Hallandale Beach Blog -A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt., public policy, sports scene and pop culture of the U.S., South Florida and Europe, especially the UK and Sweden. In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura. Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by me, South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

It's what passes for "news" in South Florida in the year 2008. Really.

Wanted to call your attention to a clever and sardonic blog post by Eric Barton that was made just last week at The Juice, the new blog that was born at the Broward Palm Beach New Times at the beginning of the month.

It concerns a subject I've written about very often here -perhaps too often for my own good- and yet no matter what I write, I always feel like I'm not even coming close to sharing 99% of what I actually know to be true and believe.

Anecdotes and facts I've heretofore kept to myself or my close friends, for fear that I'd otherwise sound hopelessly naive for having these feelings: the piss-poor job local print and electronic media do of covering local news in South Florida and holding people in authority accountable.
And what they report on instead.

Of which the most obvious example I can cite for you here and which I have personal experience with is -yes!- the Miami Herald NOT sending a reporter to cover a single Hallandale Beach City Commission meeting since June, despite all the emotional fireworks, shenanigans, recriminations and ethical hijinks that have taken place in those six months, 99% of which have never made it into 
print there.

Yet, their Editorial Board deigns to give actual citizens of this city an endorsement last month in the HB City Commission races, based solely on the candidates trooping off to the Herald's Broward office in Pembroke Pines and talking to them for a few minutes en masse.  
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Morning Juice: Reporter Solves Porn Problem, Transsexual Makes Boynton More Boring
December 26, 2008 

Channel 10 Solves Problem of Pesky Porn Bus Handing Out Cash

Channel 10 has this whole team of reporters who do nothing but go around and solve people's problems. And recently, Local 10 Problem Solvers tackled this burning question: Who's behind that van of dudes who go around and pay women $500 to have sex with them? Turns out it's Local 10 Problem Solvers' own Matt Lorch. 

Or at least it was for a day when he went "undercover" to find out who's in the van. Here's an excerpt from Lorch's undercover work:

________________________________________
Old conventional wisdom: Combination of heat, sunshine, crime, vibrant clashing cultures, frequent weather-related crises and criminally-inclined pols made South Florida TV a veritable hot house incubator of solid, knowledgeable reporters destined for heavy use at networks: Ike Seamans, Susan Candiotti, David Bloom, et al.

New conventional wisdom: With a few notable exceptions, South Florida TV is largely the domain of clownish, dim-witted third-rate faux reporters who have seemingly ZERO knowledge of South Florida's history/culture pre-2000, and who seem to prefer covering staged press avails on South Beach, to better practice their interview skills for the demo reel they're sending to Entertainment Tonight or Access Hollywood, than actual enterprise reporting that requires connecting dots that people in power don't want connected.

And in the world of completely predictable upcoming paint-by-numbers TV network news stories, what's the over-and-under date for the first network TV news story on Black churches from Philadelphia, Mississippi chartering buses to the Obama Inaugural?

I'm predicting we'll see it next Saturday, January 3rd, on ABC News.

No doubt while one of the NFL Wild Card games is on opposite.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Dateline Miami: Imaginary Baby-sitter suing Imaginary Mom for slander; Imaginary Friends stand-by 'Mom,' cite 'holiday pressures

Friday 9 a.m.
Chelsea leading West Brom 2-0, likely to get much-needed home win, temporary lead of league table. 

Miami Herald headline:
Police say missing baby boy's parents lied
Imaginary Dad shocked to discover six months later that he is not Absent Father but rather the Biggest Loser in state of Florida.
(Also believes proposed Marlins Stadium in Miami at former Orange Bowl site will be constructed 'on time' and 'under budget.')

Imaginary Dad' cites his "busy life," "constant texting" and his role as 'Commissioner' in multiple 'Fantasy leagues' as reasons he had never yet seen his Imaginary Son in person for first six months of his life.
Had originally wanted to name baby 'Peyton.'

Both sets of Imaginary Grandparents are said to be relieved.

Imaginary Mom said to be proud former Miami-Dade High School grad.

Joins Casey Anthony in ever-expanding club of narcissistic Florida women in 2008 who find lies preferable to reality of life. 
______________________________________

Police say missing baby boy's parents lied

December 26, 2008

Police say that parents who reported the Tuesday disappearance of their 6-month-old child, Riley Archer Buchness, were lying.

