Summary of the Florida/Broward 2008 Ballot

Voting on the Broward Ballot

Voting on the Broward Ballot (photo by @fredericguarino)

Whew! I just got my ballot in the mail (since I hate long lines) and I was astounded at the NINE EIGHT sides (four pages) of content on the ballot.

Last cycle, I was on the Early Vote effort for Kerry, I remember going to houses and condos of Early Voters and seeing their ballots on their kitchen tables and the need for the voter to go through all sorts of information to understand each of the ballot measures that were there.

So this time, I decided – why not make a cheat sheet on how to find the answers to the different ballot measures that you might need to research. Spending time on google is one thing, spending it on six different elected offices, six statewide amendments and ten county initiatives is quite another…

I am going to list all of the elected positions on this post, and then summarize the amendments and county initiatives on another. And to help in making a choice, I am going to include the opinions of the two major papers of the area – the Miami Herald and the Sun-Sentinel.


Editorial Opinion

Miami Herald – Obama/Biden (click for editorial)

Indeed, the way the two candidates responded to the economic meltdown offers a lesson in contrasting styles of leadership. Both have put forth a series of worthwhile policy options, but where Sen. Obama was calm, Sen. McCain was frantic. He first put his campaign ”on hold” and suggested he would cancel the first debate, and then suddenly decided to take part even as the first bailout deal cratered. He said the fundamentals of the economy were strong, then a few days later vowed to ”name the names” of those responsible for the financial crisis.

In other elections, voters have complained of having to make a choice between two bad candidates. That is not the case this time. The nation is fortunate to have good candidates and a clear choice. Sen. Obama represents the best chance for America to make a clean break with the culture wars and failed policies of the past, and begin to restore the hope and promise of America as the world’s greatest democracy.

Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel – no answer yet

Congress District 19

Editorial Opinion

Miami Herald – no opinion yet
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel – Robert Wexler

Wexler, though, has remained an effective advocate for his constituents, even when he went his own way. His early support for a longshot presidential candidate named Barack Obama will result in a big political return for himself and his district if Obama wins the White House.

Broward County Sheriff

Editorial Opinion

Miami Herald – Al Lamberti

Gov. Charlie Crist did Broward residents a favor a year ago when he appointed Al Lamberti as sheriff. Mr. Lamberti’s calm demeanor, 31 years of service and extensive background in law enforcement and police administration stand in sharp contrast to his predecessor, Ken Jenne, who was just released from prison. Jenne was a brilliant policy wonk and a career politician who built the agency into a public-safety empire, accreting vast power that he frittered away with corruption and greed.

Mr. Lamberti, 54, a Republican, began his career as a corrections officer and worked his way up. He served as chief of Deerfield Beach and interim chief of North Lauderdale, which rely on the Broward Sheriff’s Office for police service. He was interim chief for Hollywood during a turbulent period. He also supervised BSO’s organized-crime unit and chaired a regional team on narcotics and violent crime.

Further, he led the effort to integrate child-protective services into BSO from a troubled state agency. Mr. Lamberti recognizes that BSO is not just a police agency, but also is the community’s social safety net. BSO handles child protection, county probation and domestic violence matters. Its jail houses homeless people who can’t be released on bail for lack of an address. It also serves as a huge mental-health facility.

Mr. Lamberti faces Democrat Scott Israel, 52, on the Nov. 4 ballot. Mr. Israel also has solid police credentials, but would have a steep learning curve in directing a multifaceted agency with a $700 million budget and 6,300 employees. He recently resigned as North Bay Village police chief after years with the Fort Lauderdale department, including work as a community-support captain and SWAT commander.

For Broward sheriff, The Miami Herald recommends AL LAMBERTI.

Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel – Al Lamberti

When Al Lamberti took over as Broward County sheriff a year ago, the situation could hardly have been worse.

