In light of Broward County commissioner Lori Parrish's deep desire to be sheriff, her views on the American system of justice take on greater significance. Thus the audience showed interest at the October 23 public hearing on the Swerdlow land deal, when transcripts were made available of the commission's closed-door discussions in June.
The transcripts include this enlightening exchange over whether the county should go to court to take the Swerdlow land through condemnation and trust a jury to determine its value.
Commissioner Parrish: I can agree with Commissioner Cowan about what he said, the high/low figures don't go to the jury. The jury never needs to know our offer. But I shudder to think that you could find seven people in Broward County to sit on a jury, and an alternate, I guess is it six, and an alternate.
Commissioner Gunzburger: Twelve.
Commissioner Parrish: And two alternates. I have to put a mega-million dollar issue in the lap of fourteen people that haven't read a newspaper. Frightening thought. I mean that level of intelligence is real frightening. I'm going to, you know, sit with people that haven't heard it.
It is frightening, the thought of ordinary people sitting in judgment on government land deals. Maybe for cases involving the county commission we should change the system to select jurors only from campaign contribution lists.
Censorship is in the air. In the week that Broward County commissioners rejected televised meetings, Plantation Mayor Frank Veltri was also laying down his own moral code for movies filmed in the city.
Twentieth Century Fox wants to shoot part of a romantic comedy called Something About Mary outside City Hall. When the film's location manager appeared before the City Council, Veltri threatened to deny a permit if the film contained anything related to sex, which covers a lot of territory for a PG movie about high-school sweethearts and rekindled love.
"He just can't be censoring scripts based on whether they're offensive or not," says Councilman Ron Jacobs. "I'd like to write a book about Mayor Veltri's life and see if he'd grant a permit for that movie."
Who knows. There may be a part for Mayor Veltri in the comedy, since the directors' earlier work included a movie called Dumb and Dumber.
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Hyperbole of the Week: In Hollywood the Seminole Tribe of Florida is at war with the St. Petersburg Times over the paper's investigation of tribe business dealings, including its gambling operations. The tribe's position on all this appears on its Website and includes this paragraph:
"In its quest, the St. Petersburg Times has pried into the most intimate sectors of an entire American Indian culture ... in a manner not seen in this part of Indian Country since the U.S. cavalry rode horses and swatted the Indians to walk faster on the Trail of Tears."
Wonder if the Seminoles are taking bets on what the St. Pete Times finds.
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