Show Me the Moolah

A How-to for Lobbyists

Tailpipe always listens when a master speaks. Last December 7, no less than Democratic state Sen. Steven Geller of Hallandale Beach addressed an audience of lobbyists at the annual Symposium on Racing, held at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson, Arizona. Geller, the gambling industry's most vocal champion in the legislature, offered a witty little (transcribed) primer on how special interests can smooth the way for legislation. One golden nugget after another spilled from Geller's lips.

On the importance of giving money to Geller:

When your local elected officials ask for help in their reelection and their campaigns and their charities and stuff like that, you know, you're going to write checks. You may not write checks, but I'll tell you, if you want to be successful, that is one of the things that you probably ought to be doing.

On the importance of not giving money to Geller's political opponents:

I'll give you a warning on that; if you're an incumbent -- and I know a lot of people try, and they get angry at an incumbent for ways they voted, so they decide they'll make a statement and they'll write a campaign check to that incumbent's opponent. It's the old story about taking a shot at the king. Don't take a shot at the king unless you know you're going to hit him.

On Geller's marriage:

After I met my wife, people commented on how well-suited we were. And the reason for that is prior to our getting married, she professionally worked with emotionally disturbed children. (Chuckles) And if you understand that, you'll understand basically how to work with the members of your legislature.

On life after Geller's election:

[Elected officials] become convinced that suddenly upon election they're smarter and better looking than they were before they were elected. And you may say, "That's ridiculous. Why should we put up with these arrogant fools?" Well, if you want legislation, you'll have to.

On friendships between lobbyists and Geller:

Be friendly to your legislator. My notes say, "Suck up," question mark, but I won't say that... You have to understand that there's a lot of people pulling on us for attention. And I think it makes sense: You know, we're humans, we like to deal with people that we're friendly with. So, you know, just try and be friendly.

On the importance of being pleasant to Geller:

Never ever, ever, ever, ever be condescending or rude to legislators, even if you disagree with them. Never, ever, ever, ever be rude; because again, we think we know much better than you about everything; and again, we do have our finger on the button.

Now that Tailpipe knows how to do it, look for him in Tallahassee, sucking up to some legislators. There's a little bill about state subsidies for used auto parts...

City Blink, Declawed

Somebody passed this along from former City Link columnist Lily Morrigan (known to her friends as Marya Summers):

Subject: Lily is dead.

T'is sad but true. After more than a year as City Link's sex columnist, I am no longer. The magazine has decided to go "mainstream" and is being carried in places like McDonalds and other "family" spots, so it doesn't want a sex column any longer.

It's not a surprise, really, especially after the column on sex toys was cut. Thank you all for your feedback and support! I have had a lot of fun writing the column and lots of pleasure researching for it!

Even without the column, I'm sure the spirit of Lily will live on -- if not in me then perhaps in someone I've inspired!

Gotta go look for work...

City Link's publisher, Michael Farver, did not return Tailpipe's call.

Err Fiedler

The 'Pipe donned his best duds on a recent Saturday night to pass the velvet rope into a club at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and Traffic Vortex in western Hollywood. The occasion was a party hosted by erstwhile Dolphins quarterback Jay Fiedler at the posher-than-thou hot spots Pangaea and Gryphon. Inside was pulsing house music, hot guys and dames, just enough light to tell the gender of whomever you were making out with, a woefully-out-of-place fat man in a golf shirt with horizontal stripes, and, well, nary a glimpse of Fiedler. Hmmm. Maybe the 11-year-veteran, once hired to replace Dan "61,361 Career Passing Yards" Marino, was VIPing it up somewhere else. Or maybe he was reflecting on his Dartmouth education. Or perhaps throwing another completion to a cornerback.

The Fied-ster left his Dolphin legacy to carry on. Fiedler's Dolphin days are, of course, done: The 'Fins drafted Auburn running back Ronnie Brown last weekend, and anyway, Fiedler signed with the Miami archrival New York Jets in March. No better time to interrogate football fans on Fiedler's bittersweet tenure.

"He's a tough motherfucker," said Christopher Lucas, a long-time Steelers fan from Pompano Beach who was loitering on the dance floor. "I've got to respect him. He plays with all heart."

Fiedler did always play above his physical talent and always seemed better at winning games than putting up numbers. That was until last year, when he lost the starting post to A.J. Feeley, threw seven interceptions to just eight touchdowns, and helped the Dolphins finish to a get-a-plunger record of 4-12.

"I wish him the best," said Paulina Padron of Pembroke Pines, who was bobbing to the beats near the bar. "I thought he was a good quarterback. But some [opponents] got in front of the ball when he threw it. It happens. That's life."

"He needs more..." said Padron's friend, Aileen Rosen of Weston. She paused and settled on, "coaching. Whatever. I don't want to be negative. We love him."

Across the room, sitting at a table with a bottle of Ketel One, a bottle of Chambord, and some cans of Red Bull, a dark-haired fellow named Kobe Russo of Davie waxed less charitable about the departing signal caller.

"You either love him or you hate him," Russo said. Then he reconsidered. "He's a Jet now, right? Fuck him."

Smooth Exit

After the Cincinnati Reds eked out a 2-1 victory against the Marlins on Sunday, a sea of milling scribes and radio types in the visitors' locker room suddenly parted for Ken Griffey Jr. The man chosen by his peers as the Player of the '90s, somberly self-possessed, a walking "no comment," headed from the showers with a towel around his waist.

No "Way to go" or "Nice game, Joon" from anybody. A huge, mute elephant dominated the room -- not Griffey but, it seemed to Tailpipe, Griffey's absence. As of Sunday, Junior had 56 homerless at-bats for the season, and he has barely hit .200 since hamstring surgery last year. That day, he had just gone 1-for-4. What can you say about that?

But just as Michael Jordan never let the public see him except in a jersey or a suit, so too does Griffey maintain the image of athletic royalty. When he turned from his locker, he was bedecked in pinstriped suit pants, a blue dress shirt, and a dark blue tie, as conspicuous among men in their skivvies eating ribs and watching TV as he is an anomaly among the .200 hitters. For the first time all day, he looked sharp, walking with a barely perceptible limp, in pants as dark as twilight.

-- As told to Edmund Newton

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