Undercurrents | New Times Broward-Palm Beach


The oven is about to be turned up to broil.

For you newcomers we thought we'd issue a warning: The scorching summer heat is about to be upon us. Sure, you can lounge by the pool -- if you have one. But for those hoping to jump into community pools in Fort Lauderdale, the selection and availability aren't great. There are pools, but many are only open on weekends; some will open full-time when the kids are out of school. It seems it's just too expensive to staff the pools.

But a few residents, and Mayor Jim Naugle, think the hours and programming are not enough, so he has an idea that is sure to run into resistance: Take the pools away from the city. That's right; have them run by a nonprofit. Naugle thinks the YMCA could do a better job of building interest and providing "learn to swim" programs for the citizens.

The opposition is coming from city staffers, who never want to entertain cutting the number of personnel under their command. We tried to get some information and perspective from Parks and Recreation supervisor Steve Person, the city's man in charge of pools, but he wouldn't return phone calls. He's not too busy to collect a paycheck from taxpayers that totals a whopping $111,000 a year, but he certainly can't return a call.

We were also interested in an interpretation of the city code regarding signs and flags. It seems many businesses, including car dealerships, were getting around the sign code by putting up hundreds of flags with their corporate logos. So as journalists/ concerned citizens we called Planning and Zoning and were told that the underlings with information on this issue couldn't talk, we had to call Zoning Administrator Greg Brewton. We did. Repeatedly. We even asked Mr. Brewton to let us know if we had the right person or if he declined to comment. No response. He makes $98,000 a year. Could it be that these high-paid executives have lost sight of the fact that they serve the entire community, even annoying journalists?

We have an idea. Make cuts in the inflated salaries of the city executives and boost the staffing at pools and other services for those who don't make $100,000 a year.

The most entertaining thing on AM radio in this area is nationally syndicated Phil Hendrie on WINZ-AM (940). Yes, we know that the angry Jewish gay man with the fart jokes on WQAM (610) gets the most white guys to listen, but that shtick is so one-dimensional.

Hendrie is a master of voices who presents the most entertaining and outlandish guests on radio -- and they are all he. His repertoire of characters is so over the top that it perfectly sends up the pompous nature of talk radio. The callers are the stupidest people on earth, and we can't believe they don't get it. Hendrie presented a guest last week who wanted to stage a revival of Oklahoma! (even though Hammerstein was a Jew!) on the anniversary of the big blast in Oklahoma City, and the callers were outraged, we think.

It actually took getting out of South Florida radio for Hendrie to go national. He is informed and funny, which spanks angry and crude every time.

Got a tip? Call 954-233-1581, fax 954-233-1571, or e-mail [email protected].