Sun-Sentinel/Andrew Innerarity

Till Firing Bad News

The more I think of the firing of Frank Till, the more I think it stinks. Why make the school board a more rudderless ship than it already was? Instead of throwing the district into conflict and disarray -- which is exactly what Stephanie Kraft, Robin Bartleman, Bob Parks, Marty Rubenstein, and Darla Carter have done -- why not allow Till to finish out the last nine months of his contract and start a selection process for a new superintendent?

Read the Sun-Sentinel and Miami Herald stories on the firing here and here, respectively. The ringleader in the firing, Kraft, states her reason for doing it, sort of, in the Herald article by Hannah Simpson and Nirvi Shah:

''I want to make one thing very clear: This is not about a land deal. This is not about the poorly conceived bond attempt. This is about not having confidence in the man I hired seven years ago to run this district.''

The question: Did the anti-Till crowd think that the bad publicity about the LLL/Southwest Ranches swampland deal would build popular support for his ousting? Because if they did, they were sadly mistaken. Everyone knows it was the board that drove the sale of the $4.3 million piece of bog.

Speaking of that land, the Sun-Sentinel led with the same Kraft quote this morning as the Herald -- only Jean-Paul Renaud and Buddy Nevins left out the specific mention of the land as not being the reason. The Sentinel, after all, broke the story about the boondoggle and the Till ouster could be listed as part of the "impact" of the story. In the Sentinel's timeline on page A5, it writes:

Oct. 10: South Florida Sun-Sentinel investigation shows school system spent $4.3 million on swamp land that turns out to be unsuitable for planned high school.

Oct. 12: Two school board members, angered by flawed land purchases ... push to fire Till ...

Well, the newspaper actually broke the story on October 7 -- and though they are implying that the paper actually discovered the problem with the land, it simply reported on what the school board already knew. And that's not to denigrate the work the reporters have done: Renaud and Nevins did excellent reporting on the problem, especially in the way they highlighted how Southwest Ranches and its land broker Ira Cor duped the district. But let's not overstate the depth of the "investigation" and let's never pretend that the firing Frank Till firing -- at this time, under these circumstances -- is good for the public.

After the jump: A Dirty Priest Knows Foley Molester, Frankel Sits, and a Sentinel Readers Stands Up

Jose Lambiet reports in the Palm Beach Post that Willie Romero, a disgraced priest with a prediliction for boats, sunshine, and young boys, knows the clergyman who molested former congressman Mark Foley. You have to read this story because Lambiet got an interview with Romero, who lives in a double-wide trailer in Labelle, that is as hilarious as it is disturbing. Of his boating excursions with boys, Romero tells the gossip columnist: "It wasn't sexual ... There's nothing wrong. The boys wanted to skinny-dip, and to make them feel at ease, I skinny-dipped, too. I have a lot of pictures like that."

Holy shit, and I do mean that literally. Did he diddle Foley?

"I know who did it," Romero told Lambiet. "But I can't say. Priests are not allowed to break the sacred seal of confession!"

Well, the wait to find out who the culprit was that turned Foley into a drunken, boy-loving pervert (hey, that's his implication anyway) might be found out as early as today, reports Lambiet, Brian E. Crowley, and Andrew Marra in a front pager today.

Also in the Post, Thomas Collins reports on Lois Frankel's impending visit to the "hot seat," aka a grand jury witness chair. The state probe was borne from the conviction of former city commissioner Ray Liberti on federal obstruction of justice and mail fraud charges. Collins reports that Frankel was invited to appear rather than be subpoenaed. Why? He reports that "the difference between an invitation to appear and an actual subpoena is that under Florida law, a subpoena extends immunity to the person testifying."

Which is one reason why Mara Giulianti is sliding in the Hollywood sludge case. Satz had her subpoeaned, according to sources.

-- It's not just the Pulp that is noticing how the Help Team and the redesign and just about everything else instituted at the Sentinel during the past two years has made the newspaper worse. Nancy Cohen from Lighthouse Point nails the newspaper in today's letters to the editor:

What has the South Florida Sun-Sentinel become? Less news, more fluff, color, and ads.

With so much significant news to be noted and explained, the Sun-Sentinel has filled the front page with human interest stories that belong in Lifestyle or the Local section. The People column has taken over 4A with color and space that only a 14-year-old could appreciate -- and I may be insulting a majority of that demographic.

I offer to you my late father's advice, "Make yourself necessary." Please don't underestimate your readers.

The newspaper titled the letter: "Professional Advice." Let's hope they take it.

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