She came into office as a breath of fresh air, beating Bill Griffin, the terribly corrupt former Pompano Beach mayor who tried to transfer the last of the public beach to developer Michael Swerdlow. She helped kill that deal and brought what seemed like common sense and a kind of blue-collar decency into the halls of Pompano power. In a mere four years, though, she became political roadkill, mainly because the public perceived her as a pawn of those same developers. Instead of fending them off, she put her hand out to them — and walked away with fistfuls of cash (something close to $20,000 worth). The voters smelled a rat and in March knocked her out of office in favor of Charlotte Burrie, a former city clerk who refused to accept any money from developers and beat her in a true grassroots campaign. The good news for Foster is that, while she has fallen, she might be able to get back up. Just so long as she remembers that it's the voters who decide who stays in office rather than the deep pockets.
It's a sad trajectory, friends. If you follow local politics, you know the routine: Young and promising politician goes after a tired, ethically compromised old-timer, rides a wave of electoral energy into office, and, after a few years of learning the terrain, becomes a tired, ethically compromised old-timer. But man, it's fun to go along for the ride at the beginning, and Keechl's victory last year over veteran Broward County Commissioner Jim Scott was thrilling. Add in the fact that he's the first openly gay man to hold that position and, well, it's hard not to get a little hopeful that there's a bright spot on that generally bad dais, no matter how jaded we've become. Godspeed, Keechl — and, for goodness' sake, stay away from that sad trajectory.
When his city's CRA overpaid for a piece of land purchased from a Boynton insider, Mayor Taylor didn't try to defend it. He called the city on what he termed a huge mistake in the Palm Beach Post. That's Jerry Taylor. He calls it as he sees it, and while Boyntonians may not always agree with the mayor, they know where he stands. The drive that's consuming Taylor now is moving his city along in its long-term plan to redevelop the downtown area. Some say he wants to go too fast, but after years of waiting, the 70-year-old political vet is supported by the people of Boynton who are sick and tired of their town being an ugly sideshow between Delray Beach and Lake Worth. Taylor is also spearheading an affordable-housing plan in the city, so it looks as if the coming year will be exciting for Boynton and its leader.
Numerous former public officials in two South Florida towns wish Fane Lozman would get a damned job. Because if he had one, they'd still have theirs. Lozman, a wealthy young guy who lives on a houseboat, has made the government's business his business and has turned North Bay Village and Riviera Beach upside down in the process. Most recently, he sued Riviera Beach over its $2.4 billion redevelopment plan because it would have privatized the municipal marina where he lives. The city — his landlord — retaliated by evicting him. Lozman fought the eviction in court and, serving as his own lawyer, persuaded a jury that Riviera had violated his First Amendment rights. The eviction was overturned. Ten days after the verdict came down, four incumbents, including Mayor Michael Brown, were voted out of office — and Lozman had no small part in generating the "kick the bums out" vibe that sent Brown and his chums packing. How did he celebrate the Riviera revolution? A couple of bottles of bubbly in the marina he still calls home.
The Van Horne voice is radio. As he calls Marlins games, his tightly controlled yet strangely melodic voice conveys volumes with the slightest change of intonation. The man is a master whose virtuosity has come with a lifetime of practice. Consider that he called his first Major League game in 1969 on the day the Montreal Expos were born. Now he's in his 39th year, the past seven of them with the Marlins. During the span of two generations, he's called Willie Mays' 3,000th hit, Pete Rose's 4,000th hit, and Steve Carlton's 4,000th strikeout, among other milestones. But during baseball season, he's just Dave Van Horne, the guy with the smooth pipes who guides you through game night.
This Caribbean-formatted station is a one-stop shop for all things pertinent to the West Indian community in South Florida. From intelligent talk radio in the morning to reggae throughout the day, it may not be as youth-friendly as other radio stations in the area (which spin only dancehall tunes), but the one-drop and rockers-style reggae that's broadcast here is family-friendly. As a result, Lynks is the perfect blend between community and contemporary radio. The music isn't necessarily old school; it's true school. This is the only local station where you can consistently hear legends like Augustus Pablo, Dennis Brown, and Steel Pulse. That may sound funny in a market like South Florida, where every form of Caribbean music is on the airwaves, yet somehow, foundation reggae is often excluded. The political conversations of on-air personality Sir Rockwell during the talk radio segment are always engaging, but they could focus on other regions of the Caribbean instead of just Jamaica. Still, if you're searching for a station with good music, good vibes, and an irie attitude, Lynks-FM is all you will need.
Remember Jim DeFede's journalism heyday, when he was making beautiful journalistic music at Miami New Times? That was DeFede Raw. Then he went to the Miami Herald, where we got DeFede Lite (if there can be such a thing for a man of his considerable girth). And now, after his famous firing from the newspaper, he's doing radio on WINZ-AM (940) and regular commentaries on CBS (Channel 4). Call it DeFede Plugged. And we're happy to report that he's a natural on the air. DeFede can talk about the Iraq War, local politics, Tom Waits, and women all with equal aplomb. Does he have the deep impact he used to have with his trenchant newspaper reports? Maybe not, but he brings intelligence, knowledge, and wit to the airwaves of South Florida, a rare feat indeed.
There aren't many radio DJs around the country who can lock down an entire time slot the way 99 Jamz DJ Khaled can. He's been bulldozing the competition during his weekly show, The Take Over. Lovers of urban music tune into him faithfully between 6 and 11 p.m., and there might as well not be another hip-hop DJ on the airwaves during those hours. He's known for dropping exclusive tracks during his sets and is able to use his industry connections to break music that's unavailable to most other radio DJs. Of course, The Take Over is a tandem show, and the affable personality of K. Foxx can't be overlooked. But the fact is, most listeners stay glued to 99 Jamz because of Khaled. His credentials run deep: He dominated the pirate radio scene under various aliases such as the Beat Novocain, he's an affiliate of Fat Joe's Terror Squad, and his mixtape series is respected throughout the country. That's a lot of skills to bring to one radio station.
Newcomers could be forgiven for believing that Fort Lauderdale is actually named after Dwight Lauderdale, a dude who seems to have been here since time immemorial. (Actually, it's 1976.) For folks who've lived in the area for 30 years or more, Lauderdale is more than just a local institution. Unflappable and classy and one of the few TV journalists who doesn't abuse his title, he's a rarity during these dumbed-down days of endless infotainment. The guy's so trustworthy and well-respected, he could probably run for office and win strictly on the strength of name recognition. Mustache or no (Lauderdale's facial-hair status is the topic of tons of water-cooler discussions), he's the one anchor we'll turn to when we wants facts instead of fluff.
He's earned a Peabody and two Emmys and has eked his way out of local newsdom to reach the world with his stories on the uniquely weird news of hurricanes, South American dictators, and the violent conflicts that pop up from time to time with our neighbors down that way. Sanders is officially listed as a Miami correspondent for NBC Nightly News, the Today Show and MSNBC, and he contributes to Dateline NBC, but we all know that ever since Anna Nicole died north of the Golden Glades interchange, the real South Florida news is happening up in these parts. Hell, even CNN moved its Miami bureau to Broward County earlier this year. But back to Sanders: If Fidel Castro does ever actually die, Sanders will be prepared. He's been in Iraq for the Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom. In-country this last time, Sanders brilliantly illustrated Iraqi children's attitude toward America when he showed them a world map — and they couldn't find us. Now, that's good TV!

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