Wednesday, May 09, 2018




"That which we call a rose, By any other name would smell as sweet" (Shakespeare, Romeo & Juliet, 1597)

But, if you had to vote between Capulet and Montague, whom would you choose? Especially if Capulet appeared first on the ballot.

Known as "First Listing Bias, the issue has been widely discussed and broadly researched by political scientists for decades. Here are just three of the many articles easily found online that discuss the fact that, in a primary election, with no political party involved, the candidate listed first stands to gain anywhere from 5-10% more votes simply because their name is first on the ballot. You can read the articles here and here and here.

So, why, pray tell, is El Capitan waking us up on a Wednesday morning with a poli sci lesson you ask? You want the truth, loyal readers; ..... you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall (A Few Good Men, Columbia Pictures, 1992); sorry, I lost my train of thought there .....

The answer is BROWEIRD.

On Friday, May 4th, the final day to qualify to run for judge, at precisely 9:01 AM, judicial candidate Shari Beth Africk-Olefson filed in Broward Circuit Group 8 against Incumbent Ernest Kollra and challenger Alan Schneider. ***

Shari Beth Olefson has been a member of The Florida Bar for 29 years. On the other hand, Shari Beth Africk-Olefson is not an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Florida. Despite that fact, Shari Beth Africk-Olefson is running for Circuit Court Judge.

Shari Olefson is Board Certified in the field of Real Estate law under the name Shari Beth Olefson. She has an exemplary reputation in the legal community using the name Shari Olefson. She is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediator under her name Shari Olefson. She is the author of several books in the fields of real estate law and economics, all using the last name of Olefson. She appears regularly on TV as an expert, (using the name Olefson), including a Fox News segment hosted by Jamie Colby, (yes, that’s former Judge Jonathan Colby’s sister), called "Take Charge". She is a mover and shaker in politics having hosted a "Conversation With Hillary" Clinton at her home for a fundraising event on May 21, 2016. The invitation to the event was from Shari Olefson. By the way, she is not running for Judge for the salary; (she has a Net Worth of just under $11 million dollars).

The point being, Shari Olefson has made her name in the legal community using the last name of Olefson. Why oh why would she then want to sacrifice 29 years of building up the reputation of that Olefson name, by running for Judge using a different name? Isn’t she running for Judge because of that stellar reputation? And nobody doubts that she has a stellar reputation and that she is more than qualified to sit as a judge.

Why then is she using the name Africk-Olefson to run for Judge? Because, she is also married to Pamela Beth Africk. They tied the knot on March 1, 2018.

The Florida Bar lists no licensed attorney by the name of Shari Beth Africk-Olefson. Despite that fact, Shari Olefson has filed all of her campaign documents with the Department of State and she is running as a candidate for Circuit Court Judge under the name Shari Beth Africk-Olefson.

Who gets to decide which name comes first when two love-birds tie the knot? Well, traditionally, of course, it has always been the husband’s last name that replaces that of the wife’s last name. For some, (think Hillary Rodham Clinton, for example), it is the wife who adds her husband’s last name after her maiden name. In Ms. Olefson’s case, she has married another woman; ("Not that there’s anything wrong with that". Seinfeld, The Outing, Episode 57, Season Four, 1993). And she has chosen to hyphenate her name, using her spouse’s name first. So, we ask again, who gets to decide which name comes first?

More importantly, shouldn’t we be asking whether Ms. Olefson is using the Africk-Olefson name primarily for the purpose of being placed first on the ballot? We wouldn’t even be asking the question if not for the fact that Ms. Olefson lists her name with The Florida Bar as Olefson while she wants the voters to elect attorney Africk-Olefson to the position of a Circuit Court Judge.

*** At 11:15 AM, 45 minutes before the end of qualifying, candidate Africk-Olefson switched races and filed in Group 36 against challenger Kristen Padowitz.

