Undercurrents

Why is the Sun-Sentinelís Cuba bureau so kind to Fidel?

Not prone to introspection, Mann pegs his defeat as owing to several factors. It didn't work because turnout was low, he posits. It didn't work because neither the firefighters nor the police union endorsed him. It didn't work because Oakland Park isn't the same city it was in 1974. It has changed. He hasn't.

After a cup of Borders Blend, Mann concedes he's not likely to try again. "I think I'm going to sell my house to homosexuals and move to Montana," he says. Then he laughs. "That was a joke."


As a public service Undercurrents herein begins a semiregular feature aimed at making you, the reader, a more savvy news consumer. We're calling it "More Reasons Why You Don't Want to Know How News Is Made."

This week's topic: press conferences.

Last Friday Undercurrents, along with a handful of other print and broadcast operations in town, received a tantalizing press release from Mike Kent, president of Club Atlantis in Fort Lauderdale. Kent is angry at the city for passing an ordinance restricting anyone under the age of 21 from entering a club that serves alcohol. His livelihood depends on stuffing his cavernous dance floor with as many young, writhing bodies as possible. But the city's old fogy¯inspired rules make that difficult. He has sued, and he has steamed. And, as his Friday afternoon press release hinted, he has videotaped Fort Lauderdale city commissioner Tim Smith doing something naughty!

Minutes after receiving this tantalizing tidbit, Undercurrents rushed down to Club Atlantis, visions of hot tubs, cocaine, and undercover FBI agents dancing in our head. Then Kent rolled the video, shot by his own people. The assembled media -- three TV crews, both daily newspapers, and a radio guy -- were treated to footage of Smith and his wife, Cindy, supposedly selling plants. From a residence. Without charging sales tax. Without a business license.

Not exactly Marion Barry, this Tim Smith. He says he's duly licensed. Who cares?

The press corps should have pelted Kent with reporter's notebooks for wasting our precious time. He does, however, get kudos for offering free drinks.

A subsequent check of news archives shows only Herald scribe Fred Grimm took the bait. Perhaps one of the TV news stations aired a clip, but Undercurrents was too preoccupied with our own hot tub later that evening to notice.

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