About those plants, err, “members of the public” who spoke out on the Trauma Drama issue

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Thank goodness for the Florida Channel! Without it, I don’t know how I would keep tabs on what is going on during the legislative session.

The Florida Channel broadcasts online all of the boring-as-watching-paint-dry legislative committee meetings. Most of the time, these meetings are just background noise while I blog and tweet and write. However, during Monday’s meeting of the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee, a couple of members of the public who testified as part of the Trauma Drama — the ongoing debate over the continued operation of three hospital trauma centers that are threatened by long-running legal challenges — stood out to me.

Why? I’m not really sure. Perhaps it was because the couple said they were  in danger of missing its flight back to Miami, yet stayed to testify. Perhaps it was their physical appearance as it isn’t often that you see such a serious looking dude speak before a legislative committee. Whatever the reason, Jennifer Kidder and Vidal Victor Lazo stood out. 

(You can watch Lazo’s testimony here; it begins at the 2:25:00 mark.)

That’s when I decided to throw them in the Google. What came up in the search engine was pretty surprising. Let’s just say Lazo is not exactly someone who can be described as credible.

Lazo is a former Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue lieutenant who was fired in 2012 for unspecified reasons, according to this article in the Sun-Sentinel. That article mentions that Lazo has an arrest record that included charges for aggravated battery, felony battery, false imprisonment and domestic battery with strangulation, according to court records.

So, by all means, lawmakers should be listening to what he has to say. Hardly!

The Sun-Sentinel piece led me to do a criminal background check on Lazo and that turned up a 2013 DUI charge in Pinellas County involving neglect of a child. According to police records, Lazo left his children alone sleeping in a hotel room and then drove drunk.

Battery … child neglect … strangulation … no wonder Lazo is so familiar with the trauma care system — because he puts people in it!

Memo to whomever planted Lazo in front of the legislative committee studying this issue: You might want to find people willing to testify who have not been fired from a fire department or are out on bond or having strangled someone.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.