It had all the ingredients of an epic: A diminutive wannabe dictator (Ken Jenne) angling behind the scenes for a colossal power-grab; a protectionist gang of ethically questionable politicos who will stop at nothing to retain their preeminence (county commissioners); and a horde of profiteers angling on both sides of the issue (lobbyists and contractors). In politics, battles are almost always between evil and slightly less evil, and in this case it's hard to tell what side was which. Creating a strong mayor in Broward would, it seems, put too much absolute power in one set of hands. The thought of Ken Jenne with all that power is abominable for just about everybody but his long-time cronies. Yet there are few things as politically frightening as the county commission as it now stands, with the likes of campaign thief Scott Cowan and perennial good ol' girl Lori Parrish sitting up there. Perhaps it would take a dictator to clean Broward County's pipes and bring it to national prominence. Or maybe infamy. Jenne lost out this time, but this one's far from over. It's only round one in this political death match.

It had all the ingredients of an epic: A diminutive wannabe dictator (Ken Jenne) angling behind the scenes for a colossal power-grab; a protectionist gang of ethically questionable politicos who will stop at nothing to retain their preeminence (county commissioners); and a horde of profiteers angling on both sides of the issue (lobbyists and contractors). In politics, battles are almost always between evil and slightly less evil, and in this case it's hard to tell what side was which. Creating a strong mayor in Broward would, it seems, put too much absolute power in one set of hands. The thought of Ken Jenne with all that power is abominable for just about everybody but his long-time cronies. Yet there are few things as politically frightening as the county commission as it now stands, with the likes of campaign thief Scott Cowan and perennial good ol' girl Lori Parrish sitting up there. Perhaps it would take a dictator to clean Broward County's pipes and bring it to national prominence. Or maybe infamy. Jenne lost out this time, but this one's far from over. It's only round one in this political death match.

Admit it. You read Lambiet's "South Florida Insider" in the Sun-Sentinel. Everybody does. (That's why The Herald tried to lure him away, unsuccessfully.) While the rest of the Sun-Sentinel aims for -- and usually achieves -- a sleepy weave of the banal and irrelevant, Lambiet's writing is solid, punchy, and fun. It may carry more cachet to keep up with political columnist Buddy Nevins, but we're guessing Nevins doesn't pull down half the readership of the Bald One. The great unwashed simply don't care about politics anymore, Buddy. We want to know what the beautiful people are up to in SoBe. Not that Lambiet isn't a journalist's journalist. He has a source book to die for (though he loses points with us for overuse of anonymous attribution), and his network of informants would make a G-man jealous. Hell, he even breaks news once in a while.
Admit it. You read Lambiet's "South Florida Insider" in the Sun-Sentinel. Everybody does. (That's why The Herald tried to lure him away, unsuccessfully.) While the rest of the Sun-Sentinel aims for -- and usually achieves -- a sleepy weave of the banal and irrelevant, Lambiet's writing is solid, punchy, and fun. It may carry more cachet to keep up with political columnist Buddy Nevins, but we're guessing Nevins doesn't pull down half the readership of the Bald One. The great unwashed simply don't care about politics anymore, Buddy. We want to know what the beautiful people are up to in SoBe. Not that Lambiet isn't a journalist's journalist. He has a source book to die for (though he loses points with us for overuse of anonymous attribution), and his network of informants would make a G-man jealous. Hell, he even breaks news once in a while.
One has to ponder the reliability of a newspaper when it gets the name of its own employee wrong. Makes you wonder exactly how badly the daily hacks butcher the name of your average Joe Blow whose house burns down or who gets busted for snorting coke off the toilet seat at his local dive bar. So, for posterity's sake: "A story on page 1B of Sunday's edition about the Sun-Sentinel Children's Fund misidentified the Sun-Sentinel Marketing Manager for Charities. She is Andrea Bradley. We regret the error." We hope they get the name right on her paycheck.

One has to ponder the reliability of a newspaper when it gets the name of its own employee wrong. Makes you wonder exactly how badly the daily hacks butcher the name of your average Joe Blow whose house burns down or who gets busted for snorting coke off the toilet seat at his local dive bar. So, for posterity's sake: "A story on page 1B of Sunday's edition about the Sun-Sentinel Children's Fund misidentified the Sun-Sentinel Marketing Manager for Charities. She is Andrea Bradley. We regret the error." We hope they get the name right on her paycheck.