*** At the time Africk-Olefson switched races and joined Group 36, there were two other candidates in that race: Karen Berger and Kristen Padowitz. By using the last name Africk-Olefson, the candidate jumped to the front of the alphabetical list, ahead of Ms. Berger. This moved Berger down to the second slot on the ballot.

***So, at 11:57 AM, three minutes before the close of qualifying, candidate Karen Berger, made a savvy move herself. She jumped from Group 36 to Group 43, filing against candidate Dan Casey. Casey had announced in Group 43 last July, and had been unopposed for nine months. He was three minutes away from getting elected without opposition when Berger filed against him. By doing so, Berger, who had been first on the ballot in Group 36, before Africk-Olefson jumped into that Group, became first on the ballot once again, this time ahead of Casey.

The Captain agrees that a candidate should make their filing decision with winning in mind. Nobody runs to lose, and if you can improve your chances of winning, by running in a race where there are two candidates instead of three, or by running in a race where your name appears on the ballot before your opponent, well then, go for it. But that doesn’t mean you get to use a name that you have never used before, and one that you don’t even use to maintain your license with The Florida Bar, just to run for Judge; (which carries with it the requirement that you be a lawyer in good standing before you can even run for judge).

ADDENDUM: We emailed Ms. Africk Olefson and asked her why she chose to add the hyphen between the two names?  She did respond with the following: "When I married, Africk-Olefson became my legal name.  Which is why it’s the name on my judicial filing papers.  It didn’t occur to not combine and hyphenate surnames when I married. But I suppose there are cultural reasons for doing that.  I do recall feeling proud to take on the Africk family name with my own, particularly because my father in law has been an important mentor and role model. "

So, readers, what say you? Have at it.

COMING TOMORROW: North of the Border, Part Two, and What is the law in Florida concerning what name a candidate is permitted to use on the ballot?



Anonymous said...

It’s broward. Who cares. The winner will eventually be arrested and disbarred. This election is of no consequence

Anonymous said...

Just pointing out the obvious: based on what you have written, she wasn't married until March 1, 2018, barely two months ago. So all of the information about how she has never used this name before is pretty meaningless. Now, if what you are suggesting is that you she married someone whose name begins with A simply to move the top of the ballot ...

Anonymous said...

Most inane post ever.

Anonymous said...

Even according to YOUR post, she was just married two months ago. Do you expect her to have changed her name officially everywhere on the planet in such a short time, or is it more reasonable to assume that this is the first venue she's had occasion to use it?

Do you think she married just to grab a surname starting with "A"? Do you think she's sitting around reading political science academic journals to calculate her advantage? Do you really think the other candidate scurried away saying "OH MY LORD, she's got a last name starting with A!!!!!!!" Or maybe the more reasonable conclusion is that the other candidate scurried away after seeing this candidate's massive net worth.

Even if the candidate did add the name starting with "A" as an advantage, so what? If she DIDN'T use that advantage, I would think less of her because she didn't appreciate strategy. That, to me, would show signs of a judge very able to screw up a trial.

Last but not least, your quote of "not that there's anything wrong with that" really tips your hand. That quote is code for "not that there's anything wrong with that, but I think there's something wrong with that." Tell me, if she'd married a man two months ago and changed her name by hypenation, would you be raising this issue?

No, no. Don't bother answering the question. Your ignorance-laden quote tells us all we need to know.

This post was not only asinine but shameful, to boot.




Thursday, May 10, 2018 at 6:00 PM at the Miami Police Benevolent Association (2300 NW 14th Street, Miami 33125).

The League of Prosecutors Judicial Endorsement Forum serves to educate the public about our judicial candidates. The League holds the forum each judicial election year to review and select candidates in contested Miami-Dade County and Circuit Court judicial races who merit endorsement by the organization’s members. The event is an early opportunity to learn about the candidates’ qualifications, which are often little known to the public.

All candidates are welcomed! Candidates in contested races will be asked to submit questionnaires, which will then be made available to forum audience members. Contested candidates who participate at the forum are given the opportunity to speak to the audience about their qualifications and answer questions selected by League members.