He was appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist last October, after Ken Jenne was removed from the office in disgrace. Morale was low, the department was still dealing with the murder of Sgt. Chris Reyka, and a steady hand was needed. And shortly after Lamberti became interim sheriff, Deputy Paul Rein was murdered.

Lamberti, a 54-year-old Republican, has done his best to get the department of 6,300 employees back on an even keel. For that, the Sun Sentinel Editorial Board believes voters should retain him in office in the Nov. 4 election against Democrat Scott Israel.

Broward County Clerk

  • Howard Foreman (DEM) – no website
  • Beverly Kennedy (NPA) – website

Editorial Opinion

Miami Herald – Howard Foreman

Thirty-five years ago, electing the Broward clerk of the courts made some sense. The clerk then served as comptroller with auditing powers for the county. But this power was abolished in the county’s adoption of a charter.

Now the post largely is a bureaucracy that handles documents and other functions for the judicial system and involves little policy making. Yet the clerk’s job has been protected as a political plum by the county’s charter-review committee, which has declined to recommend that voters consider change.

The incumbent, Democrat Howard Forman, 62, has a political career stretching from service on the Hallandale City Commission in 1973, through the County Commission and the Florida Senate. He was one of the county’s more thoughtful and politically able individuals. He was elected to this post when he defeated Ed Kennedy, another politician appointed to the job after the 2000 death of veteran Clerk Robert Lockwood.

Now Mr. Kennedy’s wife, Beverly Kennedy, 65, a financial planner who is running without party affiliation, wants the job. She has been a frequent candidate for a variety of offices and has served on several government boards. She has much to say, but few qualifications.

Ms. Kennedy’s criticisms of the office, however, are valid. Mr. Forman has yet to take full advantage of technology after eight years in office, and his website is not as user-friendly as those of other court clerks.

Mr. Forman says that he is working on the problems and that improvements will come soon. To his credit, he has made the office proactive on social issues such as domestic violence, child support and mortgage foreclosure.

For Broward clerk of the courts, The Miami Herald recommends HOWARD FORMAN.

Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel – Howard Foreman

Howard Forman is an experienced public official who has done a good job upgrading the technology in the Broward Clerk of the Courts office. The Editorial Board of the Sun Sentinel strongly recommends voters re-elect the Democrat to a third term as he continues efforts to make the office more consumer-friendly.

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4 Responses to Summary of the Florida/Broward 2008 Ballot

  1. In addition to the endorsement of the Miami Herald, the Sun-Sentinel – in endorsing my candidacy for Broward County Sheriff – could not have sent a clearer message:

    “party politics has no place in this contest.”

    The office of Sheriff should be about professionalism, not politics. When requesting police, fire, and/or medical services you do not request party affiliation – only professional service. With that said, my unquestionable record of integrity as well as dedication and commitment speak for themselves. Choosing who will represent Broward County as chief law enforcement officer over the next four years should be about comparison. When voting for Sheriff on November 4th, I urge you to compare my track record, experience, and integrity, to that of my opponent.

    If you draw comparisons, you will realize there is no comparison. Change for change sake is irresponsible. The Broward Sheriff’s Office is performing well under my leadership and is improving every day. During these dangerous times, there certainly is no room for on-the-job training. While my opponent has a track record of violence and brutality, my integrity has never been called into question. Moreover, I did not switch parties for political expediency. The size and multi-faceted complexities of the Broward Sheriff’s Office – the largest fully-accredited sheriff’s office in the nation – demands the most seasoned and experienced on-the-job professional, not someone who promotes “change” just to advance a career. With that said, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you why I am running for a full term as your Broward County Sheriff.

    When appointed your Sheriff last October, I publicly vowed to the people of Broward County – and to all BSO employees – to return honor and integrity to the reputation of an agency that was tarnished by my predecessor. I have risen above the corruption that has plagued the Broward Sheriff’s Office in recent years and established our agency’s first credo – Pride in Service with Integrity. This credo is practiced by every BSO employee and is posted on every BSO patrol vehicle. Not only is this the credo I personally live by but it clearly depicts my 30-year career at BSO and lifelong commitment to professionalism and excellence in public service.

