. 

Campaigning in Leon County during 2012 early voting

Campaigning in Leon County during 2012 early voting

I also chose not to review their success at fundraising and, unless all other factors were equal, I ignored consideration as to ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. If all other factors were equal, I sided with choices that empower representatives of historically disenfranchised communities–this is intended to further the public interest of having a judiciary as diverse as the society it judges.

These are my recommendations followed by a brief analysis of why I recommend them:

17th Circuit Judges

Group 8: Lynn Rosenthal*

Group 16: Andrea Ruth Gundersen

Group 17: Julie Shapiro Harris

Group 27: Steven Brian Feren*

Broward County Judges

Group 18: Ellen A. Feld*

Group 27: Ian J. Richards*

*Denotes that the recommended candidate is also the incumbent.

Analysis of 17th Circuit Judicial Candidates:

Group 8:

After a vigilant commenter pointed out a factual inaccuracy in my previous analysis of this race, I decided to reevaluate my opinion.

It was not a pleasant experience.

I had hoped to avoid reading countless exaggerations and hyperboles, at times rank with racism, but always publicly deadening to the sensibilities of our falters at ethical democracy. There were wildly misleading mailers to consider, a legally miscaptioned website with a candidate directly soliciting funds, unsubstantiated gossip questioning the military service of a candidate by people who don’t seem to have served, and sanctimonious quips posted anonymously–one actually under the moniker “Jesus Christ.”

I have distilled the blogs, newspaper reviews, websites, and the commentaries of my colleagues into this: I continue to recommend Lynn Rosenthal because I believe her 27 years as an Assistant United States Attorney evidences an extremely trenchant knowledge of the law. Although some who have practiced before her perceive a, presumably unconscious, preference for prosecutorial argumentation, she also solicits (or claims to solicit) lawyer criticism so she can do better. She volunteers with her synagogue, has an even temperament, and offers a consistently pleasant affect toward others. Her opponent’s eleven years of legal experience, even supplemented with four years military experience and a supernal record of community commitment, is, while excellent, simply not equal to a jurist with thirty-five years legal experience. Even one who made a public mistake recently.

For many this is going to be a difficult vote. Earlier this year, Judge Rosenthal crashed into a parked Sheriff’s cruiser in the courthouse parking lot. A breathalyzer detected zero alcohol and she declined the privilege of urine and blood tests. She noted that she took an Ambien the night before. At first, the connection between the two events seems untenable. (Particularly when there was Xanax found in the car.) But, according to her defense, her doctor botched the prescription and accidentally gave her double the recommended dose. A verifiable side effect of this–well, you’re kind of partly asleep but totally unable to realize it. In other words, its not like getting into a car when you know you shouldn’t because you feel buzzed.

It may not be a compelling defense, but it is plausible.

Ultimately, she pled no-contest to reckless driving, and was sentenced to three months of probation, restitution, and 25 hours of community service. This appears to be an isolated incident, with a plausible explanation, and it would probably be good public policy to make sure our judges know what it’s like to briefly be in a cell and forced to pick up trash in a fashionable orange jumpsuit. Perhaps this learning experience will make her more sympathetic to others’ explanations for their own, ahem, unusual behavior.

Frantz ‘Jahra’ McLawrence is a tremendously compassionate advocate who spent four years in the U.S. Navy. He is a graduate of FAMU and UF and volunteers his time as a youth mentor at Broward schools, Legal Aid and the Urban League. In addition to his practice of criminal defense (both private and public) he gives lectures and seminars to churches and schools. His diligent hard work truly makes the community a better place. When he unsuccessfully ran for judge last time, he was endorsed by the Sun Sentinel.

Attacks to his resume are, in my opinion, factually inaccurate.

You can visit his campaign website here.

But Judge Rosenthal has also been an outstanding public advocate–and she has been doing it much longer. Therefore I do not recommend Mr. McLawrence in this specific election–but I’d be happy to someday help him run for City Commission or the Florida Legislature. He is a valuable member of the Broward legal community.

I continue to recommend Judge Rosenthal.

You can visit her campaign website here.

Group 16: Andrea Ruth Gundersen

There are four candidates in this race, and two of them, Andrea Ruth Gundersen and Rhoda Sokoloff, seem to each display extraordinary community commitment. Ms. Gundersen helped organize the Broward Veterans’ Court, a model which I and many others currently advocate for in Leon County. (Others advocate for it throughout the country.) Ms. Sokoloff, meanwhile, is on the vanguard of law and mental health. Ms. Gundersen has countless endorsements and Ms. Sokoloff has an incredible back-story which might convince Gottfried Leibniz that we do not, in fact, live in the best of all possible worlds.

I did not take into account Ms. Sokoloff’s personal financial situation, as I think the inexcusably advanced cynical argument that it potentially makes her susceptible to bribery is both offensive and unsubstantiated. It is a not-so-subtle suggestion that the poor are unfit for office. Of the lawyers I know who should be judges, only a very few are also millionaires. Some of the most celebrated lawyers I know will never get out of debt.

Nevertheless, in this close decision, I recommend Ms. Gundersen. She offers a similar compassionate temperament and her reputation as a family lawyer is more consistent in its receipt of very high marks.

