Thursday, January 31, 2008

Rebroadcast of 1973 Dolphins-Redskins Super Bowl Highlights Busy SBH Sports Weekend!

2007 photo by Mario J. Bermudez
Miami Dolphins two Vince Lombardi Trophies for winning Super Bowl VII and VIII, at 2007 Dolphins Draft Day festivities at Dolphins HQ/training camp in Davie, FL.

What I'll be reading this busy weekend:

As is mandatory a couple of days throughout the year, no matter where I'm living or doing, I make a point of getting a print copy of USA Today's Super Bowl coverage.

1. Ad Age's analysis of Super Bowl commercials, marketing's big game Victoria's Secret back on telecast for first time since '99.

2. USA Today's Ad Meter

20 Highlights in 20 years

Ad Meter winner photos

Ad schedule

3. USA Today Patriots' Franchise Shoots for History by Jarret Bell
What I'll likely be watching or taping this weekend:

The beginning of Turner Classic Movies' 31 Days of Oscar:

Big Ten Network

2 Noon-2pm
Mens Basketball Northwestern at IU
NFL Network

9pm-12midnight/replay Sat. 230am-530am /11am-2pm
Patriots defeat Giants 38-35 in Week 17 to record 16-0 regular season

2-3 pm

Greatest Super Bowl Commercials /replay Sun. 130-230 am

3-4 pm
NFL Total Access analysts discuss upcoming Hall of Fame announcent LIVE

Three former Redskins I watched every weekend for years are among the 17 players under consideration: Darrell Green, Russ Grimm and Art Monk.
They should all get in! But likely won't -again.

As should former Dolphin Bob Kuechenberg whom I watched perform phenomenally as a Dolphin season ticket holder for years, and former Chicago Bear Richard Dent, whom I watched up-close and personal while living in Chicago/Evanston for two years in the mid-80's, during the Bears' reign as the most dominant and popular sports team in the country.
Their omission all these years has been nothing less than a disgrace.
Unlike most Dolphin fans, I've never been a Jason Taylor fan.
If it'd been up to me a few years ago, I'd have kept and re-signed former Hoosier Odewale Ogunleye, who was younger, cheaper and better-balanced, and traded Jason Taylor to an NFC team instead, before his grumpy, home-schooled ingrained selfish attitude, one that yells
"Do as I say, Not as I do," started infecting the younger players.
To me, he's a leader in name only.
For Dolphin fans with a penchant for calling up Miami sports radio call-in shows in the spring or following Dolphin games when Jason Taylor actually shows some hustle to praise him, and invariably say he's a lock for the HOF, consider that Richard Dent was a much better player
than Taylor, playing against much better teams: the dominant Giant and 49er teams.
Dent was a dominant player on one of the most dominant defensive teams in NFL history and
the Super Bowl MVP from over 20 years ago -and he's still waiting!
Jason Taylor, he of the up-and-down 2007 Dolphin season -after sitting-out 99% of preseason- getting 'worked' by rookies in the mud at Pittsburgh, don't call us, we'll call you!
In about 25 years, IF then.

4-5 pm
NFL Hall of Fame Press Conference LIVE

930 pm-12 Midnight/replay Sun. 330-6 am/Sun. 830-11 am
Rebroadcast of original network telecast of Dolphins-Redskins Super Bowl VII, Jan. 17, 1973 in LA to complete 17-0 Perfect Season.

530-630pm 2007 Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Swimsuit Calendar

ESPN Classic

4-430 pm Top 5 Reasons You Can't Blame... Dan Marino

Dolphins-49ers Super Bowl Highlights

4-5 pm
The Story of Darrell Royal (2004) /replay Sun. 12Noon-1pm
Fox Soccer Channel

10 am-12 noon
Chelsea at Portsmouth /replay Sat 11pm-1am

12 Noon-230 pm
Sunderland at Liverpool /replay Sun 3-5 am

7-9 pm
Boca Juniors vs. River Plate

9-11 am Juventus vs. Cagliari

11am-1 pm Aston Villa at Fulham /replay Sun 11pm-1am

230-430 pm Fiorentina vs, Milan

SouthBeachHoosier likes the Patriots on Sunday over the Giants, 34-19

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Another Blackwater story ignored by MSM

As I write this, it's nearly midnight Saturday night and I just got around to seeing this Legal Times story in my email from yesterday, via the outstanding Daily Newswire, which I receive M-F.

Though this happened Wednesday, there's been absolutely nothing about this Blackwater story anywhere in the MSM, including in the New York Times at their Blackwater USA topic area, which seldom misses anything.

I did a quick Google search for news articles on Blackwater since these papers were filed.
The only thing that's been written about this is the piece.
That's it.

That's the whole list.

It's not that I think this is a hugely important story, per se, but when they're actually suing their former attorneys for malpractice, including Fred Fielding, how can everyone ignore it?

Yet they are.

Legal Times
Blackwater Hits Wiley Rein With $30 Million Malpractice Suit
Attila Berry and Joe Palazzolo
January 25, 2008

Blackwater Security filed a $30 million malpractice suit against Wiley Rein on Wednesday, alleging that the firm made costly missteps in a wrongful death case brought on behalf of four former Blackwater employees who were killed in Iraq in 2004...

Speaking of Blackwater, and how it's being used as shorthand for agitprop, see this Denver Post story of yet another Democratic congressional candidate misunderstanding his tiny role in the wider world, by doing something so egregiously stupid and self-defeating: mocking Iwo Jima.

As an American who used to spend quite a lot of time near the memorial in Arlington, and who actually has a photo of it on my blog's main page, I find that highly offensive.

I guess the DCCC couldn't find some rich, self-financing moderate Dem in the supposed fertile West, who understood in his gut that mocking an iconic image like that is not good for anyone.

All you show is that you're Not-Ready-For-Primetime, a person NOT worth considering for Congress.

I mean when you've reached so far below political common sense as to allow yourself to be publicly -and fairly- attacked by Veterans who are actually against our actions in Iraq, you've really hit a new low as a preening, antiwar Dem desperate for attention.

Denver Post
More sparks in Polis, Fitz-Gerald race
By Curtis Hubbard
January 25, 2008

A veterans group lashed out at the Jared Polis congressional campaign today for what it called "offensive" editing "for political purposes" of the iconic picture of Marines raising the U.S. flag on Iwo Jima.
The Boulder Democrat recently sent a mailer to voters in which the original photo was shown alongside an edited version that featured the logo of the Blackwater security firm superimposed on the flag...

As to the various stories on the physical look/repair of the Blackwater vehicles in Iraq, if you're at all interested in getting the greatest number of facts, see the AP story USA Today ran two weeks ago titled, Blackwater fixes hinder shooting probe

The response from Blackwater to the article:

More on Blackwater
Anne E. Tyrrell, Blackwater Worldwide - Moyock, N.C.

And then the other reader comments to the story:

Friday, January 18, 2008

Kate Snow ignores Bill Richardson -"Bill Who?" es la problema!

For months now I've been waiting to join the live autopsy on the failed Bill Richardson presidential campaign corpse, and add my two cents plus interest.

See my earlier posts on Bill Richardson first, though, so you know where I'm coming from on him:

That will come soon enough, as I describe some of the issues and steps my political campaign and media friends and I were continually emailing and calling each other about, as we watched his campaign implode in slow-motion for weeks. I'll try to share some of the steps he and the campaign needed to follow in order to ramp-up even before he officially announced, and thru either lack of courage, wisdom or common sense, or all three, he all but ignored, thus guaranteeing his lame current status, where the week that could've been, is instead the week where he's already long forgotten.

Tonight, on ABC's World News with Charlie Gibson, Kate Snow did the ubiquitous "The Latino Vote" story on the importance of this demographic in Nevada to pandering Dems, just hours before their curious Saturday caucus, where we now can see clearly that some unions are created a little more equal than others.
VIDEO: Webcast: The Race for Vegas

(If I caught it right, Kate even told us that, in essence, when you ask, "Como se dice "caucus" en espanol?" you'll get nada, as there is no exact translation of the word. Oddly enough, it's not said on this linked story, yet when I watched it on TV live at 6:30, I could've sworn she said it. I seem to also distinctly recall her saying Sergio Bendixen's name also, but... speaking of Sergio...

Hear Kate's observations from Las Vegas in a Politics Live Now report, even talking about being with Chelsea for a few hours at UNLV.

