Broward-Palm Beach Power Rankings: Israel Swings an Ax, Local Voice Goes Big Time, and Allen West Gets In One More

The local personalities, egos, and public figures who swung through the news cycle this week, ranked by New Times' crack research department using through a highly scientific algorithm (i.e. cocktail napkins and a Boggle board).

5. Congressman Allen West. The clock might be running out for Congress' preeminent Tea Party loudmouth, but we all knew Allen West wasn't leaving office quietly. He tossed one last piece of batshit, right-wing red meat to adoring fans on Fox News, saying Hilary Clinton came down with a case of "Benghazi flu." West has reportedly trademarked the phrase, and is currently printing up t-shirts to be sold at South Florida gun shows, which is where you'll find Allen West in two years, asking if he could trade you a "Benghazi Flu" t-shirt for the rest of that Chipotle burrito.

4. Sperm Whale. What the hell was that, right? Whether it was a preview of the Mayan Apocalypse or Exhibit A in the case about climate change, a lot of South Florida residents geeked out at the sight of 40 feet of fish mammal meat washing ashore in Deerfield Beach. But, like any good Floridians, that didn't stop people from trying to surf it.    

3. Cassadee Pope. Despite some legal trouble hanging in her backswing, area native Cassadee Pope came out the big winner on NBC's hit show, The Voice. A major moment for the West Palm Beach music scene, which along with Pope consists of a dinner hour four-piece specializing in Rodgers and Hammerstein and a O-Town tribute band. 

2. Broward Sheriff-elect Scott Israel. There's no better way to start a new job than to come in blasting. Even before officially taking the reins at the Broward County Sheriff's Office, Scott Israel fired 28 members of the department's high brass. Considering the department employs about 6,000 people, the bloodletting was minor -- but symbolic.

1. Tamarac Commissioner Patricia Atkins-Gard. Outright displays of political muscle are one thing, but the area's true Machiavelli works in a lower gear. First, the disgraced Tamarac pol with a perma-scowl convinced a jury she was too stupid to bribe. Now, she's somehow convinced Governor Rick Scott she should keep her high-ranking position. The dark arts are very strong in this one.

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