The Miami Herald from Miami, Florida on October 24, 2006 · 25
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The Miami Herald from Miami, Florida · 25

Miami, Florida
Issue Date:
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
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TUESDAY OCTOBER 24 2006 I EDITOR: MANNY GARCIA magarciaMiamiHeraldcom I 305-376-3638 or 954-538-7150 F2 IN MY OPINION FRED GRIMM fgrimm a MiamiHerald com EDUCATION In politics legal but 'problematic ’ just doesn't cut it Keith Wasserstrom was indulging in some pretty familiar behavior among local elected officials looking to make an extra buck The Hollywood city commissioner was busted on charges of illegal influence peddling two weeks ago Five counts But it takes a connoisseur of corrupt behavior to sort out the felons from the politicians who legally moonlight as paid lobbyists The conceit is that state legislators and city and county commissioners who are not the target of the Broward state attorney’s office get no untoward consideration when they appear before some other elected body They come to lobby for vendors wanting sales contracts or developers wanting zoning variances Not as pols selling the auspices of elected office STATING THE OBVIOUS What they really offer their clients is political torque When a county commissioner comes before a city commission waving a waste-hauler contract or a state legislator comes before a city commission wanting extra units in his client’s condo tower neither needs to state the obvious When County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion appeared before the city of Miramar in 2001 to sing the praises of Waste Management the City Commission knew this was no ordinary lobbyist When State Sen Steve Geller registered as a representative for developers pushing a high-rise condo tower in Pompano Beach the city commissioners felt the extra jolt of political power Local pols aren’t naive No one needs to make promises or mutter threats “With a state legislator you know they can deliver money from Tallahassee or they can include something in a bill that you need” said Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle “You wonder if you make them angry whether it will cost you” RELENTLESS ATTACK Over the last month US Rep Clay Shaw has let loose a relentless attack on challenger Ron Klein with two mailings an Internet posting and a 23-day-long campaign of 30-second TV ads that pummel the state senator for moonlighting as a lobbyist before local governments Shaw’s advertisements intimate that Klein’s lobbying is improper But that’s not the same as illegal Ben Wilcox of Common Cause Florida called South Florida’s epidemic of lobbying by elected officials “problematic” but lcgaL Which means that Geller Klein State Sen Mandy Dawson Broward County Commissioner Ilene Lieberman and a number of other South Florida elected officials have been doing quite well with problematic but legal lobbying Hey there’s nothing wrong technically 1 anyway with our citizen legislators flexing their political muscles to pay the bills Eggelletion strayed a bit over the line when he took $15000 to hawk Waste Management in Miramar and then voted in favor of a Waste Management contract when it was up before his own County Commission The Florida Ethics Commission fined him $2500 which still left him with a nice $12500 profit in the deaL HIS BRAND OF NAUGHTINESS Wasserstrom must have thought wow anything goes in South Florida Except for his particular brand of naughtiness Apparently the commissioner was taking money through a convoluted setup to lobby for a sewage treatment enterprise in other cities while the same firm was seeking a contract in Hollywood Wasserstrom disclosed his conflict sought legal advice from the city attorney and didn’t vote on the contract when it came before the Hollywood Commission The state attorney’s public-corruption prosecutors still maintain that he meddled illegally in the outcome The contract went to Wasser-strom’s client and now Wasserstrom faces felony charges But making an improper lobbying charge stick in South Florida is like trying to sort out a hooker in an orgy The alleged crimes of Keith Wasserstrom look sadly familiar NEW VISIONS: Sixth-grader Sergine Villier left creates a map of Haiti her parents’ homeland for her ‘Celebrate Us’ class project at Oak Grove Elementary School in North Miami Beach Her teacher Patti Ward was awarded a grant from Citibank that enabled her to start cultural learning projects Below sixth-grader Carlton Stamp creates his map of Honduras PHOTOS BV DONNA GRADUSMIAMI HERALD STAFF GRANTS REWARD CREATIVE LESSONS Teachers throughout South Florida have been awarded grants by Citibank to implement nontraditional teaching methods in their classrooms BY PETER BAILEY pbaileytf MiamiHerald com Clutching a green pencil Nartisa Seals shaded in Cat Island’s outer ridges where the ocean laps at the boot-shaped Bahamian paradise She then pointed to the dark blue coastline “That’s where my grandmother grew up” said the sixth-grader at Oak Grove Elementary School in North Miami Beach “She told me about how they sang the Conch Song” Nartisa 12 and her peers sat drawing images of nostalgia sketching maps of towns and villages familiar to their roots inside Patti Ward’s geography class j “I figured the best way to j teach geography was to begin with where