Miami police spokesman Willie Moreno put it simply Friday morning.

''The mom was lying,'' he said.

Police said there was no child, and the mother, Meagan McCormic, had actually had a miscarriage six months ago.

She had used the fake existence of the baby to lure back an ex-boyfriend, who had traveled south to Miami from whereabouts unknown to meet his supposed son.

Buchanan could not be immediately reached for comment.

Police are now asking for the state attorney's office to force McCormic to pay for the resources that were used to locate the supposed child. According to police, up to 20 detectives worked the case throughout all of Christmas Eve and Christmas to locate the child.

McCormic was arrested at 6 a.m. this morning on charges of giving false information to police officers for a crime occurred.

Parents had said the baby disappeared with their nanny, known only as Camille. Police said on Thursday that Camille had not answered her cellphone or responded to text messages.

The boy's parents had said they last spoke with Camille on Tuesday, and when she didn't bring the boy back on Wednesday, they called police.

Authorities issued an Amber Alert for the 11-pound boy in a white onesie and blue jeans, hair done in a mohawk and a fake tattoo of an anchor on his left arm.

''Right now, detectives have worked around the clock and are desperately trying to locate Riley and bring him back home safely,'' said Moreno on Thursday.

We ask Camille, we ask anyone in the community, if they've seen this person, if they know who Camille is, to please come forward.''

Police said they had only a vague description of the nanny. The boy's parents, John Buchness and Meagan McCormic, said they did not know Camille's last name.

They told authorities she lives somewhere along Biscayne Boulevard, though they have not been to her house. She drives a red Acura, possibly with a Massachusetts license plate, they said.

According to police, the original story was as follows:

The young couple moved from Boston in September and were living in 5000 block of Northwest Seventh Street. They knew Camille from Boston, where she had baby sat for Riley.

Within the past month or two, she called to say she had moved to Miami and offered to watch the boy once again, the parents told police.

On Tuesday, they said, she was taking care of Riley and sent a text message to McCormic about 1 p.m. to say the baby had just woken up and she was going to bring him to her home. This was not unusual.

Two hours later, she sent a text message saying she was running late and stuck in traffic.

By 5 p.m., when Camille had not dropped off the baby, McCormic called Camille to say she had to run out of the house and that Riley could stay at the baby sitter's. She asked that Camille drop him off by 3 p.m. Wednesday so they could take him to Georgia to see family.

On Wednesday, Camille still hadn't dropped Riley off at the house. She was not answering her cellphone of responding to text messages. At 8 p.m., the family called police.

''As of now we have been following any possible leads trying to find out who Camille,'' Moreno said.

The parents described Camille as five feet six inches tall, weighing about 130 pounds, with dark brown hair halfway down her back and a gap between her teeth. They said she speaks with a heavy French accent.

Police asked anyone with information to call Miami Police at 305-579-6630 or 305-579-6619.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

"beneath her surface perkiness she is awfully dull; early on, the movie conveniently forgets she is a journalist."

My subject header is from today's NY Times film review below.
Just heard the news about Alvah Chapman
____________________
December 25th, 2008

Well, as you can see below, Brad Pitt has once again triumphed over ex-wife Jennifer Aniston.
So, remind me again, did Owen Wilson almost commit suicide before or after he filmed this down here in Hollywood?  http://www.visithollywoodfl.org/press/PressReleases/PR_Marley.aspx

It goes without saying, I never read the book the film is based on, so I'm guessing that unlike certain reporters I could name, L'Aniston doesn't play a smart and savvy crime beat reporter, with a nose for news and an ear for prose, who often finds herself in the worst possible places at the worst possible time in people's lives, right?

Hildy Johnson for the multimedia age, who isn't afraid for daily newspapers' future.

jenniferaniston-GQ.jpg_________________
Let me guess, Jen plays a fun-loving "lifestyle" reporter?


In the original version of "A Charlie Brown Christmas," the holiday classic based on the Charles M. Schulz comic strip, Charlie Brown and Linus rescue a forlorn little Christmas tree from the City of Hallandale Beach.

It is full of broken limbs, cigarette burns and gang graffiti, and the city employees never turned on the holiday lights they spent three full days putting up.

