Thursday, April 7, 2016

Lauren Book gets free publicity from the state

I would think there is some kind of ethics violation here, since Lauren Book is running for State Senate.

Update: Senate Candidate Uses Public Mailing


First, the plan was to rename Federal Highway through the Fort Lauderdale City Commission in honor of Lauren Book , a child abuse awareness advocate.

Now, a reader reports that Broward County is mailing flyers publicizing Book’s charity with your license plate renewals.

This, like the street naming, is simply wrong.

It is highly unfair for a candidate for state Senate to use public mail to build name ID.

Granted, the insert doesn’t mention Ms. Book.   But the enclosure directs you to a website that is a paean to her and her work.

This, and the street naming, appears to some to be distasteful overreaching by candidate and her father, lobbyist Ron Book.

Mainly, Ron Book and his bag of lobbying tricks. His fingerprints are all over both the street naming and the insert.

Ron Book honed his lobbying skill over decades by pulling strings behind the scenes in Tallahassee and locally. It was easy for him to pull those strings for his daughter.

In this case, Ronnie went too far!

These tricks to stack the deck for Ms. Book’s candidacy aren’t needed because the deck is already stacked in her favor.

Ms. Book is a shoe-in. She is a well-spoken, intelligent candidate who has over $1 million in her campaign and no realistic opponent.

The street naming is off pending passage by the Florida Legislature.

Expect Ron Book to be pushing it. He told the Sun-Sentinel that “his daughter’s name deserves to be on this stretch of road because of the good she’s done for victims of childhood sexual abuse and because it’s near the treatment center that helped her after she was abused by her nanny.”

The paper continues, quoting Ron Book: “My daughter has done some things that to others may not appear to be heroic, may not appear to be lifesaving, but I know different, and I know a lot of other people who know different, and she has become a symbol for victims all over this state and all over this country.”

Ms. Book is quoted as saying she is “humbled” that anyone thought she deserved the street renaming honor. But she also told her father to back too, a good move.

Meanwhile, expect the plugs for Ms. Book’s organization when you are notified you need to renew your license plate.

I’ve got some advise to Ms. Book, which I personally told her.

The biggest obstacle she will face in Broward and in Tallahassee is the belief that she is controlled by her father. She needs to put some distance between herself and Ron Book. Publicly.

 After this piece was posted, Lauren Book sent me the following explanation of the enclosure in the license plate renewal: 

…The insert you received is an older one, designed long before I became a candidate and is part of an educational program that has been in place and distributed for several years – and, hopefully, will remain in place for many more years to come. However, it is important (contrary to what your blog post implied) to note, not one single dollar of tax money was used to pay for the flyer….

The foundation has offered the informational flyers to all Tax Collectors free of charge and, to date, 45 of the 67 collectors around the state have for several years voluntarily decided to include the inserts – and, I need to repeat this, because someone who provided you false information, clearly got this wrong – at no cost to taxpayers, and clearly did not begin as some ploy. It is part of our overall effort statewide to bring about change.

And Buddy, we are hardly the only charitable organization that has or provide inserts, e.g. Hispanic Heritage, breast cancer, and Florida Heart to name a few. Our effort is a part of our larger program of bringing about systemic change in what we teach and how we teach our children to better protect them. The reason I believe so many of our Tax Collectors from around the state who will disseminate over 10 million of these inserts this year alone, is because they want to be a part of providing better education to the public in the fight to protect children. Am I happy that so many have chosen to join and help in our fight to end childhood sexual abuse? Of course I am. Is it, as your post clearly implied, costing taxpayers money? No. If so many others believe in it, why would we want to provide less in Broward County?

Thank, you by the way, for correctly noting that the insert does not mention me by name but focuses instead on the work of the foundation which bears my first name only. I am sensitive to that and take every precaution possible to avoid the potential conflict.



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