You can have your Time Person of the Year. Stuff the Top 100 Heroes of 2003, the Golden Globies, and the Public Servants Who Made Us Proud. We've got the Dirty Dozen. These are the people in Broward and Palm Beach counties who made us shake our heads in embarrassment in 2003. The greedy, the cynical, the unabashed self-promoters. The demagogues and the boobs. Many were nominated for the honor, but few were chosen. Here are the winners, selected by the editorial staff of New Times:
Anthony Catanese, the former president of Florida Atlantic University who accepted a personalized going-away gift of a cherry-red Corvette, paid for with university funds. Catanese eventually had to pay $42,000 of his own money for the car.
C.K. McElyea, vice mayor of Dania Beach, whose towing service has an exclusive contract with the Broward Sheriff's Office. McElyea tows cars for the county, then votes on awarding multimillion-dollar police contracts to the BSO.
Judie Budnick, the Broward School Board member who proposed and voted for a 10 percent raise for board members while teacher salaries remained flat and class sizes increased -- and during the height of negotiations with the teachers union.
Bill Griffin, the former Pompano Beach mayor who shepherded a lucrative condo deal through the Board of Commissioners, then took a job with a company bidding to build the project. That's why they call him ex-mayor.
John Rodstrom, the Broward County commissioner whose real gig is brokering big bond deals for CitiGroup. He brokered a deal for Miami's airport while voting on plans to reconfigure rival Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International.
Burt Aaronson, the Palm Beach County commissioner who wanted a county boycott of the French after they failed to support the invasion of Iraq, with local eateries selling "freedom fries" instead of French fries.
Mary Carey, the stripper/porn star from Boca Raton who used a campaign for governor of California as a blatant publicity stunt.
D. James Kennedy, head of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, who brought every right-wing loony in the nation to Broward to plan for the coming conservative Christian theocracy.
Rush Limbaugh, conservative talk-show fanatic from Palm Beach whose diatribes against drug addicts didn't stop him from allegedly purchasing thousands of dollars in painkillers illegally.
Jeffrey Loria, the Florida Marlins owner who has already sold, traded, or otherwise disposed of much of the 2003 World Series championship team.
Lori Parrish, the Broward County commissioner who followed her criticisms of elections supervisor Miriam Oliphant with an attempt to hold the elections chief personally liable for budget deficits in her department.
Ed Bieluch, the Palm Beach County sheriff who promoted 14 top staffers, all of them white guys. No minorities, it seems, were "qualified," and Bieluch vowed not to be "intimidated or coerced" into changing his mind.
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.