Just like the situation tonight and the past few weeks on Hallandale Beach Blvd., near the Boston Market, and in front of HB City Hall.

Plugged-in lights that never come on, i.e Darkness on the Edge of Town.


Yes, those would be the same exact holiday lights on the median of HBB that city employees were putting up about a week before Election Day, eliminating a lane of eastbound traffic during the day -for a few days.

 

Maybe if some HB city employees actually lived in the town they drew their paychecks from, or even better, Dept. head actually lived here, they'd actually notice self-evident things like this.

Maybe.

________________
New York Times
MOVIE REVIEW 
Marley & Me
Going to the Dog and Getting a Life
By Stephen Holden
December 25, 2008

To watch "Marley & Me," the bland, obsequious adaptation of John Grogan's best-selling memoir of his up-and-down relationship with an unruly Labrador retriever, is to tune in to an era that seems so close and yet so distant. In those naïve old days — the 1990s through the first part of this century — Florida real estate boomed, newspapers flourished and the heavens rained money.

__________________________________
Pajamas Media
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: A New American Classic?
Posted By Kyle Smith 
December 25, 2008  

Hollywood films rarely even attempt the sweep and heartbreak of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, a bewitching, at times overpowering movie that seems likely to win about 50 Oscars. There aren't actually that many Oscars to hand out, but I wouldn't put it past the Academy to invent some new categories. Based on but greatly expanded from an F. Scott Fitzgerald short story, the film by Fight Club director David Fincher proves that this gifted director can deploy all of his visual gifts to create a richly satisfying, emotionally engaging, and more than a bit schmaltzy old-time romance with heavy assistance from digital and makeup technology...

See the rest of the review at
______________________________________
New York Times
Movie Review
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
By A.O. Scott
December 25, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Big Ten Network airing IU's 1981 NCAA title win vs. UNC at 8pm

South Beach Hoosier trivia: the entire time I was at IU, I never wore an IU cap.
Ever.

Instead, if I wore one at all, it was a Dolphins cap, which was a great conversation starter walking thru campus, as far as finding and meeting other IU students on campus or in town from South Florida.


For those of you in South Florida who can't recall ever talking to me when I wasn't wearing the cap
above, it's probably hard to imagine.
But then there's really no need to wear a cap when it's overcast and one degree above zero, as it was late last night in Bloomington.






The north side of Branch McCracken Court, Assembly Hall, Indiana University, Bloomington


Because of the last episode of Prison Break -part of which was set in Miami- I missed watching the Northeastern at IU ballgame Monday night on The Big Ten Network -thinking the game was Tuesday night.



When I went to the network website to see when the replay was scheduled, 3-5 pm Tuesday afternoon, I also saw they'll be replaying the 1981 IU-North Carolina NCAA title game at 8 pm as part of their Big Ten's Greatest Games Series.




The Sports Illustrated cover that said it all: The Champs!




For more info on that great team of 1980-'81, see the Bloomington Herald-Times' great website, Hoosier Historia: http://www.heraldtimesonline.com/sports/hh/1981/




As far as I'm concerned, perhaps because I watched so many college games in that era and have a great memory of so many of those teams, I think the series has really been sort of hit or miss,

since there seem to be far fewer of the really great games from the late '70's and early '80's, you'd expect to have seen televised by now.


Proof of that is that early this coming Sunday morning, the network will be airing IU's games from this past February at Illinois and versus Wisconsin, at 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. respectively, as part of that series. Great?

Hardly!



IU All-American and Olympian Steve Alford on the cover of the 1987 IU Basketball media guide.

The guide was sent to me just a few months before we beat Syracuse for the 1987 NCAA title by IU Varsity Athletics' one-man Renaissance team (and Assembly Hall announcer) Chuck Crabb, when I was living in Evanston.


Preceding Tuesday's IU-North Carolina replay is a 6 p.m. airing of the December 18, 1990 U.K. at IU ballgame.


The encore showings of the IU-UNC game on Channel are as follows:
Wednesday 12/24 4-6 a.m.
Thursday -Christmas Day- 4-6 a.m. and 9-11 a.m.
http://www.bigtennetwork.com/schedule/



By the way, if anyone out there in cyberspace knows the answer to this, why does IU not have any campus programming on the network of any kind like so many of the other conference schools do, namely, Penn State and Northwestern, who seem to have more than any one else?


