In small-city politics, evidently, the little things are what matter most. Like easy access to elected representatives. And free parking.

So when concerned West Palm Beach activist Mary Koplin discovered she had to pay for parking at the city hall lot during a 6 p.m. city commission meeting (unless she waited until the parking attendant went home at 8 p.m.), she headed immediately to her city commissioner, Howard Warshauer.

"He said, 'I don't see why we should give you free parking or anybody else.'" She claims he added, "They don't do that in New York."

Well, Howard, this ain't New York.
It can sometimes be hard to tell, we know, what with all the New Yorkers running around. And in West Palm Beach, you have the added confusion of a strong mayor presiding over an effete city commission -- just like in the Big Apple.

But next time commissioner, look for the palm trees.
"[Warshauer] told me to take the bus," Koplin fumed. "He said he was joking later, but I know he meant it."

Warshauer denies telling the activist to take the bus, and told New Times he would be happy to validate parking for anyone who comes to a city commission meeting.

What's next, Howard? Valet?

Shocking but true: Not everyone is happy with New Times' nine-month-old push into the Broward-Palm Beach market. Among those taking the upstart weekly to task is no less an authority on journalistic ethics (and hog-wild punctuation!!!) than Trisha Caruso, publisher-editor of a Broward-based "adult" magazine called Florida Play Time. Caruso didn't like a recent New Times story that described South Florida's best-known swingers' club, Plato's Repeat.

"The New Times came into Plato's to do what they said was a positive article," Caruso exclaims in her monthly column, "A View From the Top." "Well if that was positive!!!!! Well anyways the reporter who wrote the story wasn't even there the night the pictures were taken.... I know cause I was there... So how can someone write about a club objectively or say they saw certain things, like in the wee hours of the morning, when the photographer, and her assistant, left right after the fashion show...

"The people that go to Plato's are upscale affluent and very successful business people... not the horny sex-crazed person described in that horrible article... I realize that as journalist [sic] we have our opinions... But then the article should have been prefaced in my opinion....

"How dare a reporter put down anyone for their choice!"
Indeed! How? It would be just as small-minded, for example, to point out that Caruso operates a boutique located inside Plato's Repeat and owes yet another portion of her livelihood to Plato's advertising that appears in her publication. Or to ask why a reporter should show up for a photo shoot when he had already visited the club three times during the previous three months. Or to state for the record that no one ever promised Plato's the story would be "positive." So we won't.

Undercurrents wants to know about any and all political deals, media screwups, and particularly dumb memos from bureaucrats. Let us know. Call 954-233-1572, fax 954-233-1571, or e-mail undercurrents@newtimesbroward.com.

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