When reporters die and go to hell, hell turns out to be a big, windowless room where no smoking or snacking is permitted. Upon arrival the newly sentenced news hound stuffs his or her ears, the better to drown out a half-dozen or so elected officials. In other words, hell is a city commission meeting. One that goes on forever.
So it was, late on August 17, that Miami Herald reporter Lycia Naff simply got up and walked away from hell on Earth -- that sanctum sanctorum of tedium known as the Weston City Commission chambers.
The next day Naff's byline appeared on a story topped by this headline: "Weston OKs site plan for new Marriott hotel." Readers learned that commissioners had voted to approve a site plan for the city's first new hotel in 20 years, even though the town is only 2 years old.
The problem was, they hadn't. In fact, commissioners put the whole issue off until October 5.
"The above referenced article is inaccurate and misleading to the citizens of the City of Weston and all others who read the Herald," Weston City Manager John R. Flint fumed in a letter to Paul Anger, the Herald's recently anointed Broward County publisher.
"We goofed," Anger explains.
By coincidence, sources say, Anger had earlier in the month scheduled lunch with Flint for the same day the story appeared. Needless to say, his effort to make nice with local leadership fell a bit flat.
Naff's assertion of Humanity in the face of Existential Death (again, commission meetings) raises an important question: Why is she wasting herself in suburbia at all? Cine-buffs (and devotees of pornographic Websites) will no doubt recall Naff's role as the three-breasted Martian in Arnold Schwarzenegger's Total Recall. Her other screen credits include Lethal Weapon and Chopper Chicks in Zombie Town -- "An all-woman cast of bikers (the Cycle Sluts) rides into Zombie Town, where they wind up with much more than they bargained for."
Efforts to reach Naff failed. "I'll be away until August 24, Tuesday," her answering machine announces. Get it together, Lycia! The 24th is a Monday!
This may be a tad premature, but Russ Griffin already knows who's getting his support for the West Palm Beach mayoral election in March 1999.
As owner of the upscale Clematis Street eyewear store, Finer Optics, Griffin has unofficially kicked off the race, placing the first sign of the political season in his storefront window.
And the endorsement goes to... James Exlein, 34-year-old land planner and former city bureaucrat who ran for the office unsuccessfully in 1991. "He's on the street everyday," offers the bespectacled Griffin. "So he's more in touch directly with what's happening on Clematis."
Which, Griffin points out, is a lot more than current Mayor Nancy Graham can say about the downtown street.
Yes, Graham helped transform the street from a dimly lit haven for drug dealers and prostitutes into a bustling hub of merchants and restaurants. And yes, Griffin and other Clematis Street merchants and Exlein-supporters directly benefit from this transformation.
But what has she done for them lately?
"I'm sure Nancy won't be happy about this," Griffin snuffed, "but pfuh!"
It's going to be a long six months.
Undercurrents wants to know about any and all political deals, media screwups, and particularly dumb memos from bureaucrats. Let us know. Call 954-233-1572, fax 954-233-1571, or e-mail [email protected].