Politicians tend toward simple terms -- "I," "vote for me," "send a check" -- so when they start using strange-sounding words it usually means either they're hiding something, or they've been staying up too late watching C-Span.
Thus Undercurrents was intrigued at last week's Broward County Commission meeting when, while discussing potential new taxes to pay for homeless shelters, Commissioner Sylvia Poitier proposed a "rational nexus": Put an extra "sin tax" on tobacco and booze, she reasoned, because a lot of the homeless problem is caused by alcohol and drugs.
Not to be out-thought, Commissioner Suzanne Gunzburger countered with a "convoluted nexus": Add a penny to the gasoline tax, she reasoned, because tourists buy gasoline, and getting the homeless off the streets will make Broward a nicer place for tourists.
Bedazzled by this logic, Undercurrents sought deeper meaning: What exactly is a political "nexus"? Enlightenment came from New Times' "Most Honest Politician of the Month": State Rep. Suzanne Jacobs of Delray Beach.
Jacobs is outspoken and/or a little crazy. She actually admits to being "a liberal Democrat"; while other legislators pontificate about their plans for the 1998 session, Jacobs admits, "I have high hopes but low expectations."
Her most valuable contribution to honesty, however, is providing constituents with a lexicon of State Legislature terms, including "nexus"!
She says it means "the connecting point between two ideas. Since it is uttered frequently during session, I believe that it really means, 'I am so proud to be using such a big word!'"
Jacobs continues: "The only time I ever used it was to inquire if there was a nexus between the start of the session and the fact that I had just returned from Chicago where I was in charge of my grandbabies' dirty diapers. The answer was 'Yes, but we pile it up higher in Tallahassee!'"
There is a nexus between Suzanne Jacobs and greatness.
Turning to political terms of endearment, New Times Romance staffers were swept away by an impassioned reader at the Valentine's Day street fair in downtown Hollywood.
A man with heart afire approached the Romance table, next to which was a stack of New Times papers. The man pounded the stack of papers with his fist, proclaiming for all to hear, "Big piece of shit... lies, all lies."
Turns out it was Hollywood First Husband Donald Giulianti, taking exception to a recent New Times cover story on his wife's mayoral campaign.
Next came Mara Giulianti Herself (she was the one wearing the big button reading "Mayor") to praise her husband's passion: That's the way real men defend the honor of the women they love, gushed the mayor, then, revealing where her heart really is, offered these words to New Times staffers: "Are there any Hollywood voters here?"
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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