Bret Berlin is being paid for having paved the way for Stephen Bittel to become the Florida Democratic Party chair in the form of a 2nd vice chair position, as well as a position on the FDP Rules Committee.
Now, before you start laughing, just as I did when it was announced at the DCCA meeting last weekend in St. Petersburg, a lot of people aren't happy about it.
As you may recall, Berlin "suspended the rules" to assist Bittel to become eligible to run for FDP chair, KNOWING once the deed was done, he would get "payback" later.
Stephen Bittel said he was going to be different. He said he was going to do things differently.
This is the same pay-to-play politics that people are sick of.
Bittel has made the rounds asking people to give him a chance.
This is what you do with your chance? There is more on Berlin at the end of this column.
Judy Mount, 1st vice chair of the Florida Democratic Party, made it clear at the DCCA meeting that she had no input in the choices made, and she does not approve. She stood up before the entire body and made that public declaration.
Stephanie Grutman and Ashley Walker were given chair at-large appointments.
Let's be clear on Ashley Walker. The word was put out long ago that ANY campaign she is associated with WILL lose as far as the black community is concerned.
Yes, Ashley, the people you run to for your absentee ballot projects WILL take your money, but look what happened to Jim Waldman, for example.
He came in third behind Gwynne Clarke-Reed!
Since Walker seems to think she is the Negro whisperer after working on Barack Obama's campaign (is that the last one she actually won?), we are going to show her better than we can tell her that she is NOT.
Bittel appointing Walker to an at-large position just shows how tone deaf he is to what's actually going on with Democrats.
In fact, I recall Ashley Walker sending out a press release regarding all the doors her group was knocking on, all the people her group was "touching", after I made appearances on national television saying it wasn't happening in communities of color. (It wasn't.)
Some 209,000 black voters who voted in 2012 stayed home in 2016.
With people like Ashley Walker involved, that will be the case again.
Stephanie Grutman became about as hated during the FDP chair's race as Stephen Bittel, and now, I'm pretty certain she is MORE hated.
So what does Bittel do? He appoints her to an at-large position.
Perhaps Bittel thought most Democrats weren't going to be aware that the former Debbie Wasserman Schultz stooge-turned-lobbyist was appointed, but I don't see how with me and others around!
Early this morning Sarah Coutu, chair of the Santa Rosa DEC, entered a Facebook post that sums up how a lot of people felt at that DCCA meeting:
"Attention, Florida Democrats!
"I personally request every single registered Democrat contact the Florida Democratic Party (FDP) by April 8, and demand that Bret Berlin NOT be appointed to the FDP Rules Committee.
"Please send an email to the FDP chair at email@example.com. You might say, "Do not appoint Bret Berlin to the Rules Committee because he abuses the rules."
On Sunday, the FDP announced committee members for the many committees of the inner workings of our state party. While the FDP chair can make these appointments without our input, the state committee voted to allow us to provide suggestions for 7 days.
One of the appointments is Bret Berlin to the Rules Committee. Bret Berlin is responsible for circumventing the rules at the Miami-Dade's Reorganization Meeting on 12/06/2016. He said the words "I am suspending the rules" and appointed over 130 precinct committee people around midnight, including Stephen Bittel, as well as his lawyer and several of his employees. On 12/10/16, Bret Berlin stepped out of the state-committeeman position he was elected to on 12/06/2016 -- in order to make room for Mr. Bittel
to run for state committeeman, a seat that would qualify him for the state chair position. This was caught on video and has been advertised in the Miami Herald, along with the lawsuit and formal complaints that have been put forth against what happened by Miami-Dade DEC members, so there is documentation to prove everything I have stated.
No one who abuses the rules should be appointed to the RULES Committee just four months later. Our state chair also appointed Bret Berlin as one of the FDP state vice chairs.
On a similar note, Stephanie Grutman has been appointed as a chair at-large member, meaning she will always hold her voting power no matter where she lives in the state. Grutman works for the lobbying firm Ballard Partners, the top donor to Donald Trump's campaign. Grutman began her career nearly 20 years ago as a senior aide to then State Representative now Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Stephanie Grutman has zero business being appointed to anything in the FDP.
It is clear that these appointments aren't going over well at all.
Leslie Wimes, a Sunshine State News columnist, is founder and president of Women on the Move and the Democratic African American Women Caucus, www.daawc.com. Follow Leslie on Twitter: @womenonthemove1.