Best Correction of a Nonmistake 2001 | The Palm Beach Post | People & Places | South Florida
One day after the paper reported that Glades Central's girls' basketball team "beat the crap out of" William T. Dwyer's squad, 62-33, it printed the following Editor's Note: "A brief article in the high school girls' basketball roundup in The Post Tuesday used inappropriate language to describe the Glades Central High School victory, 62-33, over William T. Dwyer High School. The Post regrets the lapse in judgment and apologizes to readers." Boy, those editors really wrote the shit out of that one.

True story: Lee Hillier, then a Plantation city commissioner, is sitting at the bar at Grin's Pub, a pleasant dive, having a few beers. The gnarliest half-drunk patron in the place, a man with few teeth and a dirty gray beard, comes up to him and starts complaining about a house in Plantation that gets on his nerves. The house has a trailer on the property and violates half the codes in Plantation's book, the drunk says. Hillier listens for a while and -- bam! -- the commissioner remembers the house in question. Soon, he's telling the drunk how he tried in vain to have his city enforce codes there.

The story illustrates both the best and the worst about Hillier, who lost his reelection bid in March. He knew more about Plantation -- every cul-de-sac, intersection, zone, rule, and code -- than anyone else in the city. He also had one hell of a vision: He wanted to create an international marketplace on State Road 7, and thus revitalize the predominantly black area east of the Turnpike. He wanted to thwart the power of lawyer/lobbyist Emerson Allsworth (who happens to be a convicted drug money launderer) and Allsworth's partner, Bill Laystrom, who together represent developers and control the Plantation commission. Hillier fought to clean up the city, add sidewalks and lights, and increase access to public facilities for disabled citizens. The problem: He failed to build any consensus on those issues. The ingrained, aging, white conservative Plantation political machine, which has neglected the east side for decades, beat Hillier down at every turn. He was far too blunt for diplomacy and thus never managed to clean up the city, or even that run-down house, for that matter. In the end, he proved you can't even fight City Hall from within its walls -- at least not in tight-fisted, cowardly Plantation. But we salute him for trying.

We like Lori Parrish. We really do. She's a Southern lady with an attitude almost as big as her hair, and we respect her for that. Sure, we've slammed her a couple of times, but we're paid to do that. It's nothing personal. Because we like her. We really do. Of course we might have raised her ire a bit last August when we exposed the fact that she charged a whopping $13,000 in cell phone bills to her campaign -- in which she ran virtually unopposed. But now at least we know who was on the other end of those phone calls: good old lobbyists. They are, after all, her best friends, according to statements she made in an April 2 article written by that cute and rascally Sun-Sentinel columnist, Buddy Nevins. In the story Parrish called attempts to regulate lobbyists and limit their power a "bunch of B.S." To clarify her point, she gave a classic quote about the relationship between politicians and influence peddlers: "All of us play golf, play cards, go to the movies, are attendants in [lobbyists'] weddings, or a variety of other things," Parrish said. "Some of us even married a lobbyist or two along the way. To me, [curbing lobbying] is simply unnecessary." Now, don't that just wrap a soft blanket around your little heart and make it coo? Who knew that government here in Broward was such a love-in?

Late one night police cars crowded the parking lot, but no one was at the pumps. Was it closed? Had it been robbed? As it happens, it was neither. Still, a Fort Lauderdale officer sternly warned that this is among the most dangerous places in town. Oooh, we're shaking! It's the entertaining kind of danger. For example, when a frantic customer didn't know the English word for his desired purchase, he made a crude pantomime instead. The clerk never missed a beat, handing his enthusiastic patron a condom. A youthful employee may wink and throw in a free bottle opener with your Friday-afternoon beer purchase, though such gifts may be just as easily snatched back by the disapproving boss (his father). You just never know at this family-owned Amoco. Pump your petrol and take your chances.
Ian Witlen
Your Beamer's buffed to a radical shine, your pecs are engorged from a brisk workout at the gym, you have a fresh and fab haircut, and you're horny. Better make the scene at the Alibi, where the eye candy is sweet and the drink deals get the juices flowing. This hip hangout in the heart of Wilton Manors -- the city-within-a-city that is fast becoming a national gay-relocation destination -- features a comfortable lunch patio outdoors, a bank of video screens and a pumping sound system indoors, and even a delightfully equipped men's room in the back. More important, it's usually filled with hot-looking men looking for other hot-looking men. Don't say you weren't warned.