The best -- and worst -- politicians are the renegades, the ones who challenge the good old boy system and aren't afraid to be impolite. The best of these generate a better and more just government, while the worst simply hem and haw at everything while getting absolutely nothing accomplished. School board member Stephanie Kraft falls among the former group. And the school board desperately needs a few good women. Kraft is constantly trying to improve the ever-political school board and has won a few major victories. But it was one vote that will forever make her something of a hero to those who really give a damn about freedom. After Ken Jenne's posse busted up a swingers' club and arrested two teachers (who were in the clubs with their consenting significant others), there was a typical fascist knee-jerk response: Fire the teachers. Pious school board members were afraid to vote any other way when the scandal broke -- except Kraft, bless her libertarian soul. She voted against suspending the teachers without pay, a lone voice fighting the process of canning the teachers. She complained that the board was crossing a sacred line of privacy. It took guts -- and later it helped achieve results. Following Kraft's lead, the board has reversed itself on the matter.
The best -- and worst -- politicians are the renegades, the ones who challenge the good old boy system and aren't afraid to be impolite. The best of these generate a better and more just government, while the worst simply hem and haw at everything while getting absolutely nothing accomplished. School board member Stephanie Kraft falls among the former group. And the school board desperately needs a few good women. Kraft is constantly trying to improve the ever-political school board and has won a few major victories. But it was one vote that will forever make her something of a hero to those who really give a damn about freedom. After Ken Jenne's posse busted up a swingers' club and arrested two teachers (who were in the clubs with their consenting significant others), there was a typical fascist knee-jerk response: Fire the teachers. Pious school board members were afraid to vote any other way when the scandal broke -- except Kraft, bless her libertarian soul. She voted against suspending the teachers without pay, a lone voice fighting the process of canning the teachers. She complained that the board was crossing a sacred line of privacy. It took guts -- and later it helped achieve results. Following Kraft's lead, the board has reversed itself on the matter.
Since tasting outrage at his first glimpse of that circus otherwise known as the Hollywood City Commission some three decades ago, Brewer has led a plucky group of activists who keep an eye on the often questionable dealings at Hollywood City Hall. Some politicians brush aside Brewer, a Tennessee native with a deep Southern drawl and a sweep of white hair. But those who do live to regret it. Long-time commissioner Cathy Anderson reportedly called for a city manager's dismissal under orders from Brewer and has been known to ask reporters, "Is Pete mad at me?" Brewer may have only a high-school education, but the retired donut company executive has a knowledge of finances and city government to rival any city official -- and often sniffs out scandals before city officials do, thanks to his faithful coterie of city hall sources. Brewer is a taxpayer's best friend and is amicable with journalists. A message left on a reporter's answering machine led to a front-page story in a daily newspaper about how the city accidentally sold its 100-foot police radio tower to a Miami man. He also uncovered a disability double-dip that cost the city millions, a pension scandal in which 35-year-old employees were retiring, and is now trying to interest Gov. Jeb Bush in investigating what he calls a $10 million water-and-sewer shortfall. Brewer might have lost his first city commission election last month, but that's OK with us. He can accomplish far more on the outside.
Since tasting outrage at his first glimpse of that circus otherwise known as the Hollywood City Commission some three decades ago, Brewer has led a plucky group of activists who keep an eye on the often questionable dealings at Hollywood City Hall. Some politicians brush aside Brewer, a Tennessee native with a deep Southern drawl and a sweep of white hair. But those who do live to regret it. Long-time commissioner Cathy Anderson reportedly called for a city manager's dismissal under orders from Brewer and has been known to ask reporters, "Is Pete mad at me?" Brewer may have only a high-school education, but the retired donut company executive has a knowledge of finances and city government to rival any city official -- and often sniffs out scandals before city officials do, thanks to his faithful coterie of city hall sources. Brewer is a taxpayer's best friend and is amicable with journalists. A message left on a reporter's answering machine led to a front-page story in a daily newspaper about how the city accidentally sold its 100-foot police radio tower to a Miami man. He also uncovered a disability double-dip that cost the city millions, a pension scandal in which 35-year-old employees were retiring, and is now trying to interest Gov. Jeb Bush in investigating what he calls a $10 million water-and-sewer shortfall. Brewer might have lost his first city commission election last month, but that's OK with us. He can accomplish far more on the outside.

Best Of Broward-Palm Beach®

Best Of