If you see Wayne Huizenga this weekend, be nice to the guy.
Our local mogul took a bad beating on Election Day.
No he wasn't backing Alex Sink -- he put a lot of money into helping to elect Rick Scott to the governor's mansion, including $100,000 into Scott's PAC, Let's Get to Work (I'm not making this up). That's predictable, though; Scott is clearly Wayne Huizenga's kind of guy.
No, it wasn't any politician's election or defeat that crushed Huizenga's dream. It was a little ballot initiative up north in Riviera Beach.
Huizenga and his son have (had?) grand plans for the publicly owned Riviera Beach Municipal Marina, which includes a view of Palm Beach mansions and historic Peanut Island. The marina is one of the last places where old Florida has survived and folks of modest means can use the facility and actually live in a houseboat on the water Travis McGee-style.
Huizenga wanted to change all that and turn the marina into a
megayacht repair facility to be used by the proverbial "ultra-high net worth individuals." His Rybovich boat company came a long way in making that happen by buying off -- er, I mean winning over -- the Riveria Beach council.
But one of our favorite activists, Fane Lozman, got in his way and won with the help of then-Gov. Jeb Bush in 2007. Then it came back again, and Lozman and other dedicated activists fought it again, this time employing the voters. A group called Citizens Task Force gathered the signatures to get the referendum on the ballot, and on Tuesday, 54 percent of voters backed it, prompting Riviera Beach Mayor Thomas Masters to declare that the fight was over and the citizens had beaten Huizenga.
It didn't come easy. Huizenga's yacht company, Rybovich, hit the activists behind the Citizens Task Force, Emma Bates and Andrew Byrd, with a lawsuit demanding $10 million from them for allegedly harming their business efforts. Huizenga's Rybovich also financed a political campaign urging citizens to vote "no" in a losing battle.
For Lozman, the fight didn't come easy; the city seized his houseboat and destroyed it with the help of a terrible ruling by a federal judge. But that didn't stop Lozman from celebrating after learning of the victory.
"We fuckin' pulled it off, man, we beat Huizenga!" he told me the day after the election. "We pulled it off!"
-- More history was made during this election than just the fact that the man behind the greatest Medicare fraud in American history was elected to the governor's office. Also historic is the fact the Democratic bastion of Century Village in Deerfield Beach voted for a right-wing Republican over the die-hard Democrat in the U.S. Senate race.
Totaling eight precincts at Century Village shows that Miami Republican Marco Rubio outperformed Democrat Kendrick Meek by a vote count of 774 to 673, a margin of 53.5 to 46.5 percent.
Hear that? I think it was the late Century Village boss Amadeo "Trinchi" Trinchitella rolling over in his grave.
Nah. Trinchi played the game better than anyone. He'd probably have gone along with it too. Because the top vote-getter of course was Charlie Crist, a recent Republican who those same ancient voters had fought at the polls numerous times before. Crist pulled 1,110 votes in those same districts, nabbing 43 percent of the overall vote, while Rubio came in second with 30 percent and Meek trailed behind with a paltry 26 percent.
It's just another sign that the Democratic Party folded like a cheap suit.
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By the way, cheers to Jeremy Ring for calling for the ouster of Florida Democratic Chairwoman Karen Thurman, who is tied at the hip to Broward's sold-out, washed-up Democratic chairman, Mitch Ceasar. Throw all the bums out of the party.
Oh, and if you're wondering how Crist did at Kings Point in Tamarac, the homebase of Ceasar's right-hand woman and Democratic National Committeewoman Diane Glasser, well, he even did better there.
The Florida governor got a whopping 60 percent of the vote in three Kings Point precincts, according to my calculations from election records. Meek came in second with 23 percent, while Rubio got 17 percent.
Remember when Glasser, a sitting Tamarac commissioner, was caught in a loving photograph with Crist before the election? She later told everyone at a meeting of the Democratic Executive Committee that it was a coincidence and she didn't even know the governor was going to be at the meeting in question. She didn't explain, however, why she had dinner with Crist's group after the meeting. I think the vote totals in Kings Point -- which she has ruled with recently criminally charged Marc Sultanof for years -- is a better indicator of the truth than what comes out of her mouth.