By Terrence McCoy
By Scott Fishman
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Allie Conti
By New Times Staff
By Ryan Pfeffer
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Kyle Swenson
A resident asked London what he would do about it, and the commissioner said he'd educate himself on the subject. He began attending meetings on waste management at the county level. There were environmental issues, and thanks largely to London, the plan died.
The city, meanwhile, has a lawsuit simmering with Waste Management Inc. City Manager Mike Good voiced concern in May that someone might be leaking inside information about the lawsuit. The commission promptly passed a motion stating that "no city commissioner is to attend any meeting or discuss matters regarding waste management, trash, recycling, and related issues."
London says the motion was clearly aimed at him. "I'm the only one that attends those meetings!"
He denies that he's leaking information pertinent to the lawsuit. "When I signed up as a commissioner, I didn't leave my constitutional rights at the front door. I do my own research and homework, but they would prefer that I rubber-stamp things so that they can have a 5-0 vote all the time."
After trying to persuade his fellow commissioners to strike the wacky shut-yo-mouth motion, which London says is way too broad, the black-sheep commish has filed a suit against the city in U.S. District Court alleging a violation of his First Amendment rights to free speech.
"I didn't do this willy-nilly," London insists. "I've tried to handle this in every other manner."
Miami attorneys Richard Wolfe and Mark Goldstein, who are representing London, highlight the irrationality of Hallandale's garbage motion in the complaint. Under the commission's terms, their complaint notes, London "cannot discuss with his family members which one of them will take out the garbage or tell his neighbor to bring in his garbage from the curb because garbage is not scheduled to be picked up for several days."
The 'Pipe can think of some other limitations too. For example, London had better watch out what he sings in the shower. Let's see... there's a certain rock band whose-name shall not be mentioned. (Hint: The group's lead singer is a gal with a Scottish brogue named Shirley Manson.) And forget about singing the first line to the Coasters' 1958 jam "Yakety Yak." Let's be cautious here lest the 'Pipe himself get entangled in a court dispute. Just note that the song starts out: "Take out the papers and the [bleep]!"
"So what's a pretty gal like you doing in a place like this?"
With that pickup line — or some variation thereof — the City of Hollywood sidled up to the finest girl in the bar, WSG Development.
It was May 2007. Hollywood was drunk on downtown high-rises and desperate to score. The city had recently dumped a dysfunctional mate, the HART development team, which it had trusted with millions in loans only to have its HART... well, broken.
WSG batted her eyes, licked her lips, and whispered a sweet something into the city's ear: "Jump in bed with me and I'll fix that broken HART of yours," or something to that effect.
No, she wouldn't build a new theater like HART (Hollywood Art District) had promised, but WSG whipped out a blueprint for a 19-story condo on the same site. In exchange for pocketing 90 percent of the project's future tax revenue, she'd buy out the HART project and pay back $3.5 million in unpaid loans. How about it, cowboy?
This gal meant business. Had this been a sober moment for the city, Hollywood might have wondered whether it was too good to be true. But closing time was nigh: If the city didn't find a new partner, it risked losing control of the property.
And, damn, WSG sure was pretty. One of the most popular developers around, she had already built the luxurious Sky Residence, a 28-story condo that glittered over Biscayne Bay. Hell, thought Hollywood, I'm lucky a high-class dame like WSG is even talking to me.
"Get your purse, and let's go," the city said in so many words. Months of ravenous love-making would ensue until, in July, the couple announced (Yes!) that they were pregnant. They would call their baby "ArtsPark Village."
A year later, the affair has turned sour. In July, WSG backed off its promise to pay the $3.5 million. And this month, the Daily Business Review reports that WSG has an ugly secret: unpaid debt that amounts to $16 million. WSG even owed money to Lehman Brothers, the same lender that was financing the company's venture in downtown Hollywood.
Tailpipe's not sure what this means for the child in question. Will it be the kind of geeky kid only its mother could love, cursed to stand forever on its corner of Federal Highway, casting a lonely shadow over festive Young Circle? Will folks shake their heads and say: "ArtsPark Village is a sad monument to its parents' wild indiscretions"?