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Sharief picks up key labor endorsements

Some assume that the seat being vacated by County Commissioner Diana Wasserman-Rubin -- the latest official charged with corruption in Broward County -- is Angelo Castillo's to lose.

Castillo, the longtime Pembroke Pines City Commissioner, has easily won his city races, is close with campaign master Judy Stern and is president of Broward House -- a well-known nonprofit. And Castillo is a solid fundraiser -- he wouldn't reveal what his total will show this week but says it's more than $100,000.

But Miramar City Commissioner Barbara Sharief, in office less than two years, sent a press release announcing that she scored three big labor endorsements: the AFL-CIO, the Police Benevolent Association and SEIU.

The AFL-CIO is no surprise after Pines commissioners flirted with outsourcing jobs to resolve a budget crunch.

"I made the tough choices that were necessary to protect labor and the citizens," Castillo said. He said while he voted for a budget in 2009 that reduced ad valorum taxes citywide and in 2010 against a budget that would increase taxes, Sharief voted twice for budgets that would increase tax collections.

"If that cost me the endorsements of certain unions, that's unfortunate," Castillo said. "That's what I felt I had to do during a recession."

Sharief says Miramar has not considered outsourcing since she joined the commission in March 2009 and says she has only voted on one budget -- not two.

"My budget didn't increase ad valorum taxes," she said. "Ninety percent of the people in the city experienced a decrease in taxes on the budget I did vote for."

Sharief says she has invested about $100,000 of her own money into the race.

"I really wasn't focused on raising money," she said. "I have been self-funded."