DeGroot On The Big Pump Thump

Here's John DeGroot's latest, which is one of his best in terms of turns of phrase (though the time factor might take some of the steam out of its stride):

That no one out there in Pulpland has rallied to my call to Save the Sun-Sentinel (SOSS) grieves me to the very depths of my aging ferndock.

Like where out there is the compassion for Florida’s fastest-shrinking newspaper? (The latest ABC numbers show a 10 percent decline in the newspaper’s readership during the most recent six months.)

Ah well..

Undaunted, I shall carry on with my jihad to Save the Sun-Sentinel by offering its editors a fact-based story idea that might actually interest someone with an IQ higher than a bag of mulch.


Here goes…

Like this time, I’ll even write the bulk of story.

BROWARD’S BIG BUS BUST (The Failed Penny Sales Tax)

So. How do you like them gas prices?

Thing is, you can bet your Texas Stetson, or Saudi caftan the Big Pump Thump is gonna get worse and worser.

Until one day you’ll be riding the bus with all the maids and burger flippers. Or peddling your sweating ass off in August.

Because it’s only a matter of time before a gallon of gas will cost more than an ounce of Jamaican Happy.

Which will REALLY twist your

shorts, Bunkie.

Too bad you didn’t vote for the penny sales tax that would have built a multi-billion-dollar, 21st Century mass transit system in Broward – maybe even in your lifetime.

Remember? It was only last November that Broward voters slammed the proposed mass transit sales tax by 86,507 FOR and 283,613 AGAINST—which is one hell of a poll-schtupping.

Here we need to insert an updated I-told-you-so quote from James Cummings, a local mega contractor who led People for Progress in Broward, which spent some $780,000 in a failed attempt to sell voters on the mass transit sales tax. True, Cummings’ construction company stood to gain serious profits if the initiative had passed. But that’s un-American picky-icky given the billions Dick Cheney’s pal are reaping from the war in Iraq.

Of course, according to Cummings, it really wasn’t our fault that we killed Broward’s dream mass transit system.

It was the Broward County Commissioners who did it, Cummings explained shortly after the mass transit initiative was slammed during last November’s General Election.

“It was very difficult to overcome” the Broward County Commission’s lack of support for the penny sales tax, Cummings said.

But then I don’t even change my underwear without checking with my County Commissioner -- even though he never returns my calls.

Trouble is, the County Commission was not the only august gathering of elected officials that failed to support a 21st Century mass transit system for Broward.

Check it out and you’ll find elected officials in every major coastal city in Broward refused to support the penny sales tax – with the exception of Hallandale and Deerfield Beach. (And who would want to drive there?)

Once more, Hallandale city officials gave $50,000 to the People for Progress in Broward to promote the penny sales tax – which made Hallandale’s taxpayers biggest single donor to the failed campaign.

And other major donors who shelled out large chunks of tax deductible cash to promote the mass transit penny sales tax?

$89,000 – USR Corporation, Austin, Texas

$85,000 – Advanced Roofing, Fort Lauderdale.

$30,000 – Nova SE University and Broward Community College

$25,000 – AutoNation, Fort Lauderdale

$25,000 – Broward Builders Association

$25,000 – Carter Burgess, Fort Lauderdale

$25,000 – City Furniture, Fort Lauderdale

$25,000 – James Cummings, Fort Lauderdale

$25,000 – Fort Lauderdale DDA (downtown Fort Lauderdale taxpayers)

$25,000 – DM & JM Harris, Los Angeles, CA

$25,000 – Huizenga Family Foundation, Fort Lauderdale

$25,000 – Parsons, Brinkerhoff, New York City

$25,000 – PBS & J, Miami

$20,000 – Broward Workshop, Fort Lauderdale

$20,000 – Wm. Keith & Associates, Pompano Beach

$20,000 – JM Family, Deerfield Beach

$15,000 – Siemens Corp., Orlando.

Anyhow, those are the biggies – God bless ‘em and their noble tax deductions.

Maybe they really did want a better future for us gas addicts. Not that they’ll ever need to sweat the cost of filling their SUV or turbo-charged Mercedes.

But still…

There’s always a silver lining. In this case, it came for a handful of big winners the People for Progress boosters hired to hype the failed penny sales tax like:

-- Former Broward County Commissioner John Hart, who received $202,000 to lead the failed campaign. -- Alan Wulkan, the former director of intergovernmental administration for Metro Dade Transportation Administration who received $130,000 from People for Progress. -- Visibility Unlimited, a Washington, DC organization unknown to Google that received $78,804 from the bus boosters. -- LUC Media, a Georgia firm specializing in buying political ads which received $70,325. -- Malkus Communications, a Fort Lauderdale public relationship firm headed by Chuck Malkus, who once handled PR for Broward General Hospital and received $50,000 from People for Progress. -- Art Kennedy, aide to Congressman Alcee Hastings who was paid $4,000 to bring voters to the polls on election day last November.

And so on*.

*NOTE: Any Sun-Sentinel staffer can write the rest with one hand; all they need do is check their clips and the still available People for Progress website at