elgin_jones_web_13.jpgEJones@SFLTimes.com

CAIN VS. OBAMA? 
Could America be poised to elect its second black president in Herman Cain? The odds are long but so were they for President Barack Obama. Cain’s biggest hurdle will be winning the Republican nomination. He is gaining momentum even though he has some positions that are out of the mainstream. Cain sounds reasonable compared to other Republicans, most notably Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is fading fast. How the Republican primaries will turn out is anyone’s guess but keep an eye on Herman Cain.

NO TEXTING
State Rep. Ray Pilon, R-Sarasota, has filed a bill  that seeks to ban texting while driving. Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, filed a similar bill in the Senate. The measure would prohibit drivers from manually typing or entering characters while driving. There would be exemptions for cell phone use but expect the final bill to evolve into an all-out ban on cell phone use while driving.

Palm Beach County

EX-WIFE ARRESTED
A judge has denied bond for Donna Horowitz, 65, who is charged in the death of her ex-husband Lanny Horwitz. The 66-year-old man’s body was found in the bathroom of the couple’s home. He was naked and peppered with bullet holes, including inside his mouth. They were divorced but living together, police say. Lanny Horowitz was a lawyer and businessman. Police suspect he was possibly dating another woman, which led to a confrontation.

CHIEF RESIGNS
Just days after making critical comments about Mayor Jeri Muoio, embattled West Palm Beach Police Chief Delsa Bush abruptly resigned last week. The relationship between Bush and Muoio had been testy for some time and it became an issue during the recent campaign in which Muoio was elected mayor.

COUPLE INDICTED
Delray Beach couple Joseph Harvey, 51, and Anja Karin Kannell, 41, are accused of stealing $340,000 from the BP fund that was set up following the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Federal authorities allege the couple filed claims with the $20 billion Gulf Cost Claims Facility trust fund in the names of 34 people whose identities they allegedly stole. In 2009, Orange County Sheriff’s deputies arrested the couple after they were evicted from a furnished apartment they leased but for which they never paid any rent. They were accused of allegedly stealing more than $200,000 worth of furnishings from the apartment.

Broward County

ANOTHER MESS
The city of Deerfield Beach has suffered yet another embarrassing setback. In September 2010 city manager Burgess Hanson laid off more than 100 full and part-time employees without any notice or process. An arbitrator has issued a ruling that once again exposes the blatant incompetence of this city. Among other things, the ruling found the list the city used as the basis for the layoffs was done improperly and the process used to be in violation of the union contract. The ruling requires the city to compile a new seniority list, rehire some full time employees with full back pay, benefits and seniority. The city must also pay the affected employees 3 percent interest on their money. The final cost has not been determined, but taxpayers will get soaked because of mismanagement and a lack of foresight. Whew!

AIDE SUSPENDED
U.S. Rep. Alcee Hasting has suspended one of his senior aides. The move came after staffer Mikel D. Jones and his wife Dona were named in a 36-count federal indictment in August. Jones ran Hastings’ West Palm Beach office and also operates his Philadelphia law practice. Among other things, the couple allegedly diverted more than $600,000 in business loans to their personal use. One check from a lender for  $160,000 actually went to their daughter, authorities allege. Mikel Jones is also accused of using another $132,000 to replenish money he took from his law firm’s client trust account.

POLITICAL TEST
For years, Broward State Attorney Michael Satz, a Democrat, was criticized as being light on public corruption and slow to prosecute police officers accused of crimes. However, few can argue with Satz’s record over the past three years of aggressively investigating public figures and members of law enforcement. At present, Broward prosecutors are said to be actively pursuing numerous cases against politicians and more than a dozen law enforcement officers. Even so, the town is abuzz with talk of people who are considering a run against Satz. Republican and Tea Party activists are seeking a candidate to run against Satz in 2012. Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti, a Republican, is seeking re-election. The thinking is that a Republican may be able to unseat Satz.

DON KING SUED
Boxing promoter Don King is being sued for $700,000 by the trustee of the convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein’s former law firm, Rothstein, Rosenfeldt, Adler (RRA). The suit seeks to recover payments of $300,000 and $400,000 made to Don King Productions in February 2009 to sponsor King's Valentine's Day Massacre event that was held at the Bank Atlantic Center in 2009. The lawsuit alleges King’s company was unjustly enriched. Rothstein is serving time in federal prison for operating a $1.2 billion investment scheme from the offices of RRA.

Miami-Dade County

Out of its league
Miami Lakes is not renewing its membership in the Miami-Dade County League of Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Mayor Michael Pizzi cited the town’s budget constraints as the reason. Pizzi may be on to something. Taxpayers should not have to fund memberships of any kind, particularly in these tough economic times.

HUD CONCERNS
City of Homestead Housing Authority board member Lois Jones’ concerns about possible conflicts of interest at the agency have caught the attention of federal authorities. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has served notice that its investigators will conduct an onsite review of the agency. At issue is the relationship housing authority Executive Director Oscar Hentschel may have had with Homestead city officials and housing authority board members. Hentschel was hired over several qualified candidates even though he had no experience. Then the board attempted to give him a $55,000 salary increase after only six months on the job. Jones called for an investigation but fellow board members voted to block the housing authority’s attorney from investigating or providing any legal review of the issue.


Photo: Elgin Jones