Napoleon Bonaparte Broward might be proud to see the way Palm Beach County's politicians are now bastardizing his name. After all, as Florida's governor in 1905, Broward began the process of draining the Everglades for future development. Now that the stinking swamp with its unsightly sawgrass has been supplanted by championship golf and endless vistas of red barrel tile, it would seem it was a job well done.
Not so, however, for environmental-minded Palm Beach County politicians, who in this year's election have declared war against "Browardization."
Browardization, a noun, is a pejorative term for the development of western Palm Beach County. It is typically accompanied by a rebuke of overcrowded schools, congested roads, and increased taxes.
The term officially entered political discourse in May 1994 when then-Palm Beach County Planning Director David Kovacs warned county commissioners of suburban sprawl. "I used to work in California," Kovacs says, "and we would use the term 'Los Angelesization' of Orange County."
Somehow, that term never quite caught on.
But in this year's election season in Palm Beach County, Browardization was bandied about in numerous stump speeches by State Rep. Barry Silver and Sally Stewart, a Republican running for Palm Beach County Commission.
In keeping with the tradition of antirecklessdevelopmentism, to coin a word, neither candidate received contributions from developers. Both candidates lost. Their respective opponents, however, Curt Levine and incumbent Mary McCarty, accepted thousands from real estate firms, construction companies, and road builders.
True Browardizers, all! Or is that Browardeers?
Running a political campaign for national office can be hard work for even the most stalwart of candidates. There are speeches to be made, babies to kiss, debates to win....
But for a man on the lam, it is that much harder.
Such was the case for Anthony "Andy" Martin, an attorney and candidate for U.S. Senate mistakenly released from the Palm Beach County jail almost six months early because of a clerical error. Martin landed in the clink a year ago for attacking two TV cameramen during an attempted interview after his unsuccessful run for state senate. From jail the West Palm Beach resident launched a hunger strike and announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate.
In July, Martin, a frequent lawsuit filer, appeared again in the Palm Beach County court for a civil case, where he won himself a six-month sentence for contempt of court. But the judge's order never made it to the county jail, and when Martin's sentence for his first criminal act ran out, he was released.
With a warrant pending for his arrest, Martin headed west to campaign in Central Florida. One step ahead of the law and, evidently, Florida's Republican electorate, Martin won a respectable third of the vote last week in the Republican primary against State Sen. Charlie Crist of St. Petersburg.
"I don't think there's any question that that's disconcerting," says Crist, who noted that he focused his campaign on defeating incumbent Bob Graham in the general election.
Martin was not around to answer his phone when we called for comment.
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