Don't know if the UNLV event with Chelsea was also a sorority thing, as when she was at Stanford recently -the Pi Phi house.
Stanford Daily's Editorial: Chelsea lacks class at exclusive event
In the piece on the Nevada caucus, which is the logical result of the DNC wanting to be sure to show that they're as salsa-friendly as they are ethanol-friendly and maple syrup-friendly, Kate never said the name of the first and only Hispanic candidate to run, who some thought would use Nevada as a springboard. Guess who?

Letter of the Year -so far!- is an excellent Jan. 12th response to Andrew Sullivan's Jan. 9th post, How "Left" Is Obama? at The Daily Dish
A former U of Chicago law student zeroes in on Obama's main weakness like a laser beam.
"Bottom line: Obama delivers a good message about ending divisiveness in Washington and working to find common ground. Perhaps the only opportunity in the last 4 years to test that message was the John Roberts vote, and Obama lined up with the partisans."

I thought the same exact thing at the time and wondered why so few others were willing to say so.

This reminds me, in an upcoming post I've been working on for a few weeks, I'll show you what the Chicago Tribune was writing about Obama before he was a pol and just Ye Olde Street Organizer on the South Side, and trust me, it's hardly magical or lyrical, and far from "a fairy tale."

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Herald's People page facelift a total failure!

The Miami Herald's advertisement of December 15th for their new PEOPLE page

Oh, Miami Herald People piñata.
My Louisville Slugger bat is so large and your low-hanging fruit is so thoroughly rotten.
It hardly seems sporting of me to put you out of your misery with one blow.
But then I look at how miserable your entertainment coverage has been since I returned to South Florida.

At how you've consistently run stories that positively reek of mothballs, so old are they in this online age.
Day after day of blah entertainment/celebrity stories in the paper 72 hours after the whole world first heard about them on roughly 2-3 dozen very popular websites, and you, adding nary an original nugget or morsel to chew on. No added news nutients.

Oh to be sure, of late you've asked visiting celebs about Miami, and to no body's surprise, they like, they like!
For instance, just this past Friday, January 11th, you used about 30% of your page to run -along with an uncredited photo- a supposed chat with former Northwestern chemical engineering student and longtime supermodel/entrepreneur/endorser Cindy Crawford.
She's someone whom everyone in Evanston claims to have known or met while she was there briefly in the '80's, right before I moved there in 1985.

Honestly, Lesley Abravanel, given the whole universe of questions to pose, why are you asking such a bright and thoughtful woman such low-brow and self-serving questions, which seem designed more to curry favor with your publicist pals -who whisper sweet nothings into your ear- than entertain or inform Herald readers?

You offered dopey:
What about Miami has inspired your furniture line?
What's your favorite hotel to stay in?
What's your favorite hotel decor-wise?
What's your favorite place to chill?
What's your favorite restaurant in Miami?
Favorite place to shop in Miami?

How about this.
"Cindy, you're someone who's not a stranger to South Florida. Based on your many past visits here, what are the things that you most wish were still present for others to enjoy?
You've got a pretty good sense of the changes this area has undergone, what would you most like to see changed for the better?"
Now that would be a bit more interesting and original! Simple!

By the way, have you ever heard of photographer credits?
You might try using them, since it's not like you're on a blogger's budget.
You ran eight photos on that page and didn't give a credit on a single one of them.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

On heels of Jim Leyritz arrest, another drunk NY driver is headed our way...

Saw this nugget on The Drudge Report about Sidney Blumenthal's arrest in New Hampshire for DWI, and thought it a good time to connect some dots on him and the Clintons for those of you who didn't already know.
And yes, lest anyone ask out of mock concern for my health and safety, I really will be looking both ways TWICE before crossing busy Biscayne Blvd. in Aventura, once Hillary spin-meister Sidney Blumenthal gets here in the near future, since I'm positive that there'll be some sort of Hillary event before the vote on the 29th, perhaps via satellite, and it's hard to imagine that he won't be among the first to parachute in to help manage and corral the media.

Frankly, given the stakes involved for here due to the political calendar, she's really got no choice but to pull out all the stops, and everyone with any political common sense knows that the city of Aventura serves as a key Florida redoubt for her, full of deep-pocketed financial contributors as well as experienced condo commanders and political operatives.
I wouldn't be at all surprised if Hillary supporter and Hallandale Beach mayor Joy Cooper even swings by to help lead the cheers for the Hillary ground troops in tandem with Aventura mayor Susan Gottlieb!

(See info on Aventura and Hallandale Beach contributors at , , and )

I'll spare you the tangent that first popped into my head when I first saw the news about Sidney Blumenthal doing 70 in a 30 m.p.h. zone, and just give you my Reader's Digest-version take on this guy, whom I read for years in various places before Bill Clinton bit the bullet and announced he'd run for president afterall.
As much as I dislike Blumenthal and his brand of ethical musical chairs, where one day he's the observer and the next he's the personal advisor, there's no denying his ability to craft interesting pieces with well-chosen words and penetrating observations, even while noting how often they're incredibly cringe-worthy and self-serving at the same time.

But consider the sage advice Albert Brooks passed along to us in a great film I've only seen about three-dozen times, Broadcast News , when discussing another articulate chronicler of news, in his wonderfully observed and dead-on portrayal of brainy news reporter Aaron Altman, smitten beyond all-hope with network news executive producer colleague Holly Hunter's Jane Craig, herself, somewhat bewildered by her own obvious attraction to William Hurt's Tom Grunick:

Aaron: I know you care about him. I've never seen you like this about anyone, so please don't take it wrong when I tell you that I believe that Tom, while a very nice guy, is the Devil.

Jane: This isn't friendship.

Aaron: What do you think the Devil is going to look like if he's around? Nobody is going to be taken in if he has a long, red, pointy tail. No. I'm semi-serious here. He will look attractive and he will be nice and helpful and he will get a job where he influences a great God-fearing nation and he will never do an evil thing... he will just, bit by little bit, lower standards where they are important. Just coax along flash over substance... Just a tiny bit. And he will talk about all of us really being salesmen. And he'll get all the great women.

Aaron: I think we have the kind of friendship where if I were the devil, you'd be the only one I would tell.

(See also )

Of all the many prominent people I met over the roughly 15 years I lived in Washington, which included many folks at the WSJ, NYT and ABC-TV News that you'd probably recognize in a nanosecond if you're a real news junkie -as well as several others you'd eventually recognize with some time to place the face or voice- nobody in town was more widely reviled by them, collectively, than rapid Clinton apple-polisher Sid Blumenthal.
I'm not joking, either. Real visceral hate!
And it's not like the Washington of the Nineties lacked candidates, either.

As it happens, back in the days when he was talking and acting more like a DLC Democrat that the person he's become since then, in 1988 I defied South Florida's supposed Democratic CW (conventional wisdom) about the electability of Michael Dukakis and voted for Al Gore during the FL primary on Super Tuesday, March 8th.

(Gore's senior thesis at Harvard was on "The Impact of Television on the Conduct of the Presidency.")
After voting, I promptly drove up to Washington, listening to election returns on the radio throughout the South on my drive up, which had been my game plan all along.

Lots and lots of Charlotte's WBT and Nashville's flamethrower, WLAC, as well as many smaller stations reporting local races with just as much drama, intrigue and backbiting as farther up on the ballot. Lots of talk about whether Gore would be able to win in northern states!
Mostly, they were the very same radio stations I'd always listened to for American Top 40 with Casey Kasem (AT40) during its heyday, so I was a veritable walking-talking Billboard hit list by the time my drive north ended, just as I'd been on my drives down here and back from Indiana for spring break.
(See and )

(jingle and lines that are always in my head on long droves by myself)
"Casey's Coast-to-Coast!"
"Hi, I'm Casey Kasem on American Top 40, coming to you on great radio stations like...
We're counting down the top hits...
Now on with the countdown!...

The Newsweek post, below, about the arrest has already received lots of reader comments, which I haven't included here, but which are growing by the hour.
Hardly surprising that they tend to be both very mean-spirited and very funny!

As a point of information, in case you may've forgotten or perhaps never knew, Blumenthal and his wife sued Matt for $30 Million. Result?
Blumenthal was forced to pay Drudge to get out of the lawsuit!

Even more delicious than the Newsweek piece, though, is this take on Blumenthal from The New York Observer, and what I think is the devastatingly accurate take on his political perch at The New Yorker by one very upset reader.
(Me, I generally preferred Elizabeth Drew's stories on the corrosive effects on the political system and government of money and lobbyists.)

