Sandra Bernard-Bastien, the Chief Communications Officer for the Children’s Services Council of Broward County (CSC) authored a highly partisan book defending President Barack Obama. In 2011 Arrow Publications published, “Yes We Can: Obama And Clinton Walk The Talk,” at the time, Bernard-Bastien was the Children’s Services Council Director of Public Affairs, Government Affairs and Organizational Development. This book appears to be another example of the highly-political atmosphere at the Children’s Services Council of Broward County.
The book, co-authored by Elliot Bastien and H. Michael Bastien, is divided into two parts. First, Bernard-Bastien offers analysis of speeches by President Obama and President Bill Clinton. The second half of the book is partisan defense of Obama’s first term. Bernard-Bastien explains why “deranged” Republicans were wrong to question Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize.
Bernard-Bastien claims the world breathed a “sigh of relief” at the departure of George W. Bush. She wrote, “President Obama qualified for a Nobel Peace prize if only for preventing the continuation of such an approach to foreign policy, which would ensure an absence of peace.” Then, she attacks the intelligence of those who questioned Obama winning the prize. “But this qualification will certainly not appease Mr. Obama’s detractors,” she wrote, “Displaying their ignorance…and awaiting any opportunity to celebrate his failure, Obama’s detractors eschew history.”
On the economy, Bernard-Bastien wrote Obama’s attempts to “restore the economy can be seen as continuing the tradition of a democratic administration having to clean up the economic mess left by the previous Republican administration.” On job creation, she calls the American Jobs Act a “piece de resistance” which “Republicans have place every obstacle in the way to prevent this most important bill from being passed.”
On foreign issues, Bernard-Bastien claims, “During the Bush years…the U.S. military fell into disrepute worldwide.” She claims President Obama corrected this by “restructuring of the military to cope with modern threats and technology.” Bernard- Bastien says Obama ended the Iraq War “which was by his Republican predecessor…under false pretenses….” Bernard-Bastien mentions increased troop benefits and reform at VA Hospitals as examples of Obama’s first-tern achievements.
Bernard-Bastien was a staunch Obama supporter long-before she authored this book. In 2008, Bernard-Bastien hosted an Obama fundraiser with Broward Commissioner Stacy Ritter. According to a local fashion blog, the fundraiser was an “extremely elegant affair” with a “greater purpose than just selling garments and had a variety of noteworthy attendees.” The blog reported Bernard-Bastien quoted Obama, “Years from now, you’ll look back and say this was the moment-this was the place where America remembered what it means to hope.”
Evan Goldman, then the CSC Manager of Public Affairs and Organizational Development, touted Bernard-Bastien’s fundraiser on his personal blog. Goldman wrote the fundraiser was “one of the most creative and down-right different political fundraising events in the nation.Tea for Change was the brainchild of Sandra Bernard-Bastien. In addition to being a community activist and author, she’s a reallybig fan of Barack Obama.”
While officials can certainly have personal political views, evenly highly-partisan ones, some wonder if the these views affect the decision making process at the Children’s Services Council of Broward County. RED BROWARD documented the formation of a political committee to push for the reauthorization of the CSC on the November ballot. RED BROWARD revealed the Children’s Services Council appears to be the biggest source of funding for Hispanic Unity of Florida, a local affiliate of the controversial “La Raza” organization. RED BROWARD obtained a May 2012 copy of La Raza literature which lauded Hispanic Unity of Florida for using social programs, funded by Broward taxpayers, as a way to register voters. RED BROWARD exposed how Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee, is a frequent visitor to Hispanic Unity of Florida offices in Hollywood. In January 2014, Wasserman Schultz announced Hispanic Unity of Florida would receive Federal dollars to help sell Obamacare to south Florida.
RED BROWARD reported CSC President/CEO Cindy Arenberg Seltzer was the Chief of Staff to Connecticut House Democrat Majority Leader Thomas S. Luby. On the CSC website, she touts her time as a district field coordinator for Sen. Chris Dodd and the Clinton campaign. She has made numerous contributions to Democrat candidates such as Lois Frankel, Alex Sink and Nan Rich. RED BROWARD showed the CSC paid $5,000 for advertising to Community Access Center, a non-profit organization tied to Broward Commisoner Dale Holness. Magaly Prezeau, president of Community Access Center, is a Democrat candidate for the Miramar City Commission.
Do partisan politics play a role at the Children’s Services Council of Broward County? Do politicians and well-connected allies benefit from Children’s Services Council’s control of more than $55 million in taxpayer dollars? Instead of mailers from a political committee, Broward taxpayers deserve answers and transaprency from Cindy Arenberg Seltzer and the Children’s Services Council of Broward County before the November election.