they’re from” Ward said “Once they appreciate their own' heritage they gain an interest in other places” ' i TURN TO GRANTS 2B I j MIAM'HFRALDCOM CLICK ON TODAY’S EXTRAS FOR MORE ! INFORMATION ABOUT THE CITIBANK SUCCESS FUND HURRICANE WILMA Year later Wilma’s wrath still visible B A year ago today Wilma rolled through South Florida Evidence of its destruction is still around BY TRENTON DANIEL tdameliaMiamiHerald com You can still see it in the plywood -covering the windows that used to show off an ocean view In the shiny new fences all over South Florida’s eastern neighborhoods In the blue tarps that still — still — cover some rooftops In the naked swales where shade trees used to be Wilma was here One year ago today a storm that at one point was the most intense ever recorded in the Atlantic basin roared ashore south of Naples as a Category 3 hurricane It struck Broward and Miami-Dade counties as a Category 2 storm although its ferocity varied from place to place Shingles and roof tiles flew Trees toppled Forty people died in Florida most in the days after the storm (three died preparing for it) Nearly six million people lost electricity in the most widespread power outage in Florida history — some for more than three weeks The storm caused $144 billion in damage statewide according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency Broward County estimated its total damage at $12 billion Miami-Dade put its figure at $2 billion David Sandau saw Hurricane Wilma smash the ocean-view TURN TO DESTRUCTION 2B BY NICOLE WHITE nwhite 5 MiamiHerald com The sweaters and the jackets can be hoisted from their lonely shelf existence Cool weather is officially on its way to South Florida and with it a strong burst of wind determined to blow away a season defined by heat waves Open the front door this morning and it will be crisp in the 60s in the coastal neighborhoods of Miami-Dade Open those doors in the Broward enclaves of Weston Pembroke Pines and Miramar and it’ll be even cooler: in the 50s Fall has officially arrived in South Florida The weather change is typical for late October but “it will be a lot colder than what we normally see at this time of year” said Kim Braban-der a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Temperatures will climb to the mid-70s by the afternoon but will-slide into the lower 60s and remain cool through Wednesday And they’ll return for an encore performance from Friday through the weekend Cooler weather will become a staple through year’s end said meteorologist Roberto Garcia “We start with one once a week then we have them two to three times a week through the winter” said Garcia of the cold fronts And with each dip of the thermometer hurricanes are less likely “We never say never in this business but chances are pretty slim for a hurricane under these weather conditions” Garcia said The cooler weather has its pit-falls Boaters should be careful as strong winds — as high as 25 knots (29 mph) — are expected with the cold front and will make the seas especially rough Garcia said Homeless advocates were monitoring the weather although Broward County generally does not open public shelters for the homeless until the temperature drops to 45 degrees said Cynthia Willis of the county’s Homeless Initiative Miami asked its outreach teams to have its homeless population seek shelter said A1 Brown of the Miami Homeless Assistance Center US SENATE DEBATE Nelson Harris spar — andhalf the time agree — on issues B Bill Nelson and Katherine Harris squared off in a campaign debate tackling issues such as Iraq North Korea and windstorm insurance BY MARC CAPUT0 AND BETH REINHARD mcaputo aMiamiHerald com Trailing in the polls and campaign cash Katherine Harris came into Monday night’s debate against incumbent US Sen Bill Nelson ready to show that he’s out of touch with the rest of Florida But after fielding an hour’s worth of questions from journalists and each other the Republican congresswoman wound up agreeing with the Democratic incumbent about as often as she differed with him Withdraw troops from Iraq? Neither favored the idea Create a national fund to man- age disasters? Nelson said it was his brainchild and Harris said she fought for it Both also said military action against North Korea should be “on the table” and that global warming “is a fact” They both agreed the nation needed to Idevelop more alternative fuels One of the clearest differences between them emerged during dis cussion of the federal Medicare program Nelson voted against the legislation championed by President Bush because of what he described as a gap or “doughnut” in coverage for prescription drugs Harris retorted that the poorest seniors get the subsidies they need TURN TO ISSUES 2B f MIAMIHERALDCOM: CLICK ON £ TODAY’S EXTRAS TO HEAR THE DEBATE BETWEEN KATHERINE HARRIS AND BILL NELSON SMUGGLING 3B US CUSTOMS BOATS COLLIDE Four federal agents are injured in chase after suspected immigrant smugglers MIAMI-DADE 3B A NEW CHIEF FOR DADE’S JAILS Appointee Timothy Ryan has run some of the nation’s largest jail systems EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT 6B FEMA TO AID DISASTER PLANNERS $4 million in funds will help the state get maps for Lake Okeechobee and Miami --r— -- f iry re- ytyj'K-igi rw-fvrf' Aff -n c-S Hi J Su Lgatofc- ' ‘rtw ttf &0&B£!V tt

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