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.
Some are undoubtedly on a power trip, but most people who choose law enforcement as a career do so out of some sense of community service. That puts them on the ladder of humanity a rung above the apathetic masses. But it doesn't mean they're perfect, and when they use or abuse their positions of authority, they're even worse than criminals, because they've breached the public trust. Most criminals, after all, never claimed to be good guys. But David Farrall did. An agent working the organized-crime beat for the FBI office in Miami, the Coconut Creek resident spent his time on duty trying to clean up South Florida's dirty underbelly. On November 23 of last year, he did some soiling of his own, driving drunk late at night and speeding the wrong way down I-95, in the process killing two innocent Lauderhill brothers, Maurice Williams and Craig Chambers. As if that weren't bad enough, he identified himself as an FBI agent at the accident scene, and in doing so got investigators initially to believe his story -- that it was the brothers who had been at fault. Very, very bad.
Some are undoubtedly on a power trip, but most people who choose law enforcement as a career do so out of some sense of community service. That puts them on the ladder of humanity a rung above the apathetic masses. But it doesn't mean they're perfect, and when they use or abuse their positions of authority, they're even worse than criminals, because they've breached the public trust. Most criminals, after all, never claimed to be good guys. But David Farrall did. An agent working the organized-crime beat for the FBI office in Miami, the Coconut Creek resident spent his time on duty trying to clean up South Florida's dirty underbelly. On November 23 of last year, he did some soiling of his own, driving drunk late at night and speeding the wrong way down I-95, in the process killing two innocent Lauderhill brothers, Maurice Williams and Craig Chambers. As if that weren't bad enough, he identified himself as an FBI agent at the accident scene, and in doing so got investigators initially to believe his story -- that it was the brothers who had been at fault. Very, very bad.
We're not talking about some long-limbed nubile tourist girl who's down for the season and looking to get deflowered. We're referring to the real deal, the blue-robed diva of Catholicism, the Mother of all mothers. For roughly 40 years, the DiVito motel and its Virgin Mary statue have hosted tourists, ever since original owner Antonio DiVito decided to erect a monument paying tribute to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The motel's version is decidedly smaller and doesn't curve perilously to one side, but it does sport cubbyholes where Mary and fellow saint Anthony sit and contemplate the Atlantic's horizon. White stone cherubs, nymphs, and water-bearing wenches also crown the tower, but it's Mary who receives the occasional clutch of flowers from lodgers and passersby.

We're not talking about some long-limbed nubile tourist girl who's down for the season and looking to get deflowered. We're referring to the real deal, the blue-robed diva of Catholicism, the Mother of all mothers. For roughly 40 years, the DiVito motel and its Virgin Mary statue have hosted tourists, ever since original owner Antonio DiVito decided to erect a monument paying tribute to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The motel's version is decidedly smaller and doesn't curve perilously to one side, but it does sport cubbyholes where Mary and fellow saint Anthony sit and contemplate the Atlantic's horizon. White stone cherubs, nymphs, and water-bearing wenches also crown the tower, but it's Mary who receives the occasional clutch of flowers from lodgers and passersby.

You were expecting us to say A1A, Las Olas Boulevard, or Clematis Street. But we're contrarians to the core, so we're going to impart a warm sense of confusion by naming this out-of-the-way residential through street as the finest little drive in our neck of the woods. Before you get all apoplectic, hop in the jalopy and check it out. This smooth, two-lane street is fronted by modest houses that don't all look alike, sporting big yards and wide lawns. Between the houses are empty lots (!), home to nothing more than lush stands of Australian pine. The whole place has a genteel, countrified feel to it. If memory serves, there's even a white fence or two demarcating horse pastures and empty fields. As if to remind you that this is South Florida, though, an ugly gated community sits at the end of the road, and a big piece of pastureland slated for rezoning threatens to make way for still more McMansions.
You were expecting us to say A1A, Las Olas Boulevard, or Clematis Street. But we're contrarians to the core, so we're going to impart a warm sense of confusion by naming this out-of-the-way residential through street as the finest little drive in our neck of the woods. Before you get all apoplectic, hop in the jalopy and check it out. This smooth, two-lane street is fronted by modest houses that don't all look alike, sporting big yards and wide lawns. Between the houses are empty lots (!), home to nothing more than lush stands of Australian pine. The whole place has a genteel, countrified feel to it. If memory serves, there's even a white fence or two demarcating horse pastures and empty fields. As if to remind you that this is South Florida, though, an ugly gated community sits at the end of the road, and a big piece of pastureland slated for rezoning threatens to make way for still more McMansions.
There's a reason you can get really cheap flights to Fort Lauderdale in, say, mid-August: The weather sizzles. It's not that the weather here is significantly worse during the summer months than it is in any other East Coast city south of the Mason-Dixon Line, but it seems to go on forever. In South Florida summer runs from April to November, no matter what the calendar or weathermen want you to believe. To survive it you must have a place to seek refuge from the heat, and we know of no better hangout than the Broward County Library. Think of the attributes: It's free, it's air-conditioned, the bathrooms are clean, the bookshelves are stocked, and best of all, you paid for it with your own tax dollars, so there's no guilt factor. Nobody has the right to hurry you on your way. Dig out that latest Carl Hiaasen page-turner and search out a table in the far stacks, then sit down and chill. Kick off your shoes, wring out your socks, sleep -- whatever. This is your temple.

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