Iron Law at Happy Times

Bad News, Unhappy News

Sonny Gets Blue

When the 'Pipe gets tired of watching paint peel, this old tube gladly settles for the next best thing: Hallandale Beach public access TV. Sadly, Hallandale Beach's city government has decided to pull the plug on the 'Pipe's favorite local programming -- ostensibly to free up bandwidth for shows that people actually watch.

“You get this piercing stare.”
“You get this piercing stare.”
Meet Mr. Griz.
Christopher Smith
Meet Mr. Griz.

In addition to depriving Tailpipe of his cure for insomnia, this move will cancel Arthur "Sonny" Rosenberg's show, Sonny's City Hall. The show, which has been running for 15 years, is hosted by former three-term Hallandale mayor and City Commissioner Sonny Rosenberg. He tells the 'Pipe that the city's decision to eliminate public access on Channel 12 was aimed at shutting him up.

Maybe so. Sonny's low-budget foray into broadcasting has been dedicated to shedding light on minor injustices committed by Hallandale Mayor Joy Cooper and the City Commission. For example, when Cooper recently awarded her father a certificate of recognition from the City of Hallandale Beach for his service to our military, Rosenberg was all over the story. Rosenberg took to the air with his large, gold-rimmed glasses and bald pate and, in his trademark monotone style, announced that Cooper's father didn't even live in Hallandale. Take that!

Rosenberg is also a stickler for signage. During campaign season, he dedicated more than a few episodes to showing pictures of political signs that were placed too close to the street, violating regulations by as much as a foot. Is there no atrocity the Cooper regime will not commit?

Though Cooper and City Manager Mike Good did not return Tailpipe's calls for comment, Rosenberg is convinced that they've had it in for him since they made his producer run an on-air message, filling a third of the screen, saying something along the lines of: These are nobody's opinions but Sonny's.

Though cable access won't be eliminated entirely -- it will be combined with other locally generated programming on channel 78 -- the City Commission will decide who gets a show and who doesn't.

Rosenberg isn't giving up. As long as he's breathing, he tells the 'Pipe, he'll be speaking -- intoning -- the truth about issues vital to Hallandale. The commission owes it to the insomniacs in their midst to put the man back on the air.

Jeeves' Crib

When builder Charles Jordan wanted to make improvements to his Sailboat Bend Art Deco home by restoring a cottage on the property as a cabana, the city initially green-lighted the plan.

Then Jordan got the word: A cabana's out of the question. How about a bedroom, Jordan asked, like a mother-in-law apartment? Fine, the city said. Then the planning department reversed itself again.

Jordan kept trying. A cottage? Nope. Studio? Nah. Pool house? No way. In fact, built into the city's planning and zoning code is a little-known stipulation that the only legal use for such a space is as servants' quarters. "I cannot use that building for anything but servants' quarters," Jordan says incredulously. "On my own single-family property."

Battling the city over such arcane absurdities is one of Jordan's skills, so he did some poking around and learned that the code was not an ancient artifact from some early era but was actually rewritten in 1997. The provision states clearly that anyone living in that structure "has to be a servant that is not part of the family." And the city is not backing down.

So it's back to the old drawing board for Jordan. Folks bucking the trend by renovating and restoring old homes instead of bulldozing them better stock up on starched white shirts, crisp linen towels, and silver platters.

-- As told to Edmund Newton

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