That Newsweek online post jogged my memory about something I'd once seen about Sidney Blumenthal and a Miami Herald story from 2000 that he was shopping around to create some editorial ripples before 42 made way for 43.
After digging thru my old Yahoo! email archives and a trip or two thru the SouthBeachHoosier Time Machine, I found it, and have it below as well for your consideration.

I suspect that it'll confirm what many of you already think about how Washington works.

When you get a second, please check out yesterday's post on Prof. Eugene Volokh's savvy blog,
The Volokh Conspiracy, , long one of my favorites, about the refusal of Ms. magazine to run an ad and their rationale: Mid-East politics.
No, not the politics of people actually living in the Mid-East.
The Mid-East politics of their own readers!
Posted Friday, January 11, 2008 7:56 PM
Blumenthal On the Boil
contributed by Suzanne Smalley
Blumenthal: It Was Policy and Personality
By Jason Horowitz
January 9, 2008
the Miami Herald's story from 2000 that Blumenthal tried to muster interest in around the country:
Sid’s List (Blumenthal’s e-mail list)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Miranda Lambert's voice and FNL video = GREAT!

While trying to dig up some information on tonight's new episode of NBC-TV's Friday Night Lights, one of my favorite shows, one I've watched since Day One, I came across some info about something quite magical, especially for an amateur video effort.
Titled "Friday Night Lights: Famous In a Small Town," it's the joining together of Miranda Lambert's wonderful voice with cleverly chosen clips of FNL episodes and promotional publicity for the series. It's really quite good, so check it out when you get a chance!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Marlins Stadium Vote Delayed to Jan. 22

I'll have MUCH more to say about the subject of a Marlins stadium in the next few days.
Until then, please also see The Miami News Today's excellent editorial, Don't sign blank check now for incomplete stadium at

The proposed agenda and particulars are available in the County's pdf files below the articles.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Miami-Dade commission to delay vote on new Marlins ballpark
January 9, 2008

Miami-Dade County commissioners will again delay a vote on a financing plan for a Florida Marlins ballpark Thursday, as county, city of Miami, team and Major League Baseball officials continue to hammer out the agreement.
Commissioners delayed a vote last month to give the sides more time to negotiate a plan for a $525 million ballpark at the site of the Orange Bowl. County Manager George Burgess plans to update commissioners on negotiations Thursday.
Commission Chairman Bruno Barreiro said he will recommend the item be deferred until the commission's Jan. 22 meeting "so everyone can have enough time to review and analyze the whole package because even if it gets ready by Thursday, there definitely won't be enough time to review it," Barreiro said.

Copyright © 2008, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Miami Herald
Vote on stadium financing to be deferred
By Charles Rabin
January 8, 2008

A vote set for Thursday to approve a financing plan for a new Florida Marlins baseball stadium will be deferred, as the team, city and county labor to reach consensus on the fine print of the proposed $525 million Little Havana ballpark.
County Manager George Burgess told commission aides Tuesday that the three entities need more time to iron out several differences in the plan made public only last month. Burgess declined comment.
Betty Gutierrez, legislative aide to County Commission Chairman Bruno Barreiro, said Burgess conveyed that the administration was not yet ready to move forward.
''My understanding is it's not so much the numbers -- they're all just trying to work out technicalities,'' Barreiro said.
He said his commission colleagues deserve time to review any agreement, so he will move the item to Jan. 22.
County Mayoral Spokeswoman Vicki Mallette confirmed the administration wished to delay a vote by two weeks, saying "negotiations are continuing.''
This will be the second time a vote on the financing has been deferred.
Under the proposal, the Marlins would pay $155 million up front, and the county and city would contribute $249 million and $121 million, respectively.
The funding plan is one part of a multibillion dollar agreement between the city and county that would also finance a port tunnel and a park for the proposed museums at Bicentennial Park. The agreement would also cover construction costs of almost one-half billion dollars for the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts.
Car mogul Norman Braman began airing radio announcements in both English and Spanish this week, urging residents to push commissioners to vote against the plan for the ballpark and the downtown redevelopment.
The ads focus on money gained from extending and expanding Miami's Community Redevelopment Agency -- the linchpin to creating the money needed for the development deal -- as investments that should be directed to the poor.

Reader comments on this article are at:

Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners Agenda
Thursday, January 10, 2008
As Advertised
Commission Chambers


Bruno A. Barreiro



Carried over by BCC

Deferred by BCC Passed 13 - 0





Carried over by BCC

Deferred by BCC Passed 13 - 0

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Richard Anguiano: Florida Hometown Democracy debated

So far, this is the best-written and nuanced news article I've read yet on the proposed citizen amendment to the Florida state constitution, which I strongly support.

For the latest news story on the amendement, in chron order, see:

Florida Hometown Democracy debated
By Richard Anguiano

OCALA - Depending on who's doing the talking, it's either the biggest threat to Florida's economy in years or much-needed check against irresponsible growth management.

Exactly one month from now, Florida voters will either hear the end of it or only the beginning.

The issue is "Florida Hometown Democracy," a proposed state constitutional amendment under which local voters would get to have their say on comprehensive land-use plans or amendments proposed by local governments.

Lesley Blackner, the West Palm Beach attorney leading the effort, says it's designed to end "government of the developers, by the developers and for the developers."

Blackner's proposal has drawn fire from a number of business groups: On its Web site, the Florida Chamber of Commerce says it "subverts a well-established, open, accessible, and democratic planning process." Susan Pareigis, president of the Florida Council of 100, called it a "death sentence for economic activity" in a March speech before members of the Ocala/Marion County Economic Development Corp.

Blackner, 46, describes herself as a "middle-aged mother of two who is fairly conservative in her politics" and denies she's anti-business.

"I'm not against people making money," she said. "It's just that we've had a decade in which builders did whatever builders wanted and it crashed the economy. They've had total control of county commissions in Florida for 100 years. This is definitely rocking their world, but it's a reform whose time has come."

That remains to be seen: In order for the Hometown Democracy proposal to make the November ballot, the Florida Division of Elections must validate 611,009 signed petitions from voters; as of Dec. 25, the state had validated 446,205, or 73 percent. The signatures must also be distributed proportionally among Florida's 25 congressional districts.

Among the four districts including Marion County, only District 3 had surpassed its target as of Dec. 25, with 19,302 signatures needed and 21,850 validated. At the other end of the spectrum was District 8, with 24,363 signatures required and 7,095, or 29 percent, verified.

Speaking by phone from her home on Dec. 14, Blackner claimed her group had submitted 600,000 petitions to the state and said she was "a little nervous" about their totals.

"Think of how elections have been run in Florida for the past 10 years," she said.

"Remember the gang that couldn't count straight?"

Meanwhile, the opposition is leaving nothing to chance.

Ryan Houck, the political director of an anti-Hometown Democracy group called Floridians for Smarter Growth Inc., urged members of the Central Florida Commercial Association of Realtors, or CFCAR, at a Dec. 12 luncheon in The Villages to eject any petition gatherers they found on their properties.

Houck said Floridians for Smarter Growth sees Hometown Democracy as a "one-size-fits-all, meat-cleaver approach" to the growth management issue.

He also rejected one of Blackner's main arguments, that Hometown Democracy would get citizens more involved in land-use decisions in their communities. He made his point by waving a sample ballot of land-use issues in the city of North Reddington Beach he said would have been on a ballot under Hometown Democracy; the ballot was 47 pages long and contained 525 issues, according to Houck.

"Anyone think this will make people want to get out and vote more?" Houck asked the commercial Realtors. "If anything, it'll probably drive voting down.

Blackner said Houck's North Reddington Beach sample ballot only reinforces the need for Hometown Democracy.

"That shows you we have a situation in Florida where a local government is handing out changes to their comp plan like candy, which means they don't really have a comp plan," she said. "That argument makes my case for me."

On its Web site, Floridians for Smarter Growth criticizes Hometown Democracy as a "Vote on Everything" initiative, while Blackner counters that her group's initiative applies only to comp plans and comp plan amendments, not to rezonings or variances.

Dwight Ganoe, Marion County's planning director, said 20 large-scale "map" amendments have been petitioned for the county's consideration in 2008. He said the county also typically considers 10 to 12 small-scale amendments involving 10 acres or less per year.

Whether it would involve 525 issues on a ballot or 20, Marion County Commissioner Barbara Fitos says she has "logistical" issues with the Hometown Democracy proposal, while conceding she sees the campaign as a "no-confidence vote" from citizens on government's ability to manage growth.

"I understand the frustration," said Fitos, who was elected to the District 4 seat in November 2006. "My concern is it's going to put an enormous burden on the citizens to become experts in land-use changes."

