The long-ago kings of Siam dealt with overmighty subjects by presenting them with rare white elephants from the royal stables, animals sacred in Buddhist tradition. Bestowal of such a remarkable creature was an honor all but impossible to refuse, but proper upkeep for a pale pachyderm was a beastly expense that shortly reduced the richest vassal to humble circumstances. South Florida's civic solons are reliving this legend during the interminable squabble over the International Swimming Hall of Fame, now located in Fort Lauderdale but angling for hipper digs. Pushed by development king Michael Swerdlow, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, and Pompano Beach have all made perfunctory trumpeting noises in the past year about what an honor it would be to house the hall's tacky museum, but no one wants to cough up millions for a more imposing edifice.

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