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Pulp Brings Down City Manager

Okay, that header may be overstating things just a bit, but you read about Deerfield Beach City Manager Larry Deetjen's racist airport blow-up here first. Let's face it, Larry Deetjen brought down Larry Deetjen. The Sun-Sentinel's Susannah Bryan tells us this morning of Deetjen's six-month suspension which was hastened by the NAACP. Here's an alternative version. Three observations:

1. I'd love a six-month suspension with pay. Right now. 2. Other than Deetjen loyalist Mayor Capellini, the only other commissioner to support the city manager was Sylvia Poitier, who is black. Makes you wonder what she's got going on, don't it? 3. Deetjen is done as city manager. Don't expect him to ever regain the position.

Ken Jenne Watch The front-page story by Sally Kestin in the Sentinel on Jenne failing to report the $20,000 sale of a Lake Worth condo in 2001 on his income tax forms was jaw-dropping. I mean, $20,000 for a condo in South Florida? Takes you back, don't it?

Whoa Eddie, Whoa The story in the Miami Herald about the motorist who escaped "alligator-infested" waters touched off my WTF? alarm. Reporter Ashley Wilson begins her story about Eddie Melendez plunging into a canal on Alligator Alley this way:

"Eddie Melendez was driving home to Miami from Tampa early Tuesday when a huge tractor-trailer passed his car, causing it to jolt on the roadway."

Look, man, if there was a crash every time a huge tractor-trailer passed a car and caused it to jolt a little, we'd have to shut down the American highway system. Here's how the hapless Melendez describes it:

''I felt an air drift push me aside,'' he said. "I skidded across the median and four lanes. I tried to use my emergency brakes and everything. I broke the fence and went into the canal. The next thing I know, I feel water through my legs.''

That may be the worst driving I've ever read about. But give Melendez credit. He made it out of the canal even though he lost his glasses and was legally blind at the time. (You wonder if he actually lost his spectacles before the accident). On top of that, he valiantly made it to his job at Wendy's later the same day.

And Finally ... This Jose Lambiet column in the Palm Beach Post is just jammed with juice. Lambiet proves week in and week out that behind every great fortune there's a great story.

THIS JUST IN: This letter from a Houston Press reporter who says he's being blackmailed was just posted on Romenesko. Anybody have any advice for the poor fellow? If somebody stole my Yahoo e-mails, they wouldn't find anything much worth blackmailing me over. (Everybody dabbles in white slavery a little, don't they?) But still, sounds pretty nightmarish.

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman

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