In case you missed it, the Broward Sheriff’s office closed its corruption investigation into Commissioner Sue Gunzberger, which Gunzberger labeled a politically-motivated act instigated by her Democratic primary opponent, State Senator Steve Geller. Geller, of course, denied having anything to do with it.
The investigation focused on Gunzberger’s deceased husband and his business, Better Than Wood. Over the years, political opponents have suggested that Gunzburger used her office position to steer business to the company, which sold recycled plastics to Broward for use in walkways, benches, picnic tables, etc. Gunzberger has consistently denied accusations, pointing to her record of filing conflict-of-interest forms and abstaining from votes whenever contracts were proposed.
According to the Miami Hurled, Gunzberger’s husband passed away last year, and Better Than Wood was sold 10 years ago. So the accusations are as old and stale as a Century Village breakfast buffet.
By and large, Broward Democrats are a back-stabbing, repulsive lot, and this incident brings out their worst. Obviously Geller had something to do with re-launching this decade-old issue, prevailing on his old pal Sheriff Al Lamberti to act, figuring that he’d get something out of just making Gunzberger talk about it all over again. It’s right out of Lyndon Johnson’s play book, when he wanted to spread the rumor that his opponent routinely had sex with his own sheep. “You can’t say that, Lyndon,” his handlers protested. “It ain’t even true!” “I know that, goddammit,” retorted the future President. “But just make the sumbitch deny it!”
Thanks to living and working in Hollywood, I know both opponents in this race, and probably have voted for each of them in general elections at different times in their careers. Their voting records and positions are quite similar. The only reason Geller took on Gunzberger is he got term-limited out of Tallahassee, and rather than make the more challenging and ambitious move up the ladder to the US House, or just get out of the game entirely, he wants to throw his weight around locally. In other words, it has nothing to do with principles, ideology, or serving constituents. It’s all about Steve.
As for Gunzberger, anybody naïve enough to think she lacked influence on votes involving her husband’s business better hide when the swampland salesman comes calling. I don’t care how many forms she filed or votes she passed on, the way things work on planet Earth is pretty well documented, and what goes on behind closed doors and off the record matters adds up to a lot more than what’s out in the open and duly noted. There’s a reason the commissioner’s spouse got all those contracts while the competitor up in Palm Beach County consistently got locked out. House flies were born yesterday, voters weren’t.
I’m not a Democrat, so I don’t get to vote in this pigsty election, rendering my cynical, biased opinion worthless as well. (But it’s my blog and I’ll bray if I want to.) Geller’s maneuver, like his decision to run against a competent and political compatible candidate, is self-serving, underhand, and repulsive. I know – those qualities certainly ensure his success and effectiveness on the Broward Commission, not to mention provide great entertainment. But there’s a recession going on, and I just don’t think we can afford the low blows, gutter antics, and horse laughs.
I doubt Commissioner Gunzberger will make much of this ringing endorsement, but it’s hers if she wants it.