QUESTIONABLE ASSOCIATION
elgin_jones_web_13.jpgAllen West, the Republican candidate running for Congress against Democratic incumbent Ron Klein, is a columnist for Wheels on the Road magazine. The raunchy Sunrise-based biker publication is replete with enough racist and sexist material to make a redneck blush. The first thing you see when visiting the Wheels on the Road website is a “West for Congress” banner. Next, there is a clock counting down the remaining time left in President Barack Obama’s term.

allen_west_bw_5.jpgThat is followed by a host of racially insulting cartoons targeting the President. Articles and columns follow the same pattern. One columnist refers to the President as a “lawn jockey” and some others are worse.  The magazine glorifies the brutal Outlaws motorcycle gang which law enforcement organizations list as a criminal enterprise. Then there are the graphic, sexually explicit writings about women. West may have some plausible explanation for his affiliation with this publication but this is not befitting a person seeking to be a member of the U.S. Congress.

EVERGLADES RESTORATION
kirk_fordham.jpgKirk Fordham, CEO of the Everglades Foundation, released a study which estimates a $46 billion boost to the Florida economy and 400,000 new jobs over the next 50 years if $12 billion was invested in Everglades restoration.  The year-long study was conducted by Mather Economics, an Atlanta-based consulting firm.

Palm Beach County

POOL GETS BUDGET AX
Lake Worth will close its popular swimming pool located near the beach during the winter months. The closure is intended to save money and help balance the city budget. The pool will reopen over the 2011 Memorial Day weekend. Staff have been reassigned to other departments, with a $185,000 savings. Lake Worth had a 23 percent decline in property values, which led to $4.8 million in cuts from its $35 million budget.

RIDICULOUS RULE
jonathan_pearce_bw.jpgIn the small city of Greenacres, employees are not allowed to speak to City Council members about anything related to the city without the permission of City Manager Wadie Atallah. At the council meeting this week, Councilman Jonathan Pearce questioned the legality of the prohibition. Most cities have charter rules that prohibit elected officials from “instructing” or giving directions to employees. Greenacres’ 14-year-old policy does not allow any communications from council members and likewise prohibits employees from speaking to the elected officials. Pearce was right to raise the issue and Greenacres should do away with the policy. A charter amendment restricting elected officials from directing or ordering employees would be more in order. Employees have a Constitutional right to speak to whoever they choose to speak to and punishing them for exercising that right could lead to litigation.

Broward County

LEADER IN GRAVE CONDITION
kwame_k_afoh_bw.jpgKwame K. Afoh, head of the Pan Afrikan Nationalists of South Florida, who is battling cancer, is resting at Broward General Medical Center’s hospice unit. Afoh was involved in countless human rights campaigns in South Florida. These include the anti-Iraq war effort; property rights for poor people whose land was seized for development; racial discrimination in the city of Fort Lauderdale; and the 2000 Presidential election re-count. He was also one of the first supporters of Citizens Concerned About Our Children which successfully pressured the Broward School District for equitable resources and conditions in predominantly black public schools.

OFFICE DEPOT SALE
Office Depot was founded in 1986 with one store in Lauderdale Lakes by Stephen Dougherty, Pat Sher and Jack Kopkin. The “warehouse” style store sold office supplies in bulk quantities at discount prices. The concept flourished and more stores were opened. Today, the chain grosses more than $14 billion annually and has more than 42,000 employees worldwide. This week,  Office Depot announced plans to sell its 46 stores in Israel to New Hamashbir Lazarchan Ltd. for $47 million. The chain will exit the Israeli market, leading some analyst to speculate if the Office Depot will sell off other stores abroad.

HUDSON WITHDRAWS
mckinley_hudson_web_2.jpgMcKinley Hudson has withdrawn from Lauderhill’s Seat 2 City Commission race. Hudson had been in a three-way contest with Joel Leshinsky and Ken Thurston. Hudson, who is black, has thrown his support behind Thurston, the other black candidate, so as not to split the black vote. According to U.S. Census information, Lauderhill has a black population of 59 percent, compared to 39 percent white. Its commission consists of three blacks and two whites.

Miami-Dade County

SETBACK FOR SPENCE-JONES
michele_spence-jones_bw_12.jpgSuspended Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones suffered a blow this week when a judge refused to dismiss bribery charges filed against her. Spence-Jones is charged with soliciting and accepting a $25,000 bribe from Miami developer Armando Codina.  She is accused of asking for the money, through an aide,   with promises to support a luxury condominium project that required approval of the Miami City Commission. Her attorney has argued she solicited the money for charities but prosecutors allege the money was spent for personal use.

RIVERA IN HOT WATER
david_rivera_bw.jpgLess than a week after being exposed, Republican congressional candidate David Rivera has amended his state required financial disclosure forms. The updated forms do not include claims that he earned his money from federal contracts with the U.S. Agency for International Development, as he had claimed in years of filings. Rivera is running for the 25th congressional district seat against Democrat Joe Garcia. Rivera has yet to explain, but falsifying financial disclosures could be a crime. Book’em, Dano!

RAPE SUSPECT
rape_suspect.jpgA sketch of the suspect who broke into a Miami woman’s home and raped her has been released. The attack happened in the 400 block of Northeast 37 Street around 9:30 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 15. The woman remembers hearing a knock at the door and, when she opened it, a man brandished a handgun and forced his way inside. He then sexually assaulted her several times. The suspect is described as a black male in his 20s, about 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighing 145 pounds. Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call Crimestoppers of Miami-Dade at 305-471-.8477.

Elgin Jones may be reached at EJones@sfltimes.com.