The following is an excerpt from the Sun-Sentinel endorsement in the District 8 county commission race between front-runners Barbara Sharief and Angelo Castillo:
Castillo says he'd like to improve the commission's credibility. However, in his interview with the Sun Sentinel Editorial Board, Castillo awkwardly dodged a legitimate question about his use of a campaign consultant. In doing so, he came across as disconcertingly tone deaf on an issue of utmost concern to all Broward residents, not just those in his district. If elected, he must be ready to deal forthrightly, and with candor, or his tenure on the commission will be short.
Sharief, 38, put together an impressive presentation. She clearly has done her homework on county government and its budget. Her vow not to meet with lobbyists is also appealing.
OK, now guess which one got the endorsement from the newspaper.
Yes, of course, it was Angelo Castillo, the dodgy and disconcertingly tone-deaf candidate connected to a shady campaign consultant and who is the darling of special interests. I mean, who would be stupid enough to pick an impressive woman who does her homework, knows the budget, and has vowed not to meet those corrupt lobbyists?
Thus the Sentinel became Castillo's bitch before Election Day -- and the craziest thing is that the newspaper didn't even mention the key issue in the race, Castillo's obvious conflict of interest with his work for the Broward House should he be elected (sorry, Roy Rogers, I don't agree with your "opinion"). Remember, the guy dropped out of the race because of that conflict at one point and reentered it after the "crystal-clear" (as mud) Rogers' opinion.
This is why I only do anti-endorsements (with the exception of Nick Sakhnosky, whom I endorsed after reading Jennifer Gottlieb's glowing evaluation of the superintendent while the board is in a time of crisis).
In fact, Jean once said that Trump "rules." No wonder Sean Penn doesn't like Jean. (Of course, there is something to be said of the state of the world when we're writing about a Hollywood actor criticizing a hip-hop artist who is running for president of a country.)
New Times wrote about Trump and Jean back in 2006, just as the real estate collapse was beginning. Here's a link to Trevor Aaronson's story, well-titled "Chump Tower." Following is a most-excellent excerpt about a sales pitch that Wyclef and Donald gave at the Bonnet House in Fort Lauderdale:
Wyclef's entrance was unmistakable. Everyone else had been forced to valet his car in a dirt lot, then take a shuttle to the plantation-style estate near the Intracoastal. But Wyclef and his crew pulled right up to the entrance of the mansion -- and with ostentatious class. Wyclef and three associates piled out of a brown Maybach. Three others opened the doors of a silver Maybach. And two more popped out of a red Italian sports car with those gaudy doors that reach to the sky when opened.
There was nearly $1 million worth of automobile outside the Bonnet House.
Dressed in an expensive black suit and wearing a black-and-pink-striped tie, Wyclef waved at the gaggle of media and headed toward the red carpet. He'd come a long way since his days as a Fugee, when he would intone: "I'm far from a jive turkey."
And he is. These days, Wyclef is a
Wyclef was helping capitalist-turned-TV star Donald Trump sell -- gulp! -- condos to a bunch of white, starstruck dupes with too much discretionary income and an unwillingness to believe that South Florida's once-blistering real estate market started a nosedive in mid-2005.
A reporter asked Wyclef the obvious: Donald Trump and... you?
"[Trump] rules," Wyclef said with a straight face. "He's real tough when it comes to business. I'm like a sponge right now. I know I can pick up things from him."
Holding a microphone, Pina Darcyl pushed her way forward. An upbeat, blond Argentine with a nose as elegantly shaped as a boxer's, Darcyl is the host of ¡Viva Florida!, a TV show in Argentina that promotes Florida real estate to Latin American investors.
... "When Mr. Trump comes to Argentina to build a new project, will you and Shakira perform for us?" Darcyl asked.
Wyclef looked baffled.
"Maybe Mr. Trump will fly you down to Argentina so you can perform with Shakira," Darcyl added.
"If Mr. Trump will fly me down, I'll be there," Wyclef said, trying to recover as a handler touched his arm and directed him away from the media.
"¡Viva Florida!" Darcyl said into the camera.
Twenty minutes later, Donald Trump arrived, pulling up to the Bonnet House in a black limousine. His son Don was by his side as the flashing bulbs from the cameras popped in his face. Don looked on in a vacant stare, as if someone had exhausted him with a trigonometry exam in the limo.
Dressed in his trademark black suit and blue-and-white tie, Trump strode to the red carpet. He was here to answer questions from the media. Or so it seemed. In fact, only two correspondents had been preselected, their questions as heavily screened as the guest list.
"So do you like South Florida and Fort Lauderdale?" the guy from Deco Driveasked.
Trump gave a canned response about how much he loves the Sunshine State.
... "So you like Florida, Mr. Trump?" [Darcyl] asked, apparently inspired by the brilliance of the Deco Drivestooge.
"I love Florida," Trump answered, opening yet another canned response. "Florida is an exciting place to be. It's an international destination. And the new Trump International Fort Lauderdale [pictured below] adds to that excitement. It's right here in beautiful Fort Lauderdale, near the wonderful city of Miami and close to my own home in Mar-A-Lago."
"Our show is broadcast in Argentina. Have you ever been there?"
"Many, many times."
A media handler's arm came into camera view: Time was up.
"One more question," Darcyl said.
"Mr. Trump, say, '¡Viva Florida!'" Darcyl requested.
Trump pursed his lips, clearly annoyed. "¡Viva Florida!" he said with feigned excitement, then walked quickly into the Bonnet House.
The media handler, a short brunet who walked heavily in high heels, grabbed Darcyl by the shoulder. "I fucking told you not to do that ¡Viva Florida!shit!" she said. "We deal with Extra!, Access Hollywood, all media. You never hear them asking Donald Trump to say, 'Extra! Extra!' You're done. No more questions. You're fucking done here."
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Ah, good stuff. A lot of the rest of the article talked about how the real estate market was about to collapse and how everybody was living in a fool's paradise.
Maybe Wyclef and Trump have a plan to build luxury condos for all the homeless in Haiti. Brilliant!
Aside: The Trump Tower on Fort Lauderdale beach recently went into foreclosure.
-- Lastly, I just want to say something about how strange blogging can be. Let me take you to Thursday night. Watching the game at about 10, I see one of the worst calls I've ever seen rob the Marlins of a win over the Phillies. I video the play and the great reaction of Marlins announcers Tommy Hutton and Rich Waltz, put it on YouTube and the blog, and now the number of views on the video is more than 30,000. Ain't this "new media" a kick?