Our most recently hired New Times staff writer, Tom Francis, recently got a crash course in the weirdness of committing journalism in South Florida.
Francis was working on a story in Sunrise regarding politicians' ties to the city-contracted garbage hauler, All Service Refuse. He wanted to talk to city commissioner Sheila Alu, who had a bitter battle with All Service a ways back.
Well, Alu is a "Steel Magnolia" -- one of the group of femme-politicos beloved by the Sentinel's former political columnist Buddy Nevins. Nevins, in fact, wrote about Alu and All Service back in the day, firmly on the side of Alu (and rightfully so, I think). So the commissioner sent an e-mail to Nevins, who still writes miscellaneous government stories, asking for advice on how to handle Francis.
Here's the e-mail Nevins tried to send back to Alu:
I would be careful of these guys. What have you got to gain? You should make friends with All Service. The fight is behind you.
Buddy Nevins South Florida Sun-Sentinel Sun-Sentinel.Com 200 E. Las Olas Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, Fl 33322
954-356-4571 954-356-4559 (fax) email@example.com
So here you have a reporter advising a politician not to talk to another newspaper in town. That I at least somewhat understand, especially considering that the Pulp ultimately led Earl Maucker to take away Nevins' political column. But telling the same politician to "make friends" with an ethically dubious garbage contractor while she was at it? Well, that's not kosher. Sounds more like a political advisor than a journalist.
But hey, that's Buddy. It's more evidence of Nevins' way-too-close relationship with the Magnolias, which also includes his favorite lobbyist, Ali Waldman, and state Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff (who employs his son, Aaron).
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So you may be wondering: How in the hell did the Pulp get ahold of Nevins' e-mail to Alu? Well, Nevins accidentally sent it off to ... Tom Francis. O00ops.
Francis, not one to shy away from a little mischief, responded by sending Alu an e-mail saying that he had a funny feeling she may have consulted with Nevins about speaking with him.
"She didn't respond directly to that, just sent an email back saying that she's busy with law school and for that reason could only answer my questions via email," Francis tells the Pulp. "I haven't responded to that note. I've got no interest in quotes that are filtered through Buddy Nevins."
Nor should anyone else, it seems.