Pines Commish Playing Politics In Broward Sheriff’s Race?

Even though he says questions about the county’s emergency 911 response system are not “political,” Pembroke Pines Commissioner Jay Schwartz has spearheaded  a campaign against Broward Sheriff Scott Israel and BSO since at least last April. Schwartz claims to be troubled by the response times of the BSO-operated 911 dispatch system. On Wednesday, Schwartz’s scheme to return control to the Pembroke Pines Police Department was rejected by the city commission.

The day before, Schwartz told WPLG Local 10 he received a call from Sheriff Scott Israel asking him to postpone the vote. Schwartz claims Israel asked him to delay the vote until after the August 30th Democrat primary. 

“He asked that the item wait until after the primary,” Schwartz said. “I went forward with the item because it’s about protecting the residents of Broward County. This dispatch system is not political. What I heard from the sheriff was very disappointing.”

Israel faces challengers Willie Jones, Edison Jules and James Fondo on the August ballot.

Schwartz’s claims Israel is playing politics with public safety echoes the talking points pushed by Fondo, his consultant Dan Lewis and other supporters.

In fact, many Fondo supporters rushed to Schwartz’s defense on Facebook when BSO general counsel Ron Gunzburger attempted to correct the record. Schwartz did not deny Gunzburger’s claim that the Pines commissioner had done extensive polling on the issue.

Two sources told REDBROWARD that Schwartz had commissioned polls on the dispatch issue. Schwartz was re-elected in March.

Gunzburger posted the Sheriff asked for the delay because the County consultant investigating the dispatch system will not complete his report until September.

In April, Schwartz started the steady drumbeat to support his anti-BSO position. On Facebook, Schwartz said return dispatch to Pines control was, “My first order of business in the second term.”

Since then, Schwartz has posted numerous articles which paint Sheriff Israel and BSO in a negative light. These articles are similar to the same ones posted by the Fondo-supporting “Broward Citizens Over Public Safety (COPS)” group.

Come on, Jay. Fess up. You’re a politician. You’ve been playing politics too.

Published by Tom Lauder

Covering South Florida Politics Since 2010...As Seen On: POLITICO, The Huffington Post, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, The Miami Herald, WPLG LOCAL 10 (ABC MIAMI), The New Times

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