Houck and Floridians for Smarter Growth argue that Hometown Democracy would exponentially increase "process costs" for local governments through additional elections and voter education efforts. Worse, Houck said, the long-term impact would be "devastating" to Florida's economy.

Pete Tesch, president and CEO of the Ocala/Marion County EDC, agrees. He said he thinks Hometown Democracy could throw the state into "long-term economic stagnation." He noted the EDC's current effort with local government officials to find land for prospective employers.

"We believe the I-75 corridor has many areas where future employment centers or business parks that would create high-wage jobs could be placed," Tesch said.

"(Under Hometown Democracy) that could be voted out very easily. We're running out of industrial and commercial land for economic purposes."

Some 20 years ago, Margaret Spontak worked with Marion County officials to draft the comp plan and even challenged the county, along with 1000 Friends of Florida, on provisions covering septic tanks and vested development rights. She describes herself as both "very green and pro-business."

Spontak said she's familiar with Hometown Democracy, but not of all of the details of its proposal.

"As much as I've seen, I think it's too cumbersome," said Spontak, who is now the senior vice president of CLM Workforce Connection. "I think the key is to let good officials make good decisions."

I think there are opportunities to bring clean, high-growth industries to Marion County and to take that to the ballot is not the best way to do business," she said.

Dick Hancock, executive vice president of the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association, said his group has not taken a position on Hometown Democracy.

"With 2,900 members we certainly have every position imaginable within the membership," Hancock said.

"When it comes to growth management issues, we try to stay out of those.

"If it's a situation where this could adversely affect the farmland value of our members, then it might be a situation where we'd have to jump in," he said.

Blackner grew up in Jacksonville and recalls making trips to Silver Springs as a child. She argues loss of the Marion County's natural beauty would have an economic impact of its own.

"I don't think Marion County wants to end up looking like Fort Lauderdale," she said.

"People in Marion County should take a trip down to Miami/Dade and Broward and take a look at what's happened there. Marion County has a lot of nice areas. If we continue with the status quo, they won't be there for long."'

Both sides in the debate are leveling strong charges at each other.

Floridians for Smarter Growth's Houck described Hometown Democracy as "a creepy cabal of folks outside the mainstream," accusing Blackner and co-founder Ross Burnaman, both attorneys, of standing to profit from lawsuits.

Houck also mentioned supporters including Floridians for Sustainable Population, whose leader, Joyce Tarnow, was arrested for gathering Hometown Democracy petitions outside a Publix in Pompano Beach earlier this year; as well as Joseph Redner, owner of the Mons Venus strip club in Tampa, who has contributed money to the campaign.

Blackner said she didn't know who Redner was when his contribution came in.

"Apparently a lot of people go to his place," she said. "He's also an environmentalist.

"I'm not stupid," Blackner added. "I'm not going to turn down a contribution."

Meanwhile, Blackner says Floridians for Smarter Growth and other opposition groups - referred to on Florida Hometown Democracy's Web site as "the Dark Side" - are deliberately trying to misinform citizens. One opposition group called Save Our Constitution has tried to get those who signed petitions to revoke them. Blackner also claims Floridians for Smarter Growth launched its own petition drive for no other reason than to confuse citizens.

Houck denies that charge, saying his group's petition offers citizens an alternative. Under the Floridians for Smarter Growth initiative, voter approval of growth management plan changes would be required if 10 percent of the voters in the city or county sign a petition calling for such a referendum.

The Florida Division of Elections Web site lists no information on the status of that petition drive and Houck said his group has made a "tactical decision" to keep mum.

"It's sort of like sharing your playbook with the other team right before the game on Sunday."

A check of the Florida Division of Elections Web site on Dec. 26 showed Hometown Democracy with 1,622 contributions totaling slightly more than $1 million. Most appear to be contributions from private citizens ranging from $10 to $50. The site shows 23 contributions from Ocala, with the largest total, $520, coming from a group called "Smart Coalition of NC Fla."

By contrast, the site shows Floridians for Smarter Growth with $1.5 million from 39 contributions, among them $550,000 from the National Association of Home Builders, $50,000 from the United States Sugar Corp. and $40,000 from Lykes Bros, Inc.

Houck, however denies Blackner's charge that his group is bought and paid for by developers and "the growth machine."

"We're supported by organizations like the Florida Chamber of Commerce and other groups which represent about 2 million jobs in the state of Florida," he said. "Who does Lesley Blackner represent?"

As to which petition, if either, will make it to the ballot, Houck calls it "a coin toss."

Blackner says she's optimistic for Hometown Democracy's chances.

"I think we're going to be on the ballot," she said.

And what if the initiative fails to get the required signatures?

"I'm really not thinking about that," she replied. "We're just trying to give it our best effort. I'm not thinking past January."

However, Ross Burnaman, Blackner's Hometown Democracy co-founder, told Florida Trend earlier this year that not making the ballot in 2008 "doesn't mean Hometown Democracy's dead."

Meanwhile, both supporters and detractors of the Hometown Democracy initiative agree Blackner and her group have tapped into citizens' anxieties about growth management and sparked debate.

Houck grudgingly admits "Hometown Democracy stumbled into the right issue and the wrong solution."

Fitos notes the Marion County Commission is already looking at a total rewrite of its comp plan, and Hometown Democracy points to a need to have "visioning, with all the stakeholders at the table."

"[Hometown Democracy] has the potential for generating healthy discussion," Fitos added. "The dialogue is valid."

Richard Anguiano is the editor of Ocala Business Journal.
Contact him at or 352-867-4104.
Florida Hometown Democracy establishes that before a new comprehensive land-use plan can be adopted it must be subject to vote by referendum.

611,009 valid petition signatures are required by Feb. 1 to get the issue on the November 2008 ballot.

Division of Elections:
Florida Hometown Democracy:
Floridians for Smarter Growth:
Nonpartisan information site:

A check of the Florida Division of Elections Web site on Dec. 26 showed Hometown Democracy with 1,622 contributions totaling slightly more than $1 million.
To view reader comments to this article, see

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Miss Indiana may have TV reality hijinks in store for us!

My comments follow this story.
The South Bend Tribune

December 30, 2007
Queen strives to restore Miss America's luster
Amanda Petrucelli, Tribune Correspondent

Nicole Rash is not like the other girls. Really.

For starters, Miss Indiana has her motorcycle license, likes to camp and is fluent in Spanish. (She was an exchange student to both Bolivia and Chile.)

"I can get my hands dirty. It's not like I'm a prim, proper debutante who sits in the house all day," the 2003 Plymouth High School graduate says.

And if you don't believe she's not a "big-haired, pageant girl," you'll get a chance to get to know her on the Miss America Pageant's "Reality Check" series, starting at 10 p.m. Friday on TLC.

"It's really fun," the 23-year-old Rash says.

"We had a lot of fun with it. There's some drama with it.

"For the series, she says, all state titleholders were housed in the Hollywood home where "The Biggest Loser" was filmed.

No TV, no music and no Internet.

"It's a really, really gorgeous, huge property -- a really nice house," Rash says, "but for 52 girls, we had seven bathrooms."

Contestants are presented with challenges, she says, and Hollywood icons show up with tips about how to be the next "It Girl."

"We're just trying to appeal to when Miss America was at its highest point," Rash says. "When little girls wanted to be Miss America."

Rash notes that a woman can be relevant, fashionable and pretty but not have to get into the trouble of Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan to make headlines.

She works with the Children's Miracle Network, which is the national platform of the pageant and is affiliated with Indianapolis' Riley Hospital for Children.

As the Las Vegas pageant date looms, you can find Miss Indiana substitute teaching in the Plymouth school system. The daughter of Bill and Cindy Rash, longtime LaPaz/Plymouth residents, Rash's personal platform is "breaking down language barriers."

"Miss America is so much more than just about the pageant," she says.

But don't worry boys: Rash says there will be swimsuits in the reality show.

Tune in.

The Miss America Pageant's "Reality Check" will at 10 p.m. Fridays on TLC beginning Friday. The Miss America Pageant airs at 8 p.m. Jan. 26. _________________________________________
The TLC show has an encore time of Mondays at 10 p.m.

"Barbara Mougin (Miss Plymouth) became the 1977 titleholder and then went on to tie the best-ever finish for a Miss Indiana at the Miss America Pageant with a First Runner-up placing to the new Miss America Susan Perkins of Ohio."

