By Gabriel Jose Carrera
Last Saturday, July 24, 2010, El Sharko could not attend the Fort Lauderdale Tea Party’s Judicial Candidate forum! Lucky for him that I was on the scene to cover the event for the Shark-Tank and its loyal readers. The feeding frenzy soon discovered a late July misstep that could turn the outcome of the August 24, 2010 for a certain Crist appointed Judge.
The Local Fort Lauderdale Tea Party who consists of a very large diverse ethnic group of individuals flexed their newly acquired political muscles in vetting 22-Broward judicial candidates. All politics is local and this group asked serious questions stemming from candidates legal experience to whether they supported wholeheartedly the 2nd amendment inalienable right to bear arms.
Tempers flared with candidate (incumbent) Judge Carlos Rebollo who is currently challenged by Attorney Bob Nichols. When Judge Carlos Rebollo spoke it seemed he lacked passion/emotion as commented by many Tea Party members after the event. He stuck to his talking points and tried to “take” more time than the event coordinators would allot him. The proverbial “shizel hitting the fan” was when his opponent dropped a bomb shell in the room quoting the incumbent Judge (D) who two years before was appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist. Conservative candidate Bob Nichols alleged that Circuit Court Judge Rebollo stated two days earlier:
“I believe that it is immoral for any candidate to ever run against a minority incumbent, no m
atter how experienced he is, unless that minority has been involved in some significant scandal.”
It seems that both candidates attended a joint interview with members of the Editorial Board of the Sun Sentinel on July 22, 2010, including Earl Maucker and Gary Stein of the editorial board. The question on the table was why each of them felt that they were the best qualified for the bench. The underdog challenger Bob Nichols replied accordingly, but the former Democrat nor Judge became frustrated by Nichols responses and then blurted out, “I believe that it is immoral for any candidate to ever run against a minority incumbent, no matter how experienced he is, unless that minority has been involved in some significant scandal.”
Candidate Nichols further stated that this was not the only time, but the Crist appointed Judge had announced on two (2) prior occasions that Nichols is IMORRAL solely because he decided to run against a minority candidate. The Members of the Tea Party were seriously shaken by these anti-democratic statements by Rebollo and were very vocal about the accustaions after the forum ended. Maria Moncada attended the event from start to finish and this race stuck out the most in her mind. “If this is true then Judge Rebollo’s character is flawed and as a minority I do not know if I can support someone who says things like that,” said Maria. “Those comments sound so un-American…I mean…who is he to say who can run in a race and who can’t”
While Candidate Bob Nichols was speaking Judge Rebollo seemed to get quite upset and from the opposite side of the room the attendees could see he wanted more time to rebut the accusations. One of the event coordinators, Jack Gillies, commented to the Shark Tank that, “We are blessed to have the Jib Room allow us to be here and hold the event, but they had a Class Reunion party starting at 5:00 PM, and we frankly did not have the extra time for candidates to rebut since we had to get out.” Jack Gillies continued, “People were free to talk to the candidates after their presentations in the next room or outside, but we had 22 Judicial Candidate with limited times and they all had equal amount of time to present their case.”
After having his request denied Judge Rebollo made his way across the room to the table where a Tea Party volunteer (minding his own business) was harmlessly videotaping the speakers. Judge Rebollo’s face did not look happy! Judge Rebollo came to the table asking for the volunteer’s business card to later obtain a copy of the video. Since this humble volunteer looked like he didn’t want to get into the middle of a dog-fight, I offered my business card in attempts to accommodate Judge Rebollo and take the pressure off the young cameraman. Judge Rebollo thanked me and soon after left the event without incident.
During the after-glow “the immoral” comment incident was on everyone’s minds. Patrick Castronovo, a staunch Marco Rubio supporter, left me these thoughts, “It’s not only a shame but it’s scary to know that we have an elected Judge like Judge Rebullo that thinks that just because he is a minority that he is entitled to be on the bench just because he s Hispanic…..the judicial bench is not a government entitlement program!”
Gabriel Jose Carrera, Esq. is a Attorney with no political party affiliations who founded the International Law Office of Gabriel Jose Carrera, PA., and practices law in Florida and Federal Courts in South Florida. Moneyline- Min. 4:28