Under the leadership of Publisher Robert G. Beatty, Esq., the South Florida Times has increased its distribution. But the latest circulation numbers released this week for daily newspapers throughout the country are devastating. Here locally, The Palm Beach Post, the Sun Sentinel and The Miami Herald have all suffered major declines in daily circulation, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, which tracks newspaper circulation around the country. The Miami Herald is down 16 percent to 170,769; the Sun Sentinel fell by 15,249 to 180,273 and The Palm Beach Post lost 14 percent of its circulation. For the first time ever, the Sun Sentinel has surpassed The Miami Herald as the newspaper with the largest circulation in South Florida. Gary B. Pruitt, president of the McClatchy Company, which owns the once-dominant Miami Herald, has yet to address the decline, as the newspaper’s distribution continues to wilt. Additionally, The Wall Street Journal has surpassed USA Today as the largest circulated newspaper in the nation.
Soon disgraced former Broward County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion will turn himself in to begin serving a dual 30-month state and federal prison term for money laundering and taking bribes. Eggelletion joins a list of other public figures who have fallen from grace, including Broward Sheriff Ken Jenne and Broward County Community Action Agency Director Jackie Kassower. No one likes to see anyone in trouble, but we should all be pleased when public crooks are brought to justice. At present, jails and prisons are overflowing with petty criminals and small-time dope peddlers, while public officials have been given a pass. That appears to be changing in Broward County, and it’s about time. Like Jenne, Eggelletion has provided key information that has triggered several other investigations. Considering all the wrong they have done, however, both men should have been locked away for at least a decade. Even so, this should be a warning, if not an example, for public officials to properly conduct the people’s business, and stop using their public positions to put pennies into their own pockets. Book’em, Dano!
Palm Beach County
BACK YARD BARBECUE
The Mangonia Park Town Council voted unanimously on Tuesday, April 20 to grant Derrick McCray, owner of the popular McCray’s Backyard BBQ II, an extension to operate on a vacant lot on 45th Street, until he begins construction on a restaurant in September. For the past five years, ribs, chicken and other dishes have been cooked on outdoor grills, and customers have eaten at picnic tables. Officials granted the original occupational license in 2005 under the condition that a restaurant would be constructed, and they are now enforcing that agreement.
EXTREME TAKOVER FAILS
During a contentious Monday, April 26 meeting, former Davie Mayor Tom Truex and tea party enthusiasts failed to gain control of the Republican Party of Broward County. The meeting was held to choose an elected chair. The vacancies came as a result of Chairman Chip LaMarca’s resignation to run for the District 4 county commission seat, in his effort to unseat incumbent Commissioner Ken Keechl, who is currently serving as mayor. Republican Party of Broward County Vice Chair Cindy Guerra, 43, of Deerfield Beach, was elected chairwoman, and Ken Haiko, 62, of Pompano Beach, was elected to her old vice chairperson post. Both are from the moderate faction of party, and the extremists were outraged during the rowdy meeting.
BLACK CHAOS, AGAIN
The controversial Democratic Black Caucus of Florida organization is once again mired in mud. The Broward chapter, headed by Corey Alston, was slated to host the state’s annual convention in June. For some unexplained reason, Dr. H. Bruce Miles, the Tampa-based president of the state organization, has canceled the convention. Sources say accusations are flying, and there is in-fighting over money. Local chapter members, however, including immediate Past President Alan Brown, are calling for the convention to move forward as planned.
Vicente Thrower, the former city of Pompano Beach advisory board member who was charged on April 12 for allegedly using his position to obtain lobbying contracts from developers, is controversial to say the least. Even though Thrower sought a legal opinion from City Attorney Gordon Linn in 2006 about consulting work he said he was doing for La Cite Development, LLC, the firm’s president says that Thrower never performed that work. La Cite Development, LLC President Dan Bythewood said in an email that his firm has never had any such relationship with Thrower. For his part, Thrower is not commenting.
Fort Lauderdale City Manager George Gretsas is among four finalists for the city manager’s job in Scottsdale, Arizona. Gretsas is scheduled to be interviewed for the post on Friday, April 30. Either way, he is leaving Fort Lauderdale as his contract was not renewed, but that has not stopped him from renewing the contracts of Assistant City Manager David Hebert and Community Redevelopment Agency Director Alfred Battle. The terms of the agreements do not specifically state how much either will be paid, but sources say they continue Gretsas’ legacy of high salaries and ballooning staff.
MAYOR ON THE REBOUND
Former Homestead Mayor Lynda Bell, who suffered a crushing defeat to current Mayor Steve Bateman in last November’s elections, is attempting a comeback. Bell is running for the Miami-Dade County District 8 commission seat, and kicked off her campaign with a fundraiser at her home on Friday, April 30. Incumbent County Commissioner Katie Sorenson announced she would not seek re-election.
FORMER DIRECTOR SUES
Michael Boudreaux, the former city of Miami budget director who was fired by City Manager Carlos Migoya on March 8 for improperly transferring $8.2 million between accounts to keep the city afloat, has filed a whistleblower lawsuit over the termination. The suit alleges that Boudreaux was fired because he refused to mislead Securities and Exchange Commission officials, who are investigating the city’s finances, about the city of Miami’s financial practices. Boudreaux’s suit alleges that after he expressed his intention to tell the truth about the practices of former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, current Mayor Tomás Regalado, and former City Manager Pete Hernandez, he was fired in an effort to discredit information he would provide to investigators. Boudreaux wants his $212,690-a-year job back, plus back wages, benefits and costs. City officials are denying the allegations, and they vow to fight the lawsuit.