Undercurrents

Pushy polling and John Henry passes on Fort Lauderdale

When the people at TDM Research of Austin, Texas called Charlotte Greenbarg of Hollywood, they obviously tried to push around the wrong woman. Greenbarg claims she was the victim of a questionable "push poll," and her allegation has now led to a formal investigation by the Florida Elections Commission.

Greenbarg was questioned over the phone in November about issues regarding the City of Hollywood. About a third of the way through, she heard not questions but statements that Greenbarg claims were slanderous. The statements were very positive toward accomplishments of Mayor Mara Giulianti and very negative toward her opponent in the next mayoral election, Commissioner John Coleman. Greenbarg claims the statements were filled with untruths: One "question" claimed Giulianti was responsible for getting police officers in schools, which was really a program of the sheriff's department.

Such polls are an underhanded way to "push" voters to support one candidate by masking campaign rhetoric as questions. "It was an insult to the democratic process," claims Greenbarg.

When questioned about who paid for the push poll, TDM responded that it was confidential. Giulianti says she didn't contact the company or pay for it. But according to Florida law, all agents for candidates must register with the state. The elections commission has now reviewed a number of complaints regarding this push poll and has launched an investigation into what pushy person paid for it.


It was a close play at home, but we're safe. For now.

Marlins megamillionaire John Henry has decreed that Miami beat out Fort Lauderdale as a site for his new stadium, and that means our office, near NE Fourth Street and Andrews Avenue, will be spared.

Those on the inside of the selection process say it wasn't so much what was wrong with Broward, but what was right with Miami-Dade. One of the overriding factors was the proximity of the water at Bicentennial Park in downtown Miami. We're told that the location feeds into the innovative design in that there will be a very Floridian feel to the park, much like Camden Yards reflects the neighborhood in Baltimore.

Fans sitting on the first base side will view the downtown Miami skyline and the bay; ticket holders on the third base side would also see the water and the cruise ships docked on Government Cut. It will make for great beauty shots on network TV. The current design plans are very Miami, with images of conch shells and sails in the motif and the requisite pastels. We also hear the design will allow for onshore breezes to circulate, so there's no need for air conditioning. Yeah, right.

Some Broward fans are probably disappointed, but those 97 Fort Lauderdale landowners stood in the way, while the Miami site is vacant. But Henry still has a hard sell, and the political will is shaky in Miami (but not as shaky as it was here). We predict that, now that he's made a decision, he'll be able to hold the city hostage, claiming that if it doesn't work there, well, he may have to take the team out of town. And if that ploy doesn't work, he may take another look at Broward.

Got a tip? Call 954-233-1581, fax 954-233-1571, or e-mail undercurrents@newtimesbpb.com.

 
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