Not that any stats mean as much as they do in baseball, but at least Nicole's got the advantage of being from the county that's done better than any other Hoosier candidate, so she has the county's tradition going for her if nothing else.

Call me old fashioned, but I liked the days back when I was in Bloomington, when the Miss Indiana was so often a smart, funny and attractive IU coed from SouthBeachHoosier favorite, the Tri-Delt house, which I think happened twice in 4-5 years in the early '80's.

I'd be minding my own business, reading my ids, over breakfast of some eggs and bacon and a bagel on a Monday morning and read that yet another sorority sister of my personable and charming friends Gail Amster and Terri Kearns -the two greatest IU Redsteppers ever!-had persuaded some very discerning Midwestern judges with their impressive talents, abilities and sheer nerve to put themself on the line.

(Even though I wasn't in a fraternity myself, one year, as a personal favor to a Tri-Delt friend of mine, a wonderfully funny, smart and sweet Hoosier-by-choice -like me- named Faith "Gus" Lawler, who was then the Panhel president (head of all the presidents of the IU sororities which composed the Panhellenic Council), because Gus knew I was already giving walking tours of campus to prospective IU students for SAC (and VIP tours for others) due to my knowledge of of IU trivia and facts and "talking points," I agreed to help lead the walking tours of the fraternities as well, though to save my voice, I usually stayed outside near the sidewalk.

While living in Evanston in the mid-80's, one year I went back to Bloomington over Thansgiving to visit my younger sister -and my mom, who was visiting from Miami. It was a really great trip, only one of my best ever, since we hadn't been together since the previous Christmas.

Just as it always seemed that I spent so much of my time in the IMU while going to school there, a few days later, probably the Saturday, I swung by to purchase a couple of IU souvenirs for my apt. up in Evanston, look for some pocket IU basketball schedules over in the Biddle Hotel, plus, leave some notes underneath the office doors of SAB and SAC with my contact info, so that if they heard from anyone I knew who'd left for jobs or grad school, they'd pass it along -and vice versa.

(This was before I knew that Wendy Mulholland, my amazing Alpha Chi and IU cheerleader friend, was living in Evanston like me, and going to Kellogg.)

Anyway, while either in the cafe writing the notes or while watching something on the giant TV in the IU Trophy Room, I ran into a mutual friend of Gus and I who had some good news.

(I don't know what it's like now, but back then, the Trophy Room was one of the most popular places on campus, since the giant TV screen there was where soap operas, news and other TV shows were watched by the hundreds everyday, in between classes, as well as ballgames by those with small TVs on weekends, and seminal events, like finding out that President Reagan had been shot the day we were all psyched to play and beat North Carolina in the 1981 NCAA title game.

Not to date myself, but among the things I watched there were the "Luke & Laura" wedding on General Hospital, the series finale of M.A.S.H., North Carolina State's frentic upset over Houston in the NCAA title game, which featured so much screaming that the walls seemed to be shaking, the Orioles' clinching victory in Game 5 of the 1983 World Series over the Phillies, and many others.

I loved that room which featured old basketball and footballs lining the walls and ceiling with the scores enscribed on them, as well as IU team photos in glass cases.
My personality being what it is, I tended to know just about every inch of that room!)

This mutual friend said that the last she'd heard, Gus had moved out to L.A. after graduation for an upscale retail management program of some sort, possibly with the May Company, which I could totally believe. Someone like Gus would've been absolute catnip to them!

She was charming as could be and clever as a whip!

Though I could be wrong, I seem to think that Gus was also on what can only be called a ridiculously talented Tri-Delt flag football team, a team whose games I often saw up on the Fee Lane fields on many cool nights, who seldom came across an opponent they couldn't handle with ease.

And their lanky but quick, dark-haired QB from roughly about '80-'82, was an absolute High Definition vision of loveliness, running thru flimsy and pointless grabs for her hip flags.

At times, I could practically feel myself faint when I watched her run and outmanuver some befuddled opponents. It was like watching a Roadrunner cartoon, since they could never lay a finger on her, much like Wile E. Coyote's success rate.

What can I say? Smart, good-looking and very athletic! That was/is my type!

Why didn't I ever think to bring my camera with me?!

Wow, I could SO kick myself now, thinking about all those great shots of Gail and Terri at the IU football and basketball games, or Gus up in her office at Panhel, which I could've shot back then to help illustrate how great they were, and such absolute delights to be with.)

Back to the Miss Indiana winner, though, if I didn't recognize the name right away, and there was no photo, though there usually was, I'd write it down and make a mental note to compare it to the house photo next time I was over there.

I really loved that house, too! It was just as great inside as on the ouside.

See photos at and

Trust me when I tell you, it wasn't luck that it was chosen by the producers of Breaking Away ( see and ) to serve as the sorority house used in the famous faux Romeo & Juliet scene, when Dave serenades Katherine, was no accident.

It's absolutely gorgeous!

While two Miss Indianas from one sorority in such a short period of time might not be quite as impressive a feat as the number of MLB shortstops that have come out of the town of San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic, "The Cradle of Shortstops," that's still pretty impressive.

(See Baseball Posse for some interesting background on baseball's hold on Dominican life. )

Having somebody you actually knew in the national competition or a close friend who had a friend in it, gives you some sort of rooting interest, at least, and always made it easier to watch and overlook the often blah look of the telecast, other than the perennial questions.
Perennial questions? Why yes!

Would Miss Rhode Island be the palest competitor, yet again?

Would Miss New York continue to be represented by some small upstate town or a college town instead of someone from NYC?

Which college would have the most number of contestants, if not UCLA, some community college in Dallas or Missouri?

Who would go onto prominence first as a nationally known, ahem, "news" reporter or sports (sideline) reporter, Miss California or Miss Texas?

The current contestant from Florida, Kylie Jean Williams, is a 24-year old FSU grad from Jasper, east of I-75 up near the Georgia border.

The last pageant of any sort that I ever watched more than ten minutes of was the Miss Teen USA in 1999, where within ten seconds of ever seeing Miss Tennessee, Rachel Boston, I knew that she had "it," that undefinable star quality that you know when you see it.

I even said it to a friend who had literally shown up a few minutes before.

My friend's exact quote in response to my eureka moment: "Whatever."

Rachel, one of my all-time favorite names, was absolutely awesome in one of my favorite cancelled TV shows of the past 10-15 years, American Dreams, playing a wonderfully-written character who was about as realistic as you ever see on TV. I never ever missed that show.

The show's possible cancellation almost got me to the point of signing one of those crazy online petitions I always dismiss with derision whenever I hear about them.

Now I now better.

Rachel just knocked me out in my favorite episode ever -in 2005- of The Closer, a terrific ensemble show I've watched since episode one, and which only gets better and better each season.

No matter how many times I've seen an episode, if there's one on TV at the time, that's what I watch.

Henceforth, anything Rachel Boston is in, I'm watching.

Consider for a moment this thoughtful answer to a question posed to her in 1999:

Describe how you envision yourself in five years.
An honors graduate from Columbia University with a theater background from Julliard, with at least on Broadway play under my belt. I will probably living in a tiny apartment without air conditioning, pursuing my performing arts dream in New York City. By continuing my public speaking, I will be know as the actress who is determined to use talents for the benefit of worthy causes.

The hypothesis is thus proven!:

Apropos of pageants in general, I'll have a post in the future on a most remarkable woman I once knew and spent a fair amount of time with at IU, who not only was a very successful
pageant contestant, but who's continued to do some really amazing things in her community of St. Louis. It's quite a story.

See and

Chelsea Clinton the mannequin; serial jerk Bob Kerry

My comments are below the story
Chelsea Clinton Guards Her Words
Dec. 30, 2007
By Beth Fouhy, Associated Press

VINTON, Iowa (AP) - It's one thing for Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign to turn down interview requests for the candidate's daughter, Chelsea. But can't a 9-year-old reporter catch a break?

Sydney Rieckhoff, a Cedar Rapids fourth grader and "kid reporter" for Scholastic News, has posed questions to seven Republican and Democratic presidential hopefuls as they've campaigned across Iowa this year. But when she approached the 27-year-old Chelsea after a campaign event Sunday, she got a different response.

"Do you think your dad would be a good 'first man' in the White House?" Sydney asked, but Chelsea brushed her question aside.

"I'm sorry, I don't talk to the press and that applies to you, unfortunately. Even though I think you're cute," Chelsea told the pint-sized journalist.

Such is the paradox of Chelsea as she campaigns across Iowa in the closing days before the state's caucuses Jan. 3.

