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What's in a Name?

This thing about politicians naming things after themselves got me to thinking about some things that desperately need to have their titles changed.

Naming things after terrible-terrible politicians demeans the entire county. We need to name things after people who actually made a positive change or at least had a truly tangible historical impact. Take Frank Stranahan. He was a notoriously thorny fellow who helped drive half the town into bankruptcy before he tied a manhole cover to himself and jumped to his death into the New River. No role model, but he was a big-time pioneer who shouldn't be forgotten. I suppose Wayne Huizenga falls into that category too. Plus Huizenga paid his own good money for the things that have his or Marti's name on it (Nova's Huizenga School of Business comes to mind).  

No, what bothers me is these politicians and public officials who think spending our tax money on behalf of their lobbyist and developer friends gives them the right to be immortalized with their name on our parks and schools and roads. First, there should be a law that says nothing can be named after any living public official. If they make it to death and are respected then, honor them. Otherwise, forget about it.

After the jump is a list of public entities that need their names changed stat.

1. Ilene Lieberman Botanical Gardens

I suppose this one was obvious from the photograph above, but it's one of the most glaring examples I could find. The City of Lauderhill gave County Commissioner Lieberman, its former mayor, the honor behind the urging of Lieberman ally Richard Kaplan, the current mayor. The Sentinel took a visit and found that the park is loaded with Lieberman signs. I wonder if they considered calling it "Ilene Michelson Botanical Gardens" since that's the name that she uses when capitalizing on her elected position as a lobbyist? Lieberman is currently under criminal investigation by the State Attorney's Office. It's going to be a pain to change all those signs if the worst should happen in that probe.

2.  Coconut Creek High School's Robert D. "Bob" Parks Athletic Field

This happened only recently. Read here for the tawdry details of the recent vote to give the longtime Broward County School Board member -- and tool of developers and lobbyists -- the honor. Note to Kevin Tynan: Please find a way to reverse this thing before you leave office, because you're the only help there is on that dirty, awful board today.

4. William Dandy Middle School

This one may be the most egregious of all. William Dandy, for one, was a deputy superintendent at the corrupt Broward County School Board. It's corrupt now, it was corrupt then, and it will be for the foreseeable future. The school was named after him at the time of his retirement in 1993. It took only a year before that looked like one very bad decision. On the rainy night of November 12, 1994, Dandy was speeding and passing in a no-passing zone when he struck and killed 37-year-old Rita Devaughn. Then Dandy fled the scene and didn't turn himself in until four days later. Justice never was done in the case -- the judge let Dandy, who never even apologized for the killing, go without any jail time. Several local politicos came to show support at his Dandy's trial, including Carlton Moore, Lori Parrish, and Dorsey Miller, whose corrupt activities I wrote about here. The school incredibly remains emblazoned with his name.

5. Amadeo Trinchitella Deerfield Beach High School Health Center

Yes, the man called "Trinchi" was a bigger-than-life character who held court with presidents, but he was also, in a nutshell, nothing but another corrupt condo boss. That's all there is to it. There are numerous witnesses to that, from his alignments with certain developers -- Pete Boinis comes to mind -- to some of his shady dealings while sitting on the North Broward Hospital District. The guy was dirty. And I think that has to disqualify him, even though he was such a tough and truly powerful political force. Interesting side note on Trinchi: In 2006, a local politician tried to name a road in Deerfield "Trinchitella Street." The politician: lawyer/lobbyist Steve Geller. (I can't determine if the street was ever renamed).  

All right, enough for now, but I'd love to hear other suggestions.

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman

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