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Heading to Hollywood? Bring Snorkel, Flippers

Sometimes, all it takes is a long, steady rain to tell us what local governments have been smart about spending their tax dollars. Judging by reports, the City of Hollywood has flunked this test.

"At 28th Avenue at McNicol Middle School [near Pembroke Road], it's all flooded -- it's a lake," says Andre Brown, an activist in South Hollywood. A news release just issued by the city named six areas that have turned into lakes. Three of those are in South Hollywood.

For years, Brown has been begging the city to fix his neighborhood's woeful drainage system. "The only time they fix the drains is right before the election," says Brown, who has a longtime rivalry with Commissioner Beam Furr. The last one was in 2008, so by Brown's estimation, it'll be 2012 before the city gets around to it again.

The city is supposed to have enough in its budget to tend to those drains much more regularly. "The gas tax is allocated to fix up the infrastructure in this community," says Brown, who in remarks he made at Hollywood Commission chambers has demanded an explanation. "None of the commissioners could tell me where that money went."

The area around South 26th Avenue and Plunkett Street is also underwater. It's so bad, says Brown, that students have to wade through water just to get to the front door of Colbert Elementary. "They have a new school, but they have no flood drains," says Brown, adding that a disabled man in the neighborhood gets trapped in his home on days like this.