Also, for what seems like the 1,001st time, The Big Ten Network will also show the U-M-Ohio State BCS title football game from almost six year ago.




You know, the one that was stolen by the refs on that phantom defensive holding penalty?






That's still painful to watch, just like last week's replay on the NFL Network of the 1974 Dolphins at Raiders divisional game,


The invaluable lesson learned by watching Benny Malone scoring too early for the Dolphins before the end of the game was over, thus giving Ken Stabler enough time to mount an epic comeback, has never been lost on me at any game I've ever played in or watched since then.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

South Florida Needs to Emulate Pembroke Pines Approach re Roads/Traffic: ACTION!

My comments follow the article.
___________________________________
www.sun-sentinel.com/community/news/pembroke_pines/sfl-flbpines12xxsbdec16,0,1462881.story
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Pembroke Pines rebuilding I-75 ramps at Pines Boulevard
Lanes to be closed weekends, nights; work to go on 14 months
By Michael Turnbell
December 16, 2008

Pembroke Pines
When the Pines Boulevard interchange at Interstate 75 opened in 1985, the area was considered out in the boondocks.

The Pines interchange, like others along I-75, was built to rural standards with high-speed curves and little space for merging onto the connecting road.

But what worked then doesn't hold up under today's traffic-choking volumes.

That's why the city is replacing the interchange's wide, curving ramps with straight ramps — one exit for both eastbound and westbound traffic — that join Pines Boulevard at right angles similar to exits on Interstate 95 in south Broward County.

"When you come off 75, everybody's moving at a high speed and then they have to quickly merge over to the left onto Pines," said Pembroke Pines Mayor Frank Ortis. "It's a huge safety issue."

The new ramps will create two, four-way intersections on each side of the overpass and lead drivers exiting I-75 to a traffic light, instead of directly onto Pines Boulevard.

Four new traffic signals are planned for Pines Boulevard — two at the new exit and entry ramps and two at 145th and 148th avenues, which are the entrances to new shopping centers on the east and west sides of I-75.

On the east side, drivers headed in and out of the new Shops of Pembroke Gardens, built by Duke Realty Corp. of Cincinnati, are using a temporary signal at Pines at 145th.

On the west side, developer KRG/CREC of Indianapolis can't open Cobblestone Plaza shopping center until the traffic signal at Pines Boulevard and 148th is installed.

Ortis said he has asked the state to activate the 148th Avenue signal ahead of the project's January 2010 completion.
Drivers can expect lanes and ramps to be closed at night and on weekends.

"We are asking motorists to be patient while we reconfigure the interchange during the next 14 months," said city engineer Joe McLaughlin said.

Although Pines Boulevard is a state road, the city agreed last year to take over the job from the Florida Department of Transportation to accelerate the road work.

The city is paying for the $11 million project upfront. The state will reimburse the city in 2012, when it originally expected to have funds available to do the work. Developers on both sides of I-75 are contributing $2.6 million plus covering any cost overruns.

Michael Turnbell can be reached at mturnbell@sunsentinel.com, 954-356-4155 or 561-243-6550.
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I loved when this first opened up because going north on the new I-75 on my way back up to Chicago/Evanston, after coming back home for the holidays down here (at my mother's then-place near The Falls, at S. Dixie Highway and S.W. 136th Street, once you got up towards then-western Pines, you could really, really FLY!!!

The only place in South Florida where that was true.

It was very similar at the time to parts of I-75 South, south of Tampa-St. Pete going towards Port Charlotte, where I'd always make a pit-stop on my trips south and visit a friend, who had already become a popular high school English teacher in his first job.
That was back when Charlotte County was the fastest-growing county in the whole country, full of Midwestern transplants, can-do enthusiasm and Cubs and Reds ball caps.

Miles and miles of wide roads with no cars on them!
Especially at night!!!

Those roads were so much fun to ride.

Sometimes, you wouldn't see another car for 2-3 miles, and when you did, they were going at least 80 or so.

