Undercurrents | New Times Broward-Palm Beach


In a visionary move, the City of Delray Beach has decided to crack down on psychics, fortunetellers, and their soothsaying ilk.

That caught people like Michael Stevenson in a bind. His New-Age store, Shining Through, has also offered fortunetelling with tarot cards and numerology ever since it opened six years ago.

New-Age or old, a medium cannot channel a message.
This sudden change in the city's enforcement begs one serious question: Shouldn't Stevenson, or someone in his store, have seen it coming?

The short answer is "no," says Stevenson, who claims his business is not solely involved in psychic readings. "We had some problems before, but I had been told by the city not to concern myself."

On August 17, the city's planning and zoning board will vote on an amendment to the city ordinance to allow psychics to stay in town.

A prediction?
"What I feel like is going to happen," Stevenson says, "is they'll go ahead and pass the amendment on the 17th, and then it'll go to the city council and they won't have any problems."

If that's the case, it hardly seems worth the hassle of waiting for the vote.

Marvin U. Mounts, the real-life Palm Beach County judge who inspired the TV series Maximum Bob didn't even watch the show when it premiered last Tuesday.

But for the sake of his old friend Elmore Leonard, who wrote the novel that inspired the eponymous show, Mounts was pleased to see that the program received mostly positive reviews.

The novel and now the ABC-TV show chronicle the exploits of Judge Bob Isom Gibbs, the toughest and most fun-loving jurist this side of Lake Okeechobee. Leonard, a part-time Palm Beach County resident, wrote the book in 1991, based upon stories Mounts had told him of some of the oddball characters who come into his courthouse on a daily basis.

Since then Mounts has received from his friend a signed hardcover copy of the book, met with several of the actors in the show, sat through part of the taping, and previewed the pilot episode. Mounts says he enjoyed the show when he saw it several months ago.

"You want it to do well," Mounts said from Gainesville last week, where he was attending a weeklong legal conference, "because you know how much is involved."

But as Mounts is always quick to note, Leonard's fictional character was merely inspired by Mounts. Similarities between Gibbs and Mounts include a passion for orchids, a take-no-guff attitude, and a wry sense of humor. Anything else, Mounts says, is purely coincidental.

That's a good thing.
On the tube last Tuesday, Gibbs made lewd innuendoes toward a pretty public defender (portrayed by Hollywood, Florida resident Liz Vassey), frequented strip joints, and handed down a life sentence to a ne'er-do-well for underage drinking.

Mounts, meanwhile, attended a conference at the University of Florida, where he helped young attorneys practice public speaking to build courtroom confidence in front of a judge.

Hardly the stuff of a quirky hour of prime-time TV. We hope.

Undercurrents wants to know about any and all political deals, media screwups, and particularly dumb memos from bureaucrats. Let us know. Call 954-233-1572, fax 954-233-1571, or e-mail [email protected].