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Undercurrents

When it comes to spending millions to house the homeless and rid Fort Lauderdale of Tent City, well, community leaders in Broward are right there with bags of cash for a new homeless hotel.

But when a nonprofit promotes a new idea to actually employ the homeless, well, those same government and homeless-agency leaders can't seem to spare a dime.

Consider the plight of StreetSmarts, a struggling monthly magazine about the homeless that's now being sold on Broward street corners. The idea is to put the unemployed to work actually selling a publication instead of panhandling. Of the buck it costs, the vendor keeps 60 cents and 40 goes back to the nonprofit for expenses.

Similar papers across the country have succeeded because they point a spotlight on poverty issues such as gentrification of neighborhoods and black market shelters. StreetSmarts is still trying to find a local focus: The cover story features a homeless Santa, and there's a celebrity interview with Martin Sheen, which was taken from another publication.

The publishers have sent out hundreds of letters to homeless coalitions and government funders, only to be turned down each and every time. An attempt to get some money from the Broward Coalition For the Homeless led to an offer of a $500 ad -- that's if the paper runs a story written by the person running the Coalition.

Looking for a few good metaphors?
A number of Hollywood residents lobbed literary devices at the political backers of Diamond on the Beach, Inc. during last Wednesday's city commission meeting.

Eighteen months have passed since the commission approved the company's lease to build a luxury hotel at Ocean Drive and Johnson Street, but Diamond on the Beach still has failed to secure financing for the project. The antidevelopment forces have resorted to pulling out the similes and analogies.

"When these agreements were made, the city thought Diamond on the Beach would hit a home run for Hollywood," said Joe Schneider. "Instead, it's not even been able to get to first base."

Locker-room language is fraught with double-entendres. "Who's carrying this baby?" asked Estelle Loewenstein. "We really don't consider this to be an immaculate conception."

Jack Byer urged the politicians on the dais to "end this bad marriage now."
If the city doesn't divorce itself from the deal, warned Johnson Street resident Vincent Dondero, it will end up with "a rhinestone on the beach."

Several locals alluded to the recent legal troubles surrounding the SunCruz casino boats operated by Diamond on the Beach developer Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis.

"Mr. Ghoulis,..." said Byer, pausing to excuse his Freudian slip, "gives Hollywood a black eye."

After telling us he's tired of so much lobster, the Sun-Sentinel's Insider is going on a much welcomed vacation.

Maybe it was too much champagne. Jose Lambiet was partying on Paradise Island with the rich and pretentious, intimating that so and so had full glasses of alcoholic beverages. (My goodness!) We think Insider must have joined in because he wrote that Larry Flynt is the man behind Penthouse magazine. Oh Jose, that's Bob Guccione. Any insider knows that Flynt begat Hustler. Rest up.

Undercurrents wants to know about any and all political deals, media screwups, and particularly dumb memos from bureaucrats. Let us know. Call 954-233-1581, fax 954-233-1571, or e-mail [email protected].

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