And naturally, almost without exception, at least once before you got to Palm Beach County, you'd hear the great beginning storm percussion of Christopher Cross' Ride Like the Wind, so you'd have no choice but to turn up the volume and sing along, especially the iconic Michael McDonald back-up vocals. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pt9wULOlc6o

I was born the son of a lawless man.
Always spoke my mind with a gun in my hand.
Lived nine lives
gunned down ten.
Gonna ride like the wind.

And I got such a long way to go.
To make it to the border of Mexico.
So I'll ride like the wind.
Ride like the wind.
Ride like the wind.


Our little Broward mini-Autobahn!
How I do miss it!

In the past 20 years, the closest thing I've experienced to that kind of fun driving, especially after being in the cramped Washington, D.C. area, where speed is just an abstract idea, was heading west on I-66 on Fall Sunday afternoons when the Redskins weren't playing, and my friends and I would head out to the bucolic hills and mountains of West Virginia for the day.

We'd get up early Sunday morning and after the prerequisite stop at the IHOP or Denny's and back on the road by 8 a.m., as long as we studiously avoided the areas known for attracting the "brunch crowd" or "horse crowd" going west, we were set for a nice steady speed with music to relax and just unwind.
(That's one of the things that I miss the most about being down here, surrounded by flat land and traffic -that tangible sense of movement with winding hills )

And coming back to Arlington, with the sun going down over the hills and the foliage whizzing past us, and starting to pick up WBZ-Boston or WCBS-New York on our car radio around 7 p.m., well, it was easy to forget for a while what sort of new mini-crisis would greet us the following day, the big Beltway news story which you'd have to have an informed opinion on.

I especially recommend that you consider the comments below of Pembroke Pines Commissioner Angelo Castillo, within the context of his longer comments:

"...Implementing better traffic management solutions citywide continues to be a top priority for all of us at City Hall. I think it's important to note that while other cities talk about traffic, we in Pines are actually doing things to make things better. That's what our residents demand -- action, not talk...."

That guy is 100% right.

Reader comments at:
http://www.topix.net/forum/source/south-florida-sun-sentinel/TLMR9QIRO7CL7VFTE

Monday, December 15, 2008

First shoes drop: Sue-happy Hallandale Beach vs. Hollywood re Beach One Resort

My comments about this matter will appear in this space later tonight, after today's dispatch in the Miami Herald by Breanne Gilpatrick.
I'll have a lot to say!

The only bias displayed in this matter is the City of Hallandale Beach's overconfidence in foolishly thinking they were entitled to money from the developer.
Nope!
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http://www.miamiherald.com/news/broward/story/813288.html
Hallandale Beach suing Hollywood over hotel
By Breanne Gilpatrick
December 15, 2008

Five months ago Hollywood and Hallandale Beach city commissioners were practically holding hands as they looked for ways to save money by sharing city services.

But times change and now the neighbors are in a spat. Hallandale Beach recently sued its northern neighbor, objecting to a recent Hollywood development vote and saying some commissioners were biased against Hallandale Beach.

Hallandale Beach says traffic from a proposed 41-story hotel bordering its city, known as Beach One Resort, will block vehicles leaving a nearby fire station, according to two lawsuits filed against Hollywood and the project's developer last month in Broward Circuit Court.

The complaint also says "some members of the Hollywood commission clearly based their vote not on the evidence at all, but on bias.''


Earlier this month, attorneys for Hollywood and the developer asked Broward Judge Robert B. Carney to dismiss the case, saying the lawsuits are based on a misrepresentation of the city's development rules.

Hollywood Mayor Peter Bober said the suits won't stop the cities from cooperating on other issues.

''I don't think that just because we have this one disagreement that's headed to court that we won't be able to work together on a personal level,'' he said.

Reader comments at:
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/broward/story/813288.html?commentSort=TimeStampAscending&pageNum=1#Comments_Container

Sunday, December 14, 2008

DCWATCH kindly reminds us how ineffectual Eric Holder was as U.S. Attorney for D.C.

Sunday, December 14, 2008 
5:25 PM

As a longtime reader of dcwatch.com -and more recently, an actual subscriber via email- I just wanted to send up another flare to you re Eric Holder, like some of my previous head's up,
where dcwatch was the first to really ring the bell on the Cult of Michelle Rhee and her failure to produce "any measurable improvement in student performance" in D.C., the lack of national media attention shown to Mayor Adrian Fenty's autocratic ways, etc., which you'd think even the cablenets would've noticed by now, once the election was over.

