Today’s entry - Here are a few of the notes I've received regarding Scott Israel’s upheld suspension.
- Senator Lauren Book district 32 Plantation is a Democrat and she voted to reinstate him after watching videos of children being slaughtered, did you forget about the airport mass shootings as well under our Democratic sheriff?
- If it were Republicans voting to keep Israel they would be rightly castigated.
- The simple and ugly fact is these Democrat reps are voting in support of Israel because that’s the party’s position. It’s not a Republican issue and one can’t blame that side for the totally partisan reason Democrats are voting for Israel. Again, sometimes people deserve the people they vote for instead of blaming the other side for one’s own decisions.
- This was a sham. How come no one is talking about the FBI in this case or suspending them? And the airport was Homeland Security’s problem. I hope Sheriff Israel wins in 2020.
Bottom Line: I’ll start by saying that I don’t think there are any easy answers here and no winners. I pride myself on the premise and facts. The more emotional the situation is, the harder it is to bring pragmatism to the conversation. In my lifetime, the only event to compare with the emotional toll of what happened at Stoneman Douglas is 9/11. Talking with the victim's families it’s clear it was their 9/11. I don’t blame any of them for how they feel. Even for those with whom I strongly disagree on policy.
I want to use an example of two other suspended South Florida public officials to illustrate a point about Scott Israel’s situation. The cases of Susan Bucher and Brenda Snipes. These three have often been discussed in a vacuum for obvious reasons. Three South Florida Democrats suspended by Republican Governors around the same time. But that’s where the similarities end.
Susan Bucher and Brenda Snipes engaged in unlawful behavior. Both former elections supervisors broke numerous laws. If you listened during that time, you’ll recall the precise detail with which I illustrated specific violations of Florida Election law day by day. The point is, they not only proved to be incompetent they presided over lawlessness which included the audacity to ignore court orders to comply with specific election law. That’s not the case with Scott Israel. The move to suspend him was a judgment call.
Scott Israel was suspended for being incompetent according to the Governor and the 25 state senators who voted to remove him. This situation is challenging from a factual and pragmatic perspective. We’re not talking about the boss firing an employee they feel isn’t doing a good job. We’re talking about an elected official being removed by other elected officials on a judgment call. The threshold in this situation should be extremely high. To that end any conversation that begins with Democrat this and Republican that is probably already off-base. Any judgment made about the ouster of an elected official based on political affiliation is operating on a false premise. That’s part of what’s so concerning to me about how the Senate vote went down. That it was almost a straight party-line vote is concerning to me, there’s nothing about the facts of Scott Israel’s case that’s ideological.
As for the outcome. We live in a representative republic. This is a teachable moment from a civics perspective. Have you read and considered all the facts associated with this decision? Have you been present for all of the hearings, examinations, and cross-examinations? Most of us haven’t, we’re busy living our lives and that’s ok. It’s why we have elected representatives. They literally are there to represent our interests and by a 25-15 vote, they made their decision. Elections have consequences. For a victim’s family, they believe that the consequence of electing Scott Israel contributed to their loved one’s death. For Scott Israel, he believes electing Ron DeSantis governor robbed him of his elected post.
In the end, our system of government played out the way it was designed to play out. Our governor made a judgment call. Informed senators voted on behalf of their constituents and they’ll be another election next year. From my perspective, the most frustrating aspect of this and future conversations is the partisan one. I feel it’s absurd to have partisan races for sheriff and election supervisors. The law isn’t partisan with different rules for different political parties, and it’s patently absurd to have a partisan presiding over the elections of all voters. But again, elections have consequences. All elections. I guarantee no one on November 8th, 2016, thought this is how Scott Israel’s term would end. How many voters treated the Broward’s Sheriff’s race in 2016 with the level of seriousness we learned it deserved? As I’ve said hundreds of times, all elections have consequences and the ones closest to you often have the biggest impact on your day to day life yet receive the least attention.
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Photo by: Aaron Davidson/Getty Images for Habitat for Humanity of Broward