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Weekend Walkup

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-- Ralph De La Cruz impressed the hell out of me this weekend. Check out this courageous little column.

-- The story by Thomas R. Collins and Tony Doris on West Palm Commissioner Jim Exline's conflict of interest shows that Palm Beach Post is still, pound-for-pound, the best watchdog of local politicians among the Big Three newspapers in South Florida.

-- But the newspaper still falls victim to its stupid side. The Post tries desperately to have cultural relevance, which isn't a bad goal at all. The problem is that it usually comes off as either trying too to hard or just plain stupid. An example came on Saturday when the Post had this front-page tease to the Accent section:

"Kate Hudson's Breakup ... Why Does America Care?"

That really is news, though, since everybody thought it didn't.

-- Y0u'll find no bigger fan of Wanda Demarzo than the Pulp, but the Miami Herald story about false confessions was off the mark. To illustrate how confessors like John Mark Karr (why do I always want to write Mark David Karr -- oh, right) sometimes lie, a faulty comparison was made to Jerry Frank Townsend. To wit:

Twenty-seven years ago, Jerry Frank Townsend toured northwest Fort Lauderdale with a convoy of detectives and recounted grisly details of a series of rapes and murders only the killer could know.

That September night in 1979, Townsend confessed to strangling 19-year-old Terry Cummings with a piece of wire.

He confessed to killing 23-year-old Ernestine German with a knife.

And he confessed to raping Sonja Marion, 13, in the ballfield at Dillard High School and then smashing her skull with a concrete block.

In all, Townsend confessed to at least six murders in South Florida -- and others across the country.

The only problem: Townsend made it all up.

It makes Townsend, who has an IQ of 58, sound like a fabulist. He wasn't. In truth, the poor guy was cajoled by a notoriously corrupt Broward Sheriff's Office homicide division. He was fed the lies and spit them back up under extreme pressure. Keith King is also brought up in the story. King, a young and troubled black teen who was living in a youth home at the time, was another fellow who was ensnared by the BSO goon squad to confess to a murder (of BSO deputy Patrick Behan, no less) he didn't commit.

These guys were the victims of hell-bound bastards with badges. They couldn't be farther away from Karr, who, if he is lying about JonBenet, truly is a fabulist, a man who wanted to exchange the crushing hell of a life he'd built for himself for instant celebrity in a jail cell.

-- The Sun-Sentinel's Linda Kleindienst tells us how Lori Parrish skated on campaign violation allegations. The issue: Water Taxi owner Bob Bekoff -- who relied on Parrish's votes when she was a county commissioner -- put up Parrish election ads on his boats. Bekoff got slapped on the hand with a $1,500 fine and Parrish walked. Why? Because she claimed that she didn't know the signs were on the boats until the complaint was filed. The Florida Election Commission lawyers -- who apparently have brain matter in their heads -- believed Parrish bore responsibility for the violation. A judge and the appointed commissioners -- who don't -- voted to drop the charges.

To think that Parrish didn't know that Bekoff was helping her is asinine on its face. But it's even more ludicrous when you know -- as the elections commission knew -- that New Times had exposed the violation long before the complaint was handed to Parrish. I don't know Lori real well, but I do know this: She's well aware of New Times and she reads everything that's written about her.

This is a ridiculous ruling that will only embolden sleazy politicians. So unlike Florida ...

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Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.