Undercurrents

The Devil of Davie does deli: In last week's New Times cover story ("Her High Horse," Dan Lovely), fearsome lobbyist Judy Stern was accused by new Davie Councilwoman Judy Paul of exerting powerful influence over Town Hall, in part by supplying luncheon sandwiches for a council goals-setting workshop (a ploy branded by New Times as "the nefarious sandwich strategy").

Any lobbyist worth her mustard couldn't stomach that remark, so Stern launched a political food fight, delivering to New Times six huge deli sandwiches -- along with a note challenging Paul's gastronomical memory.

In recounting Stern's alleged ham-and-turkey tactics, Paul had defiantly proclaimed, "I didn't eat her sandwiches!" In rebuttal Stern says she nosed around Town Hall and was told by culinary informants that Paul not only "gulped down" two sandwiches but requested the name of Stern's deli!

Meanwhile the editors at New Times, having more ethics than appetite, decided eating Stern's sandwiches would put them in a journalistic pickle, so they had the deli treats carted over to the homeless tent in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

In other Davie leftovers, pollster Jim Kane wants to put some statistical meat on Paul's claim that his voter survey showed her with little support, allowing her to become the "stealth candidate."

"I am very concerned about my reputation as far as accuracy is concerned," Kane said and maintains that the only poll he conducted came about two weeks before the election and showed Paul and Dean Alexander each with only 13 percent, a third candidate with less, and 63 percent undecided. "Our call on this one was it was a dead heat," Kane says; Paul won by 74 votes.

Kane said he did find one portion of the New Times story totally accurate: the phrase describing him as a "big-league county power."

Speaking of big-league powers, Broward County commissioners last week took note of criticism by black and Hispanic activists for throwing out a list of three county attorney candidates that included a black and a Hispanic.

As commissioners discussed undertaking a new county attorney search, Commissioner Suzanne Gunzburger proposed both "y'all come" legal advertising to attract broad-based applications and using specialized headhunters to develop a more targeted list.

Said Gunzburger of her dual strategy, "I'm going to suggest a Chinese menu, some from column A and some from column B," leading Commissioner Scott Cowan to interject, "Sounds racist to me."

During all this, Chairwoman Lori Parrish, criticized for a "Cuban coffee" question to a Hispanic candidate, once again struggled with tactful word choice, telling Interim County Attorney Sharon Cruz she didn't want her to think of herself as a "lame duck."

Cruz, an 18-year county veteran who had the wisdom to take herself out of the running for the permanent and politically charged job, seemed to sink lower in her chair as Parrish told her actually to run the office and make decisions.

"Stop crying, Sharon," consoled Commissioner Norman Abramowitz, to which Cowan added, "She's going to call in Dr. Kevorkian."

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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