Tall and attractive, Chelsea cuts an impressive figure on the campaign trail; she plunges enthusiastically into the crowd after her mother's speeches, shaking hands and posing for pictures while asking, "Are you going to caucus for my mom?"

But onstage, Chelsea never speaks; she stands next to her mother and applauds but utters not a single sentence and doesn't even say hello. And reporters covering the campaign have been put on notice that Chelsea is not available to speak to them. An aide follows the former first daughter as she works the crowd, shushing reporters who approach her and try to ask any questions.

Famously protective of their daughter's privacy, Bill and Hillary Clinton have taken pains to shield Chelsea from the harsh glare and rough edges of presidential politics. She stayed largely absent from her mother's campaign until December, when she made her first visit to Iowa.

For her part, Sydney looked a bit crestfallen after Chelsea turned her away. But luckily for Hillary Clinton, Sydney's mother has made up her mind to caucus for the former first lady.

"I like her position on family values and health care. And I think it's time we have a female president," Robyn Rieckhoff said.
For more on the topic of Chelsea as a mannequin, see this Associated Press story from May 14th, , which compares Chelsea's experience in Washington to Patti Reagan Davis, titled Chelsea Clinton weighs role in mom’s bid, Could become the first first daughter to do it all over again.
Letters, we get letters...

Dear SouthBeachHoosier:

We love it when women are seen but not heard, and used mostly as props for whatever political or social purpose suits us at the moment, including death by stoning for fraternizing with men outside her family, or whippings for being gang-raped.

Sort of like how we often score political points at home and abroad by tweaking President Bush and Secretary Rice and the U.S., by asking for Bill Richardson to deal with some problem that, if it even involves the U.S. in the first place, is more properly the domain of the U.S. State Dept., since that's their actual job, and they are, after all, overseen by an elected U.S. Congress, while Richardson is not. We love the free lancer!

Meanwhile, we do nothing but complain about U.S. 'meddling' from the sidelines, as we do in Darfur, as we allow thousands of innocent people to be killed because it suits our larger political purposes and goals, and their religion is the wrong one.

The Middle East, Islamic parts of Africa and Asia and parts of macho South America not named Chile.
As to the AP story, here's what nobody wants to say out loud but knows is true: the fundamental differences b/w Chelsea Clinton and Patti Reagan were that Patti was actually quite interesting; from California not Arkansas; had lots of friends back home and because she was older and independent, didn't have to always be in D.C, and play the dutiful daughter card; wasn't forced to play the role of a young scholar.

(Or, have a mother like Hillary that talks piously in public about the benefits of public education, perhaps to appease the NEA and AFT -and the powerful education lobby, largely unregistered, that so many of my frieneds belonged to- but when push came to shove, enrolls her own daughter in a prestigious private high school like Sidwell Friends, a school that I used to live only a few blocks from, and would occasionally watch their field hockey or soccer games; just be honest and say it's for security purposes and nobody would argue the point);

Patti was cute and crazy mischievous; more importantly, she was always up to something that would make for good copy, especially if it would somehow allow the press to highlight the differences between what her father said and meant, and what Patti actually did.

In the comparison, Chelsea Clinton, while likely a perfectly nice and relatively normal person, honorable considering what she's been thru, is, frankly, a bore.

Even now, all these years later, nobody can remember a single memorable quote of hers, much less, have any audio or video of a single interesting thing she's ever uttered about anything.
If she had, we'd all know it, thru its sheer repititious airing since 1992.

But friends of mine and people I know in Washington, D.C. who are still very connected to the political and media fray in D.C. STILL remember Senator Bob Kerry's cruel joke about Chelsea, which is ironic now, given that Kerry's a Hillary supporter, and only too willing to help malign Obama, like Gov. Jean Shaheen's husband, Bill, thru calculated false charges.

(See Shaheen's mea culpa at:
and )

Whether it's done to perhaps further Kerry's career in a possible Hillary administration, after his very mixed-record at The New School comes to its end, or just because he doesn't like Obama's lack of experience, should hardly matter.
He still said it.

You have to wonder, at what point does the national media take away Kerry's perpetual 'hall pass,' and start asking the question of why having the support of a serial jerk like Kerry is such a bonus for Hillary & Co.?
The guy whose own family restaurant business ran afoul of many state business wage regs?

Frankly, his dating actress Debra Winger -a SouthBeachHoosier favorite- while Nebraska's governor was about the only interesting thing about him. Let me paraphrase some comments of a friend of mine who was a veteran staffer for a Nebraska congressman.

Kerry's Vietnam experience and the attention he received for the Winger thing gave him lots of traction in Washington at first. But he fundamentally misread it.
He started believing he really was that fascinating, and started believing what he was saying, and both bore little truth to the reality.

Once it dawned on Kerry in Washington that he was just one vote in a hundred, and that he no longer held sway over a semi-cowed regional press, his ego got out of control.
He became eager to tell others, esp. reporters, how truly exceptional he was, what a statesman he'd be when the time came... blah, blah.

You don't have to take my word for it, but a Republican congressman most of you have never heard of named Doug Bereutter, had much more influence over the intersection of U.S. agriculture and foreign policy than Kerry had.
That's what Nebraska cares about because farm exports are what pays the bills.
It's as simple as that.
That's why even conservative Republicans from there want to lift the trade embrago with Cuba.
I saw Bereutter in action dozens and dozens of times in the House Foreign Affairs Committee, under both Chairman Dante Fascell of Miami, whose picnics I often attended, and later, Hoosier Lee Hamilton, before the GOP took over after the 1994 congressional election, which sent real shock waves thru my circle of friends, since a few lost their jobs at the committse as a result of the switch.
(As you may've already guessed, given my background and the subjects of this blog, I lived in both of their congressional districts over the years. More on these great men in a future post.)

While I often disagreed with Bereutter's particular ideas or proposals, they were always tethered to the reality of his state's economic future and some commonly accepted facts.
Eventually, Bereutter became Chairman of the re-named House Committee on International Relations. Honestly, did you ever see him on Meet the Press?

(See my earlier mention of Bereutter in a from April on the Washington Post's anti-Putin editorial: )

Kerry on the other hand was a guy who really loved seeing his reflection in a camera lens, whether TV or newspaper. This banner was later grabbed by yet another Nebraska egomaniac who wanted to be recognized as a brilliant and thoughtful statesman, Chuck Hagel.

(See Kerry's apologia: and )

Sad but true: Chelsea is a cipher.

Also, if you didn't know, I believe it was the Washington Post that once wrote in quite laudatory fashion about a bill in Congress that Chelsea's current boyfriend's mother, Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky -who was also a very popular TV reporter in Philly before she was elected to the 103rd Congress- voted for to support President Clinton, but which most observers said would all but ensure her re-election defeat in '94.
It did.

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation
"In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation." -South Beach Hoosier, 2007

#IUBB, #bannersix

#IUBB, #bannersix
Assembly Hall, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana; Click photo to see video of Straight No Chaser's version of Back Home Again In Indiana, 2:37
The South Florida I Grew Up In

Excerpts from Joan Didion's Miami, 1987, Simon & Schuster:

In the continuing opera still called, even by Cubans who have now lived the largest part of their lives in this country, el exilo, the exile, meetings at private homes in Miami Beach are seen to have consequences. The actions of individuals are seen to affect events directly. Revolutions and counter-revolutions are framed in the private sector, and the state security apparatus exists exclusively to be enlisted by one or another private player. That this particular political style, indigenous to the Caribbean and to Central America, has now been naturalized in the United States is one reason why, on the flat coastal swamps of South Florida, where the palmettos once blew over the detritus of a dozen failed booms and the hotels were boarded up six months a year, there has evolved since the early New Year's morning in 1959 when Fulgencio Batista flew for the last time out of Havana a settlement of considerable interest, not exactly an American city as American cities have until recently been understood but a tropical capital: long on rumor, short on memory, overbuilt on the chimera of runaway money and referring not to New York or Boston or Los Angeles or Atlanta but to Caracas and Mexico, to Havana and to Bogota and to Paris and Madrid. Of American cities Miami has since 1959 connected only to Washington, which is the peculiarity of both places, and increasingly the warp...

"The general wildness, the eternal labyrinths of waters and marshes, interlocked and apparently neverending; the whole surrounded by interminable swamps... Here I am then in the Floridas, thought I," John James Audobon wrote to the editor of The Monthly American Journal of Geology and Natural Science during the course of an 1831 foray in the territory then still called the Floridas. The place came first, and to touch down there is to begin to understand why at least six administations now have found South Florida so fecund a colony. I never passed through security for a flight to Miami without experiencing a certain weightlessness, the heightened wariness of having left the developed world for a more fluid atmosphere, one in which the native distrust of extreme possibilities that tended to ground the temperate United States in an obeisance to democratic institutions seemed rooted, if at all, only shallowly.