I will note some potential for bias here. Under the leadership of mental-health legal legend Dan Hendrickson, I was the Civil Law Coordinator for the 2013 North Florida Homeless Veterans’ Stand Down, and my attempts to get a specialty veterans’ docket established in Leon County were premised on some of Ms. Gundersen’s work in Broward County.  I have, however, never met her (I think).          

Group 17: Julie Shapiro Harris

Law is Julie Shapiro Harris’s second career. She began her professional life as an FSU-trained MSW and spent years as a social worker. It is therefore not surprising that she has dedicated herself to public service. For the past decade she has been a staff attorney for the Broward Clerk of the Court where she coordinates domestic violence petitions from people asking the Court for protection orders. She has a great eloquence of understanding about her: “You learn to respect everyone. Just as every person is an individual, every case is unique. They may seem similar, have similar factual backgrounds, but the individuals and cases are unique.”

Yes, that is the stuff from which great judges are made.

Her opponent is 36-years-old, a graduate of Cornell, and was top of her class at the University of Miami College of Law. Her family is well known and respected. After working as a prosecutor for several years she switched to private practice in 2011. According to news reports, she says that her experience with forty trials makes her more qualified.

I disagree.

I was unable to identify any tremendous public service or extracurricular activity outside of her, albeit highly praised, legal life. Ms. Harris’s wealth of world experience, in addition to a legal career which spans an additional 8 years beyond that of her opponent, as evidenced through her carefully deliberate diction, make her, in my opinion, the better candidate in this particular race.

Though clearly her opponent has a very promising political future.  

You can read more about the race here.

Group 27: Steven Brian Feren*

Judge Feren is a former Florida House Member and has spent ten years as the Mayor of Sunrise. He has practiced law with distinction since 1980. His first six-year-term has been without controversy, though he was once removed from a case because he improperly explained the range of criminal problems a juvenile defendant faced. (It seems that he was just trying to help a kid understand his situation.) He has an excellent reputation in the legal community, has received a slew of endorsements, and does not deserve to lose his job.

His challenger has been a prosecutor at the state and federal level and defended people both between and after. His campaign strategy has been a bit odd–citing the three DUI arrests of Broward judges this year, he says he will bring integrity back to the Broward Bench. However, Judge Feren was not one of the accused judges, and the opponent wrote the book “Feeling the Heat” where he explains that he himself was an abuser of alcohol–though he wasn’t an “alcoholic.” He does say some tremendously beautiful things about defending the indefensible–but I’m not sure how that meshes with him running around the country for years as a federal obscenity prosecutor.

You may buy his book here.

I recommend Judge Feren be reelected.

Analysis of Broward County Judicial Candidates:

Group 18: Ellen A. Feld*

Judge Feld has not merely been a good judge, she has been a transcendent one. When the foreclosure fairy comes she tries to create pathways where the resident stays in their home. A former Special Public Defender, she is respected by her colleagues. There is open speculation that she is being opposed by aggrieved supporters of the incumbent she unseated six years ago.

Her opponent is a former postal worker who has practiced before each of Florida’s twenty circuit courts and five district courts of appeal.

You can read his solicitation for contributions, which casually notes that it is directed to the supporters of her previous election’s opponent, here.

I recommend Judge Feld be reelected.

Group 27: Ian J. Richards*

I guess there can’t be a bailiff in every courtroom. In 2009, when a domestic abuser lunged to attack his ex-girlfriend in open court, Judge Richards leaped over his bench and physically protected her! He was first elected six years ago at the remarkably young age of thirty-three. He walked door to door for votes, largely avoiding endorsement processes and candidate forums (which would have probably called unwanted attention to his age), and was accused of running a “stealth” campaign–which he and pretty much everyone else would refer to as “grassroots.”

Of his two opponents, one has been practicing law since 2006 and the other cites his licensure to appear in federal court as a rather enigmatically relevant qualification over the incumbent.

If you love a fighter, I recommend Judge Richards be reelected. Though if he had a more cynical campaign manager, there would probably be the names of five other women on the ballot.

What are your recommendations?  Please share in the comment section below.

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A Brief Note about the Florida Democratic Party’s Primary for Attorney General:

If you are undecided in the Florida Democratic Party’s Primary for Attorney General, please consider voting for George Sheldon.

I don’t have a single negative comment about his opponent, but George’s experience is transcendent. His problem solving skills and ability to create consensus have been repeatedly demonstrated during his service in senior posts at the state and national level, working under both Republicans and Democrats. He has dedicated his entire public service career to advancing the cause of human rights (by breaking up human trafficking rings), protecting the defenseless (particularly abused children), and uplifting the oppressed (by reducing the error-rates in welfare and food stamp distribution).

He spent a career working for previous attorney generals, ultimately becoming chief deputy (for central Florida) to beloved Bob Butterworth. When the Department of Children and Families was in shambles–then Governor Charlie Crist tasked him with fixing it. He has also served as a senior official in the Obama administration. Prior to serving in the executive branch, George spent 8 years in the Florida House of Representatives.

You can learn more about this extraordinary human being here.

You can compare George’s record with his, also qualified, opponent’s here.