Crackin' Crack

The player's challenge is to use acrobatic maneuvers to spray-paint embarrassing messages on different locations around the city. Using his trusty spray can, the outlaw graffiti artist makes citizens aware of their tyrannical mayor.

Hollywood's elected officials (excluding Commissioners Peter Bober and Beam Furr) believe the game will inspire kids to hit Broward's streets, spray-paint cans in hand.

A video game whose protagonist fights a corrupt city hall and police department? This has an eerie ring of authenticity on Hollywood Boulevard, where City Hall doles out developer subsidies in the same spirit FEMA hands out generator rebates and where the city's Police Department enforces the law with clenched fists.

Button up, pipsqueak, with your spray can and your rebellious messages. We're gonna shut you down.

Slots? We Love Slots!

There's a sweet irony in listening to recent fulminations by Hollywood's imperious mayor, Mara Giulianti, who has been maneuvering for a slice of the expected profits from slot machines that will soon grace Broward's pari-mutuel venues. Giulianti and city staff members went to Tallahassee to argue before the House Business Regulation Committee that her city should get a $500 fee per slot machine for regulating the increased traffic and crime associated with slots operations.

Hollywood, of course, has no pari-mutuel tracks of its own, but Gulfstream Park, Dania Jai-Alai, and Hollywood Greyhound Track are all within a mile of the city limits. "The impact will be enormous," she told the Herald.

She certainly knows about impact. Giulianti's scorch-and-burn stance has all but doomed the city from getting a piece of the slots vig. Before the March referendum in which Broward voters approved slots, city officials tried and failed to broker a deal with the local tracks to get a percentage of slot revenue. Then Giulianti threw a classic mayoral tantrum.

"They are greedy," she said of the pari-mutuel owners. "The way we were treated by the CEOs of those things — they don't want to give us a red cent. The villains are not us; the villains are the gambling interests who make the money." (Unless, of course, they give Hollywood some red cents.)

Led by Giulianti, a majority of the City Commission voted to spend up to $50,000 lobbying against the referendum. Aghast when the Greater Chamber of Commerce came out in support of slots, she also vowed to slash city grants to the agency.

Last week, the city failed to sweet-talk Florida lawmakers into giving it some of the slots profits. No surprise that some of the pari-mutuel owners — or "villains" — wouldn't go along with the deal.

So here's what Giulianti has accomplished: To date, Hollywood has spent $28,000 for lobbying against slots last winter and lobbying to get slot profits this fall; then it slashed funding for the Chamber of Commerce by $60,000.

Of course, when it comes to gambling, consistency has never been Giulianti's strong suit. Back in the late 1990s, townsfolk fought long and hard to get Gus Boulis' SunCruz gambling ship from using Martha's Supper Club dock on the Intracoastal. Drunken customers and illegally parked cars frayed neighbors' nerves.

Back then, Giulianti was regally dismissive of the complaints. "[W]hen you live on a beach," she told the Miami Herald, "you're going to have some problems."

— As told to Edmund Newton

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