At the gate for such flights the preferred language was already Spanish. Delays were explained by weather in Panama. The very names of the scheduled destinations suggested a world in which many evangelical inclinations had historically been accomodated, many yearnings toward empire indulged...

In this mood Miami seemed not a city at all but a tale, a romance of the tropics, a kind of waking dream in which any possibility could and would be accomodated...
Hallandale Beach Blog

Hallandale Beach Blog is where I try to inject or otherwise superimpose a degree of accountability, transparency and much-needed insight onto local Broward County government and public policy issues, which I feel is sorely lacking in local media now, despite all the technological advances that have taken place since I grew-up in South Florida in the 1970's. On this blog, I concentrate my energy, enthusiasm, anger, disdain and laser-like attention primarily on the coastal cities of Aventura, Hollywood and Hallandale Beach.

IF you lived in this part of South Florida, you'd ALREADY be in stultifying traffic, be paying higher-than-necessary taxes, and be continually musing about the chronic lack of any real accountability or transparency among not only elected govt. officials, but also of City, County and State employees as well. Collectively, with a few rare exceptions, they couldn't be farther from the sort of strong results-oriented, work-ethic mentality that citizens here deserve and are paying for.

This is particularly true in the town I live in, the City of Hallandale Beach, just north of Aventura and south of Hollywood. There, the Perfect Storm of years of apathy, incompetency and cronyism are all too readily apparent.
Sadly for its residents, Hallandale Beach is where even the easily-solved or entirely predictable quality-of-life problems are left to fester for YEARS on end, because of myopia, lack of common sense and the unsatisfactory management and coordination of resources and personnel.

It's a city with tremendous potential because of its terrific location and weather, yet its citizens have become numb to its outrages and screw-ups after years of the worst kind of chronic mismanagement and lack of foresight. On a daily basis, they wake up and see the same old problems again that have never being adequately resolved by the city in a logical and responsible fashion. Instead the city government either closes their eyes and hopes you'll forget the problem, or kicks them -once again- further down the road.

I used to ask myself, and not at all rhetorically, "Where are all the enterprising young reporters who want to show through their own hard work and enterprise, what REAL investigative reporting can produce?"

Hearing no response, I decided to start a blog that could do some of these things, taking the p.o.v. of a reasonable-but-skeptical person seeing the situation for the first time.
Someone who wanted questions answered in a honest and forthright fashion that citizens have the right to expect.

Hallandale Beach Blog intends to be a catalyst for positive change.

Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower, between beach and A1A/South Ocean Drive

Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower, between beach and A1A/South Ocean Drive
Hallandale Beach, FL; February 16, 2008 photo by South Beach Hoosier

Hollywood in Cartoons, The New Yorker

Hollywood in Cartoons, The New Yorker
"Gentlemen, I am happy to announce that as of today we are closing down our Washington news bureau and moving the entire operation to L.A."

Hollywood in Cartoons, The New Yorker

Hollywood in Cartoons, The New Yorker
"O.K., so I dig a hole and put the bone in the hole. But what's my motivation for burying it?"

Hollywood in cartoons, 10-21-06 Non-Sequitur by Wiley, www-NON-SEQUITUR.COM

Hollywood in cartoons, 10-21-06 Non-Sequitur by Wiley, www-NON-SEQUITUR.COM
The Magic of Hollywood: A motion has been put forth that we should seek to create rather than imitate. All in favor of killing this silly notion, nod in mindless agreement...

Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins
South Beach Hoosier's first Dolphin game at the Orange Bowl came in Dec. 1970, aged 9, a 45-3 win over Buffalo that propelled them into their first ever playoff appearance.

Sebastian the Ibis, the Spirited Mascot of the University of Miami Hurricanes

Sebastian the Ibis, the Spirited Mascot of the University of Miami Hurricanes
Before going to my first U-M game at the Orange Bowl in 1972, a friend's father often would bring me home an extra 'Canes game program. That's how I came to have the Alabama at U-M game program from Nov. 16, 1968, which was the first nationally-televised college football night game in color. (A 14-6 loss to the Crimson Tide.) After that first ballgame against Tulane, as l often did for Dolphin games if my father wasn't going, I'd get dropped off at the Levitz parking lot near the 836 & I-95 Cloverleaf in NMB, and catch a Dade County Park & Ride bus, going straight to the Orange Bowl. Onboard, I'd get next to the window and listen to WIOD's pre-game show on my Radio Shack transistor radio. A few times, I was just about the only person onboard besides the bus driver, which was alright by me. Once at the Orange Bowl, if I didn't already have a ticket, I'd buy a game program for myself and one or two for friends or teachers before heading to the ticket window, since you usually couldn't find a program vendor once inside. I probaly had a friend or my father with me for just under 40% of the U-M games I ever went to, but you have to remember that the team, though blessed with several talented players, like Chuck Foreman and Burgess Owens, was just so-so to average at best, and the games were usually played on Friday nights, so it wasn't exactly high on everyone's list of things to do. Depending upon the opponent, if I was alone, I'd often have entire areas of the Orange Bowl to myself. (Wish I had photos of that now!) For instance, I had a good portion of the East (open) End Zone to myself against Oklahoma in the mid-70's, when the Boomer Schooner and the Schooner Crew went out on the field after an Oklahoma TD, and the Schooner received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty from the refs, as would happen years later in an Orangle Bowl Classic game. (Against FSU?) I was there for the wins and losses under Pete Elliott, Carl Selmer & Lou Saban, and the huge on-field fight in '73 when under eventual national champion Notre Dame (under Ara Parseghian), they called a time-out with less than a minute to go, and already up 37-0. Their rationale? To score another TD and impress the AP football writers; final score 44-0. Well, they got their wish and beat Alabama 24-23 for the title at the Sugar Bowl. A year later, thanks to my Mom's boss, she and I saw Ara's last game as head coach of the Irish in the Orange Bowl Game from the East End Zone -in front of the Alabama cheerleaders!!!- in an exciting 13-11 Notre Dame win over Alabama and Bear Bryant, a rematch of the '73 national title game. I was also present for the U-M's huge 20-15 win under Pete Elliott against Darrel Royal's Texas Longhorns, the week Sports Illustrated's College Football preview issue came out with Texas on the cover, below. I was also present for lots of wins against schools called College of the Pacific, UNLV and Cal-Poly San Luis Obsispo, which I'd then never heard of before.

Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders, April 28, 2007

Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders, April 28, 2007
Photo by Mario J. Bermudez. April 28, 2007 at Dolphins NFL Draft Party at Dolphin HQ, Davie, FL