But no, and certainly not now that we all have Rod Blagojevich to keep the cablenets yakking.
Anger and Indignation
http://www.dcwatch.com/themail/2008/08-02-03.htm

A City of Enemies http://www.dcwatch.com/themail/2008/08-08-20.htm
Practice Makes Imperfect http://www.dcwatch.com/themail/2008/08-12-03.htm

They have been all over the Michelle Rhee story in a way that nobody else in the country has been, even while columnists all over the country, who are unaware of the reality, jump on her media bandwagon and join the flack army with nary a thought.

I remember when I first read the Washington City Paper story below about Eric Holder eleven years ago. It immediately reminded me of another one of the corruption stories I heard about shortly after I moved to Capitol Hill, ironically, across the street from Sen. and Mrs. Moynihan, the man who first publicly defined deviancy down.

Right near the intersection of East Capitol Street and S.E. 7th Street where an early DC friend of mine who worked at the State Dept. was beaten robbed at gunpoint my first summer on 'the Hill.'

It was one of those news stories that made me stop and think, "Only in DC!," in the same incredulous way I'd always though about certain things being "Only in South Florida!" from having grown up done here and being deeply involved in Dade and state politics at an early age in the '70's -and having a father who worked as a Dade County policeman for over 25 years.
Usually, the "Only in South Florida!" story had the requisite foreign intrigue angle or something about crates marked bananas actually being weapons being smuggled out towards some distant war zone, or allegations about someone really being either a foreign spy or CIA or...

The DC Public Schools had decided to create a summer program for employees who were cafeteria workers at schools eight months out of the year.
The idea was to supplement their pay by during the summer to ensure they stayed afloat financially and ensure they'd be available once school started up in August.
Now as I recall it, once you signed up, you were assured of getting a paycheck, regardless of whether you actually were called in to do some work over the course of the summer.

Well, naturally, things being what they were in DC at the time, with little advance thought given to the overall process or what sort of audit control system they'd have, other than names being written down on a list -somewhere- things went about as bad as possible.
If there were X amount of legitimate workers entitled to be in the system, DCPS was actually paying something along the lines of 2.3X in checks, with hundreds of people who weren't legit actually receiving govt. checks for months on end.
Result: Most people getting DCPS' summer checks didn't actually work for the school system.

I don't recall now if there were any federal funds attached to the summer worker program, though my guess is yes, since the DC school system then wasn't exactly a great incubator of bright ideas or overflowing with cash.

It's also important to grasp a point the article hints at: DC juries then were a notoriously bad way to try to prosecute crime and corruption, because to many, the whole city was tainted, and not a place that respected the rule of law but rather the law of opportunity, with no judgment given or taken for how people got their hands on money.

Over 15 years of living in the area, I had my fair share of friends who served on DC juries who later told me that it was one of the worst experiences they ever went thru, largely because of the number of people on the jury with them who were not the least bit interested in upholding their responsibility.
Or, even in paying attention.
It literally scared them to death to think about all the people whose fates had been left up to such dis-interested DC residents, a subject they'd never hertofore considered, their personality and politics being what it was.
And if you don't think that experiences like this give people pause, and cause them to re-think their decision to eschew the suburbs for the city, for some abstract idea of living in a diverse urban village, you're very much mistaken.
Actually, in two specific cases I can think of, it proved to be the last straw, and led to them moving the family out towards me in Northern Virginia.

This laissez-faire attitude towards crime and corruption was brough home to me personally by a very brilliant and dedicated friend who was a prosecutor under Holder, but someone who, initially, took DC's culture of crime, cronyism and corruption a little too personally.
I felt like Jack McCoy trying to shake her out of her funk.

After I met her and we'd become trusted friends, I started attending her trials whenever I could manage, which -shocker!- often involved gangs, guns and lots of mayhem.
She later told me she thought it was odd that local DC media, who always seemed to be camped outside of the courthouse, and who came to recognize who all the other courthouse "regulars" were, never thought to wonder aloud on the air or in print, why so many young teens were always congregating inside the courthouse who didn't have a legitimate reason to be there.

She was right of course, as the sense of obliviousness by so-called security in the courthouse was palpable to anyone paying even the slightest amount of attention.

