Humor Me ?

   I’ve been gone.

     You see, I’m allergic to bad weather, (whether too hot or too cold!)

                                                      no tan beach!   

     So when balmy Fort Lauderdale headed to record freezing temperatures last week, I headed

South of the border ….  Cancun, Mexico – 

I had talked the wife (Cindy) into a four day educational / research trip.

     The trip had only two simple objectives –

Find the lost Mayan tribe of Tullum

                    *  Define current Mexican

     Objective #1 – The ancient Mayan villagers of Tullum mysteriously disappeared somewhere around 1500 AD. The people just disappeared into thin air. No explanation for it has ever been found. I figured I’d go find them!

                                                        the Ruins of Ancient Tullum  

     I’d like to report that I hiked through the jungle for days, beating back malaria filled mosquitoes and bands of indigenous Indians, but that’d be a stretch.

     Actually, with a fairly good tour map and a two hour bus ride – there it was! 

     Now, if I could just find those darn Tallumians!

     I looked everywhere, under every rock (and there’s a lot of rocks there!) But they were nowhere to be found!

     I decided to hike down the cliffs to the Caribbean Sea to see if they were hiding there.

     Nope, no Mayans there!  I interviewed some locals on the beach to see if they had any info.

                                                               local interviewee!   

     So, then Cindy suggested ( rather strongly!) that I move quickly over to 

          Objective #2
– Mexican culture. Quite interesting. I decided to get up close and personal with it.
                                             Mexican sensation – three guys and a gringo!

Now, all that research work can really work up and appetite, and, after all, food and beverages are culture!

                                            education and research purposes only

So I’m back home and declare my trip a 50% success. I didn’t find the Ancient tribe, but I found plenty of Mexican culture.

     Maybe I’ll return someday if it gets really cold here again – if I can only remember how to find that sensational Cantina!  


Panhandling …Feeding …. Nuisance…. Solutions?

     This week, it’s the Downtown Development Authority complaining about the chronically homeless. 

     Last week, the downtown residents and the downtown merchants were crying foul about the homeless feeding camps taking place in downtown parks. They say the feedings are creating all sorts of problems, and they petitioned the Fort Lauderdale City Commission to move the chronic homeless out of the downtown, by designating feeding camps somewhere on the outskirts.

                                                            The City Commission

    At this week’s meeting of the DDA, they talked about the heavy – handed panhandling that has been unnerving customers throughout the downtown streets.( To hear Brittany Wallmans’ report of the discussions, go here .)

     So everyone’s looking for solutions to this age old problem –  how about this for a start ? 

     1.) First, we need to stop the cash flow!  Develop a City Wide Program that attempts to stop folks from giving to the panhandlers. Other cities do that by locating donation meters on city streets. This way, folks can give, but the money goes towards helping the homeless, not fueling their substance problems.
              These converted “parking meters” dot many city’s downtown sidewalks with explanations that they are for homeless programs. Other signs ask pedestrians  “please don’t give to panhandlers”, but to feed the homeless meters instead.

     2.) Get more Homeless Social Service professionals on the streets. A portion of the homeless, even the chronically homeless, can be helped and persuaded back into society. The Fort Lauderdale Police Department  has been recognized nationally for their programs that deal with the homeless, but their resources are very limited – beef them up!

                                                               Cops and the Homeless

      3.) Get creative ! Start a new program that hires and trains Downtown Authority Ambassadors that can cover the streets of downtown, dressed in an official looking capacity, equipped with cell phones that merchants can call to report aggressive panhandlers. The Ambassadors can be trained to find beds for the homeless, gently encourage them to move along, or get Police to the scene quickly – if necessary.

     4.) Think comprehensively. Just pushing them off here or there will not solve the problem. Let’s become the model that other cities follow!

     5.) Remember that soon it will be warm again up north, and the problem will slow to a trickle, until next winter!



Wanna Buy Rothstein’s Stuff ?

     Fort Lauderdale’s very own infamous ponzi-schemer Scott Rothstein’s expensive stuff will soon be available, to you!

                           how about a poster with Rothstein’s slogan of Passion, Integrity, Commitment! 

     Rothstein is in jail for a long time, most suspect. His investors are decimated, his partners in flux, and his stuff in storage – at AMC Liquidators, a furniture liquidator owned by  Fort Lauderdale citizen Mike Grimme. 

Grimme, a mover-shaker who once owned hotels on the Fort Lauderdale beach, started his furniture liquidation business a few years back. He has already liquidated another famous ponzi schemer’s goods, Alan Stanford of Standford Financial. 

     So when Rothstein fell, Grimme says he already “knew the drill”, and swooped in and proposed the deal to auction off Rothstein’s holdings.

      Grimme says Rothstein’s 35,000 square foot offices were “pretty elaborate”, with classy office furniture, fancy accessories, and loads of technology ( Grimme says the computers have “swapped out hard drives “, so don’t expect any juicy leftovers!)

     The Auction, run by Fisher Auction will take place on Saturday, January 23rd, at 10:00 am at AMC Liquidators. You can preview the bounty on Thursday the 21st and Friday the 22nd, but here’s an early preview !

                                                                       fancy leather

                                                                       stocked bar

                                                                even the fish tank!

     Grimme says the best stuff, Rothstein’s personal office and the memorabilia ( pictures of Rothstein and Charlie Crist, Rothstein and Governor Bush, Rothstein and Sarah Palin etc. ), will be on display for all to see at his store next week. 

     You can call Mike for more details at 954-735-5777.


Crime, But Not Enough Punishment?

     It was a very well attended anti-crime march in the Fort Lauderdale neighborhood of Progresso Village Friday night.

                                                  Neighborhood President Doug Sterner

        The neighborhood, on the edge of the Northwest part of Fort Lauderdale, butting up against Sunrise Boulevard, looked like it was going to be redeveloped during the last land boom, but only a few blocks of pretty townhouses got built before the boom went bust.

     Today, crime is the issue. Police Department statistics show the relatively small neighborhood bursting with crime in 2009. It ended the year with a 6% uptick over 2008 and logged 211 major crimes  (29 robberies, 34 burglaries, 93 car break-ins, 16 cars stolen, and 39 business burglaries).

     Compare those stats to similarly sized safe neighborhoods like Riviera Isles with 2 total crimes (both car break-ins) and the beaches’ Dolphin Isles with 5 total crimes (all burglaries).
[ Ironically, Progresso Village is on a list of possible locations to move the Downtown Vagrant Feeding Camps to.]

     Impressively, four of the five City Commissioners attended, only missing a full quorum with the absence of Commissioner Romney Rogers.

Here’s some of last night’s action! 

                                         Commissioner Rodstrom and Chief Adderley – still friends

                                Commissioner Bobby Dubose and Housing Authority Scott Strawbridge

                      Townhouse builder Rene Lepine with Mayor Seiler and Commissioner Roberts  


     The local residents sent out an e-mail last week saying they were “mad as hell, and not going to take it anymore. Looks like the powers -that- be might have heard them.                                     

                                                                      Stay Tuned!