Thad Hamilton, 60, of Lauderhill, lost his bid for state Agriculture Commissioner in Tuesday’s election.  The winner was Republican Adam H. Putnam, who garnered 56 percent of the vote. Democrat Scott Maddox received 38 percent, tea party candidate Ira Chester garnered 4 percent and Hamilton, who ran with no party affiliation, collected 2 percent of the statewide vote.
Calling it “critically under-capitalized,” federal regulators have told Coral Gables-based Bank of Miami to raise its capital or make plans to sell, merge or liquidate the institution within 30 days. Bank of Miami has lost millions in each of the past three quarters, mostly due to bad loans. It had $2.6 million in net revenue during the third quarter but it also had $7 million in expenses during that same period.

U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville; U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, and the newly elected Frederica Wilson, D-Miami, and Allen West, R-Plantation, are the only black members of Congress from Florida following Tuesday’s election. All could be ousted from office in 2012 due to voter approval of constitutional amendments 5 & 6 this week.  Those amendments require Congressional and state legislative districts to be compact and to consist of equal population amounts. They also require districts to have some level of uniformity and adhere to city and county boundaries when possible. Currently, districts in Florida are drawn to include or exclude certain groups of the population, which is known as gerrymandering. That tactic was used to create districts favorable to incumbents and provide minority-
majorities in the past and this will be no more. West was able to win a district that, under the new guidelines, would dramatically be reshaped.

Palm Beach County

Appointed incumbent Pricilla Taylor, a Democrat, defeated her Republican challenger to win election to the Palm Beach County district 7 commission seat. Ironically, her opponent, Vincent Goodman, was on Gov. Charlie Crist’s short list for the appointment but Crist settled on Taylor. District 7 was drawn to give blacks representation on the county commission and at the time Crist took heat from black Republicans for appointing a Democrat to the post.

Broward County

Incumbent David Shomers, the lone white on the Lauderdale Lakes city commission, fell to defeat in Tuesday’s election to former commissioner Levoyd Williams. The contest was tainted by whisper campaigns that “blacks should support blacks,” which is ridiculous. Shomers was a dedicated and practical public servant, who, hopefully, will seek public office again.

Former Tamarac Deputy Mayor Marc Sultanof, 89, was arrested and charged with allegedly taking bribes from developers Bruce and Shawn Chait. Sultanof was booked and released on $11,000 bail. The Chaits allegedly paid Sultanof more than $30,000 to pay for a car in exchange for his votes for projects they were building in the city.  The Chaits have turned the tables on numerous elected officials whom they paid bribes to and more arrests are coming. Sultanof is
facing one count of unlawful compensation, one count of bribery, three counts of official misconduct and one count of conspiracy.

Sunrise City Commissioner Sheila Alu won reelection over popular condominium president Louis Caravella. Alu is a prosecutor with the Broward State Attorney's Office. She played a key role as an undercover FBI informant in an operation in which several politicians were arrested for public corruption. Now, there some who speculate whether she will challenge Michael Satz for Broward State’s Attorney post in 2012.

The city of Wilton Manors was slow to address racist e-mails that were circulated from its police department. When it did, then Chief Richard E. Perez was suspended and later forced to resign. Capt. Dorris Seibert was then put in charge of the department, only to be suspended for her role in the offensive e-mails scandal. Capt. Ed Costello was given the acting chief’s position and a scandal is brewing because, as acting chief, he is supervising his girlfriend, Kimberly Kijanka, a police service aide. City anti-nepotism rules prohibit this, yet City Manager Joseph Gallegos has not explained why it is being allowed for Costello. Rank-and-file members in the department are growing increasingly upset and, if it is not addressed soon, expect yet another controversy within the department to explode.

Miami-Dade County

Due to his hapless effort in predominantly black precincts, outgoing Palmetto Bay mayor Eugene Flinn, 48, was narrowly
defeated by former Homestead Mayor Lynda Bell in the race for the Miami-Dade County district 8 commission seat. Supporters urged Flinn to spend more time in black neighborhoods, but his campaign decided against it. In the end 42,409 votes were cast in the race and he lost to Bell by just 397 votes.

Former Fort Lauderdale City Manager George Gretsas has made the short list of applicants for the city manager post
in Homestead. Gretsas’ tenure in Fort Lauderdale was marked by his strained relationship with city police officers and their union. Homestead city hall is awash in corruption investigations and, for the most part, city council members have good relations with police. The public interviews will be interesting, to say the least. 

Councilwoman Daisy Black defeated incumbent Mayor Joyce Davis with 54 percent of the vote to become the next mayor of the village of El Portal. Black, who is active in the Democratic Party, campaigned on providing better services to residents and businesses.

The South Florida Times is once again expanding its circulation. The newspaper is already distributed in retail outlets throughout the tri-county Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Broward county areas. Now, Circulation Coordinator Robert Beatty II has announced that the Borders and Barnes & Nobles bookstore chains have joined the family of retailers where the newspaper is sold. That ever-widening family includes Wal-Mart, Winn Dixie, Publix, CVS, Dollar General and Walgreens and other fine retailers.

Elgin Jones may be reached at EJones@SFLTimes.com