Best Political Activist Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach 2000 - Pete Brewer
Since tasting outrage at his first glimpse of that circus otherwise known as the Hollywood City Commission some three decades ago, Brewer has led a plucky group of activists who keep an eye on the often questionable dealings at Hollywood City Hall. Some politicians brush aside Brewer, a Tennessee native with a deep Southern drawl and a sweep of white hair. But those who do live to regret it. Long-time commissioner Cathy Anderson reportedly called for a city manager's dismissal under orders from Brewer and has been known to ask reporters, "Is Pete mad at me?" Brewer may have only a high-school education, but the retired donut company executive has a knowledge of finances and city government to rival any city official -- and often sniffs out scandals before city officials do, thanks to his faithful coterie of city hall sources. Brewer is a taxpayer's best friend and is amicable with journalists. A message left on a reporter's answering machine led to a front-page story in a daily newspaper about how the city accidentally sold its 100-foot police radio tower to a Miami man. He also uncovered a disability double-dip that cost the city millions, a pension scandal in which 35-year-old employees were retiring, and is now trying to interest Gov. Jeb Bush in investigating what he calls a $10 million water-and-sewer shortfall. Brewer might have lost his first city commission election last month, but that's OK with us. He can accomplish far more on the outside.