Undercurrents

You've come a long way, baby... er, sir. Twenty of the most politically connected women in Broward County looked deep within themselves, pondered how best to improve the lives of the women of Broward County, and decided a man should lead the way.

Next month lawyer William Amlong becomes chairman of the Broward County Commission on the Status of Women, whose twenty other members have firsthand knowledge of the issue.

Around the county government center, observers are looking at the sociological/political implications of all this. Is the election of Amlong a sign that women have made it, that they're so secure they can humor a token man; and if they have indeed made it, is there any longer need for a Commission on the Status of Women?

Other analysts note that Amlong's practice specializes in civil rights law, including representing women clients filing sexual harassment lawsuits. Will the commission's new main man use his status to gain more public exposure as defender of Broward women, perhaps even asking for some county money so the commission can better do its work?

Whatever his plans the women of Broward County can rest easy knowing they have empathetic, strong, focused, intelligent leadership. (Before Amlong was a lawyer he was a newspaper reporter.)

Those aspiring to future power in Broward County should start practicing in front of a video camera. All-news local television is marching toward Broward, bringing with it revolutionary political change. Best of all, the county commission can't do anything about it.

The sounds of the revolution already can be faintly heard from Orlando, where Tribune Co., owner of the Sun-Sentinel, has launched a local all-news channel with Time Warner Cable. The battalion of newsies in Broward: 60 editors, writers, and camerapersons, focusing intensely on Broward news -- with hours and hours and hours of TV time to fill.

It's going to happen. Robert Gremillion, named president/CEO/publisher of Sun-Sentinel Co. in April, is a TV guy. He managed the launch of the Tribune's 24-hour local news-and-information channel in Chicago in 1993 and, before being named Sun-Sentinel president, helped set up the Orlando channel. A Tribune Co. new-projects team has been analyzing a similar proposal for South Florida; the team was created by Gremillion.

One way or another, Tribune Co. will bring all-news television to Broward County, and it may open up the political process. Protest groups, government meetings, political campaigns -- now all but ignored by Miami stations -- will suddenly get daily TV exposure. County commissioners become characters in a TV drama: Reading a newspaper quote is not the same as watching Scott Cowan go berserk at a public hearing, roaring and storming about -- all in living color in your living room.

When voters see the process raw, everything changes, so would-be future leaders, place yourselves in front of a video camera. Then start practicing your explanation for taking all that developer money.

Undercurrents wants to know about any and all political deals, media screwups, and particularly dumb memos from bureaucrats. Let us know. Call 954-233-1572, fax 954-233-1571, or e-mail undercurrents@newtimesbroward.com.

 
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