Ah, a career highlight -- I got the first Ron Book post-loogey-in-the-eye interview.
I believe that means I have finally arrived as a journalist in this town.
We've all heard by now that the lobbyist was accosted by a mad vagrant Tuesday night after pushing the commission to vote in favor of the massive and controversial Commons project in Davie. He told me Thursday night that he spent five hours in the hospital taking injections to protect him from hepatitis and other possible diseases that rogue saliva in the eye might cause. He said he'll be taking preventative injections for at least the next six months.
"The problem is that you don't know what could incubating from a microbe perspective," Book told me. "You don't know if the guy had HIV which can be transmitted in saliva. The guy spat literally in my eye. It stuck on my eyeball. It was disgusting."
He said he was walking on the sidewalk by Broward Boulevard right after leaving the governmental center when the man came at him.
"This guy came walking right at me and I couldn't get out of his way," Book said. "I didn't know him from Adam. I thought at first it must have been someone who had been at the [Commons] hearing. He had the intention of coming at me. I said, 'What the fuck,' and he started to take a swing at me. That's when I ran out onto Broward Boulevard and almost got hit by a car. Then he stood with his arms crossed and tried to egg me on to cross the street so he could beat me up."
He said he felt lucky to get out of there relatively unscathed. Before going to the hospital, he stopped at Sunrise City Hall, there to work for another big client, builder Terry Stiles (who landed the contract to build the city a new $30 million public safety building that night). He said both the city's police chief and fire chief advised him to go to the emergency room.
"The short version is that people with mental health issues need medications and care and that's really what this is about," said Book, who has played a role in several homeless organizations, including Homeless Trust. "It doesn't make me happy, as a guy who tries to watch out for homeless folk. I'm pretty angry today. You go through this violation and these injections and it's not pleasant."
He said his eye is fine, though it seems a little itchy.
"That might be psychological though," he said.