Once the open forum has ended, League members then privately caucus and submit their ballots for whom to endorse.

This event is open to all attorneys, judges, bar associations and members of the public.

Anonymous said...

If they were married 5 years ago, you would have a better argument, but 2 months? Come on man, there are prosecutors who go into private practice who don't change the address from the SAO for a year. Changing that stuff is a pain in the ass until you have to.

I vote nothinburger on this one.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole must be liking the Shakespeare quote in your post Captain. Shout out to Colby on the west coast. We watch your sister in Strange Inheritance. She does a great job as always.

I would sign this comment with my name, George Stein, but since I’m married to Susan Gonzalez I’ll sign off with the name I shall run as in 2020:

George “Jorge” Gonzalez-Stein.

the trialmaster said...

The trialmaster will NOT be in attendance among the bottom feeders who cannot make a living as a practicing attorney and want to rely on the public teat.

Anonymous said...

Can someone please tell me who is occupying America?


10:02 AM

You make my point and miss my point. You make my point, by pointing out the obvious, she was married for only two months. Her entire legal career has been built over 29 years using her last name, Olefson. So, why would she want to misdirect everyone by adding the name Afleck, who nobody in the legal community would have heard of? If she had been married for a few years, and was known in the community as regularly using her spouse's married name, then that would make more sense.

And, you miss my point. Why do you think she added the Afleck and the hyphen to her last name? Nobody is saying it is not legal to do so, and tomorrow, if you read Part Two, you will read what the Division of Elections told me about how they interpret what rules there are on the subject.

10:34 AM:

Clearly not a fan of Seinfeld, and more clearly, someone who has no sense of humor.

Anonymous said...

10:34 must have missed this part of the post:

The Captain agrees that a candidate should make their filing decision with winning in mind. Nobody runs to lose, and if you can improve your chances of winning, by running in a race where there are two candidates instead of three, or by running in a race where your name appears on the ballot before your opponent, well then, go for it.”

I happen to live in Broward but don’t know this Olefson person. Heard of her opponent only because I think she is Ken Padowitz wife. He was big time ASA that prosecuted lots of homicide cases. Don’t know much about his wife though.

Anonymous said...

1. Agree with first comment: It's Broward so who cares. 2. You can put whatever name you want on the ballot - women drop their married name or add it if it's Spanish in Dade, or Jewish in Broward. Tons of examples. 3. Names do not go on the ballot alphabetically for circuit court (only county), so no advantage there.

Anonymous said...

10:34 here.

First of all, you completely ignored my substantive points. So, I assume you concede them. Smart choice.

As to a sense of humor, even if the reader is as homophobic as you post, your "joke" is still ... just not funny.

In addition, I don't find it funny when an anonymous blogger (Captain) who's read widely in our community impugns a person's integrity on the thinnest of grounds and then tries to bolster that "joke" with thinly veiled bias.

Anonymous said...

I can’t say much about the blog post on the election and this name game, but I LOVE JAMIE COLBY and her Fox News channel program.

Anonymous said...

A better question: should a judge, especially one with financial means, refund 100% of the donations made to his/her campaign and pay the costs of filing and expenses out of the funds they “loaned” to their campaign accounts if they do NOT draw opposition? Is that the correct thing to do? Not talking the legal thing here. What is the right thing? Conversely, is it appropriate for an unopposed judge to refund 100% of the “loan” they made to their campaign to themselves and then deduct all costs from the donations made by others? Would such behavior make you think less of that judge? Should we be looking for such actions from the men and women who “judge” people for a living? Interesting issues; discuss amongst yourselves.

Anonymous said...

Did Pamela Beth Africk also recently start using the name Pamela Beth Olefson-Africk?

Anonymous said...

How about Jason Allen-Rosner..Allen is his middle name and he just decided to hyphenate it so he can jump first..

Anonymous said...

On what trivial matters will you be expending your righteous indignation tomorrow? And the next day?