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A sign of one community's growing power arrived last week with gold-embossed dignity, a formal announcement on the formation of "STEINSMITH, HIRSCHY & CO., GAY CONSULTANTS."

The firm, specializing in helping political candidates reach gay voters, is headed by long-time activist Gary Steinsmith, past president of the Dolphin Democratic Club, Broward's largest gay and lesbian political organization.

"We will help candidates target the gay community," said Vice President Jeffrey Wells. "Gary is very visible within the community," he said, and his expertise will be marketed to political campaigns.

Their first effort was getting out the gay vote for Democratic State Sen. Steve Geller in his winning campaign against Ms. Republican Sensitivity, Ellyn "Slash and Burn" Bogdanoff. The firm spread the message, Wells said, that Geller was both experienced and "gay-friendly."

A quote that no doubt will appear one day in a Republican attack ad.

More Power to the Pirate: After visiting the lair of pirate radio operator Jerry Lyddane, New Times trumpeted his rebellious attitude under the headline, "And the FCC be damned" ("Heard It Through the Pipeline," January 8).

Somewhat to his surprise, Lyddane soon learned that the feds read New Times. Two federal agents descended on his house in western Broward County armed with an FCC warning to stop operating the unlicensed station, known as the Pipeline (FM 96.9). As the agents watched, Lyddane was forced to unscrew the coaxial cable that carried his signal to a 60-foot antenna towering in his back yard.

Confronted with such federal might, Lyddane made nice. "I gave them a little tour of my equipment, and we sat around and talked about transmitters and things," he says. "I even took a picture."

Now, four months later, the pirate once more rocks the airwaves, responding to the feds with a power statement of his own: He's jacked up the Pipeline's signal from 350 watts to 1500 and, like a trophy of war, has the FCC's warning notice framed and hanging on his wall.

Let's hope Lyddane never meets the IRS.

As conservative Christians and ACLU lawyers gathered last week at Fort Lauderdale City Hall to observe the National Day of Prayer, there was drama in commission chambers. Over ACLU protests Mayor Jim Naugle had vowed to host prayer-day ceremonies there once again, but as the noon hour approached the room was still occupied by an actual government hearing so, with ACLU video camera rolling, Naugle -- for once actually in charge of something -- led his flock Moses-like from City Hall to an outside plaza.

There, a few participants redefined Christian tolerance, according to Broward ACLU secretary Colleen O'Loughlin.

"One woman said Jesus is going to save me, then turned her back on me and put a finger up," O'Loughlin said. "Then there was some other finger symbol I've never seen before, the index finger and the pinkie, both hands, and this person also stuck her tongue out at me." Was she flashing some sort of Christian gang signs?

The ACLU will probably form a committee to analyze the mystery finger symbol.

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].

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