From the Condomania Files: Gee, it's funny how a visit from the media can shake up even the most lackadaisical of condo boards.

Last week New Times was invited by a resident to sit in on the annual meeting of the Woodsetter North Homeowners Association, a 140-unit group of town homes in unincorporated northeastern Broward County. Some irate residents challenged board president Nancy Slavik as to why their maintenance fees weren't applied to fixing leaking roofs and shoddy landscaping. In other words they weren't getting any action for their money.

After about an hour of the squabbling and emotional outbursts for which these meetings are famous, Slavik finally noticed a photographer snapping pictures from the back of the room. And that's when the residents saw the board spring into action. Slavik and others demanded to know our photographer's name and purpose, and the photographer gladly complied and even offered to leave.

Guess that wasn't enough for the already riled up Woodsetters. Slavic popped out her cell phone and proceeded to call 911 for what she and some others perceived as a life-and-death emergency: The media was at a meeting. Some residents ran toward the door, trying to block our photographer's exit, while others drew toward her like Romero zombies on a fresh piece of meat.

When the Broward Sheriff's Office deputy arrived, the suburban melee had migrated to the parking lot, and a few of the saner homeowners volunteered to talk with New Times on the record about the perceived problems. Many others didn't, preferring instead to hurl insults and threats about lawsuits and confiscating our film. As if.

If you look closely enough at a vast wasteland, you can often see a small oasis worth visiting. For us, it's "The Awful Truth," Michael Moore's acerbically funny television show on Bravo!'s "Counter Culture Wednesdays."

Moore has a funny take on serious issues, and he's turned his videos into his very own art form, which many are copying. This former editor of a weekly newspaper is unafraid to use humor against the corporate and political leaders who need some deflating. Better yet, his guerrilla-style approach to getting the story is delicious.

It's especially delightful when he goes after the compassionately conservative governor of Florida, hypocrite Jeb Bush, and his brother Dubya, the governor of Texas. Moore's target is the compassion with which the caring Bush brothers gleefully put inmates to death.

Moore's correspondent Jay Martel finds out there's a sibling rivalry over who is putting the most people to death. He frames their contest as a sporting event, "Death Penalty 2000," in which the brothers compete to score the most executions.

In Florida, Martel tells Jeb at a press conference that "George is kicking your ass! Are you jealous?" Apparently the gov and his staff find it neither funny nor allowed under the First Amendment, because Martel is hauled off in a police car.

Better yet, Martel shows up at a Texas execution with a band, cheerleaders, and a "big-ass, Texas-sized scoreboard" to join those who celebrate an execution outside a prison.

So who is the tougher Bush, mano a mano? George W. has an astounding 115 executions under his belt, easily outdistancing Jeb's measly 2.

Got a tip? Call 954-233-1581, fax 954-233-1571, or e-mail [email protected].

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Tom Walsh
Contact: Tom Walsh