Yeah, witness intimidation was yet another thing that if not exactly winked at, got MUCH less

attention -and media attention- than it rightfully deserved then.
It finally got to the point that once she'd arrived at the Metro train station closest to our neighborhood, she'd walk thru a very large office building lobby, so she could be sure that nobody was following her home from the courthouse.

Having first heard and then seen what I had, what was I going to do, tell her that she was wrong to be concerned, when there was ample evidence she was right?

Personally, I think unless he's prepared to put the whole thing around President Clinton's neck, the more that Eric Holder tries to describe his own role in the Marc Rich pardon, the more difficult his nomination will be to swallow whole by the Senate.
Plus, there's the prospect of him having to discuss Elián González...

_______________________________________________
excerpt from the latest dcwatch.com posting

Partying in the mail, December 10, 2008

Dear Partiers:

For some reason, which is unrelated to local DC affairs and which we therefore won't mention (Blagojevich), we've been thinking about government corruption a lot today.

The problem with political corruption in the District of Columbia, as opposed to some other unnamed states (Illinois), is that political corruption is almost never prosecuted here, and there aren't any negative consequences for engaging in it. (The DC workers who stole from the Office of Tax and Revenue weren't engaged in government corruption; they were practicing just plain old-fashioned thievery.)
One of the best examples of official overlooking of official corruption occurred in the last term of Mayor Marion Barry. The US Attorney for the District of Columbia for three-and-a-half years of that term never prosecuted a single instance of official corruption, and his inattentiveness didn't seem to hurt his career (see Stephanie Mencimer, "Placeholder?", http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/display.php?id=12207). _________________________________________________
Washington City Paper
PlaceHolder?
With 12 years' experience prosecuting public corruption at the Justice Department, U.S. Attorney Eric Holder was a perfect choice to clean up a corrupt city. But after three and a half years, he may be moving on, and D.C. is still one of the most crooked cities in the nation.

By Stephanie Mencimer
Mar. 7 - 13, 1997 (Vol. 17, #10)

When President Bill Clinton tapped Eric Holder to be U.S. Attorney for D.C. in 1993, he immediately became the District's black sheriff in the white hat. The first African-American ever to hold the job, Holder's appointment broke a stretch of 12 years of white Republicans overseeing the predominantly black city. Not only was Holder representative of the city's majority population, but the former D.C. Superior Court judge had gone straight from Columbia Law School to the Justice Department's public integrity section, where he had spent 12 years successfully prosecuting corrupt public officials. Many people in the District were thrilled; Holder arrived with both exceptional qualifications and the moral authority to crack down on public corruption without the taint of racism that derailed his predecessors.


Up to that time, the city's relationship with the U.S. Attorney's office had been an awkward one. During the 1980s, the city watched as former U.S. Attorneys Jay Stephens and Joseph diGenova went after Mayor Marion Barry and his cronies only to be thwarted by juries that saw their prosecutions as politically and racially motivated crusades aimed at bringing down a popularly elected black mayor. Not only did Barry prevail in court, he came back and then some, reclaiming his old job in 1995. In spite of his history of personal malfeasance, a majority of city residents were willing to give Barry the benefit of the doubt. But many drew confidence from the fact that when Barry moved into 1 Judiciary Square, Holder would be a block away, looking over his shoulder. Holder seemed like a gold-plated insurance policy promising that Barry wouldn't get one over on the city. After all, Holder knew as much about prosecuting corruption as Barry seemed to know about perpetrating it.


After three and a half years on the job, Holder is still revered in the city's halls of power and widely respected by his peers in the legal field. He is the presumptive nominee to replace outgoing U.S. Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick, a major plum position. He is infinitely qualified by all accounts, and his appointment would be a historic one, since the position has never been held by an African-American. But for all the love Holder has engendered in the community as U.S. Attorney, he has had precious little impact on the city's endemic municipal corruption. Barry has returned to his old tricks, nudging contracts and city jobs to old cronies and new girlfriends. Holder is apparently leaving, and he hasn't thrown a punch.

It isn't for lack of targets.

To read the rest of this great article, go to

http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/display.php?id=12207

Stephanie Mencimer is now at Mother Jones.

For her more recent work, go to
http://www.motherjones.com/people/Stephanie-Mencimer.html

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