    In full recognition of my fiscal responsibilities and burden upon you – the taxpayer – I cut BSO’s operational budget by $33,000,000, keeping with my core mission to not sacrifice public safety. I regularly meet with BSO’s top command and administrators to evaluate how we can save even more taxpayer money without affecting public safety services. The results of said meetings and operational restructure have resulted in more uniformed deputies being returned to routine patrol duties throughout Broward County.

    As I stated earlier, change for change sake is irresponsible. I have made many positive changes in my twelve months of service as your Sheriff and respectfully seek your support in retaining me for the next four years. Compare the candidates and understand that the position of Broward County Sheriff should be about professionalism – not politics. An educated voter is an informed voter. With that said, I ask for your support and more importantly – your vote – on November 4th.

    Al Lamberti
    Broward County Sheriff

    Paid for and approved by Al Lamberti, Republican for Broward County Sheriff

  2. Sanford says:

    Thank you Sheriff Lamerti – though you did not have to pay for this comment – we are happy to have you speak out here. I hope your challenger is interested in speaking about on this issue as well.

  3. Wiley Thompson says:

    This is Wiley Thompson. As a former assistant director of the FBI and former Democratic candidate for Sheriff, I would like to take this opportunity to tell you why I crossed party lines and am voting to keep Al Lamberti as Sheriff of Broward County. From community leaders such as city mayors, commissioners, and state legislators – to media outlets such as the Sun-Sentinel and the Miami Herald, to other civic organizations including the Police Benevolent Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, the International Association of Firefighters, the Teamsters Local 769, and the Broward 10-13 Club, we collectively believe that Sheriff Al Lamberti is the most qualified candidate to lead the 6300 employee agency in a full term of office.

    When Al Lamberti was appointed Sheriff last year, history was made at the Broward Sheriff’s Office. For the first time in its 93-year history, a Sheriff came up through the ranks. Al Lamberti started as a Detention Deputy in the jail and worked his way through the agency in various positions before being appointed Sheriff by the Governor last year. Coupled with his experience in almost every department within the agency, Al Lamberti’s three decade plus career at the Broward Sheriff’s Office gives him a much stronger advantage than that of his opponent – an outsider – who recently resigned as police chief of North Bay Village, a twenty-man plus agency in North East Miami-Dade County.

    The Sun-Sentinel says that if voters choose along party lines in the race for Sheriff, they would be making a mistake since partisan politics has no place in law enforcement. Professionalism over politics is why the Sun-Sentinel endorsed Al Lamberti for a full term as Sheriff stating “it’s about competence and integrity.” In support of professionalism over politics, Al Lamberti’s opponent was a lifelong Republican until he switched parties when passed over by Governor Crist for an appointment as Sheriff. The Miami Herald – in endorsing Sheriff Al Lamberti – stated that his opponent “would have a steep learning curve in directing a multifaceted agency with a $700 million budget and 6,300 employees.”

    If you draw comparisons, you will realize there are none between Sheriff Al Lamberti and that of his opponent. Change for change sake is irresponsible. The size and multi-faceted complexities of the Broward Sheriff’s Office demands the most seasoned and experienced on-the-job professional, not someone who switched his lifelong party affiliation to advance a career. With that said, I hope you will join me in supporting Sheriff Al Lamberti and vote to retain him as Sheriff of Broward County on November 4th.

    Wiley Thompson

  4. Jen says:

    There is no better candidate than Al Lamberti. Five members of my family work for the Broward Sheriff’s Office, Al Lamberti understands what it means to be a public servant and works for his employees and the people of Broward County. He is not a politician and someone in his position shouldn’t be. VOTE AL LAMBERTI!

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