Of cheerleaders past and present

Given South Florida's unique version of the melting pot -con salsa- demographics and mindset, these women in the photo above are surely what most South Floridians would consider attractive women. But for this observer, who's spent hours & hours at IU cheerleader tryouts and who has known dozens of cheerleaders -and wannabes- in North Miami Beach, Bloomington, Evanston and Washington, D.C., the whole time I was watching these members of the Dolphins' squad perform, I couldn't help but compare them and their routines to those of some IU friends of mine who ALWAYS showed true Hoosier spirit & enthusiasm. Sitting at my table right near the stage and still later, while watching the long lines of Dolphin fans of all ages waiting to snap photos of themselves with the cheerleaders, I couldn't help but think about those friends who always left me and other Hoosier fans feeling positive & optimistic. Was there anyone I saw in Davie who possessed these valuable intangibles: the dancing precision of IU Red Stepper -and Captain- Gail Amster, my talented and spirited Phi Beta Kappa pal from Deerfield (IL), who always sat next to me in our Telecom. classes as we took turns entertaining the other; the ebullient spirit & energy of two Hoosier cheerleaders -and captains- from Bloomington, Wendy (Mulholland) Moyle & Sara Cox; the hypnotic, Midwestern, girl-next-door sexiness of Hoosier cheerleader Julie Bymaster, from Brownsburg; or, the adorable Southern girl-next-door appeal of former Hoosier Pom squader Jennifer Grimes, of Louisville, always such a clear distraction while sitting underneath the basket? Nope, not that I could see. But then they were VERY tough acts to follow!!! And that's not to mention my talented & spirited friends like Denise Andrews of Portage, Jody Kosanovich of Hammond & Linda Ahlbrand of Chesterton, all of whom were dynamic cheerleaders -and captains- at very large Hoosier high schools that were always in the championship mix, with Denise's team winning the Ind. football championship her senior year when she was captain -just like in a movie. That Denise, Jody & Linda all lived on the same dorm floor, just three stories above me at Briscoe Quad our freshman year, was one of the greatest coincidences -and strokes of luck for me!- that I could've ever hoped for. You could hardly ask for better ambassadors of IU than THESE very smart, sweet and talented women. In a future SBH post, I'll tell the story of one of the greatest Hoosiers I ever met, the aforementioned Wendy Mulholland, the Bloomington-born captain and emotional heart of the great early '80's IU cheerleading squads, and the daughter of Jack Mulholland, IU's former longtime Treasurer. The acorn doesn't fall far from a tree built on a foundation of integrity & community service! (After he retired, Mr. Mulholland was the first executive director of the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County. I used to joke with Wendy that her dad's name was the one that was permanently affixed to the bottom of my work-study checks for years, while I worked at the Dept. of Political Science's Library, first, at the Student Building in the old part of campus, and then later, after it was refurbished, in magnificent Woodburn Hall, my favorite building on campus.) In that future post, I'll share some reflections on Wendy's great strength of character and personality; my intentions of returning to Bloomington a few weeks before Fall '82 classes started, so I could help Wendy train and work-out to rehab her knee, so she'd feel confident in trying-out for the squad again, following a bad knee injury that'd left her physically-unable to try-out for the squad the previous spring, a big disappointment to those of us who cared about both Wendy and the team; my incredulity at, quite literally, running into Wendy while walking down a sidewalk one afternoon a few years later in Evanston, IL, when we were astonished to discover we were both living there, with me trying to hook on with a Windy City advertising agency, and Wendy then-attending Kellogg (KGSM) at Northwestern, right when the WSJ had named Kellogg the #1 Business School in the country. I'll also share a story about Wendy performing a true act of kindness towards me in 1982, when I was having a real emergency, and she went above-and-beyond what I had any logical reason to expect. Yet, Wendy, along with her very helpful dad, Jack, came through for me when I was in a very bad time crunch. I've never forgotten Wendy's kindness towards me, and her true Hoosier spirit. There's NOTHING I wouldn't do for Wendy Mulholland.

It's All About "The U"

It's All About "The U"
South Beach Hoosier's first U-M football game at the Orange Bowl was in 1972, age 11, against Tulane in the infamous "Fifth Down" game. In order to drum up support and attendance for the U-M at the Orange Bowl, that game had a promotion whereby South Florida kids who were school safety patrols could get in for free IF they wore their sash. I did. Clearly they knew that it was better to let kids in for free, knowing their parents would give them money to buy food and souvenirs, perhaps become a fan and want to return for future games. The ballgame made an interesting impression on The New York Times, resulting in this gem from the "View of Sport" column of Oct, 14, 1990, labeled 'Fifth Down or Not, It's Over When It's Over.' -"In 1972, aided by a fifth-down officiating gift in the last moments of the game, Miami of Florida defeated Tulane, 24-21. The country and the world was a much different place that fall because The New York Times took time and space to editorialize on the subject. ''Is it right for sportsmen, particularly young athletes, to be penalized or deprived of the goals for which they earnestly competed because responsible officials make mistakes? The ideal of true sportsmanship would be better served if Miami forfeited last week's game.' South Beach Hoosier hardly needs to tell you that this was YET another New York Times editoral that was completely ignored!

The issue I took with me the night of U-M's 20-15 upset of #1 Texas at the Orange Bowl

The issue I took with me the night of U-M's 20-15 upset of #1 Texas at the Orange Bowl
College Football, Texas No. 1, Hook 'em Horns, Sept. 10, 1973. Living in North Miami Beach in the '70's, my Sports Illustrated usually showed up in my mailbox on the Thursday or Friday before the Monday cover date. And was read cover-to-cover by Sunday morning.

The Perfect Storm

The Perfect Storm
U-M QB Ken Dorsey, Miami Hurricanes Undefeated National Champions 2001, Jan. 2002

Miami's Romp in the Rose

Miami's Romp in the Rose
Miami running back Clinton Portis, Jan. 7, 2002

Why the University of Miami should drop football

Why the University of Miami should drop football
June 12, 1995


Steve McGuire and Miami Overpower No.1 Notre Dame, Dec. 4, 1989

How Sweet It Is!

How Sweet It Is!
Miami Whips Oklahoma For The National Championship, Pictured: Dennis Kelleher, Jan. 11, 1988

My, Oh My, Miami!

My, Oh My, Miami!
Steve Walsh and the Canes Stun FSU, Oct. 12, 1987

Why Is Miami No. 1?

Why Is Miami No. 1?
QB Vinny Testaverde, Nov. 24, 1986

Miracle In Miami

Miracle In Miami
The Hurricanes Storm Past Nebraska, Halfback Keith Griffin, Jan. 9, 1984

Special Issue: College Football

Special Issue: College Football
The Best Passer, George Mira of Miami, Sept. 23, 1963

1984 College & Pro Spectatcular

1984 College & Pro Spectatcular
A Pair Of Aces: U-M QB Bernie Kosar & Miami Dolphin QB Dan Marino, Sept. 5, 1984

Pro Football Hall of Fame Special Issue

Pro Football Hall of Fame Special Issue
Dan Marino, Class of 2005, Aug. 2005


A Portfolio by Walter Iooss Jr., Ricky Williams, Miami Dolphins, Dec. 9, 2002

Coming Back

Coming Back
Jay Fiedler rallies Miami to a last-second win over Oakland, Oct. 1, 2001

Dan's Last Stand

Dan's Last Stand
At 38 and under siege, Dan Marino refuses to go down without a fight, Dec. 13, 1999

The War Zone

The War Zone
In the NFL's toughest division, the surprising Dolphins are on top, Lamar Smith, Dec. 11, 2000

Down and Dirty

Down and Dirty
Jimmy Johnson's Dolphins Bury The Patriots, Steve Emtman, Sept. 9, 1996

The Sunshine Boys

The Sunshine Boys
Now Playing in Miami: The Dan Marino and Jimmy Johnson Show, May 11, 1996


Miami loves Pat Riley but wants to give Don Shula the boot, Dec. 11, 1995


Which of today's stars are locks for the Hall of Fame? Dan Marino for sure. But who else? To find out, we polled the men who do the voting. Sept. 14, 1995

Sportsman Of The Year

Sportsman Of The Year
Don Shula, Dec. 20, 1993

Dan The Man

Dan The Man
Dan Marino Saves The Day For The Dolphins, Jan. 14, 1991

Dangerous Dan

Dangerous Dan
Dan Marino Passes Miami Into The Super Bowl, Jan. 14, 1985

Super Duper!

Super Duper!
Wide Receiver Mark Duper Of The Undefeated Dolphins, Nov. 19, 1984

Air Raid! Miami Bombs Washington

Air Raid! Miami Bombs Washington
Mark Clayton (burning Darryl Green) Sept. 10, 1984

Rookies On The Rise

Rookies On The Rise
Dan Marino: Miami's Hot Quarterback, Nov. 14, 1983

New Life In The WFL

New Life In The WFL
Warfield, Csonka and Kiick of Memphis, July 28, 1975

Zonk! Miami Massacres Minnesota

Zonk! Miami Massacres Minnesota
Larry Csonka, Jan. 21, 1974

Pro Football, Miami Is Rough And Ready

Pro Football, Miami Is Rough And Ready
Larry Csonka & Bob Griese, Sept. 17, 1973

Miami All The Way

Miami All The Way
Bob Griese, Jan. 22, 1973

It's Miami and Washington

It's Miami and Washington
Mercury Morris Speeds Past The Steelers, Jan. 8, 1973

Kiick and Csonka, Miami's Dynamic Duo

Kiick and Csonka, Miami's Dynamic Duo
Larry Csonka & Jim Kiick, Aug. 7, 1972

Sudden Death at Kansas City

Sudden Death at Kansas City
Miami's Garo Yepremian Ends the Longest Game; (kneeling) placekick holder Karl Noonan, Jan. 3, 1972

New Pro in a New Town

New Pro in a New Town
Miami's Frank Emanuel, Aug. 8, 1966

Old-style "Obie" the Orange Bowl Committee mascot

Old-style "Obie" the Orange Bowl Committee mascot
The iconic image I grew-up with in Miami, before FedEx got into the picture