Judging by the fuel prices, you'd think the Mobil station across from the Boca Teeca Country Club offers petrol Cordon Bleu instead of plain old gasoline. And while what you get at the pump is the same old, same old, the convenience store shames most gourmet boutiques. Clear-plastic bins of loose jelly beans and other candies cover half of the front wall -- you can fill a little plastic bag with cotton candy, caramel popcorn, bubble gum, and pear-flavor Jelly Belly beans. Next to the candytopia stands the self-serve frozen yogurt station; faced with eight flavors, three sizes, and several toppings, one can easily fill up with more lactose than octane at this Mobil. The station also offers cold drinks, a few plebian items (for example, potato chips), and a glass case of croissants and glorified donuts. Ain't Boca grand?
When Broward County bicycle coordinator Mark Horowitz suggested putting bike racks on buses more than a decade ago, people thought he was crazy. The bikes would fall off, they'd get stolen, no one would use the racks -- Horowitz heard all the complaints. Still he persevered. Two years ago Broward County transit officials finally agreed to try the racks; last summer Palm Beach County transit followed suit. Today officials in both counties declare their programs -- Broward's BYOB (Bring Your Own Bike) and Palm Beach County's BOB (Bikes On Board) -- unmitigated successes. An estimated 800 bicyclists are taking the bus daily in Broward, as are an estimated 500 people in Palm Beach. Pretty impressive numbers for transit systems that have struggled for years to increase ridership. In fact, officials say, they now face a different problem: More bicyclists want to use the buses than they can handle. Horowitz says that problem won't be solved easily or soon. Each rack can accommodate only two bikes; bigger racks would stick out too far, creating a safety hazard. But being too popular is a nice problem to have -- for a change.

Plenty of crackerjack reporters slave away at The Herald's Broward County headquarters. We think, for example, that Lisa Arthur, Dan de Vise, and Bill Yardley do some solid work -- given the constraints of daily journalism. But this award should go to someone unsung; thus our pick is Diaz. A general-assignment reporter with solid news judgment and a fluid writing style, Diaz has proven himself adept at both cops-reporting and feature-writing. He shies from sensationalism, writes with flair, and imparts his work with a rare sensitivity. Diaz's empathy for his subjects and sense of fairness distinguish him as one of The Herald's most promising up-and-coming scoops.
To most people in Broward County, Scherer was just another lawyer/lobbyist type who scurried around getting government contracts. (His plum is a North Broward Hospital District deal.) He wasn't really in the public eye much -- which turns out to be a good thing for all concerned. When the manual recount was under way in Broward, Scherer, a GOP operative, did a pretty good job of turning the procedure into a national joke. As the canvassing board counted votes and the television cameras rolled, Scherer started screaming at the counters like a spoiled child. "You are trolling for votes here!" he yelled. "You can't get this election any other way.... You told these lawyers to go bring you more votes!" Scherer's idiotic and arrogant outbursts (he had two of them on successive days) embarrassed not only him but also our fair county and the entire nation. Thank goodness Circuit Judge Robert W. Lee had the good sense finally to toss him out of the proceedings. Now if only we could toss him out of Broward altogether....
LePore was once almost universally admired by politicians in Palm Beach County. She has a genuine charm, works hard, and seems truly to care about the integrity and fairness of the election process. Time was, nobody would say a bad thing about her. Then came her ill-conceived butterfly ballot, which led thousands of Al Gore's supporters to accidentally vote for Pat Buchanan, thus giving W. the presidency. The world fell in on her. Pundits openly ridiculed her. Angry Dems flooded her office with hate mail. She instantly became the Bill Buckner of national politics, the woman who booted the presidential election. At the same time, she tirelessly had to coordinate the confusing recount mess. In handling all that incredible pressure, LePore proved she did indeed deserve the respect she'd earned for her years of exemplary service. Yet she will forever be remembered for her botched ballot.

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